Things You Should Know About Home Insurance
We all know houses keep us busy, so it makes sense that your homeowners insurance isn’t something you dwell on. Besides the initial set up of your homeowners insurance, why should you dwell on it?
Well, in some cases you may be underinsured or even missing out on potential discounts! So, we’ve rounded up a few things you may not know about your homeowners insurance coverages:
1. It's a good idea to start with an independent insurance agent
Buying a bath mat online is convenient, but buying insurance is a bit more complicated than a bath mat. A local independent insurance agent will help you with an “insurance checkup”. This will evaluate any home updates and coverages to help you avoid potential gaps. They can also help you compare quotes from multiple insurance carriers to fit your specific situation.
2. Your homeowners insurance policy may not cover water damage
This can be devastating! Most polices only cover certain types of water damage. Water damage that originates from inside your house or from a storm-created opening is typically covered by homeowners insurance. However, this often excludes floodwater, broken water mains, and other water-related damages. Before storm season hits, it’s important to know what's covered and if you should consider purchasing separate flood insurance.
3. Your policy has exclusions and special limits, and you need to know what they are
It’s easy to buy and forget about your insurance. However, every insurance policy has exclusions, like floods and earthquakes. Your policy may also include special limits on items such as jewelry, trailers and watercraft on your property. Exclusions are listed throughout your policy. A good way to understand your policy’s exclusions is to review it with your local independent insurance agent. They can break it down for you to make sure you avoid potential gaps in your coverage.
4. Tell your agent about updates and changes to your house
You buy your house, you buy insurance, they send you a packet, and then you don’t think about it again. But, now let’s say you’ve lived in your home for a few years. Maybe you renovated your kitchen, or put on a new roof. Or, maybe you added a central alarm system. Updates like this can change the value and rebuilding cost of your home. If you don’t update your policy and tell your agent, you may be underinsured and might be missing out on a possible discount for your new alarm system.
Coverages like guaranteed home replacement cost may be greatly effected as time goes on. Some coverages may even be void.
5. Maintaining a personal home inventory may help your claims process
The last thing you want to think about after your home suffers a devastating loss is, what did I have in there? An easy way to create and maintain a personal home inventory is to take pictures of each room of your house every year. This may help jog your memory about what was inside your house. This is important to keep updated since homes seem to accumulate more and more things as time goes on…
Town & Country Insurance has created a home inventory worksheet that you can fill out. There are also apps available that can help you keep track of your property digitally. Whether you choose to create a paper or digital list, it is important to take action now. You may be surprised with what you have.
6. Your coverage amount may not be the same as the cost of your house or the market value
There is a big misconception that your homeowners insurance coverage amount is the same as what you paid for your house. That is wrong! If your house needs to be rebuilt you may need coverage for debris removal, materials, and labor. Which, in some cases, exceeds the amount you paid for your house or the market value. It's also important to note that both the market value of your home and the cost to rebuild will vary greatly.
7. Cheapest is not always best
Comparison shopping is in our blood. In addition, if you're a self-proclaimed frugal shopper you've likely found that sometimes, you get what you pay for. Similarly, when comparing insurance quotes the cost may not be the best indicator of the best fit for you. You need to ask yourself is the insurance company financially sound? What is their claims service like? Are they a stable company?
Disclaimer: The analysis of coverage is in general terms and is superseded in all respects by the Insuring Agreements, Endorsements, Exclusions, Terms and Conditions of the Policy. Some of the coverage mentioned in this material may not be applicable in all states or may have to be modified to conform to applicable state law. Some coverages may have been eliminated or modified since the publishing of this material. Please check with your local Independent Town & Country Insurance Agent for details.