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Home Insurance FAQ

General Questions

How much would it cost to rebuild my home at today's prices?

Can you provide some tips for estimating the value of my home?

What would it cost to replace the contents or personal belongings of my home?

 

Liability Questions

What kind of protection do I need against liability claims?

What is Personal Liability Umbrella coverage?

 

Coverage Questions

A neighbor slips on my sidewalk and threatens to take me to court for damages. Does my homeowner policy protect me?

How can I make sure that I have coverage for my valuables?

Is my jewelry covered by my homeowners policy?

Do I need to take an inventory and photographs of my belongings?

Will I be reimbursed for additional living expenses if I cannot live in my home due to a covered loss?

Does my home owners insurance cover against losses due to fire, lightning, tornadoes, wind storms, hail, explosions, smoke, vandalism and theft?

What does a Home insurance policy not cover?

A pipe bursts and water flows all over my floors. Am I covered?

Am I covered for earthquake damage?

Will I be reimbursed for additional living expenses if I cannot live in my home due to a covered loss?

When should I think about adding to my Homeowners insurance coverage?

 

Safer Home Savings

How can I make my home safer and possibly save money?

 

Insurance Risk Indicators

Questions You May Have About Insurance Risk Indicators

What is a Farmers Risk Assessment Indicator?

Where do Risk Assessment Indicators come from?

Who at Farmers has access to my credit information?

Why does Farmers use Risk Assessment Indicators?

Can I improve my RAI and, if so, how?

What if I don't get the best discount as a result of my Indicator?

What if the information in my credit report is wrong?

General Questions

How much would it cost to rebuild my home at today's prices?
Your home is probably the single largest investment you'll ever make. By insuring your home, you are helping to protect your investment and your equity.

Estimating your home value will help you to make a determination of the amount of insurance you will want to purchase. The primary factors that will determine the cost to rebuild your home include:

  • Local construction costs and the square footage of the structure;
  • The type of exterior wall construction – frame, masonry (brick or stone) or veneer – and the type of roof;
  • The style of the house (ranch, colonial);
  • The number of bathrooms and other rooms;
  • Attached garages, fireplaces, exterior trim and other special features like arched windows.

Can you provide some tips for estimating the value of my home?
Here are some tips to help you estimate your home's value:

Every year, take the time to check the value of your insurance policy against rising local building costs. Your Farmers agent is available to assist you with your review of your coverage.

  • Check the latest building codes in your community. If your home is severely damaged, you might have to rebuild it to comply with new building code standards which may require a change in design or building materials.
  • Do not insure your home for the market value. The cost of rebuilding your house may be higher (or lower) than the price you paid for it or the price you could sell it for today.
  • Some banks require you to buy homeowners insurance to cover the amount of your mortgage. Make sure it's also enough to cover the cost of rebuilding.
  • Increase the limit of your policy if you make improvements or additions to your house. You may upgrade features in your home to fit your tastes and lifestyle. These enhancements can significantly increase the replacement cost of your home. Your Farmers agent will be available to help you in your determination as to whether additional coverage is needed.
  • We also have a number on online tools to help you calculate your home insurance needs. If you have questions about the amount of insurance coverage for you, consult your local Farmers agent.

What would it cost to replace the contents or personal belongings of my home?
If the unexpected happens, losing your home contents could be distressing as well as financially devastating. Your Farmers homeowners, Townhouse, Condo and Renters policies cover the loss of your personal belongings, subject to the policy limits and conditions.

There are two distinct ways to insure your personal possessions:

  • Replacement cost coverage. This coverage pays you the dollar amount needed to replace personal property without any deduction for depreciation, but is limited to a maximum dollar amount.
  • Actual cash value. This coverage pays you an amount equal to the replacement value of damaged property minus depreciation. Unless a homeowners policy specifies that property is covered for its replacement value, the coverage is for actual cash value.

Many people make the mistake of underestimating the value of their home contents. This mistake is easily made when you consider the amount of new items we purchase each year. Under-insurance can lead to heartache and inconvenience should the unexpected happen. Your local Farmers agent is available to assist you with insuring your home contents.


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Liability Questions

What kind of protection do I need against liability claims?
Nothing is worse than the feeling you get when you are responsible for damage to someone else's property or for someone else's injuries. Your Farmers agent can assist you with your selection of coverage to help you alleviate this financial worry.

This coverage is part of your homeowners insurance policy. It protects you and your family against property damage or bodily injury claims for which you are legally responsible. Liability insurance covers you, for example, if someone slips and falls on your property or if your dog bites someone.

Today, when multimillion-dollar lawsuits are common, your homeowners policy may provide substantial liability limits, but it may not be enough. Farmers Personal Liability Umbrella is available to supplement your present policies and provides additional coverage in increments of $1 million.


What is Personal Liability Umbrella coverage?
Lawsuits are common today. If you accidentally injure someone or damage their property, you could be sued. And more and more, juries are awarding very large verdicts. Your homeowners, property and auto policies may provide substantial liability limits, but juries can award sums that exceed those limits.

Farmers Personal Liability Umbrella insurance acts like an umbrella, providing additional coverage on top of your auto and homeowners liability policies. It supplements your existing policies to provide additional personal liability protection.

The Umbrella policy goes into effect after the underlying liability limits on your homeowners or auto policy is exhausted. Therefore, your policy must have certain limits in order to qualify for an Umbrella policy.

Auto Insurance Liability Limits:

  • $250,000 bodily injury per person
  • $500,000 bodily injury per occurrence
  • $50,000 property damage per occurrence

Homeowners Insurance Liability Limits: $300,000

The policy provides:

  • Liability insurance that adds to the limits of your automobile, homeowners and recreational vehicle or boat liability policy limits.
  • Coverage for unknown or unexpected exposures that are excluded in typical auto, homeowners, recreational vehicle or boat liability policies.
  • Coverage for the cost of your legal defense. This includes court costs, interest on judgments and premiums on necessary bonds.

For more information, please contact a Farmers agent.


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Coverage Questions

A neighbor slips on my sidewalk and threatens to take me to court for damages. Does my homeowner policy protect me?
Yes. Homeowners insurance will pay for damages, if the accident is the result of your negligence. It will also pay for the legal costs of defending you against a claim. Also, the medical payments part of your Homeowners policy will cover medical expenses arising from an injury to a neighbor or guest. Your local Farmers agent can periodically review your policy limits with you when you are making coverage decisions.


How can I make sure that I have coverage for my valuables?
There is limited coverage available for your valuables. In most cases, you may want to consider purchasing a Personal Articles Floater, which provides coverage for your personal articles, such as jewelry, furs or fine arts, when their value is higher than the limits stated in your policy.

Your local Farmers agent can help you when you are deciding if you need to purchase this coverage.


Is my jewelry covered by my homeowners policy?
On a homeowners policy, there is limited, standard coverage available for your jewelry. In most cases, you may want to consider purchasing a Personal Articles Floater, which provides coverage for your jewelry when its value is higher than the limits stated in your homeowners policy. Your local Farmers agent can help you when you are determining if you need to purchase Floater coverage.


Do I need to take an inventory and photographs of my belongings?
Print out and fill in this handy Home Inventory Checklist and keep it in a safe, accessible place in the event you need to file a claim.


Will I be reimbursed for additional living expenses if I cannot live in my home due to a covered loss?
If your home becomes uninhabitable due to a covered loss, we pay for those extra costs of housing, eating expenses, etc. up to the applicable limit.

Your local Farmers agent can help you when you are deciding if you need to purchase this coverage.


Does my home owners insurance cover against losses due to fire, lightning, tornadoes, wind storms, hail, explosions, smoke, vandalism and theft?
Yes. Typically, your homeowners insurance covers a large number of perils, including all those listed. There are some limits, however, on the amount of insurance you have so you should always consult with your local Farmers agent.


What does a Home insurance policy not cover?
Homeowners insurance policies typically do not cover but not limited to damage resulting from the following:

  • Earth movement
  • Water
  • Nuclear hazard
  • Neglect or failure to make repairs
  • Corrosion, deterioration, decay or rust
  • Wear and tear
  • Contamination
  • Fungi
  • Increased cost due to enforcement of any building ordinance or law
  • Government actions
  • Power failure
  • Animals or pests
  • War

Contact a Farmers agent for a complete list of policy exclusions in your state.


A pipe bursts and water flows all over my floors. Am I covered?
Yes. Typically, homeowners insurance covers you for accidental discharge of water from a plumbing system. Check your plumbing and heating systems once a year. While you are covered for this type of damage, who needs the mess and hassle?


Am I covered for earthquake damage?
No. Earthquake coverage is available as a separate coverage. To determine whether you should purchase this insurance, talk to your local Farmers agent. In earthquake prone areas, the cost of this insurance is relatively high. In other areas, it is relatively inexpensive.


Will I be reimbursed for additional living expenses if I cannot live in my home due to a covered loss?
If your home becomes uninhabitable due to a covered loss, we pay for those extra costs of housing, eating expenses, etc. up to the applicable limit.

Your local Farmers agent can help you when you are deciding if you need to purchase this coverage. In California, California Earthquake Authority (CEA) coverage is available through your Farmers agent.


When should I think about adding to my Homeowners insurance coverage?
Generally, you should contact your agent who will assist you in a review of your coverages whenever you change something significant about your home or its contents, for example, you should review your coverage:

  • when you put on an addition to your home;
  • when you start a business from your home;
  • when you make a major purchase, such as jewelry or a computer;
  • when you purchase other residential properties either for rental or as a second home.

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Safer Home

How can I make my home safer and possibly save money?
Homeowners who guard against theft, accidents and other losses can often get lower insurance rates and policy discounts. Here are some things you can do to help qualify for lower premiums:

  • Secure your home with dead bolts and window locks.
  • Install a security system with an outside signal and connection to local police.
  • Install and maintain smoke detectors.
  • Install a sprinkler system for fire.
  • Install a fire alarm that automatically alerts the local fire department.
  • Stop smoking.
  • Keep walks and entrance ways clear of snow and ice.
  • You may also qualify for discounts on premiums when you buy both homeowners and auto insurance.

Please contact your Farmers agent to discuss these and other money savings options.


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Insurance Risk Indicators

Questions You May Have About Insurance Risk Indicators
When it comes to insurance, we know you want quality coverage from a solid, dependable company. You want the peace of mind that comes with knowing, in the event you need us, we'll be there to help you get your life back to where it belongs quickly, compassionately and with as little hassle as possible. And you feel, rightfully so, that if you are a good risk, you should be rewarded with lower insurance costs. We understand that you want all of the above at the best price possible. At Farmers, we are always looking for new ways to keep the cost of insurance affordable. To do this, we use a tool called the Risk Assessment Indicator.


What is a Farmers Risk Assessment Indicator?
A Farmers Risk Assessment Indicator is a code developed from and based upon credit report information. Depending on the kind of policy, Farmers' underwriters may use this indicator along with motor vehicle records, loss reports and/or other information to rate auto and/or homeowner insurance policies. Risk Assessment Indicators are highly predictive of future claims activities, and the use of indicators allows Farmers to charge customers a rate that is appropriate to the risk insured.


Where do Risk Assessment Indicators come from?
Risk Assessment Indicators are based on information from consumer credit reports from one of three institutions: LexisNexis Consumer Services, Equifax or CSC Credit Services.

Information used may include:

  • Length of credit history
  • Late payments, collections

What's not included in a Risk Assessment Indicator? (Risk Assessment Indicators do not use the following information...)

  • Ethnic group
  • Marital Status
  • Religion
  • Nationality
  • Age
  • Familial Status
  • Income
  • Disability
  • Gender

Who at Farmers has access to my credit information?
We believe in your right to privacy. Your agent and members of the agency staff do not have access to your credit file. You can, however, obtain a copy of your credit report from the consumer reporting agency that provided the information used to calculate your Risk Assessment Indicator.


Why does Farmers use Risk Assessment Indicators?
Industry experts have proven that a strong correlation exists between credit history and insurance risk. Because credit history is generally accepted to be a fair and accurate way to predict probability of future loss, Farmers Risk Assessment Indicator uses credit data to determine discount availability for applicants and customers. Please keep in mind that this is only one of several factors used in determining your premium.


Can I improve my RAI and, if so, how?
You can improve your indicator over time by using credit responsibly. A Risk Assessment Indicator is a snapshot of your insurance risk based on information in your credit report. It's a good idea to periodically obtain a copy of your credit report from the major credit bureaus to check for any inaccuracies.

Farmers recommends that if you need assistance with understanding your credit history or advice on using credit responsibly, you should contact a qualified credit counselor. Farmers Agents and employees are not qualified credit counselors.


What if I don't get the best discount as a result of my Indicator?
The Federal Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) requires that we tell you if we take adverse action based upon information contained in your credit report. We will give you the name of the credit bureau that provided the information and advise you of certain rights you have under the FCRA so you can address any errors that might appear on your credit report.


What if the information in my credit report is wrong?
If you find an error in your credit history, you should report the error to the credit bureau. The credit bureau must investigate and respond to your request. Once you are certain that your report has been updated, please contact your Farmers agent. He/she will re-order a new Risk Assessment Indicator. Farmers will apply any changes to your premium. Make sure the information in your credit report is correct by reviewing your credit report from each credit bureau at least once a year. Call these numbers to order a copy (a fee may be required):

  • LexisNexis Consumer Services: (800) 456-6004
  • Equifax and CSC Credit Services: (866) 349-5183