Must Have Homeowners Insurance Riders as Told by a Mitigation Contractor


Hi, my name is Joe Crivello and I have been in the restoration business for nearly 25 years. I have worked with all the major insurance companies over the years and have seen every type of claim you could imagine. The sad part of my business is working with under insured homeowners. I know this report is a long read, but you will gain very valuable and much needed information. I hope this E-Book helps you in buying the right insurance riders. Based on what AmeriDri runs into most often regarding underinsured losses, directly below are what I believe to be the most needed riders.



Personal Property or home: The personal property insurance coverage under the standard

home insurance policy is filled with limitations. For example, some types of personal property

tend to be covered, however only up to a specific amount and that amount is usually just a

small percent of the actual worth i.e., jewelry, firearms, collectible items, cash, and so on.).

Extra insurance coverage for your entire value associated with these kinds of property might

require a property insurance coverage rider.

Electronic Equipment: Coverage for personal computer equipment and data is usually limited

by standard homeowner’s insurance coverage. You might want to a home owner’s insurance

rider for added insurance coverage.

Home Business: More than twenty percent of United states household’s double as a small

business home office. Standard homeowner’s insurance coverage is very limited on insurance

policy coverage regarding property or home used in small business functions. Practically all

insurance policies are generally far more limited towards business-related liability i.e., a client

is injured when in your home), usually excluding these kinds of claims entirely. In the event

you operate any type of business in your own home, think about adding a business-based

home owner’s insurance rider to your insurance policy.

Secondary Property or Income Property: In the event you own an additional property which is

utilized as a secondary residence or rental property, an individual may be able to acquire

insurance coverage for that property or home with the addition of a rider to your existing

homeowner’s insurance coverage policy. If available, this process may very well be cost effective as opposed to separate insurance policies for each property or home.

Sewer and Drain Back-Up: Any backed up sewer line or drain can easily result in substantial

damage to your property. This kind of loss might be excluded under your homeowner’s

insurance policy. If that’s the case, a home insurance coverage rider might be required to add

this coverage.

Theft: Protection under your insurance coverage policy could be limited with regard to theft

associated with personal property. A home insurance coverage rider could be available to

increase insurance coverage with regard to loss due to theft.


Are you considering purchasing a home for you and your family, but feel a bit overwhelmed by

all of the things you have to think about? Instead, perhaps you have already invested into a

house and are wondering if you have the best insurance coverage to make sure that you are

properly reimbursed and cared for no matter what happens. Wherever you may be in the

process of home ownership, it is not uncommon to feel stressed out and frustrated with the

technical aspects that you hadn’t realized existed.

Many homeowners, even those who have owned for years, do not give much thought to their

insurance policy. Operating under the assumption that the mortgage company will require a

great minimal level of insurance is a mistake. However, there are many things that are not

covered under most policies.

If you already have insurance, then you need to thoroughly inspect your policy. For those who

do not, reading the fine print before signing is advised. In either instance, you need to work to

ensure that you have the appropriate policy and riders to help you through a devastating


At some point, you may need to weigh out your priorities, due to your budget. When this

happens, you have options to obtain the most protection possible for your money. Be a savvy

shopper for your homeowner’s insurance, and you can likely obtain everything you need.

Once you understand the breakdown of traditional policies for homeowners and more about

riders, you can go forward with that knowledge when you have to make choices.

Understanding how riders work and the ones available to you can end up saving you immense

amounts of money in the long run.

With so many things involved with the purchase of a home, it can be easy to give little thought

to what exactly will and will not be covered by the insurance policy. Additionally, the longer

you live in a place, the more likely you are to acquire goods that may require extra coverage.

In fact, this is one reason that homeowners should inspect their policies at least once each


Regardless of your budget, you should endeavor to keep the cost of your monthly premiums

down without sacrificing the quality of your policy. Looking into your options will empower

you when discussing your insurance coverage needs with the agents from the companies on

your list. This is a great example of what they say about knowledge being power. You are in a

much better position to negotiate when you are organized and have the information you need

to get the best rates you can.

Then, simply make sure you have safe copies of your policy and that you review it at least once

a year, updating as needed.


The first thing that you have to understand is how the basics of homeowner’s insurance

policies work. This will help you to select the best one for you to ensure you have a good

foundation to your coverage. Then, you can make the appropriate additions as needed.

The seven typical policies are named HO-1 through HO-8 (there is no HO-7) and cover the

insured based upon events that are either specifically included or excluded from the coverage.

It is important to understand which direction your policy describes these events.

In the event of included perils, it means that the policy will pay according to the terms if the

claim arises as a result of the list of events. Things such as fire and hail are among the types of

included events for policies that are worded in that manner.

On the other hand, some policies refer particularly to excluded perils. In these instances, you

may need to research if you can obtain a rider to gain coverage in those that concern you. For

example, if claims resulting from earth movement will be denied, you may need to obtain an

earthquake rider if you live in an area prone to these shifts in the planet.

The first two levels, HO-1, and HO-2, are both inclusion style policies. HO-1 does not include

personal liability insurance and is insufficient for a mortgage. This most basic policy will only

pay for damages to the home as a result of ten specified perils, which include fire and

lightning, windstorm or hail, explosions, riots, and theft among others.

The HO-2 Homeowner Policy provides inclusive coverage for the events in HO-1 plus six

additional ones. These include falling objects, the weight of ice and snow, and freezing.

Additionally, it covers structures besides the main home, such as the garage and fence damage

that may occur during one of these events. Homeowners personal liability coverage is also

included at this level.

The most popular policy today is the HO-3, which is often referred to as the special form

policy. Not only does it cover the home and other structures like the HO-2, liability is included

in the package. However, unlike the HO-2, this is the first in the list of exclusionary policies.

Instead of including which events will be covered, a list of 21 specific perils is listed that are

not covered.

In addition to certain natural disasters, other exclusions are related to government action, war

and nuclear hazard. The list also includes vermin and insects, which means that you need to be

certain to prevent any infestations in your home. If they occur, you alone will be financially

responsible for repairs.

The HO-4 is for renters and includes liability and medical payments. Additionally, the contents

of the home and living expenses while displaced are a part of the policy.

The HO-5 insurance policy is considered among the best in the nation. It covers the entire

home, including the contents and is the most extensive policy offered. There are 21 exclusions

on the list, virtually the same as the HO-4 with a few minor differences.

The HO-6 is for condo owners and provides for the dwelling and property in the case of 16

different perils. HO-8 includes 10 perils and is designed for older homes. In this event, it is

important to note if the policy is for the replacement cost or the cash value of the home to get

the best replacement cost coverage.

Make sure that you have the appropriate plan to cover you and your family needs when you

are shopping around. Speak to your significant other about which issues are most important

and your finances so that you go into your research well prepared. Knowing how much you

have to spend will help you to find the best policy possible to fit your budget.


Though it may seem as though the majority of choices regarding home insurance coverage are

pretty good, you need to know exactly what some of these terms mean and the amounts that

will be paid out if you need to make a claim. Do not assume that if you have HO-3 or HO-5 that

you will have the funds you need to completely recover from the event.

The unfortunate reality is that many policies do not even have enough coverage dollars to

rebuild the home, much less make up for the contents inside of it. However, if you go into

negotiations with the insurance agent knowing how to debate the price difference between

market value and replacement cost of your investment.

Before the devastating 1992 hurricane that struck the southern Florida coast, the vast majority

of homeowner policies did actually cover the costs to reconstruct homes. However, that event

led to alterations in the way policies were written because so many insurance companies were

hurt by the enormity of the damage that arose due to Hurricane Andrew.

Another problem that arises when the damage is due to a larger event is what is known as a

demand surge. The more homes and businesses that have been harmed by a fire, flood or

some other type of devastation, the higher rates of repair will be for everyone due to the

demand. Even coverage adequate for rebuilding during regular times is nowhere near enough

during the day, weeks and months following the event.

The larger the catastrophic event, the longer it will be before construction costs deflate to the

pre-disaster ones. In fact, the prices may never be quite that low again. If you have not

properly planned ahead, you could end up with only enough money to rebuild a portion of

what you had before.

Before you sign your policy, you need to find out if building code coverage is included in it.

When a fire or another event occurs that requires more than half of a building to undergo

reconstruction, the new work must meet current codes rather than the ones that existed at

the time of construction. This often means additional work. If your policy does not include this,

you could end up with thousands of dollars in uncovered expenses to return your home to a

functional and operational status.

Though many policies do have coverage that will pay for injuries to others, there are often

exclusions and rules that apply to these medical bills. First of all, these policies rarely cover

members of the home who should have independent personal medical insurance to provide

for any injuries sustained under your roof. However, other people and their injuries may also

be excluded from your policy.

There are many types of things that people add to their yards and homes for fun. While these

can be enjoyable for those who live in the home to share with family and friends, your policy is

not likely to cover any injuries that these guests in your home sustain. While a zip line in the

backyard may be a great idea if you have space, you will be financially liable for any medical

bills and related expenses to the injury.

Some types of additions and equipment may be able to be added to your policy for additional

funds. These types of additions should be reported to the insurance company when they are

built in and it is a great time to discuss the coverage related to the swimming pool, hot tub or

another amenity that has been added as a part of the home.

If you are operating a home business, the average homeowner’s insurance policy will not

cover those who are on the property for business purposes. This can include employees and

clients. Also, if you have people in your home who may be perceived as employees, their

injuries would likely not be covered.

Homeowner’s insurance has a dollar limit on the various aspects of the claim. If you do not

take the time to figure out what you need to adequately compensate you in the event of a

complete loss, you are likely to lose out on large sums of invested money. As you look over the

claims that you are considering, find out exactly what the categories and amounts are that are

included in your property claim.

If the amounts are inadequate to meet your needs, you can either shop around for a different

policy or speak to the agent about alternatives through their policy options. No matter which

company you choose, nor the policy and provisions associated with it, make certain that you

understand the financial details of what is and is not specifically covered. This will prevent you

from any shocking situation further along.

Hobbies and collectibles are often going to exceed the coverage associated with any basic

policy. Even those who have a higher limit for payout may not provide adequate coverage for

the amount of the goods. In fact, without the proper documentation, some of these valuable

items may not be recognized at all by the insurance company, further increasing the losses you

are experiencing as a result of the event.

Equipment associated with activities can become quite expensive for enthusiasts. Often,

people do not even really consider the cumulative value of the things that they own in a

particular category, such as an extensive sound and recording system or top of the line SCUBA

gear. In fact, AmeriDri just completed a claim where the homeowner had expensive scuba

gear that was not covered due to the cost of the scuba gear. Always discuss all high valued

contents with your agent so you can avoid no coverage.

Those who indulge in collecting or have family members in the house who do can invest

thousands upon thousands of dollars over time as their skills and interests become more

expert. For someone who obtained their homeowner’s insurance policy when the stamp

collection only had two stamps instead of two hundred and two, it is definitely time to alter

the insurance policy.

These are just a few of the examples of how your basic homeowner’s insurance policy may not

be adequate when you need it most. However, by learning about the ways in which your

policy is inefficient, you can work to correct it. Though it will take you some time and

additional study, it will be well worth it.

Once you have figured out exactly what types of coverage you need and have been able to

secure them at great rates, you will be able to rest more soundly at night. Knowing that your

family, home and belongings are all taken care of, along with any guests that you ever have at

your home is sure to ease your mind as a business-minded homeowner.


Because there are so many things that are not covered by these regular policies, virtually all

homeowner’s insurance companies will provide an assortment of riders that policyholders may

obtain at an additional rate. These are simply add-ons to your policy that you have personally

chosen. They are based upon your belongings and your needs.

Most policies do not cover floods and earthquakes. For those who live in areas likely to

experience either of these events, obtaining a rider to cover damage and loss during one is a

good idea. Though it will cost a bit more each month than if you had not added it, when the

time arises, you will be glad that you had invested in the rider.

The amount of money that you spend on riders will depend on several factors, the first of

which is what your regular policy covers. For instance, if you are in need of additional jewelry

coverage, and Original Policy A covers the first $2,000 of your lost jewelry and Original Policy B

only covers the first thousand, you will obviously need a larger rider for B than A.

Even if you do not own a great deal of jewelry, it is possible that you do not have enough

coverage. Though when you look at your engagement and wedding set you probably see the

love and special memories, in relation to your insurance, you should be looking at dollar signs.

The same is true for antique family heirlooms and other antiques in the home. You may be

surprised to discover the value sitting in your jewelry box each night!

Gun enthusiasts will need to make sure that their collection is covered, keeping in mind that

many insurance companies will have stipulations related to proper care and storage of the

firearms covered by the rider. Those who add to the collection on a regular basis will need to

update their policy as well. This includes good record-keeping.

The riders that are available to you will depend in part on the insurance company that your

policy is through. Every company does not offer every choice conceivable. Therefore, you

should use it as a consideration point when looking at your options.

Even if you already have an existing policy, you can switch to another company when it is time

to renew, particularly if the new one offers riders that are important to you and you can get a

better deal on your coverage. Do not make the mistake of undermining the necessity of riders

and keeping them current with your belongings.

Some do this thinking that nothing is going to happen to their home, or that they want to

avoid increased premiums for a bit. However, if a break-in, fire or another devastating event

occurs, those items not included in the policy will not be compensated for during the claim



While those who own an excessive amount of goods generally have the appropriate riders

added to their policy, people of lesser means do not always think to do so. The very wealthy

have attorneys and accountants working to make sure that the finances of these folks run

smoothly. Most people, however, have to do this for themselves.

Unless you have a staff of professionals handling your financial affairs, you will have to explore

your choices for insurance riders on your own. Remember to consider your opportunities with

at least four or five different insurance companies. Though this may seem excessive, this is a

large commitment.

Although you can certainly change insurance providers each time your policy comes up for

renewal, that is not a very good approach. If you have an existing policy, you do the research,

and make a change to a new company in order to receive the coverage and rates you want,

you should stay with them unless something causes you to need to switch down the line.

Many companies offer incentives the longer people have had policies with them. While many

people want rebates, some providers offer rate reductions instead. If you and your loved ones

own more than the bare minimum of assets, you should strongly consider obtaining the

appropriate riders.

When you are considering adding riders, you need to realize that this may increase your

monthly insurance premiums by anywhere from 1 to 20 percent. Rather than look at this as an

unreasonably charged addition, be grateful that these riders exist to help cover those extra

special items in your home. Believe me when I say that I run into this at least 5 or 6 time a

month. It is always sad when your property has some type of disaster and you are not fully

covered. In Colorado Springs, sewage backup in a basement is the most under insured disaster

we are called out to mitigate.


If you are in the process of purchasing a home and in need of the best insurance for your

needs, you need to set aside several hours so that you can review it carefully. This means

gathering your materials and going to a quiet place with no distractions. While you are likely to

use your computer during this time, you need to turn off Skype and any chat type of

communications that can disturb you.

By focusing in on the insurance aspect for this time, you should be able to clearly figure out

your plan. At the very least, during the first stage, you will be prepared or have already made

contact with an agent from the companies that looked most promising. Remember to keep an

open mind during the investigative process and to be open and honest with the agent.

If you have not yet decided on which company to go with, tell the agent that at the beginning

of the meeting. You should have all of your information clearly organized so that you can

converse like a pro. This will provide you an advantage during the negotiation process.

Let the agent know your needs, including specific amounts for various types of coverage. If a

competitor provides a lower rate on a particular rider, mention it to the agent. In some cases,

you may be able to get them to come down on the overall price in order to get you as a


The same thing is true if you have a policy already. Adding riders to an existing policy or

expanding on those you already have is a fairly routine procedure. Your insurance agent

should be happy to help you make these additions to your policy. You may also want to discuss

any incentives or package type of deals that you might receive at that time. After all, it never

hurts to ask.

Those with an existing policy that are contacting competitors should wait until their current

policy is within a month or two of renewal. Then, you can speak with the other companies,

letting them know what you have and discussing what types of incentives could be used to

lure you to their company. Speak to them openly regarding the riders you need and how much

you believe them to be worth each month.

Once you have a few of these, you can contact your current insurance agent and discuss what

offers they might provide that are better. It is possible that they can give a boost to the

coverage or a reduction in rates on one or two of your riders in order to retain you as a

customer. Of course, the exact specifications of what they are allowed to do will depend upon

their employer.


As you are preparing to speak with an insurance agent, you will need to know which riders are

most important to you, along with the value that you need for each of them. In each category,

find out what the basic payout will be for it. For instance, your basic policy coverage may pay

out $1,000 for something, say your important documents, photos and related items. If the

total worth of your belongings in that category is $2,000, you will need an additional $1,000 in

coverage through a rider that specifies these items.

The more belongings that you have, the more extensive this process becomes. However, most

people start out with smaller amounts of goods that need riders. By the time they require

several, most are comfortable with the process of obtaining them when needed.

If you own a second residential property, that should certainly be a priority in your list of

riders. Rather than obtaining a second homeowner’s insurance policy, you can generally get a

rider that covers rental property or your vacation home. This is a far more affordable

alternative and reduces the total cost for insurance and the number of bills you must pay


As was mentioned before, most policies today do not include coverage to bring buildings up to

code in the event more than half of it requires repair. The good news is that there is a rider to

cover these additional costs. Depending upon how old your home is, the laws and ordinances

that govern the codes may be drastically different than the ones for today. This could easily

turn into a large sum of money. Find out if you need this coverage. If so, it needs to be right

under the secondary properties as far as priorities go.

Those who own and operate a small business from their home cannot afford to be sued by

those who are there “on business.” You want to be sure that any person who is on your

property will be covered by the company should they suffer any injuries while there.

At the same time, workers’ compensation for “employees” is often recommended for those

with casual workers. From the kid down the street who mows your yard once in a while to

your daily child care provider, you can get a rider to cover your workers. Find out what the

laws are in your jurisdiction to ensure that all of your paperwork regarding those who work on

your property are appropriately filled out and filed with the agencies who need them.

Another important consideration is theft. While nobody wants to consider a break-in, or even

an inside job, the reality is that many homeowners go through this every year. Make certain

that the coverage amount is adequate for your family. Also, read the fine print as far as this

section goes to make sure you understand the exclusions that apply.

There are many other types of riders, some of which may be more important to you than

others. Make a list of them all and then prioritize. You and your spouse may want to do that

part together. After all, hobbies and collectibles need to be added and agreed upon even if

only one party is interested in it. The financial investment still requires coverage.


Once you have done the research regarding the policy and riders that are most relevant to

you, you will have to speak with agents from several companies before deciding which one to

go with. Even if you already think you know which one you want to use, you will feel even

better about your choice if you take this step.

You can talk to others and go online in order to find out which insurance companies serve your

area. It is your choice if you want to work with an exclusively online provider or one where you

can walk into the office. This will depend in part on your schedule as well as your

communication preferences.

Either way, look into the reputation of each of the companies that you are thinking about. You

may have as many as eight or nine on your list at this point. Keep in mind that you are looking

for the best, not the fastest to get signed up with.

Go to independent review websites for this information, not the insurance company sites. If

you are looking at an agency in your local environment, make sure that you are reading about

that specific branch, and not the company as a whole, particularly in regards to customer

service. For many, being able to speak to an agent face-to-face helps them to feel comfortable

taking care of the monthly expense.

Others are quite comfortable with the Internet and may choose an insurance company with

only an online presence. In this case, the online reputation is the thing to go with. Looking into

how the businesses treat consumers is very important.

Keep your eye out for reports regarding how quickly they process claims and any difficulties

that customers have encountered when attempting to recover from a theft or other disaster.

At times, people will give incredibly low and unjustified ratings to companies when they are

going through something traumatic.

A more careful look may reveal that the person is upset about the flood or other incident and

that the insurance agency did, in fact, provide services and payments in a timely manner. This

is why you need to check out the reviews rather than depending upon rating alone.

Also, it is important that you make sure you are viewing sites that are not funded in any way

by the medical or insurance industries. Read the pages that tell about the company and look

for ads on the page. One strategy that many businesses have is to invest as a team into a

website that contains “reviews.” Then, they have negative ones about themselves removed

and might even place false positives on some of their names.

Finding out who is behind the site and checking out more than three of them should help you

to be sure that you are getting a fairly well-rounded view of each of them. Then, see which

riders each of them offers. If any of them did not fare well in their reviews or do not have the

riders you need, scratch them from your list.

For those who are shopping online, look around for codes and discounts that you may be able

to apply when you first sign up with a company.

Contact each of the insurance providers that are on your list still, and speak with a

representative regarding your needs. Make certain to let them know that you are speaking

with other agents as well. During these communications, pay attention to how you are

treated. If the agent is ever rude or disrespectful to you, you can expect that behavior to only

get worse after you sign with the company.

Make your decision based on the policy and riders you can get for a price you can afford

through an agency you trust.


After you have completed the paperwork for your insurance, you should have a few copies

made. You can keep one locked in a fire-proof safe at your home. If you have a wall safe at

your office that only you have access to, you may also want to place a copy there. Many also

decide to use their safety deposit box as a way to protect the documentation, or even using

the safe of a trusted family member.

The important thing is that you have at least one, and preferably two, policies stored off of the

property. Even if you have a fireproof safe, it is still possible for the contained items to become

damaged. Rather than take this risk with your only copy of the policy, be sure to have at least

one hard copy in a safe location.


No matter how carefully you craft your basic homeowner policy and the riders attached to it,

you are likely to need to change it at some point. Any time you sell property that is covered or

purchase new items that need to be, you need to contact your agent. It is important that you

do not delay on this action.

In addition to considering it when you make these types of transactions, you, and your spouse

if you have one, should go over the policy, riders and your belongings. This way, if any item

was overlooked during the sale or purchase process, you can rectify the situation. Make it an

annual event, or even semi-annual if your family does enough trading in a particular type of



Owning a home is a tremendous responsibility with many benefits as well. Taking care of the

business side of matters will allow you to most fully enjoy home ownership. The right

insurance coverage is vital not only to your peace of mind but to you and your family in the

event something happens.

If you have taken the time to properly do your research and been able to negotiate with your

insurance agent successfully, you should be satisfied with your coverage. The time you took to

educate yourself and arrange a fair price for your riders will pay off in the end. Then, you will

have ample time to relax and enjoy living in your very own home!

I would also like to mention that if you have an impact resistant roof on your home you could

save up to 36% on your yearly homeowner’s insurance policy. I used to own a roofing

company and I saw this savings first hand. Here is a link to a great roofing company that can

help you better understand the savings.

Below are links to insurance agencies that I have personally done work with and

recommended you interview these agencies.


emergency service