The Bath Iron Works crane towers over a low-lying street in Bath on Wednesday June 24, 2021. The river city is especially susceptible to flooding with climate change and risings seas. Credit: Troy R. Bennett

With home values going up and materials prices rising, many homeowners have not considered increasing their insurance to assure adequate replacement costs, a national study found.

A majority of insured homeowners polled have not bought more insurance or increased coverage limits to compensate for inflation, natural disasters and home additions, a survey released Thursday by the American Property Casualty Insurance Association found. Insurance is one item new buyers frequently don’t consider when adding up the total cost of buying a home.

Less than half of the 1,000 U.S. homeowners polled had not changed their insurance to account for renovations or remodels during the pandemic. Construction materials costs have risen by 44 percent since 2019 and rebuilding timeframes have stretched out longer, sometimes requiring homeowners to pay for temporary housing, the association said.

The Maine Department of Transportation closed Soldier Pond Road in Wallagrass due to flooding from the Fish River in this 2018 file photo.

Some of the added coverages to consider include an annual inflation adjustment, extended replacement cost and time and building code and ordinance coverage.

Homeowners typically do not fully understand whether their insurance covers the cost to rebuild or the market value of their home. Most residential property insurance policies cover the cost to rebuild a home with recommended coverage based on the estimated reconstruction costs. Extended replacement coverage will add increases if labor and materials costs skyrocket, which often happens after a disaster.

The association also recommends creating or updating a home inventory list in case of a loss. Only 20 percent of those polled have an up-to-date list, and one quarter said they don’t have a list at all.

The changing climate, which is bringing more frequent and severe storms to Maine and other parts of the country, also is increasing the risk to homes. U.S. insurers paid out $176 billion in 2020 and 2021 for natural catastrophe claims, the record high for a two-year period.

“This should be a wake-up call to homeowners,” Karen Collins, assistant vice president at the association, said.