Valuable Tips to Protect Your Property Before It’s Too Late

Voices of Self-Reliance with Bruce Oyler, State Farm Insurance

By Bruce Oyler, State Farm Agency Owner

Having been in the Insurance Business for 39 years, our office has experienced thousands of claims and interesting situations. We are always gratified when we can help a customer through a rough time. Try as we might though, there seems to be some situations where customers put themselves in bad situations, despite our coaching, insurance check-ups, and follow up. 


Here are a few tips for Homeowners who buy Homeowner’s Insurance to protect their homes and belongings. Some of these could also apply to Renters who buy Renter’s Insurance to protect their personal property from loss. 


  • When was the last time you updated the valuation of your home?
    Review the amount of Insurance on your home every 2 – 3 years.
    Depending on where you live, the cost of replacing your home could increase dramatically in your area. The cost of rebuilding is not the Market Value of your home. The rebuilding cost of your home is mainly the cost of Materials and Labor. For example, after a hurricane, the cost of materials and labor in that market may increase dramatically. Your local Insurance Agent or contractor should be able to help you determine your cost to rebuild.


  • Have you made any additions and/or improvements on your home?
    Notify your insurance agent when you do complete any remodeling.
    One customer refinished her basement and added about $300,000 of features to her home. We uncovered the need to increase her insurance during an Insurance Check-up.  Otherwise, had she lost her home to a fire or other such disaster before that check-up, she would have been underinsured.


  • Can you list EVERYTHING in your home? 
    Take an Inventory of all the things in your home.
    Most of us tend to collect lots of “stuff”. Personal Property Coverage on your Policy will pay for its loss. Include the small things as well, like kitchen towels and your socks. The cost to replace all those little items add up.Simple Inventory Method
    Walk through your home with your phone and take videos of everything.
    Include closets, pantries, bathrooms, garages, things in drawers and cabinets. If you can, store a record of your inventory off-site, in case your phone is lost, destroyed, or stolen.


  • What sort of proof of value do you have for your high-value items?
    Record serial numbers of high value items. Appraisals are also highly recommended.

    For example Art Work, collectables, antiques, electronics, guns, and jewelry all fall into this category. Some insurance companies will pay art value, collectable value, or antique value for your items. Also, talk to your agent about limits on your policy for things like guns and jewelry. Insurance companies can write specific policies for valuable things, and they are usually not that expensive.


  • In case of a loss, can you afford your deductible?
    Select your coverage based upon being able to afford the deductible in the case of a loss vs. just the monthly premium.
    Some customers chose a higher deductible on their policy to try to save money. Sometimes it makes sense, and other times it can really hurt you. Be familiar with your deductible and be able to pay for losses that fall below it.Don’t cheat yourself out of proper coverage for your most valuable possessions. Many customers are fixated on price only when it comes to insurance. Saving a few hundred dollars now may cost you thousands in the future. Most Insurance Companies advertise only how much money they can save you on your premiums. They don’t mention that you may not have enough coverage to rebuild and to replace your things after a major loss.