How many people does it take to change a light bulb?

How many people does it take to change a light bulb?

I'm sure you have heard that joke or some semblance thereof.....but it's a VERY valid question.

Picture this:
  • 22 feet of wiggly, wobbly, spaghetti-like track lighting
  • 6 arms and hands
  • a less than desirable working environment 4 feet above your head so all the blood rushes away from your fingers and they go to sleep (which is preferable to the burning sensation your shoulders and back feel from straining to keep the track aloft!)
Oh, and did I forget to mention the swear words? (No home improvement project is complete without a few of those!)

The good news is that we finally got the lighting up in my kitchen and it looks wonderful! But this got me to thinking about my insurance protection (doesn't everything?) and wondering if I have enough insurance to rebuild my home in the event of some disaster.

Below is the first in a series of articles provided by the Insurance Information Institute providing helpful information on making sure you are properly protected.

Making Sure Your Home Is Properly Covered for a Disaster

For many people, their home is their greatest asset. Yet studies show that 59 percent of today’s homes are underinsured by an average of 22 percent (according to Marshall & Swift). To protect their investment from disasters, homeowners should update their insurance regularly to include improvements, major purchases and increased rebuilding costs.

In particular, the cost of building or repairing a home has increased dramatically in recent years. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, homeowners spent over $218 billion on additions, alterations, maintenance and repairs in 2005, up from $201 billion in 2004. Materials like lumber, cement, gypsum and structural steel products have become scarcer, not only because of the devastation from last year’s storms, but also because of increased global demand. In fact, the cost of lumber climbed 6.1 percent in 2005, according to statistics from the U.S. Department of Labor.

To properly insure your home, it is important to ask your insurance agent or company representative four key questions.

1. Do I have enough insurance to rebuild my home?

Your policy needs to cover the cost of rebuilding your home at current construction costs. Unfortunately, some homeowners simply purchase enough insurance protection to satisfy their mortgage lender. Others confuse the real estate value of their home with what it would cost to rebuild it. Quite simply, you should have enough insurance to rebuild your home in the event that it is completely destroyed. Be sure to consider the following:

• Replacement Cost

Most policies cover replacement cost for damage to the structure. A replacement cost policy pays for the repair or replacement of damaged property with materials of similar kind and quality.

• Extended Replacement Cost

This type of policy provides additional insurance coverage of 20 percent or more over the limits in your policy, which can be critical if there is a widespread disaster that pushes up the cost of building materials and labor.

• Inflation Guard

This coverage automatically adjusts the rebuilding costs of your home to reflect changes in construction costs. Find out if your policy includes this coverage or if you have to purchase it separately.

• Ordinance or Law coverage

If your home is badly damaged, you may be required to rebuild it to meet new (and often stricter) building codes. Ordinance or law coverage pays a specific amount toward these costs.

• Water Back-Up

This coverage insures your property for damage from sewer or drain back-up. Most insurers offer it as an add-on to a standard policy.

• Flood Insurance

Standard home insurance policies provide coverage for disasters such as fire, lightning and hurricanes. They do not include coverage for flood (including flooding from a hurricane). Flood insurance is available through the federal government’s National Flood Insurance Program (, but can be purchased from the same agent or company representative who provides you with your home or renters insurance. Make sure to purchase flood insurance for the structure of your house, as well as for the contents. Excess Flood Protection, which provides higher limits of coverage than the NFIP in the event of catastrophic loss by flooding, is available from some insurers. Keep in mind that there is a 30-day waiting period before the insurance is valid.

More on this topic will follow in future posts.....

As you can see, there are a myriad of things to consider when ensuring your home is properly protected. Start off the New Year right: review your insurance protection and contact us at The Writer Agency, LLC to discuss your options. Call or click: 308-436-4202

New Year...New Lawsuits - Protect Yourself!

As we start the New Year, it is always a good idea to take a look at your insurance protection to make certain that you are still properly protected in the event of loss or damage to your belongings. In our "sue-happy" society it is equally, and possibly more important, to also review your liability coverages. My collegue, Jeff Orloff who writes on insurance related topics for the Renter’s Insurance blog has provided the following important information that addresses renter's insurance but is also applicable to home, farm, and business owners as well:

Renter’s Insurance and Liability Coverage

Many people make a decision regarding a renter’s insurance policy based on protecting their personal possessions. Those who opt to forgo a renter’s insurance policy often fail to realize that in addition to protecting their property against damage and theft, renter’s insurance also protects you in the event you are responsible for bodily injury or property damage to others.

Liability is a hard word to define because it is a legal term and there are many different forks that the definition can take like liability in solido, joint liability, and contingent liability to name a few. However explaining liability is quite simple. Liability is synonymous with responsibility. So when it comes to renter’s insurance, if you are responsible for loss or damage that occurs on the property you are renting you can be liable for damages. Let’s look at few scenarios that can paint a better picture of liability for a renter.

• You own a dog and that dog bites a visitor. You are liable for damages that result from that dog bite.

• A visitor slips and falls on a wet floor on the property you are renting. If they are hurt, you are liable for damages.

Photo by Christian Patterson

• You the toaster oven on and a fire starts. You are liable for damages to the building structure.

Misconceptions about liability

Most people ignore the need for renter’s insurance because they are under the impression that the insurance policy that the landlord has on the property will cover any losses or damages. Unfortunately this is one of the biggest misconceptions when it comes to insurance. Insurance policies held by landlords protect them against loss or damage to the building’s structure and protect them for liability damages due to injuries that result from malfunctions or negligence surrounding the building structure. But in a case where the tenant is liable, their insurance will most likely not cover damages, and they certainly won’t protect the tenant.

In each of the cases presented above the tenant is the person who is liable for damages. They were the one who was negligent and without proper insurance coverage they can be sued personally for any damages.

As you can see, it is very easy to become responsible (liable) for damages or injuries to other people and property. Start off the New Year right: review your insurance protection and contact us at The Writer Agency, LLC to discuss your options. Call or click: 308-436-4202