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Your home is likely your most valuable asset, so protecting it just makes sense. As such, you can think of your homeowner’s insurance as an investment in protecting your financial future. Before you buy a policy based solely on premiums, ask your insurance provider these five questions to make sure you’re getting the coverage you need.
#1 – What Does (and Doesn’t) the Policy Cover?
The most important part of your home insurance is the policy itself. What, exactly, will it cover? What happens if your lawnmower is stolen out of your garage? Will you get the full purchase value, or will you get the depreciated value? If you accidentally cause someone an injury away from your home, will your policy cover that? Discovering exactly what your policy covers will help you decide just how much and what type of insurance to buy.
#2 – How Much Coverage Do I Need?
An insurance agent will often ask you to provide a list of all of your possessions. This is called a home inventory, and it can significantly help you in the event of a disaster, a fire, or even a robbery. The best rule of thumb is to have all of your possessions appraised, then purchase an insurance policy with coverage that exceeds this amount. It will also help you decide whether you need to purchase any riders, which are additions to your policy that protect out-of-the-ordinary items like very expensive jewelry or expensive paintings.
#3 – How Much Will It Cost to Rebuild my Home?
Part of your insurance policy will focus on your actual dwelling, or any damage that would occur to the structure of your home. Keep in mind that because real estate very often appreciates in value – and often significantly – you’ll want to make sure that you purchase a policy that covers the cost of rebuilding your home, not one that only covers your purchase price.
#4 – What Kinds of Claims Have Been Made on My Home in the Past?
Learning about and understanding what kinds of claims have been made on your home in the past can help you decide what kind of coverage you need right now. For example, if your home is in a flood plain and it has been subject to flooding once or twice in the past, you’ll want to purchase separate flood insurance. Along those same lines, if severe storms have been problematic in the past, then they’re likely to be problematic in the future, too.
#5 – What Happens when Something Happens?
Finally, it’s important to find out what to expect when it comes time to file a claim. Will you be able to talk to your local agent directly? Will they come and assess the damage immediately, or will you need to wait a few days? Will the company put your family up in a hotel until the repairs can be made? Understanding things like this will not only help you make a better choice regarding your policy, but it will also give you some peace of mind.
When you have the answers to all of these questions, then you have the information you need to make a wise decision. Make sure you understand what is and isn’t covered, how the insurance company values your home, and how your insurance company will treat you when you need to file a claim.
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