Mold and Homeowners Insurance – Is it Covered?

Mold and Homeowners Insurance – Is it Covered?

Finding mold in the home can trigger panic; we’ve all heard stories about someone’s health being ruined due to toxic mold in the home. The truth of the matter, though, is that mold is found in a lot of homes, and most of it is harmless to people. Unfortunately, even harmless mold can be incredibly expensive to take care of, and it isn’t always covered by homeowners insurance. This is because removing mold is notoriously difficult, and it usually has to be removed via cutting out whatever surface it’s growing on. There are certain cases where your standard homeowners insurance policy will cover damage caused by mold. If the mold is the result of a covered peril like a burst pipe, it’s possible to file a claim with your homeowners insurance provider because the reason for the claim isn’t the mold itself, but the burst pipe. When mold results from a neglected home, repeated water leaks or seepage, or long-term exposure to humidity, the claim is more likely to be rejected. When mold occurs as a result of flood damage, your typical homeowners insurance policy won’t cover it. To get coverage under those circumstances, you’ll need flood insurance. Sometimes it’s possible to purchase an additional mold insurance rider to go along with your homeowners insurance policy. Those who live in humid areas, or areas that have had high-profile mold cases (like California) are probably going to have to pay more for a mold insurance rider than people in other places, but it’s worth it. According to a white paper on mold written in 2003, the average cost of an...
Homeowners insurance will allow fire victims to rebuild

Homeowners insurance will allow fire victims to rebuild

The fires that have ravaged Southern California in recent days have destroyed hundreds of homes and forced many residents to seek shelter in evacuation centers. The shock of being displaced from their homes and the realization that most – if not all – of their  belongings are gone is a hard pill to swallow. Many have lost photos, family heirlooms and other personal items that can never be replaced. But amid all of this tragedy there is at least one silver lining – and that’s the fact that their homeowner’s policies will allow them to rebuild their homes – assuming that the correct policy forms were written, along with adequate coverage limits.  In most cases, the deductible for a home that has been destroyed by a wildfire is from $1,000 to $2500. In the scheme of things, that’s not much to pay for being able to rebuild your home. Most of us don’t think much about our homeowner’s insurance coverage until something of this magnitude comes up. But it does highlight the fact that home insurance is vitally important – and invaluable in times like this. And a word of advice: It pays to keep a detailed inventory of all of your personal belongings. That will help your insurer to better gauge the total replacement costs for the damage. These fires were certainly unwelcome – particularly with the holidays here and New Year’s just right around the corner, but it’s good to know that these people will be able to rebuild. And let’s hope that the fire season in the coming year will be less destructive. It’s always good...
When Not to File a Homeowners Insurance Claim

When Not to File a Homeowners Insurance Claim

Having homeowners insurance is great; if something happens to your property that falls under your homeowners insurance policy coverage, all you have to do is file a claim to have it repaired. There is a downside to filing homeowner’s insurance claims, though, that it’s important to be aware of. Namely, the fact that once you start filing claims, your insurance premiums are likely to increase down the road. The nationwide average for insurance premium increases after a policyholder files a claim is 9% – that means you can expect to have to pay that much more for your insurance after you file one single, solitary claim. The more claims you file, the more your insurance rate will subsequently increase. The reason for that is because homeowners insurance companies know that, statistically, an individual is more likely to file an insurance claim once they file their first. Since that policyholder poses a greater amount of risk, insurance companies will need to charge more to insure them. The best way to make sure your insurance premiums don’t skyrocket is to only file an insurance claim when you absolutely must. For example, if a pipe bursts and you end up with extensive water damage throughout the home, filing a claim with your homeowners insurance company is probably a good idea. However, if a pipe bursts and there’s minimal damage, it might be cheaper in the long run to either fix it yourself or call a contractor to do the repairs. Insurance companies are adept at paying attention to detail and knowing as much as they can about a person’s claim history before...
Common Auto Insurance Questions and Answers

Common Auto Insurance Questions and Answers

Everyone understands the basic idea of auto insurance: you pay your insurance and they take care of the bill if the vehicle is damaged. However, like many things in this world, car insurance isn’t quite as cut and dry, and the realm of auto insurance can be tricky for the uninitiated. Below are a number of common questions we receive, along with their answers, that will prove useful when you buy auto insurance for the first time, or decide to switch insurance carriers. Q: Is auto insurance mandatory? A: Yes. In California, it’s mandatory that every driver purchase body liability coverage, property damage liability coverage, uninsured motorist bodily injury coverage and uninsured motorist property damage coverage. Q: Who can I include on my policy? A: It’s possible to include every member of your household on your auto insurance policy, provided that they all live at the same address. Once someone moves out, they’ll no longer be eligible for coverage. Q: What is an insurance deductible? A: A deductible is the amount of money you pay after a collision or accident before your insurance kicks in and pays for the rest. Typically, car insurance plans with a higher premium include lower deductibles, while lower premiums include higher deductibles. Q: What if I don’t like my policy, can I change it whenever I want? A: You can always cancel and change your auto insurance policy. However, most companies will charge a fee for cancelling a policy before it reaches it’s end. Q: Does owning a red car really affect my premium? A: No! Despite popular opinion, owning a red car does...
Renters Insurance for College Students – An Extra Layer of Protection

Renters Insurance for College Students – An Extra Layer of Protection

When heading off to college for the first time, there’s a lot to keep track of. A new area, new people, and much more responsibility. Most young people look forward to the freedom that college life brings, but their lack of real-world experience leaves them less cautious than they could be. Decades ago, a suitcase or trunk full of clothes was all one needed to take to be ready for school. Now, though, it’s common for students to bring televisions, smartphones, computers, tablets and other expensive gadgets that could (and often do) get stolen or damaged. That’s why renters insurance for college students isn’t something that should ever be overlooked. On-Campus Housing Not every college student will need renters insurance. For example, those who live in dorms or some other form of on-campus housing may be covered under their parents’ homeowners or renters insurance policy. Before a child leaves for college, speak to your insurance agent and find out if your child is covered under your existing policy. If your policy does cover children who are away at college, find out if there are any changes in coverage regarding personal belongings that are away from the policy holder’s home. Some policies reduce the amount of personal property coverage for property that’s out of the home. you’ll also want to check your policy’s limits regarding specific items. Some items, such as laptops and personal computers, have coverage limits. Off-Campus Housing For students living in off-campus housing, their parents’ insurance policy likely won’t cover any personal property they bring along. That being the case, getting their own renters insurance policy would...