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    Whether you’re a first-time home buyer or you’re well into paying off your mortgage, one thing’s for certain.

    You need homeowners insurance.

    Though it’s frustrating to add yet another monthly cost on top of your mortgage payment, your utilities, your car loans, and even just your groceries, the truth of the matter is this: homeowners insurance is a must-have.

    Here’s why:

    It’s probably required.

    Most lenders require you have a minimum amount of insurance coverage before they’ll fund your loan. You’ll probably even have to provide proof of it before you close on the home. Make sure you’re adhering to the mortgage contract you signed (or are about to sign!), by keeping the appropriate amount of insurance during the life of the loan.

    It can save you loads of cash.

    Though you may only use your policy a handful of times over the course of your time in a home, those instances could save you thousands—even millions—of dollars. Burglaries, fires, and other natural disasters could result in the loss of many belongings—or even your home altogether. Insurance safeguards the value of these items and ensures you have the cash to replace or repair them when all is said and done.

    It protects you from accidents.

    You might not know it, but homeowners insurance actually legally protects you if someone is injured on your property. If they trip and fall, slip on the sidewalk, or get hurt inside your home, your policy could cover most of the medical bills and legal fees.

    Keep in mind that not all homeowners insurance policies are created equal. There are many types, each covering different items and damages. Some simply cover the dwelling, while others cover your belongings and everything (and everyone) inside. You can also supplement your policy with flood insurance if you’re in a flooding-prone area or other add-on protections.

    A quick pro tip: Consider taking out your homeowners policy with your existing auto insurer. Most insurance agencies will give you a discount for taking out multiple policies and bundling them. This could save you 10 to 20 percent on your annual premiums.

    In the end, just remember: homeowners insurance is always in your best interest. Not only does it protect your home (and the financial investment you put into it), but it safeguards your loved ones and your treasured belongings, pets, and other items in the house. Don’t scrimp on safety.

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