When you’re purchasing something as important as homeowners insurance, it’s crucial that you go over every line of the policy in order to understand exactly what’s going to be covered in case you experience any type of ‘peril’. It is just as essential to know the things that are covered as it is to know what will be excluded. Things to take into consideration when the policy is drawn up should include the age and condition of the house as well as the area where it is located. You don’t want to be standing on a property full of damages wondering what you did wrong because you didn’t go over every detail with a fine-tooth comb.
First thing you need to do is understand the language and know precisely what a peril is. A peril is defined as a particular risk or cause of a loss which will be covered by an insurance policy to include things such as fires, lightning, volcanic eruptions, falling objects, and much more. This is vastly different from a hazard which is a condition or situation that will make it more likely for a peril to occur, e.g. ice on the walkway. There is a distinction among peril coverage being offered for homeowners including ‘open peril’ or ‘named peril’ coverage. ‘Open peril’ can also be recognized most commonly as ‘all-risk’ policies as well as ‘comprehensive risk’ or ‘special peril’. ‘Named peril’ is also known as ‘covered peril’ policies. Let’s check out the differences in these peril policies.
Open Peril vs Named Peril
An all-risk or open peril policy will allow you to be reimbursed for your loss regardless of how the damage occurred. The amount that you are reimbursed will be determined within the terms of the policy and after the deductible amount has been taken out of pocket. Open peril policies do have exclusions that render some items not covered, but some carriers provide ‘rider’ plans also known as ‘floater’ or ‘endorsement’ plans that will coincide with the open peril policy to help with those exceptions.
The open peril plans are fairly more expensive making it a decision that you really need to put serious thought into whether this policy will be a better choice over the less costly named peril. If you face a unique set of perils in your particular location and damage to your property is of greater risk, the open peril should be the better option.
Named peril or covered peril will only reimburse you for what are predefined guidelines that have been set within the policy. That means anything that has been specifically named or included within the terms and conditions of the plan that you have drawn out with your agent. You can get as precise as the pipes bursting within your home for one exact reason to instances of weather. Any peril that occurs that has not been particularly outlined within the policy will be excluded from coverage.
Surprisingly, as comprehensive as these named peril policies are considering the myriad of ways things can be destroyed, they come out being less comprehensive than their open peril counterparts. Because of this, they are far less costly actually saving upwards of hundreds of dollars for premiums in a given year.
Occasionally, there may come a time, though it’s rare, that a dispute may arise as to whether a loss happened due to a covered peril. In this instance, it will be the policyholder’s burden to prove that the peril is covered by the policy’s provisions. If after reading over the named peril policy you find that it is not listing everything that you feel comfortable having covered, it is better to go for the open peril plan so that you aren’t stuck in the end with the financial burden of repairing damaged items.
When you buy your property, take a long look around, understand the area–whether it’s high risk for weather and natural occurrences, know the age and condition of your home and all of its parts. This will help you decide on a homeowners policy and if you want to be very specific with a named peril policy or have more overall freedom with an open peril policy. No matter which way you decide to go, it will be necessary to sit with the agent and participate in each detail, understand all that is being written into the policy, and agree with the final product. If you see that there are exclusions, find out about endorsement policies that you can tack onto your peril plan so that you have the most coverage for your home and belongings that you possibly can. You don’t want to have anything happen and be stuck with not knowing that particular catastrophic event wasn’t covered by your plan. Always be prepared.