Tips for Talking with Your Insurance Agent
Despite what you might think, though, an insurance review doesn’t have to be an involved, time-consuming endeavor. A single conversation or a visit 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 property today?”
Many property owners are surprised to learn that their policy is outdated and does not provide sufficient coverage to rebuild their existing home or building. Changes in construction costs (they can vary from year to year), 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. For example, new finishes in your kitchen can change your existing kitchen from “standard” to one that’s considered “semi-custom” or “custom.” Since insurance companies replace lost items with “like kind and quality,” it is important to estimate the full cost of replacing finishes, appliances, electrical systems and plumbing systems in determining your coverage.
“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. For 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.
“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, valuable golf clubs or other sports equipment, 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. For example, you may qualify for a discount if you have installed a security system, a smoke alarm or a hail-resistant roof. Additional discounts may apply if you insure both your auto and home with the same carrier, if you don’t have any claims, or if no one in the household is a smoker.
Reviewing your Insurance Policies isn’t exciting, but it is part of a sound long-term financial planning process.