Flood Insurance Agent Salt Lake City, Utah

Understanding the Differences Between Flood Insurance and Sewer Backup

Flood Insurance Agent Salt Lake City, UtahFloods are the most devastating natural disaster in the United States each year causing billions in losses and displacing thousands. While flooding is a common concern for those near rivers and streams, all homes in the United States can be caught off-guard by floods. When it comes to flood insurance, it is important to understand what flood insurance is and what is covered. Many people think flood insurance is anything to do with water in their home. This is far from the truth. Floods are defined as surface water that enters your home from the outside – not to be confused with a leaky roof or a broken pipe, loose toilet or other plumbing related issue. Another issue altogether is sewer backup with may or may not be covered depending on what caused it to occur.

Let’s take a closer look at these policies:

Flood Insurance: Flood insurance covers your property and contents from damages that occur when water from outside the home enters the home. Beit a heavy rainstorm, a clogged drain in the street or even a hurricane that causes a tidal surge that backs up streams and rivers.

  • Cost: According to floodsmart.gov, the average flood insurance policy costs around $700 a year. Depending on your area and whether you’re in a flood prone area, your costs can be higher or lower.
  • What’s covered: The typical flood insurance policy will cover your building and the contents. Be sure to discuss contents coverage with your agent to ensure you have enough coverage. The price of the policy will be largely determined by how valuable your items are and how much coverage you need.
  • When to buy: Flood insurance requires a 30 day waiting period. The best time to buy a flood insurance policy is as soon as you decide you want it.

Water & Sewer Backup Coverage: Sewage backup insurance is not included with a standard homeowner’s insurance policy. Sewage backup occurs for many reasons, but ultimately, what is happening is there is a blockage that causes water to reverse course and push up into your sinks, bathtubs or other outlets. This can be a smelly, filthy event and one you want to be sure to discuss with your agent. Believe it or not, this is a somewhat common occurrence.

  • Cost: Cost always varies, but typically a sewer backup endorsement will run you under $100. Be sure to ask your agent about different policy options.
  • What’s covered: You purchase specific amounts of covers, such as $10,000 or $15,000. This helps cover the cost of cleaning the damage caused from the backup as well as replacing carpets, drywall, and even cleaning or replacing ducts.
  • When to buy: Water and sewage backup occurs everywhere. There is no real good indicator or when this event will occur, so protecting early is critical.

We understand insurance is confusing, so if you still have questions, feel free to call one of our licensed agents and ask to speak about flood or sewage backup coverage.

If you have questions, call the insurance agents at Direct Insurance Services in Salt Lake City, Utah. We have years of insurance experience and can help you insure everything from your home to your auto or motorcycle. We live where you do and are an independent insurance agent, so we can help you find the right company to fit your needs. You can also check out our website, 24/7.

Auto Insurance Agent Salt Lake City, UT

Replacement Cost Vs. Actual Cash Value

Auto Insurance Agent Salt Lake City, UTAn insurance policy usefulness is determined by the policy language used. Specific policy language determines what is covered, what is excluded and the amounts covered under the policy. Reviewing your insurance policy language every now and again may be helpful in the event of a claim, as you would have a better understanding of what may be covered.

Insurance policies are full of language and terms that may not be clear right off the bat. Many terms are specific to the industry and to the specific type of insurance that is being purchased. Two such terms are Replacement Cost and Actual Cash Value. These terms can be a bit confusing to decipher between.

Replacement cost vs. Actual cash value in Utah:

  • Replacement cost is very simple: It is literally the cost to replace your item with an item of similar quality. Replacement cost policies tend to be a bit more expensive since you are essential getting a brand new item for one that may have otherwise depreciated. Replacement costs are agreed upon by all parties before the insurance policy is finalized. If you have high-ticket items (jewelry, art, RV, boat, luxury vehicle or classic car) this may be the best type of coverage if you can afford it.
  • Actual cash value is the cost to replace the item minus any depreciation. For example, if you were in an auto accident and you had an actual cash value policy, your insurance would pay out the cost of the vehicle minus any depreciation, so if your vehicle is worth less than what you owe you would be responsible for paying that difference out of pocket, unless you had gap insurance. An actual cash value policy can put you in a tight spot if your items cost more to replace or repair than your policy pays out. Depreciation values for big ticket items like RVs or luxury cars can be quite large, so make sure that you have a nest egg and be prepared to pay some out-of-pocket for a loss if you have an actual cash value insurance policy.

No matter which policy type you choose, the local experts at Direct Insurance Services can answer any questions and walk you through the different types of scenarios to see which policy type is right for your situation. Direct Insurance Services in Salt Lake City, Utah can guide you through your homeowner’s insurance policy and more, like auto insurance.

Our years of insurance experience can save you a bundle, and we live right in your area, so know first-hand what your insurance needs might be.  You can also visit our insurance website 24/7 to learn more about the insurance products we offer.

Home Insurance Policy Salt Lake City, Utah

Six Simple Tips if You Plan to Sell Your Home

Home Insurance Policy Salt Lake City, UtahPreparing to sell your home can be a large undertaking. Often, people put off repairs on their home that don’t bother them, but would certainly deter prospective buyers or set off an alarm to a home inspector of other problems. If you’re preparing to sell your home, follow these steps to ensure you get the top dollar and avoid any unexpected last-minute repairs.

Fix any major, obvious repairs:

Do you have gutters that are falling off of your home or does your house paint need some touch-up? Repairs like this can be fixed for as little as a couple of dollars but add tremendous appeal to your home. Look around your home for small items that could easily be repaired.

Complete any unfinished remodeling projects:

You may have lived with that single paned aluminum slider door for 10 years even though all the other windows and doors are energy efficient vinyl. By replacing the door it gives your home a finished appeal that buyers are looking for. Many home buyers don’t want to take on a project.

Declutter your home:

Many of us have collections of some sort. Antiques, glasses, toys, DVDs and the like. Additionally, personal pictures of family, friends and yourself. Pack these items away so the home buyers can visualize themselves in your home.

Clean:

Cleaning your home and all of the surfaces allow the homebuyer to see your home at its best. Dust the tops of the refrigerator, window sills, furniture and any other flat surface. Put clothes away neatly into closets or dressers. Consider, for a small fee, you can hire a cleaning company to clean your home from top to bottom ensuring you get top dollar for your sale.

Add some color to your curb:

It’s hard not to judge a home from the outside even though most of our time is spent inside of our homes. Adding some potted plants and color to the outside of your home is a great way to welcome buyers. If you don’t want to spend much on landscaping, consider a nice potted plant next to the front door full of color and vibrancy.

Ask your realtor for blunt advice:

Your realtor wants you to get as much for your home as possible. Ask them to walk through your home with a notepad and give you suggestions on what would improve the appearance of the home. Don’t take it personally, while your home is cherished and you likely have many great memories there, at this point its business.

As you move on from your home, consider what your new home purchase may be like. We’d be happy to provide you with quotes along the way for everything from insuring the property, to earthquake and flood insurance. If you’re going to be renting for a while or moving into a condo, we offer both renters and condo insurance as well.

Engagement Ring Insurance Coverage Salt Lake City, Utah

Engagement Ring Coverage

Engagement Ring Insurance Coverage Salt Lake City, UtahGetting engaged is an exciting time and brings happiness to not only the couple, but their family and friends. While the new couples should cherish this special moment, they should also find an insurance policy to protect the engagement ring immediately.

Anything can happen to an engagement ring, whether it’s stolen, damaged or accidentally falls down a drain. While memories of the ring itself cannot be replaced, a good insurance policy can provide financial protection to an unfortunate situation.

Like other valuables coverage, insurance for your engagement ring can simply be added to your home or renters insurance policy on something called a “floater.” It’s a simple insurance policy extension. A good policy will cover everything from theft and damage. The cost of coverage varies, typically $1 – $2 per $100 in value for a yearly policy. So, for a $5,000 ring, you’d expect to pay $50-$100. By calling our agency, we will ensure we find the best coverage for your ring.  We can also help answer any questions regarding ‘what if’ situations.

Before seeking out insurance, you will need to provide an appraisal and receipt for your ring. This is typically provided by reputable jewelry dealers at the time of purchase. If your engagement ring hasn’t been appraised, you can meet with a gemologist to receive an official appraisal for a small fee. Once you have your appraisal, store it in a safe or vault.

An additional thing to consider for all newlywed couples, if the bride and groom were living in separate homes before the wedding, make sure the ring insurance is transferred to the right home address. Often times, individuals have the ring insured at the bride’s previous address on a different policy and forget to transfer it to the new living address and insurance policy.

If you are recently engaged or planning an engagement, call the insurance agents at Direct Insurance Services. We can help you the best option to protect your investment.

Cheap Auto Insurance in Salt Lake City

Cheap Car Insurance Rates

Auto Insurance Agent Salt Lake City, UT

A Rodent Made a Nest In My Car and Caused Damage – Is it Covered?

Auto Insurance Agent Salt Lake City, UTSince cooler weather is here or if you park your car outside during the winter months, chances are that sooner or later a rodent will find its way inside of your warm vehicle. Rodents like rats, mice and even squirrels can make their way up inside of your engine compartment to stay warm. After all, it is toasty and warm inside there and you left the vehicle in the driveway overnight.

Rodents can do major damage to vehicles. In fact, some of the more common reported damages include chewed wiring, chewed up upholstery (used to make nests) and rodent feces.

If your vehicle is damaged by a rodent you’ll want to review your insurance policy to see if there is a “rodent clause.” Comprehensive insurance coverage is your best bet for getting rodent damages covered, however, some insurance companies define animal damages in comprehensive coverage as “collision with an animal” and have a specific clause that excludes rodent damages such as chewed wiring etc. The best course of action is to ask your insurance agent when you purchase your policy, or if you already have a policy in place to ask them about it. If dealing with rodents is something you think you may have to deal with, selecting the appropriate company as well as the appropriate coverage can make all the difference.

If you have questions about your auto insurance or want a quote, contact Direct Insurance Services in Salt Lake City. We have many options for auto or vehicle insurance and will quote you from all of our top insurance carriers. We can provide quotes side by side so you can pick the best policy for your needs. Contact us today.

Signs it may be time for new tires

Is it Time for New Tires?

Signs it may be time for new tires When it comes to vehicle safety, few things are as important as your tires and you should regularly inspect them to ensure they’re in good shape before taking your car out on the road. Tire safety is much more than just tire pressure. Familiarize yourself with these 5 signs that your tires may need to be replaced.

  1. They’re Bald – This is the most obvious, but often time the most overlooked safety hazard. Bald tires can cause hydroplaning, decreased stopping ability and are much more susceptible to flats from road hazards. Any tire shop will happily measure your tread depth. Additionally, your tires are equipped with a Tread Wear indicator that you can easily see yourself. This is a piece of tire that runs perpendicular to your tire tread. If you’ve reached this depth, you’re tires are not safe to drive on.
  2. Cracks – Aged tires, or tires that sit for long periods of times like on travel trailers or utility trailers can develop cracks in the tread. Look carefully in between your tire tread to see if your tires have cracks. If they do, they’re more susceptible to a blow out and should be replaced.
  3. Gouge in Sidewall – We’ve all hit a curb or a big pothole. If you’re inspecting your tires and find a gouge in your sidewall, the tire should be replaced. Sidewalls are thinner than the tread area of your tire and cannot be repaired.
  4. Uneven wear – A vehicle this isn’t properly aligned can cause the tires to wear unevenly which can cause your vehicle to pull in one direction or another. When inspecting your tires, be sure that they are wearing evenly. Additionally, you should align your vehicle every 30,000 miles or so.
  5. You’re driving on a spare – Never drive on a spare tire longer than it takes to get to a safe location. Spare tires are meant to be used for short periods of time and are not intended to be used for regular driving. If you’re driving on a spare tire, get to a tire shop to get a real replacement tire.

Driving can be dangerous, but even more so if you’re driving on tires that are not fit for the road. By inspecting your vehicles tires regularly, you can avoid an accident, hydroplane or another potentially dangerous situation.

Your safety is our top priority and getting you the right insurance is part of that. If you have questions about your auto or other vehicle insurance, contact our agency. We can review your current policy or provide an insurance quote.

Five steps to take before hiring a contractor in Salt Lake City

Five Things You Should Do Before Hiring a Contractor

Five steps to take before hiring a contractor in Salt Lake CityIf you’re an experienced home remodeler, you’ve probably come across contractors who are willing to offer better pricing for cash deals or who are reluctant to provide you with a service contract. Did you know that you can be held liable for hiring a contractor who does not carry the right insurance and causes damages or injuries to another person or even one of their own workers? Saving a few dollars on your remodel can end up costing you thousands so follow these tips to avoid an insurance disaster.

  1. Look for obvious red flags: Getting multiple quotes for the job is a great idea, but did you find a contractor who will do the work for ½ as much as the next guy? How is this possible? When you’re inviting a contractor to your home, be sure to ask them for credentials before they come over to give you a bid. Following these steps can save you from theft, liability and even money.
  2. Ask for references: If you found a great contractor and you like him/her, ask them if they have a website or if there is someone who has had work done by them recently that you can talk to. If a contractor is proud of the work they do, they should have several references for you to call. It is okay to ask for reference and most people expect it. Most small businesses survive off of word-of-mouth advertising, so don’t be shy.
  3. Utilize the internet to look up their license: Contractors are required to have a license to perform work. You can utilize your states resources to find these contractors. An internet search will provide you with some quick references. You can even make your job quicker by asking them to provide you with a copy of their license or number.
  4. Active License, Insurance & Bond: Ask the contractor for a copy of their license as well as documentation of their insurance and bond. Note: Check the dates on the license as well as the insurance to ensure they’re currently in force or active.
  5. Get specific: Not only is it important to protect your insurance from a scam, but ensure your pocketbook doesn’t get taken for a ride too. Ask questions like, “Is this an estimate or a final bid?” “Does this estimate include parts and labor?” “Can I see where you’re buying the products beforehand?” The more questions you ask, the better you will feel and the more the contractor will understand that you’re educated on this process.

Let’s take a closer look at what some of these products do:

  1. License: A license to do business means that contractor has met local guidelines and qualification standards to work in their field. Hiring an unlicensed contractor can result in shoddy work or dangerous results such as with an electrician.
  2. Insurance: Contractors need two types of insurance really.
    1. General Liability Insurance: This will protect you from damages that the contractor causes such as a ladder falling through a window, causing a fire or overspray onto a neighboring house during some painting.
    2. Workers Compensation Insurance: This insurance will protect the contractor if one of his employees is injured on the job while on your property. If the contractor does not carry workers compensation insurance, your homeowners insurance policy might be asked to pay that workers claim.
  3. Bonds: A bond acts as a guarantee that the contractor will perform the work they’ve been asked to do. For instance, say your pay a contractor to do a job and he never gets the permits or doesn’t pay a subcontractor – collecting from his bond can help cover these costs.

Hiring a contractor this way can be a great option to bringing some new changes to your home. It is possible to really save money on these services, but just using some simple, quick research and asking the right questions can save you a bundle as well as a headache.

How to lower your risk for a dog bite insurance claim in Salt Lake City

Dog Bite Insurance Claims & How to Prevent Them

How to lower your risk for a dog bite insurance claim in Salt Lake CityAccording to the Insurance Information Institute, homeowner insures paid over $796.8 million as a result of 17,802 dog bite claims in 2019. We would like to briefly go over what happens if your dog were to bite someone and of course, how to prevent a dog bite claim.

What Would Happen If My Dog Bit Someone?

Homeowners’ or renter’s insurance policy includes liability coverage which will likely cover you for the damages. Keep in mind, some insurance carriers do not offer liability coverage for specific dog breeds. They also may offer some, but limit the amount of coverage available. Talk to your agent about what breeds may not be covered. If you are not covered, you would have to pay out of pocket for the damages caused by your dog. If your insurance provides coverage it is likely your insurance premium will increase at renewal or you could even be dropped from your insurance carrier.

How to Lower Your Risk for a Dog Bite Claim

Don’t ever assume your dog won’t bite someone.

You can have the sweetest dog on the planet, but you still can’t make the assumption that your dog won’t bite. Watching your dog’s behavior around strangers or even family and friends is crucial. Never leave your dog alone with children who might cause the dog to nip if harassed or injured.

If you adopt a pet, do your research

What should you know about your breed’s common behavior? Ask several questions with the adoption agency. Have they noticed specific behaviors you should be aware of? Understanding what triggers your dog’s aggression or what makes them uncomfortable can save you from a dog bite claim down the road.

Know The Signs Your Dog May Be Uncomfortable, Anxious or Aggressive

Dog bites are common in these scenarios. Dogs may react to such things as taking away their food or a toy or even touching them while eating.

  1. Aggressive
  • Stiff tail, intense stare, growling, hair up on back.
  1. Uncomfortable/anxious
  • Pulled back ears, tucked tail, no eye contact, lowered head or body

Get some training

Whether you are a dog owner or someone who doesn’t own a dog, being around a dog with good behavior is ideal. Obedience training can benefit any dog.

Socialize Your Dog

When your dog is around other dogs and people, it can help them work through any anxieties they may feel.

Be Extra Aware Around Children

This goes back to our number one answer, don’t assume your dog will never bite. If your dog is around children they aren’t familiar with, watch for signs of your dog being uncomfortable.

Get Your Pet Spayed or Neutered

This can help with a dog’s aggression.

Being a dog owner can bring so much happiness into your life. Use these tips to worry less about your dog biting a loved one or a stranger. For questions about your home or renters insurance policy and what coverages are available for dogs, contact us! We can go over your current policy or even find you a different insurance carrier who may be a more ideal fit for pet ownership.

Insurance for investment properties in Salt Lake City

Proper Insurance for Investment Properties

Insurance for investment properties in Salt Lake CityThe process of going from being a homeowner to a real estate investment/landlord is an exciting time. Not only are you working towards creating an extra revenue stream for your income, but you’re investing in what has historically been one of the best places – real estate!

When it comes to investing in real estate and being a landlord there is a lot to know and a lot to consider for liability purposes. In this article, we’ll discuss the ways to close the gaps with your insurance on your investment property.

Get a landlord insurance policy

Landlord insurance will insure your Dwelling/rental property as well as offer additional coverage for items stored at the property such as:

  • Additional buildings on premise such as sheds or garages
  • Equipment like tools, washing machines or other appliances used by tenant

In addition to property damage, landlords or rental property owners may also face legal ramifications for events that take place on the property they own. Having additional coverage for Legal Defense may help pay for legal fees from lawsuits like:

  • Libel or slander
  • Accidental Damage
  • Wrongful eviction

Get an umbrella policy, or consider increasing your liability limit on your umbrella policy

Being a landlord comes with an increased liability exposure. You can protect yourself with above and beyond insurance coverage in the form of an umbrella insurance policy to increase your liability limits that you purchase.

Think your liability limits are enough? Take this recent claim settlement:

A renter had notified the landlord that the boiler (water heater) in the rental property was acting up and the landlord didn’t act quickly enough. Shortly after that call, a toddler severely scalded themselves and required months of painful skin grafts and therapy. The attorney settled with the landlord for the policy limits of $3 million.

Eliminate dangers around the property to limit your exposure

When you’d looking to eliminate liability exposures around a property, check some of these items:

  • Stair railings – check for loose or rotten railings inside and outside of the home
  • Trip hazards – walk the property and eliminate any large edges where someone could fall or trip
  • Swimming pools – if your property has a swimming pool, these pose major dangers to children. Be sure there is a fence with a self-closing gate that locks behind the person entering to stop curious neighborhood children or unattended children from entering the pool.

Owning investment property can be very rewarding, but do be aware of the additional risks there are. Fully eliminating your liability exposures is not ever a possibility, but mitigating your risk is. This is where we can help you come up with a comprehensive insurance package that protects you and your rental property. We would recommend scheduling a time to speak with one of our licensed agents to find you the right coverage and company for your rental property.