Does My NC Home Insurance Policy Cover Water, Wind and Hail Damage?

Although inland, Charlotte and the larger Mecklenburg county are still affected by the strong thunderstorms and tornadoes spawned by Atlantic hurricanes. North Carolina home owner’s policies cover some common damage types from hurricanes and tropical storms, but not all. 

Water

Your home owner’s policy covers some water damage. It depends on how it occurs. These two examples illustrate the difference:

– If high winds tear a hole into your roof and water enters through it, a standard home owner’s policy covers the damage.
– If rising water from rain enters the home via seepage, only a flood insurance policy covers the damage.

Wind

In North Carolina, a standard home owner’s policy covers wind damage. Residents who have moved from Florida or coastal Texas can rejoice that they are no longer required to carry a separate wind insurance policy. If you own a home on a barrier island or the coast of NC, you may want to increase coverage.

Hail

Every year, hail causes about $1 billion in property and crop damage, states the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Despite its annual damages, in North Carolina, hail is covered by a standard home owner’s policy due to its unpredictable nature. Whether pea-sized or softball-sized hail hits your roof, it can cause damage. That ice pellet, after all, just did a more than 30,000 feet free fall at 70 miles per hour. 

Storm Ready

While you can add items like storm proof windows, storm doors, and a storm shelter to your home, you may still take on damage. Know what you can afford to spend on repairs. That should be the deciding factor for your deductible. Your deductible is the amount you must spend out-of-pocket on repairs before your policy’s coverage pays for anything. As one insurance expert explained, if your deductible is $1,000, but you don’t have that amount on hand in the bank, your deductible needs to be less.

Come by Jim Boyce Insurance of Charlotte, NC to review your home owner’s insurance coverage. We’ll help you make sure you can comfortably weather the east coast storm season.

5 Smart Reasons to Install a Home Security System

In addition to protecting your home and family, installing a home security system could qualify you for a discount on your insurance premium. By discussing the benefits of a security system with your Jim Boyce Insurance agent in Charlotte, NC, you can decide if this is a viable option for you.  Here are just a few reasons to consider making this investment.

Personal Protection

A home security system can protect your family against thieves and intruders. A modern security system can alert you when intruders are on the property and dispatch authorities to your home for aid in stopping a burglary or intrusion.

Peace of Mind

As an elderly couple or single parent, you can have peace of mind that a security system will protect you from dangerous situations that arise. In the event of fire, intrusion or the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning, your security system will notify the authorities to dispatch help to your home immediately to provide a means of escape.

Protection of Valuables

In many cases, burglars will bypass a home that has security system protection. Security cameras and an alarm system are often sufficient deterrents to thieves and intruders, making them valuable assets in safeguarding your valuables.

Remote Access to Property

Modern security systems provide you with remote access to your property, even from thousands of miles away. You can personally monitor your home via your laptop or smartphone daily as well as activate or deactivate your alarm system to suit your need.  

Reduction of Homeowners Insurance

A home security system could qualify you for a discount on your home insurance coverage. Depending on the features of your system, you may be eligible for a 10-20% reduction in your insurance premium.

Learn more about how a security system can benefit your home coverage by contacting Jim Boyce Insurance, Charlotte, NC. 

Understanding Home Insurance in Charlotte

Most people have vague understandings of their home insurance. They may know enough to call if their home is broken into, but not enough to know whether or not they should call if their cat destroyed the new plasma television. If you need more help in determining the nuances of home insurance in Charlotte, NC, then you’re not alone. Jim Boyce Insurance wants you to have a better idea of how your policy works in the real world. 

Home Insurance Is Up to You 

Home insurance is based on your particular lifestyle and history. It’s why you may pay a very different amount than the person living just next door. As a general rule, you should know that the less you pay, the less coverage you’ll have a variety of events. This is all about what you own and the specific risks you have. It means that to understand home insurance, you have to be willing to go over the details with a professional. So if a thief breaks in and steals your cash (a crime that will be extremely difficult to prove or correct because cash is untraceable),  you won’t have to worry about the loss of all that money. 

Finding A Partner 

If you’re looking to understand home insurance, then give us a call today. We’re here to put things in perspective for you. It means that we won’t encourage you to get maximum coverage if your home is filled with second-hand furniture. But we may also be able to point out things you hadn’t considered — like what to do if you’re sued for something you didn’t do on your property. Call Jim Boyce Insurance if you live in Charlotte, NC, and would like more information on you can protect yourself. 

The Home Insurance Claims Process

Home insurance is something that every homeowner needs to have in place and making a claim is easier than you might imagine. For those that live in the Charlotte, NC area the agents with Jim Boyce Insurance can help answer all your questions and get your claim off to a great start and an even better finish.

The first step to any claim is to take some photos yourself. This does not mean get up on your roof and investigate or move things around, simply take photos of what you can see from your vantage point. Also, writing down what happened can help keep details fresh so that when the adjuster comes, you have a reliable account of events. Next, you need to contact your insurance agent or insurance company to start the claims process.

Your agent will ask you basic and involved questions so that they can get the most information possible before the adjuster ever even comes to your home. You will then set up a time for an adjuster to visit your home. They will talk with you about what happened and take an account. They will then investigate and look at the damage to assess what can be done. After they take photos of the damage and get an account of what happened, they will compile a report to return to the insurance agency.

The agency will then look at the findings of the report to determine how much money to pay out or what to do next. In most cases, the adjuster can give an estimate on how much work is going to cost or you can get a quote from an agency that is either approved by the agency or that you have found. This will then be taken into consideration for pay out. For those in the Charlotte, NC area, the agents with Jim Boyce Insurance can help.  

Protect Your Home as an Airbnb

Home sharing has become a popular option for travelers looking for that cool tourist experience that allows them to stay just exactly where they want to and for homeowners who want to take advantage of this trend.

So, you have a beautiful home. One you’d like to share with others. You want a boost to your income. You make the decision to list it as an Airbnb. There are some things to consider putting into place to protect yourself, your home and your property.

The first step should be a call to your insurance agent for a discussion about what your homeowner’s policy covers in this situation. When you consistently use your home dwelling as an Airbnb, the use changes from residence to rental property. Depending on your insurer and the state you’re in, your homeowner’s policy may not protect you under these circumstances. 

Some policies have a provision that allows for a limited short-term rental of one four week period— say, you want to take advantage of the fact that the Super Bowl is happening down the street, so you put your home up as a rental. Beyond that, many policies have a “business activity exclusion” that would prevent using your home as a rental property for longer than that brief period.

If, however, you can’t resist the idea of using your home as an Airbnb, possible options for increased protection include:

  • Consider an add-on endorsement or rider that supplements your current policy. 
  • Look at getting a home business policy that provides much greater protection.
  • Check out whether a landlord or rental dwelling policy would apply.
  • See if you insurer offers a combination of a homeowner’s and short-term rental insurance policy.
  • Incorporate. Since your Airbnb is a business this might be a worthwhile choice.

If you’re going to open your doors to the world of home-sharing, be smart about it. Contact Jim Boyce Insurance, serving Charlotte, NC,

Be Prepared For Chilly Charlotte Weather: Fall Home Checklist,

Fall means more than just lower temperatures and falling leaves for homeowners in Charlotte, NC. When autumn rolls around, it’s time to perform your annual fall home maintenance to get ready for winter. Make sure you’re ready for another Charlotte winter with this fall checklist to ensure your home is prepared for the colder months ahead.

Have Your Furnace Inspected. When temperatures drop, your heating system is likely to see a lot of use, so schedule an inspection now to make sure it is running smoothly. By preparing now, you’ll avoid having to wait in line for repairs when it’s time to turn your heating system on.  

Clean Your Gutters: The fall season is the best time to clean debris and leaf buildup from your gutters. While Charlotte generally has mild winters, it’s better to clean them now than taking the chance that snow or ice could accumulate in blocked gutters and cause them to pull away from the house.

Protect Against Air Leaks: When you crank the heat up this winter, you don’t want to be heating up the outdoors. Air leaks in your home will raise your home energy costs and leave you chilly. Check your home for air leaks by sealing and insulating your home properly. Caulk cracks and gaps and install weatherstripping around doors and windows. Have your ducts inspected as well. Heat loss through ducts can cause as much as a 20% loss of heat from your home.  

Schedule a Chimney Inspection: If you are planning to use your wood stove or fireplace when the cold days arrive, you should have them checked to make sure they are clean, safe, and operating properly. Additionally, when using a wood stove or fireplace, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend that you have a battery-operated smoke detector and carbon monoxide detector installed in the space being heated. Contact Jim Boyce Insurance to make sure your homeowner’s fire hazard insurance coverage is up to date.

Prepare Your Yard: If your home features outdoor living areas such as a patio or deck, fall is generally a good time to begin packing up the grill, storing gear, covering furniture and prepping your outdoor spaces for inclement weather. Remove leaves and debris from decks or patios to prevent mold and mildew, turn off exterior faucets and reset the timing for automatic sprinklers.

For more information about how to keep your Queen City home safe and warm this winter, contact the Charlotte, NC home protection experts at Jim Boyce Insurance today.  

Stress Free Moving Comes from Great Packing

How items are packed determines if they will make it safely through a move and arrive undamaged at the new location. Many like to save money by packing their own things, instead of paying others to do the packing. Be aware that when the items are self-packed, a professional moving company will not take responsibility for any damage to goods, which occurs during the moving process, caused by bad packing of the items.

For those doing self-packing, here are a few packing tips that reduce the stress of a move and the chances of damage when moving:

  • Before the move, do a clutter purge. Get rid of any unneeded items. Throw out expired medicines. Give away or have a yard sale for items that did not see any use for the past year. Reduce refrigerated food to a minimum.
  • Before starting the packing process, have plenty of packing supplies, which includes free boxes collected in advance from stores in the neighborhood, wide markers, colored duct tape, scissors, old newspapers, and a notebook for recording the inventory.
  • It is important to pack a “first night” box to open first in the new location. Put all the items that are critical for a normal daily routine in this box. This helps tremendously while unpacking the other boxes and when putting stuff away.
  • Use softer items, such as towels, sheets, clothes, socks, etc. as packing materials to protect fragile items like glassware.
  • Pack books, which are very heavy, in small boxes.
  • Color code boxes with the colored duct tape, using one-color for each room. Number the boxes and label them with the pen, using a general description of the contents. Write the numbers and detailed descriptions in the inventory notebook. This helps to find things later.

One other important thing is to get homeowner’s or renter’s insurance for the new location and cancel the coverage of the old location after the move is complete. Check with the agents at Jim Boyce Insurance by using the website to get a quote for home insurance or a renter’s insurance policy.

Make Sure Your Home Will Be Warm and Safe Come Winter

With the onset of fall, winter’s cold temperatures are just around the corner. Even in southern towns like Georgetown, TX, heating a home during the upcoming months can be expensive. If you live in Georgetown or a nearby town, here’s how to make sure your home will be warm when winter arrives.

Keeping Your Home Warm

Taking a few steps to prepare your home for the coming cold will reduce your energy costs all winter long. Although these suggestions cost money, they aren’t expensive, and they’ll make sure your home is comfortably warm and safely heated. To get your home ready for the heating season:

  • seal up any drafts in your home
  • have your home’s furnace serviced
  • have your home’s chimney cleaned (if it has one)

Keeping Your Family Safe

In addition to readying your home for winter, the fall is also a good time to review your homeowners insurance policy. You should at least make sure your policy covers your home’s furnace and fireplace before you start using them again. You also, however, might want to shop around and see how your current premiums compare with the going market rates for homeowners insurance in Georgetown, TX.

If you’d like help reviewing your homeowners insurance, contact us at Jim Boyce Insurance. We’ve served many families in Georgetown, and we’d be honored to help yours, too. No matter how you found your current policy, our independent insurance agents can review it and show you how it stacks up to policies from other companies. If there’s a better deal available, they can help you switch.

To get in touch with us, contact our office on the phone or through our website. We have agents ready to help you as soon as you reach them.