Your home is one of your most important assets so be sure to protect it by not only having the right homeowner’s insurance coverage from the start, but by taking the time to re-evaluate your coverage on an annual basis.
[My most valuable assets—my children!—wake boarding on the San Francisco Bay near Sausalito and Blackie’s Pasture in Tiburon.]
Why do I need homeowners insurance? As many homeowners know, home insurance is required by most mortgage lenders, so you probably can’t buy a house without it. When you’re looking to buy a home, you’ll want to find an insurance plan that best fits the type, location, and value of the home/condo/duplex you are purchasing. The policy you choose will also depend upon your personal circumstances or risk factors—your occupation, demographics, location, ownership qualities, etc. For information about reputable companies that offer homeowners insurance contact me and I am happy to help you.
Why re-evaluate my coverage each year? Once you have chosen and purchased the right policy, instead of just continuing to pay your annual premium each year, take the time to re-evaluate your policy. This is important because your homeowner’s coverage is based upon how much it would cost to rebuild your home in the event that it is destroyed by a fire, natural disaster or other unfortunate event. And chances are the cost to replace or rebuild your home has gone up from when you purchased it or built it. While this may raise your premium, it’s smart to expand your coverage to reflect the rising replacement costs (and not to base it on your mortgage amount).
Here are a few homeowners’ insurance tips to keep in mind:
1.) Know the value of your home. It’s essential to establish a replacement cost before choosing an insurance policy. A local contractor can provide a good estimate; reevaluate your coverage annually.
2.) Insurers may vary. What seems to be the same product can be priced differently by different companies; save money by comparison shopping.
3.) Avoid only looking at the price. A low price is no bargain if an insurer takes forever to service your claim.
4.) Go beyond the basics. Some policies may not promise to replace your entire home. Know what your insurance covers AND what it does not.
5.) Demand discounts. Insurers provide discounts to reward risk reducing behaviors. However, people waste money because they don’t ask for them!
6.) Stand up for yourself at claims time. Your idea of fair compensation may not match that of your insurer; prove your losses so you get what you need.
7. Prepare before filing a claim. Keep your policy updated and review it periodically.