AARP Eye Center
Looked at your homeowners insurance policy lately? Very possibly, no. In a sign of how little attention this coverage gets, nearly a quarter of homeowners surveyed by Insurance.com in 2018 said they'd never even read their policy.
But even if you studied the fine print when you bought your policy, over time there may be home renovations, rising building costs and changing housing codes. To be sure that you're neither underinsured nor overpaying, check if any of these situations apply to you.
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1. You renovated or built an addition
The cornerstone of a homeowners policy is what's known as dwelling protection: the maximum amount of money you could receive to replace the structure of your home should it have to be completely rebuilt. But too often, people who renovate their homes — adding on a first-floor master suite, for example — don't adjust their policy to suit the higher replacement cost, says Derek Klock, a Virginia Tech professor and coauthor of The Process of Financial Planning.
Construction costs are no doubt higher than when you bought your first policy years ago, and specialized spaces, such as a bathroom or kitchen, cost more to rebuild than basic living space. Ask an insurance agent to reassess your property to make sure your coverage is adequate, Klock advises. (Also make sure that you have sufficient coverage for your personal possessions.) Note that if your home is damaged, most insurers won't fully reimburse you for repairs unless you've insured your home for at least 80 percent of its value.