What’s the difference between market value and replacement cost?

Your home's market value is different than its replacement cost.

Your home's market value is different than its replacement cost.

When you’re shopping for Atlanta home insurance, you may be tempted to go for the cheapest option. After all, you’re spending tons of money on your mortgage already. So, you may want to go for a home insurance option that might cost less and include market value reimbursement instead of replacement cost. However, when it comes time to file a claim, you could end up regretting your decision. We’ll tell you why.

What is market value reimbursement for home insurance?

Insuring your home for its market value means insuring your house for the amount that someone would pay for it in the current real estate market. This includes the land that your property sits on and only the finished product of the house itself. We’ll tell you more about why that’s important in a moment.

What is replacement cost for home insurance?

Your home’s replacement cost is different than its market value. If your insurance policy covers the replacement cost of your home, it’s saying that your insurance can help you cover the costs of actually rebuilding your home from scratch.

So, what’s the actual difference?

Insuring your house for its market value means that your insurance may reimburse you for the amount that someone would pay for your house if they were buying it from say, a real estate agency. Insuring your house for its replacement cost means that your insurance can help you with the cost of everything that it takes to rebuild your house – demolition, materials, inspections, certificates, construction labor, landscaping, other structures, etc.

Keep in mind that the market value and replacement cost for your home are different than the Actual Cost Value (ACV) or Replacement Cost Value (RCV) on your home insurance policy. These terms refer more so to the personal belongings inside of your home rather than the house’s structure. So, it’s important to have the right amount of coverage for your belongings in your home insurance policy as well.

Why should I insure my house for its replacement cost value?

Here’s the deal – on average, the cost of a modest house in Atlanta proper (not in an Atlanta suburb like Roswell, Stone Mountain, or Douglasville) is about $250,000 to $300,000. The cost to construct or reconstruct a house of a similar size is about $500,000 – and that’s not including the cost of labor for your construction team, your electricians, your plumbers, or other workers that have to make sure the house can actually stand and function for you.

Plus, depending on the company, the average time to rebuild a house is about 7 months, and the company could charge by the hour or by the job. That’s also not to mention the fact that you’ll have some additional living expenses to handle while you’re unable to use your home (i.e.: restaurant bills, lodging, travel costs, etc.)

That means that if you’re only insuring your house for its market value, you could end up spending over $250,000 extra dollars on rebuilding a home that cost you or is only worth about $250,000. (Almost double the worth of your house.) So, only insuring your house for its market value may not be the best strategy, unless you have that kind of money lying around.

Also, make sure your agent is up to date about the changes you make to your house.

Any improvements to your home, including additions, pools, finished basements, and more, could add both market and replacement value costs to your house. That’s why it’s vital to let your insurance agent know about any life events. It ensures that you have not only enough coverage for everyday life, but also for a rainy day.

It may be intimidating to insure your home for its replacement cost value, but keep in mind that your home is an investment. And if disaster strikes, you want to make sure your home is protected properly. Plus, our insurance experts can help you find the best deals on the home insurance you need. We’ll work with you to make sure you have the right coverage limits for the prices that fit your budget. To start comparing quotes on the perfect Atlanta home insurance for you, just give us a call or fill out our easy online form today.

Source:

https://www.zillow.com

What is additional living expense coverage in Atlanta home insurance?

Your home insurance likely includes additional living expense coverage.

Your home insurance likely includes additional living expense coverage.

Have you thought about what would happen if you had a massive fire? Of course, your homeowners insurance would cover the damages to your house, but what about you? Where will you live while repairs are going on? How will you eat if a disaster wipes out your access to food? How do you afford to live when your living space isn’t available?

Here’s where additional living expense insurance comes in.

What is Additional Living Expense Insurance?

Additional living expense (ALE) coverage is a part of most homeowners insurance, condo insurance, and renters’ insurance policies. It is the portion of your policy that will help you cover living expenses if you can’t live in your dwelling after a covered loss or dwelling damage – most likely a natural disaster.

ALE coverage will also actually cover a little more than your typical living expenses if you’re kicked out of your home for repairs. For example, an extended stay in a motel, hotel, or AirBnb is going to cost way more than what you spend normally. If you don’t have a way to store food at your temporary location, ALE insurance can also help you cover the cost of eating at restaurants while everything is being fixed.

ALE insurance may also help cover:

  • The costs of doing laundry
  • Storage costs
  • The cost of moving if you’re displaced by a natural disaster
  • A place for your pet to live if you can’t take them into your temporary living situation
  • Relocation mileage
  • The cost of renting furniture you’re used to having in your home

How Much ALE Coverage Do I Have?

Don’t go ripping off your roof just yet! ALE coverage does have a limit, and it depends on whether you have home, renters, or condo insurance.

  • Homeowners ALE will be about 10-30 percent of your dwelling coverage limit.
  • Renters ALE will cover up to about 30 percent of your personal property limit.
  • Condo ALE will cover up to 50 percent of your personal property limit.

Another caveat is that additional living expense insurance only covers the expenses needed to maintain the living conditions you have already been accustomed to in your current home. It’s also important to highlight the importance of the coverage title: Additional. This means that your insurance will only cover whatever cost is left over after you pay for what you can.

For example, let’s say you normally pay $900 for rent. All of a sudden, a fire breaks out in the building and destroys your apartment. You landlord tells you that you don’t have to worry about paying rent for a unit you can’t live in, so that’s $900 that you would be able to use to find a place to live. So let’s say you find a place to stay that looks and feels about the same as your apartment – similar square footage, included appliances, patio, etc. – but the neighborhood or complex of this dwelling charges $1,200 a month. Your insurance would pay the additional $300, not the full $1,200. So, if your temporary living plans include living in the lap of luxury in a $2,000/month dwelling, your insurance will probably determine that that’s not your usual standard of living.

Restaurant Expenses & Reimbursements

Filing a claim for your loss in food expenses can be a sticky situation. Your carrier will want to know how much you spend on a regular basis to figure out the additional money they’re willing to give you. Also, depending on your insurance carrier, they could give you a lump sum as a part of the additional living expense payout for food or you’ll end up being reimbursed for your food expenses.

In either situation, insurance companies usually have an average maximum limit that they pay out for food expenses. If your normal food expenses are above that average, then you’ll have to pay special attention to the amount you spend while you’re displaced from your home. You’ll need to consider and keep paperwork or proof for a few things:

  1. Your normal food expenses – everything from groceries to fast food to sit-down restaurants
  2. Your food expenses while your home is being repaired
  3. How the two amounts differ – because the insurance company will want to know that you’re using your normal expenses as a baseline for the extra amounts that you’re paying.
  4. Written documents from the insurance company if you have permission for expenses outside of the normal realm.

Don’t get carried away with your restaurant spending either! If you normally cook at home, even if you’re used to eating a bit lavishly, your carrier will already take that into account when they give you ALE funds. If your insurance places you in a temporary space that has the kitchen you need and are used to, they probably won’t foot the bill for the additional cost of eating restaurant lobster every night.

It is a bit tricky to know exactly what your insurance carrier will cover since hotels, motels, hostels, restaurants, and extended stay complexes can cost more than a rent payment or a mortgage. So, it’s important to talk to an insurance agent about exactly what your ALE coverage allows.

Our insurance experts are always here to walk you through what your ALE will cover if you’re displaced and present you with a network of temporary living spaces that won’t max out your ALE budget. Call 404.352.0304 or fill out our online quote form to get a quote on the type of home, renters, or condo insurance that will give you the treatment you deserve when you’re in a pinch.

Sources:

https://www.thebalance.com/claiming-additional-living-expenses-ale-coverage-4154070

https://www.irmi.com/term/insurance-definitions/additional-living-expense-coverage

https://www.investopedia.com/terms/a/add_living_expense_insurance.asp

What is other structures coverage in my Atlanta home insurance?

Other structures coverage can provide insurance for detached structures on your property.

Other structures coverage can provide insurance for detached structures on your property.

Other structures coverage is just like it sounds – it covers the other large structures that are on your property besides your house. Most times, other structures coverage will be included in your homeowners policy, but sometimes it needs to be purchased as an endorsement. The best way to know if you have this coverage already is to look at your insurance declarations page and see if you have something called “Coverage B,” which is another term for other structures insurance.

Other structures coverage was originally created for detached garages. However, as home prices increased and less developed land became available in the 1970s, builders began building attached garages. That still doesn’t mean that other structures coverage is completely useless.

What Does Other Structures Insurance Cover?

If you have one of the following structures, you should look out for other structures coverage in your homeowners insurance policy:

  • A detached garage
  • A pool or pool house
  • A shed
  • A gazebo
  • A guest house
  • A barn
  • An outdoor dining hut
  • A fence
  • A paved driveway
  • A patio

It’s important to note that just because you have other structures coverage, the complete cost to replace a structure may not be covered by the insurance. Other structures coverage is based on a percentage of the value of your home. So, depending on your policy and carrier, the maximum coverage limit could range anywhere from 5 percent to 20 percent of the value of your house.

Also keep in mind that just because you have other structures insurance or even a general homeowners policy, the belongings inside of your home or other structure may not be completely covered. Personal property coverage, or “Coverage C,” is also usually only a percentage of the value of that item or of your home. So, it’s important to review your homeowners declarations page and talk to your insurance agent about what you’re covered for and how much the coverage is.

Our agents are experts at not only breaking down what’s in your homeowners insurance but giving you the best coverage and pricing that’s personalized to your needs. Call us at 770.497.1200 or fill out our online quote form to get free quotes on your homeowners insurance and compare the coverage you can get on the other structures on your property.

Can I Remove Other Structures Coverage to Save Money?

I hear some of you saying, “Wait, I don’t have anything else attached to my house or on my property,” or “I don’t really care about insuring my other structures.” So, can you take off other structures coverage to save money on your homeowners?

Homeowners insurance is usually not the piecemeal that other types of insurance can be. Whether you have an HO-3, an HO-5, or some other type of homeowners coverage, it usually comes as a bundle – a bundle that will more than likely already include other structures. This is because insurance companies want to be able to offer coverage to the vast majority of people, who will usually have at least a shed or fence.

That being said, if there’s anything on your property that falls into the “other structures” list, you should probably keep your other structures coverage anyway. Your insurance carrier may exclude some structures from the coverage if they decide that it needs too many repairs or if it’s too dangerous to use due to a lack of maintenance, but those cases are few and far between. Your carrier could also include other structures in your dwelling coverage, which will lump everything on your property together in terms of coverage anyway.

If you don’t have any other structures on your property, taking off other structures coverage could mean that you’ll have to skimp on your homeowners coverage altogether. So, you may not be paying for other structures coverage that you’ll never use, but you could also be missing out on coverage that you need for your actual home.

If you’re really worried about saving money regarding this part of your homeowners, there are a couple other options:

Actual Cash Value vs. Replacement Cost Value

You could consider insuring your “other structures” under “actual cash value (ACV)” coverage. This means that if something happens to the structure, you’ll receive the depreciated value of the structure. ACV coverage is usually less expensive than homeowners insurance with Replacement Cost Value (RCV) coverage.

The drawback is that the ACV coverage could be for just the other structure or for the entirety of the policy. So, if something happens to your house or belongings, your insurance will only cover the amount that your home and property are worth, not what you paid for them. Depending on your insurance carrier and your policy, you may be able to have RCV coverage for your home and ACV coverage for other structures, but definitely talk to your agent to make sure that one can be covered for ACV and not the other. It’s really important that you have enough coverage to completely rebuild your home from the ground up in case it’s destroyed by something like a fire.

Discounts!

Talk to your insurance agent to make sure you’re getting all of the discounts you possibly can. Ask about common discounts like loyalty and bundling. Ask about carrier specific discounts. Ask about home improvements like a security system or an impact-resistant roof that may qualify you for a discount.

You can also ask one of our insurance experts! We’ve formed relationships with multiple, trusted insurance companies so that we can get you the best rates on the specific coverage you need. We’ll help you compare quotes on policies that cover only the property you want to cover and find ways to save you money on all the rest. Call us at 770.497.120 for a free quote or get started with our online form.

Sources:

https://www.irmi.com/term/insurance-definitions/other-structures

https://www.thebalance.com/remove-other-structures-insurance-coverage-2645713

Don’t fall for these 8 Atlanta home insurance myths

We'll explain the truth and debunk eight home insurance myths.

We'll explain the truth and debunk eight home insurance myths.

When you’re dealing with something as important as Atlanta home insurance, it’s crucial to have the facts. There are many assumptions and myths out there about home insurance. We’re going to turn some of these home insurance myths upside-down and discover the truth.

1. MYTH: I should use my home’s market value when I insure it.

The truth: You need enough insurance to completely rebuild your home from the ground up.

The goal is to have enough home insurance to completely rebuild your home from the ground up if it were destroyed, including building materials and the labor of the contractors. That means insuring your home for its replacement cost. The market value of the home, or the amount that a house would reasonably sell for, may not accurately reflect the amount you would need to rebuild the home.

2. MYTH: Home insurance covers flooding.

The truth: It doesn’t. This is one of those home insurance myths that is not true.

Many homeowners only find this out after their home sustains flooding due to heavy rain. But flooding simply isn’t covered by Atlanta home insurance, even though certain types of water damage are. To protect your home against flooding you would have to have a flood insurance policy in place. You can get flood insurance from the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) through an agent.

3. MYTH: Home insurance covers all of my personal belongings.

The truth: Kind of. This is one of those home insurance myths that you need to talk to your agent about.

Yes, a typical home insurance policy will provide coverage for your personal belongings – electronics, furniture, clothing, and so on. But there are a few things to consider. First, you need to check and see what the limit of coverage is for your personal belongings (the maximum amount of money insurance will pay out.) You also have to check to see what losses and perils are covered under your policy.

Jewelry and valuables are something else you have to think about. Your policy may only provide limited coverage for jewelry, art, and other valuables – and this coverage might not be enough to fully protect your treasures. You might have to explore options for covering your jewelry, valuables, art, and collections.

4. MYTH: Home insurance will cover termite damage.

The truth: Termites are pestilential beasts and damage by these tiny demons is not covered by home insurance.

If termites go to town and turn your home into their own personal buffet, the damage and cost of extermination would not be covered by home insurance. Termite damage is considered to be a maintenance thing, and home insurance typically doesn’t cover maintenance-related issues.

Pro-tip: Have regular pest-control and termite inspections. Squash the bugs before they cause serious damage – or emotional distress.

Be aware of the home insurance myths that are out there.

5. MYTH: Home insurance will replace my belongings like new.

The truth: Well, it depends on your policy.

You can insure your personal belongings for their replacement cost value or their Actual Cash Value.

Actual cash value coverage means that your insurance company will give you the value of the belongings at the time of the loss as reimbursement. (This is the depreciated value, and it may not be enough to replace your belongings with similar models at today’s pricing.)

Replacement cost value coverage will replace your belongings with similar models, regardless of the depreciated value of your belongings at the time of the loss.

The point is you need to read your policy to see how your personal belongings are covered and to determine if you have enough insurance.

6. MYTH: If an injury occurs in my home, it’s covered.

The truth: Liability coverage takes care of your legal responsibility to your guests if they’re injured, not your family.

If a guest trips over your garden hose and breaks an arm, your liability would be covered by home insurance. (For example, their medical bills or expenses if they sue you.) But if a member of your family trips over the same hose and breaks an arm, you would have to use your health insurance.

7. MYTH: Home insurance covers my home-based business.

The truth: You need to check your home insurance policy (as with many of these home insurance myths.)

Home insurance might provide limited coverage for any business-related equipment or inventory you have, or it may not provide any coverage at all for business-related things. And even if there’s coverage for business property, it might not be enough. And you also have to consider your liability.

Anyways, the point is that you need to make sure your home-based business is properly insured. You might need to add coverage to your home insurance policy through an endorsement, get a home-based business policy, or get a business owner’s policy.

8. MYTH: Home insurance is too expensive to be worth it.

The truth: Home insurance is a financial safety net.

The house you live in is a big investment, and insurance can help you protect that investment. Consider what would happen if your home was burgled, caught fire, or got in the way of a falling tree.

As far as home insurance being overly expensive, we’re happy to bust that myth. Our agents are pros at helping people save money on home insurance and get great coverage at a great rate. We can shop your rates and get you the insurance you need to protect your home. All you have to do to get started with Atlanta home insurance quotes is fill out our online form or give us a call today. Let’s crush these home insurance myths together.

Does Atlanta home insurance cover my personal belongings?

Your home insurance covers your personal belongings.

Your home insurance covers your personal belongings.

You purchased Atlanta home insurance to be an invisible financial safety net in case you have some sort of loss to your home. That house was a big investment, after all. But you might have this question floating in your mind: does home insurance cover personal belongings? We’re going to answer that question, but we’re also going to explain how much insurance you need for your personal belongings and how to insure your belongings.

Are personal belongings covered by Atlanta home insurance?

Yes. A typical Atlanta home insurance policy should pay to replace the contents of your home (such as your furniture, your electronics, your clothes, and so on) if they are destroyed by a covered loss. Your policy should have a certain “limit” for personal belongings coverage. Home insurance is there for you – it’s got your back. (And if you’re looking for Atlanta home insurance quotes, we can help. Just fill out our online quote form or give us a call and we can help you get the insurance you need to protect your house.)

What losses are covered?

Well, that depends on your policy, which will outline the losses that are covered. However, some examples of losses that are usually covered by home insurance are:

Like we said, you really have to go over your policy carefully to understand exactly what is covered and what is not. There’s a lot of helpful stuff in your insurance policy. Admittedly, it might not be the most riveting read, but still – you’ve got to read your policy.

Taking a home inventory can help you find out how much insurance you need for your personal belongings.

What losses aren’t covered?

Some losses are typically not covered by Atlanta home insurance. The following are excluded from most policies.

  • Flooding: To protect your home against a flooding disaster, you would need flood insurance. You have to purchase flood insurance from the NFIP through an agent, and you would have to make sure to include coverage for personal belongings in your flood insurance policy.
  • Sump pump failure/Sewer backup: To be protected against losses stemming from a sewer backup or sump pump failure incident, you would have to add coverage for sewer backup to your policy.
  • Jewelry: It’s not that home insurance excludes jewelry and other valuables, but usually policies offer a very limited amount of coverage for them. You may need to add extra coverage for your valuables.

These are just a few home insurance exclusions to be aware of. You need to spend some quality time with your policy to find out how certain losses are handled.

How much coverage do I need for personal belongings?

The next question is how much insurance you need for your personal property.

Taking a home inventory can help you find out how much coverage you would need to replace your belongings. A home inventory is basically a list of all the items in your home and their values. The easiest way to organize it is to break it down room by room.

Having a home inventory can also come in handy if you ever have to file a home insurance claim. It’ll be a lot easier to list the items that need to be replaced because you’ll have a prepared, detailed list of your belongings. Just make sure to keep your inventory somewhere safe – maybe consider a safe deposit box or Google Drive to ensure it doesn’t get destroyed if something happens to your home.

Pro tip: Pay extra attention to jewelry and other valuables. Like we said, you may need to add coverage for these things.

How should I insure my personal belongings?

You can insure your belongings for their Actual Cash Value or their Replacement Cost Value.

Actual Cash Value (ACV): If you insure your belongings for their ACV, your insurance company will reimburse you for the value of your belongings at the time of the loss (meaning the depreciated value.)

Replacement Cost Value: Replacement cost value does not take depreciation into account and will allow you to replace your belongings with similar models at today’s prices.

The bottom line is that you might want to insure your belongings for their replacement cost value to ensure that you receive enough reimbursement to replace your belongings at today’s prices.

So, that’s the scoop about home insurance and your personal belongings. While your home insurance should have coverage for your belongings, you have to read your policy to find out which losses are covered and which aren’t. Having a loss to your home could be a huge financial blow, but that’s why home insurance is there – to be your safety net.

To get started with some Atlanta home insurance quotes, you can fill out our quote form or give us a call today. Our team can help you find great coverage at a great rate. And we’ll help you make sure that your house and all of its contents are fully covered by insurance.

What does Atlanta home insurance cover?

Atlanta home insurance covers more than just the structure of your home.

Atlanta home insurance covers more than just the structure of your home.

There are a lot of perks to owning a home, but there’s also a lot of responsibility that comes along with it. (And we’re talking about more responsibility than figuring out how to decorate.) For example, you have to deal with home insurance. Your main question might be this – what does home insurance cover? We’re going to tackle that question and explain what your policy will cover.

What does Atlanta home insurance cover?

1. The home.

Okay, we know you’re rolling your eyes – it’s a no-brainer that Atlanta home insurance covers the home. We mean that home insurance covers the structure of the house itself – the dwelling. Home insurance will protect you financially if you’re ever struck by a covered loss, such as burglary, fire, vandalism, lightning, or hail. (Or falling trees.) It will pay for the necessary repairs resulting from covered losses. Now, it’s important to note that not all losses are covered. Flooding is usually excluded from home insurance policies, as are earthquakes and mold damage. You really have to read your policy thoroughly to see what is and is not covered.

Another question you might have is how much dwelling coverage do you need for your house. A good rule of thumb is to insure your home for its replacement cost. The replacement cost of your home is the cost of rebuilding your home from the ground up as if it was completely destroyed (for example, after a fire.) That means that you’re including the costs of building materials and the labor of the contractors. It’s different than insuring your home for its market value or the value you bought it for.

2. Other structures on your property.

If you have structures like a detached garage, shed, or fence on your property, those will also most likely be covered by your home insurance. This also includes things like your driveway, your sidewalk, and your patio. Keep in mind that you need to check on the limit of coverage these “other structures” have. It might be something like 10% of the coverage you have for the structure of your house.

3. Personal belongings.

The contents of your home are also covered by your insurance. That means your furniture, your electronics, your clothes, and your other treasures are all protected under your insurance. The section of your insurance that covers your personal property will replace your belongings if they’re destroyed by a covered loss (i.e., fire or theft.) Your insurance should follow your belongings, so even if your possessions aren’t in your home when they’re stolen or destroyed they’ll be covered. So, if you had a whole bunch of stuff in your car and it gets stolen, they should be covered.

To find out how much coverage you need for your personal belongings, you can take a home inventory, which is basically just a list of all of your possessions and their value. Another perk of having a current home inventory is that it can help you when it comes to filing a home insurance claim (though we hope you won’t ever face a loss requiring a claim.) With a handy-dandy home inventory, you’ll know exactly what you need to claim. It’ll make the entire process easier.

Pro tip: Consider insuring your personal property for its replacement cost value. Replacement cost value will replace your possessions at today’s prices – it doesn’t take depreciation into account. Actual cash value coverage will only cover the value of your belongings at the time of the loss, which means their depreciated value. And that might not be enough to replace your belongings at today’s prices.

4. Loss of use coverage/Additional living expense coverage.

Let’s say that you experience a covered loss to your home and you have to move out. You have expenses that you wouldn’t normally have to maintain your family’s standard of living. Your home insurance can help you cover the cost of those extra expenses, such as hotel bills and restaurant bills. Your home insurance may have a certain limit for these extra expenses, so be sure to check on that.

5. Liability insurance.

Your liability insurance can help you if you or your family ever cause someone either bodily injury or property insurance and you have a legal responsibility to cover their expenses. It can also help you if they decide to sue. To illustrate, liability insurance would help you if a guest trips over an uneven section of your driveway, gets hurt, and decides to sue you.

You can also read your home insurance policy to find out about medical payments coverage. The person who was injured can submit their medical bills straight to your insurance company.

Pro tip: You can add liability coverage to protect your assets by purchasing a personal umbrella insurance policy.

Atlanta home insurance covers a lot more than just your house. Other structures, your belongings, your liability, and additional living expenses are also covered. We can’t say enough how important it is to read your policy carefully so you understand exactly what cool stuff it does and what is and isn’t covered. Arm yourself with knowledge.

Are you wanting to save money on your Atlanta home insurance? We would be happy to help you shop your rates so you can compare coverage options and pricing so you can get great coverage at a great rate. We can help you get the Atlanta home insurance you need to protect your home. Ready to get started with your home insurance quotes? You can fill out our quote form or give us a call today and we’ll be at your service.

Don’t make these 8 Atlanta home insurance mistakes

You never know when a home insurance tip is going to come in handy.

You never know when a home insurance tip is going to come in handy.

Getting home insurance can seem extremely difficult. It can be hard to know how much insurance to get, what coverages you need, and what’s a good rate. To help you on your home insurance mission, we’ve got 8 common home insurance mistakes for you to avoid as you set your coverage. We’ve also included a home insurance tip for each one.

Avoid these home insurance mistakes.

1. Not getting enough home insurance.

Home Insurance Tip #1: Ideally, you should have enough home insurance to do the following three things:

  1. Rebuild your house from the ground up if it’s damaged.
  2. Replace all of your belongings.
  3. Cover your liability.

You need to make sure that you have enough home insurance to rebuild your home completely if it’s destroyed by a fire or another loss, including the costs of building materials and the labor of the contractors. This is your home’s replacement cost.

It’s also important to take a home inventory so that you know how much coverage you need for your personal belongings – and that way you’ll know exactly what to claim if you have a loss to your home.

Basically, the point is to make sure you’re not underinsured. You need enough coverage to protect you from financial loss if your home is damaged or destroyed.

2. Setting a deductible that’s too low or too high.

Home Insurance Tip #2: Set a deductible that fits your finances.

Your deductible is the amount you agree to pay if you have a claim. You’ve got your portion of a claim and the insurance company takes care of the rest. So, if you have a claim that’s $5,000 and your deductible is $1,000, you’ll pay $1,000 and the insurance company will pay $4,000.

Your deductible is important because it relates to your home insurance rates. If you set a deductible that’s higher, you could see lower premium because you’re less likely to file a claim. But you don’t want to set your deductible so high that it would be burdensome to pay if you ever have a claim. It’s a bit of a balancing act. You have to evaluate your finances and decide how much you can comfortably afford to pay in the event of a claim. If you find you could raise your deductible, you might see lower rates.

3. Not asking about home insurance discounts.

Home Insurance Tip #3: Be sure to ask about discounts.

Many home insurance companies offer discounts for home insurance. Be sure to ask your agent what discounts they offer and see if you qualify for them. Some common home insurance discounts are…

  • Having a monitored burglar alarm or security system.
  • New roof.
  • Bundling your home and auto insurance.
  • Being claims-free for a certain number of years.
  • Home improvements (new wiring, plumbing, AC system, roof.)

4. Not adding coverage to account for exclusions.

Home Insurance Tip #4: Make sure to cover any gaps in your home insurance policy.

Unfortunately, home insurance doesn’t cover everything. Certain losses aren’t covered (and these losses are called exclusions.) Some common – but surprising – home insurance exclusions are…

  • Mold
  • Flooding
  • Sewer backup
  • Sinkholes
  • Jewelry (Most policies only offer limited coverage for valuables.)

You have to make sure to cover any gaps in your home insurance. If you want flooding to be covered, you have to get flood insurance from the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) through an agent. If you want sewer backup to be covered, you have to add that coverage to your policy. If you want all of your valuables to be covered, you have to add extra coverage for your jewelry and other treasures.

Be sure to discuss these things with your agent and ask questions about what is or isn’t covered.

5. Choosing coverage based on price alone.

Home Insurance Tip #5: Keep in mind that the lowest price might not be the best home insurance policy.

Yes, it might be tempting to choose the cheapest coverage available, but cheapest doesn’t mean best. It’s a good idea to really explore your options and compare coverages. You also have to make sure you’re looking at an apples-to-apples comparison of home insurance coverage when you consider pricing. Then consider the insurance company itself. Do they have a good reputation? Will they truly be there for you if you have a loss? You might find that the best option costs a little more than the cheapest option, but the extra expense could be well worth it.

6. Not telling your agent about home renovations.

Home Insurance Tip #6: Keep in touch with your agent and let them know about planned home insurance renovations.

If you do renovations to your home, you could be adding significantly to its value. That means that you might need to add home insurance to make sure that you still have enough coverage for your home.

Also, if you have to move out of your home for a while as the renovations are being done, you may need to get vacant home insurance. Many policies will not continue to protect the home if no one is inhabiting it.

7. Not reading through the home insurance policy thoroughly.

Home Insurance Tip #7: Take the time to read through your policy.

The only way to really understand what your home insurance policy does and does not cover is to read through it carefully. It’s important to read through the policy, tedious as it might seem, so that you’re aware of how your home insurance will handle various situations. If you have any questions about all the “insurance-speak” in your policy, don’t hesitate to give your agent a call to clarify. It’s better to be equipped with knowledge when it comes to handling your home insurance.

8. Not shopping for home insurance.

Home Insurance Tip #8: Get multiple quotes for Atlanta home insurance.

When you get home insurance in Atlanta, its’ a good idea to shop around for multiple quotes. That way you’ll be able to compare coverage options and pricing. By shopping, you give yourself the change to save money on home insurance. You might find comparable coverage from a comparable company – but at a lower rate than the other guy’s offering. Though it might be tempting just to go with the first quote you get, a little patience can go a long way.

Speaking of shopping for home insurance, our agents can help you get multiple quotes for Atlanta homeowner’s insurance. We’ll shop your rates and go over your options for coverage, and we’ll make sure that we understand your unique situation so you get the coverage that’s right for you. Get started with your Atlanta home insurance by filling out our quote form or giving us a call today!

Will home insurance cover a new roof?

Home insurance may cover a new roof if your was damaged by a sudden or accidental loss.

Home insurance may cover a new roof if your was damaged by a sudden or accidental loss.

There’s a problem: the floor of your Atlanta home has a huge puddle on it. Just as you’re about to yell at the kids for making a mess – drip. A drop falls right on your forehead. It’s the middle of one of the summer storms that Georgia is notorious for, and the roof is leaking. There is water inside the house and you’ve got one question (okay, maybe three.) Does Georgia home insurance cover a roof leak? Will home insurance cover a new roof? And how can you tell if you have a roof leak? A leak isn’t the only explanation for the water stains on your ceiling. So, here we go – let’s talk about home insurance, leaking roofs, and when a new roof might be covered.

Does home insurance cover a roof leak?

Well…It really depends on your policy. Some home insurance will cover a new roof if yours is damaged by vandalism, fire, or hail. It’s very important for you to read through your policy or reach out to your agent to find out how your particular insurance company handles roof-related claims.

What we can tell you is that a loss caused by something sudden and accidental will probably be covered, meaning that your insurance company will pay to repair or replace the roof. So, if you have a hail storm (hey, they happen even in Georgia) and your roof is damaged, you’d probably be good because that’s a sudden, accidental loss that you couldn’t prevent (unless you have superhero-like powers over the weather.)

Now, there’s one thing to note: you really have to find out how your company will handle the roof repairs or replacement. This depends on whether your roof is insured for its Actual Cash Value (ACV) or its replacement cost value. ACV takes depreciation into account and reimburses you for the value of the roof at the time of the loss. RCV doesn’t look at depreciation and allows you to replace your roof at today’s prices.

So, if a tree falls on your house or a bad storm puts a beating on your poor roof, you’re probably covered.

However:

If your roof has a leak because it has not been properly maintained, it has outlived its life expectancy, or it has been neglected…that’s a different story. Your roof leak claim will probably not be covered. The purpose of insurance is to protect the homeowner against unforeseeable losses that are out of their control, and a lack of maintenance and upkeep doesn’t fit the bill.

So. Be sure to take care of your roof and maintain it properly. Have it inspected regularly by a trustworthy roofing professional. Your roof affects your home insurance, after all.

If your roof is leaking because of a lack of maintenance or upkeep, a new roof probably won't be covered.

How to tell if your roof is leaking.

A leaky roof may not be the only possible culprit for water winding up inside your home. You could have condensation dripping in the attic. (How does this happen? When it’s cold in the winter, the warm air that naturally rises causes condensation. The condensation freezes. Then, when it warms up, the frozen condensation melts and drips.) You may have a problem with a pipe. However, there are several signs that your roof is leaking.

1. There’s algae or mold on your roof.

Dark splotches on your roof could mean algae or mold. It could be problematic or it might not. Just because there’s mold doesn’t mean the lifespan of your shingles is shortened, but it could be a sign that something’s wrong.

2. You’re seeing granules in the downspout or gutter.

You know those little specks on your shingles? Those are granules. If you start seeing a significant amount of them in your gutters or downspouts, it might be time for a new roof. Those granules have a very important job. They prevent your shingles from getting roasted by the sun’s rays – your roof is basking in the sun all day, and Georgia certainly gets plenty of strong sunshine. If the granules have started coming off, it’s possible that the shingles could become (or already are) very fragile.

(But if you’ve just gotten a new asphalt shingle roof, it’s normal to notice some granules. Those are probably just extra ones coming off.)

3. Some shingles are missing.

Well, if you’re missing some shingles on your roof and you’re getting water in the house…yeah, you’re probably looking at a roof leak.

4. You have water spots or stains on the ceiling.

If you’ve noticed dark or discolored spots that are ominously growing larger on your ceilings, you could have a leak somewhere. Likewise if there are drip marks streaking down the wall or if your walls are mysteriously bubbling. Do the spots darken or get worse after a hard rain? That could mean that you’ve got a leaking roof on your hands.

5. There are shingles that are curled at the edges or shingles that have buckled.

Water can slip underneath your shingles if there are gaps caused by the edges of the shingles curling in or the middle of the shingle buckling and becoming raised. And that water could cause your roof to leak.

6. There’s damp or moldy insulation in the attic.

Do some investigative work in your attic. If there’s damp or moldy insulation, that’s an indicator that water is seeping in somehow.

7. The flashing on your roof is damaged.

Flashing is the material that covers the joints between the roof and wall. It’s supposed to keep water out. But if it’s all dried out or cracked, it’s probably not being very effective at keeping water out.

8. Your roof is rotting.

Who would have thought that a roof could rot? But it can, particularly if it’s made out of an organic-based material.

There are several signs that you could need a new roof.

Anyways, that’s what you should know about home insurance and leaks. If the leak is caused by damage that’s sudden or accidental, you’re probably covered for a new roof. If the leak is caused by a lack of maintenance, you’re probably not covered. Be sure to have a trustworthy, professional roofing company in mind to do roof inspections. Read through your policy very carefully to see how your roof is covered.

Do you want to save money on your Atlanta home insurance? We can help with that. Our team of insurance experts can help you shop your rates so you can compare coverages and pricing. Get started with your quotes by filling out our online form or giving us a call today.

The anatomy of an Atlanta homeowners insurance policy

It's important to read through your home insurance policy thoroughly.

It's important to read your home insurance policy carefully.

As a homeowner, you want to protect your investment, and home insurance was designed to do just that. Your coverage protects you against the risks you face every day.

There’s just one problem:

Your policy looks like it belongs on a shelf next to the dictionary. It’s long. It’s boring. It’s wordy.

Despite all of this, it’s extremely important that you understand your home insurance policy. And that means reading your policy carefully. Thing is, your policy is an important legal document that defines the agreement between the insurance company and you (the insured.) There are a ton of important details about your coverage, your obligations, and exclusions packed into that paperweight. And those details could mean the difference between something being covered…and something not being covered.

At any rate, to help you understand how your policy is broken down, we’ve laid it out section by section below.

1. First of all, we present your Declarations Page:

The declarations page (a.k.a. the dec page) is the first portion of your policy. Its job is to give you an overview of what the policy is and what it covers. The dec page tells you:

  • Who’s being insured
  • What the policy protects you from
  • The property that’s insured
  • The dates that the policy is effective

Pro tip: Your auto policy also has a dec page that functions in much the same way.

2. Continuing on, behold: your Insuring Agreement.

Now we get into the good stuff.

The insuring agreement explains what the insurance company will do if you have a loss and end up filing a home insurance claim. This section will also lay out what’s covered by your policy. When you paid for your insurance and finalized everything, the insurer agreed to specific things – for example, paying for covered losses or providing legal defense for liability lawsuits.

You can have one of two different types of insuring agreements: named-perils and all-risk.

Named-perils coverage will only protect you from losses that are specifically written out in the policy.

All-risk coverage will protect you from all losses except for those that are excluded by the policy. (Many life insurance policies are written out like this.)

3. Well, there had to be a catch somewhere – here comes the exclusions section.

This is a really important part of your policy. Exclusions are losses that just aren’t covered by your insurance. What that means is if you ever experience one of these losses, your insurance company will not take care of the expenses.

You can see why you need to really understand this section – you don’t want to have a loss only to find out that it’s excluded. (Flooding is a common insurance exclusion – but there are many home insurance exclusions you should know about.)

But don’t worry: we’ll explain how you can add coverages to your policy in a second.

4. So, moving onto the conditions section.

Okay. This is another section that you need to pay attention to. The conditions section lays out situations in which the insurance company may not have to pay out a claim when you file one. The conditions mostly have to do with things that you as the homeowner have to do. The insurance company may not have to pay out a claim if the conditions of the policy have not been met.

For example, you might be required to file proof of loss with the insurance company within a certain amount of time. If you fail to do that, the insurance company may not accept the claim. To make sure that you’re meeting all the requirements of your home insurance policy, take some time to read through the conditions section. Ask any questions you have about them so that you understand your responsibilities as the homeowner.

5. Definitions, definitions, definitions.

This section could be on its own, but it could also be hiding in another section. This section exists to help you understand all the fancy words in your policy – how helpful! Insurance vocabulary isn’t always the most intuitive or the clearest, which is why your policy may have this handy-dandy section.

6. And for the grand finale, we have the endorsements and riders section.

An endorsement is basically an addition to your policy. It can add coverage, take away coverage, or change coverage. This is how you can add various coverages that are otherwise excluded. For example, if sewer backup is excluded, you can add an endorsement to make sure it’s covered. You can also add coverage for jewelry or other valuables here.

Something to keep in mind:

Every year when the insurance company renews your insurance, the coverage or language might be slightly different. So, be sure to review this section carefully to make sure you have all of the coverages you need.

Okay, that was a lot of information! The above is just a general outline of the sections included in your policy. Yes, there are many, many words included in your policy, and it’s not the most riveting read. But it’s still an important thing to do.

If you have to save money on your home insurance, we would be happy to help you with that. Our agents can help you shop for your insurance so that you can make sure you’re getting the best coverage at the best possible rate. All you have to do to get home insurance quotes is fill out our online form or give us a call today.