Courtesy of iii.org
Courtesy of iii.org
You probably make a checklist for performing home repairs, a shopping list before hitting the grocery store, or perhaps a to-do list for work assignments but do you have a checklist for reviewing your insurance coverage? The start of hurricane season is right around the corner (June 1 November 30). So now’s the time to check your homeowners or renters insuranceand this handy list will make it easy to be sure you’re well-prepared in case a storm comes your way.
Check your policy limit; is it enough to rebuild your home?
Make sure to have enough coverage to completely rebuild your home in the event it is severely damaged or destroyed. And, remember, the real estate value of a house is not the same as the cost to rebuild.
Consider these homeowners coverages to help protect against the costs of rebuilding after a hurricane:
Do you know everything you own and how much it’s worth?
Imagine having to re-purchase all of your furniture, clothing and other personal possessions. Now think about what that would cost. Most insurers provide coverage for personal possessionsapproximately 50 to 70 percent of the amount of insurance you have on the structure of your home. Is this enough? The best way to determine what you actually need is to conduct a home inventorya detailed list of your belongings and their estimated value. The I.I.I.’s free Know Your Stuff Home Inventory tool can help.
Check what type of insurance you have for your belongings:
Does your policy provide enough Additional Living Expenses coverage?
Additional Living Expenses (ALE) coverage kicks in if your home is rendered uninhabitable as the result of a hurricane or other insured disaster. ALE covers the extra costs involved in living away from homehotel bills, restaurant meals and other expenses, over and above your customary living expensesincurred while your home is being repaired or rebuilt. If you rent out part of your home, this coverage also reimburses you for lost rental income.
Check that the coverage is adequate for your needs:
What is the percentage of the hurricane/windstorm deductible stated in your policy?
Insurers in every coastal state from Maine to Texas include separate deductibles for hurricanes and/or windstorms in their homeowners policies. Unlike the standard “dollar deductible” on an auto or home policy, a hurricane or windstorm deductible is usually expressed as a percentage. It is clearly stated on the Declarations (front) page of your homeowners policy.
Hurricane and windstorm deductibles generally range from 1 to 5 percent of the insured value of the structure of your home. A hurricane deductible is applied only to hurricanes whereas a windstorm deductible applies to any type of wind. If your policy has a hurricane deductible, it will clearly state the specific “trigger” that would cause the deductible to go into effect.
Keep in mind:
What disasters does your insurance policy cover?
Standard homeowners insurance policies provide coverage for hurricanes, wind, theft, fire, explosion, lightning strikes and a host of other disasters. However, all policies also list exclusionssuch as for flood or earthquakewhich are NOT covered by the policy. Get to know the exclusions in your policy and either talk to your Insurance Professional about purchasing separate coverage, or be prepared to pay the cost of those damages out-of-pocket.
Important additional coverages to consider in hurricane-prone areas:
But, wait, what about your flood insurance policy?
People tend to underestimate the risk of flooding, but 90 percent of all natural disasters include some form of floodingespecially hurricanes! If you live in a flood zone, or a hurricane-prone area, a separate flood insurance policy is a must. But it’s equally important to understand what it actually covers.
An NFIP flood insurance policy provides coverage for up to $250,000 in replacement cost coverage on the structure of the home and $100,000 in actual cash value coverage for personal possessions. Coverage for basements is limited, so make sure you understand what is considered a basement, as well as what is and is not covered in that area of the house. The NFIP policy also does not include coverage for ALE.
Additional tips about flood insurance:
If you rent, rather than own, your home, have you bought renters insurance?
While your landlord may provide insurance coverage for the structure of your home, as a renter you are responsible for your own belongings. Renters insurance covers the loss or destruction of your possessions if they are damaged by a hurricane or other disaster listed in the policy. A standard renters insurance policy also includes ALE coverage if you are unable to live in your house or apartment due to damage caused by a hurricane.
Flood insurance is also available for renters. However, as for homeowners, the NFIP flood insurance policies for renters do not include ALE coverage.
Don’t wait to review and update your insurance until after you have a lossthere are few things worse than finding out you did not have the right kind of coverage when you are already filing a claim. So before hurricane season kicks off, make sure you’ve reviewed home or renters insurance policy with this Hurricane Season Insurance Checklist. Call your Insurance Professional if you have any questions. They can provide guidance on how to get the insurance protection that’s best for your needs and budget.
For information on how to make your home more disaster resistant, go to the Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety (IBHS). For information on evacuation, go to the Federal Alliance for Safe Homes (FLASH).
. Courtesy of iii.org
Every year, millions of Americans safely enjoy outdoor barbecues, but accidents do happen. According to the U.S. Fire Administration, about 5,700 grill fires take place on residential property every year, causing an annual average of $37 million in damage, 100 injuries and 10 deaths. The majority of grill fires are caused by malfunctioning gas grills. In addition, thousands of people visit emergency rooms every year because they have burned themselves while barbecuing.
In the rare instance of a grill fire spreading to your property, your homeowners insurance would provide financial protection as fire is a covered peril. A homeowners policy covers the following:
Keep in mind youll have to pay your deductible before your insurance kicks in, so if damage is minimal and your deductible is high, it may not make sense to file an insurance claim.
However, the best way to enjoy a summer of outdoor barbecues is to take steps to prevent accidents, including maintaining your grill and using it safely.
Gas grills are generally safe if they are properly maintained and checked for leaks. In some instances, grills are unsafe due to faulty design or construction. (You can search the website of the Consumer Product Safety Commission to see if there has been a recall on your grill.) When setting up at the start of each grilling season, the following tips can help ensure everybodys safety:
When barbecuing, use common sense and follow these guidelines:
If a grill accidentor any kind of accidentdoes occur, injuries should be addressed immediately. Run cool water over minor burns, but do not cover injured areas with bandages, butter or salve. In the case of more serious burns, victims should visit the emergency room or an urgent care facility. If needed or when in doubt, call 911.
Once you have dealt with any injuries, assess your property damage and, if the situation calls for it, contact your insurance professional to discuss filing a claim. Courtesy of iii.org
Even normally docile dogs may bite when they are frightened or when defending their puppies, owners or food. However, the best way to protect yourself is to prevent your dog from biting anyone in the first place. The most dangerous dogs are those that fall victim to human shortcomings such as poor training, irresponsible ownership and breeding practices that foster viciousness.
“All dogs have the potential to bite, but for most, biting is a last resort,” said Victoria Stilwell, star of Animal Planet’s hit TV series It’s Me or the Dog. “If time is taken to raise, teach and socialize a dog correctly, the likelihood of a bite incident occurring is extremely low,” explained Stilwell, a passionate advocate for positive reinforcement training methods. “Confident dogs have less need to use aggressive behavior.”
National Dog Bite Prevention Week® (May 17-23, 2015), is an annual event designed to provide consumers with information on how to be responsible pet owners while increasing awareness of a serious public health issue.
Taking the following steps can reduce the chances of your dog biting someone:
The following organizations are committed to educating Americans about dog bite prevention: