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Thursday, March 23, 2017

Are You Educated When It Comes to Your Homeowners Insurance?

Today I’m joined by an insurance expert to parse some of the important details of your homeowners insurance.

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Today, Jens Green of J.Green Insurance joins me to discuss some things you need to know about your insurance.

When looking at your options, you need to be mindful of your home’s sewage system because it can have a big impact on your insurance needs. For example, you need to know if your house has a septic system or if you’re connected to city utilities.  Especially if you are on city water and sewer it’s important that you have a sewer backup endorsement to your policy. Why? If there’s digging across the street in your neighbor’s yard and they hit the sewage pipe causing damage to your home, it might not be covered if you don’t have the right protection because the claim occurred off your premises. If there is a sewer back up into your basement, you need to make sure that damages, cleanup and repair costs are covered.  This can be an expensive claim.

Another important question to ask your insurance provider has to do with a concept called replacement cost. If you have a catastrophic loss in your home, you need to have coverage that will provide you with the ability to purchase new items at today’s cost. If your policy doesn’t cover replacement cost you could instead receive actual cash value (ACV).  This could leave you far short of the costs to replace your lost items. For example - your 10 year-old TV isn’t worth much in 2017. Getting the actual cash value from your insurance provider wouldn’t allow you to replace it without coming out of pocket significantly.  When you apply this to an entire home full of personal property the numbers add up quickly.  

A flood isn’t covered by your regular homeowners insurance policy, so you’ll need a separate flood insurance policy.
Always have replacement costs on your personal property.
If you’re preparing to move in the near future, you should ask your insurance provider if all of your belongings will be covered during the move. Whether they're in transit or in storage, you want your possessions to be covered in case of an accident.

If you’re going from being a homeowner to a landlord, you need to remember to make a change your policy. As a homeowner, the policy you have is not a rented-to-others insurance policy—it’s a homeowners policy. Talk to your agent and tell them you’re moving. There is no need to cover the contents of the home when your personal property will no longer be there.  Also, in order to ensure a future claim is covered you need to let your provider know that tenants are occupying the home rather than the homeowner.  A claim could be denied if you don’t have the right policy. Make sure your tenants have their own insurance policy to cover their belongings.

Another thing Jens recommends if you’re becoming a landlord is upping your medical payments coverage. If your renter has an accident on your property, you can take cash, pay the hospital bill, and the insurance company will reimburse you. This can help avoid litigation. This is inexpensive coverage and may only cost a few dollars per year.

One last thing to know is that insurance rates may  go up by 20% in 2017 according to recent reports. This is due in part to the higher number of distracted drivers on the road. The only way to lower those rates when they go up is combining your home and auto insurance. J. Green Insurance offers a 30% credit for this combination.

If you need to reach Jens for more insurance information, you can call his office at (703) 884-3850 or send him an email at If you have any other questions, please feel free to give me a call or send me an email. I’d be happy to speak with you!