Five Things To Do For Fall Maintenance For Your Home

With winter season approaching, now is the time to do a few simple tasks around your home. Not only can this prevent damage from occurring, but it can help keep your home exterior clean. Instead of giving you a long laundry list of things to check off, we go over the five most important.

Is My Home Safe?

This is simple question to ask yourself every spring and fall.

  • Do you have one smoke detector on each floor of your home? Do I need to change the batteries?
  • Do I own a fire extinguisher? If so, is it up to date?
  • Where is my first aid/at home emergency kit? Do I need to make any changes?
  • Can our family be okay if there is a major event like an earthquake, flood, tornado or other natural disaster?

Am I Protecting My Home From Water Damage?

Water damage can be a root cause of home problems. Sometimes they can be covered by your home insurance, but other times they are not. Regardless if they are covered, they are a terrible to deal with. Here are a few areas to check to lower your risk of water damage in your home.

  • Check your gutters & downspouts

Once most of your leaves have fallen from your trees, simply look for debris that could be collecting in your gutters. If you see leaves collecting, remove them in order to prevent clogged gutters. If your gutters are clogged during a rainstorm, it could cause damage to your roof or siding. Also, check if your gutters are damaged & are still attached to your home. Lastly, check your downspouts. Ensure they are draining properly instead of being clogged and pooling water near your home.

  • Check your roof

Loose or missing shingles on your roof can increase your risk for water damage. Make sure your shingles are in good condition before that winter storm hits. If you have a home with a flat roof, ensure it doesn’t have any buildup of leaves. When in doubt, refer out. If you aren’t sure what to look for, ask a professional.

  • Are exposed pipes still insulated?

Check the exposed pipes around your home to ensure the insulation isn’t ripped or torn. Uninsulated garages are very important to check. Many people assume it is “inside” but uninsulated garages can get as cold as the outdoor temperatures. Check there for pipes that need to be insulated.

Is Air Escaping My Home?

Check door and window seals for signs of deterioration. Use weather stripping or caulking around windows and doors to help keep warm air in and cold air out. You’ll also lower your energy bill. On another note, if air can get into your home, water can too.

Did I Replace My Furnace Filter?

To keep your furnace running efficiently, you need to replace the filter often. Some filters may need to be changed every month.

Are Rodents Nesting In My Home?

Rodents tend to nest in your crawlspace, attic and even in your walls. Walk the perimeter of your home & any access points in your garage to make sure you do not have any cracks or holes for rodents to enter. Also, check your vents along your foundation for holes or deterioration. As the weather gets colder, rodents are always looking for a warmer place to live.

Also, remember rodents love a food source. If you are storing food or bird seed in your garage, make sure it’s properly stored in a sealed container.

While preventative maintenance can get easily get pushed on the back burner when life gets busy, it’s still important to make the time to do it.

If you have questions about your home or condo insurance, call Gila Insurance.

Everything You Should Know About Insurance For First Time Home Buyers

Home Insurance Policy Safford, AZOwning your first home is one of the most exciting and biggest accomplishments in life. It is a memorable time and something to be proud of. With this excitement comes the responsibilities of maintaining and insuring the home. While we can’t help with the maintenance, we can help you understand and properly insure your new home.

What Does Home Insurance Cover: Homeowners insurance is a broad policy that covers the structure of your home against losses like fire, theft, vandalism and other weather related losses. You also have coverage for liability for injuries to others while visiting your property such as slip and fall claims or even dog bites. It is important to understand that losses from floods and earthquakes are typically excluded from the standard homeowner’s insurance policy. You can get a separate policy for these types of losses.

What Does Home Insurance Cost: The cost of a homeowner’s insurance policy varies on several factors including your credit history, your previous loss history (dog bites or liability, or property loss claims), the value of your home and any scheduled property like jewelry and art. Our agency can give you exact numbers and because we’re an independent insurance agency, we can compare several home insurance companies at once for you to find the right coverage at the right price.

Does Home Insurance Cover Detached Structures? If your home has a detached garage or other detached structure like a home office or art studio, your policy can include things like “Other Structures Coverage.” Talk to an agent to learn more about insuring your detached structures.

Are My Personal Items Covered? Homeowners policies come with personal property coverage. This amount varies by company and can be increased with most companies. Be sure that the amount of coverage you select for personal property is sufficient for the items you own.

Are Dogs okay? Most dog breeds are okay to be covered under the liability portion of your home insurance policy. Some dog breeds such as Pit Bulls, Akitas and other dogs are classified as dangerous and may be excluded from coverage. Check with your insurance carrier for a list of breeds they will not insure.

Many options and additional coverages are available for home insurance that are not included in a standard home insurance policy. Check with a licensed agent in our office for additional coverages you may want to include with your new home. Again, congratulations on your new home purchase and if we can help you in anyway, please let us know. We appreciate the opportunity to be your homeowners insurance agent.

Things to Consider For Vacation Property Ownership

Owning a secondary home or vacation property can be a rewarding experience and allow you to build so many memories! While owning a vacation home can have countless advantages, it does bring some unique responsibility and maintenance.

Regardless of whether you’re buying a cabin just a few miles away on the lake or an oceanfront condo in Hawaii, you’ll use twice per year, you’ll want to make sure your property remains adequately protected. Renting the property adds an entirely new level of complexity to secondary home ownership and yet a better reason to review your coverages with your licensed insurance agent.

Consider these items when talking to your agent:

  1. Will you need a separate insurance policy for your vacation property liability?
  2. What liability limits are adequate for a home that is vacant more often than is occupied?
  3. If you’ll be renting the property, consider purchasing additional liability limits as well as an umbrella insurance policy to protect you.
  4. Is your vacation home in an area that is affected by natural disasters such as forest fires, hurricanes, floods or earthquakes? You may need a separate additional policy for these.

Follow these insurance tips to reduce the risk of having a claim:

  1. Keep valuables out of your vacation home. Take them with you when you leave.
  2. Ask a neighbor to keep an eye out for any unusual activity at your home.
  3. Consider getting a video surveillance camera such as a Canary or Ring to alert you if someone enters your home. These do not require service contracts and alert you by phone.
  4. Keep your heater set to 60 to prevent any pipes from freezing.
  5. Turn off your water if you plan to leave for extended periods of time. This takes only a few seconds.
  6. Consider a management company if you want to rent the property. They will help keep an eye on things.
  7. Check for obvious liability concerns if you plan to rent the property such as rotten decking, trip hazards, or other deferred maintenance.

We wish you years of memories and relaxation with your secondary home or vacation property. When you’re ready to insure your property, give us a call.

Section 1 of a Home Insurance Policy

Some of the most important insurance concepts that can affect you, aren’t commonly discussed, here’s a guide to some of the major issues.

Section I odds and ends

A couple of final thoughts, as we wrap up section I: Deductibles, Loss Settlement, and Valuation. Since there is much to be said on each of these subjects, I have included completely separate pages on each topic. Still, it is important, that if you are unsure how these work, to take a look at the applicable section.

  1. Deductibles
  2. Loss Settlement
  3. Valuation

To get an incredible quote these coverage sections start our online quote form. To Talk to a licensed agent about this coverage call us at 1-877-784-6787.

This coverage explanation is for illustration purposes only and is general in nature. Coverage explained here may not apply to your policy, State, company, or situation. For more information about how your policy would respond in the event of a loss, please refer to the terms and conditions and declarations page of your policy.

Coverage B Other Structures

If Coverage A provides insurance coverage for the dwelling and things that are attached to the dwelling, “Coverage B Other Structures” provides insurance coverage for all structures that aren’t connected to the dwelling. In this case “structures” is a complicated way of saying anything that is constructed.  For example, a detached garage (remember an attached garage would be coverage A), fences, storage buildings like sheds and greenhouses, in ground pools, barns, sports courts, gazebos, walkways, and driveways.

Usually the limit of coverage A will be defaulted to 10% of the value of the home, although more can be purchased. This limit is a “blanket” meaning you will have one limit for all your other structures, be sure you are purchasing enough to cover your needs. For example if you have a nice 2 car garage, pool, or mother-in-law quarters you probably don’t have enough coverage.

Coverage B Other Structures will have the same coverage form and loss settlement as Coverage A Dwelling. Again, the special form is always the best form. Replacement cost is always better, but you need to get the proper limits for it to work best. Also, it is important to note that if you intend to rent out an other structure such as a pool house, mother-in-law quarters or something similar or use it for business, coverage can change. If you have a situation like this explain this to your agent to ensure you get proper coverage.

Rental Property Insurance Coverage – Section 1 Coverage

Protecting your stuff is why you purchase insurance. The section I coverage of a rental property insurance policy tells you what will be covered and how.

Rental Property Insurance Coverage – Section I Coverage

Section I – The part of insurance you care about

Every insurance policy has sections. On a rental property insurance policy the there are two sections. Inventively, they are called Section I and Section II. This article breaks down Section I only. Under each section, there are a handful of coverage parts. Insurance doesn’t have to be complicated. So, let’s see if we can break these down into understandable pieces.

Section I – Protects your stuff, you know the stuff you care about. There are typically 4 parts or coverage items provided by section I.

Coverage A – Dwelling – This will be the rental property itself; the main house. PLUS, it will include anything that is attached to the house. So, things like attached porches, decks, car ports, and patios are part of the dwelling. However, if it’s only connected by a wire or a fence, there is no coverage.

Coverage B – Other Structures – This includes any buildings or structures that are not connected to the house. Including, but not limited to things like: detached garages, storage buildings, fences, pools, gazebos, walkways, and driveways.

Coverage C – Personal Property or Contents – This is tricky, because most rental properties don’t come furnished. Also, contents or personal property of tenants are NOT covered. So, for typical investors, this is going to include things such as refrigerators, stoves, washers, dryers and other appliances, but check your policy some of these things may be covered as a part of the house.

Coverage D – Loss of Use – If a rental property suffers a covered loss, and becomes uninhabitable, the insurer will pay the “fair rental value” for the rents that are lost. Meaning that if there is a fire, and your renters move out while things are being fixed, you can still be reimbursed for the rent that you would have otherwise received.

That’s it. Four coverage parts in Section I. Pretty simple. So, you have the house, any other structures, the stuff inside, and the rent you receive. Not complicated at all.

Start your quote online now, or contact with questions about Section I. Our licensed agents can walk you through the process, just call 1-877-784-6787.

Risk Management

Let’s get real for a second. You are investing in real estate. You need to protect the asset, the cash flow, your business. So you buy insurance, but managing the risks you face is more than just buying an insurance policy. There are several types of risks you face. Some are insurable, some are not, but A LOT of headaches can be avoided with some simple risk management concepts. The Risk Management process is pretty simple.

  • Identify Risk
  • Analysis
  • Plan
  • Monitor
  • Rinse and Repeat

Let’s walk through this for a moment from the perspective of a real estate investor. Let’s take a look at three common risks, and how one might manage the risk.


A fire could down the home, destroying the asset and its cash flow. So let’s walk through the process, we know the risk. What would the loss of the home do to your business? If you have a mortgage on the home, you would still be on the hook for the payments, but would be out the cash flow. It would probably be devastating to your business. So your best plan? In most catastrophic scenarios where the financial well-being of your business is at risk, it is best to transfer the risk. Insurance is a risk transferring mechanism. Rather than you taking on that risk, the company does. So by purchasing a dwelling fire policy that protects the asset, you insure the cash flow with business income coverage or the “fair rental value” which pays for the cash flow. Pretty simple. Then monitor, this one is pretty easy, but when it comes to insurance it is important to review. What has the market done? How much is the home insured for? Does that need to be adjusted? Do you have enough liability insurance, have you increased the rent? Remember the company will pay you the rents you lose in the event of a loss, but you need to state what you are collecting in rent. If that has increased you need to increase that coverage. So there is a little work to do, but your insurance agent or broker should be able to help you through the monitoring process.


A tenant poses all kinds of risk. They could damage the home, they could not pay rent, they could sue you and so much more. A lot of risk. For example, say we will focus on the risk that the tenant damages the home. This too can be catastrophic, and require reinvestment that eats into our profits. However, risk transfer is not an option, as damage done by a tenant is not covered by the insurance company. So how do you manage this risk? In this case your best bet is what is known as Risk Avoidance. That is, avoid tenants that will destroy the home, or in other words tenant screenings. There are a number of tenant screening services. We recommend that you use one that will not only provide the online screen, but that will do full background checks. Usually the cost of these is cheap, and if you do it right, you can have the tenant pay for the screening. That extra step may go far in deterring those would-be investment destroyers and non-cash flow payers. It’s a great plan that won’t eat into your profits. From there monitor the situation. Find a good screening company, and if something goes wrong review what happened. Did you ignore a red flag in your haste to get the vacancy filled? Did your screening service miss something important? Analyze, and make a new plan or continue on.


Didn’t we just cover this? Yes, but they pose A LOT of situations that are scary. The risk is that you have to evict, and you get nailed with a lawsuit because you didn’t follow the legal steps. Again, this is catastrophic, but again risk transfer is not an option because wrongful eviction of a tenant is not covered by the insurance company. You might notice that insurance companies don’t like to pay for your lack of information. So how do you manage the risk? This time the answer is Risk Reduction. You can’t really control what a tenant does or how they react. But there are ways you can reduce the risk that you are actually found to be at fault. This one is a no brainer, but too many investors fail to take the proper steps, which include education, education, education OR outsource. If this is something you plan to do on your own, education is the single most important step you can take to ensure you are following all applicable laws. If you can’t or won’t do that, then outsource it. This is one of the things that property managers do, so get a good one that knows the process and has done it (i.e. your brother-in-law, while a good guy, is probably not your best option). The experience or knowledge can help you avoid pitfalls and heartache and reduce the risk you face. That’s the plan; now, let’s hope you never have to do it. How could you further reduce the risk?

Bottom line is that we as investors run into risk all the time. The question is will you have a plan, or fly by the seat of your pants? It doesn’t take long, take a few minutes, sit down, and list those things that could potentially keep you up at night and figure out a plan and how you will react. It may make all the difference in the world when it comes to your sleep habits.

What is an Independent Agent?

An Independent Insurance Agent is someone who represents multiple Insurance companies. This means that they can shop the market to find you the coverage you need at the best price. Year after year after year. Because unlike some insurance agents that represent one insurance company, independent agent represent many.

In the insurance industry there are different kinds of insurance companies, and each company chooses how to distribute their product. Some use captive agents, some sell direct, others use Independent agents, and some choose multiple methods. Many use multiple ways to distribute their insurance products. Let’s see what each of these mean.

Captive agents – These are the ones you are most familiar with. State Farm, Allstate, Farmers, and American Families all use the captive agent model to distribute their insurance products. These agents can be excellent insurance agents, but contractually are only able to sell you one company. So if rates go up, you have to find yourself a new insurance agent.

Direct writers – With the internet there are an increasing number of direct writers. These include companies like Progressive, GEICO, and Esurance. You go online and can purchase your insurance, but again, if rates go up you have to do the shopping.

Independent Insurance agents – These are agents that get contracts with multiple insurance companies and can shop the market to find you the best rate. These agents tend not to have well-known names, but the companies behind them can be very well known. Safeco, Travelers, Metlife, and others like to distribute their products through independent agents.

Then there are those that choose to distribute through multiple channels. Allstate for example, has their captive agents, but also sells direct as they purchased Esurance, and they use the independent channel through a company called Encompass. Farmers sells direct through its agents, but also purchased 21st Century to compete with Esurance and Progressive. Farmers also purchased Foremost and Bristol West to sell through independent agents. Progressive is well known for its direct sells, but also boast that more independent insurance agents sell through Progressive than any other company.   Seems to be a lot of ways to get the same companies, and it is. But if that is the case, then why wouldn’t you let someone do all the shopping of insurance. An Independent agent.

That’s why Gila Insurance Group LLC chooses to be an independent agent. Because in the end, we can provide the best value for our customers. Year after year after year.

Learn more about who we choose to partner with, and about Gila Insurance Group, LLC today. Check out the independent insurance agent difference. Get a quote online from multiple companies that we represent

Insurance Rates

The most common insurance question on the planet is “How is it that I haven’t had a loss in years and my insurance rates keep going up?” Even as an insurance broker with years of experience I have asked that question of my own insurance companies, and I can certainly empathize my customers. Trust me, I as much as anyone would like your rates to stay where they are, because it’s the domino effect. Rates go up, you get mad, you call me, we shop you with other companies we represent, and we hope we keep you, but sometimes we lose you. It’s a big hassle that no fun for either of us.

So, what’s the answer? I will try to keep it short, but you have to understand what insurance is. Its risk transfer. Now before you run off, thinking this is already dull, let’s look at this closer. You have an asset, maybe an investment property, a mobile home, an RV, a car, whatever. It’s expensive and, a loss to it would be catastrophic to you and your family. So you pay a little money (in comparison to the value of the asset) to transfer the possibility of a loss to someone else, the insurance company. Now if the insurance company only insured you, that would be a terrible risk, now before you get offended, you’re not a terrible risk, but if you paid me $1000 to insure your 250,000 house and it burned to the ground I am out $249,000. But If I am able to get 249 other people to give me a $1000 and your house burns to the ground, then I can pay you, and assuming no one else’s house burns to the ground then we got it just right. That’s insurance, and it’s the world that insurance companies live in. A constant game of Goldilocks and the three bears. Insurance companies have to get it just right. Not too expensive, just expensive enough to cover the cost of the losses, and make a small profit. Now before you yell at me about the adjective, we are talking percentage wise, not dollar amount wise. Maybe we should table how insurance companies make money for another day.

So if you never have a loss, how do the rates keep going up? Well the short answer is your neighbor, and the thousands of other people, or however many are in your particular group, are terrible risks. They have terrible tenants that burn their houses down with Candles and let their Rottweilers maul people. They forget to keep the heat on their vacant homes, which causes them to flood. They have snot nose teenagers that text while they drive, and honk their horns to summon their friends, they back their RVs into gas pumps, and so on and so forth. So, please before you call your broker and yell at him, remember two things. First, if he is an independent agent, like Gila Insurance Group is, we might be able to find you a better price with better neighbors, and a better group, and we can save you the time of shopping all over the place. Second, the next time you get a letter in the mail from your insurance company that has your rates going up, and you haven’t had a loss, remember it’s your neighbors fault, and by the way, he still hasn’t returned the rake he borrowed 2 years ago!

One of the best things you can do to keep your insurance rates down is to shop. As an independent agent that is what we do. Every year we will review your rates to ensure they are still competitive. So keep your insurance rates down and start your quote now.

Why Do We Buy Insurance?

Why do we purchase insurance? It’s for the coverage. There are certain risks in life that we have to take, but we don’t necessarily have to take unnecessary financial risk, especially related to damage to our assets or damage that we cause to others. That’s why we purchase insurance. If a bunch of people pool a little money together, then we are able to pay for the catastrophic loss that the few of us will have, and that, at it’s core, is what insurance does. No one likes to pay for insurance, but in the event of the big loss it can save us financially.

So what coverage do we need? No sense in paying for something we don’t need, but we certainly should make sure we have the coverage we need. That really varies. It depends on you. Insurance can be complicated to understand, but here we endeavor to make the difficult understandable. However, we are talking in general terms. Coverage varies by state and by company. For more information about what your policy covers, please refer to your insurance policy and contract. If you have questions, refer to your insurance agent, that’s why they are there. If you are not sure what you have or would like to see what options we offer, start a quote online today!