Reasons to review your homeowners insurance policy

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Have you reviewed your homeowners insurance policy recently? The answer is probably no. One sign of how little attention this coverage gets: Nearly a quarter of homeowners surveyed in 2018 said they’d never read their policy.

But even if you studied the fine print when purchasing the policy, over time there may be home renovations, higher construction costs, and changes in housing codes. To ensure that it is sufficient or that you are not paying more for this type of insurance, check if you are in any of the following situations.

  1. You renovated or built a room

The mainstay of homeowners policies is what’s known as home protection: the maximum amount you can receive to replace the structure of your home, should it need to be completely rebuilt. But too often, people who renovate their homes — add a first-floor master bedroom, for example — don’t adjust their policy to accommodate the higher replacement cost, says Derek Klock, a professor at Virginia Tech and co-author of The Process of Financial Planning.

Construction costs are undoubtedly higher than when you first bought your policy years ago, and rebuilding specialized spaces, like bathrooms or kitchens, is more expensive than a basic space. Klock recommends having an insurance agent re-evaluate your property to ensure your coverage is adequate. (Also, make sure you have enough coverage for your personal belongings.) Keep in mind that if your home is damage, most insurers won’t reimburse you in full for repairs unless you’ve insure the property for at least 80% of its value.

  1. Building codes have changed

The older your home is, the more likely it is that it doesn’t meet the latest building codes, such as fire-resistance standards in California or wind-resistance standards in Florida. Common replacement cost coverage generally does not include the additional expense of meeting establish codes after your home is built. That’s why if you have to meet new requirements, you should add building code coverage (also known as coverage against ordinances or laws).

  1. You inherited jewelry from your mother

Regular homeowners insurance policies typically have limited coverage—often $2,000 or less—for all of your jewelry. Kevin Lynch, an instructor at the American College of Financial Services. Recommends having coverage for all your valuable items, like jewelry, with a separate personal articles policy. These were design to protect not only against theft. But also against other mishaps, such as losing a ring while swimming. If the value of an insure item is significantly different from the original price pay for it. An estimate should be make, Klock says. In other cases, the original receipt, along with a photo or video of the item, may suffice.

  1. You are becoming more concerned about natural disasters

Floods, tornadoes, forest fires, earthquakes, among many others.

Damage from fire—wildfire or otherwise—and wind is usually cover under a standard policy. But flood damage, such as occurs during a hurricane, probably isn’t cover. Therefore, consider purchasing flood insurance if you live in a place prone to flooding. The cost of coverage varies, but the average is $700 a year for a primary residence. (Go to to find out about flood risks in your area and how to buy the necessary insurance.) Earthquake coverage requires an additional premium on your homeowners policy; costs vary widely depending on where you live.

  1. You moved into a condo

Klock mentions that if you need insurance for a condo unit, the key is to know what type of insurance your homeowners association (HOA) has in place. At a minimum, it could be the so-called “bare walls” which basically just cover the shell of the building around your unit. At most, it could also cover any improvements or additions you’ve made to your unit. Once you know the level of coverage from your HOA, you can purchase the most appropriate condo insurance policy.

  1. You moved into a rental place

Standard rental policies generally cover the same as homeowners policies, except for the structure itself. For example, possessions and cost of living elsewhere, in case you are displace by fire or other disaster. Klock notes that “this is very important” because the landlord’s policy will cover the repairs, but not your belongings. He adds that “without a rental insurance policy you will have to sue the landlord for damages. And lawsuits are usually only won in cases where there is negligence on the part of the landlord.” Renters insurance is relatively inexpensive: The average annual premium in the US is $180, compared to $1,211 for homeowners policies.

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