Bill Palmer Insurance: News Items

The insurance business is always changing. Here at Bill Palmer Insurance we pride ourselves on keeping up with the latest regulations, industry trends, and products that will help you protect your home, family and business.


Office Calendar

Our office will be closed on the following days:


May 29th - Memorial Day
July 3rd & 4th - Independence Day
September 4th - Labor Day
November 23rd & 24th - Thanksgiving
December 25th - Christmas


Severe Spring / Summer Weather Tips

Here are some weather safety and insurance tips from the Ohio Department of Insurance.

The spring and summer months are a time for barbeques, swimming by the pool and yard work. They also are a time for severe weather… thunderstorms, hail, floods and tornados. Severe weather can cause a considerable amount of damage to your home, car and property. So, how can you make sure your belongings are protected in the event of severe weather? The following tips can help!

Before the storm:

Be sure you have adequate coverage and deductibles that are reasonable for your needs by examining your homeowner or renter’s coverage, as well as auto insurance policies.
Tornadoes are considered “wind-storms” and damages caused by them are covered under homeowners insurance policies. If a tornado damages your car, protection is provided under the comprehensive portion of your auto policy.
Compile a detailed written inventory of your home and belongings, and supplement that inventory with a videotape or photographs. Keep the inventory off-premises in a safety deposit box. This will assist in settling claims.
Check on the necessity and availability of flood insurance in your area. Flood insurance is not included in typical homeowner and renter’s insurance policies. Call the National Flood Insurance Program at 1-800-638-6620 to learn about flood insurance in your neighborhood.
Check to see if your policy has “loss of use” or “additional expense” coverage. This will help pay for temporary housing if you can’t stay in your home due to damage caused by a storm. Many policies cover such expenses up to a stated amount.

During the storm:

Create an emergency plan, including places the family will gather in response to emergency weather alerts.
When at home or in a building and threatening weather approaches, go to the basement or interior hall. Stay away from windows.
Keep on hand basic supplies like water, food, flashlights and a battery-operated radio.
If you’re in a car or mobile home when a tornado approaches, leave immediately. Do not try to outrun a tornado. If you cannot locate immediate underground shelter, lie flat in a gully or ditch. Do not get under an overpass or a bridge!

After the storm:

Call your insurance company as soon as you can.
Try to protect your property and salvage what you can.
Closely inspect property and cars for damage. Note and photograph any damage and losses. This will assist in settling claims.
Be sure your agent knows how to contact you if you can’t stay in your home.
Above all, do not make a hasty settlement. If possible, seek assistance from a third party.
Be sure everything is considered in your claim. Back-up claims with written estimates.
Beware of home repair rip-offs. Carefully check the background of contractors and others who promise “cheap” repairs. Don’t pay the entire cost of repairs up-front, and try to only do business with local, established contractors. Before signing any contract, read the entire document, and contact your local Better Business Bureau or the Ohio Attorney General’s Office to see if the company has a good customer service record.

FAQ

1) Why are homewoners insurance rates increasing and/or coverages changing?

-The number and severity of claims from severe weather have increased in recent years.
-Because of this pattern of increased claims, insurance companies must change coverage limits and increase homeowners premiums to remain solvent and competitive.
-Reasons for rate increases: revisions to rating plans, changes to policyholder characteristics in recent renewals, severe weather, natural disasters.
-The cost of reinsurance is also trending higher.
-The issue is not contained to any company, state, or even county-the weather is uncontrollable.
-Rates and pricing methodology are reviewed and approved by each state's Department of Insurance.
-Policy costs can increase even if a policyholder hasn't filed a claim.

2) How can my insurance coverage change or cost more when I haven't filed a claim?

-Insurance spreads risk among diverse individuals and groups so that when a loss is suffered by one, every policyholder contributes to the cost of paying the claim.
-Insurers must account for the increasing risk from severe weather trends so that future claims can be paid.
-Dramatic changes in weather trends and natural disasters=higher shared costs.

3) Replacement Cost or Actual Cash Value?

-You can choose between replacement cost coverage and actual cash value coverage.
-Replacement Cost: the amount you would need to rebuild your home and repair any damage using similar kind and quality of material (without deducting for depreciation). *it is important to insure 80 percent or more of your home's replacement value.
-Actual Cash Value: the amount it would take to repair or replace a loss after depreciation.

What to do in case of a loss?

If you have a possible claim, here are some suggestions to increase your comfort and confidence about resolving the situation to the best of your ability.

First, what needs to be done to stabilize the situation?

Loss involving damage to property: Make reasonable decisions to protect the property and minimize risk of further loss or increased costs. This makes sense even if you are uninsured. If coverage applies, this is expected.

Loss involving personal injuries: There may be limits to what you can do to stabilize the situation. Obtain identities and information about injuries and treatment, if you can reasonably do so.

Generally, try to not alter physical evidence or dispose of materials until there is an opportunity for inspections and possible evidence retention. If physical evidence requires alteration to further protect property or life, careful decisions are in order. Preserve as much as possible.

Second, contact our agency. Provide all available information, and information for reaching you—even more important if you have to temporarily move. Our agency is a valuable resource, with experience, insight and familiarity with our community.

Third, if repairs will be needed, begin to identify who you might hire to do that work. Your selection of someone to do the repairs to your satisfaction is important.

Fourth, collect and maintain documentation related to the event; retain receipts and invoices; and make notes to assure that you will have an effective record of the event and its consequences.

Following these suggestions immediately after a loss will help you move through the experience with the information needed to make effective decisions.

Can you prevent a problem with your roof?

Your roof is your home’s first line of defense against the elements. The sun, wind, rain, snow and sleet can all wear your roof down over time. That’s why it is important to make sure your roof and roofing materials are properly maintained. If you watch for early warning signs of a deteriorating roof, you can reduce or eliminate a costly repair bill in the future.

Do you have a problem?
Many of us are not experts when it comes to home repairs. How do you know if it may be time to repair or replace your roof? When it rains, look for roof granules washing into your downspouts and gutters. Be on the lookout for shingles that are starting to curl up or crack. Watch for water stains on your ceiling. Even the smallest leak can be a sign of big trouble. If you notice any of these warning signs, it may be time to have your roof inspected by a licensed and insured contractor.

Can you prevent a problem?
For many people, your home is your single largest investment. Just like anything else, your roof needs to be maintained to avoid sudden surprises. Here are a few tips to help make your roof last longer:
• Proper eave and ridge ventilation can help extend the life of your roof by preventing the buildup of heat and moisture.
• Keep trees trimmed to prevent them from rubbing against the roof and to prevent excessive debris buildup.
• Keep your roof, valleys, gutters and downspouts free of leaves, twigs and other clutter that can prevent proper drainage.

Be proactive, watch for early warning signs and take steps to prevent roof damage, and you can have peace of mind that your roof will be there to protect you from the elements.

Flood insurance, did you know...

Did you know flooding is the single largest cause of natural disaster in the United States? Did you know homeowner and renters’ policies do not include coverage for flood damage? Flood insurance is available to anyone in a community participating in the National Flood Program, regardless if you live in a floodplain. Participating communities can be found at www.fema.gov/fema/csb.shtm. (This link can be found on our "Resources" page) You do not have to live in a floodplain to purchase flood insurance and the cost is not expensive. Thirty percent of all flood losses in 2007 were paid to people living outside the 100-year floodplain. These claim payments allowed the homeowner to rebuild or make repairs. All claim payments are paid with National Flood Insurance Program dollars.

Renting or Borrowing a car?

Non-owned automobile coverage is one of the most misunderstood personal automobile coverages.

Your automobile policy provides coverage for you, your spouse, any relatives living with you—or people you give permission to—to operate vehicles listed on your policy. But what about vehicles that you do not own?

Did you know that you have coverage if you rent an automobile?

Any car you rent has the same coverage as any car you own. The situation is the same if your spouse rents a car, or if your son or daughter rents a car (as long they don’t own their own car).

Tips for driving in the Winter


The leading cause of death during winter storms are motor vehicle crashes. When driving in the snow, do everything slowly and gently, and keep your lights on. Don’t get lulled into a false sense of security. In the snow, tires just barely grab the road. Accelerate, turn and brake slowly and gently. You must anticipate turns and stops, slowing down enough to make turns before you get to them, leaving plenty of distance between you and other cars.

Slippery roads are the biggest hazard of winter driving. In winter conditions, allow at least three times the normal distance to reach a full stop and avoid skidding. This means you must begin braking three times as far away from the stoplight where you turn. Reduce the danger of skidding by driving more slowly and by pumping the brakes as you slow down for a turn rather than holding them down. If you find yourself beginning to skid, do not brake. Instead, take your foot off the accelerator and gently turn your car in the direction you want your front wheels to go.

Remember that if you get stuck, avoid spinning your wheels and digging in deeper. Instead, shovel snow from the wheel paths and pour salt, sand, or cinders around the tires to improve traction.

Protecting Your Home in the Winter


Winter weather is upon us. Two common concerns we have during this time is freezing water. In particular, ice dams and freezing pipes.

An ice dam is an accumulation of ice at the lower edge of a sloped roof. Interior heat melts the snow on the roof causing the water to run down and refreeze at the roof’s edge. The ice builds up and blocks water from draining off the roof. Water is then forced under the roof covering and into the attic or down the inside walls.

Taking the following measures will help prevent ice dams:

1) Have a well ventilated attic. The colder the attice, the less melting and refreezing on the roof.
2) Have a well insulated attic floor to minimize the amount of heat rising through the attic from within the house.
3) Have a water-repellent membrane under the roof covering.

Frozen water pipes typically occur with pipes located in an attic, crawl space and outside walls. The following are a few tips to help prevent frozen pipes:

1) Cover exposed pipes with insulated sleeves.
2) Seal cracks or holes in outside walls and foundations near water pipes.
3) Open cabinet doors during cold spells to allow warm air to circulate around the pipes.
4) Keep a slow trickle of water flowing through faucets connected to pipes that run through an unheated space.

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