A Personal Look at Home Insurance
A Personal Look at Home Insurance
My wife Angela fell in love with a home in one of the nicest neighborhoods in town. We weren't planning to move out of our starter home for another year or so, but one of her co-workers tipped me off that Angela had been talking non-stop about a house she'd driven by a few times on the north side of town. Finally I went by myself to take a look.
The house was exactly what we'd talked about buying when the time came. The very next day, I went to find out about getting financing. The loan officer I talked to gave me several quotes that included home insurance. I told him that I wanted to have excellent home insurance since my wife was already in love with house and I didn't want to take any chances with it. He referred me to an insurance agent with whom he'd worked previously.
When I met Rick for the first time, I knew we were going to get along. He told me I would want a home insurance policy based on full replacement cost. He explained that some policies compensate only for the actual cash value, which is not always enough to replace what's lost. He also told me he would base the amount of coverage on the home and the value of its contents at the time of the policy, not the time of loss, in case any part of what was covered was subject to depreciation.
Rick filled me in on all the details about the policy, from the coverage for rebuilding to how much it would cost to replace the contents in the home, as well as the personal injury and liability aspects of the policy. More than anything, I just wanted to make sure our new home and all our belongings would be replaced in case the house was destroyed. He also suggested that I go online and get competing quotes, to make sure that I knew his rate quote was the most competitive.
I'll never forget the look on Angela's face when I drove her out to the new home. She knew something special was going on, but when she opened her eyes and saw that we were in front of the house she'd been dreaming about, she turned to look at me, and even though she was speechless, her eyes said it all.
Just 18 months later, our first son Jacob was taking his first steps in our new home. We'd purchased some big-ticket items including a new computer and a satellite dish, and I'd added extended coverage onto our home insurance policy to provide extra peace of mind. It felt good knowing that we would be covered in case of theft, fire or storm damage.
As Jacob grew up, it seemed his first calling in life was getting into mischief. He was constantly trying to see which household items would flush down the toilet, and what would and wouldn't melt in the dryer and the dishwasher. Angela and I began to joke that we needed a special clause in our home insurance, not just for fire and storm damage but for "Jacob damage" as well.
Then one day when Jacob was about six years old, I answered a knock on the door. I found our neighbor from down the street standing awkwardly on our front steps. He led me outside and pointed to his property at the end of the block. My heart sank! It seemed Jacob had taken our full metal trash cans, put both of them on their rolling cart, and sent the whole thing down the hill and through our neighbor's picket fence. Jacob was playing happily at the scene of the crime.
At that moment, something Rick had talked about came back to me. I invited my neighbor to come inside while I called my insurance agent. When I got Rick on the phone, he confirmed what I had hoped: the liability portion of our home insurance would cover the damage Jacob had done. None of us could have been happier upon hearing this news. My neighbor's fence was
covered at full replacement cost, and even though labor was included, I made sure that Jacob and I spent some time helping with the repair job.
A few weeks later at the dinner table, Angela and I were marveling at how our home insurance had come through for us in a way we'd never expected. While we'd prepared for every sort of damage to our own home and belongings, we'd never thought how our home insurance might cover us in case of damage to someone else's property.
Now that Jacob is in high school, I'll soon be adding him to our auto insurance policy as well. I still kid him about his first "collision" with the neighbor's fence. I'm glad it's something we can look back on and joke about now. We sure wouldn't be able to laugh about it if it hadn't been for our home insurance policy.