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California Home Insurance Basics for First Time Buyers

You’ve made the plunge and decided to get a piece of the rock for yourself and your family by purchasing your first home. A lot of decision making went into the process and along the way many more decisions will have to be made. One of those decisions is purchasing your California home insurance policy. It is important to understand the basics so you can get the most for your money and adequately protect your investment at the same time. Both cost and coverage are important if you are going to have the very best coverage to protect your home.

There is not doubt that homeowner’s do all that they can to protect their homes, but sometimes events can occur out of the homeowner’s control. In those times it is good to have a California home insurance policy in place that will reduce personal liability and out of pocket expenses. For you to make the right decisions when putting coverage in place is important should an accident or unexpected event threaten your home or property. Improper coverage can cost the homeowner a great deal of money so it is crucial to understand the basics.

Coverage for People and Property

First-time homebuyers may not realize that California home insurance covers more than just the structure of a house. It also protects the people living in the house or anyone visiting the property. This can include visitors to your home, repair people or simply the mailperson. All of these individuals can be covered by your policy should some event occur while on your property. Of course protecting the physical structure of your home and property is equally important and should be given high priority in the policy as well.

Physical Structures-When you purchase your California home insurance policy it is important to keep in mind that the coverage should be comprehensive enough to cover all of the physical structures on the property. This would include the home, garage, sheds, fencing and other structures. Should they be physically damage by fire or weather you will want the policy to cover them to the extent of repair or replacement. This of course will require a general value be assigned to these structures based on today’s replacement cost.

Personal Property-The personal property located in and around the property is important to consider when purchasing your California home insurance policy. It is not just the structures themselves that may need replacing should and accident or event damage or destroy them. This is the area that most homeowners get in trouble as they fail to do a complete inventory and provide sufficient replacement values for the items in a personal property list. Before an event is the time to establish value and possession and not after an accident that causes a claim to be filed.

Performing a California Home Insurance Inventory

In order to get an idea of just what coverage is needed for your California home insurance personal property coverage an inventory should be performed initially when you get the coverage and then every few years thereafter. Initially this is some hard work as you will have to go through your entire home and list all of your significant possessions you want covered under the policy. But you can be rewarded for this hard work should something happen and they need to be replaced or repaired.

Many California home insurance companies have ready made lists to help you conduct your personal property inventory. The list should include items such as furniture, jewelry, artwork, antiques, appliances, kitchen contents, clothes, carpets, drapes, computer equipment, television sets, CD players, musical instruments, clocks, mirrors, linens, lawn mowers, snow equipment, tools, sports equipment, and any other item of value. If you intend of filing a claim should an item be stolen, damaged or destroyed then it should be on the list. The list should also assign a replacement value, not what you paid for it so if it needs to be replaced your claim will be high enough to actually replace the item.

A good tool to use in performing a home inventory for your California home insurance policy is the use of video and photographs. It helps to photograph or videotape the possessions if the items are hard to describe on paper or if you don't have a receipt for when you purchased them. The photographs or video will establish possession for the insurance company. If you use a film camera have the photographs dated by the photo developer. Or if you use a camcorder made sure the date stamp is on the screen when you save a copy.

Liability Coverage

An important area of coverage for the homeowner is California home insurance liability coverage to protect your property against claims made against it and you. Liability coverage will protect you and your assets against claims filed against them. These claims are the ones that are generally the highest in dollar amounts. If a tree from your property falls on to your neighbors house and injures someone you could be held liable in a lawsuit. This is when great liability coverage is a lifesaver for protecting you and your assets.

A common mistake for homeowners when shopping for a California home insurance coverage is to try and get the lowest price possible on their policy. Now this is alright as long as it doesn’t put your assets at unnecessary risk. Taking a gamble with your assets in order to get a lower price on your policy is not a good idea especially in the liability area. You might be able to negotiate the price of a roof repair job with a contractor but liability claims are usually much more expensive. In this area it would be best to play it safe and have more rather then less coverage in place.

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