Protecting and Preparing Your Home During Hurricane Season

Protecting and Preparing Your Home During Hurricane Season

Hurricanes destroy countless homes each year and unfortunately, it is not a matter of if they occur, it is when they occur. If you live near the coast, or own a coastal rental or vacation home, having the right storm coverage is absolutely essential. Storms can be unpredictable– easily tearing down houses and causing overwhelming damage. Most typical home insurance policies do not cover flood or windstorm insurance, so it’s crucial to confirm that you have sufficient coverage before the storm hits.

While in most scenarios, storm damage is out of your control, there are some things you can do to prepare your home for hurricane season. 

Plan Ahead

Have a plan in place, so that when a storm is on the horizon, you’re not frantic and can put the plan into action immediately. Determine a central meeting spot for your family so everyone knows where to go and what to do in an emergency situation. Plan out your evacuation route– where you will go for a safe destination during the storm, and make a checklist of all the necessary preparations that need to be made before you evacuate. With a plan already in place, you can take quick action and limit stress. If you do not have a hurricane plan, check out this helpful checklist: https://www.ready.gov/plan.

Confirm Your Insurance Coverage 

The last thing you want to be doing in the event of a severe storm is wondering if you have the right coverage for your home and possessions. Confirm your insurance coverage ahead of time, so you can focus on evacuating and keeping your family safe during a storm. Most home insurance policies do not cover flooding damage or windstorm damage– two weather occurrences that go hand-in-hand with hurricanes. If you already know that your home is in a floodplain or the area is prone to flooding, do not wait to get flood insurance. If there are trees surrounding your home, you could be at risk for windstorm damage to your roof. Call before it’s too late. Our agents are here to provide you with coverage and peace of mind. 

Inspect Your Home

Thoroughly inspect your home for areas of potential damage before a storm hits. While homeowners can usually detect possible problem areas, it is always a good idea to schedule appointments with professional inspectors to get an expert’s perspective. Check for low-hanging branches and trees that could come crashing down, check your roof for any weak spots, and check that your hurricane shutters are industry-approved and in working condition. 

Prep Your Home 

Lastly, if there is a hurricane warning or a storm approaching your area, be sure to properly prepare your home. If you have a generator, make sure it is in working condition and can switch on in the event of a power outage. Make sure there are no loose items in the yard like bikes or furniture that could fly around and break a window. Check all of your window seals, door locks, roof shingles…etc. to be sure that your house is in its best condition to weather the storm. Write a checklist ahead of time so you don’t have to frantically stress about making sure everything is done, and also so you know that you’ve done everything you can to prepare. Finally, make sure you have a “survival kit” with first aid items, food items, flashlights and more, so you can focus on keeping yourself and your loved ones safe. 

If you’re unsure of what your current insurance policies cover, or would like to know more about hurricane coverage, give our agents a call. We are here to help and provide a peace of mind. 

Sources:

https://pennyinsuranceagency.com/blog/2017/10/17/1914/

https://www.puresituationroom.com/

https://www.iii.org/fact-statistic/facts-statistics-hurricanes#:~:text=Major%20hurricanes%20are%20defined%20as,more%20active%20Atlantic%20hurricane%20seasons.

Homeowners Insurance During COVID-19

Homeowners Insurance During COVID-19

As people in our local communities and beyond spend more time at home due to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, it may be a good time to review your current home insurance policies and assess your coverage. At Penny Insurance, we believe that every homeowner or renter deserves to be matched to the right policy. We take the time to get to know you, the area you live in, and understand the unique risks that your property is exposed to. We offer customized policies for Homeowners, High Value Homeowners, Renters, Condominium, Vacation/Seasonal Homeowners, Vacant Home Insurance, and Rental Property Insurance.

Homeowners or Renters Insurance
With our traditional Homeowners Insurance, common risks such as the physical structure of your home, replacement cost, personal contents, additional structures on your property, any additional living expenses, and personal liabilities risks are covered. Our agents always strive to go above and beyond for our clients, and we also offer coverage for unique valuable items and collectibles, flood, earthquake, and umbrella policies. Penny Insurance proudly serves all of Western North Carolina as well as Tryon, Cliffs Communities and the Upstate of South Carolina area, and are licensed in both Georgia and Florida. Our professional personal insurance specialists can review your current policies today and provide you with a free quote for homeowners insurance. We know it’s more than a house, it’s a home.

Umbrella Insurance
Another important policy to consider during this time is personal liability insurance (umbrella policy). Many people are currently working from home and have family members, children, and pets at home for extended periods of time. Having an umbrella policy protects you from legal costs if you or a family member damages someone else’s property, causes harm or injury, or if someone is injured while on your property. This type of policy is especially important to consider for homeowners with children or pets, as you become responsible for any damages they may cause.

Rental Property Insurance
If your rental properties have been affected by travel restrictions due to COVID-19, contact us directly to see how we can help. We offer solutions for those in need of Condominium coverage, Vacation/Seasonal Homeowners, Vacant Home Insurance, and Rental Properties and our agents will work with you so you have the coverage you need.

Payment Relief
Depending on your situation and the company your insurance is provided by, there may be relief available if you’re facing financial hardships due to COVID-19 and are unable to make mortgage or rent payments. Many of the companies we work with are extending payment deadlines and will work with you and your situation. Our agents are here to help with any questions you may have. In uncertain times, it is important to know that the place you call home is covered. We understand the investment you’ve made in your home, and we are here to protect it. At Penny Insurance, we want to give you a peace of mind as your insurance provider, even in the midst of a crisis.

Source:https://www.policygenius.com/homeowners-insurance/homeowners-insurance-and-coronavirus-covid-19/#how-the-coronavirus-could-affect-your-homeowners-insurance-coverage

Flood 101: Action Steps During a Flood for Policy Holders

Flood 101: Action Steps During a Flood for Policy Holders

Flooding is one of the most difficult natural disasters to face and a significant trauma for property owners. “One of the biggest issues why people don’t carry flood insurance is apathy. I think many people think it won’t happen to them and are willing to take the risk,” says Loretta Worters, a spokeswoman for the Insurance Information Institute.

The average annual cost of flood insurance is minuscule compared to the average cost of a flooding claim when disaster strikes. Whether you own property near the coast and are exposed to the risk of coastal flooding, or your home is inland where severe rainstorms can cause damage, anyone can become a victim of flooding. 

If you’re dealing with this home disaster, discerning what to do so you can resume your “normal life” again can seem daunting. If stress is flooding your life and you’re overwhelmed, here are some easy steps to follow to help you gain clarity on what to do next.

1. Verify Your Policy

Firstly, call your insurance agency. Verify that you have flood insurance, as standard homeowner’s insurance policies don’t include flood insurance. At Penny Insurance Agency, we make it a daily priority to maintain open, honest communication with those we insure. For almost a century, our trusted agents have been assisting people with their insurance needs. Once you’ve gained a better understanding of next steps from your insurance agent and gotten the ball rolling on filing a claim, you can focus on more tangible steps to help the process.

2. Take Photos

If it is safe to do so, document everything you can that suffered damage on your property. This includes water levels (if the flooding is still there), any major or minor water damage, photos of any ruined valuable items, and key structures of the home. There may even be damage that is difficult to see and pinpoint, so the more photos, the better. This will help ease the process of filing a claim if you have proper and substantial documentation. 

3. Cleanup Safely 

After you’ve contacted your insurance agency and properly documented the damage, you can begin the cleanup process. If it is safe to do, while following the instructions of local authorities, scan the perimeter for any obvious threats to your safety and then begin opening doors and windows to allow airflow. It is better to be safe than sorry, so always assume that flood water is polluted and unsafe, unless told otherwise. Work with a trusted contractor and professionals when assessing what to do next in cleanup and beginning to rebuild. 

4. Prevent and Prepare

It may take some time to fully recover from a terrible flooding experience. Once you’re back on your feet, it’s important to consider what you can do to prevent the same damage and prepare for the future. Flood-proof your property as much as you can doing things like elevating the foundation of your home or vacation property, building in flood openings to the foundation, using water-resistant flooring in your home, and building with water-resistant insulation in the walls. In addition, verify that your homeowner’s insurance covers flooding, so that you’re protected in the future. Never just assume that your policy covers this– in fact, most homeowner’s insurance policies do not include flood insurance as part of the policy. 

We understand how to help those facing critical situations and have been aiding people in navigating the waters of insurance for almost 90 years. Penny Insurance Agency is licensed in South Carolina, North Carolina, Georgia, Florida and Texas to better serve your unique property needs. For honest and personal service from one of our agents, give us a call or stop by one of our two office locations in Hendersonville, NC or Tryon NC. We would be happy to speak with you about your insurance needs. 

https://www.lawnstarter.com/blog/water/south-carolina-flood-insurance-data/https://www.daveramsey.com/blog/recovering-from-floodhttps://www.iii.org/fact-statistic/facts-statistics-flood-insurance

Securing Your Vacation Home While You’re Away

Securing Your Vacation Home While You’re Away

Nothing can tarnish your peace of mind like wondering if your property is secure while you’re away. At Penny Insurance Agency, our goal is to protect the life you have built for yourself and your loved ones while giving you a peace of mind. If the life you’ve built allows you to travel frequently, or occupy multiple properties, be sure to implement these steps to optimally secure your home while you’re away. 

1. Check Your Insurance Policy

Talk with your insurance agency and verify that all of your specific needs for your property are taken care of. With a robust policy and an agency you can trust, your worries will fade and you’ll be able to truly enjoy your time away. Be specific when speaking with your insurance agents, and ask thorough questions. Penny Insurance is licensed in South Carolina, North Carolina, Georgia, Florida and Texas to better serve our client’s unique vacation home needs. 

2. Install Security Systems

Do your research and select the best security system for your property. A large majority of modern security systems allow you to check-in on your home remotely and frequently from the convenience of your smartphone, and even detect activity around your place and give you notifications. Even the seemingly minute detail of having a security system sign in your yard or a visible camera can also deflect intruders. Investing in a solid security system is worth it, especially for vacation homes. 

3. Make Your Home Appear Occupied 

Whether it’s befriending nearby neighbors and asking them to check on your property, hiring a landscaper to trim the bushes, or installing light timers in your home, make it a conscious effort to make your property look occupied. Simple efforts like these can make a big difference and give the appearance that you’ve only left for a few hours and will be returning soon. Also, remember to transfer your mail to your main residence, as a pile of mail can indicate vacancy. 

4. Check Your Locks 

This may seem obvious, but simple efforts like double-checking that windows, doors, and other entry points are shut and properly locked is a common mistake when heading off on vacation. It’s tedious, but checking each and every entry point can save you a lot of headache later on down the road. If you haven’t already, add stronger locks where you can and more of them. Move any obviously expensive items that might intrigue intruders away from the windows and secure them in safes. Another rookie mistake is leaving a key to the house under the welcome mat, or under an item in the front yard. Intruders know to look in these common spots, so it’s best to just keep an extra key in your personal bag or give one to a trusted neighbor or friend. 

Implementing these simple steps for better home security will keep you at ease and allow you to enjoy the life you have built. If you would like to learn more about vacation home insurance, our agents at Penny Insurance would love to speak with you and customize a plan for your unique needs. Give us a call or fill out our online contact form. 

Sources:

https://www.iii.org/article/insuring-a-vacation-home

https://reolink.com/top-3-clever-tips-to-secure-vacation-second-home/

Action Steps for Property Damage in Winter

Action Steps for Property Damage in Winter

How to Prevent Property Damage in Winter and Action Steps to Take When It Occurs

Did you know that homeowner’s insurance claims related to wind or hail damage are the most common homeowner insurance claims? According to the Insurance Information Institute (III) “About one in 20 insured homes have a claim each year, about one in 50 insured homes have a property damage claim caused by water damage or freezing each year, and homeowners’ claims related to wind or hail are the most frequent.”

Unfortunately, the statistics on the likelihood of property damage in the winter are not very promising. At Penny Insurance Agency, we want our clients to be as prepared and informed as possible. We’ve compiled some of the most common property damage incidents that occur in the winter with tips on how to prevent them and actions steps to take when property damage does occur.

1. Hail Damage

Many factors can play into the severity of roof damage during a hailstorm – wind speed, the size of the hailstones, the density of the hailstones, the quality of the roof materials, and natural barriers such as trees. If you want to set yourself up for success should this scenario occur, check your house for any damage immediately following a storm. Even seemingly insignificant damage can have a snowball effect and contribute to significant damage later down the road. If you’ve determined that there is damage that needs to be repaired, contact your insurance company and connect with an advocate who can you take you through the next steps in filing a claim and hiring a contractor to get the damage repaired.

2. Roof Damage from Tree Limbs or Snow

In addition to hail, tree limbs and snow are very prevalent causes of roof damage. Winter storms can wreak havoc on homes with intense wind blowing down limbs and snow weighing heavy on a roof. Snow can cause roofs to cave in, clog gutters and collapse decks. Tree limbs can cause power outages, cut through house siding and more. As with hail damage, the best way to position yourself for the best possible outcome is to keep a close eye on your property because small damages can intensify later on. If you see obvious damage to your property, don’t hesitate to document the damage with photos and mark it with chalk to make filing an insurance claim and the repairing the damage easier for everyone involved.

3. Frozen Pipes

Water damage from a frozen pipe that has burst can cause immense damage to a home. Busted pipes can ruin sewage systems, cause flooding, and more. To prevent pipes from freezing and bursting, ensure that your house temperature is at least 65 degrees Fahrenheit, know the location of your home’s main water shutoff switch in case you need to use it, and frequently allow your faucets to slowly drip to keep the water in the pipes flowing. If you suspect that your pipes have frozen, take immediate action to unthaw them before they burst. Call a plumber immediately if you need assistance unthawing your pipes. This preventative measure could save you money and hassle later on. If the worst-case scenario happens and the pipes do burst, immediately cut off the water supply and be proactive about drying any water damage. Contact your insurance provider right away to file a claim in order to ultimately repair your home.

From the day we were founded, Penny Insurance Agency has been building trust with clients and providing comprehensive homeowners insurance. If you would like more information about homeowner’s insurance, or if you are facing property damage to your home, give us a call. We’re here to help.

https://www.iii.org/fact-statistic/facts-statistics-homeowners-and-renters-insurance

https://nrc4help.com/roof-hail-damage/

https://www.insurance.com/home-and-renters-insurance/natural-disasters/winter-homeowners-insurance-claims.htm

https://www.iii.org/article/tips-surviving-severe-cold-weather

The Real Scare of Halloween

The Real Scare of Halloween

The Real Scare of Halloween: Why You Need Homeowners Insurance with Liability

When considering a homeowners’ insurance policy, it is imperative to consider personal and family liability protection as part of the policy. Accidents happen, and you need to be proactive about your coverage before it’s too late. With Halloween being right around the corner and increased liability and property damage risks, not having a comprehensive insurance policy can be scarier than Halloween and here’s why:

Trick-or-Treaters on Your Property

According to the National Retail Federation, 69% of Americans plan to hand out candy to trick-or-treaters on Halloween to celebrate. If you have your porch lights on, you are welcoming people onto your property, and this can pose a number of risks. While giving out candy and complimenting kids on their costumes is a fun tradition, if a trick-or-treater hurts themselves on your property, you could face serious consequences such as legal fees, medical fees, and more. Some common liability incidents that occur each year include, but are not limited to: trick-or-treaters tripping on homeowners’ sidewalks or falling because of bulky costumes, children having allergic reactions to candy or other sweet treats, and pets getting spooked by the unfamiliar visitors and causing harm. Hand out candy worry-free this year knowing you’re covered if a mishap occurs.

Accidents at Parties

Pumpkin carving contests and alcohol are popular elements at any Halloween party, but are also accident-prone elements. Sharp tools used to carve pumpkins and burning candles to light up jack-o’-lanterns are obvious risks for party participants, but did you know that you could be held responsible and face serious consequences if one of your alcohol-infused guests causes harm to someone else’s property or to another person? In addition, without liability insurance, you could face serious consequences if an underaged party guest gets a hold of alcohol. Host Halloween parties with confidence knowing you won’t have to face haunting repercussions.

Spooky Season Pranks

It is undeniable that the number of pranks and damage to personal property spike during spooky season. In fact, there are 17% more insurance claims for theft and vandalism on Halloween versus any other day of the year. If your personal property is not protected, you could be fronting the costs of fixing car vandalism, repairing damage to your home, replacing smashed mailboxes, and more. In addition, if you plan on decorating your home or dressing up to surprise trick-or-treaters, be sure to keep it reasonable as motion-sensored decorations and scary costumes can easily frighten children, causing them to run away or hurt themselves and suffer from physical or mental distress at your expense. It’s spooky out there– make sure you’re covered.

Consider these risks this season and don’t let a liability mishap haunt you. Make sure your homeowner’s insurance policy includes liability coverage to protect you and your family. We want you to have an enjoyable fall season with a peace of mind knowing that if something happens, we’ve got you covered. If there’s something strange in your neighborhood, don’t call the Ghostbusters, call Penny Insurance Agency! We’re here to help.

https://nrf.com/insights/holiday-and-seasonal-trends/halloween/halloween-data-center

https://www.nbcwashington.com/news/business/Halloween-Spike-in-Home-Auto-Insurance-Claims-498670681.html

https://www.ghostbusters.com/
https://www.insurancejournal.com/news/national/2016/10/31/430898.htm https://www.esurance.com/info/homeowners/family-liability-protection-and-homeowners-insurance https://thenitschegroup.com/halloween-insurance-risks/#.Xam3_udKjUo