Most of us rarely, if ever, question our homeowners insurance policy and whether or not it’s still a good fit for changes that have occurred in our lives and the economy in which we currently live.
Unless we’ve suddenly become financially impacted in some way, we do very little to stay on top of our insurance policies. We approach our finances reactively, rather than proactively especially when it comes to our insurance. Well, we don’t know what we don’t know, so it’s important to stay attune and establish the discipline to educate yourself on your policy and how it fits with your current life situation.
So as we enter the new year, add this to your list of things to do for 2019: Block off an hour to do an annual check-up on your homeowners insurance. Call it a routine inspection. Doing so can potentially save you thousands and most importantly, it will ensure you’re insured for potential liability or risk.
To do this, contact your insurance agent and use this checklist to answer these 6 key questions:
Knowing the difference between these policies can help you decide how much coverage you really need. Here’s a rule of thumb: get coverage for the amount it would cost to rebuild your home from scratch. It’s tempting to think that your home’s market value determines the amount of coverage you should have. However, that’s only part of it. Whether it increased or decreased, the cost to replace your damaged property could be well above your home’s market value.
Will your existing policy cover the amount it would cost to rebuild your house?
#2) What’s particular about your home?
Do you own an older home? Think of your plumbing and sewer system. Do you have parts of your home that would be detrimental in case it was damaged or finally gave way? Discuss specific aspects of your home with your insurance agent. Some risks are not covered by your standard policy.
Do you live in a weather-prone zone? Do you live in a flood or earthquake zone? Coverage for these disasters are not included in a standard policy and it’s worth having the conversation with your agent.
#3) What’s new in your life?
Do you have additional family members? Did anyone move away? Have you gotten divorced? Life status changes could impact your liability requirements.
#4) Have you done any home improvements?
Anything that changes the structure of your home can change your policy. Home improvements can increase the value of you home and your coverage should reflect the increase in value to maintain adequate coverage. Conversely, home improvements can also trigger lower premiums which result in savings.
#5) Do you have the right deductible balance?
In other words, are you paying the right deductible for your needs? You can lower your monthly premiums by increasing your deductible, resulting in overall savings.
#6) Are there any special discounts you can take advantage of?
If you don’t ask the question, you’ll never know. Be firm in your conversations with your insurance agent about the savings you’d like to see. If they are a good agent, they will spend the time to listen and help you find savings and different options. It’s not uncommon to meet homeowners who have shied away from asking because they’ve filed a claim in the recent past and have felt certain they couldn’t lower their overall cost of homeowners insurance.
Setting aside an hour to do this can prove to be invaluable! Contact us with these questions and we’ll help you find your sweet spot for 2019.
About Ryan Ruffcorn
Ryan grew up in Keokuk, graduated from Keokuk Senior High, and started his agency in Keokuk from scratch in 2003 after having worked for one of the largest international accounting firms, KPMG, LLP.
Ryan is hardworking; his loyal and trustworthy character is exemplified by the way he does business. He thoroughly enjoys helping clients through the insurance buying process to secure coverage for their most valuable assets.