Flood Insurance Facts, Coverage & Questions Answered!

The Myth: Homeowners Insurance Covers My Home From All Damage

Flood Insurance Agent Safford, AZFlood insurance is one of the more commonly misunderstood insurance coverages. Many homeowners assume that if they have a homeowner’s insurance policy, then they’re covered from all water damage that could occur to their home. This is not true. Flood insurance is not typically included in standard home insurance policies – it requires a separate policy altogether.

Where Can Flood Insurance Be Purchased From?

Most places you purchase home insurance from will also offer you an option for flood insurance. Flood insurance can be purchased easily from your local independent insurance agent – including us!

Is Flood Insurance Expensive?

Flood insurance prices will vary depending on many factors. Those factors can include:

  • Value of your home
  • Location of your home (is it likely to flood – near rivers, streams, swamps etc.)
  • Primary or secondary residences
  • Basements
  • & more.

If you want to get a general idea, we can quickly provide you with a quote or you can go to FEMAs website and look up your home address and assess your risk. The quickest way to understand your risk and get a quote would be to contact our agency.

Doesn’t FEMA Cover My Flood Loss?

In order for FEMA to step in and help, the President of the United States must declare a FEMA emergency. This is done in roughly 50 percent of major floods (according to FEMA.GOV). Even then, the assistance provided is a low interest loan that needs to be repaid. This is not free money given out.

A Pipe Broke In My House, Do I need Flood Insurance?

No. A broken pipe in your home is not what flood insurance is for. This would be covered by your standard home insurance policy.

My Sewer Backed Up Into My Home, Is This Flood Insurance?

No, unless the sewer backed up clearly because of a flood and rising flood waters. There is a coverage available called Water & Sewer Backup coverage. You may ask your agent about this and what it covers.

How Fire & Water Can Create Floods

Do you live in or have property located in an area that recently had wildfires? Trees suck up so much water when they are alive. If these trees die off, this creates excess runoff in areas not typically prone to flooding. This can increase your chances of being involved in a flood.

Only you can decide whether having flood insurance is right for you. While it is mostly optional (unless you live in a high flood prone area and your mortgage carrier requires it), it may help save you thousands of dollars in expenses.

Call us today to run a no obligation quote for you. We can quickly produce numbers for you so you can decide whether or not flood insurance is the right choice for you.

Thinking Of Buying An Old or Historic Home? Consider This Before.

Home Insurance Agent Safford, AZOlder homes exude character. Not only do their walls tell a history, but often the character, details and warmth inside of one of these homes is unmatched in today’s quickly built society. Instead of taking months to build a single home by hand, entire neighborhoods can now be constructed in less time.  If you’re considering purchasing an older home, there are many things to consider during the search as well as when you’re ready to buy.

Outdated Electrical

Updating a home’s electrical system to a more modern electrical panel, grounded switches and updated in-wall wiring can be very expensive. According to Angie’s List, expect to pay anywhere between $8,000-15,000 for an average sized home. Additionally, you may require an upgraded service to the home which can add additional cost. Because you need to get into the walls, this also means repairing all the walls in the home that had to be cut out so you could run the new wiring and disconnect the old.

Outdated Plumbing

Older homes typically will have some form of older plumbing still in place even if the majority of the system was replaced. The most common ones are the sewer line, water supply line and, depending on when the system was updated, could even be out of date again. For instance, if galvanized pipes were replaced by Polybutylene piping in the 70’s, this would also need to be replaced.

Foundation

Depending on the home, it is possible the home doesn’t even have a foundation. Some older homes were built on post and pier meaning they don’t have a concrete foundation they sit on. This can make insuring a home more difficult. The simplest way to check for any foundation problems is to just walk the home. Do the floors feel crooked? Are doors difficult to close? Are there cracks in the walls? These are all signs that the home may have foundation issues.

Dry Rot

Throughout the life of any home, a leak will develop. Whether around a window, the foundation or the roof leaks occur. If a length of time goes when that leak is not detected the water can get into walls and stay wet for years. This can cause dry rot. Detecting dry rot can be difficult. Your best indicator may be your nose. Does it smell musty?

Mold

Mold goes hand in hand with dry rot. If water enters the home and things remain wet, mold can form. Again, use your nose and see if you can detect any musty odors.

Asbestos

Asbestos was a commonly used product in building materials in from the 1930s-1950s. It was used on everything from siding to ceiling and wall plaster materials to duct tape. While buying a home that contains asbestos isn’t necessarily bad as long as the product is not disturbed, it can cause a huge challenge and added cost if you plan to remodel. Do your research.

Lead Paint

Older homes built prior to 1978 have a high likelihood of containing lead based paint. While most have likely been painted over by now, it is important to understand that these paints can be dangerous if you plan to remodel or disturb them.

Insurance Costs

Generally speaking, it is possible that it will cost more to insure an older home. The only way to determine pricing on an individual home would be to get a quote on the specific address. You may find that it is less than insuring a newer home, so do your homework and work with an independent agent who can find you a great rate on your home insurance.

While older homes come with their challenges, it is usually impossible to recreate the charm, character and history these homes have. While you enjoy being a caretaker of this property we can help you protect it with a great home insurance policy.

The Benefits of Buying Your Insurance Through a Local Agent Vs. Online

Insurance Agent Safford, AZThere are many ways these days to buying an insurance policy. Some people may feel the easiest way is to simply go online and purchase it yourself. You could even shop many carriers yourself to find the best rate for the coverage you need. However, there are many more additional benefits you could gain by going through a local insurance agency.

Save Yourself Time

As we mentioned above, yes you could shop for insurance yourself through several of the top insurance carriers. But, what is your time worth? By shopping with a local insurance agent, we can do the shopping for you. Get 10 quotes or more at once! We’ll provide you many choices by shopping our top insurance carriers to find you the best coverage at an affordable price. In fact, many of our companies are likely the big ones you’ve heard of. If for any reason you want to change insurance carriers down the road, we can do that for you – you don’t need to change agents.

Get Professional Advice

Instead of guessing what coverage you might need, you can get professional advice by working with a local insurance agency. Since we specialize in this field, we can listen to your needs and find the right coverage that matches. We can also ensure you don’t have any gaps in coverage in the event you have an insurance claim.

Truly Understand The Coverage You Are Buying & Additional Coverage Options Available

Insurance can be complicated. We try to simplify the process. Not only do we want to help you understand your current insurance policy, but help if you are interested in different coverage options. Feel confident knowing you’re informed about exactly the coverages you have and what you might want to consider.

Score a Discount

Our licensed agents are discount detectives. Let them search for all the hidden discounts so you get the best rates and coverage for your money. We understand it is important you have affordable insurance coverage. That’s why we are constantly looking for ways to get you to qualify for a discount. If you are unhappy with your insurance plan at renewal, we can look at coverage options through other carriers to find the best fit for you.

Have a Relationship With Your Agent Vs. Calling an 800 number

We are a phone call or email away. By working with the same agency time and time again, we can help you with anything. From claims, to policy updates or questions, we strive to be a partner you trust and can rely on.

If you are in need of an insurance policy, call Gila Insurance. We can help you find affordable coverage for your auto, home or business. Get a free insurance quote today.

Three Things To Keep In Mind When Hosting Your Holiday Party

There are many factors that go into hosting a great holiday party. Whether it’s prepping your family’s homemade, traditional recipes, cleaning your home for guests or decorating for the perfect holiday festivity, hosting a party is a lot of work! At the same time, it can be fun & your guests may look forward to your party for weeks. While we wish parties could be all fun and games, there are some risks you should be aware of.

Alcohol

We all know and understand the risks of drinking too much alcohol. However, when you are the host of a party and serving alcohol, you could be liable if someone leaves your home after drinking too much and gets into a car accident. As a host, be aware of how much your guests are drinking and ensure they have a safe ride home. Even if that means calling a taxi or Uber for them.

Tripping Hazards

There are many ways a guest could trip and fall inside or outside your home. You can be liable and a home insurance claim may need to be placed if a guest is injured on your property. Here are a few things to consider to avoid a tripping hazard.

  • Have a clear walkway path from your driveway to front door. Ensure there are no extension cords, cracks in the sidewalk or an icy path where your guest could fall.
  • Clear toys, decorations or other objects from the hallways or stair case in your home.
  • Ensure your rugs aren’t bunched where a guest could trip.

Distracted Cooking

Did you know cooking is the number #1 reason for home fires? It’s easy to get distracted when you’re hosting a party and trying to cook your meal at the same time. However, don’t allow yourself to multi-task or leave the kitchen while heating elements are running.  Other things to consider:

  • Know where your fire extinguisher is located in your home.
  • If a grease or oven caught fire, would you know what to do? For a grease fire, don’t throw water on it, but instead, smother it. For an oven fire, keep the door closed and turn off the oven.
  • If you like to deep fry turkeys, keep it at least 10 feet away from your home.

Holiday parties give lasting memories for not only the host, but the guests as well. However, being prepared is crucial to protect yourself from liability. For questions about your home or liability insurance, contact our agency!

Benefits of Bundling Your Insurance Policies

Insurance Agency Safford, AZ“Bundle your home and auto & save!” “Save by bundling your insurance policies together!”

We seem to be inundated with commercials and advertisements telling us to bundle our insurance policies together. What is the reason behind this and is this really a better option for your insurance?

Benefits of Bundling

Discounts

Some of the benefits associated with bundling your insurance policies together are discounts. The more you bundle, typically, the more you save. While the most common bundled policy is the home and auto policy, some insurance companies discount other product bundles such as auto and motorcycle. It depends on each carrier.

Consolidated Billings

Bundling your policies together can help eliminate confusion over your billing. While home insurance may go to your escrow company, it is easier to understand when your bill comes from a single source.

Access to more products

Many companies will require the auto policy to write an umbrella policy. While typically the umbrella policy is written under the property portion of your insurance. Do note, there are some companies who will just write an umbrella policy.

Why would you not bundle?

Sometimes bundling your insurance policies just doesn’t make sense. Some circumstances in which you may not be able to bundle your insurance can be:

Every once in a while auto insurance premium may seem too high, but you’re happy with your home insurance carrier. In this instance, you can use the full benefit of an independent insurance agent by writing the home with one carrier and the auto insurance with another carrier.  Just because you’re splitting the policies doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll pay more. An agent in our office can show you all the prices between several carriers and help guide you as to what makes the most sense for your specific situation.

If you’re in the market for a new or replacement insurance policy, you’ve come to the right place. Independent insurance agents are the only agents who have access to multiple top-rated insurance companies. By shopping with an independent agent, you can compare coverage, pricing, payment plans and look at bundling your insurance policies. The benefits of having an independent insurance agent don’t stop there. As your life changes, your agent can adapt to your needs finding you the right new company for your new situation such as getting married, having a teen driver and more. Thank you for the opportunity to help you with your insurance.

Do I need special insurance to drive for Uber or Lyft?

Whether you are thinking of starting a new career or simply want to make some extra income during your down time, working for companies like Uber or Lyft can be a good move. However, you will need specific insurance to be fully covered as your personal auto insurance policy and the insurance provided by Rideshare companies provides gaps in coverage or potential excess liability.

Ridesharing is defined as: individuals who use their own vehicle to transport people from point A to point B in exchange for money.

If you are considering working for other companies such as DoorDash, Grubhub, Postmates, Uber Eats, Instacart or other delivery type companies, you would want a rideshare insurance policy as well.

A rideshare insurance policy provides coverage during:

  • Waiting for a ride request.
  • When you accept a ride request and are on the way to pick up the rider.
  • When you pick up the rider & drive to the destination.

In what situations does my personal auto insurance cover me?

  • When you are offline or not using the Uber/Lyft app.
  • The period after you’ve dropped off a passenger but are still logged in and are waiting to match with another passenger (for instance, you roll forward and hit another vehicle with no rider in your car).

Does Uber or Lyft or any other rideshare company provide insurance for you?

Uber maintains insurance on your behalf such as third party liability, uninsured/underinsured motorist bodily injury and contingent comprehensive and collision coverage.

However, your current auto insurance policy may offer a rideshare endorsement that can be added to your policy. You may receive additional coverage too that goes above and beyond the limits provided by the Rideshare company. Talk to one of our agents first. We’ll explain the difference in coverage options.

What if I don’t have rideshare insurance & I’m involved in an accident?

The consequences of not having a rideshare insurance endorsement could result in a denial of coverage by your main auto insurance company. Whether you fail to tell them you are using your car for rideshare services or simply didn’t know you needed the insurance endorsement on your main auto policy, could leave you liable for the entire loss. This leaves you with paying for injuries, medical bills, car repairs, property damage etc. if you get into an accident.

If you are considering a career or part time job for any rideshare company, reach out to our agency! Rules and regulations change regularly, so be sure to research yourself what changes may have occurred since this article was written. We can go over many coverage options with you to ensure you have the right insurance protection. Getting the right policy is easy, we just need to know that you’re driving for a Rideshare company and we can get you the right policy.

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.