8 Back to School Insurance Tips

College is expensive enough as it is; can you imagine finding out too late that an accident or theft isn’t covered under your current insurance policies? In order to prevent this from happening, there’s one vital “to-do” to add to your list (other than writing that dreaded tuition check) as you prepare to send your child/children off to school this fall: a review of your insurance coverage. Although policy language varies from one state to the next and there are never “one-size-fits-all” situations, use the following general guide to understand how your child’s move back to school may affect your insurance coverage: Homeowners Insurance Considerations Personal property coverage: Most homeowners policies provide 10 percent of personal property coverage for property owned by an insured that is at a residence other than the insured’s.  For instance, if you have $100,000 worth of personal property coverage, your homeowners insurance policy will typically provide up to $10,000 worth of coverage for your student’s property if he/she is living in a dormitory – provided that the damage is caused by a covered peril and the student meets the definition of an insured. Certain items like jewelry or expensive electronics may require special coverage, or a “rider.” Liability coverage: Homeowners insurance policies typically exclude damage to property rented to an insured, so in most cases, damage to a dorm room or apartment would not be covered. Renters insurance: If your student rents an off-campus home, your policy may not provide coverage for his/her property, so don’t forget about renters insurance. It’s important to understand that landlords’ policies generally only cover the structure, not the...

3 Ways to Save Money on Vacation Home Insurance

Your dream vacation home is or will soon be yours – what an exciting time in your life! However, amidst all the excitement, it’s important to learn about insurance and understand that if your home is near a body of water or not inhabited year round, it’s more at risk of damage, flooding, theft and fire. Vacation home insurance will shield your dream home from potential nightmares, and provide you with peace of mind, but because of the aforementioned greater risks, it may come at a greater cost. To help you cut vacation home insurance costs, we’ve put together these three tips: Safety first.Fire-resistant roofs on vacation homes in areas prone to wildfires, as well as security systems capable of alerting authorities in the event of incidents, could help lower your rates. Discover the inside scoop.Types of vacation homes that should cost less to insure, to name two, are those in gated communities and newer vacation homes that have been constructed under stricter building codes. Get in on the discounts. Taking extra home-protection precautions can significantly lower your vacation home insurance premiums. Qualifying vacation-home improvements vary by location; for instance, in coastal areas, these improvements may involve adding hurricane protections such as wind-resistant roof shingles and garage doors, roof straps, impact-resistant glass, extra door hinges, and deadbolts. As independent insurance agents, we will take the time to analyze your vacation home’s exposures to help you determine which improvements would be the most beneficial and worthwhile to make. At Knapton, Reade & Woods Insurance Agency in Hillsborough NH, our experienced agents are familiar with many insurance discounts and have been...

Homeowners Insurance Tips for the First-Time Home Buyer

You have found the right house, negotiated the best price, and are on track to finalize the purchase and move into your first home. Finally, you are on the road to the American dream and financial independence. The purchase of your first home will likely be one of the most important investments you make in your life. Before choosing what color to paint the bedroom, how to arrange the furniture, or where to plant the rose bushes, one of the most important decisions you must make is choosing the right homeowners insurance coverage to protect your investment. Below is a breakdown of the significant factors you must consider when making this important decision. What Types of Homeowners Policies are Available? • Broad coverage for your home and personal property – this type of policy includes a list of losses that are covered by the policy. It covers the most common types of losses but it does not cover everything. • Broad coverage for your personal property and all-risk coverage for your home – while your personal property is only covered for the most common types of losses, this type of policy includes comprehensive coverage for your home. • All-risk coverage for your home and personal property – all-risk coverage for both your personal property and your home. How Much Coverage Do You Need? There are two ways an insurance provider can value your home: actual cash value and replacement cost. Insuring your home for the actual cash value may be the less expensive route, but doing so only insures your investment up to the current market value of your...

Vacation Home Insurance: 4 Things You Should Know

Congratulations! You are about to invest in a vacation home. Many seasons of rest and relaxation are in your family’s future but what does this new acquisition mean for your existing homeowners insurance policy? Ensuring you have adequate insurance coverage will play a crucial role in protecting the new home you worked so hard to acquire. Second homes or vacation homes may require different coverage than owner-occupied homes. Your new home may be in a different climate with new weather concerns, or may be located in a remote area farther away from a fire station or hydrant, for example. Maybe you have even hired a caretaker who maintains your vacation home while you are living in your primary residence. There is also the possibility that you became an “accidental landlord.” While your independent insurance agent will explain all the details, answer all of your questions, and make certain you are purchasing the right coverage, these five facts will help you begin to familiarize yourself with vacation home insurance: You’re typically insured for up to 80 percent of your home’s value. You may choose to purchase an additional rider for the remaining percentage, and raise your deductible to offset the premium. Many factors determine your vacation home insurance premium. Beginning with what the home is worth, it is followed closely by what the home is made of, its age and proximity to a fire station, and its general location, to name a few. Title insurance and homeowners insurance are two different types of coverage, and you need both.  Title insurance involves ensuring the title on your home is valid, and...

How to Prepare a Home Inventory

Unfortunately, many folks do not have a written, photographic, or video home inventory. Others may have a home inventory but have not kept their inventory current. In order to know how much homeowners insurance coverage you need to purchase, it’s necessary to know what you have, where it’s located, and how it is valued. This project is significantly easier to complete if you are just starting out, as opposed to living in the same location for many years and constantly acquiring new possessions. A home inventory is important because it ensures you have the written description and video or photographic documentation of your valuables and their locations within your home. In the unfortunate event of a fire, flood, or other natural disaster, your up-to-date home inventory will speed up the claims process and prove invaluable in ensuring you are properly compensated for the full value of your losses. In the event of a burglary, break-in, or other household crime resulting in theft, loss, or damage, your home inventory will represent one more tool for law enforcement to use to help find and retrieve your lost valuables. What may seem like one large and intimidating project is actually a few small and easily accomplished tasks. Use the following five tips to help you create your home inventory: 1. Big Ticket Items: Identify the most valuable and irreplaceable items in your home; jewelry, electronics, firearms, artwork, antiques and other collectibles should all be on this list. Jewelry, artwork, and other irreplaceable items need to be professionally appraised. Start a folder and for each item. The folder should contain a detailed written...

How to Prevent Identity Theft

When someone gains or has access to your personal information and uses it to intentionally defraud you in any way, he/she is guilty of identity theft. Among a myriad of other disastrous outcomes, thieves may gain access to your banking accounts and/or existing credit cards, or obtain new lines of credit or loans in your name. Recovering from identity theft is expensive and it may require several years to return to your previous financial state. Taking steps to prevent unauthorized access to your personal information is the first line of defense against identity theft. According to the U.S. Department of Justice’s Bureau of Justice Statistics, an estimated 8.6 million households had at least one person age 12 or older who experienced identity theft in 2010, rising from an estimated 6.4 million in 2006. Identity theft is on the rise and shows no signs of slowing, so it’s crucial for us as consumers to take precautions to help protect our personal information. The following 10 tips will help you better understand how to prevent identity theft: • Never carry your Social Security card. Your purse or wallet is not a safe place for this document. Never give out your Social Security number unless absolutely necessary. • Guard your PIN numbers and passwords. Never write a PIN on a credit/debit card or on a slip of paper kept in your wallet. It is best to memorize all of your passwords, and frequent use will keep them fresh in your mind. • Use complex, unique passwords and change them frequently. Create a different password for each website or other security portal; do...