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How to lower premiums on your home insurance policy while upgrading coverage.

Dwelling limits, inventory possessions, Guaranteed replacement, Extended Replacement, all risk coverage and flood insurance.

Nationally the premiums for home insurance are increasing almost every year while they are adding many exclusions and requiring even higher premiums to cover some things like mold and water damage.

This is combined with the fact that house values have gone down but the cost of replacing a house if it's totally damaged has increased because of increasing cost of building materials and fuel prices.

So most people are paying more for less coverage and they even find they cannot get the full amount to rebuild their house if it is completely damaged by a natural disaster.

However you can improve your coverage by checking regularly with your insurance agent to see what type of coverage you are getting and how it can be improved.

Make sure you have Adequate coverage

The first thing you need to do to find out if you have adequate coverage is to find out your policy's Dwelling Limit. You should aim to get an amount that can fully replace your house and possessions in case of total loss from a disaster.

Note that the Dwelling Limit may be much higher than the property's market value or its appraised value. The Dwelling limit is the cost of replacement or cost of building a similar house from ground up.

Your insurance agent will be able to calculate the Dwelling limit which will be the basis of other coverage like Content Replacement and loss of use compensation.

Make a record of your possessions.

This will enable you to verify the loss of possessions in case they are lost in a fire or flood. Make a record of all the things you own and take pictures. This will make it easier to prove your losses and for tax purposes.

You can use tools from these websites to record your possessions. Here you can take pictures and videos of your possessions and store all that information online for reference if needed.

https://www.knowyourstuff.org/iii/login.html
http://www.naic.org/

Guaranteed Replacement Coverage.

It is much better to buy Guaranteed Replacement Coverage which will pay for entire cost to rebuild your home with materials of same kind without deducting for wear and tear.

If possible, avoid Cash Value coverage which only pays for the depreciated value of your home components and will usually leave you without money to fully rebuild your house.

Extended Replacement Coverage.

If you are not able to get the Guaranteed Replacement Coverage, you can ask to get the Extended Replacement Coverage which is usually cheap. Running at around $30 annually for an extra $200,000 coverage.

All Risk Coverage.

Another option for insurance is the All Risk Coverage where the insurer will insure everything except the things that are expressly excluded. If your insurer does not offer an all risk coverage, its best to look for other companies that may offer the same.

Also make sure to review your policy's exclusions like flood, wind and earthquakes.

Flood Insurance.

Flood insurance is usually not included in standard home owners policies. If you want to insure against floods, you need to get insurance from the National flood Insurance Program.

You can also check your risk of flooding from www.floodsmart.gov

Find the best Insurance.

It is wise to do a comparison check of insurance offered by checking with an independent insurance agent. This is an agent who represents many insurers.

You can find an independent Agent at the Independent Insurance Agents and Brokers of America website (www.iiaba.net). They will charge you a fee but it may be worth it.

You can also check for more information about your state from your State's department of insurance. The links are here.

http://www.naic.org/state_web_map.htm

All in all, do not overly trust your agent and you need to do your homework so you are sure that you are covered in case of a disaster in future.


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