Homeowners and renters insurance.
If you are a stay-at-home mom, chances are your house is stuffed with all sorts of things you can’t do without.
You might have a home office with valuable computer equipment, a jewelery box filled with great-grandma’s rubies, or a collection of beanie babies that would be difficult to replace if stolen.
Or, if you live a more simplistic life, your family could have just the items they need without a lot of surplus.
Are you prepared to replace all your possessions in case of a fire or flood?
You don’t think about how you would live with just one set of clothes until you live through it. And you don’t think about how difficult it would be to replace even the basic necessities of life unless you are put in such a horrible position.
Homeowners and renters insurance can help you through the aftermath of an unexpected event. As a stay at home mom, it’s important to make sure you are adequately covered.
If you have a mortgage, you have homeowner’s insurance.
It’s required when buying a home to protect the finance company’s investment.
Often the cost is rolled into your monthly house payment or mortgage; however, you might want to check your policy to see what it is costing and what it really protects against.
A standard homeowner’s insurance policy will cover:
Damage to your homeClaims such as a tree falling, someone driving a car into the side of your house, or hail damage to the roof, etc.
Burglary and theftMake sure you go through your belongings annually and document your valuables. Take pictures and store them with the receipts for jewelry, electronics, antiques and so on. Keep the list in a secure place like a safety deposit box.
Personal injury claims by visitors to your homeThis would protect you if your neighbor brings you a casserole and trips over your cat on your front steps, causing the neighbor to breaking her leg.
Make sure you go through and read the fine print of your homeowner’s insurance policy. Some policies will not cover:
Flood (particularly if you live in an area with a high water table)Fire (a common exclusion, surprisingly enough!)Earthquake (you guessed it, a frequent exclusion in California)Other natural disasters (hurricane, tornado, etc.)All of these possible events might be covered on your policy, just don’t assume they are. Look at your policy and see if you need additional coverage. If you own your home, you still need homeowner’s insurance to pay for costly repairs in case your home is damaged.
Even if your insurance costs are included in your mortgage payment, shop your policy around to the top reputable national companies every few years to be sure you are getting the best rates. Don’t be tempted to go with a ‘no-name ‘company – you need the best in this case.
If you are renting, your landlord carries insurance on the home.
This only covers damage to the house itself, however, not the contents.
You are responsible for all of your belongings in case of burglary or natural disaster.
This is extremely important if you are a stay at home mom and living on a fixed income, or working out of your home.
Your belongings might not consist of much, but they would be difficult to replace.
Renters insurance may also cover a place for you to stay if your landlord won’t and the house you are in is damaged too badly for you to remain there.
Fortunately, renters insurance is much cheaper than homeowners, since you are only covering possessions and not carrying the burden of insuring the home. Shop around for the best rates for renters insurance, and remember you will need proof of loss in case of a claim so document your belongings carefully.
Ways to Reduce Your Home or Property Insurance Costs
Many insurance companies offer discounts you may qualify for.
For example, you can insure your home through the same company that covers your vehicles.
If you have a security system on your home, you may also qualify for a hefty discount, as the chance of theft is reduced.
Some states or counties offer a lower premium on fire insurance if your home is located within a certain distance of a fire hydrant.
Most will give you a discount if you have smoke detectors installed.
Make sure you are not paying for homeowners insurance based on the total value of your home and land, unless you are in danger of full erosion from flooding. Usually your land itself is not in danger of tornado, theft or fire, so you will only need to insurance to cover the cost of a rebuild.
Why You Should Be Insured
Still in doubt that you need proper homeowners or renters insurance?
Suppose there is a hailstorm accompanied by high winds and rain. Your roof is partially destroyed and there is considerable water damage to your house and property inside the affected area of your home. If you don’t have homeowners insurance, you have to pay for all the repairs out of pocket, which can be financially crippling.
If you rent your home, you still need to be covered for your personal items. If you were to come home one day and find that thieves drove a truck through the side of your house, cleaning out your computer, TV, stereo and heirloom jewelry, the landlords will only be fixing the damage to their property. You will be liable for replacing your stolen property if it is not recovered, unless you have renter’s insurance and the items are listed.
Don’t neglect having insurance on your home and/or belongings. The monthly cost will be minimal compared to your peace of mind!