Elena Dziuba  

Home Insurance: Nuances to Keep in Mind

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Let’s be honest – the issue of personal property insurance, home insurance in particular, is far from being among top-10 priorities for ordinary citizens. To my mind, it’s a shame. In the light of social economic level of development for vast majority of our peers depend on their dwelling as the only one real estate asset they own. Therefore it deserves to be treated accordingly. Nevertheless decision to insure alone might not do if you do not take the nuances into consideration. This article will reveal some of them.  

There are two sides to apartment insurance – property and third party liability insurance.

Let’s start with property insurance first. Construction elements as well as interior finishing and contents can normally be insured. Most important insurable perils are the following – fire, explosion, acts of God, breakdown of utility lines and wrongful acts of the third parties. At the same time, aircraft and vehicle impact should not be neglected. There have been a few incredible claims caused by the peril which was left out of the insurance policy.

Second significant step includes definition of the sum insured. As to the immovable property, the task is quite simple. You can use the following parameters:

- market value of the similar apartment in your area  - in regard to construction elements and utility lines;

- cost of the remodeling – in regard to interior finishing.

Prior to signing insurance policy, make sure to notify your insurer about the peculiarities of your apartment. Do not forget to mention unauthorized architectural replanning or the prior history of insured events. It’s worth stressing out that property insurance does not cover losses caused by building activity even if they are carried out by your neighbors. Although certain extensions are available if you are willing to pay additional premium.

Despite the abundance of standardized insured products aimed at insuring apartments quickly and cheaply, there isn’t a single one which would provide the complete coverage of contents, especially clothes, shoes or personal belongings
It’s much more difficult to adequately insure the contents. Contrary to the legal entities which keep record of all their assets in the books, individuals cannot boast such particulars. Therefore let’s be honest – strip away the illusions. Despite the abundance of standardized insured products aimed at insuring apartments quickly and cheaply, there isn’t a single one which would provide the complete coverage of contents, especially clothes, shoes or personal belongings.  However if you take the issue seriously it’s possible to get the best possible coverage.  

It’s best to have at least a couple of days to compile the full list of valuables which you would like to insure. Name them as specifically as possible, put down their quantity and manufacturer.  When writing down the items of household appliances, make sure to write down the brand, model and year of manufacture. The insured value should be equal to the market value for the identical goods. Therefore, it’s wise to reconsider them each year. 

Keep it in mind that money in cash, jewelry, furs and pieces of art are not covered by regular property insurance. However you can negotiate the insurance terms for them with your insurer. You will most likely be asked to photograph each item and expert assessment for pieces of art. What is more, jewelry and cash will most probably be insured only while they are in a safe.

Clothes, shoes and accessories deserve special attention. Insurers prefer to deny coverage for them altogether. First of all, only the most desperate individuals are willing to photograph each and every item of their wardrobe to incorporate them into insurance policy.  Second, no expert is actually able to assess the condition of the damaged item in cases of total loss

Another nuance refers to the list of documents which client is required to submit in case of insured event to prove the value of the lost item. Very often a lot of them are missing or very hard to obtain. It won’t hurt to notify your insurer about the documents at your disposal and make sure that you are on the same page regarding the necessity to show more in case of insured event.   

Third party liability insurance is designed to cover the property damage or bodily injury caused to your neighbors by the mischief that happened in your apartment. The most frequent ones are pipe burst, gas explosion and, of course, fire. When deciding upon the limit of liability inquire about the quality of interior design and contents of your neighbors. They correlate directly.  Do not leave your tenants (if you have any) out of consideration. If you would like to be indemnified for the damage caused by them, make sure to let your insurer know about the arrangement. 

Finally, all the recommendations are possible to fulful, no matter how hard and time-consuming they may seem. What is more, I followed them myself when inuring own apartment. In the end, what really matters is getting indemnity is something happens, doesn’t it?


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