Essential Tips to Remember During an Annual Insurance Review

Have you prepared your annual insurance review checklist? You may need it to avoid underinsuring your home. According to an ISO report highlighted by the Insurance Information Institute (III), about 6% of insured homes in the U.S. have a claim each year for property damage. However, some of these homeowners are underinsured, which means they’re still at a risk of huge financial loss should they lose their property in a covered disaster.

According to the latest available data from the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC), more than half of American homeowners take more than a year before reviewing their home insurance policies. Another 14% can’t remember if they’ve ever evaluated their policy. Not having an annual insurance review exposes them to coverage gaps because their policy doesn’t address any recent upgrades to their home or new personal property acquisitions.

By sealing these coverage gaps, you can avoid spending tens of thousands of dollars out-of-pocket to rebuild your insured home after damage, like from a fire or storm. As you look forward to a happy and prosperous new year, find some time to review your homeowners insurance needs with a knowledgeable agent. Remember to discuss the following potential coverage gaps and discount opportunities.

1.Home Improvements

You’ll want to update your policy accordingly if you recently made changes to your home that increased its replacement cost. While repairing a broken window pane may not change the insured value, replacing it with a more expensive energy-efficient one does. Any improvements with higher replacement costs may require higher insurance premiums for adequate coverage.

Watch out for coverage gaps in upgrades such as:

  • Renovated kitchen with superior-grade cooking appliances, countertops, or new flooring
  • Custom finishes
  • New electrical or plumbing systems

 2.Structures and Structural Changes

New structures, such as a deck, increase your property’s value and its cost of replacement. A recently finished basement has a similar impact. These modifications may require appropriate policy adjustments.

You also need to review your coverage after expanding your property’s size and square footage. Adding a story, developing your indoor living spaces, or building a new garage increases your property’s value.

3.Personal Belongings

Did you buy new electrical appliances and devices, such as laptop computers, a TV set, or clothing, recently? Include new high-quality furniture in your evaluation, too. Ask your insurer to update your policy accordingly to make all these new items compensable, should you lose them in a covered event.

4.Higher Value Personal Properties

There are certain categories of higher-value assets that your homeowners insurance property policy may not automatically cover. If you acquired any such items recently, it’s important that you mention them to your agent during your annual insurance review. Examples include:

  • Rare or expensive artwork
  • Firearms
  • Higher-value jewelry
  • Pets
  • Unique collectibles, such as coins

5.Discounts

Some home improvements may result in lower insurance premiums or discounts. Such offers are not automatic, though, so you still need to ask your agent if any changes you made are eligible. You may qualify if the modification or installation in question minimizes the covered risk.

Consult your agent about improvements such as:

  • Reinforced roofing or hail, wind, or leak-proof roofing materials
  • A new security system
  • A smoke detector/fire safety equipment

6.Outdoor Appliances and Landscaping Features

If you recently built a backyard pool, you’ll want your insurance agent to update your policy regarding the change to your property’s value. The same applies to a new sprinkler system or riding mower.

With these tips, you can maximize your homeowners insurance coverage for at least the next 12 months. Do you need professional help verifying critical items in your annual insurance review checklist? Get in touch with our experts at Robert J. Los Insurance Agency in Hamburg, New York to get started today.