Is Your Home Underinsured?

A freak windstorm toppled a huge tree onto this house recently, damaging the roof, siding, and interior. The homeowner is how much his insurance will cover.

Michael Matra, the homeowner says, "there is so much damage done. You have no clue really what the internal damage is."

Consumer Reports Money Adviser says for peace of mind it's crucial to review your policy.

Tobie Stanger, Consumer Reports Money Adviser says "Damage by high winds may be subject to a steeper deductible than other types of damage. And your insurance may not cover earthquakes, or landslides, or floods at all."

Consumer Reports advises looking into federal flood-insurance programs, even if you live in a low-risk area.

Tobie explains, "It's very important to make sure that you've covered the house for the full replacement value in case you have a total loss. But don't use the sales price as a measure. These days that might not be enough to cover rebuilding."

For just a few dollars on the website AccuCoverage, you can figure out a realistic replacement estimate yourself. But be sure to include the cost of replacing any custom items like tiles, special flooring, and fixtures.

Tobie says, "Choosing an insurance company requires research, not just to find the best price but also to check out the financial health of the company."

To make sure the company is solvent and will be able to pay your claim, check the website the-street-dot-com-forward-slash-insurers. Stick with companies rated "A" or "B."

Michael picked an established company, and he's happy he did, as he has already received a check to begin the repair work.

Consumer Reports says while you're sizing up the best coverage, also keep in mind that rates can vary widely. You can compare rates at Insure.com, InsWeb, and NetQuote.


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