Home Insurance Guide for Retirement & Senior Citizens

27 Mar

Retirement will impact your financial portfolio in number of different ways. Moving stock market assets to less risky funds, possibly downsizing into a smaller home and reassessing your insurance needs are all things you should consider when it is time to leave the workforce. 

We thought it would be a good idea to have a look at insurance needs for retirement and senior citizens. 

Homeowners insurance for seniors

In most cases, your homeowners insurance will stay pretty similar as you become a senior citizen. However, if you must make modifications to your home as you age, such as installing a wheelchair ramp or stair lift, you should notify your insurer of the modifications. You may need to increase your dwelling coverage to cover the additional costs of the modifications.

As you age, your friends do as well so you may want to consider upping your limits for guest medical payments coverage or personal liability which will help cover medical and legal costs if a guest is injured on your property. It will help pay for medical costs and will fund a legal defense up to your coverage limits if you are sued due to an injury on your property. 

What are common coverage limits for home insurance?

Standard homeowners insurance policies typically offer the same coverage types, but your personal coverage limits can vary by policy. Here are the common coverages that seniors should be carrying on their homeowners policy:

Dwelling coverage: This coverage pays out to cover the cost to repair or rebuild your home if it is damaged or destroyed by a covered peril. It is always important to make sure your dwelling coverage limits are kept current as building and labor costs tend to rise year to year. 

You may also need to raise your limits if you add on to your home or add features such as a wheelchair ramp or stair lift. Alert your insurer if you modify your home to make sure your dwelling limits are appropriate. 

Other structures: This coverage will pay to repair or rebuild additional structures on your property such as garages, outbuildings, and even sheds. If you are putting up an outbuilding to pursue your hobbies in retirement or even a larger shed, notify your insurer to make sure your new structure is fully covered. Other structures coverage is usually 10% of the dwelling coverage but can be increased if necessary. 

Personal property: This coverage will replace your personal property if it if damaged or destroyed by a covered peril. Coverage limits are usually between 50% and 80% of your dwelling coverage. However, if you have numerous high value items such as jewelry, artwork, or even a wine collection you may need to up your coverage with a separate rider as certain high-end items have a coverage cap of around $1,500 on most standard homeowner policies.

Personal liability: This coverage will pay medical and legal bills if someone is injured on your property. Standard homeowner policies usually come with $100,000 worth of personal liability coverage but most experts recommend upping this to $300,000. If you have a large number of assets, you may want to consider upping your personal liability coverage to $500,000.

Loss of use: This coverage will pay bills such as hotel or restaurant tabs if you are unable to live in your home due to damage from a covered peril. 

Medical payments: This coverage pays medical or legal bills related to injuries to guests regardless of if you are found at fault. Most policies come with at least $1,000 of this coverage but it can be increase to $5,000 to $10,000. if you frequently have guests over or host a lot of parties you may want to consider a higher limit.

Does homeowners insurance cost more for seniors?

In most cases the answer to this question would be no, age is not a rating factor when it comes to homeowners insurance. Insurance companies look at a variety of factors when setting a premium just a few of these factors are:

  • Your claim history
  • Home’s location
  • Age of the home
  • Square footage
  • Roofing materials
  • Preferred Coverage levels

Many insurance companies offer a senior citizens discount so it may pay to check with your insurer to see if they offer this discount and ask that it be applied to your policy.

Homeowners discounts for seniors

One final consideration when dealing with homeowners insurance for seniors is discounts. insurers offer of wide variety of discounts, so you want to make sure all available discounts are being applied to your policy. Ask your agent to do a discount review to make sure every discount you qualify for is being applied to your premium.

While there are not many discounts that are specific to seniors you should make sure you are getting all available discounts and ask your insurer if they offer have any discounts that are senior citizen specific. Here are a few of the most common home insurance discounts:

  • Claims free
  • Bundling home and auto insurance
  • Legacy or loyalty discount
  • Home improvements 
  • Monitored burglar and fire alarms
  • Smart home devices
  • Sprinkler systems
  • Paying premium in full
  • Green policy 

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