Scottsdale Insurance

Scottsdale insurance can be challenging for older homes. Older homes – especially homes that may have been built in the late 1800s or early 1900s – often present issues, both seen and unseen. Even in a well-maintained older home, behind the gracefully aging walls may lie unsafe electrical wiring. Beneath the unique bathroom fixtures, bath tubs and sinks there may be inferior plumbing or corroded pipes. These and other conditions could leave to major problems and unexpected expenses. Let's take a look at some special homeowners insurance considerations for older homes.

Scottsdale Insurance: Insuring Special Needs

No doubt owning an older home can be a satisfying source of pride in the workmanship and architecture of a bygone era. Many older homes offer unique features that just aren't prevalent in today's residences. Some homeowners inherit properties that once belonged to their parents or other relatives. In some parts of the U.S. maintaining the "old homestead" is almost a duty that comes with being part of their family heritage.

Scottsdale Insurance may cost more for older homes, and may have more fine print.

As charming and nostalgic as an older, historic home may be, they can also pose potential problems if damages occur or repairs are required. Because of this, it's important for homeowners to understand all the "ins and outs" of owning an older home. None the least of which is the type of Scottsdale insurance coverage that may be required.

Typical homeowner's insurance policies provide coverage in the event a fire or other peril causes damage to your home. Usually, of course, a standard homeowner's insurance policy covers the cost of repairs or replacement based on your home's value – less the deductible you carry on your policy. Older homes, however, require special insurance needs.

Older Home Needs

If your home is fifty years old or more, standard building codes and practices have changed dramatically since it was first built. It's a fairly safe bet that older homes fall short of meeting today's electrical and plumbing requirements. In fact, if the electrical or plumbing systems have not been updated, homeowners may find it difficult to obtain insurance coverage on the home.

Many cities and towns throughout the U.S. have ordinances that require an older home or other building to be demolished if it suffers damage to 50% or more of the structure. If the structure is to be rebuilt, it is required to meet the current building codes and specifications. A standard homeowner's insurance policy doesn't cover the undamaged portion of the home. When that occurs, the homeowners may find themselves responsible for tens of thousands of dollars for the cost to demolish and haul away the debris. In addition, if they choose to rebuild, they will be responsible for those costs as well.

In the case of a older home that isn't required to be torn down, it still will require repairs that conform to the current building codes and standards.

In addition to repairing or replacing older homes, there is the major issue of the cost of rebuilding. More often than not, the cost of rebuilding the home is considerably higher than its value – on which the insurance coverage is based. As an example, say a 75-year-old home is valued at $150,000 yet costs $250,000 to completely rebuild, homeowners covered by a typical, standard Scottsdale insurance policy would receive just $150,000 as a claim payment. The remaining $100,000 – if they elected to rebuild the house – would be their responsibility.

The Requirements for Historic Homes

Some older homes may be included as part of a designated historic district in a city or municipality. A home in a historic district carries with it even more requirements and restrictions about how it can be repaired or rebuilt in the event of damage or loss. While new construction materials may be used in the reconstruction or repair, the materials may have to conform to certain historical standards and appearances. Often it is required that new construction must use materials that comply with the stated regulations for the historic district.

As one can imagine, if specific materials are required for repair or construction, the building cost will likely be higher than that of normal construction. This, of course, can create quite a financial obligation for the homeowner. As such, it's vital to be aware of the requirements that come with ownership of an older home – especially one that's designated as an historic home. In addition, simple repairs that aren't performed in accordance with the required ordinances may be subject to penalties and fines, and will be required to be redone in order to comply with the law.

Ordinance and Law Coverage

While traditional Scottsdale  insurance policies do provide some building ordinance coverage to enable repairs to comply with local laws, the coverage has limits. As a general rule, it won't be enough to cover the demolition of an undamaged part of the home and rebuilding it according to the current codes and requirements. By increasing the ordinance and law coverage, a policy will be able to include all costs if demolition and rebuilding is required.

Scottsdale insurance experts recommend adding ordinance and law coverage to all older homes that are required by law to be demolished in the event it's partially damaged by fire or other peril. They cite this coverage as the best way to protect their property from repair and replacement costs that they may not be able to absorb in the absence of sufficient coverage.

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 is a virtual necessity for homeowners. Naturally, if you have a mortgage your lender will require you to have homeowner's insurance coverage to protect their interest in the event of a fire or other peril. For homeowners without a mortgage, insurance coverage is still one of the best investment asset protections available. It will give you peace of mind knowing you're covered in the event your home is partially or totally damaged as a result of a catastrophe.

Because protecting your home is so important, it's a good idea to know as much as you can about homeowner's insurance when you get ready to buy it, add to it, or shop around for the best coverage or lowest rate. Let's take a look at some helpful tips when shopping for Scottsdale insurance.

Scottsdale insurance is virtually a necessity for most homeowners, especially if you have a mortgage.

Scottsdale Insurance: Ins and Outs

Just the facts, ma'am. Once you find a home you want to buy, assemble as much information about the house as possible. The more facts you know about the property, the better idea you'll have of determining the cost of the insurance coverage. Insurance costs – or premiums – are affected rather dramatically by the age of the home and its components, specifically the plumbing, electrical, water, sewer, and heating and air-conditioning systems. In addition, the materials used in the construction of the home will have an impact on the insurance premiums. Brick homes, because they withstand fires better, are usually less expensive to insure than wood siding homes. Premiums for homes with less flammable roofing materials will be lower than homes with cedar-shake shingles. For more information on building codes and materials recommendations visit www.disastersafety.org/.

Know your geography. While materials used in the construction of a home is important, where the home is located in the U.S. can influence insurance availability, coverage, and cost. If your home is in areas known for severe weather events or natural disasters such as hurricanes, tornadoes, earthquakes, wildfires, or mudslides you can expect higher costs for insurance coverage. Florida, Louisiana and Texas, for example, are three states which typically pay higher homeowner's insurance premiums due, in part, to the frequent claims for wind and water damage –– especially along their coastal areas.

The neighborhood in which your home is located may also affect your insurance premiums. A home in relatively close proximity to a fire station will probably cost less to insure than a home in a rural area, secluded from nearby towns and suburbs.

Know when to "say when." According to recent studies by construction cost estimating experts, over 60% of American homeowners are underinsured. They don't have enough coverage to replace their homes in the event of a total loss. Insuring a home for its "replacement value" means your coverage would pay for the cost to completely rebuild the home from the foundation up. Keep in mind, there's a vast difference between "replacement value" and "market value." One is the cost to rebuild your home in its entirety, the other is what a willing buyer would pay to purchase the home.

The cost of building materials has risen steadily in the past few years. As a result, it will likely cost more to rebuild an older home than its market value. For homeowners that have remodeled their homes, it's imperative to update your insurance coverage to take into consideration the home's replacement cost increase. Be careful to insure your home for its entire replacement value, but don't over-insure it. Paying for unnecessary coverage is wasting money. Know when to "say when."

Consider floating. Standard homeowner's policies cover the structure of your home and most of the contents, including some of your personal belongings. Unusually expensive or valuable possessions like jewelry, collectible art, or coin collections may not be completely covered against loss. If you own specific items whose value is higher than the limits of your policy coverage, you can add a "personal articles floater." While rates vary from state to state – and on the item(s) insured – a personal articles floater may be purchased for under $50 a year.

Full protection, including protecting your assets. A typical Scottsdale insurance policy covers the repair or replacement of your home in the event of a loss. However, that's only one part of the homeowner's insurance coverage. Consider protecting your financial future – and your other financial assets – by carrying personal liability coverage. If a guest in your home suffers a fall on your front steps and is severely injured, his or her insurance company could hold you liable since the accident took place on your property. If you have homeowner's liability coverage your policy would usually cover the incident up to specified limits.

While standard homeowner's policies typically offer $100,000 in liability coverage, insurance experts suggest carrying a minimum of $300,000 of coverage. The increased limits may be especially important for homeowners with properties having certain potential safety hazards. Examples would be swimming pools, steep stairs or steps, or walkways that may be slippery when wet or icy.

Be comfortable with your coverage. One good thing about homeowner's insurance is you can decide what you're willing to pay out of pocket in the event of a claim. Known as a deductible, it's the amount of money you elect to pay before your insurance company pays the claim. You can opt for a higher deductible and reduce your premiums.

Be safe and save money. You can probably save money on Scottsdale insurance premiums by taking safety precautions that may result in discounts by your insurance company. Items like security alarms, deadbolt locks, motion detectors and security cameras can thwart thieves and save you money. In addition, having handy fire extinguishers and smoke detectors in your home will likely save on insurance premiums.

Preventive maintenance. By practicing preventive maintenance and repairing small issues before they become bigger problems, you can avoid potential losses at a later date. Consider home warranty coverages for maintenance needs for appliances, plumbing or electrical systems.

Pay attention to your paperwork. Keep your home records up to date. Have an inventory of your possession and home contents. Many people take photos or videos of their belongings as evidence of ownership. Be sure to keep this and other information in a safe place – away from your home – so it won't be destroyed if disaster strikes.

Lastly, choose a reputable Scottsdale insurance company. Check the company's track record, including the Better Business Bureau's rating, their customer satisfaction, etc. The department of insurance in your state will likely have a website you can visit to do some research. In addition, industry analyst companies such as J.D. Power & Associates or the A.M. Best Company are good sources of information on insurance providers.

We have a lot more Scottsdale insurance tips and information in the section of articles to your right under Scottsdale Real Estate Categories dealing with "Insurance Info". And we do post tips from time to time on Twitter and Facebook pertaining to Scottsdale insurance. Check us out there as well.

Scottsdale homeowners insurance on your home can be complex. Because homeowners' needs vary, so do coverages in a home insurance policy. You should take the time to read your policy. Know what's covered and what's not.

Scottsdale homeowners insurance can be complex. It may pay to review your coverage at least once each year.

Scottsdale Homeowners Insurance: What You Should Know

Most people assume they're covered by most catastrophic events like fires or tornadoes. But what about a flood? That's a catastrophe, right? Yes, but you're probably not covered unless you have a separate flood insurance policy.

It's estimated nearly 32 million U.S. homes don't have appropriate homeowners insurance. Some have too much coverage, some not enough. Others don't have the proper type of coverage. That's where reading your policy comes in. You should review it at least once a year when it's time to renew. Let's look at a few helpful tips.

How much coverage should you have? Your home's protection can be summed up in three areas: the structure, its contents and your liability.

Structure
This type of coverage is the cost to replace or rebuild your home if it was declared a total loss as a result of a covered catastrophe. Scottsdale homeowners insurance adjustors factor in the current cost of materials when assessing a loss. You should have an idea, too, in the unlikely – but possible – event of a total loss.

Contents
Coverage limits for your home's contents are usually calculated between 50-70% of your home's value. Again, if you suffer a loss of your contents due to a covered peril, your policy will pay to repair or replace them. Figuring the amount of coverage is a little tricky. Many high-value items carry a cap limit of $1,000-$2,500. What that means is that if you had a rare painting that was destroyed it may not be completely covered without some sort of additional rider or specific policy.

Insurance experts suggest the best way to make sure you have the right amount of coverage is to make a home inventory list. Itemize your possessions and write an estimated value next to each one. Review the list with your insurance agent and get his opinion as to the best steps to take. You may elect to add what's known as a "floater policy" to cover your more expensive belongings.

Liability
If an accident occurs on your property injuring another person, you could be held liable for their medical bills. The best way to ensure that you have sufficient liability coverage is to discuss it with your agent. Be totally open and honest. For example, if you own a dog, tell your agent. If your dog bites a guest – and such incidents account for roughly a third of all home insurance claims – and your insurance company wasn't aware you owned a dog, they may deny the claim, placing the full responsibility on you.

Additional Coverages
There are several types of additional coverages you can add to your Scottsdale homeowners insurance policy. They can cover detached buildings on your property, additional living expenses such as meals or hotel stays if you have to leave your house as a result of a covered peril.

When you review your insurance policy is up to you, but we recommend the sooner the better. Call your insurance agent today and ask questions, He can assist you in making sure you have the right coverages, the right amount of coverage and if you need to make any additions to your policy. The time is worth the added peace of mind — and financial protection.

Find more articles pertaining to your homeowners insurance under our Scottsdale Insurance Info to your right under Scottsdale Real Estate Categories.

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Most Scottsdale home insurance policies cover your home, its contents and personal liability. Specific types of coverage will vary and there are usually exclusions to your policy. Here are a few normal parts to all home insurance policies.

Parts of a Scottsdale Home Insurance Policy

Property coverage. The home and any attached structures are usually covered in your policy against most types of damage (see the exclusions listed.) Structures like unattached storage sheds may also be covered up to a percentage of your total insurance policy.

Scottsdale home insurance policies cover your home, possessions and personal liability.

Exclusions to your insurance coverage are listed in your policy. Typical exclusions are:

  • Earthquake damage
  • Flood damage
  • Standard or normal wear and tear
  • Nuclear hazards
  • Neglect or intentional loss

Personal property. Personal items including furniture, furnishings, electronics and other items are covered in your policy – usually up to a preset percentage of the total policy. The percentage ranges from 40-60%. Some belongings not on the insured premises may also be covered up to a certain percentage. Items located in a vacation home or secondary residence may be excluded – typically because they should be insured by a policy on that property.

There are also exclusions for personal property, however they are normally protected against loss from:

  • Fire, lightning, wind, or hail
  • Vehicles or aircraft
  • Explosion
  • Vandalism or theft
  • Accumulated weight from snow, sleet, or ice
  • Water or steam
  • Artificial electrical surges
  • Freezing of plumbing or appliances
  • Riots or acts of civil disobedience

Personal possessions such as jewelry, artwork or other valuables may not be fully covered by your Scottsdale home insurance policy. You will need to add additional coverage with riders or umbrella policies to fully insure them.

Personal liability. Your policy provides coverage for bodily injury to others as a result of an accident on the premises. It also covers damage to their property for which you may be held liable. Further, coverage includes actions by family members both on and off your property. Typical coverage may also include medical payments to injured parties regardless of who was liable.

Loss of use. If you incurred damage to your home severe enough to prevent its usage, the expenses for loss of use are covered. Examples are the costs of hotel rooms, meals and required travel. The limits of coverage is usually a percentage of your policy, typically about 30%.

Expenses and other coverage. If you have expenses requested by your insurance company as a result of a lawsuit, they are covered. You may also be insured for other occurrences such as damage to landscaping, loss of rental income or other specific coverages.

If you're unsure of what's covered in your Scottsdale home insurance policy, review your policy carefully or call your agent.

You can find more tips and articles pertaining to Scottsdale home insurance in our Scottsdale Insurance section of articles just below Scottsdale Real Estate Categories to your right. And don't forget, we also post tips on Facebook and Twitter. Find us there as well.

Your Scottsdale home insurance should be among the items you review now that the new year is here. Since home maintenance is linked so closely to insurance it's probably a good idea to consider the following checklist to make sure your home is as safe as possible.

Scottsdale home insurance and home maintenance are linked closely so consider the following to ensure your home is safe.

Maintenance and Scottsdale Home Insurance

Alarm testing. Home alarms such as smoke detectors, carbon monoxide detectors, burglar alarms and fire alarms should be tested at least quarterly. Check the batteries and any other connections to make sure they are working properly. Use this time as an opportunity to review your household emergency evacuation plan. Make sure your family knows what to do and where to go in the event of a fire or weather-related emergency.

The roof and gutters. It's a good idea to check your home's gutters. Leaves, tree branches and other debris can accumulate in your gutters. When that happens rain won't travel down the spout from the gutters. That can cause problems with water leaking into your home's ceilings and walls. Water damage is a common, but preventable, Scottsdale home insurance claim. Don't forget the roof. Take a look at the shingles to make sure none are damaged or missing. Inspect your attic and ceilings for potential leaks that may have gone unnoticed.

Your home's foundation. One area many homeowners frequently ignore is their home's foundation. Take a walk around the outside of your home. Look for noticeable cracks or separations in the foundation. Small cracks are a normal occurence as homes settle over time. Still, it's best to use caulk to seal them to prevent further damage. Keep an eye on them in the future to see if any other separation occurs.

Sealing doors and windows. When air passes through gaps around doorframes and windows, it costs you money. That's because higher heating or cooling bills result from air escaping your home. Inspect the spaces around your doors and windows and seal them. Remember, keep warm air inside and cool air outside — and vice versa.

Heating and cooling systems. While you're at it, check your heating and air-conditioning systems. Having a licensed expert inspect your systems is recommended, but there are preliminary steps you can take. Make sure your vents are clean and unobstructed. Change your filters regularly to ensure proper air flow.

Create an inventory list for Scottsdale home insurance purposes. Write down everything in your home and the approximate value of each item. Many homeowners include a video checklist of their possessions in their home inventory. The more information you can give your insurance company the more likely your claim can be processed as smoothly as possible in the event of a fire or other disaster. Be sure to store the home inventory in a safe place like your office, a safe deposit box or a fireproof safe.

It's important to understand each aspect of your Scottsdale home insurance policy and the factors mentioned above. If you have questions or are unsure of what is covered, call your insurance agent. Take time to review your coverage amounts, too. With rising home values you may need to increase coverage. Plus, you may qualify for new discounts if you've made certain improvements to your home.