SUNDAY, JANUARY 25, 2015
Reassess your homeowner’s policy on an annual basis with these five steps.
Reviewing your homeowners policy may not rank high on your annual home-maintenance checklist. Yet following the five steps below will save you big bucks now and a lot of grief down the road. After the recent slew of natural disasters, average annual premiums are expected to surpass $1,000, with some owners likely to see double-digit rate hikes. Haven’t taken a close look at your policy lately? Then dust it off and make insurance your next project.
Measure How Much Coverage You Need
Your No. 1 priority must be the house itself. “Possessions, living expenses, and liability should all be secondary,” says Amy Bach of United Policyholders, an insurance advocate group.
Don’t base your coverage level, though, on the home’s appraised value, which includes land costs. Instead, says Kevin McCarty, president of the National Association of Insurance Commissioners, use the recent per-square-foot replacement costs in your area, available from your local homebuilders association. The difference can be sizable. In New York state, land makes up 9% of the average home’s value, according to the Lincoln Institute. In Hawaii, it represents more than half.
Is your area prone to natural disasters? Price out extended or guaranteed replacement policies, which protect you from inflated labor and material costs following such catastrophes.
Inspect What’s Not Covered
Don’t assume that all “perils” are covered. As homeowners learned the hard way after Hurricane Irene last August, standard policies exclude damage from flooding, not to mention earthquakes and landslides. “Most people aren’t aware of what their policy does and doesn’t cover until they file a claim,” says Deeia Beck, executive director of the Office of Public Insurance Counsel, a state consumer agency in Texas.
If you live in a high-risk area for floods, you may be required to add supplemental coverage, which can cost $1,700 to $3,300 on a $150,000 building and $50,000 worth of contents.
Also, take note of common exclusions, such as those on mold and even broken pipes owing to lack of routine maintenance. You know which nuisances your home is susceptible to. Use that knowledge to beef up coverage by adding so-called endorsements. Been a victim of sewage backups, which aren’t covered by most standard policies? Insure against them for anywhere from about $100 to $250 a year.
Recheck the Deductible
It may not be the same as it was a year ago. Many insurers are retooling deductibles from set dollar amounts to percentages, which can often represent a substantial change.
In general, you want to go for the highest deductible you can afford to lower your premiums. Beware, though, that not all insurers that are making this switch from dollars to percentages are cutting premiums at the same time. Also, be mindful that these deductibles are a percentage of the insured value of your entire home, not of what needs to be fixed. So if you have a $400,000 home, even a 5% deductible may be too steep a price to pay, and a reason to shop around.
Hammer Away at Your Premium
Insurers don’t always spell out how much your rates shot up on renewals. So dig out last year’s documents and compare for yourself. If your rates rose 5% or more, make sure to call the company for an explanation.
Knowing whether the increase resulted from changes in your risk profile or from broad-based increases in the marketplace will help you negotiate and comparison-shop—which you should do at every renewal or at least every couple of years.
In addition to bumping up your deductible, you can lower your premium by bundling together your home and auto insurance, which can shave off from 5% to 15%. Also, installing security systems, storm shutters, or a new roof can chip away another 15%. Before you make that commitment, though, check with your insurer to see if your installation qualifies, says Jeanne Salvatore of the Insurance Information Institute.
Clean Up Your Work Area
Finish your project by getting all your documents in place. If you haven’t already done so, conduct a home inventory (contact PMA Insurance Services for a worksheet). Pair that with receipts, photos, or videos and then store all your paperwork—along with a complete copy of your insurance policy—in a fireproof box.
For extra protection, scan and store all of that information digitally on a flash drive, and remember to keep that off-site, says Bach. If disaster strikes, you don’t want this critical information to be at risk too.
At PMA Insurance Services, we can work with you to make sure you’ve got the coverage you need, while at the same time using all possible credits and discounts to make that coverage affordable.
Just give us a call at (703) 449-1327 or send us a note at email@example.com . We want to help you meet your goals, and make sure what’s important to you is protected!
Content provided by This Old House.
Posted 3:21 AM View Comments
Tags: about, pma insurance services chantilly, independent agency, get a quote, home insurance discounts, home insurance chantilly, homeowners insurance, independent insurance agent, insurance agent fairfax, insurance renewal, safeco insurance
FRIDAY, OCTOBER 24, 2014
Finding competitive rates and quality coverage is not always easy but PMA Insurance Services is not just any agency. Homeowners receive the best personal attention and customized service catered to your needs. One of the best providers available with PMA Insurance Services includes Travelers.
Travelers Insurance is a Fortune 500 company decorated with many respectable awards from Forbes, Barron, and Goldman Sachs. Travelers protects homeowners when there is damage to the home or other structure, personal belongings, liability, valuable items, and other living expenses. Extensive auto coverage is also available and offer more than just standard liability.
Travelers insurance gives customers policies to cover property, bodily injuries, medical expenses, comprehensive damage, and collision with objects or vehicles. Travelers also protect injured policyholders from high costs caused by underinsured or uninsured drivers and offer coverage options for rentals, towing, gap insurance and more. Travelers Insurance is available to customers for efficient claim reporting and customer service.
Do you want the best coverage possible in the Northern Virginia area and nearby areas? PMA Insurance Services is proud to give clients a selection including Travelers, Kemper Preferred, Metlife, Safeco, Allied (Nationwide), and Hartford Insurance.
Posted 2:40 PM View Comments
Tags: allied insurance, and many more, auto insurance, dairyland, elite agency, gmac, hartford insurance, home, independent insurance agent, instant insurance quote, kemper preferred, metlife, nationwide insurance, safeco insurance, services, travelers
TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 2, 2014
PMA Insurance Services, LLC is excited to be a local partner with Safeco Insurance for many reasons.
- We have a dedicated claims specialist we can work with directly if you have questions or concerns about an automobile or homeowner’s claim.
- Safeco Insurance offers coverage for firearms without requiring serial numbers and expensive appraisals.
- Many clients appreciate Safeco’s simple and transparent billing systems after having difficulties with their prior insurance carrier.
- Safeco can package your home, rental house, boat, motorcycle, umbrella policy, as well as auto insurance for deep discounts.
- New car replacement coverage is available on auto insurance policies (for qualifying vehicles).
- To offer the best rates possible, Safeco Insurance also offers accident forgiveness (contact us for specific details).
- Safeco offers a “good student” discount – which can save you money on your monthly billing with your teenage drivers.
Give PMA Insurance Services a call at (703) 449-1327 and we can give you a no-obligation quote through Safeco Insurance. We can also be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Posted 3:57 PM View Comments
Tags: about, auto insurance, elite agency, get an instant quote, good student, homeowners insurance, independent insurance agent, instant insurance quote, safeco, safeco insurance, teenage drivers,
MONDAY, MAY 19, 2014
If you are already a customer of PMA Insurance Services in Chantilly, VA, then you know that our independent insurance agency is dedicated to serving you and your neighbors throughout the Northern Virginia and Washington Metropolitan area and offering you access to more than thirty auto and home insurance companies that can serve your needs.
You should also know that we care about you and your family and want you to make the best choices when it comes to matters of safety. Did you know that The Center for Disease Control and Prevention reports that 16 to 19 year olds are involved in more automobile accidents than any other age group? The good news is that you can do something about that. The most important thing you can do to assure your teen’s safety while driving is to make sure he or she gets driver education.
Looking to purchase that first car for your teenager? Then here are a few tips on choosing a safe car.
- Make sure the vehicle is equipped with Electronic Stability Control which will prevent it from spinning out.
- Look for a vehicle that features an Automatic Braking System.
- Buy a vehicle that has airbags that work.
- Make sure the tires are good and check them regularly to avoid any problems.
Of course it is also important to make sure that your teen has proper auto insurance too. Our friendly and experienced agents are great at helping you choose the best carrier for your needs. We offer policies from reputable companies including Travelers, Safeco, GMAC, Kemper Preferred, Dairyland, Hartford, Progressive, Allied, Metlife and many more. Why not contact us today and get a quote? You can reach us at (703) 449-1327.
Posted 4:49 PM View Comments
Tags: allied, and many more, auto insurance, car, contact, dairyland, get a quote, gmac, hartford, kemper preferred, metlife, progressive, safeco, teen, travelers,
WEDNESDAY, MARCH 12, 2014
As a builder you know that during construction, projects are subject to a wide variety of risks or damage. While under construction, a project could suffer from damages due to high winds, fire, or sabotage of some nature.
One principle of common law states that once there is any new construction or improvement to land, it automatically becomes the property of the title holder. This is why as a builder you need Builder’s Risk Insurance which will indemnify you against some of these losses. In particular, this coverage protects you or your organization’s insurable interests such as materials, equipment, and fixtures in the event of damage or loss during the course of construction.
Our agents PMA Insurance Services are experts when it comes to making sure you have the coverage you need for your building project. At PMA Insurance Inc., located in Chantilly, VA, we are available to serve customers throughout the Northern Virginia/ Washington DC Metropolitan area.
Our agents have access to more than thirty insurance carriers that can cover your insurance needs such as Travelers, Safeco, GMAC, Kemper, Dairyland, Hartford, Progressive, Allied, MetLife and many more. Contact us today to get a quote! You can call us at (703) 449-1327.
Posted 4:45 PM View Comments
Tags: allied, builder's risk, contact, course of construction, dairyland, get a quote, gmac, hartford, kemper, metlife, progressive, safeco, travelers,