Know your coverage before it’s too late

by Becky GINOS

BOUNTIFUL—In light of the recent flood damage in Woods Cross, homeowners might want to take a closer look at their insurance coverage before disaster strikes.

“I always tell people it’s better to find out you are $20 over insured than $100,000 under insured,” said State Farm Insurance agent Jennifer Bassarear. “Say your house burned to the ground and you find out you’re only covered for $200,000. You think ‘oh my gosh, this isn’t going to be paid.’”

Bassarear said if it’s been a while since clients have reviewed their policy they may find circumstances have changes and their coverage is higher than it needs to be. “But it’s way worse not to have enough coverage. It is your insurance agent’s job to tell you what you need but I can’t care more about your insurance than you do. I can ask you to come in but if you don’t, then it’s up to you.”

Often people believe they’re covered because they have a low deductible, she said. “But being ‘covered’ is a generic term. They could still be under insured. Most people don’t know what full coverage means. It’s all different from my side of the desk.”

As in the case with the water leak that caused the sewer backup in Woods Cross, Bassarear said specific sewer and drain coverage would have helped. “The majority of homeowner claims are water damage and in general most are backup of sewer and drains,” she said. “When cleanup companies call us, they beg us to make sure our clients are covered. It’s under $20 a year to add it on. There is a limit to how much it pays but every company is different.”

The sewer and drain coverage is for off the premises, but most home insurance has some water damage coverage. “For example, your 5-year-old leaves the water running in the tub and you don’t find it until hours later,” said Bassarear. “Every claim is different.”

Replacement cost on a dwelling or its contents differs depending on coverage and the insurance company. “Twenty years ago we had an old man who lost his house in a fire,” she said. “He had one of those Brownie cameras from the 40s that was damaged. We couldn’t replace that so we got him a camcorder. We try to get it as close to like kind and quality as we can. Things like a scrapbook, all we can do is buy a new photo album. The photos you can’t replace.”

Living in Utah, earthquake insurance is another option to consider. “Some people look at a high deductible and think it’s not worth it, I’ll take my chances,” Bassarear said. “But if all that’s left is rubble and bricks, that $25,000 sounds pretty good. If they can just get past that, it’s much more affordable than they think.”

Bassarear recommends going through the responsible party’s insurance first. “Then we’re here for backup,” she said. “Why make a hit on your insurance if it’s not your fault? The refinery explosion was a good example of it not being the homeowner’s fault. But building codes had changed since they built the house so we made the required improvements but it was declined by the refinery because they only cover what it was at the time of the incident.”

Everybody checks their healthcare coverage once a year. “They’re used to that but they don’t think it’s a big deal with homeowners or auto insurance. It never hurts to call and ask.”


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