There’s nothing like warmer weather and longer days to get us all in the mood to get our homes and furnishings in order. With COVID beginning to recede into the rearview mirror, we’re all anxious to invite family and friends over for a visit. But first, what’s fallen into disrepair? What needs to be upgraded. What clutter can we discard? The same is true with insurance. Spring cleaning calls!
Over time, and as our lives change, various coverages and levels may become insufficient, redundant, or even excessive. There’s no better time than now to do a spring cleaning on your policies to make sure coverages are just right.
Here are some places to start:
Protect your home and furnishings
Hopefully, a hot housing market has increased the value of your home. You may have even made some upgrades during 2020, for example building a deck, enclosing your porch, or finishing interior space for a home office or entertainment room. You might have also taken advantage of sales to purchase some high-end appliances. As the value of your home and furnishings rises, so do replacement values. Review your policy to make sure it’s keeping pace.
And given the increasingly volatile weather we’ve seen lately, while you’re at it, determine if you’re sufficiently covered for flooding from external sources. Maybe it’s time to look at a separate flood insurance policy.
Protect your valuables
Standard homeowners insurance severely limits reimbursement levels for the theft of high-value items like jewelry and fine art. If several thousand dollars won’t cover the loss of items like these, consider adding a personal property endorsement or floater. Be sure to base your decision on a professional appraisal. Items may be more or less valuable than you think, and their value may have changed in either direction since it was purchased or last appraised.
While you’re cleaning the house this Spring, create a home inventory of these potentially valuable items that might need this higher level of coverage. The inventory information should include pictures of the items with a time/date stamp, along with copies of the receipts and/or appraisals for these purchases. Keep this all in a secure location and also store the information digitally.
Review auto coverages
Spring is a great time to detail your cars too – inside and out! And while you’re doing that, remind yourself to check the current value of your car. The rule of thumb is that if a car is valued at less than $1,000, or less than 10% of your insurance premium, optional coverages like comprehensive or collision are probably not good investments, and you can save yourself some money on your premium.
Re-evaluate your liability protection
Standard homeowners and auto policies carry a limited level of liability to cover legal costs and judgments. A lawsuit could quickly reach those levels and then dig into your personal assets. The greater your assets, the more you have to lose. Look into the liability coverage you have and then consider whether it would be prudent to add an umbrella liability policy.
Unlike home spring cleaning, reviewing and right-sizing your insurance coverage isn’t a do-it-yourself job. Review these issues with a reputable insurance agent, so you can take this off your To-Do List and get on with your summer!