Is damage from a tornado covered under my home insurance policy?

There are few things in the world that are as frightening as a tornado. It is the embodiment of Mother Nature at her most destructive–an unstoppable force that destroys everything in its path. In the aftermath of a tornado, it’s hard to imagine that life can ever return to normal again, but it will, and in most cases, your homeowners insurance can help with that.

Homeowners insurance is designed to deal with catastrophic events, and a tornado is a prime example of one. They are often not specifically named as a covered peril on a policy, but they fall under the greater category of "windstorms." This category includes tornadoes, hurricanes and straight-line winds. The bottom line is that damage directly caused by the tornado will probably be covered by your insurance up to the limit of your coverage amount, less your deductible, of course. In cases where an area is so badly hit by tornadoes that it is declared a disaster area, you might even qualify for government funds to help pay your deductible and any expenses not covered by your insurance.

One thing to be aware of, though, is that there can be damage related to a tornado that might not be covered by homeowners insurance. For instance, a tornado may cause damage to retaining walls or water facilities that results in a flood. Floods, unfortunately, are not covered by most normal insurance policies, although there are special flood policies you can purchase.

As a homeowner, it’s always a good idea to know the limits and exclusions of your insurance policy. Even though a tornado will most likely be covered, you’ll want to know how much your home and belongings are insured for, what your deductible is and whether or not your living expenses are covered if you need to stay in a hotel until your home is repaired or rebuilt. One of the best ways to clear up these details is to go over your policy with your insurance agent. Also keep in mind that there are other options out there, so if you’re not happy with your coverage, or even if you just want to see if you’re getting a fair price, you can use our website to find a local agent and get live comparative quotes–chances are, we can find you the insurance you need.

Penalty for Cancelling Insurance Policy within Policy Period

Insurance policy holders are often on the lookout for better ways to save money. Occasionally, a policy holder might come across a better quoted deal on a particular car insurance policy. The policy holder in order to take advantage of this situation must cancel their policy with their existing insurance company and sign with the new one.

This may sound like a great idea, but if the insurance policy is still within the policy period, there may be complications. Some insurance policies may charge a fee or penalize a policy holder if a current policy is canceled within the policy period.

What Is the Definition of an Insurance Policy Period?

Policy period is defined as the length of time an insurance policy is valid. The length of time for the policy will vary depending upon the insurance company and type of insurance policy. The length of time for an insurance policy period could be determined in months or even years.

Will a Penalty be Applied for Cancelling During a Policy Period?

Insurance companies in Texas have the legal right to charge what is known as a short rate cancelation penalty. This monetary fee is assessed in an effort to recover costs associated with transferring the policy.

It is also meant as a way to cover the insurance company’s potential loss of profits, as the insurance policy holder agreed to a certain length of time in a contract and is backing out. That was potential profit the company anticipated which will no longer be available.

How Can an Insurance Policy Holder Determine if a Penalty Will Be Applied?

Any potential fees or penalties that will be assessed if a policy holder cancels a policy during the policy period will be outlined in the terms and conditions of the insurance policy. This section will determine how much the fees or penalties will be for this simple action.

Individuals shopping around for auto or car insurance policies may want to consider getting several quotes online. Obtaining several insurance quotes allows individuals to compare the various quotes rates and read over the terms and conditions to determine if a penalty will be assessed for cancelling during a policy period.

Home Insurance Requirements of a Texas Homeowner

Because every state is different, you will want to consider each specific requirement in your state before purchasing insurance. A Texas homeowner is expected to choose from the two types of policies available in the state, which include all-risk policies (comprehensive coverage) and named perils policies (specified perils coverage). All-risk policies offer a broad amount of protection that covers all different types of loss, except causes that are specifically excluded from the plan. Named peril policies offer much less protection in comparison and only cover losses specifically mentioned in the policy. Named peril policies cover every minimum requirement for a Texas homeowner.

Most Texas homeowners insurance policies require coverage for the following five categories:

  • Dwelling- This type of coverage will account for costs due to damaged or destroyed property on your home or surrounding structures, including fences, storage sheds, detached garages and so forth.
  • Personal Property- Coverage will account for the cost of stolen, damaged or destroyed property within your home. Types of property would include furniture, clothing, appliances, etc.
  • Liability- A minimum of $25,000 worth of coverage is required for lawsuits, resulting in your responsibility to compensate for property damages or injuries to another person.
  • Medical Payments- To cover the medical bills of someone who was injured on your property or possibly something that happened away from your property, such as your dog biting someone else while on a walk, the minimum requirement is approximately $500 for various medical expenses though up to $5,000 is available.
  • Loss of Use- This category covers you living expenses (housing, food, etc.) if you are forced to move due to the damage to your home. Insurance policies usually cover either a percentage or a time period of expenses.

If you are a Texas homeowner who is looking to purchase home insurance for the first time, be sure to discuss each state requirement with your insurance agent as well as your unique needs and preferences to find a plan that fits all of your needs.

What Are the Benefits of Using a Local Independent Agent to Purchase an Insurance Policy?

Using an independent agent to purchase any insurance policy is a good idea. An independent agent is an individual or a company that works with various insurance companies. Rather than representing just one provider, this agent works with numerous organizations. From the prospective of the customer, this is a very good thing. It provides a wide range of benefits to you.

Comparative Quotes Are Easy

The key benefit of working with this type of agent when you need to purchase a policy is that he or she works for you, not for the insurance company. This means he or she will help you to get quotes from numerous companies so you can easily compare them. You can get a quote from three, four, or even more national and local insurance companies all within the same amount of time. Even better, you do not have to deal with pushy sales agents. Your independent agent handles that for you.

Policy Right for You

The benefits of using an independent agent to buy insurance also include the fact that you can get all types of insurance you need at one time. This may include:

  • Homeowner’s insurance policies including add-ons
  • Auto insurance policies
  • Business property insurance
  • Recreational vehicle insurance
  • Business liability insurance
  • Renter’s insurance

If there is any other type of insurance that you need, your independent agent will help you to find it. Then, the agent will work with you to find discounts you may qualify for including bundle discounts. This means you end up paying far less for the coverage you need.

Why Local Matters Too

Hiring a local independent agent is even better. This allows you the ability to have someone on your side all the time. If you need to file a claim, you know whom to call. You can expect your agent to arrive at your home quickly. You know his or her first name and feel comfortable discussing your situation. Instead of working with a big name company, you get individualized attention.

Instead of working with the no-name person on the phone or the company website for a non-local provider, work with your local independent agent. He or she will ensure you get the best policy for you no matter which company you want to work with to get insurance protection. You can purchase with the confidence you need.

Special Insurance Considerations for Members of the Military

If you are a member of the military, there are special insurance considerations you need to think about. Whether you are concerned about car or home insurance policies, there are some questions that you need to ask. Many insurance companies will make special arrangements with members of the military to meet their changing needs. If you are comparing quotes online, make sure to let the company know you are in the military.

One of the biggest considerations is how you will pay your premiums if you are deployed on short notice. You may want to plan ahead for this type of situation and have your payment automatically drafted from your bank account. This is the easiest way to make sure your insurance policies stay in effect even while you are deployed. If you are hoping to save some money on insurance while you are out of the country, this might be possible also. For example, if you will not be driving your vehicle, but leaving it in a storage facility, you may be able to make changes to your policy and save some money. As a member of the military you deserve special insurance considerations, just make sure you ask for them.

If you know that you will be deploying soon, now might be a great time to shop for new rates on your insurance policies. Members of the military can often qualify for special discounts because of their service to the country. When you go online to compare rates, make sure your military status is highlighted. You want to make sure your insurance remains in effect while you are gone, otherwise you may have a hard time getting insurance when you get back. Go online and compare rates with multiple companies and start saving money today.

3 Secrets to Lowering your Home Insurance

3 Secrets to Lowering your Home InsuranceThe price you pay for home insurance varies depending on a number of factors, some outside of your control and others under your control. Consumers who take the time to examine areas of their homeowners insurance policy under their control stand to save money on their homeowners insurance.

Here are three secrets to lowering your home insurance:

1) Raise your deductible. Raising your deductible is a tried-and-true method of reducing overall home insurance costs. When you choose to increase your deductible, your insurance company will offset the higher deductible with a lower premium. In essence, your deductible represents the amount of risk you are willing to accept before your insurance company begins to pay the insurance claim. Before deciding to raise your deductible, examine your budget and finances closely to determine how much of a deductible you can afford to pay in the event of a disaster or liability claim.

2) Bundle your policies. Most insurance companies reward you for buying multiple insurance policies from them. Even purchasing just your auto and homeowners insurance from the same insurance company can land you significant discounts. Some insurance companies offer discounts of from five to 15 percent if you purchase multiple policies from them.

3) Pursue homeowners discounts. In order to lower your home insurance even further, make sure you are getting all the homeowners insurance discounts you are eligible for. For example, you may be entitled to discounts for having extra security features in your home, such as a system alarm and deadbolt locks. Other disaster protection methods, such as smoke detectors, fire extinguishers, and fire alarm systems may also provide you with discounts on your insurance premiums. In other cases, you may be entitled to home insurance discounts just for being a member of a certain group. For instance, if you are retired and over 55, your insurance company may be able to offer you a discount.

Shopping for insurance the key to gaining protection at affordable costs

Shopping for insurance the key to gaining protection at affordable costsYou know you need auto insurance to drive in your state. You need life insurance, too, to provide financial protection for your spouse and children in case you should pass away unexpectedly. And you need homeowners insurance to protect your family from catastrophic financial losses should your home be damaged by a fire, tornado or other disaster.

Problem is, insurance policies aren’t free. Whether you need life, auto, health or homeowners insurance, you’ll have to pay. The good news, though, is by shopping carefully for insurance you can greatly reduce the amount of money you have to spend for the financial protection that insurance provides.

Shopping for insurance used to be a challenge. Consumers had to call several insurance companies to compare quotes. With each call they made, these shoppers had to provide the same personal information. The process could take an entire day, or longer.

That’s no longer the case today, thanks largely to the Internet. Today, insurance shoppers can visit Web sites that provide them with live quotes from the biggest insurance companies in the country. And these quotes pop up on shoppers’ screens within seconds. Consumers can now complete in less than 30 minutes a process that once took an entire day.

When shopping for insurance, though, consumers do need to be careful. Price shouldn’t always be the determining factor in deciding which insurance policy is the best fit. A less expensive life insurance policy, for instance, might provide a far smaller financial reward to your spouse and children should you die. A cheaper homeowners insurance policy might provide a smaller payout should your home be damaged. And a less expensive auto insurance policy might leave you with a far higher deductible to pay if you suffer a serious car accident.

Consumers need to remember, too, that they might be eligible for several discounts that can make their insurance policies more affordable. Consumers who take out more than one policy with the same insurance company might receive a discount. Consumers who don’t smoke might receive a discount on life insurance, while those who have a clean driving record might pay less for an auto insurance policy.

Shopping for insurance, then, remains the best way for consumers to gain the protection that insurance provides without spending a fortune to do so.

Will My Auto Insurance Pay for an Item Stolen Out of My Car?

My Auto Insurance Pay for an Item Stolen Out of My Car.Your auto insurance company will pay for damage done to your car and will also pay if your entire car is stolen, but what if a few important items were stolen from the car while in the parking lot of the mall or another public area? This is a common concern for many drivers because some cars hold items of especially high value that would be devastating to lose completely due to theft. This could include a top notch sound system, expensive electronics, multiple shopping bags, wallets, and so on.

Unfortunately, most insurance plans are not designed to cover the cost of stolen personal property in most circumstances. Your best bet is to avoid leaving valuable items in your car, or hiding them from view when you leave the car to prevent the appeal for theft. Additionally, make sure to always roll up the windows and lock your doors when leaving the car to prevent the likelihood of theft. If theft is an especially serious concern, you might want to consider installing a car alarm system to add extra security to your vehicle.

Although this isn’t the best news for drivers, you may still be in luck if you own a homeowners insurance policy. Most standard homeowner’s insurance policies will, in fact, cover almost all of your personal property. Your personal property would naturally include your car, boat, hotel room, and other places where you could be at risk for theft.

Although this is good news for most drivers, it’s important to weigh the pros and cons. The deductible for most homeowner’s insurance policies is relatively high, which means that you will want to take this cost into consideration with the cost you would have to pay to replace an item that was stolen out of your vehicle. If the cost for the deductible is significantly higher, it may be in your best interest to forego the homeowner’s insurance policy and practice cautionary measures on your own to prevent theft.

Reading Your Policy Made Easy

Reading your Policy made EasyMuch before signing contract with any insurance company, you need to thoroughly know what the policy includes. Without knowing it’s sections and the purpose of it, you will not make the best use of your policy. There are typically six main sections in almost all insurance policies.

  • Declaration Page: This being the first page of your policy, generally has all the required information such as insurer name, address, contact number, a description on policy, cost of policy and dollar amount of coverages included under the policy.
  • Definitions: Certain terms used in insurance will not be familiar to insured. In order to define the terms used and deliver the benefit of it by explaining what it means in detail is done on this page. A complete understanding of your policy and its coverages.
  • Coverages: The liability and property being covered to a limit under defined coverages.
  • Exclusions: Every policy will have its own limits. What is not covered under your policy will be clearly specified and laid out exclusively in the exclusion section.
  • Conditions: Insurance policy is a contract signed between you and the insurance company. It lists out the terms and conditions under your policy. It also details your duties at the time of loss. It explains the claim process and information on how settlement works.
  • Endorsements: This is an important section of your policy. It includes every amendment made on your policy be it to remove, add, or change the standardized coverage. With endorsements, you meet those special needs and requirements to be included in your policy. An insurance company can make use of endorsements to limit coverages.

Changing Homeowners Insurance? Get a Homeowners Insurance Quote Online!

Get Home Insurance Quotes OnlineResponsible homeowners know, there can be any number of reasons to request homeowner insurance quotes. Maybe you’re unhappy with the way your current insurance carrier handled a claim and are thinking about changing homeowners insurance, or maybe you’re getting married and want to see how that affects your insurance rates. However, experts also claim that homeowners who periodically review their insurance policies and compare them to what other companies offer, can sometimes save hundreds of dollars on their premiums or get more coverage for the same price.

Online homeowner insurance quotes
Homeowner insurance quotes through online comparison websites are quick, they’re convenient, and they’re free. Simply fill out your information and you immediately receive a number of quotes that are tailor-made for your situation. None of the quotes are binding, so you have all the freedom you like to review them and decide whether you want to find out more. When you’re thinking of changing homeowners insurance, it’s important to get coverage that’s just as good or better than what you already have. Consider aspects such as coverage for storms, natural disasters, floods and burglaries. Also remember to enquire about how you can lower your rates by installing approved locks or a home security system, and performing periodic upkeep. Last, but not least, it’s essential to look for coverage that reflects the true repair or replacement value of your home, not its market value.