Tuesday, January 28, 2020

Renters Insurance Basics

Renters Insurance Basics

Every policy (regardless of type) should have a Declarations Page, commonly referred to as the “Dec Page”. This page “declares” who you are, what property you have insured, your coverage choices and how much you are paying for this policy period.

Similar to Homeowners insurance, there are 2 types of coverage on your Renters insurance policy; Coverage that protects the other party and coverage that protects you.

Coverage that protects the other party:

Personal Liability: Covers you if someone is injured on your property due to your negligence.  It may help pay for treatment of their injuries and your legal costs.

Guest Medical Payments: May provide reasonable and necessary medical expenses to a guest on your property injured in an accident.

Coverage that protects you:

Personal Property:  This is your contents on the property. This can be written as Actual Cash Value (ACV) or Replacement Cost (RC) coverage. ACV coverage means your belongings are covered at the amount it would cost to replace them minus depreciation. So if you have a 5 year old tv that is stolen, you will receive the amount it would cost to replace the tv 5 years ago.  RC coverage means your belongings are covered at the amount it would cost to replace them at the time of the claim. So if you have a 5 year old tv that is stolen, you will receive the amount it would cost to replace the tv at todays cost.

Loss of Use:  May provide reimbursement for reasonable increases in living expenses (such as a hotel room or apt) due to a covered loss, if your rental home is uninhabitable.

Deductibles:  is the amount you pay out of pocket when you file a claim for a covered loss. You will have several options to choose from for your deductible. If you have a $500 deductible and a $6,000 loss, the insurance carrier would pay you $5,500 for the claim. A higher deductible will generally mean a lower premium and vice versa.

Additional coverage: You may be able to add optional coverage such as extra jewelry coverage or Identity theft restoration or increased coverage for business property.

For Parents of college students:  if you have kids living in dorm, remember- personal property coverage  on your home insurance policy will extend to the dorm. But it only covers up to 10% of your personal property coverage amount. A renters policy is an inexpensive way to make sure you child is covered at school!

Have questions? Need a quote?    

* Call us  877-987-8683  * Visit brockmanpremierins.com

Monday, January 20, 2020

Do Home Inspections matter?

Do Not Ignore the Inspection!

There are two common types of home inspections. 

Presale Inspection: You should have one done before you buy a home. Do not let someone talk you out of this. They may "know" the home is in great condition, but you want to make sure it is. You should get the inspector yourself so you know they are working for you and not your realtor. Nothing against realtors, but their motivation is to get you to buy the house. Your motivation is to buy a home in good condition. I strongly urge you to go to the presale inspection and walk with the inspector. Listen to him/her. Ask questions as he/she walks. This is going to be your home. Make sure you know what you are getting into. Maybe you are a Do-It-Yourself kind of homeowner and you are looking forward to doing some repairs. Great! But if you are not, then it is a nightmare to buy a house and realize (after the closing) that there is major repair work to be done. There are some things you absolutely want to know about before you buy the house! The carrier doesn't want to insure a hazard they will most likely have to pay to repair/replace in the next few years. And you (as the homeowner) do not want to buy a house that will not protect you the way your home should.

Carrier Inspection: Most carriers will conduct a home inspection. They usually employ a third part inspection company to complete the inspection.  It is the carrier who will pay out the claims, so they want to make sure it is a good risk going in. One of the most common issues on a carrier inspection is roof condition. Often we get an Underwriting notice citing the roof condition from the inspection. When we reach out to the client, they tell us their home inspection said the roof was just fine. Many times the presale inspection didn't say the roof was fine. It might have said replacement was a good idea but the client didn't walk and talk to the inspector so they didn't read the inspection. Even if the presale inspection does say the roof is in fine condition, the carrier's inspection may disagree. Now, you can argue all you want, but the carrier can still cancel the policy if you do not make repairs. 

The best way to avoid a bad carrier inspection is to make sure you have a good presale inspection!

Things to Look for during a PreSale Home Inspection

Exterior of the Home

Windows: Depending on the age of the windows, you may need to replace them. At the very least, they need to be caulked once a year to keep them energy efficient.  
Tree Trimming: Tree limbs hitting the roof or side of the house will need to be trimmed back away from the house. If they are hitting the home, they will cause additional wear on the roof/siding. 
Termites: Hollowed or Damaged Wood. Wood damage can be found below and behind surfaces like walls, floors and windows.

Interior of the Home

Heating/Air: Filters need to be change twice a year. If they have not been, the buildup in the filters will make the system very inefficient, particularly for people with allergies. In some cases, the system will need to be replaced.
Water Heater: Most hot water heaters need to be replaced after 15 years. If your hot water heater breaks down, it is expensive and a royal pain to replace. 
Ventilation / Insulation: Ventilation and Insulation matter most in the attic. If either are in poor condition, you will have increased energy bills and possible increased damage to your roof (from the inside)

Roof: Carriers (and hopefully you!) would require the condition of the roof to last at least 5 years. With all of the wind/hail/storms we have here is Texas, roofs rarely last longer than 10 years. If you are looking at a house with a roof over 10 years old, it is a strong possibility the inspector will inspect the roof closely, looking for any indication the roof will not last. And many carriers will not insure a roof over 10 years old.
Electrical: Older homes may have quite a bit of electrical work to replace. Many carriers will not insure homes with fuse boxes so you may have to replace it with an updated breaker box. 

Presale Home Inspections look for issues that can be improved.  Carriers Inspections look for hazards that are more likely to cause a claim pay out  in the near future. They do not want to intentionally take on that risk. Since they are the ones that will pay out thousands or more, the carrier gets to decide if they want to take on the risk. You, as the homeowner, can disagree. But you will most likely NOT change their mind. So again, intentionally look at your home inspection before you buy the home.

Have questions? Need a quote?    

* Call us  877-987-8683  * Visit brockmanpremierins.com

Monday, January 13, 2020

Prevent Child Identity Theft

Prevent Child Identity Theft

Identity theft is a constant threat these days. With the number of major data breaches that have occurred in the past few years, such as the unprecedented Equifax breach in 2017, you’ve most likely experienced some form of financial fraud.

You might keep a close eye on your own finances for that reason, but your child can also be susceptible to identity theft. An identity thief can use your child's Social Security number to open a credit card, a bank account and apply for government benefits.

More Information Online Means More Child Identity Theft

According to the The Federal Trade Commission, many school forms require personal information and many are now online. Even novice hackers can get into systems easily to steal identity information. (My dog once received a credit card solicitation!) How your child's personal information is collected, stored, used and thrown away by their school can make a difference. As a parent or guardian you have the right to question the school and request they safeguard your child's information.
You can find a list of red flags to look for and how to repair the credit damage here. If you believe your child's credit may have been compromised, check to see if they have a credit report.
You can file an Identity theft claim with the FTC online or by phone 877-ID-THEFT

Avoid and Repair

Fortunately, a law went into effect in 2018 that lets you freeze your credit ― a helpful preventative measure ― for free. This can help avoid identity theft and or repair the credit damage afterwards if needed. You can freeze your child's credit so no one is able to use the information. (You can also freeze your own credit.)
The FTC suggests checking for a credit report in your child's name before they turn 16. You will need to fix any issues with the report before they apply for jobs, scholarships, loans or rent an apartment. Their credit plays a big part in all of these.
Identity thieves are ruthless and they do not care how much trouble they cause you. It can happen to anyone (or anyone's child). Even yours. Report any irregularitie you see and stay safe online!

Have questions? Need a quote?    

* Call us  877-987-8683  * Visit brockmanpremierins.com