HO-A policies do not provide replacement-cost coverage, but you may be able to add it with an endorsement for an additional premium. Companies use various methods to determine the estimated replacement cost of your home. Be prepared to answer questions about your home’s square footage, number of bedrooms and number of bathrooms. Inform the agent of any custom features that are part of the house.

When calculating your home’s replacement cost, deduct the value of the land, foundations that are below ground and other items, such as landscaping and lawn sprinkler systems. Construction costs change, so it’s wise to update your coverage amounts annually.

Household contents automatically are covered only for their “actual cash value.” Actual cash value is the replacement-cost minus depreciation. You can buy replacement-cost coverage for your possessions as an endorsement. Homeowners policies offer very limited coverage for valuables like jewelry, furs, cash and stamp and coin collections. You can buy separate endorsements to increase your coverage.

According to TDI, a homeowners policy includes five different types of insurance coverage:
  1. Dwelling. This pays for damage to your house and any outbuildings, such as detached garages and storage sheds.
  2. Personal property. The policy pays when household items, including furniture, clothing and appliances, are damaged, stolen or destroyed.
  3. Liability. This protects you against financial loss if you are found legally responsible for someone else’s injury or property damage. A homeowners policy automatically provides $25,000 in coverage. You can buy up to $1 million in coverage for an extra premium.
  4. Medical payments. This covers payment of medical bills for people injured while on your property. It also pays for some injuries that happen away from your home, such as your dog biting someone. A basic homeowners policy pays $500 in medical bills. You can pay extra and get up to $5,000 in medical-payments coverage.
  5. Loss of use. This will cover living expenses if your home is too damaged to live in during repairs. Typically, a policy pays up to 20 percent of the amount for which your house is insured.

— Factors That Affect Your Premium
Your premium will be based on several factors. According to TDI, these include the following:
  • Where you live
  • Level of fire protection available in the area
  • Construction type of your home (brick or frame)
  • Type of policy you purchase
  • Amount of coverage you buy

— Lowering Your Premium by Increasing Your Deductible
Texas homeowners policies generally carry a basic deductible of 1 percent ($1,000 on $100,000 of coverage) of the insured value of the dwelling. Deductibles are available as high as 5 percent and as low as $100, although not all companies offer deductibles that low. If you raise your deductible, you’ll have to pay more out of pocket for repairs and replacement costs before your insurance company will begin to pay.

If you’re new to the Dallas Fort/Worth area, it’s important to know about potential natural disasters that may arise. Depending on where you are interested in living in the Metroplex, do some research and ask questions of your real estate agent and others to learn how the neighborhoods you’re considering fared during any past extreme weather.

Many residents in the Dallas Fort/Worth area have learned that tornados can affect the region. Since records began being kept in 1950, the area has had nearly 130 tornados at Magnitude 2 or above, most of which left thousands if not millions of dollars in damage in their wake. Plus, with numerous rivers and lakes running through the region, flooding can occur; if your house is near the flood plain, it’s better to be safe than sorry. Once natural disasters strike, it’s too late to get insured so it’s a decision that has to be made with planning in mind. If being protected against these natural disasters is important to you, learn more from the information following.

— Windstorm Insurance
The Texas Windstorm Insurance Association (TWIA) was established by legislative mandate to provide wind and hail insurance for Texas Gulf Coast property owners in the event of catastrophic loss. It provides “basic” coverage unavailable in traditional markets for consumers who might otherwise be left uninsured. TWIA is the state’s insurer of last resort for wind and hail coverage in the 14 coastal counties and parts of Harris County (east of Highway 146).

Although Dallas/Fort Worth is not located in the Gulf Coast region, residents still can obtain windstorm insurance to protect their homes from tornados that can enter the Hill Country. Similar to other insurance carriers, TWIA has a written contract that specifies the extent and restrictions of the insurance coverage it provides. Visit the TDI Windstorm Inspection Program website at for more information.

— Flood Insurance
The cities of Dallas and Fort Worth participates in the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), a federal program that enables residents and business owners in participating communities to purchase insurance protection against losses to structures and contents from flooding. This is important because protection against losses from flood damage is not typically included in basic homeowners insurance coverage.

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