New purchases or gifts, plus that burst of energy from fresh resolutions, makes the new year a great time to assess your assets.
The holidays often bring with them some changes – whether that’s getting gifts or taking advantage of an end-of-year sale to make that big purchase you’ve had your eye on for months. The combination of new purchases or gifts, plus that burst of energy from fresh resolutions, makes the new year a great time to start thinking about whether your homeowners or renters insurance policy is up to date.
Randy Bodkin, assistant manager in Amica Insurance’s Seattle office, suggests giving your insurance company a call at the start of the new year to discuss your coverage limits, deductibles, discounts and any amendments to your policy. “The new year and whenever your policy renews are great times to review any changes you might need to make,” he says.
What kinds of additions should you consider? First, think about the gifts you may have received over the holiday season. “It’s important to make sure those gifts are covered,” says Bodkin. “One thing that often gets overlooked is adding or updating items that have theft limitations on a homeowners policy, such as jewelry, watches and fine arts.”
When it comes to these types of luxury items, it’s a good idea to ask about getting coverage under a personal artifacts floater endorsement, which can be scheduled to increase coverage up to a specific value, without a deductible. For that type of endorsement, Bodkin says, you’ll need an appraisal and bill of sale.
But even if you didn’t get a luxury item for the holidays, the new year is the perfect time to look over any additions you made in the past year. “When deciding what should be covered inside the home, consider what would happen if you turned your home upside down — all of the items that would fall would need to be considered for coverage.”
That means any major purchases, from furniture and housewares to electronics. You can even add computer coverage for laptops, tablets and smartphones to your home, condo or renters insurance policy. Definitely shop around when it comes to coverage for computer devices and smartphones. Sometimes a cellphone carrier will offer coverage specific to your device, but your homeowners insurance may give you more coverage at a lower price point. However, Bodkin notes, “Warranties or coverage from carriers on products can often come with no deductibles.” He suggests asking your insurer what they can offer so you can compare. “Filing these types of claims against your home insurance will generally come with a larger deductible and can also potentially have an impact on future renewal premiums.”
Of course, it can be overwhelming to make sure that you are covering all of your items through your homeowners insurance, especially when there are big changes in your life or home. That’s why it’s a great idea during your annual call with your insurance provider to go through all of the categories of coverage and consider any additions or change in value so you are all up to date. “Because of our constantly changing lives, leave it to your insurance professional to help guide you in any updates or policy needs,” Bodkin says.
The very best way to ease your mind and make sure you are covered for everything, Bodkin says, is to document it all. And update those documents regularly! “We suggest that customers take pictures or a video room-to-room and store those away in a safe spot,” he says. Consider putting the files in a safe deposit box or store them on the cloud where they will be sure to be safe in case of an emergency. “These pictures or video are invaluable if someone were to have a total loss.”
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