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Hurricane Harvey & Lessons on Flood Insurance

Posted by David Ross on Sun, Oct 08, 2017

Lessons on Flood Insurance from Hurricane Harvey. Contact us for PA flood insurance quotes and protection.We’ve all seen the devastation Hurricane Harvey has caused in Houston. People being rescued by boat. People without power or safe drinking water. Homes that were flooded or completely destroyed. It is heartbreaking. And so many without a flood insurance as opposed to a standard homeowners insurance policy!

Yes, many of those Houston residents are about to face another devastating blow as they discover that their homeowner's insurance doesn’t cover damage caused by floods. Only flood insurance covers flood damage, and in Houston’s Harris County, only about 15 percent of homeowners have flood insurance!

Up to $9.5 Billion of Residential Damage Covered by Flood Insurance

CoreLogic - a provider of consumer financial and property information, analytics and services - estimates the total residential loss from Hurricane Harvey will be $25 to $37 billion – for both insured and uninsured. An estimated $6.5 – 9.5 billion will be covered by insurance. Despite the fact that Houston lies in the projected path of many storms, 70 percent of flood damage caused by Harvey will not be covered by insurance.

On Their Own Without Flood Insurance

This means that thousands of people affected by Hurricane Harvey will be financially responsible for rebuilding their homes and their lives. Families with flooded basements, water-soaked furniture and walls, etc. without flood insurance will have to dig into their savings or take out a loan to get their homes back to normal. Some will probably be forced to sell their homes.

Flood Insurance is Not Mandatory

How did this happen? Flood insurance is not mandatory regardless of where you live. Homeowners who purchase homes in a Special Flood Hazard Zone using federally-backed mortgages must have flood insurance, and sometimes mortgage lenders financing a property in the designated flood zone will require it. However, about 1.2 million properties (approximately half) in the Houston-Sugarland-Baytown area are not in a designated flood zone. Since flood insurance isn’t required in those areas, many homeowners who aren’t forced to purchase flood insurance decide not to.

Almost No Federal Help For Home Damage 

Now, if you’re thinking the Federal government will take care of everything, think again. Forbes says, “According to longstanding U.S. disaster relief policy, homeowners get almost no federal relief for reconstruction. This was made painfully clear after Katrina when much of the destruction was not covered by insurance. Many Louisiana homeowners, especially among the poor, were unable to rebuild and abandoned their properties.”

FEMA Loans

FEMA does offer low-interest loans to most homeowners who are affected by federal disasters and don’t have flood insurance. Those loans will need to be paid back, and for some, it will be like carrying two mortgages.

A Lack of Flood Insurance Participation

as the images of the devastation fade from their minds. Despite the damage caused by Katrina, Sandy, and other large storms in the U.S., only about 12% of U.S. homeowners have flood insurance.

Berks County Flood Insurance

And Berks County has experienced its share of natural disasters including damaging winter storms, flooding, tropical storms (Agnes in 1972), hurricanes (Sandy in 2012), earthquakes (2003 and 2007 in Flying Hills), hailstorms (May 2014) and tornadoes (as recent as June 2017).

Get Educated on Flood Insurance Options for Home and Business

The devastation of Hurricane Harvey serves as a reminder that if protecting your family or your business is a priority, you need an experienced and responsible insurance agent who is willing to educate you and advise you of all the risks – not just flooding but other risks you may not even consider.

Contact American Insuring Group Help with Flood Insurance  

We're a Trusted Choice Independent Insurance Agency. We'll help you save on flood insurance in PA.The goal at American Insuring Group is to make our customers bulletproof regarding all their insurance protection, including flood insurance.

Don’t wait until something happens and it’s too late -  give American Insuring Group a call at (800) 947-1270 or (610) 775-3848 or Contact us online today! Our independent agents are standing by to help.

Tags: Flood Insurance, Homeowners Insurance, Hurricane Harvey

Flood Insurance Tips for Your Home or Business

Posted by David Ross on Thu, Jun 01, 2017

Flood insurance tips for your home or business regarding adding flood insurance to your homeowners insurance or business insurance policy.No one wants to pay more for business or homeowners insurance than they need to, but everyone wants to ensure that that have the right coverage to protect their family and their possessions. It can be tricky to determine whether you need flood insurance. As you may know, standard homeowners and renters insurance policies do NOT cover flood damage.

If you’re in a designated flood zone, the purchase of flood insurance should be a no-brainer, and your lender will probably require flood insurance in that case. But what if you don’t live along a river or by the sea, and you’re far from a designated flood zone? That’s where it gets a little trickier.

Flooding: The Most Common and Costly Natural Disaster

Something to keep in mind: in the US, flooding is the most common and the most costly natural disaster, costing billions of dollars every year. The five most significant flood events in Pennsylvania (based on National Flood Insurance Program Payouts) include Superstorm Sandy in October 2012, Hurricane Ike in September 2008, Hurricane Ivan in September 2004, Hurricane Irene in August 2011, and Tropical Storm Allison in June 2001. 


Additionally, flooding isn’t always caused by overflowing rivers or out-of-control oceans. It can also be caused by melting snow, an overflowing creek, or water running down a steep hill. As FEMA states, “Just a few inches of water can cost thousands of dollars in damage to a home.”


If you do decide to purchase flood insurance, there are two types of coverage you need to understand:


Building Coverage covers the repair or replacement of the building. This includes the foundation, electric, plumbing, central air, furnaces, water heaters, refrigerators, stoves, and built-in appliances. Basic building coverage is available for up to $250,000 for residential and up to $500,000 for commercial.


Contents Coverage covers the contents of your home like furniture, clothing, electronic equipment, smaller appliances, etc. Basic contents coverage is available up to $100,000 for residential and up to $500,000 for commercial.

Please keep in mind that you can  purchase an Excess Flood Policy if you need more coverage than what’s available in the basic plans. You should also understand replacement costs – the amount you the insured will receive in the event of a loss.

Replacement Cost Value (RCV) is the cost to repair or replace the insured item at the time of the loss. There is no deduction for physical depreciation. The insurer is paid the amount required to replace the insured item (up to the limit). RCV is available when the insured property is the primary residence, and the amount of coverage is equal to 80% or more of the replacement cost of the building.

Actual Cash Value (ACV) is the cost to repair or replace the insured item, less the physical depreciation at the time of the loss. The depreciation is based on the age and the condition of the item. The contents of your property are always paid at ACV.

One more thing to keep in mind: With flood insurance, there is a 30-day waiting period before the coverage goes into effect, so don’t wait until you hear about a flood warning on the morning news to add flood insurance to your business or homeowners insurance policy.

Contact Us for Flood Insurance or Any Type of Insurance You May Need

Contact us for Flood Insurance for your home or business in Reading, Philadelphia, Allentown, Lehigh Valley, Pittsburgh, Erie, Harrisburg, Lancaster, State College, PA and beyond.American Insuring Group can help you determine if you flood insurance is right for your home or business.

And, regardless of what type of personal or business insurance you may need, we'll help you save because our independtent agents are free to shop among many competing carriers to find the right insurance protection at a great price.  

So contact us online or give us a call at (800) 947-1270 or (610) 775-3848 to learn more.

Tags: Flood Insurance, Flood Insurance Reading PA, Flood Insurance Philadelphia PA, Homeowners Insurance, PA Flood Insurance

Homeowners Insurance: 5 Fire Protection Tips

Posted by David Ross on Thu, May 18, 2017

Fire insurance protection tips. Reduce your homeowners insurance costs in Reading, Philadelphia, Lancaster, State College, Altoona, Harrisburgh, Lehigh Valley, Allentown, PA and beyond.When people think of homeowner's insurance the first thing that often comes to mind is fire in the home. We can’t think of many scenarios that are scarier than a home fire. Fire can spread very quickly. In just two minutes, a fire can become life-threatening. In five minutes, a residence can be engulfed in flames.

There’s an estimated $7.3 billion in property loss due to home fires each year. More importantly, more than 2,500 people die, and 12,600 people are injured in fires every year.

Most fires occur in the kitchen. Other common causes include carelessly discarded cigarettes, sparks from fireplaces, and heating appliances that are too close to furniture and other combustibles.

Heat and smoke are often more dangerous than flames. Breathing in super-hot air can sear your lungs, and poisonous gasses produced by a fire can make you disoriented and drowsy. More fire deaths are caused by asphyxiation than burns (a three-to-one ratio).

The good news is that home fires are preventable, but you need to be aware of potential hazards, and you need to be diligent about eliminating those risks. As a bonus, you'll reduce the likelihood of a homeowners insurance claim and potentially lower your long term house insurance costs.

 

Here are five tips to prevent fires and help keep your family, your home, and your possessions safe from fire

  1. Cooking
    Stay in the kitchen when you are cooking. Create a 3-foot “kid-free zone” around your stove. Keep outside grills at least 10 feet from siding and deck railings and out from under eaves and overhanging branches.

  2. Portable space heaters
    Keep combustible objects at least three feet away from portable heaters and only use heaters that have been evaluated by a nationally recognized laboratory, such as Underwriters Laboratories (UL). Before purchasing a kerosene heater, check on the legality of a kerosene heater with your local fire department.

  3. Fireplaces and woodstoves
    Inspect and clean fireplaces and woodstoves annually. Use a fireplace screen and make sure the fire is completely out before leaving the house or going to bed.

  4. Smoking
    If you smoke, do it outside (especially if oxygen is used inside the house) and make sure your cigarettes are completely extinguished in an ashtray or can filled with sand. Soak butts and ashes in water before placing them in a trash can.

  5. Electrical
    Use products that have been evaluated by a nationally recognized laboratory, such as Underwriters Laboratories (UL). Check for and replace worn or damaged cords, and never try to force a three-prong plug into a two-slot outlet. Don’t overload extension cords or wall sockets.

A few more practical tips

Finally, check your smoke detectors and replace the batteries regularly. A simple way to remember to check them is to do it in the spring and fall when we change our clocks for Daylight Saving Time.

You should also have a professional inspect your home - electric wiring, plumbing (gas), heating, and air conditioning – regularly for potential hazards.

You may also want to consider installing a fire alarm system and a home sprinkler system that can help detect and extinguish fires even if you aren’t home.

“An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” couldn’t be truer than when you’re protecting your home and family from fire. To learn more about fires and how to prevent them, go to https://www.ready.gov/home-fires

For related information on protecting your home, see our blog post: How to Recover Quickly From Water Damage.

 

Avoid Regrets - Get a Free Homeowners Insurance Checkup

Your home is your castle and the source of many fond memories. Don't take a chance with your safety or your memories. Contact American Insuring Group online or give us a call at (800) 947-1270 or (610) 775-3848 to review your home owner’s policy.

We're experts at finding the right policy at the right price by searching for you among many competing insurance providers. Contact us today to start saving and for your peace of mind.

Tags: Homeowners Insurance Philadelphia Pa, House Insurance, Homeowners Insurance, Homeowners Insurance Allentown Pa, Homeowners Insurance Berks County

Data and Identity Protection and The Internet of Things (IoT)

Posted by David Ross on Thu, May 04, 2017

Cyber-Insurance-for-Your-Home.jpgOur homes are becoming “smarter”! That's a good thing, right? Yes, you proably have homeowner's insurance but have you considered non-traditional threats to your privacy and data in the home?

PCMagazine poses the intriguing question, “What if all the devices in your life could connect to the Internet? Not just computers and smartphones, but everything: clocks, speakers, lights, doors, cameras, windows, window blinds, hot water heaters, appliances, cooking utensils, you name it.

And what if those devices could all communicate, send you information, and take your commands? It's not science fiction; it's the Internet of Things (IoT), and it's a key component of home automation and smart homes.” 

This is awesome, right? Well… yes and no. Consider the following:

New Risks: Your Smart Home and the Internet of Things

As consumers add more and more IoT devices to their homes (a 2015 Gartner study estimates that approximately 5.5 million IoT devices are added to homes around the world every day), experts anticipate the number of attacks also to increase. In fact, in October 2016, hackers took over 100,000 IoT devices and used them to block traffic to well-known websites, including Twitter and Netflix.

This doesn’t mean that you need to forego the latest IoT device that becomes available; it means that you need to be smarter than ever about protecting yourself from Cyber Risk in the home.

To be precise, the actual IoT devices themselves do not contain your personal identity information - so they are not the security risk directly. The risk is that once they are working, they are often “forgotten” and rarely updated or monitored, if at all. If a hacker should find a way to compromise them, they could be used as a pathway to infiltrate your home. Once inside, a hacker could eavesdrop on your network for any unprotected information passing within it or possibly gain access to other devices that do contain your personal information such as computers, smart phones, and tablet devices.

Here are 5 steps to help you protect your home from a cyber attack


  1. Use proper software
    At the very least, you should have antivirus and malware software on your computers, smartphones, and tablets. You should also turn off unwanted or unused features and stay on top of firmware. And finally, when using a public Wi-Fi (like in an airport or coffee shop), use a virtual private network (VPN).

  2. Protect your privacy with a good password
    Regularly changing your password and using different sophisticated passwords is one of the quickest and easiest ways to protect yourself from cyber-attacks. If your device has a two-factor authentication - such as a fingerprint and a password - turn it on.

  3. Consider privacy concerns vs. benefits before purchasing a smart device
    Before purchasing a smart device, ask yourself if it will really enhance or simplify your life or if you just want it because it’s a snazzy new device that no one else has yet. Then, decide if it’s worth potentially giving up some of your privacy.

  4. Be selective when purchasing smart home devices
    When deciding which smart home devices to purchase, chose from well-known brands whenever possible and find out what security measures they are taking to protect your data. This is still a relatively new issue, so do some research. Find out which manufacturers are talking about security and being proactive in communicating how they’re delivering that security to you.

  5. Install a firewall
    This may seem obvious, but do you have a quality, up-to-date firewall in your home? If you are not sure then consult a local provider and installer of routers and request an in-home review.

2 steps to blunt the impact of a cyber attack

Even if you take all the responsible preventative meaures, cyber attacks can sometimes occur. Here are two things you can do to lessen the impact:

  1. Sign Up for Identity Protection
    Do you have an identify protection policy? There are various plans available with varying levels of monitoring and assistance should your identity be stolen. 
     
  2. Freeze your credit
    If you won’t be using your credit anytime soon, contact each of the credit bureaus individually, and ask them to temporarily freeze your credit. There is a form on each credit bureau’s site to do that. If you find you need to procure a loan, it takes about ten days to unfreeze your credit, and it’s a fairly easy process.

Home cyber threats are real

The fact is that there are cyber criminals out there ready to steal your information and wreak havoc. Although nothing is guaranteed to protect you from these criminals, following these measures will make it harder for those criminals to hack into your IoT devices.

For related information on cyber insurance for your business read our blog post: Combat Data Breaches with Cyber Liability Insurance.

 

Contact Us for All Your Insurance Needs

Are you sure your homeowner's policy offers the right amount of protection at a good price? Do you need cyber insurance for your business? 

Contact American Insuring Group online or give us a call at (800) 947-1270 or (610) 775-3848 for a free and thorough homeowner's insurance review. You'll be glad you did!

Tags: Homeowners Insurance Philadelphia Pa, Homeowners Insurance, Homeowners Insurance Allentown Pa, Homeowners Insurance Reading Pa, Cyber Liability Insurance, Cyber Insurance, IoT, Internet of Things

Standard Homeowners Insurance: Are You Covered?

Posted by David Ross on Tue, Jan 31, 2017

Standard homeowner's insurance covers the basics. Contact us to be sure you have all the coverage you need for your home in Reading, Philadelphia, Harrisburg, Allentown, York, Lancaster, PA and beyond.If you own a house, you have homeowners insurance. It’s required by the financial institution that holds your mortgage, and even if you don’t have a mortgage, you still need the coverage to protect your investment. With the median sales price of existing homes at a current level of $234,900, that’s a rather significant investment.

Even though almost every homeowner understands the necessity for homeowners insurance, few are aware of what is typically covered in a standard policy.

There are six areas of protection that make up your homeowners insurance. Make sure your policy has the right balance.

1.     Dwelling Coverage

If your house is damaged or destroyed in a covered peril—fire, wind, hail, or lightning—your insurance policy will provide the funds to repair or rebuild it. Keep in mind, however, that floods and earthquakes are not included in this coverage and will require separate polices to protect your property from them.

2.     Other Structures

This part of the policy covers what the name implies—any detached buildings on your property. Sheds, workshop, detached garage, and even fences are covered for damage or destruction from any covered peril. Your policy will usually provide 10% of the dwelling coverage as the limit for other structure protection. So, if you have set the cost of rebuilding your home at $200,000, then your other structure coverage will be $20,000.

3.     Personal Property

Personal property coverage, sometimes referred to as contents coverage, pays for replacing your possessions that were destroyed in a covered peril. In most policies, the coverage limit is set at 50% to 70% of the dwelling coverage limit. While $100,000 to $140,000 for a $200,000 house might sound like more than enough, you should perform a home inventory to be certain.

4.     Loss of Use

If your home is damaged or destroyed, you might have to look for a temporary place to live while repairs are being made. Loss of use coverage will help you maintain your standard of living by providing for hotels, restaurants, and other living expenses when your house is uninhabitable. Loss of use protection is set at 20% of your dwelling coverage limit.

5.     Personal Liability

This part of your home insurance policy protects you from lawsuits. Suppose a visiting neighbor falls because of a rotten floorboard on your front porch. Or your usually mild-mannered dog bites the utility meter reader and puts him out of work for a few weeks. You could be subjected to a lawsuit, in which case your coverage would protect you up to the policy limit, generally at least $100,000.

6.     Medical Payments

Medical payments insurance, commonly called MedPay, covers the medical costs of someone who is injured on your property and chooses not to sue. In the previous example, your neighbor and the meter reader were injured but this time did not file a lawsuit. Their medical costs were paid because of the MedPay section of your policy.

Keep in mind that medical payments coverage is the only part of your policy whose limits are not determined by your dwelling coverage. It typically pays $1000 per injured person, but you have the option to request a higher limit.

Go Beyond House Insurance Basics: Contact Us for the Right Coverage!

Standard-Homeowners-Insurance-Coverage.jpgWhat you have read here is Home Insurance 101. To ensure that you are adequately covered, talk to one of our experts at American Insuring Group. We will help you acquire a homeowner's policy that has the appropriate coverage for your situation at a great price. Contact us online or call us at (800) 947-1270 or (610) 775-3848.

Tags: House Insurance Reading PA, House Insurance Allentown Pa, House Insurance Lancaster Pa, House Insurance, Homeowners Insurance, House Insurance Philadelphia Pa

Natural Disaster Prep - Homeowners Insurance and More

Posted by David Ross on Tue, Jan 10, 2017

Prepare for natural disasters with proper homeowners insurance for your house, mobile home, or apartment in Reading, Philadelphia, Allentown, Lehigh Valley, Harrisburg, Lancaster, Lebanon, York, PA and beyond.As you listen to the news about the devastating fires in Tennessee, tornado outbreaks in the Midwest, or destructive hurricanes pounding the coast of Florida, you may feel safe and sound here in Pennsylvania, especially if you have proper homeowners insurance protetion.

It is true that we are relatively lucky when it comes to natural disasters; however, we are not entirely immune to them.

Pennsylvanians still face damaging winter storms, flooding, the occasional hurricane (Agnes in 1972 and Sandy in 2012), and even earthquakes (2003 and 2007 in Flying Hills), hailstorms (May 2014 in Berks County) and tornadoes (in 2015 tornadoes were reported near Reading, Montoursville, and Selinsgrove).

Here are some tips to prepare for natural disasters in PA and beyond 

Take a Home Inventory

Your first step is to create a home inventory, which is simply an itemized list of your possessions to help you establish what you have and what those items are worth. Your inventory should include photos, serial numbers, receipts, and any other pertinent information you have about the item.

You can record the information on a sheet of paper or in an Excel or Word Document – whatever makes sense for you but do make sure that you store it in multiple places. Make several copies, having both a hard copy and an electronic copy are good ideas, and at least one copy should be kept outside of your home – electronically it can be saved to the Cloud, and hard copies can be stored in a safety deposit box at a bank.

A home inventory is easy to create. Start in one room and list all of your possessions in that room, including make and model, features, purchase price, and a photograph. Then, go to the next room and do the same, and so on. It can actually be kind of fun to take inventory of all your possessions.

If you do suffer damage from a natural disaster, this document will make the insurance claim process run more smoothly, and allow you to focus on the emotional recovery.

Prepare your Home for a Potential Disaster

The following steps may not only minimize the damage you incur from a natural disaster, they may even help you avoid minor insurance claims (which may increase your premiums), enhance the value of your home, and make it look nicer.

  • Trim foliage – Thinning out trees and bushes can minimize or eliminate damage from wind, freezing rain, and fire.
  • Install fortified or impact-resistant windows
  • Check your roof

Review your House Insurance Coverage

Standard homeowner’s policies usually cover damage from wind, fire, lightning strikes, and winter storms. However, not all policies cover damage from floods, sinkholes, or earthquakes. If you live near a body of water, you should talk to your agent about flood insurance. And keep in mind that the Federal Emergency Management Agency reports that 20% of flood insurance claims are from homeowners in moderate to low risk areas!

File Your Homeowners Insurance Claim Promptly! 

If you do suffer damage from a natural disaster, contact your insurance company immediately to make a claim. The quicker you can start the claims process, the quicker you can get back to normal.

 

Contact Us for a Free Homeowners Insurance AssessmentConact us for help in selecting the proper homeowners insurance.

Now is a great time to review your homeowner’s policy to avoid any unpleasant surprises should a natural disaster strike your home.

Contact American Insuring Group online or call us at (800) 947-1270 or (610) 775-3848, and we’ll be happy to review your policy to determine if you are properly protected against potential natural disasters in your area.

Tags: Homeowners Insurance Lancaster Pa, Homeowners Insurance Philadelphia Pa, Homeowners Insurance, Homeowners Insurance Allentown Pa, Homeowners Insurance Reading Pa, Homeowners Insurance Harrisburg PA

Homeowners Insurance Tips When Sharing Your Home

Posted by David Ross on Sun, Oct 02, 2016

Homeowners Insurance Tips to Consider When Sharing Your Home. Serving Philadelphia, Reading, Allentown, Lehigh Valley, Lancaster, Harrisburg, Pittsburgh, Erie, PA and beyond.On the surface, home sharing looks like a simple idea. You, the homeowner, offer accommodations to a guest--a home sharer--in exchange for an agreed-upon fee and, in some cases, help with household tasks.

There are even companies—Airbnb and HomeAway to name just two—that will list and advertise your home to potential renters. Each of these firms claims over one million listings, attesting to the growing popularity of home sharing.

But have you considered whether your house insurance policy covers the additional risks associated with sharing your home? Is your current homeowner's insurance sufficient?

Before you log on to one of these websites and join the ranks of home sharers who cover about 190 countries, you need to ensure that you are not exposing yourself to unnecessary financial risk with insufficient homeowner’s insurance coverage. HomeAway’s Bill Furlong warns that most hosts “probably don’t think through the fact that they’re beginning to engage in a commercial venture (and) they have to think about the tax part of the equation and they have to make sure the insurance is covered.”

Is Your Home Sharing Done For Profit? Watch Out for These Traps!

As with most homeowners, your insurance offers broad coverage for your property. The problem arises when you rent out your home since these policies almost always exclude a business pursuit. If you’re renting out your property for income, that is a commercial transaction. And there may be traps and gaps in your coverage that could be devastating

Traps and Gaps

  • A guest is injured or dies, resulting in a personal injury lawsuit
  • A guest files a property damage lawsuit against you
  • You lose income because of significant damage to your home by one of your guests

Your standard homeowner’s policy does not cover these home-sharing activities. You have now changed your exposure from that of a residential homeowner to a business vacation rental. And as soon as you create a business exposure in your home, your carrier can refuse coverage for a claim and, in some cases, discontinue liability and property coverages—sometimes at renewal, maybe in mid-term.

Landlord policies may not be the answer

Up until recently, those who rented out their houses, or just a few rooms, had the option to buy a landlord’s policy to cover the home, structures, liability, and lost rental income. The problem with these policies is that they are designed for people who rent out their property full time. These landlords live elsewhere and have tenants who have signed contracts to live in the rental property for a longer term.

Home sharing presents a unique exposure that demands more options in coverage. Retired couples who bought a second home at the beach or the mountains are now discovering that they are not spending as much time there as they thought they would. Renting out these properties for short periods (perhaps 6-8 weeks each year) helps to offset set some of the expenses of ownership. The same goes for those who wish to have guests while they take a vacation or an extended business trip. They need a policy that offers risk protection for these shorter terms.

Policies that address the needs of the host are available

Some insurers are responding to this new market with insurance that can be added to an existing policy. These add-ons provide extra protection in cases where, for instance, your guest steals or damages your expensive flat-screen TV. Some home-sharing companies like Airbnb and HomeAway advertise coverage options for their hosts. Keep in mind, however, that these plans also have gaps—like not paying for intentional damages to your property. 

Don't Risk It - Contact Us About Your Homeowners Insurance

Contact us about homeowners insurance coverage when sharing your home.Before you commit to becoming a host, check with American Insuring Group to understand what your existing homeowner’s policy covers and what exclusions might apply. Then you can purchase a policy that closes all of the gaps.

To learn more about homeowner’s insurance and the available add-ons, contact American Insuring Group online or call us at (800) 947-1270 or (610) 775-3848.

Tags: Homeowners Insurance Philadelphia Pa, House Insurance, Homeowners Insurance, Homeowners Insurance Allentown Pa, Homeowners Insurance Reading Pa, Home Sharing Insurance

6 Things to Know About Your Homeowners Insurance

Posted by David Ross on Wed, Aug 10, 2016

6 helpful Homeowners insurance tips you should know. Serving Philadelphia, Reading, Allentown, Harrisburg, Erie, Pittsburgh, State College, PA and beyond.Like most homeowners, you’ve spent thousands (possibly hundreds of thousands) of dollars to purchase your home, most likely making it the largest purchase you will ever make. In order to protect your investment, you (hopefully) bought a homeowner’s insurance policy that will provide funds to replace your house if it is destroyed or to repair it if it is damaged.

But are you aware of everything that is covered and not covered (exclusions)? Are you confident that the amount that your homeowners insurance will pay out in the event of a claim is sufficient to cover all damage or loss?

Few consumers actually know what their policies cover or the limits of that coverage. Avoid costly homeowners insurance surprises with these 6 tips:

 

 

#1. Know what your homeowners policy covers and
what is excluded

A policy generally will pay for damage to your property and your possessions in the event of fire, storms, theft or vandalism. It also provides liability coverage if someone gets hurt on your property. Homeowner’s insurance also covers shelter costs for you and your family while your house is being repaired or rebuilt. It can protect belongings outside the home, too. For instance, items stolen from your car or lost on an airline would be replaced by your homeowner’s coverage.

There are some typical exclusions:

  • Earth movements, like earthquakes and landslides
  • Power failure
  • War
  • Faulty zoning
  • Poor workmanship
  • Flooding
  • Some water damage

#2. Take preventive measures to reduce your premiums

Installing a burglar alarm system could reduce your premiums by 15-20%. Even something as simple as a deadbolt installation could save you 5%. If you have a pool, surrounding it with a fence and using a pool cover can substantially reduce your liability risk. Remember, insurance companies establish your premium based on how much risk they anticipate. You will reduce your premium by reducing your liability risk with some preventive measures.

#3. If you have a homeowners insurance claim, file it promptly

Homeowner’s policies might come with time limits for reporting a claim. Be sure to ask about time limits when buying your policy, and then abide by them. If you wait too long, you may not be eligible for benefits—especially if the problem becomes worse while you delay. For example, if you fail to submit a timely claim for water damage and it turns into a mold problem, your insurer could refuse to pay.

#4. Keep good records

Don’t allow a valid insurance claim to be denied because your recordkeeping is shoddy. Writing everything down that occurs during a loss may feel like an inconvenience, but it will help to mitigate your losses with documentation. Receipts, appraisals, and contracts are a good starting point, but you should also write down any conversations, to whom you spoke, and when. Keep your documents in a safe place or save digital copies on a program like Dropbox.

#5. Understand how jewelry is covered under your insurance policy

Save yourself an expensive surprise by checking the limits that your homeowner’s policy places on jewelry. Items like engagement and wedding rings will probably not be covered under the basic limits of your policy, and you could end up with a $3000 check from your insurer for a lost ring worth twice that amount. Best advice: Stop by a jeweler and get your pieces appraised. Then, talk to your insurer about purchasing a supplemental policy to cover your expensive items.

#6. Bundle your homeowners insurance policy with other policies

Another way to save money is to bundle your homeowners insurance with other policies that you already own. It makes financial sense to have your car and homeowners policies with the same company because they’ll usually offer you some kind of discount. But don’t go buying insurance because the agent says you’ll save money on other policies. After all, if you’re spending money on something that you don’t need, what are you actually saving?

 

Get Ready to Save on the Best Homeowners Insurance! 

Contact us for tips and savings on homeowners insurance in Philadelphia, PA and beyond.Want to save on homeowners insurance? As independent agents, we're well qualified to find you the best homeowners insurance at the right price because we represent MANY competing insurance carriers.

Why settle for a single insurance brand when we can shop and compare for you? Contact American Insuring Group online or call us at (800) 947-1270 or (610) 775-3848. You'll be glad you did!

Tags: Homeowners Insurance Philadelphia Pa, House Insurance, Homeowners Insurance, Homeowners Insurance Reading Pa, Homeowners Insurance Berks County

CAUTION: Drones and Homeowners Insurance

Posted by David Ross on Tue, Nov 03, 2015

Your house insurance may not protect you against drone mishaps and  privacy issues. Contact us for more information. Serving Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Erie, Harrisburg, Allentown, Lancaster, Reading, PA and beyond with drone insurance protection.Look! Up at the sky! It’s a bird! It’s a plane! No, it’s a drone! And it’s coming to a neighborhood near you. The Consumer Electronics Association estimates that consumer drone purchases this year will put 300,000 more recreational drones in the skies. And while many consumers are now eyeing these unmanned, remote-controlled aerial toys as one of their next purchases, they don’t necessarily want their neighbors to buy one. Furthermore, few consider whether their homeowners insurance will cover them for drone-related accidents.

Drone safety and privacy issues

With the possibility that a drone could crash-land into a car or injure a child or pet, there’s little wonder that a recent survey by a property-casualty insurer revealed a good deal of concern about hobby drones:

  • Three quarters of respondents were concerned that an unmanned drone could crash into their house.
  • Half believed that a drone was likely to injure someone
  • Half thought the aircraft might be able to hack into a wireless network
  • A full sixty percent feared that drones would take unauthorized photos of family members
  • And a third of them believed that drones could somehow steal their possessions

Check your homeowners insurance policy to be sure you’re protected

While the Federal Aviation Administration worries about the threat that personal drones pose to private and commercial aircraft, the insurance industry is concerned about their potential effect on home insurance. As more drones are sent skyward, there will be a commensurate increase in claims against their owners for accidents that cause personal injury and property damage. Many insurers worry that they will see a significant increase in recreational operators seeking coverage under existing homeowners' insurance policies. But will the drone operators’ homeowners’ insurance cover damages?

The quick answer: probably. While the standard homeowners' policy provides coverage for damages that the insured becomes legally obligated to pay for bodily injury or property damage, this coverage may be limited by policy exclusions. One of those exclusions is coverage for injuries or damage caused by the ownership, use, or maintenance of aircraft. “Aircraft” refers to any apparatus used or designed for flight, except model or hobby aircraft not used or designed to carry people or cargo. Many insurers, however, don’t make this exception for hobby aircraft. Since there are substantial differences in policy wording, one cannot assume coverage for drone use.

Business usage and intentional acts exclusions

Domino's is hoping to have drones deliver pizzas in the near future, and Amazon is testing them for deliveries as well. Agents are taking aerial photos for real estate listings, and home insurers are using drones for everything from underwriting to documenting damage from natural disasters. But keep in mind that none of these business applications will likely be covered under a personal homeowners’ policy, because those policies usually exclude business activities.

Homeowners’ insurance policies also often exclude coverage for intentional acts. And it can be difficult to separate the intentional from the accidental in drone incidents. If a local jurisdiction deems invasion of privacy to be an intentional act, any claims against you may not be paid if your policy specifically excludes intentional acts.

Drone operators need to look closely at the commercial-usage, "aircraft" and intentional-acts exclusions of their homeowners’ policy prior to liftoff. As with all insurance, the availability of coverage depends on the policy’s specific language – including the definitions, the exclusions, the exceptions to the exclusions and other conditions.

Questions about drones and homeowners insurance? Call us!

Call us to add drone insurance to your house insurance coverage.Before you send that new recreational drone on its maiden flight, contact American Insuring Group or call us at (800) 947-1270 or (610) 775-3848 to be sure that you are fully protected.

Our independent agents represent a multitude of competing insurance providers, so we're well equipped to find you the right insurance at the right price, so contact us today.

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Homeowners Insurance Tip: What to Do After a Home Burglary

Posted by David Ross on Tue, Oct 06, 2015

Homeowner's insurance tips on what to do after a home burglary. Serving Philadelphia, Reading, Lancaster, York, Harrisburg, Erie, Pittsburgh, Allentown, Lehigh Valley, PA and beyond with high quality house insurance for homeowners and renters.It's every homeowner's worst fear. Imagine… You pull into your driveway after a lovely evening with your spouse and as you approach your front door – key in hand - you see broken glass and notice that the door isn’t shut completely. For a few seconds, you’re confused. Then, you realize that someone has obviously forced their way into your house. Your heart starts pounding and your mind begins racing. Your home has been burglarized. What do you do now?

You are now a statistic—one of the 3.7 million home burglaries that happen each year. Regardless of how much homeowner's insurance you have you will be angry, anxious, or maybe even panic-stricken. But there are actions you must take to minimize the effects of the burglary…and the order in which you do them is critical.

  1. Call the police and file a report

In the above scenario, it is best to retreat into your car and dial 911. You can’t be certain that the burglars aren’t still in your house, and you don’t want to be the one to confront them. If you’re already in the house and certain that the burglars are gone, call the police, but don’t touch or disturb anything, as it might be key evidence. When the police arrive, walk through your house and make a list of the items that were taken, and take pictures of any damage that was done during the burglary. Make one copy of the list for your homeowners insurance company and give the other to the police.

Within 24 hours you will need to file a report with the police. This puts the incident on record, which is the first step in filing an insurance claim. The report is also needed in the investigation, and this may lead to apprehending the offenders and recovering your property.

  1. Contact your homeowners insurance company and file a claim

File an insurance claim with your carrier as quickly as possible, while the details are fresh in your mind. The list of stolen and damaged property that you supply should include a value for each item and receipts, if possible. There may be an insurance adjuster assigned to your case, and any documentation--in addition to the police report--will help him or her work through the details. While FBI statistics show that only about 13% of break-ins are solved by law enforcement, filing a well-documented claim should enable you to recoup a fair amount of your loss.

  1. Clean up

Once the burglary has been properly documented, you can clean up. Your emotional healing will begin with the physical act of putting things in order. Remove any appliances or furniture that can no longer be used, clean up anything that has been broken, and repair and paint over any damage to the walls. You might want to consider changing the previous look of a ransacked room by rearranging furniture or painting the walls a different color. All of this can be emotionally challenging, but these are important steps for moving on after a break-in.

  1. Plan for the future

Restoring order to your home, while difficult in itself, is easier than restoring your sense of security. Being burglarized causes emotional trauma, and being proactive about your future can help you recover. Here are some of the steps you can take:

  • Buy or upgrade door and window locks
  • Install motion-sensitive lights outside your doors
  • Put your lights on timers, both inside and outside
  • Consider a home security system with alarm monitoring—the system should include door and window alarms along with motion detectors

Having the Right Homeowner's Insurance Helps Your Peace of Mind

Contact us for help in buying the right homeowner's insurance for your peace of mind.To ensure that your valuables are properly protected in the event of a home burglary, click here to contact us, or give us a call at (800) 947-1270 or (610) 775-3848 to review your homeowner’s insurance policy.

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