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SAVE MONEY ON YOUR HOME INSURANCE (This can save hundreds of dollars)

 

  1. Choose a Higher Deductible 

If you raise your deductible from $500 to $1000 you can save as much as 25% on your premiums. 



2. Bundle! There are discounts! Take advantage of the discounts. 

You can bundle your homeowners with your auto insurance or your renters with auto insurance and save money! Call us today and we will make sure you are saving money in every way that we can offer! 

3. Get a Home Security System

An alarm system, home security can help save you money on your homeowners insurance. If you live in a gated community, ask us if there is a discount for that as well! We will review your policy and make sure you are covered and that you are saving money wherever you can. 

Statistics show that homes with a security system are burglarized less often than homes without them. The insurance companies know this and may offer lower rates. 

4. Get Rid of Your Pet

We know you don’t want to get rid of your pet but just for your information, having certain pets can cause higher premiums with some home insurance companies. They want to make sure you are covered in case your pet hurts someone. 

Check out this article on How Pets Affect Homeowners Insurance for more information on that.

5. Quit Smoking!

Homes with smokers in them pay more premium. There is a higher risk for fires if there is smoking in the home. Working smoke and fire alarms are important to have up and working for when the home inspection check happens. 

6. Improve Your Credit

There are insurance carriers that will give you a proposal that has basis on credit score. Not all carriers do this but keep it in mind when asking your agent about discounts etc. 

7. Ask us to review your policy! We will shop around for you. 

We have access to more carriers than most insurance companies. We are able to keep you protected with the best coverage and secure the best possible price. 

 

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Hurricanes and Flood Insurance: What Homeowners Should Know

 

To protect your home against hurricane and flood damage, purchase flood insurance.

 

This article written by Ron Leshnower breaks down information about homeowners insurance and hurricanes including storms and flooding so well. Check it out! 

 

Here's how to get flood insurance, and what it will and won't cover. (For general information about homeowners' insurance, read Nolo's article Homeowners' Insurance: What You Need to Know.)

Get Flood Insurance Coverage for Property and Contents

A flood insurance policy through the NFIP can provide maximum coverage of $250,000 for property and $100,000 for contents. (Property and contents coverage must be purchased separately, even though they may form part of the same policy.) If you want additional coverage, you can purchase excess flood insurance from private insurers. The average flood insurance policy costs less around $700 per year, according to the NFIP.

If you buy a home in a designated high-risk flood zone and get a mortgage loan from a federally regulated or insured lender, your lender must require that you purchase flood insurance.

If you live in a zone that's been designated moderate- or low-risk, you don't need to buy flood insurance for your lender's sake -- but you may want to do so anyway, especially if your own observations indicate that the official designation on your area are out-of-date (a common problem). According to FEMA, almost 25% of all flood insurance claims come from areas with low-to-moderate flood risk. The good news is that you'll qualify for a preferred-risk policy. The premiums for this type of policy start at only $137 per year (for both property and contents).

Here's what flood insurance pays out for each type of property covered:

  • Contents. Flood insurance pays actual cash value (not the most generous amount -- it means the cost to replace the damaged or lost property based on its actual, depreciated value as used goods).

  • Property. You can opt for replacement cost coverage (the cost to replace the damaged or lost property with new property, without regard to depreciation) if you're insuring a single-family home that is your primary residence. Available coverage is at least 80% of the full replacement cost of the building (an amount that's set in advance for your property) or the maximum available under the NFIP.

Know What Flood Insurance Doesn't Cover

A good flood insurance policy can be a financial lifeboat following a destructive event such as a hurricane. But flood insurance doesn't cover everything. Before buying, you should know about the following key restrictions and limitations, which are specific to flood insurance.

 

Water Must Have Come From Outside Your Home

If something breaks or malfunctions inside your home -- for instance, pipes freeze and burst or a toilet overflows -- and this leads to flooding, your flood insurance policy won't apply. However, your homeowners' policy should cover these types of losses. Ask your agent or broker to give you the lowdown.

Swimming Pools and Landscaping Aren't Covered

If something goes wrong with a swimming pool on your property and this causes your home to sustain flood damage, your flood insurance policy won't apply. Also, don't expect any reimbursement for flood damage to flower beds, vegetable gardens, trees, or other landscaping on your property.

Small Floods Don't Count

To be considered a flood, the water that causes damage must have covered at least two acres or have affected at least one other property. Also, if your home sustains any mold or mildew damage that you could have prevented from occurring, your policy won't cover such damage.

Living Expenses or Business Interruption Aren't Covered

Your flood insurance policy won't pay you for any living expenses you may incur (such as renting a hotel room until your property is fixed). Also, you won't recover any financial losses caused by business interruption (if you operated a business out of your home) or any other loss of your home's use.

Money and Important Papers Aren't Covered

Your policy won't pay for the value of any currency, precious metals, stock certificates, and other valuable papers that get destroyed in a flood.

Improvements and Most Contents in Below-Ground Areas Aren't Covered

Your flood insurance policy won't cover any improvements you've made to your basement, such as finished walls or floors. Also, almost all personal property (including clothing, computers and electronic equipment, kitchen and office supplies, and furniture) located in basements or other areas of your home below the lowest elevated floor aren't covered.

If You Want Coverage, Act Now

Unlike other types of insurance, flood insurance coverage doesn't kick in on day one. With few exceptions, you must wait 30 days after you first purchase a flood insurance policy before your policy will take effect. So the longer you delay looking for coverage for your home, the greater your risk of suffering a loss before your policy is actually in place.

 

Even if the next hurricane season is months away, you could still benefit from getting a flood insurance policy sooner. In addition to damage from hurricanes, a flood insurance policy will also protect you from losses from other causes, such as heavy or prolonged rainstorms, coastal storm surges, snow melt, clogged storm drainage systems, levee dam failures, and mudslides.

 

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Pros and Cons of Homeowners Associations: What to Know About HOAs Before You Buy

 

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If you’re shopping for a new house, you’re likely to come across at least a few properties that are part of a homeowners association, or HOA. Some 26 million homes across the country are governed by them, according to the trade group Community Associations Institute (CAI). Of course, amenities like…

If you’re shopping for a new house, you’re likely to come across at least a few properties that are part of a homeowners association, or HOA. Some 26 million homes across the country are governed by them, according to the trade group Community Associations Institute (CAI).

Of course, amenities like swimming pools or club houses can make it tempting to gloss over the realities of living under an HOA – but it’s important that you don’t.

For one thing, there’s the money. HOAs assess fees that help maintain common areas and cover community services, so knowing the size of the fee (and what it covers) can help you decide if you want to live in the community, or whether you can afford to.

It’s also important to understand the HOA rules, which you have to abide by if you purchase a home there. Association regulations are designed to protect property values, according to CAI. But they can touch on anything from how you paint your home to where you park your car. CAI suggests looking into rules about pets, flags, outside antennas, clotheslines, satellite dishes, fences, patios and home businesses before you buy.

There are also other aspects of an HOA to consider. Here are some pros and cons of community living to help you decide if it’s right for you:

PRO: HOAs provide amenities

Buying into an HOA may give you access to amenities like a tennis court or fitness center that you might not otherwise be able to afford, or be able to enjoy in such close proximity to your home.

PRO: They reduce your responsibilities

The fees you pay to an HOA typically go toward services (like snow removal) and maintenance that you might otherwise have to perform, or contract for, yourself.

PRO: They help keep up appearances

HOAs typically have rules to prevent property neglect and resulting neighborhood decline. They can help to maintain the property values for the homes within the community.

CON: An HOA can foreclose on your home

If you get behind on your fees, the HOA may be able to foreclose on your home, attorney Benjamin Childs tells the Wall-Street Journal. (The process of doing so varies by state). Though, CAI advises HOAs to only use foreclosure as a “last resort.”

CON: They can spring assessments on you

If the HOA doesn’t have cash reserves to cover an expenditure, it can impose an assessment to come up with the money, the CAI says. That’s important, since 70 percent of all HOAs are currently underfunded, according to Reuters.

CON: They may limit you from renting your place

HOAs can put an array of rental restrictions in place. One Denver-area association limits rentals to 15 percent of homes in the community, requires HOA board approval of tenants, and says rentals must be on two-year leases.

So, consider the pros and cons against your own lifestyle and get familiar with the community rules before you buy – you just might find that association living is equally as satisfying for you.

Artlce: https://www.allstate.com/blog/homeowners-associations/

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