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Home Ownership

Congratulations! You’ve found the home of your dreams, passed the scrutiny of today’s banking system and are about to purchase your own home. We have recommendations below on the next steps and types of insurance you should look into once you own your own home.

What’s in Your Home?

If someone asked you to name all of the items in your home, could you?  Probably not. There are just too many items to think of all at once.  If you were asked what their worth was, you’d be just as stumped, right? That’s why you need a thorough home contents inventory list.

Homeowner insurance typically covers the contents of your home up to the limit of your policy. You’ll need to know the contents and their value should you ever need to make a claim as the insurance adjuster will ask you for a list of the items that were damaged or stolen, the age and value of the items. Suddenly having to think of all of that can be daunting to say the least, especially amid a catastrophe. Having an inventory list available is beneficial in many ways, such as:

Purchasing ample insurance. If you don’t have a clear idea of what home contents you have and what they are worth, chances are you may not purchase enough insurance to cover all of them. This could be devastating should you experience a total loss and not have ample insurance.

Filing claims. When disaster strikes, stress levels rise, you’ll have lots of things on your mind and it will be easy to forget things. Having a complete inventory list is one less thing to worry about as you’ll be able to file your claim with ease. By the way, having an inventory to present to the claims adjuster will help speed up the entire process and you’ll receive your claims payout quicker.

Natural disaster financial assistance. If a natural disaster such as hurricanes, floods, etc. occur, you may qualify for disaster financial assistance or tax breaks. Here’s where your home content inventory list will be invaluable in helping to determine if you qualify for those benefits.

These are just a few of the reasons why we’ve created an in-depth home contents inventory form. We’ve taken great pains to make this home content inventory form complete. Should you have items not appearing on the list, note that there are a few blank pages at the end for you to enter your unique items not listed elsewhere. Following are some quick tips to use when filling out your home contents inventory.

  • Don’t let it overwhelm you. Inventory one room at a time.
  • Record details and serial numbers if applicable.
  • Supplement the inventory with photos or videos.
  • Scan item receipts if you have them.
  • Store your completed inventory list electronically in the cloud or in your email.
  • Update the list as you add or get rid of items. Plan to look over the list at least annually.

Unique items like jewelry, art, antiques, collectibles and other high value pieces may need to be appraised and insured separately.

Download your copy of the Home Contents Inventory. And, don’t hesitate to contact us with any questions!

How Your Credit Score Affects Your Premium

Your insurance premium is determined by a number of factors such as where you live, your age, your claims history, how many miles you drive, and your credit score. Learn more about why these factors are used to determine risk, specifically the impact of your credit score to your insurance premium.

Research indicates that if you are responsible with your finances, you will also be responsible on the road, when taking care of your home and with your health.

Along with motor vehicle reports, loss reports and information gathered on your application, your credit score is used to determine how likely it is that you may experience a loss.  Statistics show that a higher credit score indicates a lower risk, which translates to a lower rate. That’s certainly good news for those with a good credit standing.

Take the following credit-improving steps to get the best possible insurance rates:

  • Pay all your bills on time.
  • Keep your credit card balances low.
  • Apply for credit cards only as needed.
  • Search and select loans, mortgages and credit cards with the lowest interest rate within a specific time period.
  • Do not close unused credit cards as a means of raising your credit score. Conversely, do not open new accounts to increase your available credit.

If you have a low credit score, our pros at ARCW Insurance can shop various carriers and find you the best coverage for your budget.

Protect Your Home While on Vacation

If you’re planning a vacation, especially an extended one, there are many preparations you need to make before you leave. You need to determine your transportation, lodging, budget and itinerary for your trip. In the hustle and bustle of getting ready, do not forget to prepare your home to be safe and incident-free while you’re away.

To avoid any problems with plumbing or household appliances:

  • Make sure your smoke detectors are working properly.
  • Unplug electronic devices and small appliances.
  • Turn the temperature down on your thermostat to conserve energy.
  • Take out any garbage or old food in your refrigerator before you leave.

If possible, set your water heater to “vacation.”

To make your house look lived-in so it does not attract burglars:

  • Put your mail and newspaper on hold until you return in order to prevent it from overflowing your mailbox, or ask a trusted friend or neighbor to regularly collect your mail while you’re gone.
  • Set at least one light inside your home on a timer.
  • Install a motion-activated sensor on an outdoor light.
  • Ask a trusted friend or neighbor to mow your lawn or shovel the snow around your home.

Contact us today to learn which insurance is right for you to make sure your assets are covered!

Condominium Owner

Chances are, if you own a condominium, you have both common and personal insurance needs. Normally, your condo association has a master policy that insures all of the property and common areas that are collectively owned by the unit owners. Yet, how do you cover the cost of damage caused by a kitchen fire or theft of your personal items?

A condo insurance policy is designed specifically to meet your unique homeowner needs, including coverage for your personal possessions, structural improvements made to your living space and additional living expenses incurred due to an accident.

Property Protection

After you’ve determined what’s covered by the association’s master policy, a personal condominium policy will help to safeguard you from losses to your personal property and the interior of your unit. As such, you will need to estimate:

  • The cost to repair or replace the inside of your home if it was damaged, including fixtures, kitchen cabinets, plumbing, wiring, built-in appliances, etc. (if not covered by the association’s master policy)
  • The cost to replace the contents of your home

To assist you, we will provide a form for you to conduct a thorough inventory of your home. This will help you to determine your personal property policy limits, which will ensure you have the right amount of coverage in the event of a covered loss.

We recommend insuring your personal property for its replacement-cost value rather than actual-cash value. The longer you own your belongings the less value they hold. Replacement-cost value insures you can replace yesterday’s purchases at today’s price tags.

Liability Protection

In addition to your belongings, the liability to others portion of your policy covers you against lawsuits for bodily injury or property damage that you or a family member—and some cases, pets—cause to other people. It pays for both the cost of litigation and any court awards, up to the limit of your policy, and covers you at home or away.

Liability limits typically start at $100,000. For more coverage, consider an umbrella or excess liability policy, which provides broader coverage when liability limits are exhausted in underlying policies.

In the event a visitor is injured in your home, medical payments coverage allows the person to submit medical bills directly to your insurance company. The benefit is that expenses are paid to the injured person, up to the policy limit, without a liability claim being filed against you.

Additional Coverages to Consider

Unit assessment coverage: unit assessment coverage reimburses you for the expense passed on to you by the association due to a special assessment, as long as the cause of loss was covered by the association’s policy.

Sewer backup: Additional water backup coverage insures your property for damage by the backup of sewers and drains (does not include flood protection). It is not always included in a condo/co-op insurance policy.

Flood or earthquake: These can strike anywhere, so it’s important to understand your risks and check into coverage options. We’d be happy to provide more detailed information to you about covering losses due to a flood or earthquake.

We work with the best carriers to provide you the most competitive price for the best coverage. To learn more about all of our insurance and risk management solutions, contact ARCW Insurance today at (727) 544-8841.

Ways to Save on your Premium:

  • Consider a higher deductible to reduce your policy premium.
  • Install a smoke alarm or security system that rings at an outside service.

Ask about our multi-policy discount. We’d be happy to assist you!

Check Your Condo Association Coverage First

When selecting condo insurance, it’s important to determine what is covered by your association’s master policy and what items are your responsibilities. Typically, your condo association carries an insurance policy for common areas, such as the lobby, walkways, boiler, basement, etc. In most cases, the association’s coverage stops at the exterior walls. However, it may also cover other parts of the interior, too. It is critical to determine what the association’s master policy covers and what items are your responsibility.

At ARCW, our knowledgeable insurance agents are here to get you the right policy for your needs. Unlike some of the national insurance agencies, we know who our customers are and work with them one-on-one to get the right coverage at the best price. Contact us today to get your free quote and see how much you could save.