A neighbour of mine had a flood in their basement, something to do with their drain tile clogging.
But that isnt the topic in my column this month, I want to talk about insurance.
I was surprised to hear from them that their home insurance wouldnt cover the damage because of a clause in their policy, I dont know the details but suffice it to say it was an eye opener for them.
We all have, or should have, home insurance to protect us from loss either due to theft, fire, water or other disasters. But, do we have the right coverage?
Homeowners and renters can purchase home insurance from a variety of sources, including dedicated insurance offices, some banks, even insurance offices inside of grocery stores and they all offer a list of insurance services.
As in any business there are going to be good and bad companies, well-trained agents and perhaps not so well-trained agents, and so on. But, the reality is that its up to us, the consumer, to be proactive and make sure were buying, or have bought, the right coverage.
I am not an expert in this field and so will not be listing what coverage you should have, but I can give you a few questions to ask when talking to your insurance agent and some tips on how to check if things have been done right.
Here are a few tips and things to consider:
1. Do you have enough liability insurance, the portion that protects other people while on your property? Increasing this is often quite affordable.
2. If you have a large collection of anything valuable, and this can apply to home electronics, jewelry, antique furniture, or even collectible comic books, you should have extra coverage in the form of an insurance rider that specifically covers those items. You may have more than $10,000 of TVs, computers, tablets, and other home entertainment items in your home without realizing that your insurance only covers up to $5,000.
3. The style, location, age, and condition of your home is important as well. For example, if extensive renovations, additions or repairs have been done, and your insurance company hasnt been made aware, you may not be adequately covered. A visit from your agent is always a good idea to make sure you are covered properly.
4. If you want to make sure youre covered for disasters like basement flooding, earthquake damage, leaking roofs, and so on, you need to review your policy with your agent, or, take it to a different office and agent for a second opinion.
If you decide to search the web for information and guidance please be careful. T here are hundreds of sites that claim to be helpful when choosing home insurance. But most will simply direct you to a commercial site that sells those products.
One of the better government sites for review is www.consumerinformation.ca, where you can find information about purchasing almost anything in Canada.
Home insurance is something we all should have, whether we own our homes or rent them, but, are we covered for every eventuality?
Although it may take a bit of time, it wont cost you a cent to do some homework and find out.
If you do have to add some coverage in the form of riders or an increase in coverage amounts, it will be money well spent.
The other thing you can do, as you probably do when looking to buy a TV, a couch, or even a gallon of milk, is to shop around.
Just because you have been with a company for years, or your parents were with that company, you shouldnt assume they are giving you the best service and information.
Take your information with you and spend a day checking out the competition around town, and always ask about having an agent come to your home to review things in real time and on site.
As Christmas approaches we start the annual process of putting away the summer stuff and getting out the snow shovel and decorations.
My next column is going to be about storage, specifically garages and basements and what you can do to make them function better.
If you have any questions about things around your home, or want to comment on anything in my column, please contact me at email@example.com or check out my website.
Keep safe and have a warm and comfortable time this coming winter.
@ Copyright 2013