Replacement Cost vs Actual Cash Value
There is a very clear distinction between these terms. Actual cash value (ACV) refers to a policy that covers items for their value at the time they are lost or stolen. This means depreciation will be deducted from the current value. Replacement cost refers to the cost to replace the item, regardless of how old or outdated it may be.
Most replacement cost policies require you to carry limits to meet a certain percentage of the replacement value (normally 80%) at all times. If you fail to carry the correct amount of insurance coverage, you may be responsible for a percentage of a partial loss.
Both types of contracts are available in Florida. You should refer to your own contract to determine how your loss may be settled
Coverage for the structure of your home
Your homeowners policy pays to repair or rebuild your home if it is damaged or destroyed by fire, hurricane, hail, lightning or other disasters listed in your policy. Most policies also cover detached structures such as a garage, tool shed or gazebo—generally for about 10 percent of the amount of insurance you have on the structure of the house.
A standard policy will not pay for damage caused by a flood, earthquake or routine wear and tear.
When purchasing coverage for the structure of your home, remember this simple guideline: Purchase enough coverage to rebuild your home.
Coverage for your personal belongings
Your furniture, clothes, sports equipment and other personal items are covered if they are stolen or destroyed by fire, hurricane or other insured disasters. The coverage is generally 50 to 70 percent of the insurance you have on the structure of the house.
The best way to determine if this is enough coverage is to conduct a home inventory.
Personal belongings coverage includes items stored off-premises—this means you are covered anywhere in the world. Some companies limit the amount to 10 percent of the amount of insurance you have for your possessions. You also have up to $500 of coverage for unauthorized use of your credit cards.
Expensive items like jewelry, furs, art, collectibles and silverware are covered, but there are usually dollar limits if they are stolen. To insure these items to their full value, purchase a special personal property endorsement or floater and insure the item for its officially appraised value.
Trees, plants and shrubs are also covered under standard homeowners insurance—generally for about $500 per item. Trees and plants are not covered for disease, or if they have been poorly maintained.
Additional living expenses (ALE)
ALE pays the additional costs of living away from home if you cannot live there due to damage from an insured disaster. It covers hotel bills, restaurant meals and other costs, over and above your usual living expenses, incurred while your home is being rebuilt.
Keep in mind that the ALE coverage in your homeowners policy has limits—and some policies include a time limitation. However, these limits are separate from the amount available to rebuild or repair your home. Even if you use up your ALE your insurance company will still pay the full cost of rebuilding your home up to the policy limit.
If you rent out part of your house, ALE also covers you for the rent that you would have collected from your tenant if your home had not been destroyed.
There are many other different types of homeowners insurance policies available. Normally, the type of policy coincides with the type of structure to be insured and how the structure is occupied. The type of policy also correlates to the coverage available as well.
Owner-Occupied: The main difference between policies which cover an owner-occupied, single family home is the perils covered. Basic or Broad Form policies (HO-1, HO-2) cover the structure for specified perils shown in the policy. Special form policies (HO-3) cover the structure for all perils except those specifically excluded in the policy.