homeowner’s insurance is PA - Spencer Insurance Agency, Inc

Why does my homeowner’s insurance premium increase every year?

We hear this question from clients so I thought some of you are probably not asking us this question but are thinking about it.  So let me answer the question.

There are many factors that will affect your homeowner’s insurance premium including making a claim and increases in replacement value coverage on your home. Weather related catastrophic losses also affect your rates even if you do not make a claim.   Also, each year the insurance company will increase your dwelling coverage to keep pace with inflation.  So you may see a 2%, 3%, or 5% increase depending on the cost of living increases for building materials in your area.  All of us know it will take more money to replace our home today than it did 20 years ago.

But these factors are not why homeowner’s insurance premiums can vary from carrier to carrier.  That is why I always ask our clients to send me a copy of any quotes they receive for a lower premium than they are paying now so I can make sure they are not losing any valuable coverage.

Think about the last time you bought a new car.  I just recently purchase a Toyota Camry.  I could have just gotten the base model but I wanted the hybrid.  I also wanted some safety features.  The one I really like is that my headlights turn when I am making a turn.  Pretty cool.  I also chose some other features that cost me extra money (a navigation system and Apple Car play for example).  I could have just gotten the basic model for less money and that would have been okay, but I wanted more features so I knew I would be paying more. So I paid the extra money and got the car I wanted.  Homeowner’s Insurance is very similar.

What I see when clients send me their quotes is that they are being quoted a basic homeowner’s policy.  Of course the premium is less because they no longer have the coverages we discussed that were important to them. If they want a basic homeowner’s policy I will sell them one IF that is all the coverage they want. But I will make sure they will know what coverage is now missing. Just like my Camry if you want more features you should expect to pay more.

As you know Spencer Insurance Agency represents several quality homeowner’s insurance companies. It seems that all our companies are coming out with new versions of their homeowner’s policy and/or new coverages. Should you switch?  Should you update to the new version? Should you add additional coverages that were not offered before?  One thing I know for sure is that you SHOULD talk to us about your policy.  Our agency tries our best to be as proactive as possible and reach out to our clients if we feel you should make changes. In a perfect world we would talk to all our clients about these updates but we are not perfect and this is not a perfect world.  We can’t get to everyone right away so feel free to call us at any time for a review.

Here are some new coverages being offered by our companies just recently:

  • Service line coverage – Now you can get the coverage you may be paying your water company for to replace a broken pipe from your house to the curb.
  • Mechanical Breakdown – Coverage for appliances, heating/air conditioning systems when they break down
  • Loss forgiveness/decreasing deductible
  • Hidden seepage coverage
  • Roof and siding matching in event of claim

Of course if you add some coverage you will be paying more premium.  You have to decide if it is worth the additional cost to have the coverage.  Just like my Camry I will pay more if I add more features/coverage. Price is important but remember the “True Cost of Insurance” includes the cost you pay out of pocket when you don’t have the proper coverage. If you want a basic homeowner’s insurance policy great, you can have it.  But if you want some better coverage you should expect to pay additional premium.  It is very hard from the policy pages to know all the coverages that are included or missing.  Let us help you.  If we can’t determine whether the quote you received or policy you have with have another agent has a certain coverage , we will tell you what to ask the other agent to make sure you do have that coverage.  Call us today for a review of any policy.

This Sunday is National No Housework Day!

life-family

It’s time to kick back and put the feet up.  This Sunday April 7th is National No Housework Day!

So put aside the laundry let the dishes pile up and leave the vacuum cleaner off.  Sit back and enjoy yourself.  Spend the day with your family or alone at the Spa, enjoying your hobby or just reading a good book.

Don’t forget the guys!  This applies to them too and put the “Honey do” list away for the day.

Let us know how you will spend the day.  Just comment below.

Reminder:  Okay, now the bad news.  This is a one day holiday.   Make sure you keep maintaining your home.  Proper maintenance and timely repairs can avoid a homeowner’s claim.  Avoiding homeowner’s claims will save you time and money.  You will not have to put out your deductible and spend your time on unnecessary clean up.  Call us if you have any questions about your Homeowner’s Policy.

What to do after a property loss.

Bad things happen to the best of people; if you suffer a loss here are a few tips
to navigate through this process and help you get on the road to recovery.

Immediately

  • Look out for the safety of your family.
  • Do not enter your home unless you’re sure it’s safe. Depending on the type of
    disaster, there may be exposed electrical wires, standing water or even structual
    damage. If you have any concerns about the structural or environmental safety of
    your home, do not enter.
  • Contact your insurance company by phone as soon as possible.  You can also follow up with us for any questions you many have regarding your claim.
  •  When reporting your claim have your policy number handy and be prepared to provide
    your contact information so your adjuster can reach you throughout the claim process.
    It’s important that you provide all your phone numbers and email info.

Once the Claims Process Has Begun

  • Take account of your loss and separate the damaged from the undamaged property.
  • If available, provide your adjuster with photos or video recordings of the loss site prior  to the event. This will assist your adjuster with the damage evaluation process.
  • If necessary, have a qualified repair service or contractor make temporary repairs to prevent additional loss. Be sure to obtain a bill or invoice for this service so you can present it to your adjuster for consideration of reimbursement.
  • If  your home is uninhabitable, check with your agent or check your policy to determine if  you have coverage for Additional Living Expenses.
  • Save all receipts to document your increase in living expenses while your home is uninhabitable.
  • Contact the utility companies to discontinue service if your home is uninhabitable or destroyed.

Financial Concerns

  • Investigate the availability of special loans and/or grants via the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), the U.S. Small Business Administration, the  American Red Cross, local government agencies, private lenders and philanthropic organizations.
  • Call to apply for federal disaster aid at 1-800-462-9029 (or 1-800-462-7585 for TDD Telecommunications Device for the Deaf) or online at FEMA.      You’ll be required to provide your social security number, insurance information and the extent of the damage to your property. Be sure to obtain a control number that is assigned to your application.

Starting that new home improvement project?

Time to remodel or expand the home?  Have you called your insurance agent who insures your home?

Yes, always contact your agent when you start a project.  There are several reasons to contact your agent:

  • You may need to increase your coverage to reflect the increase in replacement cost of your home.  Remember, the majority of homes are underinsured.  Don’t get caught short if you have a fire and need to rebuild your home.
  • If you purchase additional items of personal property, discuss insuring them  to see if you need additional coverage.
  • Consider Flood Insurance; Homeowner’s policies do not cover flood.
  • Check to see if the remodeling earned you any discounts on your homeowner’s insurance premium:
    • Did you add an alarm?
    • Did you upgrade your plumbing, roof, heating or electrical?

Here are a few additional tips:

  • Make sure you contractor is insured.  Ask for a Certificate of Insurance from your contractor with you listed on the certificate.
  • Ask the builder or contractor if you need a Builders’ Risk policy.  Better yet, call your agent and discuss your need for a Builders’ Risk policy.

For more information and tips from FEMA and Spencer Insurance on how to protect yourself from bad contractors, check out our website at http://spencerinsurance.com/remodeling-your-home/.  Don’t find out too late that you did not have the right coverage.  Call your agent as soon as you start planning a project.

 

Are the hurricanes, tornados, earthquakes, wild fires and flooding over?

Earthquakes, hurricanes and flooding?

I must be talking about the West Coast, Midwest and Mississippi Valley regions.  Before August and September of 2011 if I talked to clients about earthquake insurance
and flood insurance, people would look at me like I had two heads!

August and September changed all that!  I don’t know about you but I am tired of cleaning water out of my basement.  Fortunately for me, I had only a few inches each time and my basement is not a finished basement.

Did you have the proper coverage for all your storm related problems?  Can you find the protection you need?  Did you check with your agent?

Now that the dust has settled a bit, it is time to review your homeowner’s insurance with your agent. Here is a list of the most frequent claims our clients reported from the recent storms and flooding:

  • Wind/Fallen tree damage
  • Sump pump failure and water backup
  • Flooding
  • Cars flooded
  • Roof damage

Another issue that pops up during a named storm is your deductible.  There is an insurance company is Pennsylvania that puts a “Named Storm” deductible on homeowner’s policies.  That deductible can be 2% of your “coverage A”.  That means if you have damage to your house from a “Named Storm” like Irene, you may need to pay the first 2%.  If your house is insured
for $250,000 that means your deductible is $5000.  Does your policy have this “Named Storm” deductible?

This type of “Named Storm or Hurricane” deductible is common in coastal areas or areas hit by tornadoes.  We may see more companies adding this type of deductible in Pennsylvania.  However, what many people do not know is they can lower that deductible or eliminate it and just have a normal $500 or $1000 deductible.  Sure, it will cost a few dollars more but it may be worth it.

Call your agent today to discuss your homeowner’s policy and to make sure you are covered for the above list of claims.

By the way. . . the three flooding claims that were reported to our office were in “B” or “X” zones  which are not considered 100 year flood areas and do not require the purchase of flood insurance.  All three clients were extremely happy they purchased the flood insurance even though they were not required to have it.  One of their neighbors who did not have flood insurance wants us to quote them.

Share with me by commenting below what your experience was with the storm.  If you have a question ask it in the comment section and I will respond.  As the Boy Scouts motto reads: Be Prepared!

For more tips visit our Website.

 

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