Home Features November 5, 2012

Review your Homeowners Insurance

My heart goes out to all who face loss and devastation due to Hurricane Sandy. It’s hard to imagine what it feels like to see your home blown off its foundation or completely flooded, and the utter turmoil and sadness that so many experienced.

This kind of disaster reminds us to think about home insurance, and how important it is. Do you know the value of your policy, and exactly what it covers? While there are lots of policies available, they all define insurance value based on the cost to rebuild your house, rather than on its market value. This is helpful to know as you assess your policy, as rebuilding costs are on a steeper rise than our gradually increasing home market values.

Flooding may also be a concern, as we live near water just like those struck by Sandy. While standard homeowners insurance in our area typically doesn’t provide flood coverage, you can go to www.floodsmart.gov to learn your home’s risk of flooding. Based on that risk, prices are posted for flood coverage through the National Flood Insurance Program.

Regardless of policy specifics, we all are encouraged to do an inventory of our property. A document that shows exactly what you own will make the claims process significantly easier, should you ever need to do it. Take photos or a video of every room, keep receipts for valuable items, and store a copy of the file somewhere away from home so it's easy to access if needed. Free online software to help is available from the Insurance Information Institute at www.knowyourstuff.org.