Homeowner’s Insurance 10/29/19 – gtg
Please note these are general guides to home insurance and do not constitute the provision of advice or indicate that a particular product is appropriate for you. Benefits, conditions, and exclusions vary from one home insurance policy to another and you should always check the policy summary and policy document to make sure that you understand what you are buying. If you have any questions you should talk to your insurance broker.
What is Home Insurance? For most of us, our house and contents represent our largest asset, and if we have a mortgage, at the same time our largest debt. Home insurance, also known as Household insurance or Buildings and Contents insurance, provides protection against loss or damage of your property. Protecting this investment against fire, flood, theft and other risks is essential to ensure that you have the necessary financial assistance available so that you can carry on with life. There often can be no substitute for the loss or damage of your possessions but having proper insurance in place can considerably ease the distress that can occur. Compare Home Insurance policies online now!
How much cover do I need? For Buildings Insurance, you should make sure that the level of coverage you buy (referred to as the Sum Insured) is sufficient to rebuild your home in the event of a total loss. It’s not the current market value of your home. For example, if there was a fire that meant that the house had to be knocked down and re-built, then you would want your insurer to pay for it. The amount of home insurance cover then should be sufficient to pay for the demolition and re-building, taking into account the cost of professional fees as well such as Architects and Surveyors.
If you have recently moved into your property then the rebuilding cost would normally be shown on your surveyors or valuation report (if you have one). If you are concerned that you may not have the right rebuilding value there is no substitute for professional advice and judgment, particularly where a property has any unusual features. Professional advice can be obtained from a licensed Surveyor.
For Contents you should cover the cost of everything inside your home. If you imagine you are moving house then everything that you take with you will be your Contents. The best way to work out the correct contents sum insured is to walk around your home making a note of the contents room by room. In the end, estimate the value of every item and total the whole. This then will be your contents sum insured.
Valuables Most insurers will regard certain ‘high risk’ items in the home as valuables. These will usually include items of gold, silver, furs, jewelry, pictures, stamp collections, and the like. The policy wording will provide a full list. In a standard policy, the insurer will normally limit the total cover available for all valuables to a certain level, perhaps 30% of the sum insured and within that limit, they will normally stipulate that no single item can have a value greater than say 5% of the sum insured. So, for example, if your contents were insured for $20,000 up to $6,000 of that amount could be valuable items, with no single item valued at more than $1,000. If you have valuable items that need to be covered then it is best to specify these during the quotation process so that additional cover can be arranged. The insurer may charge an additional premium for items of a higher value and or require further security to be arranged (perhaps locks or an alarm). The insurer may also require that a recent valuation be obtained.
Am I underinsured and does it matter? A recent survey of over 100,000 household contents policies taken out, has highlighted that many homeowners are insuring their personal possessions for less than they did five years ago! It is well known within the insurance industry that homeowners consistently underestimate the value of their belongings and as a result fail to ensure that their contents cover properly keeps pace. Sometimes this is accidental because our possessions are accumulated over time and we do not keep track of how much we have spent while on other occasions people make a conscious decision to underinsure in order to reduce the cost of a policy. This is a false economy because for most homeowners home insurance still represents excellent value for money. When things go wrong, for example, flooding, you would have been pleased that you had the right level of home insurance cover in place.
When insuring your home the insurance company is taking an educated risk. One of the factors they take into account is the value of the building and its contents. If the value you declare is not correct then, as far as the Insurer is concerned, you have not given them all the information they require in order to assess the risk. You pay a premium to the insurer calculated on the risk; if the risk were different then the premium would be different. In practical terms, it could mean that in the event of you making a claim the insurer may not payout at all. Often the insurer will only pay out a reduced amount. For example, suppose you had contents of $20,000 in your home but only insured it for $10,000 i.e. just half the true value. If you had a burglary and $1,000 of the property was stolen then the insurer may well only pay out half the value of the claim, $500.
You can see that it is important to cover the true value of your building and its contents. It’s also important to review the figure each year, it’s amazing how many additional items you can buy in 12 months! Don’t forget if you have a new kitchen fitted, or carpets, fitted furniture, satellite dish, garden tools, sheds, it all makes a difference.
If I take property out of my home am I insured? It is common with contents insurance to offer additional cover as an option to the customer, allowing you to insure certain property both in and out of the home. This is commonly referred to as Personal Possessions cover. Items such as jewelry, furs, cameras, and musical instruments can be covered against any type of accidental loss or damage inside or outside the home. Without this extension to your home insurance policy, you would not be able to make a claim if you lost or had an item stolen whilst out of your home.
How can I reduce my Home Insurance premiums? With most aspects of Home Insurance, the premium is based upon factors over which you have no control. The location of the property, its age, the value of its contents are all fixed and there is little that you can do about it. There are three factors, however, that can make a large difference to the insurance premium and that you can affect directly. The amount of the Voluntary Excess – The Security features of your home – Your claims history.
Voluntary Deductible: If you make a claim it is usual for the insurer to expect you to pay the first part, this is known as the deductible. Because the insurer insists that this is paid for each and every claim it is known as the compulsory deductible. For most home insurance policies this is in the region of $500. Most insurers are happy to provide a discount on the premium if you are prepared to pay a larger part of any claim, that is accept a larger deductible. Because this decision is up to you, it is known as the voluntary deductible. The amount of any discount will vary between insurers but is generally in the region of 5% to 15% depending upon how much you are prepared to accept.
Security: All insurers want to reduce the number of theft claims and one of the most effective ways of achieving this is for you to ensure that your home is properly secure. Because security is so effective at reducing theft most insurers are prepared to reward you with a reduction in premium. The home insurance company will define the type of security that they require in order to qualify for a discount but for most home insurance companies, there are three particular security measures that count. Good quality locks on windows and doors. A professionally fitted and maintained burglar alarm. Membership of an approved Neighborhood Watch. For each of these, the home insurance company will normally give a discount in the region of 2.5% – 10%. Unfortunately, some householders are already in a high-risk area, for example, many city centers, and the home insurance company may insist that certain securities are in place before offering coverage. In these cases, of course, no security discount will be applicable.
Claims Discount: Just as with Vehicle Insurance it is now common practice for home insurance companies to reward those who have not made a claim in preceding years. The level of discount varies from one home insurance company to another however 5% to 20% is now common and the amount is increasing. With the increased use of the computerized claims register, insurers are becoming increasingly confident that they can check on the number of claim-free years that are claimed by any policyholder and therefore are happier about providing a no claims discount.
What about my mortgage lender? If you presently have your home insurance arranged by your mortgage lender, the chances are that you could be paying too much for your home insurance coverage. It’s understandable. Research shows that people often believe that they have to take out the home insurance that their lender offers. They think it’s a condition of their mortgage. In most cases, this simply isn’t true and you are free to make your own home insurance arrangements. You may get substantial savings by switching your coverage to another provider.
A home insurance is an insurance policy that provides financial protection to a home against peril or lawsuit. In the insurance lingo, peril is defined as explicit threat or grounds of loss of covered property that may be caused by windstorm, smoke, hail, fire damage or theft.
Your home might be your biggest investment in your lifetime; hence you couldn’t just afford not to secure it. With the current natural disasters randomly happening in different countries plus the high risk of getting household damage, losing your home could be as easy as 1-2-3. However, when your home is covered, you are protected from any financial or property loss should something happens to your home.
The Significance of Home Insurance in Today’s Economy
The economic recession did not only result to massive streamlining in various industries but also losing homes. Since many people are no longer able to pay their mortgage, even regular maintenance, many ended losing their homes. With the continuing downturn in the global economy, getting your valuables and big investments, like home and vehicles, insured is the wisest decision to make. That being said, a home insurance policy can be expensive, too.
Types of Home Insurance Coverage
The insurance policy is not standard for every home. You pay for certain coverage and that determines the amount of your insurance policy. The best way to get the most appropriate coverage for your home is to compare quotes. Do not settle yet with the first insurance company you find.
Insurance companies vary in their approaches and business tactics. But, what would be the normal home insurance coverage that you would get? There are multiple home insurance coverages that can be included in the policy. For example:
coverage for house damage, which pays the amount of the policy;
coverage for structural damages, which includes fencing, work shed, garage, etc;
coverage for personal property including household stuff (i.e. clothes, jewelries, appliances, etc.);
coverage for additional living expenses that pays for the homeowner’s expenses in the unlikely event of extreme household damage – until the normal living standard is restored;
coverage for comprehensive personal liability that protects the insurer from any claim arising from accidents on owned properties or rented ones; and
coverage for medical expenses, should there be any accident that will result to injury of other people within your premises or outside, that you, your family and pet may cause.
Other Important Additional Coverage
Some of the most common home insurance coverage includes:
replacement costs for additional premium;
earthquake insurance; and
Since it can be expensive having home insurance policy in , disaster-proofing your home will help you save money as you don’t have to pay for every coverage you think are necessary. You can add shatterproof glass or storm windows to your home. You may also renovate your old plumbing, heating and electric system at home. Finally, if you raise your deductible to at least $500, your payment for premium is lowered.
Is Farmers home insurance the cheapest policy for you? You will never know for sure unless you compare quotes from other companies. How long would it take? Just a couple of minutes to fill out a simple online form. Then all the hard work is done for you and you find the best quotes. Yes, its that simple. You save time, effort and above all – lots of money!
Farmers Company Background
The Farmers Insurance Group is one of the largest insurance companies in the United States. They have a customer base of over ten million households, holding over twenty million individual insurance policies. Their insurance products are particularly popular in the west and south west of the country. Their company headquarters are in Los Angeles, , and they employ over 25000 people.
The company started, as the name suggests, by offering insurance policies to farmers. They have been operational since 1928.
They are owned by Zurich Financial Services, a gigantic Swiss financial services group with subsidiaries all over the world. The British conglomerate B.A.T. Industries initially acquired Farmers Insurance Group in 1988. The B.A.T. financial services arm merged with Zurich A.G. in 1998 to form Zurich Financial Services.
In recent years Farmers Insurance Group has been almost untouched by the global economic downturn. Their financial strength has generally been very strong. Their only low point in recent years came in 2008 as a result of Hurricane Katrina.
Farmers Company Ratings
A.M Best Company gives Famers Insurance Group a financial strength rating of A. This means their analysts believe that they have an excellent ability to meet their insurance obligations. Farmers has a good rating.
Moody’s have categorized Farmers Insurance Group’s financial strength as A2. This meaning that their financial security is excellent. That puts Farmers Insurance Group in Moody’s group of “high-grade companies.” This favorable rating is based on good profitability and earnings over the last five years, as well as the support provided by the larger Zurich Financial Services group.
Standard and Poor’s have rated Farmers Insurance Group AA-, which they categorize as a very strong financial strength rating.
The Farmers Insurance Group has generally fared quite badly on customer satisfaction surveys in recent years. Consumer Reports has found that the Farmers Insurance Group is very reluctant to pay out on claims. They gave Farmers Insurance Homeowners Insurance a “Worse” rating in both the “Problems with Claim” and “Delayed Payments” categories.
In the JD Power & Associates rankings of insurance companies in recent years, Farmers Insurance has had a mediocre score. They have generally scored average or under.
The American Association of Justice has listed Farmers Insurance as one of their top 10 Worst Insurance Companies. They claim that Farmers Insurance claim handling policies put profits above customer satisfaction. They also claim that there is a culture in the organization of delaying claims.
Kiplinger’s Personal Finance Magazine found that Farmers Insurance had the second worse complaint to claim ratio in the industry.
Obviously, it will be best if you can speak with customers of Farmers that you actually know – friends, family, co-workers. Ask them about their experience and would they recommend the company to you. A recommendation from a person you trust means much more than a high company rating on a corporate website.
Also have a look at Farmers Facebook and Twitter pages.
Shop Around And Compare Home Insurance Quotes
You should definitely shop around before you buy Farmers Home Insurance. It’s the best way to be sure that you will get a good deal. You could save a significant amount on your monthly home insurance policy if you compare the options available on the marketplace.
When you’re thinking of taking out a home insurance policy, it’s wise to get at least three insurance quotes. Make sure to take into account not only the price, but also other factors such as reputation and customer service.