Real Claims: Is Your Property Insurance Ready?

In the last week of the year, everyone in the news, sports and entertainment world seems to present a “year in review”. We thought we would look at some of the claims our clients had in 2010. We’ll start with property insurance, in the hopes that it might help you manage risks and make decisions about your own Maine homeowners insurance or business property insurance.

When you report an insurance claim to Noyes Hall & Allen, we categorize them and engage your insurer for proper handling. Here’s a comparison of the property claims we initiated in the past 3 years. They give a good indication of the protection that your insurance provides.

Graph of property insurance claims for a Maine Insurance Agency

2010 – Four Strong Winds

If wind damaged your home, or tree limbs fell on your property last year, you were in good company. In a typical year, wind claims represent 10% of the total property claims reported to us. In 2010, it was 36%. From February to August to December, the coast of Maine was blasted by unusually strong winds.

2009 – The Water Was Wide

People usually think of fire insurance when they insure their property. But water damage is the most common property insurance claim in Maine. Normally, 35% of homeowners and business property claims report water damage. In 2009, it was almost double that amount. Frozen pipes, leaking pipes, ice dams, toilets, tubs and sinks overflowing – even burst washing machine hoses – are all covered by most Maine insurance policies. We saw them all in 2009. Fortunately, it was a quiet year for claims overall. The clear winter resulted in 15% fewer claims than usual.

2008 – Fire and Rain

Although 2008 brought a normal number of claims, we saw an unusual number of winter fires – typically the most expensive claims – and lightning damage from summer storms. Fire and lightning losses occurred at 3 times the usual rate.

What Deductible Should I Carry?

As these graphs show, property losses happen all too often. This means that you should choose a property deductible carefully. Pick the highest one that you can afford to pay out of pocket in case of a loss, in order to get the best insurance discounts available.

The table below shows the average cost of different types of insurance claims in our agency in 2010. Use this information to help you determine the best deductible for your budget.

Table of average property claims from Noyes Hall & Allen

For specific advice about your insurance situation, contact your Noyes Hall & Allen agent at 207-799-5541.

Does Homeowners Insurance Cover Jewelry?

an engagement ringDuring the holidays, many people unwrap something small and sparkly.  Most think that their jewelry is covered by their Maine homeowners insurance, renters insurance or condo insurance. They’re partly right.

Automatic Jewelry Insurance on Your Homeowners Policy
“Off the shelf” homeowners policies do cover jewelry against perils such as fire, windstorm or vandalism.   But that stuff doesn’t happen very often. Theft of jewelry – the most common peril – is limited,  often to $1,000 total.

“That Stinks!” – Why Do Insurance Companies Limit Theft of Jewelry?
Theft of jewelry (and firearms, furs, fine art, money, and other “special classes” of property) is limited for 2 reasons:

  1. Everyone’s Maine homeowners insurance rates would go up to pay for these losses if coverage was automatic.
  2. Not everyone collects those things. You don’t want to pay more so that I can have automatic jewelry coverage, and I don’t want to pay to insure your hunting rifles.

So, everyone has to insure their own jewelry, guns, etc. In insurance jargon, that’s called “scheduling jewelry”, because each piece is listed and valued separately. That list is known as a “schedule”.

4 More Reasons to Separately Insure Your Jewelry

  • Jewelry Insurance Is Cheap – How much does jewelry insurance cost? A common annual rate is $7.50 per $1,000 of value. That means insuring a new $2,000 piece would cost you about $15.00 a year.
  • It covers other perils – Homeowners insurance doesn’t covers losing a gemstone from a ring, or losing the entire ring, but it is covered when you buy jewelry insurance. This is actually the most common kind of jewelry insurance claim – even more common than theft.
  • It establishes the value of your jewelry before a loss occurs.  This protects you as well as the insurance company, and streamlines claim settlement. On larger pieces (usually over $5,000 in value), insurers will require an appraisal to add it to the schedule.
  • There’s no deductible on jewelry insurance.

Jewelry insurance can be added to your Maine renters insurance, homeowners policy or condo unit owners insurance. For more information, contact your Noyes Hall & Allen agent at 799-5541.