Relatively Rare Home Damage Incidents and Home Insurance

Relatively Rare Home Damage Incidents and Home Insurance

Most people secure home insurance to protect their houses from everyday hazards like fire, storm damage, theft, or even liability claims.

But there are more infrequent claims, and some are even so rare they may make the news. Would more unusual incidents be covered by homeowners’ insurance? Here is a quick look at some interesting claims and whether they would be covered under home insurance.

Damage Caused By an Aircraft

Even a small plane can cause big damage to a house or property. Larger planes have also been known to lose parts or cause damage from falling ice. As rare as this may be, most home insurance plans would cover the resulting damage.


While floods are more commonplace, they are typically not covered under a basic homeowners’ insurance policy. Flood insurance is administered by the government and must be secured separately.


Not only may you be surprised to learn that your home is likely protected from damage due to meteors, but most standard policies also cover damage from asteroids, satellites, and other falling space debris.

Car Crashes

Every few months, we seem to hear a harrowing story of a car crashing into a house. In these circumstances, if the driver is at fault, the damage should be covered by their car insurance. If they are uninsured or underinsured, your homeowners’ insurance will likely cover the damage.


Sinkholes occur when the ground underneath the surface hollows out and the surface collapses. They can swallow up a yard, a street, and houses. They occur mainly in the South. Sinkholes are frightening and can be devastating. Sinkholes and other disasters involving ground movement are generally not covered under a standard home insurance policy. These also include earthquakes and landslides. Additional protection may be available, however, in the form of an endorsement or policy rider.


While fires are generally covered under standard homeowners’ insurance policies, the coverage and limits can vary by geographic region.

In any of the above cases, it is best to discuss the coverage of your specific policy with your independent home insurance agent ahead of time.

If you would like to know what is and isn’t covered by your home insurance policy, contact us for a no-cost, no-obligation review. If you like, we can even provide a price quote to help ensure the best coverage at a competitive rate. Get started by contacting us today.

Ouch! Common Burns in the Home

Ouch! Common Burns in the Home

You probably don’t consider your home a dangerous place, and with a little bit of caution, it doesn’t have to be. Yet, every year, tens of thousands are injured in the safety of their homes. While slips, trips, and falls are the most common type of in-home injury (especially for children and the elderly), burns are the second most common injury. It is estimated that a whopping 73% of all burns occur in the home. This is concerning because most burn injuries are preventable with a little caution. Here are the most common causes of these household burns:


It may seem obvious that most burns in the home are caused by some form of fire. The flame could be from a gas stove, a candle, a fireplace, a fire pit, a propane grill flare-up, or a grease fire. You should never leave an open flame unattended in or around the home. Flammable materials should be kept away from fires, and every kitchen should at least have a small, general-purpose household fire extinguisher.

Scalding Liquids

Scalding occurs when the skin comes into contact with extremely hot liquids or steam. It can come from cooking, a hot shower or bath, a spilled bowl of soup, or a hot cup of coffee. A little bit more caution and even turning down the water heater a notch can help prevent these painful burns.

Electrical Burns

Burns from an electric shock are more common than you may think, especially for young children exploring the wonders of uncovered electrical sockets. Frayed wires, older small appliances, and electrical tools are other common causes of electrical burns.

Hot Surfaces

Hot pots, pans, smooth top stove surfaces, and even a hot car or a lawn mower engines are all capable of providing nasty burns. When in doubt, use potholders or gloves when handling or working near or with hot surfaces.


We may forget that our households may have other burn dangers lurking in our cabinets and garages. Chemical burns can be caused by battery acid, bleach, and other caustic cleaners and products. Caution should be exercised when using these products, including the use of appropriate gloves and eye protection.

While home insurance can help provide financial and medical relief from household burns and liability issues that may surround them, it is far better to prevent them.

If it has been longer than you can remember since you checked and compared home insurance rates, now may be the time. Contact one of our independent insurance agents for your quote today.

Dogs and Home Insurance

Dogs and Home Insurance

If you are considering adding a dog to your family, you should be aware that it could impact your home insurance in several ways. Here are some common questions and answers when it comes to dogs and homeowners’ insurance.

Should you tell your home insurance company when you get a dog?

Absolutely. If you don’t and your dog bites someone, your home insurance company may not only deny any injury claim and legal expenses, but it may even be grounds to cancel your policy.

Is animal damage covered under home insurance?

Animal damage by large wildlife may be covered under the provisions of your home insurance. This could include damage from bears or deer. Smaller animal damage is generally considered an infestation and would not be covered. Damage from a pet dog would not. That being said, if your home sustains fire damage from a dog chewing on an electrical cord or by knocking over a candle, damage may be covered.

Can certain breeds increase home insurance rates?

Your home insurance rates could be affected if your insurance provider labels your dog’s breed as aggressive.

Is my dog’s value covered by home insurance if stolen?

Home insurance generally only covers liability issues involving pets. This means it will not cover the cost of replacing a stolen pet. Some specialized pet insurance companies, however, do offer optional coverage for pet theft.

Besides biting, are there other liability issues my pet could cause?

Yes. If your dog causes a trip and fall, or even if its barking or charging causes a delivery person to run, slip, and fall, and become injured, you could be held liable. As long as your insurer is aware of the pet, you will likely be covered for any legal and medical expenses that may result.

Some home insurance companies can be more pet-friendly when it comes to dogs, and our independent insurance agents can help find them. They have access to a network of companies and can do the shopping for you. If you have or are considering getting a dog, let our agents compare quotes for you. Contact us today.

Seven Things You Must Know About a House Before Buying It

Seven Things You Must Know About a House Before Buying It

If you are in the market to purchase a house, there is a lot to know. Here are seven primary aspects of a house that could be critical.

The Age of the Roof

Depending on the climate, a standard asphalt roof can last from 10 to 30 years. If the roof is at the halfway point or more of that timeline, you’ll probably want to budget for a new one in the not-too-distant future.

Does the Area Flood Easily?

You may want to talk with neighbors to see if the street floods easily or even if the house is in a flood zone. Keep in mind that flooding is not covered under a basic home insurance policy.

Are There Zoning Plans for Developments?

You don’t want to be surprised by a large shopping outlet mall or prison being built nearby in the coming years. Perform due diligence to see what, if any, developments are in the works for the coming years.

Age and Condition of the HVAC System

Your heating and cooling system can be expensive to replace and even expensive to operate. HVAC systems older than 15 years may not be as efficient as they could be.

What Do Neighbors Like and Dislike About the Neighborhood?

You can find out quite a bit about an area with a few quick chats with neighbors. You will likely quickly get a sense of whether it is the neighborhood for you.

Are There Any Issues with the Foundation?

Look for cracks in outside bricks, concrete walkways, around drain pipes, and in basement walls. Foundations can be costly to fix. You want to make sure they are solid.

Does the House Have a History?

In many states, real estate agents are required to reveal certain aspects of a home if asked. This can include if a murder or other death has occurred on the property. It is worth asking.

You will also want to make sure the home is electrically sound and the plumbing has no major issues. Your home’s age and condition could impact your house insurance price. Contact us for a no-cost, no-obligation quote from one of our independent insurance agents today.

Signs Your House May Be About to be Burglarized

Signs Your House May Be About to be Burglarized

Have you ever noticed something strange about your home when you come home from work or have a feeling you are being watched? It may be more than intuition. Here are some clues that your home may be under surveillance to be robbed.

Strange People or Cars in Your Neighborhood

Most people are aware of the people or vehicles that frequent their neighborhood. If you start noticing strange cars parked along the road or strangers walking in the neighborhood, it could be a sign your area and your house are being targeted.

Missing Trash

Take the time to shred any papers that contain personal information before discarding them. It may only take a few weeks of collecting some of your personal mail and bills to put together a plan to steal your identification.

Your Dog Comes Up Missing

You may think your dog, who barks at strangers and comes up missing, may have just run away. It is also possible that a no-gooder has removed him to get rid of your property’s guardian. This may not even occur to you until after the fact.

A broken Window

Some criminals may throw rocks at windows to see if a home is occupied. A broken glass window may be a sign your home was being tested.

Flyers, Ads, and Stickers

Some robbers will place flyers or ads on doorsteps and porches, or stickers on door frames to see if people are entering a home. If you notice a sticker across your door or frame or an ad slipped on your door, it could serve as a clue to criminals that no one is home.

Non-Working Outdoor Lights

If you have outdoor spotlights and motion-activated lights and they appear to be unworking, fix them promptly. Some lighting may be damaged by a potential thief to see if and how quickly you respond.

Of course, you also want to make sure you never post vacation plans online on your social media and you tighten the security features of your accounts. You don’t need to live in fear, but be aware.

Your home insurance can help cover you from the financial loss of a burglary. It is just one benefit of a well-crafted home insurance policy. Contact one of our independent house insurance agents for your no-obligation review and price quote. We look forward to assisting you.

What Can You Do When Your Neighbor is Annoying

What Can You Do When Your Neighbor is Annoying

If you are lucky, you get along with your neighbors. You may not have each other over for dinner or swap recipes, but if you can at least wave and smile in the afternoons, you are ahead of the game. How do you handle it, however, when you are not so fortunate?

Here are some suggestions for what to do when…

Your neighbor doesn’t mow his lawn.

Your first thought may be that they are lazy. It is possible, however, that they are elderly, ill, or may not yet own a working lawn mower. Asking if they need help with the lawn may uncover the issue or prompt them into action. If that is unsuccessful, most communities have regulations regarding overgrown lawns. You can contact them.

They have a dog that barks outside at all hours.

A barking dog is one of the more common complaints neighbors have about one another. One reason is that owners often get used to the barking themselves and don’t do anything about it. A simple, friendly conversation may help. You may even suggest you and your family meet the dog so he becomes more comfortable when he sees you. If you are uncomfortable with that, a call to animal control may be in order. If that doesn’t resolve the issue, you may be able to file a formal noise complaint with your city.

He has what appears to be a non-working car parked in their yard.

If a car is working and licensed, there may be little you can do. If, however, the car doesn’t have valid plates, is parked in the front yard, and has been there for more than a few days, it may be able to be cited.

He plays loud music or has a band.

Most communities have noise ordinances in place to regulate loud cars and music. Many of those include stricter rules between 11pm and 7 or 8am. This may not be a situation you want to address on your own. Calling the authorities removes you from the equation and also may create a record of the complaint. That can carry weight when combined with complaints from other neighbors.

There’s an old expression that says fences make the best neighbors. That may also help your situation, unless your neighbor takes, well, offense.

Of course, if you live in a managed community with an HOA, they may have regulations that may fix the situation as well.

When was the last time you checked your homeowners insurance? Many haven’t checked it for years. It could be outdated or you may even be paying too much. Let us check it for you. Our independent insurance agents are offering a no-obligations review and price quote. Contact us today to get started.

Prepping for a Garage Sale

Prepping for a Garage Sale

“There are few joys like getting ready for a garage sale,” …said no one ever.

Let’s face it. Putting on a garage sale is hard work and time-consuming. We do it, though, to clean up, create space, and maybe add a few bucks to our pocketbooks.

If you are going to do it, it might as well be successful. That means taking the time to do it right. Here are some garage sale prepping tips.

Price Everything

Yep. Make sure everything is priced. It is fine to put a sign on a box that says $1 each, but no one should have to ask for a price.

Sort Everything

Display tools in one area, clothes in one area, and electronics in another. Many shoppers are looking for specific items, and sorting them will help them find what they may be looking for.

Place Items Off the Ground

Garage sales can be tough on shoppers, too. Don’t make them bend over to look through boxes on the ground. Borrow tables if need be, but display items above ground level.

Have Power Accessible to Test Electronics

At the very least, have an extension cord available to test any electric devices you may have for sale.

Make Distinctive Signs

Use day-glo-colored poster boards and a large marker. Place signs at intersections around your home. Use large arrows to direct traffic. The words “sale” and directional arrows should be the most visible things on your signs.

Other tips

Make sure you have plenty of change. Shoppers often stop at an ATM before heading out and usually have 20 dollar bills. Have plastic grocery bags on hand for shoppers who buy multiple items. Most of all, try to have fun. It will be over soon!

Keep in mind that when you hold a garage sale, you have a responsibility for the safety of your guests. Keep trip hazards to a minimum and walkways clear.

This may also be a good time to review your home insurance. Contact us for a no-obligation review and price quote. If you are going to do it, do it right. Contact us today.

Making Your Home More Convenient

Making Your Home More Convenient

Many homeowners are constantly updating their homes. They follow design trends and are upgrading kitchens, baths, and décor. There are some surprisingly affordable ways, though, that you can do to make your home more convenient.

Add Electrical Sockets

If there are any extension cords playing a permanent role in your home, consider adding a few electrical sockets to your home. Additional sockets can make your home more convenient and safer.

Upgrade Sockets

While adding additional electrical sockets, consider upgrading those sockets to ones with USB ports. This can make charging phones and other devices immensely more convenient.

Add a Mini-Fridge

A small dormitory-style mini-fridge in a gameroom, family room, or even a garage can make life so much easier. Not only will it save steps, but you will appreciate the extra space it frees up in your main refrigerator.

Get a Taller Toilet

This may not be at the top of your list, but a more modern, slightly taller toilet can change your life. It can be more comfortable, and make getting on and off so much easier. You will really appreciate it as you get older.

Add Night Lights

Some well-placed nightlights that are motion activated can help you from stubbing a toe at night and make getting around just a bit easier. LED nightlights are inexpensive and easy to set up. Of course, if you have a dog or cat, a motion-activated light may not be your best option. Not all home improvements need to be major to make an impact. Explore some of the smaller improvements that can make a big difference.

Add a Digital Thermostat

A smart thermostat will allow you to adjust the temperature in your home from a smartphone whether you are home or not. They are surprisingly affordable and will even improve the resale of your home.

There are some smaller house insurance companies that can more than compete with the big brand names. Our independent home insurance agents may be able to help you find them. Contact us for a no-obligation house insurance review and price quote. A smaller company could have a positive impact on your premiums.

6 Questions to Ask About Your Home Insurance Quote

6 Questions to Ask About Your Home Insurance Quote

Getting a home insurance quote is one thing. Understanding that quote can be another thing altogether. After all, you want to make sure you are comparing apples to apples when it comes to your homeowners’ insurance. Here are seven key questions to ask about your next home insurance quote.

What is the total coverage on my home?

Not only will you want to know how much your home is insured for, make sure any outbuildings and other structures are covered. Fencing is usually covered under “other structures.”

Is your house covered for Actual Cash Value (ACV)?

There is a difference between ACV and replacement cost, and the difference can be significant. ACV is what your house would be worth on today’s market. Replacement cost is what it will cost to rebuild a similar home at today’s prices.

How much are your contents insured for?

Most families have more personal belongings than they realize. Do you have enough to replace your clothing, shoes, bedding, and furniture? What about collectibles and valuables like coins or jewelry? Make sure you are comfortable with that maximum coverage amount.

How much is the deductible?

Your deductible is the amount of out-of-pocket expenses you are responsible for prior to coverage kicking in. A higher deductible may save you money on premiums but may cost you money in the event of a claim. Are you comfortable that you can afford that out-of-pocket cost in a claim?

What water damage is covered?

Flood insurance is generally not a part of a basic homeowners’ insurance policy. Be sure to ask about wind, rain, and hail damage, and even sewer backups. These are critical to know ahead of time, so you can take steps to get the coverage you need.

Are outside living expenses included?

In a claim, you may not have access to your home while it is being repaired. Will your home insurance help cover these outside living expenses, and to what extent?

The challenge with homeowners’ insurance policies is that they are not reviewed frequently enough. Many homeowners are unfamiliar with their coverage. It does not have to be that way. Contact one of our independent agents for a no-obligation review and price quote. We look forward to assisting you.

The Benefits of Buying a New Constructed Home

The Benefits of Buying a New Constructed Home

One of the very first decisions to be made when shopping for a home is whether you want a newly constructed home or are open to a previously owned property.

New construction has plenty of benefits. Here are a few of them.

New Home Warranties and Guarantees

Like any new product, a newly constructed home will come with various warranties and guarantees. These can cover roofing, plumbing, appliances, HVAC systems, irrigation systems, and more. This can mean fewer and less expensive maintenance and repair costs, especially in the early years.

Fewer DIY Skills Needed

Because the elements of a new home are new, you have fewer fears if you are not handy around the house. This can be a significant concern, especially for younger buyers who may not have acquired the tools or skills needed to maintain an older home.

New Neighborhoods Often Equal Young Families

If you have a young family, many newer neighborhoods and developments offer similar neighbors. This can enhance your social life and that of your children.

New Homes Often Have HOA’s

While some HOA’s get their share of criticism, they can offer more common area maintenance and resolve friction between neighbors. An HOA may also offer amenities like a playground or pool. Many younger families find these features valuable.

It Is a Blank Canvas

A newly constructed home is more like a blank canvas than an older home. You can choose the flooring, trim colors, cabinets, and appliances. You can even choose landscaping. Many enjoy this aspect of purchasing a new home.

Lower Home Insurance Costs

Generally speaking, homeowners’ insurance on a new home will be less expensive than on an older home. This is, in part, due to stricter and improved building codes through the years, which make homes safer. New homes generally have updated wiring, new roofs, and are constructed using safer materials less prone to fire damage.

Remember, whether you are buying a pre-owned or newly constructed home, you have the choice of who insures that property. When you connect with one of our independent insurance agents, we can shop our network of home insurance companies to find the right fit. Contact us today.