The Added Value and Liability of Aging in Place
Getting older often merits a few special considerations for anyone. It doesn’t mean you need to become home-bound or isolated. However, you might need to take a few extra precautions to make your home safer to occupy. On one hand, you might install additional security mechanisms; on the other, you might need to make structural improvements to the home to adapt it to your needs. In many ways, these are positive changes that can make you feel secure at home for years to come. However, they will still have insurance risks attached. Here’s a little more information to consider.
At times, as you adapt to aging at home, you might need to take a closer look at your homeowners insurance. For example, you might need to increase portions of your coverage, including your liability and possessions insurance.
Understanding Aging in Place
America’s baby boomer generation is generally classified as people who were born from 1946 to 1964. This is one of the largest age generations in America, and they represent up to 75 million Americans. Therefore, the U.S. today faces an aging society at a faster rate than ever before.
In 2019, the youngest of this generation will turn 55 years old. The oldest are almost 73 years old. All of this generation is now of an age where they might need to start thinking about their long-term security as they continue to age in their homes. This is a phenomenon that many experts call aging in place.
Aging in place has its benefits. You can remain in your home throughout the years. However, this means being able to adapt your surroundings to suit your needs.
It is no secret that aging reduces your physical and mental wellness. It doesn’t happen drastically, and the effects of age might be relatively unapparent to you. However, no matter how far-fetched getting older might seem to you, it still will happen. If you aren’t careful, you might put yourself in harm’s way.
For example, your front porch’s steps might have no handrail. Therefore, if you begin to have trouble walking, you might begin to face a fall risk. At one time you might have thought nothing of going in and out of the house. However, given these new limitations, you might now see a problem getting around.
Scenarios like this one often can benefit from some special consideration. You might decide that it is time to install a ramp in place of steps, or to simply put a railing on each side of them. This consideration is how you can plan to age in place. As you begin to notice the effects of age, you can take steps to mitigate those. Therefore, you’ll better protect yourself, and can enjoy your home well into the future.
Adjusting Your Insurance At this Time
As you make aging in place a priority, this will lead to household changes. For example, you might:
- Make household renovations, such as by leveling surfaces, widening doors or installing rails.
- Install special equipment in the home, such as chair lifts or ramps.
- Place security systems around the home.
- Purchase special belongings like therapy pools or medical equipment.
These changes are supposed to benefit you, which they often will. However, they also impact your home in ways that may extend an impact to your homeowners insurance.
First, these changes might impact the value of the home. Therefore, you might need to make changes to the policy’s structure coverage or possessions insurance.
For example, if you spend a lot of money installing new stair banisters or a wheelchair ramp, this will cost money. It will also be a cost loss in case accidents occur. Therefore, you’ll want to make sure your policy will provide you with enough compensation to repair these belongings in case of damage. At times, you might also need to note on your policy that you own a specialty item, like a wheelchair lift, to ensure that your policy will extend to them.
Not only that, you might also need to adjust your liability insurance. Sometimes, home additions, such as therapy pools, might become higher liability risks to your property. There’s a chance someone might fall in and get hurt, for example. Therefore, you might need to increase your liability limits in order to adapt coverage.
Keep in mind, certain household additions, such as medical alert or home security systems might qualify you for a policy discount. They increase your security in the home, and therefore might reduce your insurance risks, leading to a reduced premium. You shouldn’t hesitate to tell your agent when you install these items.
All in all, any time you make a household change, contact one of our agents. We’re more than happy to help you learn more about what changes your policy might need as you prepare to age in place. With a careful attention to detail, you’ll be able to feel safe at home well into the future.