How Much Home Insurance is Enough?
Many individuals aren't sure what replacement value means when it comes to homeowners insurance. The cost to rebuild your home is its replacement value. This can be very different from the estimated market value or actual purchase price. In most cases, it costs more to rebuild the home you own than to buy a new one. In an attempt to cut insurance costs, some individuals ask about only insuring a home for its market value, but this can leave you dangerously underinsured. Even if you choose not to rebuild after a total loss, you could end up with a settlement for significantly less than the insured amount.
South Carolina - How much home insurance is right for you?
Based in Spartanburg, Palmetto Choice Insurance Agency understands the home insurance needs of our customers. We’ll work with you to estimate the replacement cost for your home and to adjust your policy limits from time to time as needed.
It is critical that you provide us with accurate, updated information about your home and contents. If your dwelling limit accurately reflects your home’s true replacement cost, some companies will pay more than the limit if a covered loss is greater than the limit on your policy.
Once a review of your home and possessions indicates you are properly insured, it’s a good idea to reexamine your coverages and limits from time to time, especially whenever you make additions or improvements. Palmetto Choice Insurance Agency can help you re-evaluate your insurance needs, just give us a call at (844) 996-8728 to speak with one of our agents.
South Carolina - Be Sure You Have Enough Homeowners Insurance
Here are some steps you can take to reduce the danger of being seriously underinsured:
Call Palmetto Choice Insurance Agency. If you have questions or concerns about the limits in your policy, ask us to show you how those amounts were calculated. This will also give you an opportunity to make us aware of any overlooked information.
Read your policy. Certain property, such as jewelry, and certain perils, such as earthquake or flood, is better insured separately. Knowing what is covered and for how much will help you insure properly. If there is anything in your policy you don’t understand, contact Palmetto Choice Insurance Agency at (844) 996-8728 and ask for an explanation.
Review. At each annual renewal of your policy, you receive a new Policy Declarations page showing limits of coverage and optional coverages. Review this information. If you do any significant remodeling or add a family room, extra bedroom or bathroom, etc., tell us about these changes so your coverage limits can be adjusted to cover the improvement.
Consider carefully whether your policy provides all the protection you need. Does it provide coverage for extra costs resulting from building code changes? Does it automatically increase coverage limits annually to keep pace with inflation? Does it provide additional funds if the cost of rebuilding your home exceeds the policy limits?
Make sure you know:
Will your insurance company stand behind agreed upon repairs after a claim? Some companies are willing to put this guarantee in writing.
Does your policy include replacement cost coverage for contents (clothing, furniture, appliances, and other personal property inside your home)? If not, you can add it by endorsement. The cost is small, the protection valuable. Replacement Cost Coverage pays for losses to your possessions at the cost of brand new items. Without this option, a covered loss to your personal possessions would be depreciated by their age and condition, reducing the size of your claim settlement.
Is equipment breakdown coverage available to you? Homeowners policies exclude appliances and household equipment from coverage. However, coverage for these items can often be added. For less than the cost of a single service call, you could enjoy the benefit of this coverage for years, or even decades.
Do you have adequate liability limits? A single act of negligence could result in hundreds of thousands of dollars in judgements in civil court. Healthcare costs have skyrocketed in recent years, and what might have been sufficient limits just a few years ago may leave you vulnerable to losing your home or other assets today. Talk to Palmetto Choice Insurance Agency to ensure you have adequate coverage.
Do you have an appropriate deductible? As repair costs rise, so too do insurance premiums. If you deductible is too low, you may end up paying for that low deductible several times over if you stay claim-free. Of course, if you’ve got a higher deductible, you may be able to lower your deductible for only a few dollars per year. Make sure you know what ALL your deductibles are (as some policies may have different deductibles for different perils and coverage types), and ensure your choice of deductible is cost-effective.
If you have an art collection, antique furniture, jewelry, or other valuable possessions, talk to your agent about supplemental coverages, such as fine arts or scheduled property endorsements, to adequately protect your investment in these items. The cost is modest for the extra protection, and often the deductible is waived.
Consider whether you should have more coverage for personal property (contents) than your policy provides. Personal property coverage is usually 70% of the coverage limit for the structure. Your limit may be lower than 70%. Supplemental protection is available for a small additional premium.
Inventory your home. Prepare an inventory of personal property items, update it periodically, and keep it in a safe place outside your home, such as a safe deposit box at your bank. It will save you hours of time trying to list everything damaged or destroyed if you need to make a claim. It will also help ensure you don’t forget some items. Palmetto Choice Insurance Agency can advise you on ways to simplify the job of preparing a personal property inventory such as videotaping each room with descriptive information on the sound track.
Besides making sure you have enough protection to cover possible damage to your own home and contents, you should also evaluate your exposure to liability risks. These result from damage to the property of another, or injury to a person, not a member of your household, for which you can be responsible.
In recent years it’s become common for homeowners to be sued for injuries or damages to others, even when there is no evidence of negligence by the homeowner. The reality today is if you have any appreciable assets, you are exposed to the risk of being sued. Even if you ultimately prevail in court, your legal fees and the months or years of worry and uncertainty can be a terrible burden on you and your family.
The Personal Liability coverage provided by your Homeowners Policy usually provides a limit of $100,000 or $300,000. Higher limits may be available by endorsing your homeowners policy. In addition, we recommend increasing this protection with a personal umbrella policy. Not only will it increase your personal liability, but also your auto liability. Limits are available from $1 million to $10 million and beyond. The cost of this coverage is usually very reasonable.
Keep in mind that South Carolina can require certain minimum levels of coverage. The right coverage for you is unique – talk to Palmetto Choice Insurance Agency today to find out how to get the best price and value on home insurance for you.