Your dog just took down the neighbor’s fence while chasing a squirrel (and your neighbor isn’t happy). Will your homeowners insurance cover the damage? The short answer is, “it depends.”
Policy coverage and exclusions can vary, and when important factors like pets are involved, the fine print matters.
Want to know more? Here are a few common questions about pets and home insurance.
Does your policy cover damage caused by pets?
Many home insurance policies do not cover damage your pets cause to your own property — like a torn sofa or broken TV. However, liability insurance may cover damage your pet does to other people’s property.
What if your dog bites someone on your property?
Most home liability policies offer coverage for damage a person may suffer on your property, including dog bites (up to a certain limit and provided you’ve disclosed you have a dog). Note that after the first dog bite, you may face additional exclusions.
Are different breeds treated differently?
Some insurance policies may offer limitations on coverage if you have what is considered a high-risk breed. When you share what kind of pet you have we can let you know what to expect.
Are backyard animals covered?
Home insurance policies don’t provide coverage for damage your pets, including backyard animals like goats or chickens, cause to your property. However, liability coverage may still apply (with some limitations).
Will your home insurance pay your pet’s medical bills?
Unfortunately, you’re likely on your own for your pet’s medical bills even if they are hurt during a covered incident (like breaking through your neighbor’s fence).
Have questions about your coverage? Reach out anytime to one of our team members at Vick Insurance Group.
Water damage doesn’t always reveal itself right away. But over time, a small hole in your roof or a slowly leaking pipe can easily lead to big problems and expensive repairs.
With smart habits and a few check-ins a year, however, you can limit the chances of costly damage and annoying cleanup.
Want to keep your home in good shape? Here are five simple steps to minimize the risk of water damage.
1. Care for Your Roof and Gutters
An annual roof inspection is a must. It’s also important to patch holes, replace missing shingles and keep gutters debris-free to direct rain and ice away from your home. Keep downspouts far enough away from the house to ensure good drainage.
2. Keep Your Pipes in Good Shape
Insulate your pipes and check on them regularly to keep tabs on signs of weakness or leaks. Have a plumber inspect your water lines every few years. Also avoid using hard drain cleaners, which damage pipe interiors and make them more susceptible to cracks and breaks.
3. Watch Those Windowsills
Is the caulk around your windows discolored? Is condensation appearing on the inside of the windows or along the frames? Maintaining these areas helps keep moisture out and can also boost your home’s energy efficiency.
4. Install Flood and Moisture Sensors
Smart homes can include simple sensors that alert you to moisture buildup and flooding in high-risk areas like the basement, laundry area and kitchen.
5. Test the Sump Pump
If you have a sump pump that pushes water away from your home, inspect it annually to make sure it’s working properly. Follow the manufacturer’s recommendations.
Have questions about water damage or anything else? Reach out to one of our agents at Vick Insurance Group to discuss your policy.
You’ve probably heard a lot about “decluttering” lately. Sure, it seems better to live in a tidy and streamlined home that isn’t crowded with stuff, but is it really worth the trouble to be that organized?
Here’s one thing you may have overlooked: Organizing your home could actually save you money.
Intrigued? Find out how cleaning up can be a budget-friendly move:
Uncover Hidden Belongings
Think about all the boxes, crates and bins crammed into your closets, garage or attic. If you had a break-in or a fire, would you even know what’s been stolen or lost?
Keep things organized and avoid loss by doing a home inventory, taking photos of valuables and choosing sturdy, weatherproof storage containers. You’ll probably discover a few items to sell or donate during this process, too.
In addition to making it hard to find what you’re looking for, keeping piles of stuff around can actually be unsafe. Stacks of mismatched boxes can easily topple over, overstuffed cabinets can limit access to fire extinguishers, and obstructed doors and windows block airflow and fire exits.
Thinning out and organizing your stuff can minimize the chance of personal injury and damage to your belongings, which can both be expensive and frustrating.
Finally, taking the time for routine maintenance can help keep insurance costs low and help avoid having to make costly repairs. Go the extra mile by creating a reminder system to help you stay on top of things like changing the batteries in your smoke alarm, replacing air filters and regularly checking on the health and cleanliness of your appliances.
Want more money-saving ideas or have questions about your insurance? Reach out today to one of our team members.
Be sure to also check out some of our other Vick Insurance Group media on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.
Winter is known for being a time of celebration, family gatherings and staying cozy by the nearest fireplace. It’s also a season of potential challenges when it comes to your home, vehicle and health.
Want to keep the season as festive and problem-free as possible? Here are a few tips to help you enjoy the rest of 2019 and beyond:
It’s good advice for any time of the year: Give your home a thorough once-over and complete the maintenance tasks that can prevent you from having to make expensive repairs later on. This includes:
- Examining your roof and gutters and looking for any leaks or obstructions
- Trimming dying tree branches or those that are too close to your house (or your neighbor’s)
- Checking the bulbs in your outdoor lighting
- Insulating pipes in unheated areas and inspecting your windows and doors for any areas that need recaulking or new weatherstripping
On the Road
Winterize your car by checking all its vitals:
- The battery
- Tire tread and pressure
- All fluids, including antifreeze
It’s also wise to keep an emergency kit in your vehicle, especially during the winter. A flashlight, blankets, portable phone charger, first-aid kit, extra batteries and a small supply of food and water are safety must-haves.
Health and Safety
Last but not least, take good care of your family and yourself during cold and flu season by getting a flu shot, washing your hands often and regularly wiping down commonly used items like light switches and remote controls.
And whether you’re getting your home ready for colder weather or the upcoming holidays, always exercise caution when using ladders, power tools, fireplaces and candles.
Want more tips before the upcoming new year? Need to discuss your coverage? Reach out to one of our team members anytime. Stay connected with us through Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter.
You’ve spent three months looking over paint swatches and now you’re finally ready to make a decision. But as soon as you finish the first coat of Blue Marlin, you’re wishing you had gone with Iceberg instead.
Paint is pretty easy to change. But other home updates can cost you more than just a lost weekend. Take a look at these common remodeling mistakes before you start your next project:
1. You Underestimate the Timeframe
It was supposed to take one afternoon to install the new plank-style wood flooring in your bedroom. Now you’re sleeping in the living room and your project is far from complete.
The Takeaway: Be realistic from the beginning and allow yourself plenty of time to deal with unforeseen challenges.
2. You Cut Corners on Materials
You’re heartbroken to learn that the 99-cent backsplash you found is hard to install and not very durable. It didn’t take long to crack one of the tiles.
The Takeaway: Keep quality in mind, read consumer reviews and don’t let thriftiness cloud your vision.
3. You Should Have Hired a Professional
Building a new set of front entrance stairs seems manageable according to the YouTube videos you’ve watched. But before you know it, you’re in way over your head.
The Takeaway: When a project involves heavy lifting or specific skills, it’s best to turn to a pro for help.
4. You End Up Going Way Over Budget
You just wanted to pull out some old carpet in the basement and add a simple wall. Now, you’re waterproofing and managing mold (and you surpassed your budget several days ago).
The Takeaway: A thorough inspection from a trusted contractor can reveal the true scope of the work that needs to be done.
Have questions about your homeowners coverage or how it might change if you remodel? Reach out to one of our team members today at www.vickinsurancegroup.com, or find us on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.