For many of us, different types of homeowners insurance policies do not even exist. Unless we have experience with it, homeowners insurance is just well... homeowners insurance. Believe it or not but there are actually quite a few different options you can choose from when insuring your home. This blog will help you decide which homeowners policy seems best for you, in an easy to understand way.
HO-5 vs HO-3 Policies
The terms "HO-5" and "HO-3" probably do not mean a whole lot to you now, but they are two of the most common homeowners insurance policies and will help you decide what your true needs are.
Before we get into the differences lets take a second to define a few insurance definitions:
Dwelling- your home
Contents- personal property (or anything that would fall out of your home if you turned it upside down)
Open Perils- a policy which covers just about everything under the sun except the listed exclusions
Named Perils- a policy which names exactly what is covered. You can assume everything else is not covered.
Exclusions- a list of exceptions that your policy will not cover
Knowing the definitions above will help understand what your policy is talking about. It will make understanding your coverage terms a lot easier too which really means you will know for sure whether or not you have the coverage you want. So lets get into the policies:
An HO-5 policy is a complete open perils policy and probably the easiest one to understand. Both your dwelling and your personal property is covered under an open perils basis. So instead of listing what is covered it will list a set of exclusions such as these:
|1. Earth Movement (earthquake coverage can be endorsed/added)
||8. Intentional loss
||15. Mechanical Breakdown
|2. Ordinance or law
||9. Government action
||16. Smog, Rust and Corrosion
|3. Water Damage (sudden accidental water damage is automatically included)
||17. Smoke from Agricultural Smudging and Industrial Operations
|4. Power Failure
||11. Theft to a Dwelling under construction
||18. Discharge, dispersal, seepage of pollutants
||12. Vandalism or malicious mischief (only if vacant more than 60 days)
||19. Settling, shrinking, bulging or expanding
||13. Mold, Fungus, or wet rot
||20. Birds, vermin, rodents and insects
|7. Nuclear Hazard
||14. Wear and Tear, Deterioration
||21. Animals owned by insured
If any of these events lead to a claim, under your homeowners insurance policy it will be denied. Any other events are likely covered by your insurance. The HO-3 policy has the same exclusions for the dwelling but less coverage when it comes to personal property.
The HO-3 policy is the most common policy we see in the US and is a hybrid between an open perils policy and named perils policy. The dwelling is covered under an open perils (like the HO-5) while the personal property portion is under the named perils. Because the coverage is limited, in the HO-5 policy, they actually list the "named perils" or what is covered.
These are generally the 16 named perils of an HO-3:
||7. Volcanic Eruption
||13. Damage due to weight of ice, snow or sleet
|2. Fire or Lighting
||8. Windstorm or Hail
||14. Sudden and Accidental tearing apart, cracking, burning or buldging
||9. Riot or Civil Commotion
||15. Sudden and Accidental damage from artificially generated electrical current
||10. Falling Objects
||16. Accidental discharge or overflow of water from plumbing, air conditioning, etc...
||11. Damage caused by aircraft
||12. Vandalism or Malicious mischief
If it is on the list, it is covered. If it is not on the list, most likely you are not covered.
Deciding what homeowners insurance policy is right
You may be thinking , "This information is great, but how does it apply to my insurance purchasing decision?" Well when it comes down to your homeowners insurance you will most likely have these as option. More importantly you will need to understand what all this means. Many individuals purchase a homeowners policy based off of price. Price is very important especially for a first time homeowner but it is so sad when individuals go to make claims and they find very big holes in their coverage that their insurance company won't pay out to.
Using what we know from the HO-3 and the HO-5 policy let's discuss key points which will help you decide on the right policy.
Coverage- More important than price. Your home is a very large investment, knowing what is covered and what is excluded is very important. This will allow you to get extra coverage when needed or back off if you are paying too much. Personal property should also be considered. If you would like superior coverage for your personal property, consider something like the HO-5 if available.
Price - Very important especially for first time homeowners. Most first time homeowners have a mortgage payment as well as all their other bills to pay. It is hard to justify paying more for insurance when your bills are very close to your income. You should always ensure you have enough coverage, but often you will find the HO-3 policy will have slightly lower rates.
Peace of Mind- Isn't having piece of mind one of the main reasons we have insurance. It is hard to have piece of mind without knowing what is truly covered under your homeowners insurance. Having an open perils policy may give you relief knowing that you have a wider range of protection.
Claims Process- If you've never dealt with claims and the insurance process before, it can sometimes be very aggravating. If you have not dotted all of your "I's" and crossed your "T's" (or had your agent help you do it) the claims process can get messy. Depending on the type of policy you have the process will be different. The more exclusions you have the more chances the insurance company has to deny your claim.
Additional info to consider before making your decision
Unfortunately, getting the right homeowners insurance policy takes more knowledge than just knowing a few definitions. There are additional things you will want to consider.
ACV vs RC - Is Actual Cost Value or Replacement Cost Insurance better for your home?
Different Insurance Companies - You may receive similar quotes from two different insurance companies but which one will give you the services and processes that you will benefit from the most?
Insurance Discounts - Find out if you are eligible for discounts. Choice A may have lower rates than Choice B but with a discount Choice B may end up having lower rates.
Agents - To have an agent or to go direct, that is a very good question. Agents can benefit new homeowners and even individuals with years of insurance experience. Agents can help you find different quotes and help you find the best plan without you having to have all of the knowledge.
Get in touch with one of Diversified Insurance Service's homeowners insurance agents and have them take you step by step through the insurance buying process so you know you are getting the right policy.
Attention Ohio and Michigan Residents: You can get Free Online Homeowners Insurance Quotes from a local agent! Click the image above to go straight to the online rater.
Auto Owners Insurance is a company that Diversified Insurance Service has done business with for years. They have a reputation for excellence in the way they satisfy customers needs (which may be why you have one of the 5 million policies issued to their customers). They also offer huge discounts that you may or may not be receiving.
Auto Owners Insurance Companies offers many ways for you to get discounts and save. Some discounts are specific to certain policies (ex. safe driver discounts are for car insurance), but some of their discounts can apply to different policies so you won't miss out in case your not say a "safe driver."
Here are some of the discounts that are saving people 5% on their home, auto or boat insurance:
- Being a credit union member
- Being a member of certain associations or organizations
- Adding additional Auto Owners insurance policies
Chances are you already qualify for one or more of these discounts. Does your agent know about it and have you received your discount? 5% might not seem like a whole lot but when you have a mortgage, car payment, or boat payment, being able to save on insurance can help make things a little easier in life.
Additional Auto Owners Discounts
The above section listed some of the most common ways to get discounts. Auto Owners however does offer many more discounts for your personal insurance policies or your business policy.
- Premium paid in full discounts
- Student Discounts
- New building discounts for businesses
- Discounts for safety features (home & auto)
- Seasonal home discounts
- Renovated or new home discounts
While I'm sure I did not get all of Auto Owners discounts accounted for, it is a good list to get you started. If you are taking proactive steps to protect your assets then chances are there is probably discounts out there for you.
The most underutilized Auto Owners Discounts
In my opinion, some of the most underutilized discounts are having your life insurance, long term care insurance, or disability income protection with Auto Owners. These policies are often overlooked because many individuals are insured through their employer.
These policies are so important to have to protect your future or to protect your families future and often times an employer's benefit is not enough. I know the need for these policies are not as black and white like an auto insurance policy or a homeowners policy so I wanted to provide a couple of resources which will help you decide if these are policies that you actually need.
Here is a document titled all about Long Term Care. It will highlight:
- Common questions about long term care
- coverage options
- who needs it and when to buy
Click here to open the document
Here is another resource which is a life insurance needs estimator. This will help you understand:
- If you need life insurance
- How much life insurance you need
- How much life insurance you can currently afford
Click here to open it
Review these documents. If it is something you believe can be beneficial to your life, contact one of Diversified Insurance Service's agents and they will help you apply the discount to your current Auto Owners' policy.
Should you switch insurance companies based on discounts?
When it comes to insurance, most think it logical to switch insurance companies if they find a better deal. It is not really as simple as that.
Your insurance decisions should be based on your needs not just rates. Every insurance company offers different services, and claims processes to make your experience a better one. What do you look for in an insurance company? Saving a buck is not always worth giving up services that make your insurance experience better.
So if you have say your homeowners insurance with Auto Owners but your auto insurance with another company should you switch your car insurance to Auto Owners for discounts? Ask yourself these 3 questions:
- Will I be missing out on services I really enjoy or will I be receiving equal/better services?
- Does it make sense financially?
- Will I be getting the same or better coverage with the new policy?
Insurance is not all about getting the most discounts but they sure are nice to have. The agents at Diversified Insurance Service can help you find the discounts you qualify for and also provide you with Auto Owners quotes. Contact them to learn more.
Chances are you either gave or received jewelry for Valentine's day. Most jewelry is already valuable and as the years go on, your growing collection becomes very valuable. What would you do if that jewelry was stolen, lost or damaged? Most warranties on new jewelry will only cover certain circumstances and will not cover everything that can happen. jewelry insurance may be something you want consider and this blog will help you discover if it is or is not for you.
What if you do not get insurance for your jewelry
Insuring your jewelry is obviously not required by law. In the best case scenario nothing will happen to your jewelry. As far as insurance considerations go, we do not insure for the best case scenario.
Realistically anything could happen to your jewelry. Your house could be ransacked while out on your date night, jewelry left in your car could be stolen or jewelry could even be taken from you personally.
Without having insurance for your jewelry, if it's lost, stolen or damaged then it may be gone forever.
Your homeowners or renters insurance may already have you covered
Some good news. You may already have insurance on your jewelry! Most homeowners and renters insurance policies cover a small amount of contents (jewelry, electronics, etc...) if stolen. It can be anywhere from about $1000 to $15,000 worth of coverage depending on the insurer. Check your policy to know exactly how much is covered.
Knowing that you are insured already is great, but you should ask yourself if your jewelry is insured under the right conditions or not.
- If someone breaks into your home while you are on vacation will you have to choose between replacing your jewelry collection, grandma's China collection, or the tablets, gaming systems and flat screens in your home?
- Will you feel comfortable paying a large deducible for 1 piece of jewelry or even the whole collection if something were to happen?
- Would you like to completely replace your missing items or possibly be forced to find a cheaper alternative?
It is your decision on whether you are O.K. with your current coverage. If you are uncomfortable with how much coverage you have or are interested in seeing what others options are available then continue reading.
Insuring one piece of jewelry
It is very easy to get a valuable piece of jewelry insured. You can get a rider on your homeowners policy which will extend additional coverage to that one piece of jewelry. Your other option is to get a jewelry insurance policy. A rider is simply an extension to your homeowners policy while jewelry insurance is a stand-alone policy.
Choosing to insure a piece of jewelry in this fashion will give you lower or zero dollar deductible if a claim needs to be filed. These options will also give you more choices in how you want the item replaced.
Having a specialized piece of jewelry is sometimes hard to replace. It may need to be hand crafted and may cost more to replicate it then its actual cash value. Having a personalized policy will allow you to have coverage like this under your terms.
Insuring all of your jewelry
Over the years, many individuals build up quite a nice collection of jewelry. You may not want or need to insure one specific item but many collections can easily outgrow the coverage set in their homeowners policy.
Your entire collection can be covered simply by extending your homeowners coverage. You can get your collection appraised then increase your coverage to fit your needs. This is an easy fix but does not give you specialized coverage.
If your collection is made up of fine specialized pieces you may want to think about more specialized coverage then your standard homeowners insurance rider.
Let an agent help you decide
Deciding on the right policy can always be tough. You may be split between this option or that. An agent can help you determine what needs you really have and find an appropriate coverage for you. Speaking with an agent can also help you find areas to save in case you need to increase your coverage.
Call an agent today to help you insure your valuables because no one knows what will happen tomorrow.
With access to just about all the information we need online to make purchasing decisions, is there really a need for insurance agents anymore? The thought of interacting in person with a local agent seems like an obsolete way to buy insurance for some. When looking for insurance many thoughts can easily cross an individuals mind when it comes to having an insurance agent:
- Agents only want my money
- It's cheaper to go online or buy direct
- Buying direct will help me cut out the middle man saving me time
- I don't need an agent's opinion - I know what I'm doing.
Most of these make sense right? Unfortunately insurance agents have allowed these misconceptions to take over the minds of those purchasing insurance. You may have your own reasons for believing these statements but realistically this way of thinking may cause you to actually pay more and could end up being much less convenient.
You do not have to believe me, after all the power of the internet will help you discover the best approach for you to buy insurance. I do however, want to encourage you to explore the previous statements with me so you can decide what the best decision is for you yourself.
Agents only want my money
When we think about insurance agents we often think about those slimy snack oil salesman we see in old movies. We know they are going to try to sell us something as soon as we contact them and once they do I will never hear from them again unless it is renewal time or they tell me to buy another policy.
Personally I feel that if this is how insurance agents are portrayed then we have done a terrible job in our industry. An agent is there to help. Yes insurance agents want you to buy insurance but it is because no one knows what will happen tomorrow. It only takes one day of being uninsured to lose everything. A good agent really wants what's best for their clients' families and businesses. They will examine tedious details and talk to multiple people (insurance company reps, others in the office, etc.) just to ensure 1 client has the right policy.
You may have experienced an agent who only wants your money and on behalf of our industry I apologize for their ignorance and selfishness. Agents are here to help you make the right decision on a service that you were already going to buy. Give agents a chance and interview another so that you get what's best for yourself.
It's cheaper to go online or buy direct
Technology has brought many new ways of business for the insurance industry. Many insurance companies are allowing individuals to buy directly from the company via phone or online websites. It only makes sense that this would be cheaper right; insurance companies do not have to pay an agent commissions so rates should be lower.
For some, going online may very well be cheaper. On the other hand some get better rates going through an agent. Insurance companies will provide quotes based on their criteria. Your neighbor may get a car insurance quote from Esurance or Progressive and save hundreds. You on the other hand may go and their insurance is more costly.
An agent's commission does not affect an insurance company's quote. It will be the same whether you go through the agent or directly to the company. Going through an insurance agent however, may allow you to receive huge discounts that others do not offer.
The only true way for you to know is to get a quote. Get an online quote and call an agent to give you quotes. (Don't forget to ask the agent about bundling which could save you hundreds!)
Buying direct will cut out the middle man and save me time
No one wants to deal with a middle man anymore. Who wants to call an agent to have them a company just to wait for them to call you back with a quote. Sounds frustrating and who knows how long it would take.
Theoretically that makes sense. Upfront buying direct will save you time, but there are two very good reasons why you will want to go through an agent still:
1) Independent insurance agents will actually call multiple companies for you to get you the best quote they can find. This means that while you just have to call an agent, they will have to sit on hold and go through all the communications with the companies while you get back to whatever you want to do.
2) When issues arise or questions with your policy comes up, your agent can take care of you right away. Going directly to the company may mean sitting on hold for long periods of time and being shuffled around from person to person to get your questions answered.
No doubt if you want to save a couple minutes upfront that buying direct will be a better decision. But there are countless ways (email communications, direct phone line of agent, 24/7 online access to your policy, etc...) that will allow insurance agents to save you time in the long run.
I don't need an agent; I know what I'm doing.
Like we mentioned earlier, the internet will allow you to read up on any insurance policy you may need. You may even have worked in the insurance industry in the past. You know what you need and you can easily get quotes online so there's no need for an agent right?
Believe it or not, agents can provide you with more than just quotes. Even with all the research online it takes a personal look into each individual's situation to make a knowledgeable decision. You may have a similar home, family size, and vehicle as your neighbor but have completely different insurance needs. An agent will help you find the right plan for you and avoid policies you do not need (yes you can buy policies you don't need).
If you were once in the insurance industry you may still want to go through an agent. Things are constantly changing in the insurance industry. New regulations are being put in place, new services are being introduced and companies make their own internal changes. Having someone on the inside will always bring you benefits. Even with the knowledge and insights you already have insurance agents can provide you with internal tools that will make your insurance experience a better one.
It's your choice. You can choose to go direct instead of going through an agent but if you have someone on your side who can help you make the best decisions, save you money, provide you with tools and is free why would you not go with them?
As we watched the AFC championship game the other day, my sister in law commented that there's only insurance commercials on anymore. I never really thought about it but she is right. Just about every cable channel, media outlet or online streaming site has insurance commercials. We are bombarded with getting quotes here or saving money there. There are so many options and promises it is hard to make a clear decision.
What do we do when we need to compare options? Get online! That's how you ended up here after all. The question many don't ask themselves is am I really getting the best deal by going online or should I go old fashion and talk with an agent?
Buying direct online insurance quotes
I have to admit, online quotes are the easiest route to go. You do it on your own time, don't have to speak with anyone, you can do it with a glass of wine, and online quotes have evolved making the insurance recommendations to better fit your needs. Buying insurance direct (using companies like Esurance) is an extremely convenient way to go. Depending on the person they may also have knock out quotes.
Theoretically online insurance quotes are great. You get what you need without any hassle and sometimes with great rates. Unfortunately, unless you are an expert in the insurance industry how do you know if you are getting exactly what you need?
I love the fact that technology has taken us to the point where we can explore prices and plans online. I do not like the way it is leaving people under insured and scrambling for the best price. For some the decision to buy insurance is as important as buying toilet paper. We just want something that will work good enough at the best price.
It is 100% understandable to want the best quotes for your insurance and doing it in a convenient way, but have you ever bought a new piece of technology and had to call their call center with a problem? Ever time it's a new person who has no idea who you are, what you need, why you even purchased the products and it's always a long irritating conversation. Do you want the same for your insurance every time you file a claim or need policy information?
For some this is a small price to pay for others it is unacceptable. Is quoting through a local agent realistically better than quoting direct online?
Local insurance agents have a bit longer of a quoting process than online quotes. Local agents are basically a middle man so they need to collect your information, collect quotes from different companies then get a hold of you again.
Getting quotes from agent's are not always the most convenient option, but they can lead to you getting the best insurance for your needs.
Having an insurance agent is like having a personal insurance consultant. They know your needs, they know the laws, and they generally know the products inside and out. A local agent knows your situation first hand and can make appropriate suggestions which will benefit you best.
Many local agents with websites will also provide online quotes. These quotes are just as convenient as the direct buy companies but may not include all of the quotes an agent can give in person.
Overall would an agent's quote be cheaper than buying direct online? The answer is maybe. Each individual is different as well as each insurance company's pricing criteria.
What's truly the best option
Honestly if you are just online browsing for quotes I would go direct first. Drink a beer at home, relax, do it in the morning or evening whenever your computer time generally is. I would NOT purchase insurance direct.
Online quotes are great for get an idea of what you will be paying in your area, but there's much more that goes into it. Contacting an agent will allow the agent to assess the situation to make sure 1) you are getting the proper coverage you need and 2) you are not paying for something you really don't need.
Along with helping you find the best insurance plan, local agents bring special advantages that buying direct does not. Like many independent businesses, local insurance agencies provide customer tools that make the experience a better one. Local insurance agents can also open up the flood gates for discounts and special savings.
When it comes to big investments like your car, your home and even your family's well-being you want an expert on your side. Someone to help you make sense of what you're actually buying and who can be there with you through the claims process.
I can't tell you if you will receive better quotes from an agent or a website. It's hit or miss from person to person. I can tell you that if you want to ensure that you are properly covered, can reap full advantage of discounts and will have help when claim time comes around then it's best to go with a real live agent.
As a kid I never realized how bad it was for my parents when I would break my cell phone or C.D. Player or really any electronic. Now all I can think is WOW how did I not have more chores to do? Just so we all know I am ashamed to admit but I go through phones (and well any electronic device) like it’s a piece of gum… seriously its bad. I think the longest I have ever had one cell phone would have been my Samsung Galaxy S3 I got and it lasted for three months (and half of that I was not even using it). I used to have phone insurance through a certain company which I paid monthly for and then I would have to put a $50 deposit down get a loaner phone and then get the $50 back when my phone came back in, unless you break the loaner phone (and yes this happens). This company switched their policy and now it’s a little more expensive each month AND you have to pay a $100 each time (no NOT a deposit). I seriously could not afford that anymore; so, when Diversified Insurance got device insurance I was the first one told about it.
Once I started looking into this Device Insurance I was in LOVE! I do not know any other companies that cover water damage or theft on their phone insurance. And to think you can insure EVERYTHING! Just bought your 16 year girl a new Tablet for Christmas, we got you covered in case she leaves it at school and it is stolen, do NOT worry we got you covered! Just bought your teenage boys the new PlayStation 4 or Xbox One and yourself a new TV to go with it? Well do not worry when the controller gets thrown and the gaming system because when they break we got you covered with the Device Insurance. Have anyone like me in your family you better make sure you either have this Device Insurance to cover the computers, phones, tablets, pc’s, laptops, gaming systems, etc. or please make sure everything is wrapped in bubble wrap.
What does Device Insurance cover? Well let me tell you..
- Accidental Damage (Drops/Spills) so when you drop your phone in the snow and cannot find it until it melts a little we have YOU covered
- Cracked Screen because let’s get real who doesn’t crack their screens on phones, tablets, or computers
- Liquid Submersion because how many times has your phone gone swimming in the toilet
- Fire because I really don’t think you would be thinking of rescuing these items when you have a fire in your house (sometimes your House Insurance will cover it but that’s another topic for another day)
- Flood please see above
- Natural Disasters again see above but disregard your home insurance covering at this point
- Power Surge by Lighting happens more frequently than most think with your new PlayStation or Xbox plugged in and your computer (yeah I did this with one laptop and one PlayStation in 2013)
- Theft because some people feel the need to steal things like phones and tablets if left on a table for a moment in public places
You get to choose if you want a 1, 2 or 3 year term and what kind of coverage you actually want. Now that Christmas is over and the New Year has begun make sure you have all of your Christmas presents (and the new things you got yourself) covered correctly. The prices are amazing and YOU get to pick what kind of deductible you want to work with. Just visit us at http://www.divinsurance.com/device-insurance or call for free quotes.
Glad the weather is a little better? As I was trapped in the house in this weather and everyone in a Level 3 Snow Emergency I was non-stop on my social media sites trying to pass some time. Seeing accidents and hearing about people getting tickets was crazy, but what I also saw was questions about whether or not your Insurance would cover you if you got a ticket or in an accident in a Level 3 Snow Emergency. So, I decided to e-mail all of our agents at Diversified Insurance and ask because I was a little unsure and could not find a definite answer. Let’s start with the basic laws in Ohio that most people know about. If it is not an emergency you should not be on the road. If you are caught driving they will issue you a ticket with $250 in fines and up to 30 days in jail. If you have an accident and/or endanger others (no matter how big or small it may be) you get cited with $1,000 in fines and up to 6 months in jail.
Here is your car insurance side of going out and driving. You WILL have liability and physical damage coverage for your car if you were to wreck while driving in a Snow Emergency. If you get a ticket it would be just like any other ticket. In Ohio there is something called Comparative Negligence’that is part of your auto insurance coverage. Getting an accident while in a Level 3 Snow Emergency is comparable to if you get in a fender bender in a parking lot. You are going to have to pay for at least 60% of the damages caused to YOUR vehicle, the other parties company is not liable to pay for damages as long as you did not intentionally cause the accident. This also goes for any accident that could happen while committing a fine. Say someone robbed a bank and got in their get a way car tried speeding off and wrecks their car, as long as they have insurance they are covered. The only exception to this would be if you were driving and intentionally floored your vehicle into someone or something (it has to be shown that it was intentional) then it would not be covered because you did it on purpose.
This is not to say that it is an okay thing for you to go out and drive in Level 3’s, they do have different levels for weather emergencies for a reason. Please always abide by the law and be careful driving! Whatever you do if you are in a Level 3 Snow Emergency where you are not legally allowed to drive on the road do not go out to just go see someone and think it would be okay because your insurance covers you. You have that coverage in case you do HAVE to drive somewhere. If you are ever concerned whether your insurance will cover you or not always play it safe and call your Insurance Agent first. Bottom line, unless you were like Zach Emly and having a baby (Congratulations!) or another EMERGENCY you should not be on the road because it could be a costly adventure.
While the amount of danger from winter weather varies across the country, nearly all Americans, regardless of where they live, are likely to face some type of severe winter weather at some point in their lives. Winter storms can range from a moderate snow over a few hours to a blizzard with blinding, wind-driven snow that lasts for several days. Many winter storms are accompanied by dangerously low temperatures and sometimes by strong winds, ice, sleet and freezing rain.
A primary concern is that winter storms can knock out heat, power and communications services to your home or office, sometimes for days at a time. Heavy snowfall and extreme cold can immobilize an entire region.
The National Weather Service refers to winter storms as “deceptive killers” because most deaths are indirectly related to the storm. People die in traffic accidents on icy roads and of hypothermia from prolonged exposure to cold. Because of this, it is important to be prepared for winter weather before it strikes.
Familiarize yourself with these terms to help identify winter storm hazards:
- Freezing rain – Rain that freezes when it hits the ground, creating a coating of ice on roads, walkways, trees and power lines.
- Sleet – Rain that turns to ice pellets before reaching the ground. Sleet also causes moisture on roads to freeze and become slippery.
- Winter weather advisory – Winter weather conditions are expected to cause significant inconveniences and may be hazardous. When caution is used, these situations should not be life-threatening.
- Winter storm watch – A winter storm is possible in your area. Tune in to National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Weather Radio, commercial radio or local television for more information.
- Winter storm warning – A winter storm is occurring or will soon occur in your area.
- Blizzard warning – Sustained winds or frequent gusts to 35 miles per hour or greater and considerable amounts of falling or blowing snow (reducing visibility to less than a quarter mile) are expected to prevail for a period of three hours or longer.
- Frost/freeze warning – Below-freezing temperatures are expected.
To prepare for a winter storm you should do the following:
- Add these supplies to your emergency kit:
- Rock salt or more environmentally safe products to melt ice on walkways
- Visit the Environmental Protection Agency website for a complete list of recommended products.
- Sand to improve traction
- Snow shovels and other snow removal equipment
- Sufficient heating fuel
- You may become isolated in your home and regular fuel sources may be cut off. Store a good supply of dry, seasoned wood for your fireplace or wood-burning stove.
- Adequate clothing and blankets to keep you warm
- Make a family communications plan. Your family may not be together when disaster strikes, so it is important to know how you will contact one another, how you will get back together and what you will do in case of an emergency.
- Listen to a NOAA Weather Radio or other local news channels for critical information from the National Weather Service (NWS). Be alert to changing weather conditions.
- Minimize travel. If travel is necessary, keep a disaster supply kit in your vehicle.
- Bring pets/companion animals inside during winter weather. Move other animals or livestock to sheltered areas with non-frozen drinking water.
- Winterize your house, barn, shed or any other structure that may provide shelter for your family, neighbors, livestock or equipment. Clear rain gutters, repair roof leaks and cut away tree branches that could fall on a house or other structure during a storm.
- Extend your fuel supply by insulating walls and attics, caulking and weather-stripping doors and windows and installing storm windows or covering windows with plastic.
- Maintain heating equipment and chimneys by having them cleaned and inspected every year.
- Insulate pipes with insulation or newspapers and plastic and allow faucets to drip a little during cold weather to avoid freezing. Running water, even at a trickle, helps prevent pipes from freezing.
- All fuel-burning equipment should be vented to the outside and kept clear.
- Keep fire extinguishers on hand, and make sure everyone in your house knows how to use them. House fires pose an additional risk, as more people turn to alternate heating sources without taking the necessary safety precautions.
- Learn how to shut off water valves (in case a pipe bursts).
- Insulate your home by installing storm windows or covering windows with plastic from the inside to keep cold air out.
- Hire a contractor to check the structural ability of the roof to sustain unusually heavy weight from the accumulation of snow or water, if drains on flat roofs do not work.
- Stay indoors during the storm.
- Walk carefully on snowy, icy walkways.
- Avoid overexertion when shoveling snow. Overexertion can bring on a heart attack—a major cause of death in the winter. If you must shovel snow, stretch before going outside.
- Keep dry. Change wet clothing frequently to prevent a loss of body heat. Wet clothing loses all of its insulating value and transmits heat rapidly.
- Watch for signs of frostbite. These include loss of feeling and white or pale appearance in extremities such as fingers, toes, ear lobes and the tip of the nose. If you or a loved one shows symptoms, get medical help immediately.
- Watch for signs of hypothermia. These include uncontrollable shivering, memory loss, disorientation, incoherence, slurred speech, drowsiness and apparent exhaustion. If you or a loved one has symptoms of hypothermia, get the victim to a warm location, remove wet clothing, warm the center of the body first and give warm, non-alcoholic beverages if the victim is conscious. Get medical help as soon as possible.
- Drive only if it is absolutely necessary. If you must drive, travel in the day; don’t travel alone; keep others informed of your schedule; stay on main roads; and avoid back road shortcuts.
- Let someone know your destination, your route and when you expect to arrive. If your car gets stuck along the way, help can be sent along your predetermined route.
- If the pipes freeze, remove any insulation or layers of newspapers and wrap the pipes in rags. Completely open all faucets and pour hot water over the pipes, starting where they were most exposed to the cold (or where the cold was most likely to penetrate).
- Maintain ventilation when using kerosene heaters to avoid build-up of toxic fumes. Refuel kerosene heaters outside and keep them at least 3 feet from flammable objects.
- Conserve fuel, if necessary, by keeping your residence cooler than normal. Temporarily close off heat to some rooms.
- If you will be going away during cold weather, leave the heat on in your home, set to a temperature no lower than 55° F.
- If you must go outside, wear several layers of loose-fitting, lightweight, warm clothing rather than one layer of heavy clothing. Outer garments should be tightly woven and water repellent.
- Wear mittens, which are warmer than gloves.
- Wear a hat. A hat will prevent loss of body heat.
- Cover your mouth with a scarf to protect your lungs.
- Go to a designated public shelter if your home loses power or heat during periods of extreme cold. Text SHELTER + your ZIP code to 43362 (4FEMA) to find the nearest shelter in your area (example: shelter 12345).
- Continue to protect yourself from frostbite and hypothermia by wearing warm, loose-fitting, lightweight clothing in several layers. Stay indoors, if possible.
In addition to insuring your home, Diversified Insurance Service is committed to helping you and your loved ones stay safe when disaster strikes. If you would like more information on developing a family emergency plan or building a disaster supply kit, please contact us at (800) 848-27
From the time someone turns 18 (sometimes even earlier), insurance becomes a part of their life and is something they deal with until they die. For something that most people will need for 50+ years why do we allow them to get haphazardly thrown into it?
Everyone is constantly bombarded by it and most of us as consumers are falling victim to it:
"Save $500 on car insurance by switching to _________."
There is nothing wrong with saving money. Heck, since watching Extreme Couponing with my wife we make it a game to see where we can save money. The issue is that they wave all these savings in front of us and often it is with a less substantial policy.
It does not matter to me who you are insured with. What matters to me is that when you are in a catastrophic automobile liability loss you are not left with someone suing you out of your home because your auto insurance limits were so low. Even before being a part of the insurance industry I knew of people having claims denied because of borderline coverage, I knew of people not getting repairs done because no one ensured that they had a high enough income to pay their deductibles, and I personally did not really understand the need for insurance.
Things like this cause people to hate insurance. A majority still look at agents as slime balls and snake oil sales men. The interesting thing is that insurance is actually supposed to be a saving grace in times of disaster. When something happens and you go to file a claim it should be a time of relief knowing that your home, car, or family is taken care of. While this is the feeling most of would love to have when we go to file a claim why is it the opposite?
Lack of knowledge affects our insurance outcome
It is not education itself or knowledge that will help you make good decisions, but what you have knowledge in. A brain surgeon could make large errors in insurance simply because it is not an area where he was educated. You may have a college degree, or 5, and still not understand the difference between ACV and replacement cost or the difference between an HO-3 and HO-5 homeowners policy. That does not make you dumb or any less educated. It just shows that you are not educated in that area.
Most of us understand money but do not understand insurance. Saving money is a good thing so when we see two insurance plans that we do not fully understand, of course we are going to go with the cheaper option.
This insurance vs cost dilemma creates a downward slope of coverage. If you can save $1 on the same product why wouldn't you buy the cheaper option? The problem is that the less expensive option is not always the same deal. A $100 savings could cost you thousands in a claim if not properly educated on what you are buying.
Why I believe insurance should be taught in schools
My son is 4 years old and he already knows how to use my smart phone and tablet. He knows how to get to the games and play them but more fascinating then that he knows how to go and download more games to play. When he gets to the age where he needs insurance, do you think he is going to find the local agent in his town, meet with him and talk about coverage options or go online and find the best price himself?
Most people who have been around for a few generations have local insurance agents that their family has always used. Someone who can coach them through policies and show them why it is sometimes more important to pay the extra $100 a year. The next generation likely does not have that.
One of the major reasons insurance should be taught in schools is for the children's safety. They should be educated so that they can make proper decisions and best utilize their finances (I believe we should bring personal finance classes back to school also but that's a blog for another day). While I care about the children's future there is a much more selfish reason why I want them to be educated in insurance....
Their insurance decisions affect me! They also affect you and the economy at large!
A miseducated generation's affect on the US
Some of you may think I'm crazy, and that's OK, but for many others this information hits home (literally).
One night, my aunt in law heard a loud crash in her house. Someone had crashed their car into their house! Took out a good corner of their kitchen (thank goodness no one was hurt). The driver was under insured so luckily their insurance took care of it.
Texting while driving on a nice wintry Ohio day. I see it everyday I drive! Think of how many college aged individuals who don't know the need for car insurance are driving around under insured. If they hit you what do you do? What if you are injured, need a new car, have to take time off of work and their insurance hardly covers it? You can sue them.... but how much are you going to get from an 18 year old?
Not only does this affect us on the road but think about other areas where insurance is important. Who will own businesses and drive the economy as you head closer to retirement?
The lack of insurance knowledge affects our future businesses
It is plastered all over the web if you search for disaster planning, but many sources say around 80% of business will go out of business after a major disaster within 2 years without a disaster plan. With proper knowledge of insurance one can minimize their losses, giving them better chances to stay in business and allowing that business to continue to drive the economy.
A real life example: On a major street in Toledo, Ohio (sorry I can't remember at this time) the city was doing some major road construction. Customers had no access to the businesses and so the businesses sat for over a week with no customers. Unfortunately no one told them about business interruption insurance which would have provided them with an income while their doors were forced closed.
Education starts today
I'm no fool. I know insurance will likely never be put in any school systems, but that doesn't mean there is no hope for making wise insurance decisions. The internet provides us a way to research and educate ourselves. Availability is not the problem; a reason for understanding is.
We try to make sure our clients understand what and why they are buying. If you would like to get our monthly updates on different insurance solutions or updates on regulations like the Health Care Reform just email me firstname.lastname@example.org and I will take care of you.
What are your thoughts on insurance? Do you believe education is necessary or is the insurance price war the way to go?
The need for snowmobile insurance differs from person to person. You may have insurance on your snowmobile right now and did not even know it! If you have a homeowners insurance policy your snowmobile will be covered under it. So if you just casually ride your snowmobile on your property you do not have to worry about spending a single cent on insurance for it.
That is as long as you keep it there.
When you would need snowmobile insurance
Your homeowners insurance will cover your snowmobile on your property but there are a few instances and reasons for needing snowmobile insurance. Some are required to have it and others want to be safe, but here are a few reasons for needing snowmobile insurance:
1. Your snowmobile leaves your property
Your snowmobile is in fact protected under your homeowners insurance but only at your home. The moment your snowmobile is off your property, your homeowners insurance can not cover it. There's nothing wrong with wanting to ride at a friends house, a state park, your neighbors, etc... but without snowmobile insurance a wreck at any of these places will most likely leave your claim denied.
2. Your deductible is too high
It is a wonderful thing if your homeowners insurance provides adequate protection for your snowmobile. Problems do however arise when your homeowners insurance deductible is higher than the price of your snowmobile. Damage to your property is taken care of or if someone is injured there is plenty of liability, but with if your snowmobile is close to or costs less than your deductible it is not worth making a claim on it.
3. You are required to have it
Many public areas that have good snowmobile trails require you to have snowmobile insurance. Honestly there is nothing you can do so you will reluctantly pick up a cheap snowmobile insurance policy for the sake of your vacation.
4. You want specialized coverage
While some individuals do not care much about what type of coverage they have, many want to know that their coverage is specialized exclusively for their snowmobile insurance needs. Snowmobile looks at all the needs a snowmobile owner might have and puts these things into a small policy making the coverage affordable with a lower deductible than a homeowner's policy, yet providing all the coverage one would need.
What does snowmobile insurance cover?
All the talk about whether or not you need snowmobile insurance is irrelevant if you do not know what it actually covers. Snowmobile insurance specifics can differ from company to company but the general coverage is the same. I could explain it or you could watch this funny 5 min video (I'm assuming you want to watch the video)
That video by Foremost gives good insights into what snowmobile insurance covers. If you understand snowmobile insurance and what you need, contact an agent and get a quote.
Understanding snowmobile coverage further
You may be newer to insurance or just are not familiar with how insurance definitions relate to snowmobiles. Allow me to lay out the definitions of basic coverage to help you understand a little better.
Accessory Coverage - Accessory coverage is simply coverage over the things that did not come standard with your snowmobile. Your awesome helmet you got for Christmas, custom parts, riding gear, etc... are all accessories that can be covered under your snowmobile policy
Liability Coverage - Liability coverage provides you with financial protection when you become legally liable for damages due to operating your snowmobile. There are two parts to liability coverage: property and bodily injury. Respectively, they cover the legal liability when property is damaged and when someone is injured.
Collision and Comprehensive Coverage - These coverages are for when your snowmobile suffers damages. Think of collision as accident coverage and comprehensive as everything else (fire, vandalism, theft, etc...)
Medical Payments - Medical Payments are to protect you and your passengers. This provides compensation to help with medical payments that arise from operating your snowmobile.
If you would like more information or get a better understanding of how a specialized plan will look for you, call one of our agents and let us know how we can help you. Call Now: 877-362-2213