Selling the Family Home? Three Questions to Consider About Your Homeowners Insurance
By Ryan Hanley
The number of home sellers continues to increase across the United States, which is reflected in new data from the National Association of Realtors (NAR).
According to the NAR, 5.54 million homes are expected to be sold in the United Statesthis year. The NAR also has predicted the national existing-home price will rise around 4 percent in 2017 — a positive sign for home sellers.
Although the U.S. real estate market is improving, selling the family home may seem impossible at times, particularly for those who still need to find a real estate agent and complete various home improvement and maintenance tasks. Plus, there often is an aspect of selling the family home that goes unaddressed — homeowners insurance.
With the right homeowners coverage in place, you’ll be able to safeguard your home and personal items as you navigate the home selling process.
Before you sell the family home, here are three questions that you’ll want to consider about your homeowners insurance, including:
- Are sufficient coverage limits in place?
If you remain in your house while you’re trying to sell it, your current coverage will stay intact. However, you may want to check your homeowners policy to guarantee that sufficient coverage limits are in place.
For example, many potential homebuyers may view your residence over the upcoming weeks and months. Your homeowners policy likely includes personal liability coverage that protects you against damages to people injured by you or your property, but the standard amount of this coverage is usually about $300,000 per occurrence. Thus, you may want to boost your personal liability coverage accordingly.
It also is important to note that your personal belongings will be covered by your homeowners policy as long as you stay in your home. Conversely, if you own rare antiques, collectibles and other valuable items, you’ll want to insure these belongings properly.
Contact your insurance agent if you’re uncertain about whether sufficient personal property coverage limits are in place. This will enable you to provide details about any valuable items in your home, establish the optimal coverage limits and guarantee that you’re protected throughout the home selling process.
Furthermore, if your home will remain vacant while you sell it, you’ll want to notify your home insurance agent immediately. A vacant home presents some unique exposures, so the risks associated with insuring this residence are higher than those associated with a traditional house. Therefore, you’ll want to make sure that your home insurance agent can offer supplemental coverage for your unoccupied house — or find out whether you’ll need to purchase a separate vacant home insurance policy.
- Will you need a renters policy?
If you intend to move into temporary housing while you sell the family home, you may want to purchase a renters policy.
Renters insurance represents an ideal option for property owners who plan to rent an apartment, condo or house temporarily. It covers losses of personal property such as computers, furniture and electronics. In addition, renters insurance safeguards you against losses due to natural and manmade disasters, theft and vandalism.
On the other hand, if you decide to move in with a family member or friend until your home sells, your personal belongings will be covered under his or her homeowners policy. This family member or friend may need to bolster his or her homeowners policy’s coverage limits as well, however.
Remember, a family member or friend who offers temporary housing will need to account for his or her personal belongings, along with your personal items. As a result, this individual may need to increase his or her homeowners policy coverage limits to ensure that an entire home and all of the belongings stored in it are insured.
- Are you moving out of state?
Let’s face it — moving can be a hassle, especially if you are relocating out of state. You’ll need to pack up all of your belongings and ensure that they can reach your final destination quickly and safely. Perhaps most important, you’ll need to guarantee that your personal items are fully insured for the time it takes to move them from one location to another.
If you plan to hire a moving company to assist you with an out-of-state move, find out what types of insurance are available in advance. In many instances, a moving company may require you to sign a release bill of lading, which means that you will be covered for a given value of your personal belongings based on an amount of money per pound. A moving company also may offer full coverage for the value of your personal items, but keep in mind that the fees associated with this type of coverage can be expensive.
Lastly, your home insurance provider may offer moving coverage that comes with your existing homeowners policy. There are numerous third-party moving insurance options at your disposal, too.
When it comes to selling the family home, review your homeowners insurance carefully and talk to your agent before you introduce your residence to the real estate market. By doing so, you’ll be able to safeguard your house and personal belongings and focus on what’s important — showcasing your residence to a wide range of potential homebuyers.
Ryan Hanley is the Vice President of Marketing at TrustedChoice.com and the Managing Editor of Agency Nation. He is also a speaker, podcaster and author of the Amazon best-seller, Content Warfare. Ryan has over 10 years of insurance expertise and blogs frequently to help consumers understand complicated insurance topics.