Homeowners insurance can leave home with you

Your home insurance often goes with you
Your home insurance often goes with you © Constantine Pankin/

When you leave home, your homeowners insurance typically follows you, protecting you and your family from loss or theft of personal possessions and from liability for accidental injuries or property damage.

"The standard homeowners policy is going to include 'off-premises' coverage, which means that your belongings are covered anywhere in the world unless you have decided against off-premises coverage," says Michael Barry, spokesman for the Insurance Information Institute, an industry trade group.

"The second you buy something, it's yours, and your possessions are covered," says Nick McCummings, manager of Harrington Insurance Agency in Brockton, Mass.

What's more, you don't have to own your home to protect your belongings, wherever they happen to be.

"A lot of people don't realize that renters insurance can cover possessions off-premises," says Allstate spokesman Justin Herndon. "If your golf clubs are stolen from the trunk of your car, that's covered under your renters insurance."

While such coverage may be comforting, knowing your off-premises limits and deductibles will help you determine whether it's cost-effective to file a claim -- or leave your claims history unsullied.

Here are five scenarios in which your homeowners or renters insurance can save you from loss away from home.

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You buy homeowners insurance to protect your home, but you may not realize that there are times when your policy leaves home with you.

Standard homeowners insurance includes "off-premises coverage" that will continue to cover your belongings and liability virtually anywhere. For example, if your luggage disappears, you may receive compensation from the airline but you can also claim the loss against your home insurance policy, though you'll be responsible for the deductible amount.

If items you just purchased are stolen out of your car during a shopping trip, they also would be covered, though you might want to check with your credit card first, because it might protect your newly-acquired treasures.

If you happen to injure someone or damage property away from home, your homeowners liability coverage should pay the medical or other bills and cover your legal defense for any claims or lawsuits.



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