Does a home security system lower my homeowners insurance premiums?

If you’re concerned about the high cost of homeowners insurance premiums, there are things you, a homeowner, can do to lower your rates, add value to your home, and increase your sense of safety at home. As your independent agent in Albertville, MN, we will help you understand every factor that might impact your homeowners insurance premium rates, and show you what you can do to cut those rates.

Safety Factors

We look at things that might impact our bottom line. A secure home is less likely to be a target for burglars. encourages all homeowners to look for discounts on homeowners insurance they may be missing. One of the most common missed discounts relates to home security. People who live in gated communities, for example, may be eligible for discounts on their premiums because the gated enclosure gives them added security.

As MSN Real Estate explains, it doesn’t occur to most people that insurance companies look at the crime rate in their neighborhood. You may be living in a well-built, secure home, but if all your neighbors live in less secure homes, and many of the homeowners have filed claims with their insurance companies lately, that could really impact your home insurance rates.

The government’s Insurance Information Institute suggests that you can cut your premiums by five percent by installing dead bolts, smoke detectors and burglar alarms. The institute goes on to add that some companies will cut rates by as much as 15 to 20 percent for homeowners who have automatic sprinkler systems, or home security and monitoring systems that automatically contact the police or fire department if an alarm is triggered. These are not cheap systems, so it is important to weigh the cost of the system against the long-term savings you’d get on your home insurance rate.

Should I get specific coverage for jewelry or art? Or would that be covered under my homeowners insurance policy?

Many homeowners make a common mistake when deciding on the amount of homeowners insurance they really need. They consider the cost of the house, forgetting that to insure their contents on top of the house itself, they need to increase the amount of their homeowners insurance to include the cost of those contents. When you are talking about the type of coverage your need for your home, ask your independent agent to explain how the dwelling coverage part of your policy works. Most companies put a cap of 75 percent of the total dollar amount of your home insurance policy so you couldn’t receive any more than that amount for your jewelry or art work – regardless of their appraised value.

Kiplinger explains that although these possessions may be included in your standard home insurance, the amount the company is likely to pay you for certain items like jewelry may only be $2,000 or $3,000 at the most, unless you insure each of your valuables separately. What’s more, while you may be protected against theft, you probably won’t have that coverage for breakage.

USA Today urges homeowners not to assume that their homeowners policies will cover them for valuables like art and jewelry, or even an ATV. A more likely scenario is that IF you were even covered, the amount of your reimbursement would be far less than the value of the piece or pieces, and wouldn’t factor in appreciation from the time you bought or received those items.

The best way to protect your valuables, is by asking your insurance agent to show you options for adding endorsements or riders to your existing homeowners insurance policy. By insuring valuables separately and having a floater – or policy that buffers your standard homeowners coverage, you also don’t have to pay a deductible if you had to replace them. You may be able to get broader riders, floaters or endorsements to cover your jewelry in bulk so you don’t have to insure every item individually. The same goes for artwork.

To be sure you have adequate coverage for these valuables, make a point of having yearly reappraisals on valuables you insure with an endorsement to increase your coverage. You don’t want to be under insured for valuables you couldn’t afford to replace, if the insured value is lower than the appraised value. Also insist on insuring art work, jewelry and other valuables for replacement cost, because any other coverage subtracts depreciation– even on valuables that appreciate

How does an insurance company determine the value of my new motorcycle?

When you make a claim on your motorcycle insurance, your insurer must determine the value of your motorcycle before providing funds. That helps the company determine if it is better to pay for the repairs or if it is more cost effective to declare the motorcycle a total loss.

Cost After Depreciation

A method that may be used to determine the value of the motorcycle is subtracting the depreciation rates from the purchase price of the motorcycle. This type of method is appropriate when the bike is relatively new because the market value for the motorcycle may not provide enough information to determine a fair price.

Depreciation rates can vary between brands and the duration of time since you purchased the motorcycle, so the insurance provider may adjust the calculations over time to reflect changes to the market.

Market Value Guides

Some companies may use a market value guide, such as the Kelley Blue Book, to determine an estimated value of a motorcycle. The downside of using a guide is that it may not consider any extra work that has gone into the motorcycle.

If your company uses a market value guide, then you need to inform the claims adjuster or the company about any adjustments or changes that have gone into the motorcycle. The work can add value to your motorcycle that is overlooked with the average estimates that are provided in a guide book.

There are several different ways that an insurance provider may determine the value of your motorcycle. Depending on your motorcycle insurance policy and the details of your situation, it may or may not be appropriate for your goals and concerns. Contact us to speak to an agent to learn more about the way that insurance providers handle your claims.

I have a sailboat, what kind of coverage should I choose to add to my policy?

Buying a sailboat can be exciting, but it also raises questions regarding your coverage and the options that are available for your situation. Depending on your concerns, you may need to purchase a separate policy that is designed to specifically address the potential problems that can arise when you take your sailboat out on the water.

Adding to a Current Plan

In some cases, you may add coverage for your sailboat to your auto or home policy, but the amount of coverage that you can expect may be limited. For example, an auto policy may provide protection while you are hauling the boat to the lake, but it will not cover any damages that take place on the water. The same is true of a home policy. It might cover damages while the boat is in the house or protect against theft from your garage, but it will not provide coverage while you are on the water.

Buying a New Plan

Generally, it is best to purchase a sailboat insurance policy when you own a boat so that you can avoid any complications.

A sailboat insurance policy will usually protect against liability concerns when you are on the boat and it may provide comprehensive coverage to protect against theft, damage while the boat is in storage or other concerns associated with owning a boat. The coverage is designed to address the needs of a sailboat, so it is appropriate when you are not sure about the coverage that you need.

There are a variety of problems that can arise when you purchase the wrong type of insurance to protect your boat. Call us today to speak to an agent to learn more about protecting your boat.