In Georgia, if your residence has a mortgage, your lender probably requires homeowners insurance. Even if you own your home outright, most people cannot afford to pay thousands of dollars or more for damage caused by fire, broken water pipes, burglars, cataclysmic weather events, or countless other mishaps.
But it’s not only the obvious home protection benefits that should make you thankful for coverage. Here are five scenarios that illustrate unexpected coverage advantages you’ve probably never even considered.
Your Stuff is Stored (and Lost) Elsewhere
As large as your Peach State home might be, your possessions seem to have the natural ability to outgrow the premises. It happens to all of us. You solve the problem by storing some of your slightly underappreciated personal items in a self-storage facility several miles away. And then one day fire, lightning, theft, water damage, or vandalism destroys or damages your belongings.
Don’t panic. Your homeowners’ insurance policy will likely provide benefits up to your coverage limits. That’s right. Even your off-premise belongings are covered. That’s also true if the car in your driveway is broken into and your laptop you left out there is stolen.
A Guest Breaks Her Leg on Your Staircase
So, Thanksgiving dinner got a little messy this year. Somebody’s friend had one too many glasses of wine and your kids left their toys on the stairs (as usual). As a result, the friend of a friend had a premature exit during festivities in an ambulance. Destination: the local hospital.
She’s fine. She’ll wear a cast for a few weeks and miss some work, but that’s the worst of it.
Fortunately, your homeowners’ insurance policy is likely to include medical and liability benefits for visitors. Liability? Well, it was your kids’ toys on the staircase that caused the trip and fall, and, much as we hate to bring it up, she likely thinks you should pay her medical bills and lost wages. At least, that’s what her attorney is telling her.
The point is that people can bring lawsuits for accidents that happen in or around your property. Even a stranger walking and tripping on an icy sidewalk in front of your house might have a lawyer on speed dial.
You can rest easier knowing your homeowners’ insurance policy includes medical and liability benefits for whatever can happen to loved ones or folks you don’t even know.
Your Ice Cream is Melting and the Leftover Roast Beef is Bad
Blame it on the electrical storm or your power company but call your homeowners’ insurance agent for a settlement (if the damage exceeds your deductible).
We’re talking about the effects of a blackout on your fridge and freezer. It might not be a big deal if all you lost was a couple of remaining slices of last weekend’s pizza. But if you have a well-stocked meat freezer and you lose everything in it, well, you might burn out your calculator crunching all of those numbers.
Contact your insurance agent. As in most circumstances, you should photograph the damage, but take confidence in getting at least some payback for the storm of the century in your brand-new refrigerator that’s no longer working.
There’s Another You in Cyberspace
In a recent year, more than 50,000 Georgians filed identity theft complaints with the FTC. The cost is high emotionally, as well as financially, when hackers who are half a globe away steal your personal information and go on a shopping spree. Then they use your identity to get credit cards, get expensive plastic surgery, take out loans, or otherwise rob you of dollars and your good credit rating.
Victims of identity theft can spend countless hours trying to convince bill collectors, loan officers, and even government authorities that they weren’t responsible for actions taken in their name. It can get pretty costly too, especially if you have to hire lawyers to help with the battle.
While identity theft protection might not be a standard benefit of your homeowners’ policy, you can include it as an inexpensive add-on benefit.
Trust us, it’s worth looking into since the additional coverage is so affordable, and the minimal cost can save you from a much larger financial obligation in the not-so-unlikely event that your identity is lost to Internet criminals.
It Came from Outer Space
Okay, this one’s a bit out of left field. A lot farther than that, actually.
No, not space aliens (necessarily). We’re talking about meteorites and other space junk. You wouldn’t buy an insurance policy solely to cover the rather remote threat of home damage from cosmic sources, but such a cataclysmic event can happen and (very occasionally) does.
Don’t worry. The threat should not keep you up nights worrying. Okay, so that’s probably not happening, but still…
If something from beyond our solar system does make a very unexpected visit to your premises, you’re covered. Sure, you might have to repeatedly describe the event to your insurance adjuster, and you’ll want to take plenty of photos and video, but the time and effort will be worth it. Besides, you can sell those pictures to the tabloids – with photographic evidence and the insurance settlement check to back up your story.