home insurance

The importance of home insurance

When it comes to protecting your home, you should go further than making sure the locks are secure and you have a good alarm system. Home insurance is a way of protecting your home from uncertain occurrences and to make sure there are enough fund to cover unexpected accidents or other problems that may arise in your home.

“Home insurance may seem a like a monthly cost you could do without, but as most home owners will attest to, unfortunately there are times when things go wrong and you need some financial support from your insurance company,” said Battersea estate agent, Eden Harper.

The importance of home insurance

Insurance for different occupancy choices

Insurance is as important for you whether you’re a home owner, a BTL investor or a tenant. And, there are different policies for each situation to ensure you’re only paying to cover what you should be.

What needs to be covered by the occupant and/or owner depends on whether or not you live there, own the property or both:

  • Home owner-occupiers’ insurance needs to cover the building and the contents because they are responsible for every part of the property.
  • Property investors/BTL landlords need insurance that covers the building and grounds and possibly some of the contents, but not all of them.
  • Tenants need insurance to cover their own content and nothing more.

Making sure you have the right insurance policy for your situation can help ensure you’re only paying as much as you need to each month, which should help minimise your premium.

“Paying a monthly insurance premium that covers only what you need it to should help keep your monthly housing-related costs as low as possible,” said Reigate estate agent, Robert Leech. “It will also mean that any claims you make should be straight forward as your policy exactly reflects the property and your situation with regards to living there.”

Not just for your peace of mind

While a home insurance policy is there to give you assistance when unexpected problems occur with your home, its not just for your peace of mind. In many cases, mortgage offers come with conditions, one if which can be that you have the right home insurance in place.

The importance of home insurance

The reason? Just as home insurance helps you to protect your home, an insurance policy helps protect the asset your lender is invested in. If a major accident affects your property, that means the value of the property could be negatively impacted. If the value of your property is drastically lowered, then they may not be able to recoup the entire value of the mortgage they agreed to.

By having home insurance, you should be able to make any repairs to your home that are needed which should help it keep its value so that when the time comes to sell, your mortgage lender can be sure of receiving back the entire amount of the mortgage you still owe them.

“Without home insurance you could be in danger of invalidating your mortgage and also leaving yourself homeless, should the worst happen and that’s not a position anybody would wish to be in,” said Andrew Reeves. “Although it might seem like a monthly cost you could do without, you should consider that your home is your biggest asset and as such it needs protecting financially as well as physically.”

8 Tips For Staying Safe When Doing Home Improvements

Home improvement projects can be challenging, yet completely rewarding once the task is complete. We spend hours pouring over every detail of a project, but often neglect safety aspects we need to consider during the project’s duration. There are several things you can do prior to beginning your project to ensure everything goes as safely as possible.

1. Ensure Proper Ventilation

It is crucial to have proper ventilation when working on any home improvement project. Not having adequate ventilation puts you at risk of harmful paint or chemical fumes or sawdust. These substances in the air can make it extremely difficult to breathe and can have damaging effects on your lungs. Leaving the windows in the room open as much as possible during projects and placing fans or extractors in the window to pull air and chemicals are some ways you can ventilate a space during your project.

2. Use a Respiration Mask

If you are in a situation where proper ventilation is not possible, or you just want additional protection for your lungs, wear air filter masks or respirators. Working with asbestos, black mold, or other toxic dust, as well as noxious fumes, is extremely dangerous. Equipping a mask before entering a space and beginning a project is an excellent way to ensure our lung safety.

3. Use Safety Glasses to Protect Your Eyes

When nailing or cutting, we run the risk of having nails, sawdust, or other harmful substances and items ricochet or fly into the air. These items can have a damaging impact on our eyes, which is why it is extremely important to protect them. Wear safety goggles while working on projects to ensure your eyes are safe from harm. If you are working with chemicals, or in areas where there are flying objects, dust, and other particles in the air, wear goggles that have side shields to ensure complete protection.

4. Wear Work Gloves

Work gloves are an excellent addition for safety during home projects; however, they should not be worn at all times. It is important to wear safety gloves when handling rough materials. If you are working with glass, sheet metals, and rough woods you will want to wear them to avoid cuts. If you are working with tools you want to remove the gloves in order to have better control over devices. For handling rough materials, select gloves that are puncture and tear proof to ensure the best protection. If you are working with paints, chemicals, and other harmful liquids, wear thick rubber gloves to protect your hands.

5. Make Sure Your Ladders Are Safe

Before stepping foot on to your ladder, make sure it is still reliable. Using an unstable ladder is a recipe for disaster, especially when working in extremely high areas. Ladders need to be sturdy, have proper footings, and the steps need to be securely in place. Give each step a shake prior to using, and tighten up any loose steps when necessary.

In addition to ensuring your ladder is physically safe, it is important to make sure you select the correct ladder for the job. Use stepladders for lower jobs where you do not have to struggle to reach certain items or hold tools. Ladders are available in several lengths, so be sure to select one that allows you to work safely, at a reliable height, without exerting your arms or standing on your tip-toes on the ladder. Finally, ensure the ladder you select will hold you and your tools. Ladders are each designed to hold a specific weight limit and it is important for users to adhere to the guidelines provided.

6. Make Smart Choices with Electricity

Electricity is an important part of most home improvement projects. We often need electricity to power tools, light the area, and keep ventilation units working properly. Although extremely beneficial, electricity can be very dangerous if precautions are not taken on the job. Anytime you work directly with electricity, whether you are rewiring an entire room or updating a light fixture, you need to make sure the electricity is turned off before you begin. Some ways you can be safe with electricity are:

  • Shut off the breaker box completely to ensure no wires are live when handling.
  • Make sure you are replacing electrical items with equivalent parts to ensure they function properly.
  • Conduct wire tests before touching to ensure they are not live.

7. Select the Right Tools for the Job

In order to complete the job safely, it is imperative that you select the right tools for the job. Make sure you have a variety of sizes available for screwdrivers and wrenches in order to secure a proper fit. When working with power tools, review the safety instructions and directions to make sure you are using the machines correctly everytime.

When changing drill bits, router heads, saw blades, or other tool components, make sure the machine is powered off completely and unplugged before doing so. Faulty switches can cause machines to turn on while changing, which can put you in a dangerous situation. If you unplug the machine, you limit the risk of being cut or hurt.

8. Keep a First Aid Kit on Hand

Make sure you have an adequate first aid kit on your job site before beginning. The kit should be well stocked with items needed to tend to minor cuts and burns. Make sure your first aid kit is up-to-date and close by as you work.

By following these safety tips, you can minimize the risks you face on your job site. Properly venting an area, using adequate and reliable safety equipment, and following directions are some ways you can protect yourself and others.

5 Things To Know About Your Home and Property Insurance

Did you know that 63.7% of Americans owned homes by mid-2017? This is the around the same percentage in 1988. Homes may rising in cost, but just as many Americans purchase homes. Have you just purchased your dream home? Now you need to buy insurance for it. Here are a few things you should know about your home and property insurance.

Policy Exclusions

What does your home insurance policy cover? The last thing you want to hear when you go to file a claim is that your insurance doesn’t actually cover that. For example, most policies don’t cover earthquake and flood damage. To avoid any nasty surprises later, go through your plan with an insurance agent you can trust. They will help you understand the content of the policy document and exactly what it does and does not cover.

When to Stop Paying

If your bank initiates the foreclosure process, continue maintaining your home insurance. If you cancel your coverage, the lender will buy a force-placed policy for your property. Lender-placed insurance costs more than an insurance policy you purchase yourself, so if this happens, reinstate your old policy or get a new one. Present evidence of coverage to your lender, and ask them to discontinue their policy.

Replacement Cost

The replacement cost of a property may differ from its market value. Let’s assume the home insurance on your property covers up to $200,000, but that a disaster happens and in order to repair or replace your home, it’ll cost $250,000. Your insurance won’t cover anything more than $200,000, so you’ll have to take care of the remaining $50,000 yourself. Home insurance policies often cover more than the market value of the property for this reason.

Your Home’s Cash Value

Sometimes a disaster strikes and you choose not to replace your home. In this situation, the insurance company would write you check for the home’s cash value. But how do they know the cash value? They start at the replacement cost of the home, and then deduct the depreciation of the property. The remainder is the cash value. Don’t confuse cash value with replacement cost. Replacement cost stays the same, even as property depreciates over time, so if it’s been 10 years since you purchased your home, your home’s cash value could be tens of thousands of dollars less than the replacement cost.

Liability

If an accident on your property harms other people, you could be found liable. Fortunately, home insurance policies often cover this types of situations. One thing to note, however, is that a force-placed policy covers less than a regular home insurance. It doesn’t provide coverage for your personal property. Creditor-placed policies also don’t offer liability coverage, so if anyone gets hurt, that’s on you. If a lender ever tries to repossess your home (whether through your permission or not), continue making insurance payments so you can guarantee you’re covered for situations like this.

When it comes to insurance policies, being keen is essential. Knowing these five things will help you avoid trouble in the future. After buying home insurance for your property, keep up with payments and you’ll be covered for just about anything—except for those pesky exclusions.