Understanding Renters Insurance

The number of renters in America continue to rise. For the past several years, almost 40 percent of households are renters. There are myriad reasons why renting is the best decision for many people. While it is easy to think that renting means your landlord or rental company has you covered when things go wrong, that isn’t always the case. Enter: renters insurance. Once you understand what renters insurance provides, you will see why it is a smart money move for all renters to make. 

What is Renters Insurance?

Often times, people equate renters insurance with homeowners insurance. Some people assume renters insurance covers the apartment structure so it’s not necessary. While the owner carries insurance on the building, that coverage is usually for the structure itself, not the contents of the building. 

Renters insurance covers a renter’s possessions. Think frozen pipes that burst and ruin your couch. Or a burglar who gets away with your new iPhone and computer. Essentially, if the items in your apartment are damaged or stolen, you can claim the loss with renters insurance. 

Renters insurance is also important in case someone has an injury in your home. If someone sues and you’re responsible for the injury, you would have to cover their hospital bill and other expenses. With renters insurance, you can file a claim to have those medical costs covered. It may also cover your legal expenses depending on the details in your policy. 

Is All Renters Insurance the Same?

Replacement cost value (RCV) policies cover the cost to purchase or repair the same or similar items today. Actual cash value (ACV) policies cover an item based on an adjustment on the original purchase price.

What is the big difference? Depreciation. When using actual cash value, something that cost $500 when you bought it but is worth $250 today, due to depreciation, means the item is covered at the lower price point.

It is important to read the policy coverage closely to see what is and isn’t covered and what the deductible amount is. In RCV and ACV policies, the renter is responsible for the deductible. 

How Much is My Stuff Worth?

Do you really know what is in your home? It’s difficult to remember every single item in your home, never mind knowing what everything cost. If you can’t recall this information on a good day, imagine how difficult it would be to recall in an emergency.

One of the best ways to make sure your renters insurance policy accurately covers your belongings is to create a home inventory. An inventory is a list of everything you own and is easily accessible when filing a claim. It may be especially helpful to have big-ticket items appraised separately. Depending on your policy coverage, you may also need to take out a separate rider to cover expensive items, like jewelry. 

Does Renters Insurance Do Anything Else?

Sometimes renters insurance does more than cover the replacement cost or the repair price of your items. Some policies can also provide other coverage. For instance, if you are unable to live in your apartment due to a hailstorm or fire, you may be reimbursed for the cost of staying in a hotel. It is important to review your policy before any emergency takes place so you know what will and what won’t be covered.

How Do I Get Renters Insurance?

While you are researching renters insurance options, start with what is covered by your landlord and what isn’t. Once you have that information, you will have a more accurate understanding of the type and amount of coverage you need.

Next, you will want to make sure that you have an idea of the value of your belongings. That is where a home inventory or appraisals will be helpful. Then, you can work a licensed agent from Bond Insurance Group to request a quote. 

Your premiums will fluctuate on how much you are willing to pay with your deductible. When you talk to your SelectQuote agent, take a few minutes to outline your needs and find a plan to ensure the coverage you elect meets those needs. Once you’ve have the right coverage, you can breathe easy knowing you’re protected while you rent.

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How to Prepare for the Cost of Aging with Long-Term Care Insurance

Insurance involves thinking about the possibility of misfortune—everything from a damaged car, to a damaged home, to damaged heath. And the older we get, the more we need to consider the possibility of long-term care (LTC) insurance to help in our twilight years. 

What is Long-Term Care Insurance?

LTC is an insurance policy that pays for care when you can no longer manage yourself. Should you need to enter a nursing home, move to an assisted-living facility, use an adult daycare center or have a caretaker in your home, LTC can protect you, and family members, from financial disaster.

How High Are Long-Term Care Costs? 

The costs of long-term care are staggering. According to the 2018 edition of Genworth’s Cost of Care Survey, nursing home care averages $8,365 per month for a private room ($7,441 for semi-private), $4,000 per month for an assisted living facility. Homemaker and Health Aide care in your own home? Each averages more than $4,000 per month. It’s easy to see how savings can vanish quickly when the need for long-term care arises. For some, the only option is to fully exhaust their financial means until they qualify for a Medicaid facility.

Who Should Get Long-Term Care Insurance?

Anyone who could possibly find themselves in need of long-term care due to diminished mental or physical capacity at some point in the future is a candidate for long-term care insurance. From that perspective, that’s pretty much everybody. 

People are living longer, which means “old age” will be a more extended period than it was for previous generations. If your health is good, and you don’t have a family history of ailments such as stroke, dementia or Alzheimer’s Disease, you may not need much in terms of long-term care. But even the most fit people can find their capacities challenged as they head into the 80s, 90s and beyond. All it takes is one fall to change the entire course of an elderly person’s life.

Long-term care isn’t only for the elderly. If you’re in a profession that comes with the possibility of a debilitating injury, you may find yourself with diminished capacities at a young age. Is it better to spend money on long-term care insurance or take your chances that the odds will be in your favor? These are the kind of personal questions that make considering long-term care insurance so difficult.

How Does a Long-Term Care Policy Work?

Every policy will have its own fine points. But essentially, LTC insurance will begin paying out benefits once your physical or mental conditional reaches a particular point, determined by your insurer. Some policies will begin paying immediately upon reaching that point, where other less-expensive policies put a waiting period between the point at which you become eligible and the point at which payments begin.

What Does a Long-Term Care Policy Cost?

This is probably the most sensitive part of LTC insurance—it’s expensive. According to the American Association of Long-Term Care Insurance, a couple age 55 can expect to pay about $3,000 a year in LTC premiums. That’s why it is recommended to buy it sooner rather than later. If that same couple waited 10 years, their premiums would equal about $4,675 a year. A lot of money, to be sure. But if it eventually helps them each offset over $100,000 a year in nursing home costs, it might very well be worth it. 

How Much Long-Term Care Insurance Do I Need?

A reputable provider should be able to help you calculate a benefits amount that’s right for your situation. Try an online calculator to figure out the correct amount for you. Another smart move is to be sure you understand the healthcare costs you’ll need to meet in retirement well before the need for using your long-term care insurance might arise.

Where Do I Get a Long-Term Care Policy?

As with all decisions about insurance, make sure you buy your policy from a well-respected company. You need to be confident your insurance provider will still be in business when you start collecting benefits after decades of premium payments. SelectQuote doesn’t have a recommendation for one company over another, but a simple search for will help you get your search underway.

And keep in mind that long-term care involves more than just insurance concerns. There are other factors to consider. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services offers a useful overview of the subject.

Insurance 101 for House Flippers

Flipping houses hit an 11-year high in 2017. It’s no secret why. Television shows such as “Flip or Flop” and “Rehab Addict” flaunt how flipping houses can provide a lucrative career or side hustle. But it’s not always an easy one. Many things can go south during a flip, including stolen materials or structural damage while the house sits empty. Mishaps that eat into potential profit. 

Most people go into a flip thinking about asking price, cost of renovations and earning potential. It’s important to add insurance coverage to the early list of considerations. 

Below we answer four common insurance questions from flipping newbies. 

What Type of Insurance Policy do I Need for my Flip? 

New house flippers may think general homeowner’s insurance will cover their needs. The type of insurance policy needed for a flip depends on the stage of the project. Here are four policies to consider. A Bond Insurance Group agent can help determine the best policy for each stage of your flip.

Builder’s Risk Policy – A builder’s risk policy covers the property during construction. Work with your insurance agent to ensure all of the needed items, such as an installation floater for materials, are included in the policy. Once you complete construction, secure another type of insurance.

Dwelling Policy – A dwelling policy covers the home’s structure, not the personal belongings inside. This makes it an ideal policy for flippers, whose renovations do not contain personal belongings.

Liability Insurance – Liability coverage protects the owner and investors in the event an injury occurs at their property. 

Vacant Home Insurance – If the property will sit empty for 30-60 days purchase a vacant home insurance policy. Vacant homes pose a higher risk because no one is present to catch big problems, such as flooding. And vacant homes are also more susceptible to theft and vandalism. A standard homeowner’s insurance policy does not include coverage during times of vacancy. If there are delays in the rehab schedule or the house sits on the market empty for months instead of weeks, vacant home insurance provides protection.

How Much Insurance Coverage Do I Need? 

In general, obtain enough insurance to cover the cost of the home after renovation. This accounts for both the replacement of the home at the cost you paid, as well as renovation costs.

When Should I Get Insurance for my Flip?

Don’t wait to contact an insurance agent. Many policies must be in place before a certain percentage of the renovation is complete. Talk to an insurance agentearly in the process, before making an offer, to determine policy options.

Can I Purchase One Policy for Multiple Houses? 

A policy covering multiple pieces of real estate can be especially appealing for investors looking to flip more than one home. This type of coverage does exist but may be harder to come by. An insurance agent can help research and find the right fit.

Ensuring proper insurance covered at each stage of the project is key to protecting your flip. Guard your investment. Contact a Bond Insurance Group agent before jumping into a flip to learn more.

What’s Covered by Insurance When Your Car is Stolen?

Pop quiz: What is the most popular vehicle in the United States? If you answered the Ford F-150 pickup, you know the auto industry. What about the most popular vehicle among car thieves? If you said the 1996 Honda Civic, you know the insurance industry. 

So what happens if your vehicle disappears from your driveway, parking garage or wherever you last parked it? From an insurance standpoint, it all depends on the type of policy you purchased to cover the vehicle.

If you’re driving a ’96 Civic, chances are you’re carrying only liability and/or collision insurance. That’s a wise decision for a 22-year-old ride. Unfortunately, you’d be out of luck as far as recouping the value of that car. However, if you have a comprehensive policy, you can expect a check for whatever your stolen make and model is worth, minus the deductible. 

Simple enough, right? Yes and no. It gets more complicated when it comes to coverage for any personal or business belongings were stolen along with the vehicle, and if the vehicle is damaged from vandalism—or certain parts of the car were stolen or damaged. 

Which Policies Cover Theft?

In most states, “comprehensive” auto insurance covers everything from storm damage, falling meteors and collisions with a cow to theft or vandalism. But be sure to check your policy because it varies. 

Collision coverage shields you from the cost of repairing the vehicle you’re driving and/or another vehicle involved in the accident (if you’re deemed responsible).

Liability insurance protects you—and your assets—in the event you caused injury to the other driver and/or passengers. 

Only comprehensive coverage will cover the value of your vehicle if it’s stolen. 

What Happens if Other Items Are Stolen with the Vehicle?

As if losing your beloved automobile weren’t bad enough, what about your golf clubs in the trunk, your purse or wallet in the console or the laptop with your entire music collection stored in it? 

Your comprehensive auto policy will only cover permanent components that are pre-installed car parts, not personal belongings left inside. The good news is if you have homeowners or renters insurance, these items may be covered. But you’ll need to file a separate claim.

If that laptop is owned by your employer, it is likely covered by a business policy. But a separate claim will need to be filed.

What About a Break-in or Vandalism?

Sometimes, you might wish the car was stolen after seeing the results of a break-in or vandalism. It’s one thing to have a window broken and a holiday gift stolen. It’s a much bigger deal if your $5,000 custom sound system is ripped out or the exterior is spray-painted.

The coverage and the claims you need to file could get tricky. 

In the case of the broken window and stolen gift, again you’re dealing with different policies. Many auto policies have separate claims and deductibles for glass. So you might be able to replace the window for $50 or $100. However, the value of the gift—a personal belonging—would need to be claimed against the homeowners or renters policy. 

The after-market stereo, amplifier and speakers are considered part of the vehicle, not personal belongings. However, if stolen, they might only be covered to the value of a factory-installed OEM sound system. That may be only $1,000-$1,200 at the dealership. To cover the rest, talk to your agent or carrier ahead of time about the full cost of your investment and get special coverage. It most likely will make for a nominal increase to your premium, but you can’t do this after the fact. 

The cost to fix acts of vandalism, such as smashed windows, slashed tires or a keyed paint job, are typically covered by a comprehensive auto policy. Pay your premiums on time and pay your deductible to restore your ride to its previous appearance. 

Even the most advanced security systems and secure neighborhoods don’t immunize your vehicle or its contents from theft and vandalism. It pays to be knowledgeable about the coverage(s) you need to protect your property and your pocketbook from all the possibilities