Common ways to save money on homeowner’s insurance

Although homeowner’s insurance is a necessary expense, there are several ways to reduce these costs with or without spending money on improvements, according to Nerd Wallet.

Some of the simplest reductions, such as bundling the home insurance with auto insurance through the same company or improving your credit score, won’t cost a penny and will likely only require a short phone call. Similarly, raising the amount of the deductible on a policy or lowering the maximum payout for possessions can reduce the rate without any upfront cost. According to Bankrate, you can also receive discounts between 1-20 percent for being a nonsmoker, over the age of 55, part of a homeowner’s association, and not having filed a claim in many years.

For those looking to spend money on home upgrades and renovations, there may be discounts available to help offset some of that spending if the changes make the home safer or more durable.

Many older homes, for instance, have older wiring that poses a much more significant risk of catching fire and causing property damage that insurance companies will often grant a 10 percent reduction in premiums to avoid the potential payoff. In fact, home electrical fires cause an average of $659 million in losses each year while a wiring-related issue causes more than half of those reported. Meanwhile, wind and hail caused by powerful weather can wreak havoc on an unprepared or deteriorated roof, and discounts of 5-10 percent can be had for installing newer, impact-resistant roofing material.

Insuring Your Retail Store

Commercial insurance packages are an essential part of any business’s long-term success plan. Retail stores, however, rely on specific insurance policies to protect them in some key areas. InsureUS is an expert in insurance policies for Texas businesses. How can the right commercial insurance coverage help keep your retail store in the Cypress, TX area profitable?

  • Inventory is the lifeblood of every retail outlet. If you lose a large portion of your product due to theft, accident, or natural disaster, will you be able to replace it all? Opt for a policy that includes inventory insurance coverage to prevent misfortunes from forcing you out of business. Payouts for these policies also cover the cost of supplies and equipment you need to deliver your services or products.
  • What happens if your product is the problem? If a customer is hurt or sickened by a product from your store, you may be held liable for at least part of the damages. Product liability coverage pays for any financial responsibility you incur from a case related to products sold in your store. 
  • When you need to close down for repairs, you don’t have to eat the lost profit potential. Business income coverage pays you when you can’t be open. These payments can be used to pay personal living expenses during enforced closures.
  • Customer injury is a big problem for retail outlets. With medical bills, lawsuits, and possible punitive fees, owners can find themselves dipping into their personal wealth to save their business. A commercial general liability policy helps entrepreneurs pay for court costs and medical care, so random mistakes don’t endanger your livelihood.

More than other business types, retail stores need a strong commercial insurance package to protect their inventory, property, and people. Do you have enough coverage? Contact InsureUS for personalized insurance guidance for your Cypress, TX area business.

Can You Drop Commercial Insurance at Any Time?

Insurance is something that you should always have in place to help protect your business. That being said, sometimes your needs change or you no longer need a commercial policy and instead have the need to cancel. The issue comes when you need to cancel your policy. For those that live in the Cypress, TX area, the agents with InsureUS can help you to cancel your policy and adapt it as needed.

For the most part you can cancel any type of insurance policy at any time for any reason. The issue comes if you are legally required to hold they type of insurance policy that you are canceling. For instance, if you have a car and you cancel insurance on it, you are going to have to take out another car insurance policy to remain legal. The same goes for a home that you owe a mortgage on. For a business, the stipulations are a bit different.

You are not required to hold a commercial policy on a business at all. It is always beneficial however as it protects your business, your employees, and the building in which the business is housed. You can cancel your commercial policy at any time and you may not have to take out another depending on whether or not you owe on the building or the inventory. You should take the time to find out what type of policy you are going to need and what type of legal need you have in regards to your particular business.

For those that live in the Cypress, TX area, the agents with InsureUS can help you to find out what type of policy you are required to hold if any and what type you need to be fully insured.

Renting out a room to travelers?

Millions of people are renting rooms in private homes instead of hotels. And millions are doing the ‘hosting.’

Before you join the crowd to rent out a room for that extra dash of cash, review your homeowners insurance.

Likely, your homeowners insurance doesn’t cover damage or liability if you rent rooms, according to How Stuff Works. Once you rent a room, your home becomes a business.

Be sure to talk to your insurance agent before you rent out a room. You might be well advised to get a landlord policy to cover liability and damage. That is especially true if you have a pool.

Use a frugal month to catch up after the holidays

The holidays are often filled with extra spending on things like travel, gifts, and food and many people end the year feeling weighed down in the financial department.

Popular blog Frugalwoods suggests that people make January an ‘uber frugal month’ by spending as little money as possible. Although the challenge sounds rather simple, it will require a bit of preparation.

Before starting, analyze all of the currently expected spending for the month. Then, divide those expenses into a discretionary list and a mandatory list. Rent, for instance, is non-negotiable, while a Starbucks latte can be easily skipped. Entire areas, such as entertainment, need a plan to decrease spending by substituting free or cheap options for the normal routines. Plan to stay frugal for the whole month for maximum savings. In the end, with the frugality meter reset, it will be up to participants to decide which behaviors they want to keep using in the future to save money over the long run.

According to Bankrate, using these no-spend periods isn’t just about saving money but also learning to control impulses. Being able to separate actual needs from simple wants will go a long way toward creating sustainable spending habits as well as provide an excellent jumpstart to a more frugal lifestyle.

For people that can’t manage a full month, blog Believe in a Budget recommends starting with a week or even a day. Their favorite, the no spend work week, allows a person to focus in on miscellaneous expenses that pop up during this time such as the before work coffee, expensive lunch at a restaurant, and unnecessary trips to the grocery store after work. It might feel a little strange bringing a bagged lunch to work, but it is also a great way to find more money for savings and investing in the things that are truly important.

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

Not just Florida: Consider the world when planning retirement

Not just Florida: Consider the world when planning retirement

Living in North America offers access to an unprecedented standard of living, stable employment, safety, and entertainment.

But it comes at a high cost. What if you could retire in style at a fraction of the cost? Enter geo-arbitrage which means taking advantage of the cost of living in different locations.

To make retiring early feasible for the average individual, Business Insider points out that American dollars can buy a lot more in other countries than they can at home. As an example, most retirement calculators are based on about $40,000 per year in annual retirement income to compute their savings goals. This assumes that the person is using the standard 4 percent withdrawal rate from their retirement savings. To manage that number, a person would need $1 million in the bank to retire. This amount of money will require diligent saving and strong market performance to achieve.

Conversely, an individual might only need about $12,000 per year to live comfortably in a place like Guatemala. This means that they could retire with the same standard of living while only having $300,000. This could literally shave more than a decade off of a person’s working life. Sure, the standard might not be an exact apple-to-apple comparison, but many resources are available online that help to provide direction and information for would-be expatriates. Many from these groups are already living abroad and have helped pave the way for this trend to flourish.

Now, this type of lifestyle change might not be feasible for everyone, especially families with children still in school, but options exist outside of the traditional method of working until the age of 65. It would pay to take notes anytime someone is traveling abroad on how they might like to spend the rest of their lives in that location. For someone up for adventure and yearning for financial freedom, geo-arbitrage might just be their golden ticket.

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.

Does Renter’s Insurance Cover Damage to the Rental Property In Cypress, TX?

The agents of InsureUS in Cypress, TX offer Renter’s Insurance that protects your personal property from theft and damage. The protection only extends to your personal belongings. It doesn’t cover the building or the personal property of the owner of the home or apartment. In order for their building and possessions to be covered, they must carry an insurance policy that includes the building and the physical property itself. Your renter’s policy will cover the following elements.

Personal Liability

Personal liability protects you if someone is injured while visiting your apartment or home. If someone is injured and chooses to sue you, your personal liability coverage will pay the damages up to a specific percentage. The amount your insurance company pays will vary according to the policy and amount of coverage.

Personal Property

Your Renter’s Insurance will cover the cost to replace your personal items if they are damaged or stolen. The dollar amount is determined the type of policy you have and the amounts you have chosen. It will also cover your luggage while you are traveling.

Loss of Use (Living Expenses)

When it comes to Renter’s Insurance, Loss of Use means the use of your living area. This part of the policy pays for living expenses such as a hotel, food and rent if your apartment is damaged and not inhabitable. It may also pay a portion of your moving expenses. 

In Cypress, TX, you can speak to a licensed agent at InsureUs and find all of the information you need on Renter’s Insurance as well as personal liability coverage. Make an appointment today to find out what type of coverage and how much you need to keep your belongings safe and protected. 

The right time for life insurance

The right time for life insurance

Life insurance can be a tricky subject depending on what stage of life a person finds themselves in. Variables such as term limits, whole life policies, benefit amounts, and riders can all create a complicated mess capable of scaring someone away from getting coverage.

Because of this complexity and cost, U.S. News reports that about 30 percent of American households have no life insurance coverage at all. Even more worrisome is the fact that there are 11 million households without coverage that include children under the age of 18.

The purpose of life insurance
In simplest terms, life insurance provides a financial benefit at the time of death. A family’s breadwinner might want to provide for the family. A spouse might want to be sure the mortgage is paid off if he or she dies. Parents might want to be sure kids could go to college if one of the parents dies.

Life’s different stages can determine need
Kiplinger.com suggests that people look at life insurance through the perspective of what their current and future needs are and allow those circumstances to govern when and how much life insurance is required.

Single people without children
In this stage, of life single people are usually better off investing their money rather than buying life insurance. But some life insurance is probably necessary. For example, everyone will need burial expenses at the end of life and leaving that burden to family is irresponsible.
Of course, single people with children should carry enough life insurance to provide for their children and/or pay off the house.

Married couples without children
At this stage of life, people must have life insurance to pay off a mortgage or debts that could burden the surviving partner.

Families
Families with one income and young children are the classic high-need situation for life insurance. In this case, the financial payout would be vital for covering lost income if the breadwinner died prematurely. Special considerations should be paid to how much income would be necessary to cover the family for many years as well as expenses such as college tuition down the road.

Retirement
Once the kids are grown up, the mortgage is paid off, and the breadwinner is in the twilight of his/her career, life insurance could become less important. In this case, the financial benefit could be used to cover estate taxes to protect heirs.