Homeowners Insurance Exclusions

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

Spring Storms Can Bring Scam Artists

Watch for Scams after a Storm

Concerned WomanAs winter winds down and we draw closer to Spring you will begin to hear the importance of being prepared for the Springtime storms. As everyone knows we are at a greater risk for Tornados and serious wind and hail storms in the Spring and Fall.

These storms can turn your home and your life upside down. If your home is damaged in a storm you are eager to get your home repaired as quickly as possible so that you can get your life back to normal. It’s during this time of eagerness that you can become victim to another “natural disaster”, a scam artist.

Most contractors are reputable business people. But each year, there are a few dishonest ones who chase storms from state to state. They will try to convince you that you have hail or other damage and that you need a new roof when in fact you really don’t. They’ll ask to be hired for the work, explaining that your insurance company will pay for the repairs.th7JGJ1NLC

Most homeowner’s insurance policies will cover damage caused by hail and windstorms, but they will not cover the cost to replace a roof or siding when no damage has occurred. It is always recommended that you obtain a second and even a third opinion before starting any contract work.

What you can do?

If you’re beginning to repair or rebuild after a storm, or even if you are just planning a home improvement project, keep these tips, recommended by the Federal FEMAEmergency Management Agency, in mind for choosing contractors wisely:
• Get more than one estimate.
• Don’t be pushed into signing a contract right away.
• Get everything in writing. Cost, work to be done, time schedules, guarantees, payment schedules and other expectations should be detailed.
• Check references before deciding which contractor to choose.
• Never sign a contract with blanks.
• Don’t pay a contractor in full until the work is complete.
• Check with county or city licensing authorities to see if the contractor is licensed in your jurisdiction, as well as checking for complaints with their regional Better Business Bureau.

Contact your local independent agent.

If you need suggestions about who to hire or how to repair your home after a storm, your local independent agent can help you contact an insurance claims adjuster. Most insurance carriers have professional claims adjusters who are trained to assess your property, identify storm damage and prepare an estimate for proper repair. They can also provide recommendations for reliable, licensed contractors in your area—although the final choice of contractor is always yours.

Replacement Value or Actual Cash Value

Do you have Replacement Value or Actual Cash Value? This is an important question that needs to asked when determining which insurance program is right for you.

ConfusionReplacement Value Insurance means that if your covered item is destroyed you will be paid the amount of money it takes to replace that item with a brand new item. There are a few caveats in each policy and you must subtract your deductible, but this is a good definition of Replacement Value.

Actual Cash Value Insurance (ACV) means that if your covered item is destroyed you will be paid the value of that item at the time of the occurrence. If your item is 10 years old the item will be depreciated accordingly and you will be paid the cash value of that item minus your deductible.

Here are two examples.

Your roof blows off of your house in a bad storm. You get an estimate of $15,000 to replace your roof.Limestone Tornado Damage

If you have Replacement Value Insurance with a $1,000 deductible the insurance company would pay the roofing contractor $14,000 and you would pay $1,000, the amount of your deductible.

If you have ACV with a $1,000 deductible the insurance company would then do some calculations to determine the value of your roof at the time of the occurrence. If your roof is 8 years old, they would depreciate the value of your roof by 8 years. They may determine that the cash value of your roof to be $11,000. The insurance company would then pay the roofing contractor $10,000 ($11,000 minus your deductible of $1,000), and you would pay the roofing contractor the remaining $5,000.

Here’s another example

Missing RoofIn that same scenario of the roof blowing off of your home, you have nearly all of your personal property damaged by rain water, hail damage, and wind.

If you have Replacement Value Insurance on your personal property the insurance company would calculate how much it would cost to replace the damaged personal property with new personal property of the same kind. If they determine that it is $100,000, you would be paid out that amount to replace your personal property. In this case the deductible was already paid through the roofing contractor.

If you have ACV on your personal propertyConcerned Woman the insurance company would then do some calculations to determine the cash value of your personal property at the time of the occurrence. You may only get $200 for your 10 year old couch, even though a new couch may cost $1,200. They may determine that your personal property had a cash value of $25,000 at the time of the occurrence. You would be paid out that amount to replace your personal property. Your deductible was already paid through the roofing contractor.

Summarizing these 2 example; if you had Replacement Value Insurance your insurance company would have paid out $114,000 (replacement of the roof and your personal property) and you would have had to pay out $1,000 (the amount of your deductible); and if you had ACV your insurance company would have paid out $35,000 (the ACV of the roof and your personal property minus your deductible) and you would have had to pay out $80,000 to replace your roof and personal property.

new roofReplacement Value Insurance cost about 10% more than ACV and there are some situation where ACV is called for. Some risks may not be eligible for Replacement Value Insurance because of the condition of the property, or the nature of the risk.

There are changes taking place in the insurance industry right now that you need to be aware of.  Some companies are changing the way that they pay out claims from what they may have done in the past. I am seeing deductibles increasing and policies that once had Replacement Value Insurance getting changed to ACV. Many HO3 polices have Replacement Value on the home but ACV on the personal property. Do you know what you have? logo3696786_mdIf you are unsure, contact your agent right away.

You can also contact Bragg Insurance Agency at 317-758-5828 for a free no obligation review of any of your insurance policies.