Flood Insurance – Do You Really Need It?

November 28th, 2010

Let’s learn from experience

Don’t let this happen to you:  As the waters rose last September, so did the number of homeowners with water damage and no flood insurance protection.  The rain was relentless and overwhelming as it forced evacuations, closed schools and wreaked havoc among thousands of homeowners.  When it was over, many counties were declared major disaster areas and many people were left wondering if they would ever recover from the flood losses.   Unfortunately, many may not fully recover.  Why?  Because basic home policies generally don’t cover flooding.

Most mortgage lenders require you to have flood insurance if you live in a flood plain, but typically, one-quarter or more of flood-damage claims are for homes where flood insurance is optional.  Bottom line: If you own property you should consider Oregon flood insurance. Here are a few reasons why:

If just three inches of water gets into your home, replacing drywall, baseboards, carpet, furniture and making necessary repairs can cost an estimated $7,800, according to the National Flood Insurance Program.

Eighteen inches of water will require repairs to the electrical, heating and cooling systems, as well as replacement of doors, appliances and cabinetry. Total costs could top $25,000.  The average flood claim is more than $33,000.

Oregon Flood insurance generally covers homeowners, business owners and renters for these types of losses typically not covered by homeowners policies.  More information on the National Flood Insurance Program, including an interactive guide to assess your flood risk, is available online.  Learn the facts, they can help you make sure your home and property are covered because if it rains it could flood. Read the rest of this Oregon home insurance article »

Earthquake Insurance

August 16th, 2010

Many wonder if they should choose to add earthquake insurance to there home insurance policies.  Most choose not to, but after reading this article you may feel differently about adding earthquake insurance to your home insurance policy.

Only about one in five Oregon homeowners have earthquake insurance, state officials say.   Among Farmers Insurance policyholders, it’s one in eight, says Jerry Davies, a company spokesman.  It’s a low pickup rate for a state that’s among the three likeliest to suffer a severe quake.

More than three centuries ago, the last great Cascadia Subduction Zone quake struck offshore.   Scientists think it was a magnitude 9.0.

They’ve documented 40 similarly huge earthquakes over 10,000 years along the fault, says Chris Goldfinger, head of the Active Tectonics and Seafloor Mapping Laboratory at Oregon State University. On only seven occasions did the time between earthquakes span more than 300 years.

Research by Goldfinger for the U.S. Geological Survey puts the odds of a powerful earthquake off the southern Oregon coast in the next 50 years at one in three, Goldfinger says.  That’s a lot higher odds than the Oregon lottery.  Earthquake insurance is looking better!

Earthquake Insurance Portland Oregon

When the big earthquake hits, it could be stronger than those that have devastated Haiti or Chile.  Geologists say the ground here could shake for four minutes.   Soon after, a tsunami will wreck the low-lying coastline.  Landslides, fires and hazardous spills will follow, possibly along a “hot spot” like the oil tank farms along the Willamette River in Portland. We’ll feel aftershocks for months, too — some up to magnitude 7.

And it doesn’t have to be The Big One to hobble your home.  Strong earthquakes centered in Washington’s Puget Sound area have caused damage in Portland.

Linda Mark, 36, bought her first house in February.  But she started shopping for earthquake insurance in November — pre-Haiti and Chile.  “I knew the Portland housing earthquake risk,” the Southeast Portland resident says.  “I don’t want to be stuck with a mortgage and a house I couldn’t live in.” Read the rest of this Oregon home insurance article »

Fire Insurance For Landlords

February 28th, 2010

Many Oregon homeowners are thinking about fire insurance in a new light these days.  Unable to sell, homeowners are increasingly becoming landlords.

Are you having trouble selling your home in today’s real estate market and thinking about becoming a landlord?  If so, you’re not alone.  A growing number of Oregon homeowners who need to relocate for a job or other reason are renting their homes instead of selling them in the current market.

Keep in mind that when you become a landlord, your property becomes a place of business and its fire insurance requirements change.  For example, you would need a fire insurance policy for landlords to cover the property and protect you if anyone is hurt on or in the property.

Fire Insurance

There are many choices with landlord policies these days.  Typically they would cover the building in case it’s damaged or destroyed by:

Fire

Explosion

Lightning

Windstorm*

Hail damage*

There are important optional coverages you may want to consider such as: Read the rest of this Oregon home insurance article »

Oregon House Insurance – Protects Your Castle

December 21st, 2009

You hear it on the news, read it in the paper: Oregon House values are dropping.  According to Zillow, home values nationally are now down 21% from their peak in the second quarter of 2006.

What’s a homeowner to do?

Though it may seem to follow that lower Oregon house values might go hand in hand with less Oregon house insurance coverage, that’s not true.  Why?  Well, guess what’s not going down: the cost of rebuilding and repairing Oregon houses.

Many of us are looking to reduce expenses, but before you cut back on your Oregon house insurance coverage, consider why you have house insurance.

Oregon House Insurance

Lets say your house is damaged or destroyed by certain unexpected, accidental events, such as a fire, a lightning strike, or a windstorm, or the like, more than likely you will want to repair or rebuild your house.  Most people can’t afford to rebuild their house on their own without financial help.  Your Oregon house insurance policy is there to help by paying you for covered damage so you have the money for repairs.

Whether your policy provides coverage on a replacement cost or actual cash value basis is of critical importance.  Although there is some variation depending on individual state law and specific policy terms, in general:

* Replacement cost is the amount it would take to repair or replace your home with equivalent construction and with materials of like kind and quality — without deducting for depreciation (the difference between what your property was worth “new” versus “used”).

* Actual cash value is the amount it would take to repair or replace your home with materials of like kind and quality — less depreciation. For example, in determining the actual cash value of a roof replacement the insurance company would deduct depreciation for the age of a 17-year-old roof with a 20-year life expectancy. Read the rest of this Oregon home insurance article »

Oregon Property Insurance – What You Should Know

October 20th, 2009

Oregon property insurance is a complex product and there’s no harm in doing your homework so you fully understand it.  Most people don’t read a policy until they’ve had a claim denied, and that’s too late.

Finding an insurer

Shop a few different property insurance companies in your area.  Many insurance companies will specialize in a certain area or zip code, while other insurance companies may not be competitive there.  Be sure to check out the companies.  And to compare insurance policies and quotes.

If your state keeps information, complaints or complaint ratios, weigh that too. You can find information about how to contact your state insurance office at www.naic.org.  Make sure the company is on strong financial ground so it will be there if you have to file a claim.  Check its ranking with A.M. Best Company.

Oregon Property Insurance


Your dwelling

You want to be sure that if you had a total loss of your home tomorrow, your insurance policy would pay enough to build the exact same house in the same spot.  Don’t just focus on what you paid for the home.  You want enough insurance to replace it, right down to that funky wallpaper.  It’s common sense, but it’s not what people think about.  You also want to consider how home values and construction costs in your area would affect you if you needed to rebuild.  If you’re living in a community or area where values have been skyrocketing, you want to be sure you have a replacement policy that will provide sufficient resources to rebuild.  If you’ve made any renovations, talk to your agent.  Find out what he or she needs to document the changes and the value you’ve added to your home.

Replacement value

After a loss, if you want the property insurance company to reimburse you for the cost of a new version of your possessions, then you want replacement value insurance for your belongings.  In other words, the company pays you to replace what was lost.  But you might have to request it because not all policies have replacement value as the default coverage.  Beware of policies that promise “fair market” or “cash value.” That means the company will give you the current value of the item, which will include wear and tear and depreciation.  It also can make more work for you during a claim, since you have to substantiate not only the fact that you owned the article, but also what it was worth when you lost it.

It also pays to ask how your company handles claims with replacement value insurance.  Some firms want you to purchase the new item and show a receipt before reimbursement.  If that’s the case, how much time do you have? (If you’re living in a motel room while you rebuild the house, you may not want to replace the giant entertainment system right away.)  And if you decide not to replace the item at all (you never really liked Aunt Minnie’s green frog vase), how will the Oregon property insurance company reimburse you? Read the rest of this Oregon home insurance article »

Home Insurance In Oregon And Ways To Save!

August 17th, 2009

Home insurance in Oregon can vary by hundreds of dollars, depending on the size of your house, amount of coverage, your deductible, and the insurance company you choose.  Many homeowners mistakenly assume that all policies and providers are the same.  This type of thinking could cost you thousands of dollars in the long run.   Here are some ways you can save money:

Home Insurance In Oregon

Shop Around!

Prices vary from company to company, so it pays to shop around.  Get at least three price quotes.  You can call companies directly, or access information via the Internet.  Your state insurance department may also provide comparisons of prices charged by major insurers.

If shopping for home insurance in Oregon, get quotes from different types of insurance companies.  There are three types of insurance companies.

Price alone should not be the determining factor.   Customer service and fair, efficient payment of claims are also important.  You should speak to friends and co-workers about their experiences with various providers.  Check with your state insurance department to research consumer complaint ratios.

Keep in mind: if you have a serious claim, these are the people you will be relying on to help you through it.

Home Insurance In Oregon – Way’s To Save!

Raise your deductible

A deductible is the amount of money that you have to pay toward a loss before your insurance company starts to pay a claim.  The higher your deductible, the more money you save on your premium.  Consider a deductible of at least $1,000.   If you can afford to raise it to $1,500, you may save as much as 25%. Read the rest of this Oregon home insurance article »

Oregon Home Owner Insurance Protects You

August 16th, 2009

Protect your belongings

Basic Oregon home owner insurance covers the contents of a house–furniture, clothing, electronic equipment, musical instruments, and so on–for a total of up to 50 percent of the value of the policy.  The home’s contents are typically insured at “cost.” That means if your possessions are damaged, you’ll be reimbursed for their depreciated value, not for what it would take to replace them.  Insurance experts recommend that you buy “replacement” coverage for about 10 percent more, which means your possessions will be replaced with brand new ones.  Also consider raising personal-effects coverage to 75 percent of the home’s value, although this might not be necessary if a recent reevaluation raised the amount of your property coverage. (In that case, the insurance on your belongings will have gone up as well.)

Valuables like jewelry, artwork, antiques, and coin or stamp collections are not fully protected by regular homeowners policies.  Jewelry, for instance, is limited to about $1,500 to $2,500 in coverage. So consider having your rare and expensive property appraised, then buy a separate floater policy that guarantees full dollar value.  Expect to pay about $17 per $1,000 in coverage.

Oregon Home Owner Insurance

Don’t make small claims

Not surprisingly, Oregon home owner insurance companies are cautious about claims.  With increasing frequency, they are adding surcharges on premiums at renewal–or some may even drop your policy altogether–for a single claim in the past year.  They’re taking a much closer look at claims activity and have a shorter fuse about it, says Terry McConnell, vice president and manager of personal lines underwriting at Erie Insurance in Erie, Pa.

So it often makes sense not to submit claims that exceed your deductible by just a few hundred dollars.  Paying for the loss yourself might cost you less than the premium increase you’ll probably face later. Most claims–and sometimes even conversations with insurers about damage, particularly water-related, that don’t result in actual claims–are reported to the CLUE (Comprehensive Loss Underwriting Exchange) database maintained by ChoicePoint, a company that provides services to insurers.  Consumers are entitled to one free copy of their CLUE report annually (for more information, go to www.choicetrust.com and click on CLUE Reports).  Homeowners should read these files carefully, and immediately dispute errors or submit a written statement that fully explains any large losses.

ChoicePoint also takes data from a consumer’s credit reports to produce a Home Insurance Score, which is used by insurers to determine whether the customer is a good risk. Because most insurers rely on the same scores when making underwriting decisions, it’s more than likely you will pay quite a bit more to purchase insurance from a new carrier if your company decides not to renew your policy.

Oregon Home Owner Insurance For Less

Here are some other steps you can take to protect your home while keeping your coverage costs in check. Read the rest of this Oregon home insurance article »

Oregon Home Owners Insurance – Much More Than You Think!

August 3rd, 2009

Most people think of Oregon home owners insurance as providing coverage for the risk of fire.  These policies do indeed cover the risk of loss by fire, but most cover much more.  One may be surprised by what coverage you have on your home.

Oregon Home Owners Insurance

Oregon home owners insurance is not required by law, but mortgage lenders require you to have it and to name the lender as loss payee at least to the extent of the loan.  The “mortgage clause” is usually printed on the back of the Declarations Page.

The Declarations Page

Every policy has a Declarations Page that, literally, declares what the policy covers, how much it will pay for a loss, what the deductible (if any) is, and what the premium is for each portion of the coverage.  To understand what really is covered you must look beyond the Declarations Page and read the body of the policy.  Many insurers have worked very hard to make Oregon home owners insurance policies more easily understood–by using plain language and by laying out the various descriptions of coverage on color-coded pages.  It is worth your time to read your policy.

The Coverage

Oregon home owners insurance policies provide the following types of coverage.

* Loss to buildings (for example, house and garage),

* Loss of personal property (contents of the house and garage, but not vehicles),

* Additional living expenses (to cover the cost of living elsewhere while your house is repaired or rebuilt), and

* Scheduled personal property such as jewelery, stamps and coins.  This type of insurance is called “first party insurance” because it is insurance that covers you, the policyholder.  This covers you for, among other things, damage to your house caused by fire and lightning, impact by aircraft or land vehicle, riots, windstorms, hail, water, burglary and theft, vandalism and the weight of ice and snow!  Scheduled property is described by the homeowner in a schedule attached to the policy.  If you don’t “schedule” such property it may be subject to quite low coverage amounts.

The coverage for loss of personal property may include property of a student who is an insured “principally dependent” on the policyholder while the student is residing away from the home in connection with full-time studies. It may also include your personal property while temporarily away from the insured house or uninsured personal property of others while it is in the your possession.  So, if you borrow your friend’s plasma TV for the weekend and it falls off its stand into your hot tub, you may have some coverage.  In this situation, if your friend’s insurance policy covered the TV, his insurer would pay to replace it, but then claim against you for that cost.  The liability portion of your home insurance policy would then come into play because the claim then becomes a third party claim. Read the rest of this Oregon home insurance article »

Oregon Homeowners Insurance – What Matters?

July 28th, 2009

At Oregon Home Insurance Search.com, we know what matters to you most.  That’s why we specialize in providing Oregon homeowners insurance quotes based on your specific needs. Complete the form above and let us help you protect everything you’ve worked so hard to achieve.

Oregon Homeowners Insurance

Oregon homeowners insurance can help you with your peace of mind, knowing that in the event of a covered loss, your damaged home will be rebuilt and your destroyed belongings will be replaced. Types of coverages include:

* Dwellings and other structures
For most of us, our home is the single largest investment we will make.  Oregon homeowners insurance provides coverage for damage to your home and other structures on your property such as a shed or detached garage. For Oregon townhouse owners, your townhouse and separate structures are covered for almost any type of damages except for a few common exclusions, such as wear and tear, earth movement, flood, nuclear hazard and earthquake.

* Dwelling Improvements, Alterations, and Additions
Oregon condominium owners are covered for accidental damage to improvements you make in your unit for which your association’s policy does not provide coverage, subject to your condo insurance policy limits.

* Loss assessment
Oregon condominium owners will also receive money for assessments arising from covered damage. This can be used to pay for your share of property damage or injury awards for which your association’s policy does not provide coverage. Typically, up to $50,000 is available, but this may vary depending on your policy.

* Personal Property
Oregon Homeowners insurance also provides coverage for your household contents and personal belongings. You may think your couch, coffee table, sweaters, shoes, coats, TV, VCR and CD player aren’t worth a lot, but those items all add up when you have to replace them.

* Personal Liability
Finally, in the event someone is injured on your property or you damage property that belongs to others, you could be held legally liable for the injury or damage. An Oregon homeowners insurance policy provides liability coverage and personal property insurance should this ever occur.

Oregon Homeowners Insurance – What if I don’t have it?

Without Oregon homeowners insurance, you’ll be responsible for protecting your property, possessions and liability exposure. Read the rest of this Oregon home insurance article »

Oregon Home Insurance – What To Look For!

July 2nd, 2009

Great news!  Oregon home insurance quotes are within easy reach – for FREE!

OregonHomeInsuranceSearch.com has made it easy for people to find the coverage they need at an affordable price.  You may be able to save hundreds of dollars a year on homeowners insurance by shopping around.  And here at OregonHomeInsuranceSearch.com, you can shop many of the top Oregon insurance carriers by filling out one short form!

Here’s how our service works:

1. Complete the form above to request free Oregon home insurance quotes from local insurers.
2. Receive home insurance quotes and then compare options.
3. Pick the best policy for you.

Save time and money on the right Oregon homeowner’s insurance-just enter your ZIP code to start your free Oregon home insurance quote.  Hey, we know that shopping for insurance won’t be the most exciting thing you’ll do today. That’s why we make it as painless and simple as possible.  Happy Shopping!

Oregon Home Insurance Tips And Information

You can also save money with these helpful tips.

*  Consider a higher deductible.  Increasing your deductible by just a few hundred dollars can make a big difference in your premium.

*  Ask your insurance agent about discounts.  You may be able to get a lower premium if your home has safety features such as dead-bolt locks, smoke detectors, an alarm system, storm shutters or fire retardant roofing material.  Persons over 55 years of age or long-term customers may also be offered discounts.

*  Insure your house, NOT the land under it.  After a disaster, the land is still there.  If you don’t subtract the value of the land when deciding how much homeowner’s insurance to buy, you will pay more than you should.

*  Don’t wait till you have a loss to find out if you have the right type and amount of insurance.

*  Make certain you purchase enough coverage to replace what is insured. “Replacement” coverage gives you the money to rebuild your home and replace its contents.  An “Actual Cash Value” policy is cheaper but pays only what your property is worth at the time of loss-your cost minus depreciation for age and wear.

*  Ask about special coverage you might need.  You may have to pay extra for computers, cameras, jewelry, art, antiques, musical instruments, stamp collections, etc.

*  Remember that flood and earthquake damage are not covered by a standard homeowners policy.  The cost of a separate earthquake policy will depend on the likelihood of earthquakes in your area. Homeowners who live in areas prone to flooding should take advantage of the National Flood Insurance Program.

Our mission is to help people find the right Oregon home insurance.  After you fill out the short quote request form, sit back and let the insurance quotes come to you.  Then all you have to do is choose the one that is right for you and your home.

Read the rest of this Oregon home insurance article »