What is a Covered Property?
The first step to understanding house insurance claims is knowing what’s covered property. Properties are divided into four separate categories, as defined by insurance companies, are:
1. Dwelling – The structure of the house is considered a covered property.
2. Other Structures – These are structures that are separate from the house, or connected to the house by a fence, wire or other form of connection, but not otherwise attached to the dwelling, such as a tool shed or detached garage.
3. Personal Property – The contents of your home are your personal property. This includes furniture, appliances and clothing. Not all personal property is covered. Items more appropriately covered under different forms of insurance may have limited or no coverage for loss. These items include, but are not limited to, money, jewelry and firearms.
4. Loss of Use – When a loss occurs due to a covered peril and the dwelling becomes uninhabitable, the cost of additional living expenses is covered. Reimbursement of additional living expenses covers the cost to the insured for maintaining a normal standard of living.
There are three types of insurance coverage.
1. Replacement cost coverage pays the cost of replacing your property regardless of depreciation or appreciation. Premiums for this type of coverage are based on replacement cost values, and not based on actual cash value. Actual cash value coverage provides for replacement cost minus depreciation.
2. Extended replacement cost will pay over the coverage limit if the costs for construction have increased. This generally will not exceed 25% of the limit. When you obtain an insurance policy, the coverage limit established is the maximum amount the insurance company will pay out in case of loss of property. This amount will need to fluctuate if homes in your neighborhood are rising; the amount needs to be in step with the actual value of your home. In case of a fire, household content replacement is tabulated as a percentage of the value of the home. In case of high value items, the insurance company may ask to specifically cover these items separate from the other household contents.
3. Alternative living arrangements coverage can also be included in a policy. If a fire leaves your home uninhabitable, the policy can help pay for a hotel or other living arrangements.