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

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

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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.

 

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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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Should You Get Flood Insurance for Your Home or Business?

Posted by David Ross on Mon, Jan 06, 2014

Tips for deciding if flood insurance is right for you. American Insuring Group: providing flood insurance protection for homes and businesses for over 25 years. We serve Reading, PA, Lancaster, Philadelphia, Allentown, Harrisburg, York, Hershey, Pittsburgh, Erie, and beyond.While most Pennsylvania homes and businesses are not considered to be in a flood plain, that doesn't mean that buildings in Pennsylvania don't flood. Even low risk areas suffer flooding due to poor drainage systems, blockages, broken mains, or rapid precipitation. The average homeowner's and business insurance does not cover flood damage, so it merits a discussion whether to purchase a flood insurance policy to protect yourself.

A Flood? What are the Odds? (Answer: More Than You Think!)

If your home or business is located in a flood-prone area, you were probably required to purchase flood insurance by your lender, so you have probably skipped this whole topic! The fact is, though, that about 25% of flood claims come from buildings in low or moderate risk areas, so no area is completely risk-free when it comes to flooding.

Flood Insurance? I’m Just Renting!

Even if you are just renting, you should still consider flood insurance if you have valuable equipment you couldn’t afford to replace. So if you run a scuba shop you might be okay, but everyone else should take a look at their computers, copy machines, and everything else it takes to run a business and picture them in a foot of water. Renter’s insurance can keep you covered in case that happens.

How Much Will Flood Insurance Set me Back?

To get an accurate quote on your potential flood insurance premiums, you’ll need a property value assessment and an estimate on the value of the contents of your property. If you do live in a lower risk area, the premiums can be surprisingly reasonable since it is less of a gamble for insurance companies.

What’s Covered?

Homeowners can buy coverage for up to $250,000 for the building and $100,000 for the contents. Business owners can get coverage for up to $1,000,000, half for the building and half for the contents. Renters can purchase coverage up to $100,000. If your property or equipment is worth more than that, you may want to consider getting excess coverage. When considering various plans, confirm whether the coverage is based on the current value of an item or the replacement cost.

Contact us for flood insurance for your home or businessSo don’t wait until you see the ark float by; find out what kind of flood insurance works for you to protect your home and business!  Give us a call at (800) 947-1270 or (610) 775-3848 or Contact Us by email.

Tags: Flood Insurance, Flood Insurance Reading PA, Flood Insurance Philadelphia PA, House Insurance, Homeowners Insurance, PA Flood Insurance, Commercial Insurance, Business Insurance

4 Top Reasons for Using an Independent Insurance Agent

Posted by David Ross on Sat, Oct 05, 2013
Your Trusted Choice independent insurance agent serving Berks County, Reading, PA, Philadelphia, Lancaster, York, Harrisburg, Allentown, Bethlehem, Pittsburgh, Erie, Pennsylvania and beyond

Considering the millions of dollars spent daily on TV commercials for single-brand insurance offerings, you would think that the independent insurance agent is a thing of the past. It's tough to go an hour on TV without seeing at least one commercial for AllState, Nationwide, GEICO, State Farm, or other single brand ("captive") insurance solution. That's because with few exceptions, only the big brands can afford to run national TV ads.

Bigger May Not be Better When it Comes to Insurance

Most people realize that big budget advertising does not necessarily equate with the best solution for all kinds of things in life. That's why, for example, many people avoid the pay-per-click ads found on search engines and instead click on the unpaid search results: they seek a high-quality answer to their search instead of one paid for by the competitor with the deepest pockets. In plain English, they don't want to be "spun" by the marketing machines behind the ads.

Let's apply the same thinking to an independent insurance agent vs. the mega-brands. Here are 4 reasons why an independent agent is likely to provide a superior personal or business insurance solution to satisfy your needs.

#1. Your Needs are Unique and Your Insurance Policy Should Fully Meet Your Needs

Insurance is complicated. It is difficult, if not impossible, for those outside the insurance industry to understand all the insurance options for meeting their needs. Only an independent insurance agent understands the pros and cons of each insurance company and their policy offerings as it pertains to protecting you against your unique combination of risks and liabilities.

#2. Independent Insurance Agents are a Valuable Advocate, and They Cost You Nothing

Your independent insurance agent will check multiple companies and insurance solutions in detail to arrive at the best combination of value, price, and insurance protection to properly and fully address your individual or business insurance needs. That can be very time-consuming, but that service typically costs you nothing.

#3. Your Independent Agent is a Single Source for All Your Insurance Needs

Insurance companies typically handle only certain types of insurance. However, your independent insurance agent handles insurance from multiple companies, thereby covering virtually any need, including business insurance, homeowners and car insurance, boat, RV, and motorcycle insurance, life and health insurance, umbrella insurance, pet and vacation insurance, workers compensation insurance, disability insurance, and virtually every kind of liability insurance to protect any type of business need. Being a single source with access to multiple insurance companies and solutions, your agent can create the best blend of policies to provide the right protection with minimal overlap and waste between and among your insurance policies.

#4. Unparalled Service

When you have an insurance question or need, your independent agent is there for you. You are not relegated to a faceless, nameless individual connected to an 800 number. Instead, you have the comfort and confidence of dealing with someone who you know, like, and trust for all your insurance needs. Think about it. Doesn't that kind of service and flexibility mean more to you than putting yourself in the hands of someone you don't know, and who offers only one solution or brand? 

 

We're Independent Insurance Agents, and We're Ready to Serve You

At American Insuring Group we pride ourselves in helping our customers not only save on insurance, but also in finding the right insurance protection. We'll put together a plan that will meet your needs, and we'll review your needs on a regular basis to see if it may be time to adjust your insurance to meet your changing needs, or to take advantage of better pricing that may become available as your needs change. Contact us today for a free consultation.

Learn more. Contact American Insuring Group today to learn about your options for business insurance, personal insurance, health and life insurance, car and house insurance, commercial liability insurance and more.

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