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I returned from a splendid vacation of 7 days and had an awful surprise. Broken locks, messy room, all valuables gone including electronics. I’d been robbed. The loss was immense and there really isn’t any hope that I’ll be able to replace most of it. I wondered whether I should blame the thieves who broke into my house or me for being so reluctant to purchase a good home insurance policy.”
Ashima’s story isn’t unique. It happens every day in every city. We all believe that bad things cannot happen to us and hope for the best. This kind of obstinate ostrich-like thinking doesn’t protect us from the rude shocks awaiting us. All homeowners worry about their homes when they set off on a holiday given the security situations in our cities but most don’t actively do anything about safeguarding themselves, like getting home insurance.
What’s home insurance? It is the property insurance that covers the structure of your house and its contents, from manmade and natural disasters. Since, home insurance is not mandatory, the count of people getting their home insured is also low. The burglary cases have increased, cost of construction has increased exponentially but when glancing at the stats of people purchasing home insurance, we find an annual growth of just 7.5% in the past 8-10 years.
When planning a purchase of home insurance policy for your rented/owned house, there are some basic points to ponder that can provide you a better cover. Plans and premiums might vary from person to person, but the requirement of home insurance cannot be ignored. Here are the points to keep in mind while purchasing a policy so you get the best cover for yourself:
Evaluate the risks your home faces:
The risks your home faces depend on your patterns of living and location. Do you live in your own home or do you rent it out? In the former you may look to insure both the structure of the home and the contents and in the latter situation just the structure in case you are renting it unfurnished. Do you travel often for long periods leaving your home locked up? If so, your house has a higher risk than one which is occupied all the time. Do you live in an area that is very safe and is there security for the housing complex? Your security risk might be low in this case but do you live in a city prone to floods or earthquakes? You may want to insure yourself against natural disasters even if you don’t have a security threat.
Check the Risks Covered in the policies being offered:
You’ve taken stock of the kind of protection your house needs, now evaluate which policy provides the most comprehensive protection for your specific risks. Does it offer the options of covering the structure, content or both? If you live in an area prone to a certain kind of natural disaster, it makes no sense to take a home insurance policy that wont cover you for it. Do note that the premium would vary according to the extent of cover and type of cover you want.
Be accurate when deciding on the extent of Cover:
Clearly define the valid amount for various categories like structure cover for fire and allied perils, and contents cover for fire and allied perils (cover for furniture, electronic equipment and application breakdown). Also, the option for Burglary cover is provided to save your home from theft. This step gives a crystal clear picture of what comes under protection along with the exact cover amount offered by the insurer.
Here you are required to enter the almost exact cover amount for your content and structure of house so that you can make up for the loss in case of any damage. Deciding the amount for cover, and cover for different categories and kinds of damage requires that we are clear eyed about the actual worth and value of our house and its contents. Should there be a fire, how much will it take to replace all the electronics and furniture in the home and to repair the house? If there was a robbery, how much would it take to replace your jewellery? Should there be a flood or an earthquake, what will it take to rebuild your home?
What is the claim process like:
Familiarise yourself with the claims process for different kinds of claims under your home insurance. While claims processes usually tend to be similar across insurers, some insurers have a higher claim settlement ratio, and you may want to know about that. Also, you should be aware if your insurer requires some specific or different documentation for claims or what happens in extraordinary situations. When planning to purchase a home insurance policy or any other insurance policy, a person should always provide his/her genuine details in order to get the best cover and hassle-free claim process.