Blizzards can cause severe damage to a home

The state of Maryland experiences a variety of climates due to its varied elevation and proximity to water. Maryland homeowners should consider the potential for damage to their home by ice, wind, and flooding when buying home insurance.

How Much Does Maryland Home Insurance Cost?

According to the Insurance Information Institute, in 2010, the average annual premium for homeowners insurance in Maryland was $784. Many factors go into determining your homeowners’ insurance rate, including the age of your house, how it was constructed, the materials used, and its location.

Given the risk for wind damage and flooding associated with living on the coast, homes closer to the water in Maryland will naturally have higher insurance premiums than those that aren’t. Increasingly, insurers are also using computer catastrophe models to predict hurricane activity. If more risk is assessed, that could also mean higher rates, an increased deductible (the amount of loss paid by the policyholder before insurance kicks in), or reduced coverage.

What Does It Cover?

Home insurance protects you from potentially debilitating bills by covering damage to your home and personal belongings caused by natural perils such as fire, lightning, theft, vandalism, rain, wind, and other perils. In addition to insuring your property, homeowner’s insurance also protects you against liability for accidents that injure other people or damage their belongings while one your property. As a no-fault protection, liability insurance can help pay for medical expenses and legal fees, regardless of who is to blame.

Do I Have to Get Home Insurance in Maryland?

Home insurance is not required by law in Maine. However, buying insurance can help protect your house and property against damage from unforeseen circumstances, and liability for accidents that injure other people or damage their property. The Maryland Insurance Administration has more information for consumers about home insurance.

Optional Coverage to Consider

  • Flood. Standard homeowner’s insurance policies do not cover claims for flooding. Flood insurance is available through the federal government’s National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), as well as some private insurers. Flood insurance is often mandatory for residents in coastal regions. The average flood insurance policy premium is $500 a year, according to the Maryland Insurance Administration, though low- to moderate-risk area residents can elect lower-cost Preferred Risk Policies that start at $129 a year.
  • Hurricane and Windstorm. Damage from wind and rain is covered by standard homeowner’s insurance policies, though with increased intensity during hurricanes and windstorms, it often isn’t enough. For Maryland residents in areas that are at a high-risk, hurricane or windstorm deductibles are additional options. Hurricane deductibles apply to damage solely from hurricanes, while windstorm or wind/hail deductibles apply to any kind of wind damage. Hurricane deductibles are available in 18 states, including Maryland.
  • Earthquake. In July 2010, a 3.6 magnitude earthquake that had its epicenter in Gaithersburg was the first earthquake to hit the state since 1990, and caused no damage. However, buildings in the state are generally not designed to withstand damage from an earthquake, and this incident was a reminder that the state isn’t immune from seismic activity. Like flooding, earthquakes aren’t covered under standard homeowner’s insurance policies, though perils resulting from an earthquake, such as a fire, may be covered.
  • Ice storm. Along with wind, rain, and earthquakes, Maryland residents also brave ice storms. Ice damage is one of the perils usually covered under a standard homeowner’s policy, but because damage from ice can sometimes be extensive, be sure you know what your policy covers. For instance, if a tree falls due to an ice storm, your policy may or may not cover its removal. Likewise, if ice buildup causes your roof to leak, your insurance limits may not be enough to cover all of the repairs.

Mobile Home Insurance in Maryland

Just like homeowner’s insurance, mobile home insurance covers property loss and physical liability. Sometimes called manufactured home insurance, these policies are tailored to rental and commercial mobile homes, and whether they’re used seasonally, in a park, or on private property. Physical damage coverage pays for accidental damage to the home itself, your belongings, or other structures caused by perils such as fire, wind, hail, theft, and falling objects. Liability coverage applies when there is a claim or lawsuit brought against you after someone is injured or has personal belongings damaged on your property.

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