Ask Danny | Ep. 14: Answers to Your Homeowners Insurance Questions

This week, Danny Lipford chats with Michelle Tennant from Erie Insurance to discuss how folks can find peace of mind with homeowners insurance. (3 Echoes Content Studio/Erie Insurance)

This week, I’m talking with Michelle Tennant, vice president of Product Management in the Erie Insurance Personal Lines division.

Michelle has been with Erie since 2001 and has helped to develop Erie Insurance’s Auto, Umbrella, and Renters insurance products, as well as its Homeowners insurance coverages.

Erie Insurance has been in business since 1925, and for nearly a century we’ve been providing home, auto, business and life insurance.

We are based in Erie, Penn., and we serve customers in about 12 states. We know insurance can be complicated so with every policy, we have a knowledgeable independent agent within your community that can guide you through the process to get the right coverage for your life.

Insurance policy, seen on a desk beside a pair of reading glasses.
Homeowners insurance provides financial protection in the event of a disaster. (Mohamad Fazil Bin Ramli/Getty Images)

Why You Need Homeowners Insurance

Every homeowner has homeowners insurance but many don’t know why — what is the purpose of homeowners insurance?

Michelle: Homeowners insurance provides financial protection in the event something crazy happens, like an accident or weather-related event that damages your home.

At Erie Insurance, we think about this in a few different ways.

First is the home itself — the structure. It would cover the exterior of your home if there is damage.

Next is your personal property. A policy will cover valuable items that are important to you inside your home should those be damaged or stolen.

Another thing is liability. If you were responsible for damage to someone else’s property or someone was injured on your property or if your pet injures someone.

Additionally, I’d like to add, one coverage that Erie offers and we recommend all customers have is guaranteed replacement cost. If your home is destroyed, this coverage will pay to rebuild it no matter what the cost. If you don’t have it, you might come up short up on funds and face steep out-of-pocket costs.

Homeowners insurance agent goes over policy with young couple
Some home insurance policies only cover a certain amount of square feet, so let your agent know if you’re planning to remodel. (Adobe Stock)

What to Talk About With Your Agent

What all should you discuss with a home insurance agent?

Michelle: You should have an open dialogue with your agent. Make sure everything that is important to you in and around your home is covered.

If you’ve remodeled your home or plan to remodel, tell your agent. Do you run a business out of your home? Make sure to mention that so your business materials are covered. And, let your agent know if your family is growing or changing.

These are just a few things you want to talk about with your agent. With that information, they can get the ball rolling and find the coverage that’s right for you.

receipt book
When compiling a home inventory, save receipts for big-ticket items. Original receipts are always best, but a photocopy can work in some cases. (c-George, Getty Images)

Creating a Home Inventory

How do you even start the process of creating a home inventory?

Michelle: If a catastrophic event were to happen, it can be extremely overwhelming to remember for memory everything valuable in your home.

When creating a home inventory, begin at a small starting point. Maybe your most valuable items or go from room to room.

Take videos or photos and narrate or write down what each item is so you remember in the future. Categorize clothing and keep receipts.

Apps are popular and there’s an app for everything, even home inventories. Sortly, Memento Database and Nest Egg are a few you can use.

You can find a checklist of what you need on the Today’s Homeowner page on Erie’s website.

renter's insurance paper with pen and keys
A renter’s policy from Erie Insurance can protect your belongings after a covered loss. (designer491, Getty Images)

Renter’s Insurance

Let’s not leave our renter friends out of the conversation. Talk about renters insurance for those who are the tenants.

Michelle: If you’re renting, you should definitely consider a renter’s policy. Your landlord probably has a policy to cover the building or structure, but not what’s inside. You’ll need some kind of coverage to protect your personal property.

Erie Insurance’s renter’s insurance covers your personal property or loss of use in case you need to relocate. It also provides coverage to protect your possessions if they’re damaged lost or stolen, even if you’re away from home.

For rent sign in a front yard by a sidewalk
Erie Insurance offers a variety of policies and endorsements to help protect your property. (Joe_Potato, Getty Image)

Insurance for Landlords

Is there a different type of policy for a homeowner who wants to lease out their home?
Michelle: Landlord insurance policies are somewhat different. If you’re a homeowner and thinking about renting out your property, the land and property owner’s insurance product from Erie Insurance is what you need. It’s basically made for dwellings rented to others for one- or two-family homes. That provides similar coverage to our home products, and with that you’ll also get the guaranteed replacement cost.

Overall Advice

Talk to a local independent insurance agent to review your policy to make sure you have the coverage that’s right for you. It will give you some peace of mind to know you have the protection you need in case a disaster happens.

Check out Today’s Homeowner page on Erie’s website. It has a lot of videos and articles about your home to keep you safe and prepared for the unexpected.

Further Reading

Ask a Question! (Podcasts)

Ask a question and we could answer it on the “Today’s Homeowner Podcast!” We also may use it on our nationally syndicated radio broadcast or on