Article – 5 myths about homeowners insurance

Article found on MSN.com. Though it is a US article it is still very helpful information – Please Read! Also interesting are the comments that have been posted. Click this link to read them. http://realestate.msn.com/5-myths-about-homeowners-insurance?GT1=35010

Many homeowners believe their policies will cover them for any and all damages, but the reality can be an expensive surprise.

By Angie Mohr of Investopedia

Homeowners insurance is one of the most common types of insurance and one of the least understood. Many homeowners believe that their policies will cover them for practically any damage to the house or contents. The reality is that homeowners policies contain many exclusions and restrictions on coverage that can leave you with a coverage gap. (Bing: How much can you generally expect to pay for homeowners insurance?)

Here are five areas where homeowners assume they have coverage but may not.

1. Loss-of-use coverage
If you have damage to your home severe enough that you cannot live in it while it is repaired, you may expect that the insurance company will put you up in a hotel while the work is being done. But not all policies include a loss-of-use provision. If you have to pay for a hotel, meals and other services out of pocket, it can add up quickly and put you at financial risk. If loss of use is covered, it will be stated explicitly in your policy, along with any limits of coverage. For example, your policy may state a maximum per diem amount or restrict the length of time the expenses will be paid.

Read: 10 things that can raise or lower your homeowners insurance rates

2. Replacement cost
Replacement cost in a homeowners policy refers to valuing the loss at the amount it will cost to replace the item. For example, if your four-year-old computer is lost in a fire, replacement-cost coverage would allow you to purchase a new one with similar features. Most homeowners believe that is what will happen if they have a claim, but most policies do not carry this clause. If not included, losses will be valued at what they were worth in their condition before the calamity. The 4-year-old computer might be valued at $250 — not enough to purchase a new one. Replacement-cost clauses are a valuable inclusion in a homeowners policy.

3. Flood coverage
Almost all homeowners policies exclude flood coverage, along with earthquakes and other natural disasters. Floods can occur from a number of causes, such as a hurricane, burst pipes or sewer backup. A flood is one of the most common causes of home damage and the destruction of contents. Some companies specialize in flood coverage. If you live in a susceptible area, look into having a separate flood policy. Your mortgage company may require this additional coverage.

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4. Termites
Termites live all over North America but are most destructive in Southern climates where their life cycles are not affected by cold weather. Termites eat wood — lots of it — and can eat the supports in your house as easily as fallen leaves in the forest. They live in large colonies and, collectively, can destroy the structure of your home. Repairing termite damage and eradicating them can cost thousands of dollars. Most policies exclude termites and other pest damage. If you live in a susceptible area, the best insurance is to have the house regularly checked and sprayed by a professional.

5. Valuation of loss
When you have a claim, the insurance company will send out an appraiser to determine the extent of the damage and the best way to fix it. The appraiser will assess a value to the loss, which will be the minimum the insurance company can pay in order to meet its contractual obligations. However, you do not have to take that value as final. If you can prove your loss should be valued higher, you can negotiate the settlement with the company. Keeping receipts and pictures of valuable items will help you back up your claim.

To know what is in your homeowners policy, you should read it thoroughly. Look for exclusions to coverage and decide how you will cover those risks. In some cases, your insurance company will have separate add-ons that it can attach to your policy, or you can get specialized insurance from another company. For risks that cannot be insured, analyze how you will financially cover those risks if they should happen.

21 Jul | No replies

Hard lesson to learn – Natural disasters teach value of renters insurance

As posted on MSN.ca
June 2, 2011

Natural disasters teach value of renters insurance

Slave Lake residents turn to friends, family in the wake of fires.

Contrary to how some might expect a man in his industry to react, Henry Blumenthal shudders when he sees headlines like those coming out of Slave Lake.

“It makes me very sad,” Blumenthal, a VP and Chief Underwriter for TD Insurance, says of the Alberta town, which was levelled by a runaway wildfire last month. Many apartment units, housing hundreds of residents, were also destroyed by the inferno.

“It’s very difficult for those people, who will have to go back to mom’s place or get some help financially. It’s a disaster not only emotionally but financially, too.”

Blumenthal can see this perspective because, sadly, he knows the stats. The apartment buildings lost in the Slave Lake fires are comprised mainly of renters, and renters, the TD exec knows, are uninsured more often that not.

According to the latest Statistics Canada estimate, using 2009 data, only about 44 per cent of renters in Canada hold renters’ insurance, which covers tenants from perils like theft and damage caused by fire and water.

Where uninsured residents exposed to the Slave Lake fires are concerned, many may have lost everything, with little recourse to recover the value of their destroyed possessions.

Such tragedies are of no consolation to TD’s Blumenthal, even though his industry may stand to profit from burned tenants reaching out for help. Instead, the Slave Lake fires may become the latest chapter in Blumenthal’s crusade to get every Canadian renter covered.

Because home insurance is not regulated in Canada – coverage isn’t legally mandatory in the same line as auto insurance, for instance – many Canadian renters never seriously consider taking out a policy, Blumenthal notes.

Yet while it is not considered with the same seriousness as auto insurance, renters’ insurance is often lumped in the same pricing classification as car coverage – which is to say, people think it costs an arm and a leg. The reality couldn’t be more different.

As one industry rep told MSN recently, renters’ insurance can be had for “about the cost of a pizza a month” in most cases, a characterization Blumenthal signs off on.

According to Blumenthal, just 10-15 minutes on the phone with a representative can land many Canadian renters with coverage for as little as $20-$30 a month. If you happen to have a car, bundling your auto and renters’ insurance with TD can lower the cost of tenant coverage to as little as $10-$15 a month.

And don’t sneeze at what these low-cost plans can bring. Most TD renters’ insurance plans start with $25,000-$30,000 worth of contents protection – coverage to your material assets in the face of fire, floods and theft – as well as million-dollar liability coverage, which is what may matter most should misfortune strike.

“People think about their possessions, but they forget about their liability,” Blumenthal says.

This isn’t something Canadians should be shamed about. It’s natural, in the face of disaster, to consider your personal belongings first. After all, what else is your apartment or condo filled with?

But the liability that comes with “simple negligence,” in the TD underwriter’s words, can be costly, and may be the above-all-else reason to consider renters’ coverage.

Blumenthal offers a hypothetical, though one rooted in years of experience. Let’s say you’re cooking dinner in your unit, which sits in an apartment building surrounded by dozens, if not hundreds, of other tenants.

Maybe the phone rings, and the stove catches fire – “Totally by accident,” Blumenthal interjects – and you set fire to your building, damaging other units. Such a scenario, however grim or unlikely, could lead to a lawsuit. Unless you hold renters’ insurance, like those TD policies that offer million-dollar liability protection, tenants would be alone to incur those legal costs.

This, Blumenthal says, should be a selling point to young Canadians that rent.

“You’re just starting in life, you just got a new job and got out of mom and dad’s place,” the TD exec says, noting the high cost of a tenant liability lawsuit. “That’s not a good experience to start with, having a strong level of debt like that.”

Blumenthal’s advice for renters? Talk to your insurance representative, who should be able to offer inexpensive coverage – even cheaper if you also hold auto insurance with your provider.

In less than 15 minutes, Canadians can have coverage over the phone, or they can log onto TDInsurance.com, where they can view different policy options and find a free quote for what coverage they may need based on their assets, possessions and risk level.

Fortunately, Blumenthal says he sees an uptick in renters taking out coverage, thanks largely to many Canadian landlords now requiring their tenants to have protection before they rent. “The trend is favourable now,” the TD exec says.

But there’s still a long way to go. Blumenthal hopes to promote the affordability of renters’ insurance to as many Canadians as possible, especially younger tenants who may not otherwise consider protection.

Because, as insurers see when tragedies like the Slave Lake fires hit, what remains when misfortune hits isn’t much.

“Sometimes victims are left with nothing,” Blumenthal says.

6 Jun | No replies

The Genesis Elves Save Christmas

The Genesis Elves helping the Township of Langley save their decorations from the Mouldy Monster that can be storage.

Be sure your decorations are stored in a dry space.

8 Dec | No replies

Holiday Home Hazards

Tis The Season!!  Lights, Decorations, the perfect Christmas tree. But did you know that holiday related accidents are significantly increased during the Holiday Season.

Fires increase by 18%

Fire-related injuries increase by 24%

Property losses increase by 7%

Over 8,000 people are treated in the emergency room for falls, cuts and shocks, related to holiday decorations, lights and Christmas trees.

Here are some safety tips for the Holiday Season.  We want it to be filled with nothing but Joyous Events.

Christmas Tree

  • When purchasing a live tree test for freshness. Very few needles should fall off when tree is tapped on the ground. Needles should bend not break
  • Artificial trees should be labeled Fire Resistant
  • Do not set your tree up near a heat source. This will dry out the tree very rapidly
  • It should never block a doorway
  • Never use lighted candles on a tree or near other evergreens
  • Remove live trees after 10 – 14 days. After that amount of time, even the freshest tree will start to dry out

Decorations

  • Always choose decorations that are Flame-retardant, non-combustible and non-conductive
  • if there are small children or pets in the home avaoid very small decorations
  • Avoid using angel hair together with spray-on snow. This combination is highly combustible

Lights

  • Use only CSA certified light sets
  • Turn off all tree and display lights before retiring for the night or leaving the house
  • use proper lights for the environment. Indoor light sets should not be used outdoors and some outdoor sets burn too hot for indoor use.
  • Inspect sets before use to ensure there are no cracked bulbs, frayed, broken or exposed wiring. Discard if faulty
  • Use no more than 3 standard sets of lights per extension cord. Do not overload wall outlets
  • Inserts plugs fully into outlets. poor contact may cause overheating or shock

Fireplace

  • Never burn gift wrappings, boxes, or cartons in the fireplace. They burn too rapidly and generate too much heat
  • Do not hang stockings from the mantle when fireplace is in use
  • Always use a screen to protect against flying sparks
  • Never leave fire unattended
  • Clean ashes regularly
  • Do not use Christmas trees for firewood

From everyone at GENESIS RESTORATIONS

1 Dec | No replies

Free Tips – Prevent Bed Bug Infestations

We know those nasty little suckers are hitchhikers so what do you do to ditch em before they catch a ride home with you?

Here’s some free tips to deal with Bed Bugs in the Vancouver BC region.

  1. When traveling, don’t put your suitcase or clothing on the floor or in the drawers. Keep it in your suitcase or hang it in the closet.
  2. Keep your suitcase off the floor. Use the stand.
  3. Don’t drop or leave clothes, swimsuits, etc lying on the floor. Hang them up in the bathroom to dry or put them in a bag and back into your suitcase.

Ok, so that’s going to help stop the hitchhikers but how anal retentive do you get about sleeping in a bed that isn’t yours. Personally, I tend to take more risks than most and have yet to get bit ‘knowingly’ and I’ve traveled throughout Asia, SE Asia, India and around North America/Mexico. Having said that common sense would suggest my ‘day’ is coming. So if you are staying somewhere (away from home) and get bit then what??…

  1. Suck it up and don’t be a baby.
  2. Ok, just kidding. Besides that’s no solution so just ignore that one. I just wanted to see if you’re paying attention.
  1. If you are going home empty contents of your suitcase into a plastic bag OUTSIDE and then place all clothing into a dryer on low or medium setting (not HIGH) for 30 minutes. The internal temperature must exceed 120 F or 48 C for 10 minutes to kill bed bugs.
  2. Then wash or dryclean your clothes as per normal. Since everything is dead, you don’t need heat to clean.

If you want help or need more information to deal with a bed bug problem, call me. I’m Graham Dick, the decontamination specialist at Genesis Restorations in Vancouver BC.

16 Aug | 1 reply