Managing risk and managing the cost of your insurance.
While Homeowners insurance covers many perils of loss, insurance companies increase rates when claims are filed. Here are some ways to reduce the likelihood of home losses so you can hold down the cost of insurance. The cost of the hoses and parts described below are minimal, especially compared to the aggravation, inconvenience, waste of time, and an insurance deductible, all of which you incur if one of the following malfunctions. A little preventative maintenance will take you a long ways!
- Don’t let those pipes freeze in the winter! If you are out of town, keep the heat on at least 55 degrees. If away for an extended period, consider turning the water off to the house and draining the pipes.
- Hot water heaters—the expected service life is 10 and 15 years, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. They are not that expensive, certainly much less than an insurance deductible. Replacing the hot water heater after 10 years will greatly reduce the risk of dealing with the damage that will occur if it malfunctions.
- Air Conditioner condensation lines – They will gunk up and clog up eventually! Have a “clean out” placed in the line next to the air handler. Twice a year, use a product like Draino and Clorox to flush the line and avoid the water damage that occurs when this line backs up and overflows.
- Commode Flappers and Float Bulbs – They get old, they stick, and the commode eventually overflows. What a mess! If the insides of your commodes are over 5 years old, it’s time to change them out! It’s not complicated, just follow the directions!
- Ice maker water line. If you pull the refrigerator out to clean behind it, be very careful returning it to its original position so that you don’t pinch or crimp the water line to the ice maker.
- Washing Machine hoses. You should not go past 10 years on these. They do get old and brittle.
- Heavy branches poke holes in the shingles when they break and fall. Have those branches trimmed back. Call us for names of tree surgeons we have had good experience with.
- Fire extinguisher – do you know where it is? Check the date on it!
- Keep those burglars confused! If a central station alarm is out of your budget, buy a few timers. Put them on lamps that will come on and go off at various times during the evening and night. It always looks as if someone’s home!
- Burglars don’t like light! Have some motion or light sensor flood lights installed on the outside corners of your home. The LED lights are a little more expense, but will last for 30,000 hours and don’t use much electricity.
- The burglar alarm companies want you to buy the type that is monitored. That creates an ongoing income stream for them. If a monitored alarm is out of your budget, insist on one that’s not monitored. Once it’s installed, the expense ends! Most burglars are going to run if a siren is blaring away.
Questions to consider when purchasing Homeowners Insurance
- What is the Replacement Cost Estimator and why do insurance companies insist on these high -values?
- What is Replacement Contents Coverage and how important is it?
- What liability limit should I consider?
- Are there students away at school?
- What if I own items like a golf cart, fishing boat? Moped?
- What if I have a trampoline? A swimming pool?
- What about a pet dog that is not friendly?
- What if I have people working for me (in the house, or in the yard) and they get hurt? What do I need to do to be protected?
- Do I need flood insurance?
- What about earthquake coverage?
These and many more questions need to be asked and considered. Please call us to discuss these questions now. You really don’t want to wait until something happens to find out where you stand.
Controlling losses and injuries with your Vehicles: (Ways to keep your family safe and manage costs)
- Seat Belts save lives
- No Texting!
For Young Drivers
B or better average – This is generally the largest discount an insurance company gives for young drivers. Young drivers who are responsible with their school work are more likely to be responsible with driving. And statistics prove this. Why not make a deal with your kids? Earn a B or better average and you can get a driver’s license!
Kids involved in extracurricular activities or part-time jobs after school are involved in fewer accidents. It’s a fact. Kids that have responsibilities after school have less time for mischievous activities. These after school activities and part-time jobs build character, a sense of responsibility and maturity.
Defensive driving course–Always a good idea.
The insurance discount is not that large, but it helps and it gives you another voice telling the young drivers how and why to drive safe.
Vehicle Monitoring Devices
These are available and determine the location of the vehicle, record driving speed, number of miles on the road, etc. It allows a parent to continue supervising the young drivers after they pull out of the driveway.
These are the drivers insurance companies want to cancel or charge excessive premiums. They identify aggressive driving as violations such as speeding and following too close. Accidents that will be considered aggressive driving include rear-enders or single car accidents (losing control of the car).
Decisions on coverage
What liability limits should you consider? There are many things you need to consider in choosing these limits:
- Your net worth
- Your age & number of working years remaining
- Your education
- Your sense of financial responsibility and much more
Please call us to discuss these critical questions in determining the correct limit for you.
UM and UIM
What percent of drivers are uninsured? What percent are “underinsured”? What factors do you need to consider when choosing these limits? What are your current financial responsibilities to your family? Please call us to discuss.
At what cash value should you stop carrying collision? It depends! Call us to discuss.
What about Other than Collision?
You will definitely want to keep it even after you drop collision. Call us to discuss why.
What should they be? Not that big of a consideration, but let’s take a look at the options.
How much liability insurance do you need?
How much do you have to lose, and how willing are you to start over? This is the heart of considering how much liability insurance to purchase.
Buying a home?
Always be willing to pay a few hundred dollars to have a home inspection company evaluate the house before you are committed. A home is a huge investment. Be wise and invest in the Inspection.
Also, if you’re buying a home, check the shingles! Home Inspection companies don’t pay close enough attention to how many useful years the shingles may have remaining. This is a very large expense if you get in your new home and then find the shingles are worn out and need replacing.