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Does your homeowners insurance policy cover everything you need?

The cost of owning and repairing a home can quickly add up, which is why having homeowners insurance is so important. Some lenders even require Washington homeowners to have coverage. But what does the average homeowners insurance policy actually cover? Perhaps somewhat less than what most people think.

A standard homeowners insurance policy should cover the home's physical structure, personal belongings and temporary living expenses if displaced. This means that a policy should cover more than just the cost of damages from a range of natural disasters. Personal belongings that are damaged or even stolen are generally covered, as are expenses related to temporarily living elsewhere during repairs, such as hotel bills and meals. Most homeowners policies also provide liability protection, which covers lawsuits for injury or property damage that occurs on the policyholder's property.

Homeowners insurance does not cover everything, though. The cost for damage caused by earthquakes, floods and even standard wear and tear will usually land right back on the homeowner, although purchasing flood insurance to supplement a homeowners insurance policy is a good idea for most people, even those who might not live in an area that is prone to flooding. Expensive collections or possessions -- such as art or jewelry -- might not be covered either, although some policies do provide limited coverage. Purchasing additional coverage can be helpful for this as well.

There is nothing quite like finding the perfect home, and protecting such a significant emotional and financial investment is most people's top priority. A homeowners insurance policy should give someone the confidence that his or her biggest investment is protected. Unfortunately, Washington insurance companies are not always eager to provide promised coverage, so it can be a good idea to seek help when appealing a denied claim.

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