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Sep 04

Knowing What To Do When Filing Insurance Claims

Posted By Tracy Snider

A great video from the Insurance Information Institute (http://www.iii.org), opens the door to a whole new understanding of the claim-filing process. From understanding your policy documents to which records you should to keep to working with your Insurance Professionals, this short video is a helpful introduction that will take some of the stress out of filing a claim in the event that your house is damaged or burglarized.  

Contact us to learn more how Snider Insurance can help take the stress and worry out of filing a claim by advising and guiding you through the insurance claim process.

Jul 28

5 Myths About Homeowner's Insurance

Posted By Tracy Snider

Photo of home insured by Snider Insurance

Homeowner's insurance is is one of the most common types of insurance and one of the least understood.  There are many incorrect assumptions that homeowners make regarding what their policies will cover.  Many assume that their homeowner's policy will cover just about any damage sustained to the house or contents. The reality is that homeowner’s policies contain many exclusions and restrictions on coverage that can leave you with a coverage gap. Here are five common myths about homeowner’s insurance. (For related reading, also take a look at The Beginner’s Guide To Homeowners’ Insurance.)


1. Loss-of-Use Coverage

If you have damage to your home severe enough that you cannot live in it while it is repaired, you likely expect that the insurance company will put you up in a hotel while the work is being done. However, that is not necessarily true. Not all policies include a loss-of-use provision. If you have to pay for a hotel, meals and other services out of pocket, it can add up quickly and put you at financial risk. If loss-of-use is covered, it will be stated explicitly in your policy, along with any limits of coverage. For example, your policy may state a maximum per diem amount or restrict the length of time the expenses will be paid for.

2. Replacement Cost

Replacement cost in a homeowner’s policy refers to valuing the loss at the amount it will cost to replace the item. For example, if your four-year-old computer is lost in a fire, replacement cost coverage would allow you to purchase a new one with similar features. Most homeowners believe that is what will happen if they have a claim, however, the bulk of policies do not carry this clause. If not included, losses will be valued at what they were worth in their condition before the calamity. The four-year-old computer might be valued at $250 – not enough to purchase a new one.  Replacement cost clauses are a valuable inclusion in a homeowner's policy.

3. Flood Coverage

Almost all homeowner’s policies exclude flood coverage, along with earthquakes and other natural disasters. Floods can occur from a number of causes, such as a hurricane, burst pipes or sewer backup. A flood is one of the most common causes of home damage and the destruction of contents. There are companies that specialize in flood coverage, and, if you live in a susceptible area, look into having a separate flood policy. Your mortgage company may require this additional coverage as well. (For more information, see Understanding Lender-Required Flood Insurance.)

4. Termites

Termites live all over North America but are most destructive in Southern climates where their lifecycles are not impacted by cold weather. Termites eat wood – lots of it – and can eat the supports in your house as easily as fallen leaves in the forest. They live in large colonies and, collectively, can destroy the structure of your home. Repairing termite damage and eradicating them can cost thousands of dollars. Most policies exclude termites and other pest damage. If you live in a susceptible area, the best insurance is to have the house regularly checked and sprayed by a professional.

5. Valuation of Loss

When you have a house insurance claim, the insurance company will send out an appraiser to determine the extent of the damage and the best way to fix it. The appraiser will assess a value to the loss which will be the minimum the insurance company can pay in order to meet their contractual obligations. However, you do not have to take that value as final. If you can prove your loss should be valued higher, you can negotiate the settlement with the company. Keeping receipts and pictures of valuable items will help you back up your claim.


The Bottom Line - To really know what is in your homeowner’s policy, you should read it thoroughly. Look for exclusions to coverage and decide how you will cover those risks. In some cases, your insurance company will have separate add-ons that they can attach to your policy or you can get specialized insurance from another company. For those risks that cannot be insured, analyze how you will financially cover those risks if they should happen.

Article Reference: Forbes 4/26/2011

Jun 16

Five biggest myths about auto insurance

Posted By Tracy Snider

Myth 1:  Red cars cost more to insure

There is no data to support that owners of red cars drive more aggressively and get more speeding tickets than non-red car owners.

Myth 2:  Older drivers pay more for car insurance

In fact, it is often just the opposite - life insurance goes up with age, but not necessarily auto insurance.

Reference:  NBC News

Myth 3: Your insurance policy covers any damage to your car

It doesn’t work that way. Liability insurance (required in some state) covers you if you hurt someone or damage their property. Comprehensive and collision coverage protect your vehicle. That is why this is always optional coverage. Note: It may be required by the lender if you have a lease or car loan.

 

Feb 13

Your Zip Code: What It Means To An Insurance Agent

Posted By Joseph Manser

PhotoDid you know that your ZIP code (ZC) is typically the first piece of information that is requested when shopping for homeowners insurance?  Why?  This magic 5 digit number reveals a great deal of information. 

Population

For example, your ZC relates to the population size of where you reside.  Insurance premiums will likely be higher in a more densely populated area versus a secluded country home.  Fires and other disasters are more likely to spread in areas with multiple houses in close proximity to each other, thus increasing the risk of insurance claims for entire neighborhoods.

Crime Rate

The higher the crime rate, the greater likelihood you'll pay a higher insurance premium.  Insurance agents look at the probability of filing a theft and other crime-related claims in your ZC.

Weather Risks

Obviously, if you live in a flood zone, you may be required to purchase flood insurance.  Likwise, if your reside in a tornado or hurricane prone area, you may want to purchase additional high wind coverage.