Saturday November 23, 2013
Like many parts of the country, Colorado has been severely affected by inclement weather and environmental destruction over the past few years. With winters that produce heavy snows, springs that can produce violent storms, and summer months that create the optimal circumstances for wildfires, home ownership in Colorado has increasingly meant paying more for property coverage. Colorado insurance claims have increased in number and severity in recent years, and as a homeowner, you need to make sure that you are finding the best premium with the most comprehensive coverage available.
The best way to do this is through an independent agent without ties to any one carrier. They can help provide you with unbiased information and support so that you know your policy is going to work for you. Don’t sift through an endless stream of promises and offers, your Insurance By Phone agent can shop through multiple policy options to determine the level of coverage that works best for your property and your family.
In response the growing number of claims due to weather, including 2012’s severe hailstorms that caused over $300 million in property damage, and the Black Forest Fire netting over $100 million in damage of, Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper signed the Homeowner’s Insurance Reform Act of 2013. This legislation was designed to protect consumers against both destructive weather events and policies that were not matched with the specific needs of Colorado homeowners. Here are some of the changes:
- Additional time for homeowners to file claims. In 2012 and before, time limits on claims limited the opportunity for people to receive compensation. This can be particularly important for consumers who are forced to relocate during a wildfire and are unable to have damage to their properties assessed in a timely fashion.
- Increased living expenses. This protects homeowner’s that have to vacate their homes for extended period of time. The cost of relocation and temporary housing can ruin a family’s finances. Now, Colorado insurance claims for living expenses can help consumers get back on their feet.
- Mandatory policy updates. Insured homeowners shouldn’t fall through the cracks of their own policy. Homeowners coverage changes are now required to be reported, and additional savings or alterations of coverage will be available for property owners.
- Plain language policies. The fine-print on many policies create exclusions that can make the difference between starting over or getting left out to dry. The new legislation requires plain language to allow consumers to review their policies completely.
How Can Your Agent Help?
Your insurance agent is the natural mediator between you and your policy. When your insurance agent is not beholden to one company, you know that they are shopping for the right property coverage for you. There are several important things you need to know when you are designing your individual homeowner’s policy. Be sure to ask your agent the following questions:
- What is the insurance carrier’s claims process? The most important thing to know about your policy is how it works for you. Filing a claim can be a headache, find out about the process before you select a policy.
- Are there any discounts available? Sometimes, your premium can be reduced just by being who you are and living where you live. Ask your agent about available discounts for things like anti-theft security systems, or building materials that help retard fire and smoke damage. Your neighborhood and proximity to emergency services can also mean policy savings.
- How do I select a deductible? The deductible you choose is one of the most important decisions in your homeowner’s insurance. Selecting a higher deductible will help you find a less-expensive premium, but your out-of-pocket costs will increase when natural disasters strike. If you can pay a little more for coverage, a lower deductible will help protect your pocketbook when you need to make a claim.
- What are coverage limits? The coverage limits for your specific property relate to the cost of rebuilding. It is important that you and your agent review your policy periodically to make sure you are maintaining the proper amount of insurance to cover in the case of complete property loss.
- Does the carrier have a good reputation? Just like any other service, insurance providers gain a reputation for certain strengths and weaknesses. Certain companies maintain a good reputation for responding quickly to claims, while others provide a variety of discounts to help save you money.
With over 20 years of experience, the independent agents at Insurance By Phone have virtually seen it all. Your specific coverage needs deserve the individual attention that’s only a phone call away. Selecting a homeowner’s policy is one of the most important decisions you can make for your family’s security. Don’t leave your property coverage up to chance.