The Basics of Buying Homeowner Insurance

This is best done as soon as possible so your home is secure. If you do not acquire the right insurance, you could receive a rude awakening if your home were to be destroyed by fire or another natural disaster. Here’s how you acquire insurance:

1. Assess Your Home

The first step in the insurance-buying process is to provide details of your home to your Insurance broker.  Important information to record includes:

  • The year your house was built, square footage and construction material (such as type of shingles, siding etc)
  • Fire Protection i.e how far from a fire hall, are you hydrant protected or unprotected

You must present this information to your insurance broker so you can calculate the right rebuilding value.

2. Meet with a Broker

The insurance professional will help you calculate the rebuilding value of your home. Be aware that the replacement cost of your home may be different than what you paid for the home, due to the possibility of increased labor costs, debris removal, building codes, etc. This is separate from the resale value, which is the amount that would be paid if the house was sold.

Based on the characteristics of your home, the broker will help you choose the best homeowner insurance policy for your needs. You can also enhance your insurance in the following ways:

  • Sewer Back-Up: provides protection for losses that come from problems with a sewer, drain, eaves trough, septic tank, sump, or downspout.
  • Increased Liability: protects you from property damage or injury you may accidentally cause to someone else.
  • Floaters: Your homeowner insurance should cover the basic cost of your valuables if they were to be lost in a fire or theft. If you have valuable items that are worth more, you can enhance your insurance coverage to protect them.
  • Identity Theft: helps cover you in the event of someone committing fraud using your credit card, social insurance number, or driver’s license.

3. Inventory Your Belongings

In order to ensure your limits are adequate, make sure you have taken stock of all your belongings so you can get full coverage. Go room to room, recording everything you own. If you find that your belongings are worth significantly more than what your insurance policy would cover, talk to your broker about increasing limits.

Souce: Drayden Insurance LTD

Fires Spread More Quickly in Newer Homes: Report

Kansas City, MO: House fires injure or kill thousands of Americans every year and now they are more likely to burn faster than ever.  A new report found fires spread more quickly in newer homes and homes with newer products and materials – giving people less time to escape.

house-fire“We live in homes that are filled with things that burn fast, burn hot, and put out very deadly gas,” said Jason Rhodes, Overland Park Fire Department Media Manager. “We use more products in our home that are synthetic that are made out of petroleum based products – plastics and synthetic fibers – so those things burn quick and hot.”

Just a few decades ago, home furnishings were made mostly of wood, natural fabrics, and metal.  Those tend to take longer to catch fire than plastics and synthetic materials that are now in carpets, couches, and even cell phones.

The new report from Underwriters’ Laboratory found fires burn more quickly nowadays – especially in newer homes which are built more efficiently.

“There’s a chance that it’s very air tight and it’s also filled with perhaps some light weight construction materials that may not last as long when exposed to fire,” Rhodes said.

Home builders also use less construction materials in new homes.

“They’re lighter in weight, they can span longer distances and they’re very strong.  But in a fire they can collapse much more quickly than conventional wood and that often happens very unexpectedly,” said Ron Hazelton, a home safety expert .

Hazelton is pushing for sprinklers in homes because the report found fires in new homes can become deadly in less than three minutes – much sooner than in older homes.

“Considering what I’m getting in return which is safety for myself and my kids and my wife, I think (a sprinkler system) is a good investment,” Hazelton told 41 Action News via satellite interview.

Besides saving lives, sprinklers can also help prevent the estimated $7 billion in property damage that fires cause each year.

“Studies have shown they can reduce the amount of damage in a home that were to have a fire by up to 70%,” said Drew Robbins, Vice President of Jayhawk Fire Sprinkler.

The Lenexa, Kansas, based company told 41 Action News that customers who install sprinkler systems usually don’t live close to a fire station or a hydrant.

“They’re worried about response times from their fire department,” said Robbins.

The National Fire Protection Agency (NFPA), which sets fire safety standards across the country, encourages the use of sprinklers in homes and states on its website that just one sprinkler head can contain 85% of fires .

Each sprinkler head is set to operate at a certain temperature.  A sprinkler system can cost thousands of dollars to install in an average sized home being built.

“What we see in the Midwest is normally about $1.50 to $3 a square foot depending on finishes, customizations,” Robbins said, who points out that costs go up to retrofit an existing home with sprinklers.

Article courtesy of Scripps Media. Written by Patrick Fazio of KSHB Kansas City. Based on a report from Underwriters’ Laboratory.

Controversy over women denied home insurance because of foster children

A Montreal mother says she is shocked and outraged that after insuring her home with Wawanesa Insurance for 10 years, the company will cancel her coverage because she has more than two foster children.

“I was floored. I couldn’t believe that a company could actually cancel your policy because you have foster children.”

The woman, whom CBC News has agreed not to name in order to protect the identity of her five foster children, received a letter from Wawanesa informing her that her home insurance will be terminated next month.

“Due to the risk of aggravating circumstances, we find ourselves under the obligation to cancel your house insurance to respect our underwriting norms,” the letter from Wawanesa read.

The letter came after the family got a call from the company to update her file.

“They asked, ‘Do you have anybody in the house living with you who is not part of your immediate family?’ So I said I have foster children … and this is what I get for it,” she said.

The woman said she has been taking in foster children for years, and in the 10 years she’s been a client with Wawanesa she was never aware of its policy.

Underwriting rules ‘clear’

A representative from Wawanesa would not comment on this specific case, but told CBC News its rules are clear.

“Wawanesa Insurance, like every other insurance [company], we all have underwriting rules. These rules determine what we insure and what we don’t. Our underwriting rule for households which house foster children is that we insure homes with two or less foster children,” said Thierry Gamelin, marketing manager at Wawanesa.

The family, which must now find another company to insure their home by July 11, calls it discriminatory.

“We’ve never, ever put a claim in to Wawanesa at all. This is the first time I’ve heard of any discrimination for foster kids. There are families out there that are trying to help other children have a stable life and not be labelled, and here the insurance company is labelling us for having foster children, and cancelling our insurance for it,” she said.

The Quebec Federation of Foster Families, which places foster children with families, said it has heard of this situation occurring before, but not often.

“The insurance companies can set the rules they want. If they assume more than two [foster children] are riskier, it is their choice,” said the federation’s vice-president Robert Pagé.

The Insurance Board of Canada told CBC News that it can help families find the insurance coverage that is right for them.

Source: CBC News

ILScorp offers specialized continuing education for Life & A/S insurance agents as well as on line insurance training for general insurance agents.

Stay tuned to the latest in Insurance news by subscribing to ILStv’s daily or weekly newsletters.

Follow ILSTV on Twitter @ilstv 

Title insurance protects the equity in your home

Insuring the ownership of your property, referred to as title insurance, is just as important as insuring your property and its contents from physical loss or damage.

Moving.away_.from_.home_

Incidents of real estate title fraud are increasing in Canada and homeowners and lenders are proving to be irresistible targets for fraud artists.

But homeowners and lenders can protect themselves by obtaining a title insurance policy.

Legal ownership in property is evidenced by the title to the property being placed into your name. The government land registration records will reflect you as the owner and anyone searching those records will also recognize you as the owner.

You should protect that ownership and therefore, protect one of your most prized assets—your home.

In a typical example of a real estate title fraud, the fraud artist obtains title to a property via a fraudulent transfer document or deed.

He or she goes to a bank and obtains the mortgage funds. The mortgage is then registered against the property.

When no mortgage payments are subsequently made, the lender will serve notice that it intends to sell the property, and the scheme is revealed to the legitimate owner when they receive the notice that the lender is trying to sell their property.

Thieves often target properties that are mortgage free and where owners have a good credit rating. This allows them to apply for a significant mortgage.

Generally, the losses to homeowners can be catastrophic with the homeowners paying thousands of dollars in legal fees to defend their title and lenders often losing the full amount of their mortgage.

Although it’s difficult to pinpoint an exact number, one association suggests that mortgage fraud amounts to $1.5 billion a year across Canada.

Most lending institutions now require title insurance upon registration of your mortgage with the lawyer/notary for either purchasing or refinancing your home.

This requirement is to protect only the lender in the event of real estate fraud. It would be prudent to have a separate policy to protect yourself in the case of any of the above fraudulent acts.

Should you already have a mortgage in place on your home, and not have title insurance to protect yourself, it’s not too late to do so.

All you have to do is contact your lawyer or notary public for assistance and to understand the benefits of title insurance.

The cost is actually inexpensive relative to protecting one of your most valued assets. After all, you insure your life to protect your family so why not insure your home to protect you from losing your financially precious equity

By Trish Balaberde, Darwyn Sloat, Kristin Rosdal  - Kelowna Capital News

Stay tuned to the latest in Insurance news by subscribing to ILStv’s daily or weekly newsletters.

Follow ILSTV on Twitter @ ilstv 

The ILS Homeowners Insurance Policy courses are designed for insurance agents and adjustors, and are NOW INCLUDED in the ILS General and Adjuster Subscriptions!

These courses are accredited in BC, Alberta, Manitoba, and Saskatchewan.

 

Insured against floods? Think again

Flooding worries are on many minds following the dramatic events in Sherbrooke, Quebec last week and as rain starts to fall in Alberta this spring. But homeowners looking to insulate themselves from flood damage can’t look to Canadian insurance companies for help.

flood

According to the Insurance Board of Canada, 61 per cent of Canadians think their home insurance covers them in case of overland flooding.

Sixty one per cent of Canadians are wrong

The IBC’s Pierre Babinksy says insurers in Canada don’t offer protection against flooding because they think floods, unlike fires, earthquakes or hurricanes, are what he calls “certainties.”

“It’s very difficult to assess the risk in order to quantify it and in order to capitalize accordingly cover any damages that would be incurred,” he says.

However, flooded homeowners can usually seek assistance from their municipalities, which are in charge of distributing federal and provincial flood aid.

Babinsky does encourage homeowners to contact their insurers in all cases of water damage in order to see if they are eligible for reimbursement.

Source: CJAD News

ILScorp has partnered with the Restoration Industry Association to provide a Basic Water Loss Training Course. This entry-level online training program addressing broad knowledge for those interested in the practice of water damage restoration. One of the main goals of a water loss restorer is to return the building that has been affected by a water intrusion back to a safe indoor environment.  This online course is excellent training for new water loss field staff, administrative, HR, marketing staff and restoration professionals

Go online at www.ilscorp.com or call us a 1-800-404-2211 to join the more than 23,000 other Canadian insurance professionals who are learning with ILScorp every year.

Chase To Pay Out $300 Million Over Home Insurance Allegations

jp-morgan-chase

On Friday, a federal judge signed off on a settlement that will have JPMorgan Chase paying out at least $300 million to around 750,000 mortgage borrowers. It’s the first of what could be several large settlements with major lenders over the issue of forced-place insurance.

When you have a mortgage but your insurance lapses, your mortgage servicer will go out and get insurance for you. This forced-place insurance generally comes at a much higher rate and with less coverage than what a homeowner would get on her own.

The class-action lawsuit had alleged that the high rates on forced-place policies purchased by Chase weren’t just a matter of the insurance company, Assurant, charging more, but also of the bank receiving kickbacks and commissions. Thus, the plaintiffs claimed that Chase had a financial stake in seeing that homeowners were charged a higher premium.

According to the settlement, Chase can not earn commissions on forced-place insurance for six years. The bank says that it “stopped accepting commissions several years ago.”

Payments to affected mortgage borrowers will be equivalent to 12.5% of the net premium.

Similar lawsuits are pending against Citigroup, Wells Fargo, Bank of America and HSBC.

Assurant has already settled a class-action for $14 million. Neither it nor Chase has admitted any wrongdoing.

Fees on forced-place insurance has come under fire in recent years, with some advocates and regulators concerned that charging homeowners a premium on something they are having trouble affording at a lower price is just pushing some further toward foreclosure.

The Federal Housing Finance Agency is reportedly considering a rule change that would prohibit lenders who earn commissions and fees from forced-place insurance from doing business with mortgage-backers Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

Source: Consumerist

Connect with ILScorp on facebook and on Twitter at @ILSCorp.
Page 2 of 2112345...1020...Last »

Subscribe To Our Newsletter

Join our mailing list to receive the latest news and updates from ILSTV

You have Successfully Subscribed!

Pin It on Pinterest