Every week we talk with people about home insurance. Two of the people I talked with last week included a young couple buying their first home in Fort Worth, the other was a long time homeowner in Frisco, Texas who was concerned they were paying too much for home insurance. The conversations about the homes were not that much different and focus on two broad areas;
- Questions related to the home’s replacement cost
- Questions related to risk associated with the home
The questions about replacement cost include;
- What is the square footage?
- How many stories?
- Are the exterior walls brick veneer, wood, or something else?
- What type of roof do you have?
- And more
This information helps determine how much it will take to replace the home if there’s a total loss. The risk related questions involve;
- Does the home have a swimming pool?
- If so, does the pool have a diving board or slide?
- Is it fenced and are the gates locked?
- Do you have a trampoline?
- If so, does the trampoline have a safety net around it?
- We also ask about dogs & pets.
The risk related questions are ones that help the underwriter determine how risky it is to insure a home. The more risk associated with a home, the higher the premium. If the risk is too high, fewer insurance companies will write a policy to cover the home. When we deal with swimming pools, keep in mind;
- Most insurance companies will write a home policy if a pool is present
- Some insurers will not write a pool if there’s a diving board
- Some insurers will not write a pool if there’s a slide
- The pool must be fenced (even if you’re in the country)
- Many require the fence to have locking gates (we recommend that to all our clients)
In addition, we want to make sure we have enough coverage in the separate or other structures coverage to cover the pool in the event of a catastrophe.
Trampolines can be a little tricky too.
- There are several companies that will not write a home with a trampoline
- Many of the ones that do require the trampoline have a safety net around it (the kind to protect smaller children from bouncing off)
- Most companies won’t write the trampoline if it’s not fenced and many require locking gates (we recommend those anyway)
In both cases, we also recommend the homeowner carry at least $500,000 in personal liability coverage, as well as higher limits of medical (at least $5,000). These are to protect the homeowner if a child is hurt and the neighbor’s sue.
If you have a story on what went wrong with a pool or trampoline or you have a question, share it with us in the comments section or on our Facebook and Google + pages. We’ll all learn something!