Is Your Homeowners Policy Renewal Is Coming Up? Check Your Risk
Is it time to renew your homeowners insurance policy? Take a little time to review any changes to your situation over the past year.
This checklist can help you note any new risk liability areas. Let us know about any of the areas you mark off as changed. We’ll answer your questions and help you decide what works best for your situation.
Homeowners policy considerations: your potential risk areas
- Is your house still a full-time home, or has it become a vacation or seasonal home (snowbirds)?
- Do you rent out a portion of your home or has someone moved in with you recently?
- Have you gotten married or divorced?
- Did you have a baby or adopt a child?
- Do you have pets?
- Did you have a change in employment?
- Do you have a fireplace or other solid fuel appliance (anything with a chimney connecting the heat source)?
- Do you have any detached structures (garages, sheds or other outbuildings not connected to your home)?
- What’s your insurance history (losses or claims in the past five years)?
- Do you have a fire station nearby or is it outside normal city limits?
- Have you installed a rooftop solar panel system or solar roof tiles?
- Have you completed home renovations or additions (new kitchen, new flooring, high-end appliances, high-end furnishings)?
- Have you updated your home recently (new siding, roofing, plumbing, HVAC, electricity, sprinkler system, custom windows, deck or outdoor kitchen)?
- Is $2,500 enough to replace your jewelry and computer systems in case of a total loss?
- Are you a collector (expensive handbags, shoes, clothing, stamps, baseball cards, coins, wine, antiques, artwork or classic cars)?
- Have you had appraisals done for your artwork, collections or jewelry items?
- Do you own an electric scooter, moped or motorcycle?
- Do you own an all-terrain vehicle (ATV) or golf cart?
- Do you own a mountain bike, boat, snowmobile, trailer or camper home?
- Do you rent out a portion of your garage or other outbuildings (parking or storage)?
- Do you own expensive tools or a riding lawn mower that you store in a shed or other outbuilding?
- Do you use a trailer, hitch or bike rack to transport belongings like an ATV, bike or boat?
- Do you own a motor home or recreational vehicle?
- Do you have a trampoline, pool (above or in-ground), spa or hot tub installed on your property?
- Do you have a home business or work from home?
- Do you host child care, tutoring, sitting or other services in your home or yard?
- Do you coach sports, lead a youth group or participate in activities that involve youth, whether inside or outside the home?
- Are you a member of a board (nonprofit or for-profit)?
- Do you have domestic workers who come to your home?
You might have a discount coming
- Do you have any home security systems (deadbolt locks, burglar alarm systems or home monitoring systems)?
- Do you have safety devices in your home (fire extinguishers, sprinkler systems, or fire or smoke alarms)?
- Do you have a water shut-off device installed on your plumbing system (whole house water shut-off or leakage detection)?
- Do you have temperature monitoring systems that alert you if the house becomes too cold (frozen pipe prevention)?
- Have you installed an impact-resistant roof or made other improvements? (A discount may apply if it’s on an approved list of materials.)
Risk radar: Your liability exposure might be higher than you think
Consider some known protection gaps and risk exposures that apply to many homeowners.
- Homeowners policies do not cover flooding. Most flooding occurs in areas that are not rated as flood zones. A flash rain or snowmelt can cause a basement to flood, which can cost thousands to repair. Everyone should assess their flood risk.
- An inch of water can cause $25,000 in damages. Think of everything in your basement (HVAC, electronics, furnishings and belongings). Now think of your coverage limits for sewer backup and flooding. Are they enough?
- Sewer backup insurance is not flood insurance. If your toilet overflows while you’re away, it’s not a flood (even if it causes one). It’s sewer backup.
- Inflation and weather events can limit building materials and make them more expensive (even predatory sales due to demand). The cost to rebuild can skyrocket after an area catastrophe.
- Your home’s market value (what someone will pay for your home, including the land) is not its replacement value (cost to rebuild). Always insure at least 100% of the replacement value, not the market value.
- A standard homeowners policy offers some coverage (10% of policy limits) for other structures (detached garages, sheds or workshops). Are your limits enough to replace all of these structures in the event of a total loss?
- When you think of personal liability limits, consider the financial liability of being sued for defamation, a dog bite, bodily injury or property damage to others. You have to defend yourself in court even if you’ve done nothing wrong.
- You can be sued for future earnings (based on the earning potential of your job and career), in addition to assets and cash, as part of a lawsuit.
- Ordinance or law coverage helps when city or other laws require you to rebuild your home to code, even the undamaged parts. Standard homeowners insurance will not cover upgrades to undamaged parts of your home, leaving your budget exposed.
- Replacement value is the cost to replace an item without factoring in depreciation. Actual cash value is the value of the item, less depreciation.
- Collectors and their collections require specific insurance. An agreed value is an agreed-upon price for replacement. The appraised value is dependent on an appraiser’s valuation of the collection item.
- If you coach sports or lead youth groups, you could be at risk for harassment and molestation allegations. Many liability policies specifically exclude abuse and molestation coverage, which requires additional coverage.
- If you have domestic workers in your home, you may be considered an employer. You could be sued for unfair work practices. A standard homeowners policy might exclude this liability, so you may need employment practices liability insurance.
- If you are on a nonprofit or for-profit board, you might be personally and financially liable for its decisions. You can be named in lawsuits alleging things like harassment, abuse, discrimination, financial misuse (even if you weren’t directly involved or aware of the situation).
- Did you get engaged recently? When you get married, your exposure liabilities become jointly held. Even credit ratings can be an issue for your new life as a couple. A policy review in preparation for the big day can help you step into your new life confidently covered.
Added protection to cover liability gaps
Mark the ones that are of concern to you and ask us how we can help cover any liability gaps.
- Do you own a vehicle? If yes, how about an auto insurance quote for bundling home and auto discounts?
- Do you own a classic car or motorcycle? Would you like a quote for collectors or antique car coverage?
- Are you interested in increasing your personal liability coverage?
- Would you like a quote for directors and officers protection?
- Are you interested in learning more about your risk exposure from domestic workers and employment practices liability insurance coverage?
- Are you interested in a quote for collectors insurance to protect your collectibles?
- Are you interested in learning more about an ordinance or law coverage add-on?
- Would you like to learn how a personal umbrella policy can increase the liability limits across your home and auto?
- Would you like a business owners policy quote to protect your home business liability risk?
- Are you interested in adding flood protection?
- Are you interested in adding sewer backup protection?
- Are you interested in adding earthquake protection?
- Would you like to add a jewelry endorsement?
- Are you interested in changing your homeowners policy to reflect actual cash value or replacement value?
- Would you like to learn more about pet insurance?
- Would you like to learn more about personal cyber liability coverage?
- Would you like more information about a life insurance quote? (Enjoy lower rates while you’re young and healthy.)
- Are you interested in wedding insurance?
Let’s talk soon
If you have any questions about what’s covered (or not) on your current homeowners policy, let us know. We’re here to help protect what’s most important to you.
This content is for informational purposes only, should not be considered professional, financial, medical or legal advice, and no representations or warranties are made regarding its accuracy, timeliness or currency. With all information, consult with appropriate licensed professionals to determine if implementing any recommendations would be in accordance with applicable laws and regulations or to obtain advice with respect to any particular issue or problem.
Copyright © 2023 Applied Systems, Inc. All rights reserved.