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When we compare HO3. special form policies we observe the following coverage classes or areas for protection:
- Dwelling (Open Perils/All Risks)
- Other Structures
- Home Contents/Personal Property (Named Perils)
- Personal Liability
- Loss of Use/Additional Living Expense
- Medical Payments
Compare Insurance Perils
When choosing a policy it is useful to compare insurance perils or the causes of loss that the policy protects against. HO3. Special Form policies offer extended Open Perils or All Risks protection for the dwelling. They offer Named Perils protection for home contents.
What does this mean? Your contents are protected from a list of named peril events only and your home or dwelling it covered for all (unnamed or open) risks. In terms of the dwelling, Open Perils/All Risks policies are better thought of as "listed exclusion" polices; i.e. the cause of loss event is covered unless it is specifically excluded in the contract.
It is important to review and compare home insurance policies carefully. Each provider contract may differ when you compare home insurance terms for covered events, but in summary, you might expect the following events included and excluded within the typical policy offered and most frequently purchased: Perils
Compare Insurance Coverage and Approaches
First select your coverage dwelling limit. When you compare insurance you should use the same known and previously calculated dollar amount for dwelling cover. This figure dictates the amount of coverage offered in other classes or areas of protection.
One should periodically compare home insurance declarations in order to ensure that the figure is a reflection of the current cost to rebuild the home.
Dwelling & Structures Settlement Approach
When you compare insurance be aware that there are settlement approaches to choose from in respect to both the home and its contents. Compare using the same settlement approaches and understand the difference.
Dwelling and structures may be subject to one of four typical settlement approaches:
- Actual Cash Value (ACV)
- Replacement Cost
- Extended Replacement Cost
- Guaranteed Replacement Cost
Contents Settlement Approach
- Actual Cash Value
- Replacement Cost
When you compare insurance choosing the settlement approach beforehand is essential. If you compare home insurance rates for replacement cost policies with ACV policies in general there can be a significant difference. Compare home insurance rates based on identical settlement approaches in order to ensure a valid cost comparison.
Contents Liability Limit
When you compare contents liability note that in most cases the amount offered is between 40-70% of dwelling limit. A simple calculation will help compare home insurance limits for contents if the percentage amount is not made explicit.
It is important to compare providers on the basis of the same deductible. When you come to obtain and compare home insurance quotes it can also be useful to request pricing for two different deductible amounts on the same policy in order to see the affect on total premium cost.
Each policy and quote offers a standard liability limit (e.g. $100,000)
Loss of Use/Additional Living Expense
With loss of use benefit compare policies carefully. What percentage/limit is offered (e.g. 20% dwelling). Also compare home insurance terms of benefit payout. Some policies place restrictions or time limitations on this claim, which may represent an inferior product when you compare home insurance with another provider.
Compare each person/each occurrence limits.
Additional Coverages and Coverage Extensions
Particularly relevant to Home Contents, some policies may exclude certain items from their coverage. Check the default personal property exclusions and the availability of additional coverage endorsements to bring such items under cover. Even in the case of belongings that are covered, because of category and per item claim limits you may need to purchase a coverage extension.
When you compare home insurance, what flexibilities the provider has in the area of additional coverages and coverage extensions can be important.
Compare Insurance Quality
In addition to the product or coverages offered one may also compare home insurance ratings in terms of service quality. One may compare home insurance ratings on carrier performance in key service delivery areas. This may include for example:
- Claims handling: how does the carrier rate for speed and efficiency in the process
- Settlement: does the company have a reputation for fair and equitable payouts
- Adjuster services: what feedback is available regarding the quality of adjuster services used
- Payouts for home repairs: customer satisfaction with the process
- General customer service satisfaction: online services, help, support, advice and accessibility.
Look for independent and impartial home insurance ratings wherever possible. When you compare home insurance reviews they may afford some insight into product and service quality and satisfaction but home insurance reviews are difficult in respect to cost on account of the risk based approach to pricing.
Compare Home Insurance Quotes
With home policies, quality is paramount. When you compare home insurance quotes always keep an eye on the quality of the product offered in terms of perils, coverages, limits, approaches and endorsements. With home insurance compare both price and quality. Also with home insurance compare like for like or similar policies with core choices decided in advance. There does arrive the need however to compare home insurance companies in terms of price. Shopping with carriers direct is the best approach. Here you may find company listings for potential carriers in your area. In general it is not productive to compare discounts as an approach to finding the best priced policy. Discounts for things like smoke alarms etc. whilst useful, do not imply the best quote. Fundamentally, when you compare quotes the cost competitiveness is a factor of the given insurer's base rate. Shopping for multiple quotes helps you to discover the price variations that characterize the market for coverage on a given home and location.