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.

Is It Time To Review Your Commercial Insurance Coverage?

Established business owners know that they can’t make assumptions. Fashions fade, technology becomes obsolete, and even laws change. No business owner can coast along on the way they did business in years past. Assuming your commercial insurance coverage is as good as it was years ago is just as serious a mistake. Legal requirements for minimum coverage may have changed since you last looked over your policy. Your insurance needs may have changed due to updated technology or an addition to your brick and mortar site. Here at Jim Boyce Insurance we have access to the most up-to-date commercial insurance coverage available that can protect you.

Did you know that there are several kinds of commercial insurance available in North Carolina? Not only is there standard commercial insurance that protects losses from fire or storm, but there is also commercial auto insurance, general liability, and several others. A Business Owners Package (called a BOP) rolls the various kinds of commercial insurance into a manageable combination. It might seem a little confusing at first, but with our help you’ll get it down quickly. So let us review and update your policy, and maybe you’ll find savings along the way as well. The peace of mind when you have sufficient coverage for your Charlotte, NC business is well worth the call.

Proudly serving the Charlotte, NC area, Jim Boyce Insurance has independent agents who can access the most recent insurance coverage policies and packages that will offer you the best protection at cost effective rates. We can discuss your specific needs for your unique business and get you all set up in no time. Protecting your business with solid insurance coverage will let you focus on running your business. Contact us today.

Is Flooding Covered on Your Basic Auto Policy?

There are a large number of things that are covered on your auto policy, there are also a large number of things that are not covered on your basic policy. The real key is to find out just what is covered. If you live in the Charlotte, NC area the agents with Jim Boyce Insurance can help you find out just what your policy covers.

For starters, almost no auto policy that is a basic policy is going to cover hurricane damage. The reason for this is that hurricanes are a relatively localized event. They do not happen in rural Idaho for instance so they would not need to be added to a basic policy that applies to car all over the country. If you are experiencing hurricanes, you are going to need to alter your coverage to reflect that.

Another factor that affects if flood damage is covered or not is how exactly the damage occurred; a good example of this is if you leave your window down and it is raining versus your car engine being bogged down by water that rose suddenly. The insurance company will take the time to investigate the damage and see just what caused it and if it was, in fact, avoidable or not.

The first step with flood damage is to get your car dried out immediately. The faster it gets dried out, the less damage there is overall. If you get your car dried out quickly you can avoid a total loss and work on just getting the existing damage repaired. If you live in the Charlotte, NC area, the agents with Jim Boyce Insurance can help answer all your questions and get your policy set up to cover all possible issues that might arise.

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. 

Getting a New Auto Insurance Policy After Totaling a Vehicle

When accidents happen, you may find yourself frustrated with the long process of getting back on the road. At Jim Boyce Insurance, our team of experienced auto insurance agents are available to help you to learn if you can get back into an auto insurance policy and what you can expect going forward. When a vehicle is totaled, that means the insurer decided the vehicle was too expensive to repair. The company may or may not help you replace that vehicle. However, you’ll need a new auto insurance plan for it.

What to Consider About Your New Plan

The new auto insurance policy you select will need to represent the new vehicle. You do not have to have the same plan, the same type of insurance, or the same coverage levels. However, you may notice a few bumps in the road to the process depending on the circumstances of your accident.

If you were found liable for the auto accident, that means that your insurance company may have had to pay a significant amount to total the vehicle and to cover any damage that occurred to other people’s vehicles or property. In some cases, this can lead to an increased level of risk to the insurer from providing you with a new policy. That may mean you will have a higher premium cost. You can often find policies that are affordable. And, in some cases, you may have restrictions such as an SR-22 put in place by the Department of Motor Vehicles.

What Should You Do?

The first step is always to get a new quote for auto insurance. Our team at Jim Boyce Insurance provides residents in Charlotte, NC and the surrounding area with comprehensive policies to meet most needs.

 

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.  

Is Your Auto Insurance Working For You?

Auto insurance is in place not to cause trouble for drivers but rather to protect them from the event of an accident. As such, it is important that your auto insurance policy work for you not against you. For those in Charlotte, NC for instance, insurance needs are different than for people in other locations making it important to get the perfect policy.

The first step to finding out if your policy is working for you or not is to take a look at your premiums, all the premiums that you have paid since you took out the policy, not just those that you are currently paying. This helps you to determine how much your policy has gone up in price, how much your policy has changed since you took it out, and any other fees that may have been associated with it. This is going to give you a good look at how much you are paying and if the policy is still worth the amount that you are paying each month.

The next step is to take a look at how many claims you have made against your policy. If you have had the policy for ten years for example and have never had a claim but the price has still gone up exponentially every year, you may want to think about switching agencies and getting a lower rate. Agencies often raise premiums for those that do not have claims to help compensate for those that have made claims.

The last thing you want to do is consider any perks that the agency you are working with offers. Do they have cash back, safe driver discounts, and more? This is again going to help you determine if the policy is worth the price that you are paying. For those in Charlotte, NC talking with an agent can help you determine what policy and coverage you need.  

Installing a New Fence? Make Sure It Will Protect Your Home

Ah yes, you’ve decided to add a beautiful white picket fence to the front of your property this year. Lovely. But have you considered if it will do anything beyond adding beauty to your home? A fence can be a key element of your home security system when the right one is installed on your Charlotte, NC home. The folks over at Jim Boyce Insurance offer up these tips to help you protect your largest investment.

Fence Should Be Four Foot Tall

In order to increase the security of your property, a fence should be tall enough that it poses an obstacle to a potential intruder.  A wrought iron fence still offers an elegant view of your home while preventing casual intruders. If you own a pool, some municipalities require it to be taller. Check with your city inspector for applicable rules and regulations. By securing the perimeter of the yard, you may actually see an increase of the value of the entire property.

Surround Your Property for Best Defense

Placing a gate and fence along the road at the front of your yard looks very formidable to a thief casing the neighborhood.  However, if the fence does not encircle the yard it actually creates an invitation for a burglar to gain entry at the rear out of sight of your neighbors. Fencing at the back of the property does not have to match the front where it is visible and choosing a more economic version can provide protection while reducing costs.

Electronic Monitoring Raises the Game

With the cost of home security systems dropping and improving with technology, it’s not hard to add a camera and electronic surveillance at your gate. This can add extra security and convenience.

Your agent at Jim Boyce Insurance is available to answer any more questions you might have about protecting your Charlotte, NC area home. Give us a call today.

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,