A standard home insurance policy includes four essential types of coverage. They include:
- Coverage for the structure of your home.
- Coverage for your personal belongings.
- Additional living expenses in the event you are temporarily unable to live in your home because of a fire or other insured disaster.
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DISASTERS NOT COVERED
You can purchase flood coverage directly from your homeowners insurance agent. However, the policy is provided by the Federal Flood Insurance Program ( 800-427-4661, http://www.fema.gov/nfip ).
You can get replacement cost coverage for the structure of your home, but only actual cash value coverage is available for your possessions. There may also be limits on coverage for furniture and other possessions stored in your basement.
Flood insurance is available for renters as well as homeowners. You will need flood insurance if you live in a designated flood zone. But also consider buying it if your house could be flooded by melting snow, an overflowing creek or water running down a steep hill. Don’t wait until the evening news announces a flood season warning to buy a policy. There is a 30-day waiting period before coverage takes effect.
Earthquake coverage can be a separate policy or an endorsement to your homeowners or renters policy. It is available from most insurance companies. In California, it is available from California Earthquake Authority - http://www.earthquakeauthority.com In earthquake prone states like California, the policy comes with a high deductible.
It is your responsibility to take reasonable precautions to protect your home from damage. Your insurance policy will not cover damage due to lack of maintenance, mold, termite infestation and infestation from other pests.