Before the wind blows; protect your home and auto from severe weather.

     by Brad Smith   TruePoint Insurance Group, LLC      www.insuringky.com
The first signs of spring

Spring is knocking at the door and with it the rising risk of insurance claims. The number and severity of storms in Kentucky have grown at an alarming rate. The average number of tornadoes in Kentucky over the last five years is 28.7. The annual average going back to 1950 at 14.6 tornadoes per year is roughly one half of the current experience.

Is Kentucky part of Tornado Alley?

Kentucky’s weather is so out of hand.  Some have even suggested that we are now part of the infamous Tornado Alley. A 2018 report by LEX18 News said just that.

In 2018 Kentucky was hit by 604 wind and hail storms. Of these, 41 were tornadoes. That is up 43% from the previous five years and an even more alarming 181% from the period 1950 through 2018.

US Government HARP project is commonly considered to be experimenting with weather control
US Government HARP project is commonly considered to be experimenting with weather control

While we cannot change the weather, we can reduce Kentucky home and auto owner’s exposure to it. Insurance is not a commodity. There are some that would like for you to think it is. Good insurance agents recognize the importance of providing clients with the proper protection. That includes responding to ever changing risks.

Storm Alert: Auto insurance awareness

Hail damaged car

Protecting your car from damages related to storms is simple. Make sure you have comprehensive coverage checked. It provides coverage for vehicles damaged by wind, hail or falling objects.

Every auto on the road must have liability insurance. But the wheels of many high-value and antique cars may never touch the road. Do these vehicles need liability insurance? Maybe not, and they may not need collision coverage either. Let’s stop and think about the next move. Removing comprehensive coverage may not be the smartest move. When insurance is dropped on cars that are not driven, owners are still exposed to Mother Nature. Fire, wind, hail and other risk can still damage the vehicle even when it’s garaged. These risks are compounded during the spring.

Comprehensive coverage is relatively inexpensive. Relative to the potential loss, this coverage can be very cost effective.

Storm Alert: Home insurance Awareness

Each client’s unique needs determine the coverages required. However, there are several considerations that may have severe impact on anyone.

While tornadoes take center stage, it’s the hail storms that lead the way when it comes to losses. While this statement may seem insignificant it has major ramifications on insurance. Total loss or partial loss. Tornado versus hail storm. A good insurance policy needs to work well regardless.


 What types of losses will your policy cover? This is critical. If it is available to you, a special peril or all-risk policy is what you want. As opposed to a basic form or broad form, the special option provides superior protection.

You will have the option for Replacement Cost coverage or Actual Cash Value (ACV). All other things being equal, you will receive a higher payment if your policy pays Replacement cost.

Deductibles may seem a bit dull when compared to other areas. You choose $500 or $1,000, big deal.

Not so fast!

Many insurance companies have been forced to alter risk sharing practices. Beware, as some are no longer asking for a set dollar deductible. Instead, you may find that your policy has a deductible that is 1 or 2%. At first blush, it sounds like a pretty good deal for the home team. Again, beware! This 1 or 2% of the total and it’s not the total value of the loss. Your deductible is based on the total value of your home. For example:

A homeowner has wind damaged roof

§ Estimates for the repair work come in at $1,500

§ The home is valued at $600,000

§ There is a 2% wind/hail deductible

The $1,500 loss will be shared by:

§ The homeowner paying $1,200

§ And the insurance company $300

 Spring storms bring more than just wind and hail. Heavy rains can lead to various forms of water damage. Be sure to discuss flood insurance and water backup coverage with your insurance broker. Neither of these will be covered by a standard homeowner‚Äôs policy.

Spring! It’s a wonderful season and our springs in Kentucky are certainly hard to beat. I think about how much I loved spring as a child. It was by far my favorite season.

As an adult the grandeur has diminished. How wonderful it would be to experience spring through the eyes of child again.

What is keeping me from doing it? 

Could it be as simple as the aided stresses of being an adult?

If so, then we should all take the time to review our insurance coverages before the wind starts to blow. This should go a long way in reducing stress.

Take care of the insurance and you’re half way home. Of course the other biggie is your income taxes and there you’re on your own. Have fun!

Call (502) 410-5089 or use the link below to learn more about TruePoint: TruePoint Insurance, we are insuringky.com

Insurance

Is Your Home Winter Ready? ‚Äď Part 3

In this part we discuss a different hazard of the winter season.

Fireplace, winter hazardFiring Up A Hearty Loss

Do you own a fireplace, wood-burning stove or portable heater? What about a gas or an electric furnace? If so, you need to take steps to make sure that they are safe and used properly. This should be done well before the arrival of the heating season.

Have your furnace inspected to make sure that it will operate properly in cold weather. Clean filters and vents will go a long way to keep your furnace a source or warmth rather than a cause of a fire loss. An inspection should also make certain that your furnace is not a creating a dangerous carbon monoxide buildup.

Fireplaces and wood-burning stoves should also be inspected and, if necessary, thoroughly cleaned. Creosote, a tar-like byproduct of burning wood, builds up in chimney and stove flues very quickly. Even a single wood-burning season could produce enough buildup to create a fire or severe smoke hazard. Don’t do the inspection yourself. It’s worth the cost to have a professional inspect and clean your fireplace or stove. Also, make sure that you don’t burn softwood or paper. Using anything other than hardwoods exposes your fireplace or stove to quicker creosote buildup (softwood) or more intense heat (paper), which could clog or contribute to cracking a flue or liner.Home fire risk increase in winter

Be very careful with the use of portable heaters. Depending upon the type, they can be prone to malfunction or could be a hazardous source of burns, especially for children. Further, many types can be easily tipped with the combination of heat source and fuels, creating a serious fire hazard.

Finally, make sure you have fire/smoke and carbon monoxide detectors properly installed and in good working order. Test them and put in new batteries. Small expense, big payoff.

As always, insurance professional is a valuable source of safety and insurance information. Don’t hesitate to contact an agent to discuss your questions. If you haven’t had the chance, please be sure to read parts one and two of “Is Your Home Winter Ready” which discusses other winter concerns.

 

            Return to Section 1                                                           Return to Section 2

 

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Is Your Home Winter Ready? ‚Äď Part 2

In this part we discuss an important legal responsibility created for homeowners by the winter season.

Creating A Clear LiabilityAvoid this insurance claim. Slipping on Sidewalk

Snow doesn’t show favoritism. Instead of conveniently falling onto unused areas, it covers homes, sidewalks, and driveways. As a responsible homeowner, you should arrange to make travel across your property safe. This calls for clearing your walkways of snow and ice. It is also important to clear your property of items such as rakes, shovels, tools, toys and similar items. Remember that it takes only a small amount of snow to hide items that, during clear conditions, are easily seen and avoided. So take time to move such property and make repairs to uneven or cracked pavement.

Keep in mind that clearing walkways (including stairs) is an invitation for pedestrians to use the path. So, once you clear an area, it has to be kept clear and safe, especially from ice. Also, avoid creating piles of snow that can block either a driver’s or a pedestrian’s view. Finally, be sure that your property is safe for children who are enjoying winter. Don’t allow children to slide around without being aware of pedestrians or motorized traffic and don’t let anyone throw snow or ice balls at cars (you could be sued for any accident caused by careless play) related from the use of your property or premises.

Don’t forget the inside of your home. Visitors should be kept safe from harm. Be sure to keep interior stairs and floors clear of the watery remains of melted snow. Keep things dry and consider using mats that provide good traction and an area where folks can clear snow and ice from their shoes or boots.

As always, an insurance professional is a valuable source of safety and insurance information. Don’t hesitate to contact an agent to discuss your questions. If you haven’t had the chance, please be sure to read parts one and three of “Is Your Home Winter Ready” which discusses other winter concerns.

 

                          Return to Section 1                                               Advance to Section 3

 

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Is Your Home Winter Ready? ‚Äď Part 1

If you live in a climate that includes cold winters, you know the season creates special challenges for homeowners. In this article, we discuss an icy situation.

Ice Damsice dams, winter peril

An ice dam refers to ice that has formed along a roof’s edge. The dam of ice blocks additional water and the pooling water backs up and finds pathways into a home’s interior. This water may cause deterioration and decay to interior wood and plaster, drywall or other insulation materials. Once an ice dam has forced paths into a home, the roof becomes more susceptible to future ice dams and water damage.

Too much heat rising from the home to warm the roof is the most frequent cause of ice dams. The process occurs unevenly with the warmer area at the higher part of the roof melting the snow and then the cooler, lower area, particularly the roof edge, permitting the water to refreeze and then accumulate. Inadequate insulation lets too much heat escape into the attic and this creates a warmer roof. Improper ventilation creates moisture and heat buildup due to the lack of air movement.

How To Detect A Problem

Compare the way the snow is melting from the living area of your home with how snow appears on the roof over an unheated area such as a garage or shed. How does any snow coverage on your roof compare with your neighbors’ homes? Check for icicles. They can be pretty, but heavy icicle buildup means that interior heat is melting a lot of snow and may contribute to ice dams.

How To Prevent Ice Dams

There are a number of ways to help prevent ice dams:

  • Clear excess snow from the roof. However, in order to minimize damage to the roof and roofing, hire a professional to remove the snow.
  • Add rubberized or special roofing adhesives to help prevent pooled water on the roof from finding entry into the¬†home’s¬†interior.
  • Inspect the attic and roof for cracks, holes, or joints that permit warm air to escape to the roof, and seal or repair these areas.
  • Add the recommended amount of insulation to the attic and exterior walls of your home to minimize escaping heat (this also reduces your heating costs).
  • Reduce your home’s thermostat and throw on warmer clothing during extended cold spells.
  • Clear your gutters and downspouts so that water is properly shed off your roof.

As always, an insurance professional is a valuable source of safety and insurance information. Don’t hesitate to contact an agent to discuss your questions. If you haven’t had the chance, please be sure to read parts two and three of “Is Your Home Winter Ready” which discusses other winter concerns.

 

Continue to Section 2

 

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Homeowners Coverage

insuranceGenerally, a homeowners insurance policy includes at least six different coverage parts. The names of the parts may vary by insurance company, but they typically are referred to as Dwelling, Other Structures, Personal Property, Loss of Use, Personal Liability and Medical Payments coverages. They are usually presented as policy sections and are often labeled Coverages A through F. This article discusses Coverage Parts A, B, and C, which protect property.

Coverage A, Dwelling

Home fire risk increase in winterThe homeowner policy’s first coverage section protects your house and any attached structures, such as garages, decks or fences. The typical policy covers your home when it is damaged by many perils (also known as causes of loss) including fires or storms. However, the following causes of loss are usually excluded from coverage under the¬†homeowner’s¬†policy:

  • Earthquake
  • Flood
  • Faulty maintenance
  • Damage from insects or vermin
  • Wear and tear, gradual damage or deterioration

Coverage B, Other Structures

This coverage section protects structures that are not attached to the home, such as a detached (separate) garage, storage or utility shed playground equipment and swimming pools.

Coverage C, Personal Property

Golf Cart used in competitive drivingThis covers your possessions, whether they are at your home or away with you on vacation. Personal property is often covered on a named peril basis. This means that only the causes of loss listed in the policy section are covered. The coverage is also subject to limitations and exclusions. Types of property having significant value, such as jewelry, fine arts, collectibles, etc., may require special protection. Talk to your agent about scheduling (adding) coverage on a floater which broadens and extends coverage for high-valued possessions.

Actual Cash Value vs. Replacement Cost

Commonly, protection under sections A and B is provided on either an actual cash value or a replacement cost basis. Actual cash value is defined as replacement cost minus depreciation. Replacement cost is the actual cost to replace the structure, regardless of depreciation. Check your policy to see which type of coverage you have. Coverage under section C is usually provided on an actual cash basis. However, your agent may be able to add replacement cost to your possessions just like that found in Coverage A.

 

Part one discussed how a typical homeowner policy covers buildings and structures. Now let’s look at Coverage Part D, which is also a property coverage; as well as Coverage Parts E and F. These latter parts address coverage for injuries to persons or damage to property that belongs to others.

Coverage D, Loss of Use

This coverage handles the cost of additional living expenses while your home is being repaired. The coverage also applies if the home is unusable. However, the loss or loss of access has to be the result of an event that is covered by the policy. For instance, if your home was damaged during a war and you had to abandon it, Coverage D would not be available because war is excluded. Additional expenses normally include food, housing, and transportation. However, the expenses must exceed what your family normally incurs.

Coverage E, Personal Liability

This Coverage Part responds if you are legally responsible for causing property damage or Avoid this insurance claim. Slipping on Sidewalkphysical injury. Protection includes paying for your defense costs and any financial judgment for covered incidents. Naturally, the coverage would not apply for excluded situations, such as intentional injuries. Example: Joe is sued by a guy he injured after tackling and repeatedly punching him during a pickup basketball game. The injuries from this incident are not accidental and would not be covered.

Coverage F, Medical Payments

This Part provides rapid reimbursement for minor injuries, such as a guest who trips and falls while visiting your home. This coverage does not apply to a family member. For example, if your child and your neighbor’s child are both injured while playing and need to go to the emergency room, this coverage will pay for your neighbor’s expenses but not for your own child.

This is a brief overview of homeowners insurance. All of the coverage provided by the¬†homeowner’s¬†policy is subject to limitations such as exclusions, policy limits, and deductibles. It’s important that you discuss the details of coverage and any other insurance questions with your insurance agent.

 

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Tackling Insurance Terminology; Homeowner’s Insurance

Insurance TerminologyHomeowners Insurance is the insurance policy used to protect your home and contents.  Insurance for your house can come in various forms. Taking the time to understand what your policy does and doesn’t cover is essential.

 
In its most common form, home insurance is written as a package policy. A package policy occurs when an insured’s home and auto coverage come from the same insurer. Individuals that can keep their home and auto insurance together enjoy significant savings.
The primary purpose of homeowner’s insurance is to indemnify your home against loss. In most cases, the policy also protects personal belongings and additional structures.
 
Besides protecting property, most homeowners policies also provide personal liability coverage. This coverage provides protection in the event another party suffers loss due to the negligence of the homeowner.
 
We advise homeowners to actively participate in the insurance process. Reading your insurance policy should never be considered optional. Some of the more important aspects to consider are:
 
Covered Causes of Loss
Limits
Deductibles especially those state as a percentage
All information used to identify and describe your property
 
It is important to remember that certain risks are not covered by the homeowners insurance policy. Earthquake, flood, water backup, sinkhole, as well as other significant risks, are typically offered a la carte.

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Perils of Tailgating

High School FootballAutumn is noted for the color and delight found in the changing of the seasons! But change also arrives in the form of the colorful masses that gather and celebrate…..around football stadiums. It happens around high school games on Friday nights and on crisp cool Saturdays around colleges and universities. It happens on Sunday afternoons, Sunday Nights, Monday Nights and all the other times that they squeeze in days and times for professional football. From amateur to professional contests, upwards of 50 million people annually enjoy tailgating.

Tailgating refers to the custom of arriving to games many hours before the scheduled event’s beginning, Tailgating, reducing the risklowering vehicle tailgates and enjoying food, drinks and recreational activities! Tailgating began simply enough with socializing among folks who came to game locations early enough to secure scarce parking. The socialization was enhanced by food and drinks, then the events became more elaborate involving bring your own pitch-ins, barbecues, concerts, recreational sports, etc.

  • Sadly, most activities that involve large crowds are too frequently accompanied by various dangers. Of course, it makes sense to reduce the chance of injury or loss by taking precautions such as the following:
    Avoid using breakable containers for beverages or for any food service items. Dropping items is unavoidable and glass shards can cause serious injuries during a time where getting quick medical assistance can be difficult
  • Carry a well-stocked, comprehensive first aid kit, especially to handle burns, dehydration, sunburns, cuts, and bruises
  • Restrict games and activities to larger, clear areas that minimize the chance of injury to non-participants
  • If games or activities are near high-traffic areas, use spotters, persons situated to warn those passing by such areas.
  • Be very careful with cooking areas, never leave them unattended, keep them away from pedestrians (especially children) and be sure to have safety gear, such as fire extinguishers
  • Keep an eye out for thieves who often target unlocked vehicles for valuables

It is also very important to make sure that you are properly insured to handle possible damage or loss of your property. It is far more important to carry insurance coverage to protect you for injury or loss you may cause to others. Tailgating can be enormous fun, but with great fun comes great responsibility. Protect yourself and others.

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Dwelling Fire Policy

 

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August 7, 2018

Dwelling Fire Policy

A dwelling fire policy is most often considered for properties that do not meet the eligibility requirements required for a standard homeowners policy.  While coverages will vary for one insurance company to the next, coverages offered by typical homeowners policies will provide protection against more hazards.

Coverage Forms

If you are considering a dwelling fire policy it is important to understand which coverage form is being utilized.  Homeowners policies are written with one of three forms.  Understanding which form is being utilized is important to the insured as it defines the hazards or causes of loss which the policy will cover.  Covered causes of loss are typically specified under one of the three forms below:

  • Form 1¬† ¬†¬†¬†often referred¬†to as the Basic Form covers only named perils: Wind, Hail, Lightning, Fire, Smoke, Explosion, Sprinkler Leakage, Sinkhole Collapse, Riot, Civil Commotion, Aircraft, Vehicles, Vandalism, and Volcanic Activity.
  • Form 2¬† ¬† ¬†the Broad Form covers the hazards included in the basic form plus; Burglary, Falling Objects, Weight of Ice and Snow, Accidental Water Damage, Artificially Generated Electricity, and Freezing of Plumbing
  • Form 3¬† ¬† ¬†the Special Form¬†provides homeowners with the most comprehensive protection.¬† Unlike the Basic and Broad form, Form 3 protects the insured from all perils unless they are specifically excluded.¬† Common Exclusions include; Earthquake, Flood, Neglect, Ordinance of Law, Power Failure, Intentional Acts, War, and Nuclear Hazard.

 

Liability Protection

Typically, homeowners policies automatically provide liability protection to the insured. This is generally Return to TruePoint Home Pagenot an automatic feature in the dwelling fire policy, however, it may be offered as a policy endorsement.  It is important for those considering a dwelling fire policy to explore options regarding liability insurance.

 

 

 

As in all case regarding the purchase of insurance, we strongly encourage you to read all policy related documents and seek the advice of an unbiased insurance professional.

 

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Broad Form

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August 4, 2018

Broad Form (Homeowners Insurance Covered Causes of Loss: Broad Form)

The Broad Form is one of three ISO (International Organization for Standardization) use by the insurance industry to define which perils or causes of loss are covered.  Generally, the Broad Form covers the perils covered by the Basic Form (see below):

  • Wind, Hail¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬†¬†Return to TruePoint Home Page
  • Lightning
  • Fire
  • Smoke
  • Explosion
  • Sprinkler Leakage
  • Sinkhole Collapse
  • Riot
  • Civil Commotion
  • Collison by Aircraft
  • Collision by Vehicles
  • Vandalism
  • Volcanic Activity

 

Plus the Following:

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  • Burglary
  • Falling Objects
  • Weight of Ice and Snow
  • Artificially Generated Electricity
  • Freezing of Plumbing

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Basic Form

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August 2, 2018

Basic Form (Homeowners Insurance Covered Causes of Loss: Basic Form)

The Basic Form is one of three ISO (International Organization for Standardization) use by the insurance industry to define which perils or causes of loss are covered.  Generally, the Basic Form covers the following:

  • Wind, Hail
  • Lightning
  • FireLearn about the special form
  • Smoke
  • Explosion
  • Sprinkler Leakage
  • Sinkhole Collapse
  • Riot
  • Civil Commotion
  • Collison by Aircraft
  • Collision by Vehicles¬†¬†
  • Vandalism
  • Volcanic Activity

 

 

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