Condo Insurance: How Realtors Can Explain the Basics to Clients

Condo Insurance: How Realtors Can Explain the Basics to Clients

As a Realtor, you know it’s a good idea to provide your clients with as much information as possible when you’re helping them get into the home of their dreams, and that often includes insurance. Home insurance can be pretty straight forward, but with condo insurance things can get a little more complicated. Here are a few things that, as a Realtor, you’ll probably want to make sure your clients know before they move in. This also applies to any condo-owner or prospective condo buyer, so please read on… The HOA Insurance Policy Doesn’t Cover What’s Inside the Home The Ass0sciation most likely has an insurance policy that will cover various portions of the complex’s grounds, as well as damages to the outside of a condominium. However, a lot of people don’t realize that they’re responsible for much of what happens on the inside, and thus fail to purchase condo insurance. There are Options When Considering Condo Insurance There’s really no “one size fits all” insurance policy for homes, so why should there be with condo insurance? Explain to clients a few options they’ll have when considering what type of condo insurance to buy. Much of this will depend on just what type of insurance the HOA currently has. “Bare walls coverage,” for example, only covers the building’s structure and infrastructure; it doesn’t extend into individual units. Clients purchasing condos with this kind of coverage will need more comprehensive plans than those living in a complex that has a “single entity or all-inclusive” policy – which covers everything “bare walls coverage” does, as well as all of the original...
High-Risk Home Insurance in Hazardous Brush Fire Areas

High-Risk Home Insurance in Hazardous Brush Fire Areas

No matter where you live in the US, your locale is at risk from one natural disaster or another. The East Coast gets slammed by hurricanes now and then, the Midwest has to deal with devastating tornadoes and most folks think of earthquakes when they think of living on the West Coast. While this belief is partly true, those who live here know that wildfires are just as dangerous – if not more. In 2016 alone, there were 6,986 fires that burned 565,070 acres of land, according to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection. There were several fatalities, nearly 500 homes and over 600 structures and outbuildings were destroyed. The recent spate of wildfires has caused many insurance companies to alter their designations regarding which homes were near high-risk areas and which were not, leading some homeowners to find themselves no longer insured. Once a home insurance company decides not to renew a person’s policy, they’ll notify the lender. Once notified, the homeowner will have to immediately find a home insurance company that will insure their home – an often difficult task, particularly when the home is in a high-risk area. If the homeowner is unable to obtain a homeowner’s insurance policy, the lender will buy insurance on the home. This is known as “force placed” insurance and, more often than not, it’s going to be far more expensive for the homeowner than their original policy was, but more importantly the coverage is typically substandard. As an independent insurance agent, I am usually able to find insurance policies for homes that are near brush and other wildfire...
How Does Your Insurance Coverage Work in the Event of a Bicycle Accident? Here are some answers.

How Does Your Insurance Coverage Work in the Event of a Bicycle Accident? Here are some answers.

IMG_6069If you were lucky enough to see those world-class cyclists roaring down Angeles Crest Highway on Saturday in the Tour of California, you know what speed is. Some of those riders were hitting speeds of 50 mph or more as they negotated steep and windy curves on their way to the finish line in Pasadena. Now it’s safe to say that most of us won’t find ourselves doing 50 mph on a bike anytime soon. But it does pay to be aware of your insurance coverage in the event of an accident. If a motorist hits you and it’s clearly their fault, that person’s insurance will cover your injuries and the damage to your bike. But what if he’s uninsured — or under-insured. And it’s his fault? In that case the uninsured motorist coverage on your auto insurance policy will pay for your injuries, lost wages and pain and suffering. If his limits are on the low side — say $15,000/$30,000 — and you have uninsured motorist coverage of $100,000/$300,000, then your uninsured motorist limits will pay $100,000/$300,000. But what if you caused an accident while riding your bike? If that happens your auto insurance won’t pay out, but your homeowner’s or renter’s insurance will. Your home insurance liability will pay for their bodily injuries and property damage up to the level of your homeowner’s insurance liability limits. That’s usually $100,000, $300,000 or $500,000. If you don’t own a  home it’s a good idea to get renter’s insurance if you ride your bike a lot. So what about your damaged bike? Who will pay for that if the accident was your fault? Your homeowner’s...
Why Santa Clarita Residents Should Consider Flood Insurance

Why Santa Clarita Residents Should Consider Flood Insurance

I often get questions from clients regarding why Santa Clarita residents should consider flood insurance – particularly in a drought. After all, why worry about floods when it hardly ever rains? While those living in high-risk areas are usually forced to purchase flood insurance by their lender, those who don’t, usually forego the extra expense. The problem is that the weather is unpredictable, and floods are particularly so. Most people probably didn’t expect to get the kind of rain we got this winter which resulted in major property damage for s0me. It’s possible that some of them thought that their general homeowner’s insurance would cover flood damage, but that’s almost never the case. That kind of insurance will often cover water damage due to burst pipes or malfunctioning appliances, but not from a flood. The thing about Southern California, and why you should at least consider flood insurance, is that the landscape often changes due to development and fires. When construction is done on hills it can change the runoff patterns, leaving some who previously purchased homes in low-to-moderate risk areas now in high-risk areas. When fires ravage the hillsides and mountains, it destroys plant life that would otherwise help hold the soil together. Once the root systems of these plants die, the dirt loosens up and mudflows become more of a threat. Additionally, fires change the soil itself. Once a fire has moved through an area, it bakes the soil in such a way that rain doesn’t easily penetrate it, putting in danger the areas immediately downstream. If you’re unsure as to the level of risk your home faces, you...
Tips for Realtors and Buyers Regarding Home Insurance

Tips for Realtors and Buyers Regarding Home Insurance

Everyone is required to have home insurance if they have not completely paid off their mortgage, which means that for both Realtors and homeowners alike, knowing a home insurance agent can be of great benefit. Truth be told, even if you have paid off your mortgage home insurance can be a lifesaver. For many, their home is going to be one of the biggest investments they make; wouldn’t you want to make sure it’s covered in the case of disaster? Below are some tips for Realtors and buyers regarding home insurance that can be extremely beneficial. Have a Home Insurance Agent at Your Disposal For Realtors, working with the same independent home insurance agent can make the insurance process much smoother when you sell a home. When your home insurance agent makes the process seamless for your clients, it will reflect better on you as an agent. For buyers, knowing a home insurance agent and working with them consistently can reduce the chances of any potential breaks in communication that can set the home purchase back weeks. Know the Location Specifics of the Home Depending on where the home is located, the requirements for home insurance may change. For example, a home in an area known for flooding may require the buyer to purchase flood insurance as well as homeowner’s insurance. Or, in California many homes are located near brush; this could result in a much higher premium or difficulty in obtaining insurance.  These added expenses increase debt ratio, possibly impacting loan qualification. Knowing the location specifics of a home beforehand can help a buyer factor in all of...