Archive for Oklahoma home insurance

Home Insurance: When Cheap Turns Costly

We are all looking for cheap home insurance in Oklahoma.  However, cheap can turn to costly very fast if the home insurance policy you purchase does not cover  Additional Living Expenses (ALE).

ALE are monies paid to you by the home insurance company to pay for additional living cost that you incur as a result of a home insurance loss.  The best example of this is the cost to rent or lease another house while your home is being repaired or while the insurance company is assessing your home’s damage that is covered by insurance.  

As you seek cheap home insurance in Oklahoma, remember to make certain that the quote you request contains ALE as an important part of your home insurance plan.  Below is a typical example of the wording that an Oklahoma home insurance company will use in order to provide ALE.  This particular contract wording is from Safeco Insurance Company.  Safeco is one of the companies that we count on to provide home insurance value in Oklahoma without compromising critical policy coverages.  


If a loss covered under this Section makes that part of the residence premises where you reside
uninhabitable we cover Additional Living Expense, meaning the necessary increase in living
expenses you incur so that your household can maintain its normal standard of living.

What Oklahoma needs to know about Earthquake Insurance

What are the two most important things to know about earthquake insurance?

  1. Most home insurance policies do not cover earthquake damage.
  2. Even if you don’t live in an area where earthquakes are common, you may still need earthquake insurance.

Earthquakes have occurred in 39 states since 1900, and about 90% of Americans live in areas considered seismically active. For many of our neighbors in Oklahoma, earthquake insurance can be inexpensive – contact Statewide Insurance Agency to find out what the costs would be for your home.

Earthquake insurance can have many options

Most homeowner, condo and rental insurance policies do not cover damage caused by an earthquake, but coverage can be purchased as an endorsement or a separate policy. You may be able to choose to purchase earthquake insurance from the same company that provides your home insurance, from a specialized earthquake insurance provider, or from an independent organization.

Does Oklahoma really need earthquake insurance?

In all likelihood, almost the entire US would be better protected by purchasing earthquake insurance. Consider the facts:

In the West: According to the U.S. Geological Survey, there is a 70 percent probability that one or more damaging earthquakes of magnitude 6.7 or larger will strike the San Francisco Bay area during the next 30 years.

In the East: The Earthquake Education Center at Charleston Southern University claims there’s a 40 to 60 percent chance of a major earthquake somewhere in the eastern United States in the next 20 years.

In the Midwest: According to the Insurance Information Institute, there’s a 40 to 63 percent chance the New Madrid Fault (which runs through Arkansas, Kentucky, Missouri and Tennessee) region will suffer an earthquake with a 6.0 magnitude in the next 15 years.

What does earthquake insurance cover?

Earthquake insurance provides coverage if your home is damaged by an earthquake. Standard homeowner and renters policies will not cover earthquake damage. Earthquake insurance is a separate endorsement you must buy and add to your homeowner or renters policy.

An earthquake endorsement generally excludes damages or losses from floods and tidal waves – even when caused or compounded by an earthquake. However, if you experience a loss due to a landslide, settlement, mudflow, or the rising, sinking and contracting of earth, your endorsement may cover it if the damage resulted from an earthquake.

There are several options to consider when purchasing earthquake insurance, including:

  • Does the policy cover only your home? Are other structures, such as garages, also included?
  • Will your policy pay for the contents of your home and for additional living expenses if your home is badly damaged or destroyed?
  • Are there any exclusions or limitations to coverage?
  • What deductible must you pay before the insurance kicks in?

Earthquakes are happening in Oklahoma – here’s how you can protect yourself

  • Make sure your water heater, gas appliances, and other fixtures are fastened securely.
  • Check that bookcases and furniture are secure and fastened to walls.
  • Have a family emergency plan that all family members know. Designate a meeting place outside the home where family members can gather once the danger has passed.
  • Designate a distant relative or friend who can serve as a point of contact and communication for you and your family members if you get separated.
  • Plan ahead. Keep flashlights, batteries, and candles on hand. Have a portable radio.
  • Be sure everyone in your house knows how to turn off utilities (electricity, water, and gas).
  • When shopping for earthquake insurance, ask the company to help you identify possible repairs and other improvements that will make your home safer and minimize damage.

What to do when an earthquake strikes

If you are inside when an earthquake hits, stay inside and get under a heavy table or desk. Stay away from windows. Do not evacuate the building unless emergency personnel direct you to leave.

If you are outside, get away from buildings and power lines, and remember that stone and masonry facings can break loose and fall away from upper parts of buildings.

If you are in a car, stop safely away from structures, large trees, power lines, and other hazards. Stay inside the vehicle.

Keep in mind:

  • Don’t use candles until gas lines are checked. Also, check throughout your home before you use certain utilities, such as water and electric, sewage connections, and even chimneys.
  • Don’t tie up phone lines except to report emergencies.
  • Be prepared. Remember that you will need food and water, even for the short term. Keep your family together and stay alert for aftershocks.

Earthquake insurance needs can vary significantly – talk to us today to find out how to get the best price and value on earthquake insurance for you.

Home Quote

Statewide Home Insurance Rate Card Flyer 2016

Looking For Homeowners Insurance in Oklahoma?

Statewide Insurance Agency offers Oklahoman’s that are looking for home insurance options so that the proper balance between cost and coverage is achieved.

The discussion that follows explains the difference between Replacement policies and Market Value/Actual Cash Value policies. We understand that no one size fits all Oklahoma consumers when you are getting quotes for your homeowners insurance.

It is quite common for insurance companies to offer quotes on homes in Oklahoma City for more than the market value. This often poses the question from Oklahoma homeowners, “Why is my house being insured for more than it is worth?” Before determining how much to insure a house for, it must be decided how the insurance company will value the house if there is a claim. One method offered is to value the property at Replacement Cost, which as the name implies, is intended to pay to replace the property, without regard to the original or current purchase price and without regard to depreciation.

In most situations, the Replacement Cost option is going to result in a higher claim payment then if the property was insured at its current value (sometimes called Actual Cash Value coverage – ACV). An insurance company is only obligated to pay up to the limit of insurance; therefore, the house may need to be insured for more than it is worth. In order to obtain Replacement Cost Coverage, the house will need to be insured for the amount it would cost to replace it.

Most property depreciates in value over time. A television set would not be sold today for the same amount it was purchased for ten years ago; it would be sold for less, most likely much less than the original purchase price. A policy containing a replacement cost provision would pay today’s cost of a new television set of like kind and quality which would be more than if the policy only paid for the value of the ten-year old television set (see ACV coverage above).

On a larger scale, the cost to rebuild or replace an entire home could be significantly more than the home was purchased for or could be currently sold for. Even for a home built this year, the cost to rebuild it very easily could differ from the original cost. There are several factors to consider when making an attempt to measure the cost of replacing a home, such as:

No economies of scale
Cost of preparing the home to be rebuilt
Access to the home site may be limited or obstructed
Increase in labor costs due to high demand, as in the event of a catastrophic event
Increase in material costs, possibly due to shortages or discontinued
There are several methods used to estimate the replacement cost of a home. Some of the factors insurance companies use are:

Building materials
Type of foundation
Attached or detached garages
Square footage
Location of the home
Fireplace
Upgrades
Number of rooms and baths

Replacement Cost Coverage is an option many homeowners should consider when looking for homeowners insurance. Obtaining this coverage will require the house be insured at the estimated Replacement Cost value, which typically is a higher amount than the market value. With the limit of insurance being higher, the premium will also be higher. Certainly no one wants to pay more for insurance, but the difference in a claim payment could be several thousands of dollars.

https://okstatewide.com

Off-Premises Coverage Includes Theft and Damage from Perils Listed In Your Oklahoma Homeowners Insurance or Renters Policy

While self-storage units may be a useful way to de-clutter your home, having the right insurance coverage is the best way to financially protect your belongings—no matter where they are.

If you are planning to rent a storage unit for your belongings, take the following steps:

• Ask your insurance professional about off-premises coverage. Some standard Oklahoma homeowners insurance and renters insurance policies include coverage for personal possessions kept off-premises including a storage facility. Off-premises coverage includes theft and damage from fires, tornadoes and other perils listed in the policy. However, it does not cover for damage caused by flooding, earthquakes, mold and mildew, vermin or poor maintenance. And check the coverage limits, as these vary by company.

• Find out what type of financial protection is provided by the storage facility. Most facilities provide reimbursement based on the square footage of the unit. Check both the coverage limits and whether it is provided on an actual cash value or replacement cost basis. Most storage facilities will also offer a variety of supplemental insurance packages; ask your insurance professional if it would make sense to buy this additional coverage.

• Consider special insurance or storage for expensive items. If you intend to store valuable property, such as art, antiques, jewelry or furs, there may be dollar restrictions under your standard Oklahoma homeowners or renters insurance policy for theft. Ask your insurance professional about adding a floater or endorsement [1] to your policy in order to fully cover these items. There are also specialized storage facilities available for these types of items, as they often need to be kept at specific temperature and humidity levels. Small items such as jewelry will cost less to insure if they are kept in a bank safe-deposit box. Keep in mind contents in a safe-deposit box are not insured by the bank.

• Create an inventory of items to be kept off-premises in storage. Add the items you’re moving to the storage unit to your home inventory so that you can keep track of your belongings and make sure you have the right amount of insurance to protect them. To make creating your inventory as easy as possible, the I.I.I. has a free home inventory tool, Know Your Stuff® [2], which includes secure online storage so you can access your inventory anywhere, anytime.

The I.I.I. offers the following tips for choosing a safe storage company:

• Look for a secure facility. Fencing that secures the entire property and access control are the minimum security measures a storage business should offer. But, ideally, the storage building should have onsite security features such as 24-hour video surveillance cameras and coded security pads. Also, find out about the facility’s procedures in cases such as a fire or flood.

• Look for a unit with climate control. Very high or low temperatures, as well as dampness can quickly cause damage to appliances and furniture. And make sure that rising ground water from snow or rain is unable to penetrate the storage.

• Consider a storage company that offers insurance. If your renters or homeowners insurance does not provide off-premises coverage, you may want to opt for one of the company’s coverage options. Keep in mind that any facility should also have its own insurance to cover damages to the property or injuries that occur on the premises.

• Check that the facility is clean and well-maintained. If a storage facility is not routinely and thoroughly cleaned, there is a good possibility no one is monitoring for bugs and rodent infestations. Verify that the facility has a permanent, reliable pest extermination contract in place before you trust them with your belongings.

http://www.iii.org

Homeowners Insurance: "Am I Covered?"

Oklahoma homeowners often ask the question, “what does this home insurance cover?”  Coverage’s can vary a lot from one policy to another.  However, there are some things that are consistently limited or not covered at all in home policies.  Therefore, sometimes I’ll answer the question by telling my customers about these limitations.  Here are some of my top examples of things that are not covered or that have limited coverage under homeowners insurance policies in Oklahoma City, Edmond and the entire state of Oklahoma….. Rising Flood Water: Surface water and rising flood water damage is the # 1 uninsured loss in Oklahoma and the United States.  Most flood victims will tell you that they thought their home was in an area that was high enough that it would not flood. Many Oklahoma home policies do cover damage that results from a sudden rupture of water from your plumbing system or air conditioning system. Shifting Soil: Much of the soil type in Oklahoma is clay.  It expands with moisture and contracts as it dries out.  Hot and dry Oklahoma summers can result in shifts in your foundation that crack slabs and crack walls.  This type of damage is not covered by any home policy, as far as I know. Jewelry: Oklahoma home insurance policies limit coverage for theft of jewelry.  Furthermore, mysterious disappearance or a stone falling out of a setting is not usually covered unless special endorsements are purchased.  Most of your jewelry needs can be met by purchasing extra jewelry coverage.  Jewelry is usually covered up to your Personal Property policy limit in a fire loss or a tornado loss. Tools and Other Property Used In Your Business: Coverage is very limited under most policies.  You are expected to have a separate business insurance policy for these items. Sewer Back Up: This coverage is oftentimes available by endorsement.  Some companies interpret this exclusion to mean back up of a city’s main sewer line and distinguish this from an “overflow” due to a problem within your plumbing system.  I do represent one company, Safeco, that provides significant coverage for sewer back up without an extra charge. Motorized Land Vehicles: Be very careful here.  You’ll usually need a separate policy for motorcycles, dirt bikes, ATV’s, boats, trailers, etc.  However, you may be able to get coverage for a motorized wheel chair and a riding lawn mower.  You might get some coverage for a tractor if it is used “exclusively” to maintain the premises. Business Liability: Liability which arises from your business activities is almost always excluded.  Certain professions such as teachers and sales people might be able to purchase it with endorsement if you are an “employee” of someone else and not “self-employed”. Mechanical Breakdown of Appliances: This is not usually covered but is now being offered by endorsement by a growing list of companies. Damage Caused By Insects and Animals: Not Covered:  This would include damage caused by termites, dogs, squirrels, etc. This is not intended to be a comprehensive list of Oklahoma home insurance coverages, limitations and exclusions.  It is my intent to help you educate yourself so you’ll be able to shop more effectively by asking the right questions.   Von Nix, CPCU Statewide Insurance Agency https://okstatewide.com            

New Office of Statewide Insurance Agency

Sign2

Do You Have Enough Coverage to Rebuild Your Home?

Imagine how devastating it would be to lose your home in a tornado or fire. Now imagine not being able to rebuild it completely because you didn’t have the correct amount of insurance. Selecting the proper amount of coverage is the single most important decision you can make with your Oklahoma Homeowners Insurance policy. Without it, you may not have enough coverage to rebuild after a total loss. This is called “insurance to value.” Below are some explanations and tips to help you make the right choices for your needs — and remember, if you need help, Statewide is just a phone call away! What is insurance to value? Insurance to value is the relationship between the amount of coverage selected (typically listed as “Coverage A” or “Dwelling Coverage” on your policy declarations page) and the amount required to rebuild your home. Insuring your home for anything less than 100% insurance to value could mean you wouldn’t have enough coverage to replace your home in the event of a total loss Why is the cost to rebuild different from the market value? A home’s market value reflects current economic conditions, taxes, school districts, the value of the land and location, and other factors unrelated to construction cost. The cost to rebuild your home is based only on the cost of materials and labor in your area. It is important that you insure your home based on its reconstruction cost, NOT its current market value Why is reconstruction more expensive than new construction? New-home builders typically build many homes at once, and solicit bids from various sub-contractors to receive the best pricing. Their business model is based on economies of scale. For example, they may purchase 20 bathtubs at once, securing a lower unit cost. These economies of scale don’t exist when building a single home. How can I make sure I have the correct amount of insurance? Work with your agent at time of purchase to be sure that you receive an accurate quote home insurance quote. Ask us about additional coverage options that may be available. Review your insurance to value calculation on a regular basis with your agent. Tell your agent about any changes or improvements that you make to your home. What if I don’t want to rebuild? Talk to your agent, many times market value home insurance policies cost less and make sense if you aren’t interested in going through the rebuilding process. Statewide Insurance Agency – Edmond, OK

Ice Dams – Home Insurance Companies

Oklahoma homeowners have seen very warm weather and very cold weather so far this year.  However, homeowners in the Northeast are experiencing one of the most severe winters in recent history.   Here is an article about ice dams that have been a problem for Oklahoma homeowners in the past and certainly for homeowners in the Northeast now.  Click here to read it.

 

Oklahoma Home Insurance Safety

Keeping your home secure

Oklahoman homeowners want to keep their home safe from burglars or intruders, but not everyone wants to have an alarm system installed. There are plenty of people who prefer the do-it-yourself route, whether it’s home improvement or home security.

And nowadays, there are more options than ever when it comes to home security, so Statewide Insurance Agency wants to help you sort through those options with a few tips.

Do-it-yourself options

The widespread availability of electronic tools means that Oklahoma homeowners can set up their own monitoring systems if they choose, without the help of a home-security company.

  • Cameras: Smaller and more inexpensive than ever, cameras can be placed nearly anywhere on the exterior of your home and monitored from inside wirelessly — or set to record footage for review later. Available software even allows you to point your laptop camera in a particular direction (say, at the front door) and check the images from a remote location.
  • Lights: Motion-detecting floodlights are an excellent deterrent to thieves, because they don’t want to be seen. Make sure they’re installed near entryways, and that they aren’t easily reached from the ground. And using timers for interior lights is a good way to give the appearance that your home is occupied.
  • Alarms: Vibration alarms are available for windows, alerting you if someone is trying to get in. Similarly, other monitors can be installed near doors and programmed to sound if a person comes within a set distance. Some even emit barking sounds to make it appear that a dog is in the house.

Even if you aren’t interested in installing security equipment around your home, there are a number of things you can do to increase safety and keep your Oklahoma home insurance quotes at a minimum.

  • Keep your home locked. It sounds simple, but you’d be surprised how many people leave windows or doors unlocked. Make sure that sliding doors and windows have extra security, such as a track lock or dowel in the track.
  • Don’t leave a key outside. If you need to provide access to your home while you’re away, leave your key with a trusted neighbor or friend.
  • Watch the landscaping. Thick shrubs and bushes around your porch or yard can give thieves a good place to hide. Keep them well-trimmed and ensure that problematic areas can be illuminated with your outdoor lighting.
  • Use common sense. If you’re going away on vacation, cancel your newspaper and other deliveries. Ask a neighbor to keep watch, and park a car out front. Don’t post publicly on social media or leave a message on your answering machine or voicemail indicating that you’ll be away for an extended period.

Burglars really do consider deterrents such as alarms, cameras, dogs, etc., when looking at targets, according to a study released by the University of North Carolina.  So a small investment in security can make a big difference!

Sidebar:

It’s a great time for a home inventory

If your home was burglarized, would you know what was missing? A home inventory is a crucial tool to help replace everything that was lost. And we can help you do one! Give us a call at 405-285-2929 or visit our website at https://okstatewide.com  to learn more.

Contact Us!

 At Statewide Insurance Agency, we can work with you to make sure you’ve got the coverage you need, while at the same time using all possible credits and discounts to make that coverage affordable. Just give us a call at {agency-phone-number} or send us a note at info@okstatewide.com.  We want to help you meet your goals, and make sure what’s important to you is protected!