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Three Tips for Your Home, Auto, and Umbrella Insurance

When was the last time you reviewed your auto, home, and umbrella insurance policies? If you haven’t done so recently, it might be prudent to revisit your coverages. For example: when it comes to homeowner’s insurance, you’ll want to make sure that your replacement cost is updated to reflect today’s higher housing prices and construction costs (and all those pandemic updates you made on your home)! Let’s dive a bit more into what replacement coverage means for you and two other quick tips.

Replacement cost coverage:

If your home needs to be partially or fully repaired or rebuilt due to a covered event, the insurance company will pay up to the replacement cost within the policy. It doesn’t matter if the shingles are 10 years old or the porch is brand new, insurance companies will replace your home or home components without considering depreciation. So, it matters what your home would currently cost to rebuild – recently we’ve seen many policies have inadequate coverage because housing costs have risen. We recommend you revisit this with your insurance broker or agent.

When you do, we recommend that you pay attention to how the policy defines replacement. Standard replacement cost replaces your home with fixtures, materials, and function as close as possible to what it’s like now. Functional replacement cost will build you a new home, but it may not be the same value – you’ll save on premiums, but the insurer will only replace your damaged property with something that functions the same way. Guaranteed replacement cost is a step up from the standard: just in case your home actually ends up costing more to rebuild than the policy states, your insurance company will foot the bill. There’s more to these differences, of course, so we suggest you discuss the coverage details with your agent.

Personal property coverage:

Everything from the clothes in your closet to the artwork on the wall and the new couch you just bought falls under the category of personal property within your homeowner’s insurance policy. You’ll want to make sure you have a conservative coverage amount relative to what you think everything is worth (prices aren’t exactly the same as they were even a few years ago). Your insurance company usually caps how much they’ll pay for certain items, like jewelry or valuable artwork, so you may need to list those as personal articles.

If you ever needed to file a claim, here’s one way to know what you owned: each year we suggest that you walk through your home, videoing. Pan over rooms, open drawers, and add commentary as necessary. This will make your side of the claims process way easier than trying to remember things after a very stressful loss. It’s also much faster than categorizing everything you own now on a written list.

Uninsured (and underinsured) motorist coverage:

If you’re in a car accident, this endorsement (extra add-on) will kick in to pay for your bodily injury expenses or vehicle damages if the other driver didn’t have insurance (or had inadequate insurance). Wisconsin requires uninsured motorist coverage (at least $25,000 per person and $50,000 per accident) but some states do not. We not only recommend it on your auto policy but would also recommend adding it to your umbrella (personal liability) policy.

This endorsement will step in for expenses beyond the underlying auto policy limits. Your medical insurance could be adequate for some scenarios, but the umbrella policy endorsement would provide other benefits that health insurance won’t, such as lost wages or payments for pain & suffering. The cost for this endorsement is usually an extra $100-200 per $1M of umbrella coverage and we recommend at least getting a quote to see whether that’s worth the peace of mind.

We hope you found these tips helpful. We don’t sell insurance, but we’re happy to work with our clients’ brokers and agents to find what’s right for their situation. At Boardwalk, property and casualty insurance is reviewed for our clients every two years – even if nothing obvious has changed. Whether it’s saving on insurance premiums, helping update coverages, or just confirming that everything looks good, our clients have peace of mind knowing they are well protected.

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