home insurance

5 Tips for Saving Money on Your Homeowners Insurance Policy

Home insurance is a must. If you need to reduce your policy without downgrading coverage, there are a few ways to do this. Many of these improvements will reduce your risk and the cost of the policy.

Before you make any upgrades or changes, it is always a good idea to speak with your insurance agent so that you fully understand how the change may impact your premiums.

 

1.Remove older structures

Homeowner’s policies cover all structures on the property. If you have an old shed or building that is not being used and is in bad shape, remove it. Older, dilapidated structures are a safety risk. Removing it decreases the risk. After it is removed, be sure to let your agent know so that they can review your policy for savings. If you can’t remove it, make repairs.

 

2.Home alarms

Smoke detectors are a must. Many insurance companies won’t even insure a home without having working smoke detectors. Another alarm is for burglaries. Many insurance companies will give a discount for having a burglar alarm. This will decrease the risk of a large theft claim.  

 

3.Trampolines and Pools

Trampolines and pools can get expensive. They are responsible for a high number of accidents and claims every year. Most companies will want to know that you have a fence around them, while others may not cover accidents related to those items. It may be best to remove them. If you want to keep them, call your agent for tips regarding insuring them.

 

4.New roof

One of the most expensive aspects of your home is the roof. A poorly built roof can cause so much damage from leaking. A leaky roof can cause damage to walls, electronics, furniture, and so much more. It can even cause mold. Having mold in your home can cause a huge problem and claim. A new roof, while very expensive, can protect your home while saving on your insurance policy.

Obviously, if your roof is leaking you should get it repaired even if it doesn’t lower your insurance premiums!

 

5.New electric

If you have a dated electrical system, it may be time to upgrade. Thousands of house fires every year are caused by faulty electrical systems. GFCI outlets are recommended to add protection. They will kick off; saving you from shock and fire.

Before doing any home improvements to lower your bill, call your agent to see if those improvements will save you money. Not every improvement will get you a discount.

You should also consider the cost of savings vs the cost of updating your home. As tax season is in full swing, you should also talk with your tax advisor to see if any potential home updates can be written off on your taxes, so that you save more than once.

 

Aside from your homeowner’s policy, there are likely ways you could be saving on all of your insurance plans. The best way to know is to consult with your local agent so that they understand your needs, situation, and can uncover ways to help you save.

jewelry

Lost Jewelry: Does Your Homeowners Policy Cover That?

A homeowner’s insurance policy usually covers fires and storm damage, but does it cover lost or stolen jewelry. What happens if you come home and find that your home has been robbed? What if your rings slips off while swimming in the lake? Are you covered? Let’s take a look at common coverage.

Remember, all policies are different. Be sure to check with your local agent to see what is covered and what is not. This is a good time to increase your coverage, if possible.

Damage & Theft

There are many restrictions that can cause your claim to be denied. Common reasons that jewelry could be lost or damaged, but is most likely covered includes: fire, storms, and damage from a vehicle.  Most homeowners policies only cover jewelry for $1,000-$2,000. That means that if theft occurs and your $30,000 wedding ring is stolen, you will only receive $1,000-$2,000. That is an industry standard. The same goes for fire and storm damage.

Loss

Losing a ring, necklace, or watch is very common. Imagine this, you’ve just got back from a trip and realize that your necklace is gone. You don’t know where you lost it, but it is gone. It could be at the hotel, beach, or the airport.  Say you were swimming in the lake, and you feel your watch slip off. You frantically try to grab it, but it’s gone. What now? In most cases your homeowner’s policy will not cover this.

How to cover lost jewelry or expensive jewelry

Insurance companies usually offer inland marine policies or endorsements you can add for extra coverage. If you’ve lost your engagement ring or your valuable watch, this policy will have it covered. You will need to talk with your agent for the specific details of this policy. For the insurance company to approve this coverage, you will mostly like need an appraisal. If you say you have a $15,000 watch, they will want proof that it is valued at $15,000. This policy also covers theft. As we discussed earlier, if your $30,000 wedding ring is stolen, your homeowner’s policy will only reimburse you $1,000-$2,000. This added policy or endorsement will cover the actual value of the ring, not capping you at $1,000-$2,000.

If you have jewelry that is valued higher than $2,000, it is time to talk to your agent. Tell your agent what jewelry you have and learn what coverage you have. This is the time to talk about theft and lost jewelry. Your agent will be able to give you options. You may need a new policy or an extra endorsement. Find out the criteria you will need for this coverage to start, such as, an appraisal. Loss and theft are very common, so act quickly to get your jewelry adequately covered.

Is Your Home Insured And Ready For The Harsh Winter Months?

There is a chance of snow in the forecast for Marion, IL. Snow can be so beautiful, and oh so damaging. While this round of snow may not be destructive, we are still mid-winter and another round of ice or snow can be damaging. We have already seen freezing temperatures that can cause water lines to freeze. What happens if your pipes do freeze or if next month we have an ice storm? Are you covered?

First, call your agent. All homeowner’s policies are different. It’s important to understand what your policy covers and what it does not. You may find that you need to change your policy to better fit your needs.

Here are a few things that are typically covered (Be sure to check your policy).

  • Roof collapse
    • A roof can collapse because of the weight of ice or snow.
  • Damage to walls and ceiling due to ice damming
    • Ice damming causes damage to walls and ceilings because the water from melting snow or ice cant drain off the roof and leaks into the home.
  • Damaged shingles
    • Just like storms in the Spring and Summer, winds from a Winter storm can damage shingles also.
  • Frozen pipes
    • Burst pipes is a very common claim. When the pipes freeze, it can cause them to burst.

Although these are commonly covered, there are some stipulations that can result in denial

Negligence is a good reason to get your claim denied. Here are a few scenarios that could cause a claim to be denied.

  • Not having trimmed tree limbs
  • Not acting reasonably to protect your property from an impending storm. Leaving windows and doors open and allowing the elements in, either intentionally or unintentionally, could be grounds for denial.
  • Intentionally turning the heat off or too low which caused pipes to freeze and burst
  • Things like not making repairs to a leaky roof, not trimming trees, not removing snow from sidewalks, and not insulating pipes are all things that can result in denial of a claim.

Winter weather comes with many challenges. The best thing you can do is have a conversation with your insurance agent. Your agent can educate you on your coverage and maintenance that needs to be done to keep you from getting a denial. Being prepared is important. During your discussion with your agent, it is good to talk about coverage you have during Spring and Summer. Those seasons are full of nasty, damaging storms. Now is the time to increase coverage if you are not adequately covered.

Considerations When Buying Homeowners Insurance

homeowners insurance marion, harrisburg, eldoradoHomeowners insurance – What is really covered by your policy?

So, you are shopping for homeowners insurance to protect your home and the assets in it. When comparing policies and getting quotes, it is important to find out exactly what you are paying for. Is water or flood damage covered or is this a separate policy? Is damage to property which is ruined if a burglar breaks in covered? What about damage to the property from fire or other “acts of God”? Before you settle on a policy, make sure you ask the right questions and learn what your homeowners insurance policy truly protects.

What should you ask when getting quotes?
Far too often homeowners simply presume things are covered rather than asking the questions to find out. So, how much is truly covered by your policy and is a basic homeowners insurance policy enough? Before settling on an insurer and policy coverage, some questions to ask when getting your quotes include:

  • Is water damage covered? If not, how much water and flood coverage is required where I live?
  • Are “acts of God,” covered? Damage from fire, lightning, heavy wind gusts, etc. Make sure you find out what is and what isn’t covered, so you can buy incidental coverage or supplemental coverage.
  • What is the limit or max cap the insurer will pay out?
  • If a burglar breaks in and damages property when trying to escape, is such damage covered (in addition to the items stolen)?

This is not an inclusive list of questions you have to ask, but does give you a basic idea of what is, and what isn’t covered by your policy. And, if necessary, it allows you to purchase supplemental coverage, and additional damage coverage on your property, to avoid huge out of pocket expenses in the event something like flood damage or water damage from melted snow occurs.

Finding the right policy
It isn’t as simple as calling one or two insurers and asking a few questions when generating quotes. In addition to calling between three to five insurers, you also have to make sure you are dealing with a trusted insurer. Inquire about discounts for bundled policies, for loyalty programs, and payout limits. Further, you have to purchase a policy from a trusted insurer and one which pays out immediately in the event of damage when you actually do have to rely on your homeowners insurance policy to cover damage costs to your property. If you want to save time while getting the benefits of checking prices with several companies, an independent agent that offers coverage from several companies is the best way to go.

If you are looking to protect your home from all types of threats and damage, homeowners insurance is the way to go. Before deciding on a policy and insurer, make sure to consider these factors, and take the appropriate steps, to find the best coverage, highest  coverage levels, and the most trusted insurance providers, before you make a purchase.