Anytime you make over $5,000 in improvements, be sure to have your property reassessed and your policy updated
It’s under your roof, but is it under your policy? When it comes to home insurance, don’t let the fine print catch you by surprise. Some claims are straightforward. But is your wedding ring covered? Your bike—even if it is locked up on the street? What happens if there is an earthquake? Here are key points to keep in mind about any home insurance policy.
- A click in time saves nine—or more There’s no measuring a cherished family heirloom’s value, especially if you can’t prove that you ever owned it. Documenting your possessions by taking photos or videos can save you headaches—if not heartache.
- Not all valuables are considered equal Most possessions are insured against theft, but there are limits on some things, such as jewelry and furs. Since thieves steal anything of value, buy a rider—an enhancement to your plan.
- Outside is in It’s not just sheds and garages: Many policies cover pools, driveways, and retaining walls as freestanding structures.
- You can take it with you Even when they’re not at your house, valuables such as your bike, camera, and laptop are usually covered—as long as they aren’t used for work. There are limits, however, so ask your agent.
- Improvements matter Have you reshingled your roof? Remodeled your kitchen? Anytime you make over $5,000 in improvements, be sure to have your property reassessed and your policy updated.
- Catastrophes differ Loss or damage caused by wildfires and storms is typically covered, but if you live in an area prone to seismic events or rising water, consider additional earthquake or flood insurance.
- Bundling policies means savings There are usually discounts for buying home, auto, and life insurance from one company. Installing smoke and burglar alarms may also cut costs. Ask an agent what you qualify for.
Photography by Sylvie Bouchard/Shutterstock
This article was first published in January 2013. Some facts may have aged gracelessly. Please call ahead to verify information.