We are accustomed to very hot weather in the South, but during the winter, we sometimes encounter freeze days that can damage our homes. For your insurance, the fewer and less costly claims you have, the better your rate.
BEFORE ANY WINTER SURPRISES COME, TAKE CARE OF THE FOLLOWING TO PROTECT YOUR HOME:
- Service your air conditioning/heating unit by removing debris from the exterior components and wash away any dirt. Don’t store items near your exterior unit. Change your interior air filters.
- Protect your pipes by covering them with an inexpensive pipe sleeve.
- Request an energy audit from your utility company to locate air leaks so you can correct the issues and perhaps add insulation. Upgrading your windows will result in savings on home insurance if you install impact glass. This also will help you save money on your electric bill.
- Test your smoke detectors and change the batteries every six months.
- Since the active storm season is winding down, now may be a good time to review your insurance coverages. Weather-related catastrophes have been steadily increasing, and the expenses to repair a home also have increased; both issues have caused rate increases.
HERE ARE A FEW THINGS TO CONSIDER TO KEEP YOUR RATES AS LOW AS POSSIBLE:
- Check around with other insurance companies, and be sure to verify the financial rating of the new company you are considering
- Ensure your coverage levels are appropriate. Replacement cost at the correct value is your best protection
- Keep your home well maintained and update any outdated electrical, plumbing, roofing and or heating/air conditioning components or systems. Home updates help lower the policy rate.
- Be certain your mortgage clause is up to date to avoid problems at policy renewal time.
INFORM YOUR INSURANCE AGENT OF ANY MAJOR STATUS CHANGES DURING THE YEAR, SUCH AS:
- If your marital status or members of your household have changed; your policies may need to be updated.
- You began renting out your home, as you may need to change the type of policy used to cover your property. A long-term renter will need his or her own renter’s or tenant-occupancy insurance. Failure to advise your insurer of residency changes can result in voidance of insurance contracts. Short-term rentals may require a commercial insurance policy for your protection.
- You have purchased new cars, boats or toys; be sure you have all your assets protected.
- You work from home; discuss your home-based business with your agent to ensure your business liability and assets are protected.
Angelyn Treutel Zeringue is president of SouthGroup Insurance Services, a CPA, PWCAM, CBIA and licensed Trusted Choice Insurance Agent. Reach her at www.southgroupgulfcoast.com, (228) 385-1177 or email@example.com.