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Homeowners insurance in California

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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 v andalism 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 st ands for Difference in Conditions.  It is an endorsement or amendment to a st andard 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 h and in h and to provide coverage for consumers who are unable to secure a st andard homeowner policy in the marketplace.

The More You Know

Insurance can be one of the most confusing items in your life – but it shouldn’t be. If you know what questions to ask and can find someone to give you the right answers, you will find all the clarity you need. Here are some things we think you should know or ask in regards to various types of insurance:

What type of insurance do I need?
Once I have guaranteed replacement coverage for my home, do I need anything else?
If I have a home office/business, do I need any special insurance?
Does homeowner’s insurance cover me if, say, someone slips on my front steps, breaks a leg and sues me?
How do I decide the amount of coverage I want or need?
How much or how little is covered?
Should I just let the bank pick my policy?
How do I know if an item needs additional coverage?
Are all accidents in my home covered?
What discounts do I get if I have added safety features?
Is coverage for legal assistance included?
Is car insurance an absolute must?
What about life insurance?
How can I figure out how much life insurance I need?
Can I control the cost of coverage?
Does health insurance help if I’m sick or injured and laid up for a while?

There are so many other questions and items to consider for all of the various insurance you may need. We can answer all of those questions for you and give you the knowledge and control to enable you to make the most informed decisions.

The More You Know
The More You Know

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 thous ands 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!

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Home Inventory: Important Tips For Making One

Every home needs a home inventory updated at least once a year. Homeowners who live in hurricane stricken areas like Florida, coastal regions of Alabama or Louisiana and Texas are used to putting together a home inventory on a regular basis, but for those homeowners who live in the Midwest or in regions of the country without hurricane season abounding, they may think there is no need for a home inventory. This just is not the case!

No matter what part of the country you live in, a home inventory is a must have because fire, flood, and wind or tornado damage as well as theft or lost property can happen to anyone at any time. Not having your home inventoried can make the process of dealing with insurance agents an absolute nightmare, especially if you are trying to visualize from memory everything that was lost, damaged or stolen in your home while speaking to an insurance agent on the phone. The best bet for making sure your household goods are replaced to the fullest extent, is to keep some type of home inventory to help better replace these items.

There are several different ways to inventory the belongings in a home. Of course one of the easiest ways to inventory items is to get a notebook and pen and walk from room to room writing down anything that would or should be replaced in case of damage or loss. Inventorying items this way can be time consuming, but allows for everything in the room to be examined and approximate values to be determined, which should be included on an inventory list. The next step up from pen and paper would be to write the home inventory on a Microsoft excel spreadsheet or simply in a Microsoft Word file.

If the means are available for more hi-tech versions of inventorying home items, this is probably the best option. Simply turn the date and time stamp on the 35mm or digital camera and go from room to room taking pictures of each room, labeling the pictures with item information once the pictures have been developed.

Many homeowners also use video cameras to go around the house recording what each room looks like at a certain time and date. This is a great way to get a live action shot of what the material items look like at present and can easily be h anded over to an insurance company.

A few tips to keep in mind when creating an inventory is to always keep receipts for major purchases and store these with the home inventory. The more you can estimate for the Homeowners insurance company the price and date an item was paid for, the more likely a price near that cost will be given back for repayment. If possible, it is also best to write down where the item was purchased at, the model number and a manufacturer’s name.

As well, it is important to always note the date and time on the inventory, and this is why using a still or video camera is a great idea. Although the Homeowners insurance company is supposed to be on the side of the insured, they will be estimating costs at a minimum to save themselves money. So be smart about a home inventory, so that items will be replaced at full cost and in a timely manner.

Remember that it is not necessary to inventory items that would not be missed if they are lost or damaged, such as a paperback novel or a $10 pair of flip-flops, but if you are a book collector who has an extensive collection of antique books or a shoe collector who has hundreds of dollars worth of shoes, be sure to inventory these items.

Of course large items like furniture, artwork, appliances, electronics, large sports equipment, and large outdoor equipment should absolutely be inventoried. It is probably wise to also inventory or at least photograph clothes, home interior accessories, tool sets, kitchenware, and even workout equipment, but the major rule of thumb is to know the value of your own personal property to determine if it is worth adding to a home inventory list.

After the home inventory is created it should be placed somewhere other than the home. This could be stored at a family member or neighbor’s home, although the safest place for a home inventory list is in a safety deposit box or a fire and flood proof security box.

Home Insurance Rates

Insurance premiums are calculated according to several risk factors. These are the factors identified by the insurance company as most likely to have an impact on the insured against risk occurring. Insurance is a significant cost associated with the item insured and should not be rushed into. It is always a good idea to shop around for the best price available. Insurance premiums will vary considerably from insurer to insurer so do your homework.

Shopping Around

Look up the various insurance companies you are interested in and ask them for a quote. They can usually give you a rough estimate fairly quickly and even more exact quotes should also be possible if you provide more details and wait. You should also look up insurers online and get instant quotes from their website. This is a very fast and effective way of shopping around. You will get a good idea of what prices to expect. You can also experiment with the quotation websites to see what effect it makes to your premium price if you select different options. With all insurance policies you will have a number of options that affect the price of the policy. Therefore you should think about these options and if there are risks that you do not wish to cover then let the insurer know as your premium should become cheaper.

Doubling Up

You should also try to make sure you do not double insure. It is a principle of insurance that you cannot benefit from the insured event’s occurrence. So you cannot get paid twice even if you have two insurance policies. So if a risk is already covered by one policy, again let your insurer know so they can remove it from their calculation.

Location, Location, Location

Home insurance rates depend on factors such as address. If your home is located in an are of high crime, or an area that flood often, or is prone to earthquakes, hurricanes or other significant risks, this will be reflected in the policy price. The security you have installed will also affect the premium you must pay. If you have a sophisticated security system this will obviously make your home safer and this will reduce the risk. Similarly, fire alarm systems and sprinklers can decrease your premium. In some areas, flood prevention measures may be taken into account. The size and value of your home will be another important factor, as clearly a more expensive home will cost more if it is damaged.

Many home insurance policies will require you not to leave the home unoccupied, and if you are renting out the home, this will also affect the premium.

Home Insurance Quotes

With all the rising costs in the world consumers are looking for ways to cut costs and save money. Americans spend billions of dollars every year on their home insurance policies. It does not take a genius to figure out that every homeowner needs insurance, most people consider their home to be their greatest asset.

Thous ands of homeowners are reaping the rewards that comes from filling out a FREE home insurance quote. Many are receiving 25-30% discounts on their policies while becoming more educated about the home insurance that is right for them. Here are a few tips that might help you when you are shopping for that “Perfect” insurance policy.

Increase Your Deductible

Just like auto insurance, policies have deductibles, and the same rule of thumb applies–carry the highest deductible you can afford. The higher your deductible, the more premium credit you can expect to receive from your insurance company. Your savings could reach 25% by increasing the deductible from $100 to $1000.

Improve Your Home Security

Most insurance companies offer discounts for smoke detectors, burglar alarms, dead bolts, fire extinguishers, and Neighborhood Watch Areas. Homes with a fire and burglar alarm system hooked up to a third-party monitoring company receive higher discounts than homes with local bell alarms.

Consolidate Policies

Insuring two or more vehicles with the same insurance company can save you 10 – 15% on your premiums. If you cover your homeowners insurance and auto insurance together, you can reduce your premiums by another 10 – 15%.

Construction Type

Before buying a home, consider its construction type, such as frame or concrete block and steel (CBS). A wood frame house typically costs more to insure than one built mostly of concrete.

Verify Distance To Fire Stations And Windstorm Areas

If you live in the country, you’ll probably pay higher rates for your insurance than if you lived in town. Why? It’s because of the longer distance to your local fire station. If you live more than 5 miles from the nearest fire station, and more than 1,000 feet from a fire hydrant, you will most likely pay a higher premium.

Before purchasing your home, you may want to get a quote for both and flood insurance. Insurance companies may not offer you windstorm or flood coverage, depending upon the area in which you live. If your home is in a hurricane prone area and your insurance company offers windstorm coverage, then installing approved hurricane shutters should result in a premium discount.

Claims Free Record And Renewal Discounts

If you have not had a claim under your policy during the past 3 – 5 consecutive years, you could receive up to a 15% discount, depending on the insurance company. Plus, most companies will discount your premium if your policy has been in force for 3 straight years.

Mortgage Free Discounts

Some insurance companies target who have paid off their mortgage and offer them premium discounts of up to 5%.

New And Renovated Home Discounts

A majority of insurance companies offer a discount for new homes, and you may qualify if your home was built in the last 10 – 15 years. Also, a recently renovated home costs less to insure, so find out when the last major electrical, heating and plumbing update was completed on the home.

Live-In House Keeper

Some insurers offer up to a 2% premium credit if you have a live-in employee as they feel it could reduce the likelihood of burglary.

Conclusion

After reviewing the foregoing savings tips, you may think that if you added up all your credits you could receive a 70 – 90% reduction in your premiums. Unfortunately, it doesn’t work that way. Certain safety or other measures you take may qualify you for being placed with the “preferred” company of a particular insurance group. This “preferred” company will be able to give you more premium credits than a st andard company is able to.

Home Insurance Quote Online – What You Need To Know Before Shopping Online – What You Need To Know Before Shopping

The information that you receive when shopping for insurance online is only as good as the information that you input when you make your request. The homeowner insurance quote is relatively easy if you have the basic information needed to give you an accurate quote. The online quoting system will respond to your request very quickly once you input all the data. There are different types of homeowner policies for different types of homes. The residential home, the townhouse, and the condominium all require slightly different coverage. The age of the home also dictates the type of policy that you should purchase.

The online insurance calculators rely heavily on certain criteria when determining the actual rate. The actual square footage of your home is the starting point for most insurance companies. Square footage is used because home builders use it to estimate the cost to rebuild a house. You can find the accurate square footage on your home from the original house appraisal or plot plan. Once you have the square footage then you can add the upgrades like fireplaces, air conditioning, and finished basements. The online insurance calculators will often ask for a percentage of your total basement area that is finished.

There are several questions asked during online quoting about possible discounts. There is a protective device discount for having deadbolt locks, smoke detectors and a fire extinguisher. There are even larger discounts for burglar and fire alarm systems that ring directly into the police station and fire department. There will also be a variety of deductibles. It is wise to purchase the highest deductible that you can afford. Lower deductibles no longer justify the high premiums. Homeowner claims are too infrequent.

These are the basic things to look for when shopping. Use your insurance renewal declarations page if you are a comparison shopper. You will be able to move very quickly through the online quoting process if you have this information available.

Home Insurance and Hurricane Preparations

The violent winds, rains and storm damage from hurricanes can devastate communities and cause billions of dollars worth of destruction. The losses from hurricanes this year alone have surpassed that from almost any other natural disaster in years. The risk to your home and possessions can be enormous and you really should be considering insurance cover for hurricane damage if you live in any area that is exposed to the risk of hurricane. As well as insurance cover however, there are other steps you can be taking to prepare for, and minimise the damage to your property and risk to your family that hurricanes pose.

Since the Atlantic hurricane season in June and continues through till the end of November, there is a significant of the year during which you should be in some way for hurricane threats. Some of the preparations below will be required by insurance policies, others will not but are still helpful to you and your family. Some of them may even be able to bring down your insurance policy price as the insurance company recognises that you are safer than you otherwise would be and are therefore less likely to be making a claim.

Be Prepared

First of all you should be familiar with the terms of your insurance policy and any disaster preparedness and response plans they have. These will help you in the case that disaster does strike or you find yourself in need of making a claim.

If you think you may need to evacuate your area, you should contact the appropriate authorities before h and to know what those requirements will be. You should have a plan formulated in advance and if there are shelters nearby you should know where they are and how to get to them.

Keep supplies such as food, water, gasoline, portable radios and batteries stored somewhere safe so they will be available to you in the emergency. Several flashlights with extra batteries should be included. Copies of important identification and insurance documentation would also be useful in certain situations to speed up applications in the event that wide spread devastation occurs. Medical supplies such as aspirin and aspirin free painkillers, antacid, b andages, gauze and disinfectant are also useful.

While insurance is a very important step you should be taking to protect your possessions and family in the event of disaster, there are many other steps you can take to prepare for the situation also.

Home Insurance

It seems like accidents, disasters, and catastrophes only strike when you’re uninsured. Even if your policy only lapses one day, that will be the day that the neighbor’s tree falls into your house. Not having home insurance these days is a bad idea, for every year on the news we hear about some new tragic event that has occurred because Nature had her way. Even a simple summer thunderstorm can cause wreckage and property damage. And you know that it’s better to be prepared, even if insurance seems never to pay off.

Though the entire idea of paying money to a company every single month “just in case” something happens seems a little ridiculous, these days you can’t get by without insurance. Even the incredibly lucky will have unlucky days. The last thing you want is to be the one throwing your h ands up and lamenting the next time there’s a flood, tornado, or earthquake. Repair costs to damaged property and destroyed valuables often ends up being much more costly in the end.

So, you know that you have to have insurance on your home. But that doesn’t mean that you can afford to pay costly rates to protect your property. After all, everyone has to live within a certain budget, and usually there isn’t room for much extra. So how can you safely insure all your property and still afford to live on your property?

It’s always a great idea to shop around and find the cheapest quotes, but who honestly has the time to stay on the phone all day? There are ways to find the best deal on your home insurance without wasting a lot of your own valuable time. First, know how to cross-deal and, if possible, lump your insurance together.

If you already own a car, boat, or have any type of insurance on anything (even life insurance on yourself), you may be able to get a better deal all the way around. Call your insurance provider or insurance agent and tell them you’d like to talk about home insurance, you already have existing insurance, and can they be linked together? You’d be surprised how many companies offer deals this way, and in some cases your existing insurance becomes much cheaper. Even if you are only renting, you’ll find that renter’s insurance is affordable and can lower your car insurance costs. For those who already have insurance policies, or need multiple insurance, the best thing to do is to get all the insurance you need from one agent or company. Not only is this often much cheaper than buying several different policies, it saves you a lot of aggravation and extra bills. It’s much easier to write a single check for all your insurance every month than five different checks to five different companies.

Another way to find the best quotes on home insurance is to use the Internet. Through any search engine, you’ll be able to find sites where you can compare the quotes of several different companies at the same time. Often by filling out a single online form, shoppers will be able to compare many policies at once. Calling around on the phone to essentially do the same thing could take hours, but with the Internet getting quotes is as simple as clicking a button. Many sites offer these quotes for free, so you shouldn’t pay anything just to get home insurance quotes.

Home insurance is something that all homeowners should have. Rental insurance can protect renters, and is often purchased at very affordable prices. Insurance doesn’t have to be expensive, and getting the best rates doesn’t have to be a hassle. By finding the best deals, and getting the best price, you’ll have money in your pocket and your home will still be secure.

Health Insurance Options

Copyright 2006 Stacey Zimmerman

Health insurance is one of the most important types of insurance available for American consumers. There are a variety of options available when choosing health insurance, however, the main purpose of health insurance is to provide the “insured” with financial coverage that will help pay for the cost of care during thee sickness. Health insurance may also cover things such as hospital beds, lab tests, medicine, surgeries, x-rays, and more. Health Insurance will pay the cost of medical expenses due to sickness, illnesses, accidents, and childbirth. Each health insurance policy is different and it is recommended to determine what types of services will be covered when choosing and comparing health insurance plans. The most common type of Health Insurance is Private Sector Health Insurance. Health Insurance varies from life insurance in a few ways. First, health insurance is purchased annually, and there is no guarantee that premium costs will not rise with each renewal policy.

Before you can qualify for medical insurance, you will more than likely need to undergo a series of routine tests. These tests will screen out any underlying conditions that may require you to need more medical services. Based upon the results of the tests, you may or may not qualify for medical insurance. Unfortunately, many today are facing life without any insurance at all. There are many plans available and many different service providers and brokers that offer a wide variety of health care coverage to qualified individuals. For those who cannot afford to pay the premium cost of health insurance, they may qualify to receive government insurance through their state. The two programs run by the United States government are Medicare and Medicaid. Some local counties may also offer free healthcare to uninsured people through programs that are either federally funded or working on grant monies.

Many people are discovering that they cannot afford the premium price of the healthcare plans that are offered by their place of employment. This does not mean that they have no options available. The first step in determining whether you can afford your company’s health care insurance is to speak with your Human Resource department and see if there is a plan that they offer that meets your needs. You also have the option of researching a number of insurance brokers and agents online. This is a great way to find a free quote and get in touch with different brokers easily. By simply filling out a small questionnaire over the Internet, you will then receive a return phone call by brokers or agents who are interested in signing you to a policy.

Finally, it is important that you choose your health insurance plan carefully. Your plan is a legal binding contract and you have many rights to medical services and covered costs once you enter into this agreement. You should know your rights and underst and the terms of your policy plan. Since most people agree that quality health insurance is the most important benefit that companies offer their employees it is necessary that you take the time to read the literature that pertains to your policy plan.

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