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Why is Liability Insurance important?

Homeowners insurance exists to protect your home and your possessions from events such as fires, hurricanes, severe storms and tornadoes. Homeowners insurance also exists to protect you as the homeowner in the event of an accident occurring on your property through what is known as liability coverage. Liability coverage protects a homeowner when someone is injured while on their property.

Why is liability coverage such an important component of a homeowner’s insurance policy? Well, quite plainly because accidents happen. Often an accident is not one person’s fault; however, if an accident does occur on your property, you may have to assume responsibility for it. Consider, for example, if your neighbor slipped and fell on an uneven step entering your home and was injured. Or, if your son is playing baseball in the backyard and hits the ball into a neighbor’s window? These types of events are most likely where your liability coverage will come into play. Liability may coverage also protects you when damage or injury is caused by your pet, such as your pet biting someone delivering a package to your door. This coverage can also travel with you, so if your dog bites someone away from your home, that may be covered as well.

For many, the liability coverage included in their homeowner insurance policy is sufficient, but others may choose to purchase additional coverage. Below are some reasons why you may want to look into expanding your existing coverage:

  • You own a swimming pool
  • Social gatherings are held frequently at your home
  • You have lots of pets.

(If you have a dog that is considered to be an aggressive breed, you will want to pay close attention to whether or not you will be covered if your dog bites or injures someone.)

As with all types of insurance policies, there are exceptions to liability coverages. All the limits and exclusions are specified in your policy and it is recommended you to review your policy to make sure that you have the coverage you need.

Please contact an ASI expert today by clicking here or call 951-247-2003 for all your insurance requirements and for a free rate quote.

This content is offered for educational purposes only and does not represent contractual agreements. The definitions, terms and coverages in a given policy may be different than those suggested here and such policy will be governed by the language contained therein. No warranty or appropriateness for a specific purpose is expressed or implied.

Difference Between Condo Insurance and Homeowner’s Insurance

Useful ResourcesWhat are the differences between condo insurance and homeowner’s insurance? If you own a condominium, your insurance needs will be different from someone who owns a house. You don’t need homeowner’s insurance, but rather insurance specifically designed for condos. That’s because as a condo owner, you only own your unit, which is part of a larger structure or complex. Through your association dues, you and the other condo owners share ownership in the overall building and responsibility for the upkeep and maintenance of common areas. Part of the money each of you pays to the association goes to pay for insurance coverage for these common structures and areas. However, and here’s the important part, that coverage does not protect any of your personal property within the walls of your unit or your liability should someone be injured in your condo.

California condo insurance typically covers your appliances, furniture, wall décor, kitchen and bathroom amenities, your personal possessions and the walls within your own home. Upgrades you’ve made to your place are also covered, such as plush carpet, wood floors, built-in wall units, lighting or ceiling fans. Be sure you have adequate coverage (limit) for those permanently attached items which are your responsibility to insure. These may be interior walls and attached appliances and cabinetry.

To protect yourself, it is essential that you keep a current inventory of your possessions. The easiest way to do this is to periodically walk through your condo with a video camera. Make sure you store your inventory or video tape in a secure place such as a safe deposit box.

Before you sign up for coverage, you’ll need to check with your association or read through the covenants to see what is and what is not covered. Ask our knowledgeable ASI experts about “loss assessment coverage” and if the limit provided by your policy is adequate.

You don’t want to fall prey to the common misconception that the insurance that covers your overall building will also cover everything you own. Remember it this way, your association covenants typically cover everything from your wall studs out. The condo insurance you buy will be called upon to cover everything from the wall studs in. And, condominium insurance is usually less expensive than home insurance.

Please contact an ASI expert today by clicking here or call 951-247-2003 for all your insurance requirements and for a free rate quote.

This content is offered for educational purposes only and does not represent contractual agreements. The definitions, terms and coverage in a given policy may be different than those suggested here and such policy will be governed by the language contained therein. No warranty or appropriateness for a specific purpose is expressed or implied.

How do I determine the amount of Condo Insurance that I need?

Insuring a condominium (condo) is much different than insuring a home. When insuring a home, you must take into account the structure of the home, contents, lot and any other structures contained therein. A condo is different because in most cases you do not own the property it is on or in some cases the physical structure. With most condos, a master policy is set up by your association dues which cover the structures within the community. Before you decide how much individual coverage you will need, you should review the association’s master policy to see what it covers. There are two main types of master policies.

  • Bare walls in. These policies cover all real property from the exterior framing inward, but do not cover fixtures or installations within a condo unit. Features such as countertops, bathroom and kitchen fixtures, and flooring are not covered. If your condo association has this kind of master policy, you’ll probably have a greater need for individual coverage.
  • All in. These policies cover fixtures, installations or additions within the interior surfaces of the perimeter walls, floors and ceilings of individual units. Condo owners under an all-in plan will probably have a more limited need for individual coverage.

There are also variations of the two types. These details should be spelled out in a condominium association’s bylaws.

Once you determine the master policy coverage’s, you are ready to figure out how much coverage to purchase. To determine how much coverage to buy, you will need to figure out the replacement value of structures and fixtures (if not covered by the master policy) and the replacement value of your belongings. In some cases you may need to determine if you want the cash value or the replacement cost of an item. Cash value will pay you the current value of the item minus the depreciation costs. Replacement value will pay you the amount it costs to replace the item.

Other coverage’s you may need to purchase additional to your condo insurance could be wind, flood and earthquake policies, depending on what area of the country you reside in.

Please contact an ASI expert today by clicking here or call 951-247-2003 for all your insurance requirements and for a free rate quote.

This content is offered for educational purposes only and does not represent contractual agreements. The definitions, terms and coverages in a given policy may be different than those suggested here and such policy will be governed by the language contained therein. No warranty or appropriateness for a specific purpose is expressed or implied.

If Renting My Home, What Type of Insurance Do I Need?

When you own a home and purchase homeowners insurance, your policy will cover damage to the home and it will also protect your family if anyone is injured on your property or if you or your family happen to accidentally injure or damage other people or their property. But what if you decide to rent out your home, or perhaps you have purchased a rental property as an investment? Will your homeowner’s policy cover these two situations? Chances are your policy will not cover all of these situations.

Homeowners insurance typically covers owner-occupied structures, other structures, all your personal property, your personal liability and medical, higher limits. When you rent out a home, the risk exposure to your home changes. Most owners who rent out their home will have minimal personal property left in the home, usually general appliances such as kitchen appliances, maybe a washer and dryer. Minimal furnishings mean minimal coverage needed. Therefore, coverage on your homeowner policy will offer more than what you may want to carry when you rent your home.

When you rent out your property, you will need to purchase a dwelling fire insurance policy. A dwelling fire insurance policy typically covers your rental unit (the dwelling), other structures on the property such as sheds, the owner’s possessions (but not the tenant’s possessions), lost rental income if the house is damaged and uninhabitable, and some liability protection for the owner in case of injury or a lawsuit. This is a more broad policy to suit your needs as your main interest as a landlord would be to ensure that you are covering your actual home and liability as the owner of the property.

When purchasing a dwelling fire insurance policy, it is important to read all the fine print, as coverage will vary. To get more information about a dwelling fire insurance policy and other renters insurance coverage, please call 951-247-2003 or click here for a free rate quote.

This content is offered for educational purposes only and does not represent contractual agreements. The definitions, terms and coverages in a given policy may be different than those suggested here and such policy will be governed by the language contained therein. No warranty or appropriateness for a specific purpose is expressed or implied.

My Home is for Sale, Can I keep my same Policy?

Selling your home can be an exciting time, especially if you are moving for a new opportunity, or upgrading to a larger home. During a move, you will want to make sure that you are staying up to date with your insurance policy and the regulations that are in effect during this period. If you are planning to live in your house until the closing date, your homeowner insurance policy should still be sufficient.

However, if your home is for sale and you leave it vacant, this can pose some problems such as a higher probability of fire, theft, vandalism and other damages to your property. Dwelling Fire policies may be your solution. This type of insurance policy generally has liberal guidelines in regards to residency requirements. In addition, they offer protection for your dwelling, other structures on your property and give you the flexibility to endorse additional coverage that you may need.

Please contact an ASI expert today by clicking here or call 951-247-2003 for all your insurance requirements and for a free rate quote.

My Property Value is Down, Why isn’t my Premium Lower?

While the two seem like an exact correlation, they really have little to do with one another. When you are purchasing a homeowners policy many things will be considered to determine your premium price. Some of those factors include:

  • Type of Construction of your home – Frame houses may be more expensive to insure than brick because they are more flammable and less sturdy, relatively speaking.
  • Age of your home – Newer homes may qualify for discounts if they are made from safer and stronger materials. Older homes are more expensive because the likelihood of a claim being filed is much higher.
  • Proximity to fire protection – The closer the fire department is to you, the better chance they have of getting a fire under control quickly.
  • Deductible amount – A higher deductible means a lower premium and vice versa.

While these are some factors involved in what your premium will be, the market value is not considered because this number in some cases is arbitrary. Property value is based on many things and can fluctuate often, so it is not a reliable number for insurance companies to use because it can change often. Instead they look at a more solid number such as the amount it would take to rebuild your home (based on current material costs), because this does not fluctuate as much.

For more information about homeowners insurance in California, please contact an ASI expert today by clicking here or call 951-247-2003.

This content is offered for educational purposes only and does not represent contractual agreements. The definitions, terms and coverages in a given policy may be different than those suggested here and such policy will be governed by the language contained therein. No warranty or appropriateness for a specific purpose is expressed or implied.

What is Dwelling Coverage and Why Does it Increase Each Year?

First, let’s explain what dwelling coverage is. The dwelling coverage refers to the main house and any other structures that are attached to it such as a garage or porch. Dwelling coverage is important because you must buy enough to replace your home in the event it is destroyed. Be aware that market value and rebuilding cost are very different. In most cases the rebuilding cost will be much lower than what the actual amount you originally paid for your home. The original purchase price of your home included additional costs such as the value of the land. The land is not taken into consideration in determining the actual dwelling value of your home You also need to make sure that if you have a pool or shed on your property, there is additional coverage for these “other structures on your property. These are not generally covered under a primary dwelling policy.

Now, if you notice that your policy is increasing in price year over year, it is most likely because you have what is called inflation guard coverage. Estimating the value of your home is not an exact science. Inflation Guard coverage ensures that you have fluctuation and minimize the possibility of being under insured at a time of a loss. It bumps up the coverage amount specified in your policy declarations to cover your home by a certain percentage. This is done on an annual basis when your homeowner policy comes up for renewal.

Talk to an ASI Specialty Home Insurance expert today for a free rate quote by calling (951) 247-2003, or click here to chat with us.

This content is offered for educational purposes only and does not represent contractual agreements. The definitions, terms and coverages in a given policy may be different than those suggested here and such policy will be governed by the language contained therein. No warranty or appropriateness for a specific purpose is expressed or implied.

If a Tree Falls on My House or Car, am I Covered?

California sure has a wide variety of weather patterns. High winds or torrential rains can topple a tree like a toddler knocking down Lego blocks. What happens when your neighbor’s tree comes crashing down on your roof? Who pays to have the damage repaired?

Here’s the easy answer. No matter where the tree came from (whether from your yard or your neighbor’s) your insurance company should cover the damage.

There is an exception to this rule and that is if the damage is a result of your neighbor’s negligence. Let’s say your neighbor’s tree was rotting, dead and a risk. If you can prove your neighbor knew it was problematic, then it’s likely the damage becomes your neighbor’s insurance company’s responsibility.

There are a few other things you should know. If a tree falls into your yard and does not damage anything but results in a huge mess, most of the time, you as a homeowner are responsible for costs associated with clean-up. If your tree does, in fact, cause property damage covered by your homeowner policy then they will pay for its removal. Damages to your trees and shrubs are covered due to losses from vandalism, theft and fire but not storm damages.

If your tree or your neighbor’s tree falls on your car, the comprehensive coverage section of your auto policy will typically pay for the repairs.

The smartest thing that you can do if any of this happens to you is to file a claim with your own insurance company. They are experts in this area and will know exactly how to deal with it. At ASI, we can help with all of your Auto Insurance and Homeowners Insurance needs to ensure that you have the coverage right for you.

This content is offered for educational purposes only and does not represent contractual agreements. The definitions, terms and coverages in a given policy may be different than those suggested here and such policy will be governed by the language contained therein. No warranty or appropriateness for a specific purpose is expressed or implied.

How can I make my home safe and save money?

Homeowners who guard against theft, accidents and other losses can often get lower insurance rates and policy discounts. Here are some things you can do to help qualify for lower premiums:

  • Secure your home with dead bolts and window locks.
  • Install a security system with an outside signal and connection to local police
  • Install and maintain smoke detectors.
  • Install a sprinkler system for fire
  • Install a fire alarm that automatically alerts the local fire department.
  • Stop smoking.
  • Keep walks and entrance ways clear of snow and ice.

Please contact an ASI expert today by clicking here or call 951-247-2003 for all your insurance requirements and for a free rate quote.

How long should I keep my car for safety reasons?

If you drive a vehicle that is more than six to eight years old, you should be aware that technology has advanced and that newer vehicles are much safer than older vehicles. Both – the National Traffic Safety Administration, a government agency, and the Institute for Highway Safety, an organization sponsored by the insurance industry, annually evaluate crashworthiness—or, how well a vehicle protects its occupants during a crash.

If you are unable to upgrade to a newer vehicle, you might want to consider installing safety features that will aid in improving your chances of avoiding severe injury in an accident. As an example, consumers who live in snow-belt states might consider purchasing snow tires or all-weather tires. Winter wiper blades can help to keep the windshield clear in icy and snowy weather. And switching over to window washer fluids that have de-icing capabilities is another good safety measure.

One to the best safety features that many consumers overlook are seat belts. Wearing a seat belt is now mandatory in many states. Not using your seat belt causes the other safety features in your vehicle to be less effective because you are lacking a vital, primary restraint.

Aside from overall safety, some other things to consider when driving an older vehicle are whether it makes financial sense to purchase Collision and Comprehensive insurance. If your vehicle is older and worth less than your deductible, Collision and Comprehensive coverage might be options you don’t need. However, it’s important to note that most states require you to purchase automobile liability insurance, which can protect you and your passengers in the event of a covered loss. Because any vehicle, regardless of age, can cause damage to property or to others in the event of an accident, you may be required to carry two types of automobile liability insurance: Bodily Injury and Property Damage.

Drivers purchasing older vehicles should also consider mechanical breakdown insurance. Older vehicles tend to be less reliable, and if your car breaks down, roadside assistance and a tow service could be essential.

My sister is visiting from out of town, will my auto insurance policy apply if she drives my car?

Some companies do extend coverage to permissive drivers, however, certain restrictions may apply. If permissive use is allowed by your carrier, it allows limited coverage to any individual who is not listed as an excluded driver on the policy and had the express or implied permission of the named insured, to use the vehicle that is covered on the policy without charging premium. For more information, call an ASI expert.

When Driving a Friends Car, Am I Covered Under My Insurance or Theirs?

In some cases, we let family members or friends borrow our car. In others, we may be the ones who are doing the borrowing. Whose insurance will cover an accident or damage? As always, it will depend on your specific policy and state, but below are a few general guidelines you can follow. If you are unsure, it is always best to consult with your insurance agency or coverage provider.

In California, coverage follows the vehicle. In most cases, the primary insurance will be the policy that is purchased for the specific car, even if you loan it to someone else. If you borrow someone else’s vehicle, their policy should pay first. Your own coverage is “secondary” or excess, and typically applies only if the primary insurance is insufficient to cover the loss.

When you are purchasing a policy, you should ask your provider about this situation. They may also advise you of ways to protect yourself. In most cases, in order for another driver to be covered, they must have permission to drive your vehicle to be covered. Also, if there are drivers that you don’t want to have driving your car, you can have them excluded from your policy so they don’t have coverage.

This content is offered for educational purposes only and does not represent contractual agreements. The definitions, terms and coverages in a given policy may be different than those suggested here and such policy will be governed by the language contained therein. No warranty or appropriateness for a specific purpose is expressed or implied.

Can You Get Auto Insurance Before You’ve Moved to the State?

The short answer to this question is yes. You can purchase auto insurance before you move to that state. The caveat is that you must already have a permanent address in the state you are moving to. If you’ve purchased a home or leased an apartment, you can then buy insurance before you fully move in. Bear in mind, however, that your insurance company may require you to obtain a license and registration for your vehicle shortly after purchasing your policy.

Before you decide on coverage, it is important to shop around. Many states have regulations that must be met by insurance carriers. Only these insurance providers will be able to answer state specific questions. If you are moving to California for instance, you would need to speak with an agency that is knowledgeable of California rules and regulations for insurance. ASI offers free quotes for auto insurance and many other insurance products. When you submit an inquiry for a quote, ASI will shop many different coverage’s to make sure you get the best combination of policy and price. Many options will be returned to you, so you can pick the policy that works best for you.

Don’t forget, you can save money by bundling your policies. ASI can get additional discounts for you when you purchase auto, home and others. Contact us today for a free rate quote.

How Do Insurance Companies Define Sports Cars?

Let’s face it; driving in a performance model car is just more fun and exciting than schlepping to work in your average four-door sedan. In most cases sports cars are more expensive than average vehicles because they have higher performance engines and features that cost more to integrate into the vehicle when compared to an “average” car. Not only will a sports car be more expensive off the lot, but it will also cost more when you are buying car insurance.

Each insurance carrier will define a sports car a little bit differently, so it is important to check first. Here are some common factors that many insurance companies will use to determine if your car is a sports car or not.

Two doors – For most people, this doesn’t seem to be a defining factor of a sports car, but for some insurance companies it is. Two door cars are generally smaller than a four door, and because of this, they can be determined to be less safe. Two door cars are frequently driven by younger drivers without families. This rule is interesting because it can “hurt” those who don’t really have a two door sports car, but help those that have a four door performance model.

Engine Size – More often if the car has a large engine (V-8 or bigger) it will be considered a sports car. These cars put out more power and are much faster. In some cases smaller engines with modifications such as turbo chargers and super chargers can be considered sports cars as well.

Height & Weight – Sports cars are generally lower to the ground and weigh less than their non-sporty counterparts.

Other Factors that drive the insurance premium up on a sports car can be that they are often more targeted by thieves and sometimes the drivers will be more reckless when driving them. Vehicles made of non-standard materials like fiberglass are more easily damaged and also more costly to repair.

For more information about Sports Car Insurance, please contact an ASI expert today.

This content is offered for educational purposes only and does not represent contractual agreements. The definitions, terms and coverages in a given policy may be different than those suggested here and such policy will be governed by the language contained therein. No warranty or appropriateness for a specific purpose is expressed or implied.

If a Tree Falls on My House or Car, am I Covered?

California sure has a wide variety of weather patterns. High winds or torrential rains can topple a tree like a toddler knocking down Lego blocks. What happens when your neighbor’s tree comes crashing down on your roof? Who pays to have the damage repaired?

Here’s the easy answer. No matter where the tree came from (whether from your yard or your neighbor’s) your insurance company should cover the damage.

There is an exception to this rule and that is if the damage is a result of your neighbor’s negligence. Let’s say your neighbor’s tree was rotting, dead and a risk. If you can prove your neighbor knew it was problematic, then it’s likely the damage becomes your neighbor’s insurance company’s responsibility.

There are a few other things you should know. If a tree falls into your yard and does not damage anything but results in a huge mess, most of the time, you as a homeowner are responsible for costs associated with clean-up. If your tree does, in fact, cause property damage covered by your homeowner policy then they will pay for its removal. Damages to your trees and shrubs are covered due to losses from vandalism, theft and fire but not storm damages.

If your tree or your neighbor’s tree falls on your car, the comprehensive coverage section of your auto policy will typically pay for the repairs.

The smartest thing that you can do if any of this happens to you is to file a claim with your own insurance company. They are experts in this area and will know exactly how to deal with it. At All Solutions Insurance we can help with all of your Auto Insurance and Homeowners Insurance needs to ensure that you have the coverage right for you.

This content is offered for educational purposes only and does not represent contractual agreements. The definitions, terms and coverages in a given policy may be different than those suggested here and such policy will be governed by the language contained therein. No warranty or appropriateness for a specific purpose is expressed or implied.

Is Your Emergency Kit Up to Par?

Just as you should have an emergency kit prepared for a natural disaster, you should also carry an emergency kit with you in your vehicle at all times. Car accidents occur suddenly without warning, and a lack of proper emergency supplies can lead to unnecessary struggles, injuries or even deaths.

Carrying an emergency kit with you in your car is something that used to be more commonly seen years ago. Today, people rely heavily on cell phones and other communication devices to reach someone when in need of assistance. However, these types of communication devices can’t be relied on all of the time. If your car breaks down, you end up with a flat tire, or are involved in an accident, it may take a while for someone to get to your location depending on where the incident occurred. Your phone may also end up damaged after an accident and become unusable. For your safety, protect yourself by carrying an appropriate car emergency kit. Below are items that should be included:

  • Cell phone car charger
  • First-aid kit
  • Fire extinguisher
  • Warning lights, hazard triangles or flares
  • Tire gauge
  • Usable spare tire
  • Jumper cables
  • Flashlight
  • Disposable flash camera
  • Roadside-assistance number and other important family member phone numbers
  • Basic tool kit
  • Pen and paper
  • Ice scraper during winter months
  • Blanket to stay warm during winter months
  • Water and non-perishable food

While making sure that you have the above items in your car, review your insurance policy to be certain that you have the necessary coverage. Carry documentation of this with you as well. If you have questions, contact your ASI representative today.

This content is offered for educational purposes only and does not represent contractual agreements. The definitions, terms and coverages in a given policy may be different than those suggested here and such policy will be governed by the language contained therein. No warranty or appropriateness for a specific purpose is expressed or implied.

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