Prepare Kansas

Tag: insurance

Blog Extra! Homeowners or renters insurance may cover spoiled food

September is National Preparedness Month. It is also the month of the K-State Research and Extension annual Prepare Kansas online challenge. Prepare Kansas 2016 focuses on keeping food safe in emergency situations. This year’s program will be conducted through the K-State Research and Extension Facebook page. No registration is required, so Kansans and anyone interested in planning ahead for emergencies can follow on Facebook and this blog at any time during September, pick up handy information and interact with K-State extension specialists and agents.

insurance

 

As with any type of insurance claim, it is important to understand the details of your specific policy and coverages when considering making a claim for food spoiled as a result of a power outage. Check your policy or contact your insurance agent to ask about the following.

Cause of the power outage. While many homeowners and renters policies provide coverage for spoiled food as a result of a power outage, the cause of the power outage may determine whether or not you are covered.

Policy limits and deductibles. There may be limits on how much your policy will pay per occurrence of food spoilage.  There may also be a deductible. That means, if your loss was $500 and the deductible was $250, your policy would pay $250 for the loss of food. Depending on the situation, filing a claim for spoiled food might be combined with a larger claim from the same event.

Document your losses. If you routinely have a full freezer, it is important to know how you will be expected to document your loss if you make a claim. You probably don’t need to save the spoiled food but taking pictures is a good idea. Ask your insurance company for details.

It is important to note that food spoilage resulting from malefunctions of an old or faulty refrigerator or freezer is probably not covered.

Spring is a great time to review insurance coverages

Information to help protect your home and financial well-being. Timely information about insurance coverages from K-State Research and Extension written by Connor Orrock and Katie Allen was first published March 28, 2016.

Insurance is important to safeguard against the unimaginable. However, it is easy to get overwhelmed with the insurance process given all of the add-ons and options available.

home insurance

The recent wildfires in south-central Kansas call to mind the importance of having insurance to protect your home and other buildings. The recent increase in seismic activity in Kansas and Oklahoma, as shown by the Central United States Earthquake Consortium, may have you wondering if it is time to look into getting earthquake insurance, particularly if you live in a zone that might experience an earthquake.

“It is important to be familiar with the details of all your insurance policies, so that you know what you are covered for,” said Elizabeth Kiss, associate professor in the School of Family Studies and Human Services at Kansas State University. “In regard to policies that cover wildfires, floods or earthquakes, you have to know what triggers them and when you can file a claim.”

Policyholders should be familiar with the perils covered, which are the causes of the loss. Some common perils on a policy are fire and theft, as examples. Typically flood, earthquake, war and nuclear accidents are general exclusions from a homeowner’s insurance policy, Kiss said, but they may be added separately.

Kiss, a family resource management specialist for K-State Research and Extension, said the fastest way to see if you have earthquake insurance or to change your policy to get earthquake insurance would be to contact your insurance agent. As with any insurance policy, you should purchase earthquake insurance from a reputable insurance agent.

Guidelines for flood insurance coverage are contained in the National Flood Insurance Program. Homeowners, renters and businesses are eligible if their community participates in the NFIP. The average flood insurance policy costs about $700 per year, Kiss said.

“Many places that experience flooding are not actually in areas where you are eligible,” she said. “While the program is subsidized, it is still relatively expensive.”

Kiss stressed the importance of reviewing your insurance policies at least once a year. It is especially important to review policies before renewing. As the value of possessions changes, it is imperative that you are neither over nor under insured. Your coverage should be up to date.

“Be aware of the fact that there is a difference between what you paid for your house and what it would cost to rebuild,” Kiss said. “To rebuild a house is probably more expensive than what was paid for it if the house is several years old.”

If you want to save money on insurance coverage, she said, there is an inverse relationship between the amount of your deductible and the amount of your premium. A lower deductible means you will more than likely pay a higher premium. You may be eligible for discounts, such as those offered when purchasing multiple lines of insurance from the same agent. Be sure to ask your agent about potential discounts, as well as policy limitations.

Perhaps the most important thing is to be aware of the two forms of coverage – property and liability, Kiss said.

“Your homeowner’s insurance will cover the property and structures such as your home and garage, but maybe not outbuildings unless you have specific coverage (for the outbuildings),” she said. “You’ll also want to know what kind of personal property is covered inside the home and garage.”

Liability coverage is needed in case anyone gets injured on your property or if your property causes injury to someone else, Kiss said. For example, liability coverage would kick in if a tree on your property were to fall and cause damage or injury to the neighbors.

For more information about insurance and how to choose a policy that will work best, Kiss recommends visiting the Insurance Information Institute online. For information about insurance and other items related to family resource management, contact your local extension office.

Insurance needs for rural homes and agriculture

Understanding the risks we face and deciding how much insurance coverage to buy is challenging. Where we live — in an urban, suburban, or rural area — can make a difference.

Recently the Extension Disaster Education Network (EDEN) hosted a webinar on risks faced specifically by rural residents. It used criteria from rural insurance firms and government guidelines to ask some simple questions about damage, liability, and loss insurance that rural residents should consider each year. Scott Cotton, EDEN Chair-elect and University of Wyoming Area Educator in Agriculture and Natural Resources was the presenter.

Watch the recording to learn how to decide what’s covered, what needs to be covered and what happens if not covered. The webinar is short — just 35 minutes — and full of thought-provoking information.

Learn more and find the link at https://learn.extension.org/events/1917#.VOPG6ks8opF 

Learn more about EDEN at http://eden.lsu.edu