Insurance isn’t the first thing people think about when they are buying a home. Although home owners insurance is an important topic, it is often overlooked in all the excitement of buying a house, condominium, or apartment in a new locale. Once a property has been selected, however, it is time to think about all the ‘nuts and bolts’ that are involved in the structuring of a successful home buying experience.
Following are some considerations that should help you make informed decisions regarding your insurance needs.
1. What the law says
Of primary importance to new property owners is whether-or-not a home insurance policy is a requirement or an option. While Italian real estate law doesn’t currently mandate a home owners insurance policy, most mortgage lenders will demand one. So, unless you are buying a home without also purchasing a mortgage product, the subject is moot. And, even if you are not using a lender, it is highly recommended that you insure your purchase, not only for your own good, but also for liabilities you may incur along with your property. If your pockets aren’t deep enough to cover all eventualities, you’ll need to purchase some form of home owners insurance.
2. Where to Buy
Should you insure your new home with an Italian insurer or with a company from your homeland? Sometimes that decision is made for the home buyer, since Italian mortgage companies will want your insurance to be contracted through an Italian insurer. In addition to the regular factors that go with choosing an insurance company, don’t forget about the language barrier. If you choose a company from your homeland, then the contract will be presented in your native tongue.
Italian insurance agreements, as with Italian real estate contracts, are all written in Italian. If you had difficulties with, or were comfortable with, your purchase contract, then you can expect the same in regard to the wording of an insurance policy. So it would be wise to have someone who can speak the same language as the insurance expert.
3. What’s Covered
Basic home owner policies vary from company-to-company. Anyway there are three main aspects it should cover.
– Damages due to fire: Fire insurance policy usually covers your home, as well as garages or other annexes and any of your belongings, against any sudden and unforeseen damage due to fire. In any case, it is always recommended to make a list of all the things you want to include and be as specific as possible. Anyway, bear in mind that also other perils are often enclosed when specified in the policy. Note for instance that usually lightning liability (and other natural disaster) are also comprehended.
But what about earthquakes, floods or landslides? If you live in an area which could be subject to these phenomena, then it is advisable to have this type of insurance policy to protect yourself against such risks you might encounter.
– Coverage against theft: It secures you from the loss caused by a robbery, and also covers possible damages to the property.
Bear in mind that burglary insurance policy may be negated if certain conditions aren’t met, such as having sub-standard door locks, un-barred ground-floor windows, or malfunctioning alarm systems.
– Third party damage: It is important to protect yourself from some sorts of damages caused to other people or to your neighbours. For instance, if you live in a condo, a water leak in your apartment could deteriorate an adjacent property. In this case your home owner policy will cover the repair or replacement cost.
4. Useful tips
Exclusions and riders: ‘standard’ home insurance policy comes with a long list of exclusions, and it is up to the policyholder to know what these exclusions are. It is most often necessary to attach riders, at additional cost, to secure coverage for personal belongings, outbuildings and/or damages and injuries suffered by third parties. Theft isn’t covered in most basic policies; artwork, jewellery and other valuables will need a separate attachment or addition to the policy.
To assure yourself that you have covered all the bases, pay attention to the minutiae, never assume that something is covered unless you verify it, and utilize all of the resources that are available to you.
– Buy only what you really need: Don’t purchase home owner insurance coverages that you don’t need. For instance don’t take out an insurance policy to protect valuable things against robbery if you don’t own any precious items.
– Save your money in case of disaster: Household insurance policy, although not mandatory, represents a security in case of foreseeable disasters. It provides you with protection from risks you couldn’t afford to cover yourself.
– Everybody is Number One: If advertisements are to be believed, we come to the astounding conclusion that every insurance company somehow manages to provide better coverage at better prices than every other insurance company. Of course, we know that isn’t the case, so the point is to shop carefully, and to compare companies in terms of price, coverage and their reputation for reliability.
You know your home is your biggest and most important investment of your life, so be proactive!
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