Insurance Up to Par?

Physician's Money Digest, March31 2004, Volume 11, Issue 6

Doctors, make sure you have adequatehomeowner's insurance, becauseyou never know when the unexpectedwill happen. According to Marshall &Swift/Boeckh, an organization thattracks rebuilding costs for insurers,about 64% of US homes were underinsuredby an average of 27% in 2003.Many homes are underinsured becauseof changes in the insurers' underwritingpractices and rising construction costs.In 2003, homeowners spent a record$130 billion on home improvements,while many insurers limited payouts tothe estimated value of a home instead ofthe actual cost of rebuilding.Replacement guarantee policies thatcover a home's estimated replacementoffer a 20% cushion if costs exceed theinsured value. The premiums are higheron these types of policies but can be lessenedwith a higher deductible. You willalso need extra coverage if you own acustom home with special architecturaldetails or an older home because of theextra costs of aligning your home withcurrent building codes. To find theamount of insurance you need, multiplythe total square footage of your house bylocal building costs per square foot,which can be found from a local realtor,insurance agent, or builders' association.