Why do you need Homeowners Insurance?
It is really all about protecting yourself financially if something unexpected happens to your home or possessions. That's important because chances are your home is likely one of your largest investments.
- If your home was destroyed by fire or damaged by a natural disaster, you'd need money to repair or replace it.
- If a guest in your home is injured, liability protection and medical coverage help pay expenses.
- If you are a victim of theft and vandalism, it can reimburse you for your loss or pay for repairs.
- If you are still paying for your home, your lender will require insurance.
It is important to know that homeowners insurance is meant to cover unexpected damage, not routine maintenance. Ask your agent to talk about what is covered and be sure to read your policy so you know exactly what's included and what is not.
Things to discuss with your agent.
Here are few things to discuss with your agent that will influence your decisions.
- How much will it cost to rebuild my house and replace my belongings if they are damaged or destroyed? (Ask your agent to talk you through your home's features and the things you own so you can make an informed decision about coverage.)
- Does the insurance company have a good reputation for customer service? Is it known for paying claims fairly and promptly?
- What discounts are available? (Ask about multiple policy, security system and fire resistance discounts.)
- What's the process for filing and settling a claim? (Ask who to call and what happens after you file a claim.)
You may qualify to receive discounts on your home insurance policies. These include:
Increasing your deductible
This can reduce your premium up to 20%. However, keep in mind that if a loss occurs, you will need to pay more for the claim. Let us assist you in making the right decision for your personal situation.
Installing a home security system
Smoke detectors, security systems, deadbolt locks, storm shutters and fire-retardant roofing can help you lower your rates.
Reviewing your home's replacement cost
You can insure your home and its possessions with two types of coverage: Replacement Cost or Actual Cash Value.
Replacement cost coverage replaces your home and possessions with brand-new items of equal quality.
Actual cash value replaces your home and personal possessions, minus the depreciated value.
Replacement cost coverage will cost you more, but it will also pay out more should a loss occur.
You never think it will happen to you. But what if it does? How can you protect yourself? Recently there have been major data breaches with companies that have some of your most personal information. You need to know how to defend yourself and what to do if your identity is stolen.
Do I need to add identity theft coverage to my Homeowners Policy?
Anyone is at risk of identity theft including your children. With just your name, address, social security number, and date of birth your most personal information could be used to fraudulently open credit cards or loans in your name, file false tax returns, seek medical attention, get a job, or even drain saving and retirement accounts.
Businesses are also at risk – click here to read more about Cyber Liability Insurance and how this can protect your business.
What are some ways I can help prevent identity theft?
- Monitor your credit regularly, there are several companies that can help you do this for a fee.
- Shred all of your documents with any of your information (i.e. receipts, credit cards, checks, invoices, etc.)
- Consider putting a freeze on your credit.
- Change your password regularly. Consider using a password manager that will help you manage all of your passwords. Do not use the same passwords.
- Protect your online identity with encrypting your emails and/or files, updating firewalls, etc.
What will be covered when I add identity theft to my Homeowners/Renters Policy?
Most homeowners, renters, and condo insurance policies provide coverage for theft of money or credit cards, but on a very limited basis. The built-in coverage is not enough to help reimburse you for the additional expenses you will incur while repairing your credit
Identity Theft coverage provides reimbursement to victims for the cost of restoring their identity and repairing your credit reports. It will usually cover expenses such as notary, certified mailing costs, phone bills, lost wages, and sometimes attorney fees. There are some companies that will also include coverage for restoration or resolution of services and they will guide you through the process of repairing your credit and restoring your identity.
If I become a victim, what do I do?
If you are a victim of identity theft here is a list of things you need to do:
- Notify affected creditors or banks immediately
- Contact the police and make a police report and make sure to get a copy of the police report. This report usually takes about 10 days before it becomes available.
- Put a Fraud Alert on your credit report, all 3 bureaus
- Put a freeze on your credit so no additional accounts can be opened in your name without your authorization
- Contact the Federal Trade Commission and report to them you have been a victim of Identity Theft
- Contact the Social Security Fraud Hotline and ask for a copy of your personal earnings and benefits statement to check for accuracy
- If someone has taken over your ID via your driver’s license. Make an appointment with DMV to get a new driver’s license number
- Change all your password immediately
- Contact your telephone and utility companies to advise them you have been a victim of identity theft
Identity theft coverage can be added to your homeowner insurance. The additional cost for this peace of mind can be as low as $3 per month. Protect yourself and your family, contact us today!