Are termites covered on my homeowners insurance?

The formosan termite in New Orleans can cause major damage to your home but is it a covered claim?

 

My house in New Orleans was recently attacked by a swarm of termites.

A few even found their way under my door and were flying around before I went to bed.

Yes one of the first phone calls I made when I moved in was a termite inspection contract.

I know New Orleans residents are under attack every year and there is nothing we can do about it.

Swarming season in New Orleans is April to July.

Termites have been labeled the silent destroyer of homes in our area.

When you discover termite damage, it may be too late.

 

Before you even consider making a homeowners claim,  

you should be able to recognize a few common signs you have termite damage

 

FLOOR DAMAGE

Termites can damage laminate flooring and baseboards.

If you think your floor feels spongy or soft,  take a look underneath.

 

WALL DAMAGE

Cracks or tracks in your sheetrock is a sure sign you have termite damage.

Termites love cellulose found in wood within walls.

 

CEILING DAMAGE

Wooden support beams and rafters in the attic are at risk.

Look for tracks or cracks in your ceiling and take a look in your attic.

 

SLAB OR FOUNDATION

Although your slab is concrete, they can get in between the slab and your wooden floor joists.  

Homes built on piers with a crawlspace are at a greater risk because there is no concrete slab barrier.

 

WINDOW FRAMES

If your windows are sticking or no longer open, 

the termites may have tunneled underneath are eating away at the window frames.

 

ROOF DAMAGE

Broken roof tiles hold moisture and attract termites to the wood decking underneath.  

Replace any damaged or water-soaked roofing tiles.

 

If I discover I have termite damage should I make a New Orleans Homeowners insurance claim?

 

The fundamental principle of covered claims on a homeowners policy is simple.

When in doubt ask yourself one question.

“Was the damage sudden and accidental?”

 

If not, more than likely the claim would be denied.

 

Termite damage is not sudden and accidental.

Termites can destroy a house and cause major damage over an extended period of time.

 

Common Claims not covered on a home insurance policy.

  • Termite Damage
  • Wear and Tear 
  • Maintenance

 

A homeowners insurance policy is not a home warranty policy.

 

What should you do?

 

If you have not already purchased a Termite contract from a local Pest Control company,

you should.

Most contracts with Pest Control companies will come out and treat your house for termites.

If they discover termites, you may be able to get them to repair the damage.

You need to read the contract for the conditions that apply to you.

If you don’t meet certain conditions, it may void the contract.

Most Pest Control companies will give you a free inspection so now is the time to start the process of protecting your house from the termite swarm

and don’t rely on your New Orleans Homeowners policy to respond to a termite damage claim.

3 insurance hacks to use now

Here are 3 Insurance hacks you can use now for car, homeowners and business insurance

Insurance companies have many ways and data points they use to generate a rate for you

I put together 3 things you can do now to lower your rate on car and homeowners insurance and if you are a business owner or have a friend, neighbor or family member that owns a business

 

CAR INSURANCE

One rating factor on car insurance is how many miles do you drive

Most insurance companies provide a discount for less than 12,000 miles

If your policy is rated on over 12,000 annual miles you can ask your agent to change the policy to less than 12,000 miles and see if it generates a refund

The rate savings may be minimal so here is another way to greater savings

 

SAVE UP TO 30%

Every company has a drive tracking program  

You get a discount to try up to 5% and you get an opportunity to save an additional 30% off your current rate

How does it work?

Most insurance companies now offer an app that will track the movement of your vehicle or you can get a plug in device

What do they track?

  • Acceleration from a complete stop
  • Hard braking
  • Driving after 12 am
  • Miles per day

That’s it

No an insurance company can’t track your speed because they don’t know if you are on an interstate or blowing through a school zone

No they don’t care where you are going

Tracking your daily routine has no underwriting value to an insurance company

Ask your agent or insurance company if they offer a telematics program and each insurance company gives the program a name

Progressive Snapshot

Safeco Right Track

National General SmartDrive

Liberty Mutual Right Track

State Farm Drive Safe and Save

Allstate Drivewise

USAA SafePilot

Geico DriveEasy

 

HOMEOWNERS INSURANCE

You are not locked into a homeowners insurance policy

You can get a re-rate at any time from your current agent

If you have not checked your home insurance in 3-5 years it may be time to request a rate review

Most insurance agents are willing to accommodate you

 

INSURANCE IN ESCROW

I like to call this a forced escrow refund and here is what you can do

Your escrow is based on the cost of insurance for homeowners and flood and your property tax bill

Each year the lender can do an escrow analysis to determine if you have enough or you have too much and they will issue a refund

The cost of insurance going up can cause an escrow shortage

At any time you can get your current homeowners insurance rate reviewed by an insurance agent

If rates have gone down since you purchased your house or your homeowners insurance you can purchase a new policy at a lower rate

The insurance agent would cancel your current home insurance policy that would generate a refund back to you not the mortgage company

The lender would receive an invoice for the new homeowners insurance policy at a lower rate causing a forced escrow re-evaluation

which would result in a lower monthly mortgage payment

This is fastest way to lower your monthly mortgage if you need relief now

 

BUSINESS INSURANCE

You need to understand that business insurance policies are rated on estimated annual payroll or estimated annual gross sales

If your business payroll and sales are greatly reduced here is what you can do

Ask your current agent or insurance company to change the policy to your lower estimated payroll or gross sales

This should lower your monthly bill

Not all insurance companies are willing to do this for you

If they refuse you can get another quote from an insurance company using the new adjusted figures and this should produce a lower rate

 

Most common rating factors on business policies

General Liability or Business Owners policy will use estimated gross sales

Workers Compensation will use estimated payroll

Don’t cancel your policy but consider a reduction in your estimated gross sales and payroll before you consider a cancel request

Most insurance companies will not accept you with no prior insurance or surcharge a rate for not having an active policy

 

Hope this helps during this time of need and if you need to reach out to me with any questions 504.348.3131

Tim D’Angelo owner of FM Agency Group

 

Other Related articles during this time

Are your covered under your car insurance policy if you deliver food or rideshare?

Can you get loss of business income due to a virus?

Service Line coverage: the coverage you need but probably don’t have

Does your New Orleans homeowners insurance policy have service line coverage?

The answer is probably not

Most homeowners don't know they are responsible for the sewer line that runs from the street under their property and into their house

In New Orleans over time these sewer lines will collapse due to corrosion, tree root intrusion or land subsidence (settling or sinking)

Common Sewer Line Problems

  • Broken or cracked sewer line
  • Pipe bursting
  • Tree root intrusion
  • Collapsed sewer line
  • Main sewer line clogged
  • Drain repair needed

When this happens the water can't run into or from your house and the water backs up into your home

Now your policy should have water backup coverage to cover the damage inside your home from the water and most policies do but its the Service Line endorsement most homeowners insurance policies don't have

This endorsement will replace the sewer line plumbing pipe

Without the endorsement you would be responsible for paying the plumber to excavate your front yard and replace the pipe and the homeowners insurance company would pay for all the water damage inside your home

Now you can buy the coverage you need to pay for replacement of the pipe itself which can cost as much as $3500 to start

What is the cost of sewer line repair?

"The average cost to repair a main sewer line is $3,818 with most homeowners spending between $2,250 and $5,750. A full sewer line replacement ranges from $8,000 to $30,000, or $50 to $200 per linear foot, depending on the length and width of sewer pipe needed"..read full article here


How much is the Service Line Endorsement?

Most New Orleans homeowners insurance companies charge $25 to add this coverage


How much coverage does this endorsement provide?

Most companies will provide up to $10,000

Why this endorsement is important?

The standard exclusions in a homeowners insurance policy will not cover wear and tear or corrosion because the damage was not a result of a sudden and accidental event

You would get replacement coverage for corrosion, wear and tear, tree root intrusion, collapse

You also get excavation costs included too

Here is a sample pdf of the insurance policy language  


Which insurance companies in New Orleans offer the service line endorsement?

Gulf States Insurance

Capitol Preferred CPIC

Southern Fidelity SFIC

Centauri National

UPC

What's this all about?

Check your current homeowners insurance policy and if this coverage is not listed on your policy declarations page under endorsements you don't have this coverage

It is an endorsement and must be purchased or added on the policy as a line item

If you would like a quote from one of the companies listed above that offers this inexpensive but very important coverage just complete the quick form below

UPC insurance company is a top pick in 2020 

They are the 18th ranked insurance company writing homeowners insurance in the United States.  

to learn more about UPC click here

REQUEST A HOME INSURANCE QUOTE BELOW FROM

FM AGENCY GROUP

FM Agency Group

Helping Louisiana with insurance since 2001. Homeowners, car, rental property, flood and personal umbrella. Get the protection you need for the value you want. 504.348.3131

Agent Tim

To read more articles like this one get the insurance advice you need to make the decision to protect what you have in the event of a financially devastating event.  View more articles here

Homeowners Insurance Deductible Guide: Transfer of risk strategy

Majority of customers don’t select their own home insurance deductible on their homeowners insurance policy

Their insurance agent does

When we meet with potential homeowners insurance  customers we often see the All Other Perils deductible at $1000 on their existing home insurance policy regardless of the value of the house.

A home valued at 750,000 should not have the same deductible as a home valued at 100,000.

As I discussed in previous blog posts about New Orleans homeowners insurance, a home insurance policy is not a maintenance policy or a home warranty policy.

 

To keep your home insurance rate at an affordable level, you should take the highest deductible you can afford.

Can you handle a $2500 deduction from a water damage claim check to replace your wood floors?

If not, you want a $1000 deductible.

Here is a quick rule of thumb guide to determine the correct amount of your All Other Perils Deductible

If the value of your house is

100,000 – 199,000 your deductible should be $1000

200,000 – 499,000 your deductible should be $2500

500,000 – 750,000 your deductible should be $5000

You should have at least the amount of your deductible available in your bank account

 

HOW MUCH RISK CAN YOU AFFORD?

1.  Have you ever made a claim that was the result of a hurricane or a tropical storm?

2.  Have you ever made a water damage, fire, theft, hail or vandalism claim?

If you are not a home owner that makes claims, you should take a higher deductible and pocket the rate savings if you can afford to do so.

 

TIP:  A home insurance deductible is not the amount you owe to the Insurance company if you make claim.

It is the amount deducted from the claim check.

It is also the amount you agree to pay for damages out of your pocket to the contractor making the repairs.

 

RATE SAVINGS TIP

You should keep your Hurricane Deductible as low as possible and adjust your All Other Perils Deductible based on your financial comfort level and claim history record.

 

How much can I save by taking a higher deductible?

This all depends on the home insurance company you are insured with.

Some companies may only offer a minimal premium savings by taking a higher deductible.

But other insurance companies understand the transfer of risk and will offer a much deeper premium discount.

Discussing your All Other Perils deductible with an insurance advisor is important because we can provide not only more than one deductible option but more than one deductible option from multiple homeowners insurance companies so you can choose the company YOU want and the premium discount that makes financial sense to you.

 

My name is Tim D’Angelo and I would like the opportunity to review some different deductible options with you.

Call me at 504.348.3131 or complete the quick contact form to get started

GET QUOTE

service line endorsement

When a real estate investor discovers a claim is not covered on a rental property it can sink an entire cash flow positive portfolio

For $25 additional a new insurance coverage can be added to cover a previously denied claim

What will Service Line Coverage actually cover?

  • Rot
  • Wear and Tear
  • Corrosion
  • Collapse
  • Rust
  • Deterioration
  • Tree root intrusion
  • Freeze
  • Animal Damage

 

The list above are all standard events that are not covered for damage to a 

  • sewer line
  • water piping
  • ground piping to a heat pump
  • drain lines
  • underground power lines or electrical wiring
  • communications or data transmission lines
  •  natural gas piping

 

The new Service Line Underground Utility Coverage is now available and you can add it to your Landlord Rental Property Insurance policy for as low as $25 a year

Without this endorsement a common claim that happens is when an underground pipe collapses due to tree root root intrusion or wear and tear

The resulting damage such as water back up (if you have this endorsement) is covered but replacement of the pipe itself is not covered and excavation costs are also excluded

Now you can get coverage to pay for pipe replacement, excavation costs and outdoor property that is damaged as a result

This coverage is available on home insurance and landlord rental property policies from a select group of insurance companies

Not all insurance companies offer this endorsement

The endorsement will provide coverage up to 10,000 of damage

What is the average cost of these claims without the endorsement?

The average cost to repair these sewer lines including excavation can average $7500

What is the deductible?

The coverage will be subject to a $500 deductible which more than likely will be less than your all other perils deductible

 

At FM Agency Group we are here to help you get the coverage you need for the value you want

We help Real Estate Investors with their Landlord Property Insurance and home and flood insurance

If you want more information about the new Service Line Utility Enhancement Endorsement just complete our quick form and we will review the insurance companies in Louisiana that offer this important and inexpensive protection