From Mike Gordon in the back office of the Pittsburgh Pirates (“Check out our official site at www.pirateball.com“): “I haven’t seen you write about homeowner’s insurance and, since I just signed a sales agreement, I thought I’d be selfish and recommend it as a subject for a column (perhaps real soon so that I may benefit from the advice!).”
- Shop around (including GEICO and State Farm and at least one independent agent). Check with whoever insures your car. (Or once you find a homeowner’s policy you like, ask them to give you a quote on your auto insurance.) There may be a price break for putting both pieces of business in the same place.
- Take the highest deductible you can reasonably afford, both to cut the premium and because it’s a lot less hassle to self-insure than to file claims.
- Be sure to understand the difference between “replacement” and “actual cash value” coverage — you probably want to pay a little extra for the former.
- Check to be sure that items of value in your home will all be covered. For example, if you use your computer primarily for work, you may need to “schedule” it or insure it separately. Valuable collections and jewelry require special attention as well. (The best insurance for jewelry, if you ask me, is to get the fake stuff that’s indistinguishable from the real. Then sell the real stuff and use the proceeds to pay many years of homeowner’s premiums.)
- If you live in New York State, consider letting the Percy-Hoek agency help you (516-589-4100). Over the past dozen years, I’ve been blown away by their level of service and expertise.