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The Leading Causes for Insurance Claims and What You Can Do About Them

Why home owners file insurance claims? The answer to this question is obvious; because of some kind of loss. Do you know what the leading reason property owners filed claims with their insurance companies? According to c 2005 fact book the answer is Fire and lightning counting for 32.42% of all loss claims. The second leading cause of damage claims is Wind with 22.8 % followed in third by Water damage with 21.74% and finally theft with 4.54%(these figures are based on 5 year averages from 1999 to 2003). What does this mean? It means that statistically speaking you have less to fear from your neighbor than you thought you did. Knowledge is power; you are now empowered to protect your home from these causes of home damage. How though?

One unsettling thought is how we are at the whim of natures’ wrath. Sure you can install a lighting rod on your home to protect it from lightning strikes but what do you do to protect you from the big ole tree next to our house that just got slammed by lightning and is now not only on fire but also falling onto your house. Cut the tree down, make a home out of asbestos and open up a whole other can of worms or do you just try to be prepared as best you can for disaster? Being prepared for disaster sounds like the best option to me.

How do I prepare for eminent doom? You would start by taking care of obvious holes in your homes safety net. For example if you don’t have a grounded lightning rod installed on your house do that especially if you live in a high risk area i.e. an area where there are frequent lightning storms. Make sure that when you do tackle a hole in that net that you fix it correctly the first time, otherwise you’ll learn the lesson my grandma ingrained in me “the lazy person winds up working twice as hard”. After patching up the apparent holes its time to shore up the not so palpable ones; what I mean is doing the little things that will pay back big dividends for your foresight. Or example making an inventory of all your possessions is a great place to start. If the unthinkable happens, with your home inventory you’ll have a record of everything you had and what’s more your inventory is just the tool you’ll reach for during the claims process.

The first thing your insurance company will ask you for is to compile a list of all the lost or damaged items. No problem for you because you have your home inventory! But what is this wondrous, magical tool? A home inventory is simply a list of all of your possessions, with photos and details such as make, model, serial number, all compiled in a neat and organized fashion for quick dissemination. Imagine the claims process without it; having to compile that list after the home was burned down. Could you remember everything? Would you be even in the right state of mind to be able to do this? Don’t wait if you haven’t done this act now, later will be too late.

Another smart move would be to check out what disasters are actually covered by your insurance policy. Listed below is a list of most of the disasters covered by most insurance policies (from the Insurance Information Institute’s website). http://

What type of disasters are covered?
1. Fire or lightning
2. Windstorm or hail
3. Explosion
4. Riot or civil commotion
5. Damage caused by aircraft
6. Damage caused by vehicles
7. Smoke
8. Vandalism or malicious mischief
9. Theft
10. Volcanic eruption

The following might not be covered by your policy!
11. Falling objec
t 12. Weight of ice, snow or sleet
13. Accidental discharge or overflow of water or steam from within a plumbing, heating, air conditioning, or automatic fire-protective sprinkler system, or from a household appliance.
14. Sudden and accidental tearing apart, cracking, burning, or bulging of a steam or hot water heating system, an air conditioning or automatic fire-protective system.
15. Freezing of a plumbing, heating, air conditioning or automatic, fire-protective sprinkler system, or of a household appliance.
16. Sudden and accidental damage from artificially generated electrical current (does not include loss to a tube, transistor or similar electronic component)

Most policies cover only the first ten items on this list the rest are extra’s. The next list covers item that are not covered by most home policies.

Disasters not covered
1. Floods?
You can purchase flood coverage directly from your homeowners insurance agent. However, the policy is provided by the Federal Flood Insurance Program ( 800-427-4661, ). You can get replacement cost coverage for the structure of your home, but only actual cash value coverage is available for your possessions. There may also be limits on coverage for furniture and other possessions stored in your basement. Flood insurance is available for renters as well as homeowners. You will need flood insurance if you live in a designated flood zone. But also consider buying it if your house could be flooded by melting snow, an overflowing creek or water running down a steep hill. Don’t wait until the evening news announces a flood season warning to buy a policy. There is a 30-day waiting period before coverage takes effect.?

2. Earthquakes?
Earthquake coverage can be a separate policy or an endorsement to your homeowners or renters policy. It available from most insurance companies. In California, it is also available from the California Earthquake Authority ( ). In earthquake prone states like California, the policy comes with a high deductible.?

3. Maintenance damage?
It is your responsibility to take reasonable precautions to protect your home from damage. Your insurance policy will not cover damage due to lack of maintenance, mold, termite infestation and infestation from other pests.

In light of recent disaster’s it might be a good idea in looking into flood insurance coverage. You can find out if you live in a flood plain by contacting your local government office, for that info if you’re not sure. You can find their phone numbers listed in the blue pages of your local phone book. Finally use your imagination as to how you can protect and make your home disaster proof. There are countless other things you can do inspite of the factors that you cannot control. Just use your head and find the holes. Remember you are your homes first and last line of defense; if you don’t take care of your home, who will? Be proactive, that way you can be prepared for the worst of situations. Good luck and be safe! H.I.S.S. Home Inventory Service Specialists is headed up by CEO: Richard Berroa; a producer whose background is in live T.V. production and documentaries. At HBO, NBC and PBS; Rich was responsible for gathering all the information for the shoot (the who, what, when, where) and putting them to insure a successful production (the How). That skill set is now put to work for your own H.I.S.S. catalog; which is a mini production itself. The same commitment, attention to details and meticulous organization will now work for you. We are a company set up to serve an under served need; the fact is that all insurance companies tell their clients to make an inventory but they do not provide this service to their customers. WHY? Maybe it is because it's simply is not in their (the insurance company's) best interest. Empowering you the customer is our priority. We are insured; currently we service the entire east coast but we are willing to travel beyond on a per case basis.

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