Protect your stuff: How to buy home, condo and renters insurance

If disaster struck your home, certain items – such as photos and family mementos – couldn’t be replaced. But if the worst should happen, you can at least recoup many expenses by purchasing the proper insurance.

Whether you are renting or own your home, being properly insured can help you avoid losing everything if something bad should happen. Here is a guide to buying home, condo and renters insurance.

Home insurance
When you buy home insurance, you may have a bit more to consider than those who are renting or own a condo. Perhaps most important is covering the structure of your home. Under a standard home insurance policy, usually a home’s entire structure is covered along with sheds and detached garages. Most unfortunate events (natural and otherwise) are usually covered under a policy, but an agent should explain the events that would not be covered by your specific policy based upon your home’s structure.

As a homeowner, you may also want to consider liability insurance. Liability insurance helps protect you against the financial uncertainty arising from injury (or property damage) that you or your family may cause to other people. It typically also covers injuries whether they happen on or away from your property. Therefore, it may also be wise to discuss with your agent whether additional personal property insurance is needed to cover all your belongings.

Condo insurance
Insurance for condominiums varies, so it’s important to know what is covered under your condo association’s master policy before buying condo insurance. As a condo owner, you’re typically responsible for covering everything inside your unit, including cabinetry and appliances. If you need help, speak with an insurance agent to ensure you are covering what you would be responsible for and not overlapping with your association’s policy.

Renters insurance
If you’re renting, you typically need only to insure your personal items contained with your home, rather than the structure. Before buying a renters insurance policy, take an inventory of everything you own to get an estimate of how much coverage you should purchase. Renters policies typically include liability coverage, which helps protect you if someone is injured in your rental unit.

As with anything else, it’s wise to shop around to see what policies offer the best deals and the most appropriate coverage by speaking with your agent or comparing quotes online.

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