Monday, January 18, 2010

Homeowner Safety When You Barbeque

Barbeque Safely to Prevent Homeowners Insurance Claims

Every spring and summer families and neighbors delight in gearing up for barbeques and cookouts. Nothing is more irresitible than the smell of a steak, or even a hotdog or hamburger cooking on a grill.

As harmless as this family activity sounds, every year charcoal grills and gas grills cause fires that cost hundreds of thousands of dollars in damage.

Here are some tips for cooking out safely and avoiding any unwanted homeowners insurance claims:
  • Keep pets, children, and boisterous games away from the grill.
  • Make sure the grill is on a flat area, and kept away from outbuildings, trees or anything flammable.
  • Don't leave the fire unattended EVER. 
  • Do not light a grill indoors, in a garage, or on a porch.
  • Position yourself so that the wind is away from you when you light the fire or maintain the coals.
  • Never pour extra lighter fluid on hot coals or start a fire with explosive liquids such as gasoline or kerosine.
  • Trim away visible or excessive fat to prevent flare-ups when dripped on hot coals.
  • Never eat pork or chicken rare. Pre-cook inside to be sure the meat is completely done.
More than half of Americans say they are grilling outdoors year round. Use safety precautions and enjoy your family and the neighborhood cookouts. Keep your SC homeowners insurance up to date just in case!

Todd Insurance Agency is your go-to agency for homeowners coverage, South Carolina renters insurance, and car insurance in Myrtle Beach.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

E And O Insurance Claims in New Mexico

E and O, or Errors and Omissions insurance is a broad-reaching type of coverage which protects professionals (real estate agents and brokers) from liability resulting from negligence after a sale, unintentionally omitting information on a property, and MLS listing errors, among others.

Even the most honest Realtor can end up as a defendant in a lawsuit. Without comprehensive Errors and Omissions insurance, companies or agents might have to pay thousands of dollars to clear your name--even from a frivolous liability suit.

A recent article from the Albuquerque Real Estate Board, or the GGAR (Greater Albuquerque Association of Realtors) was interesting to read, aimed at their Realtors. We sell SC renters insurance and SC homeowners insurance, but the industry as a whole is affected by all its types and divisions.

What Causes High Dollar E and O Insurance Claims
in New Mexico?
By Cindy Rice-Grissom, CEO - Rice Insurance Services

As part of a new risk reduction initiative, the New Mexico E&O insurance administrator, Rice Insurance Services Company, LLC has conducted a review of the 31 New Mexico claims that involved incurred amounts over $50,000 since 2004. The incurred amount includes damages paid, estimated damages to be paid, expenses paid in defending the claim, and estimated expenses to be paid in defending the claim.

One clear finding from this review is the need for a reminder to all licensees to verify information prior to including it in the Multiple Listing Service (MLS). Five of the high dollar claims involved inaccurate information included in a MLS listing. Two claims involved the agent using old MLS information without verification of current information (one previous listing incorrectly stated that the unit included a garage, and another previous listing incorrectly stated that a guest house was included with the property and could be used for rental income).

One claim involved new construction when changes were made to include additional amenities and the agent updated the MLS listing with the new price but failed to list the new upgrades. One claim involved a listing misrepresenting that the house as being designed by a famous architect. One claim involved misrepresentation of the square footage in the MLS.
Download the PDF Whitepaper to

Contact us for information or quotes on car insurance in Myrtle Beach, Homeowners Insurance in Myrtle Beach, or any other insurance needs.

Friday, January 8, 2010

SC Homeowners Insurance and the Future

The recent financial crisis has not only caused major issues for the real estate industry, but it has also affected the insurance industry, and SC homeowners insurance in ways that you might not realize.

Insurance companies make money in basically two ways: investment income and underwriting income. Investment income is basically making money from investing their profits. Insurance companies invest like the rest of us, in stocks, bonds, mutual funds, etc. How have your investments performed over the last couple of years? So, needless to say, they are not making a lot of money from their investments. Underwriting income or basic profitability is the obvious way we would all think of an insurance company making money. They price risk, charge and collect premiums, take out for expenses and claims, and what is left over is net profit.

I think that in the near future insurance companies will see increased pressure; more so in their property lines such as homeowners, condo, mobile home, and renters insurance. The homeowner line, in general, is not profitable for a lot of companies throughout the industry.

Since the recession began companies have seen the frequency of homeowner claims increase. With the increase in the number of claims and the amount paid out, higher premiums will soon follow. So, here are a few tips to help keep your property insurance as low as possible:
  • Don’t file small claims – A lot of companies offer claim free discounts, so filing a small claim might cost you more in the long run. Usually it takes 3 to 5 years to earn that claim free discount back. 
  • Consider a higher deductible – The higher the deductible, the lower the premium. Having a higher deductible will also help you with the first point. 
  • Insure your home, autos, and other toys such as boats, motorcycles, RVs, and ATVs with one company. Usually if one company insures it all you get various discounts on each policy. Also, remember to look at it as a package. One company may be a little higher on your car but because of the discounts, as a package it is cheaper than having 4 or 5 different companies.
Personally, I think that the more you have insured with one company and the longer you are with that company, the better you are treated. No one wants to lose 4 or 5 policies over bad customer service or a claim being handled poorly. (This point is especially true if you live in a coastal area. Over the years, I have seen small companies selling mainly homeowners insurance come into a coastal area with lower than normal prices only to pull out within a year or two. This leaves the customer scrambling to find coverage) Remember the saying, if it seems too good to be true…

Have an agent, know your agent, and sit down with him or her every year. Things in life change for you and for your insurance company. Make sure you are covered adequately and make sure you are getting all of the discounts that you are entitled to. Companies add new discounts from time to time. Don’t assume you will get them without asking. Insurance is complicated. Don’t wait until claim time to find out if something is covered. Talk to your agent.

Call me for home or car insurance in Myrtle Beach. We'd love to service your insurance needs at Todd Insurance Agency.

Friday, January 1, 2010

New Short-Sale Programs Offer SC Foreclosure Alternative

New Short-Sale Programs Offer SC Foreclosure Alternative

As the foreclosure crisis continues to deepen across the United States and in South Carolina, there are several new options available to distressed homeowners.

North Myrtle Beach, SC (PRWEB) January 1, 2010 -- The Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP) has been in effect during 2009, but very few homeowners have been able to qualify for this program to restructure their loan. Realizing this, the U.S. Treasury launched the Home Affordable Foreclosure Alternative (HAFA), making the "short sale" process a much more viable way to avoid foreclosure.

In a short sale, the mortgage holder agrees to take less than what is owed on the mortgage, plus releases the borrowers from any future liability for the debt. But prior to the new HAFA program the process had come to a near standstill due to the sheer volume of foreclosures. The HAFA regulations should streamline and simplify the process, helping to limit the amount of foreclosed properties and stabilizing neighborhood values. More above...

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