- Personal possessions – coverage for your things (clothes, furniture, electronics, etc.) up to your coverage limit after your deductible.
- Personal liability – coverage if you’re ever legally responsible for an injury or property damage.
- Medical payments – coverage for medical expenses if someone (other than a resident) gets hurt in an accident at your place.
- Additional Living Expenses – coverage for extra temporary living expenses if your place is damaged and becomes uninhabitable.
- Tightening loose electrical connections
- Oiling all the moving parts
- Inspecting all gas connections
There are many reasons you might want to rent out your home on either a short- or long-term basis. Depending on the rental scenario, your standard homeowners policy may not cover losses incurred while your home is rented out, and you may require a more specialized insurance policy.
Short-Term Rentals/Primary Residence
If you are planning to rent out all or part of your primary residence for a short period of time, for instance, a week or several weekends, there will likely be two insurance scenarios.
- Some insurance companies may allow a homeowners or renters policyholder a short-term rental—assuming they have notified the company. Other insurers will require an endorsement (or rider) to the existing insurance policy in order to provide insurance coverage.
- If you plan to rent out your primary residence for short periods on a regular basis, to various “guests.” this would constitute a business. Standard homeowners insurance policies do not provide any coverage for business activities conducted in the home. To be properly covered you would need to purchase a business policy—specifically either a hotel or a bed and breakfast policy.
Long-Term Rentals/Second Home
If you are planning to lease your home to one person or a couple or family for a longer period of time, say six months or a year, you will likely need a landlord or rental dwelling policy. Landlord policies generally cost about 25 percent more than a standard homeowners policy to pay for increased protections. If you are regularly renting out a vacation home or investment property, this would also require a landlord or rental dwelling policy.
Landlord policies provide property insurance coverage for physical damage to the structure of the home caused by fire, lightning, wind, hail, ice, snow or other covered perils. It also offers coverage for any personal property you may leave on-site for maintenance or tenant use, like appliances, lawnmowers, and snow blowers.
The policy also includes liability coverage; if a tenant or one of their guests gets hurt on the property, it would cover legal fees and medical expenses.
Most landlord policies provide coverage for loss of rental income in the event you are not able to rent out the property while it is being repaired or rebuilt due to damage from a covered loss. This coverage is generally provided for a specific period of time.
As the landlord, your coverage is only on the structure itself and your financial interest in it. Your tenant’s personal possessions are not covered under your policy. In order to avoid disputes arising from damage to the renter’s belongings, many landlords require a tenant to buy renters insurance before signing a lease.
New Year’s Eve has always been a time for looking back to the past, and more importantly, forward to the coming year. It’s a time to reflect on the changes we want (or need) to make and resolve to follow through on those changes.
Unfortunately, while most New Year’s resolutions are made with vigor and hope, most people don’t make it past the first month with their resolutions.
With the following infographic, we wanted to take a look at the most common New Year’s resolutions, how likely they are to be abandoned, and what you can do to stick to your goals.
For example, did you know that happiness affects your ability to keep your resolutions? Or that smaller, more manageable resolutions have a much higher chance for success?
Please take a few moments to explore the attached infographic to hopefully find a little insight and/or inspiration as you are setting your own goals for the New Year.
- China and Crystal
- Golf Equipment
- Personal Computers
- Works of Fine Art
Why should I consider a Personal Articles Floater?
Benefit 1: A Personal Articles Floater will provide higher limits on your valuable items.
A Personal Articles Floater provides much higher limits than a standard homeowners policy. Claims are usually handled one of two ways:
- The insurance company will pay the amount to repair or replace the item.
- The insurance company will use an “Agreed Value” limit for the item. This means that, in the event of a covered claim, your insurance company will simply just pay you the amount listed on the policy.
An Agreed Value limit is great when you’re insuring items like jewelry and other unique items because it means if you suffer a loss on a covered item, you will not have to negotiate a settlement price with the insurance company.
Keep in mind, though, that in order to have an Agreed Value limit on your policy on valuable items like jewelry, you may need to provide a copy of a current appraisal on the item.
Benefit 2: A Personal Articles Floater can actually provide additional coverage.
A standard homeowners policy does not include some insurance coverages that are very important for rare or valuable items.
For example, a Personal Articles Floater may include coverage for “mysterious disappearance” or losses due to “breakage.” This means if you misplace a valuable piece of jewelry or accidentally break a fragile piece of art you will have insurance coverage for both instances.
Benefit 3: Coverage for a Personal Articles Floater can be expanded worldwide.
Your homeowners policy will typically only cover items located on the premises listed on the policy. However, with a Personal Articles Floater you can rest easy knowing your items are protected, wherever they may be.
For example. if you lost a piece of jewelry while on vacation, your Personal Articles Floater policy would pay for a replacement.
Benefit 4: Most Personal Articles Floaters do not have a deductible.
A standard insurance policy will usually include a $500 to $1,000 deductible. A Personal Articles Floater is different; many of them actually remove the deductible.
This a great feature because it means any claims filed won’t result in out-of-pocket expenses.
Some Tips when Adding this Coverage
- Make sure to keep a detailed list of the items listed on the policy, including copies of the appraisals.
- Photograph each piece of your collection and store the photos in a safe place. This will make it easy to list each item on you claim report if your entire collection is stolen or damaged.
- If you have a number of high value items, it may be in your best interest to store them in a safe deposit box or install a security system in your home. Doing so will help discount the premiums on your policy as well.
- If you have something rare or unique not listed in the standard items above it may still be eligible for coverage. Speak with your agent to find out what coverage options are available to you.
How Much Does the Coverage Cost?
Now the big question, right? How much is this type of policy going to set me back?
The fact is Personal Article Floaters are actually much cheaper than you think given the coverage they provide. The increased cost can be anywhere from $20 to $2,000 annually, depending upon the type of items insured and their associated value.
*The above information is to be used as guidance only, and should not be considered as definite in any particular case. Every policy is different and you need to read through your policy and consult with your agent to best determine how your coverage will respond. Within this article we simply cannot analyze every possible loss exposure and exception to the general guidelines above.
Given the current economy many of us are looking to save money wherever we can. Did you know your utility bills typically account for 15% of your take-home pay? Knowing those bills can consume such a large part of your paycheck, wouldn’t it be nice to cut 25 -50% off of those bills?
We like to share money-saving tips with anytime we can, even if they’re not insurance related. To that end we have put together a list of our top 20 energy and money-saving tips and tricks. You can find the complete list below.
1. Do your chores at night. Limit the use of heat-generating appliances such as the oven, dishwasher and clothes dryer during the daytime hours when temperatures are hottest. That way you won’t make your air conditioner work harder than it has to during the day.
3. Change your light bulbs. Compact florescent bulbs use about 25% of the electricity of standard incandescent bulbs and will last for years. In fact, according to the U.S. Department of Energy, replacing a standard 60-watt incandescent bulb with a comparable 15-watt fluorescent light bulb could save you $69 over the life of the new bulb.
4. Seal up the house. Did you know that a properly sealed and insulated home improves energy efficiency by up to 20%? Invest in caulk and weather stripping to plug up any drafts around the edges of you doors and windows.
5. Stop gushing. Turn the valves under the kitchen and bathroom sinks halfway off. When you open a faucet water won’t come gushing out, but there will be plenty to wash dishes or brush teeth.
8. Don’t vent. Use bathroom and kitchen vent fans sparingly in summer and winter. These fans cost money to run and blow your cooled or heated air outside, forcing your furnace or air conditioner to make up the difference.
9. Hang ’em out to dry. Besides your refrigerator, your electric clothes dryer is the biggest energy-gobbling appliance in your home. So if it’s nice outside, simply hang your clothes out to dry.
10. Change your showerheads. You can switch to a low flow head without having to settle for a wimpy shower. Newer showerheads can generate high pressure while using less water. These heads cost around $20, have multiple settings, and can save a lot of water.
11. Keep it clean. Clean air filters monthly for central air, window and wall units. Dirt and dust hinder airflow, reducing efficiency.
12. Close the blinds. Rooms get hotter without shades or curtains to block the sunlight, especially with south-facing and west-facing windows. Insulated window treatments can help further reduce energy consumption as well.
13. Consider time-of-use plans. A growing number of electric companies are offering time-of-use plans, which offer lower rates for energy consumption during off-peak hours (usually from midevening to early morning). The catch is users often pay more for peak-hours use, so consider your daily schedule before signing up.
14. Have a free energy audit. Many power companies provide energy audits free of charge to help you find inefficiencies you may not be able to find on your own. Contact your power company to see if they offer this service.
15. Unplug. Disconnect your electronic gadgets when they are fully charged or you’re just wasting energy. They draw power when they are plugged in, so don’t let them soak up juice all night. Standby power for appliances not in use typically accounts for 5% to 10% of residential electricity use, according to the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.
16. Keep the dust out. Keeping your refrigerator’s coils dust-free can save about 6 percent on its power consumption. Just make sure to unplug the fridge before you do anything.
17. Power down. If you have an electric water heater, install a switch so it is on only when you need hot water. You can also buy a timer to do the job automatically. Turning down the temperature on an electric or gas water heater will also save you money year-round.
18. Install a programmable thermostat. As simple as this sounds, do you know that a programmable thermostat saves homeowners $300 annually on their heating and cooling bills. =
19. Check it. Hire a certified technician for an annual check on your home’s heating, ventilation, and air-conditioning systems to ensure they are operating at peak efficiency. Leaking ducts, for example, could reduce energy efficiency by up to 20%.
20. Heat health. To conserve energy, turn off radiators or close heating and cooling vents in vacant rooms. Heavy drapes also lower energy bills.
Last week we mentioned how when the temperature drops, the number of claims associated with fires and frozen pipes skyrockets. We also provided some tips on avoiding fire claims inside of your home. This week our focus in avoiding the dreaded frozen pipes.
Before the Cold Hits:
- Check for small holes or cracks in the exterior of your home and ensure they are insulated.
- Cover around any water pipes that are on the inside of exterior walls.
If your House is Occupied During the Winter:
- Maintain temperature settings at 3-4 degrees higher than normal.
- Turn on any faucets and allow a constant trickle.
- Open any cabinet doors under sinks to allow heat to warm the pipes.
- Insulate your pipes.
- Shut off exterior faucets used for garden hoses from inside your basement and leave the exterior faucets open outside.
If your House is Unoccupied During the Winter:
- Set the thermostat no lower than 60 degrees and install a low heat alarm.
- Have a plumber install a low water cutoff switch on a forced hot water boiler.
- Have the water service shut off all to your house.
- Drain all waterlines leaving drain valves open.
- Shut off gas to the home.
- Have the house checked weekly.
If you are interested in any additional tips for your home or you would like a quote on your homeowners insurance, please don’t hesitate to contact our office.
Flood vs. Water Damage
There are two insurance policies that deal with a homeowner’s damage due to water — a flood insurance policy and a homeowners insurance policy. Losses not covered by one of these policies may be covered by the other. Knowing the losses to which your home could be exposed will help you decide whether to buy one or both of these insurance coverage.
While insurance policies may differ in the coverage provided from homeowner to homeowner, there often are basic features common to all policies.
As the name implies, a standard flood insurance policy, which is written by the National Flood Insurance Program, provides coverage up to the policy limit for damage caused by flood. The dictionary defines “flood” as a rising and overflowing of a body of water onto normally dry land. For insurance purposes, the word “rising” in this definition is the key to distinguishing flood damage from water damage. Generally, damage caused by water that has been on the ground at some point before damaging your home is considered to be flood damage. A handful of examples of flood damage include:
- A nearby river overflows its banks and washes into your home.
- A heavy rain seeps into your basement because the soil can’t absorb the water quickly enough
- A heavy rain or flash flood causes the hill behind your house to collapse into a mud slide that oozes into your home.
Flood damage to your home can be insured only with a flood insurance policy — no other insurance will cover flood damage. To determine if your home is located in a flood plain, contact your county planning office. If you are living in a flood plain, flood insurance may be an excellent purchase.
A homeowners insurance policy doesn’t provide coverage for flood damage, but it does provide coverage for many types of water damage to your home. Just the opposite from flood damage, for insurance purposes, water damage is considered to occur when water damages your home before the water comes in contact with the ground. A few examples of water damage include:
- A hailstorm smashes your window, permitting hail and rain free access into your home.
- A heavy rain soaks through the roof, allowing water to drip through your attic or ceiling.
- A broken water pipe spews water into your home.
Even if flood or water damage is not covered by your homeowners insurance policy, losses from theft, fire or explosion resulting from water damage is covered. For example, if a nearby creek overflows and floods your home, and looters steal some of your furnishings after you evacuate, the theft would be covered by your homeowners insurance because it is a direct result of the water damage. However, the flood damage would be covered only if you have flood insurance.
It’s important to note that flood insurance and homeowners insurance do not duplicate coverage for water damage. Instead, they complement each other.