For most homeowners, residential property is the biggest investment in their financial portfolio. A lifetime of work and saving goes into financing and attaining a house or apartment, and protecting that asset means fortifying one's financial future. From good housekeeping practices that reduce the risk of fire to storm-proofing and making household updates, homeowners are never finished shoring up their property. Homeowners' insurance is a resource that protects investments against unforeseen damages, but what if your policy isn't big enough?
Quoted data from published reports lists 64 percent of homes in America as undervalued in their insurance policies. This means that if the safety or security of a home is compromised, many homeowners will be left holding more of the bill than they expect. Some data also states that of those homeowners with insufficient coverage, the average policyholder has only 81 percent of their house covered. This means that for the total loss of a home with a replacement value of $200,000, a homeowner could be responsible for $40,000 or more.
"One way homeowners can avoid underinsurance is to work closely with their insurance company or agent to establish a 'total component' estimate of replacement cost for their home," one firm reports. "This means updating coverage amounts based on specific characteristics of each dwelling localized to the community where the house is located."
For homeowners, your home's replacement valuation can always use an update. Some experts suggest commissioning a home valuation on an annual basis, though it's critical after completing a major renovation or if your home is in a disaster-prone area. Adequate coverage is the best failsafe to protect your biggest investment.