RateGenius Insurance

9300 United Drive, Suite 180
Austin, TX 78758

Can I Make Repairs Myself If I File a Home Insurance Claim?

If you have filed a homeowners insurance claim, the company may send an adjuster out to examine the damage, determine how much it will cost to repair, and then cut you a check for the difference between that and your deductible. One of the questions that we at Rate Genius Insurance, serving the greater Austin, TX area, are often asked is whether you can make the repairs yourself with the check or whether you have to hire a contractor. Here is some information you will want to know. 

What Happens Next?

Once an insurance company cuts you a check, you are free to use it how you wish. You can decide to do the work yourself, hire a contractor, or hire a family friend to complete the work for you. However, it is important to understand that if you complete the work yourself or use an unlicensed contractor. Home insurance may not cover any damage done to your home by improper repairs or repairs that are not up to code. As such, it is strongly advised that you hire a licensed contractor who has their own insurance and is familiar with local codes when you are looking to have any repairs made to your home. 

Having the right homeowner’s insurance policy in place is always important before the unexpected occurs. This helps to ensure you are properly covered and that the process will go as smoothly as possible. If you are looking to obtain a new home insurance policy, contact Rate Genius Insurance, serving the greater Austin, TX area today. We can help you find the right policy for your needs. Call us now to get started. 

Home Incident Statistics with Fires and Floods

If you’re deciding between purchasing home owner’s insurance and not having insurance, you should take into account the high rate that incidents in the home occur. If you think you’re saving money by not purchasing insurance, you’re not. A policy from Rate Genius Insurance, serving Austin, TX and the surrounding area, will protect your home in the event something happens. Whether you realize it or not, the chances of something happening is quite high. 

Fire

According to the U.S. Fire Administration, a division of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), fires affected 1,298,000 people in 2014 alone. The financial loss associated with these fires totaled $11.6 billion for the year. A majority of fires–50.8 percent to be exact–in 2015 were caused by cooking incidents such as a grease fire. In the same year, 19.8 percent were caused by heating including furnaces and space heaters. Of the fires in this year, electrical malfunction accounted for 6.4 percent, which includes incidents caused by old wiring. Although it’s the least common cause of fires, unintentional/careless reasons attributed to 6.4 percent of fires. An example of an unintentional fire is one caused by a cigarette not being put out all the way.

Flooding

First, home insurance does not typically cover floods. It is still vital to know the statistics of floods and how they affect your home. Floods can cause a substantial amount of damage to a home that could be caused by a significant storm or just an elevated amount of rainfall. Improper drainage could cause your home to flood, even in conditions when it’s not raining torrentially. Each year floods affect various regions of the U.S. In 2014, the National Weather Service reported $2,861,426,089 worth of flood damage across the U.S. In 2011, the same association stated the U.S. suffered from $9,102,294,087 worth of flood damage. 

Consider the value of your home. If one of these occurred or another type of issue arose that caused damage, could you afford the expense to repair or replace everything in your home including its structure? Contact Rate Genius Insurance, serving Austin, TX and the surrounding area, today for a homeowner’s insurance quote by calling 866-413-6768, so you’re never in the predicament where your home is damaged, and you can’t afford to fix it.

Three Surprising Things Your Homeowner’s Insurance Covers

You most likely couldn’t have purchased your current home in Austin, TX, without homeowner’s insurance. The policy protects your most important investment by compensating you for damage or loss to the structure of your house and its contents. It also takes care of other issues in your life, which may come as a surprise. Rate Genius Insurance points out just some of the other things it covers.

Belongings Stolen Outside Your Home

You may have gone on a shopping spree and all the packages were stolen from your car, only to discover auto insurance doesn’t cover you. In another example, you may have had your pockets picked while out of your home. In both cases, homeowner’s insurance compensates you. Your policy may take care of possessions stolen outside the home even while you’re traveling abroad. Coverage is usually limited to 10 percent of the maximum amount that your policy would pay for all the contents of your home. A police report is generally needed if you want to file a claim.

Lawsuits For Incidents Outside Your Property

If your dog bites someone while you’re walking it in a park or you accidentally hurt someone during a sports competition, you may be sued for medical expenses as well as pain and suffering. Your homeowner’s insurance may include liability coverage for at least $100,000 for such contingencies. If that amount seems too low to you, given today’s more litigious society, you can easily raise it for higher premiums by talking to your agent.

Landscaping

Trees, flowers, and other foliage on your property are covered by your homeowner’s insurance typically up to 5 percent of your policy limit. However, they must be plants that you bought for the property. Those that were growing on your lot previously are not covered. In addition, certain types of damage may not be covered, such as wind. Taking photos of your landscaping before and after the loss is helpful.

If you need more information about what homeowner’s insurance covers in Austin, TX, please contact Rate Genius Insurance.

Spring Home Maintenance Tips

If you have a home insurance policy, you are required to properly maintain your home. If you fail to do so and a problem arises, the insurance company may have legal ground to deny your case. However, many homeowner’s are unsure of how to properly maintain their home. Following the cold, wet, and icy winter, there are a few things around the exterior of your Austin, TX home you will want to inspect and possibly have worked on or repaired.

They include:

The Foundation of Your Home

If you notice any cracks around the base of your home, you will want to have them inspected and potentially repaired to prevent further problems with the foundation of your home in the future. If you do not do so, the cracks can spread allowing water to enter your home.

The Roof

If you do not feel comfortable doing so yourself, a roofer can inspect the roof on your behalf. Catching any damaged or missing shingles and tiles, or any other roofing problems, allow you the opportunity to fix the problem before the next rainfall. Water can enter your home and cause a leak if your roof is not maintained.

Your Windows

Always inspect the caulking around your windows and look for signs of water damage. If you notice any signs of water damage around the windows, they may need to be re-caulked or you may need to have new windows installed. You can lose a great deal of energy through old windows and moisture damage can occur to your structural wall supports if water seeps in.

If you are in the market for a new home insurance policy in Austin, TX, Rate Genius Insurance would love to help. Contact us today to get started on a quote or use our online rating tool for quotes on your home and auto insurance policies.

Keep Your Home Safe from Household Hazardous Materials

Nearly every household in the United States has household hazardous material (HHMs) as part of the household cleaning and maintenance.  These are often stored under the sinks, in closets, garages, and basements.  They are useful to help make household chores easier, but they can pose a threat to those in your home, especially children, or to the environment if they are not disposed of properly when they are not needed or expired. 

How to Tell if a Product is an HHMs

Household products that are considered hazardous will have one of these keywords: Warning, Danger, Caution, or Poison.  If products in your home have any of these keywords, then they could be toxic, flammable, corrosive, or reactive.

  • Toxic products can cause immediate or long-term illness because they are poisonous.  Often these are paint thinner, pesticides, some automotive products, and some cleaners.
  • If the product is flammable, it will ignite easily.  Products like paint, paint thinner, solvents, and some automotive products are flammable and combustible.
  • Corrosive products can eat through materials.  Items like oven cleaner, drain cleaner, toilet bowl cleaners, and automobile batteries are corrosive products that can be harmful.
  • Reactive materials are household products that should never be mixed because they can create poisonous vapors or spontaneously ignite when mixed.  You’ll need to review product labels for warnings about other products not to mix with or to keep away from heat, air, water, or shaking because they can explode.

Rate Genius Insurance

Our agents at Rate Genius Insurance want everyone to keep their household safe from hazardous materials.  Make sure your home insurance provides adequate coverage for any incidents caused by HHMs by contacting a Rate Genius agent today.  We provide homeowner insurance coverage for those with homes in the United States.