My property value has dropped. Do I need less insurance?The amount of homeowner’s insurance that seemed just right a few years ago might not be enough to repair damage or replace valuables today.
Even if the market price of your home has dropped during this horrid economy, the cost of replacing a burned kitchen or a garage full of ruined tools might have increased since you signed up for your policy.
That’s because labor and material costs, like everything else, inch up over time. In fact, the cost to replace and repair swings upward by 5 percent to 15 percent every one to three years.
It’s a common misconception among homeowners that the amount of insurance needs to match the home’s market value. They’re two separate things.
Most market-value appraisals you get from realtors include the land the home sits on. But the replacement value of your home involves only the home itself, plus its contents.
Check in with your insurance agent every two years to make sure you have enough coverage to pay for replacing your home, or the part that gets damaged from fire, water or another mishap, in today’s dollars. The agent can do a quick replacement-cost calculation and let you know if you need more coverage. The conversation will take less than 15 minutes.
A good backup plan: Buy a policy with “inflation protection,” which automatically increases your coverage by 4 percent a year.