Covering your home by the letter
One of the biggest lessons Garden State residents learned after Hurricane Sandy roared ashore in 2012 is this: New Jersey homeowners insurance is a necessity.
The average annual premium is reportedly around $950 for New Jersey homeowners insurance, even less if you buy from newjersey-insurance.net. But that price can go up or down, depending on the limits as defined by a lettered system of policy parts. Understanding the alphabet soup associated with homeowners policies can be tricky, but the more you know the less you lose when disaster strikes.
“A” is the first letter you need to know when buying New Jersey homeowners insurance. The first line of defense against the elements is to cover the house. Part A includes your plumbing, the wiring and heating/cooling units that are “permanently installed,” as well as, say, an attached garage, carport or shed. If you have free-standing structures on your property, you’ll need to add Coverage B. This ensures that the shop in your backyard or the fence surrounding it will qualify for repair or replacement. Just be sure to check any limits placed on this addition; you may need to buy more.
The stuff inside
OK, the house itself is covered, but what about your stuff? This is where the letter “C” comes into play when you’re shopping for New Jersey homeowners insurance. If you choose to buy this coverage, your personal property and that of family members living there will be replaced, but there are limits. Typically, Coverage C will pay the Actual Cash Value for the damaged contents, so that 1980s model television won’t be worth much. Look into buying a Replacement Cost Coverage Endorsement with your policy and you won’t have to worry. But remember that homeowners insurance does not cover water damage from a flood that Mother Nature caused. You’ll have to buy an additional policy with the National Flood Insurance Program.
So the house is damaged, you’ve been evacuated and you need help paying for temporary shelter, food or clothing. Do you have Coverage D? This Loss of Use clause can help recover some of the costs (within reason) of a hotel room, meals and laundry. Some insurance companies will send a check immediately to help while you’re out of the house. Others make you wait.
The medical bills
Your son has a few friends over, they’re horsing around and one of the boys breaks an arm. When buying New Jersey homeowners insurance, pay close attention to these two, especially if you have rambunctious children.
Coverage E has your back if your son is found legally responsible for his friend’s injury. You can pick a limit — usually in $100,000 increments — that will help cover a lawyer as well as liability. The medical bills for that broken arm may mount, but Coverage F can help. It usually has limits in the range of $1,000 per injured person, but you can always buy more.
If you can afford it and if you really want to cover all your bases, additional coverage is available for unauthorized use of credit cards, debris removal when the storm has passed, and for replacing damaged trees and shrubs. It’s all about the letters.