Does my Homeowners Insurance Policy Cover Flood Damage?

Flood damage is not covered by a standard homeowners insurance policy. However, your insurance company can provide you with special insurance that will cover losses you incur based on flooding, The federal government guarantees the insurance policy. If you do not have an agent the insurance can be purchased directly from the National Flood Insurance Program . According to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) about 20 percent of losses due to floods occur in areas that are considered low to moderate risk. Purchasing a flood policy for homes in these areas is modestly priced.

If you would like to find out your risk factor visit the NFIP website, if you think flood insurance is a luxury and not a necessity visit the NFIP flood simulator website and learn how much damage a small amount of water can do to your home.

Homeowners need to be aware that this insurance will cover the cost of rebuilding your home, but, your possessions are covered only for cash value, not replacement cost. This means that if you purchased a flat screen TV six years ago, the insurance company will pay you the cost of buying the TV minus seven years of depreciation. This has befuddled many folks who filed claims with the National Flood Insurance Program when they discover that they money they receive to settle their claim is not enough to replace their belongings.

There is a solution, it is known as excess flood insurance and it extends your coverage further than the NFIP policy does. You can extend coverage limits, opt to raise your personal protection from flood damage to provide replacement cost and choose other coverage options. To obtain this type of insurance it is best that you discuss your needs and coverage goals with your flood insurance agent.

Storms are becoming stronger and even low risk commercial property and residential properties can be severely damaged in areas that were once considered safe. Check with your insurance agent so that you know your property is protected and you will have peace of mind.

What Is Incidental Damage on an Automotive Warranty?

Incidental damage on an automotive warranty can be confusing. This term refers to damage not caused by the individual directly. Rather, it is caused indirectly or through the normal wear and tear of use of the vehicle. Often times, this type of incident is not covered on your warranty. Depending on the circumstances, it is essential to know what this implies.

Know Your Warranty

When it comes to incidental damages, which are also known as consequential damages, warranties are often specific about the types of damages not covered by the policy. However, these warranties differ significantly from one manufacturer to the next.

Most define consequential damages as any not directly related to an act. However, they can be a consequence of that act. Some of the most common exclusions from auto warranties include the following:

  • Loss of commercial use of the vehicle
  • Loss of use of the vehicle in general
  • Loss of time
  • Inconvenience
  • Wear and tear on the vehicle

For example, if you are operating your vehicle and scratches from regular use occur, this is not something most auto warranties cover. If something happens while the vehicle is still new, though, this is less likely to be considered normal wear and tear. Therefore, it is incidental damage.

In some cases, it can be ruled as necessary. For example, if you are in an accident and the fender is damaged, the fender is covered. However, whether or not the gas tank that was damaged as a result gets coverage differs from one policy to the next. Some forms of accidental damage are incidental. Any damage caused by a true accident which is not the result of negligence, is incidental damage.

How to Know

If you are unsure what type of damage is covered and what is not, it is a good idea to call the warranty issuer and inquire about this. It is best to do this before you actually invest in the vehicle or buy the extended warranty. If you are facing any type of damage, contact the provider of the warranty to inquire about its coverage as there is no harm in doing so.

Incidental damage on an auto warranty is rarely a covered element. However, your insurance company’s policy may provide some protection depending on the situation. Discuss the types of protection you get from your insurer to determine if this type of coverage is in place.

What You Need to Know about Property Damage Coverage

Property damage coverage is a requirement in the United States. All drivers must have at least $5,000 worth of property damage coverage per accident, if not significantly more. This type of coverage provides protection for repair expenses to damage done to another person’s property, but not to your own. Most states actually require significantly more than the federal level of required coverage.

Why You Need More

It is important to know that this type of protection is often necessary at a higher rate beyond these state and federal requirements. It benefits you to have more protection. If the vehicle or other property damaged is at a significantly higher value than the amount of insurance protection you have, you, as the driver, are financially responsible for covering the remaining difference. More so, this could leave you in a poor financial situation if you do not have the funds to cover a large accident.

How to Buy It

To buy property damage coverage, consider what your needs are specifically. The amount of coverage you get depends on your state’s requirements and your desired level of protection. To reduce costs, consider the following:

  • Packages that bundle property damage insurance with liability coverage may save you money compared to buying them separately.
  • Ask your agent for recommendations on how much to purchase based on previous claims for vehicles like your own.
  • Know that this insurance does not cover your vehicle in any way. It covers the other person’s property. This means that having comprehensive coverage, or another form of insurance, is a good idea if you want to protect your investment.

Do take the time to compare your options. The costs of property damage insurance range significantly from one company to the next. However, when comparing policies, make sure to compare the same type of policies to each other. Look at the difference in coverage options, discounts, and deductibles you may need to pay.

Ultimately, you need to have property damage coverage if you are a driver or a vehicle owner. Not doing so could put your financial future on the line and even jeopardize your driving privileges. To avoid this, purchase a policy that provides adequate coverage for potential accidents and damage to property. Whether it is another car or someone’s other property, the costs can rise sharply beyond a basic policy or state-limit policy. Look for the policy right for you instead.

How do I Report Hail Damage?

Major storms can happen almost any time of the year. If the storm is severe, you may experience hail that could damage your home or your vehicle. If you find hail damage on your property, you will want to check your insurance policy and make sure you are covered for this type of incident. When comparing quotes for insurance, you need to make sure you have adequate coverage and not just a cheap policy.

First you want to complete an inspection of your property. Make sure you have a camera handy or plan to take video with your cell phone. Often the roof is the most likely place you will receive hail damage on your home. This can severely damage the shingles and you will need to have repairs made quickly. You may also have hail damage to windows or other buildings on your property. If you have a metal shed where you store lawn or garden supplies, hail can cause a lot of damage. Make sure you take pictures of all of the damage as soon as possible.

Next, you will want to call your insurance company to make a claim. This usually needs to be done within the first 24 – 48 hours after the storm. You can explain the situation and more than likely, if the storm was severe, the company has received other calls for damage in your area. Your insurance company will probably need to send an adjuster to your home to inspect the damage. You can include pictures you have taken, but the insurance company will probably take pictures also.

The next step to report hail damage is calling a contractor to give estimates to fix the damage. Just like you have to get 2-3 estimates when making repairs to your auto, you will also need estimates for your home. You do not have to go with the lowest estimate. Your insurance company will compare the price and the reputation of the contractor and help you make a decision about who to hire.

Finally, your insurance company will give you a claim number and will settle on an amount to pay for the damage. Depending on your deductible, you should get a check in the mail that will cover the cost of the repairs. Now that you know how to report hail damage, hopefully you will never need the information.

Who Needs Short Term Car Insurance?

The typical driver purchases an auto insurance policy that lasts for six months at a time between renewals. However, there are times when a driver may need to buy insurance for a shorter time, usually anywhere from a day to a month. In these situations, it’s much better to purchase short term car insurance, which adjusts the cost of the policy to make it more affordable to keep for just a short time. You should get quotes on a short term auto insurance policy if you fall into any of these categories.

Borrowing a Vehicle: If you’re borrowing the vehicle of someone who does not live in the same household as you, that person’s insurance policy may not extend to cover you. In this situation, you should purchase your own short term insurance on that car. This insurance will not only keep you from the awkward situation of crashing your friend’s vehicle and not having money to pay for repairs, but it also protects you from financially liability for the injuries of others and damage to personal property of other parties in the accident.

Renting a Car: Purchasing a rental car policy from the agency is notoriously expensive, so it’s best to come to the rental desk with your own policy already in effect. If you have a policy on your personal vehicle, that same coverage usually extends to a rental as well. However, if you don’t carry comprehensive and collision coverage on your vehicle, this means that you won’t have this coverage on the rental car. In this situation, buying a short term policy with comprehensive and collision can protect you from being financially liable for damage to the rental car.

Driving Seasonally: Auto collectors often have vehicles they don’t spend much time actually driving. In this situation, you may have a basic policy you keep on the car for the year to meet the minimum requirements in your state, but you want to get a more extensive policy during the season when your vehicle is actually on the road. Therefore, if you’re planning to use a vehicle that has minimal insurance coverage, a short term policy can cover it for that short time. The policy is perfect for when you’re driving a special car to an auto show, taking it on a road trip, or another similar situation.

Who Is Liable if a Neighbor’s Dead Tree Fell on Your Property?

When a dead tree falls on your property, you likely will clean it up and deal with any damage on your own. But, what if it is not your tree? What if, instead, it is your neighbor’s tree that fell? Perhaps he or she did not take care of it. In that situation, you may be wondering what to do about the damage to your property. Your home or car could have been struck. Your fence may be flat. What insurance is going to pay for this? Who is liable?

Was Negligence a Factor?

In most situations, your insurance policy will provide coverage for this type of incident for the damage to your property. However, if you can prove your neighbor was negligent in caring for the dead or dying tree, it could easily become their insurance company’s problem. Homeowners are responsible for acting reasonably in caring for their trees and other property.

What to Do

If a tree falls on your property, it is a good idea to call your insurance company to discuss the options. In fact, your insurance provider may handle any negligent claims on your behalf (so they do not have to pay for the costs in the long term.) However, if you believe your neighbors were in fact negligent in caring for their property, you may want to file a policy report about the incident right away. This works as a form of documentation to back up your claims.

Keep in mind that if a tree falls on your house or other property and it was an act of nature, there’s simply no control over this. Your insurance company, though, will likely provide coverage for damage as well as cleanup costs related to the incident.

Dealing with Your Neighbor’s Insurance

If there is a claim of negligence, you may need to file the claim with your neighbor’s insurance company. If this is the case, be sure to include all losses including costs related to repairs, cleanup and replacement of any lost valuables. If there is any dispute in the situation, you may have to go to court over the matter. However, in most cases, this is not necessary.

Liability in a dead tree falling on your property is likely a simple claim to file with your insurance company. If you are working with an independent agent, he or she will help you to file the claim or give you advice on making a claim with your neighbor’s insurance if necessary.

Did your Car Get Damaged by Towing?

You may be wondering what to do if your car was damaged by towing. Depending on the extent of the damage, and whether you can prove when the damage occurred, you may be able to file a claim with either your insurance company or the towing company directly. You will also need to go check on your deductible and see if filing a claim will actually benefit you or if the damages are less than the deductible.

Before you have your car towed, you need to take pictures or video of the vehicle in-case there is car damage after the towing has occurred. Sometimes the towing company will take their own pictures and document any damage to the vehicle to protect their own liability. Unfortunately, sometimes disasters occur and your car may be damaged. If the towing company acknowledges fault, you should be able to make a claim directly with the company. If they do not want to pay, you will need to file a claim with your insurance provider. This is usually considered part of your collision coverage, but you will need to check your policy to make sure you can file a claim. If you do not have the patience to deal with the towing company, you may be able to file a claim with your insurance company and they will work with the towing company for you.

If you do not know what to do when there is car damage with towing, it is probably best to talk with your insurance carrier. Remember when you are shopping around for auto insurance rates, if you want to be covered for this type of damage, you will need collision insurance. By comparing quotes with several providers, you can find a premium you can afford to pay that will also give you the coverage you need.

Preparing Your Car for the Summer Heat

With the summer heat conditions worse than they have ever been, it is important that you consider not only yourself but also the place where you spend a great deal of your time: Your vehicle! You already know that these record breaking heat conditions can be hard on your body, but they can also be really hard on your car. Take a few smart precautions for help in preparing your car for these summer heat conditions.

Prepare Your Car To Beat The Summer Heat

Have the hoses and belts on your vehicle examined. A sudden problem with a broken serpentine belt can cause an immediate loss of power steering, which can cause major accidents. A number of other problems can happen due to broken belts or busted hoses as well. Excessive heat can add more pressure to every part of a car, especially belts and hoses, so keeping them in good repair is a vital part of vehicle maintenance.

Your air condition is essential in keeping the inside temperature of your car tolerable during the hot weather. Have the air condition checked prior to the onset of the warm months, including the coolant levels and the mechanical components. The last thing you want is an air conditioning failure on a sweltering day!

Hot weather can make tire damage worse, and it may cause tires to wear more quickly than usual. Keep a regular check on your tire pressure, and do checks for signs of wear or damage on a regular basis. If you see signs of damage, have the alignment on your vehicle checked, and replace tires when necessary.

Don’t take chances during hot weather, because leaving your vehicle unprepared for the hot weather can end up making your life miserable. Take care of your car in this summer heat, and it will take care of you!

Learn the Insurance Laws for Your State

Learn the Insurance Laws for Your State.Should you believe that “insurance is insurance wherever I live,” think again.While the primary components usually apply to insurance in general, individual states pass their own laws and publish specific regulations. Assume nothing. Learn about your state’s insurance laws and retain an experienced, licensed agent to advise you.

Whether you need auto, home or business insurance, become familiar with your state regulations to ensure that you purchase the proper coverage. For example, most U.S. states require a specified minimum of liability coverage for auto insurance coverage. However, the minimum amount of coverage can vary from state-to-state. Also, the necessity for multiple liability protection, including property damage and uninsured motorist coverage, may also vary.

Once you learn the minimum coverage your state requires, spend some quiet time thinking about the assets you are protecting. For example, if your state requires minimum liability insurance of $25,000 per person, $50,000 per accident and $10,000 property damage, consider this coverage in light of your personal assets. Should you own a home worth $250,000, an $18,000 boat, personal property valued at $30,000, and bank savings, checking and investment accounts with total balances of $75,000, your state’s minimum coverage is not sufficient.

As the cost of vehicle repair and medical treatment skyrockets, most state minimum coverage limits are too low to protect you should a serious accident occur. Understand that people who are injured in auto accidents can successfully sue you for their damages in excess of your liability coverage limits.

You should use a similar approach to your home insurance. If possible, insure your home for “replacement value,” instead of a specific amount only. Should serious damage occur to your home, the cost to make quality repairs often exceeds the amount of the covered loss, typically the pro-rated amount of coverage minus depreciation. With replacement coverage, your insurer should cover the total cost to restore your home to its former condition.

Always shop for the best deal within the parameters of your state laws and the amount of assets you must protect. You can save time using an independent agent with an interactive website. Instead of trekking all over town talking to agents, a multi-carrier insurance agency can give you multiple quotes from major companies that have attractive rates in your state.

Water Damage

Water DamageMany home insurance companies will not cover for flood damage, but they will cover for other kind of damage caused by water. Insurance companies will generally pay for the damages that is caused by rain coming through hole in a window or roof, provided the hole is caused by winds or other covered exposure which has been listed in the home insurance policy. Check with the insurance company whether they will cover for water damage. If there is any indication of problem caused by water inside your home never ignore it.

Find the source for the leak and stop the leak immediately. If water keeps leaking in your property, then moisture gets collected and mold starts developing in your property. Due to mold, your property could be damaged and further lead to health problems. The health effects caused due to mold exposure are cough, running nose, nosebleeds, sinusitis, congestion and respiratory problems such as bronchitis or asthma. Your home insurance company will consider the damages caused by mold only if, this is a covered peril. Report the water damage claim immediately to the insurance company representative or insurance agent.

By chance your house is flooded with water suddenly, it is very important that you dry all the wet areas. Provide sufficient air circulation so that the wet areas dry soon. Dehumidifying and drying wet areas can minimize the occurrence of mold. Delay in cleaning up can conclude in growth of mold. If the water keeps leaking continuously for a week or more, mold would have been already developed. If you try to clean the mold at this point of time, mold spores may spread out to cause health problems and property damage. As the mold is very dangerous to health, do mold testing and mold cleanup as soon as the mold is detected. After the leakage, if you doubt presence of mold, call up your home insurance adjuster immediately.