Here are the five biggest mistakes homeowners make when it comes to insuring their homes.
1.Insuring a home for its real estate value rather than for the cost of rebuilding.
When real estate prices go down, some homeowners may think they can reduce the amount of insurance on their home. But insurance is designed to cover the cost of rebuilding, not the sales price of the home. You should make sure that you have enough coverage to completely rebuild your home and replace your belongings. A better way to save: Raise your deductible. An increase from $500 to $1,000 could save up to 25% on your premium payments.
2.Selecting an insurance company by price alone.
It is important to choose a company with competitive prices, but also one that is financially sound and provides good customer service. A better way to save: Check the financial health of a company with independent rating agencies and ask friends and family for recommendations. You should select an insurance company that will respond to your needs and handle claims fairly and efficiently.
3.Dropping flood insurance.
Damage from flooding is not covered under standard homeowners and renters insurance policies. Coverage is available from the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), as well as from some private insurance companies. Many homeowners are unaware they are at risk for flooding, but in fact 25% of all flood losses occur in low risk areas. With the significant snow fall this winter, spring related flooding may be particularly severe, thus increasing the importance of purchasing flood insurance. A better way to save: Before purchasing a home, check with the NFIP to determine whether the property is situated in a flood zone; if so, consider a less risky area. If you are already living in a designated flood zone, look at mitigation efforts that can reduce your risk of flood damage and consider purchasing flood insurance.
4.Only purchasing the minimal amount of liability protection.
In today’s litigious society, buying only the minimum amount of liability means you are likely to pay more out-of-pocket if you are sued-and those costs may be steep. A better way to save: Consider an umbrella policy. While it is not the cheapest option, your peace of mind may be worth the price.
5.Neglecting to buy renters insurance.
A renters insurance policy covers your possessions and additional living expenses if you have to move out due to an insured disaster, such as a fire or hurricane. Equally important, it provides liability protection in the event someone is injured in your home and decides to sue. A better way to save: Look into multi-policy discounts. Buying several policies with the same insurer, such as renters, auto and life will generally provide savings.