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Insuring Firearms in Your Home

Insuring Firearms in Your Home

If you are one of the millions of homeowners who own a firearm (or several), you have special insurance concerns. While in the majority of cases it is illegal to own and store firearms in your home, how should they be insured? Property Coverage On a standard homeowners’ special form policy (HO3 or equivalent) firearms are discussed under Section I – Property Coverages. There under “3. Special Limits of Liability” is this notation: Firearms will be covered under the property portion of the policy, but only up to $2,500 and only for the peril of theft. It is important to note that this is a sub-limit and does not increase your policy limits. So if you have $100,000 in contents coverage, the $2,500 firearms limit will be included in that amount, not in addition to it. Should your firearms collection (including related equipment) be worth more than $2,500, you will need to discuss higher limits of coverage with your broker that would be in addition to your policy limit. This endorsement may also extend coverage to firearms for perils other than just theft. Liability Coverage The issue of liability insurance coverage for firearms is a bit more tricky. While the policy itself usually doesn’t specifically include firearms, it doesn’t exclude them, either. However, specific policy language does include or exclude coverage based on the circumstances. Here is what the policy says about Personal Liability: Based on this wording, if a shooting occurs in your home or on your property it would be covered, right? Well, it depends on the circumstances. The first thing to note is who is an...
Christmas Presents, Christmas Perils

Christmas Presents, Christmas Perils

Tis almost the season! With the holidays shortly upon us, we thought it would be a good idea to examine how the holidays might impact your homeowner’s insurance coverage. This season is a joyful one, but sometimes bad things happen. How will your current coverage respond? The Peril of Fire As seen in this classic scene from National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation, Christmas trees are highly flammable: According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) the likelihood of fire increases in December and January. A huge spike in home fires occurs in the 10 days after Christmas, when homeowners have stopped watering the tree regularly, and are more lax about turning the lights off. Electrical shorts from overloaded circuits near a source of kindling (a dried out Christmas tree) accounted for about 40% of Christmas tree fires. See more facts about Christmas tree fires here. The good news: your homeowner’s insurance will cover the peril of fire unless the fire was intentionally set (and 24% of them are). The Peril of Theft All types of theft increase during the holidays, including shoplifting. However, the worst kind of theft to experience at this time of year is the theft of holiday gifts. Christmas lights on the house, a brightly lit tree glowing in the window and no cars in the driveway are a beacon to thieves looking to cash in on some holiday spirit. This family was hit in 2013:  There are many ways to keep your home from being burglarized, including making sure the home looks occupied at all times, installing a security system, and keeping gifts out of sight...
Homeowners Insurance: Up in Flames?

Homeowners Insurance: Up in Flames?

As every homeowner knows, “wildfire season” can happen at any time of year. As long as it’s dry enough and there is enough tinder around, sparks may fly. There are many resources out there that explain how to protect your property from a wildfire, but they don’t always work. If you’re out of town or unaware of a fire nearby, you can get caught without proper protection. One seemingly sure thing is to purchase homeowners or renters insurance for your property. Once you purchase a policy you’ll be covered in the event of a fire, right? Well, maybe not. Here are some ways to protect your property with insurance during wildfire season. Don’t Set It And Forget It An automatic insurance renewal every year can take the hassle out of shopping insurance or guarantee you have coverage. You just continue to pay the premiums and if something goes wrong you’ll have coverage. Ask yourself these questions: In the event of a catastrophe: Will you have the right insurance coverage? Will you have enough insurance coverage? There are a couple of ways you can find out the answers to these questions: hope for the best when a claim occurs, or review your policies at the next available opportunity and talk to your insurance broker. We vote that you talk to your insurance broker! Your insurance broker can review your coverage and review your home, personal property and financial situation with you to determine whether the coverage you have is the right kind of coverage and enough coverage to replace your property should the unthinkable happen. Document, Document, Document In a...
Personal Lines Insurance Checkup

Personal Lines Insurance Checkup

It’s that time of year again when we review how far we’ve come in life and try to determine what the next year will bring. Now is a good time to do an personal lines insurance checkup. Many things may have changed in the past year that could affect your coverage. Here are some questions you should ask yourself: Did You Move? If you were fortunate enough to buy a new home or move to a larger place in the past year, did you remember to bring your insurance coverage with you? Continuing to pay premiums on a policy for a home where you no longer live doesn’t make good financial sense, and will be disappointing in the event of a claim. Check your policies to make sure that they have the right location address and that the amounts of coverage are sufficient to cover both your new home and your personal property. If you purchased new furnishings to go in your new place, will you have enough coverage in the event of a fire or other disaster? While you’re checking, make sure you have flood insurance as part of your portfolio. If you don’t have this coverage, now is the time to call your broker and get it in place. There is a 30-day wait before coverage begins, so don’t delay. Did You Remodel? If you didn’t move, you may have done renovations on your home. That new kitchen, bathroom or den not only looks amazing, but it increases the value of your home. Underinsuring your property can result in coinsurance penalties in the event of a claim....
Hayes Speaks at El Sobrante Rotary Meeting

Hayes Speaks at El Sobrante Rotary Meeting

Galen Hayes was honored to speak (in costume, this is NOT his normal look) at the monthly meeting of The Rotary Club of El Sobrante – District 5160 on October 31, 2017. Galen spoke on a few of his favorite topics with regard to insurance, including flood insurance, earthquake insurance and fire insurance for homeowners. Flood insurance has been a hot topic this year due to flooding from the recent hurricanes, as well as inclement weather across the country. Recent hurricane losses in Texas, Florida and Puerto Rico are in the hundreds of billions of dollars, though much of it is either uninsured or underinsured. The topic of earthquake insurance touched on the California Earthquake Authority and the lack of insured homes for this coverage.   Fire and homeowners insurance were also discussed, including proper insurance valuation and the possibility that many homes are uninsured.It is estimated that in the recent Napa fires nearly 30% of the 9,000 homes burned were not insured. Galen Hayes is available to speak on a wide variety of insurance topics for both homeowners and business owners. If your organization is looking for an entertaining and knowledgeable speaker, call our office to book Mr. Hayes for your next meeting....