– Do you drive a car less than three years old?
– Do you have a lease agreement of 12-36 months, a loan of 60 months or more, or own the car outright?
– Did you know that GAP insurance coverage is available through most auto insurance policies at a fraction of the cost charged by the finance company?
1) Your standard auto insurance policy does not include coverage to pay for the entire value of the vehicle (even if a loan or lease is involved) if a total loss is incurred during the first 3-4 years of ownership or when leasing.
2) Failure to place coverage for your risks means you could be forced to pay thousands of dollars out of pocket if your car is totalled and you don’t have GAP insurance.
3) Failure to correctly place GAP coverage means that you are likely paying hundreds of dollars more per year to the finance company than you need to. GAP coverage charges paid to the finance company are typically $15-25 per month while the same coverage provided through your auto insurance policy will typically be $25-35 per year.
4) New Car Replacement Coverage is another option offered by some auto insurance carriers that provides for current model year replacement in the event of a total loss. This coverage is only available for autos purchased as new and only if New Car Replacement coverage is placed within 365 days of purchase.
Contact us for a full review and audit of your current auto policy to make sure you have the coverages you need.
Have you recently been mapped into a FEMA floodplain?
Don’t panic, there may be options.
When FEMA maps your home into a Special Flood Hazard Area (SFHA) it’s because the calculated Base Flood Elevation (BFE) suggests that your home, based on surrounding topography, is in an area with an increased risk of flooding. Or, also defined as the 100 year floodplain – or has a 1% risk of flooding in any given year.
[SFHA – A Special Flood Hazard Area (SFHA) is an area identified by the United States Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) as an area with a special flood or mudflow, and/or flood related erosion hazard, as shown on a flood hazard boundary map or flood insurance rate map.
BFE – The computed elevation to which floodwater is anticipated to rise during the base flood. Base Flood Elevations (BFEs) are shown on Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRMs) and on the flood profiles. The BFE is the regulatory requirement for the elevation or floodproofing of structures. The relationship between the BFE and a structure’s elevation determines the flood insurance premium.]
That 1% risk in any given year may seem low but, statistically speaking, if you live in the same home for the life of a 30 year mortgage you have a 1 in 4 (26%) chance of being flooded. That’s why you are considered to be in a ‘high risk’ area.
However, not all property owner risk is equal. Why?
FEMA does not manage the SFHA at the property level when establishing floodplain boundaries. So, if you think your property has been inappropriately drawn into the floodplain there are a series of steps that can be taken:
1) Acquire an Elevation Certificate
2) Review the Elevation Certificate to determine: Does the property qualify to request removal from the floodplain?
3) If ‘YES’ to #2 above, submit to FEMA requesting removal of the structure/property from the SFHA
4) Wait for FEMA Flood Zone Determination Letter informing you of the decision
In the meantime, if flood insurance is required by your lender, take advantage of ‘Newly Mapped’ program rates rather than allowing the lender to provide force-placed coverage. Force placed coverage is typically provided by the lender at a cost of $2400-$3600 annually while ‘Newly Mapped’ coverage is only $475 as of the date of this post.
‘Newly Mapped’ coverage is available as an option for 12 months from the date of the FEMA map revision. However, a lender is required to implement force-placed coverage 45 days after their initial notice to you that the property has been placed in an SFHA. So, don’t allow the lender to provide force-placed coverage thinking you have plenty of time to take advantage of the ‘Newly Mapped’ program.
Not only is force-placed coverage expensive, but it can be difficult to get the lender to refund the force-placed premium even if you are able to get out of the floodplain within 12 months of the FEMA map revision date.
Have questions or need assistance with any of the above? Give us a call, we can help!
Unlike other property and casualty policies like home or auto insurance, flood insurance can only be cancelled if you meet very specific requirements and refunds are only issued, in a handful of circumstances, if you meet even more stringent requirements. For example, if you have a successfully received a Letter of Map Change from FEMA and you are in a mandatory flood insurance area, you may cancel your current flood insurance policy and you may then request a premium refund.
However, keep in mind that your lender has the right to require that you keep flood insurance in place. In that case, the Letter of Map Change is still helpful because it also allows you to place a less expensive ‘Preferred Risk’ flood insurance policy.
So, whether your lender allows you to get rid of your flood insurance or not, once the Letter of Map Change has been issued, you will be able to request a premium refund from your flood insurance carrier for the policy premium paid as the result of the ‘mandatory flood insurance’ requirement.
But, you may have to turn around and spend a portion of that refunded premium to put the less expensive flood insurance in place. Sound complicated? It can be and usually is unless you are very familiar with the process.
Congress recently changed the amount of refund given to a property owner for flood insurance premiums paid. These changes are published in the April 1, 2016 NFIP changes documentation provided by FEMA. As indicated, you are due a full refund LESS the Federal Policy Fee, Probation Surcharge and HFIAA Surcharge.
Additionally, unless you received your Letter of Map Change within the last 60 days of the prior policy term, you will only be eligible to receive reimbursement of applicable flood insurance premium for the current policy term.
Questions? Give us a call!
Did you know that Arizona is one of the worst states in the country for Uninsured and/or Underinsured Motorists?
We’ve all heard that a picture is worth a thousand words – so take a look at the infographic we’ve created here that tells the disturbing story.
Spoiler alert: 1 in 6 drivers on the road in the United States is ‘Un’ or ‘Under’ insured, and that number increases to 1 in 3 for Arizona drivers.
If that doesn’t scare you, it should!
Once you are done reviewing the infographic, give us a call to review your current auto policy to make sure you are adequately and ‘Accurately’ covered!
Did you know that most insurance carriers do not provide coverage for this property type?
Did you know that most insurance carriers will deny any claim for a property used as a short-term vacation rental?
Most property owners understand that a long-term rental must be insured under a specific type of insurance policy. That policy is called a ‘Dwelling Fire’ policy. Several questions must be answered regarding the types of perils to be covered, the amount of personal property to be covered, even whether or not Extended Liability coverage needs to be provided to an LLC that holds title to the property. (Yes, we recommend placing the property in the name of a separate entity for several reasons associated with risk management!)
However, short-term rental properties are not covered by the standard Homeowners policy (HO-3, HO-5 or HO-6) or by the standard Dwelling Fire policy (DF-1, DF-2 or DF-3). You will instead need to find a carrier that provides vacant property property coverage that includes short-term rental coverage as well as this type of policy will be written and rated with consideration for the higher risk associated with a short-term rental property. Additionally, you will also want to make sure that your guests are purchasing Accidental Rental Damage Insurance to provide coverage for any accidental damage that may occur during their visit. This type of insurance coverage will also eliminate the need for security deposits too!
If you own a rental property, whether vacation rental, short-term or long-term, you need to make sure your current insurance policy provides the coverage you need. More importantly, you need to know how coverage is triggered.
We can help provide coverage that will be triggered in the event of an accident. Don’t wait until it’s too late to find out that you don’t have coverage. Contact us for a complimentary review and audit of your current coverage
Will a ticket affect my insurance premiums? Most likely!
Here’s an example of just how different rate increases can be from carrier to carrier:
For a driver in Apple Valley, Minnesota, with two speeding tickets 11 mph over the limit, one carrier wouldn’t return a rate at all; five others increased rates anywhere from 13 to 121 percent.
The attached chart shows average premium increases – this is for the entire US – based on quotes from more than 490,000 policy holders.
Not all carriers will increase your premium at the same rate, and this is just one more reason why an independant broker is always better!
Rural Metro is the contracted emergency response service in a significant number of metropolitan and suburban areas across the US. In many of these areas, a Rural Metro subscription is required to avoid being billed after the fact for emergency response ‘services’.
Evaluating the cost over value basis for purchasing a Rural Metro subscription can be difficult when you can’t get definitive answers. We’ve created a simple infographic to address the most common questions related to Rural Metro service.
A Rural Metro subscription is not required for most homeowners and health insurance carriers to provide coverage. Why? Because Rural Metro must respond to ALL emergencies regardless of the subscription status of the property owner.
Consider the following:
1) Despite what Rural Metro personnel typically tell residents, a subscription (in most cases) will not lower your homeowners insurance premium. There is a separate organization (ISO) that provides Public Protection Classification (PPC) ratings. These ratings are used by insurance carriers to calculate premium ratings.
2) It is illegal for an agent, producer or carrier to use a PPC rating other than the one provided by ISO when determining your premium calculation.
3) Carriers and agents caught using PPC ratings other than those provided by ISO were put on notice in with AZ Dept of Insurance Regulatory Bulletin 2014-07, “The Department will, through its market conduct and rate examinations, as well as investigations, review whether a fire protection service credit has been allowed when the policyholder does not have a fire protection service contract, will not consider such credits as merely “inadvertent errors,” and will take disciplinary action as appropriate against any producer and/or insurer found to be in violation of Arizona laws. (ARS 20-443, ARS 20-451, ARS 20-385).” Failure to correctly rate your property puts you, your agent and the carrier at risk of disciplinary action in Arizona and introduces the possibility of a claim being denied. If you’d like a copy of the above reference Regulatory Bulletin, let us know, it’s not confidential info.
4) As an example, current Rio Verde Foothills (located in Maricopa County, Arizona) ISO PPC ratings are 8W with a subscription and 10 without – if your property is within 5 miles of the Rural Metro station on Rio Verde Drive (Station #826). If you are further north on 136th Street or one of the other nearby streets, your distance may be as much as 8-9 miles from the responding station and this means your ISO PPC rating regardless of subscription will be a 10. If this is not the rating your agent/ producer has used for your current homeowners policy your policy is in direct violation of the Regulatory Bulletin cited above. (We have seen several of the captive carriers agents using PPC ratings of 3 and 4, which are City of Scottsdale and Rio Verde/ Tonto Verde community ratings instead of those identified above.)
5) The only true cost savings afforded by a Rural Metro subscription are with regard to the fee(s) charged for their response. These fees can be confirmed by contacting Rural Metro directly.
Rural Metro subscription fees when compared to property taxes are not unreasonable. However, the cost over value scenario requires evaluating the fee paid for first responders and/or fire trucks versus the cost of annual subscriptions over a specific time frame. It also requires understanding how your homeowners and health insurance policies will be triggered and what they cover in the event that emergency response must be summoned. Some policies will pay the entire fee, some will pay only $500-$1,000, and some will pay nothing at all – the contract is silent with regard to response fees.
Avoiding gaps in coverage begins with an audit conducted by a geographically competent insurance broker. Feel free to give us a call today!
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We’ve created this site so that we can share information and education with our clients and prospective clients. As a discerning client you want an agent you can trust and respect as a professional worthy of doing business with.
As an agent we want clients who appreciate working with competent professionals and leaders in the industry. We also want clients who understand that we take our obligation to lead, learn and to teach very seriously.
More importantly, we want our clients to know and understand that we value the trust you placed in us and we’ll work hard to maintain that trust by continuing to learn and then sharing information that’s vital to you as you make decisions in the years and decades to come that will protect and affect you and your family’s financial stability.
We are currently licensed to write business in Arizona, California, Colorado, Michigan, Ohio, Florida and Washington. We have access to more than 15 of the largest and most reputable independant carriers in the country. Between our direct appointments and partner relationships we can help you care for each and every insurance requirement you have – auto, commercial, flood, home, life – we’ve got you covered.
However, we do more than just offer information and knowledge, we provide the tools to put that knowledge to work in a way that best serves you. So, if you have questions, feel free to email and ask. In the meantime, we’ll continue building our reputation as some of the best agents in Arizona by helping you learn and grow while we provide what we’re licensed to…
Accurate answers. Accurate coverage. Accurate Insurance.