The Home Insurance Checklist
Home insurance is an important expense but dealing with it can be tricky. There are so many policies out there and the contracts are full of legal terms that you might not understand. Getting your head round all of that and working out which policy is right for you can be a struggle and if you get it wrong you can land yourself in serious trouble when it comes time to make a claim. If you can’t get your items replaced or home repairs done on the insurance, you’ll be paying for it for no reason, all because of some simple mistakes when you were taking out the policy in the first place.
To help you make sure that you’re getting the right home insurance policy, follow this simple checklist before signing anything.
What Does It Cover?
This is obviously the first question you need to answer. The majority of insurance policies will give you cover for theft of possessions and any damage caused to the house from a break in. They also tend to cover vandalism and fires, and the costs of staying in a hotel if these events mean you have to move out of the house for a while.
These are the basic provisions that pretty much every home insurance policy covers but there are a lot of extras that aren’t always included, these are the ones that you need to be checking for on your policy before you take it out. Liability insurance is a big one for some people; if a person gets hurt on your property and decides to sue you, liability insurance will cover the settlement and legal fees for you. Natural disasters like earthquakes or flooding is another one to look out for if you live in a high risk area because they aren’t always included. Look for a policy that will cover the cost of companies like Restoration Dispatched to fix any damage in the aftermath. Belongings that aren’t in the house can sometimes be covered by certain policies. They’re usually a bit more expensive but if you’ve got something like a laptop that you keep in the car, it’s not going to be covered by auto insurance but it will be covered by some home insurance policies.
It’s a good idea to shop around when you’re buying any service but it’s especially important when it comes to home insurance. Personal recommendations are a good starting point because regardless of the assurances that the insurance company gives you, you can’t be sure that the policy is right for you. The level of service that you get from the company is also important and the best way to know how good it is is to ask somebody that has made a claim already. Beyond personal recommendations, you should look at customer reviews on their website.
However, you shouldn’t always be completely swayed by recommendations and reviews because those people might not have the same requirements as you. When you’re shopping around for insurance, don’t just look at the bigger companies. There are a lot of smaller companies that offer the same cover for a far lower price. Finding the best policy should be a combination of price and, more importantly, service. When you’re making a claim it’s usually during a difficult time and if the adjuster is rude and unhelpful and the claim takes ages to get sorted, they’re just making a bad situation a whole lot worse. Sometimes it’s worth paying a bit more for a company that offers you better customer service.
You might not realize it but there are quite a lot of things that you can do to bring down the price of an insurance policy. The premiums are worked out based on how much risk the insurance company thinks there is. If they think you’re likely to be the victim of a break-in, or your house is a fire risk, that price will shoot up right away. Simple changes like putting a smoke alarm or a burglar alarm in will make it much cheaper for you. Protecting your home with fences and good security lights, putting your car in a garage and updating the locks on your doors and windows all reduce your insurance premiums.
Replacement Coverage And Market Value
When it comes to home insurance, there are two main types of policy, replacement coverage and market value. Replacement coverage is a policy that will give you a settlement that replaces all of the possessions that were damaged or stolen. A market value policy is based on the value of the house in its current condition. If you’ve been broken into and the house is damaged, the insurance company will look at how much you could sell the house for in its current condition, and how much it was worth before the incident. The claim will make up the difference.
A market value policy is usually cheaper but you aren’t going to get all of your stuff replaced when you make a claim. A replacement coverage policy will replace more of your possessions but it’s going to cost you more to take out.
Write Everything Down
Insurance companies don’t like making claims, that’s obvious. If they can get away with not paying a claim then they will, that means they’re always on the lookout for any tiny detail that’s going to stop you from making a claim. There are lots of things like leaving a door unlocked before a robbery that make claims invalid, but they can also refuse to pay you if you don’t keep good enough records. People often lie on insurance claims to get more stuff so companies are always on the lookout. As soon as you discover a break-in, go through the entire house and make a note of everything that’s been taken. That way there won’t be any disputes down the line and you’ll get your claim from the insurance company.
Follow this simple checklist and you can take the headache out of insurance claims.