Understanding homeowners coverage before a claim

Posted in Home

The true test of your relationship with your insurance company begins when you have your first claim. You’ve spoken to your independent insurance agent, provided all the information they requested and slept well at night knowing that your home and all your belongings were covered. The question is, do you really know what your policy covers?

Some will argue that educating yourself about your homeowners’ insurance policy is your job as the consumer. Others believe that your agent and insurance company should partner to make sure you’re informed. The best answer is probably both.

Here are some simple steps to help you better understand the nuts and bolts of your insurance policy:

Get in the know!
Consider the premium you pay for insurance each year. Shouldn’t you know what you’re getting for your money? Have you asked your agent to walk through the basics of your policy with you? It’s not a one-time request. The beauty of having an independent agent is that you always have a resource for all your insurance questions and concerns. The internet is full of information on every topic including insurance. Make sure that the information you digest is from reliable sources. Start with your agent’s website and then use your insurance carrier’s website to dig deeper. Check out their Claims information for any tips or steps that might prepare you if you have a claim. Many insurance companies like Integrity Insurance offer online account access. Make sure you sign up for that service. Having quick 24/7 access and connection to your insurance company will save you time and energy, likely when you need it the most.

What is the value of your home?
Have you ever wondered why the value of your home on your insurance policy is far more than you could sell it for? The fact is that in today’s market, it often costs far more to replace a home than it‘s currently worth. Depending on where you live, that difference may be higher or lower, but it affects us all. As tempting as it is to lower the value of your home on your insurance policy, you don’t want to come up short if you have a major loss to your home.

Doing the math
Most of us don’t know what the deductible is on our policy until we need to make a claim. You dig your policy out of the drawer, safe or pile of paperwork on your table, and flip through to see what you chose. Your deductible is a great place to start if you are looking to save money on your insurance premium. You’re assuming a greater portion of the risk should you have a claim, and most small claims would likely be less than your deductible amount, but the premium you save equals cash in your pocket today.

Protect and maintain your home
A little investment goes a long way in preventing future claims. Making sure that your roof is in good condition and preparing the interior and exterior of your home for each season will pay for itself and then some. Protect your personal property by bringing it into your garage or shed when you know storms are approaching or before the snow starts to fall.

Don’t forget to pick up the phone or stop by to see your independent insurance agent whenever you have a question or concern about your policy or coverage. They are there to help.