Why Homeowners Outside Florence's Path Should Check Their Insurance

As Hurricane Florence nears the U.S. East Coast, it’s a good time for homeowners outside its projected path to check their insurance coverage. Now upgraded to a Category 4, Florence is expected to bring damaging winds, heavy rainfall and life-threatening storm surges when it arrives on the Southeast and mid-Atlantic coastlines on Thursday.

It’s too late for homeowners in its path to make any changes to their insurance, but people in other hurricane-prone areas should use this as a reminder that the next big storm could be headed their way.

It’s a big risk not to have sufficient coverage if you live in an area prone to storms. As many past hurricane victims know, it only takes on major weather event to seriously damage - or destroy - your home.

Most people fail to read their insurance contract to understand what’s covered and what’s not, and they they’re surprised after an event when they discover that they have little to no coverage. It’s important not to wait until a storm hits the horizon as there could be a lag between when you first decide to get it and when it takes effect; and once a storm has been named, forget about it.

Here are some tips for making sure you’re prepared if the next storm heads your way:

  • Check your deductible

  • Prepare for flooding

  • Renters are vulnerable, too

  • Safeguard your documents

  • Consider flood insurance, even if you aren’t in a high-risk flood zone

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Oh deer! What to know about animal collisions

As fall approaches, drivers everywhere will have a new set of factors to consider as they get behind the wheel. Earlier sunsets mean less visible roads and, depending on where you live, a change in weather could result in more rain or snow. These are just a few conditions drivers can expect as the season changes.

But the fall also signifies the seasonal migration of animals, particularly deer, throughout large parts of the country. One-third (34%) of all animal collision comprehensive claims are filed during the fall, according to Farmers Insurance.

Facts and figures to consider: 

Nearly two-thirds (64%) of Americans who participated in a recent Farmers/ORC International survey think stopping short or swerving should they encounter a deer on the road is usually the best option to minimize damage.

Best driving practices for the fall:

Try to schedule drives during the daylight hours to reduce the likelihood of an animal encounter. Wildlife is more active at dusk and dawn, and limited vision during those times will make it harder to spot an animal.

Steps to take if you hit a deer:

  1. If you hit an animal, pull over and call local law enforcement. They can direct you on what actions to take. In some states, there are special requirements regarding animal collisions. 
  2. Stay away from the animal because it may only be stunned. It may panic causing additional harm to you or your vehicle if you're too close. 
  3. Once home, check with your state's department of motor vehicles to make sure you've covered all your bases. 

As the fall approaches, drivers should consider the growing number of risks the season presents. Keeping these helpful tips in mind will help drivers stay safe as we transition into the fall. 

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FEMA Could Run Out of Money Friday

With Texas still reeling from Hurricane Harvey and another storm barreling toward Florida, the Federal Emergency Management Agency is expected to run out of money by Friday, according to a Senate aide, putting pressure on Congress to provide more funding this week.

As of 10 a.m. Tuesday morning, FEMA’s Disaster Relief Fund, which pays for the agency’s disaster response and recovery activity, had just $1.01 billion on hand. And of that, just $541 million was “immediately available” for response and recovery efforts related to Hurricane Harvey, according to a spokeswoman for FEMA who asked not to be identified by name.

The $1.01 billion in the fund Tuesday morning is less than half of the $2.14 billion that was there at 9 a.m. last Thursday morning -- a spend rate of $9.3 million every hour, or about $155,000 a minute.

The agency would be out of funds just as Irma, a category 5 hurricane, might start thrashing the coast of Florida.

“If it’s down to $1 billion or less, then I would say there’s a great concern,” said Elizabeth Zimmerman, who until January was FEMA’s associate administrator for the office of response and recovery. “Congress needs to take action very quickly.”

President Donald Trump’s administration has asked Congress for an injection of almost $8 billion in additional funds.

The House is voting Wednesday on funding for Harvey. The Senate, which is expected to act this week as well, is considering whether to add a suspension of the federal debt limit to the measure. The legislation would then go back to the House.

In the meantime, FEMA has restricted spending to what it calls “immediate needs” -- what it calls “lifesaving, life-sustaining response efforts” for Harvey and Irma. Zimmerman said the agency can also start pulling money from other projects.

But without more money, Zimmerman said, the agency will be hard-pressed to deal with what’s coming. “We’re not even at peak hurricane season,” she said.

Irma comes after Hurricane Harvey, which smashed ashore in Texas Aug. 25 causing widespread damage, power outages and flooding and taking almost a fifth of U.S. oil refining capacity offline.

Harbour Insurance Joins CENTURY 21 New Millennium's Family of Service Providers

We are very proud and excited to formally announce our partnership with CENTURY 21 New Millennium as their insurance arm!

Read CENTURY 21 New Millennium's press release announcing our partnership:

NM Management, Inc., parent company of CENTURY 21 New Millennium, First County MortgageBay County TitleNM Relocation Services, and NM Commercial Services, has announced the affiliation of Harbour Insurance, a newly formed, local independent insurance agency, dedicated to serving the various personal and business insurance needs of individuals and families in the New Millennium real estate services network. CENTURY 21 New Millennium, five times the No. 1 CENTURY 21® firm in the World, has 19 branch office locations and more than 850 real estate professionals who provide a complete range of real estate services to clients in the Greater Capital Areas of Maryland, Virginia and the District of Columbia.

Harbour Insurance represents many “A” and “A+” rated insurance companies, each with its own set of underwriting guidelines and pricing. The company’s independence allows them to shop multiple companies to secure the most comprehensive and cost-effective coverage for a client’s unique needs.

“The NM Management family of companies already does a fantastic job of making sure their agents and clients have direct access to mortgage, title, relocation services, and other resources needed when purchasing a home,” Kevin Fox, President of Harbour Insurance, said. “Our goal is to expand those resources by providing homeowners insurance, bundled policies with personal autos, umbrella and other products which will further define NM’s full-service reputation.”

NM Management’s CEO and Co-Owner Todd Hetherington stated that, “The Harbour Insurance management and service team have already demonstrated their value. One of our agents was informed that the settlement scheduled on the following day was contingent on having a homeowner’s insurance policy in place. When the buyer’s existing insurance agent couldn’t provide the policy in time, Harbour was able to quote, bind, and issue the documents needed for closing…and THAT’S what exceptional customer care looks like.”

NM’s President and Co-Owner Mary Lynn Stone added, “The team at Harbour understands that families work hard for the things they value, and their goal is to work just as hard helping families protect those things. We are very pleased to add Harbour Insurance to our growing list of exceptional service providers.”

Connect with Harbour Insurance and request a quote today at Harbour-Insurance.com, or by phone at (703) 848-2300.

Important Insurance Terms You Should Be Familiar With

Finding affordable insurance can be difficult, especially if there are insurance terms you don't understand. Simply having the basic understanding of insurance definitions can make the difference between having a policy that will cover you for the majority of your expenses and one that leaves you paying thousands of dollars out of pocket. 

Listed below are some of the most important definitions that InsNerds has compiled to better help you navigate the sometimes confusing world of insurance. 

Basics of Insurance:

Insurance: Paying a company a little money for the promise they will pay a lot of money for things we break without meaning to.

Risk: Chance of something changing either for better or worse .

Pure Risk: An event that can only leave you worse off, but not better.

Speculative Risk: An event that could leave you better or worse.

Probability: The chance that an event will happen written as a number.

Physical Hazard: something real about a building, job or place that creates a larger chance of a poor ending

Moral Hazard: Something that might lead the owner to break his own stuff.

Morale Hazard: Something that might lead the owner to not care if his stuff breaks.

Liability: When the law says you have to pay for breaking something.

Premium: The little bit of money that the company asks you to pay for the promise that they will pay a lot of money if you break or lose something covered by their promise.

Claim: Asking somebody else to pay when something breaks or is lost.

Insurer/Carrier: A company who promised to pay for big things you break or lose if you pay them a little money before it happened.

Insured: The person who gets paid when something breaks or is lost.

Policy: A written paper that explains in long words the promise you have bought from the company and what is covered or not covered.

Contract: A written promise.

 

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