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Peoples Choice Insurance Blog: homeowners insurance

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Eastern seaboard businesses continue their struggle to rebuild after Hurricane Sandy.  In terms of economic losses, the October 29, 2012 storm
 will be remembered as one of the largest natural disasters in U.S. history.

Many residents and businesses, particularly in the hardest hit coastal areas of New Jersey and New York, were caught off guard by the
late-season storm.  In addition to the property destruction caused by high winds and flooding, power outrages created big headaches and huge
financial losses for many small businesses.

Weather experts from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) are predicting an “active” 2013 Atlantic hurricane season.
 The six-month season, which began June 1, typically peaks between August and October. Now is a good time to put a disaster preparedness
 plan in place to protect your employees and your business.

The SBA and Agility Recovery recently hosted a free webinar giving tips on how to prepare for Hurricane season.  But it doesn’t matter if you’re
 in the Gulf Coast or the Upper Midwest—all kinds of risks exist, and small businesses are particularly vulnerable.

Go to this link Download Adobe Reader to read this link content to download the slides from the recent “Protect Your Business This Hurricane Season” webinar.  You can also
view the recorded webinar at any time. You will need Windows Media Player 9 or higher.

Meanwhile, there are a few things you can do, at no cost, to jump-start your business continuity plan:

Determine your greatest risk potential.  It might come from wind damage or the inland flooding that typically follows the tropical storm’s

 heavy rains.  Meanwhile, your business could suffer financial losses due to road and bridge closings in the aftermath of a hurricane. 

Power outages are a major threat, especially to businesses in the food and hospitality industries. What would happen if you had to shut

 down your business for several days?  Look at the building where you do business—inside and out—and assess the risks. If you do this

 early enough, you’ll have time to do structural upgrades—like impact resistant doors and windows—that can prevent possible future

storm damage.

Calculate the cost of business interruptions for one week, one month and six months.  Once you’ve done that, you’ll be able

investigate insurance options or build a cash reserve that will allow your company to function during the post-disaster recovery phase.

It’s also a good idea to develop professional relationships with alternative vendors, in case your primary contractor can’t service your

needs.  Place occasional orders with them so they regard you as an active customer. 

Review your insurance coverage.  Contact your agent to find out if your policy is adequate for your needs. Consult with a business

 insurance expert to advise you on the right coverage for your situation. When buying insurance, ask “How much can I afford to lose?”

  It’s a good idea to know the value of your property.  You also may want to look into flood insurance.  According to the U.S. Geological

 Survey, floods are the leading cause of natural disaster losses. Most property insurance policies don’t cover basement flooding. 

Build a crisis communications plan so you’ll be able to make sure your employees, customers, vendors, and contractors know what’s

 going on.  Establish an e-mail alert system.  Make sure you have primary and secondary e-mail addresses for your employees, and

everyone you do business with.  Create a Facebook page, and use Twitter to let the community know you’re still in business, and in the

 process of recovering after the disaster.

Consider a Telework Policy.  Prepare for the possibility that employees won’t be able to get to work by developing an emergency

 telework policy. Read  “How To Make Telework Work for your Small Business” for more information.

Each month SBA and Agility Recovery hosts a free webinar providing business continuity strategies. The August 13th webinar will focus on
 useful tips for building your own disaster preparedness plan.   Space is limited so register now.

Related Resources

Insurance News - Home Insurance Companies Abandoning Long Islanders

Insurance News - Home Insurance Company WASHINGTON, June 24 -- The office of Sen. Charles E. Schumer , D-N.Y., issued the following
news release:

U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer today stood with homeowners and the Long Island Housing Partnership (LIHP) to criticize insurance
companies for dropping Long Island homeowners' coverage after Superstorm Sandy, even on homes not damaged by the storm. Recently,
 Schumer's office has been receiving dozens of complaints from constituents saying that their homeowners' insurance policies have been
canceled by carriers; many of these constituents have had these policies for years with no claims, and many had no storm damage. Long
Islanders already have limited homeowners' insurance options: Allstate, State Farm and Liberty Mutual issue the vast majority of policies on
Long Island, and all three have been withdrawing from the Long Island market. Homeowners are now being forced to purchase policies from
the "excess lines" market which is often two- to three-times as costly as policies in the "standard market," and generally offer less favourable
terms. Schumer today urged these three insurance companies to reverse their decisions to cancel these homeowners' policies, and urged the
Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to penalize them if they don't by limiting or prohibiting their participation in the National
 Flood Insurance Program, which is operated by FEMA. All three companies participate in the lucrative National Flood Insurance Program,
 where they sell insurance policies for a fee and pass on the risk to the government. Schumer said that unless they change course and
continue to insure Long Islanders, FEMA should reduce their fees, limit their participation or prevent them from participating altogether.
Schumer will note that by denying homeowners coverage, the insurance companies are driving up the cost of insurance for homeowners, which
will lead many to drop coverage altogether, increasing the risk to the federal government when responding to the next disaster. "It's bad enough
 that homeowner insurance policies are limited on Long Island, but now - with precious little justification - policies are being dropped left and right
, even for those who paid all their bill on time and had little-to-no storm damage" said Schumer. "Many of these homeowners were not even
affected by Superstorm Sandy and now they're being forced into extremely expensive plans. These insurance companies should not leave
Long Island families and the federal government holding the bag and so today I am urging them to put a stop to these policy cancellations." "It is
important for homeowners on Long Island to have the ability to secure and maintain quality affordable homeowners insurance for their home,"
said Peter Elkowitz , President/CEO of the Long Island Housing Partnership, Inc.(LIHP). LIHP has seen an increase in standard companies
taking advantage of non-renewal rights, which means that homeowners must seek insurance policies in the excess market. This market is priced
+ two- to three-times higher than the standard markets. Insurance companies have been steadily withdrawing from Long Island for years
 (beginning in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina), but the pace of the withdrawal had slowed in recent years. Evidence from the excess lines
 market, however, indicates that withdrawals are increasing again in the wake of Superstorm Sandy. In the first five months of this year alone,
homeowners have taken out over 3,700 new polices, well ahead of last year's pace. Schumer's office has received complaints from homeowners in areas including Oceanside, West Babylon and
Southold. One specific complaint came from Founders Village which is home to 92 senior units. The premiums at Founders Village have gone
 from approximately $32,000 to $86,000 even though they did not file claims after Hurricane Lee, Irene or Sandy. Schumer today wrote to FEMA
, urging the Agency to penalize the major insurance companies that have dropped policies on Long Island and other disaster-prone areas. In the
 case of insurance carriers who participate in FEMA's National Flood Insurance Program, FEMA should reduce their fees, or limit their
 participation on the program. In especially egregious cases, FEMA could prohibit their participation altogether, Schumer said. When insurance
carriers withdraw from disaster-prone areas like Long Island, they raise the cost of insurance to homeowners, forcing them into policies with
 less generous coverage and leading many to drop coverage altogether. The result for FEMA is that there will be greater uninsured losses in
 the next disaster, leaving greater costs to be borne by already-strained federal disaster aid funds. Accordingly, Schumer argued, it is in
FEMA's interest to discourage the withdrawal of major carriers from disaster-prone areas. Dear Administrator Fugate, I am writing to express my
 grave concern regarding the ongoing withdrawal of major insurance carriers from the Long Island market, and to urge the Federal Emergency
Management Agency to take prompt action to discourage this and similar withdrawals. It is within FEMA's authority, and in FEMA's interest, to
 discourage carriers from withdrawing from disaster-prone areas. As promptly as practicable, FEMA should prohibit carriers who withdraw
 from these markets from participating in FEMA's National Flood Insurance Program as "write your own" carriers. As resilient Long Islanders
 return to their homes to rebuild, their insurance carriers are running the other way. My office has been inundated with phone calls from Long
 Islanders whose insurance companies are turning their backs on them- in some cases, homeowners who have had policies with the same
 carrier for decades, and never had an insurance claim are being told their policies will not be renewed. The homeowners' insurance options on
Long Island are already extremely limited. The loss of insurance coverage is forcing homeowners into the "excess lines" market where middle
class homeowners are often paying double the premiums for less coverage. The three major carriers on Long Island, Allstate, State Farm and
Liberty Mutual, are refusing to write new polices and increasingly declining to renew existing policies. This trend started well before Superstorm
Sandy hit last year, but appears to have gained momentum in the aftermath of Sandy. Data from the "excess and surplus lines" segment of the
 market indicates that more and more homeowners are being forced to sign up for these policies, which are more expensive and provide less
 coverage than standard policies. The number of new policies in the excess lines market has sky rocketed over the last decade. In the first five
 months of this year alone, homeowners have taken out over 3,700 new polices, well ahead of last year's pace. The average premium on new
excess lines polices this year is over $2,500, with the most expensive premiums averaging over $20,000.

  Even homeowners not affected by Superstorm Sandy are seeing their carriers decline to renew their policies, forcing them into the excess lines
 market. This will lead many homeowners to conclude insurance is simply not worth the cost, and they will go without insurance altogether. In the
 event of another major disaster, FEMA would be faced with higher demands for disaster assistance, as would other federal responders.
 Accordingly, FEMA has a keen interest in persuading private insurers to maintain their share of the risk in these markets. The insurance
 industry has a responsibility to guarantee a financial cushion for those in a time of need, and plays a critical role in absorbing some of the risk of
 natural disasters so the entire burden is not covered by taxpayers. Yet, insurance companies are walking away from those responsibilities.
Therefore, I respectfully urge you to review the withdrawal of major insurance carriers from Long Island and other disaster-prone areas.
Because these withdrawals can increase the risk to the federal government in the event of a natural disaster, FEMA should restrict of prohibit
insurers engaged in such withdrawals from participating in the National Flood Insurance Program. Carriers who participate in NFIP's "write
 your own" program receive generous fees from FEMA in exchange for merely selling the policies -- all of the risk is underwritten by the federal
 government. Insurers whose actions increase the risk borne by FEMA should have their fees for participating in the write your own program
reduced, have their participation in the program limited, or in severe cases even terminated altogether. Insurance companies should not abandon
 New Yorkers as they try to stabilize their neighborhoods in the wake of Superstorm Sandy, and FEMA should not make it easier for them to
 do so by allowing them to continue to profit from participation in the write your own program. I appreciate your prompt attention to this matter
and look forward to working with you to ensure Long Islanders and the federal government are not left holding the bag. Sincerely,
Charles Schumer TNS 30VitinMar-130625-4402209
Copyright: (c) 2013 Targeted News Service
Wordcount: 1439
ies Abandoning Long Islanders

Excerpt from Targeted New Service

I already have homeowners insurance.
Most homeowners insurance does not cover floods. It does, however, cover fires. Now consider this: in a high-risk area, your home is more than twice as likely to be damaged by a flood than by fire.

Floods? That's what disaster assistance is for.
Available only when the President declares a disaster, Federal disaster assistance is usually a loan that you must pay back with interest. For a $50,000 loan at 4% interest, your monthly payment would be around $240 a month ($2,880 per year) for 30 years, in addition to your mortgage loan that you still owe on the damaged property. Plus you would need to buy and maintain flood insurance for the life of the loan.

Compare that to the average premium for flood insurance coverage, which is about $600 a year (and even less outside of high risk zones). Plus, when you submit a flood insurance claim, you are compensated for all covered losses whether or not a disaster has been declared - and you do not have to pay it back.

I live on a hill and am not at risk.
If you live on a hill or in an area that has never been flooded, your risk may be significantly reduced, but it is not eliminated. Aside from major storms like hurricanes and tropical storms, flooding can be caused by heavy rains, melting snow, inadequate or clogged drainage systems, and failed protective devices such as levees and dams.

I do not live in a flood zone.
Everyone lives in a flood zone - it is just a question of whether you live in a moderate-to-low or high risk area. While flood insurance is required in high risk areas, people outside of high-risk areas file over 20% of NFIP claims and receive one-third of disaster assistance for flooding.

Flood insurance is too expensive.
The average flood insurance premium is about $600 a year (less than $48 per month). If you live in a moderate-to-low risk area, you may qualify for a Preferred Risk Policy with a premium starting at $129 per year. Considering that even a few inches of water can cause tens of thousands of dollars in damage, the annual premium is well worth the financial protection from floods.

My area has never been flooded.
The fact that a flood has not occurred recently doesn't mean one has not happened in the past or that one will not happen in the future. Flood history is just one element used in determining flood risk. Other factors include your community's rainfall and river flow data, topography, wind velocity, and building development (existing and planned).

I have already experienced a flood - that will not happen again in my lifetime.
You may have heard of the "100-year flood" and may be thinking that it only happens once every 100 years. However, this term is misleading and actually refers to the flood elevation that has a 1% chance of being equaled or exceeded each year. It has nothing to do with the number of floods that may happen over the course of a lifetime. Thus, the 100-year flood could occur more than once in a relatively short period of time. Here are some additional thoughts to consider:

  • Many areas of the country experience more than one major flood in a lifetime.
  • Some areas experience repetitive loss – two floods in a 10-year period. Over the years, FEMA has paid almost $3.5 billion dollars in claims for repetitive loss properties.
  • If you experience a flood, receive federal disaster assistance, and choose not to purchase and maintain flood insurance, you may become ineligible for federal disaster assistance if a flood occurs again, if it is determined that flood insurance would have paid for the damage.
  • If you have a mortgage, your lender may now require you to purchase flood insurance.

I cannot purchase flood insurance, because I live in a floodplain.Homeowners Insurance Quote
Except in certain specific cases, you are eligible to purchase flood insurance, as long as your community participants in the NFIP. So, whether you are in a high-risk or low-risk area, flood insurance from the NFIP is available.

Flood insurance does not cover contents in my basement.
Contrary to what many believe, flood insurance does provide limited basement coverage. Though it does not cover finished walls, floors or ceilings, or personal belongings, it does cover structural elements, essential equipment, and other basic items normally located in basements. Imagine the costs associated with replacing the items listed below.

Building coverage includes:

  • Furnaces, water heaters, air conditioners and heat pumps
  • Electrical junction and circuit breaker boxes and required utility connections
  • Unpainted drywalls and drywall walls and ceilings, including fiberglass insulation
  • Foundation elements and structural support equipment
  • Sump pumps
  • Well water tanks and pumps, cisterns and the water in them
  • Oil tanks and the oil in them, natural gas tanks and the gas in them
  • Pumps and tanks used in conjunction with solar energy
  • Stairways, staircases, elevators and dumbwaiters
  • Debris cleanup
Examples of contents included in coverage are:
  • Washers
  • Dryers
  • Freezers
  • Food contained in freezers

Flood insurance does not cover common issues like seepage or leaks.Homeowners Insurance Quote
Generally, neither homeowners nor flood insurance policies cover damage caused by seepage, dry rot, or animal pests, as they are considered the result of poor home maintenance, and therefore preventable. However, flood insurance will cover damage caused by sewer or drain backup, or overflows from a sump pump or related equipment, if the event is a direct result of flooding.

I cannot buy flood insurance right before or during a flood.
Unlike some other lines of insurance, an approaching storm does not trigger a moratorium on flood insurance purchases. However, once you have applied and paid the premium, there is usually a 30-day waiting period before the policy becomes effective.

Though it cannot cover a "loss in progress," your newly-effective flood insurance policy will provide coverage for any future flooding. The bottom line? Do not wait until after the storm warnings to buy flood insurance!

Peoples Choice Insurance Agency Corp 516 364-2700 or 888 573-2230

Disaster Assistance: (800) 621-FEMA, TTY (800) 462-7585
U.S. Department of Homeland Security
FEMA Home | Contact FEMA | Privacy Policy | Important Notices | FOIA | | DHS | FloodSmart Home

Monday, 26 November 2012


It's not about the big insurance company's anymore. It's about getting the right deal on car and homeowners insurance. Broker's today are doing there job of finding the right insurance company for the right person or household. The cookie cutter large captive agency's have it only there way. Meaning you must have perfect history of losses and now even perfect credit. Let's take examples a person who uses there credit cards often will have a lower insurance risk score contributing to higher rate quotes than one who pay's there credit cards off when they receive a bill. We at Peoples Choice Insurance Agency don't believe that this is the case. When you go to a broker we can tailor the quote to the clients needs. Michael DiGennaro owner at Peoples Choice insurance agency has experience in reading into Motor vehicle reports and if need be credit reports. It doesn't take a genious Mike say's. it just takes experience. Mike is offering free rate quotes on Auto Quote Form (short) and Homeowners Insurance Quote. We have what it takes in today's climate.  

Business insurance can be of the same nature so call or Business Owners (BOP) Quote Form or write so we can save you money.

By: Michael DiGennaro

You may be able to save hundreds of dollars a year on homeowners' insurance by shopping around. You can also save money with these tips:

  • Consider a higher deductible. Increasing your deductible by just a few hundred dollars can make a big difference in your premium.
  • Ask your insurance agent about discounts. You may be able to get a lower premium if your home has safety features such as dead-bolt locks, smoke detectors, an alarm system, storm shutters or fire retardant roofing material. Persons over 55 years of age or long-term customers may also be offered discounts.
  • Insure your house NOT the land under it. After a disaster, the land is still there. If you don't subtract the value of the land when deciding how much homeowner's insurance to buy, you will pay more than you should.
  • Don't wait till you have a loss to find out if you have the right type and amount of insurance.
  • Make certain you purchase enough coverage to replace what is insured. "Replacement" coverage gives you the money to rebuild your home and replace its contents. An "Actual Cash Value" policy is cheaper but pays only what your property is worth at the time of loss your cost minus depreciation for age and wear.
  • Ask about special coverage you might need. You may have to pay extra for computers, cameras, jewelry, art, antiques, musical instruments, stamp collections, etc.
  • Remember that flood and earthquake damage are not covered by a standard homeowners policy. The cost of a separate earthquake policy will depend on the likelihood of earthquakes in your area. Homeowners who live in areas prone to flooding should take advantage of the National Flood Insurance Program.
  • If you are a renter, do not assume your landlord carries insurance on your personal belongings. Purchase a separate policy for renters.
  • Peoples Choice Insurance Agency has 12 insurance company's fighting one anotherr to give you the lowest price and the best coverage for less. Call the Broker at  888 573-2230 or to fill out a on-line application.

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