Natural disasters can be scary because there’s nothing you can do to stop them. The only ways to really prepare for them are to have adequate insurance coverage and to keep an eye on the weather so you can try to protect your belongings if you see a potentially harmful weather pattern heading your way. Take both of these measures to prevent yourself from significant financial setbacks if you are affected by a natural disaster.
Assess your insurance coverage
Each insurance policy has specific clauses that outline how they treat damage sustained by natural disasters. It’s important to know what is covered by a standard policy so you can supplement with additional coverage for anything that is not covered. For example, many types of flooding are not part of a standard home insurance policy, so you need separate flood insurance.
When you’re shopping for insurance coverage for your home or vehicle, the best way to do this is to compare quotes online. That way you can see exactly what is included in each policy and know how much you will pay for each type of insurance. Plus, you will also want to make sure all of your belongings are covered in your home insurance. You may need to pay extra to add a rider for expensive items, such as jewelry, art, or electronics, so they will be covered as well. Compare quotes on these riders as well to know the true cost of a policy and pick the best one for your needs.
Prevent damage if possible
Even with great insurance coverage, your ideal situation is to not have any of your belongings damaged at all. That way you don’t have to pay the deductible or deal with the inconvenience of having repairs done to your home or vehicle. Therefore, be attentive to weather forecasts so you know if there’s a potential for tornadoes, hurricanes, hailstorms, and other predictable natural disasters.
When a weather event has been forecasted, do what you can to protect your belongings. For example, if there is going to be a hailstorm, park your vehicle in a garage or carport to keep it from getting damaged by the hail. You can also board up your windows in advance of a strong hurricane to decrease the chance that they will be broken. These preventative measures are just an additional layer of protection so you’re less likely to need to make a claim on your insurance policy.
No matter where you live, if you own your own home or you rent, you need insurance coverage. If there is a fire, flood or other disaster, you need to know you have the recommended coverage you need to get your life back to normal quickly. There are different types of insurance available, and you will need to make sure you have the right amount for your situation. There are many ways to determine how much insurance coverage you need.
First, go throughout your house and take an inventory of all of the things you cannot live without. If you just purchased a huge flat screen television, you may be devastated if it was lost in a fire. Think about any collectables you own or high-end appliances you have in the kitchen or laundry room. You would want to replace these items as soon as possible after a disaster.
Once you know how much your personal belongings are worth, take into consideration how much it will cost to replace your home. You may also want to add in personal liability, which will help if someone is injured on your property. Add up the total amount and discuss this with your agent. He will help you chose the right amount of insurance coverage.
Some agents may recommend you have a little more than the recommended insurance coverage to make sure you can recovery quickly when disaster strikes. Although, you do not want to purchase too much extra because your insurance premiums may be too high to pay. Overall, you need to have insurance coverage to replace your home or move to a new home and enough money to replace the items you and your family will need to continue your current lifestyle.
For beginners especially, insurance mistakes are a common occurrence that could have been avoided had the buyer been properly educated first. Although one of the costliest mistakes one can make is by failing to invest in insurance all together, there are a few important insurance mistakes to avoid when buying for the first time or renewing.
Mistake #1: Not Getting Enough Insurance
The bare minimum coverage plans may have an appealing price tag, but the price tag of the damage the plan doesn’t cover can be a bit less appealing. The truth is, no one expects an accident to occur to their home, car or other valuable item, so it’s difficult to prepare for these situations. Try to be as cautious and practical as possible when it comes to your own insurance plan.
Mistake #2: Getting Too Much Insurance
Believe it or not, you actually can have too much insurance coverage for your needs. For example, you shouldn’t have snow insurance protection for your home if your live in Florida. Find the coverage plan that fits your unique needs, according to your situation. Before investing in auto insurance, determine the resale value of your car based on its make, model and condition in addition to your ability to buy a new car in the event of an accident. If you’re in good shape, you may just need a plan that covers liability.
Mistake #3: Failing to Compare Quotes
It may seem time consuming and tedious at first, but one of the costliest mistakes you can make is going with the first agency you see instead of shopping around. The Internet makes shopping around easier than ever, so there is no excuse why you shouldn’t do your research and get quotes for a variety of insurance companies before settling on the best value for your needs.
Insurance coverage, requirements and limits vary from state to state. Depending on where you live, you may only be required to carry liability insurance for your car or basic coverage for your home. Before a disaster strikes, you want to make sure you are fully covered and you can get life back to normal quickly.
For example, Texas automobile insurance limits are 30/60/25. The 30 and 60 refer to bodily injury liability limits and the 25 refers to property damage. So, if you live in Texas, and you have an accident, each person would receive up to $30,000 for bodily injury, but the maximum limit for the accident is $60,000. You would also be covered for $25,000 in property damage. Make sure you have enough coverage so you will not have to pay out-of-pocket after an accident. To purchase more coverage for an affordable price, consider raising your deductible.
When looking at insurance for your single dwelling home or condo, you may be tempted to accept the lowest limits allowed by your state. You may actually feel better if you have additional coverage to make sure you are able to replace your home and your personal property quickly. You may need to replace you expensive laptop computer so you can get back to work. If you don’t have enough insurance coverage, this may be something you have to do without.
Overall, whenever you are looking for insurance coverage, do some research so you can be a well-informed consumer. You do not have to pay a lot of money for insurance if you shop around for a great deal. Go online and get several quotes and also make sure you understand your insurance needs.
Having homeowner’s insurance is the first step in securing your investment in your property, but a home inventory helps protect all of your assets inside of it. Though rummaging through your house to jot down every one of your possessions may seem like a time-consuming task, it may help you be certain that you have adequate homeowner’s insurance coverage in case of a future claim. You may also experience a faster claims process when it comes time to replace your belongings.
While you could hire a home inventory company to make a professional list of your assets, you can also make the list yourself just as easily. Visit each room of your home, taking care to record items of significant value, such as your jewelry, furs, original artwork, musical instruments, home appliances, electronics and antiques. Be sure to include items stored in your attic, garage or basement as well. Take pictures of each item you record for your home inventory, and include a brief description of the item as well as serial numbers and appraisal values, if applicable. If you have receipts or other proofs of purchase, include those with your inventory list as well.
Once you’ve completed your inventory, make copies of your documentation to provide to your homeowner’s insurance company and to keep for yourself. Remember that though you have a copy of your home inventory, it may become damaged, lost or destroyed in the event of a fire or other property loss. Be sure to keep your copy in a location other than your own home, such as with a close family member or inside a safety deposit box. And, finally, be vigilant about making continuous updates to your inventory as it can quickly become outdated as you acquire additional possessions and assets.
If you do not own a home but rent it, you need renter’s insurance. The homeowner’s policy that the landlord has is not going to provide you with much protection should there by a break in or a fire. It’s up to you to have insurance to protect yourself and your assets. That’s why most renter’s associations recommend that individuals purchase high-quality coverage that fits their needs. However, for this to happen, you need to know what to purchase.
How Much Coverage?
The biggest factor to consider when buying renter’s insurance is the amount of coverage you need. This should represent a fixed amount based on the value of all of your possessions. Liability coverage is often an add-on to such policies or may be included but listed as a separate amount.
What Is the Right Deductible?
A big factor when considering renter’s insurance is the deductible. If something were to happen right now, how much money could you pay out of pocket comfortably before your insurance kicks in? That’s the right deductible amount for you. You’ll need to pay this before any insurance coverage is applied to your loss.
ACT or Replacement Cost?
Next, consider whether or not you will have an ACT, Actual Cash Value, or a Replacement Cost policy. Do you want the insurance company to pay you what the actual cash value of an item may be? This means that the computer’s value, for example, is likely less than what you paid for it. Or, do you want the insurance company to pay you the replacement value of the item lost? This would allow you to buy a new computer at today’s prices.
It’s a good idea to shop around for the renter’s insurance you need. One of the best ways to do this is through a comparative quote from an independent insurance agent. You’ll learn about the right type of renter’s insurance for your needs while being able to compare numerous policies. This is by far the best way for you to find a policy for your needs.
Under minimum auto liability insurance, a requirement of all states, individuals have very little protection. Under most state laws, drivers must carry a specific amount of auto liability insurance. This insurance provides protection to other drivers who you may be involved in an accident with. It provides you, as the driver, with protection from the financial hardships of trying to pay for this type of damage on your own. However, there are numerous limitations to know about.
What Is Covered?
The first thing to know about liability insurance for your auto is that it provides coverage for damages you cause or are otherwise responsible for after an incident. It may cover damage to another vehicle or the property of another person. If you run over someone’s mailbox, the repairs to the mailbox are covered. If you are in a car accident with another vehicle, the costs related to the repairs for that vehicle are covered.
What’s Not Covered?
Most of the time, these insurance products do not provide you with a large amount of coverage in terms of your own property. For example, the damage to your vehicle form hitting another car or running over the mailbox are not included. This also means any damage to your health is not included. These you will need to pay for yourself unless you have additional policy protection.
How Much Is Covered
It is also important to realize that under minimum auto liability insurance, the insurance company covers damages up to the amount of coverage you have. If you hit a $50,000 car and ruin it but your policy is only for $30,000, you are personally, financially responsible for that other $20,000 worth of damage. For this reason, it is a good idea to have more than the minimal amount of insurance. You likely need to have more than what your state requires as minimum.
Are you sure the insurance coverage you have is enough? In many cases, it will not be unless you take the time to talk to your agent about your specific needs. Having enough insurance is critical. It is also necessary to have the right provider for your policy needs. Do not overlook the importance of this type of insurance. It keeps you legally able to operate a vehicle, but it also gives you financial protection from many "what if" situations that could occur.
If you are considering updating your home insurance policy, you need to make sure you know how much coverage you need for all of your personal belongings. Often, people forget to update their policy when they buy new things or get rid of old items. Making sure you have the protection you need when a disaster strikes will ensure you can get back on your feet quickly.
Taking a home inventory is the first step to identifying how much insurance coverage you need for your home. One of the easiest ways to do this is to go through each room of your home and write down all of the items that would need to be replaced if there was a flood, fire or other natural disaster. Some people even choose to take pictures or a video with their cell phone. This is a great idea if you want to make sure you can prove that you actually know what you own and the condition of the items before you make a claim. Remember to include collectibles and expensive jewelry when you are making your home inventory. Your home insurance is there to help you when you need it, but sometimes the stress of the situation will make it difficult to remember all of your items.
Before searching online for home insurance quotes, make sure you make a list of your home inventory and store it in a safe location. You may even want to give a copy of the list and pictures or video to a friend or family member. Next, you can calculate the value of your items and decide how much home insurance you need. You want to get life back to normal as quickly as possible after a disaster, so make sure your home protection is ready when you need it.
If you are not sure if you have off-premise protection on your homeowners insurance policy, now would be a great time to check. Many people wait until they have a claim, and then find out they do not carry this type of protection. Off-premise protection is the insurance coverage that will take care of your possessions if you are away from home. If you often travel for business or pleasure, or if you have a child who is away at college, this type of coverage is even more important.
Sometimes, when traveling, the airline will lose your luggage or your possessions could even be stolen while on vacation. Even if you are careful to always watch over your items while you are away from home, it is not difficult for someone to steal your laptop or new iPhone. When this occurs, if you have off-premise coverage as part of your homeowners insurance, you will be able to make a claim and replace your items quickly. Also, if you have a child who is living in a college dorm, if his personal property is stolen or destroyed, your homeowners insurance will take care of the loss. Although, once your child moves to an off campus apartment, he will need to get his own renter’s insurance.
After checking your policy, if you find that you do not have this type of off-premise protection, think about comparing quotes online and finding an insurance carrier that offers this coverage for an affordable price. Comparing quotes online is the best way to make sure you are getting the best rate available. Do not wait to find out if you have the protection you need until it is too late. Make sure your policy gives you the protection you need and the peace of mind you deserve.
Insurance agents often fail to enjoy high levels of trust. However, they do know the laws of the state(s) in which they are licensed. Most of them are also committed to properly protecting the assets of their clients and want to secure a long-term, successful relationship with their insureds. Further, most experienced insurance agents also offer solid advice to their clients concerning appropriate insurance coverage for their specific needs.
As a client, you have certain responsibilities that help your agent offer the best advice for your situation. You must clearly state the coverage you want and can afford. Learning as much as you can about your state laws and regulations help you be a better informed shopper. As a knowledgeable client, you help your agent offer better advice and you will understand the insurance quotes that you prefer.
Should you lack the information you need to understand and compare insurance quotes, your agent cannot offer the best advice. While he/she will not lie to you, even the most experienced insurance agent may not have sufficient information to design the best program for you. Doing your part to communicate data on the assets you want covered and the amount of insurance that makes you comfortable allows you to intelligently compare multiple quotes for identical coverage.
There is no benefit to you or the agent by giving or acting on misinformation. For example, should an agent recommend minimum coverage to save you premium cost, you will not be happy if you suffer a major uncovered loss. Should your agent recommend more coverage, which you specifically reject, you cannot blame the agent for misinforming you. Obviously, the agent did not lie or lead you to insurance coverage that was insufficient or inappropriate for you.
Home insurance coverage is a bit more straightforward than auto insurance plans. It is tempting to save money by buying your state-required minimum auto coverage. However, if you own a home and have other personal assets, your agent may recommend higher coverage amounts to better protect you. Not only is your agent not lying to you, he/she is offering wise advice that you should follow.