Marcia Hultman

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Division of Insurance


Homeowner's Insurance


Topics of Frequent Inquiry

(click appropriate topic to select)

Consumer's Guide to Home Insurance - from the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) (in Adobe .pdf format*)
Accidental Shooting
Coverage for Forms of Insurance
Fire Damage - Mobile Home
Forms or Types of Homeowner's Insurance
Frozen Pipes - Mobile Home
Home Inventory - Checklist
Non-renewal of Insurance
Hail Damage
Homeowner Tips on Loss Prevention
Optional Extra Coverage Homeowners May Purchase
Reducing Premiums
Renter's Insurance
Stolen Boat
Stolen Items
Water in the Basement

 

 

Consumer's Guide to Home Insurance

- from the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) (in Adobe .pdf format*)

View guide here.

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Accidental Shooting

Your homeowner's policy contains coverage for personal liability and medical payments for others. Your personal liability will pay for bodily injury or property damage liability claims, up to the limit stated in your policy, for the damages for which you are held legally liable.

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Coverage for Forms of Insurance

View webpage here.

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Fire Damage - Mobile Home

Previously, mobile homes were often not considered real property and therefore, an insurance company could pay the local market value of the mobile home if it was destroyed.

Now, most mobile homes are now considered to be real property. Effective July 1, 2002, that law extended to mobile homes with a model year of 1977 or newer. This is an important distinction as South Dakota law requires that real property wholly destroyed due to fire, lightning or tornado must be paid at the limits of the policy, regardless of the market value. A mobile home in question was insured at $70,000 and it is considered real property under the law, then the full $70,000 would be payable under the policy.

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Forms or Types of Homeowner's Insurance

View webpage here.

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Frozen Pipes - Mobile Home

Mobile home policies typically do not cover frozen pipes, but policies covering frozen pipes are available. The policies that do not cover frozen pipe damage pay to repair the property damaged, not the repair of the pipe.

Contact your local insurance agent to discuss your current coverage and whether a policy to cover frozen pipes will meet your needs.

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Home Inventory - Checklist

View guide here.

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Non-renewal of Insurance

Under most circumstances, companies are free to non-renew insurance policies. If someone has had multiple claims or the potential for additional claims, the company will often non-renew a policy.

If a company pays an insurance claim as a result of the actions of an animal kept on the premises, they may require the animal be removed as a condition of continuing insurance.

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Hail Damage

If the roof of your home is damaged due to hail, the insurance company is obligated under a replacement cost policy to return you to the condition you were prior to the loss. In other words, the insurance company has to pay for replacing the damaged roof. If the insurance company has already paid a partial claim previously, it is not obligated to pay the same claim again and may deduct the amount you received for previous damages, even if you did not repair those damages. In other words, the company is not obligated to pay for the same roof twice if you chose not to repair the prior damage.

If your home received hail damage, some policy language permits the insurance company to pay only a portion of the estimate. Certain policy language permits this until all the repairs are complete. Once the repairs are complete, a final bill should be submitted to your insurance company and they will pay ou the remainder of the claim. However, most policies also request the repairs be completed within the time allowed in your policy.

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Homeowner Tips on Loss Prevention

See webpage here.

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Optional Extra Coverage Homeowners May Purchase

See webpage here.

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Reducing Premiums

There are a number of ways that you can reduce your premiums.

Raise your deductible. If you can afford it in the event of a claim, an increased deductible should be considered which could reduce your premium.

See if you have other coverage extras that you may not need. Review your policy to identify any coverage that may no longer be necessary.

Ensure your credit rating is good, as many insurance companies use credit as a factor in determining premiums. Although insurance companies use a slightly different rating system, credit in good standing works in your favor and may result in reduced premiums.

Discuss with your agent what other changes could be made to bring your premium down to a lower level.

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Renter's Insurance

Anybody who rents a residence, whether it is an apartment, house, manufactured house or condominium may want to consider purchasing renter's insurance. This type of insurance provides protection for your personal property, such as furniture, electronics and clothing. The owner's insurance typically only covers the structure. Renter's insurance also provides liability protection for you should you injure someone or damage that person's property.

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Stolen Boat

Theft of a watercraft, including furnishings, equipment and outboard motors is typically excluded from your homeowner's policy if the theft occurs if the watercraft is not at your residence.

To adequately cover your boat and its accessories, you should contact your agent regarding a separate policy.

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Stolen Items

Your homeowner's insurance policy authomatically extends coverage to personal property; however, certain items of personal property are subject to limitations, which are stated in the policy.

For example, your homeowner's insurance policies provide $2,000 limit for the loss of firearms. You may increase the theft limit for firearms by specifically listing all guns on your homeowner's policy and including an amount for each. The amount represents the appraised value for the firearm. An additional premium can be charged for this increased coverage above the policy limit.

Almost all auto and homeowner's policies exclude coverage for any losses of audio or media equipment and their accessories that can be used in an automobile. Some insurance companies will provide coverage for these items for an additional premium. Your local agent would be able to provide information on this additional coverage.

Similar to firearms, most homeowner's policies limit the amount of theft coverage the insurance company will pay for certain items such as jewelry, furs or other items of high value. The limit(s) will be outlined in your policy. Many insurance companies offer additional coverage, with an associated increase in premium, which allows you to list the items individually and indicate the value of this personal property. You may need to provide the insurance company with an appraisal value to support the values assigned in the additional coverage.

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Water in the Basement

Your homeowner's policy may not cover water in your basement, depending on the situation or source.

Seepage through the walls is commonly excluded from homeowner coverage while water resulting from a back-up of the sewage system or from flooding ground water may be covered. You should review your policy with your local insurance agent to determine if you have or need these types of coverage.

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