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There are few rites of spring more common than the annual house cleaning. So as you clean also take time to inventory what you own and to review your insurance.
Home insurance is most effective when your policy accurately reflects your property. Here are four questions to review and to alert your agent if anything has changed.
1) Have you added a structure to your property or updated part of your home?
Building a new garage, addition, or guest home or replacing major items such as the roof or HVAC system will increase the value of your home.
Insurance companies want to make sure your property is in good shape, so deferred maintenance doesn’t make your home more vulnerable to damage. If the insurer finds that damage occurred because you neglected to maintain your home, they may deny a claim.
2) Has the occupancy of your home changed?
It is important to remember that insurance is a contract with set definitions, conditions, and exclusions. If the property definition changes based on its occupancy or vacancy, so may the coverage.
Typical examples of occupancy changes include: deciding to permanently rent out your home or having a tenant move out leaving the property is vacant.
3) Have you acquired new items of value?
We’re post-holidays so now is a good time to review any gifts you may have gotten over the past few months such as jewelry, art, and other high-cost items.
Jewelry, watches, furs, silverware, electronics, and firearms are typically limited to a few thousand dollars of coverage. So, if you have a jewelry collection worth $10,000 that’s lost or stolen, you’ll come up very short.
4) Did you buy or adopt a high-risk pet?
Some breeds of pets are considered higher risk than others. Large, powerful breeds of dogs may be blacklisted or cause you to pay an inflated home insurance rate.
Some breeds most commonly excluded from coverage include: Doberman Pinscher, German shepherd, Great Dane, Mastiff, Pit Bull or Staffordshire Terrier, Rottweiler, and Wolf hybrids.
Talk to a trusted insurance advisor if any of these situations have changed.