Friday, January 06 2012
Natural disasters from tornados, hail, winds, and floods caused widespread damage throughout the country in 2011, and more home owners may soon see their homeowner's insurance premiums rise because of it.
The insurance industry has faced heavy losses in recent years from natural disaster, and insurers may be forced to raise costs of premiums, particularly in the Southeast and Midwest, Robert Hartwig, president of the Insurance Information Institute, warns.
"We've had record losses for four straight years," Hartwig told USA Today. "My sense is that premiums will probably rise 4 percent to 5 percent."
The average annual cost of homeowner's insurance in 2008 was $791 and increased to $807 in 2010, according to data by the Insurance Information Institute. Hartwig told USA Today that he predicts the average premium for 2011 will be about $840.
Source: “Home Insurance Rates Likely to Go Higher,” USA Today (Jan. 4, 2012)
Wednesday, October 12 2011
Do the geese flying south have you thinking of closing up your house and spending the winter in a warmer climate? Before you pack your swimsuit and sandals, take note: If you leave your house empty for too long, you could lose your home owners insurance — and your home equity if a fire or other disaster destroys or damages your house.
Insurance companies hate vacant houses, whether you’re taking a extended vacation or you’re moving out of town and leaving your house empty. If you’re not home and a water pipe busts, a fire starts, or someone breaks in, chances are the subsequent mess is going to be pretty big — along with the insurance claim for the damage.
If you’re lucky, your insurance company will let you leave the house vacant, but just won’t pay for certain things like broken glass, vandalism, or malicious mischief. At worst, your home owners insurance company will yank your policy if you go away and leave the house unattended for a month or more.
Some companies, like State Farm, decide on a case-by-case basis whether you can keep your policy when you’re temporarily not living in your home, especially if you’ve got a plan to take care of the place while you’re out of town.
Say you’re going on a two-month, around-the-world cruise (lucky you!). You’re more likely to keep your coverage if you hire a company to shovel the snow so your home looks occupied while you’re gone.
Some insurers will cancel your policy if your house is vacant for 30 days. If that happens to you, call a commercial insurance broker. Commercial agents sell insurance to landlords who have vacant houses all the time — during renovations, or when they’re between tenants.
Expect to pay about 15% to 20% more than you were paying for your regular home owners insurance.
The bottom line is that if you’re heading south for the winter, read the fine print in your home owners policy to see what it says about vacancies. Then, email your agent or insurance company to double-check the rules. Don’t call, because an email is a written record of your communication. You might need that record later if the company refuses to pay a claim because your house was vacant.
Have you left your house vacant for more than a month? Did you check your home owners insurance policy before you left?
Read more: http://www.houselogic.com/blog/home-insurance/vacant-house-insurance/#ixzz1a1kCq7uq
Tuesday, July 26 2011
Create a home inventory before disaster strikes to make filing an insurance claim a smoother process.
Experiencing a theft, flood, fire, or other casualty loss is devastating enough. Now imagine trying to list from memory for your insurance claim every single item that was damaged or destroyed. The task becomes less daunting if you create a home inventory in advance and keep it in a safe place.
Creating a home inventory can be done with pencil and paper alone, but a digital camera and camcorder make the job easier. Set aside enough time to review your insurance policies, dig up receipts, document your possessions, and figure out where you’ll store your records. One day should be sufficient.
A home inventory is essential
From appliances, plates, and glasses to collectibles, rugs, and furniture, the average home is packed with an array of items collected over the years. And while you may be able to list many of them in a pinch, chances are you’d miss some important possessions if you ever needed to reconstruct your home’s contents from memory, says Mark Goldwich, founder of GoldStar Adjusters, a Jacksonville, Fla., claims adjusting firm.
Take photos and video of possessions
Jack Hungelmann, author of “Insurance for Dummies,” says a picture can be worth more than just a thousand words—it can add up to thousands in cash if you ever need to file an insurance claim. Hungelmann recommends using a digital camcorder or camera to take pictures of each room to document your belongings. “I recommend that people open up their cupboards and drawers. Be sure you have a record of all the things you own,” he says.
Homeowners can literally walk from room to room and record narrative descriptions of items. You should note whether something is an antique, for example, or if it has other qualities that make it especially valuable such as the size of a television screen or the type of stones in a piece of jewelry. Get close-up shots of serial numbers on electronics, power tools, and the like.
Keep your home inventory safe
Of course, such documentation is useless if it’s destroyed in a natural disaster, consumed by fire, or stolen along with your personal computer. Hungelmann says that using digital media allows you to store the files on online backup services like Carbonite.com or iBackup.com in case your home is destroyed.
If you’d like to save the $10 or more per month these services typically cost, you could also save the files on a USB drive that’s kept in a safe-deposit box, at a relative’s home, or in your emergency bag. The bag should include essentials your family needs in case you’re forced to flee on short notice.
Read more: http://www.houselogic.com/articles/create-home-inventory-insurance/#ixzz1SqaLJqBx
Monday, March 28 2011
Friday, April 16 2010
House insurance policy is about safeguarding the greatest investment the majority of us are likely to make – not just the structure of the house by itself but everything we’ve put in it. Quite simply, you can find inevitably many facets to the include that efficiently protects this kind of an expense. It may be helpful, consequently, to appear at a few of the numerous elements of home insurance policy cover:Two-in-one – the basic creating blocks of house insurance policy include are the twin elements of buildings insurance and contents insurance policy. The very first appears after the actual fabric or structure of your home – the creating by itself – whilst the latter, fairly self-explanatorily, safeguards all of the contents of your house. Since most homeowners want each kinds of insurance policy, the products are frequently marketed as a single package, but can still be purchased separately, such as a tenant who wants contents insurance only.
Rebuilding – in most instances, the element of creating insurance is likely to represent the greater level of cover, since it usually needs to cover the most detrimental situation imaginable, in which the house is totally destroyed (by fire, earthquake, subsidence or flooding, for instance) and needs to become completely rebuilt. An up to date estimation of the current rebuilding costs (rather than a valuation of the property if it were to be marketed about the open marketplace) is really a required element of home insurance policy include, consequently;Choose ‘n’ mix – with numerous different insurance policies on the marketplace, it is hardly amazing that every 1 is likely to cover a various range of dangers. Some may cover sheds along with other outbuildings in addition towards the main property, others may cover a swimming pool. If your house has none of those facilities, of course, then you may want to consider other, a lot more basic policies on provide and prevent paying for home insurance policy cover that you don’t need;
What might it cost you to definitely replace each item in your home when the worst happened and it all went up in smoke one day? More than this, nevertheless, your option of policy also extends to regardless of whether claims for just about any loss or damage to the contents of your house are settled on a “new for old” or “wear and tear” basis. The former assures that settlement of any claim allows you to replace even aged items on the cost they price today; while the latter offer a settlement following the deduction for that estimated depreciation based on the age of any claimed items.