Homeowners insurance is something most people take for granted until they suffer a loss. These policies are designed to protect a home, its contents and other assets in the event of a fire, theft, accidents, natural disasters or other casualties. To secure and maintain the proper coverage at the best price, follow this simple road map.
- Determine how much coverage you really need for replacement of the structure. The coverage should be enough to entirely rebuild and furnish the home, were it to be completely destroyed. This will be the basis for how much replacement coverage you will need. To truly pinpoint the amount, ask your agent to help you determine replacement costs in your area. You should also have enough liability coverage to protect you if someone is injured on the property. The coverage amounts should be reviewed annually prior to your renewal.
- Take a deductible as high as you can afford. This will lower your premiums and preserve your limits for when you really need it.
- Ask for discounts. Many discounts are available, including multipolicy (home, auto and other policies with the same company), accredited builder, marriage, burglar alarms and e-signature.
- Strongly consider additional coverage. This may include replacement costs for possessions, extended or guaranteed replacement cost for the structure, building code upgrades, umbrella coverage for a pool or other high-risk items, special riders for jewelry, collectibles and expensive items, and sewer and drain back-ups.
- Consider that some damage will not be covered. Damage caused by flooding and earthquakes are not covered by standard policies; Windstorm (hurricane, named storm, tropical storm, and hail) coverage varies by state and is excluded from some policies. This coverage is available through certain state programs and the private markets. Homeowners must pay an additional premium for flood coverage provided through the government’s National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). Earthquake insurance is offered by private insurance companies. In California, coverage is available through the California Earthquake Authority, a state program, and also in the private market.
- Let your agent know of any special considerations. Tell them about your home-based businesses or office, as well as any additions or improvements to your home. Major purchases and lifestyle changes such as a marriage or divorce should trigger a call to your insurance agent as well. This will help maximize your insurance savings and verify you are not over- or underinsured.
Take the time to understand all the components of your home insurance policy, to make sure the right coverage is in place if you need it. Be sure to review your coverage needs prior to your renewals. Our experienced insurance agents can assist by providing an insurance analysis, and verifying that your home can be insured with the right coverage and price. Visit stewartspecialtyinsurance.com for information on homeowners insurance, and all the services we offer.