Do I need insurance for a vacant home in Atlanta?

It's important to get the right vacant home insurance to protect your house.

It's important to get the right vacant home insurance to protect your house.

Sometimes the housing market is hard when you’re trying to sell your home. Sometimes, you may need to move out of your house for an extended period of time. Regardless of your situation, you may need to leave your home for quite a while. Unfortunately, your regular home insurance usually won’t cover a home you’re not living in. But if there’s no one to watch or check up on the property and it’s not insured, how can you protect it from vandalism, theft, or any other sort of disaster? Find out here.

What’s the difference between an unoccupied and a vacant home?

First, it’s important to define the difference between a vacant and an unoccupied home. (Yes, it can matter to your insurance company.) An unoccupied home is one where there’s furniture in the house, the utilities are turned on, and the place is generally ready for anyone to turn the key and live in.

A vacant house is one where the lights are not on and nobody’s home. There’s no furniture to see, the utilities are turned off, and the house is pretty much the husk of a building with no one living in it.

When is my house considered unoccupied or vacant?

It’s important to talk to your insurance agent, then, about the amount of time your policy will cover between each tenant living in the house. Usually, normal home insurance policies can cover an unoccupied home for 30-60 days after someone moves out.

However, if you’re on an extended vacation, going through long-term medical treatment where you’re away from your house, or having renovations done where you can’t physically stay in your house, your insurance policy may include a clause that will allow your coverage to continue through your life event.

On the other hand, if you’re having trouble selling your house when you’ve already moved out, most home insurance policies will have certain exclusions for vacant properties once the time limit is up.

Talk to your agent about insuring your vacant home.

Why won’t my regular home insurance cover a vacant house?

The reason why is risk. Vacant homes create what is called an “attractive nuisance.” A vacant house can present golden opportunities for vandals and thieves. It can also present opportunities for people to get hurt or bring down neighborhood value.

Insurance companies prepare for the worst. In a house where no one is there to keep an eye on things, an unattended electrical fire could break out, a vandal could create an eyesore on your walls, or the neighborhood kids could break an arm in their new “playhouse.” Carriers don’t want to take on the same risks for a vacant house as they do for a property that has someone keeping an eye on the things that could go wrong.

Can’t I just tell my insurance that I am still living in the house?

You may be thinking, “Why can’t I just tell them that I’m still living there?” Well, if there is a disaster that takes out your house, your neighborhood or town will look to you to fix the damages. If someone is hurt on your property, it’s you that the injured person can decide to sue.

Whether you’re living in the home or not, it’s still your responsibility, and if the property is not properly covered, you’ll be stuck footing the bill yourself. Plus, if something happens and your carrier finds out that you weren’t occupying the building, they could very well drop your coverage or consider you as a case of insurance fraud.

How do I insure my vacant or unoccupied house?

While insurance companies aren’t eager to take on the risks of a vacant building on a general policy, it can be rather easy to get additional coverage for the building.

Some insurance companies will just let you add a low-cost endorsement to your existing home insurance policy. Some carriers require you to get an entirely separate policy (which means you can probably just change your insurance for that property from a regular insurance policy to a vacant home policy.) Either type of coverage will usually only kick in after the home has been vacant for 30 days and can cover the home up to a year.

If your current carrier doesn’t offer these options, it’s completely fine to ask your agent for recommendations. Whether you go with a specialty insurance company that your agent recommends or one that you find, do your research before getting their policy. Make sure they’re a reputable company. (The easiest way to check can be by checking their A.M. credit rating or BBB ratings.)

How much does vacant home insurance cost?

Since you’re not actually occupying the house that you’re insuring, vacant home insurance works a bit differently than a regular home insurance policy. If you’re considering an endorsement, most additions like this can cost under $100/month. Otherwise, insuring your vacant home can depend on:

  • The location of your home
  • The amount of coverage you need
  • The fire and weather-resistance of your home
  • Other risks that your specific home faces.

This is why it’s important to sit down with your agent and be straightforward with the conditions of your home and the types of risks you’re worried about. Your agent will make sure that your new coverage won’t violate your current contract with them and that you’ll have the right coverage while you’re away.

A vacant home presents certain risks.

Our insurance agents are experts at finding the right vacant home coverage for your specific home. We’ll help you find multiple quotes on the coverage and rates that work for you while you’re transitioning into your new stage of life. To get started, just give us a call or fill out our easy online form!

Source

https://www.bankrate.com/finance/insurance/insuring-your-vacant-home-1.aspx

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

11 tips for holiday decorating safety (and avoiding home insurance claims)

Make sure to avoid fire hazards when you decorate for the holidays.

Make sure to avoid fire hazards when you put up holiday decorations.

If you’re gearing up for the holidays, you’re probably already scheming how you want to decorate your Atlanta home. You’re thinking lights. You’re thinking lawn decorations. You’re thinking festive holiday cheer. It’s all starting to take form. But the thing is that holiday decorations can go horribly awry. We’ve got 11 holiday decorating safety tips to help you avoid a catastrophe – and a potential home insurance claim. Don’t let an unexpected fire ruin your holiday cheer.

Tips for holiday decorating safety

1. Check all your lights before using them.

Whether you’ve bought new lights or you’re pulling your tried and true set out of the attic, make sure to check all the strings of lights. Look for cracking in the cord, broken cords, fraying, exposed wires, and loose connections. Get rid of any lights that could be unsafe. (This can help you prevent electrical fires.) You definitely don’t want an electrical fire to get in the way of the holidays.

2. Follow all instructions for electrical decorations.

Yes, instructions aren’t super fun to read. But it’s important to follow all the proper directions for using and installing your decorations. Just do what the manufacturer tells you to – improvisation is not a great strategy when electricity is involved.

3. Don’t connect too many lights to a single extension cord.

Don’t put more than three sets of lights on a single extension cord. You could overload it. These things are only designed to take so much strain.

4. Check for the UL testing label on all decorations.

Make sure the decorations have a label certifying that they’ve been tested by the UL (Underwriters Laboratory) – this is a consumer product testing laboratory that makes sure various products are safe for use.

5. Be careful with your outdoor lighting.

If you’re plugging in lights outside, make sure that you’re only using GFCI (ground fault circuit interrupting) outlets. These are designed to protect the outlet from exposure to water. (Remember – water and electricity do NOT mix.)

Also, don’t use staples or nails on your outdoor lighting cords. While you want the lights to be secured to something stable so that they won’t sustain wind damage, it’s probably not a great idea to stab them with metal things.

6. Watch your indoor extension cords.

If you’ve got extension cords inside the house, avoid putting them under furniture, rugs, and so on. These things can cause the cords to get really hot, and that can lead to problems of the fiery variety.

(On a bit of a side note, getting Atlanta home insurance means that you can protect yourself financially in the event of a fire or another loss. Need some help getting quotes? Just give us a call or fill out our online quote form and we’ll be happy to help you find the coverage that’s right for you.)

7. Set your tree up carefully.

First of all, use a sturdy tree stand to keep your tree standing. Anchor it to the wall or ceiling with guy wires if you have to. (Curious pets do love to climb on trees…potentially causing them to crash to the ground.)

And think about where you’re putting the tree. It needs to be at least three feet away (preferably farther) from anything that could produce heat. Think about it – trees are wood and needles. And wood burns. Yup. Make sure your tree isn’t going to go up in flames.

If you’re going the artificial tree route, make sure that it’s made out of a fire-resistant material.

8. Be careful with your ornaments and decorations.

It’s a good idea to make sure all ornaments or decorations are made of flame-resistant material. If you have kids or pets, you probably don’t want ornaments that could break into sharp pieces that could slice someone. You also probably don’t want to have ornaments that are small or are made of small parts, as these present a choking hazard. Be mindful of what you’re putting up around the house and what tiny fingers or paws could reach and eat and/or destroy.

9. Unplug lights before bed or leaving the house.

Yes, your lights look beautiful at night when it gets dark. But turn them off before you head to bed or before you leave the house. You don’t want any fires to start while you’re either sleeping or not at home. It’s best that you’re at home and alert when your lights are lit because you’ll be able to notice any problems with the lights or outlets sooner rather than later.

10. Don’t put the wrapping paper near the fire or other heat sources.

Presents are exciting. But make sure that you don’t let the wrapping paper get too close to the fireplace or any heat sources. Paper is made of trees, and as we’ve established, trees are flammable.

Also, don’t burn wrapping paper in the fireplace or in a bonfire. That’s just not a great idea. It’ll probably get a bit more out-of-hand than you were hoping it would.

11. Only keep your tree for two weeks.

While you might want to keep your tree up forever – it’s so pretty! – it’s best to only have it for about two weeks. If you keep it longer than that, it’s going to dry out a lot. And a dry tree is way more flammable than a fresh tree. Unfortunately, trees just don’t last that long when you keep them inside.

The holidays are a great time of year, but it’s important to decorate safely. Get into the holiday spirit safely to avoid having the joy and cheer interrupted by a fire or accident. (And, as a general rule, it’s also a good idea to avoid a home insurance claim.) Anyways, stay safe this holiday season!

If you’re looking for home insurance quotes, we can help. Our agents can help you get multiple quotes so you can compare rates and save on your Atlanta home insurance. You can get started with your quotes by filling out our online quote form or giving us a call today.

Source:

https://www.cpsc.gov/PageFiles/121347/611.pdf

Atlanta home insurance terms to know

Check out these helpful home insurance terms.

Check out these helpful home insurance terms.

Buying a new home can be a scary prospect. Sure, it’s great to finally have a place to call your own, but you want to make sure that everything is protected. In fact, most mortgage lenders will want you to have proof of home insurance before you buy the house. So, how do you know what types of coverage you need? How do you know you’re not being gypped? What do all of those words floating around the home insurance space mean? Here’s are 7 basic home insurance terms to help get you started.

What is a Premium?

Of all the home insurance terms in our list, this one may be the one you’re most concerned with. Your home insurance premium is the amount you have to pay monthly just to have insurance coverage. Some premiums may seem a bit expensive, but your monthly payment amount usually depends on the amount of your deductible as well (more on that in a minute). It also depends on a few factors about your home, such as:

  • Location
  • The amount it will take to replace your home (again, more on this later)
  • Your claims history
  • Your credit score
  • The age of your home
  • How close you are to a fire department (nope – we’re not kidding.)
  • Your roof (still not kidding)
  • If you have a pool or a trampoline

What is a Deductible?

The deductible for your homeowners’ policy is the amount that you’ll have to pay out of your pocket before your carrier will start covering your claim.

But wait, why am I paying for insurance if I still have to pay for the damages to my house?

Say a tree falls onto your roof, and the combined cost to fix your roof and remove the tree is $8,000, BUT your deductible is only $1,500. Yes, you would have to pay the full $1,500 deductible for the first part of the repairs, but you won’t have to pay for the other $6,500 (which is pretty nice!).

When talking about how your deductible relates to your premium – it’s a bit of a balancing act. Usually, if you have a high premium, you’ll have a lower deductible; and if you have a high deductible, you’ll usually have a lower premium.

This is because your insurance company assumes that you’re willing to take on smaller issues yourself and leave the bigger stuff to them, instead of filing a claim for each little thing. For example, if you have a $1,600 claim and your deductible is $1,500, you’re more than likely just going to foot the cost of the bill instead of processing it through your insurance.

What is My Declarations Page?

I do declare! – that your declarations page is the general summary of what your homeowner’s insurance policy covers. It tells you the who, what, when, and why something is covered, from structures on your property to the belongings inside. However, your declarations page only offers a general idea of what your insurance covers. If you want to take a deep dive into your entire policy, you’ll have to look at your Insuring Agreement (which is next on our list of home insurance terms.)

It's important to know a few home insurance terms when you're looking for insurance.

What is an Insuring Agreement?

The insuring agreement of a homeowner’s policy is the more detailed list of the ways your coverage can handle losses. For instance, your declarations page may tell you that your policy can help cover storm damages, but your insuring agreement may outline certain types of storms that are covered. In this example, the types of storms listed would be considered a “peril.”

What is a Home Insurance Peril?

A peril in insurance terms is simply anything that can cause damage to your home. Perils will usually be natural disasters, but they can be anything that is making you file a home insurance claim. It’s important to take the definition of “peril” seriously, though. Filing a bunch of home insurance claims for small damages to your home, like a single broken pipe that’s didn’t cause any larger damages, can raise your rates when you renew.

There are two main types of perils plans that can be a part of your homeowners’ policy: Named Perils and Open Perils. Named perils policies can help you repair or replace items and fixtures in your house, but only for the perils specifically listed in your home insurance policy. Usually, named perils policies can help you cover damages due to:

  • Fire
  • Windstorms
  • Lightning
  • Rain damage
  • Vandalism
  • Theft
  • Explosions
  • Riots
  • Vehicles & Aircrafts

However, named perils policies usually don’t list and won’t cover things like flood and earthquake damage. For those types of damages, you could either add an endorsement to your policy, or you could opt for an open perils policy.

Open perils policies can help you cover the repair or replacement costs of your belongings in any perilous event, as long as it doesn’t explicitly exclude that event. For example, say your home is a part of the Marvel universe and the Hulk happened to smash through your walls. If you have an open perils policy, your insurance plan can help you pay to repair your home if superhero damage isn’t specifically listed as something that your carrier won’t cover.

What is ACV or RCV?

When replacing the items in your home, your policy will either cover it for ACV or RCV.

ACV stands for Actual Cash Value, which means that your insurance can help reimburse you for the value of the items at the time of the loss – meaning that you would get the depreciated value of the items. For example, say you bought an oven 5 years ago for $900, and it was damaged by a covered peril. An ACV plan could only reimburse you for $500 because the value of the oven has depreciated since you’ve been using it.

RCV stands for Replacement Cost Value, which means that your insurance could reimburse you for the cost of replacing the items you lost with similar models at today’s prices. So, you would be able to replace that oven you lost with a similar model without having to worry about how much your original oven depreciated in value.

What is an insurance endorsement/rider?

In the insurance world, an endorsement or rider is just a fancy name for a plan add-on. They’re pretty handy if you want to increase your coverage or add something on to your insurance policy, but you don’t actually want to increase the entirety of your coverage.

However, endorsements can also limit your policy. For example, you can add an endorsement to your plan to cover an engagement ring, but the insurance company can add an endorsement that says they won’t cover the ring if it’s older than 60 years old.

What is a limit of coverage for my homeowners’ insurance policy?

This is a very important one on our list of home insurance terms. Like with all things, there are limits and boundaries to your homeowners’ insurance. The limit of coverage for your home insurance plan is the maximum amount of funds that your insurance company can provide for you during a policy period (or the amount of time that your policy is effective).

Some insurance policies may have overall coverage limits while others may have certain coverage limits for certain parts of the plan. Coverage limits will depend on your home, but most home insurance policies have limits of thousands and/or millions of dollars. Limits of coverage also vary from carrier to carrier and from plan to plan, so it’s important to take a look at your declarations page if you want to know an exact dollar amount.

These are just some of the basic home insurance terms you may hear when talking about insurance with your agent. There are tons of other insurance names and phrases to consider, and it can be daunting to try to navigate them all on your own.

That’s why our insurance experts are here to make things easy. They’re the best at breaking down any other home insurance terms you want to know to best protect your house. They’re also masters at breaking down the risks that you face, finding multiple quotes for the policies you need, explaining clearly why these plans fit you, and saving you money through it all!

Call us today or fill out our online form to start speaking with an expert about the easy, affordable, customized homeowners’ insurance you deserve.

Sources

https://www.naic.org/consumer_glossary.htm#P

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

What perils are covered by Atlanta home insurance?

Home insurance covers a variety of perils.

Home insurance covers a variety of perils.

“Peril” may seem like a five-dollar word used only in stage plays and the literature of old, but it’s actually used a lot in terms of homeowners insurance. A peril is usually defined as a serious or catastrophic threat to your home – including storms, heavy vandalism, and any other Independence Day type of catastrophe that strikes your humble abode.

We’re here to tell you which perils are covered by most policies, which perils you’ll need additional coverage for, and what type of plans you should look for in the Atlanta area.

What is Peril Insurance for Homeowners?

Perils in insurance usually include wind, hail, civil commotions, vehicular damage, smoke, aircraft damage, and explosions. (No, we’re not making this up.)

However, different perils are covered in different ways or may not be covered at all depending on location. Typically, insurance carriers will offer two types of perils insurance: Named Perils Insurance and All Risks Insurance.

What is Named Perils Insurance?

Also called “Broad Form”, Named Perils insurance is a common type of policy when it comes to comprehensive homeowners insurance. Basically, if the policy names a certain natural disaster or general threat to your home, you’ll be covered for it.

This can be useful if you want to directly focus your coverage on certain threats and disasters that you know are common to your location. So, for Atlanta, you may not be as worried about earthquakes as you are about heavy storm damage from the latest hurricane.

These policies are usually less expensive and will probably be the first ones offered when you speak with your broker about homeowners insurance.

What is All Perils Insurance?

Unlike the Named Perils insurance that will explicitly list items that you ARE covered for, All Perils (or “Special Form”) insurance will cover anything EXCEPT what is explicitly listed as excluded from the policy. For example, if you have All Perils insurance and the policy doesn’t explicitly exclude earthquakes, you’ll still be covered for earthquake damage (in the event that that stray Georgia earthquake decides to wreck your house).

However, buying an All Perils insurance policy does not mean that you’ll be completely covered for all of the unlisted threats. Your insurance carrier will still usually direct coverage funds toward the perils that are most likely to happen for the area. Therefore, it’s always a good idea to speak with your agent about the specific concerns that you have. Our Atlanta Insurance agents are here to learn all about your homeowners woes and are experts in finding the perfect perils insurance plans and endorsements for the perfect price. Call us at 404.352.0304 to get a quote on the best insurance plans for you!

What Perils Are Included in My Atlanta Homeowners Insurance?

The most common type of homeowners insurance plan is a basic HO-3 plan, which will generally cover natural disasters, accidents, and property damage. More specifically, they’ll probably cover the following perils:

Fire

Note that most insurance carriers will consider fire damage as being different than smoke damage. So, if there happened to be a fire where fires usually don’t go in a house, you’ll be covered for what was unintentionally burnt to a crisp.

Lightning

Ah, Mother Nature. When she strikes, she strikes quickly and without warning. Luckily, most perils insurance will cover damage caused by natural electricity. If a lightning strike fries your flat screen, cooks your CPU, or annihilates your air conditioner in the dead humidity of the Georgia summer, talk to your insurance agent about how much coverage you have to fix it. Remember though, your insurance will only cover damage made by a strike to your electrical system, not problems coming from your electrical company’s side.

Explosions (No. We’re still not kidding.)

Whether there’s a catastrophic meltdown happening outside or a science project gone horribly awry in your kitchen, your perils insurance will usually cover the fallout. Now, that doesn’t mean you should start mixing chemicals with reckless abandon. Some carriers don’t include this part in their regular homeowners insurance, so it’s always important to consult your agent about if you’re covered and how much you’re covered for.

Windstorms

When that light summer breeze gets a little too aggressive in the form of hurricanes, tornadoes, or cyclones, your insurance can help you cover the cost of repairs to both the outside and inside of the house if the storm suddenly makes a new door or window. Keep in mind, though, that in the event of a hurricane or heavy rain, your normal HO-3 plan will not cover flooding from surface water that’s been on the ground.

Hail

When rain acquires the strange ability to clobber your property in the form of ice chunks, your perils insurance can help you plug up the holes. Just make sure you skip out on the hailstorm show through an open window – homeowners insurance won’t cover any internal damage caused by hail that enters through an existing opening in your home.

Riots & Civil Commotions

A riot, in insurance terms, is defined as three or more people causing damage. Similarly, a civil commotion is when a large group of people causes damage to a property. So, check with your insurance agent the next time your next-door neighbor hits a home run into your window – you may be covered.

Aircraft Damage

Anything from balloons to helicopters to airplanes to spacecraft to self-propelled missiles is included in this part of your homeowners policy. So yes, if part of a UFO crash lands into your roof, don’t worry, you’re protected. (At least from the damages.)

When in doubt, your insurance policy declaration page will tell you what is covered by your insurance and/or if you have Named Peril or All Perils insurance.

What Perils Are NOT Covered by Homeowners Insurance in the Atlanta Area?

Luckily, Atlanta is located fairly inland and is not prone to natural disasters. Many of the peril exclusions on Atlanta home insurance are ones that that are standard across the board. Most homeowners insurance policies will not include these events in a normal policy or cover them on a very limited basis:

  • Flood Damage
  • Mold
  • Sewer backups
  • “Earth Movement”
  • Construction Work Damage
  • Jewelry and Fine Art
  • Termites
  • Trampoline Accidents
  • Dog Attacks, and
  • Pool Accidents

Keep in mind that any piece of coverage may have dollar limits on the object and repairs that they cover. Also, if you have concerns about covering damages to your home because of the above perils, there are plenty of options for supplemental insurance that is specifically tailored to these types of disasters and emergencies.

Call Atlanta Insurance at 404.352.0304 or fill out our online quote form for a free quote on some of these supplemental plans so that you can rest assured that all of your home concerns are addressed.

Sources:

https://www.insuranceopedia.com/definition/130/named-peril

https://www.investopedia.com/terms/n/named_perils.asp

https://www.thebalance.com/homeowners-insurance-peril-2645726

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 burglary?

Home insurance should cover burglary.

Home insurance should cover burglary.

Your Atlanta house is more than just a structure with a roof and walls. It’s your home. You know you need to protect it with the right insurance, even though it’s scary to think about what-ifs – like burglary and what would happen if your home is burglarized. The thought is terrifying. But you might have this question – does home insurance cover burglary? We’re going to answer that question and give you some quick tips to prevent a break-in at your home.

Does Atlanta insurance cover burglary or theft?

Most home insurance policies do cover burglary, yes. Your policy should include personal property coverage, and that will provide insurance for your belongings. So, if someone breaks into your home and steals some of your possessions, you could file a home insurance claim and you would be covered. You’d have to read your policy carefully to find out exactly how your insurance would handle a burglary.

Your policy will probably have a limit for coverage for your personal property. That limit could be a percentage of the dwelling coverage on your home. Anyways, it’s really important to make sure that you have enough coverage to replace all of your belongings, so you need to check that your personal property coverage limit is high enough. (And we can help you make sure that you have the home insurance you need. Get started with Atlanta home insurance quotes by filling out our quick online form.)

To get an idea of how much coverage you need for your belongings to protect yourself against burglary, you can take a home inventory, which is basically a list of all of your belongings and their value. This will come in handy if you ever need to file a home insurance claim for burglary because you’ll easily be able to tell what’s been taken. You’ll know exactly what you need to include in your claim.

What if my belongings are in my car when they’re stolen?

If you have a bunch of stuff in your car and your car gets broken into or burglarized, your home insurance should cover those belongings and replace them. Most policies will cover your personal belongings even if they’re not in the home (although there could be limitations.)

Now, if your car is stolen from your driveway, however, your home insurance won’t cover it. You would have to have comprehensive coverage for your vehicle, which is a type of car insurance that will repair or replace your car if it’s damaged by something other than an accident (such as fire, falling trees, animal strikes, vandalism, and yes, theft.)

How to prevent a burglary at your Atlanta home.

No one wants to see their home get broken into, and it’s important to secure your house. The following tips can help you prevent a burglary at your house:

  • Keep the doors and windows locked. Contrary to popular belief, most burglaries occur during the day – not at night.
  • Consider getting timers for your indoor lights.
  • Make sure you have plenty of outdoor lighting.
  • Consider getting a security system.
  • Secure your valuables.
  • Keep your bushes and trees trimmed to eliminate and potential hiding places for burglars.
  • Be familiar with your neighbors.
  • Don’t leave boxes from expensive purchases outside on the curb.

So, that’s the scoop about home insurance and burglary. Your home insurance policy most likely covers burglary and theft. There is a section of your home insurance that covers your personal belongings, and that’s the piece that’s going to replace your belongings. So, hopefully, you can find a little peace of mind knowing that your home insurance covers burglary.

Want to save money on your home insurance? We’d be happy to help you get an Atlanta home insurance quote. Our agents are experts at helping people get great coverage at a great rate. To get started with your quote, fill out our online quote form or give us a call today.

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.