If you’re like me and the majority of consumers, you do not want to spend for insurance. Who can blame us? It’s one of those expenses where you feel you don’t really get anything – not like an investment with a promise of return, or a new TV that you can switch on anytime and watch at your pleasure.
But insurance does give a return on your money. When it does, it means you had a bad day and need help to recover a loss. This is especially true for home insurance, an annual expense I always try to put off until I realized it helps me sleep better at night. With home insurance, the continuing threat of the Taal Volcano eruption, experiencing earthquake aftershocks and battling typhoons do not feel as scary as if I did not have any protection at all.
Without insurance, your assets are always at risk when what we do not what to happen, happens. But how do you know you are buying the right insurance? Here are questions you need to ask.
#1 Ask what your coverage actually covers.
A home insurance policy has several technical terms that may confuse you, so you just end up looking at the premium you have to pay. It’s important you know what your policy actually covers. How much is your house insured for? What about its contents? The improvements you have made? If you have a new home, it’s easier to arrive at the amount of coverage – you can use the amount you paid for the house or how much it cost you to build it. If you have an older home and you made recent renovations, you will need to also add insurance for the improvements. And it is important to also insure your furniture and home contents because in situations where the house is left intact, you can claim for the items that were lost or damaged.
#2 Ask what are excluded in your coverage.
Remember when Metro Manila was flooded and we could see only the top of vehicles until the rains stopped and the floodwater subsided? Well, some of the car owners were dismayed to realize that their insurance did not include Acts of God. That meant they could not file any claim and had to pay for all repairs needed to get their cars running again (and dry enough plus stench-free). The same thing can happen to your home. With no Acts of God cover, you may not be able to make a claim if earthquake strikes, or other natural disasters.
#3 Ask about liability coverage and see if you need it.
For some, they need to insure not only their home but also to protect themselves from any liability arising from incidents that can happen at home. For example, if your home shares a common area with a neighbor, as some duplex buildings or townhouses do, you may need liability insurance. The common area can be the garage or driveway, and should any harm come to others, this can help protect you. Another example: homeowners with swimming pools absolutely need liability insurance.
#4 How about additional coverage apart from the standard?
In this age of work-from-home and home-based businesses, ask about additional insurance that you may need. If you have computers, expensive jewelry or collectibles, expensive works of art such as paintings and sculptures, antiques, even musical instruments (pianos can be expensive), list these too and see if they will require additional insurance.
#5 Take a walk-through with your insurance provider.
I found this really helpful when our roof was covered in ashfall last year. I went ahead and paid for cleaners to hose them off and we saw that the roof sustained minor damage. They went ahead and repaired these to ensure we will not have leaks when the rainy season starts. When I presented the bill to the insurance company, I learned that they will not pay for the cleaning but could have paid for the roof repair if I documented it right. After that, I asked them to walk me through the scenarios of various perils so I will know better next time (and can actually make a claim that gets paid).
As with all expenses, insurance premiums also tend to go higher each year. Your insurance needs will change especially with more improvements you make to your home, if prices of construction materials go up, and if you start to fill your home with premium furniture. Take the time to look at the insurance valuations and make sure they reflect your home’s current market value. If you focus on saving on premiums, you may regret it if the day comes that you need to make a claim.
Disclaimer: The views in this blog are those of the blogger and do not necessarily reflect the views of ABS-CBN Corp.