Sign up for our FREE Monthly Email Newsletter
In addition to keeping in the financial know, you may be interested in checking your credit score and report.
¹The credit scores provided under the offers described here use the Equifax Credit Score, which is a proprietary credit model developed by Equifax. The Equifax Credit Score and 3-Bureau scores are each based on the Equifax Credit Score model, but calculated using the information in your Equifax, Experian and TransUnion credit files. The Equifax Credit Score is intended for your own educational use. It is also commercially available to third parties along with numerous other credit scores and models in the marketplace. Please keep in mind third parties are likely to use a different score when evaluating your creditworthiness. Also, third parties will take into consideration items other than your credit score or information found in your credit file, such as your income.
²The Automatic Fraud Alert feature is made available to consumers by Equifax Information Services LLC and fulfilled on its behalf by Equifax Consumer Services LLC.
³Equifax Credit Report Control™ is only available while you have a current subscription to Equifax Complete Premier. Locking your credit file with Equifax Credit Report Control will prevent access to your Equifax credit file by certain third parties, such as credit grantors or other companies and agencies. Credit Report Control will not prevent access to your credit file at any other credit reporting agency, and will not prevent access to your Equifax credit file by companies like Equifax Personal Solutions which provide you with access to your credit report or credit score or monitor your credit file; Federal, state and local government agencies; companies reviewing your application for employment; companies that have a current account or relationship with you, and collection agencies acting on behalf of those whom you owe; for fraud detection and prevention purposes; and companies that wish to make pre-approved offers of credit or insurance to you. To opt out of such pre-approved offers, visit www.optoutprescreen.com/.
4We will require you to provide your payment information when you sign up and we will immediately charge your card $4.95. After that, we will charge the card $19.95 for each month you continue your subscription. You may cancel at any time; however, we do not provide partial month refunds.
Equifax® is a registered trademark and Equifax Complete™ Premier is a trademark of Equifax, Inc. © 2014, Equifax Inc., Atlanta, Georgia. All rights reserved.
As a homeowner, it’s important to know what your insurance policy covers. If your insurance doesn’t cover you for something you thought it did, you could end up paying out of pocket for property damage or injuries.
Here are seven common myths about homeowners insurance coverage:
Myth #1. Anyone I hire to do work is covered under my homeowners insurance policy if he or she injured on my property while working.
False. In most states, your homeowners policy will cover a part-time worker (working less than 40 hours a week) who normally does not require workers compensation coverage if he or she is injured. That means a housekeeper, pet sitter, babysitter, or neighborhood kid who shovels your snow may be covered.
However, a plumber, roofer, landscaper, or other type of contractor may not be covered by your policy, as people working in these professions are typically required to have workers compensation coverage.
To ensure that your financial interest is protected, you may want to request a Certificate of Insurance naming you as additional insured before allowing a contractor to perform any work in your home. If you have live-in, full-time domestic help—such as a nanny or a caretaker for an elderly parent or disabled child—it is important to contact your agent to discuss whether purchasing your own workers compensation coverage is in your best interest.
Myth #2. The belongings my child takes away to college are completely covered under my homeowners policy.
False. Your child’s belongings are not all covered in every situation. It depends on the type of homeowners policy and riders you may or may not have, as well as the state in which you live. In addition, electronics such as computers or smartphones may need a rider or a simple maintenance contract to be covered in the event they are damaged or stolen.
Myth #3. I run a business out of my home and have no employees. Therefore, my homeowners policy will automatically cover any property or liability claims against me arising from my business operations.
False. Operating a business out of a home is very common today. Unfortunately, many home-based business owners do not even consider their insurance policies.
A standard homeowners policy typically does not include coverage for loss of income or for any business property such as office furniture, tools, computers, or inventory. And your homeowners policy certainly doesn’t cover any liability or defense costs arising from your business operations.
For example, if a delivery driver is bringing inventory to your home and trips, falls, and is seriously injured while walking into your home with the heavy boxes, your policy may not cover you. It’s also unlikely your homeowners policy will cover you if your product or service does damage to someone’s person or property.
With some in-home businesses, a rider can be added onto your homeowners policy to help protect you. In some instances, though, your business may need its own separate insurance policy.
Myth #4. I’m adding a 600 square foot extension to my home and will be staying in temporary housing and storing my belongings in a storage facility for the next six months. My homeowners policy will cover my existing home while I am out of the house.
False. In most states, a homeowners policy is designed to cover a residence that is regularly occupied by and furnished for the personal use of the named insureds and their resident relatives.
Once you change the occupancy, your insurance carrier may either non-renew your policy or deny a claim during the time of renovations. You will need a builder’s risk policy to cover you properly during this time. In addition, there may be limited coverage—or none at all—for you while you are renting a temporary location.
Myth #5. During a storm, my pool cover was torn off my in-ground pool and a tree fell and damaged all of my outdoor furniture. I have replacement cost coverage, so I will be fully reimbursed.
False. As many East Coast residents found out after Superstorm Sandy, wind damage to any outdoor furnishings, including a pool cover, is paid on an actual cash basis on most homeowners policies. That means these items are subject to depreciation regardless of whether you had replacement cost coverage or not.
Myth #6. My neighbor’s tree fell onto my fence during a heavy wind and rain storm. My neighbor’s homeowners policy will reimburse me for the damage.
False. Wind is an act of nature and no one can be liable for that. So, if your neighbor’s tree fell and damaged your property during a storm, your homeowners policy—not your neighbor’s—will trigger a claim to reimburse you for the damages (subject to your deductible, of course).
Myth #7. If I carry $1,000,000 liability on my homeowners policy, I do not need an umbrella policy.
False. Your liability coverage will protect you if someone trips and falls on your property; if your child accidently hits and injures a passer-by in the park while playing baseball with his friends; or if someone is seriously injured in your new pool, to name a few examples.
However, it will not cover you if you seriously injure someone while renting a car or boat while on vacation, nor will it cover the costs beyond those your automobile insurance covers in the event of an accident. In these instances, and others where claims could exceed the $1,000,000 amount, you may need an umbrella insurance policy, which kicks in when the limits on your other policies are reached.
Now that you know the truth about these common homeowners insurance myths, review your policy with your agent to ensure you have proper coverage and consider whether you need new or different policies that can help fill any gaps you may find.
Heidi Petschauer Fox graduated from St. John’s University in Queens, N.Y., in 1983 with a B.S. in management. She joined her late father’s firm, Petschauer Insurance, in 1982, became principal in 1995, and now shares ownership with her partner and cousin, Erwin Petschauer. She received her Certified Insurance Counselor (CIC) designation in 1997. She currently facilitates the professional and creative development of the entire Petschauer team and manages the personal lines and social media departments.
The information contained in this blog post is designed to generally educate and inform visitors to the Equifax Finance Blog. The blog posts do not give, and should not be assumed to provide, personalized tax, investment, real estate, legal, retirement, credit, personal financial, or other professional advice. Before making any financial decision, you should always consult with the appropriate professionals who can explain your options, rights, and legal responsibilities, and advise you on any tax, legal, credit, or business implications that may result from those decisions. The views and opinions expressed by the authors of blog posts are their own views and may not be the views or opinions of Equifax, Inc. and/or its affiliates.
Equifax maintains this interactive forum for education and information purposes in order to allow individuals to share their relevant knowledge and opinions with other members and visitors. We encourage you to participate in discussions about personal finance issues and other topics of interest to this community, but please read our commenting guidelines first. Equifax reserves the right to monitor postings to the forum and comments will be published at our discretion. Do you have questions or comments about your Equifax credit report or customer-service issues regarding an Equifax product? If so, please contact Equifax directly. All opinions and information expressed or shared in blog comments are solely those of the person submitting the comments, and don't necessarily represent the views of Equifax or its management.