The Finance Blogger

Vacant Homes and House Insurance

December 7th, 2010 ernie Posted in Insurance 1 Comment »

Vacant Homes and House InsuranceVacant homes and house insurance is something every snow bird needs to consider. A friend of mine went away for the winter. He made arrangements for his son to check on his house whenever he was in the neighborhood. Living in a cold climate it is important to make sure that the heat is on to avoid pipes freezing. This situation can cause lots of water damage when the house finally warms up. Anyway his son was checking but on a semi regular basis. One day he goes in to his dad’s house and there is water everywhere. Apparently the heat had been off and the pipes froz. The pipes split and there was water everywhere! $95,000 later and lots of frustration, his house was back to normal about 6 months later.

Vacant Homes and House Insurance

What most people do not know is that unless you have your home checked on a regular basis the insurance company could choose to not cover your claim! This can be a very expensive surprise!

How To Avoid Making an Insurance Claim

So what do you do to avoid any possibility of having your claim denied and even better to avoid having to make a claim at all?

The first step is to call your insurance company and inquire what the rules are. They all differ, so please make the call. We will use an example in this post, but it is only representative and should not be taken as a guideline. One company we know indicates that during the winter if the water is not turned off, you need to have someone check the home every day to make sure that the heat is on and that there is no running water.

If you do turn the water off, then once a week is fine as far as they are concerned. This is a huge difference especially if you need to pay someone to check your home every day.  Failing to meet their requirements could mean that your claim will be denied which could be a very expensive proposition. Another issue to consider is to also have someone document that they visited at the required number of times and can prove that the home was monitored.

Hire a Home Monitoring or Property Management Company

The next step is to arrange for a friend, a neighbor, a family member to check on your home on an agreed to schedule. The schedule is important to make sure that your insurance is maintained and there are not issues with claims if you should happened to need to make one. Friends, neighbors and family members have busy schedules and sometimes cannot commit to meeting the schedule that you need.

Another approach is to hire a company that specializes in this service to look after your home while you are away. A home sitting or property management firm will present you with a contract and a checklist to review. Professional companies of this sort will make sure that the schedule is maintained. Perform all checks based on your needs. Many will also send an email report after each visit to ensure that you have peace of mind while you are away.

But I Don’t Want a Complete Stranger in My Home

This is a huge concern for many people. A complete stranger has full access to your home while you are away. If you are uncomfortable with this, then do not hire a stranger, hire your friends or family members. Just make sure that someone is looking after your home while you are away.

If you do decide to hire a property management company, there are a few things you can do to protect your home and your self. Always ask for references, ask for a contract, ask for a checklist of tasks. Make sure you receive a copy of all documents and if you have anything of value such as jewelry etc, it only makes sense to lock it away or take it with you.

Most companies are completely honest and you should not have any worries. However this is a service that is being sold to you and you should manage the delivery of the service in a professional manner.

If you have had experience with property managers or home sitters, feel free to leave some comments. We would love to hear them, especially any pointers you might have that will help our readers.

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Car Insurance – Do You Have Enough

November 21st, 2010 ernie Posted in Insurance 1 Comment »

Car Insurance - Do You Have EnoughCar Insurance – Do You Have Enough coverage? Anyone who drives a car probably always worries a bit when they get into their car. Do they have enough car insurance coverage. I know I do. Every time I talk with my insurance friends I feel like I can never have enough insurance. I am not talking about repairs to your car or the other guys. This is bad enough. It could cost you a lot if you really damage an expensive car. This is not life threatening, it will just put a big hole in your net worth. But let’s put things in perspective. What is the cost to cover serious medical issues involving hospitalization over a long time with possible physio therapy? These kinds of accidents could cost millions! This is what I worry about and how my family will survive if I cannot earn income!

I am not an expert and any comments in this blog should be taken as is and not from an expert. If you have questions or do not understand something speak to your agent and get it clarified. But just make sure you have enough car insurance to look after your family if you do have an accident.

Car Insurance – Do You Have Enough

There are at least 3 major types of car insurance that you need to consider. They are : Car Insurance – Collision, Car Insurance – Liability, and Car insurance – Comprehensive.

Car Insurance – Collision is really the insurance you carry to cover your car and the car you hit in the event that you have an accident. If you live in an area were no-fault insurance is in place, then it will cover the repairs to your vehicle after a collision. There are always issues that you need to be aware of with each policy so take the time to read the fine print and make sure you are covered for all of the things that you feel that you need to be covered by.

Car insurance – Comprehensive covers minor repairs to your car were there is no collision with another vehicle. Cracked windshields, broken mirrors, scratched paint etc are covered by comprehensive insurance. Many people with older cars will stop this insurance, preferring to pay for any repairs themselves. Consumers must be careful that when they stop this kind of coverage, that coverage that they may need are not stopped because they are bundled together with the main comprehensive coverage.

Car Insurance –

Liability is the big one for you and for the other guy. If you are at fault or cause damage to another persons property,  the courts may decide that you must repay the other person all of the damages that were caused. In some situations these costs can be huge as mentioned earlier and your insurance company will be very interested in understanding who was at fault, whether there was any negligence on your part. They will represent you, however the numbers involved can be large.  Many people feel that even $2 million of coverage is not sufficient.

When to Stop Car Insurance – Many people feel that you should never stop any kind of car insurance. While others feel that it is ok to stop comprehensive coverage and nothing else. Many states and provinces require you to show evidence of liability and collision coverage before you can obtain a car license plate or even to renew one. Bottom line is that you want to make sure that you and your family are protected. This includes avoiding bankruptcy due to an accident.

Drinking and Your Car Insurance – is a particularly important issue. You may have enough hassle getting a DUI ticket, but if you cause an accident because you were drinking, your insurance may not be valid. If you are concerned at all about this issue check with your insurance company to find out what their position would be if you had an accident and you were drinking. It is important to clarify if you are under or over the legal drinking limit for your state or province were you live!

We hope these comments have helped to clarify things. Feel free to post comments that will help our readers. Spam will be deleted.

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