Insurance is there to help us pay for life’s big surprises. Insurance can be expensive, confusing, and annoying, but it’s so helpful to have when a natural disaster occurs, or when a household problem causes major damage.
When a disaster strikes, your focus should be on regaining your life and putting it back to normal. In order to do that, you will have to navigate the world of insurance to get back what you lost. Here are some tips to help you now, before a disaster occurs. These tips will help you be prepared in case you have to use your home owner’s policy for a flood, hurricane, tornado or break-in.
What Home-Owner’s Insurance Covers:
A typical home-owners policy will pay for damage to your property and possessions in the event of a (covered) storm, house fire, or vandalism. Most homeowner’s insurance policies also have a feature called “shelter costs”, so you don’t have to pay for hotel bills if you cannot live in your home temporarily.
What Home-Owner’s Insurance Doesn’t Cover:
Certain disasters may not covered by your policy, and it helps to know this in advance. There is no coverage for sump pumps, wear and tear, marring, deterioration, smog, rust, pollutants, settling, shrinking of foundations, walls, floors, roofs or ceilings. Other unforeseen issues such as war, nuclear failure, power outages, and government related issues are generally not covered. Typical covered instances (there could be exceptions to these) are fire, lightning, windstorm or hail, and vandalism, etc.
Inside Water Damage:
Water damages account for 70% of all home owner’s insurance claims. As a result, certain types of damage are excluded in your coverage. Water damage from busted water pipes is covered, but water damage from sewage or ground flooding coming from the outside of the home may not be. Mold damage from water can be covered if there was a sudden pipe break. Mold damage from a leaky basement wall, may not be covered.
When you are considering filing a claim for water damage, you need to know where the leak is coming from and have it stopped immediately!
Whether you use a public adjuster or your insurance company to file a claim with, you are expected to minimize the damage from any water leaks and stop any further damage (mold problems or hidden damage). You will need to decide who to call about your claim before damage gets worse.
Take Action to Reduce Your Insurance Premiums!
Adding these things to your home can lower your insurance rates. After placing these items in your home, call your insurance company and ask that your premium be lowered!
· Adding smoke detectors on each floor, and in the kitchen.
· Adding a burglar alarm.
· Adding deadbolts to all outside doors.
Pay Attention to the Small Things
If you notice that your water bill has just doubled, and you don’t recall any company coming over, you could have a water leak. If you see a water spot on the ceiling that wasn’t three before the last rain storm, you may want to have it inspected. Sometimes, your early detection can avoid costly repairs. It helps to notice the small things when it comes to maintaining a home.
Understanding “Replacement Cost” Terminology In Your Policy
If you have a break in, and realize that your television or computer has been stolen, you may not get it replaced. The loophole in your policy will be that it will be replaced at current value, and possibly depreciated based on its age and condition. In other words, the price you paid for it will now be less in terms of actual value/cost.
Replacement costs cover repairs or replaces things that have been lost or damaged. However, the cost to replace items is based on what it costs today. Some items loss value over time, while some may hold or increase in value
When Calling Your Insurance Company, Make a Record of Everything!
When beginning a claim, you need to make a record of everything that was said between you, your agent, and the insurance representatives. Insurance companies make records, but they are for them, NOT YOU. You must save all of your receipts, papers from appointments, estimates, and photographs of the damage. You need a record of who you talked to and when.
Public Adjuster, Steven Venook, of Advocate Claims, tells his clients to “Save samples of the carpet, hardwood, and tile before throwing it out. This will prove the quality of what you had in your home before the damage occurred. You can’t argue with a sample in hand!”
Disclaimer: Each insurance policy is different in the written text, contents and coverage. Policy law varies from state to state, and from carrier to carrier within each state, therefore each policy will vary in coverage. The tips mentioned are notifications of policy terminology to be aware of. As a policy-holder, you must read your policy to know what is covered. This article is general information only, and does not guarantee your coverage.