Your home is where you make your life – it’s where you make lasting memories, and it’s where you and your family spend the most of your time. But beyond that, it’s also the most valuable financial investment you’ll ever make, a reward for your hard work over the years. We understand how important protecting your home and your loved ones is, and that’s why Inland Northwest Insurance is proud to offer the most competitive home insurance rates in Spokane, Walla Walla, Mead WA and all of Washington State.
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Homeowners insurance is intended to provide you with financial protection against any potential harm to your home. At its basic level, a standard policy covers your home itself and your possessions, but you can add additional coverages depending on your own situation. In return for a regular payment from you (called a premium), your insurance agency agrees to pay for damages to your home, as agreed upon in your policy.
Every policy has a liability limit, which sets the upper limit of how much money your policy can pay out should an incident occur. The standard limit is typically around $100,000, but you can opt for a higher limit by speaking with an agent at Inland Northwest Insurance. This liability limit will have a percentage stipulation of the coverage that goes towards replacements or repairs.
Most standard policies cover four types of coverage for: the structure of your home, your personal belongings/possessions, liability, any additional living expenses incurred if you are temporarily unable to live in your home. Keep in mind, most standard homeowners insurance policies do not cover what are called “Acts of War” (in the unlikely case of an invasion or terrorist attack) or “Acts of God”, such as a flood or earthquake.
Structure of Your Home
Home insurance for the structure of your home means that your policy will pay to repair or rebuild your home if it is damaged by any disasters specified in your policy. When selecting a homeowners insurance policy, the best advice to follow is to ensure you purchase enough coverage to rebuild your home. You can also include detached structures such as barns, tool sheds or garages as a certain percentage of this coverage, typically around 10% of the total structure.
Trees, plants and other shrubbery are also covered under most standard homeowners insurance policies. There will be a limit on how much you can be reinforced for (typically up to $500) and this does not include damage from wind or disease.
Coverage for your personal belongings/possessions will pay you for any damage to items such as furniture, clothes, or other personal items. This is typically 50-70% of the insurance on the structure of your home. To know whether this is enough, ask your Inland Northwest Insurance agent, and conduct a home inventory.
Personal belongings may often include items that are stored off-premise – which means in some cases, this type of coverage is worldwide. Off-premise coverage typically can go up to 10% of the total structure, so it is important to consider how many items you have stored off-premise and their total value. If you are concerned about these types of items, ask one of our experienced agents what kinds of coverage would be best for you.
Expensive items (such as jewelry, art or antiques) are covered, but your home insurance policy will dictate a dollar limit on how much you can be reimbursed for. You can purchase a special personal property endorsement to insure the item(s) for the officially appraised amount.
Liability coverage protects you against any lawsuits that may be brought against you for bodily injury or property damage caused by you or your family. This may even include damage caused by your pets. This covers both the cost of defending you, as well as any court awards against you.
Additional Living Expenses
Additional living expenses coverage pays for any costs associated with living away from home in the case of a disaster.
No one wants to imagine something happening to their home, but accidents and disasters do happen, and it is best to be protected in case they strike your home. Reports say that fire departments respond to residential fire calls every 84 seconds on average. Additionally, water leaks caused approximately $9.1 billion in damages to American homes between 2007 and 2009, with the average amount needed to repair a leak being above $20,000. With this amount of risk, it is financially prudent to ensure you have adequate home insurance.
According to the Insurance Information Institute, a home inventory is a list of all your possessions that will help verify losses for your income tax return and get insurance claims settled faster by helping you purchase the right amount of coverage. In the unfortunate case of a disaster, it may be difficult for you to remember all your possessions, particularly in such a time of emotional distress. By creating a list of everything you own, it will be easier to submit an insurance claim for the lost property.
The first step of creating a home inventory is to simply make a list of everything you own. You will want to describe each item (ie- color, age, cost) and note where you bought it. If you have them, include any sales receipts, purchase contracts or appraisals with the item on the list. When you itemize your clothing, create a count by item type (ie- t-shirts, jeans, hats, shoes) and make sure to take extra notes on particularly valuable items of clothing. For items that have a serial number, include that on the list. This will typically include electronics and appliances. A good suggestion is to take photographs or videos of your possessions to provide visual evidence. If you chose to do a video, make sure to describe the contents on the video itself. This can be useful for items such as silverware, kitchenware, and clothing. For high value items, work with your agent as they may require special insurance or endorsements. If possible, try to make a digital record. There are plenty of software and mobile apps available that can help you create a room by room record. Whenever you make a significant new purchase, add this to your list.
When you are finished with your list, it is important to store it in a safe place. If you made a physical document, it is recommended you store the list (or at least a copy of the list) at a friend or relative’s home. If it is a digital file, ensure you make a backup and keep the backup at a friend or relative’s home, or store it on an online storage account. If your home is destroyed, and your home inventory is stored in your home, then the list will no longer be available, so always ensure it can be accessed from somewhere other than your own property.
Although this may seem like a large task, it is extremely important to build a home inventory, so that you can ensure your possessions are kept safe even in case of disaster. Whether you’re just setting up your household or have lived in your home for a long time, don’t put off creating this list! You can also ask your agent for more information on how to develop a home inventory by calling (509) 892-6373.
Floods are one of the most widespread natural disasters in Washington State, and they can happen at many points, including after heavy rain, when rain falls on the snow, causing rapid melting; or in the spring, when a hot spell causes rapid snowmelt. According to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), the damage from as little as one inch of water can cost more than $20,000.
Flood coverage is not part of a standard home insurance policy. Purchasing flood insurance from Inland Northwest Insurance will help cover the costs should your home suffer damage in a flood. Similar to home insurance, flood coverage is for both the building structure and personal property. Different parts of Spokane have different flood risks, so ask your agent what level of coverage is best for you.
It is important to keep in mind that flood insurance does not cover preventable water damage such as moisture, mildew or mold. It also does not cover sewer or drain backup (unless the backup was directly caused by a flood).
Flood insurance, includes, by law, an annual surcharge. For more information, read about the Homeowner Flood Insurance Affordability Act of 2014 (HFIAA).
No one can predict when or where an earthquake will occur, but they do happen in Washington, even in Spokane. In fact, Washington has the second highest seismic risk of any state in the country! Despite the unpredictability of an earthquake, and the massive amounts of damage they can bring (the 2001 Nisqually earthquake caused over $2 billion in damage), less than 20% of Washingtonians have earthquake insurance.
Earthquake insurance is simple- you pay your insurance company premium so that they cover damages you may incur during an earthquake. Most standard home insurance policies do not include coverage for earthquakes, but it may be worthwhile to ask your Inland Northwest Insurance agent if it is right for you.
Even if you don’t own your home (or apartment), it is important to protect where you live and your property. Your landlord’s insurance most likely does not cover you or your things. Renters insurance will cover things like your computer, your TV, sports equipment and your clothing. It can even protect your possessions outside of your home, such as if you lose your laptop while at the gym. Renters insurance can also cover costs for you while repairs are made to your home or apartment.
Renters insurance is surprisingly affordable, and can become even more so when bundled with other packages. For more information, ask your Inland Northwest Insurance agent.
Inland Northwest Insurance is one of the leading home insurance providers in Spokane, Spokane Valley, Mead WA, Walla Walla and the entire state of Washington. Give us a call at (509) 892-6373 or fill out the form below to get a free quote and see how we can save you money while protecting your family!