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The Royersford Insurance Agent

Pools and Homeowners Insurance. What you need to know.

Congratulations to you on your decision to get a pool.  You are going to have a blast!  Before you get too crazy, there are a few things you need to consider regarding your insurance policies.

 

Dog and boy swimming in a pool. Make sure you are covered by liability insurance. Chris Richmond via Compfight

 

Homeowners Policy

Other Structures (Coverage B)

Your Homeowners policy comes with automatic coverage for Other Structures.  This can be rather annoying if you live in a townhouse, like me.  We have NO other structures! Why do they automatically give us this coverage!!

Relax, the coverage is included.  Meaning you could reduce the coverage to zero and your rate would not decrease.  Usually the Other Structures coverage is adequate for what you have.  Most of us don’t have a $50,000 barn on our property.

Sometimes though, we do have a detached garage, a deck and a pool.  If this is the case for you then you absolutely need to let your agent know that you are adding on a pool.  In fact, a good rule of thumb is to let your agent know anytime you are adding anything onto the house, detached or not.

So if the pool you are building is costing you $20,000, make sure you make your agent aware so that your policy limits for Other Structures can be increased if need be.

 

What does your pool need?

The pool itself will require a few things in order for the insurance company to stay off your back.  Most insurance companies will require a fence around the pool.  This is a good idea anyway as you don’t want stray animals or neighborhood children wandering into the pool.

Another thing most insurance companies will require is a locked gate leading into the pool.  This can just be a Master Lock.  Anything that shows you need a combination in order to get through the gate on the fence that surrounds your pool.

 

Umbrella Policy

This is the big one.  Everything mentioned in this article is important but this is absolutely essential.  Pools put you at risk.  Kids running around on wet ground tend to slip and fall, adults enjoying themselves a bit too much could get hurt, and God forbid the worst case scenarios which you can imagine but I won’t mention.  I’m not trying to instill fear in you, but you need to be aware of some of the possible risks that are associated with adding a pool to your property.

Umbrella policies cost anywhere between $200 and $500.  Sometimes a little more, sometimes a little less.  There are many factors that go into the cost.  They provide an additional $1 Million of liability coverage.  They protect you if an injury occurs to someone at your house and you are found to be responsible.

At our agency, we believe if you own a house you should have a $1 Million Dollar Umbrella policy.  If you have a pool at your house, you should consider a $2 Million policy.

Have a great time with your new pool.  Be safe but more importantly, be covered!

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My name is Keith Laskey. My goal is to educate the everyday consumer and to help them make intelligent decisions with their insurance policies. Please contact me at my office, 610-948-4830 or Email Me for any insurance related questions or concerns. You can also visit the Ron Black Agency website or like us on Facebook! Thank you for stopping by, have a great day!

 

 

Condo Insurance – Do You Have the Right PA Homeowners Policy?

We bought a new house in December of 2015.  It was torture.  If you have ever sold one house and bought another you’ll know exactly what I’m talking about.  Very stressful times.

One thing that I thought I had under control was the insurance policy.  After all, I’m an insurance agent.  Buying a policy and showing proof of the policy was simple!

So I set myself up with a great policy from Travelers, paid it before settlement and sent the proof of insurance to our loan processor.  A few months later, one of our new neighbors asked if I could look at her home and auto policies.  Absolutely!

I looked at her homeowners policy and noticed it was a condo policy, not a normal homeowners policy.  There’s no way, I thought.  Could I have purchased the wrong type of policy??

I called the Homeowners Association and sure enough, I did.  I never thought for a second that we needed a condo policy.  Look at the picture below, do these homes look like they need a condo or a homeowners policy?

 

Condo policy or Homeowners Policy?

Condo policy or Homeowners Policy?

 

We lived in a townhouse development prior to this and we had a homeowners policy.  I cannot explain why this house is different.  My advice to you, if you are moving into a townhouse development, check with the homeowners association and ask what type of policy you need.  I would not check with your neighbors as they may also have the wrong type of policy.

 

What is a Condo Policy?

A condo policy is a type of Homeowners insurance policy.  The policy provides coverage for damage to a home up to the Homeowners Association deductible.  It also provides coverage for any improvements and betterments done to the house as well as Personal Property, Other Structures, Loss of Use, Medical Payments and Liability.  And usually, only for the interior of the home.  The exterior (roof, siding, garage door…) is covered under the Homeowners Association’s Insurance Policy.  However, a deck or any other exterior addition that you add on after construction would need to be covered under your Condo policy.

 

Common Improvements and Betterments

An improvement or betterment is any construction or reconstruction done to the house that is considered an improvement.

For example,

  • You replace your carpet with hardwood or tile
  • You add a bathroom to your basement
  • You build a deck or a sunroom
  • You cut out drywall and add a French door or sliding glass door
  • You finish your basement

You get the picture.

 

How much coverage do you need on a Condo Policy?

Find out how much the Association Deductible is.  Typically it’s $10,000 – $20,000.  This means that their insurance company won’t pay a thing until the claim reaches that point.  Say their deductible is $10,000.  Your Coverage A -Dwelling should be at least $10,000.  I recommend $15,000- $20,000 in that example just in case you do something to improve the home and forget to call your agent.

You will also need to decide on the amount of coverage for your Personal Property.  Your agent can help you with this.  Just remember, we always recommend getting a separate policy for any High Value items you have.  Jewelry, bikes, musical instruments and paintings are all very common items to be insured separately.

 

What is the cost?

This will obviously be different for everyone for many different reasons.  They are usually much less expensive than a Homeowners policy.  The cost can be reduced if you use the same company that has your Auto policy.  Here are some other discounts….

  • Sprinkler Discount (Most new homes have sprinklers)
  • New home discount
  • Homeowners Association Discount (Make sure you are getting this)

 

How do I increase coverage if I improve my house?

Say you finished your basement and a week later you have a claim.  The total cost to repair and replace the damaged areas will cost $20,000.  The Association’s deductible is $10,000.  You have $15,000 worth of coverage.  Your policy would pay out the first $15,000 but the Association’s policy may not pay the rest because the basement was not part of the original construction.  You may be out $5,000 in this scenario as their policy only covers what is original to the house.

Anytime you do anything to improve the house, call your agent and let them know.  The best and easiest way to do this is to tell them how much you spent on the improvement.  Finished basement cost you $15,986?  Add an additional $16,000 to the dwelling portion of your policy.

 

My name is Keith Laskey. My goal is to educate the everyday consumer and to help them make intelligent decisions with their insurance policies. Please contact me at my office, 610-948-4830 or Email Me for any insurance related questions or concerns. You can also visit the Ron Black Agency website or like us on Facebook! Thank you for stopping by, have a great day!

Coverage for cars caused by wind blown shingles and trees.

We have had some epic windstorms the last week here in PA.  Probably the same type weather in the entire region.  It was crazy! 

Today we received a phone call from one of our insureds.  Apparently their neighbor has scratches to their cars due to shingles that blew off our insured’s roof.  The neighbors are hoping our insured’s insurance company will pay to repair the damage.

 

Nocturna [Explore #133] Pedro Javier Jiménez via Compfight

 

What does my Homeowners Insurance policy pay for?

 

There are two sections to your Homeowners policy.  Section 1 provides coverage for the following things.

 

  • Dwelling.  
    • Roof, shingles, walls, floors, etc.
  • Personal Property.
    • Whatever you would take with you if you were to move.
  • Other Structures.
    • Sheds, detached garages, pools, fences….
  • Loss of Use.
    • If you were to have a covered claim and could not stay in the house due to the damage, your policy would pay for alternative living arrangements as well as excess cost of food.

Section 2 provides coverage for Liability.  If someone were to slip and fall at your house and sued you.  Also, if someone were to get injured at your house and needed medical treatment.  Your policy provides funds for medical treatment to others.

 

Your policy does not provide coverage for property that is not owned by you.

 

The most common example of this is when a tree that stands on your property falls and lands on a neighbors house or car.  Often, the neighbor would want you to pay for their damage.  Whether or not you pay for that damage is up to you.  But your insurance company is under no obligation to pay.

Your insurance policy is a contract between you and the insurance company.  You agree to pay the premium and they agree to pay for damage to property owned by you.

 

Who pays for the damage to the car?

 

The neighbor should contact their auto insurance company and report a comprehensive claim.  Often comp deductibles are lower than collision.  I recommend a $100 deductible at the most?  Also, the price of comprehensive coverage is typically much less than the cost of collision coverage.

 

Will my neighbors auto insurance rate increase due to a comp claim?

 

I can’t say for sure.  We represent several carriers, Travelers, Encompass, Safeco, and Progressive just to name a few.  A comp claim would not cause a rate increase from any of those carriers.

There could be a potential affect on the rate if you were to try and rewrite the policy with a different carrier or even with the same carrier.  We have seen quotes increase by about a hundred dollars or so after we indicate that the driver had a comprehensive claim.

So there is typically no increase in price on a policy renewal due to a comp claim but the cost of a re-written policy is typically more than it would have been if the claim was never filed.  This post provides more information on comprehensive and collision coverage.

 

Are you in a situation where you have damage due to a neighbor’s falled property?  Is a neighbor asking you to help pay for damage to their property due to something that blew off your property?

 

My name is Keith Laskey. My goal is to educate the everyday consumer and to help them make intelligent decisions with their insurance policies. Please contact me at my office, 610-948-4830 or Email Me for any insurance related questions or concerns. You can also visit the Ron Black Agency website or like us on Facebook! Thank you for stopping by, have a great day!

How You Can Benefit from a Local Independent Insurance Agent

 

I was having a discussion with a friend of mine the other day about insurance.  He had an interesting viewpoint on independent insurance agents.  He bought and has his insurance directly through one of the big standard carriers.

The way he sees it, he should get a discount because he has his policy directly through the carrier and not through an independent agent.  He should get a discount for whatever the carrier would be paying the agent for commission.  His question was, why wouldn’t an insurance company just sell directly?  Why not get rid of the agent altogether?

Interesting thought indeed.  I wonder how many other people feel this way?

A few minutes before he laid that perspective on me he had mentioned a conversation he had with a rep at his company.  Apparently his most recent Auto renewal had come in and jumped up 10%.  This is pretty common but it does not make it any easier for the insurance customer.

He had called his company to complain and look for an explanation as to why the price increased.  The rep he talked to explained  there was a change in Underwriting  that had happened on the policy.  After fighting with the rep for several minutes and getting no closer to understanding the change, he asked to speak with a person higher up on the insurance rep chain.

The next person he spoke to was magically able to not only get rid of the increase but also save even more money from last year’s rate!!  The savings were probably close to $400.

This is called a re-write.  And it’s something that we try to do every single day.

I explained this to my friend.  They took the information from your existing policy, plugged it into the newest rating program and was able to save him some cash.

So why the need for an agent?

Because I would have saved him that $400 five years ago!!  

Independent Agents hate to see when their customers get a big increase.  But when it happens we go into Superhero mode.

Recently, we received a renewal in our office on an Auto policy.  The 6-month rate jumped from $1000 to $1050, about 5$%.  

I checked all of the other carriers that we represent and found that we could re-write the policy and drop the rate down to $730!!  A 27% decrease!!! 

WOOOOHOOO!!!!!

The best part is we were able to keep her with Travelers (The world’s greatest insurance company) and actually give her better coverage!

YES!!  Sometimes I actually do love this job.

So back to my friend.  The reason companies want to work with agents is because, even though they lose some money on commission, we earn them a ton of money by doing whatever it takes to keep them with the company.

Excellent customer service, advice on claims, advice on coverages and as many damn pens and Snickers bars as you want when you stop in the office!!  Boom!

Sorry, I’ve had a lot of coffee today.

Portrait of happy young businesswoman with colleagues in the background

www.insurancelicensingschools.com

 

 

Here are 5 reasons as to why you (an insurance consumer) should work with an independent agent.

 

  • Independent agents have your best interest in mind.

    • We care about you and we care about your family.  We feel your pain when you’re in an accident, we fight for you when you get a nasty letter from the company and we do anything we can when your rate goes up.  Our customers are an extension of our families and we take these relationships very seriously.
  • Independent agents will save you money on what you pay for insurance.

    • We look at every renewal and try to save money, even if the rate stays the same or actually decreases!  We also advise you on coverages if you have too much or too little.  Both of which could save you a ton of money.
  • Independent agents advise you on claims and even report them for you.

    • I try to report every single claim for our insureds.  Who wants to deal with calling a claim into the insurance company?  Sometimes a claim is not worth putting in as what you will receive back will be less than the increase of your policy going forward. No one likes to hear this but it’s true.  But not putting a claim in could be a major savings.
  • Independent agents are a local small business who supports other local small businesses.

    • We spend our money at local restaurants, local pharmacies, local auto body shops, local hardware stores.  We sponsor baseball teams and soccer teams.  We support beef and beers and golf outings.  Supporting local businesses in small communities and city neighborhoods benefits all of us.
  • Independent agents are insurance gurus so you don’t have to be!

    • I have seen some very intelligent and successful businessmen and women who have unbelievably low insurance coverages.  They are literally a bad accident away from losing their house! But they don’t know any better.  Just like I don’t know anything about their business.  Let us help you.  Let us  hold your hand with all things involving insurance.  You won’t be disappointed.

 

My name is Keith Laskey. My goal is to educate the everyday consumer and to help them make intelligent decisions with their insurance policies. Please contact me at my office, 610-948-4830 or Email Me for any insurance related questions or concerns. You can also visit the Ron Black Agency website or like us on Facebook! Thank you for stopping by, have a great day!

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What’s Covered if I lose a Diamond on my Ring?

We talked about what would be covered if you had a valuable piece of jewelry lost or stolen on this post.  As a reminder, if you own something valuable that you would replace if it was lost or stolen, then you need to get a separate policy, usually called a Personal Articles Policy (PAP) or Inland Marine policy, as soon as possible.

I lost my wedding ring in the Atlantic Ocean near Bethany Beach in DE.  Like an idiot, I didn’t have it on our PAP.  So now I have a ring that cost half as much as my original ring.  Not to mention a wife that wasn’t exactly thrilled with my mishap.

This post is about a different situation…

 

.  Ring - Side View janet lackey via Compfight

 

 

What if you were to lose a single diamond from your ring?

We recently wrote a PAP for a newly engaged couple.  The soon to be husband emailed me and asked what would happen in this situation?  I wasn’t 100% sure so I called a friend of mine who works as a Unit Manager in the Homeowners claims dept at Travelers.

On a Travelers Personal Articles Policy, if you were to lose a diamond in a ring Travelers would pay to replace the diamond with the same clarity, color and weight.  This is assuming the ring is undamaged.  If the ring were to be damaged then Travelers would pay to repair the ring if possible or to replace it if not.

 

Pre-Loss Condition

Travelers will certainly pay what is needed to put you back to where you were before the loss (damage) occurred.  However, they will look to pay as little as possible.  Meaning they are not going to replace your ring because if it is scratched and you lost a diamond.  They will only do what is necessary to put you back to the pre-loss condition of the ring.

 

Cost of a Personal Articles Policy

Personal Articles Policies are very inexpensive.  The most recent proposal I gave to a client was $100 for a 12-month policy for 2 pieces of jewelry valued at $8,300.  There is no deductible on this policy.

 

PAPs are good idea for many of your valuable items.

Again, if you have something that is valuable (jewelry, fine art, china, stamp or other collections, bicycles) than you should call your agent and get a Personal Articles Policy as soon as possible.

 

My name is Keith Laskey. My goal is to educate the everyday consumer and to help them make intelligent decisions with their insurance policies.  Please contact me at my office, 610-948-4830, for any insurance related questions or concerns.  You can also visit the Ron Black Agency website or like us on Facebook!  Thank you for stopping by, have a great day!

 

 

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