5 On Your Side

Buy homeowners insurance to protect against many scenarios

Posted April 19

Many people don't think about homeowners insurance until they need it, and that may be too late.

Some new twists to homeowners coverage can save you money and cover you better.

"You really just want to make sure you're prepared for the unexpected things that can happen," home buyer Deb Gagliano said. "Fires and floods, and trees coming down in your pool."

Beyond big and costly problems, homeowners insurance can also cover quirky events such as damage caused by a drone.

Consumer Reports: Homeowners insurance buying guide

Some policies may even cover vandalism damage to a family headstone.

If your dog damages property or bites someone, that could be covered, too, depending on the dog's breed.

Your property is also likely covered when it's not in your home. For example, if it's in your child's dorm room or your car.

"Many people pay for smaller losses themselves because they worry that their premiums will go up if they make a claim," Consumer Reports' Margot Gilman said. "But according to a survey of our readers, that doesn’t happen all the time.”

Of 2,500 survey respondents whose claims were less than $5,000, more than half said their premiums for insurance did not increase.

Tips for first-time homebuyers in Raleigh

Keep in mind, though, that each policy is unique, making it more difficult to predict if your premium will hold steady after a claim.

The Consumer Reports survey also found that the greater the damage, the more likely there will be a disagreement over the value, and the longer it will take the insurance company to pay a claim.

One final warning: Making too many claims in a short period of time may cause your insurance company to renew your policy or even drop you altogether.

People who live in flood- or hurricane-prone areas likely need to get separate policies to cover that sort of damage.


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