Home Insurance –It’s Great Time to Review your Policy

Do you know what time of year it is? This is the time of year when the largest number of home owners receive their home insurance renewals. Why is that you may ask? Well, since summer is the most popular time to move, it is the most popular time to buy a home and, therefore, the most popular time to buy home owner’s insurance. Since many of you are likely reviewing your home insurance policies right about now I thought it would be an appropriate time for an article about the basics of home insurance and what to look for when you review your policy.
Your home is the center of your daily life, and likely your most valuable asset. When your home is damaged or destroyed, you need your claim settled by an insurance company that understands this simple fact. Sparrow General Insurance Agency can help you find the homeowner’s insurance that will best meet your needs and provide the most valuable combination of tailored coverage, quality service and fair pricing.
Californians – What you need to know about homeowners insurance
Whether you own or rent, insuring the place you call home can help protect you financially if you suffer a loss due to fire, theft, vandalism, or other covered events. It will also cover you in the event someone is injured while on your property and wins a legal judgment against you.
Homeowners policies differ by which losses are covered, which coverages you choose, and what type of residence you own. You choose which policy is best for you, whether it’s a comprehensive policy that cover losses such as fire, hail, smoke, falling objects, vandalism and theft of personal property, or whether it’s a policy that covers only specified losses.
Sparrow General is here to help you find the right insurance for your home
Whether you’re a home or condo owner, a renter, or a landlord, Sparrow General will work with you to find a home insurance policy that fits your needs. We specialize in making it easy to choose the insurance coverage that gives you the best value for the best price.
Your home insurance policy is most often made up of the specific options you choose, so how much you’ll pay for your policy depends on:
• What you select. Oftentimes homeowners insurance options are priced individually, so how much you’ll pay for your policy depends on what coverages you buy.
• Do you have a deductible you can live with? Higher deductibles lower your premium by shifting part of the loss payment to you. For example, if you had a $1,000 deductible, you would be responsible for paying the first $1,000 of the covered loss. When you review your policy ask yourself….am I willing to accept a higher deductible to lower my costs?
• Where you set your limits. You may choose to set higher limits than the recommended amount if appropriate to your situation and needs.
Achieving the Right Coverage and the Right Value
The amount you pay for your homeowners insurance depends on many factors. Think of your personal housing situation, and the assets you want to protect.
Protection for Your Home
Property or Dwelling Coverage typically pays to repair or rebuild your home if it’s damaged or destroyed by an insured event like a kitchen fire or windstorm. Be sure you have enough dwelling coverage not only to rebuild.
What if the building codes have changed since the home was first built? If your home needs to be rebuilt and the original building codes no longer exist than you can be responsible for the expenses to bring your home up to code. Make sure you have some coverage for Building Ordinance coverage on your home policy.
Protection for You and Other People
Personal Liability Coverage applies if someone is injured or their property is damaged and you are to blame. An example would be if someone tripped and fell in your home and was injured. Another example would be if your dog bit a neighbor. The coverage generally applies anywhere in the world. When choosing your liability coverage limits, consider things like how much money you make and the assets you have. Your personal liability coverage should be high enough to protect all your assets (equity in your home, savings, etc.) to provide protection to you if you are sued.
Medical Coverage
This covers medical expenses for guests if they are injured on your property, and in certain cases covers people who are injured off of your property. It does not cover health care costs for you or other members of your household.
Additional Living Expenses
If you can’t live in your home because of a covered loss, for example there was a fire and your home needed to be rebuilt, your home insurance policy will pay additional living expenses (rent, moving costs, etc.) —commonly for up to 24 months—while damage is assessed and your home is repaired or rebuilt.
Protection for Your Belongings
Your home is filled with furniture, clothing, electronics and other items that mean a lot to you. Personal property Insurance helps replace these items if they are lost, stolen or destroyed as a result of a covered loss. So, it’s best to review your Personal Property limit of your policy and make sure that you feel you are adequately protected in the event that all your things need to be replaced. read more

Why a Home Inventory Is Important

Let’s try a little exercise: Can you list everything you own from memory? I didn’t think so.
The fact is most people own more things than they realize. It’s easy to remember the cars, the computer, the TV. But what about that holiday china in the garage or every pair of shoes or every item in each and every drawer?
All of it is regarded as personal property for homeowners insurance purposes. And if your home is destroyed by fire or some other disaster, having a list of your possessions makes filing a claim easier — and helps you put your life back together.
Why should I complete a home inventory? What’s the best way?
Comparing the value of your belongings to the “contents” limit listed in your policy helps you make sure you have enough insurance to replace them if they are lost, stolen or destroyed as a result of a covered loss. The easiest way to take an inventory is to use a video camera, recording and describing items as you walk through your house. Or, you can use a regular camera and create a home inventory checklist. Now that so many of us have cameras and video cameras on our phones this really isn’t a difficult task these days.
Here are a few tips for completing and storing your inventory:
Add brand names and descriptions where you can, especially on large-ticket items. Serial numbers are helpful to note.
Keep any receipts you have with the list to make the claims process easier.
Store your video or photo inventory offsite so you won’t lose it if your house is damaged.
Update your personal property records when you purchase new furnishings and valuables. read more

Guide on How to Shop your Workers Comp Rates:

In the past I have spoken to clients who were under the impression that workers comp insurance rates were set in stone by the State and so, therefore, there would be no reason to shop around for better rates. Although there are recommended rates for each class of business there is no one set price. Rates can vary from one carrier to another. Considering the rising cost of California Workers Comp insurance it is definitely a wise decision to shop rates and make sure you are not overpaying. Here is a list of what you will need to shop your Workers Comp rates:
1. You will need your FEIN #. Carriers do not want to present duplicate quotes to the same business so they keep track of whether they have already quoted you by your tax identification number.
2. If you are currently insured you will need to present proof of your prior claims history. In the world of Workers Comp this proof is known as your “loss runs.” You can request loss runs from your current Broker, or, if you do not wish to make him or her aware that you are shopping elsewhere you can request them directly from the carrier. Allow a good few days and perhaps even up to a week to receive your loss runs. All insurance carriers are required by law to provide you with these.
3. If you’ve had a loss be prepared to explain what occurred in detail. Tip: if you have taken any measures to prevent further losses be sure to mention that to the Broker as insurance carriers love to hear that and will look more favorably at quoting your insurance.
4. Be prepared to describe the details of your business operations and what duties your workers perform.
5. Be prepared to have an estimate of what you think your annual payroll will be for the coming year. Once you have that figure break it down by what you estimate the payroll to be for your different classes of employees. In many industries if your clerical employees are physically separated from the main class of employees you can classify them separately on your workers comp and pay a lower rate for them. So, if you have an auto body shop that does some auto repair work and you have one full time clerical worker you will want to come up with an annual payroll figure for your Auto Body Techs, for your Auto Repair Mechanics and for you Clerical workers.
6. Each class of employee is given a workers comp code. Your Broker should provide that information, but if you would like to be more hands on you can research the classification codes on your own on the Workers Compensation Insurance Rating Bureau’s website. Here is the link where you would go to research classifications: read more