A recent survey conducted by Insurance.com found that 48% of homeowners don’t actually understand what dwelling coverage is and nearly a quarter (24%) have no idea how much insurance they actually have. This statistic was not dependent on socio-economic information either. This was a random group of 1,000 home insurance policyholders and if any lessons have been learned since Hurricane Florence, homeowner’s insurance (also known as home insurance) isn’t a luxury, it’s a necessity. It protects your home and possessions against damage or theft. Furthermore, almost all mortgage companies require borrowers to have insurance coverage for the full or fair value of a property and won’t make a loan or finance a residential real estate transaction without proof of it.
Throughout River Landing’s history, it has found incredible insurance advice, representation, and practice, through Carlton Insurance based right here in Duplin County. Founded in 1934 by David H. Carlton, a North Carolina farmer, and representing Jefferson Standard Insurance Company, Carlton Insurance was officially opened in 1945 in downtown Warsaw, NC. Since then Carlton has worked with, and continues to work with, businesses, farmers, and commercial enterprise – local and regional. Today, a skilled team that includes a grandson and great-granddaughter, continues the Carlton legacy and commitment to serve all customers with the same vision of David Carlton some 84 years later!
We recently had a chance to sit down with several representatives of Carlton Insurance to name what could be the Top 5 Insurance Tips for River Landing residents.
PROVIDE YOUR AGENT WITH IMPORTANT INFORMATION WHEN ACQUIRING YOUR POLICY
Whether you live in a condo, townhouse, apartment or custom home, you have spent time and money getting the furnishings, artwork, appliances, and electronics just right. Most damage, theft or loss of these items should be covered on your homeowner’s or renter’s insurance policy. But how will you identify each of these items should a claim be necessary? Will you remember the purchase price or appraised value? You might not realize you have lost a possession until you go to use it. Now is the time to take a home inventory! Don’t wait until you have to make a claim. Do you own autographed Super Bowl footballs that have certificates of authenticity? Do you collect wristwatches? Maybe you have your grandmother’s diamond bracelet. What about that Steinway piano in the corner? Share serial numbers, appraisal certificates, and make/model numbers with your insurance agent. Communicate with your agent.
NEW ADDITIONS OR RENOVATIONS NEED TO BE REPORTED
Renovating or retrofitting your home usually increases the value. When your custom home was built it was built with an elevator, a Generac system, and a golf cart garage. All of these items are considered special items and should be reported to your insurance agent as they are above builder grade and not clearly defined by the terms “custom”, “semi-custom”, or “builders grade”. Since your house was built you have upgraded some of the finishes. That granite countertop is now carrara marble. The ceramic tile backsplash is now ash grey slate. A number of insured parties in the aforementioned survey didn’t realize that because they had not accurately reported renovations or additions and special items to their home to their agent, they were now in danger of being under-insured.
UNDERSTANDING THE FLOOD ZONE
In light of recent events, this can be a sensitive subject. However, it is important to understand – just as it is to understand policies that cover fire damage in parts of California. The primary reason for Duplin County being a flood risk area is its boundary and proximity of, and to, 52 named water sources including the Northeast Cape Fear River, Muddy Creek, Bear Swamp, Maxwell Mill Pond, and Picadilly Bay. In terms of insurance, this breaks down to preferred or non-preferred risks. Established by FEMA, the Preferred Risk Policy (PRP) is a Standard Flood Insurance Policy (SFIP), written using the Dwelling Form or General Property Form, that offers low-cost coverage to owners and tenants of eligible buildings located in the moderate-risk B, C, and X Zones in the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) Regular Program communities. Not everyone is required to have a flood policy but it is worth exploring considering the geography of Duplin County.
LIKE WHAT YOU SEE? TAKE A PICTURE
What is the best and easiest way to document the possessions in your house? Take a picture! In today’s high-tech world every phone has a suitable camera and more and more moments in our lives are being captured in still shot. That said, if your trip to the movies this past weekend was worth remembering in photos, shouldn’t your complete set of medium green GENUINE fiesta ware circa 1953 also be? Absolutely! When you have an insurance claim, insurance companies will often ask for copies of receipts or pictures of the items lost as proof that you actually had them in the first place. Photo inventory isn’t required but it sure is helpful.
WHAT IS IT REALLY WORTH
Dwelling coverage in most homeowners policies financially protects your home’s structure in the event it is damaged or destroyed by a covered risk like fire, hail windstorms, theft and vandalism, and much more. This coverage extends to fireplaces, rooms, carpeting, floors, the roof, and everything in between. In many cases, a dwelling is thought of as solely the part of the property in which one dwells. However, a standard home insurance policy defines dwelling as the house itself, plus any structures that are attached to it! Dwelling value is not based on market value.
BONUS TIP: GET A LOCAL INSURANCE AGENT. FORM A RELATIONSHIP WITH THEM AND ADD THEM TO YOUR TEAM!
Insurance can be complicated. Your home insurance premiums will be based on the risks associated with the home. That knowledge is valuable and who would have more of that knowledge than someone who lives and works within the community? For example, a local agent in Oklahoma may better understand insurance that covers high winds and tornados, and can better explain the insurance options, than an agent in Oregon who may know more about persistent rain and flash flooding issues. A local agent may even be privy to certain areas of the county or city. What neighborhood has a history for water pipes backing up or flooding in a particular intersection? A local agent may be more aware of those problems and can offer you better solutions and more options to think about.
Contact Carlton Insurance today. They have a history in the area. They believe in customer service. They are an integral part of our Allied Partners program. They are competent and knowledgeable. The ability to interact on claims shouldn’t be underplayed. You’ve come this far on your investment. Go all the way. Finish strong!