Refinancing your home loan? Don’t forget to also shop your insurance.

A Great Time to Refinance Your Home Loan

Today the “fed” just announced an emergency rate decrease making interest rates lower than they have been in a long time. This means while the last several months have been a great time to refinance your home loan, it just got better. Refinancing is a pain, and the point of a refinance is to squeeze every last dollar of savings out of the process. But the savings or other benefits can be substantial and so, we are willing to go through the process of the applications, the gathering of information, the appraisals, underwriting the back and forth and ups and downs. The trouble is that many people miss another important step: shopping their home insurance rates.

Also A Great Time to Shop your Home Insurance

Because insurance is paid by the escrow company in many cases we may not notice the incremental rate increases year after year after year. If we don’t shop the insurance, then it becomes VERY easy to have rates that are uncompetitive without us knowing. Also home insurance companies often change their coverage. Sometimes for the better and sometimes for the worse. So while refinancing gives an excellent opportunity to save, it also is a great opportunity to review and make sure that you have the most up to date coverage options that will better protect your home. Not sure what coverage you might need? Not a problem, we have put together some resources to help you review your coverage on this website that we hope will uncomplicate homeowners insurance coverage.

With all the paperwork it may not seem like a refinance would be a good time to take care of insurance, but it’s a perfect time. New insurance premiums can be paid or closing or with funds that have been sent to you from the closed escrow account from your own loan.

To Bundle or Not – That is The Question

Also, while popular myth states that a bundle is always cheaper, sometimes it’s not. Companies that are great car insurance companies often fail miserably at homeowners insurance and some companies that are awesome at homeowners insurance fail at car insurance, but a loan refinance is a great time to check.

An Easy Process

But getting insurance has to be hard, right? Not with Gila Insurance. You can get multiple quotes online in minutes, and by doing so, you can see if any more savings can be squeezed out of the process. Have questions or need help deciding the coverage that is right for you? Not a problem we have licensed agents on standby to help you with the process.

So if you are one of the many that will be refinancing your home this spring juice your savings by shopping your insurance now!

Additional Coverage for Your Home Insurance

Homeowners Insurance policies, whether for your own home or a rental property, are very specific about what they cover, but oddly enough they throw in a couple of “extras” or additional coverage. What are those? Let’s take a look!

Home insurance Safford, AZADDITIONAL COVERAGE

There’s free stuff in my insurance policy? Yes.

So, great news there are only four Homeowners Insurance Coverage parts, so that part was simple, but next comes the complicated part; additional coverage (s). Yeah! Now for any of you that might be catching the sarcasm in that last comment, there are actually some good things in here. Every policy is different so here are some of the most common and important:

  1. Debris Removal – Have you ever seen a fire? Walls may still be standing but completely destroyed. What knocks those crumbling walls down and hauls them away? Debris Removal! See, good stuff.
  2. Trees, plants, shrubs – Not a lot here, but you can usually get coverage up to $250-$500 or so per tree. Obviously there will be limits, but landscaping can be expensive.
  3. Fire Department Service Charge – Sweet, nice that you don’t have extra stuff, like cost of fire department services coming your way.
  4. Collapse – This is an odd place to have this coverage, but it’s nice that they add it.
  5. Glass – Sweet.

Again, there is more to each of these, but nice that they add them and make them available as additions for your homeowners insurance. Start your quote online or call us for an immediate quote 1-877-784-6787.

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Understanding Perils Insurance

Perils insurance against, what in the world does that mean. Here’s an insurance guy trying to explain the insurance options for rental property insurance.

Rental Property Insurance Coverage – Section I policy Form – Perils insured against.

Demystifying the stuff coming out of your insurance agent’s mouth

Perils insured against…. What does that mean? Let’s see if I can take off my insurance man hat for a second and put on my investor hat. Why? Because I believe this is where A LOT of insurance folks tend to lose their clients. It’s a simple thing, but we often get too caught up in the insurance lingo when we are explaining this stuff. So, here is my best attempt.

A peril is stuff that happens to cause a loss. So, stuff that happens, for which you are insured, is a covered peril.

Okay. Sometimes you will hear an adjustor or an insurance agent say something like, “in the event of a covered loss.” Well, what in the world is a “covered loss?” How could you know? That’s where the policy form comes into play. Policy forms are like a series of hooks on a wall, so we take our policy and we hang it on a form, then every time we read something like “in the event of a covered loss,” we can look at our hook, and we see if it’s covered in the policy.

Okay, so there are essentially 3 types of “hooks” or options for rental property insurance buyers. There are basic, broad, and special forms. That’s easy, but of course you will often hear agents referring to these as DP-1, DP-2, or a DP-3. This basically says it’s a dwelling policy with this kind of form… Now, each form has a list of stuff that gets covered. Basic being the worst and special being the best. Now that I have gone all insurance guy on you, let me break it down visually so that you can understand it.

THIS IS A GENERALIZATION, CHECK YOUR POLICY! THERE ARE THINGS THAT CAN CHANGE THESE LISTS LIKE THE PROPERTY BEING VACANT OR OTHER FACTORS!

Now before you get all crazy and say, “hey Broad has most of what special has, I bet I can save some money,” slow your roll. Let’s look at that last one; Risk of Loss with Exclusions. What does that mean? It means that unless the insurer specifically excludes it, it’s covered. That is a HUGE difference.  In the first two options the insurer will only cover a handful of things, and if it’s not on the list, then it’s not covered. The last option, the special “hook,” says if it’s not excluded, its covered, which leaves hundreds of covered situations with a handful of exclusions.

LONG STORY SHORT? You’re special so get special. It’s as simple as that.

Start your quote online or call us for an immediate quote 1-877-784-6787.

Homeowner’s Liability Coverage

Home insurance Safford, AZIn general terms the liability portion of your homeowner’s policy makes two promises:

1. It pays for the damage you cause to other people’s property and for the injuries you may cause to others. For example, in the case of an auto policy, if you crash into someone else’s car the liability portion of your policy pays to replace their car, and the medical bills due to the bodily injury that you caused to the other party.

2. It pays for your legal defense in the event that you are sued for something covered in the policy. For example, in the case of a homeownwers policy, if someone slips and falls on ice on your front porch, and sues you, the liability portion of the policy would provide coverage to defend you against the suit.

However, there are different types of liability, and that are offered on different types of policies.

Personal Liability – This is a broad form of liability often found on homeowners policy. It provides coverage for the bodily injury and property damage that an insured person is found to be legally responsible for. It can provide coverage on the home’s premise, but also away from the home’s premise.

Premise Liability – This liability form typically is found on dwelling policies where the home is a secondary home (meaning you have personal liability from your primary homeowners policy), a rental property, or a vacant home. It also covers bodily injury and property damage, but it only provides coverage when the cause of the loss is on the insured premise. In other words, if something were to happen at the dwelling because it was unsafe and you were sued, then Premise liability would respond, but unlike personal liability it provides no coverage off the insured premise.

Personal Injury – This liability can be Excluded OR Included on a given policy, so if you want this coverage, you need to make sure the company you have chosen makes it available, and purchase it. Personal Injury excludes things such as False Arrest (keeping someone against their will even for a short period of time), Wrongful Eviction or Entry (Landlords pay attention), Invasion or violation of privacy (Landlords pay attention), and slander and defamation (have any kids on the internet?). You can see why this is important, but this is also often excluded under personal or premise liability, so if you have these exposures (you probably do) you will want to consider adding this to your policy.

How much liability to purchase? That is a good question, and one that only you can make, but more is better which is why we offer an umbrella policy so that you can purchase additional coverage.

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Ways to Save With Your Deductible

I recently went to go see “The Greatest Showman,” as one who is often found singing or whistling show tunes, I loved it. But the sound track is probably better than the Movie. A great mix of music with strong beats and base lines and violins coupled with distorted guitar, and great melodies. Followed by hopefully ballads. Anyway, there is a song that talks about the long-lasting idiom, “Walking a Tight Rope.” What does this have to do with Saving money on your insurance? Anymore Insurance companies know about your home or auto by running reports. They know if you have had losses, they know when your home was built, what materials, the size, etc., etc., etc. They know. So, there isn’t a lot of wiggle room on a lot. But there is when it comes to deductibles, but it’s a tight rope walk.

When you have a covered claim the insurance company will pay the amount of the loss, less the deductible.

So for example, if you have a $1,000 deductible on your auto, and have a fender bender that costs $2,000 to repair the insurance company will pay $1,000, it is your responsibility to pay the rest of the amount due to the auto repair shop.

On a home if you have $1,000 deductible, and a hail loss that requires you to replace your roof, if the cost is $10,000 to replace the roof, then you would be paid $9,000 and you would be responsible for paying the contractor the other $1,000.

So how is this a type rope? There is a inverse relationship between the cost of your insurance policy and your deductible. The higher the deductible the lower your rates. The lower your deductible the higher your rates.

So how is this a tight rope? Well, on one hand if you have a BIG loss you won’t want to be coming out of pocket to pay a large amount of the claim. On the other hand, if you have a small loss will you actually turn it into the company? Think about it, if it’s a $1,500 loss and you have a $1,000 deductible. The additional $500 dollars you get from the insurance company will cost you dearly once you lose your claims free discount. So what should your deductible be? That depends? Do you have cash on hand usually? Do you have the ability to cover small losses yourself? If so, then the answer is higher.

Once quick example to close. I recently helped a real estate investor get an insurance policy on a Manufactured Home he had purchased as a rental. As an investor he has cash on hand on a regular basis, and he knew the only time they would ever report a claim is if it was BIG. So we looked at the deductible. At a $1,000 deductible the rate was $1080 annually for this manufactured home. With a $2,500 deductible the rate was $817. With a $5,000 deductible the rate was $349. Wow! A 70% discount because of the deductible. Now he knows if there’s a loss he is probably covering it, but what he is most concerned about is a catastrophe, so he decided to go with a high deductible. But now you see, choosing your deductible is like walking a tight rope.

For questions on how to save money on your insurance policy, contact Gila Insurance Group. We’ll review your current policy or provide an insurance quote.

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What have you done this summer

Do you need to update your insurance policy?

Fix and Flip Home InsuranceAhh summer time. A time of fun, sun, and DIY projects around the house. The extra light in the evenings lends itself to getting stuff done. So, I have a question: What did you do this summer? Maybe you’re not a DIY sort of person. Maybe you had a contractor or handyman do it for you.

 

Did you add a shed? Did you add on to your home? Did you add a block fence or a pool? Heck did you buy a new car? Did you get Married? Did you get a new Girl Friend?

 

Now for the most important question: Did you tell your insurance agent?

 

What Why would I do that, dude’s a square (and clearly uses insults from the 1950’s… loser).

 

Because it can affect your insurance. Consider this lesser known insurance clause:

 

Your house has to be insured to at least 80% of its value or you can be penalized in the event of a claim.

 

Yes penalized. Well that wouldn’t happen to me. Did you tell your insurance agent about your addition? Because if not, you just change the ratio of the insurance coverage to the value of your house.

 

“Well, I just added a pool.” Will your insurance company cover you if you have a pool? Some don’t or have strict rules about fences.

 

Did you get married? You probably need to make sure your spouse has been added to the policy? You also need to combine your policies for savings purposes. Finally, do you need to cover that rock you just bought her? There may be coverage on a homeowner’s or renter’s policy, but there may not be depending on the value.

 

If your girlfriend just moved in with you did you know that she may not be covered if she drive’s your car? Or that coverage can be limited? (this can vary GREATLY by company).

 

See. Your insurance agent may be a goober, but you need to tell him or her stuff because if you have done something to your cars, home, or if you have just had some changes in life, talk to us about how that impacts your insurance needs. He/She can help you anser the question do you need to update your insurance policy.

All homeowners insurance is the same, Right?

5 Coverage options to ensure you have on your policy!

Home Insurance Exclusions in Safford, AZHomeowners insurance is all the same, right? So, I should always buy on price, right? Wrong. It’s true that most stick-built homeowner’s insurance policies have a similar base. It’s called an HO3 policy form. It covers your house and other structures for everything, unless its excluded. It covers your personal property for a list of specific things that could happen and pays their actual cash value, it has liability, and medical payments. That’s about everything you need right? Well, not really. While the base policy is very similar from company to company most customers have higher expectations of how their insurance policy will respond. So here are 5 things most customers should consider purchasing to ensure your policy responds like you think and expect it will.

 

  1. Personal Replacement Cost – We don’t like leaving insurance companies with the ability to wiggle out of paying things they should. Personal property replacement cost does exactly that. Imagine your TV is 4 years old. It is damaged by a fire in the kitchen. Can you imagine the company coming in and saying your TV new cost $500, but its 4 years old so here’s $100 bucks, and we all hate insurance companies again. Adding Personal property replacement cost eliminates this possibility. You have a TV that cost $500 we will buy you a new TV of like kind and quality. Meaning we aren’t going to buy you a 70inch Sony if you had a 35 in Vizio. We will get you as close to what you had before. Personal property replacement cost awesome addition.

 

  1. Special Form on Personal Property – This is tricky, but remember I said on a basic HO policy your personal property, your stuff is insured for a list of things. Your house on the other hand is insured for everything unless its excluded. Question: Why would you insure the house differently from how you insure the couch inside the house… seems odd. Again, this is about meeting your expectations, and make sure your policy responds in the way you want it to.

 

  1. Extended or Increase replacement cost – When your house burns down, and you choose to rebuild you understand the idea of replacement cost. Before that it can be a fuzzy concept, so here goes my attempt to explain. You may have purchased your house for $200,000, but how much will it cost to rebuild? In times where the cost of things is going up (like now) it might cost you $225,000 to rebuild. Your agent may have even run a “cost estimator” to determine that it would cost $200,00 to rebuild the house when you bought it, but who pays for the additional $25,000? Extended or Increased replacement cost will if you have it. What this endorsement or change to the policy does is create a slush fund of a little extra cash in case it costs a little more to rebuild. There are some rules about this add on. So, don’t think you can underinsure the home to save money and be saved by extended replacement cost.

 

  1. Personal Injury – Did you know libel, slander, defamation, and cyber bullying are excluded on your insurance policy? Here’s a question for you have you ever said something bad about someone? What about on a social media site? What about your kids, have they? If so you have probably been guilty of defamation. These lawsuits can be hard to prove the social media has opened a whole new can of worms. Adding personal injury to your policy can ensure that you are prepared and covered for even the weirdest of lawsuits. I mean people are sensitive these days, but not you ; ).

 

  1. Water backup of sewers and drains – Gross. Yeah it is, and its typically not covered unless you add it to your policy. It can get expensive but $5,000 or $10,000 of this coverage can be worth every cent.

Just because you think it should be covered, doesn’t mean that it is. Be sure your policy will respond the way you think it will and start with these 5 coverage options.