Questions/Tips Insurance

Two of three homeowners under-insured, potentially magnifying the impact of disaster

(10/13/2011) Erate Exclusive - Two-thirds of homeowners with property damaged in a disaster don't have sufficient homeowners insurance coverage, says one study.

Another claims 64 percent of the homes in the U.S. -- 48 million properties -- don't carry enough coverage to fully reconstruct the home if it's destroyed.

And don't think your home is better off because home values have tumbled.

Your coverage should consider replacement cost, not market price. What it would cost to rebuild your home, should it be destroyed, could be much more than your home's appraised value.

Consumer Reports is advising homeowners to use this year's natural disasters as a wake-up call.

"Ask your insurance agent for a customized estimate of your home's replacement cost that accounts for its unique features, construction details, and age, as well as any costs due to local building-code requirements," CR advises.

For less than $10, lets you check for yourself and compare the results with your current policy.

CR says you should reassess and update your homeowners insurance needs every few years and carry "guaranteed replacement cost" coverage. Insurers also offer "extended replacement cost" coverage which will extend your limit, if necessary, by 25 to 100 percent to cover any increases labor and materials costs. Also, a "law and ordinance" rider will pay the extra cost of complying with updated building codes.

Other CR advise includes:

• Get coverage for local risks. Standard policies don't cover damage from floods, earthquakes, sinkholes and landslides. In some areas deductibles are up for wind damage from hurricanes, tornadoes or severe windstorms.

• Shop smart. Don't shop for the best rate and then determine your needs. Know what coverage you need first then go comparison shopping. CR says annual premiums can vary widely. Check your state insurance regulator for rate comparisons as well as websites, including, InsWeb and NetQuote.

Trim costs by taking on high deductibles; by buying all your insurance needs from one company; and by keeping your credit rating as high as possible. Also if your can't afford catastrophic coverage, check with your state's insurance of last resort program.

CR says, choose an insurance company rated "A" or "B" by Weiss Ratings available online at The

• Prevent losses. Retro-fit your home to better withstand the seismic forces of an earthquake, the gale forces of a hurricane or the burn threat of a wildfire . The Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety offers more tips for reducing losses.

A detailed inventory with receipts, videos and photos will help smooth the claim procedure, should you need to file. The Insurance Information Institute will let you store your inventory for free.

• File smart claims. Don't make claims for small losses if you have high deductibles or can afford to pay for the damage out of pocket. Make necessary repairs to stop further damage. Work closely, in a non-adversarial role, with your insurer. Consider the help of United Policyholders or the National Association of Public Insurance Adjusters.

To get the full scoop, see Consumer Reports' Money report "Insuring your home: Make sure your coverage stands up in a worst-case scenario."

Refinance at Today's Low Rates!


Fannie Mae & Jumbo Mortgage Rates

Just One Click! = Current Rate Chart

Pennsylvania Mortgage Rates Current Mortgage Rates - Hawaii Current Mortgage Rates - Alaska West Virginia Mortgage Rates Virginia Mortgage Rates District of Columbia Mortgage Rates Maryland Mortgage Rates Delaware Mortgage Rates New Jersey Mortgage Rates Connecticut Mortgage Rates Rhode Island Mortgage Rates Massachusetts Mortgage Rates New Hampshire Mortgage Rates Vermont Mortgage Rates New Hampshire Mortgage Rates Maine Current Mortgage Rates Vermont Mortgage Rates Current Mortgage Rates - New York Current Mortgage Rates - Michigan Current Interest Rates - Wisconsin Current Mortgage Rates - MINNESOTA Ohio Mortgage Rates Current Mortgage Rates - Kentucky Current Mortgage Rates - Indiana Illinois - Current Mortgage Rates Current Mortgage Rates - Iowa Missouri Mortgage Rates Current Mortgage Rates - North Carolina South Carolina Mortgage Rates Current Mortgage Rates - Florida Current Mortgage Rates - Georgia Current Mortgage Rates - Tennessee Current Mortgage Rates - Alabama Current Mortgage Rates - Mississippi Current Mortgage Rates - Louisiana Current Mortgage Rates - Arkansas Current Mortgage Rates - Oklahoma Current Mortgage Rates - TEXAS Current Mortgage Rates - New Mexico Current Mortgage Rates - Arizona Current Mortgage Rates - Kansas Current Mortgage Rates - Nebraska Current Mortgage Rates - Colorado Current Mortgage Rates - Wyoming South Dakota Mortgage Rates Current Mortgage Rates - North Dakota Current Rates - Montana Idaho Current Rates Washington Mortgage Rates Current Mortgage Rates - Oregon Current Mortgage Rates - Utah Current Mortgage Rates - Nevada Current Mortgage Rates - California

Start by selecting your state

Other Related Articles:

Homeowners insurance goes to school

Costly trends impacting homeowners insurance

Insurance - Homeowners Insurance Advice

Always time for a home inspection


Get the Updated and Improved Mortgage Rates App from

iPad for Mortgage Rates

Auto Insurance

General Insurance Articles

Homeowners Insurance

Medical Insurance

Life Insurance