Home Insurance

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Homeowners Insurance Agents

The average sale price of a new home in the United States during July of 2013 was $322,700.[1] For most individuals their home represents their largest single purchase and a significant part of their personal assets. Our homes are an expression of our individualism. Even homes in neighborhoods that were built from a single plan soon become dissimilar as remodeling occurs and additions are made. How we use our homes are as dissimilar as the floor plans. Home businesses are rampant in the United States. Over 22 million firms in the United States do not have an employee. Many of those owner-operated entities are housed in dwellings.[2]

Your mortgage company demands that you insure your home to 100% of the unpaid balance of the mortgage, but most of us are wise enough to insure to 100% of the replacement cost. . .but with prices fluctuating what is replacement cost?[3] Does market value have anything to do with replacement cost? More importantly, your mortgage company demands a replacement cost endorsement on your policy. With more and more homeowner’s insurance companies changing to an Actual Cash Value settlement on roofs, you might need to discuss this issue with someone you trust.

A homeowner’s policy is a legal contract and as such demands that simple things like the named insured be done right. If you have a renter’s policy should your roommate be listed? What if your roommate is your spouse; then who should be listed first? Does it make a difference? Do you rent out part of your house?

Does your insurance company need to know about that business in your basement? Do you need separate policies for any part of that business? Can you add an endorsement to your homeowner’s to cover the business, or is it automatically covered? Do you repair vacuums or do something else that demands that you keep customer’s property in your house?

Have you considered the mold exclusion in your policy? Is sewer backup a concern for you? Sump pump failure?

Do you have any domestic employees?

Do you love toys? If you own a boat, jet-ski, snowmobile, scooter, mountain bike, motorcycle, or ATV, are they covered by your homeowner’s policy and for what perils?

What are your hobbies? Do you need golfer’s liability insurance? Have your hobbies taken over your life in that you serve on various non-profit boards? Are these activities covered by your homeowner’s insurance? Has your personal collection of stamps or other collectibles grown to be worth a substantial amount of money? What limitations are there on your current homeowner’s policy that you need to consider?

Given the extreme weather of the last decade, have you ever wondered if flood, earthquake, tsunami, hurricanes, and other natural disasters are covered by your homeowner’s policy? El Niño is back this year, and you never know what that may bring.

Do you belong to a homeowner’s association? What are the requirements and special considerations?

Do you understand the vacancy clause of your contract? Do you have a second home? Lakehome?

Policies vary wildly from company to company. Your local agent can help you wade through the differences and determine true value.

House Insurance Independent Agent

The best thing you can do is talk to a professional insurance agent. Preferably you should have a face-to-face conversation with enough time set aside for a full conversation to uncover things neither of you knew. Things you don’t know about your policy; and things your agent doesn’t know about your circumstances. The above represents only a partial list of the things you need to consider.

Short of you speaking to a professional, perhaps we can help. Your homeowner’s policy, whether you own or rent, is not a simple document.

House Insurance

Did you know that the average first time home buyer is in their early 30s? No matter your age, consider he most common and most comprehensive form of house insurance- a special form homeowner policy, which provides all risk coverage on the home, excluding flood and earthquake damage. The contents of the home are covered with this type of policy and personal liability is also included. For example, a child accidentally throwing a toy through your window would be covered.

Learn more about house insurance ›

Insuring Personal Belongings

Even the most minimalist of homeowners will probably find that they begin to collect a wide range of possessions over time. Whether they have an extensive jewelry collection, an array of shoes to rival those of a movie star, or guns owned by generations of family hunters, these items should be properly insured. It may come down to items’ economic value, or perhaps, their sentimental value, but with the right policy, homeowners can insure most any item they own. With the help of an independent home insurance agent, they can find out how to buy sufficient coverage.

Learn more about personal belongings insurance ›

Renter’s Insurance

Even though renter’s insurance is relatively inexpensive people seemingly make two major mistakes regarding it. 1.) They don’t buy it. That is a lot like taking your life savings into a casino and putting it all on red; it’s a bet you can’t afford to make. 2.) They think it is a simple buy and don’t take the time to consider many of the same questions asked above about homeowner’s insurance.

Each year there are about 2,000,000 burglaries from homes in the United States. Many agents believe this is the main reason most people buy renter’s insurance, although personal liability insurance is seemingly much more important. Do you understand the need to have replacement cost for your contents?[4]

If you are in a condominium, what are the insurance requirements? In the event of a large loss to the association what can you be assessed?

If you cause a fire, what legal liability would you incur for the losses to the home you rent, or losses incurred by other renter’s in your building?

Have you made major improvements to the home you rent?

Learn more about renter’s insurance ›

Flood Insurance

The first step for you to take is to go to www.floodsmart.gov to check to see what the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) thinks of the risk of flooding at your location.[5] About 20% of all claims filed are from properties outside of high-risk areas.[6]

There are alternative domestic markets  to the NFIP for high valued homes and a Lloyd’s of London alternative for lower valued properties. There are excess markets available if you want more coverage than NFIP is willing to provide.

If you rent, contents can be insured for flood damage through NFIP.

If you have a basement that does not have a walkout, you might discuss the exclusions under the NFIP with your agent.

Learn more about flood insurance ›

Water Damage Insurance

Water can be one of the most destructive elements to your home. Water can originate from multiple sources, and fall under various definitions, not just the typical flood. All of which can cause mold, structural damage, destroy floors and walls, and other unpleasant flaws to your home.

Learn more about water damage insurance ›

Mortgage Insurance

In some instances insurance marketed as “Mortgage Insurance” is an accident policy and is fairly high-priced.

Often, a better value might be a standard decreasing term life policy.

Learn more about mortgage insurance ›

Earthquake Insurance

Earthquake Insurance often has limited coverage and a huge price tag, which is why only about 17% of California homeowners carry the coverage.[7]

The purchase of this insurance demands the help of a professional.

Learn more about earthquake insurance ›

Fire Insurance

Fire Insurance is the backbone of your insurance portfolio. It is an integral part of your homeowner’s policy.

In 2011 United States fire departments responded to 370,000 home structure fires. These fires resulted in $6.9 billion in direct damage.[8]

Cooking is the leading cause of home fires with most occurring between 5:00 and 8:00 P.M.

In 2006 there were about 125 million houses in the United States according to the Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Learn more about fire insurance ›

Hurricane Insurance

Each decade the United States has about 15 to 25 hurricanes affecting it.  In most areas coverage for damage from water pushed over land by hurricanes is excluded from a homeowner’s policy. Further, windstorm damage from hurricanes is usually subject to a 2% to 5% deductible.

On a $300,000 home a 5% deductible would mean that the homeowner would pay the first $15,000 of loss due to hurricane windstorm.

Learn more about hurricane insurance ›

Bicycle Insurance

While cycling has lots of obvious benefits, there are a few inherent risks that go along with owning and riding a bike.  Some common concerns of cyclists include bicycle theft, getting hit by a car, collisions with pedestrians, collisions with other cyclists, and random accidents that don’t involve anyone else

Learn more about bicycle insurance ›

Pet Insurance

Pet insurance is available for dogs, cats, birds, and other exotic pets. The coverage includes reimbursement for vet bills from accidents, illness, and hereditary issues.

Most coverage will allow you to use any licensed vet.

Premiums vary based on the age of pet, species, size, coverage, deductible, and state of residence.

Learn more about pet insurance ›

Travel Insurance

Any number of incidences could occur which could affect your travel plans and end up costing you a serious amount of money. If you are planning a trip that is unique in some way, you may want to consider purchasing travel insurance.

Learn more about travel insurance ›

Wedding Insurance

You and your fiancé will remember your wedding for the rest of your lives and you want to make sure that everything goes smoothly. With all of the planning that goes into wedding, it would be a shame if something were to go wrong on your wedding day. Wedding insurance allows you to stop worrying and concentrate on enjoying your event. Policies can cover costs in the event that your wedding must be postponed, or liability for property damage and personal injury.

Learn more about wedding insurance ›

Jewelry Insurance

Coverage under many policies is limited to $1,000 for theft. This can be increased.The burden of proof of loss is on you. This can be arduous and “mysterious disappearance” is excluded by many policies.An appraisal may be required for larger valued items and will be handy to prove your loss should you have a theft.

Learn more about jewelry insurance ›

Home Based Business Insurance

When in the process of insuring one’s home-based business, there are many factors that come in to play, and the type of coverage needed can depend on the characteristics of the home and business. There are many variables to consider when it comes to a home-based business, and residents will want to make sure they take every detail into account.

Learn more about home based business insurance ›

Boat and Yacht Insurance

According to the National Marine Manufacturers Association, 75 million people participated in recreational boating activities in 2010.[9] That’s almost a quarter of the entire population of the United States!  Additionally, the number of registered boats tops over 12 million. This article will provide you with a guide to everything you may need to know about protecting your boat or yacht.

Learn more about boat and yacht insurance ›

Mobile Home Insurance

21% of all new homes purchased since 1989 have been manufactured, or mobile, homes. This equates to over 17 million Americans currently living in manufactured housing. This article will provide you with a guide to everything you may need to know about protecting your mobile home. Insurance is important! Accidents can be unexpected and possibly tragic.

Learn more about mobile home insurance ›

Sinkhole Insurance

Sinkhole Insurance is insurance covering some are all of the risks associated with sinkholes.

Learn more about sinkhole insurance ›

Home Insurance Discounts

Home ownership can be the fulfillment of the American dream, or it can be a huge financial quagmire. Some say that if you aren’t putting two percent of the value of your home into maintenance each year, you’re going backward. No homeowner can afford not to be getting g the best value from their homeowner’s insurance. We’ve assembled an extensive list of discounts that are valuable in many states with many insurance companies.

Learn more about home insurance discounts ›

Home Insurance by State

States have varied home environments. We have looked into 11 states to illustrate this point;

California: Although California has a bad reputation for earthquakes, some seismologists say that Oklahoma had three times as many earthquakes in 2014 as California. North Dakota and Florida have had the fewest earthquakes in recorded history.

Learn more about California Home Insurance >

Georgia: While Georgia is often felt to be susceptible to hurricanes, it has only been hit by three major hurricanes in the last 150 years, while Florida was hit by 35 over the same time period and New York was hit by five.

Learn more about Georgia Home Insurance >

Idaho: Idaho did not have a even one reported hail storm in 2011. Idaho also has very few tornadoes.

Learn more about Idaho Home Insurance >

Illinois: Some people think Illinois is windy because of Chicago’s nickname, The Windy City. Historians state that nickname was due to hot-air from Chicago politicians. California is actually the state with the most windstorms.

Learn more about Illinois Home Insurance >

Iowa: It’s suggested that one in every thirty-six homes will experience a burglary. Your chances of having a burglary in Iowa are about 20% less than the national average.

Learn more about Iowa Home Insurance >

Louisiana: Louisiana has been hit by eighteen major hurricanes over the last 150 years.

Learn more about Louisiana Home Insurance >

Minnesota: Minnesota received thirty-six inches of snow in one day in 1994. Uffda! This is no-wheres close to the sixty-three inches received by Colorado in one day in 1913.

Learn more about Minnesota Home Insurance >

Missouri: While Oklahoma is the worst state in the nation for frequency of hail claims, Missouri ranks in the top seven.

Learn more about Missouri Home Insurance >

Ohio: Some insurance sites erroneously state that Ohio has frequent tornadoes. According the National Climatic Data Center Ohio is actual a moderate state for tornadoes.

Learn more about Ohio Home Insurance >

Pennsylvania: Although Pennsylvania is not normally thought of as a “snowy” state, it did have a thirty-one inch blizzard in 1996.

Learn more about Pennsylvania Home Insurance >

Wisconsin: Wisconsin had a high temp of 114 in 1936 and a record low of -55 in 1996.

Learn more about Wisconsin Home Insurance >

Citations:

  1. http://census.gov/construction/nrs/pdf/uspricemon.pdf
  2. http://census.gov/econ/smallbus.html
  3. http://federaltitle.com/documents/disclosures/Hazard-Ins_Recs.pdf
  4. http://safeguardtheworld.com/statistics.html
  5. http://www.floodsmart.gov/
  6. http://floodsmart.gov/floodsmart/pages/faqs/do-i-really-need-flood-insurance.jsp
  7. http://latimes.com/la-homeauto-story1,0,3900799.story
  8. http://nfpa.org/research/fire-statistics/the-us-fire-problem/home-fires
  9. http://www.bankrate.com/finance/insurance/6-things-know-boat-insurance-1.aspx