PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – It is probably one of the last things on your mind – but have you heard about the COVID-19 impact on your insurance policies?
With the supply chain issues, and housing market rush, not to mention the chip issues with cars – the replacement value of just about everything is going up.READ MORE: Allegheny County Jail Oversight Board Votes To End Training By Contractor Hired To Train Corrections Officers
But is your insurance able to cover you in case of a loss?
“We do what’s called an insurance to value calculator,” Jennifer Johnsen-Nazareth of State Farm Insurance says.
Which has become even more important during the current housing market gone wild.
“We have been impacted, of course, by increasing costs to build with replacement value going up, right, so costs of labor, cost of goods have gone up,” she explained.
So if the unthinkable happens it is going to cost more to replace what you have.
Johnsen-Nazareth says many insurance policies have an “automatic inflation adjuster” but not all policies.
“So it is really critical that folks meet with their agent, and they check their policies,” Johnsen-Nazareth says.
She also points out you need to do a value check If you have been spending on upgrading during the pandemic.
“They bought new equipment, and many people remodeled homes,” she says. “So, when they’ve done remodeling, maybe they’ve added square footage to their home or they put granite countertop tops in where they had laminate, so nowm to rebuild their home it would cost more than what they originally insured it for.”
The good news is some of those upgrades may also make you eligible for discounts.
Johnsen-Nazareth says you also need to check in with your car insurance agent.
“The cost of repairing both again for parts, and the cost of labor, has increased the wait time for repairs have also become longer,” she explains. “So, you need to make sure your policy is still the right formula for you.”
She says that an older car that you never carried full replacement on might be worth reconsidering.
Car or home she says to take precautions that you don’t lose money.READ MORE: Pfizer Says COVID-19 Vaccine Works In Kids Ages 5 To 11
“You don’t want to have a loss that is going to create money out of your own pocket,” she warns.
WATCH: Making Sure Your Pets Are Insured
While we’re on the topic of insurance how about for your pet?
“It can make a huge difference,” Johnsen-Nazareth explains. “It is really a life or death situation in many cases, and who wants to make a decision on the life or death of their animal.”
But the life or death decision based on the cost of care does happen says Dr. Mike Hutchinson, DVM of Animal General in Cranberry.
“The decision to put them down for lack of funds, I hope it gets more and more infrequent,” he says.
Johnsen-Nazareth adds there is a new wave of pet owners.
“You know there are pets out there that were purchased during COVID,” she says. “Wait times at the local emergency bed hospitals are eight to 12 hours, vet hospitals are overwhelmed and cost for pet care has been increasing.”
A search for Pet Insurance will find almost as many options as for people, and corresponding costs. As a result in recent years more and more veterinarians are offering an alternative to pet insurance called “wellness plans.”
“Wellness plans are for the health of the pet there, a reduced rate on the regular prices over the course of a year divided into 12 months,” Dr. Hutchinson says.
The monthly payments cover exams, needed routine treatments and shots, and spreads the amount you would normally pay over a year over that year in monthly payments.
Dr. Hutchinson says if you are going to purchase Pet Insurance consider only catastrophic coverage.
“That means if they’re hit by a car, God forbid, they get cancer, or, you know, getting a foreign body then that catastrophic coverage would cover the majority of that bill, you’re still going to have your deductible, you’re still going to have your monthly premium,” he explains.
“It’s still very affordable, and something that is much more affordable than seeing a couple of thousand dollar bill, and a decision between the life of your animal,” Johnsen-Nazareth adds.
Dr. Hutchinson says vets are finding that wellness plans are encouraging clients to be more consistent in their pet care and are heading off more serious conditions with early diagnosis.MORE NEWS: 3 Medical Helicopters Called To Crash In Butler County
But the cost of plans are all over the place based on coverage and breeds so make sure you check the fine print and know what coverage you are buying.