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Do I need flood insurance?

Flood insurance is actually mandated by the federal government if you live in a high-risk flood zone. In high-risk areas, you risk of having a flood situation during a 30-year mortgage time frame is calculated at a 1 in 4 chance. Unfortunately, consumers who actually do not live in the designated high-risk areas file more than 20 percent of flood insurance claims. That said, covering your home in the event of a flood can be a good idea regardless of the map and can save you a destructive financial loss.  Just a few inches of floodwater in your home can cause thousands of dollars worth of damage.

Flood insurance is available to homeowners, renters, condo renters and owners and commercial owners and renters. Cost is dependant on how much insurance is purchased the risk factor and what is covered. Most polices will cover both the structure and the contents but personal property may need to be considered as well.

Keep in mind; deductibles will be separate for both the building and the contents.

List of basic coverage for a building:

  • The insured building and its foundation.
  • Electrical and plumbing systems.
  • Central air-conditioning equipment, furnaces, and water heaters.
  • Refrigerators, cooking stoves, and built-in appliances such as dishwashers.
  • Permanently installed carpeting over unfinished flooring.
  • Permanently installed paneling, wallboard, bookcases, and cabinets.
  • Window blinds.
  • Detached garages (up to 10 percent of building property coverage; other than garages, detached buildings require a separate building property policy).
  • Debris removal.

What is not covered (may surprise you):

  • Damage caused by moisture, mildew, or mold that could have been avoided by the property owner.
  • Currency, precious metals, and valuable papers such as stock certificates.
  • Property and belongings outside of an insured building, such as trees, plants, wells, septic systems, walks, decks, patios, fences, seawalls, hot tubs, and swimming pools.
  • Living expenses, such as temporary housing.
  • Financial losses caused by business interruption or loss of use of insured property.
  • Most self-propelled vehicles, such as cars, including their parts.

 

Information from Floodsmart.gov

Why buy earthquake insurance?

 

There are many factors when considering whether or not to purchase earthquake insurance on your home. Do you live on or near a fault line? Is your home on sandy soil or bedrock? What materials were used in the construction of your home and the quality? Earthquake coverage is not included in a typical homeowner’s insurance policy so an endorsement to your current policy or supplemental policy may be necessary.

Unlike flood insurance, which is mandatory if your home is in a flood zone, earthquake insurance is not required in quake zones. Sadly, a home can be a total loss in the event of a large earthquake so purchasing coverage will provide peace of mind in the event you cannot afford to replace or repair potential damage. Standard earthquake insurance can cover your home’s contents up to your policy limits.

The cost of earthquake insurance varies from state to state. Keep in mind, earthquakes happen more than just on the West Coast. There is no average cost for earthquake insurance. It will vary greatly depending on your deductible, coverage requested and the construction style of your home.  You can also chose to purchase the coverage as an addition to your current policy or you can reach out to a carrier that specifically writes earthquake insurance.

Will I be fined for not having health insurance?

 

The Affordable Health Care Act is now in full effect. What this means is that all Americans that are within a certain income level are required to have health insurance.

Recent data shows that most individuals get their health insurance through their employers. The remaining consumers are either covered by private insurance or through federal or state programs, Medicare and Medicaid. Data also shows about 50 million Americans are still uninsured.

Individuals or families that fall below the income tax filing levels would not be fined. In addition, consumers that are underemployed or unable to find a policy that will cost them less than 8% of their adjusted gross income would also be exempt.

Here is a breakdown of the fees since the inception of the plan.

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**The 2017 percentage rate will stay the same at 2.5%, however the flat fee will be adjusted due to inflation.