Homeowners Insurance for Fire Damage

1. Review your policy annually. Examine policy exclusions, restrictions and limitations to understand what the policy does not cover. Be familiar with loss settlement provisions outlined in the policy.

2. Check the structure's coverage limit. Most homeowners insurance policies require a specific dwelling limit based on the home's replacement cost. Replacement cost is how much it takes to rebuild the house with materials of like kind and quality without subtracting for age or wear and tear. Be familiar with your home's replacement cost and the policy's co-insurance requirement (often 80%). Choosing a dwelling limit below the required figure may result in a claim settlement much less than the cost of rebuilding or repairing damages.

3. Determine your personal property insurance needs. People typically own more belongings than they realize. A room-by-room personal property inventory is an excellent way to determine how much contents insurance protection is necessary. Compare this to limitations in the insurance policy that restrict coverage for certain types of belongings. Identify gaps and ask about buy-back endorsements if necessary. Also, most insurance policies settle personal property claims on a depreciated basis. Consider adding contents replacement cost coverage to remove depreciation as a loss settlement factor.