28 Oct 10 Cyber Safety Tips That Every Family Should Know [with Bonus Infographic]
October is National Cyber Security Awareness Month. However, staying alert and safe online is important every month of the year.
Technology elevates our day-to-day lives. Ordering a new sippy cup for your one-year-old, locking the doors and windows of your home, setting the alarm, and streaming a live concert 1,500 miles away are all possible today because of the technology that powers our smartphones and other Wi-Fi-enabled devices.
Swapping out your high energy–consuming refrigerator for a smart fridge, investing in a Chromebook, and upgrading to the latest iPhone may seem like no-brainers. However, there is a flipside to these premium pieces of technology—cybercrime.
Unfortunately, cybercrime is on the rise. Therefore, protecting yourself and your loved ones online and offline has never been more critical for families. From phishing emails to cyber extortion, cyberbullying, and identity theft, new digital threats emerge daily as our culture becomes more connected. Fortunately, there are a few ways to keep yourself safe while shopping online, learning remotely, working from home, Googling “easy weeknight recipes,” and refreshing your inbox.
In addition to protecting yourself and your finances with a personal cyber insurance policy, the following 10 tips will help keep you, your personal data, and, most importantly, your family safe while connected to the Internet.
Step 1: Complete a home inventory
Having an up-to-date home inventory list serves numerous purposes in the home insurance process. In the event of a fire or other covered disaster, a detailed list of your possessions will help expedite the claims process with your insurance carrier. Additionally, it can serve as a great jumping-off point for you and your insurance agent as you review your home insurance renewal documents together.
The task may seem daunting—but we have prepared a four-step guide to help you check this to-do item off your list quickly.
- Begin with your most recent purchases. Whether you prefer putting pen to paper, typing your list on the computer, or taking a video of each room in your home, a detailed inventory document should include the following pieces of information: item description, location of purchase, the price you paid, serial number (if applicable), and any additional details that may assist you in the event of a claim.
- Complete the same process for the older items in your home, as well as anything you keep off-site in a self-storage unit.
- Organize and store sales receipts, purchase contracts, and appraisals.
- Store a copy of your home inventory document in a fireproof safe deposit box or at a friend or relative’s home, or back up your digital version to the cloud for safekeeping.
Pro Tip: When it comes to the home inventory process, technology can be your best friend. There are many mobile app options available that can assist you with this process.
Step 2: Schedule an annual review with your home insurance agent
Most insurance agents may not proactively set up a time to review your home insurance renewal with you. Therefore, once you receive your policy renewal package in the mail from your insurance carrier, we recommend you follow up with your local agent and schedule some time to review your insurance declaration page in detail. This package generally comes in the mail 30–45 days before your policy is set to renew, providing you with plenty of time to take a deep dive into your current home insurance needs.
Pro Tip: This is also an opportune time to talk through your most recent home inventory list, as well as discuss any renovations you’ve made or plan to make in the future to your home, such as a kitchen or bathroom remodel, new roof, pool, landscaping, high-end home appliance purchase, or other expensive upgrades.
Step 3: Review your home insurance coverages
A 2015 study by Marshal & Swift/Boeckh found that 64% of homes are underinsured and, therefore, may not be fully repaired should disaster strike.
As part of our thorough home insurance renewal process, the McClure team makes a point to ask detailed questions to help uncover any potential new exposures in your home. This step is not necessarily unique to our insurance agency. We believe that every experienced insurance agent should be following a similar process to ensure their customers have the appropriate amount of insurance for their home.
Once you’ve thoroughly reviewed your current coverages, we recommend discussing the possibility of adding the following endorsements to your insurance policy with your agent. In our experience, these are four of the most commonly overlooked home insurance coverages.
Water/Sewer Back-Up Coverage protects you from damages caused by water that backs up through your home’s sewers or drains. This is an essential endorsement to consider, because sewer pipes can often fail with few to no warning signs. Additionally, water remediation and the cost of repairing damaged floors, furniture, and other belongings can be expensive.
Ordinance or Law Insurance covers the cost to rebuild your home to the most up-to-date building codes after a covered loss. This is a smart endorsement to include as part of your overall home insurance plan, because it will ensure the safety of those living in your home and eliminate the need to pay for costly yet mandatory repairs out of pocket.
Identify Fraud Coverage helps cover the financial loss associated with identity theft and any restoration services required to resolve credit and reputation damage.
Personal Property Replacement Cost Endorsement can increase your total personal property coverage limit to 70% of your dwelling coverage, providing you with that extra peace of mind in the face of disaster. Most home insurance policies only cover your cherished belongings up to their current, depreciated value. However, this supplementary coverage will allow you to recoup the cost for their actual replacement cost.
Pro Tip: If you have expensive or sentimental jewelry at home, we recommend that you schedule those irreplaceable items on your home insurance policy and opt for all-risk coverage. During your meeting with your agent, ask them to confirm that your belongings, including engagement rings, wedding bands, and any other family keepsakes, have the appropriate coverage amount.
Step 4: Discuss cost-saving discounts
With your coverages squared away, now is also the perfect time to revisit your discount eligibility. It’s important to remember that every insurance carrier is different, but we have compiled a list of some of the most common home insurance discounts available today.
- Bundle home and auto with the same insurance carrier
- Install a security system
- Use of smoke detectors
- Use of deadbolts
- Good credit score
Pro Tip: Your discount eligibility can change every year and with every carrier. An experienced insurance agent will help you save on your premium costs by applying multiple discounts to your home insurance policy.
You can trust McClure Insurance with your personal cyber insurance needs.
Now that you have a clearer understanding of how to stay safe and vigilant online, you may be interested in protecting yourself further with a robust personal cyber insurance policy. To explore this additional coverage with an experienced McClure Insurance professional or simply learn more about our local and top-rated insurance agency, give us a call at (413) 781-8711.