Filing A Homeowners Claim?

Filing a Homeowners Claim? Follow These 4 Easy Steps
If you’re one of the fortunate souls who has never had to file a homeowners insurance claim, be forewarned: the process can be intimidating. However, while it’s important to follow certain procedures, the actual steps are fairly simple. If your house or personal property is damaged or burglarized, here’s what to do:

  1. Contact your insurance company as soon as possible. Tell them what happened, providing as much information as possible. Have your policy number or the name of your agent available. If you are unable to stay in your home, be sure to let them know where you can be reached. Keep in mind some companies offer mobile apps to make filing even easier.
  2. Complete any necessary paperwork. This may sound daunting, but your agent can walk you through it. Required paperwork includes a proof-of-loss form. As well, an adjuster may come to the site to confirm damage and complete a report. If your home was burglarized or vandalized, you’ll also need to file a police report. For your own records, document your contacts with insurance representatives and officers, writing down their names, titles, and dates.
  3. Document damage. Take pictures. Use your home inventory to help with this process. If possible, safely make temporary repairs to protect your property from further damage.
  4. Record your expenses. If you complete temporary repairs or incur additional living expenses, track these costs for reimbursement.

As you complete this process, stay in contact with your insurance agent, who can partner with you to navigate these steps.

Unsure if you should file a claim call your insurance agent first for advice.


Are You Being Served? (And Do You Really Want to Be?)
Being Served

Self-checkout options first appeared in grocery stores more than a decade ago, offering shoppers a “quick” and “easy” alternative to lining up. Now, self-serve alternatives appear everywhere, from fast food restaurants to movie theatres. But do they truly offer consumers ease, speed, and convenience? Maybe not.

In a recent episode of the television show Marketplace, shoppers were provided with identical grocery lists; some were asked to use the self-checkout, while others lined up for a cashier. Interestingly, the cashier was faster, and made fewer mistakes. The show noted that mistakes are common among self-serve customers, who often enter the incorrect code or push the wrong buttons. Employee input is required to fix the mistakes.

The technology does offer companies proven benefits. As Marketplace reported, an early experiment by McDonald’s found that consumers spent an average of 30 percent more when using self-checkouts, possibly because they might be too embarrassed to upsize their order in front of the cashier.

Of course, the self-serve option saves money that would otherwise be spent by businesses to staff checkout lanes, supply desks, and kiosks. According to a report on self-service published by the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation, the cost of an airline staff member check-in is $3. The cost of a passenger checking in via a self-service kiosk is 14 cents.

For many consumers, it’s not about time savings or convenience; it’s about doing it yourself. These days, many shoppers prefer to take control of the process and navigate the checkout or check-in process by themselves.


How to Plan the Best Vacation Ever
Vacay

Summer vacation time is approaching, and now’s the time to start planning. Vacations aren’t a luxury; they’re crucial. Spend the time, and money, to make it great for everyone. Book good hotels. Consider nonstop flights. Fill your itinerary with must-see items.

Consult the kids. Going on vacation is a team effort. Choose activities with everyone – including you – in mind. Go to where the locals are and enjoy what they enjoy. The kids will love the energy, and you’ll love giving them the chance learn about other cultures.

Strike up conversations with strangers; it’s amazing what you can discover from other travelers.

Be active. We all spend too much time in front of screens. Swim. Snorkel. Surf. The key to your relaxation-and rejuvenation-could be breaking a sweat.

But embrace the quiet, too. Not every trip should be a meticulously planned whirlwind educational tour. Plan some time to be alone as a family. It’s something everyone will enjoy…and remember.


Sewage: The Importance of Having a Backup Plan
If you’ve experienced a sewer backup, you’re not alone. The Civil Engineering Research Foundation tells us this major inconvenience is increasing at a rate of 3 percent annually. What’s happening? There are several factors that typically contribute to this issue.

  • For one thing, aging systems don’t work like they used to. The American Society of Civil Engineers reports that the average age of U.S. sewer lines is over 30 years.
  • Combined pipelines fail to prevent backups. Some systems drain both storm water and raw sewage. When a big storm hits, they can’t always handle the volume.
  • Systems get uprooted. Tree roots often grow around or through pipes, causing damage.
  • Sanitary main blockages occur. When the city’s sanitary main backs up, many homes can be affected.

Fortunately, insurance coverage is available to assist homeowners with this less-than-pleasant event. Typically you can add sewer backup coverage to your insurance for $40 to $50 annually. Of course, you’d like to avoid the disaster altogether. Here are some actions you can take to prevent sewer backups before they happen:

  • Don’t pour grease down the drain. Even if it passes through your system, it will solidify in the main sewer line, eventually causing a clog.
  • Trim your trees. It’s not the branches you need to worry about; tree roots can require occasional trimming to prevent pipe damage.
  • Use plastic piping. This will provide further protection against tree roots.
  • Avoid illegal connections. It is illegal to connect French drains (weeping tile), sump pumps, and other flood-control systems to your sanitary sewer.
  • Use a backwater prevention valve. This valve prevents backflow, allowing sewage to flow out but not in.

Unfortunately, these precautions don’t guarantee a backup-free zone. If a backup does occur, you should photograph the affected areas, make a list of losses, and track all your expenses for repairs, cleaning, and other costs. But most important: contact your insurance company ASAP!

September 2nd, 2016 by Lightship Insurance