Here’s how COVID-19 may impact your homeowners insurance coverage
Many of us have been spending more time working, learning or quarantining at home due to the pandemic. That makes now an important time to review your homeowners insurance coverage to reflect some of the lifestyle changes you may have made over the past few months.
Here are some tips to help make sure your assets are protected — and gain some peace of mind.
Review your current coverage
Start by looking at your existing policy and coverage limits. A standard homeowners policy covers your home and personal property from damage or loss due to a covered event, like a fire or theft. Make sure your policy covers the cost to repair or rebuild your home and replace your property at its current value. A standard policy also protects your assets from liability claims if someone not living with you is accidentally injured on your property and you are found legally responsible.
Important factors to consider
As you review your policy, consider the factors below that have changed the way many of us work and live, and that may require an update to your coverage.
Working from home: Are your work computer, equipment, office furniture, supplies and important documents covered? Your current policy may cover business property but only up to a certain limit. Most policies don’t cover damages to property that you don’t own. And if your home wireless network is less secure than your physical workplace, you may be at a higher risk for cyber theft or data loss. Check with your employer first to see what they cover for employees working remotely. You may need to add a home business endorsement to your policy to protect your work property and space.
Kids spending more time at home: In addition to online learning, kids are spending more time at home — and that can potentially pose a higher risk for property damage. Ensure that any school computers and other technology are covered by your policy. If the neighborhood kids are spending more time at your house — perhaps for learning pods or playtime in your backyard — you may want to consider boosting your liability limit.
Extra people staying in your home: If loss of income has led relatives or adult children to move in with you temporarily, consider their personal property, too. Most policies don’t cover damages to personal property in your home that you don’t own, so these people may need their own renters insurance to cover their items.
Renting your home or vacation property: If you previously rented out your home, a room in your home or another property you own, and have been unable to continue this due to the pandemic, you may be able to modify your policy or pause coverage to save money. Talk to your insurance agent about your options.
Recent updates to your home: During the stay-at-home requirements, many people focused on making home improvements. If you’ve added on to your home or made upgrades, like a kitchen remodel, be sure to notify your insurance agent so those upgrades are reflected in your policy’s coverage.
Keep in mind that if you do need to file a claim, the process may take a little longer than usual due to social distancing restrictions and adjustors working remotely. While filing a claim online has become commonplace, many adjustors aren’t able to go inside homes to assess damages or do inspections. You may be asked to provide video or photos, or schedule a virtual appointment.
How to save money on your policy premiums
If your household budget has been strained by the pandemic, you may be able to take advantage of discounts offered by some insurance companies. Check with your agent to see if you’re eligible for savings like a multi-policy discount, a hail-resistant roof or a claim record discount. If you’ve sold some assets, make sure you’re not still paying to cover personal property you no longer own.
What if you can’t pay your policy premiums?
If you’re experiencing financial hardship due to the pandemic and are unable to pay your premiums, contact your insurance provider as soon as possible and explain your current situation. Many companies are offering options like forbearance or flexible payments. State regulators may also offer relief programs like grace periods or deferment.
Even if the pandemic hasn’t greatly impacted your home, finances or lifestyle, it’s still a good idea to review your policy annually. Your insurance agent can be a valuable resource when it comes to helping you assess your current policy and make adjustments to confirm that you have the right coverages in place.
Looking for a new home or thinking about refinancing? Commerce Bank can help. We have mortgage options that can help you get the home you’ve always wanted.