4 Things Every Homeowner Should Ask Their Insurance AgentPosted on Apr 21, 2016
Your home is your castle. It is your shelter from the world – a place of comfort and safety for you and your family. It’s important to get the right kind of insurance protection for your home so that when disasters occur, you can get your home, and life back, back in order as quickly as possible afterwards.
In order to get the right protection, you need to ask the right questions when you’re going through the homeowners insurance buying process. These are four questions every homeowner should ask when buying insurance.
1) How Much Will it Cost to Rebuild My Home?
You need a brick by brick, dollar for dollar estimate of how much it will cost to rebuild your home to the same size and type it is today if a total loss occurred. It isn’t just about rebuilding though. It’s about making your home compliant with current codes, removing the rubble and debris, and building a home of the same basic size and condition of your current home should a covered event take place.
2) What Isn’t Covered by a Home Insurance Policy?
Sometimes the problems aren’t with what is covered by your policy, but what isn’t. Most homeowner’s insurance policies, for instance, do not cover flood. Most families need to purchase flood coverage through the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). Even that insurance is extremely limited in scope and only offers coverage up to $250,000 on the structure of the home, and even less for the home’s contents. For homes with greater value you’ll need additional private flood insurance that kicks in once NFIP funds are exhausted. Earthquake damage is another common exclusion for home insurance.
One that often comes up as an unpleasant surprise is the need for ordinance and law coverage in New Jersey. This coverage helps cover the costs of bringing your home to current codes in the aftermath of a loss. If a certain amount of damage is done to your home, the entire home must be brought up to current code – even the parts of the home that weren’t damaged. You want to make sure your home has this coverage, which isn’t naturally included in the homeowner’s policy.
3) What about our Possessions?
This is an important one to ask. Most home insurance policies include some coverage for the contents of your home. Unfortunately, this coverage is somewhat limited. If you own electronics, antiques, artworks, furs, jewelry, or have any valuable collections, the odds are good that the policy will not cover them as written. You’ll need to purchase additional valuables insurance coverage for those precious items. Make sure to have a frank and open discussion with your insurance agent about your possessions to ensure they are adequately insured.
4) What Can I Do to Reduce My Rates Without Sacrificing Coverage?
There are a nearly limitless supply of discounts available when insuring your home. You simply need to ask for them. You can get lower insurance rates by improving your credit score, raising your deductible, making repairs and upgrades to the home, improving security, getting a new roof, using certain building materials, and bundling your policies with the same insurance provider. Monitored smoke detectors and security alarms are also on the top of the list. The more steps you take, the better chance you have for lower rates.