Within the hustle and bustle of our daily lives, many of us can’t remember to take out the garbage, let alone dive deep into our homeowner’s policy. But regardless of how tedious it may seem, reviewing your home insurance just once a year can go a long way in protecting your family, belongings, and likely your biggest investment of all — your home.
Homeowner’s insurance generally protects you, your home, and your possessions against damage or destruction to the interior or exterior of the property, loss or theft of belongings, and personal liability if someone is hurt on your property or in your home. Like car insurance, home insurance is not simply preferred — it is required by the majority of mortgage lenders for the full or fair value of the home, which is typically the purchase price. Attempting to purchase or even rent a property without proof of a homeowner’s policy is grounds for immediate disqualification of your request, so it’s better to be safe than sorry!
Failing to periodically compare the policy you need to the policy you have can be risky and result in gaps in your coverage. For example:
Mike and Lisa purchased homeowner’s insurance upon moving into their new $300,000 home 10 years ago. Their home is now worth $400,000, which is a $100,000 gap in coverage that Mike and Lisa could be paying out-of-pocket in the event of a loss.
Shane and Karen decide to make a few upgrades around their house: Renovating the entire kitchen, installing new flooring, and purchasing new couches — taking the value of their home from $200,000 to $275,000. Without reviewing their insurance policy, they can’t be sure that their new belongings and value of their home are protected.
Let’s take a look at four steps you can take to reassess your needs and ensure you’re getting the necessary coverage:
- Take Inventory
The best way to know how much coverage you need from homeowner’s insurance is to first see what you have. Find out your home’s current market value, then go around your home and catalog your possessions. Even if you do not mark down every belonging you own, this should give you an idea of the necessary policy range.
- Check for Exceptions
Natural disasters, mold, broken pipes, and sewage backups seem to be worthy of coverage, but many times are excluded from a policy. Do your homework to find out if you live in a risky area for floods, tornados, landslides, etc., then get dig into what your home may be susceptible to.
- Inspect Your Rates
Your insurer may not have notified you of any changes in your deductible or premium amount or percentage. Compare the rates from last year’s file to the amount you’re currently paying to see if there have been any changes. If so, call your insurance company for an explanation and start shopping around for lower rates.
- Talk to Your Agent
Homeowner’s policies can be very technical and raise several questions. Call or meet with your agent to ensure you have a firm understanding of your coverage and are confident going forward.
So, when was the last time you reviewed your homeowner’s insurance policy?
Protect yourself and your family from the unexpected — visit our insurance page to get started or contact our insurance partner, Travelers Insurance, at 1-800-842-5936 for a free quote.