Insurance

Insurance is a boring but a necessary subject when you own property.  When you use a loan to buy a property, banks insist you buy a policy to cover your house or condo.  Whether you like it or not, insurance is part of the home buying process. 

My insurance is with Traveler's because my car insurance is with Geico.  There's many insurance options available to prospective buyers.  I recommend googling "house insurance" and discovering who will give you the best price.  In addition to your regular policy, I just came across two types of insurance that are helpful in the DC Metro area. 

First is special assessment insurance.  This will come in handy for condo owners.  Every owner in a condo building pays condo fees.  Condo fees generally cover common area maintenance, sewer and water service, snow and trash removal, management, and reserves.  Sometimes condo fees cover a utility like gas or electricity.  A special assessment is an additional fee levied on the owners when something is needed by the building that the reserves don't cover.  For example, the Cairo on Q St., NW had a special assessment for repointing the building's brick facade.  Special assessments can cost thousands of dollars.  This type of insurance can help defray the costs.

Second is sewer back up insurance.  DC used to be a swamp.  When we have heavy rains in the area, inevitably there is flooding.  The DC sewer system also doesn't have separate sewers for waste and rain.  This leads to sewer back ups in the city.  Although DC Water has advice on how to prevent sewer back ups, you can't control Mother Nature.  Buying sewer back up insurance is a wise investment in this area.

Insurance is a handy resource for damage but it's most effective if you have good records.  I recently came across free software called "What You Own Home Inventory".  It's a great program that allows you to document everything you own for insurance purposes.  You never know when your property will be damaged by water, fire or theft.  Good records and pictures are helpful in those stressful situations.  

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