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Homeowners Insurance - What's it all about?

Have You Noticed an Increase in Your Homeowners Insurance?
If you have, you're not alone. Increases in homeowners insurance are happening across the country for a variety of reasons. One of the main reasons is Mother Nature and the weather we've been experiencing lately. In 2011 catastrophic weather events in the second quarter of the year (April, May & June) exceeded $15 billion countrywide. Hurricane Irene caused record losses in the eastern United States and wind and hail caused over 20,000 severe weather reports in the first half on 2011. Tornadoes, earthquakes and wildfires also attributed to the homeowners increase with losses from fires alone estimated over $250 million.

These catastrophic events put a demand on the building industry for labor and materials driving up reconstruction and repair costs. So while the market value - the amount you could expect someone to pay to buy your home - may have dropped, the cost to rebuild your home at the same location with similar materials -the replacement cost - has increased. Because you insure your home to the replacement cost, not the market value, the amount of coverage you need to be fully protected, and thus your premiums, are going up.
What Can You Do?
There may be some things you can do to lower your premium. Increasing your deductible and/or installing fire, burglar and smoke alarms in your home are two ways in which your premium could be lowered. Call your AOGF agent to discuss various premium options.
Is it Covered?

Your AOGF agent is here to help you find the policy that best fits the needs of you and your family. They are also here to look over your current policy and answer any questions you may have. Many of us only look over our homeowners policy at renewal time or if a loss occurs. Take the time now to look over your policy and know what's covered. Prior to the weather turning colder, call or email your agent to discuss the following, and find out what is and isn't covered.

Sewer Backup
Water backups are usually not covered under a standard policy and a special rider may be needed. Ask your agent for additional information if interested in purchasing a rider. 

If you've recently installed a woodstove, make sure it’s properly installed and make sure to inform your AOGF agent. Chimney fires can cause serious damage and you’ll want to ensure you’re covered.

Valuable Items & Collectibles
The standard homeowners policy limits coverage for collectibles and valuable items. Look over your policy to see if supplemental insurance is needed. Your agent can make recommendations on coverage options.

Flood & Earthquake
One big misconception regarding homeowners insurance is that flood damage is covered. If you are concerned about a possible flood exposure, you should look into obtaining flood insurance. You can also purchase special earthquake insurance if that’s a need you have. Earthquakes are also not covered in a standard policy and rates depend on location and the probability of an earthquake. Speak with your agent if interested in learning more about flood or earthquake insurance.

Computer Equipment
Some insurance companies will pay to replace what your computer is worth now, not what it was worth when you purchased it. Look over your policy to see if computer replacement costs are covered. If they are, check to see if there is a cap. If you feel supplemental insurance is needed, give your agent a call to discuss what level of coverage you need.

Swimming Pools
Swimming pools are covered in your homeowners policy. However, if you’ve recently installed a swimming pool call your agent to let them know. Additional liability coverage may be needed to ensure safety.

Homeowners insurance was designed to protect your home against damages to the house itself, or to possessions in your home. If additional information is needed or questions arise, don’t hesitate to call or email your AOGF agent. Life is unscripted….be ready!

* Information courtesy of Central Insurance Company

*The information, principles, suggestions and examples contained in this blog are general in scope and have been developed from sources believed to be reliable. This is not legal advice nor has any attempt been made to interpret any codes, laws, standards or regulations. Associates of Glens Falls, Inc. or any of its employees accepts no responsibility for the correctness or completeness of this material or its application to specific factual situations.