Lowering the Cost of Homeowners Insurance

affordable home owners insurance wilmington nc

Many people get homeowners coverage when they purchase their home and don’t look at it again for years.  If it has been a while since you re-evaluated your policy, there may be some ways you can save some money on the cost of your house insurance.  Here are a few ideas:

1.  Review Contents and Personal Property

Chances are good that the value of the contents of your home has changed over time.  You may have had kids, and realized that glass china cabinet wasn’t the best idea anymore.  Or maybe you became a vegan and sold your fur coat.  Or cashed in a valuable painting.  And lots of stuff you originally estimated value for has probably depreciated.  Scheduling a review once a year can help you to keep this number updated so you aren’t paying more for coverage you don’t need.

2.  Dwelling Replacement Costs

The cost to replace your dwelling now may be less than it was 5 years ago.  Or, you may have included the whole value of your property, including the land, in your initial coverage amount, which would be a greater amount and unnecessary expense.  Either way, this is another area that you can look at and make sure the coverage is accurate for your current property.

3.  Consider a higher deductible

You might be in a different place financially than you were when you first purchased your home.  Paying $1000 out of pocket for a deductible may have been impossible for you then, but it might be more feasible for you now.  If the increase in your deductible is something you could consider, your premium can be reduced significantly.  The higher the deductible, the lower the premium.

4.  Consolidate your coverage.

Most home insurance companies offer discounts for using their services for multiple policies.  You may be eligible for a discount on your homeowners policy if you consider using the same company for your auto insurance, for example.

5.  Make your home more secure.

Most homeowners insurance policies offer discounts for installing security systems in your home.  More secure home AND insurance savings?  Win-win.

These are just a few of the ways you can potentially lower homeowners insurance premiums. 

Contact our office to speak with one of our agents that can provide Home Owners Insurance for Wilmington, Wrightsville Beach, Kure, Carolina Beach, Southport, Leland, Hampstead, and surrounding areas.

Flood Insurance for Wilmington NC

Do I need flood insurance?

flood insurance wilmington nc
Living on the coast, this is a very important question. With one of the most active hurricane seasons in recent history, it’s certainly worth taking a look at a NC flood insurance policy and consider adding it to your insurance coverage.

Is flood insurance required?

Typically, homeowners and renters insurance does not include coverage for flood damage. According to the FEMA website, the government has “mandated federally regulated or insured lenders to require flood insurance on mortgaged properties that are located in areas at high risk of flooding. But even if your property is not in a high risk flood area, your mortgage lender may still require you to have flood insurance.” So, is flood insurance required? It depends. An insurance professional can help you do research needed to see if you have a requirement.

What if I don’t live in a flood zone?

You can check this link provided by the state of North Carolina, which offers a free flood zone map for the public to use and download. Your mortgage lender may still require you to have flood insurance. Or, you might still consider getting flood insurance even if it isn’t required just for your own protection. It’s pretty clear from the news these days that floods are serious business, and sadly, becoming quite a common occurrence. And, according to FEMA’s website, “More than 20 percent of flood claims come from properties outside the high risk flood zone.”
The good news is that if you opt to buy flood insurance on your own from a low to moderate flood-risk zone, you may be eligible for preferred-risk rates.
Ok, if I get flood insurance, what does it cover?
Most policies will provide coverage on contents and property, but will adjust for depreciation. Also there is lots of stuff that isn’t covered by flood insurance, including water damage coming from inside the home or swimming pools. It’s important to go over the coverage with your insurance agent to have a clear understanding of your coverage.

What else do I need to know about flood insurance?

Most insurance companies will not be able to create new Flood Insurance Policies or update existing policies while under a hurricane watch or warning or related weather circumstances. If you think you might need flood insurance, the sooner you are covered, the better.
Don’t wait until it’s too late!
Give our office a call to speak with one of our agents that can provide Flood Insurance for Wilmington, Wrightsville Beach, Kure, Carolina Beach, Southport, Leland, Hampstead, and surrounding areas.

Boat Insurance Wilmington NC

Do You Have A Boat?

boat insurance wilmington nc

Awesome! Boats are pretty amazing. You can go slow, or go fast. You get to be outside on the open water. You get to be an explorer. But boats are also a big responsibility and investment. One way you can protect this investment is with Boaters Insurance.

Boat Insurance

When you’re spending time on a boat, it’s no fun to think about some of the bad stuff that can happen. But since you’re probably not on your boat right now, here is some of the bad stuff.

  • Collisions
  • Fire
  • Theft
  • Damage/Vandalism
  • Severe Weather -lightning strikes, flooding,etc….

For all of these bummers and more, having boat insurance can help. And to offer even more of a high-five scenario, Boaters Insurance can help cover damages to things on and OUTSIDE your boat, such as machinery, fittings, motors, boat trailers, and even personal property.

You don’t only want to take care of your boat, but you want to make sure all your passengers are taken care of too, right? Boat insurance can help cover medical expenses from physical injuries to yourself or passengers that might occur while on your boat. Or, if you have an accident and damage someone else’s property with your boat, Boat Insurance can help with the damage to your boat and their property, too.

Whether you have a jet ski, small boat, performance boat, houseboats or a yacht, you’ll probably find that Boat Insurance is totally worth the cost. Here are some ideas of how you can save even more on your Boater policy:

Diesel discounts – Diesel-powered vessels are considered less hazardous than gas, so if you have diesel, tell your agent!
Fire extinguishers – Just make sure you’ve got ’em, they are in good working order, and Coast Guard Approved!
Multiple policies – If you already have auto insurance or other policies, adding a Boater policy through the same agency can provide discounts.
Learning – Completing courses for Boater Safety Education!

If all that wasn’t enough, Boaters Insurance can protect you from…PIRATES! That’s right! If your boat is stolen, boaters insurance is there for you, and can even protect you from liability of whatever may happen while someone else is driving your boat (both Pirates and people that have your permission).

So, there you go. You have permission to come aboard, and get your Boater Insurance Policy today!

We provide boat insurance for Wilmington, Leland, Southport, Bald Head, Wrightsville Beach, Carolina Beach, Kure Beach, Topsail, Surf City, and surrounding areas……..

Call our office today and we can provide you the best policy to fit your needs.

(910) 338-0034

Hurricane Season in NC

What Does Hurricane Season Mean for Your Insurance Policy?

It’s that time of year again: The weather has warmed up, we’re enjoying the outdoors and everyone is flocking to the beach! However, this time of year also means hearing a lot about hurricanes and floods. (The not so fun part of living by the coast!)

We thought it would be the perfect time to help you get prepared for this year’s hurricane season by providing you with more information on hurricane and flood insurance.

Hurricane Season Radar Tracking

Starting June 1 through November 30, the Atlantic Coast begins to watch what is happening offshores. There has already been a lot of discussion this year on the activity they are expecting. Even though the expectations are for this to be a “near-normal” season, the last couple of years have been “below-normal” and this year is expected to be the most active since 2012. After many years of quiet, we are biting our nails hoping to add another year without major damage caused by a hurricane.

It only takes one hurricane or tropical storm to make landfall to really mess things up. The last destructive storm to hit North Carolina was Hurricane Irene back in August of 2011.

With hurricanes typically comes flooding. There is a big misconception that all of this is covered under one policy. This is not correct. Some hurricanes can cause massive amounts of rain in a short period of time, which causes rivers and waterways to swell quickly and overflow. You’ve heard of the current record floods in South Carolina and Texas…this is simply due to a mass amount of rain in short periods of time, so imagine what a hurricane or tropical storm could do. And, flood insurance doesn’t care if you are in a flood zone or not. From www.FloodSmart.gov, more than 20% of flood insurance claims come from people outside of the mapped high-risk flood areas.

Flooding is a result of rising bodies of lakes, rivers, streams, oceans, etc. This is not covered under your typical homeowners nor windstorm/hailstorm policy. Most common flood insurance is offered through the federally regulated program known as the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). You have to go through an agent to get the policy.

Another difference here on the coast is windstorm/hailstorm coverage. You may have a separate policy covering damages that are due to windstorm or hailstorm; or a different deductible on your primary homeowners policy. On the coast of North Carolina, windstorm is one of our biggest exposures. The type of windstorm could include Tropical Storms, Hurricanes, etc.

Five of the top 10 most costly Hurricanes to hit the United States did damage in North Carolina: Hurricane Hugo in 1989, Hurricanes Charley, Ivan & Frances in 2004; and Hurricane Sandy in 2012 according to Insurance Information Institute at www.iii.org.

If damage is done to the outside of your house; i.e. your roof, siding, or windows and it is due to some type of windstorm or hailstorm, then this would be covered under your windstorm/hailstorm portion. Coverages for this also typically have a larger deductible to help reduce the overall cost.

It’s important to prepare for hurricane season by getting an evacuation kit together, communicating a plan with your family and reviewing your current coverages on your home and automobiles. Knowing what the plans are and making sure you are comfortable with the deductible amounts and replacement costs on your home is extremely important. Take the time to sit down with your agent and review your coverages. You will be thankful you did in the event we have an active hurricane season!

Welcome!

Welcome to my first posting. There is so much information out there today about insurance – from companies promoting for cheap cheap cheap, to quality.  My intention with blogging is hoping to help educate you in understanding your everyday exposures.  Insurance is not all that fun, not all that exciting, but necessary.  Yes you are paying for something you don’t see until that day when something happens.  And I hope that day never happens for you, but if it does, I hope you are correctly insured.

So to start my first post, like I said there is so much to talk about and so many options.  I have an upcoming event I am volunteering for which brings to light teens and driving. So, I think I will focus on that this time.

Allstate Insurance has done tons of research over the last 10 years about teen drivers and their exposure.  They get behind the wheel of a huge piece of metal, not exactly aware of the lethal weapon they just jumped into.  I remember my first day of driving and all the excitement.  You aren’t thinking about all the risk, all the exposures for you or your parents.  You just want to be the cool one and drive.  At 16, you know everything, right?!

I have teamed up with the local division of StreetSafeUS.  They are a non-profit organization where everyone is a volunteer.  This is to show students the risks that are out there the minute they jump behind the wheel of the lethal weapon.  It’s not your everyday driving school type learning environment.  They have real live people come and share their experiences.  Parents that have lost children in driving accidents, others that have caused accidents, and taking the lives of others.  And, then there is the insurance exposure that most of the teenagers and parents are not aware of.  Your limits of liability only pay up to what you have on your policy.  After that, it’s up to you as the policyholder.  You could lose more than money: your home, your savings, retirement and income are exposed.  So, that is why I decided to partner with StreetSafeUS.  To help make our streets safer, our drivers more knowledgeable about what is at risk.  When you have the time to, check out their website at www.streetsafeus.com.  

Here’s some statistics to leave you with:

  • Car crashes are the #1 killer of teens in America2
  • Parents are the #1 influence of teen drivers1
  • 84% of parents and 79% of teens admit to speeding1
  • More parents than teens use their phones while driving1
  • About ½ of teens will likely crash before graduating high school3
  • Teens are 4x more likely to be killed in a car crash with 3+ friends in the car4
  • 69% of teens think they should have more practice before getting a license1
  • 61% of teen passengers killed in a car crash weren’t wearing a seat belt2
  • 6PM to Midnight is the most deadly time for teens on the road2

 

coast-pic-rotator

1  The Allstate Foundation’s 2015 Driving Change Report
2 Insurance Institute for Highway Safety 2013 Teen Fatality Facts
3 National Safety Council
4 Tefft, Brain C., Allan F. Williams, and Juerk G. Grabowski. “Teen Driver Risk in Relation to Age & Number of Passengers.” (2012): 1. Print