Tips On How To Select Your Insurance Provider

 By: Jim Knight
There are several policy types here in Texas, the most common being the HO-A (named peril) and HO-3 (all risk) policy forms. Most insurance companies have their own names for them, however ; homeowners insurance policies most often fall into either a "named peril" or "broad/all risk" type category .

Common coverage items include common losses such as fire, theft , hail or wind/hail damage . Naturally , an "all risk" type policy is more advantageous, however not all companies offer them. When reviewing your coverage, ask your agent if your current policy is an "all risk" or "named peril" policy. You may be surprised to find out the coverage limitations that exist in your present plan.

Whether it is an HO-A, HO-B, HO-3, or HO-5 policy, not all homeowners insurance is the same. Read your policy carefully to determine what specific exclusions exist. If considering a new carrier, ask for a copy of the policy to compare to your current provider.

All companies cover the basics: Hail/Wind; Fire; Theft; Vandalism; Smoke Damage ; etc; but, what items are sometimes excluded? What coverage items should you specifically look for?

Here are a few:

- Water Damage-Does the company cover sudden and accidental water damage ? If so, are there limitations?

- Water/Sewer Backup-does the company cover back up through a sewer line?

- Slow Water Leak-if I notice a leak in my home that may have been going on for a while, is this covered?

- Foundation-what happens if I have a problem with a water leak under my foundation?

- Mold- Does my current carrier provide coverage for mold remediation, or damage resulting from mold?

- Replacement Cost for Contents-Will my belongings be replaced with like/similar kind and quality , or will the claim be depreciated out based on length of ownership?

You also need to specifically ask about coverage for items like firearms, that may or may not be covered in a policy.

In Texas, many of us have extensive collections of firearms. Often , we see firearms that have been passed down through generations. These guns are expensive to buy and replace!

My uncle is one such person who has many inherited firearms. His collection is valued at $11,000. I asked him how he chose to insure his gun collection and he told me his insurance company had it covered under the personal property section of his policy.

What he didn't know was the personal property coverage is subject to the homes deductible, which is $3,800 in his case. If he experienced a total loss to his firearm collection, the insurance company would only be responsible for $7,200.

Some insurance companies have optional endorsements you can add to the policy for firearm insurance. For the most part, these endorsements will lower the deductible, but they will only cover the gun collection up to a certain point.

In my Uncles case , if he had added the gun endorsement, it would have only covered the collection up to $6,000. In the event of a total loss, he would have been out $5,000.

There are some insurance carriers that allow you to schedule firearms. This means that you can cover the guns for the needed amount at no deductible. If my uncle were able to schedule his collection, it would have been covered for the full $11,000. In the event of a loss, he would have had no deductible.
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