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Top Questions to Ask About Your Home’s Insurance

homeinsurance

When was the last time you reviewed your home’s insurance coverage? Now is the perfect time to get organized in every way, starting with your home insurance policy. As your life changes, so do your insurance needs, says the Insurance Information Institute (I.I.I.). Instead of dusting around the corners of your insurance policies this year, take the time to ask yourself the following:

Is my home covered for its full rebuilding cost?

Review your policy to make sure that you have enough insurance to rebuild your home. If you have made major improvements to your home, such as adding a new room, enclosing a porch or expanding a kitchen or bathroom, you risk being underinsured if you don’t adjust your homeowner’s insurance coverage limits.

If you don’t yet have a separate flood insurance policy, now would be a great time to check whether your home is in a flood risk zone at FloodSmart.gov.

Do I have enough coverage for expensive items?

Have you bought or received any valuable jewelry since you purchased/renewed your policy? When was the last time you had the items you owned appraised? Standard homeowners insurance has dollar limits for the theft of certain types of expensive items like jewelry, furs and silverware. This means that the insurer will only pay the amount specified in the policy – generally $1,000 to $2,000. To insure these items to their full dollar value, consider a special personal property endorsement or floater. This coverage includes “accidental disappearance”, meaning coverage if you simply lose an item. Also, there is no deductible.

The best way to keep track of your belongings and make sure they are adequately insured is to create a home inventory.

Do I have enough liability insurance to fully protect my assets?

Standard homeowner’s liabilities pay for judgments against you and your legal fees up to a limit set in the policy. However, in our litigious society, you may want to have additional protection—that’s what an umbrella liability policy provides. An umbrella policy kicks in when you reach the limit on the underlying liability coverage in a homeowner’s, renter’s, condo, or auto policy. If your assets have recently increased, you’ll have more to lose and may want to consider this extra layer of protection.

Should I rent out my house during the vacation period?

Whether you own a second home that you plan to lease to a tenant, or want to rent out your primary residence, the first step is to call your insurance professional. Depending on the rental scenario, your standard homeowner’s policy may not cover losses incurred while your home is rented out. In that case, you should consider a more specialized insurance policy.

If you are taking an expensive, pre-paid vacation or an active vacation such as biking or hiking in an exotic locale, travel insurance can help protect the financial investment in your vacation.

 

Source: I.I.I.

Reprinted with permission from RISMedia. ©2015. All rights reserved.

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5 Signs You’re Ready to List Your Home

By Courtney Soinski

Do you ever find your thoughts going back and forth about whether or not to sell your home? ­As you contemplate your decision, there are many factors to consider, including the current state of the real estate market as well as your lifestyle and financial situation.

After years of housing recovery, we are continuing to experience a shortage of inventory among homes for sale in today’s real estate market. Fortunately for you, it’s a total seller’s market right now. According to the National Association of REALTORS®, there was a recent 6.1 percent increase of existing-home sales. This is the highest annual rate since September of 2013. Here are 5 signs it’s time to sell your home.

1. You’re running out of living space.

If you’re getting frustrated because you are feeling overcrowded in your home, or if you don’t have enough space for guests to sleep, then you may be ready to sell. Maybe your kids are outgrowing their rooms (literally) or you’re thinking about adding to your family. These are also signs that it’s about that time.

2. You’re not emotionally attached to your home anymore.

As you start going through the selling process, things will be a lot more difficult for you and your REALTOR® if you still have some sort of emotional attachment to your home. Being this connected decreases the likelihood that you’ll even want to listen to the real estate agent’s advice. In order to sell, you need to be able to view your house as a product.

3. You can afford it.

This is one of most significant factors when it comes to selling your home and moving somewhere else. Are you financially ready to make the leap? Review all costs and expenses related to selling, including moving costs, as well as the down payment and closing costs on your new home. Most importantly, have a game plan.

4. Your equity is a force to be reckoned with.

Ever since the housing market crashed, homeowners now have a tendency to be skeptical about putting their home on the market to sell. Thankfully, real estate has come back in full force. Increasing numbers of homeowners are getting their positive equity back and negative equity rates are at their lowest since 2012. Now is the perfect time to see where your equity stands. Do some research and have your home reappraised.

5. You are ready to make your decision.

Making the decision to sell your home can be difficult, but you don’t have to do it alone. By partnering with a trustworthy real estate professional, you’ll get the honesty and expert advice that will make the selling process a breeze. By considering all factors and working closely with a pro, you’ll be able to decide what is best for you and your family.

So, the choice is yours. Are you ready to list your home?

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Small Home Upgrades Offer Big Returns

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