Your homeowners policy is one of the most important safety nets for protecting what matters most to you, so you need an insurance agent who has your best interests in mind. They should work with you throughout your policy to make sure your coverage is adequate and accurately meets your needs.
There are three things your agent should be discussing with you at least once a year to ensure your insurance will help you when you need it most. Check out this list to be prepared to answer your agent’s questions.
1. Review current assets and property
Homeowners insurance encompasses more than the walls, roof and foundation of your home. It’s important to take a deep dive into all the factors that impact your home policy to give your agent an accurate read on your home insurance needs.
Be sure to review the following with your agent:
Personal and household belongings such as jewelry, appliances, furniture and more
Building structures on your property like barns, sheds or a detached garage
People and pets who reside in the home
Added decorative features like pergolas, hardscaping and other yard features
In many cases, your home insurance review can look the same year after year with no change. However, even slight changes like adding a stone firepit can impact your coverage.
If you think it’s time to update or change your homeowners insurance, talk to an Integrity independent agent today.
2. Disclose any renovations or improvements
Updating your home can impact your insurance because repairs and renovations impact home replacement cost value. Home replacement cost is the amount of money it would cost to rebuild your home.
Check out this scenario that explains why you need to speak with your agent about upgrades you complete in or around your home.
Scenario: All Decked Out
Let’s say you are planning to repair your eight-year-old deck on the back of your home. Some of the floorboards are loose and the railing along the steps needs to be replaced.
You hire a professional to complete the repairs and learn that the cost of lumber has increased significantly since you built the deck eight years ago. You learn it would be more cost effective to replace the entire deck, so you do so. However, you don’t notify your insurance agent that you replaced the deck.
A few weeks after the new deck is complete, a storm blows through your neighborhood. A tree falls onto the deck and damages a large section of railing and floorboards. Since you didn’t notify your insurance agent about the deck renovation, the deck damage may not be fully covered under your homeowners insurance policy.
Why is the new deck not fully covered to begin with? Your former deck was old and therefore depreciated over the eight years you had it. Since the cost of lumber increased from inflation and a new deck has no depreciation, the value of the new deck is substantially more than your old deck and increases renovation costs. If you informed your agent promptly after the construction of the new deck, your policy would have been updated and these additional costs would have been included in the coverages.
3. Pinpoint the right coverages
Your insurance should change as your needs do, even if your home is virtually the same year after year. Over time, you might purchase big ticket items or your grown children might move out of the house. There are dozens of reasons your assets and lifestyle might change, and that can impact how you want to protect your property.
Tell your agent what your current goals are for your insurance. For your growing family, you might want to expand your coverage options. For an empty nester, you might consider more a value-driven policy.
What your agent should be doing for your home insurance policy
A quality insurance agent will understand how your home replacement costs impact your insurance policy. They will work with you to understand your unique coverage needs and pinpoint changes to your home over time that can indicate it’s time to adjust your insurance.
Integrity independent agents put your peace of mind and protection first. Our agents ask many questions to get a good understanding of your home insurance goals and needs. When you need insurance help, you can rely on our agents to help you every step of the way. If your home insurance agent isn’t asking the right questions about your assets, home upgrades or coverage goals, it’s time to talk to an Integrity agent. Find a local independent agency today.
This article is for informational and suggestion purposes only. Implementing these suggestions does not guarantee coverage. If any policy coverage descriptions in this article conflict with the language in the policy, the language in the policy applies. For full details on Integrity’s home insurance coverages and discounts, contact your local independent agency.