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- Adjust Your Clock, Change Batteries, and Update Insurance
CHICAGO - As daylight saving time begins early Sunday morning, the Property Casualty Insurers Association of America (PCI) reminds you to not only adjust your clocks to “spring forward” but also to schedule an insurance check-up with your agent or company.
“While we remember to change our clocks twice a year, it’s easy to forget to do an insurance check-up at least once a year,” said Chris Hackett, PCI senior director of personal lines policy. “Spring is an excellent time to address these little things that can help ensure you’re financially-ready for the unexpected.”
For renters it is important to keep in mind that a landlord’s 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.
“Everyone should take a few simple steps starting with making a home inventory of all your possessions to be prepared,” said Hackett. “This will speed up the recovery process should a fire or storm cause damage. 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.”
PCI Tips to be Financially Prepared:
- Understand Your Policy - Talk with your insurance agent or company about your insurance policy. Check your deductible and make sure you have a solid understanding of your current coverage. 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.
- Maintain Adequate Insurance - Homeowners should be certain to have their dwelling adequately insured because a natural disaster or event causing significant damage can occur at any time. Be sure to maintain a homeowners insurance policy with adequate policy limits so you can rebuild after a major loss. It is important to consider the current construction costs for building new homes in your neighborhood. 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.
- 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.
- 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, mudslides or sinkholes. However, coverage for these events may be available as an endorsement to the homeowners policy or under a separate policy.
- PCI promotes and protects the viability of a competitive private insurance market for the benefit of consumers and insurers. PCI is composed of nearly 1,000 member companies, representing the broadest cross section of insurers of any national trade association. PCI members write $220 billion in annual premium, 37 percent of the nation's property casualty insurance. Member companies write 44 percent of the U.S. automobile insurance market, 30 percent of the homeowners market, 35 percent of the commercial property and liability market and 37 percent of the private workers compensation market.
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