homeowners insurance http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/14201/all en-US Why You Should Ask for a CLUE Report Before Buying a Home http://www.wisebread.com/why-you-should-ask-for-a-clue-report-before-buying-a-home <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/why-you-should-ask-for-a-clue-report-before-buying-a-home" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/real_estate_agent_showing_house_to_a_couple.jpg" alt="Real estate agent showing house to a couple" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>That renovated Victorian home looks like the perfect fit for your family. But even though it may <em>look</em> like your dream home, how do you know there aren't expensive, hidden problems lurking beneath the surface?</p> <p>This is where a CLUE report comes in.</p> <p>The Comprehensive Loss Underwriting Exchange, or CLUE, database lists insurance claims on a property for the last seven years. Most home insurers participate in the database, reporting claims that homeowners file for everything from water damage, to fire loss, to break-ins.</p> <p>If a CLUE report indicates a chronic or repeat problem, that's a red flag. If you buy that home, and the owners didn't do anything to resolve the problem, you&rsquo;ll be the one paying for future repairs or filing future insurance claims. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/23-hidden-costs-of-buying-an-old-house?ref=seealso" target="_blank">23 Hidden Costs of Buying an Old House</a>)</p> <h2>How a CLUE report works</h2> <p>When homeowners file an insurance claim, most insurers report that claim to the CLUE database. The CLUE report lists the dates when claims were made, the type of loss that a home suffered, and the amount that the insurance company paid out. The CLUE report also lists when insurers deny homeowners' claims.</p> <p>All claim information, though, drops off a CLUE report after seven years.</p> <p>Some CLUE reports will be blank. That can happen if homeowners haven't filed any claims in seven years or if the owners' insurance company is one of the few that doesn't report information to the CLUE database.</p> <p>Homeowners can get a free CLUE report for their residence once a year from database company LexisNexis. The easiest way to do this is by <a href="https://personalreports.lexisnexis.com/fact_act_disclosure.jsp" target="_blank">ordering the report online</a>. Consumers can order CLUE reports for their homes, their cars, or both. Those ordering a report for the first time must open a new account with LexisNexis to access their documents.</p> <p>You can also order reports by mail or by phone at 1-866-312-8076.</p> <h2>The catch</h2> <p>For homebuyers, there is a catch: They can only order CLUE reports on the properties they already own. They can't order a report for a residence they are considering buying.</p> <p>Buyers must ask the current owners of the properties they want to buy to order the CLUE reports and share the documents with them. Of course, owners don't have to provide this information. Those who have filed plenty of insurance claims, especially if these claims were for a chronic problem, might not be eager to share their CLUE reports.</p> <p>Buyers, though, might get a sense of relief if they do request CLUE reports and homeowners are happy to provide them. This is one piece of evidence that owners aren't hiding anything.</p> <h2>The benefits of a CLUE report</h2> <p>Homebuyers should carefully search a CLUE report for indications of a recurring problem that could make living in the home a financial struggle.</p> <p>For instance, if a CLUE report on a particular property lists five burglaries in the last seven years, that's a sign that a home could need an alarm system. It might also mean that you don't want to live in that neighborhood.</p> <p>If a homeowner is making frequent claims for water in the basement, that might be another warning sign. Unless the homeowners did something to resolve the issue &mdash; such as waterproofing &mdash; you might not want to invest in a home with a basement that suffers frequent water damage.</p> <p>Insurance claims, though, don't always mean bad news. Maybe the owners of a home filed a claim for a roof that was damaged in a severe hailstorm. If the insurance company paid out for a new roof, that's proof that you won't need to invest in a new roof of your own for several years.</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Fwhy-you-should-ask-for-a-clue-report-before-buying-a-home&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2FWhy%2520You%2520Should%2520Ask%2520for%2520a%2520CLUE%2520Report%2520Before%2520Buying%2520a%2520Home.jpg&amp;description=Why%20You%20Should%20Ask%20for%20a%20CLUE%20Report%20Before%20Buying%20a%20Home"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/Why%20You%20Should%20Ask%20for%20a%20CLUE%20Report%20Before%20Buying%20a%20Home.jpg" alt="Why You Should Ask for a CLUE Report Before Buying a Home" width="250" height="374" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dan-rafter">Dan Rafter</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/why-you-should-ask-for-a-clue-report-before-buying-a-home">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-times-you-shouldnt-file-an-insurance-claim">7 Times You Shouldn&#039;t File an Insurance Claim</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-other-kinds-of-insurance-you-may-need-to-buy-for-your-home">7 Other Kinds of Insurance You May Need to Buy for Your Home</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-times-to-update-your-homeowners-insurance">7 Times to Update Your Homeowners Insurance</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-problems-home-sellers-must-disclose-to-buyers">8 Problems Home Sellers Must Disclose to Buyers</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-pros-and-cons-of-paying-cash-for-a-house">The Pros and Cons of Paying Cash for a House</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Real Estate and Housing buying a home claims clue report Comprehensive Loss Underwriting Exchange damages homeowners insurance new homeowners Mon, 06 Nov 2017 08:30:16 +0000 Dan Rafter 2045807 at http://www.wisebread.com 6 Money Moves to Make After Buying Your First House http://www.wisebread.com/6-money-moves-to-make-after-buying-your-first-house <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/6-money-moves-to-make-after-buying-your-first-house" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/happy_woman_holding_keys_to_her_new_house.jpg" alt="Happy woman holding keys to her new house" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>You bought your first home. This is an exciting conclusion to what was likely a long and winding road. As you are unpacking your boxes, settling in, and decorating your new digs, there are some smart money moves you should make immediately to keep the good times rolling.</p> <h2>1. Adjust your last will and testament</h2> <p>Now that you have a new home, you need to update your will. In this time of excitement, updating a will might feel like putting a damper on the fun, but it's critically important. You need to be responsible for protecting the future of your loved ones and your home. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dont-make-these-5-common-mistakes-when-writing-a-will?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Don't Make These 5 Common Mistakes When Writing a Will</a>)</p> <h2>2. Get rid of PMI as fast as you can</h2> <p><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-is-private-mortgage-insurance-anyway?ref=internal" target="_blank">Private mortgage insurance</a> (PMI) is a necessary fee for most people who buy a home with less than a 20 percent down payment. This can be a significant expense, sometimes costing thousands of dollars each year. Do whatever you can to get to that 20 percent equity mark so that you can drop the PMI payments.</p> <h2>3. Make a plan to pay a little extra every month</h2> <p>At the beginning of a mortgage, you are mostly paying interest and very little principal with every monthly payment. That ratio of interest to principal will decrease eventually, but it will take a few years.</p> <p>To more quickly pay down your mortgage, set aside a little extra every month for your mortgage payment. Why? Anything you pay above your monthly payment goes directly against the principal. (Just be sure those extra payments are going to principal; check with your mortgage lender.) The faster you reduce your principal, the faster you will pay off your home. A lower principal will also make it easier to refinance the mortgage down the line if you choose to do that in the future. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/whats-faster-for-mortgage-payoff-100-month-extra-or-1-payment-year-extra?ref=seealso" target="_blank">What's Faster for Mortgage Payoff: $100/Month Extra or 1 Payment/Year Extra?</a>)</p> <h2>4. Replenish your emergency funds</h2> <p>Many people use a substantial part of their cash savings, if not all of it, when they buy their first home. It&rsquo;s crucial that you begin to <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-fast-ways-to-restock-an-emergency-fund-after-an-emergency?ref=internal" target="_blank">rebuild this emergency fund</a> as soon as you can.</p> <p>An emergency fund is necessary if you lose your job for any reason, have unexpected bills, or if you need to do emergency repairs on your home. Experts in the consumer finance field have varying opinions when it comes to how much to set aside in an emergency fund, but many suggest having three to six month's worth of expenses saved. Some more conservative advisers even suggest saving up enough to cover one year of expenses. Consider your lifestyle and personal risk profile to find the best target amount for you.</p> <h2>5. Reconsider your life insurance policy</h2> <p>Now that you have this beautiful new home, you will need to make sure the mortgage can be covered by your life insurance. You don&rsquo;t want your heirs to struggle to figure out what to do in the event that an unforeseen circumstance occurs.</p> <p>How much insurance do you need? Generally, the guideline for life insurance is 10 times your annual income plus any large debts like a home mortgage. Talk to your insurance company and/or financial adviser to get their perspective, and make any necessary adjustments. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-reasons-why-life-insurance-isnt-just-for-old-people?ref=seealso" target="_blank">5 Reasons Why Life Insurance Isn't Just for Old People</a>)</p> <h2>6. Change your locks and install deadbolts</h2> <p>Safety is a huge part of homeownership, and it has financial implications. As soon as you have the keys in your hand, contact a locksmith to get all of the locks on your doors and windows changed, and install deadbolts on doors where you currently don&rsquo;t have them. The previous owners likely gave copies of their keys to neighbors, friends, family members, the dog walker, or people who did work on the home. You don&rsquo;t want those people to have access to what is now <em>your </em>house. You may also want to consider a home security system.</p> <p>All of these safety measures may provide a financial deduction on your homeowners insurance. Contact your insurance company to find out if you qualify for a reduction in your rate. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-times-to-update-your-homeowners-insurance?ref=seealso" target="_blank">7 Times to Update Your Homeowners Insurance</a>)</p> <p>There is a desire to rest on our laurels after completing the purchase of a home. You should definitely bask in the glow of new homeownership, but this is also a time to remain financially vigilant. Remember that when it comes to your personal finances, remaining responsible and forward-thinking is the key to lasting success.</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" data-pin-save="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2F6-money-moves-to-make-after-buying-your-first-house&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2F6%2520Money%2520Moves%2520to%2520Make%2520After%2520Buying%2520Your%2520First%2520House.jpg&amp;description=6%20Money%20Moves%20to%20Make%20After%20Buying%20Your%20First%20House"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/6%20Money%20Moves%20to%20Make%20After%20Buying%20Your%20First%20House.jpg" alt="6 Money Moves to Make After Buying Your First House" width="250" height="374" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/christa-avampato">Christa Avampato</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-money-moves-to-make-after-buying-your-first-house">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-best-neighborhood-features-for-new-families">5 Best Neighborhood Features for New Families</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-times-you-need-to-update-your-will">6 Times You Need to Update Your Will</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-fair-way-to-split-up-your-familys-estate">The Fair Way to Split Up Your Family&#039;s Estate</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/house-hunting-these-features-will-save-you-big-over-the-long-haul">House Hunting? These Features Will Save You Big Over the Long Haul</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dont-buy-a-house-with-a-pool-until-you-can-answer-these-7-questions">Don&#039;t Buy a House With a Pool Until You Can Answer These 7 Questions</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Real Estate and Housing emergency fund estate planning first house homeowners insurance homeownership last will and testament life insurance new house private mortgage insurance safety Thu, 28 Sep 2017 08:01:06 +0000 Christa Avampato 2027477 at http://www.wisebread.com 7 Times to Update Your Homeowners Insurance http://www.wisebread.com/7-times-to-update-your-homeowners-insurance <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/7-times-to-update-your-homeowners-insurance" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/beautiful_couple_relaxing_at_home_and_loving_their_pet.jpg" alt="Beautiful couple relaxing at home and loving their pet" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>When you took out your mortgage loan, your lender required you to sign up for a homeowners insurance policy. Chances are, you haven't thought much about this policy since.</p> <p>That might be a mistake. You should review your homeowners insurance policy whenever you make changes to both your home and your lifestyle. Doing so could save you money in the form of valuable discounts. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-surprising-things-covered-by-homeowners-insurance?ref=seealso" target="_blank">8 Surprising Things Covered by Homeowner's Insurance</a>)</p> <p>And not reviewing your insurance policy when you make these changes might leave you with inadequate financial protection should a fire or other disaster damage your home or a thief steal your valuables.</p> <p>Here are the times when it's wise to review your homeowners insurance policy.</p> <h2>1. You've remodeled your home</h2> <p>If you've updated your 1970s-era kitchen, added a master-bedroom suite, or completed another large remodeling job, it's smart to call your homeowners insurance agent. That's because a major remodeling job could increase the value of your home. And this could make it more expensive to rebuild your home should disaster strike.</p> <p>You might need additional coverage after a remodel to make sure that your policy will pay for the entire rebuild of your now more-valuable residence.</p> <h2>2. You've purchased big-ticket items</h2> <p>Your homeowners insurance policy will cover the loss of valuables inside your home if a thief steals them. But if you've recently purchased big-ticket items such as pricey artwork, jewelry, furs, or electronics, it's time, again, to call your insurance agent.</p> <p>You'll want to make sure that you have enough insurance to cover the replacement value of these expensive items. If you don't update your insurance policy, you risk coming up short.</p> <h2>3. You've stopped smoking</h2> <p>Kicking the smoking habit is a smart move for your health. But it can also save you money in the form of lower homeowners insurance payments.</p> <p>Most insurers will reduce the premiums of your policy &mdash; at least by a bit &mdash; if you don't smoke. Smokers are riskier to ensure. The chance of a fire damaging or destroying your home is higher if you smoke. If you've stopped, contact your insurer to see if you're eligible for a reduced premium.</p> <h2>4. You've retired</h2> <p>Retirement might come with an insurance discount, too. The Insurance Information Institute says that some companies offer discounts of as much as 10 percent to retirees who are at least 55 years old.</p> <p>Why? Retired people usually spend more time at home. They're more likely, then, to spot the signs of a fire before it gets out of control. They're also less likely to be burglarized and have more time to spend on maintaining their homes. If you've left the working world, it's time to call your insurance agent.</p> <h2>5. You've added an alarm system</h2> <p>Adding an alarm system makes it less likely that a thief will break into your home. It can also bring you a lower homeowners insurance premium. After installing your system, call your homeowners insurance company. The Insurance Information Institute says that a new alarm system can usually save you about 5 percent in premiums each year.</p> <h2>6. You've added a swimming pool</h2> <p>Some changes can actually increase the cost of your homeowners insurance policy. One of these is adding a swimming pool. You'll be liable if someone is injured or drowns while using your swimming pool. This holds true even if the person using your pool didn't get your permission first. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-surprising-things-your-homeowners-insurance-doesnt-cover?ref=seealso" target="_blank">9 Surprising Things Your Homeowners Insurance Doesn't Cover</a>)</p> <p>Insurance companies take on more risk when insuring homeowners with swimming pools, and will often increase their premiums.</p> <p>You might be tempted to keep your swimming pool a secret from your insurer. Don't. If someone is injured in your pool and sues you, your insurance company won't pay out if you added the pool without its knowledge.</p> <h2>7. You've bought a dog</h2> <p>Your homeowners insurance policy will most likely cover you if your dog bites someone on your property. But, again, you'll have to inform your insurer about your new pet to guarantee this protection. Again, your rates might rise, but keeping your new pooch a secret could cost you in the long run. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/beware-your-insurance-may-not-cover-these-8-losses?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Beware: Your Insurance May Not Cover These 8 Losses</a>)</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" data-pin-save="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2F7-times-to-update-your-homeowners-insurance&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2F7%2520Times%2520to%2520Update%2520Your%2520Homeowners%2520Insurance.jpg&amp;description=7%20Times%20to%20Update%20Your%20Homeowners%20Insurance"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/7%20Times%20to%20Update%20Your%20Homeowners%20Insurance.jpg" alt="7 Times to Update Your Homeowners Insurance" width="250" height="374" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dan-rafter">Dan Rafter</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-times-to-update-your-homeowners-insurance">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-other-kinds-of-insurance-you-may-need-to-buy-for-your-home">7 Other Kinds of Insurance You May Need to Buy for Your Home</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/11-unexpected-things-covered-by-homeowners-insurance">11 Unexpected Things Covered by Homeowners Insurance</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dont-buy-a-house-with-a-pool-until-you-can-answer-these-7-questions">Don&#039;t Buy a House With a Pool Until You Can Answer These 7 Questions</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dont-let-your-bank-pick-your-homeowners-insurance">Don&#039;t Let Your Bank Pick Your Homeowner&#039;s Insurance</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-ways-to-make-your-home-into-an-investment">6 Ways to Make Your Home Into an Investment</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Insurance Real Estate and Housing big purchases big ticket items homeowners insurance new dogs pools premiums remodeling retired security alarm Tue, 12 Sep 2017 08:30:10 +0000 Dan Rafter 2019187 at http://www.wisebread.com 7 Other Kinds of Insurance You May Need to Buy for Your Home http://www.wisebread.com/7-other-kinds-of-insurance-you-may-need-to-buy-for-your-home <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/7-other-kinds-of-insurance-you-may-need-to-buy-for-your-home" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/hands_protecting_house.jpg" alt="Hands Protecting House" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Homeowners insurance provides plenty of protection for your residence. If a fire destroys your home, your insurance will help you rebuild. If a thief breaks in and steals your electronics, your policy will help you replace the stolen items.</p> <p>But a standard homeowners insurance policy doesn't cover everything that could go wrong with your home. That's why you should investigate supplemental insurance policies that cover everything from earthquake damage and flooding to sewer line failures.</p> <p>Here are some additional insurance coverages you should consider to provide the most financial protection for your home. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-surprising-things-your-homeowners-insurance-doesnt-cover?ref=seealso" target="_blank">9 Surprising Things Your Homeowners Insurance Doesn't Cover</a>)</p> <h2>1. Sewer and water line protection</h2> <p>The water coming out of your kitchen faucet comes from somewhere &mdash; a water line traveling under the ground to your home, to be exact. And when you flush your toilet? That wastewater leaves your home through an underground sewer line.</p> <p>If these lines get clogged, damaged, or break, you're responsible for paying for the repairs. That can be expensive, as contractors will have to dig through the ground to get at the damaged or broken pipes. Not only will you have to pay for this work, you'll probably need to hire landscapers to fix the mess left behind in your front yard from all the digging.</p> <p>You can protect yourself by purchasing a water and sewer line protection plan from your utility company, or from a private insurer if your utility company outsources this job. These plans are usually affordable &mdash; about $5 or so a month added to your utility bill &mdash; and will often cover $5,000 for the repair work to sewer and water lines and $5,000 for the street repairs necessary to fix this problem.</p> <h2>2. Sewage backup</h2> <p>It's an unpleasant surprise: Sewage has risen through your basement's floor drains and is now covering its floors. It's not only a mess, it's unhealthy, too.</p> <p>And here's another surprise: Most homeowners insurance policies don't automatically cover sewage backups. If you want this covered, you'll have to pay for a rider &mdash; additional coverage &mdash; that specifically covers damage and cleanup costs relating to sewage backups. You can usually purchase this additional coverage for about $50 a year.</p> <h2>3. Flood insurance</h2> <p>You might think that your insurance policy will automatically cover the damages caused when heavy rains send water flooding into your basement. But this isn't the case. Standard policies don't provide coverage for flooding.</p> <p>If you want this coverage, you'll need to purchase flood insurance.</p> <p>The Insurance Information Institute says that homeowners can buy flood insurance from the National Flood Insurance Program, which is run by the Federal Emergency Management Agency, better known as FEMA. The Insurance Information Institute says that the average residential flood insurance policy starts at $112 a year. The maximum protection is $250,000 for the structure of the home and $100,000 for its contents. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/everything-you-need-to-know-about-flood-insurance?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Everything You Need to Know About Flood Insurance</a>)</p> <h2>4. Umbrella insurance</h2> <p>You were involved in a car accident and found at fault. The driver you struck was injured and now faces a $500,000 medical bill. You likely have a personal auto insurance policy with a bodily injury limit to help offset some of that cost &mdash; say $250,000. How will you come up with the other $250,000? And what if, three months down the line, the injured driver decides to sue?</p> <p>An umbrella insurance policy is designed to protect you from the financial dangers of liability beyond what is covered in your current policies, such as your homeowners, boaters, or car insurance. Homeowners with a pool are usually advised to purchase umbrella insurance in case somebody gets hurt there. In addition to coverage for bodily injury or property damage, umbrella insurance also provides protection from certain lawsuits against you, such as slander, libel, false arrest, malicious prosecution, or mental anguish. It's also a smart investment for landlords who own rental units.</p> <p>Umbrella coverage can be purchased in million dollar increments, typically between $1 million and $5 million. The Insurance Information Institute estimates the cost for a $1 million policy to be between $100 and $300 per year. Note that umbrella coverage does not protect against damage you caused to your own property, business losses, contract violations, or legal issues stemming from an intentional criminal act.</p> <h2>5. Earthquake coverage</h2> <p>Most homeowners insurance policies don't cover damage caused to your home by earthquakes. You might not think this is a risk worth insuring, especially if you don't live in California, but the Insurance Information Institute says that 42 states are at risk of suffering earthquakes.</p> <p>The cost of this insurance varies according to where you live, and who offers it, but earthquake insurance usually comes with a high deductible. For example, the standard <a href="https://www.earthquakeauthority.com/california-earthquake-insurance-policies/homeowners/coverages-and-deductibles">policy offered by the California Earthquake Authority</a> comes with a deductibles of 5 to 25 percent of a home's replacement costs. This means that for a policy featuring a 15 percent deductible, to repair or replace $300,000 of earthquake damage the owner would receive $255,000 from the CEA ($300,000 - $45,000).&nbsp;</p> <h2>6. Home business insurance</h2> <p>Do you run a business out of your home? You might need additional coverage to protect it.</p> <p>Insurers offer home-based business insurance that will help cover damages if someone visiting your home business is injured, your business inventory is damaged because of a fire or other disaster, or you have to shut down your business temporarily if your home is damaged. A policy can also provide liability insurance if you have employees working at your home.</p> <h2>7. Extra coverage for valuables</h2> <p>If you have a large amount of jewelry, collectibles, art, or furs in your home, you might consider buying additional coverage to protect yourself if these valuables are damaged or stolen.</p> <p>The standard coverage offered by basic homeowners insurance might not provide the full replacement value for these items. To protect yourself, you can purchase a rider that will provide a coverage boost for these more expensive items.</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/7%20Other%20Kinds%20of%20Insurance%20You%20May%20Need%20to%20Buy%20for%20Your%20Home.jpg" alt="7 Other Kinds of Insurance You May Need to Buy for Your Home" width="250" height="374" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dan-rafter">Dan Rafter</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-other-kinds-of-insurance-you-may-need-to-buy-for-your-home">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-times-to-update-your-homeowners-insurance">7 Times to Update Your Homeowners Insurance</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/11-unexpected-things-covered-by-homeowners-insurance">11 Unexpected Things Covered by Homeowners Insurance</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/yes-you-need-home-title-insurance-heres-why">Yes, You Need Home Title Insurance — Here&#039;s Why</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dont-let-your-bank-pick-your-homeowners-insurance">Don&#039;t Let Your Bank Pick Your Homeowner&#039;s Insurance</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-surprising-insurance-policies-you-might-need">15 Surprising Insurance Policies You Might Need</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Insurance Real Estate and Housing business earthquakes flood insurance homeowners insurance protection rider policies sewage sewer lines water lines Thu, 24 Aug 2017 08:30:04 +0000 Dan Rafter 2007683 at http://www.wisebread.com 5 Monthly Bills That Vary Based on Your Credit Behavior http://www.wisebread.com/5-monthly-bills-that-vary-based-on-your-credit-behavior <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/5-monthly-bills-that-vary-based-on-your-credit-behavior" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/man_screaming_papers_599701902.jpg" alt="Man&#039;s bills varying based on credit behavior" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Your credit score is one of the most important numbers in your financial life. Because it incorporates data about your past behavior with credit &mdash; how much credit and debt you have and how good you are at paying those bills off &mdash; it's deemed as a good predictor of how you'll behave with future bills.</p> <p>A <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-does-your-credit-score-mean-good-bad-or-excellent" target="_blank">low credit score</a> can hurt you in many ways: It makes it more difficult to qualify for mortgages, car loans, or credit cards. And when you do qualify for a loan or credit card, you'll be stuck with higher interest rates and the higher monthly payments that come with them. Poor credit behavior can also cost you money each month in the form of higher student loan and insurance payments. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-surprising-ways-bad-credit-can-hurt-you?ref=seealso" target="_blank">15 Surprising Ways Bad Credit Can Hurt You</a>)</p> <p>Most lenders today still consider a credit score of 740 or higher to be a strong one. Anything at 640 or lower, though, is considered weak.</p> <p>Here's a look at five monthly bills that you'll pay more for if your credit score is low.</p> <h2>1. Mortgage payment</h2> <p>Your credit score has a big impact on your mortgage payment. If your score is high, odds are good that you'll qualify for a lower interest rate, which will, in turn, lower your monthly mortgage payment. If your score is low, the opposite will happen.</p> <p>Here's an example of the difference that a high or low interest rate can have on your monthly mortgage payment: If you take out a 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage loan of $200,000 at an interest rate of 3.80 percent, you'll have a monthly payment of about $931, not counting what you might pay for homeowners insurance and property taxes.</p> <p>If you take out that same loan with a higher interest rate of 4.80 percent &mdash; which you may have gotten due to a low credit score &mdash; your monthly payment, again not counting taxes and insurance, will be about $1,049. That's $118 more a month, or about $1,416 a year. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-smart-ways-to-lower-your-monthly-mortgage-payment?ref=seealso" target="_blank">4 Smart Ways to Lower Your Monthly Mortgage Payment</a>)</p> <h2>2. Auto loans</h2> <p>You'll face the same situation when applying for an auto loan with a lower credit score. Auto lenders, like mortgage lenders, rely heavily on your credit score. If they see a low score, they'll protect themselves financially by charging you a higher interest rate. This higher rate will result in a higher monthly payment.</p> <p>The higher rates make sense if you look at your loan from your lender's point of view. A lower credit score means you have a history of making bad financial choices, whether that means paying bills late or missing them entirely. Lenders then levy a higher interest rate to make up for the danger of lending to riskier borrowers.</p> <h2>3. Credit cards</h2> <p>Interest rates on credit cards can be high &mdash; 20 percent or higher in some cases. But if your credit score is high, you'll increase your chances of qualifying for a lower rate on your cards. This is important: If you carry a balance on your cards each month, a lower interest rate will mean a lower required minimum monthly payment. It also means your debt will grow at a slower rate.</p> <p>How you use credit cards has a big impact on your credit score. If you always pay your cards on time, and if you don't run up too much debt on them, you will steadily boost your score. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-pay-less-interest-on-your-credit-card-debt?ref=seealso" target="_blank">How to Pay Less Interest on Your Credit Card Debt</a>)</p> <h2>4. Student loans</h2> <p>There are two types of student loans: federal and private. Your credit score won't affect your interest rate on federal loans. But lenders originating private student loans will look at your credit score. If your score is low, they'll charge you higher interest rates and fees. This will result in a higher monthly student loan payment.</p> <h2>5. Homeowners insurance</h2> <p>Insurance companies don't rely on your credit score to set your homeowners insurance rates. They do, however, use a similar metric known as an insurance score. This score includes information about your past payment history, your debts, and your number of open credit accounts, just like your credit score. It can also include information about any safety features &mdash; such as fire alarms and security systems &mdash; protecting your home and whether you've made a high number of insurance claims in the past.</p> <p>If your insurance score is high, you'll qualify for a lower insurance bill. If that score is low, you can expect to pay more for your homeowners insurance.</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" data-pin-save="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2F5-monthly-bills-that-vary-based-on-your-credit-behavior&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2F5%2520Monthly%2520Bills%2520That%2520Vary%2520Based%2520on%2520Your%2520Credit%2520Behavior.jpg&amp;description=5%20Monthly%20Bills%20That%20Vary%20Based%20on%20Your%20Credit%20Behavior"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/5%20Monthly%20Bills%20That%20Vary%20Based%20on%20Your%20Credit%20Behavior.jpg" alt="5 Monthly Bills That Vary Based on Your Credit Behavior" width="250" height="374" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dan-rafter">Dan Rafter</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-monthly-bills-that-vary-based-on-your-credit-behavior">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-3"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/why-you-need-to-know-the-difference-between-secured-and-unsecured-debts">Why You Need to Know the Difference Between Secured and Unsecured Debts</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-to-do-if-youve-signed-up-for-a-terrible-loan-or-credit-card">What to Do if You&#039;ve Signed Up for a Terrible Loan or Credit Card</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/pay-these-6-bills-first-when-money-is-tight">Pay These 6 Bills First When Money Is Tight</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-7-debt-payoffs-that-boost-your-credit-score-the-most">The 7 Debt Payoffs That Boost Your Credit Score the Most</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-ways-good-credit-is-better-than-a-boyfriend">6 Ways Good Credit Is Better Than a Boyfriend</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance auto loans bills credit score fico homeowners insurance interest rates mortgages payments student loans Tue, 01 Aug 2017 07:47:46 +0000 Dan Rafter 1990977 at http://www.wisebread.com 7 Times You Shouldn't File an Insurance Claim http://www.wisebread.com/7-times-you-shouldnt-file-an-insurance-claim <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/7-times-you-shouldnt-file-an-insurance-claim" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/friends_examining_broken_down_car_on_sunny_day.jpg" alt="Friends examining broken down car on sunny day" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>It may seem like a waste of money to pay insurance premiums every month, then avoid filing a claim when you actually have damage. Yet sometimes, this is exactly what you should do to save money.</p> <p>The strategy of filing a claim whenever you have home or auto damage may get you more payout from insurance companies, but your insurance premiums will likely go up significantly, and you may even be dropped from coverage altogether. Both home and auto insurance companies report claims to industrywide databases, so all of the major insurance companies can see your claim history. Even if you move on to a new insurance company after filing a lot of claims, your premiums will likely be very high.</p> <p>Filing a lot of claims is almost certain to cost you more in higher premiums over time than you will get from claim settlements. According to a 2015 study from InsuranceQuotes.com, a single auto insurance claim can drive your rates up 41 percent to 76 percent, and multiple claims can drive rates up even higher.</p> <p>Insurance companies set your rates based not only on their assessment of your risk of having property damage, but also for the risk to them that you will file a claim. As a result, there are situations where you are better off not filing a claim with the insurance company &mdash; even if your damage is more than your deductible and you could get a payout.</p> <h2>1. The claim would be less than the deductible</h2> <p>The first thing you need to know before deciding to file an insurance claim is your deductible. The deductible is how much you have to pay out of your own pocket before the insurance company will pay to settle a claim.</p> <p>For example, if your auto policy has a deductible of $1,000 and your total repair bill is $1,100, then the insurance company will only pay $100. If the total damage is $900, then the insurance company won't pay anything, and your premiums could still go up.</p> <p>There is not much point in going through the hassle of filing a claim, getting the damage appraised by an insurance adjuster, and risking higher insurance premiums if it is likely that the damage is below your deductible and you won't get a payout anyway.</p> <h2>2. You have filed recent claims</h2> <p>Even if your claim would be more than the deductible and you would get a payout, if you have filed other recent claims, you are risking a significant increase in rates by filing another one. The average person files a claim about once every eight to 10 years, so if you file claims more frequently than average, you could be setting yourself up for higher rates.</p> <h2>3. There is no accident report and no injuries</h2> <p>For auto insurance, the payout from a small damage claim can easily be offset by the years of higher rates you'll pay afterward. For small incidents, it can be much less expensive to simply pay to repair the damage without going through the insurance company if there are no injuries and no accident report is filed. If a police report is filed, your insurance company will likely find out about the incident whether you report it or not.</p> <h2>4. There is no potential for lawsuit</h2> <p>One of the benefits of getting your insurance company involved is to handle a potentially very expensive lawsuit. Even if your incident is minor, you may want to talk with your insurance company if you get the feeling that the other party may pursue a liability claim. If a lawsuit does not seem like a possibility based on the incident and the parties involved, this can tip the balance in favor of paying for the damage yourself without involving the insurance company.</p> <h2>5. You have an emergency fund</h2> <p>If the damage is a few thousand dollars or less, you might still come out ahead by paying out of pocket rather than filing a claim. You can avoid the risk of higher premiums for years, and getting a record that can follow you even if you look for insurance from a different provider. For example, the back window of my car shattered, and I decided to take care of this $300 repair without going through the insurance company at all.</p> <h2>6. Watch out for expensive home policy claims</h2> <p>Dog bites, water damage, and slip-and-fall claims are most likely to trigger rate increases on your homeowners insurance, according to Bankrate. Think twice before making a claim in these categories if the claim would be fairly small and you can handle the expense on your own.</p> <h2>7. Inquiries can make your rates go up without even filing a claim</h2> <p>Some insurance agents are obligated to report inquiries to the insurance company, and a mere <a href="http://www.aarp.org/money/insurance/info-12-2011/phone-call-raise-insurance-rate-ask-sid.html" target="_blank">inquiry about your coverage</a> can be used to raise your rates due to the increased risk that you may file a claim.</p> <p>You may want to investigate your coverage on your own by looking at your insurance policy and deciding whether it is worth it to call your insurance agent. You can also ask your agent if they are obligated to report the inquiry to the insurance company before you start talking about a potential claim.</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" data-pin-save="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2F7-times-you-shouldnt-file-an-insurance-claim&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2F7%2520Times%2520You%2520Shouldnt%2520File%2520an%2520Insurance%2520Claim.jpg&amp;description=7%20Times%20You%20Shouldnt%20File%20an%20Insurance%20Claim"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/7%20Times%20You%20Shouldnt%20File%20an%20Insurance%20Claim.jpg" alt="7 Times You Shouldn't File an Insurance Claim" width="250" height="374" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dr-penny-pincher">Dr Penny Pincher</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-times-you-shouldnt-file-an-insurance-claim">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-4"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/beware-your-insurance-may-not-cover-these-8-losses">Beware: Your Insurance May Not Cover These 8 Losses</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-times-when-bundling-insurance-doesnt-make-sense">4 Times When Bundling Insurance Doesn&#039;t Make Sense</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/3-things-you-should-know-about-rental-car-insurance">3 Things You Should Know About Rental Car Insurance</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-reasons-you-should-buy-the-rental-car-insurance">6 Reasons You Should Buy the Rental Car Insurance</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/why-you-should-ask-for-a-clue-report-before-buying-a-home">Why You Should Ask for a CLUE Report Before Buying a Home</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Insurance accidents auto insurance claims damages deductibles homeowners insurance policies Fri, 07 Jul 2017 08:31:04 +0000 Dr Penny Pincher 1976049 at http://www.wisebread.com Beware: Your Insurance May Not Cover These 8 Losses http://www.wisebread.com/beware-your-insurance-may-not-cover-these-8-losses <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/beware-your-insurance-may-not-cover-these-8-losses" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock-498559502.jpg" alt="Man learning his insurance may not cover these losses" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="141" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>You might think that you have enough insurance protection. After all, you have car, homeowners, life, health, and disability insurance coverage. What else could you possibly need?</p> <p>Here's an unsettling truth: Even if you've taken out all the insurance policies necessary to protect yourself and your family, you might still face coverage gaps. Review your policies regularly. And when you do, watch for these potential gaps in your coverage.</p> <h2>1. Life insurance</h2> <p>Many employers offer group life insurance to their workers as an important financial benefit. The American Council of Life Insurers said that at the end of 2015, group life insurance represented 44 percent of all life insurance policies issued in the United States.</p> <p>Employees like this insurance because it is usually inexpensive. But there are some negatives: Most group life insurance policies end if you leave your employer, and the next company at which you work might not offer this coverage. Secondly, the payouts for group life policies tend to be smaller than for an individual life policy that you'd buy for yourself. Usually, the death benefit with a group life policy is one to two times your annual salary. That's a nice bit of cash, but it's certainly not enough to provide for your family long-term should you unexpectedly pass away.</p> <p>That's why you should use a group policy as a supplement, not a replacement, for an individual life insurance policy. Yes, an individual policy will cost more, but you'll also receive a far larger death benefit. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/why-your-group-life-insurance-is-not-enough?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Why Your Group Life Insurance Is Not Enough</a>)</p> <h2>2. Dog bites</h2> <p>According to the Insurance Information Institute, dog bites and other dog-related injuries accounted for more than one-third of all homeowners insurance liability funds paid out in 2016. That equaled 18,123 claims, with the average cost for each claim coming out to $33,230.</p> <p>The challenge with dog bites is that many insurance providers won't insure homeowners who own certain breeds considered &quot;dangerous.&quot; Insurance companies vary on this, but many won't insure pit bulls, Rottweilers, German shepherds, or Doberman pinschers. If you have a dog, check with your insurance company to make sure that it is covered. Paying for a dog bite without the help of your insurer can prove costly.</p> <h2>3. Transportation expenses</h2> <p>Your car insurance policy will cover the damages to your vehicle following an accident as part of its collision coverage. But what if you need to rent a car to get around while your vehicle is in the shop? That can be expensive.</p> <p>Unfortunately, most auto policies don't provide what is known as transportation expenses coverage. And when policies do provide it, the amount they'll give you to rent a car &mdash; often as little as $20 a day &mdash; might not be enough to cover the whole cost.</p> <p>Check your policy to determine if it will cover a rental car. If it does, make sure you know exactly how much you'll be getting. If you're not satisfied, it might be time to pay to boost this coverage.</p> <h2>4. Extra liabilities</h2> <p>What if a neighbor drowns while swimming in your pool? Will your homeowners insurance provide enough coverage if your neighbor's family files a costly lawsuit against you?</p> <p>Probably not &mdash; and that's where an umbrella insurance policy comes in. An umbrella policy provides extra liability coverage above the limits of the coverage provided by your auto or homeowners insurance. Maybe your homeowners insurance policy provides liability coverage of up to $500,000. If someone sues you for $1 million, you then might be on the hook for the extra $500,000.</p> <p>An umbrella policy can protect you from this. It kicks in when a legal action against you supersedes the amount of liability coverage you have. In the example above, your umbrella policy would cover the extra $500,000 that the homeowners policy would not. An umbrella policy can offer you the same kind of extra protection if you cause a serious car accident.</p> <p>Umbrella insurance isn't overly expensive. The Insurance Information Institute says that consumers typically pay between $150 to $300 a year for $1 million worth of umbrella liability protection. This investment might help you avoid a financial catastrophe.</p> <h2>5. Not enough disability coverage</h2> <p>You might think you've taken the steps to protect yourself and your family by taking out a disability policy. If you are injured or become ill and can't work, this policy will kick in to provide you and your family regular payments.</p> <p>Here's the challenge, though: Most group disability insurance plans only pay out 60 percent of the insured's base salary. And employees who rely on bonuses and overtime won't receive any pay out for those extras.</p> <p>Receiving 60 percent of your pay even though you are not working might sound like a good deal. But it can be challenging to live on just a portion of your regular income. Could you afford to cover all your monthly expenses if 40 percent of your income suddenly disappeared, especially if you've got medical deductibles and other costs to cover?</p> <p>If not, consider investing in supplemental disability insurance. You will have to pay for this, of course, but this extra coverage could protect you in case medical problems keep you out of work.</p> <h2>6. Wind or hurricane damage</h2> <p>A 2016 report from Travelers Insurance identified heavy wind storms as the cause of the greatest number of homeowners insurance claims from 2009 through 2015.</p> <p>You better make sure, then, that your homeowners insurance policy provides adequate coverage for wind damage.</p> <p>The Insurance Information Institute says that many insurers, especially those clustered along the Atlantic seaboard and Gulf of Mexico, include deductibles for hurricane and wind damage that are separate from those for incidents such as fire or lightning strikes. These can be expensive. Your standard deductible for most forms of home damage might be as low as $500, meaning that you'll have to cover the first $500 of any repairs before your homeowners insurance kicks in. But an extra deductible for wind or hurricane damage may instead be a percentage of the insured value of your home.</p> <p>Say your home's insured value is $300,000 and your insurer's wind or hurricane deductible is 5 percent. This means that you'd have to cover $15,000 in damages out of your own pocket before your insurance coverage would kick in.</p> <p>If you live in a storm-prone area, check your coverage. If the deductible for wind or hurricane damage is too high, it's time to shop for a new policy.</p> <h2>7. Flooding</h2> <p>If a heavy rainstorm causes your basement to flood, a standard homeowners insurance policy won't cover the damages caused by the water.</p> <p>If you want to protect yourself from floods, you'll need to purchase a separate form of protection known as flood insurance. You can usually purchase one of two policies &mdash; one that covers your home for up to $250,000, and a second that covers your personal property for up to $100,000.</p> <p>Flood insurance will <em>only</em> cover water damage resulting from a flood. It won't provide coverage if your water heater bursts and floods your basement or if water backs up from your toilets.</p> <p>Flood insurance doesn't do much to protect your personal belongings if they are stored in a basement, either. This insurance only covers damages to mechanical systems, electrical systems, and structural elements. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-surprising-things-your-homeowners-insurance-doesnt-cover?ref=seealso" target="_blank">9 Surprising Things Your Homeowners Insurance Doesn't Cover</a>)</p> <h2>8. Fire</h2> <p>What if a fire destroys your home? Yes, your homeowners insurance policy will help you rebuild. But don't expect it to pay for the full cost.</p> <p>Most insurance policies place caps on the amount of coverage they'll pay out. They also factor in depreciation when determining the value of the possessions that were destroyed in the fire. You might receive a much smaller payout than you expect when it's time to rebuild your home.</p> <p>Call your insurer to make sure that you will receive enough coverage should a fire destroy your home. If that coverage isn't enough, you might have to pay for extra protection.</p> <h2>9. Theft</h2> <p>According to the Insurance Services Office, the average loss in a home burglary is $3,786. Your homeowners policy can help you recover some of the costs from your stolen personal property, but don't assume it'll reimburse you completely. Often, the payout comes up very short.</p> <p>In order to keep premiums down, homeowners policies put caps on some valuable items, such as jewelry, electronics, or artwork. Even cash often has a measly limit of $200. Let's say your homeowners policy puts a $1,000 threshold on jewelry, and your $3,000 diamond ring is stolen, along with several other expensive necklaces. You'd be out thousands of dollars. The payout wouldn't come close to the value of what was stolen.</p> <p>If you have valuable items in your home, you may want to consider purchasing an additional rider (or &quot;floater&quot;) policy that will cover items beyond what homeowners will offer. Some providers offer special riders for unique items, such as jewelry or camera equipment.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dan-rafter">Dan Rafter</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/beware-your-insurance-may-not-cover-these-8-losses">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-times-when-bundling-insurance-doesnt-make-sense">4 Times When Bundling Insurance Doesn&#039;t Make Sense</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-times-you-shouldnt-file-an-insurance-claim">7 Times You Shouldn&#039;t File an Insurance Claim</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/when-should-single-people-get-life-insurance">When Should Single People Get Life Insurance?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/11-unexpected-things-covered-by-homeowners-insurance">11 Unexpected Things Covered by Homeowners Insurance</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-things-you-need-to-know-about-disability-insurance">4 Things You Need to Know About Disability Insurance</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Insurance auto insurance damages disability dog bites fire floods gaps homeowners insurance hurricanes liabilities life insurance policies theft weather Fri, 19 May 2017 08:30:08 +0000 Dan Rafter 1949204 at http://www.wisebread.com Don't Buy a House With a Pool Until You Can Answer These 7 Questions http://www.wisebread.com/dont-buy-a-house-with-a-pool-until-you-can-answer-these-7-questions <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/dont-buy-a-house-with-a-pool-until-you-can-answer-these-7-questions" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock-469932560.jpg" alt="Asking questions before buying a house with a pool" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Having a built-in pool on your property comes with plenty of perks &mdash; like providing respite from the summer heat and elevating your kids' social status. But this luxury isn't all splash battles and cannonballs. Pools, among other things, require costly maintenance while also introducing a laundry list of liability and safety concerns into your life. Keep your head above water when considering buying a house with a pool by asking these eight important questions.</p> <h2>1. Does everyone in the family know how to swim?</h2> <p>This may seem like a silly question to ask yourself before buying a house with a pool, but you might be surprised at how many pool-owners either can't swim themselves, or have children who can't swim. Both of these scenarios could end in tragedy. And if you can't swim, there's <a href="http://www.usaswimming.org/DesktopDefault.aspx?TabId=1796" target="_blank">only a 13 percent chance</a> your child will learn how to swim. Not the best odds to have when a life is on the line.</p> <h2>2. Does everyone in your family know CPR?</h2> <p>If you're planning to own a pool, it's a wise decision to be trained in CPR. The few minutes' time between on-the-scene CPR and that which is administered by EMTs, who may take several minutes to arrive, is literally life and death.</p> <h2>3. How old is the pool?</h2> <p>Keller Williams Real Estate agent Jen Teague provides a few important construction questions to ask, including:</p> <ul> <li>What company installed the pool and is it still in business?</li> <li>Is it under warranty?</li> <li>Has there been any major work done to the pool over the last year?</li> <li>Are there any consistent issues (leaks, etc.) the owner has had with it?</li> </ul> <p>You're specifically looking to find out how much longer the pump life is, as well as any maintenance that may be needed for the liner or granite. After a while the chlorine wears down the liner and it will be more prone to tearing. Granite cracks over time as well.</p> <p>Three-decade pool industry veteran Michael Kern of MGK Pool Service in Lowell, Massachusetts adds, &quot;Cement pools need to be replastered every six to nine years; above ground pools need the liner replaced every four to eight years; and in-ground pools need the liner replaced every 15 to 20 years.&quot;</p> <h2>4. Is the pool surrounded by a fence?</h2> <p>A fence around your pool isn't to keep your kids in, but rather other people out &mdash; like wandering toddlers and even pets. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission's (CPSC) Pool Safely campaign, which focuses on drowning prevention and water safety (a <a href="https://www.poolsafely.gov/wp-content/uploads/2016/04/Safety-Barrier-Guidelines-for-Residential-Pools.pdf" target="_blank">must read</a> if you're planning to become a pool owner!), suggests that the fence stands at least four feet high, surrounds the pool on all four sides, and includes a self-closing, self-latching gate. Adding an alarm to the door is an extra layer of protection so you're alerted to unauthorized visitors.</p> <h2>5. Does the pool have a safe drain cover?</h2> <p>The Virginia Graeme Baker Pool &amp; Spa Safety Act, named after a little girl who died in 2002 when the suction from a spa drain trapped her under water, mandates drain covers for public spas and pools &mdash; but homeowners also should practice this safety measure. A pool technician can tell you whether or not your drain cover needs updating, which is generally about every five years. The ZAC Foundation, an organization working to strengthen pool safety legislation and educate children on water safety, <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CULPxBSa_10" target="_blank">explains the difference in drain covers</a> and why having a compliant drain cover is important.</p> <h2>6. How much will maintenance cost?</h2> <p>Most homeowners have a general budget in place for day-to-day home expenses, plus a little extra to cover emergencies. But those who have never owned a pool may not be prepared for the added expense. Be sure to ask your agent about how much annual maintenance the pool will need so you can get a good idea of whether or not you can afford its upkeep.</p> <p>This is also a good time to ask the previous owners what pool necessities will be left behind and what you may need to buy when you assume ownership.</p> <h2>7. How much will your homeowners insurance increase?</h2> <p>Your swimming pool is a liability, for sure, and your insurer will consider that when pricing your policy. Before you jump in head first, hammer out the details of the policy and its cost. Additional umbrella insurance is always recommended for homeowners with a pool.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/mikey-rox">Mikey Rox</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dont-buy-a-house-with-a-pool-until-you-can-answer-these-7-questions">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-times-to-update-your-homeowners-insurance">7 Times to Update Your Homeowners Insurance</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/20-questions-to-ask-during-an-open-house">20+ Questions to Ask During an Open House</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-money-moves-to-make-after-buying-your-first-house">6 Money Moves to Make After Buying Your First House</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-affordable-water-parks-you-can-drive-to">10 Affordable Water Parks You Can Drive To</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-warning-signs-you-cant-afford-that-new-house">9 Warning Signs You Can&#039;t Afford That New House</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Real Estate and Housing drowning expenses home buying homeowners insurance kids maintenance pools safety swimming Wed, 05 Apr 2017 09:00:12 +0000 Mikey Rox 1917660 at http://www.wisebread.com 4 Times When Bundling Insurance Doesn't Make Sense http://www.wisebread.com/4-times-when-bundling-insurance-doesnt-make-sense <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/4-times-when-bundling-insurance-doesnt-make-sense" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock-486437284.jpg" alt="Learning when bundled insurance doesn&#039;t make sense" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Insurance companies offer a host of ways to reduce the premiums you pay for auto, life, home, and health insurance. If you have a clean driving record, you might qualify for a discount on your auto insurance rates. If you install a security system to protect your single-family home, you might have to pay less for your homeowners insurance. And if you don't smoke, you'll certainly pay a lot less for life insurance.</p> <p>One of the most popular ways to qualify for a discount is to bundle different insurance policies together &mdash; say, your homeowners and auto policies &mdash; from the same insurer. Insurers will give you a discount as a reward for buying more than one policy from them.</p> <p>Bundling is popular. A 2016 story by InsuranceQuotes.com cited a U.S. National Auto Insurance study by J.D. Power and Associates saying that 58% of policyholders bundle their homeowners and auto insurance policies. InsuranceQuotes.com also reported that bundling insurance can save policyholders about 10% off their annual rates, if they land the best bundling deals available.</p> <p>But, there is a catch here, and sometimes taking out life, auto, and homeowners policies with different companies makes the most sense. Even though bundling might sound like the obvious choice for consumers hoping to save money on insurance coverage, there are a few times when bundling actually doesn't result in the biggest financial savings.</p> <h2>You Didn't Shop Around</h2> <p>The best way to nab the lowest rates on insurance is to take the time to shop around with different companies. This is far easier today, with insurers providing online quotes to potential customers.</p> <p>It can be tempting to skip the shopping phase if, for example, your auto insurer offers to provide a bundling discount for your homeowners insurance, too. But resist the temptation to take your insurer's offer until you've shopped around. You might find another insurer that will provide you a policy with a premium low enough to outweigh your first insurer's bundling discount. Armed with a lower quote from a competing insurer, you might even be able to convince your current insurance company to provide you an even bigger discount.</p> <h2>You Have a History of Health Problems</h2> <p>You'll pay far less for life insurance coverage if you have a history of good health. If your past is dotted with serious health issues, you can unfortunately expect your life insurance premiums to be higher. This spotty health history might also make it less financially sound to bundle your life insurance coverage with auto or homeowners insurance. Again, it's especially important to shop around with life insurance providers, especially when you have a complicated health history &mdash; including if you smoke or have a chronic condition.</p> <p>It's also worth noting that you may not want something as important as your life insurance coverage bundled through a company that specializes in say, auto insurance. In that case, it may be worth having it be its own separate policy.</p> <h2>Your Driving Record Isn't Exactly Flawless</h2> <p>Claim an accident on your auto insurance, and you can expect your premiums to soar. Again, it makes sense to shop around with different insurers to find the lowest rates when you are stuck with a spotty driving record.</p> <p>If you instead simply bundle your auto policy with the company that provides your homeowners insurance, you might miss out on lower premiums that will outweigh the bundling discount. Do your homework &mdash; even if it takes time &mdash; to discover if there are other insurers out there willing to give you a bigger break for your past driving mistakes.</p> <h2>You Need Specialized Homeowners Coverage</h2> <p>What if you need your homeowners insurance policy to cover an expensive jewelry collection? What if you need to insure solar panels on your home's roof? This coverage can be complicated, and cost more. Again, when you have such specific needs, if often makes more sense to talk to different insurers than blindly accept your provider's bundling offer.</p> <p>The main point here is that often, bundling will save you the most money. But there are exceptions, and you won't know the savings you might enjoy if you don't first shop around with other providers &mdash; even if your current insurer is promising a bundling discount.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dan-rafter">Dan Rafter</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-times-when-bundling-insurance-doesnt-make-sense">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/beware-your-insurance-may-not-cover-these-8-losses">Beware: Your Insurance May Not Cover These 8 Losses</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-times-you-shouldnt-file-an-insurance-claim">7 Times You Shouldn&#039;t File an Insurance Claim</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/when-should-single-people-get-life-insurance">When Should Single People Get Life Insurance?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/is-pay-as-you-drive-auto-insurance-worth-it">Is Pay-As-You-Drive Auto Insurance Worth It?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-ways-being-a-safe-driver-will-save-you-big-money">4 Ways Being a Safe Driver Will Save You Big Money</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Insurance auto insurance bundling discounts homeowners insurance life insurance policies rates savings Tue, 14 Mar 2017 10:30:18 +0000 Dan Rafter 1905172 at http://www.wisebread.com 11 Unexpected Things Covered by Homeowners Insurance http://www.wisebread.com/11-unexpected-things-covered-by-homeowners-insurance <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/11-unexpected-things-covered-by-homeowners-insurance" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/611293320.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p><em>This post brought to you by <a href="https://bob.dmpxs.com/bob_007.gif?s=post&amp;l=289%7C921%7C3488&amp;e=click&amp;p=disclaimer&amp;ids=null&amp;imp_hash=%7BIMP_SIGNATURE%7D&amp;bobredir=http%3A%2F%2Fad.doubleclick.net%2Fddm%2Ftrackclk%2FN4492.127014FEDERATEDMEDIA%2FB10893953.145514384%3Bdc_trk_aid%3D317173286%3Bdc_trk_cid%3D78536406%3Bdc_lat%3D%3Bdc_rdid%3D%3Btag_for_child_directed_treatment%3D&amp;c=113322" rel="nofollow">Progressive</a>. See how much <a href="https://bob.dmpxs.com/bob_007.gif?s=post&amp;l=289%7C921%7C3488&amp;e=click&amp;p=disclaimer&amp;ids=null&amp;imp_hash=%7BIMP_SIGNATURE%7D&amp;bobredir=http%3A%2F%2Fad.doubleclick.net%2Fddm%2Ftrackclk%2FN4492.127014FEDERATEDMEDIA%2FB10893953.145514384%3Bdc_trk_aid%3D317173286%3Bdc_trk_cid%3D78536406%3Bdc_lat%3D%3Bdc_rdid%3D%3Btag_for_child_directed_treatment%3D&amp;c=113322" rel="nofollow">Progressive </a>could save you when you bundle your policies.</em></p> <p>Homeowners insurance is absolutely essential if you want to protect your house and assets. If you take a look at a typical insurance policy (commonly known as an HO-3), you&rsquo;ll find it protects homeowners from a wide range of mishaps, from fires to vandalism, lightning strikes and tree falls. But do you know the full scope of what your homeowners policy covers?</p> <p>Here&rsquo;s a look at some of the surprising things that you may find are covered by homeowners insurance.</p> <h2>1. Patios, Gazebos, and Sheds</h2> <p>You may think that you&rsquo;re only buying insurance for your home. But in reality, the homeowners policy usually covers your entire property, including all structures such as storage sheds, gazebos, and that luxury doghouse you just had built for Fido. Be sure to let the insurance company know ahead of time, however, that you have these structures on your property. This will ensure you have documentation for coverage.</p> <h2>2. Tombstones</h2> <p>Believe it or not, grave markers at a cemetery are considered &ldquo;personal property&rdquo; and are therefore covered under most homeowners policies. Thus, most people are covered up to $5,000 worth of damage. It&rsquo;s important to note, however, that some gravestone damage is caused by the cemetery&rsquo;s own landscaping equipment, and would therefore be covered by the cemetery&rsquo;s perpetual care fund. So be sure to check the source of damage before making an insurance claim.</p> <h2>3. Riots</h2> <p>A typical HO-3 will cover your home and personal property in the event that they are damaged during civil unrest. (Some policies refer to it as &ldquo;civil commotion.&rdquo;) Vandalism, fire, and explosions are usually covered. If a State of Emergency is declared in your area due to rioting that could help your case when filing a claim. If not, it&rsquo;s a good idea to get a police report to document the event and damage.</p> <h2>4. Volcanoes (But Not Earthquakes)</h2> <p>Most of us outside Hawaii don&rsquo;t have to worry about this, but if your home is in the path of an erupting volcano, rest assured you&rsquo;ll be covered. It&rsquo;s worth noting, however, that earthquake damage (sometimes referred to as &ldquo;ground movement&rdquo;) is not covered under most standard policies.</p> <h2>5. Flooding (In Some Specific Cases)</h2> <p>A typical homeowners policy does not cover flood damage. You&rsquo;ll need separate insurance to cover damage caused by persistent rainfall, an overflowing creek bed, or flooding of a similar nature. But, some policies will cover water damage caused by things like a faulty sump pump, busted water heater or broken pipe. And you may find that water problems may be covered if the water is the indirect result of other kinds of damage (for example, a roof blowing off during a storm). Be sure to check your policy carefully to see what&rsquo;s covered when it comes to water.</p> <h2>6. Your Kids&rsquo; Stuff at College</h2> <p>If you send your child off to school and he&rsquo;s living in a dorm, his items are usually covered under your homeowners policy. That&rsquo;s because most policies cover anyone in your household as well as students under the age of 24. Not all policies cover students living in off-campus housing, however. It&rsquo;s also worth noting that liability limits on students&rsquo; items may be lower, so if they have expensive items like a computer or bicycle, it may be a good idea to get some renters insurance as well.</p> <h2>7. Identity Theft</h2> <p>If some nefarious person gets ahold of your sensitive data, it can become difficult to straighten out. Fortunately, many homeowners policies now allow for reimbursement of the cost of fixing your credit reports and restoring your identity. This can include the cost of lost wages, phone bills and possibly even legal representation. If this coverage is not included in your basic policy, it may be available as a low-cost add-on or endorsement, so check with your insurance provider.</p> <h2>8. Anything You Travel With</h2> <p>Most homeowners policies cover your belongings wherever they go, under something called an &ldquo;off-premises&rdquo; provision. That means that if your laptop or luggage is stolen while you&rsquo;re on vacation in Europe, you&rsquo;re usually covered. For pricey items, like your engagement ring or your triathlon bike, it may be worth getting an additional rider to ensure you have enough coverage.</p> <h2>9. Spoiled Food</h2> <p>Let&rsquo;s say a big storm blows through your town and you&rsquo;re without power for six days. Say goodbye to whatever was left in your refrigerator. The good news is that most homeowners policies will cover the cost of replacing spoiled food. Just make sure you take pictures of the food. Also, take note of the deductible on your plan. Some policies have no deductible on food spoilage claims, others may have a high deductible, which would make filing a claim pointless.</p> <h2>10. Dog Bites</h2> <p>If your dog bites someone, your homeowners policy may cover the cost of medical care, usually up to as much as $300,000. Just be aware that some dogs can do serious damage when they bite, and may require additional insurance to cover the cost of any potential claims.</p> <h2>11. Home Upgrades Required by Law</h2> <p>If your local government passes an ordinance requiring your home to have a new roof, the cost of that improvement is often covered. This is nice to have if, for instance, your home is damaged in a storm and the repairs must be in line with new zoning laws. There are usually limits to this coverage &mdash; insurance may not pay for full demolition, for instance &mdash; but it&rsquo;s nice to have for homeowners who may live in older houses. Check your insurance policy to see if this coverage is included in your basic plan or available as a low-cost endorsement.</p> <script type="text/javascript" charset="utf-8" src="https://vc.cdn.fm/video_conversationalist/system/published/opportunity/113322921/289_3488.js"></script><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/tim-lemke">Tim Lemke</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/11-unexpected-things-covered-by-homeowners-insurance">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-times-to-update-your-homeowners-insurance">7 Times to Update Your Homeowners Insurance</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-other-kinds-of-insurance-you-may-need-to-buy-for-your-home">7 Other Kinds of Insurance You May Need to Buy for Your Home</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/beware-your-insurance-may-not-cover-these-8-losses">Beware: Your Insurance May Not Cover These 8 Losses</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-reasons-you-definitely-need-renters-insurance">5 Reasons You Definitely Need Renters&#039; Insurance</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-surprising-things-your-homeowners-insurance-doesnt-cover">9 Surprising Things Your Homeowners Insurance Doesn&#039;t Cover</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Insurance Real Estate and Housing coverage dogs flooding homeowners insurance progressive insurance state of emergency theft volcano Wed, 08 Feb 2017 14:15:06 +0000 Tim Lemke 1888619 at http://www.wisebread.com You Need an Inventory of Your Stuff (and It's Easier Than You Think) http://www.wisebread.com/you-need-an-inventory-of-your-stuff-and-its-easier-than-you-think <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/you-need-an-inventory-of-your-stuff-and-its-easier-than-you-think" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock_000041416368_Large.jpg" alt="woman checklist" title="woman checklist" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Take this quick quiz:</p> <ul> <li>What is the serial number of your computer?<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>How much did you pay for your gaming console?<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>What is the dollar value of your record collection?<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>What is the make and model of your flat screen television?<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>How many tools are in your garage?<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>How many of these questions can you answer off the top of your head?</li> </ul> <p>Now imagine your house has burned to the ground with all your belongings inside of it. During this crisis, would you be able to successfully come up with this kind of information for every possession you own? Could you do that off the top of your head?</p> <p>An up-to-date home inventory list should be part of everyone's emergency kit. Not only will it help you resolve insurance claims in your favor by substantiating lost, stolen, or damaged possessions, but it will ensure that you have purchased enough insurance in the first place to replace your belongings. (If you own a vintage house or a lot of collectibles, it's important that you consider buying <a href="http://learningcenter.statefarm.com/insurance/home/replacement-cost-vs-market-value/">replacement cost insurance</a>&nbsp;versus&nbsp;market value insurance). (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-surprising-things-covered-by-homeowners-insurance?ref=seealso">8 Surprising Things Covered by Homeowners Insurance</a>)</p> <p>There are a number of ways to inventory your belongings. Don't make this harder than it should be. Chose the method you are most likely to do.</p> <h2>1. Make a List and Check It Twice</h2> <p>You can be old school and use pen and paper or an Excel spreadsheet to record and describe each of your possessions. The description of each object should include the make and model number, when and where it was purchased, price paid, and its current condition. Or you can use an app such as <a href="https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/inventoryd/id588651470?mt=8">Inventory'd</a> or <a href="https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/iii-inventory/id475840890?mt=8">III Inventory</a> to photograph and organize your list of belongings.</p> <h2>2. Gather Evidence to Support Your Claim</h2> <p>Keep all receipts for expensive items. These should be part of your inventory.</p> <h2>3. Visual Aids Are Your Friend</h2> <p>Regardless of how you choose to create your inventory, I recommend that you also take photographs, at least of your big ticket items such as consumer electronics, collectibles, and furniture. Valuable items such as your computer and jewelry might require a separate insurance policy. Double check with your insurance company what items fall outside your general homeowners insurance policy.</p> <h2>4. Protect Your Dragon's Hoard</h2> <p>For jewelry, I take a tip from my jeweler and make full size color copies or scans of my jewelry pieces. In the event of theft, this will make it easier for the police, pawn brokers, and others to correctly identify my stolen baubles.</p> <h2>5. Make a Movie</h2> <p>If you have access to a video camera, you can also create a video tour of your home and all its contents. Pretend you're on MTV Cribs and give a running commentary on where you bought everything in your home and how much you paid for it. Shoot close ups of small items and read out serial numbers. Don't forget to mention fancy ceiling lamps, fireplaces, and other fixtures.</p> <h2>6. Be Thorough</h2> <p>Don't be daunted by this task! If you have a house that is packed full of stuff, it might be easier to inventory room by room as opposed to itemizing things by type. Start at the door of each room and work from top to bottom, clockwise around the space. Don't forget to itemize the contents of drawers and closets!</p> <h2>7. Store Your Inventory Off-Site</h2> <p>Once you've created an inventory list, make sure to keep a copy in a safe place outside of your home, like in a safe deposit box at your bank or at the home of a trusted friend. If your house is destroyed by a tornado, you don't want the only copy of your inventory list to be lost in the rubble.</p> <p>The copy can be photocopies of your original information, or a digital version that is stored on discs or a thumb drive.</p> <p>If you plan on storing a copy of your inventory online in cloud storage, make sure that your information is protected from thieves, who use the Internet to window shop for future victims. Double-check your security settings, create a strong password, and use third-party authentication tools. If you go this route and don't have a photographic memory, remember to make a hard copy of your password, user name, and site-key codes and store that information off-site.</p> <h2>8. Yes, It's Worth It</h2> <p>I will be the first to admit it: Inventorying the contents of your home is a tedious and sucky job. It's a lot of work spent in advance of a disaster that may never strike. So, what's the point?</p> <p>Creating an inventory is like having catastrophic insurance. It's something that no one wants to spend time and money on until disaster strikes. Then it's the best thing ever. If your house gets robbed, wouldn't you like to give yourself every chance of recovering your stolen treasures?</p> <p>In addition to saving your bacon, or, at least properly ensuring your bacon in the event of loss or damage, an inventory has two fantastic side benefits: as back-up evidence for tax deductions and as a decluttering tool.</p> <h3>Win a Fight With the IRS</h3> <p>Every year at tax time, I have no problem calculating the depreciation of my office equipment and assessing the resale value of goods I donate to charity. Because I did all the heavy organizational lifting for my home inventory list, I know exactly what needs to be deducted from my taxes and where to find the related receipts if the IRS comes knocking.</p> <h3>Inventory Your Home as the First Step in Decluttering</h3> <p>One of the most powerful organizational tools you can give yourself is an inventory list. Have you watched that beautiful nightmare that is the show Hoarders? Then, you know what I'm talking about. Documenting and touching every single material possession you own gives a detailed picture of your consumerism. Most people who do a full house inventory for insurance reasons, discover that their home is full of things they don't want or need.</p> <p>Don't try to declutter while you are doing the inventory. That kind of mission creep will lead to chaos. Make your inventory list first. You can go back through your home, room by room, drawer by drawer at your convenience.</p> <p>Be sure to update your inventory list periodically. When you bring new things into your home be sure to add them to your inventory list. When you donate or sell goods, remove them.</p> <p><em>Have you created an inventory of your stuff? How'd you do it?</em></p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Fyou-need-an-inventory-of-your-stuff-and-its-easier-than-you-think&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2FYou%2520Need%2520an%2520Inventory%2520of%2520Your%2520Stuff%2520%2528and%2520Its%2520Easier%2520Than%2520You%2520Think%2529.jpg&amp;description=You%20Need%20an%20Inventory%20of%20Your%20Stuff%20(and%20Its%20Easier%20Than%20You%20Think)"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/You%20Need%20an%20Inventory%20of%20Your%20Stuff%20%28and%20Its%20Easier%20Than%20You%20Think%29.jpg" alt="You Need an Inventory of Your Stuff (and It's Easier Than You Think)" width="250" height="374" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/max-wong">Max Wong</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/you-need-an-inventory-of-your-stuff-and-its-easier-than-you-think">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-times-to-update-your-homeowners-insurance">7 Times to Update Your Homeowners Insurance</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-other-kinds-of-insurance-you-may-need-to-buy-for-your-home">7 Other Kinds of Insurance You May Need to Buy for Your Home</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/beware-your-insurance-may-not-cover-these-8-losses">Beware: Your Insurance May Not Cover These 8 Losses</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/11-unexpected-things-covered-by-homeowners-insurance">11 Unexpected Things Covered by Homeowners Insurance</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-times-when-bundling-insurance-doesnt-make-sense">4 Times When Bundling Insurance Doesn&#039;t Make Sense</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Insurance Organization homeowners insurance inventory possessions Mon, 05 Jan 2015 12:00:08 +0000 Max Wong 1275171 at http://www.wisebread.com Don't Let Your Bank Pick Your Homeowner's Insurance http://www.wisebread.com/dont-let-your-bank-pick-your-homeowners-insurance <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/dont-let-your-bank-pick-your-homeowners-insurance" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/2744490002_7c858811f2_z.jpg" alt="homeowners" title="homeowners" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="188" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>If you're thinking about letting your home's property or flood insurance lapse because you think you don't need it or money's tight, here's a word of advice &mdash; don't. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-costly-things-new-homeowners-dont-prepare-for">9 Costly Things New Homeowners Don't Prepare For</a>)</p> <p>Your bank can make you pay for home insurance in what's called lender-placed or forced-placed insurance. And the worst part about it is that it could cost much more than insurance you can find on your own, about 5 to 10 times as much.</p> <p>The problem is because of what's called &quot;reverse competition.&quot; Instead of seeking cheaper policies, lenders may be motivated to collect commissions and other fees.</p> <p>&quot;In this case, the lender, who is not the ultimate payer, has an incentive to seek higher cost insurers that offer bigger kickbacks and benefits, rather than the lowest cost option,&quot; J. Robert Hunter, director of insurance for the Consumer Federation of America, told the New York Department of Financial Services.</p> <p>Besides being more expensive, lender-placed insurance policy may have limited coverage. For example, the policies typically do not cover personal items or owner liability.</p> <p>If you're thinking that doesn't sound right, you're not the only one. Regulators in New York, California, Texas, and Florida, as well as the federal Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, are cracking down on the practice and considering new regulations.</p> <h2>Watch the Paperwork</h2> <p>Sometimes homeowners have to pay forced-placed insurance because they mistakenly let their policy lapse in a paperwork oversight. Other times homeowners who never dropped their insurance get forced-placed insurance because their lenders or insurance companies fouled up.</p> <p>Even if they never let their policy lapse, homeowners can still go through a nightmare as they pay high insurance costs while trying to prove to their mortgage servicer that they always had their own policy.</p> <p>Ask Kevin McCarty, who went through over a year of wrangling to get his money back and fix the problem after a paperwork snafu prompted his lender to force-place insurance on his Florida condominium. His insurance agent accidentally sent the wrong policy to his lender, according to the banking magazine American Banker. The agent kept trying to fax the right policy and confirm receipt, while the lender billed McCarty for its more expensive insurance.</p> <p>&quot;It was a very, very frustrating &mdash; from a consumer perspective, enormously frustrating &mdash; experience,&quot; McCarty told American Banker.</p> <p>Unfortunately for banks, McCarty is the insurance commissioner of Florida.</p> <p>The state insurance agency recently started investigating bank and insurance links over forced-placed insurance. Banks maintain they receive the same commissions that agents selling directly to homeowners get, but the insurance commissioner doesn't seem to be buying that argument. You might wonder if McCarty holds a grudge or why Florida didn't start the investigation earlier, considering the state accounts for 40% of the forced-placed insurance market.</p> <h2>Hazard and Flood Insurance</h2> <p>Lenders naturally insist that borrowers carry property insurance, also known as hazard insurance, to protect their loans. If a house burns down, the homeowner probably won't keep paying the mortgage. Homes located in a National Flood Insurance Program Special Flood Hazard Area are required to carry <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-surprising-facts-about-flooding-and-your-home">flood insurance</a>.</p> <p>When you buy a home, you sign documents spelling out what must be covered and how proof of coverage will be submitted to the lender or its loan servicer. Mortgage contracts typically allow lenders to buy property insurance dating back to the last date when they think the homeowner had insurance. They'll send you the bill &mdash; and it could be a large one. And if you don't pay it, you could be at <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-avoid-foreclosure">risk of foreclosure</a>.</p> <h2>Tips for Avoiding Forced-Placed Insurance</h2> <p>To avoid a forced-placed insurance headache...</p> <ul> <li>Be sure to pay the bills on time.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Review all paperwork you get from your lender and insurance company.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>If you pay insurance through a mortgage escrow, watch for a jump in the total monthly payment &mdash; it's a red flag for an insurance issue.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Make sure you don't send insurance verification to the wrong address, a common mistake when lenders often use third-party loan administrators.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>If you change insurance companies, make sure there's no lapse between policies.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Consider notifying your lender of any change and provide proof of coverage directly, instead of waiting for a copy to be mailed from the new insurance company.</li> </ul> <p>If you're stuck in a quandary, you can contact your state insurance department.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/michael-kling">Michael Kling</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dont-let-your-bank-pick-your-homeowners-insurance">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-times-to-update-your-homeowners-insurance">7 Times to Update Your Homeowners Insurance</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-other-kinds-of-insurance-you-may-need-to-buy-for-your-home">7 Other Kinds of Insurance You May Need to Buy for Your Home</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/11-unexpected-things-covered-by-homeowners-insurance">11 Unexpected Things Covered by Homeowners Insurance</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/yes-you-need-home-title-insurance-heres-why">Yes, You Need Home Title Insurance — Here&#039;s Why</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-warning-signs-you-cant-afford-that-new-house">9 Warning Signs You Can&#039;t Afford That New House</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Insurance Real Estate and Housing homeowners insurance mortgages Fri, 02 Nov 2012 09:48:38 +0000 Michael Kling 955162 at http://www.wisebread.com 9 Costly Things New Homeowners Don't Prepare For http://www.wisebread.com/9-costly-things-new-homeowners-dont-prepare-for <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/9-costly-things-new-homeowners-dont-prepare-for" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/new-homeowners.jpg" alt="New homeowners" title="New homeowners" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="141" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>When you&rsquo;re buying a new home (and that could be a new build or a used home that&rsquo;s new to you) you are caught up in a whirlwind of things to do, people to see, papers to sign, and plans to make.</p> <p>Most of all, you&rsquo;re excited. And rightly so.</p> <p>Then, moving day comes. Once all the boxes are unloaded, and the furniture is shoved roughly into the right rooms, you grab a coffee and take a breather. And that&rsquo;s when it dawns on you. This is only just the beginning.</p> <p>As a new homeowner, there are whole lists of things you need to take care of, and almost all of them cost money. Sometimes, a lot of money.</p> <p>So, if you&rsquo;re planning to buy a new home, have just signed the paperwork, or are moving in next week, this list is for you. And if you know someone who's moving in, be a buddy and warn him or her as well.</p> <p>Note: The figures next to the titles are rough guides based on an average sized U.S. home (2,700 sq. ft.) with a typical yard (1/5<sup>th</sup> of an acre), but obviously they could be much higher or lower depending on the size of your home, its location, and the condition it&rsquo;s in.</p> <h3>1. Window Coverings and Treatments &ndash; Up to $2,000</h3> <p>&ldquo;Oh, look at all the windows! It&rsquo;s so bright, so spacious, the views are lovely!&rdquo; Well, yes they are. But you don&rsquo;t want people viewing you at night, or looking in whenever they want, so all those windows need coverings. If it&rsquo;s a new home, you&rsquo;re going to be spending hundreds (and probably thousands) of dollars on blinds, curtains, curtain rods, tie backs, valances, and shades (even more if you're not too handy and have to have someone come and fit them for you). If it&rsquo;s an old home, you may be fine for a year or two, but you&rsquo;ll need to decide if you want to live with the old owner&rsquo;s treatments or have your own. To offset the high costs, remember to look for deals on blinds and other window coverings long before you move in.</p> <h3>2. Landscaping and Groundskeeping &ndash; Up to $30,000</h3> <p>Walking around new neighborhoods, you see all sorts of beautiful landscapes. And often, on new builds, the landscaping at the front of the house is included in the price. Hurray! Oh, but then there&rsquo;s the back. And there, almost always, you&rsquo;re on your own. Depending on the size of the yard and the HOA rules and restrictions, you could be looking at $10,000 - $30,000 worth of landscaping materials and labor. Want a deck or a patio? That&rsquo;s even more money. And then you may need sprinklers, irrigation, and other services. If you move into an old home, that&rsquo;s no guarantee of a great yard. Many foreclosed homes may have been left vacant for a long time, and a once attractive yard could be a wreck, if it was even finished in the first place. So, do your homework. See if you can hustle the homebuilder for a finished back yard too, or ask the seller to drop the price to cover landscaping. If it's foreclosed, a short sale, or some other kind of repo, guess what? Yep, you&rsquo;re on your own. Time to dig into the savings.</p> <h3>3. Major Appliances &ndash; Up to $10,000</h3> <p>New home builds usually include a dishwasher, microwave, and stove, with the option of a fridge/freezer, washer, and dryer. They are basic, unless you opt for the upgrades in your contract, but if you do, they could add a chunk to your monthly mortgage payment. If you buy a used home, you may not have any appliances included, especially on a repossession, short sale, or foreclosure. You could always hunt around on Craigslist for used appliances, but they won&rsquo;t come with a warranty. So figure on spending a nice chunk of change when the time comes to upgrade.</p> <h3>4. HOA Fees &ndash; Up to $700 a Month</h3> <p>Many new homes come with a Home Owners Association, and most used homes have HOAs as well. In theory, they&rsquo;re a sound idea. They are there to keep the neighborhood looking great, and deal with trash collection, playgrounds, community pools, street lighting, common areas, snow removal, and so on. Of course, in practice many people hate the HOA because they extend their reach far beyond what most people consider fair. They can tell you what colors you can and can&rsquo;t paint your house, what type of blinds and window treatments are allowed, what you can and can&rsquo;t put in your yard, and the list goes on. Oh, and it costs you. A typical HOA can run $100 a month. Some are just a few hundred a year, while in the higher-end neighborhoods, you may not see much change out of $1,000 every month! Did you see that one coming? Before you buy, make sure you know what the HOA dues are, but remember, they can go up annually and you have little say in the matter.</p> <h3>5. Furniture &ndash; Up to $20,000</h3> <p>That&rsquo;s a very rough estimate. Clearly your particular tastes can range from Ikea to custom-built furniture, but what you need to know is that most homeowners completely underestimate the amount of furniture they&rsquo;ll need. This is especially true when moving into a bigger home. You may now have two areas for relaxing, a living room and family room. You could also have a den, a library, a nook or study, extra bedrooms, guest rooms, or even a game room. Depending on what you&rsquo;re moving into, you could have a very empty-looking house that needs to be filled. Get ready to go shopping.</p> <h3>6. Insurance &ndash; Up to $2,000 Annually</h3> <p>There are a few different types of insurance you need to have when buying a home. First, you must have homeowners insurance. The average cost of this is around $700 annually, but this again varies by state. If you live in a duplex or other type of connected building, the insurance may be covered in your HOA dues or your monthly escrow. You should also have contents insurance, based on the value of your possessions. You could, of course, skip this payment. But if tragedy does strike, you could lose everything.</p> <h3>7. Property Tax &ndash; Up to $10,000 &nbsp;</h3> <p>When it comes to property tax, a lot of people get sticker shock a year after they move into a new construction. The reason for this is simple; the taxes are based on the empty lot the home was built on. But a year later, the assessors come around and put a new valuation on the lot, which now has a beautiful home sitting on it. Many people see their initial tax payment double, or even triple, in just one year. You can also face much higher taxes based on the particular school district you live in. And of course, taxes vary greatly by state. The average property taxes paid in New Jersey are almost $8,000, as opposed to $2,000 in Colorado.</p> <h3>8. Utilities &ndash; Up to $400 Monthly</h3> <p>Again, if you live in the Playboy mansion that figure will be greater. And in a new one-bedroom apartment, much less. But on average, when moving into a new home, you will see utility bills in the hundreds of dollars. This can be quite a shock, especially if you were formerly in a small apartment or even living with your parents. And what&rsquo;s worse, depending on when you move in, you could really get a wake-up call. Bills in the summer months can come with higher rates, so you may budget based on the winter bills, only to be unprepared for summer. The best thing you can do to prepare is ask the utility companies for the history of the property, if it&rsquo;s used. If it&rsquo;s new, ask neighbors who have already moved in what they&rsquo;re paying. If you're first on the block&hellip;good luck!</p> <h3>9. Repairs and Maintenance &ndash; Who Knows!</h3> <p>I saved the worst till last. One of the biggest unknown expenses of owning a home is the repairs and maintenance costs that can hit you out of nowhere. If you were formerly renting, that was all taken care of. Now it&rsquo;s all on you. If the boiler blows up, you pay. If the roof leaks, you pay. If strong winds blow your fence down, you pay. If vandals put rocks through your windows, you pay.</p> <p>Basically, you pay. And these bills can be steep. You&rsquo;ll soon find out that hourly labor costs for plumbers, electricians, and builders are usually a lot more than the hourly wage you get paid. There are standard call-out charges, which you pay before they even look at the problem. It can be a nightmare. You can, of course, buy insurance to cover appliances, boilers, A/C units, and so on, but there are deductibles to pay. And like any insurance, the small print can really bite you.</p> <p>Are you a new homeowner? Did a situation or expense recently pop up that you were not planning for? Let us know.</p> <p><i>This article was made possible by the support and inspiration of&nbsp;<a href="http://www.genworth.com/content/products/home_ownership.html" target="_blank">Genworth Financial</a>, a S&amp;P 500 insurance&nbsp;company with more than $100 billion in assets</i><em>. Check out Genworth's website for more information on their&nbsp;<a href="http://www.genworth.com/content/products/home_ownership/mortgage_insurance.html">mortgage insurance</a> and <a href="http://www.genworth.com/content/products/home_ownership/reverse_mortgage.html">reverse mortgages</a>&nbsp;products.</em></p> <p><a href="http://www.genworth.com/content/products/home_ownership.html"><img width="605" height="454" alt="" src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u4/genworth-ad-605.jpg" /></a></p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" data-pin-save="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2F9-costly-things-new-homeowners-dont-prepare-for&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2F9%2520Costly%2520Things%2520New%2520Homeowners%2520Dont%2520Prepare%2520For.jpg&amp;description=9%20Costly%20Things%20New%20Homeowners%20Dont%20Prepare%20For"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/9%20Costly%20Things%20New%20Homeowners%20Dont%20Prepare%20For.jpg" alt="9 Costly Things New Homeowners Don't Prepare For" width="250" height="374" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/paul-michael">Paul Michael</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-costly-things-new-homeowners-dont-prepare-for">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-it-really-costs-to-own-a-home">What It Really Costs to Own a Home</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/home-details-i-overlooked-the-first-time">Home Details I Overlooked the First Time</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-evaluate-a-neighborhood-before-you-buy">How to Evaluate a Neighborhood Before You Buy</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-ways-to-reduce-mortgage-closing-costs">8 Ways to Reduce Mortgage Closing Costs</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/buy-a-home-you-can-afford-with-the-mortgage-suitcase-trick">Buy a Home You Can Afford With the Mortgage Suitcase Trick</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Real Estate and Housing cost of homeownership first time home buyer furniture home improvement homeowners insurance new homes Fri, 18 May 2012 10:36:08 +0000 Paul Michael 929147 at http://www.wisebread.com 10 Surprising Facts About Flooding and Your Home http://www.wisebread.com/10-surprising-facts-about-flooding-and-your-home <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/10-surprising-facts-about-flooding-and-your-home" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/flood_house.jpg" alt="Man in front of flooded home" title="Man in front of flooded home" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="134" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>We think, for now, that we have narrowly survived a <a href="http://www.thefreelancefarmer.com/2011/06/big-flood-of-2011.html">flooding of our home</a>. Located just three miles from the Missouri River, we have witnessed the swelling of her waters and the panic that has gripped our neighbors. Questions and rumors have buzzed for weeks, causing me to have to research quite thoroughly to find the facts about how rising waters could affect my home and three acres of farm land. Thankfully, I believe we will be spared the heartbreak of losing our home, but I&rsquo;m glad to have learned these ten vital tidbits. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/why-you-should-have-renters-insurance">Why You Should Have Renters Insurance</a>)</p> <h3>1. You are likely not covered.</h3> <p>That&rsquo;s what we learned when we checked our homeowners and rental coverage policies. It turns out that most home insurance coverage plans in the U.S. don&rsquo;t have to cover flooding, damage from rising waters, or even mold from flood waters that don&rsquo;t come into contact with your home or contents. To seek protection, you will likely have to purchase a separate policy written specifically for flood coverage.</p> <h3>2. Flood coverage doesn&rsquo;t have to be expensive.</h3> <p>A common excuse for failing to get coverage in the past has been that it is too pricey for most homeowners. With the offering of the <a href="http://www.floodsmart.gov/floodsmart/pages/about/nfip_overview.jsp">National Flood Insurance Program</a>, however, it is possible to get coverage in certain communities for less than if you bought from a private issuer. (We pay less than $300 a year for our coverage.) It&rsquo;s important to note that if your community doesn&rsquo;t participate, you will not be able to receive coverage through the NFIP plan. Contact your insurance agents for details.</p> <h3>3. Flooding can happen to anyone.</h3> <p>One of the reasons we held off on getting flood insurance is that we were not considered to be in a flood plain. In over 100 years, the waters never came near us, and we didn&rsquo;t see it as necessary. Fast forward to the announcement by the Corps of Engineers that they would be releasing record amounts of water from the dams north of us and combine it with the record rainfall our area received. Now we were faced with an unprecedented possibility of flooding.</p> <p>In addition, flood maps change every year, making a home that was previously considered &ldquo;safe&rdquo; a candidate for being affected by changing water patterns. Floods can be caused by bodies of water that leave their boundaries, heavy rainfall, breaking dams and levees, or weather patterns like hurricanes and tropical storms.</p> <h3>4. Forget about the basement.</h3> <p>Even the most comprehensive coverage will likely not cover anything stored below the main level of your home. This includes basements, crawlspaces, and cellars. If anything is covered, it will be limited. (Remember, many homes contain a large portion of square footage in large &ldquo;walkout basements.&rdquo; These areas are subject to limited coverage as well.)</p> <h3>5. Being compensated for 100% of what you lose is unlikely.</h3> <p>The government-issued policies don&rsquo;t cover everything you lose, and even if private insurance has you covered, there will be a deductible to pay. If you walk away from a flooding situation with the assumption that you will get a big check to replace everything with new items, you will be disappointed, to say the least. As with most policies, you must have proof of the items you lost, and not all items will be able to be repurchased at the replacement value. (Besides, what kind of price can you put on old family photos, jewelry that&rsquo;s been in the family for generations, or your <em>Star Wars</em> memorabilia?)</p> <h3>6. You will have to wait.</h3> <p>There is a 30-day waiting period for any new policy issued under the plan. If you buy coverage on June 1, for example, your coverage will not start until July 1. It&rsquo;s important to get coverage immediately if you suspect you will be at risk for flooding in the near future.</p> <h3>7. Once the flooding starts, it&rsquo;s too late to get coverage.</h3> <p>Additionally, the flooding coverage does not cover &ldquo;flooding in progress.&rdquo; What this means is that once a flood event starts, coverage must already be in place. An excerpt taken from a <a href="http://www.iiaba.net/VU/NonMember/ThompsonFloodInProgress.pdf">recent FEMA memo</a> (PDF) further clarifies this policy, as it specifically addresses the Missouri River Flood of 2011:</p> <blockquote><p>The exclusion is triggered on the date and time of the flooding event...Specifically, FEMA considers it triggered by the earlier of the following situations:</p> <p>A. The community where the insured building is located first experiences a flood</p> <p>B. The date and time of an event initiating a flood that causes damage, including but not limited to: a spillway is opened, a levee is breached, water is released from a dam, or water escapes from the banks of a waterway (stream, river, creek, etc.).</p> </blockquote> <p>In laymen&rsquo;s terms, if flooding is caused by opening dams (in our case), once those dams are opened, the flooding event has commenced and new policies will not likely be honored. (Flooding events can occur up to six months before actual damage is sustained &mdash; just another reason to get coverage BEFORE you need it!) <em>FEMA encourages insurance professionals to go ahead and file claims that may not be covered due to this exclusion, but admits that compensation will be made on a case-by-case basis.</em></p> <h3>8. Federal disaster assistance won&rsquo;t cover much.</h3> <p>Yes, you can likely apply for help if your home is damaged or destroyed by flooding, but the money will not be enough to make your home &ldquo;good as new.&rdquo; The government estimates that the average bill for residential flood damage is around $48,000 and actual payments from FEMA funds range from $1K to just enough to get your home livable again by legal standards.&nbsp;(It will not cover things like paint, carpet, or the contents of your home.) Homeowners are encouraged to not rely on FEMA help or other government programs to make them whole after flooding, and it is best to anticipate a lengthy waiting period between when you apply for funds and when you actually see them.</p> <h3>9. Accepting assistance changes the game.</h3> <p>If you do apply for and receive grants or loans to put your home back in order, you will be required to carry insurance moving forward &mdash; and indefinitely. According to the NFIP website, &ldquo;you must cover the building for flood insurance for as long as you own it. Should you sell the building, you are required to inform the new owner of the necessity to purchase and maintain flood insurance. Failure to carry flood insurance could result in the denial of future federal disaster assistance.&rdquo;</p> <h3>10. Mitigation is still the best policy.</h3> <p>Even if you carry a high-value policy with enough coverage to get a new home after a flood, it&rsquo;s a good practice to try to avoid as much loss as possible. Errors can occur, either when issuing a policy or when it comes time to file a claim. Even if you are confident that your damage will be covered, it&rsquo;s easier and less costly to everyone to move your valuables out of the flood area and to a safe level of your home or outside storage. (Note: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-self-storage-units-are-more-sad-museums-than-savvy-solutions">Storage units</a> are a hot commodity during flood events. Please be certain that any unit you rent is out of the flooding danger area, and become familiar with coverage of those items. Many policies don&rsquo;t cover items stored offsite, and unit owners are not responsible for damage to items stored on their property.)</p> <p><em>These facts have been acquired, in part, by information obtained by <a href="http://www.floodsmart.gov/">FloodSmart.gov</a>, the official site of the NFIP &mdash; as well as my own experience. Please contact your insurance agent for any specific questions about flooding and your property.</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/linsey-knerl">Linsey Knerl</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-surprising-facts-about-flooding-and-your-home">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/11-unexpected-things-covered-by-homeowners-insurance">11 Unexpected Things Covered by Homeowners Insurance</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-times-to-update-your-homeowners-insurance">7 Times to Update Your Homeowners Insurance</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-other-kinds-of-insurance-you-may-need-to-buy-for-your-home">7 Other Kinds of Insurance You May Need to Buy for Your Home</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/beware-your-insurance-may-not-cover-these-8-losses">Beware: Your Insurance May Not Cover These 8 Losses</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-times-when-bundling-insurance-doesnt-make-sense">4 Times When Bundling Insurance Doesn&#039;t Make Sense</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Consumer Affairs Home Insurance disaster preparedness flooding homeowners insurance Fri, 24 Jun 2011 10:36:21 +0000 Linsey Knerl 591363 at http://www.wisebread.com