Bad economic times, millions of people desperate for a place to stay, something to eat, the world can look at times like something out of the film The Grapes of Wrath. But, for the homeowner, property crime is not the biggest reason to think about home insurance, Mother Nature also weighs heavily where financial loss is concerned.
You don't have to live in Tornado Alley to have your life blown away. There are many more pitfalls today's property owners have to evade somehow. Can you afford NOT to understand them all? You may also find that revisiting your homeowner's policy saves you premiums, at a time when every penny can count too.
Let's take a look at ten really good reasons you may want to look over your homeowner's insurance policy.
Put simply, you simply have more things to ensure than you did before. The attic is full, the garage overflowing, and many of the new purchases may, or may not, be covered for all eventualities. Also, the value of your home's contents has in all liklihood, gone up. Add to this the fact that the entire policy payout may not be enough to cover new items, the higher total value of your possessions and even the home, and you have a problem. Conversely, your situation may have changed in the opposite direction. Maybe the kids moved out, you decided to simplify, you simply do not need as much coverage as before. Whichever situation exists, you may be vulnerable to losing lots of money. The best way to determine this is with an inventory of your home, and an evaluation of your existing coverage.
You say you just remodeled? Just adding a new bath or kitchen upgrade impacts the value of your home significantly. Take today's cost of remodeling, materials, and so on, and your homeowner's insurance could be thousands off where replacements are concerned.
Rebuilding costs are up. The market value of your home is sometimes drastically different from the cost you will incur to replace it. The "real value" of the property is what you will be paying for if you have to rebuild, not the land and 2 x 4's bought back when. This simply concept escapes many homeowners when they think about buying insurance, and especially after they have had insurance for a long time.
You’ve installed safety devices. Most insurance companies offer discounts when you add alarms, sprinklers, and other devices that protect your home.
Big ticket items like jewelry or even hi end electronics are sometimes excluded in some policies. Even if a policy has provisions for you getting a windfall and buying your spouse the crown jewels, the value of those gems will be lost if you don't modify your insurance.
So you live in a flood or earthquake zone? Well, typical homeowner's policies do not cover floods. The lightning or fire damage from some local calamity may be remedied, only to find out that all the water damage from the river overflowing is not. Flood insurance is available through some governments, but owners and renters are well advised to seek the advice of their independent agent here.
Your office is at home. Some policies have limitations as to whether or not you can have an office in your home. This is something you need to check out so you don't get caught losing everything over a technicality. Go over your policy for any exclusions.
Changing insurance carriers. Homeowners can save a lot of money sometimes by "shopping" insurance carriers. Just combining auto, home and other coverage used to be the biggest savings here, but companies like Aviva, in Europe and the UK, offer incentives like discounts for buying online, and so on.
Asset protection. Most homeowners never think of their home as an asset really, but their opponent's lawyer in a personal injury or other lawsuit may. The structural protection you need is one thing, bodily injury or property damage if someone gets injured in your back yard, is totally another. Are you covered? Can you bet your life you are, right now? You see the point we hope. This press release via MarketWatch reveals some home economics tips you can use.
Home sweet, old home. Basic homeowner's policies do not cover damage from that occur because of old pipes or symptoms some old homes experience. If you already own an older home, you have already experienced the idiosyncrasies here. Special policy add-on can help you defer loses you might otherwise incurred from owning that charming Victorian.
As you can see from the list, the old saying "forewarned is forearmed" bears fruit for many homeowners. Just how many unfortunate families have had to experience what their policy DOES NOT cover, after the fact? The whole premise of purchasing homeowner's insurance in the first place is to protect you biggest asset, your most valuable physical property. This says nothing of the emotional ties people have to their homes and possessions.
Money can't buy everything, but it's a sure bet the right insurance policy can at least buy back the dream of home ownership when trouble hits. Check your policy today. Our best advice in some time. I leave the reader with video from the recent Dublin flood. Bet these people never expected.
Phil Butler is a former engineer, contractor, and telecommunications professional who is editor of several influential online media outlets including part owner of Pamil Visions with wife Mihaela. Phil began his digital ramblings via several of the world’s most noted tech blogs, at the advent of blogging as a form of journalistic license. Phil is currently top interviewer, and journalist at Realty Biz News.