Protecting the Home, or Just the House? Coverage for Internal Contents, External Structures, and More

Posted on April 27, 2018


Hayden Haskins | author

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ICHQ | Site Author

It takes a lot to turn a house into a home. Purchasing the structure is just the beginning. Over time, you further your investment inside and out. Whether it’s the luxuries that become indispensable parts of your household or the external touches that make you happy to pull into your driveway, you certainly want to ensure that your investment remains sound. That’s what insurance is for, right? Well, in theory. As a homeowner, it is important to understand what constitutes a home in the eyes of your insurance policy. Bearing in mind that flood insurance is a different entity, it is also wise to evaluate any holes that may exist when comparing the two. No matter what disaster ensues, you want to be prepared.

When it comes to your personal property, homeowners insurance can offer help. Generally, there are two kinds of methods for property compensation. The first involves getting paid for the cash value, which takes the current market price into consideration. This method can be handy if you own certain items that actually gain value over time rather than depreciate. Other plans will give you the replacement cost. In other words, you are reimbursed for the exact amount that you paid for an item. If you always collect the latest electronics, this type of reimbursement may be favorable since gadgets generally lose value every day. If you believe a certain means of repayment is favorable for the protection of your home’s contents, it may be worth evaluating your current policy. It is also worth noting that contents coverage generally only covers your belongings within the scope of your policy limits. If you own an extravagant necklace, for example, consider insuring the piece individually through a separate jewelry plan.

Moving outwards, there are various investments a homeowner may make on external property. One is landscaping. Particularly if you paid for a landscape designer and laborers, the costs of crafting stone, ponds, and shrubbery can add up. Unfortunately, coverage for this kind of property is not as clear cut as contents within your home. For instance, plants may be covered, but only under certain scenarios, such as lightning, fire, or theft. Damage from insects, hail, or snow, however, might leave you out of luck. Landscaping may also be subject to limits under dwelling protection. Additional coverage may be available for purchase, but if you are unsure as to whether or not you want to incur greater monthly costs, you may want to re-evaluate if professional landscaping is the best method of investing in your property. Other times, there is less of a choice when your home comes with additional structures. While sheds and garages are generally covered, a dock may require Coverage B under a given homeowners policy, which specifically addresses external dwellings.

When it comes to life on the water, matters only grow increasingly complicated. Returning to internal contents, flood insurance may have you covered, but only if you specifically purchased a personal property plan. For example, the most common flood insurer, the National Flood Insurance Program, has a plan that covers the structure of your home, and then it has a plan that covers contents. You must purchase both in order to have both realms covered. Coverage further recedes the moment you step outside of your home. Decks, patio furniture, and fences may just have to remain a flood.

However, don’t get defeated by thinking that all has been lost until you have consulted with a lawyer. It’s not over until an expert has examined your specific case. An experienced property casualty attorney can appoint a high-quality appraiser to ensure that your property is adequately-assessed and can also help negotiate disputes surrounding value. Whether you have had damage caused to your external property due to a flood or other disaster, lawyers can also flesh out ambiguous language to determine what exactly your insurance plan covers, and to what extent. What is clear is that there’s much more to a house than the structure itself. With the right resources, you can make sure that your home will stand solid for years to come.

Call or message our New Orleans property casualty attorneys at (844) 587-8395 for a free, no obligation consultation.