There’s nothing about insurance that is fun; I’ve said that before. In fact, I probably sound like a broken record repeating it but it is oh-so true. Health insurance is impossible and I’m sure we lose our total focus on that one by itself. When it comes to homeowner’s insurance, we are so tired of reading things we don’t understand and dealing with page after page of fine print that we basically give up and assume that our insurance agent will get our backs. He or she probably will, but that does not mean we know everything there is to know about homeowner’s insurance.
For one, we overpaid for years for ours – by double. We switched insurance companies last year and ended up with more coverage, better coverage and half the premium we spent 11 years paying. Talk about an eye-opener! You might not want to, and I get it, but you have to ask some serious questions when it comes to homeowner’s insurance. For example, when my husband and I adopted a dog for a very, very ill-fated 12 hours two years ago, we had no idea that our homeowner’s insurance could go up for that. It might have, it might not have; it all depends on the company and the breed of the dog that resides in a home.
Regardless, it just goes to show that most of us have no idea what we are looking for, what to bother with and what we really need in a homeowner’s insurance policy. That’s why I did some (very boring) research and figured it out for you. I’ll save you the time and energy looking for the most boring terms and reading through the most boring paperwork ever, and I’ll tell you what you need to ask for in a homeowner’s insurance policy the next time you’re out shopping for one. Here are the questions to ask.
What Does it Cover?
The most important thing to know about your policy is what it covers. Ask; and listen. Don’t just ask to ask; ask to listen. You do need to know this information. For example, it would be helpful to know that your policy covers a lawsuit if your dog bites someone, or if your policy does not cover a dog at all if it belongs to a certain breed.
Do I Need That?
Now that you know what your policy covers and consists of, it’s time to ask if you really need those things. For instance, do you need flood insurance if you are not in a low-lying area? Chances are good that you do not. However, if you do live in a low-lying area, you do; and you need to know if that is included in your policy.
Which Company Has the Best Rates?
All right, so you’re not asking the insurance company this question since they’re likely going to tell you that they offer the lowest rates. You’re going to find out what you need and go shopping on your own. That’s how you will answer this question. I know it’s a lot of work, but it is going to save you some money.
What is the Claim Filing Process Like?
This might be one of the most important questions you will ask. You need to know this. What happens if there is a need to file a claim on a Sunday or a holiday? Do you call? Do you fill it out online? How long do you have to file a claim? What information do you need to file a claim? These are important facts you need to know, and you need to ask them.
Do I Get A Discount if I Prepay?
Did you know that you can prepay your insurance rather than paying it monthly? Now, we pay ours through our mortgage through escrow, so I’m sure that does not apply. However, if you pay yours on a monthly basis if it is all wrapped up with your other insurance paperwork, you might want to know the answer to this. Sometimes paying 6 months to a year in advance is far less expensive than it is to pay monthly for these things.
How Fast Are Claims Processed?
This is another one you want to know the answer to. You want to know how long it’s going to take before you find some relief after filing a claim. You probably want to ask the insurance company and others who are customers, too. It’s how you will get the most out of your policy and how you will ensure you’re not sitting in limbo for who knows how long waiting for someone to come out and take care of business. Not all insurance companies are created equal, so find out what you can expect by asking around, reading reviews and checking with the BBB.
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