In these (sorry in advance) unprecedented, uncertain, trying times, our homes have become much more than just an answer to “where is your heart?”. They’ve become our offices, our schools, and more pressingly, the place where families fight over the last roll of toilet paper (or whatever household good is in short supply at the moment) and where the family dog can be seen dealing with newfound separation anxiety. Just those two scenarios alone could spell absolute destruction for your home…

Good thing Town & Country Insurance partners with great companies to offer a Homeowners Insurance Policy to help protect you when the world inevitably decides to throw another curveball our way! Provided that curveball falls under the policy coverage, of course.

Out of an abundance of caution, let’s talk about some basic, must-know homeowners insurance information.

First of all, let’s go over some key words.

A peril: this is a specific risk, or cause of loss, that is covered by an insurance policy. This can range from fires to tornados, and many unpredictable things in between. You will need to know what specific perils are covered by your specific policy so that you can be prepared.

Deductibles: this is another important aspect of homeowner’s insurance, as well as many other types of insurance. Deductibles are the set cost that you have to pay before the insurance pays you. I know, the last thing you want to do when your home is in chaos is think about making an unforeseen payment. But think about it like this: insurance is a team effort—you care for something, and we insure its protection (or replacement). We will likely be taking the bulk of the payout, but we also need some contribution from you to make sure you are in it to win it with us.

Fortunately, deductibles can be high or low, depending on your premium (monthly/annual cost for coverage). This is something to be thinking about before you go to get homeowner’s insurance: would your financial situation be better suited to pay the higher premium for a lower deductible, or is it more feasible to have a lower premium and higher deductible?

To get a little more specific about homeowner’s insurance, let’s talk about dwelling coverage. Dwelling coverage is built into the standard homeowner’s insurance policy—it covers the actual structure of your home, anything attached to it such as a garage or deck, and appliances within the home. If any of these structures are damaged by an accident or peril, dwelling coverage gives out a determined amount to cover the costs of a repair or rebuild. Dwelling insurance does not cover structures not attached to the home, such as a shed or a separate guest house, but those can be covered by other parts of homeowner’s insurance.

At this point, you may be asking, what isn’t covered by homeowner’s insurance? I don’t have a simple answer for you on this one. Policies vary a lot from company to company, so your specific policy might be quite different from a friend’s. Typically, things that are not covered in a standard homeowner’s insurance policy can be covered by add-on insurance; for example, catastrophe or flood insurance will cover things like earthquakes and flooding due to external conditions (or other earth movements) that standard homeowner’s insurance will not. Knowing what your policy’s covered perils are comes into play here, so you can decide if you will need additional coverage.

With all the variations and add-ons with homeowner’s insurance, how will you know you’re getting the best coverage for your money? To that, I say: a little faith, trust, and a local independent insurance agent from Town & Country Insurance. We have access to many home insurance companies, have experience dealing with each company, and we know the local market. We feel confident that we can find a solid partnership between you and your insurance company so that you get the best coverage, and the best peace of mind out of your policy.

So, when the toilet paper roll that your family is playing a not-so-friendly game of keep-away with goes flying into the seven lit candles on the counter (there to make sure everyone can still smell) and ignites a large kitchen fire, you’ll thank yourself for being proactive and developing the perfect homeowner’s insurance policy for you and your home. Oh, and look, as your kitchen burns down, your heroic (and clingy)dog is herding you and your family outside, so you can contemplate your future renovation plans from a safe distance. How sweet!

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