Since standard homeowners insurance doesn’t cover flooding, it is important to have protection from the floods associated with hurricanes, tropical storms, heavy rains and other conditions that impact us throughout the year.

In 1968, Congress created the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) to help provide a means for property owners to financially protect themselves. The NFIP offers flood insurance to homeowners, renters, and business owners if their community participates in the NFIP. Participating communities agree to adopt and enforce ordinances that meet or exceed FEMA requirements to reduce the risk of flood damage.

On October 29 many of our lives at the Jersey Shore changed forever. The Superstorm or Frankenstorm, aka Hurricane Sandy, but in reality, the storm was a named Tropical Storm. Regardless of what we call it, the devistation is extensive and will take months, probably years to rebuild and restore.
Part of the rebuilding expense will be covered by various insurance policies, whether it be flood insurance, business insurance or homeowners insurance. The remainer of the expense to rebuild and restore will be from minimal grants and SBA loans.

With disaster assistance through sba loans for your home or business, there are certain requirements to qualify. The three main requirements are the ability to pay back the loan, credit score and the purchase of flood insurance. The flood insurance requirement is for the entire life of the loan, just as if the loan was for a first position mortgage.

Should you be required to purchase flood insurance, it is important to make sure you have sufficient coverage and understand how it will come into affect in case of another disaster. It is important to have both structure and contents, with deductibles that are affordable. Flood insurance should be an important part of your insurance portfolio regardless of the flood hazard area of which you live.

There are great websites to review to learn about disaster assistance and flood risks. http://www.floodsmart.gov and http://www.disasterassistance.gov. These two sites are great, but it is important to talk to a flood insurance specialist to get rates and review coverage options.

For further information, please call us at 877.288.7169 and ask about your needs.

Do you know what your deductibles are for the post storm recovery?

Hurricane Sandy, just like Hurricane Irene may not be classified as  a true Hurricane. This information will be available days after the storm and will need to be verified by the National Weather Service. If you do sustain damage, please talk to your insurance agent to determine if the damage you have sustained is worth putting into the insurance company. The insurance companies are already inundated with claims and if it is not necessary, you will save time and money, by not putting in the claim.

By no means, am I preaching to wait to fix damage or put in claims. If you have sustained significant damage and are in danger, please call 911. If you have sustained significant damage and need to mitigate the loss, you can call your local ServPro office and they will send out a crew to patch up holes in the roof or windowsImage in order to prevent further damage. More often than not, the emergency repair work is covered by your insurance carrier.

During storms such as this Hurricane Sandy or Frankenstorm and that of Hurricane Irene, damages consist of wind blown debris, wind driven rain, sump pump and water back up caused by power outages, flood and of course trees coming down.   Most of these are covered, but it is important to know how it is covered and what the deductible associated with the damage is. Many home owner policies do not cover sump pump and water back up. This coverage is often an add on and many shoppers will leave it off in order to save a few dollars. In my opinion, this is one of the most important coverages.

When your deductibles are concerned, there are often differences between Fire, Wind and Hurricane. Carriers differ in their beliefs and ratings when it comes to these deductibles. There are many companies that will require a 5% Wind Deductible. 5% refers to the deductible being that percentage of total Dwelling coverage, also know as Coverage A. If your policy covers $400,000 in dwelling, that Wind deductible will be $20,000. This is often overlooked in relation to purchasing a policy. The difference, would be that this may be good in this situation, because Hurricane Sandy will not be making landfall as  hurricane and those homeowners with Hurricane Deductibles will be spared. This however may not be the case if you have a 5% Wind Deductible. That 5% will follow you for any wind event, regardless of the speed of the wind.

In the low lying areas and coastal communities, these deductible are extremely common today and are nothing we can avoid. If our storms continue heavy on an annual basis, we will start to see wind coverage fall off all together or become extremely expensive.

Please check your insurance policy or call your insurance agent to check your coverage and deductible. It is important to have this conversation after the storm and be aware of what you have for the future. Know your policies, because it is you that is paying the bill for the insurance and for the clean up.

 

Stay safe out there!

 

Do you know what types of insurance coverage’s are right for you and your situation? Have you ever been informed of what types of coverage’s are right for you? Let’s analyze homeowners insurance and use it as an example.  When purchasing homeowners insurance in the past, did you ever read through your policy to see what coverage’s were included and what coverage’s were excluded?   Knowing what’s covered and what’s not makes all of the difference in the world in the event of a loss.  A standard HO3 policy covers everything except certain perils, which are outlined in the policy.   If you don’t add the proper coverage’s onto your policy you may be surprised to discover that you may not have the right coverage’s to protect you in the event of a loss.  Let’s examine some of the major exclusions on an HO3 policy.  Ordinance or law coverage, this coverage is important to have because building codes change all the time.  If you don’t have this coverage on your policy and you need to re-build your home or part of your home because of a loss and the building codes have changed, you may not have enough coverage to re-build your home up to code.  By adding this coverage you can ensure that you’re able to rebuild your home up to code if you experience a loss.
Water damage is one of the most intricate types of perils homeowners face.  Without the proper coverage’s in place you could find yourself high and dry without funds to fix the damage to your home.  The only way to prevent this is by knowing what is available to you and knowing your carrying the right coverage.  You can add an endorsement onto your policy that covers water back up and sump pump failure, which will protect you in the event you have water back up due to sump pump failure, sewer back-ups, and water that seeps through the foundation. This endorsement provides coverage for damage that occurs with-in the structure.  This type of coverage is not to be confused with flood insurance, which is a completely different type of coverage on a separate policy which doesn’t cover this type of damage unless it was the result of a flood occurring from outside of the home.  
Another major exclusion is insect and vermin damage.  Insect damage is defined as any damage caused by any small air breathing anthropoid, and vermin is defined as small animals, especially rodents that are troublesome to man.  In order for the damage to be labeled as insect or vermin damage, the insects or vermin must be the proximate cause of the loss, meaning they must have caused the loss.  There are many other exclusions that I haven’t mentioned like earth movement, power failure, neglect, intentional loss, mold, and war just to name a few,  and many people aren’t informed about these coverage’s and that they may not be included on their policy.  There are many different types of insurance policies all of which have exclusions and available endorsements to include coverage for these exclusions if you have a need for them.  The only ways to ensure you have the right coverage for you and your situation is to talk to a licensed insurance agent about your needs and situation and let them look over your policy to ensure you have the right types of coverage in place.  If you discover your carrying inadequate coverage on your policy adding the right endorsements is super easy and surprisingly cost effective.  Stop by LG Insurance Group for a free policy review today, it doesn’t take long and you’ll feel better finding out if you are carrying the right types of coverage’s for your personal situation.  Then you will never have to worry whether you are REALLY covered!

Importance of Proper Replacement Costs
To understand the importance of choosing to have replacement cost coverage on your homeowners policy, first you need to know what replacement costs are. Replacement costs are how much it’s going to cost to repair a home if any damage should occur. For example, if a pipe bursts, roof leaks, if you have a fire, or any kind of destruction to your home. It does not take depreciation into account, therefore you pay no money out of your pocket, except for your deductible. Are you covered? It’s important to make sure you’re properly insured, if you’re not, you’ll be looking to cover these costs yourself. Remember, it’s not just the home repairs themselves, there are other factors involved when it comes to replacement costs. For example, there is the demolition of current property, debris removal, architects, market conditions, compensation to rent another property and other miscellaneous expenses. Your home is being repaired up to today’s standards, and not based on how much was paid when the home was purchased. Replacement costs exceed what was paid for the home at the time of purchase, mainly because you’re not paying for the replacement, minus wear and tear For example if a 3000SF home needed to be replaced;
Replacement costs would include:
100% of the structure – normal range of $130/sf – $200/sf = $390,000
Demolition of current property = $9,700
Debris Removal= $27,000
Architects and Engineers = $3,900
Updated construction codes = $58,000
Market Conditions = $78,000
Miscellaneous = $78,000
Total Replacement Cost Value = $679,700
It’s easy to see that the cost to replace a home is expensive. The coverage is there to ensure you in the event you loose your home it’s repaired up to today’s standards. Therefore, it’s important to check your policy and make sure you have the right coverage. Many people remain underinsured and don’t realize how important it is to have a proper policy in order to cover replacement costs. Now you know! So make sure to give us a call to make sure you have the proper coverage. Otherwise, in the possibility disaster should strike, all of those expenses are coming out of your pocket.

The Benefits of Packaging
Everyone has seen the Progressive commercials with Flo telling her customers about “the Bundler.” But what exactly is she talking about? She’s talking about packaging together multiple lines of insurance. This way, customers can acquire multi-policy discounts for packaging their home and auto insurance together.
By packaging home and auto insurance, customers receive a more customized policy to fit their needs. For example, New Jersey Skylands Insurance, offers Custompac. Those insured with Custompac receive broader coverage, less gaps in-between policies and overall discounts on their entire package. With Traveler’s insurance, when auto insurance and home insurance are packaged, customers save a minimum of 10% on each policy. With a package policy you get one bill. Not only this process more convenient, you also reduce the installment fees you are charged by the insurance company.
So why not put your car insurance and home insurance together to create one package policy? Hey, you can even package your umbrella and life insurance if you want to go to the extreme. You save both time and money, what could be more beneficial than that? So give your insurance agent a call and get your benefits today!

What is the easiest way to save 30% on auto insurance? Is it A) Ride a bike B) Reduce your insurance coverage limits to an unsafe level or C) Get Progressive Snapshot? The correct answer is C) Get Progressive Snapshot. But what is Snapshot exactly? It’s a usage based insurance program, which is modeled by way of an individual’s driving habits. Fret not, it’s here to save customers money, not monitor their whereabouts. Snapshot has no GPS system therefore cannot track location or speed. Snapshot only collects data on how hard you break, time of day you drive and your mileage in order to identify if you are qualified.

This program isn’t for everyone, however, those that do qualify are looking to save a lot of money.  But how does Snapshot gather this information? After signing up with a Progressive agent, customers will be delivered the Snapshot device after 7 to 10 business days. The device is plugged into the diagnostics port of the vehicle and stays there for 6 months, one policy term. After the first 30 days, users will be prompted with their initial discount of up to 30% on the rest of their policy period. After the 6 months are over, drivers will be asked to return the device.  Then they will be given their customized ratings discount. Worst-case scenario, a customer does not qualify for the discount, they needn’t worry. Insurance rates cannot go up from using the device.  

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Snapshot is allowing customers to prove they are good drivers while giving them more customized rates based on monitored driving habits. It’s changing the face of the insurance industry. In the state of New Jersey, only Progressive offers this program. Snapshot is completely voluntary and anyone that qualifies is looking to save a great deal of money. No one is being tracked and no harm can come to those who try it. If you feel you qualify what are you waiting for? Great savings are right around the corner, call us today and sign up for Snapshot! 877.288.7169

Do you text and drive? Do you use your Bluetooth for telephone conversations while driving? Do you read and respond to emails while driving?
These media consumption devices that we use and abuse have gotten us more connected, but at the same time more addicted! We crave instant gratification and expect response as quickly as we send.
Slow down! Your cell phone use tickets, accidents and other traffic violations all count against you on your auto insurance premium, not to mention that your risk for an accident increases by 100%!
So again, I ask that you slow down as your texts, emails and apps can wait until you get to your next destination. Drive safely!

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