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Keep Your Home Insurance Policy Up-to-Date

Your needs – and home – change over time. It may be that you’ve started a family, renovated your home or purchased a new property. Would you know what was covered by insurance if your home was damaged? Where would you start in restoring your property?

ServiceMaster DSI recommends knowing your home insurance policies and reviewing them at least annually with your agent. You will also want to do this after any changes or renovations to your home.

Assessing your policy now could save you grief in the long run. Here are five starting points for homeowners looking to update – and better understand – their home insurance policies:

How Much Coverage Do You Need?

Start with your house. Rather than basing your coverage level on your home’s appraised value and land costs, the National Association of Insurance Commissioners advises using the recent per-square-foot replacement costs in your area. Your local homebuilder’s association should have this information.

Is Your Area Prone to Natural Disasters?

Most people aren’t aware of what their home policies do – or do not – cover until they file a claim. And in this case, ignorance usually isn’t bliss.

Say you experience a hurricane with floodwaters that damage your home. Standard policies exclude damage from flooding. You may need to add supplemental coverage, which can be costly but also necessary in the future.

The same can be said of earthquakes and landslides. Discuss these types of insurance with your agent to be sure you know your options.

Have You Renovated or Remodeled Your House?

Whether you’ve upgraded to new hardwood flooring or updated the plumbing, insurance policies can change based on alterations to your home. In case of fire or theft, your policy is designed to put damaged items back to the condition they were before the claim. If, however, you want to make improvements, you’ll need to pay the difference to have the changes made.

Additionally, your insurance premiums may increase or decrease depending on the renovations you have done prior to a loss. For example, new floors may add to the overall replacement costs, thus increasing your premium. But improvements made for safety, such as electrical upgrades, could reduce your premium since they lower hazardous risks.

Remember also the changing property values and cost of reconstruction materials in many markets.

Have You Considered Your Home Appliances?

While water or fire damage from a natural disaster is always something to keep in mind, smaller items (such as your home appliances) can cause damage as well.

First, we can’t stress enough the importance of keeping up with yearly maintenance on appliances, such as having HVAC unit(s) and water heaters inspected. Check out your bathroom, kitchen and laundry areas on a regular basis. Even little leaks can lead to significant – and costly – problems. Be sure to discuss these factors with your agent as well.

Do You Have a Home Inventory?

Once your house coverage is optimized, you can consider the valuables within your home. A good way to reevaluate your needs as a homeowner is to conduct a home inventory. A current, well-organized home inventory can help with insurance claims and make the restoration process feel less complicated.

  • List and value every item. Keep your inventory at a close friend or relative’s home, saved online with a home inventory app or in a fireproof box. Include a complete copy of your updated insurance policy!
  • Take advantage of time-saving technology. Home inventory apps make it easy to photograph personal items and add information like serial numbers, purchase amounts and descriptions.
  • Update your inventory often. When you make a large purchase, add it to your list while it’s still fresh in your mind. This is also a good time to delete items you no longer own.

Benefits of an Updated Policy

By considering your specific coverage needs, knowing what your policy covers in the event of natural and routine disasters, noting renovations to your home and conducting home inventories, you can be prepared with a home insurance policy that benefits you the most. You can also reduce confusion during an already stressful time.

The disaster restoration experts at ServiceMaster DSI work directly with insurance providers during repairs to help streamline the claims process and provide you with the best customer service experience. To report a home loss, contact our restoration teams today at 844-413-3130.