As I watched Hurricane Ian’s devastation on TV these last few days, I was thinking about how my job has been changing. It used to be about finding each of my clients the best insurance. But more recently for some of my clients it’s about finding any insurance. How did we get here and what can we do? It’s a little long this month, but here are my thoughts. Continue reading “State of Insurance”
As Desert Insurance Solutions celebrates 10 years of growth it occurs to me that only a small number of my clients have been here for that duration. Yet the newsletters I’ve written over that entire period contain useful information and are still relevant today. So this newsletter is a personal lines insurance FAQ with links to previous newsletter articles that provide answers. Continue reading “Useful Information”
Inflation and the Cost of Insurance
The cost of groceries is going up. But I don’t blame my grocers because the cost of everything they buy to provide us is going up. Continue reading “Inflation and the Cost of Insurance”
Collector Cars Are Fun
Think about your car for a moment…what words come to mind? Hopefully words like safe and comfortable, and maybe luxurious, practical or fast depending on your preferences. This newsletter is about collector cars and for most collectors their first word is fun. Continue reading “Collector Cars Are Fun”
Desert Insurance Solutions Celebrates Grand Opening of Scottsdale Offices
What do Palm Springs, California and Scottsdale, Arizona have in common? Continue reading “Desert Insurance Solutions Celebrates Grand Opening of Scottsdale Offices”
Ham and Eggs Breakfast
There’s an old saying about a ham and eggs breakfast: the chicken is involved and the pig is committed. Continue reading “Ham and Eggs Breakfast”
Back to Basics
According to a recent survey (USA Today, 8/27/21) 42% of older and 61% of younger adults don’t think they understand home insurance. Continue reading “Back to Basics”
Let’s face it, insurance is not exciting. Most of my clients want the right insurance at the right price and not be bothered by it.
Continue reading “One Stop”
Maybe you’ve heard the old frog story: when thrown in hot water the frog jumps out but when placed in cool water slowly heated he becomes frog soup. In a way, that story reminds me of many people who come to me for insurance. Continue reading “Frog Soup”
The Great Migration
Covid has changed the way many of us live and work. Some believe Covid simply accelerated long-term trends, and others believe things will soon get back to “normal.” Either way, from my insurance perch I’m seeing the most real estate activity I’ve seen in a decade. What’s going on?
- People are moving from higher tax states (CA, NY, IL, NJ) to lower tax states (FL, TX, NV, AZ).
- Within states, some people are moving from big high cost urban areas (like NYC/SF/LA) to lower cost mid-sized towns.
- Within metros people are moving from cities to suburbs.
- More recently, others are looking for value in cities as rents move down.
- Companies are looking for lower cost venues for operations.
- Work from home is allowing for more location flexibility.
- Second homes are being viewed as safety getaways, not just recreation.
- Baby boomer retirement wave is peaking.
- Low mortgage rates and high home prices are motivating action.
- Home design features of 10-30 years ago are looking tired next to today’s trends.
Bottom line, people are on the move! If you’re thinking about moving, buying real estate or renovating, read on to learn about insurance implications.
Insurance is regulated by the state and most agents can operate in only one state. Desert Insurance Solutions is licensed in all states so you can have a single point of contact for all your insurance wherever you are. And we represent multiple carriers so can offer options.
Even with those options, we can run into issues. Wildfire risk is a big deal. If the CA, AZ or CO property you are considering is in or near a wooded area, especially if there was ever wildfire in that area, we can do a location check to see if it can be insured. In CA there is a “FAIR Plan” that provides basic fire insurance to homes otherwise uninsurable (up to $3mm limit on the sum of all coverages). There is no FAIR Plan in AZ, CO and most other states. We have clients with properties no insurer will take, and others who are paying over $100k per year for homeowner’s insurance.
Moving and Interim Renting
Remember that your personal liability coverage is attached to your homeowner’s policy. So if you move you don’t want to cancel your policy before establishing a new one. If you haven’t found a new home, we can arrange a renter’s policy which includes personal liability. And you need contents coverage when you move. If your moving van flips over and destroys your possessions, the movers pay by the pound…pennies on the dollar of actual value!
Standard homeowner’s policies are priced to cover furnished homes where no construction is taking place. If you’re changing out a sink or carpet, your policy coverage is unaffected. But if you are doing renovations, you need a special course of construction policy. Further, if your property is vacant (no furniture) for over 60 days it becomes what the industry considers an “attractive nuisance” for thieves, vandals and squatters, so you would need a special policy for that. Ignoring these occupancy classifications will leave you at risk of a claims denial.
The price you pay for homeowner’s insurance is affected by many factors. Here are my general observations about the various states:
- Premiums/$000 value are highest in tornado prone states (OK, KS, AK, SD).
- Rates are also high in hurricane prone states (FL, LA, MS, TX).
- Florida allows insurance benefits to be assigned to contractors which increases fraud and drives rates even higher.
- California rates would likely be highest if you included earthquake, but earthquake is not covered by base homeowner’s policies.
- Homes no insurer will cover are most likely to be in high fire risk regions of Western states outside CA like AZ and CO.
Now if you live in CA you might think premiums are pretty high even without earthquake and you would be right. The state tries to keep rates down though their approval process. But if the state “admitted” carriers can’t make a profit, they’ll find reasons not to sell or pull out altogether. That leaves what is known as the “E&S Market” which are carriers like Lloyd’s of London outside state oversight. They can charge higher rates but aren’t part of the state guaranty fund that protects policyholders in the event of a carrier bankruptcy.
There many reason people are on the move, and my job is to arrange your protection regardless of the reason. If you’re one of those people, don’t wait until the last minute and risk an insurance surprise. Let me know what you’re up to a little ahead of time and we’ll work out a desert insurance solution for you!
Make it a great day!