ADDITIONAL HOMEOWNERS INSURANCE OPTIONS 

There are different “options” or endorsements you may choose to add to your Homeowners Policy here in Oregon. One of the most important extensions of coverage for your home is increasing the limit on Water back up and Sump overflow. Additionally in extension options is Fungus, Wet Rot, Dry Rot, and Bacteria. Normally, policies exclude coverage for the presence, growth, spread of any of these things. 

Water Backup and Sump Overflow

What is the Water Backup and Sump Overflow Endorsement? This endorsement provides coverage for damage resulting from water which backs up through sewers or drains or which overflows from a sump, french drain or sump pump, even if the sump pump fails.

An HO3 Homeowners Policy automatically comes with a $5,000 limit for these instances; However, we find that typically isn’t enough. Here at Graybeal Group, every Policy that we write includes a Water Backup and Sump Overflow Endorsement, increasing your limit/coverage to $10,000.

Why should I add this Endorsement?

Depending on the location and age of your home, oftentimes when sewer pipes age and fail it can cause water to reverse course and flow back into your drain, causing damage. Alternatively, sump pumps can fail or become inundated with water from a storm run off, resulting in a damaged foundation or flooded basement.

Water backup can create costly damage to drywall, floors, floor coverings, furniture, personal items, curtains, etc. In the event of this type of claim, we want to ensure that you are not having to pay out of pocket for water remediation.

Loss of Use Coverage

Sump failure typically doesn’t make your home unlivable – in other words, despite the damage, you are still able to live in your home while repairs and cleaning take place. However, in the rare occasion that the damage is too extensive and it makes your home uninhabitable, having water backup coverage would qualify you for Loss of Use coverage.

For example:

A storm flooded your basement, causing water damage to your furnace. It is 27 degrees outside and you are unable to heat your home.

Loss of Use covers additional living expenses, above and beyond a person’s normal living expenses, as well as loss of rent, if that’s the case. If approved by your claims adjuster, this coverage would allow you to occupy a hotel that is paid for by your insurance until the home becomes livable.

How to best prevent water backups

  • Restrain from pouring cooking grease or oils down your drain.
  • Don’t flush paper towels, feminine products, etc.
  • Check your Sump Pump regularly and look for pre-existing drainage issues.
  • If you live in an older home, install a backwater prevention valve.

Fungus, Wet Rot, Dry Rot, and Bacteria

The limits listed are the aggregate limit. Meaning, that limit is the max amount that the insurance company will pay out during a policy period – regardless of how many claims are made, the number of additional locations insured under this endorsement, or the number of occurrences.

Section I Property Coverage limit of liability for the Additional Coverage Fungi, Wet Rot, Dry Rot, or Bacteria $10,000
Section II Coverage E aggregate sub-limit of liability (damages others) for Fungi, Wet Rot, Dry Rot, or Bacteria $50,000

 

Fungi is classified as any type or form of fungus, including mold or mildew, and any mycotoxins, spores, scents or by-products produced or released by fungi. 

What is covered if fungi, wet/dry rot or bacteria is found? 

Often times there is extensive damage that is unseen. When filing a claim for fungi, wet/dry rot or bacteria damage, the cost of removal is covered. Additionally covered, is the cost to tear out and replace any part of the building or other covered property as needed to gain access to the fungi, wet/dry rot, or bacteria.

The cost of testing for air quality or property to confirm the absence, presence or level of fungi, wet/dry rot or bacteria may be provided only to the extent that there is a reason to believe that there is the presence of any of it. This testing may be performed prior to, during or after removal, repair, restoration, or replacement. 

Loss payable Section I- Property Coverage

Things to be aware of with this endorsement: the coverage only applies when such loss or costs are a result of a peril insured against and only if all reasonable means were used to save and preserve the property from further damage at and after the time of loss. Also, if there is a constant or repeated seepage or leakage of water or the presence or condensation of humidity, moisture or vapor, over a period of weeks, months or years unless such seepage or leakage and the resulting damage is unknown to all insureds and is hidden within walls, ceilings, or under floors.

 

 

 

Homeowners Insurance: What is it and how am I covered?

Does my homeowner’s insurance cover this? The question that many insurance agents receive every day from their customers. In the next few paragraphs we are going to provide a quick overview of what your Homeowners Insurance Policy covers, and what may be excluded. 

There are four parts to your homeowner’s policy.

    1. Coverage A- Dwelling
    2. Coverage B- Other Structures
    3. Coverage C- Personal Property
    4. Coverage D- Loss of Use.
COVERAGE A- Dwelling

Dwelling coverage provides coverage for the physical home itself. Coverage A can also provide coverage for supplies and materials that are used in construction, repair, or to alter the dwelling and/or other structures located on the insured’s premises, these materials must be located on or next to the premises.

COVERAGE B- Other Structures

Other structures on the insured’s premises that are apart from the main dwelling, defined by a clear space between – ei: shop, shed, barn, or free standing garage. If the structure is attached to the main dwelling via utility line or fence, etc it’s considered detached and will be covered under Coverage B. You may wonder what is my limit and how is it calculated? Other Structures limit is 10% of your Coverage A (Dwelling) limit. In other words, if your Dwelling(Coverage A) is insured at $300K, your Other Structures (Coverage B) limit would be $30k.

Coverage A: $300,000.00 x 10% = Coverage B $30,000.00

There are exclusions for Coverage B and it is important to understand what they are. If you are unsure if your property may not be covered, ask your agent. If your “Other Structures” are being used for business purposes, being rented or held for rent to someone who does not reside in your home, coverage on this structure is excluded. One exception is if the structure is being used as a private garage only. If it’s being used as a private garage only, the renter does not have to reside on the premises for this “other structure” to be covered. 

COVERAGE C- Personal Property

Personal Property can cover your property while being physically at your home or anywhere in the world. Personal Property can range from furniture, electronics and clothing, camping gear and at times the property of a house guest if applied to your policy upon issue. This type of coverage helps pay to repair or replace your belongings after a covered loss, such as theft or fire.

The limit of coverage for Personal Property is 50% of your Dwelling limit (Coverage A). If your Dwelling limit(Coverage A) is $300K, your Personal Property limit (Coverage C) is $150K. 

Coverage A: $300,000.00 x 50% = Coverage C $150,000.00

Personal property away from the premises coverage limit is 10% or $1,000.00 of your Dwelling (Coverage A), whichever is more. Coverage away from the premise is strictly for the insured’s property, this does not apply to guests.  

In your homeowners’ policy, there are special limits of insurance. In other words, maximum limits that are designated for certain items. 

See table below: 

Maximum Limit of Coverage Amount   Items included 
$2500 Business personal property at the residence
$1500 Personal records, deeds, securities, passports, stamps, letters of credit, notes (other than bank notes), accounts, proofs of debt, tickets, and manuscripts. Also included is the cost to replace, research, or restore the lost/damaged information
$1500 Trailers not used with watercraft
$1500 Watercraft, including trailers, equipment, and outboard motors (an outboard motor is a propulsion system for boats, consisting of a self-contained unit that includes engine, gearbox and propeller or jet drive, designed to be affixed to the outside of the transom)
$1500 Electronic apparatus while in, on, or away from a motor vehicle, as long as it can be operated from the motor vehicle power source and retains its ability to be operated from a power source other than the motor vehicle. Includes tapes, wires, disks, records, and other media 
$500 Business property away from the insured premises
$200 Bank notes, money, gold (not goldware), silver (not silverware), coins, platinum, medals, and bullion (Bullion is gold, silver, or other precious metals in the form of bars or ingots.

 

There are also types of property that are subject to a max amount of coverage if they are stolen. See table below for those items and their max coverage amounts.

Maximum amount of coverage Type of Property
$2500 Firearms
$2500 Gold-ware, Silverware, and Pewter-ware
$1500 Furs, watches, jewelry, precious and semi-precious stones

Jewelry, Firearms, Antiques, or my Watercraft Trailer… Is this covered? In continuance of your Homeowners’ Policy’s Personal Property section, you have the option to have Scheduled vs Non-Scheduled property. Scheduled Personal Property can be a great benefit for those who have higher amounts of assets. Scheduled personal property is a supplemental insurance policy that extends coverage beyond the standard protection provided in a homeowners’ insurance policy. By purchasing a scheduled personal property policy, owners can ensure full coverage of expensive items, such as jewelry or firearms, in the event of a claim.

For example,  Steve has a Non-Scheduled policy and has a collection of firearms amounting to a retail total of $7,200. In the event that his home was broken into and all firearms were stolen, only $2,500 of this property would be covered/paid out. If Steve had Scheduled this Personal Property, these items would be covered and replace on a Replacement Cost valuation. (The limit you insured each item for)

COVERAGE D- Loss of Use

What exactly does this mean? Loss of use coverage is applicable when a residence or dwelling becomes uninhabitable due to damage that has been caused by a covered cause of loss. 

There are few different scenarios that would cause this coverage to kick in: 

1) Cost of Living Expenses: If the dwelling suffers a covered loss and is uninhabitable, the insurance company will reimburse the insured for the (necessary) increased cost of living expenses to keep a normal standard of living – while the property is being restored/repaired. This is referred to as Additional Living Expense. 

2) Fair Rental Value: If the loss occurred on the part of the residence premises that is rented out to others, the insurance company will pay the fair rental value while the building is repaired. Payments will be for the shortest time to repair/replace. 

Lastly, if civil authority doesn’t allow you to access your dwelling/premises because of damage to a neighboring dwelling, the insurance company will pay Fair Rental Value or Additional Living Expenses for up to two weeks. 

Understand your insurance and what it covers! Let our team of experts at Graybeal Group Inc. review your current coverage and create an Insurance Protection Plan that’s suited just for you at a price you can afford!

If you have any questions or would like further explanation, call our office at 541-567-5523, or email our Lead – Home and Auto Agent  Ana@graybealgroup.com

I’m pretty confident that if you asked anyone who has ever owned a rental property you would get an overwhelming response that it’s not as lucrative or easy as they thought it would be. In fact, owning a rental property can be a major pain, and end up costing you a ton of money!

I certainly don’t mean to be a “Debbie Downer”, and I know that if it’s done right it can be lucrative, but from an insurance agent’s perspective, I don’t see a lot of people doing it right.

So you’re probably thinking, “Well Chris, you are an insurance agent. What do you know about real estate or rental properties? Why should I take advice from you?”

I’m not a real estate agent, and I don’t own a rental property. However, several of my friends/family/clients/co-workers own rentals, and because I insure a bunch of their properties, I’ve had a first hand account of the process, and I’ve learned what to do, and what not to do.

Continue reading →

I was recently asked this question by one of our Graybeal Group, Inc. clients, and thought I would share the answer here for our readers.

There are a lot of things that go into homeowners and auto insurance rates, one of them being credit. I’ve heard a lot of complaints from people who don’t like the fact that insurance companies use credit in their underwriting.

Some people have absolutely no idea that it’s used in the rate at all.

At the end of the day, there’s not much we can do about it though. Insurance companies have been using credit in their rates for decades, and that’s not likely to change.

By the way, insurance companies don’t pull your credit like a mortgage company or credit card company does. There is no negative impact on your credit as a result of an insurance company looking at it.

When I say “pull” what I mean is that the insurance company is doing what’s called a soft inquiry, which is not the same thing as having your credit pulled (hard inquiry).

When does credit play a role in insurance rates?
It’s important to understand that insurance companies don’t continuously check or monitor your credit. Usually, they only check it when you first get a quote and/or sign up with them in the very beginning.

This means that if your credit score increases (or decreases) your insurance company does not automatically know about it.

So, to my customers question of whether or not his increased credit score will lower his rates, the answer is not automatically.

What has to be done on our side as the agent is contact the carrier the insurance and ask them to do what’s commonly referred to as a “re-score”. This is when the insurance company can re-run the person’s credit (soft inquiry) to see if there is any positive bearing on the rate.

This isn’t something that the insurance company is going to let the agency do every single year, so it’s not worth even asking unless there has been a significant change in your credit score, and only you as the customer would know if that was the case.

If you’d like to get a better handle on your credit rating, it could be helpful to setup credit monitoring. We hope this was helpful! As always, leave us comment below if you have any questions.

Why do my auto insurance rates keep going up even though my car is getting older?  At Graybeal Group, Inc., many of our clients ask this question so I would like to address it from a couple of angles.

First things first, even though it’s called car/auto insurance, it covers more than just your car. It should technically be called “auto-owners” insurance, similarly to how home insurance is actually called “home owners insurance”.

It’s important to understand that there are a lot of variables that go into insurance premiums, and with auto insurance, it’s no different.

The insurance company is much more concerned with you crashing into someone and causing them (or yourself) bodily harm, or death, than they are about your car. A car is a material possession which can be replaced.

A human life is not.

When is the last time you looked at your auto insurance policy?
If you look at it you’ll notice there are a lot of different coverages on your auto policy.

Bodily injury
Property damage
Un-insured motorist
Under-insured motorist
Medical Payments
Loss of Income
Funeral Expense
Loss of use
Rental Reimbursement

These are all things that you are covered for on your auto policy. How many of them have to do with your car?

None.

How many of them have a price next to them on your policy?

All of them.

Your car isn’t the only thing you’re being charged for on your policy
That’s because auto insurance covers far more important things than your car as mentioned above.

Let me re-phrase that: your car insurance rate isn’t just based on your car.

You’re not the only one…
It’s also important to understand that you are not the only person your insurance company insures. You are one fish in an ocean of other fish, sharks, and sea creatures, all who have different characteristics and risk profiles.

Insurance is all about spreading costs over a large number (risk pool) of people, which each person paying their fare share. That risk pool is constantly changing, and is impacted by a ton of different things, including the overall economic climate.

This means that you are sharing in the cost of millions of other people, many of whom may have poor loss history and/or credit.

That’s what insurance is though — sharing in the cost.

The next time your auto insurance rates go up, take a look at the big picture. Make sure you’re looking at ALL of the coverages, and corresponding rates.

Hope this helps!  If you would like to know more about Car Insurance be sure to visit our page dedicated to it.