One of your biggest expenses is your home. You spend plenty of time picking the right house for your family and then you commit to 30 years of monthly mortgage payments. So why would you rush through selecting the best homeowner’s insurance in Charleston?
It’s important to take the time to find the best policy for your needs, so look out for these five pitfalls as you’re insurance shopping:
- Buying on price alone.We’ve all heard the saying, “You get what you pay for.” And sometimes when you pay too little you end up with a subpar product or disappointing customer service. Gather mulitple quotes and compare apples to apples. If one price seems much lower, it’s likely providing less coverage.
- Skimping on coverage.You may be tempted to buy the minimum amount of homeowner’s insuranceto save money. But what if your home is destroyed and needs to be completely rebuilt? That could cost quite a bit, and if you’ve bought the minimum plan, you’ll be stuck covering the difference.
Take the time to figure out what it would cost you to rebuild. Ask local real estate agents or home builders about the average rebuilding cost per square foot to help you establish and estimate. Is your coverage close to that figure? If not, you don’t have enough homeowner’s insurance.
- Not taking the time to fully understand your coverage.Are your valuables and personal belongings covered in the policy? If they are covered, at what level? Many times insurance companies will pay to replace items at their current, depreciated value – not at the same price you paid or even at the price of a brand new item.
An important aspect of ensuring you have adequate coverage is to inventory your valuables – especially items of greater value like art, jewelry and high-end electronics. A simple way to conduct an inventory is with KnowYourStuff.org, a free app from the Insurance Information Institute that allows you to inventory your belongings, store outside photos and track serial numbers for major appliances and electronic equipment.
- Skipping the flood insurance because you don’t live in a designated flood zone. Standard homeowner’s insurance policies do not cover flooding, so it’s not a bad idea to add one to your overall policy. Flood insurance usually isn’t that expensive and can really pay off in the event of a hurricane or flooding from a major rainstorm. This can be especially important for those buying homeowner’s insurance in Charleston, where even a normal high tide can cause flooding.
- Neglecting to ask for discounts. This is a simple way to shave a few bucks off your annual insurance costs. Many insurance companies offer discounts for bundling your insurance products. If it makes good financial sense, see if you can secure your auto insurance policies with the same company and qualify for a discount. Homeowner’s insurance companies also often give discounts to customers who have security systems, live in gated communities or have a non-smoking household.
Don’t leave the fate of your biggest financial investment to chance. Compare coverage and pricing from at least three companies. Make sure you understand exactly what you’re getting and what happens should you ever need to file a claim. Avoiding some common homeowner’s insurance pitfalls will save you plenty of headaches down the road.
Learn more about Manning Insurance Services‘ Homeowner Insurance Policies.