Does home insurance cover hail damage?

Home insurance may cover hail damage.

Home insurance may cover hail damage.

While hail might seem like a strange phenomenon, it can happen – even in the middle of summer. (It doesn’t seem to make sense, but it happens.) Hail can cause damage to your home as it pelts against the roof and the siding. Since you can’t exactly put a protective bubble around your house to make sure the hail bounces off harmlessly, you might be wondering about another line of protection for your Atlanta home: home insurance. Does home insurance cover hail damage? We’ll explain.

Does home insurance cover hail damage?

Typically, home insurance includes coverage for certain types of damage caused by storms. That can mean things like wind damage, lightning, falling trees, and yes – hail. Your home insurance policy may include coverage for hail damage, but, of course, it’s important to read through your policy to see what is and isn’t covered. It’s also important to know how much coverage you have for your dwelling, your belongings, and so on. (Yes, your policy might look intimidating, but the time you spend reading through it and familiarizing yourself with your coverage is time well spent.)

Home insurance can also include coverage if the roof or wall is damaged due to wind and allows wind-driven rain, hail, or snow to get inside.

Remember, though, that there is your home insurance deductible to consider. Your deductible is the amount you agree to pay if you have a claim – basically you pay your deductible and insurance covers the rest up to your policy’s limit. Anyways, it’s important to find out what your deductible would be if you have a hail damage claim.

What type of storm damage is NOT covered?

Home insurance covers lots of things, but it doesn’t cover everything. As far as storms and disasters go, it’s important to note a few losses that are not covered by home insurance.

Flooding.

Flooding is generally not covered by home insurance. Whether the flood was caused by a heavy rainstorm or a river bursting its banks, it’s not covered. That doesn’t mean, however, that you can’t protect your home from flooding. You just need to get a flood insurance policy and make sure that you have coverage for both your dwelling and your personal belongings.

Earthquakes.

Earthquakes and earth movement are also generally excluded from home insurance coverage.

Why it’s important to take a home inventory.

When you’re filing a home insurance claim, it can really help to have some current pictures of your home. That way it’s easier to see what kind of damage was caused by something like, say, a hail storm. So, don’t be shy – this is your home’s big moment! Have a photo shoot and snap pics of the exterior of your house.

It’s also important to remember to document your belongings as well. To take an inventory of your personal belongings, go room to room and write down a list of what’s there. And again, take pictures. That can help you make sure you’re not missing anything. Having an inventory can make things easier if you ever have to file a claim, so the best time to take your home inventory is, well, before you have a claim.

In other words – try not to procrastinate!

So, hail damage can be covered by home insurance, which typically includes various coverages for storm damage. But as always, it’s important to read through your policy to make sure you have the coverage you need to protect your home if life throws a curveball – or hail storm – your way.

Looking for Atlanta home insurance? We can help. Fill out our online quote form or give us a call today to get started with your quotes. You can also send us a message on LiveChat if you prefer.

Atlanta safety guide for the Fourth of July

Stay safe this Fourth of July.

Stay safe this Fourth of July. The Fourth of July can be a fun day for the whole family. However, backyard barbecues and booming fireworks can bring a lot of danger to you or your guests. Many of these holiday mishaps are preventable if you prepare for the holiday correctly. But where can you start? Check out these tips to keep your Atlanta Independence Day fun, safe, and care-free.

Fourth of July fireworks safety

1. Find a safe place to ignite your fireworks

Fireworks are flammable, after all. So, before you break out your sparkling stash of fancy, sparkly lights, find a non-flammable surface to light your fireworks. Set off your fireworks on a concrete or metal surface, and make sure its path is clear of trees and power lines. Don’t shoot off the fireworks inside or near awnings, and make sure they have room to shoot straight up into the air – not at an angle where it could land and catch fire to your roof or someone else’s.

2. Keep your audience at a distance.

It may be tempting for your little ones or pets to come close to the bright, pretty lights on the Fourth of July. But fireworks, again, are extremely flammable (hence the term FIREworks). So, make sure that a responsible party is lighting the fireworks in a clear space and at a safe distance. If you’re lighting a firework, be sure to back away quickly when it ignites, and don’t light more than one firework at a time.

3. Wear protective clothing

If you’re in charge of the firework show this Fourth of July, it can be extremely helpful to wear protective clothing. That doesn’t mean you have to don an entire haz-mat suit. Just make sure that your eyes are protected, and any exposed skin is covered. It may be hot outside, but the sparks from a firework are hotter. So, wear something breathable, but covering. Don’t look directly into a lit firework and stay completely focused on lighting what’s in front of you.

4. Always supervise children with fireworks

Very young children should never play with fireworks. However, when your kid is a little older, who doesn’t like waving around a sparkler or two? Just make sure that they’re closely supervised while they’re lighting up your backyard or cul-de-sac. Although the sparks from these sticks may seem harmless, sparklers can burn at temperatures around 2,000⁰ F. So, set some ground rules and make sure everyone is on their best behavior.

5. Do NOT try to pick up “duds”

You may have lit a firework that sputtered and fizzled out. However, fireworks are unpredictable, and many injuries happen because of improper handling. So, if one of your fireworks is a “dud,” drop it on the ground, douse it in water, and then wait a few minutes to dispose of it properly. Do NOT throw the dud directly in the trash, and do NOT try to stomp it out. (This goes for sparklers as well.)

6. Keep a bucket of water nearby

If you’re lighting fireworks, it can be especially important to have water nearby. Have a big container of water that’s easily accessible to drop dead sparklers or dud fireworks into if needed.

7. Follow your local firework laws

Make sure to obey your local firework laws and noise ordinances for the Fourth of July. Some laws may vary by county or by city. Some laws may be in effect for a certain time period. Just make sure you know what they are for your specific area before taking on an entire arsenal of firework fun.

8. Have the right home insurance

It’s always a good idea to know which damages might be covered by your home insurance before the worst happens. But Fourth of July celebrations can pose a lot of fire risk to your home, even if you’re not the one lighting the way. So, check your home insurance policy for the different types of perils it may be able to cover. Make sure you have the right coverage and enough coverage to properly insure your home’s structure and/or your belongings should a rogue spark unluckily land on your roof or lawn.

Grilling for the Fourth of July

1. Know your grill

Make sure you know if you have a gas or charcoal grill and familiarize yourself with how to use it properly. If you have a gas grill, check your propane tank and hoses to make sure there are no leaks. NEVER use lighter fluid on a gas grill. Those are only for use on charcoal or wood.

If you have a charcoal grill, make sure the rest of your fuel and your lighter fluid are a safe distance away from the grill. You don’t want something to ignite before you’ve planned for it to do so.

2. Keep the grill a safe distance from other structures and trees

Regardless of the type of grill you have, make sure you’re using the grill outside and away from your house, shed, garage, or beloved backyard tree. If your grill is located under an awning, make sure that the roof is a proper distance above the heat. Keep an eye on the grill while it’s on to make sure its flames don’t rise too high.

Fourth of July safety tips

3. Prepare the proper tools

Before you start grilling, place all the tools you need around you before turning on the heat. This includes:

  • Meat tongs
  • Spatulas
  • Aprons
  • Grill gloves/mittens
  • Skewers
  • Serving utensils
  • Serving plates
  • Thermometers
  • Aluminum foil
  • Specialty grilling tools (brushes, basters, injectors, etc.)

NEVER leave a grill unattended. If you have forgotten something after the food is already on the flame, ask one of your guests to grab what you need and place it in a safe space near you (that’s not on the grill itself.) If all else fails, make sure that you keep a fire extinguisher or a hefty bucket of water nearby.

4. Keep away kids and pets

We know: The smell of summer barbecue is enticing to human and beast alike. But a grill is essentially an open grate full of fire. So, as a grill master, it’s your job to make sure no one gets burned. Keep children away and occupied from the grill. If you can help it, keep animals locked away or inside while the grill is on or open. A burger tastes better when enjoyed from a safe distance.

5. Handle food safely

Overall, you want to make sure that no one gets sick from your cooking (in any situation, really). So, take special care when creating your delicious outdoor meal, especially if you’re cooking for guests.

  • Wash your hands before and between handling foods if you’re touching raw meat. At the very least, have moist towelettes or hand sanitizer to sanitize your hands if you can’t step away from the grill.
  • Don’t use the same utensils for raw meat and cooked food.
  • Cook the food thoroughly. Beef should reach an internal temperature of at least 160⁰F and chicken should reach at least 165⁰. Now is not the time to test your cooking skills with rare and medium-rare meat.
  • If you’re marinating food, keep it in the fridge until it’s ready to cook.
  • Do NOT thaw food in the microwave.
  • Don’t let your leftovers sit out for more than two hours.

Travel

1. Prepare your car for a long trip

If you’re headed out on the road for your Fourth of July fun, make sure that your car is ready to handle the long drive. Check your tire pressure and your gas tank before you leave. Make sure you’ve had an oil change and tire rotation before you hit the road, as well as any other maintenance issues. You don’t want your trip to be stopped short on the side of the road because of a simple fix.

2. Be careful on social media

Here’s a secret: Thieves love holidays. They know that many people leave their houses unoccupied, which gives them a perfect opportunity to break into your home without anyone noticing. If you’re posting live social media updates and selfies of yourself while you’re not in your own backyard, you’ve notified any potential thieves that no one is watching your home. So, save the pictures of your summer getaway for when you get back.

3. Make your house look occupied

One of the biggest deterrents for burglars is a place that looks occupied. So, if you’re gone for a long period of time, have your mail held or forwarded. Ask a friend or neighbor to house-sit or at least keep an eye on the place while you’re away. Maybe they could mow your lawn for you so the grass doesn’t look too scruffy. Don’t give dead giveaway signs that you’re not around.

4. Keep your home secure

Before you leave, make sure all of your doors and windows are securely locked. Keep your security system armed and have a reliable contact method if your security company needs to contact you.

If you don’t have a security system, it might be worth it to look into getting one for your home. Many modern systems have remote access to lock and unlock your doors, motion activated lights, or surveillance cameras. These features can not only keep burglars at bay, but they may even help you save money on your homeowners’ insurance.

A Fourth of July weekend can be a special occasion to celebrate friends, family, and the nation. That’s why it’s important to take special care and precautions to keep the day as safe as possible. It’s also important to have the right home insurance to handle the many types of mayhem that can happen throughout the year.

Our insurance experts can help you get multiple quotes on the affordable home insurance you need, no matter the occasion. To stop missing out on great home insurance rates, just give us a call, fill out our online form, or LiveChat with a specialist today.

10 questions an insurance agent may ask when you get home insurance

Be prepared to answer these questions from an insurance agent when you get home insurance quotes.

Be prepared to answer these questions from an insurance agent when you get home insurance quotes.

When you’re on the road to getting great homeowners insurance, you may be a little hesitant to disclose a few details about yourself. And we’re not talking about your favorite color. Home insurance agents sometimes need certain, sensitive information that many people have been taught to hold near and dear.  The good news is that insurance agents know how to keep your information safe and use it to get great rates on your home insurance. So, here are some of the questions you’ll have to be prepared to answer to get home insurance.

Read more10 questions an insurance agent may ask when you get home insurance

Does Atlanta home insurance cover solar panels?

Your home insurance likely covers your solar panels.

Your home insurance likely covers your solar panels.

Atlanta enjoys quite a lot of sunlight, and that might have gotten you thinking about solar panels. If you’re thinking about going green and adding solar panels to your house, you’re probably bracing yourself for the price tag. Those panels are expensive, after all. And since they cost quite a bit, your concern might be how you’re going to protect them. Does home insurance cover solar panels? Will they be protected by your Atlanta home insurance? We’ll explain what you need to know.

Does home insurance cover solar panels?

So, good news –

Rooftop panels are typically considered to be permanent attachments on the house, so your home insurance policy should cover them. You may not need any specific “extra” coverages. The solar panels, if they’re on the roof of the dwelling, may be covered under the “dwelling” section of your home insurance policy.

However, since the solar panels are likely very expensive, it’s important to make sure that they’re fully covered. You may need to raise your limits of home insurance to make sure you have enough coverage to truly cover the solar panels. It’s something to be conscious of if you make the decision to get solar panels.

At any rate, it’s important to talk to your agent to see what your particular policy says and how it handles solar panels. They can also go over your coverage limits and help you make sure you have enough coverage. Be sure to ask what perils your solar panels are protected against – are there any exclusions or types of damage that wouldn’t be covered?

(And while you’re at it, you can ask about your deductible and how much it would be.)

Basically, make sure that you have the coverage you need to by talking things over with your agent. It’s important to make sure to protect your investment.

What are the benefits of having solar panels?

There are a few reasons to consider getting solar panels. Though you might be worried about the cost, there are plenty of benefits to go along with them.

  • You can save money on your electricity bill
  • You can sell electricity back to the power company
  • It’s environmentally friendly because solar power is a renewable resource

So, there you have it. Your home insurance generally covers rooftop panels because they’re usually considered to be a permanent attachment on your home. Be sure to talk to your agent to make sure you have high enough limits of insurance to fully protect your solar panels. They can tell you what you need to know about the coverage for your panels and how to make sure you’re covered. There are lots of reasons to go green – you can really help the environment by taking advantage of the renewable resource of solar energy.

Get started with insurance quotes by filling out our online form, calling us, or messaging us on LiveChat. Our team of insurance experts would be happy to help you get the Atlanta home insurance that’s right for you.

Check your Atlanta home insurance before hurricane season

Make sure your home insurance is ready for hurricane season.

Make sure your home insurance is ready for hurricane season.

Hurricane season is here, which means that it’s important to get your Atlanta home insurance or flood insurance ready. You need to have your home insurance all settled well in advance of any storm. We’ll go over a few things you need to know about making sure your insurance is ready for hurricanes.

6 things to know about home insurance, flood insurance, and hurricanes.

1. Remember that home insurance doesn’t cover flooding.

Did you know that your typical home insurance policy doesn’t cover flooding? That’s why it’s important to make sure that you have the proper flood insurance policy – you’ll probably go through the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP).

You should also keep these things in mind when buying flood insurance:

2. Flood insurance takes 30 days to become effective.

If you’re planning on waiting to get flood insurance, you need to know that there’s typically a 30-day waiting period before your flood insurance becomes effective. They may make an exception if you need flood insurance to get, extend, increase, or renew your mortgage loan, but overall, don’t wait until the last minute!

3. If a tropical storm or full-blown hurricane is set to hit your area, it may be too late to get home insurance

Insurance companies may issue “binding restrictions” if a big storm is nearby, which means they won’t sell or finalize home insurance coverage for certain peril for a certain amount of time. This happens a LOT before a hurricane strikes. So, waiting until the last minute could mean that you’re out of luck for getting home insurance. As tempting and easy as it is to procrastinate dealing with insurance, hurricane season is not the time to put off getting some home insurance quotes.

4. You may not be able to increase your home insurance limits or lower your deductible either if a storm is on the way.

What if you already have home insurance? If an insurance carrier imposes binding restrictions, you may not be able to raise the limits of what your regular policy will cover or lower your deductible (the amount you’ve agreed to pay for a claim before your policy kicks in.) So, you’ll need to consider your risk and make any adjustments to your coverage well before your area is threatened by a major storm.

5. If you live near water, you may have to get home insurance coverage from a different type of carrier.

Here’s the thing: Even if your home has never seen a hurricane, living in a coastal town or near a body of water can put you at a bigger risk of being hit by a storm. Big insurance companies sometimes don’t like taking on that risk. So, if you’re having trouble finding home insurance for your coastal or beach house, you may have to think outside of the box in terms of home insurance carriers.

6. Take a look at your ALE coverage.

Most homeowners insurance policies have additional living expense (ALE) coverage, which can help you pay for the additional expenses you incur if you can’t live in your home due to a covered loss. Make sure you understand how much ALE coverage you have, how it works, and what the conditions are for reimbursement, again, BEFORE a hurricane.

We know that hurricane season can be a little scary. So, we hope these tips will help protect you, your family, and your home investment. If getting the right home insurance for a hurricane still seems a little daunting, just call our insurance experts, fill out our online form, or LiveChat with an agent today! We’ll work with you to make sure your homeowners’ policy addresses your specific risks and that you save money on the coverage you need.

Prepare your house for Atlantic hurricane season

Make sure you're ready for hurricane season.

Make sure you're ready for hurricane season.

Georgia is no stranger to hurricane season, whether you’re located on a coastal town or not. Even if you live more inland, heavy rains and wind from a hurricane can still cause massive destruction. So, it’s important to know how to prepare for all of the effects of a hurricane, not just the waves. Here are 10 tips on how to prepare yourself and your home insurance for hurricane season.

10 tips to prepare your house for hurricane season.

1. Know when hurricane season is.

It helps to know what to prepare for, but it can help more to know when to prepare for it. So, hurricane season in Georgia usually lasts from the beginning of June to about mid-November. That may seem like quite a long length of time for hurricanes to be pelting the shoreline, so don’t worry – the most active season for storms in the past has been during the months of July, August, and September.

2. Inspect your house’s structure.

If you haven’t inspected your house’s structure, it may be time to finally get out your tool belt. Make sure that there are no broken tiles or shingles on your roof. Keep your gutters clean so that rainwater doesn’t get backed up onto your roof to cause rot or leaks. Check your home’s indoor and outdoor walls for cracks or structural damage that could be easily compromised by a storm.

3. Trim your trees in preparation for hurricane season.

Along with your regular home maintenance and home inspection, make sure you’re maintaining the foliage around your home. Look for dead tree limbs and other plants that could cause heavy damage if they fell onto your house. Remember: your home insurance may only pay part of the costs of tree removal if it falls. So, preparing your home ahead of time will save you a lot of headache in the long run.

4. Secure outdoor structures.

If you’ve heard the phrase, “They’ll take anything that’s not nailed down,” you should probably apply it to any structures in your yard during a hurricane. Even “tame” hurricanes can carry winds over 70 mph. A strong storm can bring winds over 170 mph, which can easily blow away your child’s trampoline, playset, or a mobile shed. Those gusts can also easily blow those objects straight into your house or a neighbor’s house. So, make sure that everything in your yard, deck, patio, or porch is secure before a storm puts your outdoor fun indoors.

5. Know where the shut off valves are.

Make sure you know where all of your house’s water, power, and propane shut-off switches are. Map them out before a storm hits so that you and your family can navigate to them easily in an emergency.

6. Barricade your home.

Make sure you know how to reinforce your home properly for a hurricane. Check to see if your house is outfitted with storm windows. Stock up on pre-cut plywood to board up your exterior windows if necessary. Make sure the wood is strong enough to withstand the impact of debris. You should also keep a stock of sandbags handy to place near exterior doors; they can help absorb water that might otherwise seep under your doorways and flood your home.

7. Prepare an emergency kit.

If you’re stuck in your home without water or power, you’ll need to have a few supplies to tide you over until your next steps. Make sure you have a disaster kit that is at least stocked with:

  • A battery-powered or crank radio
  • Extra batteries
  • 1 gallon of water per day per person for three days
  • A 3-day supply of non-perishable food
  • Flashlights and candles
  • A first-aid kit
  • A tarp and duct tape for a makeshift shelter
  • Towels
  • Cash
  • A map of the area
  • Baby and pet supplies, if needed

Additionally, be sure to keep your family’s important documents in a safe and dry place where you can easily access them if needed. Change out the water in your emergency kit every six months as needed. Check the expiration dates on the non-perishable food and replace the supply when necessary. You may also want to consider packing an emergency kit for your car as well.

8. Create and memorize an emergency plan.

If your area is under a storm watch, stay tuned to your local weather channel to find out if the situation escalates. If an evacuation is ordered for your area, don’t wait until the last minute to leave your home. Roads out of your town may close, and even with contraflow lanes, there may be traffic jams that can keep you in an unsafe area.

Before a storm hits, create an evacuation plan with your family. Decide on a common meeting place and make sure everyone knows how to get there. You should also know for sure where you’re evacuating to before a hurricane – whether it’s a family member’s house, a friend’s house, a hotel, or a public shelter. Choose multiple possible destinations, and make sure that they’re in different directions from your home.

Note your state’s evacuation routes and procedures, but also make sure you know how to get to your evacuation location using different paths, with and without major highways. Don’t rely on technology to get to where you’re going – print or write down directions.

9. Create a home inventory.

If worse comes to worst for your home, replacing your possessions will be a lot easier with a home inventory. A home inventory is a good idea to keep in general if you’re a homeowner, but it can also help your home insurance more accurately repair or replace the items in your home if they’re struck by a covered loss. Just make sure that your policy covers your belongings for their replacement cost value (RCV) – or the cost it would take to replace the item – and not their actual cash value (ACV) – or the depreciated value of the item.

It’s best to keep your home inventory in a place that’s secure and easily accessible. With modern technology, that can be easier than ever! Just use a cloud service or online form of documentation for your home inventory, and you’ll be able to access and update your list from anywhere. Plus, it can really help you out in case you have to file a claim.

10. Make sure you have the right insurance.

It’s also important to protect your Atlanta home with the right insurance. Get home insurance quotes by filling out our online quote form, giving us a call, or messaging us on LiveChat.

What insurance do you need for a rental home in Atlanta?

It's important to get the right insurance for your rental home.

It's important to get the right insurance for your rental home.

There are all sorts of circumstances that lead to someone renting out a home. You may have turned your attention from selling your old home to renting it out. You could have decided to downsize to an apartment or condo, and you’re using your old Atlanta house as income. Or you might have just purchased a second home for the sole purpose of renting it out. However, a normal home insurance policy isn’t quite the right way to protect the rental home. Here’s a look at how to insure your Atlanta property the right way if you’re putting it up for rent.

Why won’t a normal home insurance policy work if I rent out my home?

Here’s the thing. A traditional home insurance policy by itself is only built to handle the risk of a primary owner living there and that primary owner’s guests. It’s not made to handle the risk that comes with different groups of people living in the home on rotation. Renters come and go, so they have less invested interest in taking care of the property than someone who purchased the home and plans to live in it for much longer. Insuring a rental home is a different type of risk because there’s a lot more variety in situations, personalities, and overall traffic to the home that may cause more damage to the property than a typical homeowner.

So, what type of insurance do I need for renting out a home?

You’ll need a dwelling fire policy (or DP policy) that accounts for your rental property’s varying occupants. A dwelling fire policy is very similar to a home insurance policy in how it can cover liability and property damage for the home itself. DP policies are generally written on a yearly basis.

Does my insurance cover my tenant’s belongings?

It’s important to note that a dwelling fire policy only helps protect you as a landlord and your investment in the house’s structure. If something were to happen to your tenant’s things inside the home, it probably wouldn’t be covered under your dwelling fire policy.

That’s why it’s important to talk to your tenants about getting their own separate renters’ insurance. That could offer the type of coverage they need to repair or replace their things if they’re damaged by an event like a fire, theft, or even falling objects. Renters insurance can also give your tenant their own liability coverage.

What if I can’t find a tenant for my rental home?

Sometimes the rental market isn’t all that friendly to landlords. However, even if your insurance company knows that the home is a rental, you may not be covered for perils that happen to the home when it’s vacant. That’s why it’s vital to check your insurance policy to make sure you know how long the policy will cover a vacant house.

Typically, a policy will allow at least 30 days of vacancy. So, while you do have a buffer of time for your tenant search, don’t cut things close!

What factors affect my rental home insurance rate?

Some of the factors that might affect the cost of your dwelling fire policy are:

Rates can also greatly differ from carrier to carrier and from plan to plan. Usually, it’s a good idea to have your DP policy with the same carrier as your primary home insurance since doing so could help you get a better rate. Plus it’s just easier that way.

Consider umbrella insurance

You may also want to consider personal umbrella insurance if you’re renting out your house. Hospital bills can get expensive. So, if one of your renters is hurt on your property, it’s nice to have a bigger cushion of coverage with those medical bills if necessary. Personal umbrella insurance can help provide liability coverage that goes above and beyond the coverage offered by your underlying insurance policy. (It essentially sits on top of your underlying policy…like an umbrella! Get it?)

Overall, if you’re renting out a second house in Atlanta, you want to make sure that you and your money-making investment are protected for years to come. There are plenty of risks to consider when different people rent out your home year after year. And our insurance experts can help! Call us today, fill out our online form, or LiveChat with an agent to find out just how much you can save while you rake in the dough on your Atlanta rental home!

What to do if you’re moving and have to leave your Atlanta house vacant

If you're moving and you're trying to sell your old house, you may need vacant home insurance.

If you're moving and you're trying to sell your old house, you may need vacant home insurance.

If you’re moving, you might have to leave your current house vacant when you pack up all of your stuff and get it to the new house. But what happens then? You still need to sell your old Atlanta house, and it’s still a large investment. It’s worth money, so you want to protect it…but what’s the deal with home insurance? Will it still protect the empty house from loss? We’ll explain what you need to know in this situation.

First things first – look at the home insurance policy.

It’s important to look at the home insurance policy of the house that you’re moving out of. Typically, a home insurance policy will specify a certain amount of time that the home can be vacant. (For example, this limit might be 30 days or something like that.)

There is a reason for this. Vacant homes present more risk to the insurance company because there’s no one home to deter trespassers or vandals. There’s also no one to raise the alarm if a fire breaks out. Insurance companies don’t really like risk, so that’s why they tend to place these limits on vacancy.

Anyways, it’s always a good idea to know what your policy says. A claim could be denied if that time limit is up. And that would be bad – then you’d be on the hook to repair the home and recover from the loss. That could turn out to be a real financial hit without insurance to help cushion the blow.

But that’s not the only reason to know how long you can leave the home vacant if you’re moving and selling the house.

If your Atlanta home insurance carrier were to find out that your home was vacant and it’s past the allowed time, they may cancel or drop the policy. And that’s also not a great situation to find yourself in.

Moral of the story: stay in touch with your insurance company and let them know about your situation. They can help you.

How to insure a home if you’re selling the house and have to leave it vacant.

So, you’re probably wondering what you can do to protect that vacant house while you’re selling it. As we said, talk to your insurance company. They’ll be able to take a look at the specifics of your policy. You can talk about your situation with them and get some guidance as far as how to proceed.

For example, you might have someone moving into your house in a week and it’ll only be vacant for that long – and then it won’t be yours anymore. In that case, you might be fine to just leave your home insurance as-is.

But you might not have someone ready to move into the house. Maybe it appears that it’ll take a good amount of time to sell the home. (That can happen.) That might be a situation where you need to consider a vacant home insurance policy. What’s that? We’ll explain.

How does a vacant home insurance policy work?

To start, you might not be going through one of your super well-known insurance carriers with commercials on TV every ten minutes. You might have to find a different carrier that specializes in writing “riskier” homes – meaning they might write vacant home insurance. (And again, this might not be through the carrier that wrote your original, primary home insurance.)

But what about when someone buys the house and moves in? That’s kind of the goal, right? You don’t want to be in the position where you’ve gone and bought a vacant home insurance policy…only to not need it a month or two later. Insurance carriers are, fortunately, prepared for this very situation.

The first thing to know is that you might be able to get a vacant home insurance policy with a shorter policy period – for example, one month, three months, or six months. That way things are a little more flexible.

The other thing you should know is that you’re probably going to be able to get a prorated refund if someone ends up buying the house during your policy. You’d get reimbursed for the insurance that you didn’t need because the house sold. Ask about how the refund works with the vacant home policy you’re considering – and if you have any questions, don’t be afraid to ask. At any rate, knowing ahead of time how you would be refunded for the extra vacant home insurance if the house sells can help put you at ease when you’re getting your policy.

So, that’s what you need to know about your vacant home in Atlanta if you’re moving. Make sure that it’s properly covered with the right insurance so you can avoid a major financial loss. You may need a vacant home policy to make sure that the house you’re trying to sell is covered.

Get Atlanta home insurance quotes by filling out our quote form, messaging us on LiveChat, or giving us a call.

8 things to check on your Atlanta home insurance policy this summer

It's important to check over your home insurance policy.

It's important to check over your home insurance policy.

The summer months are upon us, and that means it’s a great time to give your Atlanta home insurance policy a once-over. (Well, you could do that at any time of year, but why not sooner than later?) It’s important to keep an eye on your home insurance policy to make sure it still suits your needs. To help you with doing an insurance check, we’ve come up with a list of eight questions to ask yourself. (Don’t worry – this is an open notes quiz. We encourage you to dust off your home insurance policy and use it.)

8 things to check on your home insurance policy.

1. Have you taken a home inventory?

A what now?

A home inventory is basically just a list of all the belongings in your home, plus their value. It’s generally easiest to organize it by room. We know that the idea of wandering around, writing down a list of all your stuff might sound excruciatingly boring, but hear us out.

A home inventory can be extremely helpful. If you ever have to file a home insurance claim, you’ll know exactly what needs to be replaced. It can help make the entire process easier. You can even use your phone and create your inventory in Google Drive.

Plus, if you do file a claim, having a nearly-organized inventory can help add credence to your situation. It’s not that the insurance company doesn’t want to trust you and take your word for it; they’re just leery of insurance fraud.

Pro tip: Include photos and/or videos in your inventory.

2. Do you have enough coverage?

It’s also important to make sure you have enough insurance. It’s a good idea to cover your home for its replacement cost, which is the amount it would take to completely rebuild your house from the ground up. (You have to consider things like materials and construction cost.)

Also, make sure that you have enough coverage for your personal belongings. Replacement cost coverage can help you replace your belongings at today’s prices while actual cash value coverage gives you their depreciated value (which may not be enough to replace them.)

And, of course, you can’t forget about liability coverage. Your liability coverage can help you cover your legal responsibility to someone if they get hurt on your property or if you accidentally damage their property. It can help cover things like their medical expenses and your legal bills if they sue.

3. Do you have all the endorsements you need?

You may need to add endorsements (which are simply additions to the policy that amend coverage) to your home insurance to cover certain losses. For example, sewer back up is typically not covered by home insurance – but you can add a sewer backup endorsement to your policy so you’re protected from this, ah, unpleasantly smelly situation.

4. Are your valuables insured properly?

Many home insurance policies have a limit on the amount of coverage offered for valuables such as jewelry. (Sometimes it can be as low as $1,000.) If you have any expensive jewelry, artwork, valuables, or collections, it’s really important to make sure they’re covered. Have you acquired or inherited anything recently that might warrant getting some more insurance?

5. Have you thought about bundling your home and auto insurance?

Your home insurance and auto insurance can be bundled together if you get them from the same company. Bundling, or getting multiple types of insurance from the same carrier, isn’t just convenient – it’s also a way to score some possible savings. That’s because many carriers offer a decent discount for bundling. It’s definitely something to think about.

6. Do you have all possible discounts?

Speaking of discounts, have you gone on an epic quest for home insurance discounts? You might be able to save money just by qualifying for a discount. Talk to your insurance agent and see if you’ve added all discounts you’re eligible for. Has anything changed recently that could help you get a discount – for example, have you had a security system installed? (This is a common discount.)

7. Have you had lifestyle changes?

Have you had any recent life events happen? Maybe getting married? It’s important to let your agent know about that sort of thing. Also, if you’ve made any significant renovations to your home, it’s a good idea to let your agent know. It may mean your coverage needs to be adjusted.

8. Have you put together a disaster kit?

Okay, maybe this one isn’t strictly insurance-related, but it’s still important. If you don’t have a disaster kit, now’s a great time to put one together! A disaster kit is basically a bag of all the emergency necessities you would need in case a severe storm happened. Include things like non-perishable food, water, clothes, blankets, a flashlight and batteries, a first-aid kit, and so on.

It’s important to ask questions about your Atlanta home insurance policy and make sure that you have the coverage you need to protect your house. So, take the time this summer to go over your home insurance policy!

Get home insurance quotes by filling out our online quote form, messaging us on LiveChat, or giving us a call.

How to get insurance for an Airbnb in Atlanta

It's important to get the right insurance for your Airbnb.

It's important to get the right insurance for your Airbnb.If you’re thinking about turning your Atlanta home into an Airbnb, you’d be in good company. Tons of people in the U.S. alone have decided to start earning fairly easy money by renting out their homes to travelers. However, many Airbnb hosts start their experience without truly knowing the risks. So, how can you protect yourself as an Airbnb host? How do you insure an Airbnb? Let’s take a look.

Will my home insurance cover me as an Airbnb host?

A typical Atlanta home insurance policy is only built to handle everyday risks, such as visitors getting hurt or disaster perils. Even if your policy does allow you to have temporary tenants, insuring any space in your home as an Airbnb will be a bit different because of the sheer volume and variety of visitors you’ll have.

This means that you’ll need to insure the Airbnb as a type of commercial rental property. However, that doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll need as high of a coverage limit or premium payment as an apartment complex. In fact, there are a few ways to go about insuring your home as an Airbnb. Each way, though, will depend on how much of your home is being rented out and how often you plan on listing the location.

Host Protection & Host Guarantee vs. Insurance for your Airbnb

It’s important to note that Airbnb does offer host protection and host guarantee plans per guest booking. These plans can cover up to $1 million in general liability claims and property damage to your home.

However, Airbnb specifically states that these plans DO NOT take the place of insurance. In fact, there are tons of conditions and exclusions that must be fulfilled for Airbnb before a host can be compensated using the guarantee. One of the conditions even suggests that the host would have to file a claim with their own insurance first before the guarantee would apply.

At any rate, it’s usually better all around to talk to your insurance agent first so you can get the coverage you need and not depend solely on the host guarantee.

Make sure you have the right insurance for your Airbnb.

How can I get insurance for an Airbnb?

The type and cost of commercial property insurance you’ll need for your Airbnb will mainly depend on your house’s primary use.

  • If you still live in the home and are renting out a few rooms: Some carriers may require you to add an endorsement that lets them cover the risk of increased occupancy.
  • If you’re using the property solely as an Airbnb: You’ll probably need a separate commercial rental property policy. Remember, though, that insuring a single house or rental unit usually isn’t as expensive as insuring an entire apartment building, even if you rotate guests on a regular basis.

How much insurance do I need for an Airbnb?

Most carriers will require you to insure your house’s structure at its replacement cost value (RCV) if you have a mortgage. If you don’t have a mortgage, you can choose to insure the structure for its Actual Cash Value (ACV.) Insuring your house for its ACV, though, might mean that you won’t have enough funds to properly rebuild your home if there was a total loss.

When insuring personal belongings or decorations inside of your home/Airbnb, your carrier may let you choose how high your property damage coverage limit is. This is why it’s vital to take a home inventory so that you know which belongings are in which rooms and the condition that they were in previously if something happens to them.

Also, keep your deductible in mind if you do want to file a claim in the future. If the damages to your home or property are less than your deductible, then your home insurance may not be able to help anyway. In any case, check with your agent about your insurance requirements, what your policy already covers, and how high of a coverage limit you’ll need to choose to properly protect your home.

What will an agent need to know to get a quote for Airbnb insurance?

An Airbnb will face more risks than a typical owner-occupied house. So, there are specific details that your insurance agent may need to know when signing up for insurance or adding coverage to your policy. These are some of the questions you should be prepared to answer when insuring your Airbnb:

  • Is the property deeded in your name or under a business organization?
  • How many units are you renting out in the home?
  • How long will each guest be staying on average? What is the minimum amount of time a guest will stay?
  • What is your address?
  • What is the square footage of the home?
  • How many bathrooms are in the home?
  • What kind of finishes are in your house? (i.e. custom, builder-grade, etc.)
  • If the home is over 40 years old, have the plumbing, electrical, and A/C systems been updated? When?
  • How old is the roof?
  • What deductible would you like?
  • How much personal property coverage would you like?

Local laws and regulations.

As Airbnb and other sharing services grow, more and more city governments are regulating their practices. Some cities and towns may require specific notice or permits when running a short-term rental. Other towns may not allow Airbnbs at all. So, check your local laws on short-term rentals before setting up your home as an Airbnb.

Overall, Airbnb can be a great way to earn money and open up your home for travelers to experience more of your city. As a homeowner, though, it’s important to keep your house, as your investment, safe. While Airbnb’s host protection and guarantee plans may offer extra protection, it’s important to have the right insurance for your short-term rental so that any hosting-related claims aren’t denied when you need it most.

Our experts can help you find affordable rates on Atlanta home insurance whether you need a typical owner-occupant policy or you need to add specific coverages. LiveChat with us, fill out our online form, or give us a call today to stop missing out on great home insurance coverage for the rates you deserve.