Do You Have Enough Coverage to Rebuild Your Home?

construction

Imagine how devastating it would be to lose your home in a fire. Now imagine not being able to rebuild it completely because you didn’t have the correct amount of insurance.

Selecting the proper amount of coverage is the single most important decision you can make with your Homeowners policy. Without it, you may not have enough coverage to rebuild after a total loss. This is called “insurance to value.” Below are some explanations and tips to help you make the right choices for your needs — and remember, if you need help, we’re just a phone call away!

What is insurance to value?

Insurance to value is the relationship between the amount of coverage selected (typically listed as “Coverage A” or “Dwelling Coverage” on your policy declarations page) and the amount required to rebuild your home.  Insuring your home for anything less than 100% insurance to value could mean you wouldn’t have enough coverage to replace your home in the event of a total loss

Why is the cost to rebuild different from the market value?

A home’s market value reflects current economic conditions, taxes, school districts, the value of the land and location, and other factors unrelated to construction cost.  The cost to rebuild your home is based only on the cost of materials and labor in your area.  It is important that you insure your home based on its reconstruction cost, NOT its current market value

Why is reconstruction more expensive than new construction?

New-home builders typically build many homes at once, and solicit bids from various sub-contractors to receive the best pricing. Their business model is based on economies of scale. For example, they may purchase 20 bathtubs at once, securing a lower unit cost. These economies of scale don’t exist when building a single home.

How can I make sure I have the correct amount of insurance?

Work with your agent at West Town Insurance Agency to provide detailed information at time of purchase to be sure that you receive a thorough and accurate quote.

Ask us about additional coverage options that may be available.

Review your insurance to value calculation on a regular basis with your agent.

Tell your agent about any changes or improvements that you make to your home.

Agents at West Town Insurance Agency can help you determine your coverage needs. Contact us today at 252-368-4017 to make sure you are properly covered.

 

Should You Be Worried About Your Appliance Hoses?

Water Damage to Home

There’s a ticking time bomb in your house right now, waiting to strike when you least expect it. In fact, there might even be more than one. And each can cause thousands and thousands of dollars in damage.

We are talking about faulty appliance hoses, of course.

Consider your humble washing machine: According to the Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety (IBHS), washing-machine failures cost an average of more than $5,000, and faulty hoses are responsible for more than half of those failures.

You can take steps to defuse these ticking time bombs — or at least make them less likely to go off. Here are the common hoses and tubes you should be checking:

Washing Machine

Most washing machines come with rubber hoses that connect to your water supply — hoses that can wear out and eventually burst. The IBHS says to check frequently for blisters, worn tubing, stress cracks and loose connections. Even if there is no obvious wear, replace hoses every five years. Use a reinforced steel-braided hose, as they are less likely to fail.

Dryer

Although you should clean the lint trap in your dryer with every load, danger lurks behind the dryer as well. Flexible plastic or foil ducting can easily trap lint and increase the risk of fire, according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. The agency recommends the use of a rigid or semi-rigid metal duct instead. Whichever you use, be sure to disconnect and clean the ducting annually.

Refrigerator

If your refrigerator has an icemaker or water dispenser, it also has a hose connecting it to the water supply. Replace the standard hose with a steel-braided line for added security.

Dishwasher

Dishwasher leaks can easily go undetected, so it’s important to check these connections regularly as well. Make sure that hoses and lines have no kinks, and periodically remove and clean the filter in the dishwasher, which is designed to stop food pieces from making it into the drain hose.

Gas Grills

At least once a year (typically when you fire up the grill for the first time after winter), check the hose connecting the fuel source to the burners. Simply brush it with some soapy water, turn the gas on (do not light the grill) and check the hose for air bubbles. If you see any, replace the hose and fitting.

In addition to checking your hoses regularly and replacing them when needed, there are monitoring systems available now that can automatically shut off your water supply in the event of a failure. Some detect leaks with moisture indicators, while at least one new system actually checks your water meter for unusual activity.

To further protect you, your homeowners insurance may cover certain damage that results from appliance hose failures. But, it all depends on the circumstances of your situation and on your specific policy. You may find that an appliance hose failure is not covered by your insurance, so it’s best to maintain your appliances to avoid damage in the first place.

If you have questions about your homeowners insurance coverage or need help with a claim, we here at West Town Insurance Agency are happy to help.  Give us a call at 252-368-4017 or stop by our office at 216 S. Broad Street, Suite 301, Edenton, NC.

 

Out Of Sight, Out Of Mind, But Not Out Of Coverage; Tips For Choosing A Safe Self-Storage Facility—And Insurance For Belongings Stored Offsite

While self-storage units may be a useful way to de-clutter your home, having the right insurance coverage is the best way to financially protect your belongings—no matter where they are, according to the Insurance Information Institute (I.I.I.).

“If an item is valuable enough that you are willing to pay for storing it, you should be careful to protect it with the proper amount and type of insurance,” said Loretta Worters, vice president for the I.I.I. “Even in the best managed storage facilities, theft, fire and other disasters can—and do—occur. So find out what types of losses will be covered by the storage facility and whether you need supplemental insurance.”

The Self Storage Association (SSA) notes that one out of every 10 households in the United States currently rents some kind of storage unit, including portable on-demand storage (PODS). That represents a significant increase from 1 in 17 U.S. households in 1995.

If you are planning to rent a storage unit for your belongings, take the following steps:

  • Ask your insurance professional about off-premises coverage.  Some standard homeowners and renters insurance policies include coverage for personal possessions kept off-premises including a storage facility. Off-premises coverage includes theft and damage from fires, tornadoes and other perils listed in the policy. However, it does not cover for damage caused by flooding, earthquakes, mold and mildew, vermin or poor maintenance. And check the coverage limits, as these vary by company.
  • Find out what type of financial protection is provided by the storage facility.  Most facilities provide reimbursement based on the square footage of the unit. Check both the coverage limits and whether it is provided on an actual cash value or replacement cost basis. Most storage facilities will also offer a variety of supplemental insurance packages; ask your insurance professional if it would make sense to buy this additional coverage.
  • Consider special insurance or storage for expensive items.  If you intend to store valuable property, such as art, antiques, jewelry or furs, there may be dollar restrictions under your standard homeowners or renters insurance policy for theft. Ask your insurance professional about adding a floater or endorsement to your policy in order to fully cover these items. There are also specialized storage facilities available for these types of items, as they often need to be kept at specific temperature and humidity levels. Small items such as jewelry will cost less to insure if they are kept in a bank safe-deposit box. Keep in mind contents in a safe-deposit box are not insured by the bank.
  • Create an inventory of items to be kept off-premises in storage.  Add the items you’re moving to the storage unit to your home inventory so that you can keep track of your belongings and make sure you have the right amount of insurance to protect them. To make creating your inventory as easy as possible, the I.I.I. has a free home inventory tool, Know Your Stuff®, which includes secure online storage so you can access your inventory anywhere, anytime.

The I.I.I. offers the following tips for choosing a storage company:

  • Look for a secure facility.  Fencing that secures the entire property and access control are the minimum security measures a storage business should offer. But, ideally, the storage building should have onsite security features such as 24-hour video surveillance cameras and coded security pads. Also, find out about the facility’s procedures in cases such as a fire or flood.
  • Look for a unit with climate control.  Very high or low temperatures, as well as dampness can quickly cause damage to appliances and furniture. And make sure that rising ground water from snow or rain is unable to penetrate the storage.
  • Consider a storage company that offers insurance.  If your renters or homeowners insurance does not provide off-premises coverage, you may want to opt for one of the company’s coverage options. Keep in mind that any facility should also have its own insurance to cover damages to the property or injuries that occur on the premises.
  • Check that the facility is clean and well-maintained. If a storage facility is not routinely and thoroughly cleaned, there is a good possibility no one is monitoring for bugs and rodent infestations. Verify that the facility has a permanent, reliable pest extermination contract in place before you trust them with your belongings.

Source: Out Of Sight, Out Of Mind, But Not Out Of Coverage; Tips For Choosing A Safe Self-Storage Facility—And Insurance For Belongings Stored Offsite