We are in the middle of hurricane season, which lasts from June 1 to November 30 each year, and we want to make sure that everyone has a chance to practice hurricane safety for their homes and businesses.
As you know, last year’s hurricane season was a very rough one and there are areas of the world, especially in the Caribbean that are still struggling to recover.
Being prepared and having a plan for your family and employees safety during hurricane season is highly important but it is really only half of the battle.
In this article, we will cover some of the things you need to be thinking about as we head into the last half of hurricane season.
Ultimate Hurricane Season Insurance Guide
Since we help cover both families and businesses with our insurance products, we are going to do our best to go over as many details about what you need to prepare for during this hurricane season for both.
This should help you whether you are a first time home buyer who wants to make sure you are fully covered in a emergency disaster situation or if you are the CEO of a fortune 100 company working in the top floor of the tallest building in the city when a hurricane hits.
First, we’ll cover businesses, then we’ll talk about protecting your home, then finally we’ll go into some supplies and action plan items that will help you and those around you stay safe.
Let’s get started!
Hurricane Preparedness Tips For Businesses
If you own a business, then you know that you are in a position of huge responsibility for the business, the property of the business and, more importantly, the well-being of the people you employ.
For business owners, hurricane preparedness isn’t just about covering potential loss but also communicating and training your staff to react properly in the event of an emergency.
Hurricane Preparedness: Checklist for Business
There are a vast number of risks that are presented when a hurricane touches land. Flooding, wind and debris and more…
It can get really hectic, but we have to ensure that you and your employees have a plan of action that is simple and easy to remember so that they can follow through during even a time where they may feel rushed to get to safety.
That’s why we suggest you use these 3 keys to create your hurricane preparedness checklist
For a more in depth checklist and a hurricane prep plan by one of our insurance carriers, click here.
Hurricane Preparedness: High Rise Buildings
If you work (or live) in a high rise building and you happen to be there during a hurricane, it’s important that you know a few things that will help you stay safe if you must shelter in place.
First, before we talk about how to prep your area of the building, it’s important to know that many high rise buildings will immediately ask you to evacuate, whether they are under a mandatory evacuation order or not.
That being said, if you happen to be a high rise building that has not been evacuated during a hurricane here’s a few things you will need to do to stay reasonably safe.
Balconies and Windows
If you are near a balcony, make sure that everything is put away. You don’t want furniture, plants or even windchimes out on the balcony. These things ordinary objects create considerable danger if the wind should pick them up and hurl them in any direction.
Also, you want to steer clear of any rooms with lots of windows. High velocity winds can break windows, sending shards of glass throughout and presenting danger to those in the vecentity.
If you are above the 3rd story of a high rise, there is typically less danger of broken glass because of the strength of the glass higher up. However, it’s of great importance that all of the windows remain closed, no matter how hot it gets.
Speaking of how hot it gets, cooling towers will usually be shut off at the breakers for safety. That means that you will be hot and uncomfortable during a hurricane in a high rise.
Elevators and Stairwells
If you are on a high floor, be prepared to stay their for a while unless you are ready for some serious cardio.
During a hurricane elevators will not be operational after the power goes out. Which means if you are trying to leave the building you will be walking all the way down the stairs.
The stairwell is the strongest and safest place during the hurricane because they are solid reinforced concrete walls from top to bottom.
The only problem is that it will take a long time for anyone to get to you in the aftermath in case of an emergency.
Travel Insurance During Hurricane Season
What if you are on business while traveling and you are in an area that is prone to hurricanes and tropical storms? How can you protect yourself during the time you are in these areas?
Delayed or Cancelled Flights
Delayed or Cancelled flights are covered if you have bought a travel insurance policy. You can be reimbursed for unexpected and added expenses because of it.
If you experience a trip interruption because of uninhabitable accommodations during a business trip or vacation, your travel insurance can cover having to go home early.
There’s one important thing to know, however. If the storm is named, your travel insurance will not cover your travel issues. So make sure that you are smart about taking trips during hurricane season to the Atlantic region (East coast or Caribbean)
Hurricane Preparedness For Your Home
If you are at home there is a laundry list of things you need to do in order to prepare for a hurricane listed here
A few of the things you need to cover for hurricane safety are:
If you live close on the water, you should evacuate. Don’t wait until you are told to leave. It’s better to be safe and away from your home than to stay with your “stuff” and face danger.
Whether you chose to evacuate or not, be sure to let friends and family know your plans. Where you will be and where you will go if you must leave. It’s also a good idea to have a hard copy of emergency contact information for those you might need to reach.
Hurricane Preparedness Supplies
Generally, you should always plan to have enough supplies to last a minimum of 3 days in a hurricane.
Still, there is potential that you can be without power for weeks if the storm is severe enough. I say that to impress upon you that your supplies could save you in an emergency situation so don’t skimp on what you need.
Hurricane Preparedness Supply Checklist
At Ready.gov, they provide a list of hurricane preparedness supplies that you need to have, as well as some additional supplies you should consider having as well.
You can download a copy of the supplies list so that you can take it to the store with you.
General List Of Hurricane Supplies
These are just a few of the things you will need and if you want to know everything you should get for your hurricane supply list go download it from Ready.gov
Hurricane Preparedness Training For Employees and Family
Now that we have covered how to prepare your business and home for a hurricane from the property standpoint, let’s talk about covering and protecting the people as well.
First, let’s talk about the family...
Hurricane Safety For Families
Knowing how to react to the potential dangers of a hurricane is something that highly important to protect you and your family.
In an emergency situation, having a plan in place that has been rehearsed will allow your family to act swiftly should the need to evacuate arise.
It is good to delegate jobs to each family member and practice going through the plan for a short period of time so that everyone is comfortable with their roles.
The goal is to make sure that your family knows what will happen in as many situations that could come up as possible.
Hurricane Preparedness: Email to Employees
It’s a smart decision to have an email template that can be quickly sent to your employees. At fema.gov has an email template that can be used to send to your employees at a moments notice.
If you plan to create your own template, make sure that it gives them a general idea of what they will need to stay safe during a hurricane.
Tell them about evacuation zones, family communication plans and to check their insurance coverage to make sure they are properly covered.
We hope this has helped you protect your business, home and family and given you some ideas on how you can improve your hurricane safety plan during 2018 hurricane season.
Owning a high end home is almost synonymous with the American Dream.
Most people aspire to own a luxury home with spacious rooms and a great view.
For those of us who achieve this dream, we quickly come to understand the old saying, "More money, More problems".
First, getting a loan requires much more patience because Jumbo loans take more time to close, then when you factor in that 40% of luxury homes are under insured, buying a luxury home can be a real nightmare...
But it doesn't have to be.
In fact, having your high end home insured properly only requires a few key points, which we'll get into in a few minutes.
But first let's look at some things you need to think about first.
High Value House Insurance
The first thing you need to know about buying a high end house is that it has about a 50% chance of being in a catastrophe prone area. These homes are typically in coastal areas, which means that a significant amount of them are going to be waterfront properties
High Value Insurance: Valuing Waterfront Properties
Generally speaking, a high value home is a relatively small market and is defined as having a value in excess of $1 million dollars.
Here are some things to consider when buying waterfront property insurance:
These things are vital because they all can increase or decrease the amount you pay in premiums for your home.
You should make sure that your insurance agent knows that you have a collection of rare books or custom wood floors. In the event that your home is lost and needs to be rebuilt, these items will be factored into the replacement costs.
Many high net worth homeowners lose their investment because they only have enough insurance to cover the mortgage or the sale price of the home and not the replacement value of the home because of the specialty construction work and other high value items that may need to be replaced.
When you are buying high value insurance, especially for a waterfront home, you may need to ask about general insurance, flood insurance and wind insurance because these are typically the ways that luxury homes are damaged.
How To Get The Right High End Homeowners Insurance
Unfortunately for 85% of high net worth home insurance policy holders, it's very difficult to get the right coverage and stay properly covered over time if you go directly to the insurance carrier for coverage.
They will give you the best high end home insurance they can, however, unless you have time to shop multiple carriers on a consistent basis, you will quickly become under insured.
That's because high value homes tend to be the most up to date homes and every time they are updated, the value of the home can change drastically.
And it's very common for luxury homes to actually overpay for less coverage because of it.
If you want the best luxury homeowners insurance you need to get a quote from an independent agent. Independent insurance agents can give you options that the insurance carriers can't. For example, we work with over 20 carriers which allows us to offer great coverage while also finding the most competitive rates available. It's like having a personal shopper.
We also review your policy frequently so that we can make sure that you are properly covered at all times.
If you would like a quote for your high value home, contact us today
Many people dread hearing the phrase, “You’re being audited” and it is definitely an understandable feeling.
Being audited could get you and your business into a lot of trouble if you haven’t been keeping up with your paperwork.
But being audited doesn’t have to be a scary thing, if you are prepared. That’s why we put together this “audit 101” post to help you feel confident if you should ever run into an audit.
What Is Auditing?
In simple terms, an audit is a formal check of financial accounts whether for a business or an individual.
An auditor contacts you with a request for documents.
This is usually the point where business owners start to feel the stress rise. The don’t know what to do and this is also when business owners start to fall victim to their own ignorance, for lack of a better term.
The reality is that, unless you have a good working knowledge of how the audit process works, you will likely end up paying money that you don’t owe.
The audit process is fairly straightforward. These are the six steps:
The problem most people face when being audited starts right around step number 1. The freak out when the auditor requests the documentation.
Should You Buy Audit Insurance?
Some tax preparation companies offer audit insurance as a way to easy the mind of worried tax payers. But the odds of even being audited are fairly low so it doesn’t really make financial sense to pay for audit insurance even if the fee is a small amount.
For example, some tax services and softwares available on the market offer a type of tax audit defense program starting for as little as $40 a year but can range up to about $300 per year.
Still, to the average taxpayer who lives in horror of being audited this seems like a great deal…
Until you find out that only about 1% of individual taxpayers get audited, and for the average American who earns less than $75,000 annually those rates drop.
On the high end of the spectrum, those who earn as much as $5 million per year only have about a 10% chance of being audited.
Audit Help Is Here For You
Now that you know that you are highly unlikely to be audited, let me tell you what you can expect if you are one of our clients.
We have spent 30 years in the insurance industry looking after our customers wherever we can. One of those areas that we focus on is Audit help.
We provide audit assistance to our clients that feel the need for help should they be selected for an audit.
As soon as you find out that you are being audited give us a call.
Don’t contact the auditor to ask questions as this will only cause potential problems during your audit.
An auditor is not their to help you understand the audit process so your first call should be to us.
We help you with the jargon, as well as allow you to have your audit hosted locally in our offices to give you the confidence to successfully navigate the audit.
We will walk you through the process so that you understand what to expect and what you will need to get through your audit successfully.
When you become a client of ours, we always want to make sure we have your best interest in mind and audit assistance is just one of the services we provide.
Join Us Today!
If we don’t have your business already contact us immediately. If you earn $200,000 per year you are more likely to be audited and the average audit ends up costing over $10,000.
We can help you have peace of mind just by having a policy with us.
If you're a landlord then you always have something to think about. Either you're looking for the right tenants, doing repairs, or one of the many other things on your to do list. One of the major things that people are concerned about when they own a rental property is a loss of income if the property needs serious repair work.
If your tenants can't stay in the property, then they won't pay the rent which means you will have to pay out of pocket to cover the mortgage on the property. I'm sure that's not what you had in mind when you decided to become a landlord.
Thankfully, landlord insurance can help you cover your property from damages and you from losing income if the damages make the property temporarily unlivable.
What is landlord insurance?
Landlord Insurance is a little different than homeowners insurance. Why? Landlords have a much different risk factor when it comes to owning and protecting a rental property. The typical landlord insurance policy will address a number of risks that are highly specific to a landlord, which we will cover later in this post.
A landlord faces the risk of damage to property, as well as injury to the tenant that will not be covered in the average homeowners insurance policy
Do You Need Landlord Insurance?
Many new landlords will ask if they even need landlord insurance for rental property and often they don't end up running into any serious issues with the property. But not having the right is a huge risk, not only to you, but to your family as well as the tenants in the property.
It's vital that you understand the risks you run by covering a property with a homeowners policy instead of having a landlord insurance policy for your rental property. So, instead of trying to convince you, here's 8 things that should help you see the importance of having a landlord policy.
Landlord Insurance VS. Homeowners Insurance
The long and short of it is that if you have a tenant for more than one month they will likely be considered a long term renter. Rental Property is very different from a home that is occupied by the owner from an insurance standpoint.
A non-landlord tenant (the homeowner who lives in the home) has a much different risk profile than a renter. Some of the 8 risks stated above can be reduced if you require a copy of the tenants renters insurance but even then you still have a great deal of risk placed on your shoulders.
What Does Landlord Insurance Cover You For?
You get landlord property protection, which usually covers the dwelling, other structures like detached garage or fence, and any personal property used for maintaining the rental like lawn mowers and snow blowers.
You also get Landlord liability protection to help pay for another person's medical bills or your legal expenses if someone gets injured in your rental property and you are found to be responsible.
As optional coverage you can add:
Landlord Insurance usually doesn't cover equipment breakdowns, shared property or the tenants belongings.
Does Landlord Insurance Cover Tenant Damage?
"Does landlord insurance cover tenant damage?" is one of the most common questions that potential landlords typically ask.
The answer... It depends.
The actual damage must be covered in your policy and in some cases a tenant can damage a property without it being covered.
An example of what would most likely be covered? If the tenant has a kitchen fire that damages the property. You will still need to pay your deductible before your insurance benefits are in effect but after that you should be covered.
If your tenant were to vandalize the property, however, you would not be covered unless you purchased additional vandalism coverage.
Also, your tenants belongings will not be covered unless they have their own renters insurance policy
Read More: How To Insure Rental Property
Does Landlord Insurance Protect Commercial Rental Properties?
Typically speaking, landlord policies don't cover commercial property because these types of property carry a much different types of risks. Call us if you need more information about covering a commercial rental property.
Rental Property Insurance for Multiple Properties
Multifamily rental properties can be a little more complex. Many insurance companies will write coverage for a single family home or a duplex but once you go past two units it becomes a little more difficult to find insurers if it is owned under a personal name. If owned through a business entity, some companies will insure small apartments over 6 units.
To fully understand your best course of action, call us for a free consultation.
Temporary Landlord Insurance
If you are a landlord that wants to try your hand with short term rental apps like Airbnb, then you probably know that they have a "host guarantee" that promises to pay up to $1 million to a host for property damage caused by a renter.
Be aware that this guarantee is not insurance.
And if your insurance company finds out that you're frequently renting your home short term to paying guests, they will most likely claim that you are running a hotel or bed and breakfast business, which isn't covered under your policy.
If you plan to run a short term rental business be sure to call us for a free consultation so that you have all of your liabilities covered when you start.
How Much Is Landlord Insurance Per Month?
The simple answer is that landlord insurance coverage is typically 20% more that your homeowners insurance policy would be for the same property. That being said, there are many times that it would make sense to look at adding more coverage to make sure that all of your risks are covered.
For example, if you have a home in Chesapeake, Va that you lived in an paid $1,068 per year for homeowners insurance, you would be looking paying about $1,281 per year for landlord coverage.
When you consider the monthly increase in our example, your payments only go up from $89 to $106, the increase
Your actual rates will vary based on the homes age, how it's built and other factors so rather than estimate you should just call us so we can help you find the rate that you will actually pay.
What are Typical Landlord Insurance Rates?
Landlord insurance is slightly more expensive than homeowners insurance. The good news is that it's also tax deductible because it's considered an expense related to running a business.
If you are having a hard time nailing down an estimate of what you could pay for landlord insurance give us a call at 1 (888) 258-8808 for a free consultation or get an online quote today