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Posted: Tue Apr 29, 2014 5:32 pm
My wife and I just purchased our first home in central PA. I was wondering if any recommendations on how much coverage one should get.
Re: Home Insurance
Posted: Tue Apr 29, 2014 8:12 pm
First off congrats on your home purchase! I am originally from Central PA. It is a great area.
In regards to insurance, I would contact the insurance agent of your choice to get started. I always recommend an independent local agent rather than an online quoting system for someone unfamiliar with homeowner's policies. An independent agent can also get you quotes from several companies. Homeowner's policies typically consist of four coverages. Dwelling coverage covers your house. The agent and underwriters will determine the rebuild value of your home. Other structures coverage is also included and is often valued at 10% of the home value (if you have extensive other structures-large garage, barns, etc this limit can be increased). Contents coverage is valued at either replacement cost or actual cost value. (Replacement cost is the cost to buy a similar item new, actual cash value will take depreciation based on the age and condition of an item). Loss of use is also typically included and will cover your additional living expenses if a covered loss makes a part of your home unlivable.
Choose whatever deductible you are comfortable with. In the case of a covered loss, this will be your out of pocket cost, regardless of whether the cause of loss is weather related or beyond your control (this may seem obvious, but many people don't realize they need to pay the deductible even if the loss is not their fault such as wind, hail, etc).
For a house in central PA, I would also consider adding water back up/sump pump overflow coverage if you have a sump pump or a drain in the basement. When I was working in Central PA, I could almost count on at least one full month of handling nothing but flooded basement claims every summer, almost like clockwork. I would choose replacement cost over actual cash value whenever it's available.
Hope this helps,
Full disclosure: I am an insurance adjuster for homeowner's claims and have handled claims in Central PA. An independent agent is your best contact regarding homeowner's insurance.