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Wednesday, January 16 2019
Checklist for Home Insurance

Hey, Homeowner! You Should Review Your Home Insurance Now

Did you know that one in 15 insured homes has a claim each year?

Yes, according to the Insurance Information Institute, it’s only a matter of time before it’s your turn to file a home insurance claim. Wind, hail, water damage, freezing, theft, fire and lightning are just a few of the common culprits. Now tack on the probability of a liability claim or lawsuit being filed against you or a family member, and the likelihood of your home insurance staying on the bench forever is slim.

Following is our handy checklist of to be sure your homeowners insurance policy adequately protects you. Review these with your family and your Trusted Choice® Independent Insurance Agent before you are the one with a claim.

  1. Know the difference between reconstruction cost and replacement cost. Your home’s reconstruction cost and its market value can vary significantly, especially if your home is older. Reconstruction cost is what it would cost to replace your house by rebuilding it completely at current prices. Market value is what someone is willing to pay for your home including the lot. The limit of insurance carried on your home should be based on its reconstruction cost.
  2. Check your limits at least annually. It’s estimated that 60% of homes are underinsured, most by at least 20%. Underinsured means exactly what you think it means: You will not be a happy camper if your home suffers major damage and must be reconstructed.
  3. Don’t forget about your possessions. Ensure that your personal property is covered on a replacement instead of actual cash value basis. Don’t underestimate how much you’ll miss that brand-spanking new couch, closet full of clothing or bicycle after they’re reduced to a charred mess by a fire!
  4. Improve your insurance if you improve your home. It’s estimated that Americans spend more than $200 billion on home improvements each year. To avoid underinsurance, make sure your home insurer knows about that kitchen or bathroom remodel or the new deck you just added. 5
  5. Take inventory. A digital inventory of your home will be your very best friend at claim time, and it will make your insurance adjuster happy, too. There are many resources available online (such as this one from the National Association of REALTORS) to create a home inventory. We can’t overstate the importance of this one.
  6. Buy flood insurance. Flood damage is not covered by your home insurance policy. Repeat: If your home is flooded, your homeowners insurance will not cover the damage. You need flood insurance.
  7. Insure for the cost of required building code upgrades (such as upgraded electrical wiring) by verifying your policy’s ordinance or law coverage.
  8. Insure your “other structures.” Your Trusted Choice® Independent Insurance Agent can help you determine what other structures you own and ensure your coverage for them is adequate.
  9. Install a home security system, and tell your insurer about it. A home security system doesn’t have to cost a fortune: According to HomeAdvisor, the average system costs just under $700. Many systems qualify for a homeowners insurance rate credit and will save you a few bucks … bonus!
  10. Know your deductible, especially if it varies based on the type of damage. For example, your policy may have a $500 deductible for most losses but a much higher deductible for wind damage.
  11. You can raise your deductibles and save money. This is a tried and true way to cut the cost of your insurance, but only do it if you can handle the cost of the higher deductible.
  12. If it has a motor and a driver’s seat, ensure it separately. Why? Because coverage is probably limited in your home insurance policy. Talk to your Trusted Choice® Independent Insurance Agent about adequately insuring motorized vehicles — such as a riding mower, go-cart, golf cart, personal watercraft or even grandma’s mobility scooter.
  13. Check your limits of liability. Statistically, most home insurance claims are for property damage, but a liability claim can quickly ruin your family’s financial future. For example, a liability claim could result if a person is injured in your home. A basic liability limit (such as $300,000) is often easily increased to $1 million or more for little money.
  14. Review your personal umbrella insurance policy to ensure it will kick in if your home insurance policy is wiped out by a liability claim or won’t pay enough due to limited coverage. Wait … you don’t have a personal umbrella policy? Get one.
  15. Your home-based business is your home insurer’s business. Run a business out of your home? Are you one of the millions of Americans who are self-employed? Are you unsure if your business activities are covered by an insurance policy? Share this info with your Trusted Choice® Independent Insurance Agent to identify limitations in your home insurance policy for businessrelated claims.
  16. Renting your home? Tell your insurer. Companies like Airbnb have caused an explosion in home rentals. Listing yours might net you some good hard cash, but payment for claims that occur during the rental may be limited by your insurer.

Be ready at claim time!

Bad things can and will happen. Reviewing your home insurance policy today with your Trusted Choice® Independent Insurance Agent can help ensure you’ll be ready when it’s your turn.

Contact Providence Financial at 605-221-6001 for all of your home, auto, life and business insurance needs.

Posted by: Joey Larsen AT 08:00 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Tuesday, October 03 2017
Auto Insurance Checklist - Insurance Savings Tip!

Shopping for auto insurance?

The price you pay for your auto insurance can vary by hundreds of dollars, depending on your driving record, the type of car you have and the insurance company you buy your policy from. Here is a list of things you can do to save money.

Before you buy a car, compare insurance costs 

Your premium is based in part on the car's sticker price, the cost to repair it, its overall safety record and the likelihood of theft. Many insurers offer discounts for features that reduce the risk of injuries or theft, such as air bags, anti-lock brakes, daytime running lights and anti-theft devices.

For more information on car safety, check the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

Cars that are favorite targets for thieves cost more to insure. For more information on car theft, check the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB).

Ask for a higher deductible

Your deductible is the amount of money you pay out-of-pocket before your insurance policy kicks in. By requesting higher deductibles, you can lower your costs substantially. For example, increasing your deductible from $200 to $500 could reduce your collision and comprehensive coverage premium by 15 to 30 percent. Going to a $1,000 deductible can save you 40 percent or more. However, keep in mind that you'll need to have the amount of the deductible on hand should something happen to your car.

Reduce coverage in older cars 

Consider dropping collision and/or comprehensive coverage on older cars. It may not be cost-effective to continue insuring cars worth less than 10 times the amount you would pay for coverage. Any claim payment you receive would not substantially exceed your premiums minus the deductible. Claims occur on average only once every 11 or 12 years. Auto dealers and banks can tell you the worth of a car, or you can look it up online at Kelley Blue Book

Buy your homeowners and auto coverage from the same insurer 

Many insurers will give you a discount if you buy two or more types of insurance from them. Also, you may get a reduction if you have more than one vehicle insured with the same company. Some insurers reduce premiums for long-time customers. But shop around carefully; you may still save more money buying from a different insurance company even with the multi-policy discount. 

Take advantage of low-mileage discounts 

Some companies offer discounts to motorists who drive a lower than average number of miles per year. Low mileage discounts can also apply to drivers who carpool to work.

Maintain good credit 

Your credit rating may affect what you pay for insurance, so monitor it carefully. You can get this information directly from the three major credit-rating agencies (Equifax, Experian, Trans Union). There are also various Web sites that allow you to check your credit rating and provide tips on how to improve your score.

Seek out safe driver discounts 

Most insurance companies offer discounts to policyholders who have not had any accidents or moving violations for a number of years. You may also qualify for a cut if you have recently taken a defensive driving course, if you are over 50 and retired, or if there is a young driver on the policy who is a good student, has taken a drivers education course or is away at a college, generally at least 100 miles away.

When you comparison shop, be sure to inquire about discounts for the following (availability will vary according to the state and company):

  • No accidents in 3 years
  • No moving violations in 3 years
  • Drivers over 50 to 55 years of age
  • Driver training course
  • Defensive driving course
  • Student drivers with good grades
  • College students away from home
  • $500 deductible
  • $1,000 deductible
  • Air bags
  • Anti-lock brakes
  • Daytime running lights
  • Anti-theft device
  • Low annual mileage
  • Auto and homeowners coverage with the same company
  • More than one car insured with the same company
  • Long-time customer

But don't forget that the key to savings is not the discounts but the final price. A company that offers few discounts may still have a lower overall price.

Contact Providence Financial at 605-221-6001 for all of your home, auto, life and business insurance needs.

Posted by: Joey Larsen AT 10:49 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Sunday, September 10 2017
What's In Your Toolbox?

My son was watching YouTube on my phone tonight and apparently clicked on an ad for the app ShareMyToolbox ("SMTB"). Next thing you know SMTB is installed on my phone and asking me to register an account. I'm sure this is a great app for contractors, but what good is it on my phone? What tools do an insurance agent need to keep track of?

After the confusion subsided, I started to think about, and realize, the tools I actually do have and use on a daily basis. As an independent insurance agent with Providence Financial, Inc., I have the tools to build my clients a risk management portfolio that will ensure they protect what matters most while helping them and their families reach their financial goals and aspirations. As an independent insurance agent, I am able to build adequate risk management portfolios at the best possible price because I have the freedom to shop several insurance carriers for you. I am proud of the tools in my toolbox!

We all have tools of our trade that we share with each other. We all use our tools to help make this world a better place. Please don't feel like your tools aren't important enough to share.

Contact Providence Financial at 605-221-6001 for all of your home, auto, life and business insurance needs.

Posted by: Joey Larsen, Owner/Agent AT 11:47 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Friday, August 25 2017

Welcome to our blog! We are thrilled to be able to keep you updated regularly with insurance information and local news or events. As always, we would love your thoughts, questions or ideas, so feel free to let us know what you think.

Posted by: Joey Larsen AT 12:00 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
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