Hurricane season in the United States occurs annually from the beginning of June to the end of November. These are the months when our coastal communities are most in danger of the potential devastating destruction of hurricanes. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) defines a hurricane as a tropical cyclone with maximum sustained winds of 74 miles per hour or greater. For many Americans, however, hurricanes are thought of less by this formal definition and more by the names that hold devastating memories in our collective conscious: Katrina, Andrew, and Sandy. According to NOOA, Hurricane Katrina was the most expensive hurricane in U.S. history, costing over $41 million in damages across six states.
For those living on the coast, hurricanes can pose significant physical and financial threats. With proper awareness and education, you and your loved ones can keep yourselves and your home as safe as possible during hurricane season. Follow these tips to prepare your home and family and remain safe this hurricane season.
- Map out an evacuation route in advance, develop a communication plan for your family, build an emergency kit of food with water and supplies that could last your family 72 hours.
- Follow the recommendations of local authorities. If you are told to evacuate, do so promptly.
- Review your homeowner’s insurance policy. Talk to your independent insurance agent to make sure that you have adequate coverage in case of hurricane damage. Also, review your deductible so that you know what you may need to pay out-of-pocket if a worst-case scenario occurs.
- Ask your independent insurance agent if flood insurance is recommended for your area. If you live in a flood-prone area, your agent may recommend a flood policy. Do not wait until a hurricane is in the forecast to have this conversation, though. There is typically a 30-day waiting period to obtain flood insurance.
- Consider installing an emergency generator in your home.
- Install straps or additional clips to fasten your roof to your house’s frame and reinforce your garage doors to protect against expensive structural damage.
- When a hurricane is predicted, tie down or move outdoor items such as chairs and tables so that they do not become dangerous projectiles in high winds. Also, nail windows shut with plywood to protect the interior and exterior of your home. Or you could invest in permanent storm shutters, which offer the best protection.
- Create a document of everything of value that is in your home. Save hard and electronic copies. If a disaster strikes, you may be asked to itemize your losses when filing a homeowner’s claim, so having a document created in advance will ensure everything of significance is recorded.
With proper planning now and in the days or hours before a potential storm strikes, you, your family, and your home can be protected from the damage of hurricane season.
If you are are a homeowner or are planning to buy a home in California, you have undoubtedly thought about obtaining California homeowners insurance to protect you and your biggest investment. There are many different insurers and different types of coverage available. The following are several ways to approach insurance needs to make sure you get the right California insurance coverage for your home.
Understanding What You Want to Protect
The purpose of California homeowners insurance is to remove the financial risk associated with a highly valued asset that is susceptible to damage or loss. As someone that owns a home, you should know how much it would cost if the worst scenario took place and your home was completely destroyed by fire or some other disaster. What would it cost to rebuild and what would it cost to replace the contents of that home? Once you know that, you are in a position to know how much coverage you need.
Accidents Do Happen
In addition to protecting the physical structure and contents of your home, liability insurance is the other important component of California homeowners insurance. To protect your home and any other assets from being seized in the event someone is injured while on your property, you should always carry liability insurance. The amount you carry is a function of your net worth and the value of your estate that might be exposed in a law suit filed by an injured party. You should have enough liability insurance to cover the cost of a legal defense as well as any reasonable settlement that might be awarded to an injured party that sues or files a claim against you.
In California, it is required that every driver has the statutory minimum liability insurance. There are several required features you must have on your insurance policy. In order to make sure you are following the state requirements, California insurance companies will make sure you are following the law when you purchase your insurance policy.
In order to make sure you are following the laws, you can find the state minimum requirements below.
Bodily Injury Minimum Requirements for California Automobile Insurance:
- $15,000 injury or death coverage for any person in an accident
- $30,000 for all people in an accident
- Property Minimum Requirements for California Auto Insurance:
- $5,000 for any accident
In order to comply with these requirements, you must purchase an automobile limited liability insurance policy, put a cash deposit down with the DMV, have a certificate of insurance by the DMV for fleet insurace of 25 vehicles or more, or you must have a surety bond for at least $35,000 from an insurance company.
Many new vehicle owners are required to have full coverage by their financial institution until the loan is paid off; it is important to check with your financial institution to ensure that you are purchasing the right amount of insurance for your vehicle. In order to find the best insurance policy, you can search for California automobile insurance online and find several companies that offer great rates on the state minimum required insurance. You can also find many discounts for being married, being over the age of 25, a good credit rating, and a safe vehicle.
There are several consequences to not having California car insurance. It is important to follow the laws, not only because you could get into legal trouble, but also because of the financial strain not being covered by insurance can cause you and your family.
When you don’t have insurance are in an accident, you could end up having your license suspended. You will also be responsible for any costs, including damages to other people’s property, medical bills for drivers and passengers in the other vehicle and in your own vehicle as well. Many times you will also get a ticket for not having insurance which can cost as much as $500, or the same cost of paying for an entire 6-month auto insurance policy. Rather than paying double, it is important that you pay for and keep your auto insurance policy current.
If you go in to purchase a new car from a car salesman, it is required that you have California insurance prior to driving the car off the lot. If you are pulled over and don’t have your insurance card with you or you are uninsured, you will be given a ticket and you will have to go to court to either prove you had insurance at the time or that you purchase a policy after you were ticketed. It will then be up to the judge whether or not you still have to pay the fine.
You can avoid this all by purchasing a California automobile insurance policy and keeping it current and paid at all times when you are driving a vehicle. It will save you a lot of stress and money in the long run.
There are two basic types of liability insurance that you may be required to purchase if you reside or drive in California. There are other specific types of liability insurance for business owners, landlords and other special situations, but the remainder of this article will focus on liability insurance for California homeowners and drivers. Liability insurance covers claims that are based on bodily injury or damage to property.
Liability Insurance for Bodily Injury Claims
In regard to California auto insurance, the law requires all drivers and vehicle owners to carry a minimum amount of bodily injury insurance to cover any physical injury they may cause in a motor vehicle accident. The minimum amounts required by the state are $15,000 for any injuries to one person and $30,000 for all parties that may have been injured in an accident. These are only minimum amounts and most drivers should consider higher limits to be more adequately protected.
California homeowners insurance is not mandated by the state, but any prudent homeowner should have liability insurance as part of their total homeowners insurance policy. Such coverage can protect you from claims and lawsuits by people who are injured while on your property.
Liability Insurance for Damage to Property
Car accidents can cause a lot of damage, and the state requires a minimum of $5,000 in insurance coverage for required repairs if you were the responsible party that caused the accident. Just like the liability coverage for bodily injury is artificially low, so, too, is the case with property damage.
Homeowners are not required to carry liability insurance, but in order to protect themselves from being exposed to a large, uncovered risk, it is wise for all homeowners to carry some liability insurance.
Insurance is a means of sharing risk so that insurance companies have enough money to pay claims in the event of a loss to one of their policyholders. Since certain drivers are at a greater risk of getting into an accident than others, California auto insurance policies often cost more for these people than for low-risk drivers. There are ways to overcome high California automobile insurance premiums for high-risk drivers, and the following represents just a few of them.
Ask About Discounts for Good Grades
Young people under the age of 25 represent one group of high-risk drivers. Fortunately, many California car insurance companies will discount their otherwise costly premiums for these drivers if they have good grades. Young people in college or high school should ask their insurance agent about these discounts, as good students often get the cheapest car insurance in California.
Ask About Multiple Policy Discounts
It is also fairly well known that California car insurance can be cheaper for those who insure both their homes and their cars, trucks, or motorcycles with the same company. If the auto insurance company also offers California homeowners insurance, it is wise to get the insurance agent to investigate whether any deals are available to those who buy car and house insurance from the same company.
Consider Insuring More than One Car
Finally, insuring more than one car on a California automobile insurance policy can also lead to greater savings on premiums overall. Students who are still living at home should consider getting on the same insurance plan as their parents, as that can save them money on their California car insurance. Those who are on their own can also save money if they put all the cars in their household on the same policy.
Is it true that California automobile insurance is cheaper than other types of insurance?
Normally, California car insurance is cheaper than other types of insurance, such as home insurance, life insurance, health insurance, and so on. However, several factors can go into final California auto insurance quotes that look into factors including driving record, age, region, and more. Of course, you should never choose cheap California insurance just because it is affordable. Insurance is for your protection and is a good investment for your future.
How do I keep my car insurance quotes low?
One of the easiest ways to get the cheapest auto insurance in California is to try to drive as safely as possible to keep up a good driving record. Your driving record is the number one biggest factor affecting the amount of your California automobile insurance. Second, you might want to consider the region you live in. Los Angeles auto insurance and San Francisco auto insurance tends to come at much higher rates simply because these cities are more populous and put drivers at a higher risk for a car accident. If you can afford to move to another town, this will help you get the cheapest auto insurance in California.
Why is California auto insurance important?
Since California is one of the most populous states in the country, you are sure to encounter plenty of other drivers on the road. Traffic congestion could lead to accidents, and you wouldn’t want to be caught in a bad accident without any California automobile insurance to cover you. It’s a much smarter decision to prepare for the future instead of being left in the dust in case of an emergency.
Because California has such a large population, licensed California insurance agents can make a great deal of money selling auto and home insurance to clients across the state. In order to get a license to sell California automobile insurance or California homeowners insurance, potential insurance agents must follow a series of steps. This is a brief rundown of the process.
All licensed California insurance agents must have their fingerprints on file with the state. This is accomplished by visiting one of the state’s approved live scan vendors and paying the appropriate fees.
California homeowners insurance agents and California car insurance agents must complete 20 hours of accident and health pre-licensing study and 12 hours of study of ethics and the insurance code of the state of California.
- Online Application
Only those who make an online application will be licensed to offer policies and charge California insurance rates. Make this application at the California Department of Insurance website. Appropriate licensed fees must be paid when the application is made.
- Pass the Insurance License Exam
The California Insurance License Exam lets the licensing agency know that the applicant has the minimum amount of knowledge necessary to sell California car insurance and California home insurance properly.
These steps apply to anyone who wants to sell San Diego auto insurance, San Francisco homeowners insurance, Sacramento auto insurance, or auto and/or homeowners insurance in any other Californian city. Those who attempt to sell insurance without a license can be arrested and rendered ineligible to earn a license in the state or anywhere else in the country. Thus, the requirements should be followed with the utmost sincerity.
When you are in the market for California homeowners insurance you should consider the premium you will have to pay, the level of service the insurance company can and will provide and how well claims are handled.
The Premium You Pay
The premium is the amount you pay for California home insurance. Usually, your mortgage company will pay the insurance company once per year from an escrow account that you fund monthly along with your principal, interest and tax payments. Premiums differ depending upon the amount of coverage you choose, the value of your house, the neighborhood you happen to live in and many other factors. Generally, new homes and homes in near-perfect condition and complying with all the latest building codes receive lower overall premiums than similarly sized homes that are old and not in such good condition. Premiums for California homeowners insurance are based on risk assessment just like any other type of insurance. The less risk your home presents, the lower the premium you will be charged to insure it.
The Level of Service You Receive
When you purchase California homeowners insurance it is best to go with an insurance company that is easily accessible if you have any questions or problems with your policy. Some insurance companies are very customer friendly while others are much more conservative in their approach to business. Some companies may nickel and dime you with fees to provide a report or have limited hours available for contacting them. On the other hand, some insurance companies give you 24 hour web access, toll free customer service and little or no waiting time to respond to your inquiries. The more customer friendly, the better your experience will be.
Handling of Claims
Simply stated, you want an insurance company that will handle all of your claims fairly and with minimal delay. There are many homeowners all across the country that find out too late that the insurance they thought they had will not pay off when they need it the most. If you doubt that statement, just ask some of the New Orleans homeowners who lost their homes during Hurricane Katrina.
Installing wood burners in a home can increase the amount homeowners pay for California house insurance because they are considered a fire hazard. To limit the dangers, homeowners should select safe models of wood burners and make sure they are installed and operated properly. Regular maintenance and use of quality wood are important safety measures. Even when homeowners use safe practices, insurance companies regard the installation of wood burners as events that increase the risk of damage to homes. Some insurance companies may want to inspect homes after installation before approving new coverage for homes with a new wood burning stove.
Wood burners may increase insurance premiums, but this does not mean that homeowners should not install them. Instead, homeowners should simply weigh the benefits and drawbacks before installing a wood burner in their home. Consulting with their insurance companies to find out exactly how this change could influence their premiums can help homeowners decide whether this additional expense is restrictive. Homeowners can compare California insurance quotes to determine which company offers the best coverage for their homes’ new feature. In some cases, homeowners pay less for heating or get more enjoyment out of their homes with wood burning stoves. These benefits can make slightly elevated risk of fire and the increase in insurance premiums to accommodate the risk worthwhile.