Homeowner 101 Knowledge About Contractor Insurance

If you’ve had your home in Newark, NJ for a while, you’re likely going to face the reality that a live-in structure will eventually need repair. Or you may have decided it was time for some renovations. Either way, the home needs some help, and a lot of what is involved requires specific skill and expertise to solve. That then means hiring a contractor to come in an do the work. However, before you trigger that latest task app on your phone or call a contractor in the yellow pages, you need to be aware of what contractors insurance means for you, the customer.

Contractors are generally required by law to be licensed and bonded. This means they go through basic skill and knowledge testing, secure a license with the state or local government in Newark, NJ to identify them as a business and individual, and they take out insurance to cover their work. The last part is the critical one because there have been enough cases where a "contractor" takes people’s money for a job and then never completes it, leaving damage and more costs to repair. A bond, essentially an insurance policy, is the homeowner’s protection to seek recovery when a contractor doesn’t follow through on the work promised and paid for or causes even more damage than repair.

Because contractor bonding laws and insurance tend to be a bit archaic, just trying to look up the information on the Internet can be confusing. Instead, working with the staff at E.S.T.I.R. Inc. you can get straight answers about how contractors insurance works as well as your own homeowner’s insurance if needed. Then you can start your project with some peace of mind. Give E.S.T.I.R. Inc. a call today to find out more.

Why Might Home Insurance Rates Increase?

Owning a home is a good long-term financial decision.  While it can be a good idea to own your own property, it is also a very expensive asset that needs to be protected by home insurance.  When you have a home insurance policy in place when you buy your home, you may notice that your rates increase over time.  There are several reasons why Newark, NJ homeowners may see their home insurance rates increase.  

Claims Filed

One of the main reasons why your insurance rates will increase from one year to the next is that you could have filed a claim in the prior year.  Whenever you file a claim on your home insurance policy it will make you appear like a riskier customer going forward.  The home insurance provider will then increase your rates to compensate for that rate increase.  

Aging Home

Another reason why your rates will increase is that your home is getting older.  Older homes tend to provide more risk to insurance companies.  As your home gets older, the likelihood that you will file a claim will increase.  Because of this, the insurance company will increase rates to compensate.

Change to Environment

Home insurance companies are frequently analyzing changes in weather trends, floods, crime, and other expense hazards.  If your home is suddenly considered to be located in an area that poses more risk than before, the insurance company will likely increase your home insurance rates to offset the increased risk.  

For those that are in the Newark, NJ area and are seeing an increase in home insurance rates, contacting the E.S.T.I.R. Inc. could be a great option. E.S.T.I.R. Inc. will be able to help you build a great policy that meets your needs and also comes with a fair rate.  

Protect Your Newark, NJ Home From Weather-Related Damage

Homeowners in the greater Newark, NJ area are familiar with the importance of protecting their homes from damage and theft, but sometimes overlook obtaining coverage for weather-related damage. Many residents do not realize that any weather-related damage protection that is included in their primary homeowner’s policy is often insufficient. By putting additional coverage in place, homeowners can gain the peace of mind that comes with knowing that their home is adequately covered in the event that the northern New Jersey area experiences another catastrophic weather event. The well-trained and knowledgeable staff at E.S.T.I.R. Inc. is here to help you make sure that you have all of the protection that you want.

Another benefit of having comprehensive home insurance in place is the assistance that your insurance agency and policyholder can provide during the claims process. Policies that cover weather-related damage can also be structured to include reimbursement for having to relocate when your home is inhabitable while repairs of the weather-related damage are underway.

Having an agent available to help you navigate the claims process can make the entire process one that is much less stressful. In the event of total home loss, it is unimaginable to consider the outcome if there is no insurance coverage in place. Having the additional coverage that will protect you and your family from any weather-related damage that is caused to your home can give you the added confidence necessary to weather any storm.

E.S.T.I.R. Inc. is dedicated to meeting the comprehensive insurance needs for their clients in the greater Newark, NJ and would welcome the opportunity to work with you and provide the protection most appropriate for the needs of your family. Please call or stop by to meet with one of our dedicated agents today!

3 Reasons to Get a Home Insurance Rider

A standard home insurance policy will provide you with basic coverage to protect your Newark, NJ home and personal effects within certain limits. This policy, however, may be insufficient to cover the cost of repairing or replacing high-end personal effects in the event of damage or loss. This is where an insurance rider or endorsement comes into play.

A rider provides you with extra coverage to protect valuable belongings against such perils as fire, water damage, vandalism and theft. Here are a few reasons why you may want to consider adding a rider to your E.S.T.I.R. Inc. insurance policy.

Costly Investments

If you’ve invested in costly goods such as pricey electronics, fine art or antiques, a rider will protect your interests if these items suffer damage or loss due to a natural disaster. Without adequate protection, your investments could be rendered useless if a fire or storm were to unexpectedly ravage your property. A rider will also cover the cost of replacing these goods if your home is targeted by burglars.    

Family Heirlooms

Rider insurance will cover costly repairs of family heirlooms if they suffer damage from accidents, fire or storm, enabling you to continue the tradition of passing heirlooms to the next generation when the time comes.

Expensive Gifts

In like manner, a rider can protect costly gifts you receive from family or friends over the years. Posh jewelry, designer clothing or a pricey stereo system could be difficult to replace if they are damaged or stolen. If you’ve received gifts that are valued higher than the limits of your current insurance coverage, it’s to your advantage to protect them with a home insurance rider.

For more information on how rider insurance can protect your personal belongings, contact us at E.S.T.I.R. Inc. in Newark, NJ.

 

How Is My Home Insurance Policy Affected If I Rent My Home Out?

At E.S.T.I.R. Inc. serving the greater Newark, NJ area, we are often asked if a home insurance policy needs to change or is affected if a person rents their home out. If you are considering renting your home out, here is some information you need to know about your home insurance.

Your Home Insurance Policy Typically Covers the Owner

Your home insurance policy typically states that it covers the owner of the home and any family that they have living with them. If you rent out your home, or even just a room in your home, those individuals are not covered against property damage resulting from fire, theft, water damage and other damage that you, the owner may be covered against. In this case, the renter will want to purchase their own renters insurance to fully protect themselves in this situation.

You Likely Need a Different Insurance Policy

If you are renting your entire home out, you will likely want to purchase only home insurance or landlord insurance. These types of policies only insure the home, not any belongings inside. This type of policy is often cheaper than homeowner’s insurance because you are not paying to insure your belongings inside. Landlord insurance also may protect you against lawsuits brought against you by a renter who injures themselves or has any guests injured on your property while they are renting out the home.

If you are planning on renting your home out, changes typically need to be made to your home insurance policy. If this is the position you are in, let E.S.T.I.R. Inc. serving the greater Newark, NJ area, help you. Call us today and let us help you find the right insurance policy for your rental home.

Home Insurance Add Ons to Consider

Your home likely stands at your largest investment ever. Due to this, you need to protect your investment whenever possible. Home insurance is a great start but your blanket insurance plan may not fit your needs perfectly. That is exactly why we at E.S.T.I.R. Inc. are here to help answer any questions you may have regarding home insurance for your Newark, NJ home. This includes home insurance add ons to consider. 

Flooding Insurance

Flooding insurance is a must when living in Newark, NJ. From the heavy snow to the possibility of your pipes freezing and bursting while on vacation, there are just so many different ways water can damage your home. Flooding insurance protects you. 

Replacement Cost Coverage

Your home insurance policy likely covers the house, but not the appliances found within the home. Replacing appliances, especially if you need to replace more than one at once, is expensive. A single electrical storm can cost you thousands of dollars in damaged appliances. That is why you need to look towards a replacement cost coverage option if you recently purchased new appliances. 

Sewer and Drain Backup

Your plumbing is something you really don’t think about until there is a problem. The biggest problem you can have is having the sewer line backed up. Whether you are on the city system or a septic system, correcting this issue can end up costing you tens of thousands of dollars without the right insurance. 

Your home is more than just an investment. It is where you develop and create memories. Your family grows up here and you experience life here. You need to protect all of this with the right home insurance policies. That is why we at E.S.T.I.R. Inc. want to help you discover the right policies for your needs. 

Three Terms Every Person Should Know When Buying a Home Insurance Policy

Home insurance policies contain a lot of terms that the everyday person does not fully understand. Here are a few terms that you are likely to see on your home insurance policy and what these terms mean.

Actual Cash Value

Most home insurance policies state that they will replace the items you lost in a home fire, due to theft or other covered cause based on the actual cash value of the item. This means how much it will cost to replace the exact item that is gone or damaged beyond repair. So, if you bought a television set for $500 two years ago, you won’t get $500 for the t.v. You will get maybe $150 to $200, which is about what it would cost to buy a two year old television.

Loss of Use

Another term you will likely see on your home insurance policy is loss of use. This means that the insurance comply will pay you a loss of use fee, including the loss of use of your housing, kitchen or other items that you may have to pay to use if something happens to your home. This may be the price of a hotel and eating out while your home is being repaired after a fire.

Rider or Endorsement

Seeing the words rider or endorsement means that there is an exception to your policy. A rider or exception mean the same thing and the terms are used interchangeably. Most of the time, an endorsement adds something to your policy. For example, your policy may state that up to $2,000 worth of jewelry is covered in the event of a break in. An endorsement can be added to cover an expensive piece of jewelry, such as a $5,000 wedding ring.

There are many terms that are used in home insurance policies. If you do not understand what these terms mean, you may not fully understand your policy. At E.S.T.I.R. Inc. we want to ensure people understand the policies they are getting. If you need home insurance in the greater Newark NJ area, we invite you to sit down with us to go over your home insurance needs. We will help to determine the best policy for you and explain any terms or questions you may have about the policy. Call us now to get started.

I Remodeled My Home: Do I Need To Increase The Value of My Home Insurance Policy?

If you have remodeled your home, you may have increased the value of your home. This may leave you wondering if your home insurance policy should be increased as well. Here is some information you need to consider.

Home Insurance Does Not Pay You the Value of Your Home

One common misconception about home insurance is that home insurance covers the value of your home. However, they do not. They cover what it would cost to rebuild or repair your home after an event. For example, if your $250,000 home was damaged in a fire, insurance would not pay you $250,000, if your policy limits are that high. They would pay what it would cost to rebuild your home to the same level it was before. This may only be $150,000 or $200,000. This is important to keep in mind as many people confuse the two.

Reasons to Increase Your Value After Remodeling

If you have remodeled, you may have used materials that are more expensive to repair than the materials you previously had. For example, marble is more expensive to replace than porcelain tiles. As such, if you have used expensive materials in your remodel, you will want to increase the value of your home insurance policy so these items are included if you need to file a claim.

Deciding whether to increase or decrease your home insurance policy is a big decision. You should let someone with experience and expertise guide you. When you have questions about a home insurance policy or are looking to purchase a new one, let E.S.T.I.R. Inc. in Newark, NJ help. Call us now to get answers to your question or get started pricing out your new insurance policy.

Ways to Prevent Pipes from Freezing

If you own a home in Newark, NJ, you know how severe the winter weather can be on plumbing pipes. Frozen pipes can burst and cause flood damage to your home, which is costly to repair.  Addressing a few items before the harsh winter sets in can decrease or eliminate the risk of frozen pipes.  Here are some preventative measures you can help protect your plumbing.

Plumbing Location

Some pipes are more likely to freeze than others due to their location. There are three areas where they are more at risk to freezing. Any exposed plumbing in unheated areas of your home, plumbing in the exterior walls, and any plumbing located outside you home.

Preventative Measures

For interior exposed pipes, such as in the basement, attic, or crawl space, inexpensive foam pipe insulation is often enough for moderately cold weather.  For severe cold temperatures, it’s better to use thermostatically controlled heat tape that automatically turns on when it drops to a certain low temperature. Pipes located in an under-insulated exterior wall, it’s best to have insulation shot into the wall or to open the wall and add insulation.  There is no quick or easy fix for these areas, and it may pay to have the plumbing rerouted. Outside plumbing, you can install frost-proof spigots or a faucet insulator and close the interior shut-off valve that leads to the faucet. Don’t forget to unhook and store the garden hose because if it freezes, it can actually cause an interior pipe to burst.

E.S.T.I.R. Inc.

E.S.T.I.R. Inc. provides homeowner’s insurance to those in the Newark, NJ area, so we know how damaging the climate can be to homes. We want to help you protect your home investment. Contact an agent today to discuss your home coverage.

Does Location Affect Your Home Insurance?

Location location location seems to be the mantra of real estate shoppers. The reasons vary from ideal commute to work, views, crime rates, school systems, proximity to nature and many more. But many people do not consider the insurance ramifications when choosing the location of their real estate purchases. The fact is that the location of a home has a direct impact on the insurance that the home needs, and even the insurance rates for the home.  E.S.T.I.R. Inc. serves Newark, NJ and the surrounding areas and can help you consider your insurance options for any location.

It is all about risk. If the home is located in an area that has an increased risk for any reason then the need for insurance increases,as does the likelihood of that insurance being used rise proportionately. But what defines an area with increased risk and rates? The answer can vary. FEMA.gov lists official areas that are rated according to the risk of natural disaster, that is a great place to start when identifying insurance needs and potential danger. But when it comes to other factors that are not natural disasters the risk/rate can vary even by neighborhood or city block. Careful consideration when purchasing a home and insurance for that home is vital to keep your family covered no matter what.

Contact us at E.S.T.I.R. Inc. to discuss the insurance needs of a home you may be considering and to make sure you are fully covered for any disaster in your unique Newark, NJ neighborhood.  It is important to consider all of the variables when purchasing a home and insurance for it.