The Average Cost of Home Insurance

We’ll get straight to the point: The cost of home insurance varies widely, but the average American homeowner pays $1,249 a year in premiums, according to the Insurance Information Institute’s 2018 figures, the most recent available.

(This is based on the HO-3 homeowner package policy for owner-occupied dwellings, 1 to 4 family units. It provides all risks coverage (except those specifically excluded in the policy) on buildings and broad named-peril coverage on personal property, and is the most common package written.)

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Home insurance premiums can vary widely in part because of:

  • Your location
  • Your history of claims
  • Your credit score
  • The age and condition of your home

However, there are ways that homeowners can save money on their insurance costs, which we’ll get into. We’ll also walk through which areas in the U.S. are the cheapest and most expensive, typical coverages and more.

[ Read: Home Insurance Quotes, Explained ]

How much does home insurance cost by state?

As you can see below, the average home insurance premium varies widely by state. As you might expect, weather events figure big in the average annual premium by state, although there are other factors, of course, such as your credit score and the age of the home. The figures in this table come from 2018 data provided by the Insurance Information Institute.

State Rank Average annual premium State Rank Average annual premium State Rank Average annual premium
Ala. 13 $1,409 Ky. 26 $1,152 N.D. 18 $1,293
Alaska 36 $984  La. 1 $1,987 Ohio 44 $874
Ariz. 46 $843 Maine 42 $905 Okla. 4 $1,944
Ark. 12 $1,419 Md. 32 $1,071 Ore. 51 $706
Calif. 31 $1,073 Mass. 10 $1,543 Pa. 40 $943
Colo. 7 $1,616 Mich. 38 $981 R.I. 5 $1,630
Conn. 11 $1,494 Minn. 14 $1,400 S.C. 19 $1,284
Del. 45 $873 Miss. 8 $1,578 S.D. 20 $1,280
D.C. 21 $1,264 Mo. 15 $1,383 Tenn. 23 $1,232
Fla. 2 $1,960 Mont. 22 $1,237 Texas 3 $1,955
Ga. 17 $1,313 Neb. 9 $1,569 Utah 50 $730
Hawaii 27 $1,140 Nev. 48 $776 Vt. 41 $935
Idaho 49 $772 N.H. 36 $984 Va. 34 $1,026
Ill. 28 $1,103 N.J. 24 $1,209 Wash. 43 $881
Ind. 33 $1,030 N.M. 30 $1,075 W.Va. 39 $970
Iowa 35 $987 N.Y. 16 $1,321 Wis. 47 $814
Kansas 6 $1,617 N.C. 28 $1,103 Wy. 25 $1,187

Based on the HO-3 homeowner package policy for owner-occupied dwellings, 1 to 4 family units. Provides all risks coverage (except those specifically excluded in the policy) on buildings and broad named-peril coverage on personal property, and is the most common package written.

Most expensive states in home insurance premiums

Below are the most expensive average home insurance premiums by state, according to the Insurance Information Institute’s figures from 2018. Premiums can vary widely within the state, and of course, there are more factors in your premium than the location of your home.

  • Louisiana: $1,987
  • Florida: $1,960
  • Texas: $1,955
  • Oklahoma: $1,944
  • Rhode Island: $1,630

Cheapest states in home insurance premiums

Below are the cheapest average home insurance premiums by state, according to the Insurance Information Institute’s figures from 2018. Premiums can vary widely within each state, and of course, there are more factors in your premium than the location of your home.

  • Wisconsin: $814
  • Nevada: $776
  • Idaho: $772
  • Utah: $730
  • Oregon: $706

What determines the cost of homeowners insurance?

The cost of an individual homeowners insurance policy is determined by a wide range of factors. Some of those factors are within your control, and some of them are not. 

For instance, home insurance can be more expensive in areas with a high risk of flooding or fires than in places where natural disasters are uncommon. Newer homes often cost less to insure than older dwellings — especially those in need of repairs. Insurance companies also look at your personal credit history before covering your home, so people with good credit histories could receive a lower premium than those with poor credit histories.

Every insurance company calculates rates differently. Some carriers place a higher value on credit score and claims history, while others look more closely at the condition and age of the home. Below is a more comprehensive list of the considerations that might determine your homeowners insurance premium.

[ Read: The Best Homeowners Insurance Companies ]

  • State, city and neighborhood: Some states are more prone to wildfires, earthquakes, and hurricanes than others.
  • Location of home: This information is pulled for crime and claim statistics in your home’s area.
  • Construction of the home: Is the home made out of wood, brick, or vinyl siding?
  • Heating system: Is the home heated with an HVAC or wood stove?
  • Security system: Homes with security systems might be less likely to be broken into.
  • Previous claims on the home: If the home has a history of water and electrical issues, then the homeowner may be more likely to file a future claim.
  • Homeowner’s previous claims: If the homeowner has a history with other insurance companies, he or she may be more likely file a claim again in the not-so-distant future.
  • Credit score: People with low credit scores may be more likely to file a claim.
  • Nearest fire station: The distance between your home and the nearest fire station can be a factor.
  • Marital status: Married couples are statistically less likely to file claims with insurance companies.
  • Replacement cost: The cost to replace an older home and bring it up to code can be more expensive than replacing a new home.
  • Pets: Certain animals might be considered a greater risk for liability claims.
  • Outside structures: Things like pools, sheds or greenhouses can also affect your policy rate.

Aside from these factors, the cost of an individual policy can also be determined by which features you chose to include in your coverage. A few of the options that can affect the cost are:

  • Deductible amount
  • Extra coverage add-ons
  • Bundled insurance policies
  • Discounts

[ More: Complete Guide to Home Insurance ]

Types of coverage

There are many different types of homeowners insurance coverage. Some coverages, like dwelling and liability coverage, can come standard with most policies. But insurance companies also often sell add-on policies that offer protection in certain areas. Here are some of the most common home insurance coverages you might find:

  • Dwelling coverage is insurance that covers qualified damages to the home itself. If the siding of your home tore off in a major storm, dwelling insurance might cover the cost of repairs. Insurance companies might sell add-ons for roof damage, water back/sump pump overflow, flood insurance and earthquake insurance.
  • Personal property coverage pertains to the cost of replacing possessions in your home, such as furniture. If someone broke into your home and stole personal items, personal property coverage might reimburse you. If you need to protect valuables, your agent might recommend you purchase a scheduled personal property endorsement for higher coverage limits.
  • Personal liability coverage protects against lawsuits for property damage or injury. If a delivery driver slipped and fell on your icy driveway, liability coverage might pay for their medical expenses and court costs if they sued you. Some insurance companies offer add-on policies that extend your liability coverage limits.
  • Loss of use coverage might cover additional living expenses you have after your home has been damaged. This might include hotel stays, groceries and gas while your home is being repaired. If your house is under construction after a covered claim, loss of use coverage might pay for your temporary hotel and food expenses up to your policy’s limit.

Generally speaking, your agent may recommend that your home insurance coverages be based on your lifestyle, where you live and the value of your assets.

Keep in mind that your agent may recommend you add coverage as time goes on. If you adopt a puppy six months after you purchase your home insurance policy, your agent may recommend you add pet coverage when the time comes. Or, if you take on a remote job, you can contact your insurance company and see if you should add home business coverage for a small fee.

Every home insurance coverage has a policy limit. A policy limit is the highest amount of money your insurance company will give you after a covered loss. For example, if your dwelling coverage limit is $400,000, that may limit how much is paid out if your home is damaged or destroyed by a covered peril to no more than $400,000, although factors like your deductible may come into play.

When you purchase a home insurance policy, you may be able to set your own policy limits. As a rule of thumb, you may be recommended to have enough dwelling coverage to rebuild your home in its current state, enough personal property coverage to cover the full value of your personal items and enough liability coverage to protect your personal assets.  

[ Read: What is Dwelling Insurance? ]

Reimbursement coverage types

There are three different coverage options commonly provided by home insurance companies. Each option affects your premium differently.

  • Actual cash value (ACV) is based on the current market value, or how much your home and personal property is worth, with depreciation factored in. Most home insurance policies offer ACV reimbursement by default. It can be the lowest option.  
  • Replacement cost value (RCV) works in the same way as ACV, but without depreciation factored in. That means you might get a higher payout after a covered claim. RCV home insurance policies can be more expensive than ACV policies, and you may need to purchase an endorsement to get it. Your agent may recommend this if you own valuables or have an expensive home.
  • Guaranteed replacement cost (GRC) is also referred to as extended replacement cost (ERC), and this option can cover the complete cost of rebuilding the home, even if that cost exceeds the policy limit. GRC can be the most expensive replacement cost type, and not all insurance companies offer it. Your agent may recommend this if you live in areas with extreme weather, wildfires, earthquakes or any place where home destruction is more likely. 

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Discounts and ways to save on home insurance

Homeowners insurance can be costly, so before selecting a plan, shop around to find the best deal based on your needs. It can be helpful to consult an insurance agent, read consumer reviews and check online insurance quotes to find companies with the lowest rates. Here are some other ways to save money on home insurance:

  1. Ask about available discounts: Some companies offer discounted policy rates if your home is in a gated community, if you bundle with your car insurance or if you’re part of a homeowner’s association.
  2. Bundle your insurance policies: Oftentimes, companies that sell home, auto and life coverage may deduct up to 15% off your premium if you buy two or more policies from them.
  3. Make your home safer: Some providers may offer a discount if you install fixtures that make your home safer, such as smoke alarms or a security system, that reduce the likelihood that damage or theft will occur in the first place.

How do past claims impact home insurance cost?

It depends on the nature of the claim. Just how much a claim raises your premium varies in part on the provider and the nature of the claim.

There are also further complications when you make the same type of claim twice. Not only can this increase what you pay each month, but, depending on you and your home’s history, it’s possible the provider may even decide to drop you.

Though your premium may increase if you are found at fault, it’s also possible for your monthly bill to increase even if you’re not found to be liable. Your home may be considered riskier to insure than other homes.

Home insurance cost FAQs

No, states do not require homeowners to get insurance when they purchase a home. However, if you choose to get a mortgage loan, most lenders will require you to have some insurance.

To determine how much coverage you should purchase, talk to your agent about your home inventory, your overall worth, and of course, comfort level. Also discuss factoring in the location of your home, and evaluate risks based on weather, fires and other events that could potentially damage or destroy your home.

There are a few ways to potentially get home insurance discounts. Discount options include things like:

  • Bundling your home insurance policy with another policy (such as auto).
  • Going claims free for extended periods of time.
  • Making certain home improvements.
  • Living in a gated community.
  • Installing a security system.

In 2018, 34.4% of home insurance losses were wind and hail related, 32.7% were fire or lightning related and 23.8% were water damage or freezing claims. Only 1% of claims were related to theft, and less than 2% of losses were liability claims. These figures are according to the Insurance Information Institute.

In Florida the most common claims may be related to hurricanes, wind damage, water damage and flooding. In California, earthquake, flood and wildfire claims may be more common. When you purchase insurance, talk to an agent about the specific risks in your area and ask about separate insurance policies you might need, like flood or earthquake coverage.

We welcome your feedback on this article. Contact us at inquiries@thesimpledollar.com with comments or questions.

Source: thesimpledollar.com

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Does Renters Insurance Cover Bedbugs?

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You bought renters insurance to protect you against life’s what-ifs. So if you wake up with a row of small bites, you might be wondering: Does renters insurance cover bedbugs?

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Bad news. In most cases, you can’t get renters insurance to cover bedbugs. You’ll be on the hook for paying for extermination or the other treatment of your choice — provided you can’t prove your landlord is responsible for the situation. 

(This doesn’t mean you should drop your renters policy. It still covers you against a whole bunch of risks.) 

Long story short, renters insurance bedbugs coverage is pretty much nonexistent. Let’s find out why.

[ Read: Is Renters Insurance Worth it?]

In this article

Does renters insurance cover bedbugs? 

No. 

But your renters policy is supposed to protect you against unexpected disasters, so why doesn’t renters insurance cover bedbugs? 

Your renters insurance safeguards you against sudden, unavoidable disasters. Bedbugs disqualify you for coverage in two ways. First, insurers don’t see them as a sudden peril. Secondly, they’re generally seen as avoidable. In fact, most insurers will argue preventing and dealing with bedbugs is a maintenance issue. 

Beyond that, most renters policies — both cheap and pricy renters policies — specifically exclude bedbug coverage. Even all-perils policies usually list bedbugs as a policy exclusion. (The same is generally true for home insurance policies, too.) 

Some companies offer renters insurance bedbugs endorsements, meaning you could add bedbug coverage to your policy. But these endorsements are increasingly hard to find. And as far as insurance policies designed specifically for bedbugs, those are usually reserved for landlords and business owners (e.g., hotel owners). You’ll probably have a pretty hard time finding renters insurance with bedbugs coverage. 

[ Read: The Best Renters Insurance of 2021 ]

Is my landlord supposed to take care of bedbugs? 

Does renters insurance cover bedbugs? No. But does that mean you definitely need to pay out-of-pocket to deal with them? Not necessarily. In some cases, the infestation is your landlord’s responsibility. 

Legal rights as a tenant 

In most states, landlords have to provide their tenants with a safe, habitable living space. If you can prove that the bedbugs are your landlord’s fault — not yours — you have a leg to stand on here.

It’s easiest to lean on your legal rights as a tenant to have your landlord handle the infestation in two cases:

Bedbug laws 

In some states, landlords are legally required to get rid of bedbugs at their property. In Arizona, California and other states, for example, a landlord can’t knowingly rent a unit that has bedbugs. In Florida, landlords are explicitly required to exterminate bedbugs any time they show up on their property.

Ultimately, bedbug laws vary from state to state. But that doesn’t mean you have to delve into your state’s statutes and codes to find out if your landlord is on the hook. The EPA has a handy, alphabetically organized spreadsheet summarizing all bedbug laws in each state, as of September 2019. 

[ Read: How Much Renters Insurance Do I Need?

How do I prevent bedbugs? 

Since you know you’re lacking renters insurance bedbugs coverage, you want to avoid this infestation, for sure. Steering clear of bedbugs comes down to checking items before you bring them into your house. 

After travel

If you travel somewhere you suspect had bedbugs, launder any clothes you’re wearing and shower right away. Then, leave your suitcases outside until you can launder everything in them (on hot) and vacuum them out thoroughly. Make sure you hit any seams with extra care. 

After buying second-hand 

If you thrift for furniture or clothing items, check anything you bring home really well before you bring it inside. 

Tips at home

Additionally, you can do a few things around the house to make it harder for bedbugs to thrive there:

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How do I get rid of bedbugs? 

You have a few options you can explore to nix those pesky pests:

Hire an exterminator

Your best bet for ditching bedbugs is to bring in a pro. Costs to treat your bedbug infestation can vary based on the extent of your infestation and the treatment you choose, but you’re probably looking at somewhere between $500 and $1,500. 

Launder what you can — and seal up what you can’t

Run all your clothes through the laundry on a hot cycle for both the washer and dryer. Do the same with your bedding and literally anything else you can launder, including bedskirts, drapes, towels, rugs and stuffed animals. 

If something can’t go through the wash, double bag it in a trash bag and be prepared to stash it for a while. Bedbugs can live for months without feeding. 

Vacuum, then empty your vacuum carefully

Vacuum the crevices of your mattresses and furniture. Vacuum all of your floors, focusing particularly on the areas around the legs of your bed, too. 

Immediately after finishing vacuuming, take the vacuum outside. Dump the contents into a trash bag and seal it. Place that bag in an outside trash — don’t bring it inside or you risk undoing all of your progress. 

[ Read: How to Buy Cheap Renters Insurance Online ]

We welcome your feedback on this article. Contact us at inquiries@thesimpledollar.com with comments or questions.

Source: thesimpledollar.com

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How Does Renters Insurance Work?

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If you want to know how renters insurance works, you’re in luck. Renters insurance is not only one of the most straightforward types of insurance to purchase, but it’s also quite affordable. Renters insurance protects you in a wide variety of circumstances, from coverage if your laptop is stolen out of your car, to medical payments for your friend who manages to fall and hurt themselves in your kitchen. 

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While renters insurance is generally clear-cut, there are basics you should understand as you begin shopping for premiums. And knowing what isn’t covered by renters insurance is as important as knowing what is.

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Do I need renters insurance? 

Obtaining a renters insurance policy makes sound financial sense. Yet an alarming number of renters choose not to obtain one. It could be because there is confusion surrounding the need for a policy. Renters commonly assume landlord’s insurance covers property damage, but this is false. Landlord’s insurance only covers the physical structure of the property, whereas renters insurance covers all the belongings located inside and personal liability.

Many landlords require you to carry renters insurance, but even if they don’t require it, the coverage is not very expensive. For an average cost of $180 per year, your belongings are covered if there’s damage from a wide variety of events. Your belongings can be replaced and your property repaired with help from a policy, not to mention the liability protection a policy provides. 

If you have any items worth protecting, or have pets and visitors, then a renters policy is worth the investment for your financial protection.

What does renters insurance cover? 

Renters insurance covers your personal property. But the policy goes further and also provides personal liability and medical payments in case someone is hurt inside your rental or as a result of an accident you caused. 

Another essential coverage category is the additional living expense (ALE) or loss-of-use. This coverage kicks in if you have to vacate your rental due to damage such as water or fire damage. It provides reimbursement if you have to live elsewhere and incur expenses for hotel bills, temporary rentals, meals and other living expenses. 

Renters insurance provides coverage for several major categories, but there are a few more areas a policy provides greater protection.

[Read: Does Renters Insurance Cover Storage Units?]

What renters insurance doesn’t cover 

There are situations when renters insurance does not provide coverage — and you don’t want to be caught assuming you’re covered. The good news is, even if something is excluded, there are typically policy add-ons available to make your policy more comprehensive.

[Read: Defending Against Porch Pirates: What to Do about Package Thefts]

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What to look out for when shopping for renters insurance 

Like other insurance products, there are specific items you should look for to ensure you’re getting the best policy for your financial situation. For starters, confirm the limits of the renters insurance payouts. Each category has different payout limits, which is the maximum amount paid for a claim. Make sure these limits aren’t too low or too high, and provide the right amount of coverage. 

The liability coverage should provide enough protection to equal your net worth. Your net worth is the value of your assets — such as retirement accounts, savings, cars you own free and clear  —  minus your debt. So if your net worth is $300,000, then your liability coverage should be at least this amount. The reason is to protect you in case of a lawsuit from an at-fault accident. If your net worth is higher than $300,000, the Insurance Information Institute recommends obtaining an additional liability policy.

Your property damage limit should be high enough to cover replacement of your belongings.

Comparison shopping is a smart tactic to make sure you get the coverage you need. Comparing renters insurance policies not only gives you the most competitive cost on your policy, but your agent can guide you to get the most comprehensive coverage.

[Read: 3 Reasons Why You Should Get Flood Insurance] 

We welcome your feedback on this article. Contact us at inquiries@thesimpledollar.com with comments or questions.

Source: thesimpledollar.com

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What are the different types of renters insurance?

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Renters insurance protects individuals against common losses and liabilities they face when renting a home or apartment. A standard policy offers three types of renters insurance coverage, each for different situations.

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Although renters insurance is not legally required, it’s beneficial for anyone who rents. Having a renters insurance policy covers your legal and financial responsibility in the event of a covered claim, like a fire. Compared to other types of insurance, renters insurance is typically very affordable, with an average premium of $179 per year.

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What does renters insurance cover?

Standard renters insurance policies include coverage for your personal items, your liabilities and temporary accommodations if your home becomes uninhabitable. Most renters insurance policies include named perils coverage, and cover your personal belongings at their actual cash value (ACV).

[ Read: Is Renters Insurance Worth It? ]

Renters insurance coverage is comprehensive, but it does not cover everything. You might need to purchase more coverage in the form of add-on policies to fill gaps in your coverage. Some common renters insurance endorsements are flood insurance, earthquake insurance and valuables coverage for jewelry, art and electronics. Adding these policies will increase your premium, and some endorsements have a separate deductible. 

What are the types of renters insurance? 

There are three types of renters insurance included in a standard policy. Here’s a brief overview of each coverage and its purpose.

Personal property coverage

Personal property coverage protects your personal belongings, like furniture, small appliances and clothing, from certain losses. Most renters insurance policies cover your belongings against named perils, which are listed in your insurance policy. Named perils typically include the following losses:

One of the biggest perks of renters insurance is that it will cover your personal belongings anywhere in the world. So if you’re on vacation in Europe and your backpack gets stolen, your renters insurance policy will reimburse you for the cost of a new one. It also covers your items at work and in your car. 

Renters should keep in mind that this type of policy offers limited coverage for valuables. If you own a fine jewelry collection, have furs in the closet or keep a large amount of cash on hand, your renters insurance probably won’t cover it if something happens. In this case, you would need to purchase an endorsement to raise your policy limit, or schedule your valuable items. 

[ Read: How to Buy Cheap Renters Insurance Online]

Liability coverage

Accidents happen, often unexpectedly, which is why having liability insurance is valuable. Renters insurance policies include two types of liability coverage — personal liability coverage and medical payments coverage. Personal liability coverage protects your financial responsibility if a guest gets injured in your home, or if you accidentally cause damage to someone else’s property. 

Here’s an example. Say that you bought a brand new washing machine, and during the installation process, the water hose unexpectedly burst and water began to seep through the floor and into the apartment below yours. In this case, your renters insurance liability coverage would pay to repair the water damage and replace your downstairs neighbor’s personal items that were affected. 

Medical payments coverage is the other part of liability insurance. Imagine that you have a friend over and they slip on a loose floorboard that you had been meaning to fix. They end up breaking their ankle and need medical attention. In this situation, your personal liability insurance would cover the costs related to their injury, whether it’s an ambulance ride, X-rays, surgery and rehabilitation.

Renters insurance liability coverage also protects you in legal situations. If you were sued and summoned to court over a claim that you caused, liability insurance would pay for your lawyer fees, court costs and a settlement with the plaintiff.

Loss-of-use coverage

Loss-of-use coverage is the third policy included in renters insurance. This coverage, sometimes called additional living expenses, pays for things like lodging, restaurant bills, laundry and parking if your home is damaged by a covered claim and you have to temporarily move out. 

Loss of use coverage only applies when your home is affected by a covered loss. That means it doesn’t cover temporary accommodations if your home is being voluntarily remodeled or has a rodent or bug infestation. 

[ Read: The Cheapest Renters Insurance Companies of 2021 ]

Loss of use coverage can be a huge benefit if you ever need to use it. However, this policy won’t grant you a free vacation. Your loss of use policy has a coverage limit, which is the highest amount of money the insurance company will pay.

To get reimbursed for lodging and food bills, you’ll need to get the expenses approved by your insurance provider. If you book a five-star hotel in another country or spend hundreds at expensive restaurants, it probably won’t be covered. When you’re using loss-of-use coverage, it’s important to keep your receipts to submit to the insurance company. 

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Replacement cost renters insurance policies

Most renters insurance policies cover your personal items at their actual cash value (ACV). That means if an item is damaged or destroyed, depreciation is factored into your payout. For example, say your mattress cost $500 brand new, and five years later it gets destroyed by water damage. Your insurance company might give you $250 to replace it, because the item has depreciated over time.

[ Read: Actual Cash Value vs. Replacement Cost: What’s the Difference? ]

If you want a higher payout, some insurance companies give you the option to upgrade your policy to replacement cost value (RCV). With an RCV policy, your payout does not include depreciation. That means you would receive $500 to replace your damaged mattress. However, it’s important to note that upgrading to an RCV will raise your premium.

We welcome your feedback on this article. Contact us at inquiries@thesimpledollar.com with comments or questions.

In response to the Covid-19 pandemic, many insurance companies provided relief in the form of percentages back on monthly bills as well as a freeze on coverage cancellations due to inability to pay. While it’s not recommended, you could technically stop your coverage to save money if absolutely needed — but again, it’s strongly advised against.

See below for more details on how you can benefit from the recently approved economic relief act:

Who can benefit from this?

To qualify for rental assistance under the CARES Act at least one household family member must qualify for unemployment or have a significant income lost due to the pandemic. Income must fall at or below 80% of your county’s average income. You must also be a risk of homelessness. 

Who’s getting how much?

If families fall below 50% of the average income they’ll be given priority for rent relief funds. Families can get up to a year of rent covered, and three months in the future with the CARES Act rent relief assistance.

How to apply

If you need to apply for assistance, the way you do that will vary depending on where you live. If your city or town has an existing rental assistance program, you’ll likely use that to apply for new aid.

You can contact your local housing authority, nonprofit groups or reach out to your local representatives to find out where and how to apply. Your landlord may also be able to apply for you — but they’ll have to get your approval and signature before doing so.

Source: thesimpledollar.com

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Renters Insurance vs. Condo Insurance

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Whether you own your condo or you rent, condo owners insurance or a condo rental insurance policy is a must. Experience a cold snap and the pipes burst? Don’t count on your landlord to spring for your new Alienware laptop or to replace that sheepskin rug Mom gave you. We’ll walk you through the difference between condo owners policies and condo renters insurance and what is protected — and not.

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What’s the difference between renters insurance and condo insurance? 

It’s pretty straightforward: If you rent your condo, you need renters insurance. If you own your condo, you need a condo policy. 

Renters insurance is used to protect your personal belongings in a rental from property damage and theft, and liability protection if someone is injured in your rental unit. Renters insurance includes numerous other benefits including loss-of-use, which is reimbursement in case you’re displaced from your rental. 

Renters insurance is not legally required in any state, but your landlord can require you to purchase a policy. Your landlord is required to carry insurance on the property, but it only insures the structure. All contents inside your rental are covered by your own renters policy.

A condo insurance policy includes dwelling coverage and renters insurance does not. Your condo association’s master policy covers the structure of the building.

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What does renters insurance cover? 

Renters insurance provides protection with four major components:

Renters insurance goes beyond these main areas and provides other benefits. For instance, you can choose Replacement Cost versus Actual Cash Value for your belongings. This means if you are willing to pay extra on your premium, your personal belongings are replaced at what it costs to replace them with new items, and not the depreciated value. 

If you have high-value items, usually an item over $1,500, you can add separate coverage. This is particularly important for items such as jewelry, art, antiques or similar items. 

[Read: Renters Insurance for College Students]

What does condo insurance cover? 

Condo insurance provides similar protection as a renters policy. A standard policy would include the same major components:

Your condo insurance should cover whatever is not included in your condo association’s master policy. 

Since you own your condo, you need dwelling coverage, and a condo insurance plan provides this. As a condo owner, you own everything from the walls inward. So if there is damage to your walls due to a covered peril event, your dwelling coverage kicks in. 

Loss assessment is another unique coverage to a condo policy and you can add this to your policy. This provides additional protection for any costs associated with damage caused to the condo, including with the building, the shared areas within the condo complex or an injury in the shared areas, that the condo association is passing onto all individual unit owners.

You should note that it’s important to review your condo association’s master policy thoroughly because you could obtain a condo policy to fill in the gaps of your master policy, and your limits might not be as high. It all depends on how comprehensive the master policy is.

[Read: What is Loss Assessment Coverage?]

Best discounts for your renters or condo insurance 

The good news is, there are several ways to save on your renters or condo insurance. One of the most effective tactics is to use as many discounts as possible. Working with an agent is one of the best ways to confirm you’re getting every possible discount, since there are some you may not be aware of. A few popular discount options include:

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How to pick the right insurance 

To pick the right policy, comparison shopping is the first step. Compare quotes and policy details side by side. Many carriers offer this option online for added convenience. Look for details on coverage limits and rates and make sure you’re comparing apples to apples among the policies.

Plus, look at the number of discounts available in case one carrier provides more than another. 

Above and beyond price, customer service is important. You want your carrier to make it easy  should you need to file a claim. You’ll find this out by reading the reviews and checking out the customer service ratings among the companies.

Lastly, if you need additional coverage for high-value items or other special items, look for a policy that fits your unique coverage needs. 

Choosing the right condo insurance or renters policy takes a little research. But you’re rewarded for your efforts by getting competitive pricing and a comprehensive policy. 

[Read: Does Renters Insurance Cover Storage Units?]

We welcome your feedback on this article. Contact us at inquiries@thesimpledollar.com with comments or questions.

In response to the Covid-19 pandemic, many insurance companies provided relief in the form of percentages back on monthly bills as well as a freeze on coverage cancellations due to inability to pay. While it’s not recommended, you could technically stop your coverage to save money if absolutely needed — but again, it’s strongly advised against.

See below for more details on how you can benefit from the recently approved economic relief act:

Who can benefit from this?

To qualify for rental assistance under the CARES Act at least one household family member must qualify for unemployment or have a significant income lost due to the pandemic. Income must fall at or below 80% of your county’s average income. You must also be a risk of homelessness.

Who’s getting how much?

If families fall below 50% of the average income they’ll be given priority for rent relief funds. Families can get up to a year of rent covered, and three months in the future with the CARES Act rent relief assistance.

How to apply

If you need to apply for assistance, the way you do that will vary depending on where you live. If your city or town has an existing rental assistance program, you’ll likely use that to apply for new aid.

You can contact your local housing authority, nonprofit groups or reach out to your local representatives to find out where and how to apply. Your landlord may also be able to apply for you — but they’ll have to get your approval and signature before doing so.

Source: thesimpledollar.com

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How To Make a House A Home: Creating Memories

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There are so many ways to make a house a home. A house is simply a physical structure.

A home is a place where you create meaningful memories with loved ones. It is a place for watching first steps, celebrating birthdays, and enjoying family dinners.

These activities will help you to create memories at home.

1. Plant a garden: Your family will love choosing flowers, herbs, fruits, and vegetables to plant in your garden. It will become a fun activity that you can do together. Watch the plants grow from season to season and year to year. We recommend also having each family member choose a plant that is uniquely theirs – they’ll have fun watching it grow and change, and it will be a great way to encourage responsibility.

2. Hang photos and art: Create a gallery wall with your children’s art and family photos. Hang holiday photos, first day of school photos, and photos from choice moments. Your kids will feel special when they see their art up on the wall.

3. Start a collection: Start a family collection. You will all get excited when you find something new to add. Collect salt and pepper shakers, vases, or something else that you all enjoy. Display the collection throughout your home, and each piece will remind you of the time you found it.

4. Make a height chart: Mark your children’s height on the door. You’ll love seeing how much they’ve grown, and they will get excited each time you make a new mark.

5. Make a “library” area: You don’t need a library to make a library area. Make a designated part of the home where your kids can curl up with their favorite books or, if your kids are pre-reading level, an area where you can read to them. You’ll make memories when you read together.

These ideas will help you to create new family traditions and memories. As they say, home is where the heart is! Write on our Facebook wall to let us know how your family creates memories at home.

Source: century21.com

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Does Renters Insurance Cover Earthquakes?

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If you’re thinking about purchasing a renters insurance policy, you might be wondering, “does renters insurance cover earthquakes?” It’s a good question to ask yourself, especially if you live in a state that experiences earthquakes. The short answer is no, earthquake damage is not a covered peril under most renters insurance policies.

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Although renters insurance doesn’t cover earthquakes, there are other types of insurance that do. Renters can purchase a separate earthquake insurance policy to fill the gap in coverage. Earthquake insurance for renters is available from most major insurance providers, but adding this policy will increase your premium. 

[ Read: Earthquake Insurance – Is It Worth It? ]

In this article

Do I need a separate policy to cover earthquake damage? 

Yes, if you rent your home or apartment, you’ll need to purchase earthquake coverage separately. Some insurance companies sell standalone earthquake insurance policies, while others sell earthquake endorsements, which get added to your basic renters policy. 

Earthquake damage is almost never covered by renters insurance, or home insurance for that matter. The most notable exception is USAA, which includes earthquake insurance in its renters insurance policies. But for the majority of providers, renters are required to buy separate coverage.

[ Read: How Much Renters Insurance Do I Need? ]

If you don’t want to buy traditional earthquake coverage through your renters insurance provider, you might be able to get a policy through your state. For example, California residents can purchase coverage through The California Earthquake Authority (CEA). 

How do earthquake endorsements work and what do they cover? 

If you live in an area that experiences earthquakes or you live near a fault line, it’s a good idea to consider buying an earthquake endorsement. Earthquake insurance for renters covers losses stemming from earthquakes. As a renter, earthquake insurance will cover your personal belongings that get damaged or destroyed due to seismic activity.

Say, for example, a major earthquake strikes your area and it knocks over your refrigerator, which leaves a big crack in the floorboard. In this case, your earthquake insurance policy would pay for the floor repairs and the cost of a new refrigerator, plus any structural issues caused by the falling object.

However, earthquake insurance usually doesn’t cover anything that your renters insurance policy already covers. Here’s an example. Imagine that you were cooking on the stove when an earthquake hit, and in the frenzy of the moment, you accidentally started a small fire. In this case, your renters insurance policy would cover the fire damage, not your earthquake policy. 

[ Read: What Is Personal Property Insurance? ]

In addition to property damage coverage, earthquake insurance also includes loss of use coverage. This policy, also called additional living expenses, will pay for hotel bills, meals, parking and laundry if your home gets damaged and you’re forced to temporarily move out. 

Can I combine renters and earthquake insurance claims? 

Having earthquake insurance is important for certain renters. But the reality is, there is overlap between renters insurance and earthquake insurance. If you add an earthquake endorsement to your renters insurance policy, you will double up on personal property coverage and additional living expenses coverage. 

Typically, you can file a single claim if the earthquake causes multiple losses. For example, if an earthquake affects your home’s electrical system and it starts a small fire, you would be allowed to file one claim because the losses are related. Depending on the terms of your insurance policy, you might only have to pay one deductible. 

If your earthquake and renters insurance policies are underwritten by two different providers, it’s likely that you will need to file two separate claims. It’s a good idea to check with your insurance company to understand the protocol for filing earthquake claims and to understand how your renters and earthquake coverage differ.

America’s top-rated renters insurance

  • Policies starting at just $5/month
  • Sign up in seconds, claims paid in minutes
  • Zero hassle, zero paperwork

How much does earthquake insurance cost?

The cost of earthquake insurance varies. It depends on where you live, how much coverage you have, your deductible and the provider you choose. According to CEA, earthquake coverage for California renters can cost as little as $35 per year. However, renters who are located in close proximity to fault lines should expect to pay the highest rates.

The good news is, earthquake insurance for renters is much cheaper than it is for homeowners. Because renters don’t own the building they live in, renters earthquake insurance does not include dwelling coverage, which makes up a big portion of the cost.

That being said, earthquake insurance for renters does have a required deductible. The deductible is usually calculated as a percentage of the policy’s personal property coverage limit. According to the Insurance Information Institute (III), most renters earthquake insurance policies include up to $200,000 in personal property coverage. So if the deductible was 8% on $150,000, for example, your deductible would be $12,000.

When should I get a stand-alone earthquake insurance policy? 

Most earthquakes cause very little damage. But if a major earthquake strikes your area and you don’t have coverage, you’ll be on the hook financially for any damages. The best time to get a standalone earthquake insurance policy is right now. Earthquakes strike unexpectedly, and you shouldn’t wait for an earthquake to hit before buying a policy.

If your home or apartment does not meet local construction guidelines, having earthquake insurance is especially important. Homes that don’t meet building codes could face greater damage, especially if large items are not properly secured to walls and floors. Find out if your home or apartment meets local earthquake regulations, and if not, it’s a good idea to buy insurance. 

Keep in mind that earthquake insurance will only cover your personal items and loss of use when you have an active policy at the time of the earthquake. So if an earthquake strikes and you purchase a policy the day after, the policy won’t retroactively cover the damage. If you think your home might be at risk, trust your intuition and invest in earthquake insurance.

We welcome your feedback on this article. Contact us at inquiries@thesimpledollar.com with comments or questions.

In response to the Covid-19 pandemic, many insurance companies provided relief in the form of percentages back on monthly bills as well as a freeze on coverage cancellations due to inability to pay. While it’s not recommended, you could technically stop your coverage to save money if absolutely needed — but again, it’s strongly advised against.

See below for more details on how you can benefit from the recently approved economic relief act:

Who can benefit from this?

To qualify for rental assistance under the CARES Act at least one household family member must qualify for unemployment or have a significant income lost due to the pandemic. Income must fall at or below 80% of your county’s average income. You must also be a risk of homelessness. 

Who’s getting how much?

If families fall below 50% of the average income they’ll be given priority for rent relief funds. Families can get up to a year of rent covered, and three months in the future with the CARES Act rent relief assistance.

How to apply

If you need to apply for assistance, the way you do that will vary depending on where you live. If your city or town has an existing rental assistance program, you’ll likely use that to apply for new aid.

You can contact your local housing authority, nonprofit groups or reach out to your local representatives to find out where and how to apply. Your landlord may also be able to apply for you — but they’ll have to get your approval and signature before doing so.

Source: thesimpledollar.com

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How to Turn Your Bathroom into a Spa-Inspired Escape

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Your home should feel like a calm and comfortable space where you can unwind, relax, and recharge. Here are tangible ways to let the soothing qualities of a day at the spa inspire your bathroom decor.

1. Aromatherapy: Choose scents that match your desired mood and intention. If you are stressed, nervous, or can’t sleep use scents like bergamot, chamomile, cinnamon, lavender, clove, rose, sandalwood, or vanilla. If you are feeling a bit melancholy, use scents like clary sage, cypress, or marjoram. Tired and fatigued? Try cinnamon, cypress, eucalyptus, fennel, lemon, peppermint, sage, or spiced apple. Learn more at Underground Health, then set up a collection that makes scents for you!

2. Vanity: You’ll feel like a celebrity when you do your makeup at your vanity. As an extra perk, you can keep all of your beauty products and jewelry organized and accessible.

3. Mood Lighting: Skip the florescent bulbs. Your lighting affects your mood. Take some cues from the New York Times article, LEDs Change Thinking About the Light Bulb.

4. Calm Colors: Use the principles of color psychology when you choose your paint colors. In an interview with WebMD the color consultant Leslie Harrington recommends painting the bathroom in shades of blue, green, or turquoise. These colors, “give a sense of being clean and fresh — and calm.”

5. Little Luxuries: Incorporate little luxuries like, fresh flowers, a heated towel rack, pretty soaps and storage containers, a bath pillow, bath salts, fluffy bathrobes, and an additional shower head.

6. Storage Space: Keep your bathroom clean, open, and clutter-free. Recent studies have shown that clutter causes stress. Don’t let a mess ruin your at-home oasis.

Now the only thing left to do is to draw a bath, pick up a good book, and relax.

Source: century21.com

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6 Natural Home Decor Ideas

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Contribution by Andrea Davis, HomeAdvisor

6 Natural Home Decor Ideas image 1

Can’t get enough of the outdoors? If you want more of it in your home without maintaining a jungle, then consider alternatives. Here are some top ideas for homeowners wanting that extra touch:

1. Add natural elements: One of the easiest ways to incorporate the outdoors indoors is literally to add it to your home decor. It might be pebbles, wood, straw, leaves and other pieces in smaller amounts throughout your home. You could also add photographs, paintings and framed pieces of wood or leaves to the walls of your home.
6 Natural Home Decor Ideas image 2

2. Assemble flowers and plants in pots: If you are willing to do the maintenance and manage the upkeep, you can add potted plants to your home. This adds elements of color and natural fragrance to your home. You might avoid real plants if you have severe allergies and do plastic versions to be safe. You should also be aware of any plant varieties that are poisonous to your pets.

3. Install natural flooring: If you have tile, laminate or vinyl floors, you can have a flooring installer replace them with hardwood, cork, bamboo or other natural flooring materials. They feel warmer underneath your feet, and they are organic and biodegradable compared to what might have been in your home before.

4. Make the most of your windows: Your windows are for more than a beautiful view. You can let in natural light by opening them or replacing heavy curtains with light, see-through drapes. You can also let in fresh air and the scents of the outdoors. If you’re worried about pests or debris, install new screens.

6 Natural Home Decor Ideas image 3

5. Use outdoorsy colors: Another option is painting parts of your home with naturally-inspired colors. Some color options include green, blue, yellow and brown. There are also neutral tones like white, tan and beige to evoke cleanliness. Whether you paint an entire room or just a wall, you can complement the room with elements like plants to make it seem more outdoorsy.

6. Consider stenciling: You can also stencil outdoor-related images onto your walls. Maybe it’s trees, leaves, the sun, moon, stars or an entire landscape. You can do random stenciling or theme it by room. The end result will be a design that attracts visitors and complements the outdoor landscape.

Your interior can get closer to the outdoors depending on how much money or time you want to spend bringing the elements indoors. The end result will be a natural, seamless transition from the beautiful landscape outside to the same relaxing feel inside.

Photos courtesy of DesignMine

Source: century21.com