Hurricanes and Home Insurance: What You Need to Know

Hurricanes have been all over the news lately, and Texas was particularly hard hit by recent Hurricane Harvey. If you live in Cypress, TX, you may have found out too late that your home insurance didn’t cover enough when you were hit with hurricane damage. With more hurricanes continuing to hit the United States, it’s time to learn more about hurricanes and home insurance so you make sure you’re covered.

Does Home Insurance Cover Hurricanes?

There’s no one policy that is going to cover all the damage a hurricane has the potential to do to your home. You may need to consider a mixture of several policies from InsureUS, such as home insurance, flood insurance, and wind insurance. Keep in mind, if you’re living near the coast, it’s possible that you may need to have a special windstorm policy along with your home insurance.

Do I Need Flood Insurance?

If you think you may need coverage for water that enters the home as a result of a hurricane, such as pooling water from heavy rains or water damage from storm surge, then you probably do need flood insurance along with your home insurance. Many homeowners think that their home insurance will cover them, but you’ll probably need a good flood insurance policy to ensure you’re well covered.

Will I Need to Pay Special Deductibles?

Living in a hurricane-prone area may mean that you do pay some special, higher deductibles. You may be asked to pay a percentage deductible when dealing with hurricane damage. When buying insurance to keep you covered during a hurricane, make sure you find out the deductible information.

What to Do After a Hurricane Hits

If a hurricane does hit your home in Cypress, TX, make sure that you document your damage with video or photos and work to prevent further damage to your home. Make sure you keep track of temporary repairs that are made. You’ll also need to make sure that you notify the insurance company immediately.

Don’t wait until another hurricane hits to make sure you’re well covered. Contact InsureUS to learn more about your options and the coverage you need. 

Besides Insurance, How Can a Business Prepare for a Hurricane?

Besides Insurance, How Can a Business Prepare for a Hurricane?
By M Wyzanski

Any insurance professional will stress the importance of a good commercial policy that includes wind and hail as well as flood coverage in relation to protecting your business from the elements. Case in point is the fact that many stricken by current hurricanes do not even own flood insurance.

We won’t get into the implications of damages and losses recovery in regard to this unfortunate set of circumstances. Suffice it to say, in wake of the destruction, these home and business owners have to deal with the financial stress on their own, save for whatever government assistance they can get.

Besides having a proper insurance plan in place, businesses can prepare for the worst weather scenarios by doing the following.

Review your company’s impact study:
• Make a tally of what type of losses you may incur.
• Consider the amount of risk loss and severity probability that may impact your business.
• Look over your business process flow agenda: Should one portion of your company become unworkable, assign another unit to take over.
• Choose which operations are vital for continued survival and recovery.
• Ensure all records of sales and customer-base, as well as tax data and documents are stored in a secure off-site location.
• Assign others to take over executive management if those in place are not able to carry out duties.

Partner with Other Businesses
• Have vendors ready to outsource services in case of a hurricane disaster.
• Mark down important vendor and business partners and store this info in an off-site multiple employee-accessible location.

Make Alternate Plans for your Facility
• Contemplate the use of other locations in the event your main office is rendered inaccessible or inoperable.
• Plan for security of people and property.

Ensure Payroll Efficiency
• If it is pertinent, ensure the vendors you will deal with understand how to continue with payroll.
• Partner with your vendors to ensure employee info is stored securely in an off-site location.

Team up with Other Operations
• Group together with other corporations at your building site to prepare for continued business in a weather-induced crisis.
• Reach out to emergency personnel and power companies to show them how your operations are conducted.
• Devise a plan together with your suppliers, shippers and others you rely on so that you will know how to carry on in the event of an emergency.

Keep Up with Your Protection Plans
• Review your plans on how to deal with an emergency situation yearly. Revise them if you feel changes need to be made.
• Conduct consistent emergency drills.
Risk control is part of any major insurance company’s policyholder’s benefits. Contact an independent agency that does direct business with many of the leading providers for more information on how your company can protect itself from a hurricane or other natural disaster.

Article Source: https://EzineArticles.com/expert/M_Wyzanski/2158115

Flood Insurance, Even in a Non-Flood Zone? You Bet

By M Wyzanski

Record breaking flood waters have emerged following one of the most devastating hurricanes the US has come to know. In fact, in the southeast areas of the lone star state, the majority of homeowners do not even own flood insurance. And who can blame them? There was never a precedent in the locality. Although hail and wind storms are a constant concern for property and business owners, no one imagined that rain waters would contribute to enormous damages as those suffered and broadcast throughout the country in recent days. Surely not the home mortgage companies, for they do not even require it from borrowers!

But now that the toll has risen among the dead and those forced out of their homes seeking shelter, one thing remains clear. When things eventually do settle down, home owners and people in the commercial sector will have to deal with the epic losses and damages on their own because of a lack of related coverage.

For homeowners without flood coverage the facts are uncomfortable, as they are painful: a standard home insurance policy does not protect from floods and the damages related to them. The insurance industry stresses in no uncertain terms that compensation is only provided to those who had the foresight to acquire flood insurance in the event of water damage emanating from atmospheric conditions like a hurricane, a tropical storm or other inclement weather.

A little history about Flood insurance:
The year was 1968 when the US Congress mapped out its flood program. Designed to help assist home and business property owners from the financial ravages of a damaging flood, its policies are offered in all communities that are involved in the rules of participation.

Flood coverage shields property owners or renters from building damage and contents damage.
This includes the following:
• The structure, as well as building foundation
• Electric and plumbing systems
• Central air conditioner, furnace, water heater
• Refrigerator, stoves, and any installed appliances, like a dishwasher
• Carpet that has been installed over bare flooring
• Personal clothing and electronics
• Drapery
• Transportable heaters and air conditioners
• Carpeting other than what is included in the property coverage
• Washers and dryers

Typically, flood recompense claims include:
• Replacement Cost Value: up to eighty percent of the amount needed to replace property damages in a single-family, primary residence
and
• Actual Cost Value – replacement costs at the time of loss reduced by physical depreciation

Note: The flood program always uses actual cost value to determine reimbursement of personal property.

Article Source: https://EzineArticles.com/expert/M_Wyzanski/2158115

Note from InsureUS: As a result of Hurricane Harvey and the horrific devastation caused by flooding in Harris and surrounding counties, floodplain maps will likely be revamped in the near future, which means rates for flood insurance could be on the rise. If you believe your home may be in a period that will be on the new floodplain map, NOW is the best time to act on it as the rates will go up after the new maps are created. Call InsureUS today at (281) 640-8888 for your quote.

Insuring your coastal Texas property for wind and hail damages

Tornado and hurricane season means an increased chance of wind and hail damage to homes. If you are a new resident in coastal Texas, you may be surprised to learn that wind and hail damage aren’t covered by standard homeowner’s insurance policies in the 14 coastal counties of Texas. Instead, you’ll need a separate policy to cover your home and other structures from the Texas Windstorm Insurance Association. If you want to enhance your financial protection against hurricane and tornado damage, you can add endorsements like replacement cost-dwelling and replacement cost-personal property that can make hurricane and tornado season damages easier to bear.

Wind and Hail
Eligibility for TWIA  coverage is not automatic. Each building must meet windstorm building codes and the property owner must hold a Certificate of Compliance (WPI-8 or WPI-8-C) for each structure. According to Texas Insurance Code Chapter 2210, this applies to "any building constructed, altered, remodeled, enlarged, repaired, or added to on or after January 1, 1988." A TWIA policy covers wind and hail damage only. Winds include damage from tornado or derecho.

Water or Flood Damage
Throughout the US, a separate flood insurance policy from the National Flood Insurance Program covers flood damage. Home owner’s insurance covers other water damage. For example, if high winds tear off your roof and rain water enters through the hole, home owner’s insurance covers the water damage. If rising water from heavy precipitation enters your home at ground level due to seepage, flood insurance covers the water damage. An NFIP policy lets you insure the structure, its contents or both.

You Need an Umbrella
You may desire a higher level of coverage on personal property such as boats, sporting equipment, etc. An umbrella policy can help you round out your insurance coverage and protect expensive items with a level of coverage that provides full replacement value if needed. 

Come see us at InsureUS in Cypress, TX to talk about the level of coverage needed to protect your home and belongings from Texas coastal storms. We’ll help you weed through the paperwork, so you can enjoy the Texas sunshine.

Tips to Prevent Mold Damage to Your Home

Mold can cause severe damage and time-consuming, costly repairs to your home.  Save your time and money by addressing these suggestions to rid your house in the Cypress, TX area before it takes hold. 

  1. Use a critical eye to eliminate unnecessary clutter, especially around airflow points that prevent your HVAC air circulation.
  2. Controlling your indoor climate by setting the thermostat at 78 degrees F to prevent the air conditioning unit from dehumidifying during humid summers.
  3. Make sure our AC unit is the proper size for your home.  If it’s too small or large, it will not run efficiently and can lead to mold.
  4. When running the AC, shut windows and doors to prevent humidity in the air that leads to condensation and mold.
  5. Monitor the indoor humidity level in humid climates and keep it below 60 percent to prevent mold growth.
  6. If the humidity level regularly is above 60 percent, check your AC is working properly.  For example, is the temperature correct, is it cycling periodically, does it blow cold air, and are the coils clean?
  7. Watch for standing water or dampness around sump pumps, freezers, hot water tanks, refrigerators, windows, and basement doors.
  8. If groundwater is an issue in your area, cover the crawl space floor with a plastic barrier to trap the moisture in the ground and keep moisture vapor from rising into the home.
  9. Consider using a dehumidifier if you have high humidity regularly.

InsureUS

At InsureUS in the Cypress, TX area, we understand how difficult it can be to fight indoor mold.  We have a commitment to helping you keep your home safe and mold-free for your family, and help you ensure that you have the home insurance coverage necessary.

Signs That You Need To Replace Your Roof

Signs That You Need To Replace Your Roof
Studies show that most homeowners don’t know the right time to replace their roof. This puts them at the risk of getting injured in the event the top crushes. To help you out, here are signs that the top of your house is ripe for replacement:

It’s already too old
Experts report that top of the house can last up to 25 years. If your top is of this age or older, it’s time to think of replacing it. If you aren’t sure you should hire a professional to inspect it. If it’s in bad shape and puts your home and family members at risk, you should hire an expert to replace it.

The top is leaking
Most of the leakages can be fixed without having to replace the entire house top but if your top is leaking, it’s a sign that top is worn out and you should give it some attention. When the top of the house is leaking, it means that the flashing is damaged and you should replace it. When you notice a leak, you should have it fixed as soon as possible. This is because the leak allows a lot of water into the top that promotes the growth of mold which reduces the lifespan of the roof.

The shingles have buckled or curled
Curled or buckled shingles expose your home to outside elements. They also put your house at the risk of shingle blow-offs in the event of a storm. Two of the main reasons for buckled shingles are old age and moisture. To keep your family safe, you should replace your top when your see curled shingles.

There are algae on the top of the house
Algae are always in the air but germinate when they land on damp surfaces. If your top has moisture, the algae will grow and feed on the roof which weakens the top and over time, the top can come down. You should inspect the extent of the damage and if it isn’t that much, you should scrub off the algae from the top of your house. You can also remove the algae using zinc strips.

The chimney is leaking
The chimney should be properly flashed for it to work properly. If the chimney is leaking it means that the flashing isn’t properly connected to the top of the house. In most cases, this problem comes about when the top is deteriorated and needs repair. You should work with your contractor and confirm if you can fix the flashing. If you can’t, you should replace the entire top of the house.

You are having high energy bills
High heating and cooling bills mean poor ventilation and insulation brought about by a poor performing roof. You should ask a contractor to inspect the top and if in bad shape, replace it.

Conclusion
These are some of the signs that your roof needs to be replaced. To make the decision, you should hire an expert to first inspect the top of the house. For ideal results and for the unit to last for a long time, ensure that the new unit is of high quality.
Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/expert/Satvik_Mittal/1728302
By Satvik Mittal | Submitted On January 31, 2017

3 Reasons To Shop Home Insurance In Cypress

Being a home owner in Cypress, TX has its benefits. You want to be a responsible homeowner and this means shopping for home insurance. You don’t want the first policy offered to you. Instead, it’s best to make some comparisons. When you know more about why you should shop for home insurance, it will be easier to do it.

It’s Affordable

It might seem time consuming to shop home insurance in Cypress, TX. However, when you work with one of our agents at InsureUS, we will be able to help you find competitive premiums. This will ensure you have an affordable premium to enjoy through the year. Plus, you don’t have to do all the research with the individual insurance companies.

There are Many Options

There are more options than you might think with home insurance. This includes getting the coverage where you need it the most: your belongings, your home, and for liability. Not all insurance companies offer the same level of coverage. This is why it’s important to take the time to shop the various options so you have what you need.

You Need Financial Protection

Financial protection is a must when you’re a homeowner. Unfortunately, things happen all the time. You can’t predict if a storm is going to damage your roof or someone’s going to break into your home and steal all of your valuables. The reason for shopping home insurance is to get a good premium that you can rely on. When you have financial protection in place, it will make it easier to contact the insurance company to file a claim. They will then take care of you so that you don’t have to spend a fortune out of pocket.

Learn more about shopping for home insurance and to get help every step of the way by contacting InsureUS today.

 

Roofing Contractors – What Do They Do?

They are workers who replace and repairs roof on commercial buildings and homes. Many are self-employed but there are some construction firms that will hire many roofing contractors to do major projects like installing roofs on housing projects that have recently been constructed. They work year around. Some builders have become roofing contractors because of their knowledge of home construction. Before a roofing contract can start getting clients, they must obtain a business license, which is a form of legal authorization to operate a business in the county, state, or city. They will also have to go through a certification process. This involves spending time working with an experienced roof contractor to gain a good understanding of the work they do.

When a homeowner has damage to the roof that was caused by fires, storms, water leaks, and other similar event they will normally hire a roofing contractor. The contractor will inspect the roof to determine the extent of the damage. They will calculate the cost of buying the materials that will be necessary to repair the damage and give the homeowner the estimate of the repair costs. Labor costs are included in the estimate. Most homeowners will get price estimates from several roofing contractors before making their choice as to which one to hire. Some contractors will lower their estimates in order to win the contract when they know that there will be others bidding to do the job.

Roofing contractors are also hired by homeowners to install a new roof. Most contractors specialize in certain types of roof like tile or metal roofs. If it is a large roofing project contractors will often hire sub-contractors to help with the installation. In some areas, government entities will offer cash incentives and tax rebates to homeowners who install solar panels. Some roofing contractors specialize in installing these panels. Those that specialize in solar panel installation have previously worked as electricians. In some areas a contractor who installs solar panels have to be a licensed electrician or will have to hire a sub-contractor that is in order to complete the work.

Before agreeing to insure a commercial or residential property, some insurance companies may require that the owners pay to have a roof inspection first. The reason is that roofs are among the most expensive part of a home or building to replace. If the roof is in a state of disrepair, the insurance company may refuse to insure the home or building. When a roofing contractor performs a roof inspection, they will accept a flat fee for the work. The contractor will give the insurance company a roof inspection report and if repairs have to be made the owner will have to make them before getting insurance.

Article by: Lora Davis
Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/9594438

Questions to Ask Before You Have a Home Built

Verify Credentials

Don’t settle for just any custom home builder; find out all you can about them. Ask them how long they have been in the business and why they enjoy it. Ask them about their challenges and how they have overcome them. Find out about other homes they have built in the area and go take a look at them. Check online to see if there are complaints against them.

Once you find a terrific custom home builder to work with, ask them about their credentials. This includes insurance and licensing. Ask them about their crew and what types of checks they conduct on them to make sure they have the right skills for the job. A professional isn’t going to bat an eye at your questions or avoid answering them.

Models and Selecting Details

Most custom home builder providers have models you can walk though and look around. Others only offer those images on a computer for you to look at. Talk to them about the various floor plans they offer and how you select your colors and other details. If there is something unique you want to have added, make sure they can do this before anything gets started.

Change orders can be tough to accommodate when it comes to building a home. They can also be costly in terms of the materials and the time involved. The building shouldn’t begin until are completely sure about what you want and all of those details have been fully discussed. Take all the time you need to make your final selections.

Budgeting

You may have a bottom line in mind when it comes to your new home. It is important for the custom home builder to know this figure and to respect it. They can share with you what they can offer for that price. They may have a land/home package for you to think about. It is also possible you are buying the land separate and hiring them just to build the home.

There are other factors you need to take into consideration though. This includes plumbing, wiring for electricity, and other factors. The builder of your home should be able to share these needs with you as they do have to be factored into the overall cost. Typically, they will subcontract that work so you are only paying one person to get the job done.

In other instances, you may be able to pick those subcontractors. Find out what the process will be in advance so you can be prepared for what you are responsible for. If they are going to cover the subcontractors, ask who they are and conduct your research. You need to be confident they can do an excellent job for you.

Scheduling

Ask about the other homes they have on their agenda and when they will finish them. It isn’t uncommon for a custom home builder to have more than one crew. This allows them to work on various projects. The crews may all work on certain aspects of any given home. This allows those with certain skills to use them to complete certain tasks.

Find out how long it will be for them to start the construction of your home and when it will be completed. There can be delays with permits, inspections, weather, and other variables they can’t control. However, they should be able to give you a reasonable timeframe for the work to be done.

It is important to us for you to have the home you really want. We hold ourselves to very high standards so you can get the best possible results. We have the experience to create an amazing home for you. Working with us, we can help you to design it and to ensure everything is taken care of. Safety is a top priority for us and we ensure all building codes will be followed every step of the way. We are selective about who we obtain our building materials from. We only use the best quality products so your home will look amazing when you move in as well as down the road. Check out http://mikeblakehomes.com to get an idea of what we can do for you.

By  

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/expert/Mike_Blake/2213447

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/9592566

Banks stop banking on mortgages, report says

Fearful of regulations and expensive penalties, banking is backing away from traditional mortgages.

According to Inside Mortgage Finance, banks loaned less than half of all mortgage dollars in the third quarter of 2016. This is the first time in 30 years that banks and credit unions have not taken the lead in mortgage lending.

Traditional banks have shied away from making mortgages insured by the Federal Housing Administration. This follows a series of costly lawsuits brought by the federal government surrounding these loans in the last few years, according to The Wall Street Journal.

Non-bank lenders, such as Quicken Loans, have stepped into the market snapping up borrowers with less than pristine credit.

Meanwhile, banks have concentrated on jumbo loans (those more than $417,000 in most parts of the country) because they are considered less risky both financially and legally, according to The Wall Street Journal.