featured image 21st Apr

10 Important Questions to ask your Home Insurance Broker

The home buying process is accompanied by a whirlwind of documentation, meetings, phone calls, and the time crunch surrounding this process is highly stressful. Getting the right information as quickly as possible will help to alleviate the stress and leave you feeling relieved and informed.

Below are 10 important questions to ask your home insurance broker when costing out a home insurance quote. Some questions may vary depending on your specific situation.

  1. Is there a guaranteed replacement clause in my policy in the event of a total loss?
    • Some policies may have a payout ceiling that might not cover the total cost of rebuilding your home from the ground up. Property appreciation, changes in building costs, materials, labour force and many other factors can influence the replacement value of the home. Be sure to answer the questions your brokers asks about the home as accurately and truthfully as possible in order to account for any contingencies that affect the replacement value
  2. Is it my responsibility to have an independent appraisal of my home in order to establish replacement value?
    • Many insurers will wish to complete an inspection of the home to ensure their own coverage meets the needs of the homeowner. Your broker should also contact you periodically to review the information they have on file in order to assess the home’s replacement value to ensure the policy is up to date. If you complete any updates or upgrades to the home it’s important for you to contact your broker to update that information. Depending on any safety upgrades, you may also qualify for additional home insurance discounts on the original policy. It pays to ask a lot of questions.
  3. What sort of coverage or limitations are there regarding personal property and contents?
    • This is over and above the replacement value of the home as discussed in the last question. This covers the replacement of your personal belongings and possessions. It’s very important that you develop an inventory of your belongings so that your broker can develop the most relevant and cost effective policy for your situation.
  4. What are the requirements for when I am away on holiday?
    • This is extremely important and should be on every list. You can void your warranty if you leave your home unattended for a particular length of time. It could be just a few days so make extra sure that you’ve detailed this requirement with your broker before signing anything. This is often mitigated by asking a friend or family member to peek at the home every so often. Each policy can be different so be informed!
  5. Are there discounts that I can qualify for?
    • Who doesn’t love discounts? It’s worth discussing this with your broker as there are many ways that you can save on your premiums by way of insurance discounts. Take a look at our checklist and don’t miss out on some additional savings.
  6. Does my policy cover water damage & are there restrictions on overland water?
    • We recently covered this topic in great detail here. If you are located near a river, stream, ocean or even a dam, you will want to check whether you should apply for this coverage.
  7. Is there coverage for a home-based business?
    • If you run a small business out of your home such as a consulting business you will certainly want to investigate your options. Do your clients visit you at the property? If so you’ll need some manner of liability coverage to protect you and your property. This topic really does warrant an entire post on its own, so look for that in the near future. If you work out of your home, ask a lot of questions about business coverage and liability.
  8. Does this policy contain additional living expense coverage?
    • People don’t always discuss this with their broker, but you may qualify for living expenses while you are forced to be away from your home after significant damage or a total loss. These costs can add up quick from hotel costs to rental costs including room and board. Perhaps there is an evacuation order in the area but your home isn’t damaged. Does the policy cover this? Are you in an area prone to the effects of forest fires? Ask all the meaningful questions and feel confident that you will be taken care of during an unfortunate event.
  9. Who is the insurance carrier?
    • Not all carriers are equal and asking a few simple questions can save you a lot of headache down the road. Questions related to a deductible, financial stability, tenure in the industry can all help to build trust and confidence with your broker and the recommended policy.
  10. When and how should I initiate a claim?
    • By all means, call your carrier agent as soon as possible and they will instruct you as to the best course of action. Sometimes it just makes more sense to handle the situation privately rather than risk the deductible. Anytime you feel there has been damage or theft from your property, it’s important to contact your official carrier and initiate a claim as soon as possible. There may have been an event which will attract a slew of claims. You’ll want to get in early to ensure a quicker resolution.

There are many extremely useful questions to ask your insurance broker when shopping for the perfect plan. These are just a few of the most important ones to help guide you to an appropriate policy that meets all of your unique requirements and hopefully includes a few welcomed discounts.

Harbord Insurance looks for the best possible policy by comparing many different carriers. If you know what you are looking for, try comparing insurance quotes here. We look forward to speaking to you once you’ve completed the form.