Car, Home, Toys, and Life Insurance Resource Center

Welcome to the best Michigan insurance resource! Michigan has the most unique insurance laws in the United States. Learn about what it takes to be insured properly as a Michigander. Get saving tips, mandatory coverage amounts, and answers to many frequently asked questions.

Insurance Where You Live


14
Aug 14

My Neighbor’s Tree Fell On My Property, Who Pays?

Love thy neighbor, that is until their tree falls right on your house right? Then it’s how did this happen? Why didn’t they trim that tree? Who is going to pay for this? It might seem like the owner of the tree ought to be held responsible, however, their home insurance is not going to cover any damages to your property. It is probably even more far fetched to think they are going to pay out of pocket. It really is not their responsibility to either.

How It Works

Neighbor's Tree Fell on My PropertyIt is your job to make sure your home is protected properly. The best way to protect your property is with a home insurance policy. Home insurance covers your property, not your neighbors. It works the same for both of you, their policy is not going to cover your property just as your policy will not cover their property. If a neighbor’s tree falls on your house, you need to call your home owner’s insurance company to file a claim. You will be responsible for paying your deductible.

Standard Policy Provides Coverage For:

  • Tree on Your House
  • Tree Across Your Driveway
  • Tree on Out Building, Pool, or Fence

No Damage, Just a Neighbor’s Tree In My Yard

The neighbor’s tree comes down in your yard and they don’t want to pay to get it cleaned up and neither do you. This situation usually really gets people fired up. Most standard home insurance policies do not cover a single downed tree after a storm. Someone’s got to give or you are going to be stuck with a nature made jungle gym in the yard. A lot of people are using wood burning stoves nowadays, many are happy to come and clean up a down tree so they can keep the wood. Call and ask your insurance agent if they know anyone who could be of help. The bottom line is if the tree is on your property, you are responsible to clean it up.

Neighbor’s Tree Fell On My Car

Ok, so what about your car? You guessed it, your car insurance is going to be the place to look for coverage. If you have comprehensive coverage on the damaged vehicle, you are covered. Plan on paying your deductible.

Injured From a Neighbor’s Tree Falling

Freak accidents can happen. If a neighbor’s tree falls on you, then you might be entitled to compensation for your injuries. If it occurs on your neighbor’s property, it should be fairly cut and dry. Now if you were on your property and the tree falls on you, it gets more complicated. You could try filing a claim against your neighbor’s home insurance policy. You should probably speak to claim adjuster and or a personal injury attorney to determine what is covered. There are just so many “what ifs” out there, it is very difficult to determine the exact coverage for everyone.

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How to Get a Home Insurance Quote Is Home Insurance Required? Moving to Michigan and Car Insurance

29
Jul 14

Michigan Hail Storm Damaged Car and Roof

When it comes to storms, Michigan pretty much has it all. A hail storm can be extremely damaging to both your car and your home. Determining your insurance coverage after a major storm can seem confusing and overwhelming. If you know what to look for and expect, it can make the process go a whole lot faster and smoother.

Hail Damage to a Car

Hail can leave your car looking like a mess. Hundreds of dents can cost a small fortune to repair. Only one insurance coverage will be able to help you. Comprehensive Coverage. Forget all the other insurance coverages, comp is king. Check your declaration page or look up your policy online and review your coverage. If you have comprehensive or also sometimes called other than collision coverage listed on your policy, you are covered.

Call Your Claim in Immediately

Hail storms are often fairly widespread. That means a lot hail claims might be pouring into your insurance carrier. Getting in at the front of the line can mean the difference between a short and sweet claim and a long and drawn out one. Yes, your deductible will apply. Plan on paying it at the time of your repair. Nearly all insurance carriers in Michigan allow you to choose your own body shop, but using an insurance preferred shop can speed up the claims process.

Hail Damage to Your Home

It can be a little harder to tell if you have sustained hail damage to your home. Really, someone needs to go up onto the roof and inspect to know for sure whether or not it is damaged. An excessive amount of shingle pebbles in your gutters could be a sign of damage. Most standard home policies cover hail damage. It is common to have hail coverage an optional coverage on mobile homes. It is best to check with your insurance agent to verify coverage.

Have Your Roof Inspected

There are two ways to handle your roof inspection. You can have your own inspector come out and take a look before notifying your insurance company. This is a good option if you are friends or relatives with a licensed contractor. It can be easier to just ask somebody you know to take a look than calling in the insurance adjuster. If no damage is visible, then you saved yourself a little time. If damage is found, an adjuster will still most likely come out and take a look to verify the damage.

Or, you can just call your insurance company and request an adjuster to take a look from the very beginning. The adjuster will come out and let you know if damage is present. I do not know of an insurance company who surcharges for calling in a claim without going through with claim payout. However, it has been rumored to happen. Its probably best to ask your agent if having your roof inspected by an adjuster will affect your future premiums.

Deductible

Any time damage occurs to your home or personal property, a deductible applies. Zero deductible policies are pretty much non-existent nowadays. The deductible is typically subtracted from the payout to repair your home.

Repair Cost or Replacement Cost

Repair cost means your roof will be depreciated. Then the amount of money it would cost to repair your depreciated roof is paid out. Basically if your roof is 20 – 30 years old, you are not going to be happy having repair cost coverage. The amount the insurance company pays out could be much lower than the amount of money it is going to take to replace your roof.

Replacement cost means, so long as you replace the damaged portion of your roof, the full amount minus your deductible will be covered. It is important to know your home owner coverage. It can make a big difference in your overall satisfaction of your policy.

Combine Auto and Home Claims

Regardless of whether you are in Michigan or not, hail storms can be costly. Try your best to protect your property. Move your vehicles into the garage if you know a severe storm is on the way. Even though insurance can be a big help dealing with the damage, paying your deductible might not exactly be easy. If you did sustain hail damage to both your car and home, ask your insurance company if they will allow only one deductible to be paid. It is very possible if the damage happened during the same storm and you have both your car and home insured with the same insurance company.

Quick Links

How to Get a Home Insurance Quote MI Helmet Laws Moving to Michigan and Car Insurance

20
Apr 14

Will My Home Insurance Cover Lightning Strike or Power Surge?

Let’s face it, we all know we should unplug our major appliances and electronics during a thunderstorm, but how often do we actually do it? Sometimes you’re not at home, sometimes you’re sleeping, and sometimes you just don’t want to be bothered with the hassle. So when lightning strikes or your power surges, are your appliances and electronics protected on your home owner’s insurance policy?

The Quick Answer

Lightning StrikeMore than likely, yes. A standard home owner’s policy covers lightning strike and power surges. Your deductible will apply and filing this type of claim will cause a surcharge to go against your policy. The good news is that a lightning strike or power surge is typically a lower surcharge than say a theft or fire claim. Meaning you should not see a huge rate hike if this is your first claim.

How Does a Lightning Claim Work?

  • Check for possibility of repairs to damaged items
  • Notify your insurance carrier of damaged items
  • Get depreciated costs for items plus subtract deductible
  • Replace the items you want
  • Submit receipts to the claims adjuster to get full reimbursement

Lightning claims are typically very easy claims to file. Sometimes if the storm is a major one, they may not even send an adjuster to your home and handle it right over the phone. It depends on the circumstances like how many of your electronic items were hit and their dollar amount.

It is important you are aware of the fact that most home insurance carriers will non-renew your policy if three claims are filed within a three year period. You want to make sure this, lightning claim, is a worth while claim because you never know what to expect weather wise in the upcoming three years. My general rule of thumb for home owners is if the claim is $1000 more than your deductible, it is time to contact your insurance carrier to file a claim.

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12
Apr 14

Top 5 Reasons to Buy Renters Insurance – Can You Believe Number 5?

Attention all renters! Do you have a renters insurance policy? If not, it is time to rethink your decision. In a world of unknowns, you do not want to gamble with all of your belongings. Check out what makes renters insurance so important and why you should get a quote today.

  1. You Never Know What Your Neighbors Are Doing
    If you are a renter in an apartment complex, duplex, or condo, you share walls with your neighbors. The main problem with that is you don’t know what your neighbors are up to at any given time. No matter how diligent you are about blowing out candles, turning off the stove, never using space heaters, your neighbors could be very careless. I’m not trying to scare you, but really do you trust your neighbors with your belongings?
  2. You Could Lose Everything You have Worked For
    All it takes is one unattended candle, one faulty electrical wire, one deadly tornado and all of your belongings are disintegrated. What would you do? How would you start over? Buy Renter's Insurance NowA renter’s insurance policy would provide the protection you need to get your life back on track. Clothes, furniture, electronics and a whole lot more of your accumulated belongings would covered whether you want to replace them or not would be up to you.
  3. You Will Need A Place to Go After a Major Claim
    You may not know this, but renters policies don’t just cover your contents. They also cover loss of use, meaning if you are unable to live in your apartment due to a covered loss, your insurance policy will cover the costs of temporary housing. That could mean the costs of a hotel for a week, or it could be another apartment if you are put out for an extended period of time. Renter’s policies either come with a year of covered expenses or a fixed dollar amount of coverage. Ask your insurance agent how much coverage is offered for loss of use. Seriously, this coverage could mean the world of difference if you ever find yourself in a major disaster. Staying with Mom and Dad can only last so long, and is not always a possiblity.
  4. Liability Protection

    Lots of renters think they have no risk of being held liable since they rent. Well I have news for you, if you own a dog you could most definitely be held liable for your dog’s actions. Dogs have a lot of contact with other residents when living in an apartment community. Even the most lovable dog can have a bad day and bite someone. A renter’s insurance policy would protect you in this situation. It might surprise you that claims can even be paid out when no blood is drawn.

    Here is another scenario, what if you were the one who had a grease fire get out of hand and burned the complex down? Could you be held liable? Well, its not impossible. More than likely someone will try to go after the at-fault party. A neighbor without insurance could sue you. Or, a neighbor who files a claim on their renter’s insurance policy could result in the insurance company subrogating and looking to be reimbursed by the at-fault party. Or, the landlord could go after you for their deductible. In any case, unless you have your own renter’s insurance policy to protect you, bankruptcy will probably be in your future.

  5. Renter’s Insurance Could Cost $15 or Less a Month!
    If a few favorable factors come together at the same time, you could get a renter’s insurance policy at a very low cost. Purchasing your renter’s insurance through your auto insurance carrier is the key. Even though your renter’s insurance may cost between $20 and $40 a month, you could potentially save that much on your auto insurance policy. The multi-policy discount is one of the biggest discounts you can get on your auto insurance. Use the savings on your auto policy to pay for your renter’s insurance and there you have it, renter’s insurance for $15 or less.

Quick Links

How to Get a Home Insurance Quote MI Helmet Laws Moving to Michigan and Car Insurance

12
Mar 14

Someone Broke Into My Car and Stole Personal Items

Unfortunately it happens, you come out to your car and the door has been pried open or your window smashed. Personal items have been stolen. Maybe a a car radio, a camera, a purse, Christmas presents, and who knows what? How does insurance handle a situation like this?

As with most insurance claims, it can get complicated sorting out what coverage covers what. Let me break it down for you.

Covered by Comprehensive Coverage

  • Damage to your car from break-in
  • Stolen Factory Installed Radio

Covered by Home Insurance

  • Camera
  • Purse
  • Other Personal Belongings

What about custom stereo equipment?

High value custom stereo equipment usually requires an extra endorsement on your car insurance policy. Most policies come with a low automatic coverage for custom equipment. If you have any high dollar upgrades, you need to notify your insurance company so you are covered in a situation like this. Your comprehensive deductible will still apply.

Will I have to pay two deductibles?

Actually, it is possible. A broken door handle or broken glass will fall under your car insurance and stolen personal items will be covered by your home insurance. How much you pay in deductibles depends on how you have your policies setup. It is a possibility to get your deductibles combined if you have your car and home insurance insured with the same insurance carrier. It never hurts to ask. Ask your claim adjuster or insurance agent if combining deductibles is possible.

The Hard Truth

A lot of vandalism and car break ins amount to a fairly low dollar amount loss. Many times the loss will not exceed your deductible. As frustrating as it is, you may be out of luck when it comes to getting compensated.

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Further Reading


05
Feb 14

Is Identity Theft Coverage on Home Insurance Recommended?

Identity theft is a huge concern nowadays. Several major retailers have had their credit card system’s compromised recently leaving many people wondering how to protect themselves. You may not be aware that most home insurance carriers offer identity theft coverage. Find out if identity theft coverage is a good option for protecting yourself against this widespread crime.

What does home insurance usually cover when it comes to identity theft?

One thing to keep in mind is that home owner’s identity theft coverage is not a preventative coverage. In no way does it help prevent a loss. Identity Theft and Home InsuranceIt is only to help you clear your name. Once a thief has stolen your identity, you can file a claim. Not all home owner insurance coverage works exactly the same. I did look up a couple of popular insurance carriers and all of their coverage was similar. Basically they will help you with any fees associated with your loss up to a certain dollar amount, many stating $25,000 as their limit.

  • Cost of getting your credit report
  • Any fees for reapplying for loans or grants
  • Phone, postage, and shipping fees
  • Notary and filing fees for costs you incur to correct your identity and credit records
  • Legal fees resulting from identity fraud
  • Up to $1,000 for deductibles or service fees from financial institutions, not to exceed the coverage limit
  • Up to $5,000 combined for lost wages and child and elder care expenses, not to exceed the coverage limit

Could it really cost $25,000 to clear your name of identity theft?

I really do not have the authority to say no it could never happen. However, I do know it is not likely. According to a Federal Trade Commission study, over half of all victims did not have to pay any out-of-pocket expenses due to identity theft. Now your time is a different story. It can consume a lot of your time talking with different financial institutions to get results. And most home insurance coverage provides experts to work on your behalf. Now that might make the coverage worth it right there.

How much does identity theft coverage cost?

The cost of ID theft coverage is fairly minimal. Some companies charge a flat annual fee, for example $25. Meanwhile some others include it in their high-end policies, packaging it along with other coverage.

When can you add identity theft coverage to your policy?

Most insurance carriers only allow this coverage to be added at the time of your policy renewal. It is not often you see carriers allowing clients to add this coverage mid-term. It is best to ask your insurance agent when you can add this coverage.

Would I recommend identity theft coverage on home owner’s insurance?

Due to its low cost, it is a decent coverage to have handy. I would recommend it to seniors who are especially concerned with identity theft. I do think the average person can handle getting themselves back on track after an identity theft situation without the help of an insurance policy. This is a coverage I would let my clients know about so they can make an educated decision on their own as to whether they want it or not.

If you are concerned with your credit right now, you should check your credit report. AnnualCreditReport.com offers a free credit report from each of the three credit reporting companies annually.

Is your home damaged from high winds? Find out how insurance companies handle wind claims in Help! High Winds Damaged My Home

More Help with Home Insurance Claims


25
Jan 14

Help! High Winds Damaged My Home

High winds can cause serious damage to your home almost anytime of the year. Siding can be ripped off, shingles can be blown away in large chunks, and lawn chairs and fencing can get tossed. Luckily, most home insurance policies cover a loss due to high winds, straight line winds, and tornadoes. How much coverage you have depends on how you have your home policy set up.

After the Storm

Once you know damage has occurred, it is important to remember to always protect your home from further damage. If shingles are missing, throw a tarp over the exposed area. Same with siding damage, try your best to protect the exposed area from water damage due to rain.

Call your insurance company as soon as possible. I always recommend to start with contacting your agent. Your insurance agent will be able to give you helpful advice on the claims process and possibly direct you to a good siding and roofing expert. If the damage is severe and it is after hours, contact your insurance carrier directly using your company’s 800 number. It is typically advised to have a claims adjuster out to look at the damage before making any repairs. If that is not possible, be sure to take photos and save all receipts.

Replacement Cost Coverage

Most all preferred home insurance policies have a replacement cost option for the structure. In case of a total loss, insurance companies usually cap replacement cost at 125% or 150% of the insured value to cover the cost of a rebuild. Typically a high wind is not going to cause a total loss, so you would get your home repaired like, kind, and quality minus your deductible. Michigan home insurance policies usually come with a flat rate deductible in increments of $250. $500, $1000, and $1500 are all common deductibles seen on home insurance policies.

Repair Cost Coverage

Without replacement cost coverage, you are looking at substantially less coverage. Depreciation will be factored into your claim payout. For instance, if your roof is ten years old, that will be factored into calculating the payout. Replacing your roof might cost $6000, but your coverage might only cover $3500.

Home owner policies are most often sold with replacement cost coverage. It is important to understand the coverage you are purchasing. Always ask your insurance agent whether your policy has replacement cost coverage on both the structure and contents of the home.

More Winter Related Insurance Claims


19
Jan 14

Ice Dam Home Insurance Claim

Do you have huge icicles hanging off the gutters of your home? If you answered yes, you have an ice dam. Ice dams can create major problems for home owners. The build up of ice along the roof line can damage your shingles and allow water to seep into your home. In the midst of a traditional Michigan winter, many homeowner’s face expensive home repairs due to ice dams.

What is an ice dam?

Help with Ice DamsWhen heat escapes your attic it heats and melts the snow on your roof, even in frigid winter temps. The melted snow then leaks down toward the gutters. In the gutter section of your roof, the heat escaping your home can no longer reach the melted snow allowing the freezing cold temps to freeze it in the gutter, especially clogged gutters. The ice then begins building up both as icicles and as a block of ice backing up onto the roof. The ice can begin pushing up your shingles and eventually allow water to seep into your home.

What damage can a ice dam do to your home?

  • It can raise shingles
  • It can rot your roof deck
  • It can damage gutters
  • It can cause water damage to insulation and drywall
  • It can cause mold to grow
  • Hazardous icicles can fall and injure someone

Will home insurance cover damage from an ice dam?

The biggest problem with ice dams and home insurance claims is the length of time it takes for an ice dam to actually start damaging your home enough for visual evidence. Most home insurance policies are written to cover sudden and instant losses like high winds, tornado, burst water pipe, and fire. Home insurance companies do not want to cover damages from something that has been occurring over the course of years. It is possible to have an ice dam claim denied because the damage occurred over a long period of time.

For example: Year after year Joe has a problem with ice dams. The icicles seem to grow bigger and bigger every year. He knocks the icicles down the best he can and goes about his daily business. What he doesn’t know is a patch of shingles have been raised up, and throughout the year rain water is dripping into his home. After a major summer storm, he notices a large water spot on his ceiling. After closer inspection he can see major water damage in his attic which has rotted his roof decking, caused excessive mold growth throughout his insulation, and is now damaging his drywall. All of this damage was not caused by one big summer storm, but years of untreated ice dam problems.

The answer to the question of “Will home insurance cover the damage?” varies depending on your given situation. An ice dam claim can get complicated. It is possible for some if not all of the damage to be covered. The best way to find out is to file the claim and let a claim adjuster take a look at the damage. It is best to act fast when it comes to an ice dam claim. Do not procrastinate filing.

What if someone is injured from a falling icicle?

A falling icicle could possibly cause severe injury. Anyone living in your household including you, cannot claim medical coverage if you are injured by one. Liability coverage on a home owner policy never pays out to the home owners. However, anyone else could be covered. Mailman, neighbor, friend, or other person could file a claim for injury against your home liability coverage. Certainly you do not want anyone to get hurt on your property, so do not let icicles grow out of control on your home.

Preventing Ice Dams

As a homeowner, you are responsible for protecting your home from damage. That includes maintaining proper insulation and ventilation to prevent ice dams. If you cannot afford the cost of proper insulation or improving your ventilation, you can do other things to reduce the likelihood of ice dams. You can use a roof rake or ice melt product. Preventing ice dams can be dangerous work and may require a professional. Your safety is most important, so know when to call in the professionals.

What to Expect with an Ice Dam Claim:

If your home insurance claim is approved, there are a few things you should keep in mind.

  • Your deductible will be subtracted from the claim payout
  • Your home insurance policy will be surcharged for the claim at your next renewal
  • You will be responsible for correcting the insulation and or ventilation problem causing the ice dam

Prevention truly is the best solution to ice dam problems. This is one claim you can avoid. If you see ice build up growing on your roof line, it is time to take action. Don’t wait until the damage is already done.

More Winter Related Home Insurance Claims

Help with Auto Claims