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

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, Homeowners Insurance Reading Pa, Homeowners Insurance Allentown Pa, Homeowners Insurance Philadelphia Pa, Homeowners Insurance Harrisburg PA, Homeowners Insurance Lancaster 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, Homeowners Insurance Reading Pa, Homeowners Insurance Allentown Pa, Homeowners Insurance Philadelphia Pa, House Insurance, 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, House Insurance, Homeowners Insurance Philadelphia Pa, 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.

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

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.

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

Homeowners Insurance Tip: Home Security While on Vacation

Posted by David Ross on Sun, Jun 28, 2015

Warmer weather has arrived and with it come thoughts of vacations spent lying on the beach, hiking through the mountains, or visiting friends and relatives. No matter what you decide to do with your time off, it is important that homeowners make provisions to insure the security of their homes before they go.

House insurance tips for homeowners on vacation. Serving the house insurance needs of homeowners in Reading, Philadelphia, Lancaster, York, Harrisburg, Allentown, Lehigh Valley, Pittsburgh, Erie, State College, PA and beyond.Why Home Security Should be a Priority

According to FBI estimates, there are more than two million burglaries each year in the United States, and 65% of these are residential break-ins. It is no coincidence that these crimes occur at a 10% higher rate in July and August – the two most popular vacation months.

Having a fun-filled vacation can provide joyful memories for a lifetime, yet a disastrous homecoming can just as easily taint them.

Prepare for your vacation by taking a few home security precautions to insure that you are not added to these statistics.

Steps Homeowners Can Take for Increased Protection While Away

Homeowners insurance is your failsafe, but it's much better to avoid a breakin altogether. When faced with the subject of home security, many homeowners immediately think of a monitored home security system. With these systems, motion detectors and sensors send an alarm to a monitoring center during an intrusion. The center then reports the break-in to police. This is an effective method of deterring a home invasion while you are away. Keep in mind that installing the system can be expensive, and there is usually an ongoing monthly fee. Such systems can also lower your homeowners insurance premiums.

While it isn’t the most common method of securing your property, hiring or negotiating with a house sitter is another option.

There are other free or low-cost steps homeowners can take:

• Don’t let the world know that you’re away from home.
• Do not “check in” on social media from your vacation site or update your status before boarding a plane.
• If you post pictures during your vacation, your friends will see all the fun that you’re having and thieves will see a perfect opportunity. Post them after you arrive home.
• Never change your voicemail message to inform callers that you can’t take their call because you’re on vacation. 

Make your house look inhabited:

• Don’t let mail and newspapers pile up. Stop delivery or ask a trusted neighbor or friend to retrieve them every day and, while there, to check your house for signs of unusual activity.
• If you are going to be gone for more than a week, ask a friend to mow your grass.
• Make sure to turn off your alarm clock. The incessant beeping may be heard outside your house and could tip off someone to your absence.
• Use timers to turn lights and devices on and off. It will make it look as if you are home.

Take some obvious measures inside your house:

• Shut and lock all windows on every floor.
• Use deadbolts on all doors.
• If the garage is attached to your house, be sure to lock the outer garage door and the door that leads to the garage from the house.
• Fortify a glass sliding door by placing a steel rod in the lower track.
• Keep all valuable items out of plain sight.

Provide security on the outside:

• Criminals love hiding places, so trim any shrubbery that obscures windows and doors.
• Trim any branches that are close to the house and could provide direct entrance to the upper floors.
• Lock a detached garage and all outbuildings like tool sheds and workshops.
• Put timers or motion sensor lights in the driveway or walkway. They can surprise and deter a potential burglar.

 

Get a homeowner's insurance check up to insure your home's saftety.Get a Homeowners Insurance Checkup for Your Peace of Mind

Protecting your property and possessions in your absence is essential, and the time and money that is invested will pay dividends in the form of peace of mind during your vacation and a return to a secure home after it’s over. Having the right homeowner's or renter's insurance is also important for your peace of mind because it provides important financial protection in the event of a breakin while you are away. Contact us or call us at (800) 947-1270 or (610) 775-3848. We're independent insurance agents who will help you find the best house insurance at the right price.

 

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

Home Prices Are Up. Do You Need More Homeowner's Insurance?

Posted by David Ross on Tue, Mar 25, 2014

House prices are up. Should your house insurance coverage rise too? Tips on homeowner's insurance from American Insuring Group, serving Reading, PA, Philadelphia, Lancaster, York, Harrisburg, Allentown, Bethlehem, Pittsburgh, Erie, Pennsylvania and beyond with quality house insurance for over 25 years.2013 was a good year for the real estate industry.  The price of homes increased by more than 20% in certain hotspots, and experts predict that home prices will continue to rise in 2014 – albeit, at a more moderate rate of 3-5%.  This is great news if you’re a realtor or if you’re trying to sell your home.  But you might be asking yourself, “Does this mean I need to reevaluate the insurance coverage on my home?  Does this mean I have to pay higher house insurance premiums?”

Market Value vs. Replacement Cost Value

Before we answer this question, you need to understand the difference between “market value” and “replacement cost value.”  Market value is how much you should be able to get for your home if you were to sell it.  This value is based on location, the value of the land, and other real estate trends. On the other hand, replacement cost is what it would cost to replace your home if it was completely destroyed – if you had to rebuild it from the ground up. 

Why Did You Purchase Homeowner’s Insurance?

Now think about why you purchased your homeowner’s insurance.  Wasn’t it to protect you and your family against unforeseen disasters?  If a storm rips the roof off your home, you want to be able to replace it.  If your house is completely destroyed by a fire, you need to have the resources to rebuild it, so you and your family have a place to live.  Plus, most disasters that can affect your home don’t affect the land itself.  If a tornado blows through your home or a tree lands on your roof, the value of the land your home rests on isn’t affected. 

Therefore, you should insure your home for what it would cost to repair or replace it, not what someone else would pay for it.  So, if the market value of your house increases because of the real estate market, there’s no need to re-evaluate your homeowner’s insurance.  Plus, most homeowner’s insurance policies have an inflation guard that automatically increases the value of the property by 3-5%.

When Considering Insurance on Your Home, Remember the Upgrades!

Now, if you make improvements to your home, such as an addition or a major renovation, it can affect both the market value and the replacement cost.  In that case you should contact your insurance agent, so you can make sure that your entire investment is protected in the event of a disaster. 

Get a free homeowner's insurance quoteIf you’d like to take a look at your homeowner’s insurance to be certain your home has sufficient protection, contact American Insuring Group at (800) 947-1270 or (610) 775-3848. We'll help you get the right level of quality insurance at the right price, quoting several competing insurance providers in the process.

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Worst States for Wind & Hail Damage by Property Insurance Claims

Posted by David Ross on Wed, Jul 10, 2013

Get the right homeowner's insurance or commercial property insurance to protect against damage from wind, hail, and more. Buy insurance from American Insuring Group, serving Reading, Philadelphia, Lancaster, Harrisburg, York, Allentown, Bethlehem, State College, PA and beyond.It's Not Just About the Midwest

Wind storms and hail are known for causing severe damage to private property throughout the U.S.  Although hail damage is more frequent throughout the Midwest and Great Plains states, the mid-Atlantic and Northeast regions are also surprisingly susceptible.

$3.9 Billion for State Farm Alone

According to State Farm, its 2012 wind and hail damage insurance claims cost the company and those insured over $3.9 billion combined.  To view a series of photos showing examples of wind and hail damage for each of the states above, click here

2012 HAIL AND WIND CLAIMS BY STATE

Are You Covered for Wind and Hail Damage?

Is your homeowner’s or commercial property insurance properly protecting you from the risks of damage due to wind, hail, and other forces of nature? Contact us today for an insurance check up.


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Beware: Your Homeowners Insurance is Weaker Than You Think

Posted by David Ross on Sat, Apr 27, 2013

Chances are that your current homeowner’s insurance policy is weaker than you think in terms of the financial protection it offers. That’s because many insurers have been steadily changing their coverage to increase deductibles and to add new loopholes protecting the insurance company from excessive loss. To make matters worse, homeowner’s insurance rates have climbed 69% over the past 10 years and now average approximately $1,000 per year.

Learn why house insurance costs have increased 58% in Pennsylvania and the US. Advice for homeowners in Reading, Philadelphia, Lancaster, York, Harrisburg, PA and beyond.Why the Big Homeowner’s Insurance Cost Increases?

So why are insurers raising home insurance rates, cutting coverage, and increasing deductibles in Reading, Philadelphia, Allentown, Lancaster, and all across Pennsylvania and the US? Is it nothing more than unbridled greed? Hardly. Insurers are experiencing factors beyond their control that are driving up costs. The biggest factor alone, the weather, has resulted in a 58% increase in the number of catastrophic weather events in the past five years vs. the prior five, climbing from 602 to 953 according to insurance industry data. Of course, along with each disaster comes a series of insurance industry payouts to policy holders. 

Another factor driving these changes is that states have denied insurers’ requests to increase their rates to the full extent needed to capture the true increases in weather-related payouts. As a result, insurers have resorted to shifting a much larger percentage of the cost of homeowner’s claims to their customers in an effort to remain solvent, and this has been done by cutting coverage. Many homeowners are on the hook for far more of the cost of repairs than they were five years ago.  Homeowner’s insurance is among the least profitable forms of insurance, and, as they say, you can’t get blood from a rock, so something has to give, and that has been both the extent and cost of coverage.

Get Help: Homeowner’s Insurance Coverage Varies Widely

Have an independent insurance agent review your homeowners insurance policy in Berks County, Reading, Lancaster, Philadelphia, Harrisburg, or elsewhere in Pennsylvania.Because house insurance coverage varies widely among insurers, and given that the specifics of what is covered and what is not are often buried in the insurance policy fine print, it is wise to seek the advice of an independent insurance agent to help you make sense of the coverages, deductibles, and loopholes within policies offered by various insurance carriers. An independent agent is uniquely positioned to help you find the best policy for your needs and budget because he or she represents multiple competing carriers, rather than just one. Don’t rely solely on an insurance company’s reputation or marketing. Instead get the facts so you can make an informed purchase.

We Can Help

Are you and your family in a precarious position? Arrange for a homeowner’s insurance review with an independent agent. Why not make an appointment today? You’ll sleep better knowing you did the smart thing. Call us at (800) 947-1270 or (610) 775-3848, or click below to contact us.

Contact American Insuring Group near Reading, PA for Homeowners Insurance advice.

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