One’s home and business are the largest investments a consumer can make. Given California’s property values and propensity for natural disasters, making sure your property is properly insured is not only responsible, but imperative.
California commercial property insurance is divided into “property insurance,” which covers property stolen, damaged or destroyed by a covered peril and “casualty insurance,” which covers liability exposure.
Both California homeowner’s and property insurance can be confusing, but the following guidelines will help to demystify the process and help you make an informed decision. Before you sign a policy, consider the following:
1. Not all property insurance in California is the same, or costs the same
2. Coverage is not always guaranteed or included
3. Insurance coverage limits are critical
Know your ratesBy law, California insurance companies determine their own rates, subject to approval by the California Department of Insurance (CDI) and since each company's loss rates vary, their prices will vary as well. Be sure to compare rates and coverage when choosing an insurance carrier.
Know what's covered (and what's not) with California property insuranceCalifornia house insurance policies normally cover your dwelling, other structures and contents against losses such as fire or lightning, wind or hail, breaking glass, explosion, riots, theft, aircraft and vehicles, smoke and vandalism. It's important to note that earthquake and fire protection are specifically excluded in standard policies. Commercial property insurance covers business personal property, buildings and the personal property of others against either specified perils (a list of specific perils) or open perils (all losses are covered unless specifically excluded) policies.
California Department of Insurance website or try an online service.
Know your limitsYour policy and the amount it will pay out to replace your home or business is not dictated by the real estate market, but by the cost of labor and building materials. Like with their rates, insurance carriers calculate their coverage limits differently. Your "dwelling" limit should cover the amount it would cost to rebuild your house and "content" limits are usually 50% of the dwelling limit, but your personal possessions should be carefully documented. California commercial property insurance limits, on the other hand, are the estimated amounts to rebuild and replace permanently installed fixtures and equipment in the event of a total loss.
Contractors State License Board to find local contractors or online services like Contractors.com.
- Shop around for California homeowners insurance, comparing prices, service and coverage.
- Provide the most complete and accurate information when shopping for California property insurance rates.
- Read all applications or finance agreements before signing and ask questions. Never sign a blank form or something that you do not understand.
- Review and read your California property insurance policy coverage, limits, premium and other information again once you receive it.
- Keep an inventory of personal property, with photos, listing all of the items you own, the dates purchased, and the price and keep this information update to date and in a safe, secure location.