7 Ways To Get The Most Out of Your Homeowners Insurance Dollars

dollar-house2In 1968 I took out my first Homeowners & Auto policies. No way was I going to move any of those gorgeous engagement presents into a new apartment without making sure that they were protected from fire and theft. I found the service my agent provided, and the way everything was handled, so satisfactory that I didn’t even think of switching carriers until many years later.

We now live in the age of “consumerism” where, price shopping is not only encouraged, but if you don’t do it, your friends will invariably tell you that you are being “ripped off.” What used to be called loyalty is now termed as ignorance. Doesn’t anyone value the relationship between insured and agent any longer? Such a relationship guarantees that your insurance is being routinely reviewed and that your agent has your best interests in mind. Without such a relationship how can you be assured that you are really being given the best “bang for your buck” in the insurance marketplace?

Keep in mind that money really isn’t everything. However, having it always helps to pay the bills! In an effort to stay within the confines of your budget, there are certain items you should routinely check with your agent. This helps to ensure that you are getting the best pricing and coverages your agent can offer, a good carrier that will be with you through good times and bad, through storms, thefts, fires, flood and liability claims– one of which is sure to occur in the lifetime of us all.

How many of these points have you discussed with your agent recently?

• When considering a quote to replace existing insurance, make sure that all the coverages and deductibles are the same as those in your current insurance program;

• Making sure that carriers are A rated and licensed to do business in the State of New York;

• Asking about the need for new appraisals for jewelry items and/or furs as jewelry often appreciates while furs tend to depreciate over time;

• Asking questions about the differences between scheduled items and non–scheduled items, in-vault and out-of-vault coverage, guaranteed replacement cost vs. replacement cost and actual cash value coverage;

• Making sure that you are receiving adequate credit for alarm systems, fire, smoke and carbon dioxide detectors;

• Making sure that your agent knows if you are a non-smoking household (less chance of setting the bed on fire and did you know that some carriers even offer a discount for non-smoking households?);

• Making sure to advise your agent when you remodel kitchens and bathrooms, or add an extension of any kind, as these add value to the house and higher costs to replace if damaged by a loss.

Your agent is there to educate as well as to insure you. A savvy agent consults with you, the client, to save you time, money, and stress. I have been loyal to my agent for many years because I am confident that I am well taken care of and in the hands of a group of professionals for whom no task is too much. They work diligently to ensure the loyalty of their clients over time! Can you say the same?

– Karen Skoler, CPCU

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