American Property Casualty Insurance Association
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Nicole Mahrt Ganley


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March 6, 2014

PCI Reminds Americans to Adjust Their Clocks, Change Their Batteries, and Check Their Insurance

CHICAGO – Early Sunday morning as daylight saving time begins, it will be time to change your clocks and “spring forward.” This twice-yearly ritual of adjusting the clocks serves as an excellent reminder to change the batteries in your smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors. It also serves as a good opportunity to do an insurance check-up, make sure your insurance coverage is up to date and you are prepared for any unforeseen catastrophes, says the Property Casualty Insurers Association of America (PCI).

“We all get busy with life and forget the little things that can make a difference like changing your smoke detector battery or calling your agent or insurer to update your insurance policy,” said Christopher Hackett, PCI director of personal lines policy. “The time change is a good reminder to do these little things that can make your apartment, home and family ready should an unexpected emergency occur. For renters it is important to keep in mind that a landlord’s homeowners policy only covers the repair of the home, it does not cover the renter’s personal property. Those in the rental market should remember to purchase affordable renters insurance to protect all their personal possessions.”

Preparing for an emergency is more than physically preparing by clearing brush, cleaning rain gutters and storing water and food in the garage. It is important to financially prepare for the unexpected. Take simple steps like making a home inventory. This will speed up the recovery process should a fire or storm cause damage.

“Being financially prepared is just as important as physical preparedness,” said Hackett. “In 2013, severe thunderstorms alone resulted in more than $10 billion in insured losses. While we all think that a catastrophic event will never happen to us, we never really know when a disaster or significant loss will occur. This is what insurance is for and taking the time to make a quick call to your insurance company or agent can ensure you’re properly covered.”


Be Financially Prepared:

  • Understand Your Policy - The typical homeowners policy covers damage caused by wind, fire and lightning.  Comprehensive auto insurance generally covers damage or destruction to a vehicle from a fire.


  • Maintain Adequate Insurance − Homeowners should be certain to have their dwelling adequately insured because once a wild fire turns into a fire storm there is little that can be done to halt its path of destruction.  Be sure to maintain a homeowners insurance policy with adequate policy limits so you can rebuild that home if there is a fire.


  • Review Policy Regularly − Review your property insurance policy with your insurance company or agent. If you have recently remodeled or built a new addition onto your property, be sure to increase the amount of protection to cover the upgraded materials or expanded square footage. 


  • Understand the Types of Insurance Policies - Learn the difference between a replacement cost policy, which generally provides for the repair or replacement of damaged covered personal property items, and an actual cash value policy, that will only provide reimbursement for the depreciated value of the covered personal property item.  Decide which type of policy best fits your needs.


  • Understand Construction Costs and Building Codes - It is important to consider the current construction costs for building new homes in your neighborhood. If your home is older, ask if your policy includes coverage for building code upgrades.  Many insurers offer an optional enhanced replacement cost endorsement. This endorsement typically adds an additional 25 percent to the coverage limit for your dwelling. Even if the homeowners policy has an inflation guard that adjusts to increase the dwelling coverage limit, check to make sure that the amount is adequate to rebuild.


  • Keep an Inventory − To speed the claims processing along, keep an inventory of your personal items and photograph or videotape them for documentation purposes.  Be specific; document how many TVs, computers, sets of towels and sheets you have.  The more detail you have, the easier recovery will be. Keep receipts for major purchases and keep records of the age, current value, make, model and serial number of your personal property.  Keep your inventory and a copy of your policy at another location.


  • Talk with your insurance company or agent about additional coverages such as flood insurance or earthquake insurance. The standard homeowners policy does not cover losses that result from floods or earthquakes due to the unpredictability and widespread catastrophic nature of these events. In addition it is important to note that the standard homeowners policy also does not cover landslides, mud slides or sink holes. However, coverage for these events may be available as an endorsement to the homeowners policy or under a separate policy.


PCI is composed of more than 1,000 member companies, representing the broadest cross-section of insurers of any national trade association. PCI members write over $195 billion in annual premium, 39 percent of the nation’s property casualty insurance. Member companies write 46 percent of the U.S. automobile insurance market, 32 percent of the homeowners market, 37 percent of the commercial property and liability market, and 41 percent of the private workers compensation market.