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How to Know If Your Homeowners Policy is Out of Date

by Home Action News

How to Know If Your Homeowners Policy is Out of Date

 

Your homeowners insurance policy is one of those things that you may rarely think about, but you know it's there. In fact, if you're like most homeowners, it's probably the same policy that you purchased when you bought your home. When is the last time you pulled it out of the desk drawer and took a look at your coverages?

Here are five reasons why you might need to make a change:

If you're unsure of what damages are covered…

In general most homeowners' policies cover a standard list of damages. Some of the types of damages covered by most policies include:

  • Fire
  • Hail
  • Smoke
  • Theft
  • Falling objects
  • Freezing

It's important to remember that threats to your home vary greatly according to the location of your home. If you live in a coastal region, flooding or hurricane damage may be of concern to you. On the other hand, if you live in California or Arizona, maybe fires and dust storms are more prevalent. It's important to know how you're protected if these types of natural disasters occur.

If your rates are climbing…

It's always a good idea to keep an eye on your insurance rates and to revisit the policy every year to ensure you're still getting the best deal you can. Many homeowners often choose to consolidate several of their insurances to one carrier to get a better deal. If you've noticed your rates are increasing, do not be hesitant to shop around.

If you have moved to a new location…

When you move to a new location, it's likely you're taking out a new mortgage and, therefore, new homeowners insurance will be required. Keep in mind that the coverages that you had in your previous policy may change at your new residence. Also keep in mind that even if you move to a new home within the same city, coverages like flood insurance can change drastically from one street to the next. Always make sure you've consulted with an agent regarding any changes that will be needed to the policy.

If you have made improvements…

You may be capped out at a certain amount of money on your homeowners' policy that does not take into account any major improvements that you've made recently. If you are upgrading or have made major renovations to your home, you should update your policy to reflect the increased value of your home.

If you are rebuilding according to new building codes…

Whenever your home is damaged and you are required to rebuild, there may be new building codes in place that were not there when you initially took out your policy. Those changes may require you to spend more than you would have previously. Make sure that you are covered for those additional costs.

Your local builders association will be able to tell you what changes may affect your homeowners' insurance policy and the cost to rebuild. As always, you should be able to get straightforward answers from your insurance agent about these and other questions before you renew or upgrade.

It Pays to Do Your Research

As with all things in life, it pays to do your research and to never sit on the status quo for too long. Dust off that homeowners policy to make sure you're covered. And, don't wait until it's too late!

7 Statistics About Credit Reports That May Scare You

by Home Action News

7 Statistics About Credit Reports That May Scare You

 

You may not give much thought to your credit score in your day-to-day life, but when the time comes for a major purchase or transition, the information in your credit report is crucial. People are often unpleasantly surprised at how much inaccurate information can show up in their credit report when they finally take the time to review it.

It’s important to monitor these reports so that they’re looking their best when it matters. There is no one else minding this store; you’re in charge of your credit.

There are some problems that commonly arise in credit reports, and knowing about them will help you to avoid them. A look at some statistics is a good way to get a picture of how credit reports are affecting consumers just like you.

Do we understand the importance of our credit score?

  • According to Student Monitor research, 74% of college students do not know their credit score.
  • The American Bankers Association found that 44% of adults mistakenly think that the credit report and credit score are the same thing.
  • More than half of U.S. adults had never reviewed their credit reports, according to a 2014 survey by Consumer Reports.
  • Debt collectors are most frequently responsible for errors. According to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, 40% of disputes filed with credit reporting companies are related to errors made by debt collectors.
  • The credit score you see may not be the same as the ones your creditors see. According to the CFPB, about 25% of the time the score supplied to a creditor will differ from the one on your credit report enough to place you in a different credit-quality category.
  • The Federal Trade Commission reports that one in four consumer credit reports contain errors. These can be related to your identity (the report gets your name wrong), details about accounts, or including accounts that you did not open or authorize.
  • It can be difficult to correct credit report errors. The Consumer Reports survey found that more than half of the consumers who attempted to fix problems with their reports ran into significant challenges.

Your credit score doesn’t just affect loans. While an unsatisfactory credit score can stop you from getting a loan, it can also cause you to pay a higher rate of interest on money that you borrow. It affects insurance premiums, as well as your likelihood of being hired for a job. And unfortunately, credit agencies are not able to ensure that your report is error-free, so it’s critical to keep up with this information yourself and be proactive about protecting your credit.

Start by ordering your free credit report annually (maybe each year on your birthday?) at freecreditreport.com. Be sure to get the reports from all 3 bureaus: Experian, Transunion, and Equifax.

 

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Contact Information

Photo of Frank Taglienti Real Estate
Frank Taglienti
Berkshire Hathaway PenFed REALTORS®
565 Benfield Road, Suite 100
Severna Park MD 21146
410-440-0824