Minor upgrades can significantly improve home insurance coverage

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    Depending upon where people live, the amount of risk they may carry when it comes to their home insurance can vary widely. In addition to that concern is the fact that many Americans may not know exactly what their coverage entails as it’s currently constituted. With this in mind, it might be wise for insurance agents to do a little more to encourage their clients to look into what their policies do and do not cover, and work with them to determine what they can do to improve the overall financial protection it provides them on an ongoing basis.

    One of the biggest issues that many Americans run into in the course of owning a home is that they have to file an insurance claim due to some damage they’ve suffered, and later found out the problem wasn’t covered on their standard policy, according to a report from West Palm Beach, Florida, television station WPEC. That, in turn, can lead to a lot of frustration and financial difficulties for affected homeowners, and therefore they might want to investigate the benefits of upgrading their policies with add-ons here and there to better fit their needs.

    What could that include?
    For instance, one thing that some policies have but which others do not is personal property replacement cost, the report said. This is often a major issue for homeowners because they think it’s included in their coverage much of the time; however, many homeowners may find to their dismay that their policies currently only give them back the depreciated value of many items in their homes – such as TVs or refrigerators – and not the actual cost of replacing them with new models. Usually, this type of coverage only adds about $150 or $200 per year to coverage – between $12 and $17 per month – and provides significant benefit in the rare instance when a claim might need to be filed.

    “Make sure you are carrying replacement cost not only on the dwelling but on their personal property – it’s very important without the replacement cost on there they will get actual cash value,” Tricia Gray an insurance agent in Stuart, Florida, told the station. “You are looking at basically yardsale value. It’s replacement cash value minus depreciation, so that’s a very important coverage.”

    Flooding and other considerations may not be covered by standard home insurance plans.Flooding and other considerations may not be covered by standard home insurance plans.

    Having the right policies
    In addition, many homeowners might think their homes are covered in the event of certain types of claims incidents, but are not, the report said. This may be especially true of flooding – which is rarely covered under a standard home insurance policy – or other issues that could be particularly risky depending upon where they live. For instance, while standard wind damage may be covered, for those who live in areas where tornadoes or hurricanes are common, add-ons might be necessary. These plans, likewise, don’t add much in the way of monthly costs.

    Insurance agents who can regularly stay in touch with their clients – and talk to them about what may be going on with their insurance as time goes on – will typically see their work benefit both parties. For the homeowners in question, an improved understanding of what their plans cover and what they can do to continually adjust their policies to fit their evolving needs would necessarily help to shield them from any potential problems that might arise as a result of a worrisome claim. And for the agents themselves, it should be noted that consumers who have a strong knowledge of their policies and a good working relationship with their insurers or agents typically feel better about their coverage overall. That, in turn, would typically be reflected in higher rates of client retention and customer satisfaction.