Homeowners Insurance and Renters Insurance
Homeowners insurance will protect your home and the belongings in your home in the event of a fire, theft or other damage to your property. Even if you do not own the home or apartment you live in, you should consider renters insurance which will help you replace items lost for the same reasons above. If you have financed your home (like most homeowners), the bank will require you to have homeowners insurance coverage.
Tip: Get a discount on your insurance by having auto insurance and homeowners insurance with the same insurance company.
Finding the best insurance policy for your needs is the easy part. You also need to take inventory of the possessions in your home, which can be a time consuming process. The process should be repeated every year. You should also update your policy when you make any large purchases. The list should include expensive items and inexpensive items. Those inexpensive items add up quickly if you have to replace everything you own at once.
When you inventory belongings in your home, be sure to also take photos or a video recording of all of your belongings. Make a very detailed list and include item sizes and manufacturer. For example, instead of listing a “large T.V.” list the item as a Panasonic 52 inch flat panel T.V.
Tip: The Insurance Information Institute (iii.org) offers free online home inventory software. The “Know Your Stuff” software is easy to use and allows you to record items by room, purchase price, date purchased, serial number information and allows you to upload photos.
Tip: Be sure to include jewelry items, you can get a rider on your homeowners insurance policy for these items.
Now that you have a detailed list with photos or video recordings, at the risk of stating the obvious, do not keep the list in your home. Keep the list in another home, safe deposit box, with a family member or with someone else you feel comfortable knowing the value of your possessions.
Tip: If it is available and within your means, it’s advisable to get insurance that pays the dollar amount you would need to replace damaged personal property or dwelling property without deducting for depreciation but limited by the maximum dollar amount shown on the declarations page of the policy. This way, you will be reimbursed for the cost to replace the lost or damaged item (to a reasonable point) instead of its value at the time of the loss. That avocado green refrigerator your Great Aunt Susie gave you may only be worth $20 now, but it will cost you far more to replace it.
Find the best homeowners and renters insurance here by using our tool that lists insurance companies offering coverage in your zip code. Homeowners Insurance Company Finder.