When you suffer damage to your home or its contents, you expect your insurance company to help you out. Your home is most likely your biggest investment and damage or loss can be emotionally and possibly financially devastating. Most home insurance plans do a good job of supporting you and your home through repairs, however, it’s a good idea to review your policy with your insurance advisor and find out exactly what is covered and what is not. For example, you don’t want to discover that your policy will not cover the cost of repairing the damage caused by a flood in your laundry room after the flood has occurred.
Home insurance generally covers both your home itself and your possessions against financial loss due to damage or if they are lost or stolen. It also covers most costs associated with being displaced from your home due to said damage as well as protection from financial liability if someone is injured on your property or if you cause damage to someone else's property.
Most insurance policies will cover damage done by fire, theft, hail or windstorm. Pay particular attention to if you also have coverage in the case of water damage. Some insurance policies don’t cover floods and sewer backup unless an additional rider is purchased.
Also, check liability limits. Ask your advisor to recommend an appropriate level. Finally, make sure you know exactly how much your home is insured for. Are you covered for the full replacement cost? Are you comfortable with that coverage or would you rather only insure for the actual cash value of your home?
It is important to remember that your insurance policy also requires you as a homeowner to do your part and maintain your property, or your insurance company may decide to cancel your policy or refuse your claim. Some general areas and items to regularly check and maintain are:
- Roof and shingles. Roofs generally last approximately 20 years before having to be replaced. It is important to maintain and inspect your roof regularly as water can enter your home this way, resulting in damage to your possessions and possibly your home’s foundation, which is extremely expensive to repair. See our Fall Home Maintenance Guide for more details!
- Cracks in the walls, floors, windows, and foundation. Some of these cracks you can seal yourself (see our Fall Home Maintenance Guide for more details!), but some, especially larger ones, can indicate an issue and more serious problem and should be inspected by a professional.
- Eavestrough and downspouts. These both collect leaves and debris throughout the year and, if they are clogged, are unable to drain properly and can cause damage to your home, especially in the spring when the snow is melting. It is best to check these areas in the fall time before the snow hits to ensure they are able to drain properly. See our Fall Home Maintenance Guide to learn how to maintain these systems yourself!
- Plumbing system. Avoid flushing any items that can easily clog your plumbing like dental floss, Q-tips, and personal care and hygiene products (tampons, pads, disposable wipes). Also, avoid pouring oil, grease or fats down any drain. See your municipalities guidelines for disposing these items.
Having the right insurance policy gives you peace-of-mind and is an important part of enjoying your home. If you have any questions or are looking for a professional referral, give me a call!