With today’s crazy housing market, many homeowners are opting to instead stay in their current homes. In fact, a poll from Zillow found that nearly 75% of Americans would prefer to use funds to update their existing home, rather than apply that same amount toward a down payment on a new home. And that means that their housing value might’ve changed from when they first purchased insurance.

If you’ve been in your home for 5 or 10 years, chances are good you’ve made some changes that could affect your premium and coverage. And that means you’d want to reassess your homeowners’ insurance. Here are 5 things to consider when reevaluating your home’s worth.

1. You’ve upgraded your home

Maybe you succumbed to the siren song of a new basement or a kitchen renovation that brought you into the current decade. If you haven’t reassessed your home based on your upgrades, you should do so, stat. That’s particularly important if your policy covers what’s called “replacement cost.” That means it takes into account what everything’s worth NOW, in order to replace it, rather than what it was worth back when you purchased it.

2. You’ve upgraded your belongings

Acquired a new bauble or the latest flat-screen TV? If you’ve made any big-ticket purchases since you last had your insurance evaluated, now’s the time to see if you need to add a larger policy. You might also consider a “rider” on some of your pricier items.

3. You’ve upgraded your safety quotient

The “smartest” gadgets these days are those that protect your home. And while adding safety features can help protect your belongings, they can also give you a nice little discount on your homeowners insurance. So whether you’ve added a security system, a sprinkler system, or a carbon monoxide or water leak detector, contact your insurance company to see if you qualify for a discount.

4. You’ve upgraded your income

What does your net worth have to do with your homeowners insurance? Well, the more you’re worth, the more you stand to lose if someone should sue you. That can include getting sued over something as minor as ice build-up on your sidewalk or another unintended hazard. Because of that, discussing an umbrella policy can be a smart decision. It’ll extend your current homeowners insurance limits and provide an extra layer of security should something happen.

5. You’ve upgraded your “entertainment”

Maybe you’ve added what’s called an “attractive nuisance.” Yep, that’s what those in the insurance biz call the items that make your backyard more alluring: think pools, hot tubs, or trampolines. Insurance can even cover more low-key additions, like treehouses or play equipment.

It’s easy to see why these so-called “attractive nuisances” get their name — yes, they’re a lot of fun (and thus attractive). But that fun can come at a price in the form of accidents (the pesky nuisance part). So if you’ve added anything like that to your home, check in with your insurance company to see if you need to reevaluate your coverage needs.

For your finances | Home and garden


about Cathie

Cathie Ericson writes about personal finance, real estate, health, lifestyle, and business topics. When she's not writing she loves to read, hike, and run. Find her @CathieEricson.