Homeowners Insurance January

If your New Year’s resolutions include reviewing your homeowner’s insurance policy or putting together a home inventory, here are a few helpful tips:

  • Review your insurance policy to know what is covered and whether your possessions are insured for actual cash value (the amount it would take to replace or repair the item minus any depreciation) or for replacement cost (the amount it would take to repair or replace the item without deducting for depreciation).
  • If you’ve made improvements to your home, let your insurance agent know. Be sure to include copies of permits (if required), receipts from contractors, and the appraisal if one has been made since the work was finished. Revising your coverage to include that additional value can save you from paying extra replacement costs out of pocket.
  • There are many renovations that insurance companies look upon favorably, such as updated wiring, installation of a security system and earthquake retrofitting. These improvements may actually lower your insurance premiums.
  • Did the number of people living in your home change? If you’re a new empty nester, if your parents are now living with you, or if you have a new baby, check with your agent to see how this may affect your coverage.
  • Look through your policy for exclusions and limitations, which can include swimming pools, trampolines, certain breeds of dogs and more.
  • Renewal time is also a good time to review your policy and perhaps shop around for better or cheaper rates.
  • Ask your agent if there are discounts for bundling home and auto policies if you aren’t doing this already.

Tips For Creating A Home Inventory

Creating a home inventory can save you time and heartache in case you need to file a claim. Check your homeowner’s insurance company’s website for a home inventory checklist, template or app you can download.

  • Document each item as completely as possible and take photos. Include brand, model number, serial number, purchase date, condition, etc.
  • Include receipts, canceled checks or an appraisal report to prove what you paid for (or the value of) items.
  • Also remember to include items you don’t use regularly, such as holiday decorations, sports equipment or tools.
  • Did you receive high-value gifts over the holidays? For rare or valuable items such as jewelry, antiques, art­work or wine collections, you may want to consider adding additional insurance (a rider) to your policy.
  • Keep the completed list outside of your home. Store it at your office, at a family member’s house or in a safe-deposit box.
  • Update the list annually.