How many times in a year do you think about your homeowner’s insurance coverage?
If you are like most people, probably never, except reading your bills at renewal time.
But it’s a smart thing to review your policy often, and make sure you have the best insurance for you and your home.
So when should you think about changing your policy?
14 Times to Review Homeowners Policy
So, what are the best times to review your homeowner’s insurance policy?
Let’s go through some of them.
1 – Review When You Renew
Since I brought it up, I recommend you review your homeowner’s insurance policy every year at renewal time.
Most agents are more than happy to review it with you and suggest recommendations on how to save you money on your new or existing policy.
Even if nothing major has happened to you or your home – thank goodness, there could be a number of factors that occurred in the previous year that might influence your coverage.
2 – Changing Seasons
Finally. Break out your shorts, sandals, and suntan lotion. It’s backyard BBQ time in America.
Fire up your outdoor grill and serve up the perfect burger, hot dog, or steak.
We wait all year for our summer backyard parties. Unfortunately, grills cause fires and thermal burns.
There were 9,600 home fires caused by an outdoor grill between 2011 and 2015, and five out of the six grills involved were gas grills.
With regard to thermal burns, the majority were non-fire burns and caused by a hot grill or its contents. One-third of thermal burns occurred with children five years old or younger.
Check the Roof! Even if you do not live in a colder climate, you may want to take my advice and check out your roof once a year.
This is preventive care, you know, making sure there are no tears or holes that could cause leaks in the wetter months.
For those of you in colder climates, you may want to check your policy to see what your heavy snow/ice damage peril is covered and what is not.
Also, check your maximum limit.
Think Black Ice! As you head into winter, check to see if you have enough liability to cover injuries resulting from people slipping or falling on the ice or snow on your property.
3 – Buy That Painting!
When you review your annual homeowner’s insurance policy be sure to take an inventory of your personal property. Did you purchase new furniture, for example, a new entertainment area or a master bedroom set?
Did you inherit any valuables such as coin collections or valuable pieces of art? Or maybe you inherited some unique antique furniture, or your mom gave you her wedding rings or antique brooch.
I recommend that you store your precious jewelry in a home safe or in a safety deposit box at your bank.
Talk to your agent about any changes in your personal property.
Note: you can add a jewelry floater to your policy to increase the standard $1,000 benefit set by insurers.
One More: paper money or coin collections are only covered up to $250 in replacement value. Be sure to talk to your agent if you keep more than that amount of cash in your home on a regular basis or if you have a rare coin collection.
4 – Build That Meditation Room
If you make any changes to your home or other structures on your property, say, you built an in-law apartment on top of your detached garage, perhaps using one of Pantone’s custom paint colors that you’ve always wanted, then you will want to inform your insurance agent if you hadn’t done so already.
Examples of changes include:
- Adding a Koi Pond In Your Backyard
- Adding a Backyard Deck
- Building an Addition
- Installing a New Roof
- New Plumbing
- New Wiring
- New Bathroom
- Swimming Pool
5 – Congratulations! It’s a…
If you have a little one at home now or one on the way, let your insurance agent know about your new bundle of joy.
It is doubtful your homeowner’s insurance policy will change; however, your automobile insurance may need additional coverage to protect your new family member.
6 – Refinancing Your Home
This is a good time to shop around for insurance if you are not happy with your current provider.
With a refinance, some providers require you purchase a HO-3 [BC1] policy and no lesser coverage.
7 – Renting Your Property
If you’ve joined the Airbnb universe or purchased a vacation property that you will rent out, you have to purchase a business insurance policy to protect you and your property.
This includes if you own a full-time rental property.
8 – Started a Home Business
Wow! How exciting for you!
Some homeowner insurance providers do not insure home-based businesses so check your policy.
If not, you will need to take out a separate commercial insurance policy to cover your home business.
9 – Going for a Dip
Many standard plans cover swimming pools under the “other structures” section of the policy.
If you bought a house with a swimming pool or having one installed, let your insurance agent know as early on as possible to verify that you have enough accident coverage.
Most plans provide $100,000 in personal property damage; however, you may want to up that amount to $300,000 to $500,000 based on what your agent suggests.
Coverage should include any damage to the pool caused by one of the covered perils listed in your policy, for up to the limit set for other structures in the policy.
For liability coverage, it is recommended you increase that five-fold to cover accidents or injuries that could occur during the use of the pool.
Additionally, most insurance carriers will not cover and may even deny you coverage if your pool has a diving board or attached slide.
10 – Getting Hitched
Ok, again. Congratulations!
You can add coverage for your engagement ring, as a rider, to your homeowner’s insurance policy.
I recommend you do so right away because the jewelry coverage in a standard policy is typically only $1,000.
11 – Splitting Up
Did you get the house in the divorce?
Once the divorce is final, you will want to remove your ex-spouse from the homeowner’s policy.
Do it as soon as possible along with your automobile insurance if you had joint automobile insurance policy.
12 – Bouncing on a Trampoline
Kids love trampolines. Insurance companies do not. More than 100,000 trampoline-related injuries occur with about 1/3 of those resulting in broken bones.
Therefore, trampolines and other playground equipment are not typically covered under a standard homeowners insurance policy.
Also, some companies may not renew a policy if you add a trampoline.
If you’re thinking of buying one, we suggest you read the policy carefully or talk to your insurance agent to get specific details.
13 – Saving by Adding Safety
Let’s say you install a home security system.
This can get you a significant discount from your insurance provider if they carry this discount. Anything you do to secure your home and property should be reported to your insurance agent.
You can save some money here.
14 – Getting A Pet
Yes, certain dog breeds categorized as “aggressive” could raise your homeowner’s insurance premium or may outright be excluded by your policy. Check with your agent to make sure.
Breeds considered to be “aggressive” are:
- Alaskan Malamute
- Cane Corso
- Doberman Pinscher
- German Shepherd
- Great Dane
- Pit Bull Terriers
- Presa Canario
- Siberian Husky
- Staffordshire Bull Terrier
- Wolf hybrids
When To Review Your Homeowners Insurance – Summing It Up
The best time to review your insurance is almost any time! Homeowners insurance covers some of our most important assets. So finding the best company for you is about more than just saving money–it’s about protecting a meaningful investment.
I hope I shed some light on the importance of reviewing your homeowner’s insurance policy to make sure you and your family stay safe and secure.
*While we make every effort to keep our site updated, please be aware that “timely” information on this page, such as quote estimates, or pertinent details about companies, may only be accurate as of its last edit day. Huntley Wealth & Insurance Services and its representatives do not give legal or tax advice. Please consult your own legal or tax adviser.