Confirm adequate insurance protection is in place for your home, personal property, and vehicles before an emergency situation occurs.
- Identify existing insurance policies.
- Evaluate current insurance needs.
- Review protection provided by in-force policies.
- Adjust coverage as needed.
Create an insurance policy master file. Having quick access to insurance documents after an emergency will help you start the claim process more quickly. Include names, policy numbers, contact numbers, policy forms, and declaration pages for home, auto, life, health, and supplemental insurance policies. Review policy limits, coverages, exclusions, restrictions, loss settlement terms, etc. for each insurance policy.
Take time during this process to assess your family's insurance needs. Confirm protection provided by each insurance policy matches your requirements. Look for coverage gaps and get in touch with a local insurance agent to increase, broaden, or secure additional insurance.
Restoring damaged property following unexpected loss can add up quickly. Victims often share these costs with an insurance company. Points to keep in mind to avoid a coverage surprise:
- Dwelling coverage limit. It is best to insure your home for its replacement cost, which is how much it takes to rebuild with materials of like kind and quality without subtracting for depreciation. Insuring for less than replacement cost could result in a claim settlement below the amount needed to rebuild or repair damage. Partial dwelling losses are typically paid on a replacement cost basis. Total losses cannot exceed the dwelling limit unless the policy has guaranteed or extended replacement cost coverage.
- Contents coverage limit. Most people own more personal property than they realize. Create a room-by-room home inventory to assess contents insurance needs. Be as specific as possible including brand names, model information, serial numbers, and receipts. Photographs, videos, and value appraisals are also useful. Policies often cap loss settlements on unique or high-value items like jewelry, artwork, antiques, and more. Coverage may be available through a buy-back endorsement. Contents losses are settled on an actual cash value (depreciated) basis unless the policy includes contents replacement cost coverage as an add-on.
- Homeowners insurance policies typically exclude damage related to flood and earthquake. Flood insurance is available as a separate, stand-alone policy. Many insurers offer earthquake coverage as a buy-back endorsement.
- The insurer will pay for repairs to your damaged vehicle caused by tornado, flood, fire, theft, and more if the policy has comprehensive coverage. Most auto insurance policies have a comprehensive deductible.
- A variety of life insurance products are available for individual purchase. Many employers offer group life coverage as well. Identify each life insurance policy, check the face value, review beneficiary details, and note the type of coverage provided (term, whole life, universal life, variable life, etc.)