How Often Should Home Insurance Be Updated?

When buying a home, a lot of people learn a lot about home insurance very quickly. No lender is going to sign a loan without it, so you probably have some sort of coverage. What most Virginia Beach, VA, homeowners don’t realize is that their policy needs to grow and change with their home. These are just a few changes that should signal to you that it’s time to check your policy.

Changes to the Home

You might already suspect that a major remodel can change the value of your home and justify a call to your Insurance Shopper VA agent. What you might not realize is that substantially smaller changes can still merit an update to your policy. Big-ticket purchases, like a high-end entertainment system or a professional-grade pool table, can absolutely change your coverage needs. Most importantly, adding a swimming pool (even the above-ground kind), requires a different approach to liability.

Lifestyle Changes

As important as it is to make sure you valuables are properly covered, lifestyle changes can often impact your premiums even more. Most people assume that quitting smoking could improve their health insurance or life insurance, but it can also positively impact your home insurance. Another big lifestyle change that might save you money is retirement. Obviously, details will always vary, but plenty of insurers offer special programs to retirees (they tend to be home more and that reduces liability risk for the property). Even something as simple as getting a dog will change your needs. Dog bites are a whole new liability issue, and you want your furry friend to be protected too.

Here’s the thing. It doesn’t cost money to call Insurance Shopper VA and speak to an agent. The worst that can happen is you spend a few minutes learning that you’re in great shape, and you can keep right on with your Virginia Beach, VA, lifestyle. So, if you make some big changes, remember your agent and make sure your coverage is still in the right place.

 

Home Owners Insurance vs. Condo Insurance: What you need to know.

Many people wonder what the differences are between a homeowners insurance policy and an insurance policy for a condominium. There are a few fundamental differences that one should be aware of in order to make sure your Virginia Beach, VA, condo is adequately insured.

The largest difference you will see is the dwelling coverage. Under a condo policy, the property policy will cover everything inside of the individual unit. The policy will pay to repair damage to the interior of the unit starting from the wall studs. In a condo, the owners pay a fee to the association and part of that fee is used to purchase an insurance policy to cover damage to the exterior walls, shared spaces, elevators, etc.

Liability coverage for condos is also meant to cover incidents inside your condo such as a guest being injured. If that same guest were to be injured at the community pool, your association policy would most likely respond to the claim.

As a condo owner, you will all want to make sure you are insured for your personal property such as your jewelry, TVs and other computer equipment. Unfortunately, most condo associations will not have an insurance policy to assist with covering your personal property. If you lose a piece of jewelry in the hallway, it is unlikely the association’s insurance will cover the loss.

Typically a homeowners insurance policy will have higher coverage limits than a condo policy. It is important to sit down with your agent at Insurance Shopper VA to discuss your insurance package for your condo to make sure you have sufficient coverage in place.

If you would like to learn more about insurance for your condo or your home, please reach out to us at Insurance Shopper VA. We proudly service the Virginia Beach, VA, area.

 

Are Pets Covered By Home Insurance?

Virginia Beach, VA residents trust Insurance Shopper VA to provide them with the straight scoop on their home insurance. That’s why we’re here to discuss whether or not pets are covered by your home insurance policy. This is a question we field a lot and is one without a real positive answer.

Home Insurance Does Not Cover Pet Damage

First of all, your home insurance will not cover damage caused by your pet. That’s because most policies operate under what is known as acceptable risks. When you own a pet such as a dog or a cat, you operate under the assumption that they may cause damage to your home. This means that the insurance company owes you no money for this damage.

The only kind of pet damage that is covered by insurance is damage to another person’s property. However, that is not included under a basic home insurance policy but requires liability coverage. This means that your insurance company will help pay or completely pay for damage that your dog does to a neighbor or friend’s property.

It Also Doesn’t Cover Injuries To Your Dog

What about if your poor pup gets injured or sick at home? Does your insurance cover that? No, and it also doesn’t cover any types of injuries that you suffer. Home insurance is focused on protecting your home and the items inside of it, not the living creatures. Health insurance is necessary if you want to get help paying for medical coverage.

However, you can also get pet insurance to help pay for their pet bills. For those who own a lot of pets or ones that are old and regularly sick, this can be a significant financial benefit. There are currently many types of insurance like this available across the nation, though coverage will vary depending on the state and the company.

So if you live in Virginia Beach, VA and need any of these insurance policies, please contact us at Insurance Shopper VA. We can provide you with the Virginia-centered insurance you need to protect your home, your health, and your family.

Are Pets Covered By Home Insurance?

Virginia Beach, VA residents trust Insurance Shopper VA to provide them with the straight scoop on their home insurance. That’s why we’re here to discuss whether or not pets are covered by your home insurance policy. This is a question we field a lot and is one without a real positive answer.

Home Insurance Does Not Cover Pet Damage

First of all, your home insurance will not cover damage caused by your pet. That’s because most policies operate under what is known as acceptable risks. When you own a pet such as a dog or a cat, you operate under the assumption that they may cause damage to your home. This means that the insurance company owes you no money for this damage.

The only kind of pet damage that is covered by insurance is damage to another person’s property. However, that is not included under a basic home insurance policy but requires liability coverage. This means that your insurance company will help pay or completely pay for damage that your dog does to a neighbor or friend’s property.

It Also Doesn’t Cover Injuries To Your Dog

What about if your poor pup gets injured or sick at home? Does your insurance cover that? No, and it also doesn’t cover any types of injuries that you suffer. Home insurance is focused on protecting your home and the items inside of it, not the living creatures. Health insurance is necessary if you want to get help paying for medical coverage.

However, you can also get pet insurance to help pay for their pet bills. For those who own a lot of pets or ones that are old and regularly sick, this can be a significant financial benefit. There are currently many types of insurance like this available across the nation, though coverage will vary depending on the state and the company.

So if you live in Virginia Beach, VA and need any of these insurance policies, please contact us at Insurance Shopper VA. We can provide you with the Virginia-centered insurance you need to protect your home, your health, and your family.

Make Your Home Safer And Your Insurance Lower With These Additions

The cost of your home insurance may vary drastically based on where you live in Virginia Beach, VA. Even if you live in the safest fenced in the community, there are ways to cut down on your insurance costs through a handful of security features. At Insurance Shopper VA, we want to make sure you not only have the best coverage for the price but are safe and sound inside your home. 

Home Security System

A home security system is the largest security investment you can make with your home, but it also can have the biggest impact on lowering insurance costs. This kind of a feature helps eliminate the chance of a break in while giving you security features to check in with family members to make sure everyone is safe. 

Smoke And Carbon Monoxide Alarms

These two detects not only can save you money on home insurance but save your life as well. Carbon monoxide is odorless and colorless, so you may not know if it is present. By warning you of smoke or carbon monoxide in the house, you can contact the fire department before further damage occurs. 

A Fence

A fence is an excellent investment for your property. It also can help reduce the cost of your insurance premium. As is the case with your other upgrades, make sure to notify your insurance provider after making the upgrade. 

By implementing these different security features inside of your home, you will not only improve the safety of your house but may reduce the cost of your insurance as well. At Insurance Shopper VA, we want to make sure you not only are safe in your Virginia Beach, VA home but that you have an insurance policy you’re happy with. 

Preparing your home for hurricane season

Preparedness makes the best defense against anything, even hurricanes. While you can’t control the weather, you can reduce the number of hazards around your home that could add to a hurricane’s impact. Start now and you’ll be ready to weather the storm in Virginia Beach VA when hurricane season begins in June.

House Prep

  • Conduct a home inventory. Create a list of items and their value. Take photos of major items, like home entertainment systems. 
  • Purchase a generator. You’ll still have power if the electricity goes out.
  • Learn how to turn off the water, electricity and natural gas or propane lines in your home. Practice doing this before the storm. 
  • Strap down the roof using hurricane clips or straps. This reduces roof damage by adding a second connection of the roof to your house frame.
  • Install foot and head bolts on all entry doors to bolster security from high winds.
  • Reinforce your garage door. These commonly blow in during high winds. If your  second floor or attic is located above it, it can tear upwards and damage the roof. 
  • Purchase or make storm shutters for doors and windows. If you make this a DIY project, use exterior grade or marine grade plywood at least five-eighths of an inch in thickness.
  • Caulk windows and doors to block moisture from entering your home.
  • Test your sump pump and basement and yard drains well ahead of storm season and just before the storm. Keep replacement batteries handy.

Outside Your Home

  • Keep gutters clean and in good repair. This keeps heavy rains flowing off your roof and into proper drainage channels on the ground.
  • A day or two before landfall, bring inside all outdoor furniture and decorations. This reduces projectiles that high winds can pick up. 
  • Reinforce areas of attachment between the home and porches, decks, carports, and canopies. Use roof straps and tie downs to reinforce the stability of sheds or well houses.
  • Keep shrubs and trees trimmed so they better resist the wind. Cut down any dead branches and trees well before the storm.
  • Tie down smaller shrubs and trees to prevent uprooting.
  • Replace the gravel in your driveway or yard paths with shredded bark. Windblown gravel can damage windows and structures.

Insurance Review

  • Review with your Insurance Shopper VA insurance agent what your home insurance policy covers.
  • Purchase wind insurance, if your home insurance policy doesn’t cover wind damage.
  • Home insurance policies don’t cover flood damage. For this, you need flood insurance. Your agent can help you obtain this through the National Flood Insurance Program.

Although it takes time and effort, preparing your well in advance of the storm protects you and your investment from damage. Many of these improvements also cut your energy expenses and raise the value of your home.

My Tree Fell on My Car: Do I File a Home Insurance Claim or An Auto Insurance Claim?

A tree falling on your car can cause a significant amount of damage. If it was a tree from your yard that fell on your car, you may find yourself wondering whether you should file a home insurance claim or an auto insurance claim. Here is some information you should know when filing a claim with your insurance company for a tree falling on your car.

What Your Home Insurance Covers

If a tree falls on your car, your home insurance will not cover the damage to your car. However, they may cover the cost to remove the tree and any property damage done by the tree. This may include damaged fencing or damage done to other landscaping. As such, you may want to consider filing a home insurance case if the damage done by the falling tree to your property, not including your car, is more than the amount of your deductible.

What Your Auto Insurance May Cover

If you have comprehensive auto insurance, also referred to as full coverage auto insurance, your car will likely be covered by a tree on your property falling on it. Unfortunately, if you only have liability insurance, your insurer will not pick up the repair costs for the damage done to your vehicle.

Having the right type of home and auto insurance can help ensure that any damage done to your home, property or car is covered. If you are not sure what type of insurance you need, visit Insurance Shopper VA, serving the greater Virginia Beach, VA area. We can help ensure you are covered in the event of an unforeseen accident, like a tree falling on your car. Call us now to get started.

How Much Homeowners Insurance Do You Need?

If you own a home in the Virginia Beach, VA area, you may not know how much homeowners insurance you need.  You want to have enough to replace your home structure, personal possessions, any liability costs, and enough to manage the cost of residing in a temporary place if necessary.  Some things may not be covered, which is why it’s important to work with an experienced agent to fine tune your policy.  Face it, without the coverage you need; it could end up costing you thousands of dollars. 

Structure

You want enough homeowners insurance to cover the cost of rebuilding your home at the time damage occurs.  One way to estimate the cost is to multiply the square feet of the home by the local building cost, which you can get from the builders association.  Many other factors go into the cost as well, such as the type of material used (lumber, brick), style, the number of bathrooms, the kind of roofing materials, and more.  It can quickly become overwhelming to figure out on your own.

Possessions and Liability

You want enough to cover your personal possessions, and there are two coverage options.  Replacement cost or the actual cash value replacement.  An experienced agent can help you decide which option is the best to cover your possessions.  The liability portion covers you if someone has an accident on your property and you are found responsible for the expenses, such as medical bills.

Insurance Shopper VA

If you own a home in the Virginia Beach, VA area, working with Insurance Shopper VA is an exceptional place for assistance in figuring out how much homeowners insurance you need.  Their professional agents will be able to help you design your homeowner’s policy to fit your needs.

Chaging Home Insurance Coverage

For many, getting a policy in place is the last thing they do when it comes to their home insurance. Plenty of policy holders don’t make time to change or alter their coverage as the years go by which means that they may not have the coverage they need or think they have. For those in the Virginia Beach, VA area, the helpful agents at Insurance Shopper VA can help you find the policy and alter your coverage to fit your needs.

Why Alter Home Insurance Coverage?

There are a few reasons that you might need to alter the home insurance coverage that you have. One major change is if you have a lot of things inside your home. Your home insurance covers the cost of replacing items within your home so if you got all new appliances, for instance, you might want more coverage to help cover the cost of replacing them with similar or like appliances.

On top of the items inside your home, you might also need to change coverage is the cost of rebuilding your home goes up. The economy fluctuates so often that it is necessary to make sure you have enough to cover rebuilding in the current economy. You may also want to change coverage if you do a remodel of your home and you need more coverage.

What Affects Coverage Needs?

There are a great deal of things that can affect the overall coverage that you need and make sure you have the right coverage can make a great deal of difference. If you live in the Virginia Beach, VA area, the agents at Insurance Shopper VA can help you determine if you have enough coverage and if you have the right type of coverage as well so that you will be taken care of in any event.  

Fall Home Insurance Needs

As winter approaches your insurance needs are likely to change across the board. Though it may seem like your home insurance needs should stay pretty consistent, winter brings new challenges to homeowner’s policies and also brings a higher likelihood that you are going to need to make a claim. For those in the Virginia Beach, VA area, Insurance Shopper VA is a wonderful agency to contact.

Fall insurance needs are not too far from the rest of the year but as winter approaches you may need to consider a few things. For starters, you may be in need of more coverage than you have the rest of the year. Falling trees, ice, and snow can do a great deal of damage to a home and your typical summer policy may not have a high enough pay out to cover the needs that winter brings.

Also, as winter approaches there is a higher risk that your home is going to be damaged by weather more often which means that you may have one claim all year long then when winter arrives have several things go wrong at once. This makes it necessary to talk with your insurance agent and see if you need more coverage or if you need to change your coverage on your current policy.

Fall is also a great time to reconsider your insurance company all together. If you have been happy with them all year then simply adjust your coverage to reflect the coming winter weather. If you are not happy with the insurance company you have used all year, consider finding a new company that better fits your needs. A great insurance agent can help you make the necessary changes and take the time to consider what policies are going to be right for you.

The helpful agents of Insurance Shoppers VA can help you if you live in the Virginia Beach, VA area, call today.