Imagine how devastating it would be to lose your home in a fire or tornado. If disaster struck your home today do you have enough coverage? Are you sure? Have you reviewed your policy lately? According to Marshall Swift/Boeckh, the global leader in building cost information, 61% of homes in the U.S. are underinsured by an average of 18%. If this figure is applied to a Texas home with a replacement cost of $300,000, it might be insured for only $246,000 leaving a possible shortfall in coverage of $54,000. This is a huge gap that most homeowners are not prepared for.
Here are some tips/steps to take to reduce the likelihood of your home being underinsured:
- Schedule an Annual Review. The best way to be sure that you are covered is to schedule an annual review with your insurance agent. Just like we do an annual physical checkup, we should take care of our financial health. Take the time to make sure the coverage you purchased years ago still meets your needs.
- Identify Available Credits. You might also save money by double checking to make sure you are getting all the discounts you qualify for.
- Check your Deductible. A deductible is the amount you pay after a loss before your insurance company steps in. Raising your deductible can be a great financial move. It not only allows you to significantly reduce your premium costs but it also prevents you from being too quick to call your insurer for coverage. The more claims you make, the more likely the insurance is to raise your premiums or cancel your policy.
- Look At Your Personal Liability Coverage. This is the coverage you need when you get sued. Little Johnny runs across your front yard and trips on one of your sprinklers and his parents sue you for $250,000. Make sure you don’t scrimp here. It’s not too expensive to increase your coverage. You might even consider an Umbrella Liability Policy.
- Check the mortgagee clause. Here’s where you can be sure that the current mortgagee on your home is listed correctly. Check the lender, address and your loan number. Maybe you had a Home Equity line of Credit or a second mortgage that no longer applies. Be sure to get them removed.
- Create an Inventory of Your Contents. You can write everything down in a notebook, for example. Or you can take pictures, writing information on the back of the photos, or put information on your computer. If you have a video camera, you can walk through your house filming and describing the contents at the same time. If you have a personal computer, you can access free online software that makes creating and keeping a home inventory easy at: https://www.knowyourstuff.org/iii/login.html
Taking the time for an insurance checkup and monitoring your coverage’s can result in a lot of savings AND peace of mind.