Thursday, August 25, 2011
Is your insurance policy up to date?
At least once a year you should revaluate your homeowner's insurance coverage. Here are some items to think about:
1. Can you rebuild all, not just part of, your house?
Make sure that your home owners insurance pays you for the full cost of rebuilding. Just because your home's value has gone down doesn't mean that the cost of materials & labor have gone down as well. In fact, over the last year building costs have gone up. Make sure your home owners insurance pays you for full rebuilding costs in the event of a disaster.
2. Check your flood insurance
Flood insurance is not usually part of a standard home owners policy. Home owners should check the FEMA maps frequently as they are constantly being revised. You can check your property by clicking
3. What's new in your life?
Did you add items to the property in the past year such as add a swimming pool, playground, trampoline. These things may change your liablity needs. Are you recently divorced, and you got the house, make sure your ex-spouse's name is off the policy. Talk to your agent and compare your life status this year with last year's to update your home owners insurance.
4. Maybe your valuables are worth more
Your art, jewelry, antiques, and other collectibles may have appreciated in value over the years. If your home owners insurance policy doesn't have accurate values on these items, your company may not reimburse you for the full value in the event of fire or other home disaster.
5. Tally up any home improvements
Have you made any renovations or additions to the home, such as an expanded garage, new bathroom, or home theater in the basement? Your house may now be worth more and your home owners insurance needs to reflect that. Create a home inventory video and keep it in a safe place outside the home.
6. Give your trees the once-over
Hire an arborist to look at the trees on your property, and check with your home owners insurance agent to see if your policy covers you if one of your trees falls on the neighbor's car. An arborist can tell you if your trees are healthy and advise whether they should be removed or trimmed.
7. Watch the nickels and dimes
Hunt for any special discounts that can reduce your home owners insurance premiums. For example, you may be eligible for a discount if you have an automobile or valuable articles policy with the same company has your home owners insurance policy.
These home features can also give you discounts on your home owners insurance--but only if your insurer knows you have them:
Burglar or fire alarms
Gated community patrol service
Temperature monitoring system to protect against freezing, connected to a central station alarm
Permanently installed, electrical back-up generator
Referenced article from the National Association of Realtors, House Logic Richard J. Koreto