If We Talked About Flood Insurance

Posted by Alex Boyer on Sun, Mar 20, 2016

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The transcript of an imaginary conversation between you and E & K Agency about a flood policy.

E&K: Are you aware that you don't have any protection for your home and its contents in the event of flood damage?

You: I buy my homeowners insurance from you. Doesn't that cover me for flood?

E&K: No. Nobody's homeowners policy covers damage caused by flood. What you need is a special flood policy to protect your house. And since your community participates in the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), you are eligible to purchase this coverage.

You: Why should I buy a policy now? Can't I just order it when the weather turns bad?

E&K: It doesn't work that way. There is a 30-day waiting period before coverage begins, so now is the right time to buy.
 
You: How much flood insurance should I get?
 
E&K: The NFIP allows you to purchase up to $250,000 on your home and $100,000 on your contents. A deductible applies. If you want more coverage than this, I can get you the numbers.

You: How much will an NFIP flood policy cost with those limits?

E&K: Your annual rate can be as low as a few hundred dollars or less for lower limits! Your actual cost depends on the location, construction and age of your home. Special lower rates apply to you because participates in the NFIP! 

You: Great. How do I sign up for the policy? 
  
E&K: It's easy. Just give me a call at 732-389-6000 or email
ProtectMe@e-kinsurance.com and I'll get everything started for you.
 

Tags: Flood, Homeowner Insurance, E&K Insurance, Insurance, Flood Insurance, Flood insurance policy, Homeowners insurance

Flood Awareness Week: See Video

Posted by Alex Boyer on Thu, Apr 09, 2015

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Our friends at the U.S. National Weather Service have put together a video for Flood Awareness Week showing the potential dangers and effects of strong flooding.

Flooding is one of the leading causes of weather related fatalities in the U.S. On average, flooding claims nearly 90 lives each year. More than half of these deaths occur in motor vehicles when people attempt to drive through flooded roadways. This happens because people underestimate the force and power of water, especially when it is moving.

Just six inches of fast-moving water can knock over and carry off an adult. Twelve inches of water can float a small car. If that water is moving, it can carry that car away. Eighteen to twenty-four inches of flowing water can carry away most vehicles, including large SUVs. It is impossible to tell the exact depth of water covering a roadway or the condition of the road below the water. This is especially true at night when your vision is more limited. It is never safe to drive or walk through flood waters. Any time you come to a flooded road, walkway, or path, follow this simple rule: Turn Around Don’t Drown.

Posted by US National Weather Service Boise Idaho on Monday, March 16, 2015

Tags: Flood, E&K Insurance, Insurance, auto insurance, driving, Flood Insurance, Flood insurance policy, Car insurance, national weather service

It's Flood Awareness Week

Posted by Alex Boyer on Tue, Apr 07, 2015

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This week is Flood Awareness Week, and the New Jersey Office of Emergency Management had some tips and information regarding flooding:

Flooding is a coast-to-coast threat to the United States nearly every day of the year. New Jersey is no exception. This week we will talk about how to stay safe in a flood event. If you know what to do before, during, and after a flood you can increase your chances of survival.

Flood Basics

WHAT: Flooding is an overflowing of water onto land that is normally dry. Flooding may happen with only a few inches of water, or it may cover a house to the rooftop.

WHEN: Flooding can occur during every season, but some areas of the country are at greater risk at certain times of the year. Coastal areas are at greater risk for flooding during hurricane season (i.e., June to November), while the Midwest is more at risk in the spring and during heavy summer rains. Ice jams occur in the spring in the Northeast and Northwest. Even the deserts of the Southwest are at risk during the late summer monsoon season.

WHERE: Flooding can happen in any U.S. state or territory. It is particularly important to be prepared for flooding if you live in a low-lying area near a body of water, such as near a river, stream, or culvert; along a coast; or downstream from a dam or levee.

For more information, Northeast NJ residents and commuters to/from NYC, please visit: http://www.weather.gov/okx/.

For the rest of New Jersey, please visit: http://www.weather.gov/phi/.

To keep up with the latest in New Jersey emergency management, follow the New Jersey Office of Emergency Management on Facebook and on Twitter and Instagram @ReadyNJ.

And, of course, be sure to visit E&K for information on flood insurance and flood risks in New Jersey.

Tags: Flood, Homeowner Insurance, E&K Insurance, NJ, Insurance, New Jersey natural disaster, home, Flood Insurance, Flood insurance policy, New Jersey, Homeowners insurance, homeowner policy

Tips from the Governor's Office on Filing Insurance Claims

Posted by Kenneth Auerbach on Thu, Nov 01, 2012

In the aftermath of storm Sandy, one of the most devastating storms to ever strike New Jersey, the Christie Administration and Department of Banking and Acting Insurance Commissioner Ken Kobylowski today offered guidance to New Jersey consumers on filing insurance claims to restore damaged homes and repair or replace property.
“The first consideration is safety. People should wait until it is absolutely safe to return to their homes before doing so. Once people are safely able to inspect their property, there are a few basic steps they can follow to file their insurance claims, restore their property and move forward with their lives."
“Filing claims is a significant process, especially at a time when a resident has lost a home or suffered major damage to property as a result of Sandy," Acting Commissioner Kobylowski said. "But it is essential to getting all the help that consumers are entitled to under their policies."
"I urge consumers to contact their insurance carriers as soon as possible and get the process started. The State's insurance companies are facing an unusual event in New Jersey, but they are prepared for an increased level of activity."
The Acting Commissioner offered the following suggestions to New Jersey residents:

Following the Disaster
Once it is safe to return home, assess the damage and make temporary repairs or arrange for a qualified professional to do so in order to protect your property. Most policies cover these temporary repairs if the damage is due to a covered loss. Take photos of the damage and remove personal property if your home cannot be secured. Make a list of damaged property. Do not dispose of property until an insurance adjuster has reviewed it for your claim. Many policies include reimbursement for storage costs incurred until your home is repaired.
Make sure you know what is in your policy and what coverage options are available for your cleanup and repair efforts.  If you can still live in your home, talk with your agent or insurer about critical repairs that need to be made. Whether you make the repairs or hire someone, save the receipts for your claim and take pictures of the damage before you start the temporary repairs.
If you need to find other lodging, keep records of expenses and all receipts. Homeowners and renter's insurance generally provide limited coverage for expenses like: meals, rent,utility installation and transportation if the reason you must leave your home is due to a covered loss, but if the loss is not covered, you will not be reimbursed for these additional living expenses.
 Reporting Your Claim
Most insurance companies have a time requirement for filing a claim. The process will go faster if you can locate a copy of your policy, home inventory and have your insurer's contact information.
Call the company or visit a mobile claims center to start your claim. If you cannot find the company or agent's number, call the Department at 1-800-446-7467.
You will be asked to list all items destroyed, damaged or missing. If you do not have a home inventory, begin making a list of items going room by room from memory. Include as much detail as possible, like where and when the item was purchased, the cost, brand name and model. If your car is damaged while in your garage/carport, it is covered by your automobile policy —not your homeowners policy. If you are insured by two separate companies for these policies you must file a claim with both companies.

Handling the Claim
Your insurance company will send an insurance adjuster to survey the damage at no cost to you. Public adjusters may offer services to represent you, but you would be responsible for any related fees, which is normally a percentage of the amount the insurance company pays you. You do not need to hire a public adjuster in order for the insurance company to adjust your claim. If you choose to hire a public adjuster, check to be sure they are licensed with the Department and ask for references and qualifications before retaining a public adjuster.
Try to be present when the adjuster inspects your property. You may also wish to have a contractor present or ask a contractor to review the adjuster's inspection report before settling the claim.
Do not feel rushed or pushed to agree on a settlement. If there are disagreements, try to resolve them with your insurer. If you cannot reach an agreement, the Department can help you decide if arbitration or mediation is an option.
Your full claim may come in multiple payments. If you have extensive damage or cannot live in your home, the first will likely be an emergency advance and may include additional living expenses. The payment for your personal property and any additional living expenses will be made out to you. Payments for the structure may be payable to you and your lien holder if there is a mortgage on your home. Lenders may place that money in an escrow account to pay for repairs as the work is completed. If you hired a public adjuster, payment will also include the adjuster.
Repairing the Damage
Fraudsters often take advantage of the chaos following a disaster. When choosing a contractor to make repairs, check licensing and references before hiring. Always insist on a written estimate before repairs begin and do not sign any contracts before the adjuster has examined the damage. In some cases the adjuster will want to see the estimate before you begin making repairs.
Do not pay a contractor the full amount up front or sign over your insurance settlement payment. A contractor should expect to be paid a percentage when the contract is signed and the remainder when the work is completed.
If the contractor finds hidden damage that was not discovered in the original assessment by the adjuster, contact your insurance company to resolve the difference. For any disagreements that cannot be resolved, contact the Department about your recourse.
Things to Remember
Be aware that most homeowners or renter's insurance policies do not cover flood damage. The National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), through individual insurance brokers and carriers, provides this coverage separately from standard homeowners coverage.
If your insurance company delays in responding to your claim, call the claims department to verify if they have assigned an adjuster. Verify your contact details, especially if you have evacuated your home. Call the Department if the delay is unreasonable.
Even after settling your claim, if you think of items that were not in your initial loss list, contact your insurance company. Unless the company has paid the entire limit for the coverage of those types of items, it is possible the company will make an additional payment.
If your damages exceed the amount of your coverage, federal agencies will occasionally provide grants or low-interest loans to assist with recovery following major disasters.
General Guidelines
Please keep in mind that in the wake of a disaster of the caliber of Sandy, insurance companies are also experiencing difficulties, including handling the volume of calls they are receiving. If you cannot access your property, your insurer cannot access it either.
To be sure your claim is handled efficiently, whenever possible, make sure you have your policy number available when you report your claim. Once you have established a claim, make sure you use the claim number the company provides you in any future communication to ensure accurate claims processing.
After You Rebuild
When you re-establish your home following the disaster, take time to do a home inventory.

Once you have completed the home inventory, talk with your agent to make sure your homeowners or renter's policy is adequate to cover your new investments."

Tags: Tips from the Governor's Office on Filing Insu, Hurricane Sandy, Flood, Homeowner Insurance

Your Homeowners Policy & Storm Damage... What's Covered?

Posted by Kenneth Auerbach on Fri, Oct 26, 2012

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Generally, how does my homeowners policy respond to storm damage to my property?

Your homeowners policy covers most losses that may occur to your dwelling and personal property. Commonly, losses resulting from theft, fire, wind, vehicles and vandalism are covered.

What if there is damage because of a storm?

A standard homeowners policy covers storm damage to the dwelling, its contents and other structures such as garages and fences, up to the policy limit. Such damage also acts as a trigger for coverage of other consequential losses and expenses including removal of debris and loss of use.

What if my family and I cannot live in our home because of the damage?

When storm damages make it necessary to leave your home temporarily, your homeowners policy covers the additional costs necessary to maintain your normal standard of living for such things as meals, lodging, laundry, transportation, entertainment, etc.  You will need to present receipts for all of your expenses to be reimbursed.

What clean-up expenses can I expect to recover following a storm?

Your homeowners policy will cover costs for removal of debris when covered property is damaged. Th is includes the removal of trees that fall on covered structures, but this coverage for trees usually is limited to $1,000 for a single storm.

Am I covered for protecting my property from damage?

Your policy obligates you to protect your property from further damage following a loss as a condition to payment of your claim. You can expect your policy to pay for such expenses to board windows and make emergency repairs. Also, property removed from your home to protect it from an impending storm receives more comprehensive coverage than what is provided at your home—for a limited period of time, it covers fl ood, earthquake and any direct damage to your dislocated property without exclusions. However, the expenses to remove the property from harm’s way is not a covered expense.

What damages are not covered by my homeowners policy?

Trees, shrubs and gardens damaged or destroyed by the storm are not covered.  The spoilage of food due to an inoperative refrigerator or freezer resulting from an off -premise power outage is not covered by many policies, unless the appliances are inoperative because the damage to power lines or other utility equipment occurred on your property; for example, lightning damage to your circuit box or a tree falling on power lines connected to your home.

It is important to note that there is no coverage for any damage that is a direct result of flood, surface water or water that backs up through sewers or drains that is caused by an act of nature (a storm).

How can I find out what is covered in my specifi circumstances?

The information provided here includes general guidelines for storm damage coverage. You should contact our agency for definite answers and further advice.

Courtesy of the Professional Insurance Agents of New Jersey

 

Tags: Flood, homeowner policy, storm damage