Posts Tagged ‘home inventory’

State Officials Caution Maine Residents about Threats Posed by Severe Weather as Hurricane Season Approaches

PRESS RELEASE 

GARDINER – With the Atlantic Hurricane Season approaching, Governor Paul R. LePage and Insurance Superintendent Eric Cioppa are reminding Maine residents about steps that can be taken to protect people, minimize property loss and speed recovery after weather-related damage.  The Atlantic Hurricane Season begins June 1st and runs through November.

Governor LePage and Superintendent Cioppa encourage Mainers to review their homeowners or renters policy and to evaluate the benefits of flood insurance.  They also urge residents to complete a home inventory checklist and assemble an emergency supply kit.

“The start of the hurricane season is a good time to remember that severe weather can strike anytime and it’s important to be prepared,” Governor LePage said.  “There are simple steps we can all take to keep our families safe and property protected, and to recover quickly if damage occurs.”

Cioppa urged residents to understand what’s covered by their homeowners or renters policy and make sure coverage is adequate.  “Standard homeowner policies do not cover flooding, which is surprising to many people.  We should all take time to become familiar with our policy, purchase additional coverage if needed, consider whether flood insurance makes sense, and complete an inventory of possessions.”

Flood InsuranceFlooding is typically not covered by a standard homeowners policy.  Due to a 30-day waiting period for coverage to take effect, quick action is needed for a policy to be in place for much of this year’s hurricane season.  Details are available from the National Flood Insurance Program by calling 1-800-427-2419 or online at www.floodsmart.gov.  The website includes tools to help homeowners assess their flood risk.

Inventory Checklist:  A checklist can be enormously helpful in establishing an insurance claim.  Although a copy of the inventory can be kept at home, a second should always be maintained with insurance policies, medical records, and other important documents in a safety deposit box or other secure location.  The inventory should include photos and video of property.  A free checklist can be obtained on the Bureau’s website www.maine.gov/insurance (directly at www.maine.gov/pfr/insurance/consumer/individuals_families/homeowners_renters/home_inventory_checklist.html).

Additionally, the Governor and Superintendent encouraged residents to establish an emergency supply kit.  It should include several days of drinking water (at least one gallon per person per day), non-perishable packaged or canned foods, a non-electrical can opener and cooking utensil.  The kit should also contain first aid materials, necessary medications, basic tools, a battery or crank-operated radio and flashlights, extra batteries and any supplies needed for pets, as well as a list of important names and phone numbers, including insurance company contact information.

They also urged Mainers to familiarize themselves with resources provided by the Maine Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) — available at www.maine.gov/mema/prepare/.

The Bureau of Insurance is part of the Department of Professional and Financial Regulation. Consumers can reach the Bureau at www.maine.gov/insurance; by calling 800-300-5000 in state; or by writing to Bureau of Insurance, 34 State House Station, Augusta ME  04333.

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Disaster Preparedness Tips for Homeowners and Renters from the NAIC

  • Take an inventory of your valuables and belongings. This should include taking photographs or a video of each room. This documentation will provide your insurance company with proof of your belongings and help to process claims more quickly in the event of disaster.
  • To enable filing claims more quickly, keep sales receipts and/or canceled checks. Also note the model and serial numbers of the items in your home inventory.
  • As you acquire more valuables — jewelry, family heirlooms, antiques, art —consider purchasing an additional “floater” or “rider” to your policy to cover these special items. These types of items typically are not covered by a basic homeowners or renter’s insurance policy.
  • Remember to include in your home inventory those items you rarely use (e.g., holiday decorations, sports equipment, tools, etc.).
  • Store copies of all your insurance policies in a safe location away from your home that is easily accessible in case of disaster. You may want to store your policies and inventory in a waterproof, fireproof box or in a safe, remote location such as a bank safe deposit box. Consider leaving a copy of your inventory with relatives, friends or your insurance provider and store digital pictures in your e-mail or on a Web site for easy retrieval.
  • Know what is and is not covered by your insurance policy. You might need additional protection depending on where you live. Make sure your policies are up to date. Contact your insurance provider annually to review and update your insurance policy.
  • Keep a readily available list of 24-hour contact information for each of your insurance providers.
  • Find out if your possessions are insured for the actual cash value or the replacement cost. Actual cash value is the amount it would take to repair or replace damage to your home or possessions after depreciation while replacement cost is the amount it would take to repair or replace your home or possessions without deducting for depreciation. Speak with your insurance provider to determine whether purchasing replacement coverage is worth the cost.
  • Speak with your insurance provider to find out if your policy covers additional living expenses for a temporary residence if you are unable to live in your home due to damage from a disaster.
  • Appraise your home periodically to make sure your insurance policy reflects home improvements or renovations. Contact your insurance provider to update your policy
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Check insurance around the holidays

CONSUMER FORUM

By Russ Van Arsdale, Executive Director, Northeast CONTACT
Posted Dec. 10, 2011, at 4:58 p.m.

“Oh Christmas tree, oh Christmas tree, how flaming are your branches … ”

That’s not the way the familiar carol goes, but it could become a sad truth for consumers who don’t regularly water the real trees they bring indoors to decorate for the holidays. “See the blazing yule before us” can have a totally different meaning for those who don’t take precautions against accidental fires.

Proper preparation also includes insurance. Whether a homeowner or a renter, it’s up to all of us to check our insurance to make sure we have a level of protection we can live with. Officials with emergency preparedness organizations and insurance professionals agree, many people don’t know what their policies cover until after an emergency happens.

With the threat of severe weather or other winter emergencies always a possibility, Maine’s superintendent of insurance says residents need to know whether they’re protected. “Too many policyholders are devastated to learn — after suffering a loss — that their homeowners or renter policy doesn’t cover a particular loss,” said Eric Cioppa in a recent news release.

Among the losses typically covered:

  • Damage from wind-driven rain
  • Damage from trees or other falling objects
  • Collapse of a structure from the weight of ice or snow
  • Frozen pipes from extreme cold, unless the damage is the result of negligence

The following are examples of damage many consumers may think are covered by homeowners or renter insurance but generally are not:

  • Interior water damage from a storm when there’s no storm-related damage to the roof or walls
  • Water damage from a flood
  • Removal of fallen trees (if those trees don’t land on or damage your home)
  • Food spoilage from a power outage
  • Water damage from storm drains or sewers that back up.

Some insurance carriers offer what are called “endorsements” consumers can purchase. These add-ons provide additional coverage not included in standard plans. Homeowners and renters should consult their insurance agents and decide what “adequate coverage” means.

The superintendent suggests we take some time to prepare more than the snow shovels and ice scrapers we’ll need before the snow goes:

Plan for a potential future claim. Make an inventory of personal property; include model names and serial numbers. Take pictures or make video of your valuables, including seasonal or infrequently used items. Store the itemized lists off-site somewhere safe, such as in a bank safe deposit box.

Review insurance and make sure you have adequate coverage. Prices have gone up, so insure your home and belongings to their full replacement value.

Learn about flood insurance. Standard homeowner policies generally do not cover flooding, so ask your agent about the National Flood Insurance Program. If you rent, ask your agent about renter insurance.

Contact Maine’s Bureau of Insurance if you have questions. They can help if you’ve had recent damage or if you’re preparing for whatever might happen. Call toll-free, 800-300-5000 or visit on the website, maine.gov/insurance. That website includes a handy home inventory form and other information about winter storm and other preparations. There are also links on our blog to Maine Prepares, the state’s emergency preparedness website at maine.gov/mema/prepare.

Consumer Forum is a collaboration of the Bangor Daily News and Northeast CONTACT, Maine’s membership-funded, nonprofit consumer organization. Individual and business memberships are available at modest rates. For assistance with consumer-related issues, including consumer fraud and identity theft, or for more information, write: Consumer Forum, P.O. Box 486, Brewer 04412, or go to necontact.wordpress.com, or email contacexdir@live.com.

Bureau of Insurance Urges Maine Residents to Prepare for Severe Weather Events

Survey Finds Half of America’s Homeowners Unprepared for Disasters

Lacking Important Insurance Coverage, Home Inventory Checklist and More

GARDINER, MAINE  –  Acting Insurance Superintendent Eric Cioppa urged Maine residents on Thursday to use the news of Hurricane Irene to prepare for severe weather and natural disasters by taking simple steps that could save lives, minimize property losses and speed recovery. 

Citing wind, flooding and fire as major causes of damage during late summer and hurricane season, Acting Superintendent Cioppa is encouraging Mainers to review their homeowner or renter policy, to evaluate the benefits of flood insurance, to complete a home inventory checklist, and to assemble an emergency supply kit.

“With hurricane season upon us, the possibility of property losses can increase this time of year,” Cioppa commented.  “As we stay informed about the track of Irene, it’s a good time to review insurance policies, to purchase additional coverage if needed, to develop a list of home furnishings, equipment and other valuables, and to stock up on emergency supplies.”

Inventory Checklist:  Cioppa emphasized that the checklist can be enormously helpful in establishing an insurance claim.  Although a copy of the inventory can be kept at home, a second should always be maintained with insurance policies, medical records, and other important documents in a safety deposit box or other secure location.  The inventory should include photos and a videotape of the property.  Cioppa invited Mainers to visit the Bureau’s website (www.maine.gov/pfr/insurance) to download a free checklist.

Flood InsuranceCioppa reminded residents that flooding is typically not covered by a standard homeowners policy.  Residents of communities qualified through the National Flood Insurance Program are eligible to purchase flood insurance.  Due to a 30-day waiting period for coverage to take effect, quick action is needed for a policy to be in place for later in this year’s hurricane season.  Details are available from the National Flood Insurance Program by calling 1-800-427-2419 or online at www.floodsmart.gov.  The website includes tools to help homeowners assess their flood risk.

Cioppa noted that a survey conducted by the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) revealed that a majority of homeowners in the United States are largely unprepared for disasters.  Many consumers do not have the coverage necessary to protect themselves from specific types of losses that are not reimbursed under standard policies.  The survey found that nearly 50 percent lack an inventory of their possessions and 65 percent do not have flood insurance

Finally, the Acting Superintendent stressed the need for residents to establish an emergency supply kit.  It should include several days of drinking water (at least one gallon per person per day), non-perishable packaged or canned foods, a non-electrical can opener and cooking utensil.  The kit should also contain first aid materials, necessary medications, basic tools, a battery or crank-operated radio and flashlights, extra batteries and any supplies needed for pets.  Additionally, it’s wise to maintain a list of important names and phone numbers, including insurance company contact information.

A listing of Disaster Preparedness Tips from the National Association of Insurance Commissioners accompanies this press release.

The Bureau of Insurance is part of the Department of Professional and Financial Regulation which encourages sound ethical business practices through regulation of insurers, financial institutions, creditors, investment providers, and numerous professions and occupations for the purpose of protecting the citizens of Maine. Consumers can reach the Bureau through its web site at www.maine.gov/insurance; by calling 800-300-5000 in state; or by writing to Bureau of Insurance, 34 State House Station, Augusta ME  04333.

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Disaster Preparedness Tips for Homeowners and Renters from the NAIC

  • Take an inventory of your valuables and belongings. This should include taking photographs or a video of each room. This documentation will provide your insurance company with proof of your belongings and help to process claims more quickly in the event of disaster.
  • To enable filing claims more quickly, keep sales receipts and/or canceled checks. Also note the model and serial numbers of the items in your home inventory.
  • As you acquire more valuables — jewelry, family heirlooms, antiques, art —consider purchasing an additional “floater” or “rider” to your policy to cover these special items. These types of items typically are not covered by a basic homeowners or renter’s insurance policy.
  • Remember to include in your home inventory those items you rarely use (e.g., holiday decorations, sports equipment, tools, etc.).
  • Store copies of all your insurance policies in a safe location away from your home that is easily accessible in case of disaster. You may want to store your policies and inventory in a waterproof, fireproof box or in a safe, remote location such as a bank safe deposit box. Consider leaving a copy of your inventory with relatives, friends or your insurance provider and store digital pictures in your e-mail or on a Web site for easy retrieval.
  • Know what is and is not covered by your insurance policy. You might need additional protection depending on where you live. Make sure your policies are up to date. Contact your insurance provider annually to review and update your insurance policy.
  • Keep a readily available list of 24-hour contact information for each of your insurance providers.
  • Find out if your possessions are insured for the actual cash value or the replacement cost. Actual cash value is the amount it would take to repair or replace damage to your home or possessions after depreciation while replacement cost is the amount it would take to repair or replace your home or possessions without deducting for depreciation. Speak with your insurance provider to determine whether purchasing replacement coverage is worth the cost.
  • Speak with your insurance provider to find out if your policy covers additional living expenses for a temporary residence if you are unable to live in your home due to damage from a disaster.
  • Appraise your home periodically to make sure your insurance policy reflects home improvements or renovations. Contact your insurance provider to update your policy accordingly.

For new school year, make photo record of property

My Desk

Image by Tostie14 via Flickr

by Russ Van Arsdale
executive director, Northeast CONTACT

For the thousands of students getting ready to head back to school, Northeast CONTACT has a piece of advice regarding your belongings.

Shoot your stuff. Not with Uncle Clyde’s favorite deer rifle, but with the compact digital camera you’ll likely be taking along with you. You might even stand in front of a mirror and get a shot of the camera while you’re at it.

Making a photographic record of your possessions is perhaps the easiest way to do an inventory of all the things you’ll have when you start the new school year. Then, if anything goes missing during the year, you’ll have a photographic reminder of exactly what it looked like. Close-up shots of unique details or markings might help identify something as yours.

Once you have all the digital photos, you’ll want to put them together, probably on a single compact disc. Store it in a safe place, so that you can retrieve it if and when you need it.

To go a step beyond the simple photo inventory, you might use an inventory creating program or service. This could be useful for students, either living on their own or with roommates. Private companies will photograph and catalog your things for a fee, or you can download computer programs that will do a lot of the work for you.

One free program recommended by CNET (which reviews all manner of computer-related hardware and software) is called What You Own Home Inventory. The reviewers at CNET like its ease of use and the fact that it’s free. It’s downloadable at http://whatyouown.org. The Insurance Information Institute offers its own free program at www.knowyourstuff.org. You can also request a Home Owner’s Inventory Checklist from Maine’s Bureau of Insurance by calling (207)-624-8475.

We’ve urged creation of a home inventory in case of fire, natural disaster or other unforeseen event that too often disrupts our lives. Having up-to-date records–including serial numbers and other pertinent data–can make life a lot easier when those possessions are lost or damaged.

Which brings us to the matter of insurance. Students will want to talk with their parents before heading for school to see what protection their homeowners’ insurance gives to students off at college.

Jeffrey Neal of Neal Associates of Lincoln (part of the Varney Group) says virtually every insurance carrier offers differing coverage; that’s why discussing specifics is important.

Neal says most insurers offer “off-premises coverage” for students, if they are still considered part of their family’s household when not in school. Again, details will vary. If your parents have insurance of $50,000 on the contents of their home, you as a student may be entitled to 10 percent – $5,000 – coverage on your property at whatever student housing you live in.

Homeowners’ insurance may also cover school-issued laptops the student takes home at night. Coverage of “property of others” is another point that’s best checked with your insurance agent.

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by Russ Van Arsdale

executive director, Northeast CONTACT

For the thousands of students getting ready to head back to school, Northeast CONTACT has a piece of advice regarding your belongings.

Shoot your stuff. Not with Uncle Clyde’s favorite deer rifle, but with the compact digital camera you’ll likely be taking along with you. You might even stand in front of a mirror and get a shot of the camera while you’re at it.

Making a photographic record of your possessions is perhaps the easiest way to do an inventory of all the things you’ll have when you start the new school year. Then, if anything goes missing during the year, you’ll have a photographic reminder of exactly what it looked like. Close-up shots of unique details or markings might help identify something as yours.

Once you have all the digital photos, you’ll want to put them together, probably on a single compact disc. Store it in a safe place, so that you can retrieve it if and when you need it.

To go a step beyond the simple photo inventory, you might use an inventory creating program or service. This could be useful for students, either living on their own or with roommates. Private companies will photograph and catalog your things for a fee, or you can download computer programs that will do a lot of the work for you.

One free program recommended by CNET (which reviews all manner of computer-related hardware and software) is called What You Own Home Inventory. The reviewers at CNET like its ease of use and the fact that it’s free. It’s downloadable at http://whatyouown.org. The Insurance Information Institute offers its own free program at http://www.knowyourstuff.org. You can also request a Home Owner’s Inventory Checklist from Maine’s Bureau of Insurance by calling (207)-624-8475.

We’ve urged creation of a home inventory in case of fire, natural disaster or other unforeseen event that too often disrupts our lives. Having up-to-date records–including serial numbers and other pertinent data–can make life a lot easier when those possessions are lost or damaged.

Which brings us to the matter of insurance. Students will want to talk with their parents before heading for school to see what protection their homeowners’ insurance gives to students off at college.

Jeffrey Neal of Neal Associates of Lincoln (part of the Varney Group) says virtually every insurance carrier offers differing coverage; that’s why discussing specifics is important.

Neal says most insurers offer “off-premises coverage” for students, if they are still considered part of their family’s household when not in school. Again, details will vary. If your parents have insurance of $50,000 on the contents of their home, you as a student may be entitled to 10 percent – $5,000 – coverage on your property at whatever student housing you live in.

Homeowners’ insurance may also cover school-issued laptops the student takes home at night. Coverage of “property of others” is another point that’s best checked with your insurance agent.

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