Can You Change Your Homeowners Insurance Anytime - It's hard enough staying on top of weekly to-do lists, let alone keeping track of the things that need yearly attention. You might cover the most common annual tasks — you updated your health plan during open enrollment, you scheduled your annual physical, and you're collecting information for your taxes — but chances are you've forgotten.
Reviewing your homeowner's insurance policy is one of those annual musts, but it's also a critical step in protecting your investment. If you've experienced any of the following changes in the past year, it's worth checking with your agent.
Can You Change Your Homeowners Insurance Anytime
From getting married to finalizing the divorce, a change in your marital status can lead to the need to change your policy. Jim Fuerstenau, LUTCF, CIC, owner of Fuerstenau Insurance Agency, LLC, with Farm Bureau Insurance, says no matter the situation, a major life event like this deserves a call to your agent.
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"There are many different circumstances that can influence your coverage," he said. “Say you owned your home before you were married, but you're not adding your spouse to the title. You may still want to include him in the insurance policy so that he can help manage policy matters. Also, if your spouse has a better insurance score than you, adding them to the policy could lower your monthly premium.
Changes that affect your home's value can also affect your homeowner's policy. Maybe your original penthouse was based around your old kitchen with quality cabinets and laminate countertops, but you spent $35,000 to update the space with quartz countertops and custom cabinetry. Is your existing coverage sufficient to rebuild a renovated kitchen in the event of a disaster? Feuerstenau says probably not.
"It's important to revise your policy as you update quality," he said. "If you spend $30,000 finishing your basement and don't upgrade your coverage, you'll lose an additional $30,000 in the event of a total loss."
Certain dog breeds classified as "aggressive" may make your policy ineligible for renewal. Company rules vary on this matter, so it's important to check with your agent for specific information.
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"Our company doesn't ban any particular breed," Fuerstenau said. "However, if an incident occurs with the dog, the company will cancel your policy unless the dog is permanently removed from the premises."
Amenities like swimming pools and trampolines can make your home more popular on the street. But from an insurer's point of view, they make it risky. If someone is injured on your property, you could be liable for costly medical expenses and lawsuits. If you've recently added these types of features, call your agent right away to ensure your current liability coverage is adequate.
When reviewing your policy, it's a good idea to take inventory of your belongings. Have you purchased or inherited valuables such as art, jewelry or antiques? Fuerstenau says high-value items like this should have special coverage.
"In a typical standard policy, valuables are treated like anything else unless we increase coverage by adding an endorsement," he said. “By doing this, we can ensure adequate coverage for things like theft, loss or breakage, and we can choose a low deductible so that if something happens to a $1,500 piece of jewelry, you don't have to pay a $1,000 deductible to have it replaced. .
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Standard homeowners insurance can provide some protection for home businesses, but coverage varies by policy and is not always sufficient. Also, remember that having customers in your home may pose liability that your policy may not cover. If you've started a home-based business, check with your agent to find out if you need to add an endorsement or purchase a business policy.
Insurance companies are always trying to find a competitive advantage, as are all private companies. Feuerstenau says his company posts available discounts on its annual renewal packages, but because homeowners don't check that information often, they might miss out.
"I spoke to some customers the other day and found out that they are eligible for a military discount through a new incentive program we are offering," he said. "We found that they needed additional coverage for their recently purchased ATV. When we crunched the numbers, they ended up with more coverage for less than what they had previously paid.
Some insurers offer discounts for things like installing a new roof or adding a monitored security system. Premium incentives vary, so check with your agent or broker to see what impact these changes will have on your specific policy.
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Even if you haven't made any significant changes this year, an annual check-in with your agent is extremely beneficial. A reputable insurance professional will ask the right questions to ensure your coverage provides the right protection.
"I like to visit my clients in their homes whenever possible and suggest they come to the office to meet our team," said Fuerstenau. "During a claim, it's very important to have an agent who knows you well. I've found that homeowners who communicate well with their insurance teams and stay current on major changes are more likely to have a successful insurance experience.
If you're looking for an experienced insurance agent to help you choose the right coverage, visit the Greater Lansing Association of REALTORS® at www.lansing-realestate.com for a list of local professionals. “Expert Reviewed” means our Financial Review Board has reviewed the article for accuracy and clarity. Fully rated. The review board is made up of a panel of financial experts whose mission is to ensure that our content is always objective and balanced.
Written by Kate Deventer Kate Deventer Insurance Writer and Editor Arrow Right Kate Deventer is a writer, editor, and insurance professional with over a decade of experience in the insurance industry as a licensed insurance agent. Twitter Connect with Kate Deventer on Twitter
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Edited by Amelia Buckley Amelia Buckley Arrow Right Insurance Editor Amelia Buckley is the insurance editor, covering auto, home, and life insurance. They emphasize creating informative, engaging, and distinctive content to support readers in making personalized insurance decisions. Amelia Buckley
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