Finding the right homeowner’s insurance is one of the most important things you can do to protect your investment and future. When most people think of damage to their home, they tend to think of fire or theft. Well, there are many other kinds of accidents that can cause damage to your home that are covered under most homeowner’s insurance policies. Remember each homeowner’s insurance policy is different, and if you bought your homeowner’s insurance on line, you may not have proper coverage.
Homeowner’s Insurance Mistakes
One of the biggest mistakes we find many people make is to fail to understand supplemental coverage under most homeowner’s policies. Standard homeowner’s polices do cover fire, theft, wind damage and more. However, there are many other coverages that you need to be aware of, and can include flood, earthquake, and hurricane insurance.
Homeowner’s insurance policies can be expanded to include additional limits for the following:
· Barns and other structures - These are not automatically included.
· Jewelry - All policies have limitations on the value of jewelry. If you have items over $1,500 in value you will need to have your policy endorsed to insure coverage.
· Liability insurance - Liability coverage typically starts at $100,000; you should buy at least $300,000.
· Sewer backup – You will need to make sure your policy has sewer backup coverage. Some online policies don’t include this coverage.
· Household workers – If you have part-time domestic workers your standard homeowner’s policy will not cover this. You will need a workers compensation policy.
· Art and collections – If you have expensive art, coin, stamp and gun collections, your standard coverage may not be enough. We recommend you contact our office today for a review.
Buying Homeowner’s Insurance
With all the options you have these days, buying the right kind of homeowner’s insurance can be confusing. Some advertisements want us to believe that purchasing homeowner’s insurance should only take 7 minutes! Making purchases too quickly can cause mistakes. Taking time to consider your options can save you money and future headaches.
We are all looking for ways to save money. Our agency works hard to offer the best combination of pricing and coverage to all our clients. We recommend that you review your insurance program annually to make sure your insurance is meeting your changing needs. Considering changes in deductibles should be part of this process. Increasing deductibles can reduce your premiums and may save you money in the long run.
Increasing your deductible will reduce your premiums. For example, let’s say you pay $225 per month for your auto insurance with a $50 comprehensive and $100 collision deductible. By increasing your deductible to $250 comprehensive and $1,000 collision you might save $75 per month. That is a $900 annual savings. Assuming you don’t have regular accidents, the savings would almost pay for itself in a year. (This is an example only. Actual savings will be based on individual factors)
If you raise your collision deductible to $1,000 and have an accident the next day, you must pay the $1,000. Are you prepared to manage that? Keep in mind these deductibles will apply even if your car is stolen or a tree falls on it; it does not have to be your fault.
Your deductible and limits are a personal decision and your financial situation plays a part in the deductibles and coverage you choose. We can review your insurance and provide deductible saving options, so please call us today.
Final Thought – When should you remove your deductible?
There does come a time when it is not cost effective to maintain any comp/collision insurance. As vehicles age, the depreciated value continues to get lower. At some point you must consider the cost of insurance vs. what you might get in return. For example, if you pay $200 for a six month policy, but your car has a depreciated value of $1,500, the cost benefit may not be worth the insurance. In this example your annual insurance cost is around 37% of your vehicles value.
Most of us are hardworking honest people, who are building strong families and are productive members of our community. Unfortunately, there are a few people who try to take advantage of us and we need to be educated on what to watch for. Fraud, including insurance scams, is the second-most burdensome financial crime in the United States. Tax evasion is number one.
Here are a few of the most common scams:
1. Forced Rear-ending – Typically, the scammer will slow down or come to a stop in busy traffic, or swoop in front of the victim at an intersection or an on-ramp, causing the driver to crash into them from behind. In most states, the person who rear-ended the other driver is the liable party, thus the scam begins. At this point, the scammer will claim high medical bills and unusual property damage, (loss of IPhone, damage to other personal property, etc).
2. Counterfeit Air Bags - Each year, about 1.6 million air bags inflate during crashes, saving thousands of lives. But, during the repair process, at least a small percentage of those deployed air bags will be replaced with counterfeits, which can be life-threatening. Make sure you use a reputable repair shop and ask to have factory airbags installed.
3. Windshield Replacement Rip-Offs - Don’t fall for the person in a van who stops you to say he can offer to fix your windshield. The scammer takes your insurance information and files a false claim. Only use well known repair shops.
4. Phantom Victims - Often after an accident, you are not fully aware of everyone and everything around you. The scam is the injured party will say there was another passenger in the vehicle and make a false claim. When gathering information after an accident, such as the other driver's license number and contact information, also count the number of passengers in the other car (if any) and take photos of the other car, its passengers, and the general scene.
We hope none of these happen to you. However, if you do have an accident, we are here to help you through your claim.
Are looking for a great rate on auto insurance? The best way to save money is to call us today!
Fireworks during the Fourth of July are as American as apple-pie, but did you know that two out of five fires reported on that day are started by fireworks, more than for any other cause? So you think it cannot happen to you? Here are a few facts:
In 2013 over 9,000 people went to the emergency room as a result of fireworks related injuries. There was an estimated 15,500 reported fires started by fireworks. These fires resulted in an estimated eight reported deaths, and $36 million in direct property damage. This is why it is a good idea to have a free home insurance review and quote, call us today!
Injuries by Fireworks Type (US department of Health & Safety)
· Buy fireworks only from licensed vendors
· Never combine fireworks
· Obey all local laws
· Never have any portion of your body directly over a firework while lighting
· Follow directions
· Never relight a firework
· Don’t smoke or drink while lighting fireworks
· Soak used fireworks in water before placing in trash
· Make sure there is parental supervision
· Never experiment with homemade fireworks
· Use fireworks outdoors, in a safe area away from dry grass and buildings
· Keep a fire extinguisher, bucket of water, wet towels and a garden hose nearby
· Light one firework at a time - then move back quickly!
· Never shoot fireworks from metal or glass containers
· Never carry fireworks in your pocket
· Never point or throw fireworks at people or animals
· Clean up all used fireworks including debris
“Fireworks and celebrations go together, especially during the Fourth of July and year end celebrations. Remember, fireworks can be dangerous, causing serious burn and eye injuries. You can help us prevent fireworks-related injuries and deaths” Consumer Products Safety Commission.
Enjoy the holiday; we live in a great country. Happy Birthday America!
We know all boaters are busy preparing their boats for spring and summer use. Remember, having the proper boat insurance will help safeguard your activities are covered. We can offer you competitive rates on your boat, RV and motorcycle insurance.
Here are a few thoughts to help you as you prepare your boat for spring and summer use.
· Have us review your boat insurance to make sure you are covered properly.
· Make sure your boat trailer is insured.
· Inspect your boat before heading out. Check for hull damage and loose fittings. If the boat has a plug, make sure it fits.
· Check the battery. If it has been a few years since the battery was replaced, it may be time.
· Check all lights and the horn. You may have wiring that needs to be repaired for proper night use. Electrical fittings can be protected with a water-repellant, non-conductive grease or corrosion inhibitor.
· Test all life jackets to make sure they are in good working order.
· Take care of the engine. Flush your engine after every outing, and check everything from your fuel tanks to the clamps on your fuel line for rust, damage or corrosion. Also, check your oil for correct levels, proper filtration, and cleanliness.
· Check the tires on your trailer.
· Make sure the bilge pump is properly working. Check all fittings and test the pump before use.
Do some research about boating laws and regulations. You might even consider taking a boating safety course. And never drink and drive a boat.
Remember, we provide insurance solutions for all your boating, RV, motorcycle and ATV needs.