As every South Central Vermont homeowner knows, property insurance is a necessity. The cost of adequate insurance may seem daunting initially, but there are certain steps you can take to reduce your costs to a reasonable level.
1. Shop around for the best value. Check online for quotes from at least three reputable agencies. Be aware that some companies offer a discount of 30% to 40% if you buy online. Other possible discounts can result from insuring both the home and the contents or by insuring your home and your car with the same firm.
Also know the replacement value of your home, taking into consideration any unique features that will be expensive to replace. Keep in mind probable inflation increases at renewal time. Does your insurer automatically adjust your coverage or do you have to request the change?
A) replacing the existing heating system to one which is safer and more cost-efficient.
B) keep plumbing in good working order and protect it from freezing
C) replace fuses. Inspectors are looking for circuit breakers and a safe wiring system
D) install fire detectors or even a central alarm system. Be sure to keep a record of all repairs/replacements and inform your insurance company of each one.
The recent coverage of Hurricane Dean and other weather-related disasters across the country should be giving homeowners everywhere cause to take a minute and review their homeowners insurance policies. It is a good idea to look over your policy periodically to be sure you are familiar with all of its details and feel comfortable that you will be protected before a natural disaster strikes or you have to file a claim. Below are 5 tips for understanding your homeowners insurance:
1. Look for exclusions to coverage. For example, most policies do not cover flood or earthquake damage as a standard item – these coverages must be purchased separately.
2. Look for dollar limitations on claims. Even if you are covered for a risk, there may be a limit on how much the insurer will pay. For example, many policies limit the amount paid for stolen jewelry unless items are insured separately.
3. Understand replacement cost. If your home is destroyed you’ll receive money to replace it only to the maximum of your coverage, so be sure your insurance is sufficient. This means that if your home is insured for $150,000 and it costs $180,000 to replace it, you’ll only receive $150,000.
4. Understand actual cash value. If you choose not to replace your home when it’s destroyed, you’ll receive replacement cost, less depreciation.
5. Understand liability. Generally your homeowners insurance covers you for accidents that happen to other people on your property, including medical care, court costs, and awards by the court. However, there is usually an upper limit to the amount of coverage provided. Be sure that it’s sufficient if you have significant assets.
To learn more about homeownership and Okemo Mountain real estate, please visit my website or call me at 802-226-8022.