Protecting assets is important whether renting or owning a dwelling. Charley Kemp of Kemp Insurance, 311 S. Lafayette St. in Greenville, helps explain what homeowners or renters should consider when insuring their belongings and home.
First, with homeowner’s insurance, Kemp explained that each policy is specific to each home and their individual needs. He also said that policies have a lettering system that distinguishes coverage for items on a property. Coverage A insures the dwelling, Coverage B protects other structures on the property such as sheds and detached garages, Coverage C protects personal property such as furniture, appliances, clothing and others possessions that are contained on the property.
Among those distinctions, for coverage B, a homeowner’s policy will pay out 10 percent of the value. For example, if a homeowner has a $100,000 policy, they would have $10,000 coverage for a shed. Personal property coverage gets paid out at 70 percent of the homeowner policy. When asked about documenting items, Kemp agreed it is prudent to do so.
“Walk yourself through your house right now and tell me what your contents are worth,” Kemp remarked. “It helps them (homeowners) in the event of a loss. The homeowner has to come up with the inventory, video and pictures are very helpful rather than trying to recall what you have.”
When a homeowner or renter has to determine the right dollar amount to insure their things, Kemp said that an agent will make use of a system called replacement cost estimates and it is based on several factors. Among those items considered are square footage, the type of roof on a dwelling, the number of bathrooms, whether a basement is finished, the type of heat installed, if the home has central air conditioning and more. It is important to be thorough because some descriptions from the assessor may not be entirely accurate.
When it comes to renter’s insurance, the policy-holder need only have Coverage C for personal property. Again, inventory should be recorded to be accurate and not rely on memory, especially amid a catastrophe. As a guideline, Kemp said he often felt comfortable offering a $10,000 policy for a one-bedroom rental.
With rental insurance, Kemp mentioned the increased cost endorsement, especially with skyrocketing costs of building supplies. He said that it could be a financial lifesaver. It is important to include liability in a policy.
“For renters, liability is huge,” Kemp emphasized. “If you rent a house and left a candle burning and the house burns down, the owner’s insurance may go back on the renter for negligence. Liability would provide coverage in an instance like that.”
For Troy Bernard of Belding, he is grateful that he secured a solid homeowner’s policy that included liability. Just last year, his policy protected him against a lawsuit that was filed by a neighbor.
As a dog owner, it is a wise investment to include liability in an insurance policy. In Bernard’s case, a neighbor claimed they sustained an injury from one of his dogs. His homeowner’s policy and the insurance agency attorneys saved him a substantial loss.
“One of our neighbors threatened a frivolous lawsuit falsely claiming our dog injured her son,” Bernard said. “Having the insurance company attorneys representing you instead of having to hire your own is priceless.”
Kemp advises revisiting your policies to confirm they are up to date and provide sufficient coverage for changing times and values.