5 Types of Insurance a Millennial Should Have

When you’re trying to figure out how to budget your life, it seems like a no-brainer to lower or all together leave out insurance in order to save money. However, when push comes to shove, you’ll be glad you’re protected. A monthly payment may seem like a drain to your paycheck, but the alternative is an exorbitant bill down the line!

If you’re concerned about cost, the best money saver is shopping around, and if you are a client of Stromsoe Insurance Agency, you’ve already made one huge step towards savings! The beauty of using an independent insurance agency, is that we do the shopping around for you.

Here are the 5 types of insurance every millennial should have:

#1 Car Insurance

While car insurance is required, the amount of coverage you carry is a great deal up to you. There are 3 types of auto insurance:

  • Liability
  • Collision
  • Comprehensive

Liability is often the minimum insurance you need to be a legally insured driver, but collision and comprehensive are where you have some freedom. Collision involves coverage for repairs to your vehicle that need to be made as a result of a traffic accident, no matter who is at fault as well as property damage and any damage to the vehicle that is a result of collision with trees, buildings, etc. Comprehensive is coverage that includes replacement of the vehicle if it is stolen or damaged by natural disasters. While changing your collision and comprehensive can change your premium dramatically, it can also be the difference in your claims experience after an accident or theft.

Want to read more on how you can lower your car insurance premium? Check it out here.

 

#2 Renters/Homeowners Insurance

In short, tenants need insurance to cover their belongings. You, as a renter, will not own the building in which you live, and you are unlikely to insure that. On the other hand, the belongings inside your rental are likely important to you. One reason to have insurance for the tenants is to have protection for your personal property.

For example, renters could provide coverage in the event of:

  • A kitchen fire. A renters policy could help with the costs to replace items destroyed in the fire. If your place can’t be lived in while repairs are being done, renters insurance may also provide coverage for a place to stay, meals and related expenses.
  • A burglary. Renters insurance could help with the costs to replace the covered stolen items.
  • A guest falls and gets hurt. The personal liability coverage included in a renters policy could help with the payment of medical bills or other expenses related to the accident.

Take a look around before you decide you don’t have enough stuff to get lost in a fire, or what you have isn’t likely to get stolen. You might see more items that are costly to repair than you would expect. A smartphone, designer handbag, professional chef’s knife kit, new laptop are all widely used high-ticket pieces, for example, that you may have in your rental. How about antique china from your grandmother? Even the cost of replacing all of your clothes might cost you quite a dent.

 

#3 Flood Insurance

No home is entirely free from potential flooding. When a single inch of water in a home can cost more than $25,000 in damage, the difference between recovery and financial ruin can be flood insurance.

 

#4 Umbrella Insurance

Purchasing an umbrella policy is an inexpensive way to protect your financial future or established assets. Personal umbrella insurance kicks in when your base policy limit is not sufficient. It covers you beyond the limits of homeowners insurance, auto insurance, watercraft or other personal insurance policies.

 

#5 Life Insurance

Life insurance is about protecting the living and buys time and options when an income earner passes. If you have any dependents, life insurance will allow them to avoid making dramatic decisions while they may not be emotionally ready to do so effectively. Life insurance policies can be very affordable and give financial security to your loved ones should you no longer be around to provide it.

Your Guide to Staying Safe During a Flash Flood

Flash floods can happen very quickly and with little or no warning. Know how to stay safe!

There is no way to deny that El Nino is here. With the recent storms that drenched Southern California, there has never been a better time to ensure you are ready for whatever Mother Nature has in store for the rest of the storm system. One of the most important steps you can take is to create a plan of how to handle a flash flood. This guide to floods and your insurance coverage can help to keep you safe when the water starts rising.

If a flash flood watch is issued, it does not mean that a flood is currently happening. It simply means that the conditions are right for a flash flood to occur. During a flash flood watch, listen for any weather updates and emergency instructions. You should also have a plan of where to go if a flash flood does occur.

A flash flood warning is issued when a flash flood is imminent or is currently happening. During a flood warning, you should get to higher ground and listen to your TV or radio to find out if you need to evacuate. If you are at home, unplug all electrical appliances and turn off gas and electricity at the main source. If you are driving, avoid driving through flood waters, even if they look shallow. Water that is deeper than 2 feet can easily sweep your car away.

Keep in mind that your home insurance policy will not provide any coverage for damage that is done during a flood; only a flood insurance policy will. For all of your insurance coverage needs to keep you safe and dry this El Nino, contact Stromsoe Insurance Agency. We will work with you to ensure you have the coverage that you deserve, all at the right price to fit your budget.

El Niño & Your California Flood Insurance Needs

Why El Niño makes flood insurance especially important for your home.

All of sudden, it’s fall in Southern California. While we enjoyed (or didn’t enjoy – depending on your weather preference) unseasonably warm weather into November, the weather’s taken a turn.

No, it’s not just the usual weather patterns. Actually, experts are saying El Niño could be to blame for the sudden cold. They’re also predicting this weather pattern will bring serious storms our way.

If you can remember back to 1997’s El Niño, it caused millions of dollars of damage and cost over a dozen lives. According to people in the know, today’s climate models look a whole lot like they did in ’97. In other words, we need to be prepared for a very wet winter here in Southern California.

One of the best ways to be prepared is to buy flood insurance.  Don’t assume your homeowners insurance will protect you because, quite frankly, it won’t. Standard home insurance policies don’t include coverage against flooding, so you need a separate policy to be protected against rising waters this winter.

Also, don’t assume you can just wait until a major storm is rolling in to buy coverage! Flood insurance policies require a 30-day waiting period before they can take effect, so you need to buy your coverage now to be prepared against the seasonal surprises El Niño is projected to bring to Southern California.

Would you like more information about how to pair flood insurance with your existing homeowners insurance or renter insurance policy to be fully protected this winter? To talk to an expert who will evaluate your specific insurance needs and help you get covered, contact Stromsoe Insurance Agency. We’re dedicated to helping California renters and homeowners have the insurance policies they need to matter what our seasons bring our way!

Does Your Home Insurance Include Additional Living Expenses?

You may need additional living expenses coverage in your home insurance policy.

If a natural disaster were to destroy your home structure, you may be forced to move out of your home until it’s repaired. When you cannot live in your home because of a loss covered by your home insurance policy, such as a hurricane or tornado, your insurer is able to reimburse you for certain expenses that you occur while you’re living away from home. This is called additional living expenses coverage.

What does this coverage include?
The additional living expenses coverage in your home insurance is designed to cover the costs associated with loss of use of your home, including those of a hotel room, restaurant meals, and transportation.

How am I reimbursed?
You must file a claim with your home insurance company as soon as possible. Generally, this coverage will pay for the gap between pre- and post- disaster housing and food. For example, if you usually spend $500 a month for food, but you now spend $750 because you have lost use of your kitchen and must eat out, your insurer will may pay for the $250 difference.

What is not included?
Items that are not considered additional living expenses are belongings such as toiletries, clothing, temporary repairs to your home, entertainment expenses (unfortunately, going to the movies because you’ve lost use of your TV doesn’t count!), and your normal mortgage bills.

Can I obtain coverage if my home was damaged by a flood?
The damages caused by floods are not covered at all in home insurance policies, and most separate flood insurance policies do not provide additional living expenses coverage. Talk to a trusted insurance agent for advice on obtaining coverage.

So that your additional living expenses are covered by your California home insurance in the event of a disaster, contact Stromsoe Insurance Agency.

How To Avoid Homeowners Insurance Claims

Common Perils Homeowners Are Faced With

In securing your home and family from disaster, you have obtained a homeowners insurance policy. Unfortunately, that policy comes with some unique homeowners insurance claims that you must be weary of. There are a variety of different types of claims that homeowners are faced with, but we believe the following, costly claims should be avoided whenever possible:

  • One of the most common misunderstood areas of a homeowners insurance policy is water damage coverage. Insurance carriers have clear distinguishing factors that determine whether damage caused by water is covered or not. Any water that enters from the outside is known as flood damage, which is specifically excluded from coverage of your homeowners insurance policy. In contrast, a burst pipe would constitute as water damage, which is covered. To combat this issue, you will need to obtain a separate flood insurance policy.
  • One of the costliest of homeowners insurance claims are dog bite liability claims. If you have recently welcomed a pooch into the family, it is important that you practice non-aggressive tendencies with your pup and enroll them in a behavioral class. Additionally, make sure to put your pet in a safe location away from guests when having a party to reduce your liability risks.
  • Far too many of us assume that living in California means we do not need to prepare our homes against storms. Unfortunately, this habit often leaves Californians in harm’s way when a disaster arrives, since none of the preventative measures have been taken. Look for ways to conduct winter weather protection on your home so that it can prevail through the changing seasons.

Are you receiving adequate coverage? Contact Stromsoe Insurance Agency for all of your California homeowners insurance needs. Allow us to increase the limits of your homeowners insurance policy to ensure you are receiving maximum protection.

Tenant, Beware! The Perils of Leasing

If you are a tenant, you might believe that you have avoided many loss exposures, such as fire damage to the structure, associated with owning the building. However, have you read your lease lately? Really read it?

Many leases contain extensive insurance requirements that the tenant (you) must agree to meet. Although these usually include liability from your actions and responsibility for covering your property for loss, it’s easy to overlook the extent to which you might have agreed to cover exposures usually assumed to be the responsibility of the building owner.

For example, retail shopping areas often have an abundance of external glass windows. Although these are clearly the property of the building owner, many leases transfer any responsibility for damage to the windows to the tenant. The idea is that because you directly control the potential loss exposures for the glass (such as vandalism, accidental breakage, and maintenance inspections), you should provide the insurance. Similar reasoning might lead you to being held responsible under the lease for other losses not directly attributable to your own negligence.

Now is the time to pull out that copy of your lease. Review it with your legal counsel to see if there might be language or agreements that need addressing. Then let us review the document for its insurance implications (be forewarned — they won’t all be contained in a paragraph titled “insurance”). We’ll review with you, what your lease requires, how your current insurance program matches up with these requirements, and then offer guidelines for making any necessary changes to your protection.

Call us today to schedule an appointment. 877-994-6787

Understanding the Basics of Insurance Deductibles

To get the most out of your Homeowners insurance policy, it is important to understand the roles deductibles play. To find the verbiage concerning deductibles, consult the front page of the Homeowners policy. A deductible is the amount deducted from an insured loss. When a damage claim is filed, the deductible is the amount of money a policyholder must pay upfront. It may be a percentage of the policy’s total or a set dollar amount. Larger deductibles are associated with smaller premiums. Deductibles are subtracted from the claim amount. For example, if a person with a $1,000 deductible files a claim for $10,000, that policyholder will receive a check for $9,000. However, if that deductible is calculated using percentages, the amount may differ. With percentages, the variable is calculated from the total claim and then subtracted from the total.

In many areas of the United States, deductibles are increasing. This is especially true in states prone to hurricanes. Property damage deductibles work differently than those for other types of insurance. For example, a deductible applies each time a claim is filed for Auto or Homeowners insurance. However, a deductible applies only once each year for health insurance. There are some exceptions for damage-related insurance products. In some cases, hurricane coverage has a per-season deductible. The following points cover some of the most important deductible information.
Deductibles Do Not Apply to Liability Claims. Although there is no deductible for a liability claim with a Homeowners or Auto policy, there is a deductible for property damage. Deductibles apply to claims made to the comprehensive policy. In Homeowners insurance, deductibles also apply to damaged items inside the insured structure. However, they do not apply if a homeowner is sued or if a medical claim is filed by an injured visitor.

Higher Deductibles May Save Money. One of the easiest ways to cut expenses is to raise deductibles for Homeowners and Auto insurance policies. Increasing an Auto insurance deductible from $200 to $500 reduces collision and comprehensive premium costs up to 30%. Raising the deductible to $1,000 may result in a savings of more than 40%. Remember this is the out-of-pocket amount that must be paid regardless of the amount of the claim.

Flood Insurance Deductibles Vary. Since flooding is not covered in standard Homeowners policies, it is sold by the NFIP and private insurance companies. There are several different choices of deductible amounts for these policies. Keep in mind that some mortgage companies require homeowners to keep their deductibles under a specific dollar amount. Flood coverage for vehicles can be obtained with an optional comprehensive plan.

Various States & Companies Affect Deductible Amounts. Insurance is a state-regulated product, and insurers are required to follow their state’s rules. The laws affect how deductibles are worded in policies and how they are implemented. Since there are a wide range of deductibles found in each state, it is best to compare policies. Keep in mind that doubling the deductible may save more than 20% on the cost of a policy.

Percentage Deductibles Apply to Hurricanes, Hail & Earthquakes. Earthquake deductibles may be much less than 10% or as high as 20% of the structure’s replacement value. Insurance rates are higher in states such as Nevada, Utah and Washington. Consumers in these states may choose higher deductibles to save money. There are special earthquake policies for California residents. To learn more about areas prone to earthquakes, discuss them with one of our agents.

There are two separate types of wind damage deductibles. The first is a hurricane deductible, which applies to wind damage sustained from hurricanes. The second type is a windstorm deductible, which applies to damages sustained from any other type of windstorm. Hurricane deductibles depend on specific triggers. These are usually designated by the National Weather Service, individual states and insurers. The triggers apply when a storm is officially deemed a tropical storm or hurricane. To learn more about how these triggers work, discuss them with us. Some states allow set deductibles. However, communities in high-risk coastal areas may have mandatory percentage deductibles.

We hope this helps keep you safe. If you ever have any questions, please contact the Total Protection Team at 877-994-6787 or visit www.siaonline.com, we are happy to help. Have a great day!

Evaluate Your Property and Consider Flood Insurance

Don’t wait until the weather forecast calls for prolonged heavy rains before buying flood insurance. While this practical insurance can be purchased anytime, the policy does not take effect for 30 days. As the most common natural disaster in the country, flooding ruins millions of dollars of homes and property every year. Even so, flooding is not commonly covered in your typical homeowner’s insurance policy, making it necessary to purchase additional coverage for this costly, devastating disaster.

If you are in a high-risk flood zone, a federally regulated lender will require a would-be borrower to buy flood insurance in order to qualify for a mortgage loan. To satisfy the lender, flood insurance must be purchased in an amount that sufficiently covers the loan.

A homeowner should also buy flood insurance if he or she resides in a flood plain with no failsafe controls, such as a dam. Flood policies even pay off if the President does not declare the area a federal disaster area, which can prove to be invaluable. Because the nation’s Chief Executive Officer rarely issues such a declaration, protecting yourself is extremely important. Besides, you have to repay the federal aid you receive for home repairs related to a natural disaster so providing your own protection is the only way to ensure financial recovery suffered from flooding.

Not all homes qualify for flood coverage. For instance, flood insurance for beachfront or ocean-side property may not be available for the obvious reasons.

The Federal Emergency Management Association (FEMA) reports that more than 20,000 communities have agreed to tighter zoning and building measures to control floods. Residents of these communities can buy flood coverage from the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), which FEMA oversees. As of 2009, NFIP had 5.7 million flood policies inforce nationwide.

Premiums for flood insurance vary widely, depending primarily on individual risk. In determining price, flood insurance underwriters consider several factors including the property’s elevation, proximity to bodies of water, and whether the dwelling has a basement. Flood insurance is available to homeowners, renters, condo owners/renters, and commercial owners/renters.

Call our office today! We’d be happy to assist you through the murky waters.  Here are 4 easy ways to reach us:

1. CALL 877-994-6787 or 951-600-5751
2. Fax 951-677-6265
3. Email – insure@siaonline.com
4. Visit Our Website – www.SIAonline.com