“Am I covered?”

It’s a new year and what better a time to review your insurance policies than this month?  One question can cover several items when reviewing your policies – “Am I covered?”

When it comes to home insurance, if you have made any updates to your home, you can talk to your MAX agent who can help you get the proper coverage.

  • Did you start or complete a home remodeling project?
  • Did you install a new pool or trampoline?
  • Did you buy that special item you’ve been saving up for?
  • Or did you receive a special gift like jewelry or other high-value items over the holidays?

If you answered ‘yes’ to any of these questions, talk to your MAX agent and ask “Am I covered?”  Your agent will be happy to help you with these items and more.

Lastly, the New Year is also a good time to update your home inventory.  If you do not have a home inventory yet, why not create one now?  A home inventory becomes essential in times of a loss.  You can read more about home inventories in this blog post.

Why not get that “Am I covered?” question answered this month by asking your MAX agent for a policy review?  Have a wonderful 2022!

Spring Home Inventory

By Stephanie McLain, Claims Adjuster

Have you begun the much-anticipated spring-cleaning?  As you weed through the nooks and crannies and dig out outdated items that could probably stand to be donated by now, you may just feel a weight you didn’t know was there start to lift off of your shoulders. The sun is starting to come through the windows and you need to make some space. You don’t necessarily have to rid your household of everything that doesn’t bring you joy, but maybe consider tossing the items that no longer function. If you’re anything like my darling husband, you may have a collection of obsolete items that you’re positive you’ll fix one day, most of which don’t even have parts being manufactured anymore. We’re not even talking neat vintage items, we’re talking cheap digital cameras that my son spilled soda on 4 years ago. Regardless, if you are able to part with items, do so, and do it before you change your mind. If you’ve bought new furniture, donate the old furniture so someone else can enjoy endless movies nights with your pre-worn in already loved couch. Trust me, they’ll love it. Once you’ve purged your house and renewed for the spring, you’ll feel like a brand new you.

Do you know what you should do after a renewal; after you’ve just regrouped your entire house and switched up the contents a little? Can you guess?

That’s right!

You should update your home inventory! Seriously, it’s like you readers are starting to read my mind. An up-to-date home inventory is vital in the event a major claim occurs. After the holidays, your household has probably acquired a few new things and you’ve probably just gotten rid of a few items. Updating in the spring is usually the easiest because it involves mostly removing items and maybe adding only one or two. Either way, you should definitely review your inventory and update as necessary, just in case. If you don’t already have an account, you can check out HomeZada.com and start an online digital home inventory so that this process is even easier. All of your items are manageable right from a phone or tablet.

Stephanie McLain

Tech enthusiast (not pro), photographer hobbyist, boy mom, animal lover, and Insurance Adjuster

When Stephanie isn’t at work she’s trying new things from food, tech, games, hair colors, etc. Stephanie and her husband of 2 years live with their 2 boys, 1 fostered cousin, 2 dogs, 1 snake, and 1 fostered bearded dragon. Her goals are to experience the best life has to offer. They like to explore as a family everything from the outdoors, new towns, new games, or even new concepts or ideas for the house.

Stephanie Headshot

New Year – New Home Inventory

By Stephanie McLain, Claims Adjuster

It’s human nature to think “That could never happen to me” and yet when disaster strikes, we want to be as prepared as possible — which is why we have insurance in the first place. However, many of us tend to overlook the vast amount of things we’ve accumulated over time. Have you packed to go on a trip and then started packing to return home and suddenly there is too much to fit in your suitcase? From souvenirs to dirty unfolded clothes, suddenly nothing fits quite like it did before.

Throughout the course of last year, your home, much like your suitcase, has probably obtained a few new items and lost a few older ones. Each year it’s important to inventory your belongings to see to it that you’re properly insured for the contents that are actually there. No one should ever have to experience being under-insured during a disaster, but on the other hand, you also should not be paying to be over-insured unnecessarily.

By walking through your house, documenting the items you have with a camera or a home inventory app like HomeZada, and reviewing your contents with your MAX agent, you can determine the best coverage for you and your home in the New Year.

About StephanieStephanie Headshot

Tech enthusiast (not pro), photographer hobbyist, boy mom, animal lover, and Insurance Adjuster

When Stephanie isn’t at work she’s trying new things from food, tech, games, hair colors, etc. Stephanie and her husband of 2 years live with their 2 boys, 1 fostered cousin, 2 dogs, 1 snake, and 1 fostered bearded dragon. Her goals are to experience the best life has to offer. They like to explore as a family everything from the outdoors, new towns, new games, or even new concepts or ideas for the house.

Being Prepared for the “What If”

Who wants to think about the “what if” moments when it comes to your home?  What if my house burned down?  What if a tree fell on my home?  What if my documents were destroyed in a fire?  What if my home has water damage and I can no longer stay in it?  None of us want to think about these types of events happening to our homes, but it can happen.

One way to prepare for a “what if” is to prepare a home inventory.  What’s a home inventory?  It’s a list of all the items and belongings in your home.  For if that “what if” moment happened, you would have a list of everything that is damaged or destroyed, making that devastating, unexpected loss a little easier to handle.

Did you know you can even create a home inventory electronically?  Check out HomeZada’s free home inventory app.  Take unlimited photos of the rooms in your home and items in them, plus your garage and outdoor living space with the app.  If the “what if” happened, you can have all the information of your home inventory in the HomeZada app and be able to access it with an internet connection.  Get started on your home inventory today!

Home Inventory: How to Prepare for a Total Loss of Your Home

By Sam Schoutko, Personal Lines Underwriter

What do you own? Let’s play a game:      

Take a second and think about all of your belongings in your house.  Can you list every single item of personal property?  Of course not.  How about just everything in your bedroom?  All the clothes, toiletries, random items…it would be pretty difficult, right?  What about just one drawer in your dresser?  Or just the clothes in your closet?  Don’t even try that junk drawer in the kitchen unless you have a penchant for headaches.  If push came to shove, most everyone probably couldn’t even do that either.  So what happens when your home burns down?  Or a tornado whisks it away to Oz?  Do you have a way to recollect everything you own?  Have you kept an inventory anywhere to help restock your belongings?  How will you know what to buy at the store and will my insurance pay for everything?

Most people are completely unprepared for instances like this and while they are extremely unlikely to happen to you, they do happen – and it makes a world of difference to be even a little prepared for them.  I hope that I can outline a couple quick and easy things you can do that will help you in the very unlikely instance of a total loss of your home.

Obviously, the most important piece of this is to make sure you have insurance on your home and belongings.  However, that by itself isn’t enough, it is important to make sure your personal property is covered at replacement cost and not actual cash value.  This is insurance lingo and I won’t explain all the differences but if there is any question of that you need to contact your insurance agent to find out what your policy has or members of our Sales and Service Center team (877-971-6300) are always available to talk through that with you.  You would be amazed at the out of pocket expenses you will incur if you don’t have replacement cost on your personal property.  Even if you have a renter’s policy this is extremely important, don’t assume it is there!

Once you are sure that is in place, what can you do keep track of the stuff you own?

One tip that I have always thought was a good idea and not difficult to do is to open all the drawers in your home and simply take a slow sweeping video of every room in your house with your camera phone.  Most camera phones nowadays have incredible resolution and will do a perfect job of recording what you need.  That way if anything were to happen you could pull up the video and simply pause it over each drawer as a freeze frame and an aid to remember what you have there.

Another easy thing to do is after you buy a major item simply take a picture of the receipt.  Most phones have a way to automatically backup photos to some cloud service and then they are always there and accessible to you.

One of the most important tips to this I just mentioned is online cloud storage.  There are tons of websites that offer free storage online (Google, Amazon, Microsoft, Dropbox, etc.) and all you need to do is simply upload the sweeping video you took of your home and/or any photos you have taken of receipts or rooms in your house to that service.  You can certainly buy fireproof safes or store important items and documents offsite but cloud storage will give you the ability to have something available anywhere you go no matter the circumstances.

The fact is a total loss event like a fire or tornado will most likely never happen to you but I hope that this will help give you peace of mind and prepare you a little in case it does happen.  Obviously, nothing can prepare you for that devastation but the point of insurance is to help make you whole again after a loss.  You pay your insurance company for this service and MAX is so very happy to help you in this time of need – it is literally our pleasure and the reason we come to work every day!  The fact is it can be difficult (but not impossible) to make you are whole again if you aren’t adequately prepared and as I have outlined a tiny bit of preparation will go a long way.

SamAbout Sam

Sam enjoys spending time with his wife Krista and their Siberian Husky, Ecko, while not at work.  Krista is a wonderful cook and baker so their relationship works well as he is a wonderful eater of the food she cooks and bakes.  They enjoy keeping up to date on the latest movies and traveling to see family.  As new homeowners, there is always a project to tackle around the house as well.