Homeowners Insurance

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The first question most first-time homeowners ask is, "How much insurance is enough for my house?" The short answer is, enough to rebuild your home, but there's more to it than that. In fact, there are a number of factors you should consider when insuring your home against damage and loss. First and foremost is whether you'll want to rebuild or restore your house precisely, in the event of a catastrophic event. Some policies cover the replacement value of your home using materials of similar quality, while others may only cover the restoration of your home to a functional condition, meaning that the items used to replace what was lost will serve the same function, but won't necessarily be the same aesthetically.

You'll also want to consider your house's unique structural features (if there are any), such as fine woodwork, slate roofing or flooring, stained glass windows, etc., and decide whether you want them to be included in your policy. Some insurers will extend your coverage for a nominal fee to cover sewers or drains that back up into your basement, but if you live in a flood plain, you may want to consider the Federal Flood Insurance Plan. The contents of your home are another matter. If you have valuable art or antiques, or anything of particular value that you want to cover, be sure to have it included at the time of your appraisal. It's a good idea to save the sales receipts for all your major appliances, furniture, etc., and to photograph or videotape these items to substantiate any future claim you may have to make.