Happy New Year! January is the perfect time for reviewing and making changes to the insurance on your home. Annual review of your insurance can play a big part in saving you time, money, and heartache in the event of having to file a claim due to damages and loss.
What Has Changed in the Past Year?
- Life is constantly changing, and it is important that you keep your insurance coverage up to date with your current needs. The coverage you needed in your first home or apartment may be different that the coverage you need twenty years down the road if you are in a larger home, with several cars, or a valuable collection.
- It is recommended that you have a personal insurance audit every few years to be sure your policies are in line with your assets, living situation, and lifestyle. Big life changes, like purchasing a new house, are good times to check in and possibly shop and compare rates to make necessary changes.
What Type of Policy Do I Have?
- It is important to know what a policy covers or does not cover. There are many scenarios and possibilities, so you want to ask questions and do your research to make sure you have adequate insurance to cover any possible damages. Read your policy and be aware of terms used. Some are very broad, and others may be more restrictive. Pay close attention to how the insured and insured location is defined in the policy.
- Be aware of perils your policy does not cover and consider purchasing additional coverage. Some perils can be covered by adding an endorsement, for others you may have to purchase an additional policy to cover a specific peril or item of property. Your insurance agent should be able to direct you on amounts of coverage you may want to consider on your home.
What is My Deductible?
- A deductible is the amount of money you will pay out-of-pocket toward damages or a loss before your insurance company will pay for a claim. A premium is the amount you pay for an insurance policy (typically monthly) to keep it active.
- Deductibles are typically dollar or percentage amounts. The amount you choose is locked in with the terms of your coverage when purchased. Your deductible can typically be found on the front page or declarations page of your insurance policy.
- In the event you must file an insurance claim, you will be responsible for the deductible. You want to be financially prepared and informed to ensure it is an amount you are comfortable with. Remember, there are several options out there and talking to your insurance agent may help you feel more secure in your coverage. Agents can run quotes with various deductibles to help determine what is the best value for you.
Do I Have Enough Coverage?
- One of the biggest mistakes most homeowners make is not having adequate insurance for their property. It is imperative that you know what your policy does and does not cover. Most basic policies have limits, so you may need to purchase additional policies to have the coverage you need.
- Pay attention to things left out of coverage limits, or whether you will be reimbursed purchase price or depreciated value for your home and overall property items.
- Know the value of the items in your home. Taking a home inventory can help you identify what kind of insurance you will need to cover valuables should they become lost or stolen. It will also help you decide if you need extra coverage for larger ticket items such as jewelry, art, or heirlooms.
- Most insurance policies do not cover wind, hail, earthquake, or flood damage. If you live in a high-risk area you may need extra coverage. The government also has programs that can help in these situations.
- Other reasons you may want extra coverage are , mold, sewage systems, and other plumbing or drain systems. Protection of your possessions is another often overlooked area. Your standard policy may be limited so extra coverage for anything of personal value or worth may be worth adding.
Who Should I Talk to About Changes?
- Talking with your insurance agent and doing an overall assessment of your possible risks and needs is the best way to get you adequately covered and to go over any needed changes.
- Also, knowing the basic terms of your insurance and being familiar with how it works and what is covered will help you to rest easy knowing you are prepared for unforeseen circumstances.
- Some carriers may not provide the specific coverage you’re looking for and you may need to go elsewhere to get the protection you need. If you are unhappy with your insurance carrier or need a provider with more services, then this is also a good time to do some research and make the switch.
You may not be able to prevent disaster but, you can be prepared and make sure you are protected. Taking time to do a checkup on your homeowners’ insurance is worth it. Knowing you have the coverage you need in the event of an emergency is priceless.
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