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Posts Tagged ‘Home Insurance Staten Island’

Hurricane-Proof Your Home

 
As we edge closer to another hurricane season in the New York/Long Island area, preparing your house for disaster should be a priority.

 

Whether your home is old or new, it may not be able to withstand hurricane force winds.  To protect your home, the American Red Cross recommends that you focus in on three particular areas of your home: the roof, the windows and the doors (including a garage door if you have one).

 

 

Hurricane Roof Damage

Hurricane Roof Damage

 Window Protection:

 Unprotected windows are very vulnerable to wind damage and damage from wind blown debris therefore it is critical that you protect them. The easiest and most effective way to protect them is with storm shutters. Steel is the best and the most expensive. Aluminum and plywood shutters are also available.    

  

 

These are readily obtainable from many building supply stores, including Home Depot and Lowes.  If you live in a hurricane or storm-prone area, you may want to also think about installing impact resistant windows according to the Federal Alliance for Safe Homes. These windows are designed to withstand flying debris. Also be aware that taping your windows will not protect them and is not effective.

 

Storm-Proof the Roof:
Another vulnerable area of your home is the roof. During a hurricane, the wind can actually get underneath the roof shingle and peel it off the roof.  The Federal Alliance for Safe Home recommends you go to your local building supply store and get premium flooring adhesive. Apply with a caulking gun to the underside of your roofwhere the roof and the support beams meet. Be sure to look for an adhesive that has been tested and has a strong rating.

 

Hurricane Damage to Garage Door

Hurricane Damage to Garage Door

Even the best methods of roof and window protection is not enough if you don’t also protect your doors (including your garage door). The garage door is potentially the largest and weakest opening of your home to a hurricane. According to the Federal Alliance for Safe Homes about 80% of residential hurricane wind damage starts with wind entry through garage doors, making this a critical area to reinforce.  However, many garage doors are made of lightweight materials that make it vulnerable to hurricane damage. A qualified inspector can determine if both the door and the track system can resist high winds and, if necessary, help replace them with a stronger system.  
 
Pay special attention to any sliding glass doors that you may have, as they are more vulnerable to wind damage than most other doors. When building a home or replacing a door, you should consider impact resistant door systems. As a temporary measure, you can cover the entire patio door with plywood.
 
Finally, periodically review your home insurance policy with your agent and make sure you are properly covered BEFORE disaster strikes.
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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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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.

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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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Does my home insurance policy cover all my valuable items?

 

A standard home insurance policy will include some coverage for your jewelry and other valuable items (such as watches or furs).  Under your home insurance policy, these will be covered if destroyed by causes that are covered in your policy.  Usually this includes fires, windstorms, vandalism, and theft.

 

The problem you will run into is that there are limitations in the standard policy as to how much you can claim for certain items.  Because of this, the insurer won’t be able to pay out more than what is specified in the policy.  This usually applies for jewelry.  Because jewelry is can be stolen easily, standard  policies usually only cover up to $1500 per item.

 manhattan with the twin towers

How do I ensure my valuable items are properly covered?

 

If you want to make sure the value of your jewelry is covered, there are 2 ways you can increase insurance coverage:

 

  1. You can raise the limit of liability on your current home insurance or renter’s insurance policy. This is usually the cheapest option.  The only problem is that there might be a limit on the amount you can claim on one specific item.  You might only be able to claim $2500 on one item of jewelry when the limit of the policy for all items is $5000.
  2. Purchasing personal article policies (sometimes referred to as floaters or riders) and “scheduling” each item.  Floaters are policies that cover specific items that have a high $ value. This is basically way of listing specific valuable items on your policy. The schedule would include a description of each item that is covered and how much it is worth.  According to this article , a State Farm Insurance spokesman said that 70% of floaters are bought to cover jewelry.  This option is more expensive but it protects the items under broader circumstances.  For example, a home insurance policy would not cover the loss of your ring if you left it in a hotel room or lost it swimming in the ocean.  These situations can be covered under a floater policy.  Before you get these items covered, it is essential to get them professionally appraised to determine their true value.

 

 

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Insurance is a highly competitive business and the price you pay for your home insurance can vary by hundreds of dollars, depending on the insurance company you buy your policy from. Companies offer several types of discounts, but they don’t offer the same discount or the same amount of discount in all states. For this reason, you should ask your insurance agent about any discounts available to you. Here are some things to consider when buying home insurance.

1. Raise your deductible.
Deductibles are the amount of money you have to pay toward a loss before your insurance company starts to pay according to the terms of your policy. Deductibles on homeowners policies typically start at $500. By increasing your deductible to $1000 or greater, you could save a significant amount of money.

2. Buy your home and auto insurance policies from the same insurer.
Some companies that sell homeowners, auto and life insurance, such as State Farm Insurance, will take 5 to 15 percent off your premium if you buy two or more policies from them.

3. Consider these Factors when buying a Home
Consider how much insuring it will cost. Because a new home’s electrical, heating and plumbing systems and overall structure are likely to be in better shape than those of an older house, insurers may offer you a discount if your house is new. Check its construction, too. Brick, because of its resistance to wind damage is better in the East; frame, because of its resistance to earthquake damage, better in the West. Choosing wisely could cut your premium by 5 to 15 percent. Avoiding areas that are prone to floods can save you money because you may not need a flood insurance policy. Home insurance does not cover flood-related damage. If you do buy a house in a flood-prone area, you’ll have to buy a flood insurance policy, too.

And is your house close to a hydrant or fire station? The closer your house is to firefighters and their equipment, the lower your premium will be.

4. Insure your house, not the land.
The land under you house isn’t at risk from theft, windstorm, fire and other perils covered in your homeowners policy. So don’t include its value in deciding how much home insurance to buy. If you do, you’ll pay a higher premium than you should.

5. Compare the limits in your policy and the value of your possessions at least once a year.
You want your policy to cover any major purchases or additions to your home. But you don’t want to spend money for coverage you don’t need. Check over your policy and make sure your home insurance policy and your personal articles policy are covering items that you actually still own, i.e.., watch, ring, fur coat.

6. Look for private insurance first and always ask questions.
If you live in a high-risk area — say, one that is especially vulnerable to coastal storms, and have been buying your home insurance through a government/state plan, you should check with an insurance agent. You may find that there are steps you can take that would allow you to buy insurance at a lower price in the private market.

If you have questions about insurance for any of your possessions, be sure to ask your agent when you’re shopping around for a policy. For example, if you have a small business in your home, be sure to discuss coverage for that business. Most home insurance policies cover business equipment/property in the home but only for a small amount and they offer no business liability insurance.

Although you want to lower your home insurance cost, you also want to make certain you have all the coverage you need. So don’t be afraid to ask questions, before you have a loss.

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