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A financial review may not be at the top of everyone’s New Year resolution list. But as homeowners start 2010, they should add “insurance policy checkup” to their to-do list.
During the course of a year, many changes could affect the insurance coverage. The addition of a room or a major room remodel; new appliances or electronics bought or received during the holidays; or a homeowner retiring from a job and now spending much more time at home could all be changes that affect the cost and type of homeowner insurance needed. In these tough economic times, a thorough policy review could also save some money.
“Now is the best time to make the necessary changes to your homeowner insurance,” said Candysse Miller, Executive Director of the Insurance Information Network of California. “Just as homeowners may change batteries in smoke detectors or begin to prepare their taxes, they should add an insurance review and home inventory to their New Year’s priorities.”
While most homeowners agree that it’s their responsibility to keep their insurance updated, less than a third said they had done so in the last year, according to an IINC statewide poll. Many homeowners also think they have coverage for earthquake and flood damage, even though most standard homeowner policies exclude both.
A year-end insurance check-up should include:
• An analysis of the reconstruction cost of the home, including the adjusted costs of materials, labor and upgraded building codes;
• A thorough home inventory matched with sufficient coverage for all the homeowner’s possessions; and
• A review with an agent or insurance company representative to understand qualifying discounts.
Homeowners should also know that by increasing the deductible, the cost savings may offset an increase in coverage.
For more information on reviewing your insurance coverage and related subjects, visit www.iinc.org. Consumer tips and advice are also available on the podcast, “IINC Spots” at www.iincspots.com.
IINC is non-profit, non-lobbying insurance communications association dedicated to helping the public understand insurance and risk management issues. ADDITIONAL RESOURCESCalifornia Department of Insurance