While most homeowners do not dispute the need to insure their most valuable investment, many would agree that insurance itself can be very confusing, frustrating, and difficult to comprehend. Pages and pages of legal jargon compile a book-like document known as the policy capable of making even the most savvy homeowner’s head spin. It can be very difficult for the homeowner to decipher coverages, understand his or her responsibilities, or know when or how to file a claim. It is for this reason that a comprehensive review with your insurance professional is so important.
When preparing to meet with your insurance agent, you should jot down several questions that you would like to go over, list any changes that you have made, and note any concerns that you might have. If you are unsure of what questions you should ask below is a list that may be helpful.
- Is my home insured to full replacement value, and when was the last time that a cost estimator was done for my home? This is important because it ensures that all the information used to determine your coverage amount is current and accurate and that you will have sufficient coverage to rebuild if you should sustain a loss.
- What is my deductible? The deductible is the amount that you are required to pay before your insurance takes over. It is very important to understand what your financial responsibility will be at the time of a loss. If this amount is more than you are able to incur, you may want to talk to your agent about lowering your deductible to an amount you are more comfortable with.
- What are my obligations and responsibilities at the time of a loss? Most insurance policies require the insured to mitigate any losses to the best of his or her abilities. This could include such things as turning off water sources or covering exposures such as damaged roofs or broken windows. It is important to understand what is expected of you as the insured during a time of loss.
- If I should incur a loss, what should I do and who should I call? Keep this information handy in a safe place where you can find it. Losses can be very stressful, and it is helpful during these times to have your information in a place where it is easily accessible when needed. In addition to asking these important questions, you should also remember to use this time to verify that the information on your policy is correct. Check your name, address, and contact information for any errors and make any changes as needed. If there have been any additions or upgrades to your home, it is important that you make your agent aware of these changes as well so that he or she can update your coverage accordingly.
Communication with your agent is paramount in being adequately prepared in times of loss. Make the most of your coverage by asking questions, keeping your agent informed of any changes, understanding your responsibilities, and planning ahead for your deductible. There is no better time than the present to strengthen your agent-client relationship.