Scottsdale Insurance

If you’re like most people, the only time you think about Scottsdale flood insurance coverage is when a natural disaster occurs someplace else – to somebody else. While it’s only natural to have an “out of sight, out of mind” philosophy regarding your insurance coverage, recent events in Louisiana are enough to make us all take notice. Here are some reasons to consider flood insurance to protect your home.

Should You Have Scottsdale Flood Insurance?

Scottsdale flood insurance is not always required, but is highly recommended.

The tragic flood event in Louisiana is being compared to Hurricane Sandy, according to the American Red Cross. Flood waters have receded now, but many say the worst is yet to come. The highest payout for victims of the flooding is just $33,000 as required by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). Sadly, that amount will be a far cry for most people to even begin to regroup, clean up and rebuild. Area experts estimate more than 110,000 homes have been damaged, and losses are expected to exceed $20 billion.

Compounding the disaster is the report that roughly 87% of the damaged homes are within the flooded area, yet only 21% have flood insurance. In other parishes, only about one in eight residences and businesses have flood insurance. The $33,000 maximum under FEMA guidelines is part of a grant program designed to assist homeowners who experienced flooding in the area and didn’t live in a neighborhood where flood insurance was required. The problem, however, may very well be to what extent the FEMA money will help – and what the amount will be.

A spokesman for the Insurance Information Institute, Michael Barry, said he's seen presentations by FEMA public affairs professionals that where the typical payout is going to be in the $9,000 to $10,000 range.

Those homeowners who should probably have flood insurance but don’t must usually rely on their own resources and abilities to rebuild. Many homeowners don’t carry flood insurance because their homes are paid for, and there’s no mortgage lending institution requiring the continued coverage.

The recent developments surrounding the Louisiana flood and others we’ve seen recently, like the devastating October 2015 floods in South Carolina, raise the question of whether you should consider Scottsdale flood insurance. For many, it’s an ongoing question. Of course, floods are common in low lying areas near bodies of water, and by not having flood insurance you’re taking a huge risk if a natural disaster occurs. For most people, the question remains, “What if I don’t live near a lake, river or other body of water… do I still need flood insurance?” The answer may surprise you.

Insurance experts say they receive numerous claims each year from flooding not necessarily associated with homes being located in flood-prone areas. Often it’s the saturation point after extended periods of rain that can be the culprit. When the ground is saturated to the extent that additional rain can’t be absorbed there’s little place for the rainwater – and ground water – to go. Even the slightest low lying areas can be affected with several inches or more of water, and that’s enough to do damage to your home’s subfloor, flooring, carpet and tile.

To further answer the question of whether you should have a Scottsdale flood insurance policy, consider this. Your normal homeowner’s insurance policy doesn’t cover your home for damages caused by rising water. You have to purchase a separate flood insurance policy for that type of coverage. In addition, your Scottsdale flood insurance coverage must be in effect for a minimum of 30 days before you’re protected against a flood. In addition to separate flood insurance coverage, insurance experts recommend adopting a certain mindset when it comes to protecting your home. Many suggest asking yourself this simple question, “If the worst happened to my family’s home, are we protected?” If you said, “For the most part,” that may or may not be enough to answer the question and satisfy your peace of mind.

The simple truth is that almost any area is at potential risk of a flood event. Homeowners in South Carolina, for example, who had lived in their homes for 50 years or longer and never had even remotely come close to experiencing flooding became unwitting victims of the October 2015 flood. That’s the rarity – and danger – of the proverbial “1,000 year flood event.” And, as trite as it may seem, that’s the one you may have to insure against.

The good news is that Scottsdale flood insurance isn’t very expensive. A flood insurance policy is an easy, uncomplicated way to protect your home if a flood disaster occurs. Without flood insurance, even minor flooding of a few inches of water could cost thousands of dollars in damages and repairs. From a pure financial standpoint, flood insurance is much like other types of insurance – you pay for it, and don’t appreciate it until you need it – then, it usually takes but one claim to make you realize the benefit was worth the cost.

The bottom line is this. For peace of mind as well as for the safety and protection of your most valuable asset – your home – Scottsdale flood insurance should be something you consider. If you’re in a designated flood zone and have a mortgage on your home, your lender will require flood insurance. But remember, just because your lender doesn’t require it, that doesn’t necessarily mean you shouldn’t have it or don’t need it. Like other types of insurance, it’s strictly a personal decision. One suggestion, however, before you dismiss the idea completely, take a look at some of the heartbreaking photographs of the recent Louisiana flood and ask yourself this simple question, “What if it happened to me and my family?”

You can find more articles pertaining to Scottsdale flood insurance in the Scottsdale Insurance section of our site below Scottsdale Real Estate Categories in the column to your right.

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Scottsdale insurance experts report many first time homeowners find buying home insurance more than a little intimidating. Insurance professionals recommend prospective buyers consider a few common questions before they begin shopping for coverage. Doing so may give first time buyers a better understanding of Scottsdale insurance and a greater comfort level as they discuss their insurance needs.

Scottsdale Insurance – Some Q&A

Let’s examine some frequently asked questions from first time home buyers.

Questions and answers about Scottsdale Insurance for first time home buyers

Am I required to get insurance prior to buying a home?

Some may find this surprising, but the answer is actually, no. While most states require drivers to have auto insurance coverage on a newly-purchased vehicle, that's not the case with a home. The big exception, of course, is if you are taking out a mortgage loan to purchase your home, the lender will almost always require home insurance coverage in at least the amount of the mortgage to protect the collateral.

What type of coverage is included?

Most standard home insurance policies generally cover the structure of the home, its contents (furnishings, appliances and personal items,) other structures on the property, and additional living expenses. Here’s a closer look at each:

The Structure:  In the event your home is damaged or totally destroyed by a fire or other covered peril, your insurance policy will cover most of the expenses required to repair or re-construct the house. Keep in mind, the coverage of your structure isn’t necessarily the same as the amount your home cost when you bought it. Most Scottsdale insurance experts recommend having structure coverage in an amount required to completely rebuild your home in the event of a total loss.

The Contents:  Contents coverage applies to your personal possessions in the home. This portion of your insurance policy is activated if your belongings are damaged or destroyed by a covered peril, such as a fire. A word of caution, however, if you own items of higher value like expensive jewelry, rare antiques or a valuable art collection, most insurance policies contain a maximum – or cap – on the repair or replacement value of those items. Typically, the cap is $1,000-$2,000. Most Scottsdale insurance companies can add a rider to your existing policy to increase the coverage amount for your higher-valued possessions.

Liability Coverage:  Liability coverage is the part of your home insurance that can help pay for medical, rehabilitation, or funeral expenses if a person is injured while on your covered property. In addition, if the injured party sues you that coverage can help pay for the costs associated with the lawsuit – and its consequences.

Although coverage amounts vary, typical liability coverage limits are $100,000. According to Scottsdale insurance professionals you should consider setting coverage limits between $300,000 and $500,000. This is especially true if your home features what lawyers term “attractive nuisances,” such as a swimming pool, a trampoline or a swing set. Because these items are often responsible for home injuries, increasing coverage limits is recommended since today’s medical and legal costs can mount quickly.

Other Structures:  Additional structures on your property such as a detached garage, tool shed, workshop or children’s playhouse are covered in the event of damage or loss by a covered peril. This portion of your policy would help pay to repair or reconstruct the structures.

Additional Living Expenses:  Should your home be destroyed by a covered peril, this coverage can help pay for living expenses like hotel accommodations and food expenses for the amount of time you’re displaced from your home. It is highly recommended you discuss this with your insurance company to understand the limits of coverage. Most policies limit the amount of time you and your family would be covered.

What are covered perils?

Standard Scottsdale insurance policies cover damage as a result of fire, hail, lightning, windstorms, theft, vandalism, explosions, and riots. In addition, water damage from frozen, burst, or leaking pipes is usually covered. Remember, damage caused by earthquakes or floods is not covered. Those natural disasters require separate policies for each specific coverage.

How much coverage do I need?

The best way to make sure you have enough coverage is to take a complete inventory of your home. Make a list of everything you own and the value of each item. It’s best to have a photo or video file of your possessions and, if possible, include the receipts or other proof showing the amount you paid for them. Make several copies of the inventory list and keep them in various safe locations like a bank safe deposit box, a personal file in your office, or at the home of a relative. Meet with your insurance company and review the list with your agent. They will best determine the amount of coverage you need.

What determines my premium?

The cost of your Scottsdale insurance policy is determined by these factors:

  • Your credit score
  • Your claims history (both personally and the history for the area in which you live)
  • Your home’s location
  • Your home’s age
  • Costs to rebuild your home
  • Your home’s proximity to a fire hydrant or fire department
  • Whether you own pets or not. For example, owning a dog – especially certain breeds – may require additional liability coverage
  • The types of coverage you choose

How can I save money on my premiums?

Consider these money-saving ideas:

  • Discounts.  There are discounts available. Having your home and auto insurance with the same company can often earn a discount. Having home safety features such as security systems or smoke alarms can also save money.
  • Raise the deductible. Your deductible is the amount of money you have to pay out of pocket on a claim before your insurance begins to pay. Increasing the deductible will save money on your premium. Be careful, however, that you don’t create a financial hardship if you have a claim by having your deductible too high.
  • Increase your credit score. Insurance companies use statistics citing your credit score as an indicator of how likely you are to file an insurance claim. Do what you can to improve your credit score. Increasing your score can decrease premium payments.

How do I select a company?

Like most large purchases, we suggest you shop around. Most Scottsdale insurance companies offer different coverage terms and costs. Get quotes from several companies and compare what each covers and what it costs.

You can find more articles pertaining to Scottsdale insurance in the Scottsdale Insurance section of our site below Scottsdale Real Estate Categories in the column to your right.

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Scottsdale insurance companies are keeping a watchful eye on the latest storm surge report issued by CoreLogic for 2016. While the report specifically references the more than 6.8 million homes on the Atlantic and Gulf coasts at risk of damage from hurricane storm surges, the harsh realty is that flooding – regardless of whether you’re on the coast or not – is responsible for major damage each year throughout the United States. Let’s take a more in-depth look into what you can do to better prepare for the potential risks of flooding.

Scottsdale Insurance – Water, Water, Everywhere?

As is the case with any natural disaster affecting homes and homeowners, potential damage due to flooding can push repair and reconstruction costs into the billions of dollars. With the number of homes and the costs to repair or rebuild them reaching historical highs, it pays to be vigilant regarding possible flood events caused by high winds, storm surges, dam breaks or swollen rivers.

Typical Scottsdale insurance does not cover flooding. You need flood insurance to protect you from this disaster.

If you’re like most people, you try not to think about a disaster like a flood that may adversely affect your property or your family’s safety. Often, the old adage “Out of sight, out of mind” rings true. After all, if it’s been years and years since your area has experienced a major flood event, it’s just not something you think about – or worry about – very much. Scottsdale insurance insiders refer to the phenomenon as “flood amnesia,” a reference to the idea that we tend to forget floods happen. And if flooding doesn't happen on a frequent basis, we tend to ignore it.

However, if you live in a flood-prone area, weather changes are worth being cautious about – and prepared for. If you have flood insurance, you most likely obtained it because it was required by your mortgage lender. But required or not, it’s a good idea to keep it. After all, like any other insurance, it’s better to have it when you need it than to not have it and wish you did.

While the coastal areas and neighboring states prepare as best they can for what many experts warn may be an unusually active hurricane season, Scottsdale insurance experts say you should be equally prepared for the unexpected – that could result from potential flooding.

Safeguard your possessions. Make a personal “flood file” including information on all your home’s possessions and your personal belongings. Keep the file in a safe, secure and dry place like a safe deposit box or a waterproof container. Make sure the flood file contains the following:

  • A copy of your insurance policies along with your agent’s contact information (preferably with his cell phone number) if power lines are down or if offices are closed.
  • A household inventory list including a written or visual record of the major household items, valuables and other belongings. Many people have a photo album or home video documenting home possessions. Be sure to include serial numbers and store receipts of major home electronics and appliances. Make sure to have any artwork or jewelry appraised and insured separately, if needed. Many of these documents will be vitally important in the event of an insurance claim.
  • Copies of other important documents, including financial records and receipts of major purchases. You may need these to substantiate a Scottsdale insurance claim.

Scottsdale Insurance – Prepare Your Home

Ensure that your sump pump is working properly. Then, install a battery-operated backup in the event of a power failure. Consider installing a water alarm to alert you if water accumulates in your home’s basement or crawl space. Make sure to remove any debris from your gutters and downspouts. If you have fuel tanks, make sure they are anchored securely. Raise your electrical components like switches and circuit breakers a minimum of one foot above your home’s projected flood elevation. Place the water heater, furnace, washer and dryer on cement blocks at least a foot above the projected flood elevation. Lastly, move your furniture, valuable possessions and important documents to a safe, dry place.

Have a family emergency plan. Of course, nothing is more important in the event of a natural disaster than your family. Possessions can be replaced – the safety of your loved ones is something to always prepare for in an emergency.

  • Start a safety kit including drinking water, canned foods, first aid and medicines, blankets, a radio and a flashlight.Make sure you have fresh batteries.
  • Post emergency telephone numbers by the phone or in your cell phone and teach your children to dial 911 if they need to.
  • Plan and practice – more than once – a flood evacuation safety route with your family.
  • Be aware of the safest routes from home, work and school that are on higher ground.
  • Make sure you have an out-of-state friend or relative that can be your emergency family contact.
  • Have a plan in place to protect your pets.

With a little advance planning, you can ensure your home and your family can be ready if and when the unexpected occurs.

You can find more articles pertaining to Scottsdale insurance in the Scottsdale Insurance section of our site below Scottsdale Real Estate Categories in the column to your right.

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Scottsdale insurance – like many other goods and services – depends on several factors and can vary from carrier to carrier, and house to house. Homeowners insurance experts say that insurance premiums and coverages can very from one house to the next, even if they’re on the same block in a subdivision. With the cost of living seemingly always on the rise, shouldn’t you be vigilant in making sure you’re not paying more than you should be for Scottsdale insurance premiums for your home? Let’s take a look at a few tips that may help you get the very best deal on your homeowners insurance.

Scottsdale Insurance: Ways to Save Money

Bundle your Scottsdale insurance to save money on auto and homeowners insurance

Bundle, bundle and bundle some more. If there’s one word that’s more often suggested and sold to consumers today, it’s “bundle.” The concept has always been around. Early general stores offered their customers discounts if they bought feed, seeds and planting equipment together. The merchant was able to increase his total sale and, in exchange for the higher sale, he could offer a small savings to this customer. Insurance, like telephone, cable and Internet companies these days do the same thing. Many insurance providers will offer as much as a 15% discount or more on your homeowners insurance premium if you allow them to bundle it with your automobile or other insurance coverage. Usually, it’s a "win-win” for the consumer since he has all his insurance coverage in one convenient place and only has to deal with one company in the event of an accident or other loss.

Inquire about other available discounts. Insurance carriers sometimes advertise only some of their discounts, but fail to mention others. Often, just asking your agent about available discounts may lead to positive results and money-saving policy premiums on your Scottsdale insurance.

Prepare your home for disasters. While none of us wants to think about any kind of fire, peril or natural disaster, they do happen. If you live in an area of the country known for natural disasters such as hurricanes, tornadoes or wildfires, it’s best to be as prepared as possible. Some insurance companies can save you up to 30% or more on your homeowners insurance if you perform a few basic disaster preparedness steps. While most major insurance carriers cover homes meeting the Institute for Business and Home Safety (IBHS) requirements to get the highest discounts, ask your agent about what his company offers. You may be pleasantly surprised to learn that making a few minor improvements or performing a handful of preventative maintenance will pay off in the event of a natural disaster.

Install a burglar alarm system. Burglary or vandalism to your home is one of the leading reasons insurance claims are so high. Subsequently, your Scottsdale insurance premiums can be significantly decreased by installing a burglar alarm to reduce the risk of your home being burglarized. Homeowners who install quality alarm systems may be able to save as much as 20% in insurance premiums. Due to the proliferation and popularity of the accompanying technology, the cost of alarm systems has come down dramatically in recent years. The savings on your insurance premiums will likely enable you to recoup your investment in a short period of time.

Increase your deductible. By raising your deductible, that is, the amount you have to pay out of pocket before the insurance company will pay the remainder of your claim limits, you can save a substantial amount of money. Scottsdale insurance deductibles can range from $500 to $5,000 or more. Of course, a higher deductible means the insurance carrier is less likely to have to pay a claim – meaning they are willing to pass some of those savings on to you. A word of caution, however:  Make sure you can afford to pay the deductible in the event of a loss. Having a too-high deductible that you can’t pay will only lead to additional problems when and if you have a fire, peril or other loss.

Don’t carry more insurance on your home than you need. In nearly every case, you should carry no more than full market coverage – and it’s usually worth having that amount of coverage. We recommend you have your home inspected by an independent contractor who can provide you a second opinion of its value. Beware of insurance agents that inflate your home’s value to get you to pay higher premiums. And, just as a reminder, the land on which your home is situated can’t burn down, so there’s no need to include its value in the overall replacement coverage of your home and any outbuildings, etc.

Maintain a good credit score. Believe it or not, your credit score can impact your Scottsdale home insurance premium costs. Insurance carriers – like a growing number of businesses – reward their customers for paying their bills on time. Conversely, if they deem you a credit risk or a slow-payer, the premiums may be higher than normal.

Review your policy and premium rates every year. Insurance rules and regulations change from time to time. In addition, the cost of replacement materials can fluctuate – up and down – according to supply, demand and new technologies. Make sure you’re up to date on all the component parts that comprise your homeowners insurance policy. Staying abreast of changes will not only keep you informed, but it could also save you money when the time comes to compare policies and coverages with other insurance carriers.

It’s your responsibility. No matter how good your relationship is with your current insurance carrier or agent, at the end of the day saving money on your home insurance is your responsibility, not theirs. So, be vigilant and keep your eyes open for areas in which you can save money. A little here and a little there can add up to be a lot of money over the life of your insurance coverage. And, of course, you’ll always want to have insurance as long as you have a home to insure.

Read more articles pertaining to insurance in the section of articles on Scottsdale Insurance just below Scottsdale Real Estate Categories in the column to your right. Remember, we also post tips daily on Facebook and Twitter. We hope you'll check us out there, too.

Scottsdale insurance… what does it have in common with energy efficient homes? According to green construction experts, it is expected the number of U.S. homes using energy efficient solar panels may soon reach a million. The concept of solar power has been around almost as long as man has wondered about harnessing the sun's energy. While solar water heaters were first used in California in the 1890s, it wasn't until the 1970s when oil prices were rising that solar began gaining traction as an alternate energy source. Oil-rich middle-eastern countries placed an embargo on oil shipped to the U.S. The state of California was among the first to offer a 55% tax credit for solar systems purchased by businesses and homeowners. By the 1980s large solar thermal power plants started being built and photovoltaic power plants began as demonstration facilities to test the accumulation and utilization of solar energy.

Scottsdale insurance... what does it have in common with energy efficiency? Building experts say solar homes in the U.S. may soon reach the million mark.

Delivering solar energy in an effective, affordable manner has always been the biggest challenge. Generating electricity by solar (either a thermal facility or photovoltaic) is still more expensive than using natural gas. Today, roughly 11% of California's total electricity system is from renewable energy (wind, solar, geothermal) and of that total, solar comprises less than 1% – primarily due to cost concerns. With this in mind, let's answer the question, "Does it cost more to insure a solar home?"

Scottsdale Insurance – Solar Costs

As mentioned above, it is expected that the number of American homes that have switched to solar energy will reach the million mark sometime this year. That number may not sound very impressive given the length of time solar capture technology has been in existence. However, just a decade ago the U.S. had only 30,000 solar homes. The growth in the market since that time has been extensive.

Despite the rise in solar popularity, a number of prospective solar homeowners are still "on the fence" when it comes to the decision of whether to go solar. The most frequent questions concern the cost of installation and maintenance, aesthetics and design, and what affect going solar will have on their Scottsdale insurance premiums. As one homeowner contemplating a solar home asked, "What will it cost me to insure my home with a few hundred pounds or more of silicon and glass on my rooftop?"

To answer that question let's look at the facts. Understanding them will probably convince you that most homeowners have less reason to be concerned than they may think. Solar panels for residential homes are becoming more affordable than ever – in addition to getting more aesthetically pleasing. So, reducing your home's carbon footprint with sustainable energy won't mean a substantial increase in your homeowners' insurance premiums. Consider these reasons:

A house is a house and a green home is still a home.
It's possible to purchase a third-party insurance policy to cover just your solar panels. However, most standard Scottsdale insurance policies provide that coverage. For example:

Coverage on the dwelling. Most standard homeowners' policies provide coverage on the dwelling or the home's structure, including the frame, the walls and the roof. Solar panels mounted on the rooftop are considered part of the home's structure and are usually covered. As a matter of fact, depending on the design of the solar panels they may even provide your roof with added protection from rain, hail and high winds.

Coverage on other structures. Some solar powered homes receive their energy from ground-mounted solar panels. Ground-mounted panels use the same technology as roof-mounted panels. A Scottsdale insurance policy featuring coverage for other structures would likely include ground-mounted solar panels just like they would a tool shed, detached garage, or workshop.

Of course, specific coverage limits vary according to the insurance provider and the type of policy, but the basic concept of home insurance remains consistent. Furthermore, a home is still a home regardless of whether it's powered by renewable energy or not.

Saving with solar.
With the growth in energy efficiency and sustainability, the topic of green insurance has received more attention than ever. Homeowners who are environmentally conscious will be happy to know there may even be money-saving opportunities when it comes to insurance premiums. Let's look at two examples:

Premium discounts are available for homes meeting certain energy-efficient and sustainability standards, and solar power should certainly contribute to that goal. One popular example is the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification. While the LEED standards are strict, your Scottsdale insurance provider may offer a discount if your home meets the program requirements. In addition, as an energy-efficient homeowner, you could become the beneficiary from the highly-regarded reputation of other low-risk consumers known for their commitment to responsibility, creditworthiness and trust. Those traits may translate into lower premiums.

Lastly, the more you know and understand about solar energy and installing solar panels in your home, the better off you'll be when it comes to anticipating all the costs associated with solar. Remember, the technology has come a long way – and will likely progress even further in the near future.

As always, we recommend you discuss insuring a solar-powered home with your Scottsdale insurance agent. Learning more about the costs may separate fact from fiction and shine a little light on the subject of going solar.

You can find more articles pertaining to Scottsdale insurance in the Scottsdale Insurance section of our site below Scottsdale Real Estate Categories in the column to your right.

Remember to also check us out by Following us on Twitter and Finding us on Facebook. Check us out there, too.