It seems like there have been a lot of natural disasters lately – fires, floods, storms, etc. These disasters have made me wonder if the coverage I have on my home and my rental properties is adequate. Even though I understand the basics of property and casualty insurance, I know a lot has changed in the last decade so I sought the help of a fee-only insurance expert. Here are five key points from this experience that I want to share with you:
- Obviously it is very important to have replacement cost insurance, but many homeowners fail to increase the replacement cost value due to home improvements or remodeling projects. Make sure the replacement cost value equals the current value of your home. Check out www.accuCoverage.com for an estimate of your replacement value.
- Demand surge or post catastrophe inflation coverage is important since a demand surge can happen when a disaster hits a wide area such as what happened after Hurricane Katrina. Labor and materials can skyrocket and you can find yourself short of funds to rebuild. It is a relatively inexpensive rider.
- Flood insurance is also inexpensive and while your home may not have been in a flood zone when you bought it; it may be in one now. The government can update a flood zone map and include your home. Better check to see. Estimate your floor insurance costs at www.FloodSmart.gov.
- Excess or Umbrella Liability riders can help protect you if someone gets hurt by you driving your car or if someone gets hurt on your property. If claims exceed your policy limits then your personal assets are at risk. This is additional coverage for that type of scenario and inexpensive.
- Renters should also protect their belongings with insurance. Accidentally leaving the garage door open can leave you without all your favorite toys-skis, bikes, tools, kayak, etc.
Stop wondering if you have the coverage you need. Seek out a fee-only insurance expert for a review. It always pays to comparison shop rates. Go to www.insurance.com and www.insWeb.com. Don’t let the fine print keep you from losing your property.