All About Homeowners Insurance in Ohio

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Owning your own home can be one of life’s great joys. Since the purchase of a home will probably be one of your most important investments, it is imperative that you protect its value, and the best way of doing that is by purchasing homeowner’s insurance in Ohio.

Homeowners insurance is going to be a crucial component to any homeowner’s risk management planning and should be properly thought out to get the most benefits. Since there may always be a threat of property loss due to theft, fire or natural disasters, having a solid home insurance policy can make settlement claims easier.

Homeowners Insurance Explained

A homeowners insurance policy in Ohio is basically multiple coverages that have been combined for home owner or renters to provide them with the most security. In the state of Ohio, you will find three different homeowners insurance packages, with one each for those who own condominiums and renters. It is important here to note that homeowners insurance provides fire, theft, liability, windstorm and lightening coverage.

Homeowners also have the option of taking out extra coverage added to the tailored policy to cater to the specific needs of homeowners. One of the main differences between the various forms of homeowners insurance in Ohio are the perils.  in other words, Perils are the causes of loss that the specific policy covers.

Standard Coverage in a Homeowners Insurance Policy

As the name implies, applying for homeowners insurance in Ohio is going to provide you with the coverage you need when disaster strikes. But, there are some things that homeowners need to be aware of when it comes to getting homeowners insurance in Ohio. For instance, normally, under many homeowners insurance policies, the largest part of the covered property is the home or “dwelling” you live in.

Apart from the place where you actually live in, this is also going to include other structures that are attached to your property such as, the garage or other additions that have been made to the house. Along with that, tool sheds, detached garages and all other structures or “private structures” are also covered under the insurance policy. That being said, it is important to note that any space or detached structure located on the insured premises that is either leased or rented out, or is used to carry out business is not covered under the homeowners insurance in Ohio, These types of risk would require another insurance policy.

Since some owners of condominiums and renters do not own the building, they do not need to take out an insurance policy for it. There are some condo owners who may be held responsible for specific building items, which is why condo owners are advised to check with their condo association to find out if they have any such responsibilities.

Renters, condo owners and homeowners all need coverage for their personal property, including their personal belongings either owned or carried. Insurance policies provide coverage whether the loss occurs while you are in the house or not, and you are also eligible to obtain coverage for any personal property of guests that’s located on your premises. This is not going to include coverage for pets.

Homeowners insurance in Ohio offers “Loss of Use” coverage due to the increase in living expenses that’s brought about due to the inability to occupy your house, condo or apartment because of any damage. This will help cover for your expenses during the time you cannot occupy your home because of any damage caused by some insured perils.

Liability Coverage

All types of homeowners insurance in Ohio are going to include liability coverage, which basically offers protection for you if you are sued by someone claiming that they were injured or their property was damaged as the result of your negligence. If there is a suit filed against you then the insurance provider is going to cover the cost of the legal defense regardless if you are found to be liable or not for the damages. But, if you are found to be liable by the court, then your insurance provider will have to pay for all damages that have been assessed by the other party. This usually does not affect the limit of a person’s liability coverage.  Also, suits between individuals who are covered by the same policy are not going to be included.

Liability protection also extends to accidents that occur away from your premises along with the injuries you sustain on your premises. This includes any accidents that may have been caused by you or a family member. It is also important to note that if you have employed someone on your premises then Ohio Worker’s Compensation laws may also apply.

Making Medical Payments

You will find that there are additional terms in the liability section which have to do with medical payments coverage. The purpose of this is to offer coverage in case of any bodily injury due to accidents that occur either on your premises or caused by you or a family member. This part of the liability section provides coverages regardless of whether you are legally responsible or not, but it does not provide coverage for any injuries that are sustained by the owner of the insurance policy or their family.

Damages to Other’s Property

Also included in the liability section of your homeowners insurance in Ohio is a $500 cap for any minor damages that may occur to the property of another person because of you or someone else in your family. Any damage that is caused by children who are under 13 years old is also going to be covered here, regardless of whether it was intentional or an accident.

Exclusions

Those who are looking to purchase homeowners insurance in Ohio, should know that damage brought about to your property due to certain situations such as earthquakes, floods, seepage, war, landslides or tidal waves is not covered by the homeowners insurance in Ohio. This is because Ohio insurers identify perils as “acts of God” and are therefore not normal losses due to accidents or negligence.

However, homeowners in Ohio do have access to flood insurance coverage. That is only available via a program offered by the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP).  Homeowners insurance in Ohio also covers earthquakes, but only provides protection to your dwelling and not to any vehicles, mopeds or motorcycles present on the insured property at the time of the earthquake.

Also, for coverage due to an earthquake, according to the Ohio Department of Insurance, brick and masonry homes are more likely to be damaged during an earthquake as compared to a frame home, so you’ll have to pay more for your coverage.

Winters can be rough in Ohio, which is why it is a common time for homeowners to file claims. While your insurance provider will help you repair any damages to your property during winter time, they might think otherwise if it becomes a trend.

The liability section of homeowners insurance in Ohio also has some exclusions which are, the transmission of any communicable disease or home daycare services, or any other business that’s been carried out from home. It is important to note that you may get coverage for some of the items that have been excluded in the homeowners insurance policy.

Homeowners Insurance Policy Forms

The following are the homeowners insurance policy forms that are available to homeowners in Ohio:

Homeowner 2

The HO 2 is referred to a “basic form” homeowners insurance policy. It offers coverage to the homeowner on a “named peril” basis. What this means is that both your home and all personal property is going to be covered against only those losses that have been clearly listed on your insurance policy.

Homeowners 3

The HO 3 is referred to as a “broad form” homeowners insurance policy. Unlike the previous option, homeowners under the HO 3 policy will cover you for all a much longer lists of perils than the HO 2.  But this still isn’t the broadest form available.  However you can sometimes endorse the personal property on an HO 3 policy to include what is know as special personal property to mirror an HO 5.

Homeowners 4

This is referred to as the “Tenants form” and is basically used by renters. The policy provides coverage for personal property under the same guidelines as Homeowners 2, and also includes living expenses as well as liability and medical payments.

Homeowners 5

The HO 5 is considered as a “comprehensive form”  or “special form” homeowners insurance policy. Under this type of policy, homeowners will get coverage for their home as well as their personal property under the “open-peril” basis. The HO 5 policy is known as being the broadest form of home owner’s insurance that is available.

Homeowners 6

Homeowners 6 or the “Condominium form” is a homeowners insurance policy that specifically caters to the needs of condominium owners. This includes any loss of property, including any building alterations or additions that are within the insured unit. Homeowners of condominiums are also eligible for endorsements to protect their investment in the common property of the condominium association. It can also be used to provide coverage against any liability that’s created by sharing in the common ownership of those common spaces and the building structure.

Homeowners 8

The HO 8 is also called the “Modified Coverage Form.” It is mainly designed to offer some protection to the owner-occupied older home where the replacement cost is going to far exceed the market value of the property. With this homeowners insurance in Ohio, homeowners are allowed to have lower limits of insurance instead of maintaining an 80% replacement cost.

The Homeowners 8 offers the policyholder with multiple modes of loss payment that is mainly going to depend on if the damage to the property is replaced or repaired. This type of insurance policy offers coverage for dwelling, and other structures that are located on the premises, providing them with protection against any loss that’s been brought about due to lightning, storms, hail, along with man-made situations such as, explosions, fire, vandalism, theft, rioting, vehicle damage, and any other malicious acts. Medical payments and personal liability coverage is also available for any accidents that occur on the insured premises to those individuals other than the owner of the policy.

Supplemental Coverage

There are several supplemental endorsements that can broaden the coverage for a homeowner.  Make sure that you ask your agent of a list of potential endorsement that you may want to consider.  If not included in your coverage, a few of those may include the following

  • The Fire Department Service Charge — Homeowners insurance in Ohio also includes certain supplementary coverages. For instance, The Fire Department Service Charge offers homeowners a coverage of up to $500 which is for charges to the local fire department whenever they are called to protect a property from a fire. But, it is important here to note that the coverage is sometimes not applicable in case the property is located within city limits or the fire department response is provided by the municipality or a protection district. 
  • Debris Removal Coverage — Debris Removal Coverage allows you to make payments for any removal of debris after a damage occurs.
  • Credit Card Theft — Credit card theft coverage also pays the owner of the policy up to $500 for any unauthorized use or theft of their credit cards.

Ohio Fair Plan

Sometimes you may find it difficult to obtain coverage.  This may be due to a claim history or the condition of the property.  If you are unable to find homeowners insurance in Ohio, the Ohio FAIR Plan Underwriting Association can help. If you need to file a complaint, you can do that by contacting the Ohio Department of Insurance Consumer Services Division at 1-800-686-1526.

Final Note

It can get complicated so make sure to ask questions.  There many great policies available today which can make this shopping experience easier.  But you’ll need to ask.  Your agent should be an advisor to you and walk you through your risks and address all of your concerns.