Maple Ridge, Pitt Meadows homewners at risk of being left under-insured

Elaine Elson is an insurance services manager. - Special to The TIMES
Elaine Elson is an insurance services manager.
— image credit: Special to The TIMES

The average price of a single-detached home in Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows has jumped close to $200,000 in value in the past year, much like the hikes being noted throughout the Lower Mainland.

According to stats released this week from the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver, the number of homes selling and the cost of local homes have jumped noticeably in both Pitt Meadows and Maple Ridge last month compared to April 2015.

The number of detached homes sold jumped from 194 in April 2015, to 266 this past month. Comparable, attached homes (townhomes and row housing) sales actually dropped from 84 in April 2015 to 83 last month, but condominium sales jumped from 34 in April 2015 to 92 last month.

Likewise, the median selling prices also went up in all three categories. Detached homes in April 2015 sold for a median price of $532,000. Now, that’s up to $709,000. There wasn’t as large a shift in attached homes: $390,000 this April compared to $314,646 in the same month of 2015; and for apartments it rose from $229,900 in April 2015, up to $$234,000 last month.

Home buyer competition remains intense across the region, said REBGV president Dan Morrison.

“Whether you’re a home buyer or seller, it’s important to work with your local realtor to get the information you need and to develop a strategy that will help you navigate today’s market,” he said.

“While we’re seeing more homes listed for sale in recent months, supply is still chasing this unprecedented surge of demand in our marketplace.”

Remembering a less-thought of aspect of homeownership

In the midst of a red hot real estate market and soaring prices of Lower Mainland properties, homeowners may be unknowingly at risk of being under-insured if their coverage fails to keep pace with increasing home values.

Whether someone is in the process of buying a new house, renovating the one they have, or simply just enjoying the place they call home, it’s important to review the homeowners policy to be sure they’re insured to value, said Elaine Elson, insurance services manager at Envision Insurance Services.

“Being insured to value guarantees you will be covered for the full replacement cost of your home and its furnishings if the unthinkable happens and you find yourself faced with a significant loss,” Elson said.

“In a real estate market like ours that is seeing rapid gains, ensuring you are covered for the current cost of replacing your home is essential so you won’t be out of pocket for the additional cost to rebuild or replace it.”

According to Elson, there are three key things to keep in mind when you’re reviewing your homeowner policy to confirm you are indeed, insured to value.

Know the replacement cost

“The value of your home and the cost to replace or rebuild your home are two different things,” explained Elson. “Many homeowners believe the replacement cost of their home is associated with the market and tax assessment value, which just isn’t the case.”

With the increase in construction costs we’ve seen during the past decade, it’s particularly important to ensure these increases have been accurately reflected on your policy. Your local insurance broker will be able to confirm this for you,” she said.

Make coverage not premiums the priority

“As the cost of living continues to increase, many homeowners are understandably concerned about the cost of their policy and, in many cases, this becomes a major factor in the decision-making process,” she said.

“Unfortunately, there tends to be more focus on the cost of the coverage than on the coverage itself. It’s imperative that homeowners understand what risks they are assuming and choose coverage accordingly. “It’s important to view home insurance as an investment in protecting one of their largest assets,” said Elson.

“Not doing so can result in substantial financial loss much greater than what the premium would cost to be insured to value.”

Find out how claims are paid

“Understanding how claims for loss or damage to insured properties are settled is an important aspect of your homeowners’ policy,” siad Elson.

“Policies specify how the property will be valued—usually either replacement cost or actual cash value. They can also include specific conditions on how the property can be replaced or repaired as well as penalties that may apply if the property is not insured to its full value. It’s important that you understand what type of insurance you’re purchasing to avoid unnecessary penalties and additional costs.”

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