It’s not unusual to buy a house, get homeowner’s insurance and then never check up on the policy again. Then something terrible happens and you find out you’re not covered for that new deck you added, the increased cost of building materials, the solar panels you added last year, etc.
To avoid this happening to you, check up on your policy coverage at least once a year. Some people choose to update anything to do with insurance of all kinds during their birth month to make it easy to remember to do. When you do, here are a few questions to answer.
Has Your House Increased in Value?
If you’re not sure, ask for an assessment. Usually you’ll get a tax assessment sent to you once a year in order to pay your property taxes. If you notice a big increase in the assessment, first double check to make sure that it is accurate and not overpriced; second, call your insurance company so that you can update your policy.
How Much Have You Paid Down the Mortgage?
If you’ve paid down the mortgage and you have a healthy savings account, you should determine how much you’re willing to come out of pocket for your house if something should happen. Some people, for example, do not report a power outage caused by a storm that ruined their food. They really don’t need the 300 dollars to refill the fridge from the lost food, or 1000 dollars to fix the damage caused by the tree falling on the roof.
Have You Added onto the House?
If you’ve added a room, improved the windows, improved security and so forth, you should talk to your insurance company to determine if this affects the price of your insurance. Having safety devices like some alarms, carbon monoxide detectors, and security features such as automatic calls to the fire station when you’re out can lower the cost of your insurance. Likewise, some other additions like a new room will add to the cost.
What New Things Have You Brought into the House?
Most of the time, a couple of years after buying a new house people tend to buy new furniture, more electronics and other things that cost more money than their old appliances and entertainment systems. It’s important to assess at least once a year the cost of the items in your house such as new tools, furniture and fixtures.
Have You Installed a Security System?
Security systems can cut down on the cost of your insurance when it comes to theft risk. If you’ve installed an expensive system, though, it might add to the cost of your insurance to replace the system should it be damaged from something like a storm.
Do You Have a Pool You Did Not Have Before?
Have you built a pool, added a hot tub or even have a trampoline? If so, your insurance needs are going to be higher due to potential liability. Getting children’s parents to sign waivers doesn’t work, so make sure you are covered.
Has a Fire Station Moved Nearby?
Believe it or not, having a fire station nearby can lower your insurance costs, but having a fire extinguisher put into your yard can make them higher. If either of these things happens, you need to call your insurance company and let them know to see how it affects your insurance.
Did You Add a Storm Shelter?
Adding a storm shelter is one more thing that will need to be repaired should something terrible occur. While it will help save on loss of life and some companies give a discount for having one, in some cases it might actually increase your insurance costs.
As you take an assessment of your homeowner’s insurance needs, remember to also update other policies as needed. Please do not avoid updating your policy for fear of paying more. There is no point in paying anything if you’re not truly covered. Getting paid 1000 dollars when you need $10,000 is just like getting nothing at all.
To make sure your home is covered, give us a call!
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