Routine Review: Important Basics to Cover with Your Insurance Agent | House
“Seeing your insurance agent is probably 49th on your to-do list, right above a root canal,” jokes David Bryanthead of Dave Bryant Insurance Agency, which was founded by his father in 1968. But with an agent like Bryant, who is personable, funny and informative, having your home insurance policy reviewed is better than dental work and, as he emphasizes, important to do regularly – he recommends once a year.
“A lot of people want fast, convenient coverage up until the time of claim, and they find they haven’t covered what they wanted to be covered,” he says. Compared to buying a bundle through a website, Bryant says a knowledgeable insurance professional can make all the difference in the quality of your coverage and your experience when you need to make claims.
“We say insurance is for the things that ruin your life, not the things that ruin your day,” says Bryant. “You want to be clear about deductibles, coverage limits and policy language.” What’s covered, how it’s covered, and how much you’re able and willing to pay for coverage is a nuanced equation best deciphered by someone who feels responsible and cares about their customers.
“Rooftops are very important in the state of Oklahoma,” says Bryant. The important language here is actual cash value vs replacement cost. The actual cash value returns homeowners the current and depreciated value of the roof. The replacement cost covers the full amount of a new roof. Bryant notes that if you can afford it, insuring for replacement cost is a good idea in Oklahoma because the greatest exposure on a home is wind and hail. Deductibles for roof-related claims often surprise people: many insurance companies have gone down to 1% of the value of the house.
It is also recommended to check with your agent about insurance specialty items Where target elements, which include works of art, jewellery, firearms and other objects of particularly high value. Bryant says customers may not think of acquiring such items as something to report to their insurance agents, but it’s essential if you want them included in your replacement costs. Your personal agent can plan or list these items in your contract and can request a current (within two years) assessment.
Rising labor and material costs now make it an important time to check your policy wording regarding total loss, often the result of a fire or tornado. Similar to roof replacement, ideally you want home reconstruction value which provides homeowners with the funds to build a new home at current labor and material costs. Market value or actual cash value is a depreciated value and would leave homeowners with a significant gap between the amount of their claim and the actual costs of rebuilding their home.
Bryant says flood insurance is usually something your mortgage broker will need depending on where your home is located, but it never hurts to bring it up. There are also a range of options for earthquake insurance, which are lower risk in Oklahoma, but worth discussing with your agent.