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...
Two Business Insurance Tips to Keep You Ahead of the Game in Your First Year

Two Business Insurance Tips to Keep You Ahead of the Game in Your First Year

Every business, from large to small, should be insured – even when you’re just starting out. It doesn’t matter if you’re running a small service-based business out of your home or if you’ve got a brick and mortar location. Unforeseen circumstances can occur to anyone at any time, and if you ever find yourself in one of those situations, you’ll be glad you had business insurance to protect you – even if you didn’t think you’d need it. For those who are new to business insurance, here are two tips to keep you ahead of the game in your first year. Prepare for an Audit The premium you pay on your business insurance coverage will be determined by several factors, not the least of which being your business’ annual gross sales. For those who are just starting out, your premium will be based on your estimated annual sale for the first year. Since the cost of the premium will be based on an estimation, your insurance company will want to verify the numbers and your premium will be adjusted. Don’t let the word “audit” scare you, insurance companies aren’t the IRS. They’ll just want to get a look at your books and see if the numbers are on par with what your estimation was. Depending on what they find, they may raise or lower your premium. Be Prepared for the Unexpected It sounds cliche, but it’s true. You have to consider the effects that accidents, illnesses and other potential risks could cause to your business in the future. For example, a service-based business run by the sole-proprietor would suffer...
Surprising Questions Asked by Auto Insurance Companies

Surprising Questions Asked by Auto Insurance Companies

There’s a lot to take into consideration when it comes to providing accurate auto insurance quotes, and some of the questions that companies ask tend to catch people off-guard. Some of the questions may seem like they have nothing to do with auto insurance, but that’s not entirely correct. Below are some surprising, yet important, questions auto insurance companies like to ask to provide you with the most accurate quote. Question #1: Are you married? Determining insurance premiums is all about risk, and data indicates that married drivers tend to file fewer claims than unmarried ones do. Question #2: What is your zip code? This is usually one of the first questions asked by auto insurers, and it’s used as the primary basis for determining what your auto insurance premium is going to be. The reason for this is because the area in which you live has a significant impact on whether or not you’re likely to file a claim, and auto insurance companies are aware of that. Those who live in larger cities tend to file more claims, and pay higher premiums as a result, than those who live in the suburbs or in rural areas. Question #3: What do you do for a living? What a person does for a living can say a lot about them, and some occupations are correlated with filing fewer insurance claims than others. As a result, if you happen to be working in one of the fields associated with fewer claims, your insurance premium is likely to be lower. When answering questions designed to generate a quote, it’s always best to...