Frequently Asked Questions

Homeowners Insurance FAQs
Condominium Insurance FAQs
Renters Insurance FAQs
Second Home Insurance FAQs
Rental Property Insurance FAQs

Homeowners Insurance FAQs

Am I required to have homeowners insurance if I own a home?
If you have a mortgage on your house, most lenders require that you purchase homeowners insurance until your mortgage is paid off.

Do homeowners policies cover flooding?
Standard homeowners policies do NOT cover flooding. You can purchase flood coverage directly through HomeServices Insurance Maryland. Contact us today at 800.277.0013 to determine whether flood insurance coverage is right for you.

If water backs-up through my sewer or drain am I covered?
Most insurance policies exclude water damage from water that backs up through sewers or drains. Coverage can be added as an endorsement on your policy, which would cover sewer back-up.

How much insurance do I need?
You want enough insurance to be able to replace everything you lost with similar items and materials in the event of a covered loss.

Does my homeowner’s policy cover my in-home business?
Coverage for the items you use in your business such as computers, fax machines, filing cabinets, tools and inventory are usually limited to $2,500 in your home and $250 away from home under most policies. And your homeowners coverage provides no liability insurance for your home–based business.

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Condominium Insurance FAQs

What’s the difference between my condo insurance policy and the condo association master policy?
The condo association’s master insurance policy insures the physical structure and common areas collectively owned by the unit owners. The condo association policy does not cover the condo owner’s personal property or their personal liability and may not cover improvements or custom work to the unit.

How can I lower my condo insurance?

  • Bundling policies – combining your condo insurance with other policies, such as auto, personal property or boat insurance.
  • Claim-free history – some insurance companies offer incentives to their customers such, as reduced rates annually if they have not filed a claim.
  • Home security devices – securing your home with dead bolts, window locks, smoke detectors, and a centralized security system can qualify customers for lower premiums.
  • Reduce risk of fire damage – some insurance companies offer discounts if you have a non-smoking home, smoke alarms, fire extinguishers or in-home sprinkler systems.
  • 24-hour security guard service
  • Sprinkler system
  • Deductibles – in some cases, the higher your deductible, the lower the cost of your premium.

What is the difference between replacement cost and actual cash value?
Actual cash value (ACV) refers to a policy that covers possessions for market value at the time they are lost or stolen. This means that depreciation will be factored in to determine what the insurance company will pay you. For example, if you bought a stereo for $1,300 three years ago, and the stereo was stolen during a home burglary, your ACV policy would pay for the original cost of the stereo minus three years of depreciation. Replacement cost refers to the original price of the item, regardless of how old or outdated it may be. For example, if you purchased the same stereo referenced above for $1,300 three years ago and the stereo was stolen during a home burglary, under your replacement cost policy you will get the actual cash value of the item, and if you end up buying a replacement, you will also get the balance of what the item was worth. Replacement cost does not factor in an item’s age and depreciation, or the effects of wear and tear over time.

How much condo insurance should I have?
You can get a rough idea of how much insurance you need by performing an inventory of all your personal items and figuring out how much it would cost to replace your belongings after a burglary or fire. Certain valuable items may need special or additional coverage.

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Renters Insurance FAQs

Do I need renters insurance even if the property owner has insurance?
The property owner’s insurance generally covers structural damage to the building. There is no coverage for your personal belongings, or any liability coverage in the event you are negligent and legally responsible for causing bodily injury or damage to someone else’s property.

What if I don’t have much personal property?
Renters insurance is still important even if you don’t own much personal property because of the liability component. Most renters would be surprised to learn how much it would cost to replace every item in their home. If you don’t have much personal property to insure, then you can save money by choosing a lower policy limit.

Should I get replacement cost or actual cash value coverage?
An actual cash value policy pays to replace your possessions minus a deduction for depreciation whereas a replacement cost policy will pay the cost of replacing your possessions without accounting for depreciation. The price of replacement cost coverage is about 10 percent more but can be well worth the extra expense as the value of most items tends to depreciate quickly.

How can I save money on renters insurance?

  • Multi-policy discounts – You can save money if you have more than one type of policy with the same insurance company (for example, an auto and homeowners policy).
  • Higher deductibles – Raising your renter’s insurance deductible can lead to substantial savings.
  • Credit score – Insurance companies do consider credit, and they often charge a lower rate to customers with good credit.
  • Sprinkler systems – If your home has a sprinkler system, you’ve reduced your risk and may qualify for a credit.
  • Security System – If your home has certain types of fire alarms, burglar alarms, locks, or smoke detectors, you’ve reduced your risk and may qualify for this credit.

What happens to my renters insurance policy if I move?
If you move to a new location within the same state, your policy remains in force. Inform your insurance company of your upcoming move and provide your new address to ensure uninterrupted coverage.

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Second Home Insurance FAQs

What is covered under your primary residence’s homeowners insurance?
Most homeowners insurance policies provide limited coverage for personal property at an additional residence. However, if your coverage needs for your vacation home exceed this amount, you’re going to want to fill this gap by purchasing a policy that will cover your vacation home in its entirety. One way to do this is to purchase a dwelling fire policy.

How much does a dwelling fire policy cost?
A dwelling fire policy is usually less expensive than your primary residence’s homeowners insurance since it usually doesn’t carry liability insurance. However, if your vacation home is located in a high-risk area (e.g., coastline, mountainside), if you rent your vacation home to others, or if you don’t spend a lot of time there, your premiums may be higher. The good news is that you can usually save on your premiums by insuring your vacation home with the same company that provides coverage for your primary residence.

Should I consider purchasing flood insurance?
If your vacation home is located near a coastline or major body of water and you have a mortgage, your lender may require that you carry a flood insurance policy to protect the home in the event of a flood since flood coverage is not provided under a standard homeowner’s insurance policy. However even if your lender doesn’t require a flood policy (or if you don’t have a mortgage) you should consider getting a flood insurance policy for your second home just as you would for your primary residence.

If you have additional questions about coverage for your second home, contact us at 800.277.0013.

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Rental Property Insurance FAQs

How can insurance help protect a rental property?
A well-designed rental property insurance policy can protect a landlord’s rental property from losses caused by many perils, including fire, storms, burglary, and vandalism. It can also provide liability insurance covering injuries or losses suffered by others as the result of defective conditions on the property, as well as the cost of defending personal injury lawsuits.

Am I covered if my tenants don’t pay their rent? Most landlord insurance policies allow you to include ‘rent guarantee’ insurance as an add-on. Alternatively, you can buy this coverage as a standalone policy.

What if I want to insure more than one property? If you own more than one rental property, you may find “multi property” landlord insurance more suitable. Rather than taking an individual rental property insurance policy on each property, many insurers will let you cover a number of properties under one umbrella policy.

How can I save or lower my rental property insurance premium? Insurance companies offer a wide range of credits and discounts that can lower your rental property insurance premium. Here are some ways you can save:

  • Multi-Policy Discounts – You can save by combining your rental property insurance with other policies like homeowners, auto, boat, or umbrella policy.
  • Secured community – This discount is offered for homes or condominiums located in gated communities with all entrances to the community protected by 24‐hour manned security or passkey security.
  • Protective Device Discount – Provides a variety of ways to save if your home is equipped with devices such as smoke detectors, interior sprinkler systems, centralized home security system and 24-hour security guards.
  • Choose a higher deductible – A deductible is the amount you pay before the insurance company pays on a covered loss. Deductibles can be $250, $500, $1,000 or more per incident. As the deductible is increased, your premium will be lowered

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