When is the last time you reviewed your homeowners insurance policy? If you are like most people, you desire the peace of mind that comes from knowing your home and family are protected; however, you do not have the time to sift through the policy details in hopes of fully understanding the many different coverage provisions.
That is why we are here to help! Below we have identified some key coverage terms for you to consider when reviewing your homeowners insurance policy. Each item has a coverage limit associated with it that should be reviewed for accuracy on a periodic basis or when you make a significant change to your home or property.
- Home or “dwelling” coverage pays to repair or replace your house if it sustains damage from a covered event. The limit should provide enough coverage to rebuild your home today, based on current construction costs. These costs can change over time and if you have not recently reviewed your policy, then the costs could now be significantly higher. Additions and upgrades to your home can also increase the replacement.
- Coverage for “other structures” pays to repair or replace structures on your property (other than your home), such as detached garages, sheds, fences, and guest houses. If you add a structure to your property, then you should advise your insurance agent and they can update your policy accordingly.
- Personal property coverage replaces the things inside your home. It is important to take note of high value items in the home as well as a general inventory of personal belongings.
FITZ TIP: Consider photographing or making a brief video of each room in your home in order to have documentation of your personal property in the event of a major loss.
- Loss of use coverage helps pay for living expenses, such as a hotel, if you cannot live in your home while it is under repair. Temporary living expenses can be significant, so it is important to make sure your policy includes this coverage.
- Personal liability insurance covers losses and legal fees if someone outside your family is injured or has belongings damaged while on your property. The limit you choose to maintain may vary depending on the potential hazards on your property, such as a pool, trampoline, pond, etc. Legal claims can take years to be resolved. The limit you choose must consideration that coverage selected today will be the be adequate in the future.
- Medical payment insurance helps cover medical bills for non household members injured on your property or by your pets.
In addition to these coverage provisions, it is equally important to know what exclusions apply to your policy. For example, most policies exclude coverage for flood and earthquake losses. If you live in an area prone to either of these perils, then it is important to verify your policy includes the relevant coverage.
Finally, review the deductible that applies to your policy, as it is possible that different deductibles could apply to different coverages. A low deductible may be appealing, but often leads to a higher premium. Conversely, a higher deductible leads to a lower premium, but you must be able to maintain adequate savings to fund your deductible if a loss occurs.
Homeowners insurance policies can be complicated, however, protecting your home and your family should be simple. As a Trusted Choice Independent Agency, the Oswego-based FitzGibbons Agency is here to help you review your policy and determine if any changes are necessary to ensure your home and family are protected.