Wondering whether your home insurance policy covers your most treasured possessions? Here’s what to look for to make sure your valuables are protected.
Homeowners insurance protects more than just your house. It covers the things you love most inside the house itself.
And believe it or not, most homeowners will eventually need to file a claim on their coverage. In fact, 5 out of every 100 insured homes file a successful claim each year.
Those claims can be for everything from roof repairs to replacing things stolen out of the garage. But regardless of the type of claim filed, the amount you’re paid is limited by the amount of coverage you have.
If you don’t have a large enough policy to protect your valuables, you’ll get stuck covering the costs out of pocket. But you don’t have to settle for subpar coverage. You just need to review your options.
In this guide, we’ll take a look at what you need to do to make sure your treasured possessions are safe and protected.
Take the Time to Read Your Policy
When you buy homeowners insurance, the insurance provider will give you a detailed document that outlines the details of your policy. This includes coverage limits, claim requirements and all the information your insurance agent should have covered when you bought the policy.
Take the time to read through that information thoroughly.
Make notes of the coverage limits for each section of your insurance policy. These limits are the maximum amounts the insurance agency will pay on a successful claim.
Keep these limits in mind anytime you add to your house.
If you feel that your possessions are adding more value, you may want to increase your coverage. You can add new coverage limits to your existing insurance policy at any time without changing providers.
Inventory Your Home Once a Year
Coverage needs change every year. As you purchase more items, make home improvements and replace outdated electronics, you’re adding value to your house.
The more valuable your home and the items inside become, the more coverage you’ll need.
The best way to deal with increasing value is to conduct a home inventory once a year. Make a note of every valuable item in the house. This includes electronics, jewelry, new artwork and collectibles.
You’ll also want to think about the items that you use every day.
Your furniture, clothes, food and even dishes would all need to be replaced if your home was damaged. You need to factor these items into your overall coverage limits.
Make a note of the approximate value of each item.
Once you’re done, add up the value and compare it against your existing coverage. If the value of your possessions is far higher than your coverage limit, speak with your insurance agent.
Think About the Types of Items You Have at Home
Unfortunately, homeowner’s insurance doesn’t cover every type of collectible or valuable. Some items like artwork, jewelry and antiques are not protected by standard policies.
If you have a large collection of these items, you’ll want to explore supplemental coverage with your insurance agent.
There are policies specifically designed to protect valuables and collectibles. They work alongside your standard home insurance and cover the items that your insurance won’t protect.
Understand the Gaps in Coverage
Standard home insurance doesn’t protect your property from every possible event. But every policy is different.
You need to make sure you understand where your coverage gaps are. With most policies, the gaps relate to the types of events and damage the policy covers. Damage from natural disasters like floods and earthquakes is not covered by standard policies.
Go through your coverage details with your insurance agent and identify the areas where your coverage lapses. Then, discuss your options. Supplemental coverage is not always necessary. It all depends on your individual risk.
Your insurance agent will use their knowledge of your home, your home inventory and your existing coverage to recommend the best products for your needs.
Talk with Your Agent After Making Improvements
Anytime you make improvements to your property, you change the value of the house itself.
This means the coverage you purchased at first may not be enough to cover the cost of repairs to the new home improvements. You may need higher limits to cover improvements made to the original structure.
After making improvements, speak with your insurance agent about what you’ve changed. If the improvements add significant value to your property, you’ll want to increase coverage limits as soon as possible.
Keep in mind some improvements might actually save you money on your insurance.
For example, if you’re making your house safer by installing a security system or more weather-resistant by upgrading to energy-efficient windows, your insurance premiums may decrease. The only way to know is to speak with your agent after making the improvements.
Schedule an Annual Insurance Review
As we stated earlier, insurance needs change frequently. Even if you don’t make home improvements or think you’re adding new valuables to your house, each new item you bring in can change your coverage needs.
Make a habit of scheduling an annual insurance review with your agent. Go over your new home inventory to see what type of coverage limits you need. And don’t be afraid to ask for discounts on your insurance.
Most insurance providers offer discounts on coverage, but you only get them if you qualify for them. As you make improvements or changes, you’ll qualify for new discounts that can save you on your monthly premium payments.
Keep Your Valuables Safe
The right homeowner’s insurance policy will keep the valuables in your house safe at all times.
You just have to be proactive. Take the time to review your policy and your coverage limits throughout the year.
If you’re worried about coverage limits or want to increase your coverage after upgrading the house, speak with your insurance agent. Contact us today to schedule an appointment.