Home Insurance Frequently Asked Questions

Q. If my neighbor's tree falls on my house who pays for the damage?
A.
The only way this claim would be paid under you neighbor's liability policy is if you can prove that he or she is legally liable for the tree hitting your home. However, negligence may not be easy to prove. Usually, the insurance responsibility lies with the policyholder whose property is damaged. You should file this claim under your own insurance.

Q. I have a dog. How will this affect my home insurance?
A.
Some insurance companies specifically exclude liability claims that stem from a certain breed of dog. Others may charge additional premium for the exposure. Still others may not insure you at all. Call your insurance provider for more information about what it considers to be acceptable breeds.

Q. What is involved in the claims process?
A.
After filing a claim you will be contacted by a claims adjuster, usually within 48 hours. The adjuster will collect your information and determine if the claim is covered and if an inspection is necessary. The adjuster also will work closely with you to determine and arrange estimates for contractors, payment of bills, reimbursement for out-of-pocket expenses and other important steps in the recovery/rebuilding process.

Q. Will filing a single claim cause my home insurance rates to go up?
A.
Loss experience is a major factor in determining home insurance rates. Loss experience consists of the frequency and severity of losses as well as conditions of the property that favor losses, such as the presence of a trampoline or swimming pool. A single claim should not have a drastic affect on your premium as long as the loss does not expose some greater risk on your property, indicate a trend in losses or identify serious negligence on the part of the policyholder. 

Q. Do I have to own a home to insure my personal property?
A.
No. Renters insurance is available for those who need coverage for their personal property (i.e., furniture, electronics, golf clubs, etc.) but do not own a home.

Q. If my home is underinsured at the time of a loss will I suffer a penalty?
A.
If your policy includes a “coinsurance clause” (which almost every home insurance policy does) then you will pay a penalty for underinsurance. It is extremely important to review your policy limits at least annually to adjust for changes in value.

Q. Does my home insurance include coverage for damage resulting from a flood?
A.
No. Flood insurance is sold separately and should be considered by anyone who owns a home. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) says 25% of flood claims are filed by homeowners who do not live in a designated flood zone.

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