Atlanta Home Insurance 101

Find out the basics of home insurance in Atlanta.

Find out the basics of home insurance in Atlanta.

So, you’re looking into buying a new home. You, as well as your bank, will want to protect your investment. If you’re a first-time home buyer, insurance companies can throw a lot of terms and paperwork your way that you may not understand the basics of. So, to help you make an informed choice about the home insurance you need, here’s a crash course in homeowners’ insurance 101.

What is home insurance?

When a disaster or unfortunate accident happens, home insurance is a great way to make sure you have the funds to rebuild. There are plenty of different types of home insurance, but at their core, most homeowners’ insurance policies will include ways to help you cover the costs of property damage, medical expenses if someone is hurt on your property, and legal fees if that person decides to sue. So, let’s dig a little deeper into home insurance in Atlanta:

What does home insurance cover?

There are multiple types of home insurance, but most plans will provide these basic types of coverage:

Liability

Homeowners’ liability coverage is built to help you cover the medical expenses and legal payments that might come up if someone was hurt at your home. For example, if your teenager and their friend decide to try a few backflips off the roof and your child’s friend breaks a bone, the friend’s parent could sue you for the cost of the medical bills.

If a court determines that the injury was caused by your negligence, your home insurance’s liability coverage could help you pay out the friend’s medical fees, the legal fees of defending your case and court, and any other settlement payments that may arise out of the case.

Physical Structure

What would home insurance in Atlanta be without being able to actually cover damages to your home? The property damage portion of your homeowners’ policy can help you cover damages to the actual structure of your home caused by:

  • Fire
  • Lightning
  • Windstorms
  • Hail
  • Theft
  • Vandalism
  • Falling Objects
  • Explosions
  • Damages from vehicles/aircrafts

Depending on your particular home insurance policy, you may be covered for more perils than those that are listed here. Some policies, like HO-3s, will have a strict list of named perils, which means that the plan won’t cover damages caused by anything outside of the listed situations on the policy. However, some policies – like HO-5s – can also include an open perils section, where your insurance could help you cover damages due to anything that isn’t explicitly listed on the policy as not covered.

Home insurance in Atlanta covers a variety of perils.

Personal Property

Homeowners insurance can also usually help you replace the personal belongings inside your home if they’re damaged by the above perils. There are two ways to insure your personal property – for its actual cash value (ACV) and for its replacement cost value (RCV).

If you insure your belongings for their actual cost value, your insurance can only reimburse you for the value of your belongings at the time of loss – meaning its depreciated value. However, if you insure your personal property for its replacement cost value, your insurance can help you cover the cost of replacing the item with a similar model at today’s prices.

However, there’s only so much that your insurance company can help you replace if they don’t know what they have to replace. So, make sure you make a home inventory of your personal belongings so you’re not stuck replacing everything in your home in an unfortunate situation.

Other Structures

Your home insurance can also help you cover the other structures on your property if they’re damaged. The other structures portion of your policy can help you cover damages to things like:

  • Detached garages
  • Fences
  • Poolhouses and pools
  • Sheds
  • Gazebos
  • Guesthouses
  • Barns
  • Outdoor dining huts
  • Your patio
  • And even your driveway

It’s important to know, though, that even if other structures coverage is included in your home insurance policy, the coverage limit may not reimburse you for the full amount it takes to repair the structure. Again, that’s why it’s important to review your policy to make sure your other structures are insured for their replacement cost value and not their actual cost value.

Loss of Use

Your homeowners’ policy can also help you with expenses and a place to stay when you can’t physically live in your home. Additional Living Expense (ALE) or Loss of Use coverage can help you with the additional costs of living somewhere else if your house is uninhabitable due to a covered loss. This part of your home insurance can help you cover costs such as:

  • Extended hotel, motel, or AirBnB stays
  • Eating out at restaurants
  • Doing laundry
  • Storage costs for your personal belongings
  • Moving if you’re displaced by a natural disaster
  • Boarding your pet if they can’t live with you during your temporary living situation
  • Gas costs for relocation
  • Renting furniture that you’re used to having every day

Keep in mind, though, that your insurance company will want proof of the cost of your normal standard of living. They’ll also want proof of the additional costs gathered while you’re not living in your house. This is because ALE is only built for the cost of maintaining your lifestyle outside of your home. So, if you’re used to making and eating modest meals in your home, your ALE probably isn’t going to cover ordering lobster dinners every night while you’re away. So, keep plenty of receipts, especially for things like groceries, hotels, gas, etc.

It’s also important to note that your ALE coverage can only help cover the additional amount you’re paying while you’re away. For example, if your mortgage payment is $1,200/month and you have to live in an Extended Stay hotel that charges $1,800/month, your insurance can only help you cover the additional $600 you would be paying for shelter per month, not the full $1,800.

Home insurance in Atlanta can cover other structures.

What doesn’t home insurance cover?

So, with everything that home insurance in Atlanta can help you cover, you may be wondering what home insurance policies exclude. Usually, home insurance policies won’t include coverage for:

While most homeowners’ insurance policies may not include these types of coverages normally, you can usually add on an endorsement or purchase a separate plan for perils and objects you would like to cover.

How much home insurance do I need?

When considering how much home insurance you’ll need, you’ll want to make sure that your coverage limits can help you restore your home and your belongings back to normal. So, it’s important to know the ways that carriers can choose to cover your structures and belongings.

Market Value vs. Replacement Cost Value

The first thing to know is that your home’s market value is not the same as its replacement cost.

Your home’s market value is the amount that your home would sell for. Your home’s replacement cost is the amount it would take to rebuild your house from the ground up – including the building materials, contractors, plumbers, electricians, permits, and more. That’s why you might end up getting home insurance for an amount that’s different than what you bought your house for.

Generally, you’ll want to insure your house for its replacement cost value to make sure that you have the right amount of home insurance. You’ll also want to talk to your agent if you’re considering an addition to your house, a structural addition to your property, or if you’re thinking about upgrading your pipes or your electrical system (which may even qualify you for a discount).

How much does home insurance cost?

So, here’s the big question – how much does home insurance in Atlanta actually cost? The true answer is that there are tons of factors about your individual house and situation that will determine your home insurance rate. So, your individual rate depends on:

So, it’s important to shop around for your insurance. Different carriers assess risk differently, so one carrier may price you differently from others.

So, these are the basic facts you’ll need to know about home insurance! Hopefully, you feel armed with knowledge when you’re shopping around for coverage. However, there’s a lot more that goes into getting your perfect home insurance for a great rate. That’s where our insurance experts can help!

We have tons of experience with home insurance in Atlanta. So, we can take the hassle out of finding customized home insurance quotes. We’ll help you get the exact types of affordable coverage and limits you need. All you have to do to get started is call us today or fill out our easy online form.

6 things insurance agents want you to know about home insurance

There are a lot of things insurance agents want people to know about home insurance.

There are a lot of things insurance agents want people to know about home insurance.

Shopping for Atlanta home insurance can seem like a monster of a task if you don’t know where to start. Plus, what many people think of as insurance basics may not be the ones that are the most important to your agent when they consider your particular situation. So, we’ve put together the top six general ideas that insurance agents want you to know when you’re shopping for your homeowners’ insurance.

Read more6 things insurance agents want you to know about home insurance

Can I insure my engagement ring?

You can get insurance for your engagement ring.

You can get insurance for your engagement ring.

Congratulations! Your soon-to-be spouse has popped the question! But there’s another big question that you should be asking now that you own such an expensive piece of jewelry: How can I protect my engagement ring? Fortunately, there are tons of different types of insurance for covering different kinds of investments, including your engagement ring. So, we’ll give you a rundown of how to get insurance for your engagement ring and what engagement ring insurance truly is.

Can I insure my engagement ring?

Insurance isn’t just for your car or home anymore. You can insure your pet, your party, and yes, even your new engagement ring. But just like other types of insurance, you have to make sure you have the right coverage and limits to truly protect your ring.

Why should I insure my engagement ring?

In short, an engagement ring is a huge investment. It’s also rather small, and depending on what it’s made of, it can be very fragile. So, if it drops down a sink drain while you’re washing dishes or the stone falls out of its setting or the gold band has been twisted and warped beyond recognition, you’re going to want something that can help you make up some of that loss – at least money-wise.

How can I insure my engagement ring?

Your Atlanta home insurance policy may have limited protection for jewelry or valuables, so you might need extra coverage to insure your engagement ring.

There are two ways that can make sure you have enough coverage for your engagement ring. A common way is by adding an endorsement to your homeowners or renters’ insurance policy. Be aware, though, that you need to make sure you have enough insurance added to your home insurance policy to fully protect your ring.

The second way is to get an entirely separate valuable items policy. However, to get an entirely separate policy for any type of valuable item, it must be worth over $10,000 individually or part of a collection that’s worth $50,000 or more.

In either case, your insurance agent will need either a sales receipt for the ring or proof of appraisal to determine the coverage limits that are right for you. However, you’ll need to consider whether you want to insure your engagement ring for – its actual cash value (ACV) or replacement cost value (RCV).

Actual Cost Value vs. Replacement Cost Value

When insuring their personal property, a lot of people assume that their insurance will completely replace the items lost in a pinch.  However, there are two ways that your insurance covers property – for its actual cash value or for its replacement cost value.

If something is insured for its actual cash value, it’s insured for the amount that you bought it for minus depreciation. For example: Let’s say that your engagement ring was worth $3,000 when you bought it. If you insure it for its actual cash value and lose it three years down the road, your insurance may only help you pay for a depreciated value of $2,200.

However, if you insure your ring for its replacement cost value, your insurance could reimburse you for the full $3,000. This is why it’s important to get your ring appraised or keep the sales receipt when insuring it.

What does engagement ring insurance cover?

If you’re wondering about the specifics of what your engagement ring insurance will cover, there’s not a cut-and-dry answer. Different insurance carriers cover different situations. So, it’s important when finding coverage for your ring to talk to your agent. Find out if your policy will cover things like theft, accidental damage, and accidental loss. Learn how your coverage will be provided; it can be in the form of a cash reimbursement, replacement ring, or a new ring from a jeweler of your carrier’s choice.

How can I protect my engagement ring?

Although engagement ring insurance can come in handy, no one likes the feeling of losing something so precious or filing an insurance claim for that item. So, to keep your ring safe, keep these tips in mind:

  • Always store valuable items in a secure place, and don’t leave them out in the open.
  • If you’re not going to be wearing your ring much, invest in a small safe or safety deposit box.
  • Secure your home at night. (If you have a home security system, you may even be able to get a discount on your home insurance.)

So, that’s the nitty-gritty on engagement ring insurance. Overall, it’s a great type of inexpensive coverage that can save you a bit of heartache in the long run. Plus, our insurance experts can help you find the rider or policy that perfectly fits your needs.

Day in and day out, we help tons of people find customized and affordable  Atlanta home, renters, and auto insurance to protect the things that matter the most. To start saving money on the protection you need, all you have to do is give us a call or fill out our online form.

Deductible, premium, and limit: 3 Atlanta home insurance words to know

It's important to know about your premium, deductible, and home insurance limit.

It's important to know about your premium, deductible, and home insurance limit.When you’re dealing with your Atlanta home insurance, there are a lot of vocab words – and numbers – that are important for you to know. You know that you need to get home insurance, but what do all those numbers and words mean? What are some of the things that you need to pay attention to? We’re going to explain three home insurance terms you should know: premium, limit, and deductible.

What is a home insurance premium?

Okay, let’s be real – this is probably the number you’re most concerned about.

And for good reason:

To put it simply, your home insurance premium is basically your home insurance rate. It’s what you pay for home insurance. So, yes, it makes perfect sense that this would be a number you’d want to pay attention to.

Now, you might be wondering how the insurance company decides how much your bill is going to be. Believe it or not, it’s not some sort of trick or mumbo jumbo like a magician pulling a rabbit out of a hat. It’s not a random number that comes from midair.

The truth is home insurance companies look at a lot of different factors about you and your house when they’re setting your premium. They don’t exactly do “random” or “detail-free” when it comes to insurance rates. For example, they may look at the following factors when setting your home insurance rates:

  • Your location
  • The crime rate where you live
  • The building material your home is made of
  • Your credit score
  • How close you are to a fire station
  • Your roof
  • Whether or not you’ve bundled
  • How much it would cost to rebuild
  • How old your house is
  • Any discounts you qualify for

So, that’s home insurance premium in a nutshell. The best way to find out how much your home insurance will cost is to get insurance quotes – and you can do that by filling out our online form or giving us a call today.

What is a home insurance deductible?

Another word to know (and number to be aware of) is deductible.

Your home insurance deductible is the amount you agree to pay towards a claim if you have a loss to your home. You have your portion of the “bill” per se and your home insurance will help you cover the rest of your claim. (You might feel better about the whole thing if you consider that they’ll probably be paying a lot more than you will!)

It’s easiest to explain the concept of how a deductible works by giving an example.

Let’s say you have a $1,000 deductible on your home. A tree very rudely decides to fall and hits your roof. Thankfully no one is hurt, but the tree did cause $5,500 worth of damage. You would pay your $1,000 and your insurance company would pay the remaining $4,500.

Your deductible can also play a part in your Atlanta home insurance rates. It can affect your premium (see, using those vocabulary words already!) because if you choose a higher deductible, you’re less likely to file a claim. And that means you could see lower premiums. However, you don’t want to set your deductible so high that it would be a huge financial burden to pay if you had a claim. You need to consider how much you could comfortably afford to pay if you had a loss.

What is a home insurance limit?

Your home insurance limit is simply how much your insurance would pay out for a claim. (It’s essentially how much home insurance you’ve purchased.) Your home insurance would tap out if your claim hit that amount.

When you’re setting your home insurance limit, it’s important to make sure you have enough home insurance to:

  • Completely rebuild your home from the ground up (meaning you should insure your home for its replacement cost)
  • Cover your liability
  • Replace your personal belongings

Again, it’s important that you have enough insurance. Protecting yourself financially means making sure you have a safety net that will actually catch you – not let you crash to the ground. So, make sure that your limits of Atlanta home insurance are high enough.

Protecting your home with the right Atlanta home insurance is easy when you work with our team. Get started with quotes by filling out our form or giving us a call today.

7 Atlanta home insurance questions: Am I covered?

You may have some home insurance questions.

You may have some home insurance questions.

When you’re getting Atlanta home insurance, you might have a lot of questions about what’s covered and what’s not covered. Home insurance doesn’t cover everything. (Which is why it’s important to read your home insurance policy carefully and comb through it with a fine-toothed comb.) Anyways, we’ve compiled a list of seven home insurance FAQs to give bite-sized answers to some common home insurance questions.

Atlanta home insurance questions

1. Am I covered if there is heavy rain and water seeps into my basement?

Flooding is not covered by home insurance. (And by flooding we mean a rapid and unusual accumulation of water on the ground where there is usually not water.) So, if your area is hit with some heavy rain and some water infiltrates your basement, creating a big soggy mess…unfortunately, it’s not covered.

You can, however, purchase a separate flood insurance policy, which can cover flooding and surface water from heavy rain. You can get flood insurance through an agent from the NFIP (National Flood Insurance Program) so that your house can be protected from flood-related losses.

2. If my sump pump fails, am I covered?

Home insurance policies usually exclude sewer backup and sump pump failure. However, you can add a sewer backup endorsement to your home insurance policy so that this kind of loss can be covered. (Sewer backup is not something that is very pleasant, so you may want to think about adding this coverage to your home insurance.)

3. Is my boat covered?

If boat theft occurs away from your residential property, no, the loss would not be covered by home insurance. You would need a boat insurance policy to cover the watercraft and any accessories you have for it.

4. If my neighbor’s tree falls through my fence and ruins it, does their insurance pay for it?

No. Your Atlanta home insurance, though, should cover the claim. If it’s your fence or your home that gets damaged by your neighbor’s tree, your home insurance would be the one paying the claim, not theirs. Now, if your tree fell through your neighbor’s fence, the neighbor’s home insurance would cover it.

(However, if your neighbor’s tree falls as a result of their negligence, it’s possible that your insurance company could subrogate against the neighbor’s home insurance company to get your deductible back.)

5. Do I really need to take a home inventory?

It’s definitely a good idea to take a home inventory (which is basically a list of all your belongings, room by room.) First of all, it’ll help you know that you have enough home insurance to cover all of your belongings. Your inventory will also help if you have to file a home insurance claim because you’ll know exactly what needs to be replaced. And you’ll also have a bit more proof for your insurance company that you’ve lost what you’ve said you’ve lost. (Insurance fraud is a big deal.)

6. If my iPod is stolen from my car, is it covered by home insurance or car insurance?

Well … neither.

Most home insurance and auto insurance policies specifically exclude sound transmitting equipment (yes, including iPods) that are used in cars. So, if your iPod or sound equipment gets swiped from your car…unfortunately you might be out of luck. (You may, however, be able to add extra coverage to cover this sort of loss, but you’d have to talk to your agent to find a solution.)

7. How much home insurance do I need?

Ideally, you should have enough Atlanta home insurance to completely rebuild your home from the ground up, cover all of your personal belongings, and cover your liability. When you’re getting home insurance, it’s important to make sure that your limits of coverage are high enough to fully protect you from a loss.

These are some common questions about home insurance with convenient answers in bite-sized form. As always, it’s important to read your home insurance policy carefully to find out what it will cover and how it will protect you. And ask questions if you need to – questions are great!

If you need Atlanta home insurance quotes, we can help. Our agents can get you multiple home insurance quotes all while making insurance as easy as possible. To get started with your quotes, fill out our online form or give us a call.

Does Atlanta home insurance cover sewer backup?

You can add sewer backup coverage to your home insurance policy.
You can add sewer backup coverage to your home insurance policy.

Ugh. Something does not smell good. What could that be? As your nose informs your brain that something is definitely not right at your place, you start to fear the worse – that your sewer has backed up or your sump pump has failed. And now you have a big mess on your hands – a big, expensive mess. It’s going to take a lot of work to get everything cleaned up and back to the way it’s supposed to be. Now your question is this – does Atlanta home insurance cover sewer backup? We’ll explain. And we’ll also give you some tips for preventing this smelly problem in the first place.

Does home insurance cover water that’s backed up through the sewer?

Typically no. Atlanta home insurance won’t cover damages from water that’s backed up from a sewer or drain. It’s one of those things that’s usually excluded from most home insurance policies.

However, you can add an endorsement to your home insurance policy so that this sort of unfortunate occurrence can be covered. (An endorsement being an addition or alteration to your home insurance coverage.) For an additional premium, you can get an endorsement that will cover water backup from the sewer and sump pump discharge.

The endorsement can cover:

1. Water or waterborne materials that backs up through a sewer or through a drain.

2. Water or waterborne materials that overflows from a sump even if the overflow or backup is from a mechanical failure of the sump pump. (The coverage will typically include damage to covered property, but it may exclude the sump pump itself and related equipment that has broken down.)

So, that’s an easy way to get coverage for sewer backup so that if you’re every faced with a smelly, icky sewer-related situation you could be covered. This kind of claim can be very expensive to clean up, after all.

What is not covered by the sewer backup coverage endorsement?

There is an important caveat to this coverage. It will usually not cover losses that result from owner negligence, like forgetting to turn on the sump pump. It will also typically not cover damages covered by a flood. So, keep that in mind when you’re getting sewer backup coverage.

Tips to prevent sewer backup coverage.

So, while you can get coverage for sewer backup, you can also take steps to prevent this from happening in the first place. Plumbing is one of those things that we take for granted until something goes wrong. Check out the following tips that can help you prevent a sewer backup.

1. Don’t flush anything other than toilet paper down the toilet.

2. Don’t wash grease down the drain. Wait for the grease to cool and then throw it away with your regular garbage. (Grease can solidify as it cools, which can clog up pipes.)

3. Don’t wash oils down the drain – these can cause buildup in your pipes.

4. Remember that shrubs and trees can make their way into cracks in the sewer line. These cracks can allow debris to build up. If you keep having problems with tree roots, you might want to think about replacing your line with a plastic pipe.

5. Maintain your sewer system by having a trained, trustworthy professional give it a routine inspection.

What if I have water in my basement?

If you have water seeping into your basement, your problem might not be a sewer backup problem. It could be from poor soil grading around the exterior of your house. It’s really important to make sure that water drains away from the foundation of your house so that it doesn’t run straight into your basement, infiltrating your home and causing water damage.

So, that’s what you need to know about sewer backups and your home insurance. Sewer backup or sump pump failure is typically not covered by Atlanta home insurance, but you can add an endorsement for sewer backup coverage so that you can be protected against this type of loss. But it’s also important to take steps to prevent sewer backup in the first place. We often take our plumbing for granted, but sometimes things go wrong. And that’s where sewer backup coverage can save the day.

If you want to get quotes for your home insurance, we would be happy to help. Our team of insurance agents can help you get multiple quotes, and we’d be happy to talk about your coverage needs and answer your insurance questions. To get started with your quotes, fill out our online quote form or give us a call today.

Atlanta home insurance: What is an HO-3 Insurance policy?

The HO-3 policy is one of the most common home insurance policies in the US.

When you’re shopping for home insurance policies, a lot of people don’t know that there are actually different types of policies available to them. Each type of homeowners’ policy has its pros and cons. The home insurance policy that your neighbor has may not be the best one for you. Here, we’ll go over the most common homeowner’s insurance policy in the U.S. – the HO-3 insurance policy. Find out what it covers and if going this route is best for your Atlanta home.

What is an HO-3 homeowners insurance policy?

An HO-3 insurance policy is a type of homeowners insurance that will cover your home and belongings within certain named perils and open perils restrictions. This may seem confusing if you have no idea of what named perils or open perils are. So, here’s a quick rundown:

What is a named perils policy?

Most insurance policies, regardless of the type of property it is, will have a list of certain disasters and events that your home can be damaged by. If your home or something in your home is damaged by something on that list, it is covered, and your insurance company can help you with the costs that it will take to repair or replace that item. If something is damaged by an event that is not listed, then you’re left covering the cost of the repairs yourself.

There are 15 named perils that are usually found on most home insurance policies:

  • Fire & lightning damage
  • Wind & hail damage
  • Damage due to the weight of snow or sleet
  • Accidental discharge from plumbing or air conditioning (which does not include flood damage)
  • Smoke damage
  • Explosions
  • Freezing
  • Volcanic eruption
  • Theft
  • Vandalism
  • Riots
  • Vehicle damage (i.e. if someone hits your house with their car)
  • Falling objects
  • Sudden & accidental tearing, burning, or bulging
  • Sudden and accidental damage from electrical currents

What is an open perils policy?

On the other hand, an open perils policy can cover any disaster you can imagine except specific exclusions. So, anything that is listed on an open perils policy is not covered by your insurance, and you would have to pay for the damages in that instance.

So, what’s covered under my HO-3 policy?

The certain items and structures covered under your HO-3 policy will depend on your specific policy and what your carrier usually covers in their particular plans. Still, these are the general types of things that an HO-3 insurance policy will cover.

Your actual house

You have a homeowner’s policy for a reason – to protect your house! So, any type of home insurance is going to cover the actual structure of your home if it’s damaged by a covered peril. Most HO-3 policies will cover the replacement cost of your home instead of the market value, which is great. The replacement cost is how much it would cost to rebuild your home from the ground up if it were destroyed by something like a fire.

The replacement cost of your home might be about the same or more than the market value of your home, especially if you’ve done some renovations since you’ve bought your house. However, it’s important to look over your policy so you know which one you’re insured for.

Your belongings

An HO-3 will also usually come with personal property coverage to help with the cost of replacing your stuff. However, it’s important to make sure you have the type of coverage that fits your needs. You’ll also want to make sure that you take a home inventory of all your belongings to make the claims process and recovery of your items as easy as possible.

Most policies will insure your things for their actual cash value (ACV) instead of the replacement cost value (RCV). Actual cost value accounts for depreciation of your items over time. So, if you have an oven that you paid $900 for 5 years ago, ACV coverage may only reimburse you for a depreciated value of $600. If you want to make sure that your insurance can help reimburse you for the RCV of an item, make sure you talk to your agent about the type of personal property coverage that comes with your HO-3.

If you have a lot of expensive jewelry, artwork, or special collections, you may also want to purchase a rider to your policy that will specifically cover these items.

Liability

An HO-3 insurance policy will also cover a certain amount ofliability that you have as a homeowner if someone is injured on your property. The liability portion of your home insurance can help you cover the cost of the injured person’s medical bills and the cost of any legal fees should that person decide to sue you.

It’s important to note, though, that the incident that resulted in injury or property damage has to be your fault due to negligence or your actions. If someone was just a little careless or clumsy, that’s a job for their medical insurance.

Other Structures

The other structures to your home are also normally covered by an HO-3 insurance policy. Depending on your carrier and specific plan, this can mean that spaces such as pools, guest houses, sheds, detached garages, fences, and more are covered under your home insurance.

Expenses if you can’t live in your home while it’s being repaired

HO-3 policies can have clauses for loss of use expenses, or additional living expenses, if you’re not able to live in your house due to a covered loss. If you have to stay in another house, an AirBnb, or an extended stay hotel while your home is being repaired, housing and food bills can start to pile up. So, with the right home insurance policy, your carrier can help reimburse you for the additional costs you’ve gathered by not being able to use your home.

It’s vital to understand, though, that your insurance will only help you pay for additional costs of living while you’re away. For example, if you spend $250 in groceries for a typical week, and you have to spend $300 per week on fast food or restaurants while your house is uninhabitable. Your insurance can only reimburse you for the additional $50, not the full $300. This is why it’s also important to keep track of any receipts or bills you have while you’re away. Then, you can show your insurance company exactly how living away from your home has affected your everyday costs and get reimbursed for the proper amounts.

So, this is the general rundown of how an HO-3 policy works. Keep in mind that the HO-3 policy is just the most common home insurance policy in the U.S. That doesn’t necessarily mean it’s the best plan for you. There are also HO-5, HO-6, and a bunch of other types of homeowners policies that offer more or less coverage than an HO-3. That’s why it’s important to shop around for coverage and ask your agent what type of insurance will be best for you.

Our insurance agents are experts at identifying your specific risks to find the home insurance coverage you need at the lowest prices. Call us today or fill out our online form to start getting multiple, free quotes on the proper insurance for your home.

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