Swimming Pools and Home Insurance

How building a pool will affect your homeowners insurance.child swimming in pool

While you might love the idea of having a personal pool in your yard, it’s important to consider this decision carefully.  One of the things that you need to take into account is how installing a pool will affect your home insurance risks and rates.  Here are some of the insurance considerations that you should make.

  • Personal Liability Considerations

If you have a pool on your property, you will automatically be responsible for the wellbeing of anybody who uses it, regardless of whether you have given them permission or not.  As thousands of pool-related injuries and deaths occur every year, it’s important to understand that having a pool on your property increases your personal liability risks significantly.

Because swimming pools increase the homeowners personal liability risks, standard coverage limits might not be adequate.  While a standard home insurance policy might offer $100,000 in personal liability coverage, a homeowner with a pool is recommended to purchase up to $500,000 in coverage.  In some cases, homeowners will need to secure an umbrella policy to get even more coverage.  Because higher coverage limits translate into higher insurance costs, it’s important to speak to your insurer to see how installing a pool will increase your premiums.

  • Property Damage Considerations

When you have a pool on your property, your home policy will cover the damages that it sustains.  However, your coverage will differ depending on what your insurer classifies your pool as.  For instance, your insurer might include your pool in the replacement cost value of your policy.  As the average in-ground pool costs $20,000 or more to install, it will increase the value of your home.  This means that you will have to increase your replacement cost value, leading to an increase in your home insurance costs.

Your insurer might also consider your pool as an external structure.  In this case, your pool would have to be declared and listed in your policy.  Most home policies cover external structures up to 10% of the overall policy replacement cost value.  This means that, if the replacement cost of your home is $100,000, then your policy would cover up to $10,000 of damage to external structures such as your pool.  As this will not be enough to cover the full value of your home’s pool, you may need to purchase additional external structures coverage.

Consider how a pool will affect your homeowners insurance before building one in your yard.  Do you have questions about your home coverage?  If so, then contact the experts at Miller Carlisle Insurance Services.  We are ready to assist you with all your coverage needs today.

What Constitutes Insurance Fraud?

Learn more about insurance fraud.scale and gavel

While telling a small lie or concealing the truth doesn’t seem like a huge deal, it is when it comes to your insurance.  This is because anything less than truthful constitutes insurance fraud.  Here’s what you need to know about this illegal act and why you should avoid it.

  • What is Insurance Fraud?

In general terms, insurance fraud is lying to an insurance company in an attempt to receive compensation or undeserved benefits.  Insurance fraud can take different forms.  For instance, lying on your insurance application, exaggerating your damages during an insurance claim, or making a fake claim are all instances of fraud.

  • Understanding the Different Types of Fraud

Legally, there are two main types of fraud: hard fraud and soft fraud.  A person committing hard fraud might fake an injury, theft, or accident and file a fake claim with their insurer in hopes of receiving compensation.  Soft fraud is like a smaller scale version of hard fraud.  A person committing soft fraud might have a legitimate insurance claim, but they exaggerate their damages in the hopes of receiving additional monetary compensation.  While soft fraud doesn’t seem as bad as hard fraud, it’s important to understand that it is still highly illegal and punishable by various penalties.

  • Consequences of Insurance Fraud

If you are caught committing insurance fraud, then the penalties can be very severe.  While soft fraud is considered a misdemeanor in many states, it is still punishable by fines, probation, community service, and even imprisonment.  Hard fraud is always considered a felony, and the perpetrator can be charged with over a year of jail time, major fines, and restitution payable to the insurance company.

This is what you need to know about insurance fraud.  Do you have further questions regarding your personal insurance?  If so, then contact the experts at Miller Carlisle Insurance Services for assistance today.

Ask These Insurance Questions When House Hunting

Insurance considerations for your new home.keys on a wooden home keychain

If you are house hunting, then you probably have a lot on your mind.  However, one of the things that you cannot overlook is the home’s various risks and how this will influence your homeowners insurance.  Before you close on a property, ask these insurance questions about the property.

  • What is the condition of the plumbing and electrical systems?

When you are having a prospective home inspected, ask your inspector to pay particular attention to the state of the home’s plumbing and electrical systems.  Poorly maintained plumbing systems can lead to major damage events such as flooding and water damage.  Outdated electrical systems increase the property’s chance of electrical fires and, in extreme cases, explosions.  If the home you are looking at has poorly maintained, unsafe, or outdated plumbing and electrical systems, then it will cost more to insure.

  • If the home at risk for wind damage?

Homes located in certain areas (such as tornado and hurricane-prone areas) face a higher risk for wind damage.  While standard home insurance policies will provide some coverage for wind damage, it may not be enough to address your risk completely.  As a result, you may need to invest in additional private or state-run insurance that is specifically designed to cover the damage caused by windstorms.  Securing this additional coverage comes at a cost, so make sure you consider this before closing on a home.

  • What is the property’s flooding risk?

All standard home insurance policies explicitly exclude coverage for flood damage.  This means that, if the home you are looking at is in a high-flood-risk zone, then you would need to secure supplementary insurance through the National Flood Insurance Program.  Paying for this insurance on top of your regular homeowners insurance will result in considerable costs, so make sure you consider a property’s flood risk before you make an offer on the home.

These are some of the insurance considerations you should make before closing on a home.  Do you need assistance with securing the right coverage for your new home?  If so, then contact us at Miller Carlisle Insurance Services.  Our dedicated team is ready to get you covered today.

Tips to Get Your Home Ready for Spring

Try out these suggestions to get your home ready for the change in seasons.Tips to Get Your Home Ready for Spring

With spring on its way, it’s time to get your home ready for the change in seasons.  Not sure which home maintenance tasks you should complete to get ready for spring?  Then crossing these items off your to-do list is a great place to start.

  • Inspect Your Roof

Now that the weather is a little clearer, you should take the opportunity to inspect your roof for signs of damage and wear.   By taking the time to replace damaged or missing shingles and patch up cracks, you can ensure that your roof holds up against spring showers.

  • Examine Your Concrete

This spring, you should also check the concrete of your driveway and walkways for cracks and other damages.  Because cracks in your concrete can trap water and direct it towards your home’s foundation, it’s important that you repair these damages asap.  Simply applying concrete crack filler or silicone caulk will seal up your concrete and keep your home safe.

  • Check Your Power Equipment

The return of nice weather means that you will probably be spending a lot more time on yard maintenance and landscaping.  However, before you undertake these tasks, it important to check your power equipment and make sure that it’s working properly.  For instance, you should check things like your lawn mower, hedge clippers, chainsaw, and so on.  Making sure this equipment is well-maintained will ensure that your yard work goes much more smoothly.

These are some 0f the home maintenance tasks that you should take care of in preparation for spring.  Want another way to take care of your home this season? Then make sure you have the right homeowners insurance protections in place.  For assistance with your home coverage needs, contact the experts at Miller Carlisle Insurance Services for assistance today.

Do I Have Enough Personal Liability Insurance?

Is your homeowners policy offering you enough liability protection?Do I Have Enough Personal Liability Insurance?

When you secure a homeowners insurance policy, it actually consists of four main coverages: property coverage, personal property coverage, loss of use coverage, and personal liability coverage. Your personal liability coverage is what will offer financial protection in the event that an accident takes place on your property, or if you are found responsible for third-party injuries or property damage. As personal liability issues tend to result in the most expensive claims, it’s important to ensure that you have adequate protection. Here’s what you need to know about securing the comprehensive personal liability insurance that you need.

Do I have adequate coverage?

When it comes down to it, there is no set amount of liability coverage that you need to carry. Because everyone has different risk factors, everyone has different liability insurance needs. The amount of coverage that you carry is dependent on a series of individual factors. For instance, if you own a pet, have a swimming pool, or have a trampoline on your property, you would need more coverage than someone who does not. Additionally, your coverage limits should increase along with your income, investments, and home property value. To determine exactly how much liability protection you need, speak to a trusted insurance agent today.

Can I increase my coverage?

If you would like to secure more personal liability insurance, you have some options. You can speak to your insurer and have the personal liability coverage limits on your existing homeowners policy increased. This is convenient if you only want to increase your coverage a little. If you would like a more comprehensive insurance solution, you should secure a personal umbrella policy. This type of insurance offers coverage in the event that a liability claim exceeds your existing coverage limits or is not covered under your policy. Investing in an umbrella policy is a great way to fill your liability coverage gap.

This is what you need to know about securing the right amount of personal liability coverage. Do you have further questions regarding your liability or homeowners insurance? If so, contact the experts at Miller Carlisle Insurance Services. We are ready to assist you with all your coverage needs today.

It’s Snowing—What Does My Home Insurance Cover?

From ice damage to snow removal, here’s what you can expect from your homeowners insurance this winter.It’s Snowing—What Does My Home Insurance Cover?

If you live in an area that routinely experiences snowfall and freezing temperatures, you know that these extreme weather conditions pose a considerable risk to your home. While you probably have homeowners insurance in place, you might not know what your policy covers. Here’s what your home insurance will and will not cover this winter.

Covered

Luckily, standard home insurance offers a wide array of coverages that may come in handy this winter. For instance, your homeowners policy will offer coverage for the damages that your home and personal possessions sustain during a storm. This includes the damages caused by lightning strikes and wind. Here’s a list of some of the things your home policy will cover this winter:

  • Damage caused by hail
  • Damage caused by wind
  • Damage caused by fallen trees
  • Damage caused by the formation of ice dams
  • Damage to your home’s roof
  • Damage caused by frozen and burst pipes (Note: this coverage doesn’t always come standard)

In addition to this coverage, your policy will also offer you personal liability coverage and loss of use coverage in the event that storm damage is so extensive that you are forced to temporarily live elsewhere.

Not Covered

While your homeowners insurance does offer you a relatively comprehensive list of coverages, you don’t have coverage for every risk that your home faces. For instance, if snow accumulates on your roof and on your property, your insurance will not offer coverage to take care of its removal. Snow removal is seen as the homeowners responsibility and therefore not under your insurer’s jurisdiction. The only time you may have coverage for ice and snow removal is if it needs to be removed as part of a covered repair. Even in this scenario, policyholders may have to pay for this removal out of pocket.

Another major risk that your homeowners insurance will not protect against is flood damage. If you would like to secure coverage against flood damages to your home, you will need to get a specialty flood insurance policy.

This what your homeowners insurance will and will not cover this winter. Are you looking to secure the right coverages to protect your home and belongings? Don’t hesitate to contact the experts at Miller Carlisle Insurance Services. Our expert team is ready to get you covered today.

Things That Can Void Your Homeowners Insurance Coverage

Avoid these activities that could result in your home insurance policy being cancelled.Things That Can Void Your Homeowners Insurance Coverage

If you have homeowners insurance coverage, you might assume that you will always have this coverage so long as you continue to pay your premiums. Unfortunately, this isn’t completely accurate. There are certain things you can do that could lead to your home insurance policy being cancelled. Here are some of the things you need to avoid if you want to keep your coverage.

Committing Insurance Fraud

If your home insurance provider uncovers instances of fraud, they have the right to cancel your policy. Usually, fraud is committed when you lie on your insurance application or provide misinformation to your agent. For instance, if you were to report that your home was a single-family dwelling but there were multiple families living there, you would be flagged for fraud and your policy likely rendered void.

Filing Claims too Frequently

Filing too many claims in a short amount of time could also result in the cancellation of your policy. Usually, filing a homeowners insurance claim is a rare occurrence. However, if you file multiple claims back to back, this could cause your insurer to categorize you as a high-risk homeowner. If you are considered too risky to insure, your insurer has the right to cancel your policy.

Committing Illegal Activities

Finally, committing illegal activities within your home will result in a denial of coverage. It’s important to note that you will lose coverage even if you are not aware that these activities are taking place inside your home. Almost every homeowners insurance policy will include a clause explaining what will happen in the event that illegal activities are uncovered.

These are some of the things that can result in your homeowners insurance policy being declared void. Do you have additional questions regarding your home insurance? Don’t hesitate to contact the team at Miller Carlisle Insurance Services. We are ready to work with you today.