- Never hang anything from your pipes
- The weight can break them and cause a flood. Even if you think it’s something small and light, there’s no guarantee that the pipe can withstand it. You also introduce the risk of the item snagging on a passerby and rupturing the pipe.
- Use a strainer to keep hair and other items from clogging pipes
- It might seem easy to let hair and food disappear down the drain but at some point, the accumulated effect will cause it to back up your drainage system. Check drains regularly and remove any items that may have slipped past your strainers.
- Be careful what you flush down the toilet
- Even items labelled “flushable” like flushable baby wipes can cause a problem. Your best option is to stick to waste and toilet paper. Everything else should be discarded in the garbage.
- Avoid abrasive cleaners that can corrode your pipes
- If you’re not sure what material your drain and sewage pipes are made from, have a professional take a look. Harsh cleaners can destroy piping, sometimes so slowly you don’t even know it’s happening until it’s too late.
- Turn off and drain your outdoor faucets before winter arrives
- Avoid burst pipes by draining outdoor pipes that can freeze when the temperature falls. These taps have a drain valve that you open to empty the water inside the pipe. Ensure you do it before the cold weather sets in and not after the first freezing night.
- Don’t wait until a leak is severe before calling a plumber
- It’s easy to procrastinate when you see the first few drips, but a small leak is much easier (and cheaper) to fix than a flooded house. Not to mention the money you’ll save on your water bill.
- Know the location of your main shutoff valve
- Knowing this is not only beneficial for the plumber when he arrives, but can reduce damage if you turn off the main supply as soon as a major leak happens. Take the time to show everyone where it is to reduce the potential for a huge, costly disaster.
It’s likely that at some point, you’ll have to call a plumber in: whether it’s for a leaky faucet, pipe replacement or a new bathroom in your basement. However, you can reduce likelihood of major damage. Here are some ways to reduce the number of visits from your plumber and the severity of your repairs:
A major activity of commercial trucking is transporting cargo. There are two parties with a huge interest in the cargo: the property's owner and the trucking company or independent trucker transporting that property. Usually it is the trucker's responsibility to arrange for insurance since that is the party having custody and control of both the vehicle and the goods being shipped. Motor Truck Cargo coverage responds to a substantial, combined exposure. Specifically, it protects against the liability similar to taking a house full of expensive contents on the road for a long trip.
The coverage is typically written in the name of the independent trucker or trucking firm that owns the transporting vehicle. The policy protects against claims by third parties such as:
Cargo policy limits should reflect the value of the property being shipped. However, many policies restrict coverage by providing a maximum limit for certain perils such as theft. Another restriction is to void any theft coverage if the loss occurs when the covered vehicle is unattended. Such provisions are usually used when commodities such as alcohol, expensive garments, and electronics are being transported. Such goods attract thieves, so insurers are more careful about providing insurance.
The amount and type of coverage may also be affected by various state laws, so coverage should reflect the coverage necessary to comply with the most demanding jurisdiction on the travel route. Insurance companies that offer Motor Cargo Coverage are often very knowledgeable about this type of insurance. They typically also have different preferences for the amount of coverage they wish to write, the type of property they want to cover and the type of shipping companies and/or circumstances.
It is important that, when securing coverage, a trucker or trucking company be certain they receive the help of an insurance agent who is qualified to understand what coverage is needed and what is being offered by various insurers.
Insurance companies use different sources of information about a person that supplements an application. For auto coverage, motor vehicle reports are ordered. For home coverage, physical inspections may be needed. Another tool that is widely used for underwriting is credit-based scoring. While once controversial, this method has gained public acceptance. Its origin lies in the commercial use of credit histories.
Banks and other lenders have long used credit history in their lending process. A discovery then occurred which prompted a new use. For some reason, certain elements of a person’s credit history are predictive of whether that person is likely to suffer insurance claims. A credit-based score is developed from information such as amount of debt, number of credit cards held, pattern of payments, defaults, etc. Credit-based scores are used to help decide the acceptability of applicants. They may also help a company choose to modify the premium charged to existing clients.
Insurers, after battles with regulators and consumers regarding the use of such information, routinely use credit-based scoring. It is hailed as an aide to improve their pricing and profitability. However, there is a reluctance to provide details on how scores are developed. Companies have claimed that the information is considered confidential. Insurers fear that revealing details on credit-based scores would result in losing valuable information to competitors. While a handful of states have banned the use of credit-based scoring, most others have approved its use (along with guidelines for its use).
If you have been affected by a credit-based score, you’re entitled to know. You can also get information on how to be sure that your credit history is accurate. An insurance professional is a good source to help you with questions on how your credit may be affecting your insurability.
Standard homeowner’s policies cover a wide range of potential disasters, from tornadoes to lightning strikes to winter storm damage. Policies do vary, though, so for your own peace of mind, check yours for the specific perils covered. Learn what's generally not covered by homeowners insurance.
Disasters that are not covered
Few things are more common than the sight of handmade signs sticking on telephone poles, street signs or mounted on spring and summer lawns that announce nearby yard and garage sales. Succumbing to curiosity or taking a chance on scoring a great buy leads to another familiar scene: a home, with a variety of cars haphazardly parked around it and persons strolling to and from as well as other browsing among the sales items. Generally, the merchandise consists of clothes, baby articles and toys. Often larger items are for sale such as exercise equipment, furniture, bedding and appliances. When the event is an occasional one, there are few issues to worry about. But frequency creates important concerns that affect insurance.
Consider someone breaking into your home and making off with hundreds or thousands of dollars’ worth of property. Or how about a fire or storm destroying a home and most of its contents? Usually there’s no problem since a homeowners policy will handle such losses. However, if a significant amount of the property was stored for sale, that property may either only qualify for limited coverage or may even be ineligible for protection. Property offered at your yard for sale which belongs to others (sold on consignment) is another class of property that may have only limited protection available or, depending on circumstances, might be considered business property and be disqualified from coverage. Example: Joan’s house is broken into the night before her big yard sale. Among the items stolen was a large, expensive set of drums worth nearly $1,000. It belonged to a friend who asked her to put it on display during her sale. Joan’s insurance company denies protection, claiming it was goods for sale and not personal property.
Similar considerations exist concerning legal liability. For instance, a visitor comes onto your premises and then fractures a leg and hip when tripping on an exposed tree root. Because she was old and frail, the injuries require surgery and a long rehab. The visitor sues you for hospital, surgery and other expenses. Normally one’s insurance policy would defend you against the lawsuit and, if necessary, pay any awarded damages. But what if, instead of a friendly visitor, she had come onto the property to look at items on sale? That could cause a serious coverage issue.
Determining factors for either property or liability coverage are how often sales occur and what income has been made over a period of time (usually the 12 months before the date of a loss). Depending on those details, the activity involved in the loss could be considered a business. In such instances, coverage may not exist under a basic homeowners policy.
Yard sales may appear to be a safe activity, but there are genuine risks to the seller (property owner) and to the customers who are invited onto the property. It makes sense, regardless of your insurance situation, to take steps to minimize the chances of problems occurring.
When serious storms or hurricanes result in local or regional flooding, the impact on the car market may be felt nationally. Cars that may have been totaled because of serious water damage in one state may end up on the seller’s block in another state. Sadly, due to unethical or criminal actions, there may be no mention that a vehicle was once waterlogged. A person looking at any used car must take steps to avoid buying a car that is nearly guaranteed to need serious repairs.
Flooded cars, normally, should only make their way into the used car market by, first, making it through a salvage auction after receiving either a salvage or flood title. After they are auctioned, they may receive a clean title after the buyers show proof that all needed repairs have been made. Such vehicles should also undergo thorough inspections before they are made available for sale.
Unfortunately, particularly after catastrophic storms, vehicles are often cleaned up by original owners or dishonest dealers and sold to auto auctioneers without information about the water damage. Such vehicles may face a laundry list of problems such as:
Then take a close look at the car, looking for signs of water damage. If you write down the auto’s Vehicle Identification Number (VIN), you can use that information to find out the vehicle’s history. A number of Internet sites offer history report services such as the NMVTIS (National Motor Vehicle Title Information system), which facilitates vehicular background checks. Insurance companies are also, voluntarily, reporting full information on cars for which they have paid total losses on due to water damage. Further, either you or a trusted mechanic can inspect the car for the following signs:
Remember, besides the cost of the used car, SUV, pick-up or van, you also face the costs of registering and insuring the vehicle. Make sure that the transaction isn’t spoiled by a watery surprise.
A hurricane deductible is the amount a homeowner must pay before insurance will cover the damage caused by a hurricane. Hurricane deductibles are separate from regular homeowner’s insurance deductibles and are based on a percentage of the home’s value.
While a regular homeowner’s insurance policy deductible is a fixed dollar amount, like $500 or $2,000, a hurricane deductible might be 1 to 5 percent of a home’s value, or $1,000 to $5,000 for every $100,000 in home value.
BREAKING DOWN 'Hurricane Deductible'
The states where hurricane deductibles apply are: Alabama, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Mississippi, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Texas, Virginia and Washington DC.
What does flood insurance cover?
Flood insurance covers both the building and contents inside, but it doesn’t cover the land the dwelling is located on. There may be limited coverage for basements, crawlspaces, lower floors and enclosed floors of elevated buildings.
Dwelling coverage will cover property up to $250,000 and contents coverage insures up to $100,000 of personal property. Flood insurance is not a valued policy and does not pay more than the policy limit for any losses.
Building coverage includes:
There are a number of damages and expenses a flood insurance policy will not cover. These include:
Flooding is the most common natural disaster in the United States and can happen anywhere. How to Prepare for a Flood explains how to protect yourself and your property, and details the steps to take now so that you can act quickly when you, your home, or your business is in danger.
Download the PDF
The National Flood Insurance Program aims to reduce the impact of flooding on private and public structures. It does so by providing affordable insurance to property owners, renters and businesses and by encouraging communities to adopt and enforce floodplain management regulations. These efforts help mitigate the effects of flooding on new and improved structures. Overall, the program reduces the socio-economic impact of disasters by promoting the purchase and retention of general risk insurance, but also of flood insurance, specifically.
For more information, visit www.FloodSmart.gov. Watch this short informative video, Why do I Need to Rethink Insurance?
This year (2018) the NFIP celebrates 50 years of protecting people in the United States against the perils of flood damage.
Did You Know?
Our articles are written by professionals in the insurance industry who's mission is to educate