Homeowners Insurance Archives - Susman
Home / Blog

Blog

Homeowners insurance in California

Will my homeowners insurance policy be non-renewed?

The California Department of Insurance provides insurance companies with the ability to review risks and exposures each year to ensure they conform to their current underwriting guidelines. In 2018 alone, there were over 8,527 fires that destroyed over 1,893,913 acres. There is a possibility that due to these losses, your homeowner insurance policy may be non-renewed by your carrier, if it no longer meets the eligibility guidelines they file with the state and have approved by the Department of Insurance.

Will the premium I am paying on my homeowner insurance policy increase?

Premiums are determined based on various factors including the size of your home, year built, the amount of insurance you have, the location of your home, your loss history, as well as the overall claims exposure and paid losses your insurance company has had.  As of May 2019, insurance claims paid out due to the 2018 wildfires exceeded $12,000,000,000.  Based on the catastrophic nature of these losses and claims paid, you should expect the rate you pay for your homeowner insurance to increase.

What is a non-admitted insurance company?

A non-admitted insurance company is an insurance company that has not filed its rates and underwriting guidelines with the California Department of Insurance and therefore is not licensed to provide insurance products in the state. Note that not licensed does not mean unregulated and such insurers can nevertheless write coverage through excess and surplus lines brokers licensed in the state. They must meet certain criteria to become an approved non-admitted market in the state and be allowed to offer policies.  You may see a list of insurance companies that are approved by checking on the Department of Insurance’s List of Approved Surplus Lines Insurers (LASLI) list. 

What does the California FAIR Plan Association cover?

The California FAIR Plan is an insurance association comprised of all insurers authorized to transact basic property insurance in California. It was established under Insurance Code statute Section 10091 in August of 1968 to offer coverage to high-risk homeowners who have trouble obtaining coverage through another insurer.  It has no public funding or taxpayers’ monies and is not a state agency.  Arguably, it is stronger than any single insurer since it has the financial backing of all admitted insurance companies writing property insurance in California.  Some of the coverage that is available from FAIR plan is fire, lightning, smoke, and internal explosion. Optional coverage may also be purchased when available for windstorm or hail, explosion, riot, aircraft, vehicles and vandalism or malicious mischief.  Most notable omissions from a FAIR Plan policy include but are not limited to liability insurance, workers comp coverage, water damage coverage and theft of property.

What is a DIC insurance policy?

When discussing an insurance policy in California, a DIC policy stands for Difference in Conditions.  It is an endorsement or amendment to a standard or preferred homeowners insurance policy that removes the peril of fire from the covered causes of loss list.  A DIC policy is purchased in conjunction with a fire policy from the California FAIR Plan Association in order to add in the liability, workers comp, water damage and theft coverage.  The two policies go hand in hand to provide coverage for consumers who are unable to secure a standard homeowner policy in the marketplace.

How I Saved $472 on My Homeowner’s Insurance

Looking for the best deal on homeowner’s insurance? You want to save money, but you also need to make sure that you’re fully covered by a reliable company in case something ever happens. You don’t have to browse for bare bones policies in order to save money! Talk to your insurance agent about these five discounts and you can save $472 annually, just like I did!

  1. Security Savings – $128

Insurance companies offer big discounts for security systems, and it’s not as hard to capitalize on as you’d think. We have a simple Nest security camera and I almost didn’t mention it because I thought that it had to be a comprehensive, wired system. Nope! Even a Ring doorbell or simple wifi camera in your window can help you save big.

  1. Safety First – $32

You should already have smoke detectors installed, so make sure that you’re getting credit for them. Whether you have a comprehensive wired system or individual battery smoke detectors, it’s easy to receive fire safety discounts.

  1. Education Counts – $51

Did you know that your college education is a discount? As it turns out, my BA college degree instantly saves me $51 a year! Getting the degree was a lot of hard work, but this discount sure is easy. It also applies to BS or equivalent and any higher education degrees.

  1. Update? Discount! – $128

Updating your home can help you save on more than just heating and repair costs. We completed several much-needed renovation projects, ranging from plumbing to heating and air, electrical, and fixing the roof. That hard work saves us more than $100 every year with a lower premium. Updates are expensive, so make sure to grab your rightful discounts!

  1. All Bundled Up – $132

Chances are, you probably need both home and auto insurance. Enjoy the biggest discount available simply by bundling them together with the same company and save money on both policies. After comparing policies, we knew exactly what company we wanted to choose for homeowner’s insurance and adding auto to the bundle was the obvious choice.

With Susman Insurance, you’ll enjoy the best mix of personal service and automated quote tools, so it’s easy to get the best deal. You can get a quote now!  I saved $472 on my insurance simply by having a conversation!

Protect That Payment

Real estate concept

The purchasing of a new home means you need some additional insurance. Something you should consider is Mortgage Protection Insurance.

Mortgage Protection Insurance is like life insurance protection for your home or property. It pays your mortgage in situations like death, loss of your income source or job or become disabled.  The cost of Mortgage Protection Insurance varies from one person to another. There are other factors taken into consideration by insurance providers in assessing your insurance cost. Some of the factors include your type of work, your age, health status and value of the property and your mortgage payment among others. The mortgage protection Insurance is relatively easy to get and providers usually ask few questions on the application form, which means that overwhelming majority of home owners can get this insurance. It is beneficial to people who may be deemed uninsurable or for those considered “high risk” which generally carry higher rates. People who work in situations deemed as high risk occupations or people with health issues may also benefit from buying a Mortgage Protection Insurance.

Whether you choose to get this additional insurance or not, there are serious benefits to consider and you should always prioritize protecting yourself, your family, and your home.

 

Through the Window

How do you protect your home?

We are sure you know there are many ways to keep your home safe and secure – alarm system, cameras, attack dog, armed guards, etc.… Did you know one important piece of home safety and security are your windows?

Your windows are basically used to keep the good in and the bad out.  So, how do you do that?

  • – Put locks on every window
  • – Place LOUD alarms on every window – loud enough to deter anyone from continuing to enter your home
  • – Use windows made of reinforced glass, making them much harder to break
  • – Consider outdoor window bars. They now come in many decorative options.
  • – Utilize shutters or window gates
  • – Install security film over all the windows and glass doors

Have your own window security ideas?  Feel free to comment below and share them with us.  Together, we can help keep all our homes safe and secure!

window-lock

Holiday Crime

Did you know that per police department statistics all over the United States, crime rates for theft and robbery increase dramatically during the holiday season? The time of year that is supposed to make people tankful, grateful, and feel more charitable, causes certain types of people to prey on those with gifts loaded into cars and piled under the tree.  Burglary, theft, fraud, harassment, stalking, alcohol induced violence, and many other issues and crimes kill the holiday spirit and can happen anywhere.  Be on the lookout for any suspicious activity.  Always make sure you lock your doors – at home, your business, and your car.  Don’t leave any shopping bags or personal belongings within clear view.  Keep some lights on when you are gone and avoid keeping curtains open so strangers can’t look inside.

The holidays should be a fun and happy time for you and your loved ones.  Unfortunately, reality has a mean way of reminding us that not everyone has the same respect for each other and that there are bad people among the good ones.  It is easy to get lost in all the shopping chaos and magic of the season – but just keep your eyes open a little wider and takes the couple extra steps to keep yourself and your loved ones protected.  Oh – and the presents.  You want to protect those too!

holiday-crime-prevention

Keeping Your Home Safe

Our previous blog was about protecting and keeping your children safe on Halloween.  There is something else you need to keep safe as well – your home.  Whether you stay home to hand-out candy or join your kids in the neighborhood, you still need to take steps to keep you home out of harm’s way as much as you can.  It is unfortunate that property crime increases on Halloween, but you can still try to decreases the incidences.

Start by reviewing your insurance.  You want to make sure you are covered in the event of vandalism or burglary – the two mist popular crimes on Halloween.  If something happens, you will want that policy to be updated well in advance.  You also want to review your car insurance policy. If you park your car outside, it is worth it to make sure you are protected from vandalism to your vehicle.

Don’t turn-off all your lights.  Some people do this to let other know they aren’t handing out candy.  Other do it when they leave to take the kids out.  Either way, leave a light and television on to make people think someone is home.  A couple of rings of the doorbell might be annoying, but not as much as a break-in would be.  Yes – break-ins happen all the time on Halloween, because there are so many people walking around that hardly anyone notices what is going on. KEEP LIGHTS ON!

Stay off of social media.  Announcing where you will be and when gives criminals the perfect opportunity to find you or your empty home.

We hope you have a safe and happy night!

imagesR2C3YPY4

New Home

In the market for a new home? How about your FIRST home? This is both exciting and stressful. However, to elevate some of the stress and confusion, there are lots of things you can do to help make the house hunt easier and the entire process less stressful.

–        Make sure you are saving/have saved for a down payment, closing costs, taxes, and insurance.

–        Constantly work on improving your credit score

–        Calculate exactly what you can afford and don’t go over budget

–        Get pre-approved to see if it matches your budget

–        Choose a realtor

–        Make at ‘wishlist’ of what you want in a home

–        Visit homes – hopefully find your dream home and make an offer

You also want to make sure you look at safe neighborhoods. While crime happens in all areas, moving to an area that is less prone and already has a low documented crime rate will give you peace of mind.

Don’t forget to add in other costs as well – utilities, landscaping, remodel/renovations. You might find an amazing deal on the house with a mortgage you can afford and then go WAY over your monthly budget, because of all the extras.

Take your time and don’t rush. Purchasing a new home – especially your first home – should be taken very seriously with a focus on every detail.

1st-time-hb

Flood Preparation

Flooding is the most common natural disaster in the United States and can happen anywhere at any time.  It may happen with only a few inches of water, or it may cover a house to the rooftop. While it can happen without notice, there are some areas that are more prone to flooding.  The physical damage caused by flooding depends on the speed and level of the water, the duration, terrain, and environment.  It can cause fatalities and serious injuries, wreck transportation routes, cause power outages may be disrupted, contaminate drinking water, and collapse homes and buildings. Even a few inches can cause thousands of dollars in damage.

There are steps you can take to prepare for flooding and to minimize your losses.

 

Safeguard your possessions and start by creating a personal flood file in a waterproof deposit box or container. Be sure to include:

A copy of your insurance policies

A household inventory for insurance purposes

Copies of all important documents, including finance records or receipts of major purchases

 

Prepare your house by making sure you always have battery operated back-up to all electronic items, keep your home and gutter clear of debris, raise all electrical components, move all valuables to a safe place.

 

Most importantly, you want to develop a family emergency plan.  Always create a kit to include water, canned food, first aid, blankets, a radio, and a flashlight. Be aware of all emergency contact numbers, plan an evacuation route, and be sure to have a plan for your pets as well.

While you are at it- -update that flood insurance policy!

151229-missouri-floods-01_8282526d8ac0f9a0b622f027442f295a.nbcnews-ux-2880-1000

Fixer Upper

Looking to spend a portion of your summer vacation making improvements and updates to your home?  While  you are going to incur additional expenses regardless, there are many ways you can make inexpensive renovations to your kitchen.

1. Reorganize! Drawers, cupboards, and counter space – they could all use some good organization and clean-up. It is free and decluttering always helps relieve stress!

2. Update! Give your kitchen walls an instant update with a fresh coat of paint or adding some nice framed photos and artwork.

3. Shop for the best deal and replace your oven hood with a shiny new one! This can make a huge difference in your kitchen.

4. While you are at it, replace your old faucets with shiny new ones as well.

5.  Invest in some lamps, new light fixture, or better light bulbs.

6.  Sometimes replacing knobs and handles make a bigger impact the replacing the cabinetry all together.  You can opt for a cheaper version and re-staining the cabinets for a new look.

7. Update the backsplash by creating a new one or using adhesive tiles over your existing one to create a new design.

Just remember – whether it is a small update or a complete remodel overhaul, make sure you speak to your insurance agent and update your home owners policy.  You don’t want all your hard work to be unprotected!

 

Homeowners Insurance

What is Homeowners Insurance?
Homeowners Insurance provides you with the coverage in case of a disaster. In the event of a disaster your homeowners insurance will provide you with financial protection. A homeowners insurance policy insures the home in which you live along with the possessions you keep in it.

Home Insurance is a Package Policy
Homeowners insurance is purchased in a package policy. A package policy means that it covers both damage to your property and your liability or legal responsibility for any injuries and property damage you or a member of your household cause to other people. Homeowners insurance also covers damage caused by household pets.

A homeowner’s insurance policy covers most disasters, however there are some exceptions such as floods, earthquakes and poor maintenance (Also known as wear and tear). If you want coverage for floods or earthquakes, you will have to purchase separate policies. However, maintenance related problems are the homeowner’s responsibility to take care of. In fact, keeping up with the maintenance of your home will help to reduce the likelihood of a loss in the future. A good example of this is the replacement of a roof that is showing signs of wear.

Overall it is very important to have homeowners insurance coverage that suits your specific needs. You never know when a loss is going to occur and you are going to need the money to fix it. Take Hurricane Katrina for example; there were many of people that were without homes because they didn’t have flood insurance. That is why it is very important that you get the proper coverage.

Remember that standard homeowner’s policies do not cover flooding so you will have to purchase that separate through your homeowner’s insurance agent. Discuss all of the possible exposures with your agent, broker, or insurance company.

Replacement Cost
Replacement cost coverage is available for the structure of your home; This allows you to repair the home to the state that it was before the damage took place. Actual cash value coverage is replacement cost less depreciation. The older your possessions are, the less you will recover from the homeowners insurance company.

Renters Insurance
Not only is insurance coverage available for homeowners it is also available for the people who rent apartments or houses. If you rent a house and you have a renters insurance policy, you will be covered in the event of a loss. The coverage for a renter is relatively inexpensive and will cover your property, your liability, and loss of use of the home due to a covered loss.

Coverage Types
The standard homeowner’s insurance policy includes four different types of coverage.
1) The coverage for the structure of your home is offered by the homeowner’s insurance company. This means that they will repair or rebuild your home in the event of a covered loss.
2) The coverage for your personal belongings that you have in your home is also covered by the homeowner’s insurance company. This means in the event of a claim that is covered by your insurance policy, your personal belongings will be able to be replaced. Note: It is a good idea to carry replacement cost coverage for your contents. This way, your items are not depreciated if there is a loss. With replacement cost coverage, your property can be replaced with items of like kind and quality.
3) Liability protection covers you in case of a law suit against bodily injury or property damage that you are your family members caused to another party.
4) Additional living expenses if you are temporarily unable to live in your home because of an insured disaster.

There can be more to a home insurance policy and there are limitations for certain types of property. It is best to discuss these options with a representative at the time your are applying for coverage.