As you navigate today’s uncertain world, where you may be seeing the value of your investments fluctuate unpredictably and perhaps depreciate, it’s more important than ever to protect your most important investment—your home.
Take some time to review your homeowners insurance policy and assess whether you have enough coverage to fully protect your home and belongings in the event of theft, fire, storms, and other disasters.
You might be surprised to find out how much it costs to rebuild or repair your home after a catastrophe, repair a damaged piece of fine art, or defend yourself against a lawsuit alleging negligence on your part. These expenses can easily rise into the tens of thousands—and sometimes millions—of dollars. However, with enough insurance, and the right types of coverage in place, you may be able to avoid having to dip into your savings or cash in your investments.
But how much is enough? These eight questions can help you assess whether you may need to modify your coverage or increase your coverage limits.
How old is your home? If your home gets damaged, depending on its age it may need to be brought up to code when you do repairs. Common upgrades include replacing the electrical wiring and switchboards, installing insulation to meet energy ratings and complying with bushfire regulations if your home is in a bushfire overlay.
Did you have custom work done? Check whether your policy covers the cost to replace the things that make your house a home, such as custom cabinets—some policies don’t pay for these types of upgrades.
How will inflation impact the cost of rebuilding? Costs for skilled labor and building materials generally increase year over year.
How much will it cost to repair or replace your home after a natural catastrophe? Make sure that your building limit will cover you in a worst-case scenario. After an event, the costs of building materials and skilled labor can increase substantially.
Will your policy pay to fully replace your belongings? Some policies may only pay depreciated value, which means your payment will be based on the age and condition of your belongings. Find out if your insurance company offers Replacement Cost coverage, which provides for the amount it costs to replace your possessions today, without a deduction for depreciation.
Do you own fine art, jewellery, wine, or other collectibles? If you have more than a couple of pieces or they are very valuable, you may need a broader policy to fully cover them.
Do you know what you have? If a fire were to destroy your home, would you know what you needed to replace? Consider creating a home inventory to keep track of your possessions and valuable personal items. This can also be a good way to keep a record of your receipts, which your insurance company may request as part of the claims process.
What if you or your family is the victim of identity fraud or a cyber related attack? Ensure your homeowners policy provides cover for financial losses arising from such incidents, as well as for damage to your house and possessions.
Your insurance broker can help you do a full insurance review.
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