Do you know what your insurance covers?


LITTLE ROCK, AR – It’s disaster season; do you know where your insurance
policy is? Think your odds of disaster are low so you don’t need to
really worry about what’s covered? You’re not alone. A recent survey
shows a lot of us don’t have any idea what’s insured, or what to do when
we need that policy’s protection. But experts warn we need to find out,
before an emergency.
Ann Middleman’s home looks great now, but
not so long ago she had a bit of a water problem, caused by broken pipes
under her home. The plumber’s proposal:
“He said I think we’re
going to have to dig up your floor in the kitchen,” Ann recalls. “I have
a ceramic tile floor in the kitchen and I was thinking, ‘Oh no, that’s
going to be a mess.”
She knew to call her insurance company, which brought in an adjustor. She thought she knew what her policy would pay for too…
thought my homeowner’s policy covered anything. You know, something
breaks, there’s damage, it’s covered. Not necessarily true.”
not the only one in the dark when it comes to insurance policies. Can
you say for sure whether you’re covered for damage from a flood or a
wind storm? You would think it’s basic stuff but a recent insurance
industry survey finds many Americans still don’t know whether they have
the right coverage.
“About 51% believe they are somewhat
prepared,” says Robert Rusbuldt, CEO of the Independent Insurance Agents
and Brokers of America IIABA.) “ 22-23% believe they are not prepared
at all.”
What does being prepared mean?
“They may have
talked to an insurance agent or broker about their coverages,” explains
Rusbuldt. “They have taken videos or pictures of their belongings.”
Take pictures and videos? Yep. Inside your home and out. Why?
makes the claims process go a lot easier. It’ll go much faster if you
can prove you had custom built in cabinets made in your living room that
weren’t there when you purchased the house,” Rusbuldt says.
else that will help if you end up having to file a claim: stick to the
facts. According to the United Policy Holders, a non-profit group
created to educate consumers, don’t offer up personal opinions when
you’re dealing with the insurance company or adjustor.
“If your
home has been damaged your job is to tell the insurance company what the
damage is and what you know so far about what you think it’s going to
cost to fix it,” says Amy Bach, Executive Director of United Policy
Holders. “When you start getting into what you think might have caused
it you may get into trouble.”
And stay on top of things.
“Get a copy of your policy. Keep a diary. Write down conversations–what was said and when and keep a paper trail.”
Also, know what you’re covered for in terms of the value of your house.
says, “Will you get enough money to rebuild your house the same way it
was before? Do you have an inflation kicker in your homeowner’s policy?
What kind of coverage do you have on your possessions?”
If you
don’t know, this is the time to find out. In Ann’s case, she had to pay
for the new pipes, but the insurance covered the repairs to all the
other damage. Her advice to others:
“Try looking at your policy. I was very surprised.”
other tips from the insurance groups: when you do have damage call your
insurance company before you start fixing the problem. If you have to
fix something to stop more damage from taking place, make sure you take
pictures or videos of the initial problem first.
Also published at KMEG CBS 14

The information presented in this publication is for general informational purposes and is not a substitute for legal advice. If you have a specific legal issue or problem, United Policyholders recommends that you consult with an attorney. Guidance on hiring professional help can be found in the “Find Help” section of United Policyholders does not sell insurance or certify, endorse or warrant any of the insurance products, vendors, or professionals identified on our website.

Date: June 17, 2024