July 17, 2019

When Do You Need to Update Your Homeowners Insurance?

Written By Mary Beth Eastman
Last updated July 17, 2019

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Your homeowners insurance is not a “set it and forget it” proposition. Various property and life changes can mean it’s time to update your policy. If you make a mistake and neglect to make these changes, you could be in for a nasty surprise when it comes time to make a claim. The following are a few situations that signal the need to make an update.

Your policy limits are based on the value of your home and its contents. When you remodel your home, you are usually adding a great deal of value to it. Simply redoing your kitchen can add between $20,000 and $40,000 to your home’s value. Your policy needs to be redone to reflect the actual cost of replacing it in its current, improved condition.

When you add a swimming pool to your home, your insurance premium is going to rise. This increase is mainly due to the additional risk a pool poses for your insurer. Unfortunately, people can drown or be injured in your new pool, leaving you open to litigation. If you don’t notify your insurer of your new addition, they won’t have to pay out in case of an accident. You’ll be on your own. (An umbrella insurance policy could help here.)

If you acquire a new pet, you need to tell your insurance company. Dogs are delightful, but if they bite or otherwise injure someone, you’ll be liable. Your insurance company may not cover the injury if you failed to notify them about your pet. Also, some policies exclude certain breeds from coverage. Pitbulls, for instance, may be on a restricted breed list.

If you’ve recently added an alarm system or surveillance cameras, you may be due for a reduction in your premium. More security means less chance of theft and the need for insurance claims. When you upgrade, give your agent a call. And while you’re securing your home, secure your identity, too. It’s a double layer of protection against identity theft.

If you’ve recently become engaged and have a new diamond on your finger or just splurged on new furnishings or electronics, review your homeowners policy. You want to make certain that your policy will cover the theft or destruction of these expensive additions to your home.

Any time you’ve made significant changes to your home or your lifestyle, you should review your homeowners insurance policy. What was fine for you ten years ago may not offer nearly enough coverage now. Plus, failure to notify your agent of some changes may put you at risk of a claim denial. When in doubt, check with your agent.

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