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Home and Car Insurance Questions Answered

Mike Latham with DFS Insurance joined us on the podcast to discuss all things home and car insurance.

Listen to the full episode on Spotify or iTunes. Make sure to follow us to be the first to know when we post a new podcast!


What types of insurance do I need when I’m buying a house?

It all depends on the occupancy of the house that you’re buying. If you’re going to actually live in the house, then you’re going to get a basic homeowner’s policy. There are different levels of coverage you can purchase. Most independent insurance agents should know what the best fit is for the type of house that you’re buying. If you are buying it for a rental, you need it to be more tailored for a landlord policy. The differences are mainly the coverages. Since you’re not living there, you don’t need personal property coverage and other things like that. In conclusion, what it comes down to is occupancy.

What factors should I consider when I’m purchasing homeowners insurance?

It depends on the coverage and the limits that you want along with the type of house. There’s several different endorsement options. Homeowner policies is the building block where you get a basic policy, and then you can build on it based off of what you need. The perfect example would be if you have a basement and want water and sewer coverage. Water and sewer are not covered under a normal homeowner’s policy, you have to endorse that on. If it’s something you feel the need of having, or the house has had prior water problems, you can purchase something like that to build onto your normal homeowners policy.

Would that be different from flood insurance?

Flood insurance isn’t covered under a homeowner’s policy, and that’s something that most companies won’t endorse onto a homeowner’s policy. You have to buy a separate flood policy for that.

Would home insurance cover items that were stolen from my garage if I were to leave it open and not be there?

Yes, basically if your property is on your premises or in your house, you’re going to have coverage. Whether your garage door is open, or someone actually breaks into your house, you would have coverage under home insurance.

What are some ways that I can lower the costs of my home insurance policy?

The main way is your deductible. Every homeowner’s policy is going to have a deductible, which is going to be what you’re going to handle first, before insurance will kick in. If there is a loss, the higher the deductible, the lower your insurance costs will be. A standard deductible is about $1000.

The next best way would be to bundle it with your auto insurance. Most homeowners will give you a 20% discount for bundling your auto with your home.

Home updates are another great way to save money. Most companies will give you a discount for having updates like a new roof or furnace.

Lastly, a security system could save you a little. I always tell people to buy a security system because they want it, not for the insurance discounts, because it’s really not a whole lot, but it does save you a little bit.

If I am on vacation and I have an item, like my wedding rings stolen from me, is that something that I can have covered under my home insurance?

That’s something that you’d want to look at scheduling onto your homeowners policy. Most homeowner’s policies will limit how much you can collect on theft of jewelry. By scheduling it, you actually can get the full value of the ring if something should happen to it. As far as other property that’s away from your house, you do have 10% off premises coverage for all your personal property belongings. For example, if  you have a hundred thousand dollars of personal property coverage at your house, you would have $10,000 of coverage anywhere in the world (hotel rooms, cars, other places, etc.).

What factors can affect the cost of my car insurance?

Many different factors can drive the cost up or down. The age of the driver would be the main factor. Some other factors are: the driving record of the driver, the vehicle you purchase and if it is higher value, your credit, and lastly, just the types of coverages that you choose. If you have full coverage, that’s going to drive the cost up of your insurance.

If I have an older vehicle, where the market value is pretty low, is it worth it to have insurance? Do I need to have insurance on it?

In the state of South Dakota, you are required to carry a state minimum of liability limits. That will give you bodily injury coverage, and property damage coverage to people that you may hit, or injure with your vehicle. If you want to have medical payments coverage, or a comp and collision coverage on your vehicle, that is up to you, unless your bank requires it.

If I get into an accident, can I keep my car after the insurance totals it out?

Yes, if the insurance company deems it a total loss, you can keep your vehicle. What they’ll do is they’ll present you the claim amount of how much they’ll pay you. Then they’ll also give you something called a buyback amount. For example, if they totally alter your vehicle for, $5,000, they may say you can keep your vehicle if you pay $500. This allows you to keep the vehicle and still recover most of the value of it.

How does car insurance work when you’re not at fault?

Most of the time the other person’s auto insurance will pay to fix your car, for any injuries, and pay for a rental car that you may have to get while your car is getting fixed. In a case where the accident may not have been your fault, but the other driver doesn’t have insurance, then your insurance would kick in and you would need collision coverage under your policy to pay for the damages to your car. You would also get stuck paying your own deductible.

Does all auto insurance pay for windshield replacement and chip repairs?

You have to have comprehensive coverage, that’s where your glass coverage comes into play. Most insurance companies will waive your deductible for comp if it’s just a chip repair, but if you need a brand new windshield, then your comp deductible will apply. Some companies will let you buy back full glass coverage for an additional premium. If you do need a new windshield, they’ll waive your deductible for that as well.

When I’m traveling and I rent a car, do I have insurance coverage through my insurance?

If you have full coverage on one of your vehicles on your policy, that will extend to a temporary replacement (rental car) for up to 30 days, but only within the United States. Sometimes it is a good idea to purchase that rental car coverage through the rental car company, because there are gaps that your insurance company won’t pay for. Another factor to consider, is if you do buy their insurance, you won’t actually deal with the claim, the car rental place will.

If you would like to learn more about home and auto insurance we suggest checking out past blogs. Learn more about our home insurance through contacting Mike Latham, at 605-334-4228 or