A good place to start is with your homeowner's policy.
In spite of our economy, home values have increased over the past five-to-15 years, according to Frank N. Darras, one of Americas' top insurance lawyers. However, many people have failed to determine if their current insurance coverage would be adequate to replace their homes.
Your policy should allow you to completely rebuild your home should a disaster occur. If not, get your policy updated to match your current property values.
"Make sure you are not grossly underinsured," says Darras. "You will pay more in premiums but save in the long run, if disaster strikes."
Darras offers these tips to save money:
* Determine the limits you want on your homeowners insurance, what value you need to insure, and get multiple quotes.
* Consider purchasing your homeowner, auto and umbrella insurance with the same company so a multi-coverage discount will apply.
* Having smoke, burglar alarms and a sprinkler system could mean bigger discounts.
* Get a quote for insurance that would pay to replace your belongings, rather than pay you based on their depreciated value.
* Ask your agent what documentation you need to substantiate a claim, in case of theft or fire. Make sure you video record all of you personal properties, including what is in the drawers and cabinets and send the tape to someone you trust for safekeeping.
* Make sure you carry enough liability coverage to protect you against a lawsuit if someone gets slips, trips or gets hurt on your property.
"Always read the policy when you receive it and ask your agent to slowly and carefully explain any provisions you don't understand. Finally, never buy insurance from a company you don't recognize," says Darras.