Usual Reasons Filing a Homeowners Insurance Claim in CT

You need to make sure you have a homeowners insurance policy for a variety of reasons as will be outlined in this post below. West Hartford, CT residents can discuss specific insurance options with agents at StateChoice. When it is time to file a homeowners insurance claim, you will need to be aware of the damages and repairs needed. Find out the typical reasons for filing such claims in this post. 

Damages from storms

Violent storms, heavy winds, rain, snow, ice, and other bad weather elements can create chaos for homeowners. The storms can leave behind a lot of damage to homes and filing a claim is important. Storm damage remains a top reason for filing claims on a home insurance policy. Be sure you assess the damage from the storm before filing a claim with your homeowner’s insurance company. Find out more about what policy options are available at StateChoice serving West Hartford, CT. 

Damages from Water

Many homeowners also get flood coverage. However, there are other types of water damage, which is one of the typical reasons for filing an insurance claim on your house. Burst pipes, backed up plumbing, leaks, and damages to structures from heavy rains are some prime examples of damages water can do and this warrants repair and a claim to be filed. Be sure to assess damages to the home before contacting an agent. 

Damages from Fire and Smoke

One of the biggest reasons homeowners file claims is damage to their home or property from a fire or the smoke that damaged items. Smoke and fire damage can be significant, often resulting in a total loss at the property. Be sure to assess all damages and inventory property loss. Contact an agent to find out more about fire coverage. 

Does home insurance cover my unattached shed and garage?

If you own a home in West Hartford, CT, you probably already have an existing homeowners insurance policy. Even though there are many details in your contract, you understand that your insurance will cover your losses in case of fire, theft, or some other kinds of catastrophes. An agent at StateChoice can help explain to you how to make an inventory so that if you needed to make a claim it would be easier to do so. Your insurance obviously covers the house itself, and items inside like furniture, clothing, appliances, and other personal items. But does a homeowners policy cover outside buildings?

In fact, your policy will cover the extent of your actual real estate. If someone falls on your walk and is injured, they may file a lawsuit or at least make a claim to recover damages. Your insurance company will help with that claim, including any legal fees you may incur from the incident.

As far as outside buildings, they will be covered also. It is important if you do have outside buildings, like unattached sheds or a garage, that you understand your particular insurance policy. There may be a limit to how much you can claim for the outside of buildings. You can consult your policy, and talk to your agent if you have any questions.

If you have outside, unattached buildings at your home in West Hartford, CT, it is important to make sure they are protected in case anything does happen. Please feel free to call StateChoice today to discuss your existing policy, and see if you would benefit from a change in policy limits.

Are There Gaps in Your Home Insurance?

There are many reasons why you may have gaps in your home insurance policy. Changes in your personal situation, home or lifestyle could affect your coverage, causing it to fall short of providing you with the protection you need. Here are a few areas in which gaps may be present in your policy.

Dwelling Insurance (Replacement Cost):  Your dwelling insurance should be sufficient to replace your West Hartford, CT home in the event of total loss. If not, there’s a gap in your coverage. Many homeowners are only covered for market value which could be far below the replacement cost of their property. If their home suffers loss, they may have to make up the difference between replacement cost and market value out of their own pocket in order to rebuild their home.

Pets:  Some policies exclude certain breeds of dogs in their liability coverage. If you own a dog, you should make sure it’s covered under your policy. Otherwise, you run the risk of being liable for dog bites should your pet attack a visitor on your property.

Natural Disasters:  Many natural disasters such as wildfire, tornadoes and hailstorms are covered by a standard homeowner’s policy; flooding, hurricanes and earthquakes, however, are not. If you don’t  obtain separate coverage for disasters not covered by your home insurance policy, you’ll end up paying for damages these disasters cause out of your own pocket.

High Value Items:  Posh jewelry, expensive sports or music equipment and costly electronics may not be completely covered under your homeowner’s insurance policy. This leaves them vulnerable to theft, damage or loss. You can resolve this problem by obtaining a rider or separate policy from StateChoice to cover these goods with replacement cost.

Help close gaps in your homeowner’s insurance with a comprehensive insurance policy from StateChoice, West Hartford, CT. 

Changes That Affect Home Insurance Needs

Summertime is a great time to contact your insurance agent at StateChoice in West Hartford, CT, if you need new home insurance for a home you are buying or for a complimentary annual review to make sure you have adequate insurance coverage for your home.

Besides the obvious need for new homeowner’s insurance, if you are buying a new home, there are many things that can cause your needs for homeowner’s insurance to change.

Here are some of the common things that cause the needs for home insurance to change:

  • Adding a room addition.
  • Re-finishing an attic or a basement.
  • Renting out part of the home.
  • Having children move out and/or elderly parents move in.
  • Enjoying an increase in property values.
  • Changes in the cost of replacement materials.
  • Buying a boat and keeping it part-time in the garage.
  • Creating a home office.
  • Starting a hobby with expensive collectibles.
  • Taking children into the home for paid babysitting/childcare services…
  • and more.

Life changes, especially those that are improvements, are really terrific. Sometimes, in the happiness and excitement of improvements, it is possible to forget about the needs that change for homeowner’s insurance. That is why your agent at StateChoice in West Hartford, CT will help. You need only give the agent the updated information and you will get a comprehensive recommendation of what adjustments may be needed for home owner’s insurance.

If you are a new client, we welcome you to become part of our preferred clients that we care for just as if they are members of our own extended family. Quality insurance coverage is really important when you need it. It is always best to have an annual insurance review with your agent at StateChoice in West Hartford, CT if any of these things happen and, in general, it is always a good idea to have an annual insurance review with your agent just to be sure you have adequate home insurance.

Ensuring Your Home is Emergency Ready

In some cases, there is no way to tell when an emergency is going to happen. Instead of hoping that it will not happen to you in your home in West Hartford, CT, you should prepare for one. If your home is not emergency ready and you do not have an emergency kit prepped, be sure to use this list from StateChoice to get you started.

  • Water. In case of an emergency, you need to make sure you have enough water on hand for at least three days. Determining the right amount of water to keep in your home depends on how many people live there. You should aim to have at least one gallon of water per person per day. 
  • Food. Food is something else you need to make sure you have in your house for basic survival. However, you should purchase non-perishable food as well as food that does not require cooking in case you lose power. Make sure you have at least enough for three days. 
  • First aid kit. This is something you need in your home regardless of whether or not it is an emergency. You can pick up a stocked one at your local store.
  • Candles, matches, flashlights, and batteries. In case you do lose power, you need a way to see around your home after dark and this is the best way to do so.

Besides having a great emergency kit in your home for all kinds of emergencies, you should also have a great home insurance policy. If you do not have one already, be sure to contact StateChoice serving West Hartford, CT to get a free quote and explore your options. If you do already have one, they can help you make sure that you are not overpaying and that you do not have any gaps in coverage. 

What to do If Your Home Insurance Needs Change

Home insurance is something that not only gives us peace of mind but that also helps to protect us should something happen to our homes. It is crucial that we keep coverage up to date and up to code with the individual needs of our specific homes. So what do you do if your coverage needs change? Have no fear, the process is simpler than you think. For those in the West Hartford, CT area, StateChoice agents can help you through the process.

For starters, your coverage needs might change without your ever knowing it but if you have an agent, they can keep an eye on possible changes and can help you keep your coverage updated. The first step to changing coverage if your needs change is to contact your agent. They will have answers to any questions that you might have and can start the change process.

Things like home renovation or buying large items can change coverage needs. Talking with your agent can help you find out just what coverage you need to change and how much you really need. The next step of the process is to meet with an adjuster and have them see just what your home is worth and how much your home needs to be covered for.

You can then meet again with your agent to hammer out the details of your policy and to figure out just how much coverage you really need to be protected. It is important that you check your coverage often and that you take the time to update as often as necessary to stay fully covered. For those in the West Hartford, CT area, the agents with StateChoice insurance can help you find the perfect policy for your changing needs.  

4 Wood Burning Fireplace Safety Tips

There is nothing better than sitting in front of a cozy fireplace on a cold winter night in West Hartford, CT. However, the benefits of enjoying a warm fire come with a variety of responsibilities. One of the most common causes of house fires is the unsafe use of a fireplace, so it is important to ensure the fireplace is safe for use. StateChoice offers the following safety tips to help keep your family safe this winter while you enjoy the warmth of a fire.

Use a Fireplace Grate

Although concrete is an extremely durable surface, if it is exposed to fire over a prolonged period of time, it may get damaged. Fireplace grates are designed to give you better protection from the fireplace by reducing the direct heat of the fire on the floor. Not only will this help to extend the heat, but can also lengthen the life of the fireplace, saving you money on repairs.

Closing the Damper

The embers in a fireplace can remain hot for as long as two days after the fire is extinguished. Even if you do not have a fire burning, it is important to leave the damper open to help prevent carbon monoxide from remaining in your home. It is also critical that you remember to never leave a fire unattended.

Cleaning Out the Ashes

After the fire is extinguished you should allow the ashes to cool down for at least 24-hours before you remove them from the fireplace. Always store the ashes outside of the house and in a non-combustible container until you can properly and safely dispose of them.

Routine Inspection

One of the most important things you can do to prevent the risk of a house fire resulting from the fireplace is to have a yearly inspection. Yearly maintenance and professional inspections will allow you to know ahead of time if there is a problem, including the chimney cap that should be replaced or if the flue is damaged. A clean chimney can help prevent fire damage and costly repairs.

Residents of West Hartford, CT interested in reviewing the current homeowner’s insurance policy, upgrading their policy or purchasing a home, auto or other insurance should contact StateChoice.

Avoid Pricey Home Repairs by Using a Fall Home Maintenance Checklist

Fall is the time to prepare for winter weather. It is easier to do the outside maintenance chores before the weather gets bad. Many things are do-it-yourself (DIY) tasks. Other items are best done by professionals who have the correct equipment.

Here is a checklist of things to do:

  • Have a snow and de-icing plan – The DIY method is to buy or service snow-blowing equipment. Also, have enough snow shovels and de-icing chemicals on hand to clear walkways and driveways. The professional method is to make a contract for automatic snow removal with a company that specializes in this work. Usually, these contracts have performance clauses that require snow and ice removal within a certain time, depending on the amount of snow that fell.
  • Check furnace, air ducts, fireplaces, clean chimneys, and flues – Having heat in winter is important, so checking the furnace for proper operation and replacing the filter is a good idea. Also, a professional company can clean air ducts for the central heating system and sweep the chimneys to clean the flues.
  • Check the roof for damage, clean the gutters and downspouts, and look for cracks in the foundation – Make any repairs necessary before the weather gets bad.
  • Consult with your insurance agent at StateChoice to make sure your insurance is up-to-date with adequate coverage and sufficient replacement cost estimates.
  • Prune back trees and landscaping, rake the yard to clean up debris – Pay careful attention to any tree branches that might break in winter storms and cause damage.
  • Turn off the sprinkler system, drain it and drain the garden hoses. Put the hoses along with any garden equipment, like a mower, away in storage. Use a fuel stabilizer for the gasoline or drain all the gasoline in the mower.
  • Remove any window air-conditioning units or cover them. Cover any centralized units that are outside.
  • Check weather-stripping and use caulking to fill any cracks around windows and doors that may cause air leaks, letting heat escape.

If you follow these simple tips, you will avoid having to do pricey home repairs in the middle of the severe winter weather. Contact StateChoice for home insurance quotes.

3 Packing Tips That Will Make Your Next Move A Breeze

The very idea of moving brings many people to waves of terror and stress. Moving even across town is an intricate job and if it is not done right expensive or even priceless items can be lost. 

  1. Pack unlikely items together. At first glance, there is not much logic in packing dishes and t-shirts together. Then upon contemplation, it makes perfect sense because the soft t-shirts stop the breakables from clanging together. They also weigh
  2.  less so they will fill the area without making a box too heavy. Bathroom towels go great with kitchen items that run a slight risk of being broken because if they do leak, there is already a towel to soak the mess. 
  3. Label, label, label. It may not seem to matter at the beginning of a move, but when you are unpacking, knowing certain items are can feel like life or death. For example, if you have to unpack 10 boxes to find a roll of toilet paper you will be wishing you took the time to label those boxes. You can do it by room, with a simple word showing which room to set the box in. Or you can be more detailed and start with labeling it by room, but also have a list of every item in the box. 
  4. Pack the most needed items last, so they are the first things you unpack. Toiletries, a pillow, and blanket, a few changes of clothing all should either be in a travel bag or in the last box packed so it is available first when you move in. 

If you are planning a move or have just settled into a new  place be sure to contact StateChoice to start discussing a new home or renters insurance policy to keep you protected.

BBQ Safely In West Hartford

One of the last things you would ever want to do in West Hartford is to accidentally set your home on fire because of barbecuing. You need to be safe when you are out at the grill, regardless of whether you are cooking with gas or charcoal.

Understand how to use your grill. If you have a gas grill, there may be various burners, a gas ignition switch, and much more. The tank needs to be inspected periodically for leaks, and it needs to be properly connected to the rest of the grill. Additionally, the tank needs to be turned off when you are done grilling for the day.

Your grill should be clean on a regular basis. Grease and other things can build up on the grates. This can lead to fire as well as a significant amount of smoke when you start to grill. All of this can be avoided with a good wire brush cleaning.

Have a few safety measures around. This includes a spray bottle filled with water so that if you have a flare-up, it can be eliminated quickly. Having a fire extinguisher (and knowing how to use it) can also help you to get rid of a fire at the grill or nearby before anything get out of control.

Learning about BBQ safety is critical and you should never grill unless you know what you are doing. Additionally, you should never walk away from the grill once you have lit the briquettes or turned on the gas. This will ensure that you are able to watch over everything and prevent accidents.

Learn more about ways to keep your home safe in West Hartford. Call us at StateChoice today and one of our independent agents can get quotes for home insurance to help you compare for low rates.