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. Learn more about coverage for your valuable items.
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.
Should I consider a recent appraisal for my jewelry items (such as an engagement or anniversary ring)?
Yes. The value of precious metals and gemstones is constantly changing. So even if you’ve had your jewelry appraised before, it’s always a good idea to have it appraised again for its current market value.
If, for example, your engagement ring was originally appraised for $3000 five years ago, its value may have increased since then. In the unfortunate event that your ring is lost or stolen, having a recent appraisal handy (with a thorough description of the item being insured) will help with the reimbursement process.
Keep in mind that recent appraisals are usually required for expensive pieces of jewelry when you purchase additional coverage, like a Personal Articles Floater. (Depending on the value of the item, you’ll be required to provide a detailed sales receipt or appraisal.) Your local Farmers® agent can discuss this with you to help you decide if you want increased coverage for your valuables and if so, what documentation to provide.
Do I need to take an inventory and photographs of my belongings?
It is useful to create a 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 homeowners 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
- Nuclear hazard
- Neglect or failure to make repairs
- Corrosion, deterioration, decay or rust
- Wear and tear
- Increased cost due to enforcement of any building ordinance or law
- Government actions
- Power failure
- Animals or pests
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.
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.
Why should I consider coverage for local building ordinances or laws?
If your home is damaged or destroyed, you may be required to remodel or rebuild your home to meet current building codes in your area that differ from when your home was built or last renovated. Many home insurance policies don’t cover the necessary upgrade costs to comply with local building codes after a covered loss, leaving you with a potential gap in coverage and unexpected expenses. One customer, with a very large home built in 2007, experienced a fire that caused significant damage throughout the home. After the home was built, the city passed an ordinance that required the installation of fire suppression sprinklers in homes of a certain size, including the customer’s home. The cost of upgrading the home to include the required sprinklers was approximately $20,000 and would not have been covered if the customer had not purchased adequate Building Ordinance or Law Coverage.
Keep in mind that local building codes, ordinances, or laws often change and that, upon rebuilding or remodeling you home, you may be required to make certain home upgrades, such as updating plumbing, heating, ventilation, and electrical systems. To avoid paying for those upgrades out of pocket, you may want to consider purchasing Building Ordinance or Law Coverage. You may have a greater need depending on where you live, the age of your home, and if there have been building codes changes since your home was built or last renovated. Your local Farmers® agent can discuss this with you so you can decide if you should consider purchasing this coverage.
Why is my home’s estimated reconstruction cost different than the new construction cost?
When reconstructing a home, there are a few key areas that come into play that are not there when building a new home.
When building a new home, your builder can sometimes buy materials in bulk at a discounted price since new home construction often involves multiple home sites. During reconstruction though, materials are bought for a single home and it may not be possible to get the same bulk discount, resulting in a higher price. In addition, inflation increases the cost of materials over time.
Labor costs are also typically higher for reconstruction compared to new construction. During reconstruction, workers may need to remove debris, demolish parts of the home, and align new materials with existing home materials. These processes are more labor intensive and as a result, more expensive. Also, new construction builders–especially those building a home as part of a larger development—can sometimes take advantage of economies of scale in hiring workers at a lower rate and more efficiently schedule workers than during reconstruction of a single home.
Building a new home starts from the ground up, but reconstruction usually starts with parts of an existing home. Access to the site is harder during reconstruction because there is usually debris to remove, possible demolition, and homes and property nearby to navigate. Often special trucks and equipment are needed to reconstruct a home.
Other differences can exist between new construction and reconstruction. For current customers, you should review your policy documents, including the notice that shows what information is used to calculate your home’s reconstruction cost estimate. It’s important to contact your agent if anything has changed. For more information and to discuss if you have enough coverage for the estimated reconstruction cost of your home in the event of a loss, contact a local Farmers agent®.
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