For most of us, our home is our largest single asset – other than the investment we make in ourselves and our familes – yet protecting that asset sometimes starts to take a backseat in relative importance. A window won’t open all the way, a step board is a bit loose and there is one spot on the floor that squeaks when walked on. Small things to be sure, but an indicator that more things should examined to ensure all is as it should be – and now I am talking about home-owners insurance in all of its many forms – townhouse, condo and rental/tenants’ coverage.
When was the last time that you took out you home insurance policy and checked it for squeaks and windows that don’t open?
Recovering from a small loss – such a small fire in the garage or excess water in the basement or being the target of a B and E – you may be able to handle this – depending on the size of the loss and your short-term cash resources – other than credit cards!
I am not going to go over all of the possibilities of what could or would not be covered – you need to ask your General Insurance agent to explain these things – but here is a simple checklist to get you started:
Water Damage – most coverage includes damages that result from a sudden or accidental water escape from appliances such as washing machines, hotwater heaters and dishwasher – and maybe sprinkler systems and airconditioners. But what about a drain back up due to excess rain or overflowed creeks and rivers? What about a cracked drain pipe or one that as become plugged due to root blockage?
Sewer Backup is a pretty simple question – is it covered or not? You may be able to get supplementary coverage for this risk if it is not included with your basic policy.
Acts of God – hurricanes, earthquakes, forest fires, damage or destruction due to riots or civil disobedience – all fall into this categorry – some you can purchase for an extra cost – others, maybe not.
Own Damage and Voluntary Medical/Liability Coverage – if little Johnny or Jane throw a ball through your neighbour’s plate glass window – who pays and how much? If a friend trips on your front stairs, does your policy cover voluntary medical payment of expenses? What if there is a suit against you for liability as a result of injuries or damage to someone else’s property?
Contents – there isn’t time or space to review this in detail, but every time you buy a new toy, Large screen TV, computer, surround-sound, jewelry etc., your insurance coverage is affected – learn how it works!
Renovations and Upgrades – this is a grossly misunderstood area of coverage. Put very clearly and simply, if you don’t advise your General Insurance agent of changes due to upgrades or renovations, you have NO COVERAGE for that extra work and the money you have invested in your home!!
To be sure, homeowners’ insurance can be complex and confusing. Check out information provided by the Insurance Bureau of Canada on their website at www.ibc.ca.
There are many more issues to cover regarding your home – tools, home-based businesses, etc. – PLEASE talk to your General Insurance agent as soon as you can and be sure you have the right coverage for you and your family – it is too late to check out your insurance when the fire is put out or your home is floating down your street!