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Home Insurance

Do You Need Flood Insurance?

Anyone who has watched the news of a major hurricane or another intense storm has seen the aftermath of flooding. According to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), flooding is the number-one natural disaster in the United States. So, how do I know if I need flood insurance over and above what my current homeowners policy covers? Given flood’s #1 status, you might assume a lot of people have flood insurance—but that’s not the case. FEMA statistics from the National Flood Insurance Program show there are more than 5 million flood insurance policies in effect, nationwide. Just one inch of water in a one-story, 1,000 square-foot home can cost more than $10,000 in damages. FEMA has a cost-of-flooding tool to get a ballpark idea of what a little bit of water might mean for your home. How to Be Sure You’re Insured Against Flooding Just because you have a homeowners insurance…

How Much House Can I Really Afford?

Turn one calendar page and it’s spring – prime time for the housing market to open exciting new doors after a long winter lock-down. But before you contact your real estate agent, stop and ask yourself “how much house can I afford?” Dreaming of luxury kitchen appliances, soaring ceilings, spacious walk-in closets, granite countertops, wood floors and a three-car garage means it’s time to house hunt. But before you contact a real estate agent, stop and ponder this question: How much house can you really afford? A little homework ahead of your house hunt will help you set realistic expectations, save you time and ultimately land you in the right place without making you “house poor.” Increasingly, financial advisors recommend using the 28/36 rule to help determine how much house you can comfortably afford. Ramit Sethi, in his bestselling book, “I Will Teach You to be Rich,” spells out how…

Shopping for Homeowners Insurance? What you Need to Know

Whether you are purchasing your first home insurance policy or seeking to update your coverage, talk with your SelectQuote agent to make sure you’ve got your bases covered. Things may seem complicated, even with a basic understanding of how home insurance coverage works. It makes sense to have questions for an expert when you shop for homeowners insurance. Here are five important questions to ask your SelectQuote agent about homeowners insurance. Does my homeowners insurance policy cover replacement cost or the actual cash value? Insurance agents strongly suggest replacement cost policies. However, some homeowners purchase actual cash value policies because they cost less. Saving money upfront may cost significantly more in the end. Actual cash value policies figure in depreciation so you won’t get the same amount back you paid. Sue Callies, regional coaching manager at SelectQuote explains if you choose cash value and not replacement coverage and have to…

9 Reasons Homeowners Insurance Claims Are Denied

Year after year, you send that premium payment for your homeowners policy. When accidents happen, you expect the insurance company to cut a check for the full extent of the damage to your home, no matter the amount or what caused it. It doesn’t always work that way. What you think you’re entitled to under your policy and what the carrier believes they owe you are often two very different dollar figures. Don’t take it personally. Remember, carriers have to price your coverage based on statistics, probability and risk. They can only pay to the extent a claim is based in cold, hard facts, policy language and evidence. If your claim falls under one or more of the criteria below, there’s a good chance it will be reduced or denied altogether. But alas, insurance companies don’t take claims personally, either. We’ll follow with ways to ensure your property is covered…

Home Sweet Homeowners Insurance: Everything You Need to Know About Getting Covered

There’s no place like home. That’s why it’s so important to protect your home with homeowners insurance. While the paperwork can sometimes seem overwhelming, there’s nothing more rewarding than the peace of mind that comes from knowing you have the right amount of homeowners insurance. If you’re ready to get a better understanding of how your coverage works and to see if you need to make any updates to your policy, these tips can get the job done faster than you imagine. Homeowners Insurance Requirements First things first. For most of us, homeowners insurance isn’t optional. Why? We don’t actually own our homes. Banks do. Until your mortgage is paid, your bank or mortgage company is going to require you to carry homeowners insurance. They want their investment protected. The exact specifications can vary, but generally, your lender will want you to have coverage at least up to your outstanding…

Can Your Smart Home Save You Money?

There’s a definite “cool factor” to the idea of a smart home. The ability to turn lights on and off with your voice, get notified if there’s someone on your porch, or have your smoke detector alert the fire department if it detects a problem seems futuristic. It’s reminiscent of the Jetsons and Iron Man. Smart home devices definitely are cool – but they’re also practical. Many of the devices aren’t just about convenience, they’re also about safety. Lights that turn on and off automatically when you’re on vacation can deter burglars, smoke detectors that call the fire department can save lives and property, and doorbells that capture porch activity can help serve justice if your belongings are ever stolen. Even beyond peace of mind, smart devices can help you save money. It goes beyond smart thermostats that monitor the temperature of your home to save you money on utilities.…

Disaster Strikes Your Second Home: Are You Prepared?

Once you decide you’re financially ready to buy a vacation home, one important step is insuring your new pad. It’s different than buying insurance for a primary residence. Factors such as where it’s located, who stays there and what amenities are available will help determine your home insurance needs. Your Vacation Home Versus Mother Nature For many people, the whole idea of a vacation home is to be closer to a sandy beach or among the crisp mountain air. That perfect location for rest and relaxation may come with some additional insurance costs. Hurricane season and intense rainstorms underscore the importance of knowing your coverage. The point applies to primary residences and vacation homes. When hurricane Florence hit in September 2018, more than 30 million people were under a flood watch and media outlets reported only about 3 percent of North Carolina and South Carolina homeowners held insurance policies.  And…

Insurance 101 for House Flippers

Flipping houses hit an 11-year high in 2017. It’s no secret why. Television shows such as “Flip or Flop” and “Rehab Addict” flaunt how flipping houses can provide a lucrative career or side hustle. But it’s not always an easy one. Many things can go south during a flip, including stolen materials or structural damage while the house sits empty. Mishaps that eat into potential profit. Most people go into a flip thinking about asking price, cost of renovations and earning potential. It’s important to add insurance coverage to the early list of considerations. Below we answer four common insurance questions from flipping newbies. What Type of Insurance Policy do I Need for my Flip? New house flippers may think general homeowner’s insurance will cover their needs. The type of insurance policy needed for a flip depends on the stage of the project. Here are four policies to consider. A…

Understanding Renters Insurance

The number of renters in America continue to rise. For the past several years, almost 40 percent of households are renters. There are myriad reasons why renting is the best decision for many people. While it is easy to think that renting means your landlord or rental company has you covered when things go wrong, that isn’t always the case. Enter: renters insurance. Once you understand what renters insurance provides, you will see why it is a smart money move for all renters to make. What is Renters Insurance? Often times, people equate renters insurance with homeowners insurance. Some people assume renters insurance covers the apartment structure so it’s not necessary. While the owner carries insurance on the building, that coverage is usually for the structure itself, not the contents of the building. Renters insurance covers a renter’s possessions. Think frozen pipes that burst and ruin your couch. Or a…

Home Mortgage: What’s the Difference Between Being Preapproved and Prequalified

Fall is an ideal time to shop for a new home. The market has quieted from the frenzy of spring and summer real estate activity. And prices may be lower, as sellers work to close a deal before the traditionally slow market during the holidays. Before you engage a real estate agent or spend a weekend visiting open houses, do a little homework so you’ll be ready to find your next home. A crucial task is assessing how likely you are to get approved for the mortgage amount you may seek. You’ll hear the terms preapproved and prequalified. Both have value and the terms are often interchangeable. One will get you closer to obtaining a mortgage, however, so it’s important to understand the difference. Prequalification for a Mortgage Getting prequalified for a mortgage is a preliminary step in which a lender takes a basic assessment of your financial situation to…