The thing about California homeowner insurance is that you dont want to wait until after a disaster to discover your current insurance coverage doesn’t actually cover everything youre going to need. Here are some things that youll need to consider in order to give you some peace of mind, along with the full protection you deserve.
Take inventory of your valuables
Filing a claim involves proving you owned certain items and also verifying their actual worth. This can be an awful lot easier to do before a theft or disaster strikes and you still have your things. Go through your home with a video camera and walk through each room, and record everything that you own on tape.
Don’t forget about those areas like the attic, basement, closets and even an offsite storage locker, if you have one. Or, if you dont have access to a camera, then make a list and shoot a few rolls of film. Stash your video or photos in a safe-deposit box with a copy of your policy. If you keep your inventory at home, make a second copy to give to a friend or relative, or keep at your office.
Understanding the claims process
Two similar policies can promise to provide you with the same amount of coverage, but they can actually be quite different when it comes to the compensation youll receive after a loss. Ask the agent to explain exactly how claims are handled, especially when it comes to providing you with money for repairs. Does the company pay you for all the things you’ve lost, or only those things that you replace, and do you receive your entire claim upfront, or just a fraction?
Consider purchasing flood and earthquake insurance
Granted, this is not for everyone, depending on where you live, but if you live in California in an area that is prone to floods or earthquakes, in addition to your California homeowner insurance policy you should probably have this coverage as well. It pays to know that most property policies dont cover these types of disasters. Some independent carriers do offer both, and for flood insurance, you can also contact the National Flood Insurance Program, and you can get earthquake insurance through the California Earthquake Authority.