These things can make home insurance difficult to get

These things can make home insurance difficult to get

Many homeowners assume that insurance companies will always provide them with coverage. But that’s not necessarily the case. A variety of factors will give insurance companies pause when they are evaluating whether or not they should provide coverage. Homes that have a swimming pool with a diving board or slide, or a trampoline or skateboard ramp are prime examples – and for good reason. Think about it: All of those things can set the stage for serious injuries to occur. Just check out YouTube if you want to see some backyard trampoline stunts gone wrong. And people are injured every year in incidents related to swimming pool diving boards and skateboard ramps. Other things insurance companies don’t like to see are older homes, especially if they are 50 years old or older. And speaking of homes, insurers also aren’t crazy about aluminum electrical wiring, which would make the home more prone to electrical fires. Homes that have fuses with no electrical circuit breakers aren’t good, either.  Other questionable factors include homes with galvanized pipes, which are prone to spring leaks, and furnaces and air conditioners that are more than 25 years old. Insurers are likewise reluctant to insure houses that accommodate home-based businesses – mainly ones where people will be coming and going, like a child care business. Insurance companies are also nervous about homes that have vicious dogs or homes where the owner has had prior insurance claims. This isn’t to say that you won’t get insurance coverage if one or more of these no-nos apply to you. But it won’t make it any easier.  So if you’re...
Will Auto Insurance Cover Weather-Related Accidents?

Will Auto Insurance Cover Weather-Related Accidents?

Here in Southern California most of us have little fear of inclement weather. It doesn’t rain or snow often, and when it does, it’s typically light. There are a few areas, though, where it does snow often, leading to very dangerous driving conditions. Plus, parts of Southern California have been known to experience the freak rain storm now and again. When bad weather shows up, auto accidents tend to spike as a result – especially in places where motorists aren’t used to driving in those conditions. As a result, it’s good to know whether or not your auto insurance covers weather-related collisions, even if you don’t often experience bad weather. Whether or not your auto insurance covers weather-related accidents will depend on the type of auto insurance policy you have, as well as any specific exclusions that exist on the policy. Some discount policies offer no weather coverage at all, while others provide very limited coverage. More robust policies, like comprehensive auto insurance, tend to include weather-related accidents on the policy. When an auto insurance policy does cover weather-related accidents, it usually stipulates that you have to be driving safely for the accident to be covered. For example, if you were tailgating someone or speeding at the time the accident occurred (even if it wasn’t your fault), you’ll probably find that your auto insurance won’t protect you. If yours was the only car involved in the accident, it’s even more important to be driving safely. In a single-car accident, insurance companies often pin the fault on the driver, making it more difficult to file a claim that the accident...
Did You Know Wildfires Increase Your Risk of Flooding?

Did You Know Wildfires Increase Your Risk of Flooding?

This winter has been a bad one for fires. Earlier in the winter wildfires raged across Northern California and decimated thousands of acres, and at the moment, Southern California is facing a similar situation. Like most natural disasters, wildfires typically appear with little warning, and the dry, hot conditions in the area are conducive to spreading quickly. Natural disaster insurance in the form of wildfire/brush fire insurance isn’t a bad idea if you live in California – particularly the hot, dry areas in and around Santa Clarita. However, simply covering yourself with natural disaster insurance in the case of a fire may not be enough, as the threat that wildfires pose isn’t just related to its flames. When wildfires move through an area, the odds of a flash flood occurring there increase dramatically, even in areas not typically prone to floods. Under normal conditions, vegetation absorbs water from precipitation and prevents runoff. When a wildfire moves through an area, it consumes vegetation and leaves the ground charred and unable to absorb water. Thus, conditions are created in which flash floods and mudslides are increasingly likely. Southern California is known for a lot of things, but not for its rainfall. That being said, when the ground has been burned and the landscape altered due to a wildfire, even a moderate amount of rain higher up in the surrounding mountains can cause flash floods and mudslides. According to FEMA, the area remains in a higher flood risk for about 5 years, or until vegetation can grow back and the ground can return to normal. The unpredictability of natural disasters means that...
Renters outnumber homeowners in some Southern California cities

Renters outnumber homeowners in some Southern California cities

A disturbing trend has emerged in Southern California — some communities now have more renters than homeowners. The issue was highlighted in a recent Los Angeles Daily News story. The latest cities to achieve this distinction are Pasadena, Lancaster, San Bernardino, Anaheim and Santa Ana. In 2006, nearly half of Pasadena’s population were renters. By 2016, that had risen to 58.3 percent. Lancaster has experienced a similar trend. Its share of renters rose from 36.2 percent in 2006 to 51 percent in 2016, an increase of nearly 41 percent. Mel Wilson, broker and owner of Mel Wilson & Associates in Northridge, tied much of the trend to increasing home prices. There isn’t enough housing to meet the demand, he said, and it’s created a ripple effect that’s really hurting middle-income residents. “Home prices in Southern California are high and they’re increasing every year,” Wilson told the Daily News. “That’s put a lot of middle-income workers in a bind because they can’t afford homes. Their only other option is to rent.” Rents have been rising as well. “In many jurisdictions where there is no rent control, a one-bedroom apartment could start at $1,700 to $1,800,” Wilson continued. “And many times, you’ll only get 600 to 700 square feet.” If you need renters insurance, call Carol Smith of insurancescv.com or call...
Penalties for Not Buying Workers Compensation Insurance

Penalties for Not Buying Workers Compensation Insurance

Workers compensation insurance is required by the State of California for all businesses that have at least one employee. Those who own a sole proprietorship and therefore only employ themselves are exempt from the requirement, but if they hire anyone else to do anything, they’ll need to buy workers compensation insurance or face some stiff penalties. If the Division of Labor Standards Enforcement becomes aware that a business owner who meets the requirement is operating without workers compensation insurance, the first thing that will happen is that a stop order will be issued to the business. The stop order requires that the business owner cease using employee labor until workers compensation coverage is obtained. Ignoring or refusing to comply with the stop order is a misdemeanor that is punishable by up to 60 days in jail and/or fines of up to $10,000. When an employee is injured and files a workers compensation claim before the business owner buys workers compensation insurance, the business owner faces a fine of $10,000 per employee that was on the payroll at the time the injury took place. The $10,000 fine is only if the claim is determined to be compensable, if it isn’t, the fine is reduced to $2,000 per employee on the payroll at the time the injury took place. Last but not least, failing to obtain workers compensation insurance prior to hiring employees is in itself a misdemeanor offense. It’s punishable by up to 1 year in county jail and/or a fine of up to $10,000. As you can see, not having workers compensation insurance is always going to cost more...