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Kansas Homeowners Insurance FAQ
What is homeowners insurance and why do I need it?
Minimum homeowners insurance is often required by a mortgage lender prior to finalizing your loan. This is an insurance policy that will cover your home in the event of things such as fire or storm damage. You can purchase much more comprehensive homeowners insurance that will cover your belongings in the event of fire, theft, or other perils you have no control over. It will also cover the medical costs if someone gets hurt while on your property and you are legally responsible.
How much homeowners insurance should I buy?
The amount of homeowners insurance you need depends on many things. Do you want to cover only the minimum that your lending company requires or do you want more? If you want to protect your personal property you will need to decide how much everything is worth if you find yourself in the position that you need to replace it. You will also have to decide if you want to purchase additional riders on your policy to protect against things that are not covered under a basic policy.
How much can I expect to spend on homeowners insurance in Kansas?
Insurance rates vary greatly based on where you live, the response time of the fire department, how much insurance you need and the company you go with. Rates will vary between $320 and $4520.
What affects the cost of homeowners insurance in Kansas?
- Response time of the fire department and distance from the nearest hydrant. The further away these things are the more you are going to pay for insurance.
- The age of your home. Newer homes cost less to insure than older ones. New homes are not a haven for potential problems with electric or unstable foundation.
- Your credit score.
- The number of claims that you have filed in the past as well as the number of claims that have been filed on the property before you bought it.
- The amount of crime in the area.
- Presence of dead bolts, security systems and indoor sprinklers.
- The amount of insurance you decide to purchase.
- Your deductible. A higher deductible mean a lower premium.
- If you smoke. Premiums are lower if all the members of the family are non-smokers.
- Construction materials of your home. It costs more to insure a house that is made entirely of wood while a house made of brick costs less to insure.
- Does the property have a history of problems? This can be determined by looking at the Home Disclosure Report or the Comprehensive Loss Underwriting Exchange (CLUE). These two reports will not only tell you what kind of problems the house has had in the past, but it will give you an idea of what kind of problems it may have in the future.
How is my credit score going to affect what I pay for homeowners insurance in Kansas?
The lower your credit score the higher your premium is going to be. The theory is that those with lower credit scores file more claims.
What are the different levels of homeowners insurance in Kansas?
- HO1 – The first level specifies perils with very limited coverage. This is usually the minimum insurance that your lending agent will require.
- HO2 – The second level of homeowners insurance specifies perils with less limited coverage. Where it will not cover everything, it will cover a lot more than a HO1 policy.
- HO3 – This level of insurance covers all perils on buildings and specified perils on personal property excluding the risk of floods, earthquakes, war and nuclear accidents. You will want to look into the changes that were made in the act-of-war exemption. These have changed since the terrorist attack of September 11. Some insurance companies will now cover your home in the event of a terrorist attack. This is where you are able to start adding your personal effects as well as riders for jewelry, art or antique collections.
- HO4 – This is renters insurance. It will cover the cost of your personal effects but not the cost of the house you are living in.
- HO5 – Condominium insurance. This covers the owner’s personal property loss as well as the loss of use of the condo.
What will homeowners insurance cover?
- Dwelling – This includes your house, detached garage and storage sheds from fire, wind, hail and vandalism.
- Contents – This is your furniture, clothing, computer, TV, and other personal belongings.
- Additional Living Expenses – If you have to stay in a hotel or rent a temporary apartment while your home is being rebuilt or repaired, your Kansas homeowners insurance will help cover it.
- Liability – This protects you when you or another member of your family (including your dog) unintentionally injures someone or damages their property.
- Medical payments – Medical bills are paid for others injured while on your property.
What will homeowners insurance not cover?
This depends on the type of coverage your purchase. Talk to your insurance agent because chances are you will be able to purchase whatever additional coverage you need. There are also two things that are handled very differently than rest of your policy.
Flood coverage is the big thing to check on because it’s handled different than rest of your policy. Most flood damage is covered by FEMA and you will be required to contact them regarding coverage. This means that if the result of flooding of your home is caused by a storm, it falls under FEMA coverage, if you basement floods because of a broken water pipe or water tank, you will need to file the claim with your homeowners insurance company.
In Kansas the deductible for wind and hail damage are determined differently than your standard deduction set up in the policy. This deductible is determined by the value of your home. Usually it is one or two percent of the cost of the house but can be as much as five percent.
How can I get a lower premium?
- Ask about senior citizen discounts if you are 55 or over.
- Install dead bolts, put fire extinguishers in your home or get a security system.
- Increase your deductible.
- Make sure that you have insured your home and not the land under it. Mistaking the cost you paid for your home and what it would cost to rebuild it can cost you hundreds of dollars.
Will my homeowners insurance protect any special collections that I have such as antiques, jewelry, coins or stamps or do I need to purchase additional insurance?
These items will need to be professionally appraised and are only routinely covered up to a certain amount. Anything over the limit set by the insurance company will need an additional policy rider for coverage.
I work from home. Will my homeowners insurance cover my business items as well?
No. These things are not covered in a basic policy. You will need to purchase additional insurance.
Will my policy pay actual replacement cost or cash value?
Most of the time your house will be covered at replacement cost. Some insurance companies automatically adjust coverage each year to cover any inflation on building materials.
What if I can’t find coverage?
The state of Kansas offers something called the FAIR (Fair Access to Insurance Requirements) Plan, this can be applied for through any private property insurer. In order to be eligible to apply to the FAIR Plan you have to have been turned down by three different insurance companies. Someone from FAIR will come out to inspect your property to see if you are eligible. Just keep in mind that the FAIR Plan is not guaranteed.
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