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An overview of homeowner's insurance

Common risks to houses in Minnesota differ from other parts of the country. We have tornados, thunderstorms, fires and floods, but never have to worry about the effects of earthquakes, hurricanes or typhoons.

However, as the Minnesota Department of Commerce explains, homeowner insurance policies are pretty much the same everywhere in the country. The policies, commonly called HO in the industry, are sold in standard packages that typically consist of two parts: coverage for property damage, and coverage for damages resulting from someone getting injured on the homeowner’s property.

The property coverage will usually include the dwelling, other structures on the property like the garage, shed and guest house. Personal property like household furnishings and belongings will also be covered, but vehicles and equipment for a home business are usually excluded.

What sorts of disasters your home is covered for depends on what policy you bought. Most insurance companies sell three types of HO policies. HO-1, the most basic policy, usually covers 11 perils. HO-2 policies will generally cover the same perils as HO-1, plus another five or six. HO-3, the most popular HO policy, covers nearly all possible perils against a house. However, HO-3 will usually specify several exceptions, such as flood, earthquake, war and nuclear radiation.

Other HO policies exist for certain types of dwellings, such as rental property, mobile homes and condominiums.

Understanding the terms of your homeowner’s insurance policy is one of the best ways to deal with your insurance company if you ever have to file a claim. Another tactic is to have an attorney help you fight a wrongfully denied claim.

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