You packed everything carefully for the move to your new place. But sadly, your mug collection didn’t make it. Who’s at fault and how can you make sure that your belongings are fully covered?
Here’s what you need to know about homeowner’s insurance, what’s covered and what’s not during a move.
First, let’s start at home.
Your homeowner’s or renter’s policy covers your belongings (owned or used by you, the insured) when they are anywhere in the world. You are covered under personal property coverage. If your possessions are stolen, or damaged by fire/smoke or any of 16 named “perils,” your policy will pay for them subject to your deductible. Not everything is a named peril; for example, breakage and missing items do not qualify. Also, there are dollar limits for theft of certain items, such as jewelry and firearms.
You may choose the replacement cost or the actual cash value (ACV) for reimbursement in personal property coverage. ACV is the amount the item is worth, minus depreciation for its age. It will cost a little more for a policy that provides replacement cost since that is higher than ACV.
When does your policy cover a move?
The good news is that both homeowner’s and renter’s policies may provide coverage when you are moving your belongings if you move yourself instead of hiring movers. (Your insurance won’t cover damages when your property is in the possession of a third party, like a moving company.) Importantly, the loss still has to be related to a covered peril. So, if your belongings catch fire, that would fall under covered perils. You could file a claim for reimbursement. Depending on the state and the policy, items in a storage unit damaged by named perils could be covered, but limited to 10% of your coverage C limit.
You will need to get a separate liability policy, such as relocation, trip transit insurance or special perils content coverage. You also can get a floater policy for valuables. For example, you can insure for breakage of art glass windows, glassware, statuary, marble, bric-a-brac, porcelains and similar fragile articles. Your insurer will cover loss by breakage if caused by: (1) fire or lightning; (2) explosion, aircraft or collision; (3) windstorm, earthquake or flood; (4) malicious damage or theft; or (5) derailment or overturn of a conveyance.
Your rental truck contract may provide coverage that includes cargo protection. Your basic auto policy does not extend to renting “trucks” so you will need to purchase additional insurance.
When doesn’t your policy cover a move?
Your homeowner’s or renter’s policy will not cover damage caused by your movers. Nor will it cover items lost by your movers. You’ll have to contract with your moving company for that type of coverage. The coverage that moving companies provide is not technically insurance and not governed by state insurance laws.
The federal government requires movers to offer two types of protection if you’re moving out of state. These include full value protection and released value protection. Full value offers replacement value for your lost or damaged possessions. Released value offers only limited protection. Some movers offer a separate liability coverage through third-party insurance company.
What to do before a move
Review your moving contract. Understand what’s covered and what is not.
Determine the type of coverage you need for your possessions, if any.
Some circumstances will limit your mover’s liability. For example, if you packed your items, and they are broken enroute, it’s possible you will not get paid even if you purchased their moving coverage. Perishable and hazardous materials also aren’t usually covered.
Check with your state moving association to know the rules and regulations in your state, or in the state where you are moving.
Talk to your insurer to know what your homeowner’s or renter’s policy covers, and to make sure that you will have full coverage in your new home.
If you’ve ever had your windshield hit by a rock, you know the sinking feeling of watching a crack appear—and grow.
Cracks happen and sometimes they’re unavoidable. But did you know that your windshield is at higher risk for cracks in the winter? It’s true. Knowing the causes of cracks will help you protect your windshield this season. If you do get a crack, we’ve included a guide on how to handle it, which can hopefully save you an expensive repair.
All About Your Windshield
Your windshield is a protective barrier between you and the road ahead. It also provides a clear line of sight. When your windshield cracks, it compromises your safety and can limit your visibility.
Windshields are made of laminated glass, which includes two layers of glass with a piece of plastic in the middle. The layers are fused together, making them stronger than ordinary glass. Even though windshield glass is strong, however, cracks still happen.
Tiny cracks can occur from everyday driving. Cracks happen when your windshield is hit by a rock or debris. The metal frame of your windshield expands and contracts in extreme temperatures. This causes stress on your glass which can crack it over time. Finally, our own human error can cause glass to crack, such as when we pour hot water over an icy windshield. A crack between the two layers of glass can trap moisture between the layers. This can weaken the structural integrity of your windshield and cause cracks down the road.
Types of Cracks
In most cases, cracks or chips smaller than the size of a quarter are able be fixed. But you cannot let even a tiny crack alone. Don’t ignore these small cracks or chips; they can start out small and eventually get larger, past the point of repair, and cause you to need a total windshield replacement.
Not all cracks are the same, and it’s good to know what kind you have. The type of crack determines how you deal with it.
Basic crack – The simplest crack is a line that is not near the edge of the windshield. If the line is less than 1 inch long and doesn’t have other lines extending from it, it can be repaired.
Floater – A crack that occurs away from the windshield edge is known as a floater. These can spread quickly.
Edge crack – If the crack is near the edge of your windshield, chances are that the entire windshield needs to be replaced.
Chip – If a small piece of glass is missing, you have a chip. A chip less than 1 inch in diameter, without any cracks coming from it, can be filled or repaired.
Star – If your crack looks like a small chip with tiny cracks extending from it, you have a star crack. This type of crack could possibly be fixed but the repair may be visible.
Bulls-eye – If your crack resembles a circular bulls-eye target, you have more extensive damage than it appears. This type of crack usually requires a full windshield replacement.
How to Avoid Cracks
Remove ice responsibly. In most places in the U.S., you’ll be dealing with icy windshields this winter. You need to clear the ice in order to drive. Glass can be brittle in cold temperatures, so you will want to avoid any sudden temperature changes.
Do not throw hot water on your windshield. Hot water will refreeze, and surprisingly, it does so faster than cold water. Don’t use room temperature water either. This will still be a temperature extreme from the icy conditions and can crack your windshield.
Skip the vinegar and water mixture. Vinegar doesn’t work well when there is already ice there. It also is an acid that can eat into glass causing pits.
Don’t use a propane torch, hair dryer, or cigarette lighter. These are extreme changes in temperature and can crack the glass.
Do not use a knife or blade that will chip or scratch your glass.
Don’t hit the ice. It doesn’t take a lot of impact to cause damage to the glass.
Do not use keys, snow shovels, or spatulas. They can all leave scratches and grooves.
Do warm your car up slowly. Use your car’s heater and defrost settings. Wait until your car is warm to turn your car’s defrosters on high.
Do use a plastic ice scraper. Ice scrapers are among the must-carry items in your car in winter.
Do use a liquid deicer if you would like.
Avoid flying debris.While rocks and debris can hit your windshield almost anywhere, you can take steps to keep your car away from this potential hazard.
Don’t drive over gravel roads, but if you must, keep a safe following distance from the vehicle in front of you.
Don’t follow construction vehicles too closely.
Don’t drive in hailstorms if you can help it. The best strategy is to find covered parking while it’s hailing. If you must drive in a hailstorm, slow down to lessen the impact.
Park in protected places. Mother nature can be tough on our windshields. Keeping your vehicle in a place with a constant temperature and away from wind, winter storms, snowstorms, and extreme weather can help to protect the windshield.
Avoid exposing your windshield to extreme temperatures. If it’s going to be very cold, park your car inside if you can.
You also can cover your car, which will help to protect your windshield wipers from freezing and cracking. You don’t want damaged wipers to scratch your windshield.
If you can, park your car inside a garage during the winter months.
Periodically inspect your windshield. You may not even be aware of tiny cracks in your windshield. The sooner you catch them, the sooner you can address them.
It’s hard to notice cracks while you’re driving. Make it part of your winter routine to periodically inspect your windshield when you get in or out of your car.
Keep the windshield glass clean. This will help you to notice small cracks and chips.
A winter car wash can help, but don’t run your car through one if there are any windshield cracks.
Replace your wiper blades before winter hits.
Don’t drive around with a crack. The sooner you take care of it, the less expensive the repair will likely be.
What to Do if You Get a Crack
Drive carefully. Drive over bumps slowly. Don’t whip around corners or cause any vibrations that could make damage worse.
Guard against dirt and moisture. While you are waiting for the repair, keep the crack clean and dry. Dirt and moisture can make repairs more complicated. (Pro Tip: Even window washer fluid can stain the crack so use a drop or two of dishwashing soap on a damp cloth.)
You only have one chance to get it right. DIY options include inexpensive windshield repair kits.
Most kits aren’t high quality and won’t last long-term. Some folks have tried to seal the crack with household items like superglue or nail polish remover. Don’t even consider that. It will prevent you from getting a professional repair.
Contact an auto glass repair specialist. California Casualty works with Safelite on claims for cracked windshields. Many glass repair providers offer same-day service and can come to you. A technician can fix repairable cracks in a matter of minutes. Most comprehensive auto insurance policies cover the cost of fixing small chips and cracks in your windshield. Even without insurance, a windshield repair is much less than a replacement.
This article is furnished by California Casualty, providing auto and home insurance to educators, law enforcement officers, firefighters, and nurses. Get a quote at 1.866.704.8614 or www.calcas.com.
Hurricanes are natural disasters that bring demolishing winds and massive amounts of rainfall to land from the ocean. Coastal towns and cities across the world have been torn apart by hurricanes, but they aren’t the only ones who are usually affected. Hurricanes can cause significant damage to towns over 100 miles inland! September, is the most active month of the year, so now is the time to protect yourself and your family from these deadly natural disasters.
The relative lack of storms so far this hurricane season is bringing both good and bad news. While we are all taking a sigh of relief that there has yet to be a major storm, it could also be bringing a false sense of security. Many people in states where hurricanes usually hit may be “dropping their guard.” A new survey finds only a quarter of those living in hurricane-prone states think they are prepared if a monster storm hits, and nearly half of the respondents say they have yet to make any preparations this year.
Remember all hurricanes, no matter what size, have the potential to cause significant damage and life-threatening situations. Looking back at the destruction previous hurricanes like Harvey, Sandy, and Katrina have caused, it is essential that you make sure your family, home, and belongings are completely protected.
Important Hurricane Coverages:
Flood Insurance. A regular home insurance policy will not pay for damages caused by flooding, but when you add flood insurance to your policy it will cover all damages that happen to your property, even if you rent! Be aware that when you add flood insurance there is a 30-day waiting period until it goes into effect, so that means it is often too late to purchase it when a hurricane or tropical storm is approaching.
Scheduled Personal Property Insurance (Floater). Many people find that after a natural disaster their insurance coverage is limited on expensive personal items (ex. jewelry, furniture, technology, firearms, collectibles, furs, instruments, etc.). Floaters protect your personal items for their full value.
Steps to Protect Your Home & Family
Heed evacuation notices and keep your car’s gas tank full in case of evacuations
Stock up on essentials like bottled water, non-perishable food items, toilet paper, and pet food
Make sure pets are kept inside, safe, and have a spot to do their “business”
Contact your insurance company as soon as possible
Keep or document receipts and other expenses if you are evacuated or forced to find another place to live because of damage to your home or apartment
Be wary of unscrupulous contractors following a natural disaster
It’s important to know that flooding and storm surge are the biggest threats to life when hurricanes hit. Leave low-lying areas, never drive or cross through running water, and avoid rivers, streams, and creeks; which could flash-flood.
There are reputable companies, and there are ones that put out misleading information. There are even plenty of moving scams. Choosing a sketchy moving company not only won’t save you money but it could end up costing you plenty. Know the warning signs. Avoid moving companies that only give phone estimates and/or require large deposits. Skip the ones that only offer non-binding estimates (a quote based on estimated weight of your things). That means they could be planning a much higher bill at the end. Be suspicious of moving companies that have similar names to well-known national brands but are not them. Finally, avoid any mover without an address.
All moving companies that move across state lines must have a DOT number. Ask for it and then look it up in the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration database. Make sure their information matches what they told you.
Mistake #2: Not getting an estimate in writing
It’s hard for a mover to give you an accurate estimate without seeing your belongings in person. That’s why a mover that only provides a phone estimate is probably not reputable. Insist on a mover who visits your home and gives an estimate in writing. It’s always best to get three estimates. Make sure to read the fine print, and think twice about choosing the lowest bid. If possible, choose a mover that offers a binding not-to-exceed estimate. That means you won’t be charged more than the estimate and may be charged less.
Mistake #3: Not giving yourself enough time to pack—and/or not packing boxes correctly
Packing is going to take more time than you think. If you leave it to the last minute, you will be tempted to throw things into boxes without organizing them, which could make unpacking difficult. According to movers.com, it takes 3-5 days full-time to pack a three-bedroom house. If you’re working around a job and other responsibilities, give yourself additional time.
Pack your boxes so they are filled to the top but not overfilled or underfilled. Underfilled boxes can collapse under the weight of others on top of them. You should be able to tape boxes closed so the top is flat. A standard moving box will have a weight limit printed on the bottom. But being able to lift the box is also a consideration. Limit the weight of your boxes to 50 lbs. and you should generally meet the box weight requirements and keep it manageable to lift.
Mistake #4: Moving unnecessary items
It may be tempting to bring everything to a new home, and sort it out there. However, moving is a great time to take stock of what you really use and what you don’t. Why spend the time and money moving things that you’ll just end up storing, giving away, or throwing out? Hold a yard sale or donate items before you start packing. This will help lighten the load. Keep track of your donations; you can expense them on your taxes.
Mistake #5: Not knowing the obstacles at your new location
Are there narrow roads or restricted access at your new home? Is there no parking for an 18-wheeler? If so, your moving company may need to get a smaller truck and shuttle your stuff—at an extra charge. Also, if your furniture doesn’t fit through the doorways or hallways of your new home, it may need to be disassembled. You’ll be charged for these extra services, so be aware. Note also that many cheap pieces of furniture are made from particleboard. It’s not meant to be moved and is easily broken.
Mistake #6: Not preparing for your pets
Your pets are part of the family, but moving day will be particularly stressful for them. After all, they won’t understand why strangers are taking their furniture. With all of the commotion, it’s also easy for a pet to get lost in the shuffle, or have a scared animal run away or hide. Consider having relatives or friends take care of your pets or board them in a kennel for moving day. Also, make sure that you have your pet’s records for easy access when you need them.
Mistake #7: Choosing to move your valuables with the moving company
You may not care much if you have to replace the IKEA artwork from your living room, but the picture painted by your grandfather is irreplaceable. Therefore, if it’s sentimental and it can’t be replaced with money, plan to move that valuable item yourself.
Mistake #8: Not having enough insurance
Who covers your valuables if your mover drops something and breaks it? Surprisingly, it may not be the moving company. Homeowner’s and renter’s policies cover your personal property while at your home and in storage—but not while they are being transported by movers.
Your moving company should offer insurance, as listed in your contract. Options include: full value protection, released value protection, and separate liability coverage. You’ll pay for full value but will also be reimbursed the full value if anything breaks. For released value protection, you’ll typically get just 60 cents on the dollar per pound (so a 30-lb. flat-screen TV would be an $18 reimbursement).
If you’re moving yourself, you can arrange for trip transit insurance, special perils contents coverage, or a floater for valuables with your insurance company. Protect your possessions so they make it safely to your new home.
This article is furnished by California Casualty, providing auto and home insurance to educators, law enforcement officers, firefighters, and nurses. Get a quote at 1.866.704.8614 or www.calcas.com.
Do you know the most popular time to receive jewelry? You guessed it – February. Now, do you know if your homeowner’s or renters’ insurance policy protects your jewelry? Whether you said “yes” or “no,” you are correct.
Here’s why: Your homeowner’s policy only provides limited coverage on certain high-value items. You may not receive the full value if a loss occurs. Scheduled Personal Property (SPP) insurance, sometimes called a floater, provides additional coverage of valuables – above and beyond what your home insurance provides.
Here are some very important advantages with Scheduled Personal Property plans:
Scheduled Personal Property (SPP) offers much broader coverage for your precious items – if you misplace a set of earrings, they are covered; if a diamond falls out of a ring, or a guitar neck breaks, they’re covered.
There is no deductible if the covered items are stolen, lost, or damaged.
SPP provides a replacement for the actual appraised value of the item.
SPP usually costs about one to two percent of the item’s value.
And, Scheduled Personal Property insurance isn’t just for jewelry; you might need the endorsement if you have:
Coin or stamp collections
And even if you already have gold and jewelryor a rare watch covered with Scheduled Personal Property coverage, you may need a review. Gold and diamond prices have climbed the past few years and you may not have enough protection for their new value.
By nature, many of us are collectors of stuff, and much of that stuff is valuable. Whether you have purchased your priceless items from exotic locations around the globe, inherited them or painstakingly monitored eBay to find them, you no doubt want to protect them.
TAKEAWAY: Don’t wait until your precious items are lost, stolen or damaged to find out if you have enough coverage to replace them. Contact CalCas Customer Service today, at 1.800.800.9410 option 3, or www.calcas.com/customer-service.