By Sonya Sellmeyer, Consumer Advocacy Officer for the Iowa Insurance Division

Just like an annual check-up at your doctor is important for your physical health, an assessment of your property insurance is vital to your financial security, success, and well-being.  During Insurance Awareness Month, homeowners and renters should talk to a licensed insurance agent to make sure they are adequately protected against loss, liability, and damage. Here are a few things to be aware of when reviewing your property coverages during Insurance Awareness Month: 

  • Make a home inventory.  Having an updated home inventory can help you purchase the right amount of insurance coverage and get claims settled faster.  Start your inventory with a small area of your house or apartment, or your most recent purchases.  Keep receipts, record serial numbers, and check coverages on things such as jewelry and collectibles that may need a special endorsement on your policy.  Completing a home inventory is as easy as taking pictures of your personal belongings or making a video with narration as you walk through your house or apartment.  Keep your personal property inventory up to date and safely stored at a second location or on an online storage account.  The National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) has an app to assist you with your home inventory.   After completing or updating your home inventory contact your licensed insurance agent to determine if you need to make adjustments to your coverages.
      
  • Review your property insurance coverages. Check your property insurance coverages on your homeowners or renters insurance to ensure you are covered for replacement cost in the event of a loss.  Actual cash value only pays for the depreciated value, while replacement cost will pay you to replace your personal property and your dwelling at today’s prices.
     
  • Consider a sump pump rider or endorsement.  Water backup from sewers, pipes or drains, and sump pump failure or overflow is generally not covered under a homeowners policy.  Sump pump coverage is relatively cheap and may pay for itself in the long run.  
     
  • Consider flood insurance. Flood insurance may also be necessary since 90% of all natural disasters involve flooding and there is no coverage for flooding under a standard homeowner or renters policy.   Additional information is available from floodsmart.gov to assist you in determining your flood risk and the type of coverage best for you.  Find a Flood Insurance Provider to research your flood insurance options.  

Take the time to review your insurance policies and conduct a home inventory of your personal property during Insurance Awareness Month.  Completing and updating a home inventory while ensuring you have the correct riders and coverage for all possible disasters and perils will ensure protection for yourself and your personal property.

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