In Ohio many homeowners are at risk of perils like theft, vandalism, falling objects, damages caused by vehicles, fire, thunderstorm damage, hail damage, and even flooding. If you live in an area prone to flooding, you must purchase additional flood insurance in order to protect your home. Many find that their current Ohio home insurance policies do not cover a peril only after it is too late. You can review what will be covered by your policy by looking at the “exclusions” section of your Ohio home insurance.
Tips for Buying Home Insurance
When purchasing homeowners insurance, make sure you have enough coverage to cover the cost of rebuilding your home. Insurance can help to cover the costs of replacing or repairing the structure or foundation of your home, all of your personal belongings, the cost of living expenses in the event your home is rendered unlivable, and your liability to others, in the event of bodily harm or damage to their possessions.
Remember, you must insure your home and possessions at current market value, so that you do not underestimate the replacement cost. To determine the value of your home, multiply the square footage by the local building costs per square foot. To find local building costs, contact a construction company, real estate agent, or builders association in your community.
Many insurance companies offer coverage for personal property, liability (inclusive to your family), and guest medical protection, for any guests who may be injured in your home. As well, many will cover the costs for any living expenses should your home become uninhabitable.
Tips for home safety and affordable insurance
For many of us, buying a home will be the largest investment we will make. For that reason, it’s important that your home and its contents are protected. So what do you need to keep in mind when looking for a policy and for keeping a policy up-to-date? These tips can help!
How to shop for homeowner’s insurance
•Check with several insurance companies and agents before making a final decision on a product. On average, Ohio has the 7th lowest homeowner’s insurance rates in the country, but the rates for different companies can vary significantly.
•Don’t use just price to make your decision. Seek recommendations regarding a company or agent from family and friends.
•Explore the possibility of buying all your insurance products from the same source. Many insurers offer significant discounts if you purchase more than one type of policy from the same company.
•Consider increasing your deductible to lower your premium.
•Carefully review your policy annually to ensure that it’s still current and up to date.
•Consider a guaranteed replacement cost policy.
Losses that are covered in a standard homeowner’s insurance policy
•Injuries that occur to others inside your home and on the insured property (falls, pet bites, etc).
Losses NOT covered in a standard homeowner’s insurance policy
•Termites or pest infestation
•Injuries that occur to yourself or your family in your home (falls, pet bites, etc.)
•Items damaged by you or a family member
Once you have homeowner’s insurance
•Add insurance coverage as you enhance the value of your home and acquire expensive possessions, such as furniture, computers, stereos and televisions.
•Avoid filing small claims, which can end up marking you a high-risk and result in higher future premiums or a canceled policy.
•In maintaining your residence, realize that you are liable for things that happen on your premises. Keep in mind that in Ohio you can be held legally responsible for the actions of anyone who drinks in your home and then has an accident in your house or after leaving it. Your policy should protect you against lawsuits due to these types of liability issues.
•Backyard items, such as a trampoline or pool, may require you to increase your liability coverage in your homeowner’s policy or through an umbrella policy that protects you in the event that someone is injured while on your property.
•As you acquire more valuables — jewelry, family heirlooms, antiques, art — consider purchasing an additional “floater” or “rider” to your policy to cover these special items. The coverage provided by a basic homeowner’s or renter’s policy is limited by sub-limits inside the policy limits. For example, you could have $20,000 of coverage for personal property but only $2,000 of coverage for jewelry.
•It’s a good idea to make an inventory of all of your personal property, along with a photograph or video of each room. Also, save your receipts for major items and keep them in a safe place away from your house. That will make it easier if you ever need to file a claim.
Smart ways to prevent claims and keep your home safe
•Prevent water damage by regularly checking your roof, down spouts, water pipes and sprinkler system for clogs or leaks.
•Repair loose or broken posts and check all safety latches on fences, especially around pool areas.
•Discourage break-ins by using exterior lights at night and installing deadbolts on all doors. Be sure to close lower-level windows when not at home and before going to bed.
•Turn off the propane gas when you are finished grilling.
•Use timers on inside and outside lights, especially when on vacation.
Auto Insurance 101
The basics of buying auto insurance
What to know when shopping for auto insurance
Auto insurance is one of the most frequently purchased types of personal insurance. In fact, Ohio requires that you comply with the state’s Financial Responsibility (or FR) Law. The FR law requires each Ohio driver to demonstrate an ability to pay for injuries to other people or damages to other people’s property if the driver causes an accident. Buying insurance is one way to show financial responsibility. The easiest way to comply with the FR law is to buy auto liability insurance. The two basic components to auto insurance coverage are liability and property damage coverage.
Most auto insurance policies cover your liability for bodily injury and property damage. The policy may offer coverage for uninsured/under-insured motorists coverage. Bodily injury liability insurance protects you against the claims of other people who are injured in an accident for which you were at fault. Their claims for bodily injury may include medical expenses, lost wages plus pain and suffering. Your liability coverage would pay these costs and the cost of defending you against their claims. Property damage liability insurance pays for any damage you cause to the property of others. This includes not only damages to other vehicles but also other property, such as walls, fences and equipment. Uninsured motorists coverage protects you, the policyholder, in the event that you are injured by a hit-and-run driver or a driver who does not have auto insurance.
Property Damage coverage
Property damage coverage may include both collision coverage and comprehensive coverage. Collision coverage pays for physical damage to your car as the result of your auto colliding with an object, such as a tree or another car. This coverage is optional and not required by law. However, collision insurance may be required by your lending institution or lessor. In the case of an accident involving an older car, the cost of repairing the car can quickly exceed the worth of the car. In this case, insurers will “total” the car and pay you what the car was worth based on its current book value rather than fix it. Comprehensive coverage pays for damage to your auto from almost all other causes, including fire, severe weather, vandalism, floods and theft. You are not required by law to carry comprehensive coverage.
Other factors that impact your auto insurance premiums
•For starters, auto insurance premiums are linked to the type of vehicle driven. If you’re buying or leasing a new car, check the insurance rates before you make your final choice. For example, SUVs, convertibles and performance vehicles typically cost more to insure.
•Safety devices on your car can help reduce your premiums. If you’re buying or leasing a new car, consider getting one with anti-lock brakes, side air bags, automatic seat belts and daytime running lights.
•Anti-theft devices on your car, such as an alarm system and global positioning system – so that your car can be located if stolen – can help reduce your premiums.
•Where you park your car can also impact premiums. If you have access to an indoor garage or locked parking lot – places that decrease the likelihood that your car will be stolen – you may qualify for lower premiums.
•The geographic region in which you live may impact your premiums. For example, areas prone to extreme weather – hail, wind storms, hurricanes, etc. – higher traffic patterns or higher risk of theft may have higher insurance rates. If you live in an area prone to extreme weather, check whether your policy includes comprehensive coverage on your car to cover potential damage from storms.
•Your driving record – tickets, accidents, DWIs/DUIs (driving while intoxicated/ driving under the influence citations) – directly affects your premium.
•The number of claims you have previously filed impacts your insurance costs. Consider not filing claims for smaller events to avoid premium increases.
•Finally, the cost of your insurance is linked to your policy’s deductible. The deductible is the amount of money that you agree to pay as part of a claim before your insurer pays the remaining amount toward that claim. For example, if your vehicle incurred $1,000 of damage in an accident and your deductible was $250, you would pay the first $250 and your insurer would pay the remaining $750. The higher the deductible, the lower the premium.
What mandatory auto insurance laws exist in the state of Ohio?
- In the state of Ohio, all drivers must carry liability insurance in the minimum amounts of $12,500 bodily injury per person, $25,000 bodily injury for two or more people, and 7,500 for property damage or they must opt for an alternative form of insurance to show financial responsibility (FR).
- In the state of Ohio, legal alternatives to auto liability insurance include a surety bond of $30,000 issued by any authorized surety company, a BMV bond secured by real estate equity of at least $60,000, or a BMV certificate for money or government bonds in the amount of $30,000 on deposit with the State Treasurer.
- When register your vehicle or apply for a license or permit in the state of Ohio, you will be required to sign a financial responsibility form stating that you won’t operate a motor vehicle without adequate coverage.
- The state of Ohio requires proof of financial responsibility for anyone who uses your vehicle. This means that you or anyone else that operates your vehicle must carry proof of financial responsibility coverage at all times.
- If you fail to provide proof of insurance coverage or you get caught driving without insurance, you will lose your license for 90 days if it is your first offense. On your second offense, you will lose your license for a year, and if you offend more than two times, you will lose your license plates and registration. In addition, you will have to pay reinstatement fees ranging from $75-$500 and you will be required to purchase a form of high-risk auto insurance called "special FR coverage" for anywhere from three to five years. Impoundment of your vehicle or your vehicle may be sold.