You should review your homeowner's insurance every year to make sure that you still have the coverage that you need — and that you're getting the discounts that you deserve. Consider the following home insurance renewal checklist when determining whether your homeowner's insurance is still sufficient for your needs.
1. Review Your Basic Information
If you've gotten married, had a child, or made any other major life change, you may need to update your home insurance information. Your home insurance information generally needs to know who is living within the property in order to properly calculate your liability.
In addition to occupants, make sure that your contact information is accurate, such as your phone number and your email address. You can also use this time to double check that the basics of your property are correct, such as the age of the property, the age of the roof, and the square footage. Occasionally, data can be entered in incorrectly that could impact your pricing.
2. Ask For Any New Discounts
Discounts can reduce your insurance rates substantially. Everyone's insurance rates are calculated based on their own estimated risk. However, certain things you do can potentially reduce your risk, and thereby decrease your policy amounts.
A few common discounts include:
- Being non-smokers. Whether you recently stopped smoking or you've never smoked, being a non-smoker can get you a substantial discount. If you don't have one on your current policy, inquire about getting one.
- Installing new features. A sump pump, back flow valve, monitored alarm, or sprinkler system can all reduce damage to your home and potentially lower your rates.
- Bundling your insurance policies. You can bundle home and auto insurance policies for up to 15% off of your premium, without losing any of the coverage that you need.
There are many discounts available; your broker will be able to walk you through the ones that are likely to matter the most. Government employees, students, and military service members often have discounts available.
3. Adjust Your Coverage Amounts
As you acquire additional things, you'll often find that your coverage amounts also need to increase. Update the value of the items inside of your house, in addition to the appraised value of your property itself — otherwise you could find yourself without the coverage you need, when you need it.
While increasing your coverage may make your premiums go up, you can occasionally balance this out by reducing your deductible. A higher deductible means a lower premium, and if you're ensuring significantly higher value things, it may make sense.
Now is also a great time to speak to your broker about any recent renovations that you’ve completed in your home. These renovations are likely to increase the value of your home, which in turn, will require you to increase your insurance coverage.
4. Take a Complete Home Inventory
While adjusting your coverage, take the time to take a complete home inventory. For electronic devices, get the serial numbers. For everything else, take pictures and save receipts. You'll need to show which items were damaged in the event that you experience an emergency. A complete home inventory will also give you a more thorough valuation of your property. There are many apps available that can help you create a home inventory through your smartphone.
Often, you'll find that you can save a lot of money just by reviewing your home insurance policy. Your broker may even be able to give you a loyalty discount for staying with the company, or may be able to find you better deals with different insurance products. If it's about time for you to evaluate your home insurance policy, contact us for more information.