By Brandi Bennett, CIC, CISR
If you asked the average person what the value of a homeowner’s or renter’s insurance policy was, they would most likely mumble a few words under their breath and shrug their shoulders.
According to Brandi Bennett, Office Manager and Certified Insurance Counselor at Sarvey Insurance, “A homeowner’s or renter’s insurance policy is the most potent and comprehensive form of protection that most people can have to protect their quality of life;” Bennett adds, “most policyholders know that they would be protected against a fire or a tornado, but what they may not realize is that their policy – if written by a knowledgeable agent – protects them from much more.”
Bennett helped us compile a list of a few lesser know advantages that make having a well-written policy for your home a significant form of protection:
- Protection Anywhere in the World – when people hear the term homeowner’s or renter’s insurance, the connotation implies that it only protects you and your personal property when you are at home. “A solid homeowner’s or renter’s insurance policy protects you and your personal property anywhere in the world,” says Bennett. If you travel or are prone to taking several road trips or vacations during the year, your liability protection and the protection for your personal property goes with you. Bennett adds, “Liability protection is huge! Imagine accidently causing an injury to another person or damage to someone else’s property; you’d need legal representation, and can be sued for something you didn’t intend to happen.” This aspect of homeowner’s or renter’s insurance is often overlooked by the average consumer.
- Identity Theft and Recovery – imagine that it’s the holidays, and your credit or debit card was just denied at the register. You make an inquiry with your bank or financial institution only to find that your cards and accounts have been maxed out. You review the purchases and discover that you have open accounts for mortgages and retail purchases that you never authorized. You coordinate with your bank and with the credit card companies, but you’re on your own after that – or are you? “It’s sad, but having your identity stolen is catastrophic;” Bennett continues, “many people do not know that, nor do they think to ask whether, their homeowner’s or renter’s insurance provides them with protection from identity theft – the right policy will always protect you in this regard.” The Federal Trade Commission processed 1.4 million fraud reports in 2018, totaling some $1.4 billion in losses.
- Loss of Use – imagine that your home was lost in a catastrophic event covered under your homeowner’s or renter’s insurance policy (a fire, tornado, a truck hits your home, riot, etc.); now imagine not being able to live in your home or apartment – what now? “Loss of use is one of the most overlooked and underrated forms of protection that a good homeowner’s or renter’s policy provides an insured individual,” Bennett explains, “in the event that your home is rendered a total loss and you are unable to occupy it, loss of use coverage helps you and your family by providing you with a comfortable and safe place to stay while your life is being put back together.” If the worst happens, and you find yourself without a place to live while your home and life are being rebuilt, loss of use coverage can seem like divine intervention.
- Personal Property of a Student – if your child attends a boarding school, college, technical school, or military academy away from home, their personal property is protected under the parent’s homeowner’s or renter’s insurance policy. Bennett points out, “If your student lives in a rental off campus, you will want to consider getting them their own renter’s insurance policy; however if they live in a dormitory on campus, your policy should cover their personal property – just be sure to check with your agent prior to helping them with their move to school.”
- Pets – our pets are like members of the family; yet under Pennsylvania law, a pet is viewed as property. “If you lose your pet at home to something like a fire, vehicle, lightning, or another peril covered by your homeowner’s or renter’s insurance policy, you can be protected;” Bennett adds, “some pets are very expensive – all are priceless – but a good homeowner’s or renter’s insurance policy will help you in the event of a loss.”
The value of a good renter’s or homeowner’s insurance policy is a bit more significant than we might imagine. “It always helps to ask questions;” says Bennett, “the purpose of any policy is to protect what matters most to you.” For many of us, protecting our quality of life is what matters most. With the right guidance, you can be prepared for the worst and then some.