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Home insurance 101

Replacement-cost coverage pays to replace your home and belongings with materials of "like kind and quality" at current prices. Actual cash-value policies reimburse the depreciated value. A replacement-cost policy will usually cost a little more. Some companies no longer offer replacement-cost coverage.​

Your company must send you notice at least 10 days in advance of your policy being canceled because you have not paid your premium. This may be a late billing notice. If your policy has been "nonrenewed" (the company is not continuing to cover you for a reason other than nonpayment), the company must give you at least 30 days' notice.​

Most homeowner policies have dollar limits on certain belongings, such as silverware, guns, jewelry, watches, furs, and computers. Talk to your agent or insurance company about increasing these limits to meet your individual needs.

Generally, insurance policies exclude damage caused by seepage, dry rot, or pests. This is because these problems are usually the result of poor maintenance, not a "sudden and accidental" event. Insurance companies may cancel your policy if your property has deteriorated to a point that it no longer meets the company's underwriting standards.​

The appraised value of your property is the value when the appraisal was made. Your property may have lost value since your last appraisal as a result of poor maintenance or depreciation.​

Yes. Dog bite claims can be quite expensive, and some insurers choose not to provide insurance to homeowners who own a breed with a history that suggests a dog bite claim is more likely.​​

If homeowners coverage is in force and the policy does not have a specific exclusion, the company cannot deny coverage based on dog breed.​

No. Homeowner policies do not cover damage caused by earth movement. Earthquake coverage is available for an additional premium. Even though there is specialty coverage available for landslides, it is expensive and difficult to find.​​

No, homeowner policies do not typically cover motor vehicles. Most insurance companies will write coverage for a classic car, but a specialty collector auto policy can offer specialized coverage suited to a collector’s needs.​​​


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