The recent physical disasters have left some people (and businesses) in dire straits. Hearing friends’ and family’s upsetting stories, reading about our contemporaries in neighboring states and/or countries, have all made us wonder if we are adequately prepared if disaster struck our own homes or businesses. We have heard of complications getting insurance help as well as situations where policies had high deductibles and inadequate coverage for the kind of damage that ensued.
We here at the SSA looked into this – and so should you. SSA Directory Tambra Jones contacted her own State Farm agent to ask about her homeowners coverage – and how she could efficiently and effectively be paid for a future claim. She also looked into a number of insurance sites for general information. Check these sites for some general information: http://www.kiplinger.com/article/insurance/T027-C000-S002-how-to-get-insurance-companies-to-pay-your-claims.html andhttp://www.naic.org/documents/consumer_guide_home_quick.pdf
Based on her conversation with her agent, and what she learned online, Tambra makes these suggestions:
1. Call your insurance agent and ask if you have a policy stipulating replacement value (they replace your $5000 leather sectional) or cash value (what you paid, less the depreciation for that sectional). What coverage are you getting for the price you are paying?
2. Make an inventory list of what is inside your home/business. State Farm has an inventory list suggestion: https://www.statefarm.com/insurance/home-and-property/homeowners/resources. There will be specific requirements for reimbursement, (i.e.: should your inventory should include serial numbers and the year items were purchased…?).
3. Look into a Personal Article Policy if you have valuable items (expensive jewelry, watches, clothing, electronics) in your home/business. These policies will allow you to replace specifically insured items without a deductible – and these claims won’t affect your general claims rating with your carrier. We learned, for example, that the cost for insuring a $2500 laptop is only $94 per year at State Farm, and that covers accidental damage and loss of the item – with no deductible. (So if this laptop is damaged at the airport while traveling, or stolen from your hotel room…you are covered – without record of a claim on your homeowners policy).
4. Look carefully at the cost for coverage not included in your standard homeowners policy (earthquake and flood are main ones). Sometimes the cost is only a few hundred dollars per year, and offers up to 85% coverage for damages (specific areas have specific costs – ask your agent about the options you have in your area).
We strongly encourage all of you to contact your insurance agents and get clear about what your policy does and does not cover. If your don’t have your own agent, feel free to contact Tambra’s State Farm agent to get started with the information you need to protect your property. Send Caresse Heitzman an email and let her know you are following up on the SSA News article – she will be happy to help you: firstname.lastname@example.org