It’s one of those documents most of us stash in a safe, out-of-the-way place—somewhere in the furthest recesses of a filing cabinet or at the back of a drawer. Renters do the same: they don’t actually read the thing, but they know they want to keep it somewhere where they hope they’ll never have to find it.
The document that they value and simultaneously avoid is their homeowners or renter’s insurance policy—the thing they make sure to purchase and hope to forget. As much as we consider it our job to cater to our clients’ every wish, it is also a document that unfortunately prompts us to risk violating that part of our job.
Sorry, everyone. You really should go find it and give it a read. Once a year, even.
The fact is, it’s certainly time for your homeowners insurance policy’s annual checkup!
How do we know that you haven’t done that for at least a year? It’s because when your agent sent you this year’s policy renewal, you may have read the cover letter and the top page, but that’s when your eyes glazed over and you remembered you had something else to do right then. You stuffed it back in the envelope until later (which was when you stashed it in the safe place).
Unless you are the one-in-twenty who likes legal minutiae, you figure you’ll read it when you need it, which you fervently hope is never. We sincerely join you in that hope, but all the industry experts are deadly serious in recommending that you bite the bullet and review your policy at least once a year. Why? Many reasons—here are just a few:
- Type of coverage. Is it ACV or Replacement cost? ACV stands for “actual cash value” which means depreciation is deducted in the event of loss.
- Liability limits. ‘Nuff said.
- Accurate inventory. As your possessions come and go, they need to be reflected in the policy. This is where over-insuring is most commonly spotted. Here’s the National Association of Insurance Commissioners’ handy inventory worksheet.
- Deductible. The amount of deductible in your homeowners or renter’s policy is where you can reap significant savings…if you are willing to absorb more of the expense should a loss occur.
- Discount. If you have more than one type of insurance policy with the same company or are a long-term customer with few claims, you might qualify.
After your house insurance checkup, you should experience some degree of relief. After all, not only are you newly confident that you are accurately covered, but even better: now you don’t have to read the thing for another year!
Our job is helping our Grand Forks Area clients make the most of their real estate opportunities and decisions. Whenever you can use some help or advice, do give us a call!