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Homeowners

Ordinance or Law Insurance Coverage

Generally, Ordinance or Law insurance coverage provides limited protection for costs associated with repairing, rebuilding, or constructing a structure when physical damage to the structure by a covered cause of loss triggers an ordinance or law.

According to Adjuster’s International Disaster Recovery Consulting, compliance with ordinances and laws after a loss can add 50% or more to the cost of the claim*.

Insureds should take a proactive approach to their insurance program and the coverage provided by the program. Learning about important exclusions and limitations after a catastrophe strike will cause the Insured to experience frustration and anxiety. Insureds should always read their policies, and in some states, may be required by law to do so.

Ordinance or Law Exclusion

Most property insurance policies will have an Ordinance or Law exclusion. The exclusion applies to both physical damage and time element coverage.Read More »Ordinance or Law Insurance Coverage

5 Things You Need To Know About the Home Office Deduction

Let’s talk about the home office deduction. People ask me about it all the time. “Can I take it?” “Do I qualify?” “Will it increase my chances of getting audited?” All of these are reasonable questions—particularly nowadays, when the numbers of mico-businesses, home-based entrepreneurs, remote workers, work-from-home employees, and freelancers have grown so much over the past few years.

Here’s the answer, in a nutshell: The home office deduction is perfectly legitimate and you should absolutely consider it. Here are some important facts about this deduction—all sourced from the IRS’ summaryPublication 587 (Business Use of Your Home) and Form 8829 (Expenses for Business Use of Your Home). Of course, you should also check with your accountant.

Number 1: To even consider getting the deduction, a part of your home has to be your principal place of business. Read More »5 Things You Need To Know About the Home Office Deduction

Quick Release Bars and Insurance

Burglar bars, also known as security or window bars, can be found on any type of structure – single-family home, apartment building, storefronts. The bars provide a visible sign of security serving as both a deterrent to potential burglars and a reassurance to those who had the bars installed. However, burglar bars can also be dangerous, preventing residents and other occupants from escaping in the event of a fire and leading to fatalities.

Based on data obtained from the National Fire Incident Reporting System (NFIRS), on average, about 25 civilians are injured or die each year in fires where escape is compromised by unauthorized bars or gates. The actual numbers may be larger than that, due to the fact that the presence of burglar bars is not always collected in a way that is recorded by NFIRS (e.g., written in the text but not coded). The most recent version of NFIRS, version 5.0, allows for the collection of data concerning burglar bars; however, data from the new version is not yet available.
Most fatalities/injuries involving burglar bars occur in residences when people become entrapped by the very bars that are supposed to protect them. Children, the elderly, the mobility impaired, and firefighters are especially vulnerable. The bars also can hamper rescue efforts, especially the efforts of those who arrive before public safety personnel.

Read More »Quick Release Bars and Insurance

Dog Bite Claims Awards Average $32,000

dog bites homeowners insuranceAccording to the Insurance Information Institute (I.I.I.) and State Farm, the nation’ largest writer of homeowners insurance the cost of the average claim from dog bites and other injuries is on the rise.  I.I.I.’s analysis of homeowners insurance data found that the number of dog bite claims nationwide decreased 4.7 % in 2014. However, the average cost per dog bite claim was up 15% to $32,072 in 2014, compared with $27,862 in 2013.

The average cost per claim nationally has risen more than 67% from 2003 to 2014, due to increased medical costs as well as the size of settlements, judgments and jury awards given to plaintiffs, which are still on the upswing.

With 1,867 claims California continues to lead the list of states with the largest number of claims, followed by Ohio with 1,009 claims and New York with 965 claims, although NY state is leading with the highest average cost per claim in the country of $56,628.

The trend in higher costs per claim is attributable not simply to dog bites but also to dogs knocking down children, cyclists and senior citizens —all of which I.I.I. says can result in fractures and other injuries that increase the severity of the losses. Experts say that even normally docile dogs may bite when they are frightened or when defending their puppies, owners or food. The most dangerous dogs are those that suffer from poor training, irresponsible owners and breeding practices that foster viciousness.

Read More »Dog Bite Claims Awards Average $32,000

RateWatch: in 2014 Personal Auto Rates Rose 2.1%, Homeowners 3.5%

RateWatch in 2014 Personal Auto and Homeowners Rates RosePersonal auto insurance companies increased their rates by an average of 2.1% countrywide in 2014, according to California-based insurance consulting firm Perr & Knight’s RateWatch reports.

The three states with the highest overall increases were:

Michigan: 5.2%
Georgia: 4.7%
Rhode Island: 4.2%

Homeowners insurers increased their rates by an average of 3.5% countrywide in 2014.

The states with the highest overall rate increases were:

Kansas: 8.5%
Texas: 7.8%
Montana: 7.7%Read More »RateWatch: in 2014 Personal Auto Rates Rose 2.1%, Homeowners 3.5%

Attic Storage Hazards for Homeowners

Picture by Roger Mommaerts (flickr.com)

Picture by Roger Mommaerts (flickr)

Homeowners who don’t pay attention to what’s going on in their attics can face costly damage that can spread throughout their entire home. Internet is full of videos made with wireless ip video surveillance cameras which capture critters such as mice, squirrels, bats and bees living in people’s attics; meanwhile, one in 10 homeowners have never even seen their attics.

Rodents in the attic can be a nuisance at best, and if they are not eradicated quickly, they can become home wreckers, as squirrels and rats have been known to chew through electrical wires in attics. While this almost always ends badly for the animals, sparks from their gnawing can set the house on fire.

Many attics also house mechanical equipment, such as central air conditioning systems, exhaust fans, electrical junction boxes and plumbing. Homeowners should regularly make sure that any system that is connected to an electrical or water source in their attic is in good working condition, as a burst pipe or a clogged drain in the attic could lead to widespread water damage on the floors below.
Read More »Attic Storage Hazards for Homeowners

Top 5 Ways for Homeowners to Prepare for Winter

Top 5 recommendations to homeowners to prepare for winterRoof is the largest single surface and the first line of defense in protecting your home. Insurance carriers tend to see a lot of damage to roofs in those instances where they also have structural claims. Obviously certain portions of the country get very different climate and different winter weather. The northern states will have heavier snow and ice, where the south may get more rain.

Here are top 5 recommendations to homeowners to prepare for winter:

    • Do a visual inspection of your roof to look for maintenance issues or things that could make it more susceptible to hail or wind or other damage — like missing or damaged shingles or tiles on sloped roofs. Or if it’s a flat roof, look for surface bubbles in the membrane material or missing gravel.
    • Look at flashing along the roof to make sure it’s in place and in good condition. The flashing is where you transition between vertical places and the horizontal roof — things like around skylights, vents or chimneys. Anywhere where you have a change in roof elevation, you’ve got flashing there and that’s a typical source or place for water to penetrate into the roof covering.

Read More »Top 5 Ways for Homeowners to Prepare for Winter

How to Assess Your Home Insurance Policy

How to Assess Your Home Insurance PolicyThe best, easiest and most practical way to asses your homeowners (condo-, renters) insurance policy is to ask your insurance agent about it. We are trained to provide professional review and advise. We have access on special industry certified tools, that can calculate the replacement cost of your dwelling and personal property.
But, if that’s not enough or you prefer to be a solo warrior on the insurance field, the following should help to you asses your home insurance policy.

Read More »How to Assess Your Home Insurance Policy

Swimming Pool Safety and Maintenance Tips

Swimming pool safety and maintenance tipsProtect your friends and family as you beat the heat.

Warmer weather means more outdoor activities for the whole family, including cooling off in the pool. We want to help you make sure that you, your family and guests are safe. Here are a few tips that can help you stay safe while you have fun:

Always supervise swimmers and have life-saving equipment nearby:

  • Maintain secure fencing and a locked entrance around the pool and deck area to prevent access when adequate supervision is not available. Install self-closing and self-latching gates.
  • Make sure no one swims alone. Never leave a child unattended in the water or pool area, and make sure less experienced swimmers are always accompanied by a swimmer who has water life-saving skills.
  • Equip your door, gate or pool with an audible alarm to alert you if someone enters the pool area or falls into the pool while it is unattended.
  • Diving should be prohibited unless a specific area of the pool is designated for safe diving. Water depth and diving-restricted areas should be clearly marked.
  • Make sure there is adequate life-saving equipment in the pool area, including life preservers and a rope with life-saving rings, a reaching pole or rescue hook.

Regularly maintain your pool during the season to keep swimmers and sun-bathers safe:Read More »Swimming Pool Safety and Maintenance Tips

Insurance for Home Business and Office

Home business insurance is just what it sounds like — insurance for business conducted off private residence. If you have a full-time or part-time business you operate from your home, you should consider this coverage because most HO policies don’t cover an in-home business.

Why Paperless Home Business Insurance?

Our home business insurance is coverage specifically designed to meet the needs of home-based business owners. From accounting services to crafts to computer repair services, every policy is quoted and written with the specific business in mind. It is affordable, quick and available for 200 unique home-based businesses.

Are you covered?Read More »Insurance for Home Business and Office