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Top Tips to Optimize Your Home Insurance Coverage
by Boris Dzhingarov on Aug 28, 2017
When you’re buying a house, you’re in the process of acquiring what’s most likely the most expensive thing you will ever own in your life. So you need home insurance coverage, just like you need health insurance to cover your medical bills and auto insurance to cover your car repairs and liability.
But you can’t just buy home insurance from any company, because some policies may be more suitable for you. Also, you need to do some things to maximize the benefits you receive. Here are some tips that should help:
- Determine the proper amount of coverage. The greater coverage you have, the more you’ll have to pay in premiums. However, your lender may insist that your policy should at least cover the amount of your mortgage.
- Make sure you account for inflation. Ten years ago, it may have cost you $200,000 to build your home, but now replacing it may cost $250,000. You have to check each time you renew your policy that the amount of the coverage is still realistic.
- Find out how much in deductibles you’re comfortable with. In the insurance industry, the deductible is the amount you have to pay out of your own pocket before the insurance kicks in. The higher the deductible, the more you have to pay yourself when disaster strikes, but you may end up paying for lower monthly premiums.
- Check if you can get discounts. Some insurance companies may offer both home and car insurance, so getting both from the same company may get you a discount. You may also get a discount if you replaced the roof, or installed an alarm system and more effective deadbolt locks.
- Know the claims process. Check if the insurance company pays for everything you’ve lost, or only the items that you replace. Find out if you receive the entire amount right away or you just get a fraction first. Some companies may wait to cover the cost of replacement on when you’ve replaced your stuff, and that could be a problem if you don’t have the money to replace your items first.
- Inventory your possessions. When you file a claim, you’ll be required to prove that you own an item. Then you need to verify how much it is actually worth. You can do both simply by using your smartphone to create a video as you through your home. This puts on video record everything you own, as you go through your basement and attic and your closets. If you have a storage locker, inventory the items inside as well.
You can also just make a list with photos for each item. Once you’re done with your videos and pictures, save them online as well as in a safe-deposit box with your home insurance policy.
- Put in options that make sense. Aside from the basic coverage, you may also be able to pick and choose from some optional coverage that makes sense depending on where or how you live. Many policies don’t cover natural disasters, but you may be able to get flood or earthquake insurance. Now if you own a pool and you often have neighbors visiting your place, you may want your coverage to include personal liability and medical payments should your neighbors get hurt while they’re visiting your place.
- Always call your insurance agent when your lifestyle undergoes a major change. Your needs will change when you get married, and when you get divorced. The amount of coverage may also be affected if you decide to have children, and when your children are old enough to move out.
Your best bet is to find a home insurance company that explains their procedures clearly, so that you know what to expect. Just make sure you do have home insurance coverage—they’re not just for your protection but also for your peace of mind.
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