With 2013 just around the corner, now is the time to do something for your home. Here are three New Year’s resolutions to ensure your home insurance is in tip-top shape.
Review Your Home Insurance Policy Carefully
An insurance policy is a complicated document. Most people don’t thoroughly read their coverage until they need to file a claim. Your first resolution for 2013 is to read your policy, beginning with the declarations page.
The declaration page includes all the basic details including:
- Name of insurance company
- Name of insured person(s)
- Residence of insured person(s)
- Policy number
- Policy period
- Property covered
- Coverages purchased
- Limits of liability
It’s important to review the declaration page long before you file a claim, to verify the information is accurate and that you have the type and amount of insurance coverage you expect. If not, rectify the situation immediately.
The next part of your insurance package you need to review contains the actual policy. Depending on your insurance carrier, this section may contain information on:
- Dwelling and personal property
- Medical payments
- Additional living expenses
Just as with the declarations page, it is important to review the information contained in your policy. Make sure you understand the type of coverage you have and determine if you need to make changes. In all cases, if you have questions or concerns, be sure to contact your insurance agent.
Consider Optional or Additional Home Insurance Coverage
Your lender typically sets the minimum amount of insurance required to obtain a mortgage. This may be too little or too much for your individual circumstances, so it’s wise to compare the minimum required with your preferences.
Many homeowners don’t consider what optional coverage they may want or need, or which is not included in their current policy. Optional or additional insurance may include coverage for:
- Floods (www.floodsmart.gov)
- Home businesses
- Sewer backup
- Umbrella liability
- Debris removal
- Tree, plant, and shrub protection
- Credit card coverage
- Identity theft
For more information, including further descriptions of many of the coverages listed above, the Arizona Department of Insurance offers this booklet: Consumer’s Guide to Homeowners Insurance.
Arrange an Appointment with Your Agent
Most experts recommend conducting an audit of your home insurance coverage at least once a year. Be sure to consider physical changes that could impact the value of your home – a bathroom upgrade, perhaps – or pricey furnishings that might increase the value of its contents. In addition, you may be eligible for discounts, like if you add security features, retirement discounts, or if you’re home more and can keep an eye on your place.
So before 2012 passes by, give your agent a call and arrange for a meeting in 2013. Explain that you want an audit to review your current policy and determine if it still meets your needs.
In the meantime, if you’re shopping around for home insurance, contact us or check out our website for more helpful tips and ideas.