Shopping for homeowners insurance is a sign of being a responsible homeowner, but all too often, households end up purchasing a plan that is not appropriate for their needs. While exact statistics vary, the number of homeowners with inadequate insurance is higher than you may expect. Whether the issue lies with not enough total coverage, or not enough coverage when it comes to a specific kind of disaster, the insurance policy that you’re supposed to count on may not pull through when crisis strikes. While insurance isn’t the most exciting of purchases, trying to stay mindful of these details is the first step on the road to getting the policy that you need. Preventative or after the fact, there is action you can take to ensure that your premiums are not paid in vein.One key red flag to look for when it comes to re-evaluating insurance is change. If you have made adjustments inside of your home that may enhance its value, then it may be time to consider additional coverage. If you don’t alert your adjuster of, say, a basement renovation or back addition, your insurer will think that re-building your home would plausibly cost the same now as it would have at the time of purchase. Of course, that is not the case—rebuilding upgrades costs decisively more than replacing your home’s original components. More contents coverage may also be warranted if you’ve incorporated a new entertainment system or musical equipment into your home. Beyond your property, it is also important to be cognizant of your region’s weather patterns. While homes in certain areas may mandate the purchase of special insurance, the information on which these requirements are based can be outdated. Has your neighborhood become prone to earthquakes, forest fires, or tornados in recent years? If so, a supplemental policy may be worth pursuing.
If you are having trouble making these judgement calls on your own, there are insurance experts who can help. Simply calling your adjuster to inquire about what your options are for increasing coverage based on your current situation can be a good start. Supplemental policies for contents or may be exactly what you need. Bear in mind, the insurance representative with whom you speak may be eager to over-sell to you. While you want enough coverage, you never want to pay for what you’ll never plausibly use. If you are still having trouble arriving at the right spot, it may be time to contact an insurance appraiser for an assessment. These kinds of appraisers can give you an estimate on how much it would cost to repair your home based on its most recent condition.
However, depending on the issue you are having with the scope of your insurance, a property casualty attorney may be the specialist you need. If the cost of damage exceeds the limits of your policy, your insurer may abuse the situation in their favor. While you would think that you would automatically be entitled to your policy limits in this situation, your insurer may not make it that easy. Instead, they could try to pay you in accordance with the percentage by which you were underinsured, reducing your coverage accordingly. In reality, unless your policy dictates that such a course of action is appropriate in this situation, an attorney can help reopen your claim. In short, no matter which expert you must consult, it is imperative to know what your insurance policy entails. Whether you fear you may be underinsured, or it has been confirmed that you were and your insurer is now trying to penalize you, knowledge of the bottom line will empower your claim.