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Owning a dog could affect your ability to obtain home insurance or renters insurance. You may have the sweetest, calmest dog in the world, however your insurance company MAY look at Rover differently. Some home insurance companies are not very enthusiastic about insuring certain breeds of dogs and as a result, you may pay more for your policy or they may cancel or not renew your policy. rebel-2

If you’re thinking of getting a dog, you might want to check with your home insurance provider before you make your final decision. Additionally, if you are looking for home insurance and already have a dog, you should disclose this to your agent or broker in order to make sure that you will have the proper coverage in the event of a dog bite.

Some states have existing and/or pending legislation to prohibit insurance companies from refusing to insure or discriminating against people that own certain breeds of dogs. As of December, 2008, the State of New York has 5 bills pending to restrict insurance companies from non renewing or cancelling policies as result of dog ownership. The American Kennel Club has a page on their site that lists states with pending legislation  along with a brief description of the bills:

Will owning a Dog affect your Home Insurance Policy? If you have a dog and are looking to find home or renters insurance here are a few tips:

Contact the insurance department of your state. They will provide you with a listing of all insurance companies licensed to provide home insurance in your state. Once you have the list, you can contact some of the companies to find out their guidelines on dog ownership. If you find the insurance company’s guidelines are too restrictive on the topic of dogs, you may contact the insurance department to confirm and/or report the insurance company.

If it is not against the law and you find it unfair, contact your state representative

Insurers are re-evaluating coverage’s for homeowners who share their living spaces with certain breeds. In New York State, there are a number of companies that will provide home insurance and renters insurance regardless of the type of dog you own. Your starting point on this should be State Farm Insurance and http://www.insurancelongisland.net/ which do not restrict or surcharge based on dog ownership. Above all, you should be aware of this issue if you are thinking about purchasing insurance and make sure you fully disclose this to your agent so that he/she makes sure you are properly insured.

 

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When you are in the market for home insurance or renters insurance in New York City or anywhere in New York for that matter, it’s important to not only check the price of coverage, but also to check the  insurance company ratings. Ratings give you information about a company’s financial strength, customer service record, claims records, and more valuable information that you can use when you shop for insurance.

By taking the time to check these ratings, you can select the best company with the best rates and the most affordable coverage.thumbs-up

 

How to Check Ratings

It’s very easy to check the ratings of insurance companies, especially if you go online.

 

Find out how many complaints have been lodged against insurance companies.  The New York State Department of Insurance will tell you how many complaints have been lodged against insurance companies. You will also be able to determine whether the company is actually “admitted ” in New York to do business.  To see how the companies stack up, click here.

 

Find out what consumers think of their insurance company.  J.D. Power conducts consumer surveys and then rates companies on their policy offerings, cost, billing and payment policies, and ease of contacting an agent. 

To see how they rate Home Insurance companies, click here

To see how they rate Auto Insurance companies, click here

To see how the companies rate on the customer’s buying experience, click here

To see how the companies rate when it comes to claims processing, click here.

 

Find out how financially stable your insurance company is.  A.M. Best Company, which evaluates the strength of insurance companies on a scale from AAA (extremely strong) to CC (extremely weak). They also include a rating of R for Under Regulatory Supervision.  To view their ratings, click here.

 

Standard & Poor’s, which looks at an insurance company’s ability to pay claims and meet financial obligations on a scale from AAA (very strong financial security characteristics) to BBB (good financial security characteristics). To see their ratings, click here.

 

 

Using Ratings When You Shop for Insurance


Checking home insurance and renters insurance company ratings will help you narrow down your choices when you shop for insurance, especially if you shop on the phone or online to gather information.

 

Why use a reputable company that is financially stable?


Although the answer is obvious, many people are attracted to the lowest rate that they have been quoted. This, of course, may not be the wisest decision as the company may have poor service, high complaint ratio’s and may be financially unstable. Therefore we recommend you do your research, speak to an actual agent that is accessible and knowledgeable, get a few quotes and then make a decision on which company to choose. State Farm Insurance has served policyholders for over 50 years and their service exceptional-this should be your starting point.

 

We know that ratings and customers’ opinions are valuable.  Please check out the reviews posted about our office:

Reviews written about Long Island Insurance

 

Long Island Car InsuranceAn auto insurance policy generally consists of several kinds of coverage’s and will vary by state. A general description of the coverage’s are as follows:

  • Bodily injury liability: for injuries the policyholder causes to someone else. This coverage also pays legal defense and court costs.
    • Medical, or in some states, Personal Injury Protection (PIP) for treatment of injuries to covered persons. At its broadest, PIP can cover medical payments, lost wages and the cost of replacing services normally performed by someone injured in an auto accident.
    • Property damage liability, for damage the policyholder caused to someone else’s property.
    • Collision, for damage to the policyholder’s car from a collision with another vehicle, an object or a vehicle rollover.
    • Comprehensive, for damage to the policyholder’s car that doesn’t involve a collision with another car, object or vehicle rollover. Covered risks may include fire, theft, falling objects, flood, hail and hitting an animal.
    • Uninsured motorists coverage, which pays for damages when a covered person is injured in an auto accident caused by a driver who does not have Liability insurance. The application of this coverage will vary by State. Staten Island Car Insurance

No state requires car owners to carry insurance for all these risks. But many states require drivers to carry minimum amount of liability insurance for bodily injury and property damage, as well as personal injury protection coverage.

In New York, the limits required by law for automobile insurance are 25/50/10. The first two figures refer to bodily injury liability and the third figure to property damage liability. For example, $50,000 for all persons injured in a single accident, subject to a limit of $25,000 for one individual, and $10,000 coverage for property damage.

 

Won’t my landlord’s insurance provide coverage for damage to my personal property?
No. Your landlord’s insurance will provide coverage only for damage to the building itself, but  not to your personal property. As a result, you should purchase renters insurance to protect your property from winter storm damage.

Long Island Home Insurance

Long Island Home Insurance

What type of winter storm damage does renters insurance cover?
Standard renters insurance provides coverage for damage to your personal property that results from any of the named perils that are listed on your policy (e.g., hail, wind, fire). As long as the winter storm damage results from one of these named perils, your personal property should be covered but you will need to check with your personal agent for specific coverage questions.

What if the damage is the result of a flood?
Basic renters insurance doesn’t provide coverage for damage that is the result of a flood. If you live in a flood-prone area, you’ll need to purchase a separate policy  to cover damage to your personal property as the result of a flood.

What is the difference between replacement cost and actual cash value coverage?
When you purchase renters insurance, you’ll want to know whether the policy provides replacement cost or actual cash value coverage for damaged property. Replacement cost coverage pays the actual amount of what it costs to replace the items that are damaged. Actual cash value coverage pays an amount equal to the depreciated value of the item that is damaged. Premiums for replacement cost coverage are a little higher than those for actual cash value coverage, but is worth the cost.

Staten Island Home Insurance

Staten Island Home Insurance

Are there any coverage limits for damage to my property?
Most renters insurance policies have coverage limits for certain items, such as jewelry. As a result, you should consider adding a rider to your policy or purchasing a separate policy, sometimes referred to a personal articles policy,  that is specifically designed to protect your valuables.

How much will it cost?
The cost of renters insurance varies, and depends on factors such as where you live and the coverage amount, but most people are surprised at how low premiums are.

Preparing for winter storm damage claims
There are some steps you can take to prepare yourself in case you ever need to file a claim for winter storm damage:

  • Prepare a household inventory by photographing or videotaping items
  • Keep receipts for valuable items
  • Have insurance information handy (e.g., insurance company phone numbers, insurance policy numbers)
  • Keep copies of the documents and information you’ve compiled in a safe place outside the house

If any covered peril damages or destroys your home, you will need to file a claim with your insurance company. You will need to promptly notify your insurance agent. You must be aware that an insurance policy is a contract between you and your insurance company and as such, there are rules and procedures that you and your insurer must follow. Read your insurance policy to see what your responsibilities are.

Long Island Home Insurance

Long Island Home Insurance

1. If you are the victim of a theft or your home has been vandalized or burglarized, report it to the police.

2. Before filing a claim, call your agent and ask questions: Is my loss a covered loss? Does my claim exceed my deductible? How long will it take to process my claim? Will I need to obtain estimates for repairs to structural damage?

3. Take reasonable steps to protect your property from further damage.

4. You are going to need to verify your loss. Take pictures and avoid throwing out damaged items until the adjuster has visited your home.

5. If your home is severely damaged and you need to find other accommodations while repairs are being made, keep records of all additional expenses incurred. Most home insurance policies provide coverage for the “loss of use” of their home.

6. Once your insurance company has been notified of your claim, the company is required to send the necessary claim forms to you by the end of a specified time period. (The time period varies from state to state.) Return the properly filled-out forms as soon as possible in order to avoid delays.

Staten Island Home Insurance

Staten Island Home Insurance

7. Your insurance company will usually arrange for an adjuster to come and inspect your loss. Cooperate with them as they gather information. Once you and your insurance company agree on the terms of your settlement, state laws require that you be sent payment promptly. In most cases, your claim will be processed quickly. If you have any questions about the claim filing laws in your state, call your insurance agent or your state department of insurance.

Important Final Note:
It is extremely important for you to thoroughly review and understand your home insurance policy BEFORE you have to deal with the stress of a loss/claim. You should know what perils are covered, and whether the coverage amounts are sufficient in the event of a disaster. Your insurance agent should be more than willing to discuss your specific insurance needs, as well as recommend possible ways to reduce your premiums, ease potential losses and prepare you for the proper steps to take in the event of a loss. But ultimately, the responsibility is yours.

Flood blocking the road in Jerusalem

 

1. Floods are the #1 natural disaster in the United States.

2. Most home insurance policies don’t cover flood damage.

3. Hurricanes, winter storms and snowmelt are common (but often overlooked) causes of flooding.

4. If you live in a low-to-moderate risk area and are eligible for the Preferred Risk Policy, your flood insurance premium may be as low as $119 a year, including coverage for your property’s contents.

5. Last year, one-third of all claims paid by the National Flood Insurance Program were for policies in low-risk communities. (Source: www.floodsmart.gov)

6. Your home has a 26% chance of being damaged by a flood during the course of a 30-year mortgage, compared to a 9% chance of fire. (floodsmart.gov)

7. Everyone lives in some type of flood zone. These are geographic areas that FEMA defines, based on studies of flood risk. The zone boundaries are shown on flood hazard maps, also called Flood Insurance Rate Maps.

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Who Needs Flood Insurance?
Since floods can happen to anybody just about anywhere, you probably should consider the possibility of taking out a flood insurance policy. Depending on your flood zone, the premiums can vary greatly. Additionally, if you live in a high-risk flood area and buy a home and take out a mortgage, your lender may require that you buy flood insurance for the closing.

Where Can You Buy Flood Insurance?
You can purchase flood insurance from your insurance agent through the National Flood Insurance Program. The National Flood Insurance Program is backed by the U. S. government.

Long Island Flood InsuranceDoes Home Insurance Cover Flooding?
Most do not cover flooding. Homeowners can include personal property coverage in their NFIP policy, and residential and commercial renters can purchase flood coverage for their contents. Business owners can also buy flood insurance coverage for their buildings, inventory and contents.

Does a flood insurance policy offer any type of basement coverage?
Yes, it does. A basement, as defined by NFIP, is any building area with a floor below ground level on all sides. Basement improvements – finished walls, floors or ceilings – are not covered by flood insurance,  nor are personal belongings, such as furniture and other contents. But flood insurance does cover structural elements and essential equipment, provided it is connected to a power source (if required) and installed in its functioning location. Examples of items covered may include the following: sump pumps, well-water tanks and pumps, oil tanks and the oil inside, natural gas tanks and the gas inside, pumps or tanks used with solar energy, furnaces, water heaters, air conditioners, heat pumps, electrical junction and circuit breaker boxes (and their utility connections).

 

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