Cleaning up smoke damage from a wildfire can be costly!

Cleaning up smoke damage from a wildfire can be costly!

It seems like widlfires are breaking out all over California, so now is a good time to review your insurance policy to see how you’d be covered in the event that you suffered smoke damage. The latest blaze in Santa Clarita is the Railroad Fire, which broke out Monday afternoon in Newhall. It damaged some apartment buildings, but there are likely some condos and single-famlily homes in the area that may have been affected as well. You should be aware that some insurance policies place a $5,000 limit on smoke damage from a wildfire. That might sound like enough, but in many cases it’s not. Smoke damage can easily exceed that amount, sometimes climbing as high as $25,000 or more. So if $5,000 is the limit of your coverage … well, you’re out of luck. And speaking of condos, many condo owners are under the impression that their HOA policy will cover the interior walls, floors, ceilings and upgrades to their units, but most policies won’t. If your 1,000-square-foot condo suffered fire or smoke damage it could cost $100,000 to replace the interior. That’s something else to keep in mind when you purchase insurance. Questions? Call Carol Smith of insurancescv.com at 661-803-3803 for a free...
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...
Your Renters Insurance Can Cover Your Engagement Ring

Your Renters Insurance Can Cover Your Engagement Ring

Renters insurance is one of those things that few people have, but can be a lifesaver when they need it. The policies are usually pretty cheap, especially when compared to homeowners insurance, and there’s really no reason not to have it. The only real down side to your typical renters insurance policy is that it only provides coverage for items inside your home, and then for only a limited amount. So if you own anything that’s particularly valuable, such as an engagement ring, you’re probably going to need to buy a rider. A rider is an additional policy added to one’s rental insurance that covers one specific item or class of items above and beyond that of your base policy. So, if you want to make sure your precious engagement ring is covered, you’ll need to speak with your insurance agent and ask them a few questions. Find out if your ring will be covered if it’s lost, or only if it’s stolen. Are there any specific requirements put in place by the insurance company when it comes to replacing the ring, such as reimbursement via check or having to purchase a new ring from a specific jeweler? If the ring is vintage, you’ll want to know how the value is calculated as opposed to a contemporary ring. Is the ring insured to full cost or just a fraction of it? How will you be required to prove the ring is gone in the event that you need to file a claim? Your insurance company will want to know the value of the ring, and will likely require that...
Getting the Most Out of Your Renters Insurance

Getting the Most Out of Your Renters Insurance

Renters insurance is something that every renter should have, but most don’t, and it’s not hard to see why. Unlike being a homeowner, when you rent, The building and the grounds don’t belong to you; who cares if they’re damaged,  it’s not coming out of your pocket anyway, right? The great thing about having renters insurance, though, is that when you know how to use it, can really come in handy. Additionally, because it’s seldom mandatory, the cost is usually very low. It’s not uncommon to get $50,000 in coverage for just $25 a month. When you do choose to buy renters insurance, it’s important to know how to get the most out of it. Here are a few tips to help you out. Maximize the Coverage for Your Most Prized Possessions Like every other kind of insurance, there are a number of different renters insurance policies you can get depending on the kind of protection you need. These policies will include coverage limits for different kinds of property. If your jewelry is your most valuable possession, make sure to get a policy that provides you adequate recompense if something happens. The same goes for high-priced gadgets like computers and sound equipment. Read and Understand Your Policy When you buy renters insurance, you often have a lot more protection at your disposal than just reimbursement for destroyed property. It can also provide you with coverage for damage you do to other people’s property, as well as pay for emergency living expenses if your home becomes unlivable. Take Steps to Lower Your Premium It’s already inexpensive, but why not shave...
Here Are Some Things You Need To Know About Personal Injury

Here Are Some Things You Need To Know About Personal Injury

Looking to make some extra cash? A growing number of people are renting out condos or homes as a revenue stream. It’s a great way to build some extra income. But if you’re contemplating doing this, make sure you include personal injury as part of your insurance coverage. If you’re leasing a single family dwelling to someone you’ll need a landlord’s policy, but it you’re leasing a condo to someone else, you’ll need to get what’s called  a “condo rented to others” policy.  In either case, you must make sure that personal injury has been added to your policy. This protects you if your tenant claims wrongful eviction. And whether you know it or not, California law typically sides with tenants – until a landlord can prove he’s in the right, that is. So this isn’t something you want to be dealing with. But don’t think you’re off the hook just because you don’t rent a home or condo to someone. You also need personal injury coverage as part of your homeowner’s insurance in the event you’re accused of libel or slander. Who knows what someone might falsely accuse you of saying on Facebook or other social media sites?  If you have teenagers, the chances of this scenario happening increases significantly.   It’s vitally important that you inform your insurance agent that you want this kind of coverage because this coverage is often overlooked; you need to be proactive. Personal injury coverage could save you a lot of grief down the road. For more information on this topic, visit insurancescv.com or call Carol Smith at 661-803-3803.  ...
If You’re Buying A Home, Be Cautious When It Comes to Seller Rent-Back

If You’re Buying A Home, Be Cautious When It Comes to Seller Rent-Back

So you finally bought your dream home, but now the seller wants to rent it back from you. What do you do? You could always say that you promised the local Boys & Girls Club that they could hold a fundraiser there next week. But chances are, the seller wouldn’t believe that. Some sellers put this rent-back option in their sales contract. From their standpoint, it can be a useful option because sometimes the home a seller plans to move into isn’t available yet. And you may have signed this clause as part of the purchase agreement when you bought the home because you didn’t want to rock the boat. But how does this affect your homeowners insurance? You have to remember that homeowners insurance is written specifically for homes that will be owner-occupied, not tenant-occupied. Fortunately, most insurance companies are OK with this. They understand that there can be delays in the availability of a home when a seller is planning to move. But this kind of arrangement is typically limited to two or three weeks – 30 days at the most. If it extends beyond that you’ll have to get a tenant-occupied landlord policy, and that’s not going to fly with your lender. Once you finally do move in, your agent will have to write an owner-occupied homeowners policy. If you find yourself in a position where you’ll have to do a seller rent-back arrangement, the best course of action is to be honest with your insurance agent from the start. Your agent will relay this information to the carrier’s underwriter. And they want to accommodate you...