Archive for prior home insurance claims

Oklahoman’s Lower Home Insurance Cost by Avoiding Burglaries

1. Keep outside vegetation maintained discourage-break-ins-455446049
A house with overgrown trees, bushes and other vegetation are much more appealing to a would-be burglar – it gives off the impression of a home that’s possibly empty. Plus, large tree branches and high shrubs could block the windows and doors, and keep neighbors or passers-by from seeing inside your home when a burglar is inside. It’s a good idea to trim all greenery on a regular basis, especially the ones in your front yard.

2. Keep trash from expensive purchases in your garage
It’s easy for anyone to check out just what’s inside your garbage can. Boxes from televisions or computers give a burglar a good idea of just what they kind find inside your home. Keep boxes and wrappings from expensive purchases inside your garage until you can dispose of them at another place.

3. Install a quality home-security system – and make sure everyone knows it
Most home security companies will place a sign in your front yard after they’ve installed your new system. This is more than just company branding; it’s another way to thwart would-be burglars. Make sure you are familiar with activating and deactivating your alarm system.

4. Embrace the deadbolt
It may cost you a little extra to install a deadbolt on your exterior doors, but the added level of security can be invaluable in the case of a burglar trying a smash-and-grab entry.

5. Be smart

Most police officers will tell you that burglaries manifest due to opportunity – an unlocked car, a house with a window open, a front door ajar, etc. Use common sense and lock all windows and doors on your home, and keep your valuables out of eye sight. If you have one room with more valuables than another, close the blinds on that window. If your garage holds expensive tools or other items, close the garage door when you’re not using them. Common sense will prevent many burglaries.

Statewide Insurance Agency is an Independent Insurance Agency in Edmond, OK offering free home insurance quotes and free automobile insurance quotes.  

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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            

Does Home Insurance Cover My Trees

Homeowners often ask us if their home insurance policy covers trees.  Here is a good article from the Insurance Information Institute that addresses how most Oklahoma home insurance policies cover tree damage.

Trees and Insurance – Insurance Information Institute (www.iii.org)

If a tree falls and hits your house, are you covered? The short answer is, yes. The coverage is quite straightforward: if a tree hits a home or other insured structure, such as a detached garage, standard homeowners insurance policies provide coverage for the damage the tree does to the structure and the contents in it. This includes trees felled by wind, lightning or hail. It does not matter whether or not you own the tree; if it lands on your home, you can file a claim with your insurance company.

After a hurricane or windstorm, trees, shrubs and branches can become projectiles capable of traveling significant distances and can cause considerable damage to property. In most cases, an insurance company is not going to spend time trying to figure out where a tree or other item originally came from. In some situations where the felled tree was located on a neighbor’s property, the policyholder’s insurance company may try to collect from the neighbor’s insurance company in a process called subrogation. This sometimes occurs if the tree was in poor health or not properly maintained. If the insurer is successful, you may be reimbursed for the deductible.

If a tree hits an insured structure, such as your house or garage, there is also coverage for the cost of removing the tree, generally up to about $500 to $1,000, depending on the insurer and the type of policy purchased. If the fallen tree did not hit an insured structure, there is generally no coverage for debris removal. However, some insurance companies may pay for the cost of removing the felled tree if it is blocking a driveway or a ramp designed to assist the handicapped.

Standard home insurance policies also provide coverage for damage to trees and shrubs due to fire, lightning, explosion, theft, aircraft, vehicles not owned by the resident, vandalism and malicious mischief. Coverage for these disasters is generally limited to up to 5 percent of the amount of insurance on the structure of the house. Generally, most insurers will limit the coverage to about $500 for any one tree, shrub or plant.

Trees and plants grown for business purposes require a separate business insurance policy.

 

 

National Fire Prevention Week

It’s Fire Prevention Week and we are learning about staying safe in the kitchen.  @nfpa http://j.mp/1qo2wcE

 

 

 

 

Prior Homeowner Insurance Claims

More and more Oklahomans are having difficulty finding affordable home insurance coverage when they have had one or more losses in the last several years.  We have contracts with several companies that are glad to provide your coverage even if you have had several prior home insurance losses.  Home insurance quotes don’t have to be unreasonable to get the coverage you need!

Von Nix, CPCU