Can You Finance A Car Without A License In Louisiana Hail, Wind, and Flood – How Much is an Hour of Your Time Worth Before the Storm?

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Hail, Wind, and Flood – How Much is an Hour of Your Time Worth Before the Storm?

How much is an hour of your time worth? Would you believe it could be worth thousands of dollars? Millions of homeowner’s policies are issued along with the mountain of paperwork associated with new mortgages, and it’s easy for most first-time homebuyers to overlook their insurance policies until it’s too late. Only after a catastrophic event, such as a hailstorm or flood, are people forced to pay attention to the terms of their insurance policy. You should take an hour to review your entire policy annually and discuss any questions you may have with your agent. Pay specific attention to the exclusions section and the disclaimer page. The Policy Statements page is a quick snapshot of the most important policy details, which are simplified below for better understanding.

What exclusions are listed in your policy? The exclusions section of your insurance policy lists situations that the insurance company will not pay for in the event of a claim. This section sits discreetly on your policy pages and is not on the statements page, but this section is one of the most important. All basic homeowner policies exclude events such as earthquakes, sewage discharges, nuclear explosions, wars, mudslides and sinkholes just to name a few. Your policy will not cover flooding. Flood coverage can be purchased through your agent, but is not part of your homeowner’s policy. It is underwritten through the National Flood Insurance Program, administered by FEMA. You can live outside the flood plane, but the fact is, if you live within five miles of ANY water source, you need flood insurance. The good news is that the further you are from the flood plane, the cheaper the insurance. There are also ancillary exclusions that are not covered except with appropriate endorsements.

Endorsements are add-ons to your homeowner’s policy that can be added to your basic policy similar to luxury options on a new car. And just like the new car, they will add to the final price but have a relatively small impact on the monthly payment. These add-ons are things that most people assume are already covered in their policy. These include but are not limited to sewer backups, broken windows/glass, downed trees, wind driven rain, and building code required updates. Be sure to carefully read all exclusions and endorsements in your policy.

How much is your deductible for wind and hail damage? Your deductible is the part of the claim amount that you are required to pay for your repairs. That amount will be deducted from the total payment you receive from your insurance company. A higher deductible usually means a lower premium, but many companies have systematically increased deductibles rather than dramatically increasing premiums. In most policies these days you will have two types of deductible. A deductible will be for general risks, and is usually $500-$1000. You will notice that there is a separate deductible for wind/hail. This deductible is where some insurance companies have decided to recoup some expenses in higher-than-normal risk states like Florida, Louisiana, Texas, and Oklahoma. You may think you have a $500 deductible when 2-inch hail hits your window, but you may not have realized that your insurance company has raised the deductible between 1% and 5% of your policy limits.

Your policy limits are the maximum amount your insurance company will pay in the event of a total loss, such as a tornado or fire. Policy limits are set by you or your mortgage company when you first take out the policy, but after renewal, most companies will use your current county appraisal amount. You need to make sure your policy limits are set at the value of your home plus at least 15%. If your home is worth $100,000, your policy limit should be at least $115,000 for your home. It generally costs 15-20% more to replace than to build new. What are your policy limits?

Do you have an RCV or ACV policy? The difference between these two policies can amount to several thousand dollars out of pocket. Replacement Cost Value (RCV) is the value of replacing your damaged items at current market rates. The insurance company will depreciate these items based on their age and compare them based on their life expectancy. For example: A roof tile that has a thirty-year warranty and is ten years old will have a depreciation ratio of 10/30. The formulated amortization amount is subtracted from the RCV to arrive at the actual cash value (ACV). If you have an RCV policy, the depreciation retained by the insurance company will be issued once the replacement of your damaged items is complete. If you have an ACV policy the depreciation retained by the insurance company is non-refundable and this amount will not be issued to you. The benefit of an ACV policy is a lower monthly premium payment, which makes it attractive for rental properties and non-residential structures such as barns. You should discuss the pros and cons of each type of policy with your agent to determine which is best for your situation.

These are very basic insurance concepts. For more detailed answers to policy and claim questions, you can visit http://www.hailandwind.com/ and submit a question to the forum. You can also get more detailed information on your state’s Department of Insurance website, and you can call your insurance agent if you need to make any changes. He or she will be happy to take your call. It only takes about an hour to read your insurance policy, and you should read it every time it’s renewed. Make sure you know what is excluded and endorsed. Find out if you can pay your deductible in the event of a claim. Match your policy limits to the value of your property, plus 15-20%, and determine which policy you need, ACV or RCV. An hour of your time could save you thousands!

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