The new year is a time when many people pledge to lose weight and be more organized, but it’s also a good time to resolve to better protect your family’s home and belongings with an annual homeowners insurance review
Why is a yearly check-in with your insurance agent important?
Many homeowners purchase an insurance policy when they first move in, but they may not understand the importance of periodically reviewing it or reassessing their needs. It’s an oversight that can ultimately lead to a gap in coverage.
For instance, you may have insured your home for $200,000 when you first bought it. A decade later, your home may cost $300,000 to rebuild. That’s a $100,000 gap in coverage – which could leave you without the proper resources to rebuild in the event of a loss.
A home renovation or upgrade is another reason you may want an insurance review. It can help ensure that your home and belongings are fully protected, and that your coverage is keeping up with your current needs.
One way to evaluate your needs is to conduct a home inventory, a detailed catalog of all your possessions. There are tools and even smartphone home inventory apps that help streamline the process, or if you are a Kuhl Insurance customer we offer this service! We offer a photo inventory of your home – interior and exterior, catered to your needs – as simple or detailed as you would like. It serves as a great tool and should a claim arise and the insured is called upon to make a list of items lost, etc. It also serves as a great tool in a claim situation if here is any question as to the pre-claim condition of the home or a specific piece of personal property. We suggest that the inventory be done every two years or when any significant home improvements are made.
Tips for talking with your insurance agent
Despite what it sounds like an insurance review doesn’t have to be an involved, time-consuming endeavor. A single conversation with your agent can help make sure that you’re knowledgeable about your coverage and comfortable that your limits are meeting your current needs.
Here are some ideas on what you might want to discuss:
- Does my policy provide enough coverage to rebuild my home today?
- Many homeowners are surprised to learn that their policy is outdated ad does not provide sufficient coverage to rebuild their existing home. Changes in construction costs, upgrades to a kitchen or bathroom, new kitchen appliances, or updates to a basement can all affect the cost to repair or rebuild your home.
- How does a newly finished basement affect my policy?
- A finished basement may not only increase the cost to rebuild your home, but it may also require additional coverage to protect items from water damage. Fore example, optional water backup coverage will help protect new furniture and carpet in your basement if a sump pump breaks or a drain backs up.
- Does my policy provide enough coverage for landscaping or outdoor appliances?
- Installing a new sprinkler system, a larger storage shed, a new pool or hot tub, or buying a substantial backyard grill or riding mower are outdoor changes that may require a homeowner’s policy upgrade. Updating landscaping and purchasing new lawn equipment or outbuildings can be significant investments that should prompt a coverage review.
- Do I need extended coverage for valuables?
- Your existing policy provides standard coverage for your home and belongings, but this coverage may not be sufficient for all your valuables and is frequently overlooked. For instance, you may need additional coverage for wedding rings, family heirlooms and antiques, musical instruments or artwork in your home. If you have a new home office that you run a business from, you might consider extended coverage to protect your business property.
- Do I qualify for discounts?
- An annual insurance review can also be an important opportunity to ensure you are receiving all possible discounts on your homeowners policy.
Like home maintenance, an annual insurance review is something that can go a long way to protecting what is likely your biggest investment. When was the last time you reviewed or updated your homeowners insurance policy?