Category Archives: Home insurance

What Should I Be Thinking About if My Roof is Damaged by a Colorado Hail Storm?

If you have sustained roof damage from recent Colorado storms, please know that we are here to help. Here are some tips when going through the process:

  • When getting bids on your roof, make sure the bids include the scope of the work to be completed. You might consider upgrading your shingle to an impact resistant material, which may qualify you for additional discounts on your homeowner’s policy.
  • Make sure your roofer has pulled the proper permits, and do not tender final payment for your roof until your roof has received final approval from a local inspector. Make certain the proposed roof and materials meet local building ordinance codes before the work is performed.
  • Research your potential contractors. Things to consider before hiring a roofing company are their Better Business Bureau rating, the length of time they have been in business, and the size and quality of the company. 
  • Ask the contractor for a “certificate of insurance” before they begin work that shows the roofer carries general liability and workers compensation insurance. Also, make sure the general liability policy covers “products and completed operations”-coverage for defects in workmanship. If the roofer doesn’t properly install your roof and then goes out of business, you might be able to file a claim on the roofer’s insurance policy.
  • Once your claim is approved, you will receive an initial check for “actual cash value” (less your deductible), which represents the depreciated value of your roof (based, in part, on the age of your roof). Most home policies contain “replacement cost coverage”. Once the new roof is installed and you submit the final invoices to your claims adjuster (with labor and materials), your adjuster will send you a check for the difference, and this represents the replacement cost coverage in your home insurance policy.
  • Most carriers require you to report property damage within six months, from the loss date. Please make sure you have the work performed and your roof replaced within one year from the date the claim was filed in order to receive the replacement cost payment. 
  • Lastly, once your roof is installed, please call or forward your new shingle information to us so we can update your insurance policy and apply any eligible discounts.  

As always, we are here to help you, so please call us with any questions or concerns. 720-420-7900

FIRE SEASON IS UPON US: WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW

The Facts: Chimney Fires Fireplace and chimney fires can vary in size and severity — ranging from several hundred thousand dollars in losses when a single room is damaged to a multi-million dollar, total burn down of a home. During the three-year period from 2009-2011, each year on average:

  • 24,300 chimney fires started
  • 23 lives were lost
  • 93 people were injured
  • $115.9 million in overall property damage occured

Fireplace and chimney fires typically erupt for two main reasons: improper construction and lack of regular annual maintenance.

The Fiction: Masonry Chimneys Are Indestructible Most chimneys in residential family homes today are of two types: masonry or factory built. Masonry chimneys are built on site of hand laid bricks, and have been the standard fireplace construction for hundreds of years. Many homeowners mistakenly think this masonry is indestructible, but in fact, it can be damaged by extreme weather, lightening strikes, or shifts in the earth, as well as general age deterioration.      Factory-built chimneys are more popular in new construction because of the lower material and installation costs. However, they do not last as long as a masonry fireplace — generally 25 to 40 years depending on the amount of use and geographic location.

The Ignition: Deposit Build-Up Even with proper construction of a chimney, maintaining it through annual inspection and cleaning is critical. The buildup of chimney deposits — especially in cold winter when you may be building more fires and keeping them lit longer — is a major factor in chimney fire ignition. Creosote, in particular, is highly combustible as these crusty, tar-like and often hardened deposits can ignite when the internal flue temperature becomes very high.

The Prevention: Annual Chimney Inspection and Cleaning The National Fire Protection Agency (NFPA) recommends that chimneys be inspected at least once a year and cleaned as necessary. It’s important to recognize that the inspection and cleaning of a chimney is a specialized job, and should not be performed by a general maintenance company or handyman.      “A chimney and flue system is a complicated mechanical system that requires regular inspections, just as HVAC systems, plumbing systems, and electrical systems do,” says Matt Hunter, Loss Prevention Leader for Fireman’s Fund Insurance Company. “The only way to know if you have a problem with your chimney is to have it inspected regularly.” The Chimney Safety Institute of America (csia.org) is a network of 1,400 Certified Chimney Sweeps in North America. The group has committed to an additional 48 credits of continuing education every three years, so they are current with the latest techniques to diagnose proper draft and flow, and spot potential fire dangers.

The Winter Ahead: Tips to Prevent a Chimney Fire The winter of 2013-2014 was one for the record books in many parts of the country, and the upcoming 2014-15 winter is predicted to have the same extreme cold and moisture. This winter weather will put undue strain on chimneys, whether they are 100-year-old masonry or new factory-built. That’s because homeowners will be building more fires, and burning them longer. Hunter explains, “Fireman’s Fund has partnered with the CSIA to help raise the level of awareness of the need for regular chimney inspections and maintenance. This is especially timely as temperatures begin to drop across the country.” Here are some tips from the CSIA to make your winter fire burning a safe season:

  • Burn only seasoned wood, as your fireplace will burn cleaner and avoid creosote build-up that can lead to a fire.
  • Be sure not to overload the firebox — stack logs only up to half the height of the opening, and flames should never reach up into the chimney.
  • Your fireplace is not an incinerator, so do not burn wrapping paper or boxes as those materials can contribute to flue build-up.
  • Build smaller fires using hotter burning woods (hickory and ash) so they burn more completely and leave less deposits.
  • Keep an inch of ash on the bottom of the firebox — this allows the coals to nestle down and cool off at the end of the burn.
  • Factory built fireplaces are designed with a thinner sheet metal, and may not be able to withstand an all-day fire in them. On very cold days, consider building a fire intermittently throughout the day.
  • Be sure the fire burns down before going to bed; and close the fireplace doors tightly.
  • Avoid putting expensive artwork, precious family photos, or other collectibles on the mantle, hanging above or on adjacent bookshelves.

Copyright Fireman’s Fund 2014

*“2009–2011 Residential Fire Loss Estimates”, U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, July 2013

TIPS FOR SHOPPING YOUR HOME AND AUTO INSURANCE

If you’re thinking about shopping for a new insurance carrier, there are important differences you should consider.  It seems that every insurance carrier is offering the best price – but that’s impossible.  The claim to a low price can grab a prospective customer’s attention.  In reality, all companies in all industries compete for your business in three ways: Price. Service. Quality. 

PRICE:

We would all love it if we could pay low insurance premiums that never increased at renewal, wouldn’t we?  Unfortunately, that isn’t the reality we face.  Distracted driving and increasingly severe weather1 have driven claims payouts higher.  The insurance company has a higher cost of doing business each year, and a prolonged low interest rate environment have negatively impacted insurance companies.

Every carrier has a niche market and can offer competitive premiums for their ideal client.  Longevity with a carrier can lower your rate and often provide you loyalty benefits for being a long-time customer.

Carriers base your rate on many personal factors.  Your age, sex, location, marital status, credit score, vehicles, driving history, etc., all go in to determining your rate.  Many times consumers will say things like, “my neighbor is paying half of what I’m paying for insurance.”  That may be true, but we don’t know the specifics of their policy, or how their personal information may differ from yours.

When getting quotes from a new company, provide as much information as possible, so the proposals they prepare are accurate.  Inquire about the discounts they offer to see if you are eligible.  Most carriers offer price incentives for premiums paid in full or monthly payments that automatically draft out of a checking account. Because each carrier offers different discounts, be sure to ask if there are other ways to reduce your cost.

SERVICE:

Have you ever dined at an amazing restaurant where the food was spectacular, but the service left you with a bad taste in your mouth? (pun intended!)  In today’s world, service is becoming a lost art.  So many things can be done through automation that the personal connection is lost.  It matters who picks up the phone at claim time or when you need recommendations on coverage options.  Mistakes buying insurance can be devastating.  Because you are insuring your most valuable assets (even your life!), consider the person who will be taking care of you.  Like all industries, insurance policies change and evolve.  It can be invaluable to have a trusted professional answering your questions.  Insurance rates are easy to shop, but trusted advisors are not.

Not every carrier has licensed agents – many companies work via a call center environment where you will speak with a new person every time you call.   Don’t be afraid to ask questions.  You’re interviewing the new company just as much as they’re interviewing you.

In addition, consider the service from the claims department.  When it comes time to file a claim, you want to feel confident in your carrier to provide excellent service and prompt claim resolution.  There are websites who rate insurance based on different factors.  You can do you homework and look into some of these top carriers before you contact them for a quote.2

QUALITY:

Gucci said “Quality is remembered long after the price is forgotten.”  Strangely, nobody ever seems to ask about price when their home has burned down, their car was totaled in an accident, or they lost a loved one due to a premature death.

Carriers are not create equal.  Some provide quality policies with robust coverage and others offer basic policies that require more coverage be added through endorsements.  Have you ever read an insurance policy from cover to cover?  Probably not – you would be nodding off by the second page.  Because there is a plethora of information in a policy, having a clear understanding of how your assets are covered is not easy.  It is important you trust who you are working with, so they can explain the details of your coverage.

You don’t want to have a nasty surprise when you file a claim and discover there are gaps in your policy.  While you’ll never be able to insure against everything, there are quality companies with quality policies to best suit what you need.

Because insurance is intangible, buying it does not give us the excitement or instant gratification we get when purchasing a new car, home, or experience.  However, when we take our time to consider all of the details, there are great benefits to shopping your insurance and placing it with the carrier you feel best suits the needs of you and your family.Reference:

1 http://www.denverpost.com/2017/05/23/hailstorm-costliest-ever-metro-denver/

http://www.jdpower.com/ratings/study/U.S.-Auto-Insurance-Claims-Satisfaction-Study/1601ENG

CHUBB WILDFIRE DEFENSE

Chubb Wildfire Defense Services Actively Monitors Over 7,600 Wildfires in 2015 
For our mutual clients who live in a fire-prone area, the threat of wildfire is real and can spark at a moment’s notice. We can help protect their homes before, during and after a wildfire — and it’s free.

Chubb Wildfire Defense Services is available to eligible policyholders, at no additional charge. To date, we have already saved tens of millions of dollars in personal property since launching the service in 2008.

In 2015, we accomplished the following:
Actively monitored over 7,600 wildfires.
Responded with resources to 12 fires to help protect more than 125 properties. Made 364 outreach calls to impacted clients during fires to offer instruction, answer questions, and provide updates on property status. Increased enrollment to more than 42,500 clients.

Visit www.chubbwildfiredefense.com or contact our agency to learn more.