We have talked all month about the different facets of security. Insurance is another piece of the security puzzle. Even with all the precautions in place, unfortunate events can happen and can come in the form of loss through fire, water, or theft. It is a good idea to make sure you have the correct amount of insurance to cover loss.
Theresa Chrest of Rosie on the House Certified Partner Phocus Insurance, says that as far as protecting your home itself, insurance companies often offer a discount of up to 10% if you have a whole house security system. Make sure to keep your windows and doors locked and consider using safe technology such as smart locks and motion detector lights.
Keep your valuables out of plain sight
We are predictable creatures proven by the fact that most burglars go straight to the master bedroom closets and drawers in hopes of finding valuables. Burglars look for homes that show promise of a successful robbery like empty or dark homes, homes with piled up newspapers, packages and mail, and homes with evidence of recent purchases such as a big TV or stereo packaging in the trash.
Things you should not do include:
- Mounting bars on windows, unless they are equipped with inside safety and release mechanisms
- Owning vicious dogs; a dog known to bite could cost you your insurance policy
- Post yourself on Facebook enjoying a current vacation revealing the fact that you are not home!
A key component to homeowner insurance is being confident that you are adequately insured. Most people lose track of what they own. The best way to know what you own is to document your belongings with the dreaded home inventory task. We know, it sounds like a daunting task, but it is not as hard as it used to be!
Track what you own; start with the basics
Walking around your home and recording video while talking through your belongings is a simple way to get a rudimentary report done. Take it up a notch and record more details by taking pictures of your belongings with your phone and entering them into a homeowner app like HomeZada. This takes a little more time, but it will give you a chance to organize the information by categories and you can add more information over time.
Important information to record includes the make, model, serial number, and original receipt if you have it. Don’t forget to add new items as you purchase them. Be sure to keep duplicate copies of your inventory, which means if your information is digital, download it onto a flash drive and keep the extra copy elsewhere. Duplicate hard copies can also be kept in a fireproof safe, or in a bank box. Whether you inventory with a video recording, app, or pen and paper, it will be to your benefit should something happen. At a tragic time of loss, it is a comfort to know you are ready and armed with the information you need for your insurance claim.
Burglars look for things easily converted to cash
The most common things stolen are money, credit cards, guns, jewelry, electronics, and safes, while water and fire damage are indiscriminate. Valuable articles coverage added to your policy will give you enhanced protection.
Thing to consider protecting this way would be arts and antiques, designer clothing, collectibles, electronics, equipment, jewelry, medical devices, musical instruments, silverware, signed memorabilia, sports equipment, and even your wine collection.
There are 2 types of insurance used to cover valuables:
- Itemized Coverage: This is the ultimate protection. It allows you to get specific coverage based on the individual value of each of the items listed on your policy. There is an agreed value to the items and no deductible. Even if you lose a diamond down the drain it is covered. Claims for items scheduled this way are simple and straightforward.
- Group Coverage: This provides blanket coverage without having to itemize specific items. This type of insurance is usually only good for theft, not loss or damage. High coverage limits are available and are subject to a max per item and deductible.
Be sure to touch base with your insurance agent if you are not certain you are optimally covered. See if they offer any discounts that you can apply for or if you need additional coverage for some valuable items.