Homeowners Insurance: Sewer Backup or Overflow?

Sewer backup or system overflow: Which is it?Backup or Overflow

The weather in the Midwest has been quite wet this year, which brings to mind two sometimes confusing and misunderstood types of property claims. What’s the difference between a sewer backup and a plumbing system overflow?

A great deal of rain can overtax the sewer systems. This can cause water to flow backward through the property owner’s lateral pipes, through the drain, and into the basement. When water outside the insured’s plumbing system flows backward through the plumbing into the property, this is a backup claim.

A backup is different from an overflow. An overflow occurs when there’s a blockage in the plumbing system. When the toilet is flushed, there’s nowhere for the water to go due to the blockage, so the toilet bowl overflows. The water that’s causing the damage never enters the sewer system. An overflow can also occur when there’s blockage within the lateral pipe. The water from the property flows down the lateral and because of the blockage, the water has nowhere to go so it overflows the floor drain or a lower-level bathroom causing damage.

So how are these two claims covered? The homeowners policy affords coverage for an overflow of the plumbing system up to the policy limit; however, damage from water that backs up through sewers or drains, overflows or discharges from a sump, sump pump, or related equipment is specifically excluded.

How do you get coverage for a sewer backup or sump overflow on the homeowner’s policy? With a Water Backup and Sump Overflow Coverage endorsement. The endorsement provides coverage for water backup or sump overflow for both personal property and structural damage from water.

How you can prevent sewer line backups?

There are several preventative measures homeowners can take to minimize the occurrence of sewer line backups.

  • Proper disposal of grease and food: Grease, fats, gravies, sauces and cooking oils should NEVER go down your kitchen drain.
  • Proper disposal of paper products: Anything that does not easily dissolve as easily as toilet paper should never be flushed. Even facial tissue should be avoided; it does not dissolve as easily as bathroom tissue.
  • Install a Backwater Prevention Valve. These fixtures allow sewage to go out , but not come back in

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Sources: Horizon Services
West Bend Insurance Company

Homeowners Insurance: Preparing for a Tornado

Will your home insurance take on a tornado?

Homeowners Insurance | Tornadoes

It seems to appear out of nowhere and is gone within minutes, but in that short time a tornado can devastate a home. The vital question is: Can your home withstand its winds?

About 1,000 tornadoes touch down in the U.S. in an average year, causing billions of dollars in insured losses, according to the Insurance information Institute. These monster storms – which can wipe out neighborhoods and small towns – are the costliest type of natural disaster for insurers.

Here are five steps for assessing your insurance needs in the face of tornadoes.

  1. Know Your Coverage – Unlike floods or earthquakes, tornadoes don’t require a special type of insurance. A basic homeowners policy should cover the damage inflicted by a tornado, whether it’s from wind or rain. Still, homeowners concerned about tornadoes should make sure their policies match their financial needs.For example, a policy with a higher deductible likely will translate into lower premiums, but you will end up paying more out of your own pocket if a tornado damages or destroys your house. Make sure you can cover the deductible. Otherwise, consider a higher premium with a smaller deductible.It’s a good idea to review your replacement cost coverage with your agent. This coverage replaces the damage to the home with materials that are similar in quality and kind.
  2. Take Inventory - Make a list of what you have, to ensure your possessions are covered adequately. Keep receipts if possible, especially for more expensive belongings. Take photos of your possessions as well and keep your records in a safe place.
  3. Consider Your Valuables & Car - Your home insurance will cover personal property up to a limit. Valuable items such as coin collections, jewelry, fine art etc. should be appraised. If your car is damaged the comprehensive portion of your auto policy should take care of any damage from a tornado’s wind or hail, vandalism and theft.
  4. Don’t Forget Living Expenses - This type of coverage helps cover the cost of staying in a hotel or paying rent for temporary housing. It can even cover meal expenses while your family is displaced.
  5. What To Do In The Aftermath - After making sure your family is safe, get in touch with your insurer or agent. Often, insurance companies will send out emergency response teams. These representatives may issue checks or debit cards immediately, for food and housing. A claims adjuster will be sent to your home to assess the damage.

Source:  Bankrate.com

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Boat Insurance: What You Should Know

What You Need To Know About Bout Insurance.Boat Insurance

If you have a boat of any kind, it pays to learn about boat insurance. Also known as watercraft insurance, boat insurance will protect you, your boat and others in the case of a loss. While not mandatory, it is highly recommended for all boat and personal watercraft owners.

The Basics

Boat insurance is very similar to car insurance. Many of the same options and choices you have for your auto insurance policy will be presented to you for your boat insurance. The most important of these is liability coverage.  Liability insurance is extremely important to carry,  because if another person is injured or killed due to an at-fault accident with your boat, or another’s personal property is damaged, you can suffer huge financial losses.

Collision and comprehensive coverage will protect your investment in your boat. They will cover the cost to repair or replace your boat, motor, trailer and any equipment that is permanently attached to your boat in case of loss. Collision coverage is in case your boat collides with another boat or property and you are at fault. Comprehensive coverage is for other types of loss, such as storm damage, theft, fire or vandalism. Claims of these types are subject to a deductible that you choose when you take out your policy.

The Not-So-Basics

The amount that you can receive from a collision or comprehensive claim is based on the type of policy you choose. An actual cash value policy is based on the replacement cost of your boat minus any depreciation up to the date of loss. Claims are paid out for this amount minus the deductible. Agreed amount value is the other type of policy that does not factor in depreciation. Premiums are set based on an amount agreed to by the insurer and the insured, as to how much the boat is worth.

Boat insurance varies in price not only from company to company, but also from insured to insured. As with other types of insurance, the premium you pay depends on the rate set by the insurer. The rate is determined by underwriters who look at a variety of factors to determine exactly how much risk they are assuming by offering you boat insurance.

The boat itself is one of the major variables considered by an insurer when setting rates. The insurer will need to know the length of the boat, the horsepower of the motor and the year, make and model of both boat and motor.

Information about the boat owner will also make a difference in your boat insurance premium. You will need to give information about your driving record. If it is less than perfect, expect to pay more for boat insurance. Your claims history will also impact the rate.  If you have made multiple claims in recent years on any type of insurance, your rate will be higher. If you have a poor credit history, you will be deemed higher risk and charged accordingly, as research has shown that those with poor credit scores are more likely to make insurance claims.

Source:  insuranceproviders.com

MN Auto Insurance: Pet Car Insurance

A Peace Of Mind With Fluffy In The Car

Pet Auto Insurance

Some auto insurers are providing motorists with a little more peace of mind when they’re behind the wheel with Fido or Fluffy. Special car insurance helps cover the cost of care if pets are injured in an auto accident.

 

This isn’t pet health insurance which covers a pet that needs treatment at a veterinarian’s office. Instead an auto insurer’s pet-injury coverage typically kicks in if a pet is traveling in your car, is injured in an accident and needs veterinary care. Some policies also pay out if the pet is killed in a crash. (Also be aware that pet owners can take precautions to keep their pets safer in cars.)

Progressive was the first car insurance company to offer pet coverage, starting in 2007. Other car insurance companies have followed suit. If you are shopping for a car insurance plan that covers pets, be aware that coverage varies by insurer.

Tips for traveling by car with pets

Cats should be in a cage or in a special carrier to allow them to feel secure and prevent them from crawling under your feet while you’re driving.

A dog that must ride in a truck bed should be in a protective kennel that is fastened to the truck bed. Dogs riding in a car should not ride in the passenger seat if it equipped with an airbag, and should not be allowed to sit on the driver’s lap.

Harnesses, tethers and other accessories to secure pets during car travel are available at most pet stores.

Pets should not be allowed to ride with their heads outside car windows. Particles of dirt or other debris can enter the eyes, ears and nose, causing injury or infection.

Insurance Advisors, Inc.

Sources: http://money.msn.com/auto-insurance
American Veterinary Medical Association

 

Motorcycle Safety: How Was Harry Hurt?

Perhaps the most renowned study of motorcycle accident causes and countermeasures was done for University of Southern California by researcher Harry Hurt. He investigated 900 motorcycle accidents and analyzed another 3600 motorcycle traffic accident reports. The Motorcycle Safety Courses developed by the Motorcycle Safety Foundation are designed largely to build the skills that the Hurt Study found to be missing in the accident-involved rider. Some of the findings allows us to see some essential things we can do to avoid an accident.

Who hits us?

Motorcycle Safety

Most accidents involve a car violating our right-of-way. Most frequently, the car turns left in front of the motorcycle.

Where do we get hit?

Intersections are the most likely place for the motorcycle accident, with the car not only violating our right-of-way, but often traffic controls as well. Most accidents are on short trips, and occur close to the trip origin.

Why do we get hit?

The main reason is that the driver of the other vehicle does not see us in time to avoid the collision. Alcohol is involved in almost half of the fatal accidents. Most motorcyclists are vigilant with regard to drinking and driving.

Why aren’t we seen?

Conspicuity of the motorcycle is a critical factor; especially from the front of the bike.

How can we be seen?

Wear high visibility yellow, orange or bright red jackets. Helmets should be white or bright colors during the day and reflective material at night. It also means positioning our motorcycles where we can be seen in traffic.

How else can we avoid accidents? 

Pay attention! Be extra cautious if you have less than 5 months experience. Motorcycle rider courses reduce accidents and injuries by teaching the braking and swerving skills that are necessary. Remember to wear proper eye protection to avoid impaired vision which delays hazard detection.

How can we prevent injuries in an accident?

Heavy boots, jackets and gloves reduce or prevent road rash. Full coverage helmets increase protection and reduce face injuries.

By: Robert Vaughan