Did your home suffer a disaster? Here’s how to file a claim.
The point of having homeowners insurance is so that you can file a claim, instead of paying out of pocket. If your home is damaged, destroyed, or burglarized, you may be entitled to file a claim so that you don’t have to repair and recover your home and belongings on your own. The good news is that, regardless of the disaster your home faces, the claims process doesn’t have to be a nightmare.
Although each insurance company has a different claims process, there are some general guidelines for what to do to make the claims process go smoothly. Read through your policy to determine where your responsibilities lie.
First and foremost, remain safe. If you’re the victim of a theft or if your home has been vandalized, call the police to report the crime. Get a police report and the names of all law enforcement officers that you speak with.
Pick Up the Phone
Call your homeowner insurer and let them know about the disaster. Claims can take time, but informing your insurance agency as soon as possible helps you to get the ball rolling.
Prevent Further Damage
Take reasonable steps to protect your property from further damage (this is a requirement of your policy). Make minor repairs if necessary.
Make a List of All Destroyed/Damaged Items
You’re going to need to list what exactly you’ve lost in the disaster. Avoid throwing out damaged items until the adjuster has visited your home. Consider photographing or videotaping the damage. If you have one, now is the time to review your home inventory list.
Keep a Paper Trail
Make notes of everything you do along with receipts of expenses. If you have to move into temporary housing after a disaster, many insurance policies provide coverage for the “additional living expenses”.
Your insurance company may arrange for an adjuster to come and inspect your home. When you and your insurance company agree to the terms of a settlement, you’ll be sent the payment promptly so that you can get your home back up and running.
Whether you’ve suffered a theft or a natural disaster, homeowners insurance is there to pick up the pieces. Work with an insurance company that is dedicated to protecting you and your home. Contact Emerge Insurance Agency. We serve Jacksonville, and neighboring cities in Florida.
EMERGE INSURANCE AGENCY
Your car insurance can step in to help when you’re involved in an auto accident.
Regardless of the type of accident - whether you got bumped from behind or are involved in a full-on collision, getting into a car accident is never a pleasant experience. It’s important that all cars involved in the accident pull over and exchange information with the other driver.
Fortunately, this guide can help make the moments after an accident less stressful as well as making the claims process that much smoother. Do you know how to handle a car accident?
Pull over to a safe area. If you can, pull over to the side of the road, out of the flow of ongoing traffic. If moving your car isn’t possible, turn on your hazard lights to warn other drivers that your vehicle is stopped.
Exchange information. From the moment you collide with another vehicle, person, or property, keep good records. Exchange information with the other driver. Note down the time, location, the other driver’s name, license number, insurance company, and contact information.
Call your insurer. Let your insurance company know that you were in an accident and provide all the specifics of the crash. If you took photos or a video of the scene, send them over to your insurance agent as they may help during the claims process.
Work with the claims adjustor. When filing a claim, many insurers will send an adjustor out to inspect the damage to your vehicle. After this, you’ll be sent a settlement offer, you’ll pay the deductible, and your insurance will kick in to cover the rest.
Now that you know how to handle a car accident, work with an insurance company that will provide you with reliable protection.
So that you have the necessary coverage for your finances and vehicle, contact the professionals at Emerge Insurance Agency today! Serving the Jacksonville, and surrounding cities in Florida.
EMERGE INSURANCE AGENCY
You’re a diligent and responsible homeowner or renter, always ensuring your insurance policy is current and your payments are made on time. However, did you know that some of your possessions might have limitations to their coverage?
Let’s test your insurance knowledge. Which of the following situations is 100% covered by a standard insurance policy?
A. Several items from an inherited set of Tiffany silverware have gone missing after a party.
B. You forget your Rolex® in a hotel room.
C. A hot water heater bursts and floods the basement, destroying a 1986-1987 Fleer Michael Jordan Rookie Card.
D. None of the above.
The correct answer is “D” But why?
Homeowners insurance is designed to help protect against unanticipated losses caused by fires, thefts and other disasters, however, it doesn’t cover accidental losses like mysterious disappearances (“b”). Additionally, expensive things that are easily stolen (“a”) or valuable, and difficult to replace items (“c”) may be subject to sub-limits, which is the maximum amount an insurer will pay as specified by the policy.
To avoid falling victim to insufficient coverage, Emerge Insurance Agency recommends taking the following three steps:
Additional items that may not be fully covered by a standard policy include fine art, rare stamps or coins, wine collections, antiques, expensive jewelry and collectibles. Call us to learn more.
EMERGE INSURANCE AGENCY
Dreaming about a big house with a white picket fence and yard for the kids to run around in? Or maybe you’re looking for a cute townhouse in the city close to your favorite restaurants and shops? Any way you slice it, buying a new home is a big deal.
You’ve considered location, attended open house events and scoped out property listings. The hunt for the perfect home can be overwhelming, but we want to help make it a little easier, so we put together a list of five things you should consider when buying a home.
1. Stay Within BudgetIt’s important to factor in all of a property’s possible expenses, such as the cost of utilities, commuting and any upgrades you’d like to make, in addition to mortgage payments and taxes. If the cost of the house stretches your financial limits, there will be little or no wiggle room for unexpected expenses later.
If you don’t plan to move into a new or recently updated home, it’s important to be realistic about any renovations you’d like to make and how much they’ll cost before committing to a mortgage. A great deal on a fixer-upper might end up costing you a lot more in the long run depending upon the modifications you’d like to make, but you shouldn’t feel pressured to remodel everything at once. Prioritizing and tackling projects over time will help you get into your new home without blowing up your budget.
2. Ask the ExpertsMost of us don’t know a whole lot about real estate purchases, so it’s a good idea to seek help from a professional. The first step is to find a realtor you like and trust. Your realtor will help you find the perfect property, fight for you during negotiations, and help you navigate potential problems. A realtor may even be able to recommend reliable contractors other clients have worked with before.
Home inspectors are another great resource because they can evaluate a residence’s engineering, structure and damage. A thorough home inspection might reveal damage or potential risks and hazards that you should be aware of, like leaky water pipes or cracks in the foundation. These professionals can also inspect the roof for vulnerabilities, look for water damage, check the electrical system and alert you to any issues that could potentially cause problems later on. Identifying these issues ahead of time may also give you a bargaining chip for lowering the purchase price or even having the current owners perform repairs as part of the purchase agreement.
And don’t forget the creepy crawlies…because if the home is infested with terminates, that’s something you’ll want to know so you can get it fixed before completing the sale.
3. Location, Location, LocationThe age old adage in real estate, “location, location, location,” really rings true when you’re looking for a new home. If the house itself is perfect but in a bad area, you might decide to keep looking. The location will also influence the resale value of the property. That’s why it’s critical to research the area before signing on the dotted line.
Online searches can help homebuyers obtain detailed information about neighborhoods and uncover useful facts relevant to the decision process, like access to recreation and entertainment, the quality of the school district, community activities and the general pace of life. It’s also a good idea to check the crime reports to assess safety. Sites like NeighborhoodScout and CrimeReportscan help you determine the relative safety of the neighborhoods you’re considering.
4. Insurance CostsIt might be tempting to ignore homeowners insurance altogether when you’re in the midst of the home-buying process, but there may be some factors, such as proximity to brush, that determine whether the property can be insured.
Requesting a Comprehensive Loss Underwriting Exchange (CLUE) report is also helpful. This report lists every insurance claim ever made on the property, whether inquired about, accepted or denied. The CLUE report will disclose any damages that warranted possible insurance payouts and provides repair details. Even if you’re shopping in a state that requires sellers to disclose past repairs and damage, requesting a CLUE report is a smart move.
Other things that can affect your home insurance rates are the size and age of the home, type of roof, quality of construction materials used in the kitchen, bathrooms and flooring, the presence of a swimming pool, and the coverage limits and deductible selected.
And remember if you’re getting a home loan, the lender will require that you get homeowners insurance, so be sure to factor this cost into your decision-making process.
5. Does the Home Fit Your Needs?No scenario for purchasing a home is worse than discovering a few weeks or months after moving in that you’ve made the wrong choice. Remember, it’s critical to think about the future while you’re shopping for a new home. Are you planning to start a family? Do you have a green thumb for gardening? Putting some thought into these questions might save you from second guessing down the road.
And don’t forget to test the commute to and from work. It might be a lot longer than you thought, so it’s good to know that before you buy the home.
Recognize that purchasing a house is a stressful process. Keeping these tips in mind will help equip you in your home search and give you a better chance of finding the perfect fit.
Happy house hunting!
EMERGE INSURANCE AGENCY
Business credit cards can be much more than a convenient way to pay for purchases. They’re safer than other payment methods, thanks to federal regulations that protect cardholders from paying for fraudulent purchases, they can offer a line of credit for short term emergencies or working capital, and some cards can be very rewarding as well.
But there’s another benefit many business owners overlook: Business credit cards can help you build business credit. But they can also hurt your credit scores if you don’t understand how the process works.
So before you apply for a business credit card, or if you already have one, you’ll want to understand how to leverage it to build and keep strong credit.
How Business Credit Cards Report
Business credit cards are those that are specifically marketed to small business owners. Most creditors who issue these cards will run a credit check on the owner’s personal credit history. The decision to issue a card will hinge on that information, as well as other factors, such as income, but personal credit scores will play a key role.
But once you get a card in the name of your business, it probably won’t show up on your personal credit reports unless you fall seriously behind. Only one of the major credit card issuers reports all business credit card activity to the cardholder’s personal credit reports.
Most card issuers, however, report information to the commercial credit reporting agencies and/or the Small Business Financial Exchange, a data exchange used by most of the major commercial lenders to share information about how borrowers handle their accounts. (The SBFE is not a credit reporting agency, though. Instead, credit reporting agencies like D&B or Equifax will access the data the SBFE collects to include in some versions of credit reports, and to calculate certain credit scores.)
What It Means To You
In other words, a business credit card, paid on time over time, is likely to help you build credit with at least one or more of the business credit agencies. It’s not likely to help build your personal credit scores, though, unless your card issuer reports all activity to personal credit reports. (This article describes which business credit cards report to personal credit reports.)
Give Yourself An Advantage
Payment history is the most important factor that makes up both business and personal credit scores, but with business credit, it often carries even more weight than with personal. And since many business owners have limited credit histories, a few missed payments can really hurt their scores. For that reason, you want to be scrupulous about making your payments on time.
As a busy business owner, though, it’s easy for something like a due date to slip your mind. So set up text message or email alerts to remind you when payments are due. And consider at least putting your minimum payment on autopay, so you know that will always be paid on time. (As long as you make the minimum payment on your credit card on time, your payment history won’t be dinged.)
What if you’re nervous about using credit cards, but you want to build a credit history? Consider getting a business charge card. You’ll be protected against fraudulent use, but the bill will be due in full, so you won’t be tempted to run up debt you can’t pay. Plus a charge card will help you build your credit history, unlike a debit card that won’t.
Business credit and charge cards, if used correctly, are a great way to build your business’ reputation as a reliable borrower. Consider using business credit cards to protect your personal credit, build your business credit, and take advantage of the expense management tools and benefits, like cash back, airline miles and sign-up bonuses.
Is your small business credit score holding you back? Get your free credit score from Nav to see how your business is performing.
EMERGE INSURANCE AGENCY
Source: By Gerri Detweiler, Head of Market Education, Nav - September 13, 2016
Cecil Williams -