Appropriate coverage protects you, your property, and possessions.
Spring is an excellent time for an insurance review to ensure your insurance coverage is both appropriate and relevant. It’s also a good time to take stock of life changes and update your coverage accordingly. Just like your personal health, keeping your insurance in tip-top shape can make a difference in your financial well-being. Speak with your insurance agent directly about recent changes in your home, its proper care and coverage, and other what-if scenarios.
Updating your coverage can save you thousands of dollars if a loss occurs. It can also help to protect you and your family from an unexpected event.
The Home Insurance Check-Up
Ann Kuiper, Personal Lines Department Manager for Nulty Insurance Agency, shares her top five ‘triggers’ when it comes to insuring your home and updating your coverage.
Have you completed any projects around the house that could add value to your home? These projects could include finishing your basement, adding a deck, or replacing your roof. If you have added anything to your house that wasn’t there before, please notify your agent regarding the changes to your home. Your agent will need to know the cost and the details, such as square footage and materials. For any improvement where you have invested time and money, you will want to ensure you have additional coverage for that improvement in case of loss.
Regarding a new roof specifically: Always let your agent know when you replace your roof. Some insurance companies give discounts for newer roofs. This discount could save you money.
2. Think about what might happen if you’re faced with a lawsuit relating to your home or covered activities away from home.
No one plans for a lawsuit, but that’s all the more reason to prepare yourself for the possibility. What are the consequences without appropriate coverage? At Nulty, we recommend liability limits of at least $500,000 to protect you in a covered lawsuit relating to your home or covered activities away from home. We also recommend a Personal Umbrella Liability policy for additional liability coverage.
No matter your personal integrity, diligence or meticulous home upkeep, someone can sue you if they sustain an injury at your home. Injuries can include the classic slip and fall or even if your child accidentally hurts a playmate. The range of events can be limitless. For example, if you have a swimming pool, trampoline, pet or live on a lake, you have even more exposure to lawsuits. Someone can sue you for activities that occur away from your home as well.
Consider your family’s lifestyle. Do you or your family members participate in sports? Do you like to ski, golf or hunt? These are just a few instances where accidents can occur away from the home, and a lawsuit is possible. Unfortunately, if an award from a lawsuit is more than your coverage, you can have assets taken. You could also have your wages garnished. Remember, it pays to be protected.
3. You operate a business from your home or a separate building on your property.
No matter what company or coverage you choose, all homeowner policies exclude liability coverage resulting from a lawsuit that involve a home business. A home business can include running a daycare, teaching piano lessons at your home, a consulting business operated out of your home or selling products such as cosmetics, clothing, candles, and jewelry, etc. Additionally, there is limited coverage for contents relating to your business and no coverage for any unattached structure (sometimes called an ‘outbuilding’) used for business purposes.
4. You happen to own unique or valuable items such as jewelry, artwork, guns, antiques or other collectibles.
Most home coverages offer very limited protection for the more unique or valuable items. In fact, most home insurance policies only provide coverage of up to $1,000 for theft of jewelry and no coverage for misplacing or losing a piece of jewelry or stone. There are limits on other items too, depending on the insurance company. In order to give you more protection, each piece should be listed separately (or ‘scheduled’) on the home policy. Your agent will need a description of the piece and its value; you may also require a current appraisal from a jeweler or another specialist’s appraisal for art or antiques. There will be an added cost to provide this additional coverage, but worth it to protect something of value.
5. You have a recreational vehicle or boat.
Do you own an RV or boat? A snowmobile, dirt bike, four-wheeler or maybe even a golf cart? If so, consider adding a ‘rider’ to cover the item in case of loss, theft or damage. (A rider is a condition, sometimes called a provision, of an insurance policy purchased separately as added protection.) In the case of theft or damage, standard policies usually leave little room for modification or customization in regard to recreational-type vehicles, beyond choosing deductibles and coverage amounts. If you want coverage for damage or theft attached to your home policy for an RV or boat, a separate rider must be purchased.
Also, no matter what type of RV you have, there is liability coverage only at your home address. Boats have limited liability coverage as well. Typically, there is $1,000 coverage for damage to a boat, and there may be no theft coverage on a boat when away from home. Many boats may need liability coverage added to the policy for protection if an accident or a lawsuit occurs. Your insurance agent will need to know details about your recreational vehicles and boats, including, but not limited to, year, manufacturer, horsepower, size of engine or number of cc’s, and value.
About Nulty Insurance Agency
Founded in 1945 by Greg Nulty in Otsego, Mich., Nulty Insurance focuses on bringing clients the best products with the most personal service in the insurance industry. The agency has remained a family-owned business, committed to building a reputation for being ‘simply the best’ agency in Southwest Michigan. Since the agency’s beginning, it has continued to grow with the changing insurance and economic environment and, of course, the needs of its clients. All ECCU members receive up to a 10% discount on a range of insurance products. Call Nulty at 269.488.0345 or visit www.nulty.com for details.
Note: This is a summary only and for details about your specific policy, you must contact your insurance agent.