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Purchases, life changes require updates to homeowners policy

Planning on getting a trampoline? You might want

Planning on getting a trampoline? You might want to check your homeowners insurance policy first. Photo Credit: Getty Images / iStockphoto / Scott Loy

If you’re like many people, once you buy your homeowners insurance, you tuck the policy away in your lockbox. Bad idea. This isn’t one of the things in life that is engraved in stone. Stuff happens, and those events may require changes in your policy.

Here’s when to update.

  • You buy new “toys:” A new pool or trampoline might make you the neighborhood hero, but it can also increase the risk of injuries on your property. If you’re planning such a purchase, “check whether your policy protects you against the new danger with enough liability protection, which would help with medical or legal costs if someone gets hurt,” says Warren Goldberg, president of Mortgage Wealth Advisors in Melville.
  • Your child is going away to college: “Students that live in on-campus dorms may be protected under their parents’ homeowners insurance policy. However, if they live in off-campus housing, purchasing a renter’s insurance policy can help keep personal belongings properly covered in case of theft or damage while away at school,” says Salvatore Ferrante, an Allstate agency owner in Merrick.
  • There’s been a change in family composition: Says Bill Begal, founder of Begal Enterprises, a disaster restoration firm in Rockville, Maryland, “When a child is born, when you get married and two homes are combined, a spouse dies, this is a time to adjust and update.”
  • You’ve splurged: Says Tia-Maria Gagnon, a marketing professional with Chalmers Insurance Group in Portland, Maine, “Update your policy after purchasing something expensive or valuable that you would like covered. Some coverage may be included for jewelry, for example, but may not be enough without a specific rider.”

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