Homeowners Insurance

Is your house your most meaningful asset? Does it reflect your personality and unique taste? The insurance coverage you purchase should reflect the same level of care that you give when turning a house into your home. FIFS can walk you through the options available on a homeowner policy and allowing you to customize a policy so that it is as unique as your home is.

 

Homeowners Insurance FAQs

How long should I keep copies of my insurance policies?

It is recommended by www.USA.gov that life insurance policies are kept forever. Home, car, business, and other similar types of insurance policies should be kept at least until the policy renews.

What is the deductible and how does that affect my policy?

The deductible is the amount of money you pay before the insurance coverage begins. The higher the deductible, the lower the premium will be.

Insurance is essentially the transfer of risk and the deductibles are an important part of one’s risk management strategy or assumption of one’s risk. Consider the amount of risk that you can afford to absorb yourself, and any amount above this can be transferred to the insurance company for a premium.

What is the difference between “flooding” and “water damage” on my homeowners policy?

Flood (as used in FEMA’s standard flood insurance policy) is defined as a general and temporary condition of partial or complete inundation of two or more acres of normally dry land or of two or more properties (at least one of which is your property) from overflow of inland or tidal waters, unusual and rapid accumulation or runoff of surface waters from any source, and mudflow. Flood can also include the collapse of land along the shore of a lake or similar body of water as a result of erosion from a flooding condition. These types of losses are NOT covered by a typical homeowner policy.

Flood coverage can be purchased through the US Government in the FEMA Flood Insurance Program. Many companies also administer the flood program on their own letterhead, giving the appearance that there are other options for flood coverage. These policies are all identical in both coverage and pricing, and are all underwritten by FEMA.

A homeowner policy MAY provide coverage for water damage such as a broken pipe, overflow of bathroom water or damage to the roof. Another type of water damage can be caused by a back up of water into the house from a sewer line or a sump pump not working. The Sewers, Drains, and Sump Pump Endorsement must be on a homeowners policy in order for this type of water damage to be covered.

Contact our office to find out what type of policy you have and if these types of water damage are covered on your policy.

Does FIFS represent more than one company?

Yes. FIFS is an independent agency, which means we are not limited to one company. We have contracts to sell policies for multiple carriers, and also have relationships with brokers for hard-to-place risks. This gives us the flexibility to choose a company and product that best suits the client rather than a “one size fits all” concept.

We represent a variety of companies including mutual, regional, and nationwide companies. We also write for companies that specialize in certain risks such as motorcycles, ATV’s, and boats.

The important thing to remember is that by choosing FIFS, you are allowing us to shop and purchase insurance on your behalf rather than having to spend your valuable time calling multiple insurance companies. Also, if anything changes with your current insurance program, we are happy to discuss, reassess your needs, and place you with a different insurance program.

FIFS is a member of the Trusted Choice brand of independent insurance agencies with a commitment to adhere to the highest level of customer service standards.

What is the difference between “replacement cost” and “market value” of a house/building?

“Market Value” (as defined by the PA State Supreme Court) is “the price in a competitive market a purchaser, willing but not obligated to buy, would pay an owner, willing but not obligated to sell, taking into consideration all the legal uses to which the property can be adapted and might reasonably be applied.” The market value of a home or property is only relevant in the purchase or sale of a property or for lending or refinancing purposes, but NOT for insurance purposes.

The market value of two similar houses can be significantly different depending on the amount of land included, the location of the properties, any easements or amenities (public/private sewer & water, sidewalk/curbing, etc.) and the neighborhood, as well as the overall condition and maintenance of each.

The “Replacement Cost” of a building is the amount of money needed to repair, or rebuild/replace a home with new materials of equivalent kind and quality to the extent practical. This also includes the labor costs associated with construction or repair of the home. No amount is deducted for depreciation when calculating the replacement cost of a building.

The primary factors affecting the replacement cost of a house is the overall square footage, the material the house is built with (stone/frame, stucco/drywall, slate/asphalt shingles, etc.) , the grade of construction (basic/custom/ornate), and the average labor rate. The cost of materials can also change from time to time based on supply and demand, which can be significantly affected by weather patterns countrywide.

Insurance only pertains to the structures on the property, not the property as a whole. This is why it is important to understand the differences between market value and replacement cost.

Why does my homeowner premium go up every year?

In order to keep up with the current market price of building materials and labor, the amount of insurance on the dwelling may be increased each year so that the limit stays current with the market should you need to rebuild your home after a loss. Since the coverage amount is adjusted, the insurance premium will be higher, even if the rates are the same, because there is more insurance coverage than the prior year.

Will a discount be applied if an alarm system is installed in my building/house?

Yes, discounts are available for buildings that have an active, central station monitored alarm system. Simply provide us with a copy of the alarm company certificate and the discount with be applied.

If an alarm system is installed in my building/house, will the insurance discount pay for the alarm system?

No. The reason to purchase an alarm system is for additional peace of mind. Since the alarm system increases the likelihood of preventing a loss, insurance companies recognize this by adding an additional discount on your insurance premium.

Although the discount may be significant, it will not be enough to pay for the alarm system or the monitoring fees.

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I get great customer service from the FIFS team. They seem to know how to meet my insurance and investment needs and do it with a smile and prompt service.


Conrad M.

Lansdale

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