Friday, March 28, 2014

Protect Your Property From Landslides and Other Natural Disasters

This massive landslide destroyed an entire neighborhood.
We’ve all been following the tragedy that happened Saturday, March 22 in Oso, Snohomish County, Wash., where a huge landslide broke loose and buried an entire neighborhood, rerouting a larger river in the process. 90 people are dead and more than 100 are still missing.

Then, on Wednesday, March 26, another big landslide struck Whidbey Island, taking one home with it and leaving 33 more perched precariously on the edge. Although no one died in this slide, many homes were evacuated and there’s still the danger of more landslides in the area. Many of the homes will not be inhabitable after this, since they are perched on the edge of an unstable cliff now.

This slide took one home and left 33 others in danger.
All this tragedy is a painful reminder that the Northwest is an area prone to landslides, especially when heavy rainfall seeps into a hillside and softens the earth into a muddy fill. Gravity takes over and the result is a massive movement of earth that takes down everything in its path.

If you are a homeowner, you need to be aware that typical homeowner policies do not cover damage done by land movement or landslides due to:

• Rain runoff
• Snow melt
• Flooding
• Earthquakes

Companies do not include landslides in the standard home policy because if they did, they would be requiring people who have chosen to live in safer areas to subsidize those who live in riskier places, said Karl Newman, president of the Northwest Insurance Council in Seattle.

Homeowners need to consider buying additional insurance to protect their property from possible damage caused by these forces of nature.  The Washington State Office of the Insurance Commissioner encourages owners to look at these various options:

Landslide Insurance ('Difference in Condition' Policy)

The 'Difference in Condition' policy covers landslides, mudflows, earthquakes and floods.

Content coverage - Buy a special rider for your homeowner policy that includes coverage for the contents of your home from all earth-movement perils. This rider only covers contents, not the structure. Some insurance companies may not offer this option, so you may need to shop around.

Separate earth-movement coverage - Buy this coverage that includes structures, such as your house or any other unattached buildings on your property. Your agent or broker may be able to get you this coverage in the surplus lines market. These are companies that insure risks the industry traditionally doesn't insure. Note: If your home is on a hillside, this coverage may be difficult to obtain.

Flood Insurance

Typical homeowner policies do not cover flood damage, so you must buy flood insurance coverage separately. Flood insurance may apply to some kinds of earth movement, such as water-related erosion, mudflows, and flash floods.

Earthquake insurance

You also must buy earthquake insurance separately, either as an additional policy or as an endorsement to your regular homeowner policy.

If you're concerned about your property, but don't know if you need to get additional coverage? Call your SAV-ON agent and find out what, if any, coverage you need to be protected. Remember that this coverage typically requires a 30-day waiting period before coverage begins, so call us today! 888-867-2866.

Source: Office of the Washington State Commissioner of Insurance
Photos courtesy of CNN, The Chicago Tribune

Friday, March 7, 2014

Auto Insurance: What is Rental Reimbursement?

Rental reimbursement is an important part of your auto insurance coverage.  Let’s discuss what it is and why you need it!

When you suffer an auto insurance claim, it’s not uncommon for your vehicle to need to go to the shop for a few days for repairs.  Even minor scratches or dings can require you to be without a vehicle for an extended period of time.

If you have multiple cars this is probably a mild inconvenience.  But if you only have one vehicle or limited access to others, then it could be a major problem.

Think about this...

If you were without a car for a week, how would you get to work?

How would you get the kids to school?

If you use public transportation to commute, what about going to the grocery store or the kid’s soccer practice?

If any of these things would be a major problem, then you need Rental Reimbursement!  This coverage pays for your rental car while your car is in the shop due to a covered claim.

When you look at your policy, you’ll see rental coverage listed as a “per day” coverage.  It might be $50 per day, or $25 per day.  That amount is how much the insurance company will pay for that rental car, simple as that!

If you have a lower amount, but need a larger vehicle, then you’ll be responsible for the additional cost.  Let’s say you need a minivan to drive your 4 kids around, but only get enough Rental Reimbursement to cover a tiny economy car.  That additional per-day cost will fall on your shoulders, so make sure your policy is adequate before you end up needing it, or you'll have some unpleasant out-of-pocket expenses!

This is what SAV-ON Insurance is here for.  We’ll look at your individual situation, ask these questions, and recommend the right amount of coverage to make your life easy when those inconvenient situations occur.

Call SAV-ON today at 888-867-2866 to discuss your auto Insurance coverage.  If you’re a current client, we’ll be happy to review your policy and let you know how much rental reimbursement coverage you currently have.