How to Pick the Homeowners Policy That’s Right For You
Congratulations! You’ve made the decision; it’s time to become a homeowner. But before you even start your home search, look into the kinds of homeowners insurance you’ll need. Follow these tips to protect your new family home for a lifetime:
Insure your home at replacement value
When you purchase homeowners insurance, you have a choice between actual cash value and replacement value. Actual cash value insures your home at the amount it was purchased for. While this seems like a good idea, keep in mind that housing prices fluctuate with the market. Replacement value covers a total loss, including rebuilding and labor costs. It’s pricier than actual cash value, but worth the investment.
Purchase flood insurance or other endorsements
Consider where you live and the correlated risks. Water damage from a burst pipe is typically included in your home policy, but if a flood ruins your basement, you’re responsible for the damage. Live in California? Earthquake damage is also very expensive and isn’t covered by most insurance plans. Find out if you live in a high-risk location that is prone to floods or earthquakes. Floods are the most common natural disaster in the U.S., so the extra insurance cost is worth it.
Set the right liability limits
Most homeowner policies automatically include a $100,000 coverage limit, but that may not be enough. In an accident, you could be held responsible for property damage and bodily injury totaling well over $100,000. Evaluate your personal assets and earning potential to find the right limit.
Time to Break Out the Zombie Costumes
For us, Halloween is all about kids, scary costumes, and candy – lots of candy. But, in fact, October 31 has a somewhat sinister past. By looking back at the history of this annual scare-fest, it’s easy to see how ghost and zombie costumes are everywhere on Halloween night.
The last night of October has had a long association with spirits. Some believe it was inspired by the medieval festival of Samhain, celebrated by the Celts in early Britain. Samhain marked the end of summer and the beginning of the dark half of the year. On this day, the Celts believed, spirits entered the world of the living, and they honored the dead by setting places at their tables to welcome benign spirits. The evil spirits, they frightened off by wearing scary masks and costumes.
In the ninth Century, Samhain became associated with All Saints’ Day, which gave us the word Halloween. On “All Hallows’ Evening”, the eve of All Saints’ Day, people would honor the recently dead who had not yet passed over.
Today, the undead figure prominently in horror flicks, and zombies are the stuff of children’s nightmares. So break out those zombie costumes. Halloween approaches.
Take Your Computer Pill: It’s Good For You
Swallowable micro-computers are revolutionizing health care – and raising concerns.
The size and shape of a pill, these computers monitor your body’s systems and record your vital signs. Some can even follow your body’s response to medications.
They share information with doctors wirelessly, in one case through a cellphone app. Connected to the outside world by a wearable patch, this pill effectively runs on you, generating electricity as soon as it hits your stomach.
Some have raised privacy concerns about wider access to the most intimate goings-on in your body, but robo-pills could help prevent complications in a host of diseases or ensure you receive treatment quickly when needed.
Bambi Collisions Can Raise Your Car Premiums
Fall is deer hunting season, meaning it’s time to hit the brakes for Bambi, and also review your auto insurance.
From September to December, deer migrate and mate, increasing chances of collisions. According to the Insurance Information Institute (III), the top month for deer-vehicle collisions is November, with October second.
Many are serious: An estimated 200 people die in deer-vehicle crashes annually. But even minor collisions will cause costly damage. One large insurer’s claim history indicates that deer hit over one million vehicles in a 12-month period – that’s one million reasons to double check your current policy to be sure you have adequate coverage.
III says the average cost of a deer collision claim totals $2,800. Typically, animal-related damage is covered under comprehensive coverage, not collision, but only if you hit the animal. If you swerve to miss Bambi and hit a tree, guardrail, or other car, it becomes a collision claim.
Although the damage would still be covered under your collision coverage, collision claims are rated the same as at-fault accidents by insurers, which likely means an increase in your premiums. Comprehensive claims – unless several claims are filed around the same time period – won’t generate an increase.
If you have both coverage types, review your deductibles. Raising deductibles is a popular way to save money, but are you ready to pay $1,500 towards deer damage? Even if you answered “yes,” it’s easier to save money by avoiding deer altogether, which you can try to do by following these tips:
Fall Driving Tips
Keep your eyes open between sunset and midnight, and early morning when deer are most active.
If you see one deer, more are likely to follow.
Slow down at deer-crossing sites.
If you have no choice, hit the deer, not another vehicle or object.
Following these tips will help protect you…and hopefully, Bambi.