Navigating the ins and outs of homeowner’s policies.
It’s the most expensive thing you’ll ever buy, so it only makes sense that you’ll want to make sure your investment is more than adequately protected. As a homeowner, you took the time to do your homework and purchase a house that will not only serve your needs as far as living arrangements, but will also be a viable investment to you in the years to come.
And while you’ve likely purchased homeowner’s insurance, it is required if you have a mortgage, you wouldn’t be alone if you made some mistakes when picking out your coverage. Many people make errors when it comes to choose a homeowner’s insurance policy but the reality is, certain mistakes could end up being costly ones.
Here’s an overview of some of the most common mistakes homeowner’s make:
1. Covering purchase price or mortgage amount
Think about this: your home is going to appreciate in value, right? So choosing a homeowner’s policy that only covers the amount you paid for your home or for the amount you have left to pay on your mortgage could easily be a catastrophic mistake if an unforeseen event was to result in a total loss.
Imagine if you paid $350,000 for your home but only insure it for the $50k you owe. Although it may be tempting, because a policy that covers $50k is going to cost so much less, avoid this costly mistake by working with your provider to determine how much your home is actually worth.
2. Focusing on policy price when choosing a provider
It’s all too easy to get wrapped up in the cost of the coverage, but remember, you’re purchasing insurance to protect your investment. Before selecting the provider with the lowest price, do your homework and shop around. Base your decision on the stability of the company, their longevity in the business, their level of service and their history and process of handling claims. These are the most important factors to consider. A good rule of thumb is to avoid those with the highest and lowest price and find a happy, reasonable medium.
3. Going with actual cash value instead of replacement cost
Another common error homeowners make is to get a policy that will pay out the actual cash value of their belongings instead of the replacement cost. The problem with this is that many of your belongings will be much more expensive to replace than they are actually worth at the time of the loss.
Computers, couches, furniture, stereo equipment, etc. all get more and more costly every year and if you don’t choose replacement cost, you could end up having to foot the bill to replace many necessary items.
4. Choosing less coverage to reduce premium
Less coverage will definitely cost you less, but this translates to having less protection in the event of a disaster or unexpected event. If you are looking to lower your costs, a good option is to get the right amount of coverage and increase your deductible. This strategy ensures that you’ll have the protection you need at a more reasonable rate.
5. Not considering “extras”
It’s always a relief to know that you don’t live in a flood zone, but the truth is, a flood can still happen anywhere. And when it does, you’ll wish you had coverage. Before you decide against it, consider what how much rain or snow you get in your area. Many times a flood is caused by these factors and occurs in the lower risk areas. This also holds true if you’ve paid off your mortgage and aren’t required to have flood insurance anymore.
6. Not asking the right questions
All insurance can be confusing and homeowner’s is no exception. The most important thing you can do is make a list of questions to ask your provider before purchasing a policy. In addition to asking for a summary of your policy, preferably in layman’s terms, here are important questions you should ask:
- • What’s covered?
- • What’s excluded?
- • Are there any limits to the coverage?
- • How are claims handled?
- • Are there any additional coverages that I may need?
- • Are my personal belongings covered & for how much?
- • Are there any discounts available?
- • Are there any bundles or umbrellas policies available?
When navigating through the world of homeowner’s insurance, many people make these common mistakes. Being aware of them will help you get the right amount of coverage at the best price and will save you from many headaches in the long run. If you need homeowner’s or have any questions, we are happy to assist you so please, give us a call.