HAPPY HALLOWEEN FROM BROWNELL INSURANCE!!
Do you love your home and value your belongings?
Whether, condo, townhouse, apartment or house, you have spent time and money getting the furnishings, artwork, appliances and electronics just right. Any damage, theft or loss of these items should be covered on your homeowners or renter’s insurance policy. How will you identify each of these items should a claim be necessary? Will you remember the purchase price or appraised value? You might not realize you have lost a possession until you go to use it. Now is the time to take a home inventory!
Your insurance provides compensation for the loss or damage to your personal possessions. If you ever need to submit a claim against your homeowner’s or renter’s insurance having an up-to-date, accurate home inventory can ensure that most of your items will be replaced. Taking time to complete this now allows you to: establish coverage amounts needed; verify your losses to settle your claim quickly at the time of need; verify losses for your income tax showing your deductible; and identify items not covered by your insurance.
With your home inventory done, you don’t have to remember or guess. You have a record of everything you own, and can easily submit it to your insurance carrier. It makes the claims process calmer for everyone and assists the process in a stressful situation. Sit back and relax, knowing you are covered if your possessions are ever lost, damaged or stolen.
How to prepare your home inventory:
The most important part of a home inventory is to list and photograph (if possible) all your possessions, including a description of the item, any serial numbers or model numbers, and a monetary value of the item. This is important because if you have a rider on your policy called “Replacement Cost” you want to be sure that you receive a new item of like kind and quality. This is an additional insurance rider that you pay a small additional premium for that you should be very sure you have on your insurance. If you do not, the insurance company will depreciate your loss item and take your policy deductible before they pay out your claim on that item, which will probably make it so you will not get enough money to replace your possession.
You will probably find that when you do a home inventory, your personal belongings are usually being worth more than you realize – $20,000, $40,000 – maybe even more. It’s important to know how much, and to know exactly what you have, in case you ever need to file a personal property claim with your homeowner’s insurance or renter’s insurance carrier.
For first time renters or homebuyers, this home inventory is usually quite simple. Homeowners who have lived in their home for many years, this might seem like a daunting task. Most insurance companies have created a home inventory app that you can either put on either your smart phone or iPad. This app could make it much easier to complete your home inventory. Using this device you will be able to take pictures or do a talking video of each room in your home. These pictures or video should clearly focus on the valuables that are insured and be sure they are listed on the inventory document. You should make an effort every year to update this inventory to adjust for any possessions that you have purchased or sold.
If you prefer not to use digital equipment to prepare your home inventory, you could use the “old school approach” by writing everything down. Be sure to include pictures and appraisals of valuable items.
These are important items to be sure to include in your home inventory:
Record serial or model numbers
- Record the serial or model numbers of your electronic equipment, small and large appliances. If your policy includes replacement cost coverage, your insurance company will need this information to estimate the cost of a suitable replacements for your possession.
Summarize multiple items
- You do not need to record every item of clothing, every kitchen item, every screwdriver and wrench, and every book or movie you own. Count your items and record the totals. If you have expensive items such as expensive kitchen items, designer clothing or quality tools, you should still list those separately.
- Do note: if any of these items are used for business purposes they will not be covered on your personal insurance policy.
Take photos or videos
- Videotaping your home by walking and narrating through each room will give you a very complete account of your home belongings. Be sure to open all closets and cabinets and describe what is in them. In your narrating, be sure to note any serial numbers, date of purchase and amount paid for the item. If you are videoing sets of china or silverware, make sure to include the number of items in the set, age of the item and where it was purchased. To make this easier, you could set up a place setting and then tell how many settings you have.
- If you are doing a written inventory, be sure that you are taking pictures and on the back of the pictures be sure to note your possessions like you would if you were videotaping.
Schedule your expensive belongings
- Do you own one-of-a-kind artwork, expensive jewelry, valuable music equipment, an extensive collection of Hummel’s, Precious Moments, stamps or coins or extensive electronic equipment? If so, you should get your possessions appraised and added to a schedule on your insurance policy (There is an additional premium for adding these possessions.) you may also need to review these appraised values every couple years and review your coverage with your insurance agent to ensure that your current policy covers any increases in value since you purchased your policy. Otherwise, you may not receive their full worth if you file a claim due to a loss.
Don’t forget to count your possessions in little used areas of your home or in outbuildings either on your property or not.
Looking in your attic, basement, storage unit or shed, you probably have thousands of dollars-worth of gardening equipment, tools, sporting equipment, Christmas and recreational items stored in several different locations. Items stored in storage lockers should be included, too for you have off premise coverage on these items. Review your seldom-used areas and ensure that you have sufficient coverage for on and off-site locations before you need to file a claim. We at Brownell Insurance are glad to review your coverage with you to give you peace of mind.
Store your home inventory safely
If you have a digital inventory, you can store the information on a memory stick or in the cloud. If you do a written inventory, print it and attach your receipts and pictures. Store your inventory in a safety deposit box, a fireproof safe, or with a friend or family member. Choose a convenient location and let others in your immediate family know where your home inventory is located because you will need to update your inventory as you buy and sell items.
Many homeowners and renters do not realize the value of what they own until they do a detailed inventory. Call us at Brownell Insurance Center and discuss your coverage once you complete your home inventory, so that we can review your policy and help you close any coverage gaps you may have.
With a home inventory, you don’t have to remember or guess. You have a record of everything you own, and you can easily submit it to your insurance carrier. It makes the claims process easier for everyone and comes to your aid in a stressful situation. Sit back and relax, knowing you are covered if your possessions are ever lost, damaged or stolen.
Information for this blog came from the insurance websites of :
Travelers – https://www.travelers.com
Safeco – https://www.safeco.com
Hanover – https://www.hanover.com
Digital home inventories are available at:
Information for this blog came from the New York Times Saturday, March 25, 2017, and a CNN Money article written by Tami Luhby titled – Obamacare survived: What all this means for you.
The Republicans in the House failed to vote on the removal of Obamacare. Speaker the House, Paul D. Ryan was unable to muster enough votes for the defeat of Obamacare. What does this mean to you? It means that you will be able to keep your current plan for at least 2017. Health insurance companies have signed contracts with the exchanges to provide health insurance contracts throughout the 2017 year. Obamacare shouldn’t see any significant changes and insurance health premiums should remain the same for the rest of 2017.
The biggest change that could happen in 2018 is that Congress decides not to fund the cost-sharing subsidies that millions of Americans are currently using. If these cost-sharing subsidies are not funded, the help for reducing deductibles and co-pays for low-income consumers will most likely end. Lawmakers have not decided on how or if they will support these subsidies paid directly to insurance companies. If these subsidies are not funded, insurers might consider this a breach of contract and try to drop out of the exchanges immediately. This would leave many Americans without health insurance.
The federal government is still supporting Medicaid and Medicaid remains an open-ended entitlement thanks to the defeat of the Republican bill. Health Sec. Tom Price is encouraging governors to apply work requirements for recipients to receive Medicaid. Also being considered is that the beneficiaries of these programs pay a premium for the benefit.
You still have to buy health insurance or be subject to a penalty on your income tax. The individual mandate, which requires individuals to be insured, has not been lifted. Pres. Trump’s executive order has caused the IRS to loosen its oversight slightly, but financial burdens must be justified as to why you do not have health insurance. Insurance companies are lobbying hard to have this provision remain in Obamacare because it is an important way to encourage younger, healthy Americans sign up for health insurance. With the promise of removal of this mandate, 2017 saw a dramatic slowing of the number of Americans signing up for health coverage. Unfortunately, for the people who decided not to take out the health insurance – open enrollment is now closed, and they will have to wait for coverage until next January and pay the penalty.
Obamacare still has a very rocky road ahead for even though the Republicans have said that the Affordable Care Act (ACA) is the law of the Land. The Trump administration will continue to chip away at the foundation of the ACA. Health insurance companies are looking to the Trump administration and lawmakers for answers to the funding of subsidies, so they can decide if they will participate in the exchanges in 2018. This could mean very few insurance companies will be willing to provide coverage for time is running out. Insurance companies have to start submitting their policies, and premium amounts to their state regulators in the next few weeks. Pres. Trump predicted the current healthcare program would explode. This could very well happen if no action is taken fund Obamacare quickly. We will need to see what happens over the next few weeks. Hopefully, our representatives in the Congress and Senate will keep our insurance needs in mind. Let your representative know how you feel on the subject.
These are very uncertain times when it comes to your health insurance and the incoming administration. Daily, we are being bombarded by the news media claiming that Obamacare will be repealed. It is hard to know what is factual or what is it just media hype. Brownell Insurance is here to help bring some clarity to the current health care state of affairs.
On March 23, 2010, President Obama signed the Affordable Care Act (ACA) into law, also known Obamacare. The new law required immediate changes and regulatory rules that rippled through the insurance industry. The ACA did not take effect until 2014 and health insurance became mandatory for all US citizens. If you were not covered under a group policy or your individual health policy, you would receive a penalty when you did your 2014 federal income taxes.
As outlined in the ACA health insurance timeline, it takes time and systematic processes for these changes to happen. The proposed changes /repeal of the ACA, if approved, will most likely not take effect in 2017. Most of these changes will probably not even be possible until 2018 or 2019. It will take time for repeals to be put into place. It is important to have patience and not panic during these times of uncertainty.
Washington, Rep. Tom Price, the man chosen to lead the Department of Health and Human Services by President-elect Donald Trump, made a promise to “make sure that nobody falls through the cracks” if the Affordable Care Act (ACA) if repealed. He set a goal to increase the number of people, who have health insurance.
During his nomination hearing, Rep. Tom Price was very vague with his description of the proposed health insurance plan. He believes that the individual states “know best” on how to handle their Medicaid beneficiaries. During his four hours of testimony, Rep. Tom Price said he supported many of the objectives of the ACA but didn’t see why the federal government had to specify so many details of insurance coverage in the act of Congress and a myriad of regulations, according to an article in New York Times.
Some of the positives of the ACA that I hope Congress will be able to still make available to us are:
- Young people under the age of 26 can remain on their parents’ health insurance policies regardless if they live at home or away, get married, or have group insurance available to them at work.
- Having pre-existing conditions not affect the person from obtaining health insurance or making them pay a very high health insurance premium.
- Keeping the maximum out-of-pocket benefit that limits what a patient is expected to pay for medical expenses under $8000 per year.
Some of the negatives of the ACA that I hope Congress will be able to correct are:
- Not being able to go out of your state for your primary care physician or your preferred hospital. We should be able to go to our desired doctor and hospital as long as they are in the insurance companies’ network, regardless of the state they practice in.
- Very little competition in the state by health insurance companies. We are currently limited to Anthem, Harvard Pilgrim, Harvard Pilgrim Elevate and Minuteman for our health insurance companies. To make pricing more competitive, we should have more than just these few insurance companies to choose from for health insurance.
- Get rid of the website – Healthcare.gov and the necessity of doing business with the federal government for our health insurance. Insurance companies should be able to speak directly with their insureds and not have to have approval from Healthcare.gov to help with simple problems, such as billing updates, lapses, minor corrections on the information of the insured or many other small changes. Now it takes a tremendous amount of time to make the small corrections for we must call healthcare.gov to make the correction and wait for them to notify the insurance company of the change.
- Make the open enrollment period a little longer and not over the holiday season.
It will be interesting over the next few of months or probably more realistically over the next few years, how the Trump administration and GOP-dominated Congress will reshape and/or repeal the Affordable Care Act. Hopefully, sane minds will prevail and we, the American public will be able to obtain good, affordable health insurance. Over the next few months, I will keep my clientele as informed as possible as to what is happening on the health insurance battleground. I hope you will follow this blog and respond to it when you feel it necessary. I am always interested to hear your thoughts and dedicated to finding answers to your many questions.