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Protect your home - and your investment

Paula Bandi
Product Manager RBC

The Globe and Mail
October 25, 2013

The terrible flooding in Alberta earlier this year struck an emotional chord with Canadians across the country. For most families, their house is their largest asset, but even more importantly – it’s home.

Natural disasters are a vivid reminder that putting the right insurance in place is essential, says Paula Bandi, a product manager at RBC Insurance. “You’re protecting the financial and emotional wellbeing of your family.”

Most lenders require proof of insurance before closing a home purchase, which may take homebuyers by surprise and result in a rushed decision-making process. It’s important to begin by understanding the different things that homeowner policies can cover, says Ms. Bandi, such as:

• The building, which includes the home and any additional structures such as a garage, fence and shed.

• The contents, such as furniture, electronic devices and other personal belongings. • Liability coverage, which provides financial protection to cover liability arising from accidents, such as your child breaking a neighbour’s window, your surfboard injuring another tourist during a beach vacation or a pizza delivery person slipping on your steps.

• Additional living expenses that may be incurred if your home is damaged and needs to be repaired.

One common error is underestimating the value of personal belongings, says Ms. Bandi. “It’s important to make a thorough assessment of everything you have accumulated, because it can amount to a lot more than you initially think. As well, most policies have limits on the value of articles such as jewelry or artwork, so any additional value over and above that limit should be scheduled with your insurance company for additional premium and protection.”

Talking through deductibles and any limits on your coverage with an insurance agent can help ensure there are no unpleasant surprises should the worst happen, she says.

It’s also important to keep up with any preventative maintenance required by your policy and to protect against occurrences that may not be covered. “Insurance is designed for the unpredictable and accidental, such as fires, windstorms or theft,” says Ms. Bandi. “But there are many things you can do inside and outside of your home to protect it.”

Such measures include sealing cracks in basement walls, ensuring your plumbing is up to date, maintaining your fire alarm and having your roof inspected regularly, she says.

Posted on Friday, October 25, 2013 at 12:13PM by Registered CommenterElaine in | CommentsPost a Comment | References1 Reference

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