I’ve been in the insurance business for over thirty years and understand the home insurance needs of my customers. I’ll work with you to estimate the replacement cost for your home and to adjust your policy limits from time to time as needed.
One of my biggest concerns is when a potential clients calls for a quote and we discover that their property is underinsured.
Here are some steps you can take to reduce the danger of being seriously underinsured:
- Call. If you have questions or concerns about the limits in your policy, ask me to show you how those amounts were calculated. This will also give you an opportunity to make us aware of any overlooked information.
- Read your policy. Certain property, such as jewelry, and certain perils, such as earthquake or flood, is better insured separately. Knowing what is covered and for how much will help you insure properly. If there is anything in your policy you don’t understand, call me at 507-226-8121 and ask for an explanation.
- Review. At each annual renewal of your policy, you receive a new Policy Declarations page showing limits of coverage and optional coverages. Review this information. If you do any significant remodeling or add a family room, extra bedroom or bathroom, etc., call me and ask about these changes so your coverage limits can be adjusted to cover the improvement.
- Consider carefully whether your policy provides all the protection you need. Does it provide coverage for extra costs resulting from building code changes? Does it automatically increase coverage limits annually to keep pace with inflation? Does it provide additional funds if the cost of rebuilding your home exceeds the policy limits?
Make sure you know:
- Will your insurance company stand behind agreed upon repairs after a claim? Some companies are willing to put this guarantee in writing.
- Does your policy include replacement cost coverage for contents (clothing, furniture, appliances, and other personal property inside your home)? If not, you can add it by endorsement. The cost is small, the protection valuable. Replacement Cost Coverage pays for losses to your possessions at the cost of brand new items. Without this option, a covered loss to your personal possessions would be depreciated by their age and condition, reducing the size of your claim settlement.
If you have an art collection, antique furniture, jewelry, or other valuable possessions, call and ask me about supplemental coverages, such as fine arts or scheduled property endorsements, to adequately protect your investment in these items. The cost is modest for the extra protection, and sometimes the deductible is waived.
Consider whether you should have more coverage for personal property (contents) than your policy provides. Personal property coverage is usually 70% of the coverage limit for the structure. Your limit may be lower than 70%. Supplemental protection is available for a small additional premium.
Inventory your home. Prepare an inventory of personal property items, update it periodically, and keep it in a safe place outside your home, such as a safe deposit box at your bank. It will save you hours of time trying to list everything damaged or destroyed if you need to make a claim. It will also help ensure you don’t forget some items.
Besides making sure you have enough protection to cover possible damage to your own home and contents, you should also evaluate your exposure to liability risks. These result from damage to the property of another, or injury to a person, not a member of your household, for which you can be responsible.
In recent years it’s become common for homeowners to be sued for injuries or damages to others, even when there is no evidence of negligence by the homeowner. The reality today is if you have any appreciable assets, you are exposed to the risk of being sued. Even if you ultimately prevail in court, your legal fees and the months or years of worry and uncertainty can be a terrible burden on you and your family.
The Personal Liability coverage provided by your Homeowners Policy usually provides a limit of $100,000 or $300,000. We recommend increasing this protection with a personal umbrella policy. Not only will it increase your personal liability, but also your auto liability. Limits are available from $1 million to $10 million and beyond. The cost of this coverage is usually very reasonable.
Keep in mind that Minnesota can require certain minimum levels of coverage. After that, the right coverage for you is unique. I’d like to help you find out how to get the best price and value on insurance for your home, personal property, and liability.
It’s also an excellent idea to consider Umbrella Insurance. Click HERE to read more about this inexpensive protection.
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