How To Review Your Policy To Understand Your Coverage

As an insurance consumer, we are all looking for the best product at a reasonable price.  However, all policies are not the same.  It is vitally important to know what coverage you have before you sustain a loss.  Valuable coverage such as full replacement cost on your home and contents or rental car and towing coverage on your autos are not included in all policies.  Then, of course, there are those dreaded exclusions as well as limitations on certain items such as jewelry or guns.  It is important to review your policy to be sure you have the coverage which is important to you before you need it. 

What Type Of Coverage Should You Look For?

Your needs will, likely, change over time as your assets change so it’s an ongoing process to ensure you have proper coverage to protect you in the event of a loss. Umbrella policies are another excellent way to protect your assets.  An Umbrella policy gives additional liability coverage over your home and auto policies.  As an insurance agent and claims advocate, I opt for all the bells and whistles I can afford on my policies to lessen the pain and expense to me when/if I have a loss. 

What about after a loss occurs? 

Insurance is designed to put a customer back whole after a loss within the policy limitations.  However, the carrier must have proper documentation from the customer in order to issue payments.  Unfortunately, they can’t just say, well you have $500,000 coverage on your house—here, let me write you a check for $500,000.  They must have proper documentation to support any claim payments.  Losses can be devastating but the additional work to provide documentation can seem overwhelming. Being prepared before the loss occurs is the best defense in this case. 

Examples for Consideration

For example, personal property inventory lists are usually necessary in the event of a loss to personal property or contents.  It is a good idea to have a personal property inventory list prepared and stored away from your home. This might include:

  • A written list 
  • Supporting documentation
  • Photos 
  • receipts
  • appraisals 

These are invaluable if you have a claim.  In today’s digital world, it is a much less daunting task than it was 10 or 20 years ago.  

Extra steps you can take:

  • Go through your home and do a video—room by room. 
  • Open cabinet doors and closets to document those items. 
  • garage or outbuildings

These are usually full of things we don’t think about until we need them.  The task of making a list would be so much more manageable if you have this documentation with which to refer.

If you have Questions, Ask your agent!

Insurance is one of the few things we purchase and hope we never have to use it. The adage of prepare for the worst and hope for the best seems to sum up the insurance philosophy. 

When in doubt about coverage, feel free to consult with your agent as policy language and coverage available may vary by carrier and state. 

The article was written by Debbie Meador.


Debbie is the Claims Advocate for our Personal Lines Department.  She has been with Houchens Insurance Group for 15 years and has been in the insurance industry for 29 years.  Debbie consults with our personal lines clients regarding claim-related matters and helps guide the client throughout the claims process.  She is often a liaison between the carrier’s adjuster and the client.  Debbie also works closely with the producers and account managers in our personal lines department regarding coverage and claim related events.