Dustin from Tipton recently asked me a great question. He asks,
“If my neighbor has a tree that is dead and could possibly hit my house if it falls. How do I go about making sure that if their stuff falls on my house that I don’t have to pay for it?”
Yes, it’s true. If your neighbor’s tree falls on your property and causes damages, you are responsible for the damages to your own property. Meaning if there is enough damage for an insurance claim, it would hit your policy.
However there could be an exception to that rule if you have noticed the dead tree and asked your neighbor to cut down the tree or remove the hazard. The key is to give your neighbor proper notice of your concern, establish a paper trail, and ask him to remove the hazard.
Here are some suggested steps that you can take
- Verbally tell your neighbor of your concern and ask if he will remove the hazard. Most of the time this is the only step you will need to take as most people want to be good neighbors. It could even be a project you and your neighbor could work on together.
- If your neighbor will not comply, the next step would be to send him something in writing. An email or certified letter would be ideal. At this point you are looking to establish a paper trail of notices and requests. I would try this step several times before moving on to step 3.
- If significant time has passed and your neighbor is either ignoring your requests or does not indicate he will comply with your request you may want to get a third party involved. You could ask your homeowners association, local town board, or an attorney to send a letter to the neighbor on your behalf.
Remember, this is still America and your neighbor has rights, and in most instances, there is actually nothing you can do to make him remove the hazard. You are simply establishing a paper trail that you may need at some point in the future. You want to be able to show an insurance adjuster that you gave your neighbor plenty of warnings and requests of your concern.
If there is ever an event that involves that hazard, your insurance adjuster may be able to take the paper trail that you provide him and hold your neighbor accountable for your financial loss. In most cases the insurance company would first take care of your damages, and then pursue other actions to get the money back from the neighbor.
If you live in a designated flood area, and have a mortgage, you are required by FEMA’s National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) to have flood insurance. Until recently that coverage had to be purchased through NFIP. However recent changes have opened up the door for private insurance companies to start competing with NFIP. While these changes are still developing some mortgage companies are now accepting private flood insurance plans as well as the NFIP.
With competition come better pricing and better coverage options. If you are now required to have flood insurance, contact your lender to find out if they will accept flood insurance from a private insurance carrier.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Bragg Insurance Agency Announces
Referring Partner Rewards Program
Bragg Insurance Agency (BIA) will be rewarding our clients and members of our community for referring their friends and family to our agency. Each qualified referral will earn the referring partner a $10 gift card (no purchase necessary). The referring partner’s name will then be entered into a drawing at the end of that month for an additional $50 gift card. In addition the referring partner’s name will be entered into another drawing to take place twice per year for a $100 gift card.
There is no limit to the number of gift cards that can be earned Purchase is not necessary to enter and win! A referring partner could potentially earn up to $160 for a single referral!
A qualified referral is a person or business that has a verifiable need for an insurance product that BIA offers; is not a current customer of BIA; has not been a customer of BIA within the past 90 days; and hasn’t applied for insurance with BIA within the past 90 days.
Call Brian Bragg at 317-758-5828 for all of the details and to learn how you can become a BIA referring partner!
Posted in ATV Insurance, Car Insurance, Hamilton County Insurance, Homeowners Insurance, Increasing Deductibles, Insurance Annual Review, Life Insurance, Umbrella Insurance, Uncategorized
- Tagged Auto Insurance, debt, Frugal Living, homeowners, Homeowners Insurance, Insurance, Insurance Saving Tips, Job Loss, Life Insurance;, Money
If you own a John Deere Gator, Polaris 4-Wheeler, Golf Cart or any other type of all-terrain-vehicle (ATV) that can be driven on or off your property there are some things you should know about how your homeowner’s insurance policy may or may not cover your liability and your property.
Don’t assume that your homeowner’s insurance has you covered.
Depending upon your insurance company and type of homeowner’s policy that you have, your homeowner’s policy may have you covered while the ATV is on your premises. Don’t assume that you are covered; make a quick phone call to your local insurance agent and check your coverage. ATV’s are expensive and your liability is unlimited so a quick check in with your agent is well worth it.
In all likelihood you will be driving the ATV off premises, at least occasionally. This is where things could get ugly. Homeowner’s insurance companies rate you policy with the risk factors at your home in mind. When you drive your ATV off or your property there are many other risk factors that come into play. Because of this, most homeowner’s insurance policies exclude liability and property coverage to ATV’s driven off premises.
The good news is the endorsement is inexpensive.
To cover your ATV and your liability when you drive it off of your property is normally a pretty easy and inexpensive fix. Depending upon your insurance company, you may be able to add an endorsement to your policy that covers both your ATV and your liability. I recently did this type of endorsement and it cost the homeowners $22 for the year. But, if this policy went unendorsed there would be no coverage if an accident occurred.
If your homeowner’s policy does not offer such an endorsement there are also inexpensive policies that you can purchase. Depending upon the circumstances these policies can range in price from $30 to $225 per year. This is a whole lot less expensive than the cost of replacing your ATV or covering the medical costs of someone who may be injured as a result of an accident caused by the ATV.
The Key is Communication
The relationship that you have with your insurance agent should be a good one. Their contact information should be easy for you to locate and you should feel comfortable calling or emailing them to find out how your coverage works. Your insurance agent should also be relatively quick with their response (within 24 hours). Regardless of who your insurance agent is, you must communicate these types of changes. It’s always a mistake to assume that you are covered. Simply make the phone call or email to assure yourself that you have the coverage that you think you have.
Once again, it’s a new year. January is a great time of year to reflect back on the previous year while we make plans and preparing for upcoming year.
I like to look back into my checkbook register from the previous year to see where I spent my money. This is a good indication of what I did and where my heart was. I’m always surprised by some meaningful things that I did during the course of the year that I forgot about. I’m also surprised by how much everything cost these days.
Because It’s easy to forget about some decisions that we’ve made and today’s cost of living I highly recommend that you review your insurance coverages with your agent at least once per year. It’s an exercise that can take as little as 15 minutes but may end up saving you thousands of dollars.
Top 10 things to review with your Insurance Agent
- Life Insurance Face Amount – You are your family’s most important asset, if you are gone your incomes goes with you. Make sure that you understand the type of life insurance that you have, the face amount and any expiration dates that they policy may have.
- Discounts – When reviewing your coverages with your agent be sure to ask if you have received every available discount .
- Best Company for you? – If you are working with an independent insurance agency (I highly recommend) be sure to ask if the company you are with is the best company for you. I think it’s a good idea to shop your insurance every couple of year to make sure you are getting the best coverages at the best possible price.
- Auto Insurance Bodily Injury Liability Coverage – Probably the biggest risk you take is when you drive. If you injure or kill someone while driving the medical expenses can be devastating. Be sure you understand how much coverage you have and purchase as much as you can afford.
- Personal Liability Coverage – As a part of your homeowners insurance policy, personal liability coverage is very inexpensive. Normally the minimum coverage amount is $100,000 but increasing this coverage to $500,000 may cost as little as $20 per year. If you have a large liability loss, a good attorney may cost $100,000 so increasing this amount may be important.
- Homeowners Dwelling Coverage – Be sure that your homeowner dwelling coverage is for Replacement Cost and Comprehensive Perils. Also, be sure that your dwelling amount is enough to completely rebuild your home. If you are unsure about the amount, ask your agent for a copy of the Evaluation Tool (MSB) used to arrive at your dwelling amount.
- Personal Property Coverage – It is difficult to arrive at a replacement value for all of your personal property. Review that number with your agent and purchase the most coverage that you can afford. Be sure that your personal property coverage includes Replacement Cost and Comprehensive Perils.
- Jewelry, Guns & Collectible – While your personal property coverage amount may be enough coverage for your jewelry, guns and collectibles, most homeowners insurance companies limit the amount that you can collect for these items. Be sure to discuss these items with your agent and make sure that you have enough coverage.
- Deductibles – Make sure you know and understand how your deductibles work. Your homeowner’s insurance policy may have separate deductibles for separate events. Your auto insurance policies may also have different deductible amount for comprehensive and collision claims.
- Other Structure Coverage Amount – If you have a barn, a large building, or any other structure that is not attached to your home, make sure those outbuildings have enough coverage incase of a tornado, fire or unexpected event.
Of course if you ever need help understanding your coverages we at Bragg Insurance Agency are always happy to help. Bragg Insurance, your friends in the insurance business.
I got good news today from my doctor, telling me that instead of the surgery I was dreading for my worn out knees, that I likely just need Physical Therapy (PT). For many reasons this is welcomed news as well as an eye opener for me.
The reason for the PT is because years ago I had my knees operated on and then I just moved on with life. I failed to do any PT after the surgery and the muscles in my legs never fully recovered. I just moved on and forgot about it.
The bad news is that my knees are now weak and in bad need of PT, the good news is that I can now do something about it. I met with a physical therapist and he has me on a plan to help me strengthen my knees that will help improve my life.
The attitude that I had about my knees reminds me of the attitudes some people have toward their insurance plan.
They meet with an insurance person once, purchase a policy and then move on with life. They “Set it and Forget it.”
Insurance is not a “Set it and Forget It”. It is important that you review your coverages with your agent at least every 12 months. Another important time to review your coverages is when you have a “Life Event”, such as a wedding, a new driver, or a new room addition to your house.
Don’t treat your insurance plan like I did my knees. Take the time to review your coverages as often as necessary with your agent. Life changes and your insurance needs will change with your life.
Posted in Car Insurance, Hamilton County Insurance, Homeowners Insurance, Life Insurance, Umbrella Insurance, Uncategorized
- Tagged Auto Insurance, Business Insurance, Hamilton County Indiana Insurance, Homeowners Insurance, Life Insurance;, Noblesville, Sheridan Indiana, Westfield Indiana Insurance
Bragg Insurance Agency is excited to announce the opening of our video information Library! This new tool developed for Bragg Insurance Agency clients will help to answer many of your questions about how your insurance coverages work.
To visit the Insurance Video Library you can click on the following link. http://myinsurancevideos.com/all-videos/braggins/
We are hopeful that these 36 videos will help our community to make great decisions about their insurance coverages!
Posted in Car Insurance, Hamilton County Insurance, Homeowners Insurance, Insurance Annual Review, Replacement Value Insurance, Uncategorized
- Tagged Auto Insurance, homeowners, Homeowners Insurance, Identity Theft, Insurance, Life Insurance;, Money, Save Money
No matter if you’re a first time home buyer, or just switching insurance companies there’s a lot to consider with your homeowner’s insurance. Your home is probably the largest purchase that you will ever make, so understanding your insurance policy is very important.
Having the right insurance policy for you and your habits is also important. Regardless if you live in an upscale neighborhood of Carmel, Indiana or in a quiet countryside of Northern Hamilton County, your homeowner’s insurance policy should be custom fit to your unique lifestyle.
Because there is so much to consider, please take 5 minutes to watch the video “Homeowners Insurance FAQ’s”, it could help you to make some important decisions when it comes to protecting your home, it’s content, and the people who live three.
If you have any questions or if you would like a free homeowner’s insurance review please call Bragg Insurance at 317-758-5828.
Does your homeowner’s insurance policy include comprehensive perils? Do you know what that means? Nearly every insurance policy has exclusions (perils that the policy excludes against). The exclusions can include earthquakes, flooding, and sump pump failure.
The short video below will help you with your understanding of what your homeowners insurance policy may or may not cover.
As always consult with your agent if you have specific questions about your homeowners insurance
Posted in Frozen Pipes, Hamilton County Insurance, Homeowners Exclusions, Homeowners Insurance, Identity Theft Protection, Replacement Value Insurance, Uncategorized
- Tagged Actual Cash Value, Bragg Insurance, Hamilton County Indiana Insurance, homeowners, homeowners deductible, Homeowners Insurance, Homeowners Insurance Savings, How much insurance do I need?, Newlyweds, Protection from financial ruin, Roof Replacement, Savings Money, Sheridan Indiana
As we take the polar bear plunge into the depths of winter, not only do we have to be concerned about keeping our bodies warm, but we also need to take precautions for our homes. Indiana homes are especially susceptible to the cold weather with snowfalls along with periods of melting and then freezing, and then melting and then freezing….etc. This freezing and thawing can inflict considerable damage to our homes.
So, here are some tips and steps that you can take to protect your home from these periods of freezing and melting temperatures.
- Keep sidewalks and entrances to your home free from snow and ice.
- Watch for ice dams near gutter downspouts. Keep gutters free of leaves and debris so melting snow and ice can flow freely. Ice dams can cause water to build up and seep into your house.
- Keep the house heated to a minimum of 65 degrees. The temperature inside the walls where the pipes are located is substantially colder than the walls themselves. A temperature lower than 65 degrees will not keep the inside walls from freezing.
- Identify the location for the main water shutoff in your home. Find out how it works in case you have to use it.
- Open hot and cold faucets enough to let them drip slowly. Keeping water moving within the pipes will prevent freezing.
- If you own a swimming pool and temperatures are expected to dip below freezing, run the pool pump at night to keep the water flowing through the pipes.
- If you haven’t already, make sure all hoses are disconnected from outside spigots.
- If your garage is attached to your house, keep the garage doors closed. The door leading to the house is probably not as well-insulated as an exterior door.
- If ice forms on tree limbs, watch for dead, damaged or dangerous branches that could break and fall because of ice, snow or wind and damage your house, a car, or injure someone walking near your property.
- If you use fireplaces, wood stoves and electric heaters, watch them closely and make sure they are working properly.
- Remember to close the flue in your fireplace when you’re not using it.
- If you have to leave your home on a trip, ask a neighbor to check the house regularly. If there is a problem with frozen pipes or water leakage, attending to it quickly could mean far less damage.
- If you plan to be away for an extended period of time (or if temperatures are expected to remain below freezing), have the water system, including pool plumbing, have the water system drained by a professional to keep pipes from freezing or bursting.
If the worst has occurred and you have a problem with your home related to the winter weather, here are some other helpful suggestions.
- If you discover that pipes are frozen, don’t wait for them to burst. Take measures to thaw them immediately, or call a plumber for assistance.
- If your pipes burst, first turn off the water and then mop up spills. You don’t want the water to do more damage than it already has.
- Call your agent or company as soon as you can. An insurance adjuster doesn’t need to see the spill before you take action. However, he or she will want to inspect any damaged items.
- Make temporary repairs and take other steps to protect your property from further damage. Remove any carpet or furniture that can be further damaged from seepage.
- Make a list of the damaged articles.
- Save the receipts for what you spend—including additional living expenses if you must leave your home until repairs are completed—and submit them to your insurance company for reimbursement.
A standard homeowner’s policies will cover most of the kinds of damage that result from a freeze. For example, if house pipes freeze and burst or if ice forms in gutters and causes water to back up under roof shingles and seep into the house. You would also be covered if the weight of snow or ice damages your house.
However, most policies do not cover backups in sewers and drains or flood damage, which can also happen in winter. To be covered for flooding, you need a policy from the National Flood Insurance Program, while coverage for sewers and drains is generally offered as an endorsement to a standard homeowner’s insurance policy.
If your home suffers water damage, it is important to make sure that it is properly dried and repaired to prevent any potential problem with mold. Remember, mold cannot survive without moisture.
Check with your agent or company so you’ll be sure what your policy covers.
Source Insurance Information Institute
Posted in Frozen Pipes, Hamilton County Insurance, Homeowners Insurance, Increasing Deductibles, Insurance Annual Review, Insurance Saving Tips, Scam Artists, winter weather
- Tagged Bragg Insurance, Frozen Pipes, Homeowners Insurance, Polar Vortex, Sheridan Insurance