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Home Insurance: Is It Worth It?

If you own a home, then likely you have homeowners insurance on your biggest and most expensive asset. True, if you own your home outright, then there is no law requiring you to have homeowners insurance. Only mortgage companies will insist on insurance if they have a lien on your home. Is it wise to go without insurance? Should you? Keep reading and we shall look at the value of having or getting rid of your homeowners insurance.

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Homeowners’ insurance rates are spiking especially for homeowners in areas where hurricane damage has been high, such as Florida. Some homeowners are finding their rates have doubled or tripled in just one year while others are learning that their policy has been cancelled by the insurance company meaning they must shop for new insurance.

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The temptation to drop insurance altogether is a big one, but a dangerous choice to make unless you have a bundle of money to absorb the loss.Home insurance makes sense for the following reason:–If there is a catastrophic loss, then your home can be completely replaced. Just make certain that your policy has been updated to reflect the current replacement cost of your home. If you live in earthquake or a flood prone area, you will need to purchase separate insurance to cover these disasters.

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You can save money on your policy via:–Comparison shopping. All insurers are different and rates can vary by as much a 10 to 20 percent. Shop around and don’t just go with the best rate. Companies that pay a fast claim are worth more than a slower payer any day, even if there rates are high.You are your home’s best advocate because:–You know your home. You are in the best position to determine loss, therefore you must be aware of what is allowed or not allowed before filing for a claim.

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A tree that falls on your home means that you are covered, while floods and earthquakes are only covered through the writing of a separate policy. Yes, insurance on your home can certainly seem expensive and almost worth dropping until you need to use it. Your insurance company isn’t always your best friend, but they can be your only friend when disaster hits and able to help restore you financially if you selected the policy with the best coverage.

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The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors warns that if you can't get insurance for your house, you're in big trouble. Mortgage lenders won't lend on houses that are uninsurable and as a result its value could fall by up to 80%. It's a high flood risk that's most likely to make your house uninsurable. According to a recent survey, 6.5 million homes are already at risk from flooding of which 1.5 million are in high risk areas. The government has completed flood defences in many such areas and protection for a further 80,000 homes is due this year. But concerns have also been expressed about a further 120,000 new homes planned for the Thames Gateway which are potentially in a high “at risk” zone. Yet many areas remain vulnerable. And if global warming continues, by 2030, the 1.5 million at risk could mushroom 3.5 million. Back in 2003 the Association of British Insurers (ABI) agreed the principles which committed UK insurers to offering home and contents insurance for properties in areas which are assessed to be at a flooding risk once in seventy five years or more. The rider was that the flood defences had to be already in place or would be completed by the end of 2007. The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) has the responsibility of developing and maintaining these flood defences but within the insurance industry there's widespread concern that insufficient progress is being made. As a result the insurers have has warned the government that there could be widespread withdrawal of insurance cover if progress is stepped up. In the mean time, those in areas threatened by flood water could find their insurance premiums soaring. Whilst the insurance industry agreed to provide insurance cover, their commitment was simply to maintain premiums at “reasonable” levels. But there was no definition of what “reasonable” means. As a result premium increases of 60% have been common with up 400% increases in bad areas. In a tiny number of cases, cover has been withdrawn altogether, mostly in country areas where DEFRA considers the cost of defending a cluster of a few homes to be uneconomic. Environmentalists warn that unless DEFRA gets it's skates on, the UK 's current bill for flood damage could rise from £950 million a year, to £3.2 billion. After all, the average insurance claim for household flood damage is £30,000 – that's even higher than fire damage. And localised events like the 2004 flood at Boscastle, Cornwall , can cost the insurers over £15 million. If you are in any doubt whether your home or proposed home, is in a flood risk area, you should visit www.environment-agency.gov.uk. This is DEFRA's web site where you can check whether they think your home is at risk of flooding. Their maps were originally designed for planning purposes and provide information on a post-code basis. Whilst many insurers use the DEFRA information, others like More Than, have their own flood maps. These assess homes individually rather than post code areas. This means that if your existing insurer increases your premium for flood risk and uses the DEFRA information, you may still be able to get a cheaper rate from an insurer using it's own flood data if its data identifies that your property is beyond the “at risk” zone. The ABI has recently added to the pressure on DEFRA to accelerate the building and upgrading of flood defences. It has warned that unless the government increases its spending on flood defences, the insurance industry may not continue their commitment to the 2003 principles. That would be bad news for many homeowners.

Home Insurance: Is It Worth It?

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When thinking of taking out home insurance you have to give it some very careful consideration especially when it comes to determining how much cover you actually need. If you do not take out enough cover then you are leaving yourself open to problems if the worse comes to the worse and you have to replace everything in your home due to fire, for example. Take out too much and you will be paying for cover that you do not need. Not only is the amount of home contents insurance confusing but also where you have to buy the cover. Many individuals believe that they have to take the cover out that is offered by when you take out your mortgage. In fact 2.9 million of the policies that are sold are bought from the high street lender which means they are probably paying way over the odds for their cover. High street lenders jump onto all types of insurance and try pushing it alongside offering a cheap mortgage or loan and home insurance is no exception and is just one more way of boosting profits. Home insurance has to be shopped around for just the same as with any type of insurance, the premiums do vary depending on the provider and if you go with an independent broker then they will be able to shop around on your behalf and can often get special internet or broker deals, which will save you even more money. By doing so they will be able to gather together the cheapest premiums and along with this will make sure that you have access to the key facts which will explain clearly how much the cover will cost. A good indication as to how much you need to insure your home contents for is to go around and jot down all the contents of your home including clothing, electrical equipment, accessories in your kitchen and any other items that you would have to replace in the event that you lost everything. Even the cost of CDs, DVDs and expensive cosmetics can all add up, you’d be really surprised. And if you lost everything, you’d have to replace it all, right from the carpets upwards. That is why getting the right amount of insurance cover is so important. However you do have to take into account that certain items in your home might not be covered under a standard policy. For example if you have an extensive collection or jewelery collection then you might have to take out extra cover. Even your bicycle may need to be insured separately. It is also essential that just because you got the cheapest premiums for home contents insurance one year it does not necessarily mean that you will get the cheapest premiums again by just renewing it. Loyalty is not often rewarded by brokers. Premiums can vary greatly from year to year and you can get a better deal by going back to a broker and allowing them to search on your behalf.

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