Category Homeowners Insurance

Homeowner aftershock: Insurers jack up earthquake insurance rates

%image_alt%Following the devastating earthquakes that hit Chile and Haiti, some insurance companies are hiking rates on earthquake insurance by as much as 200%. A recent article reported that California-based GeoVera Insurance Company nearly tripled one customer’s premium, from $2,500 to $7,100 a year.

The question is: Are insurers playing on homeowner’s fears that an earthquake may devastate their lives, too? Or are they trying to prevent their own financial disaster from occurring?
In cases like these, one can’t help but wonder whether insurers are trying to avoid future losses and get customers to drop the coverage altogether. Similar rate hikes on homeowners insurance and flood insurance occurred in Florida and other hurricane-prone states after Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans and three other ...

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Outdated FEMA Maps Forcing People to Buy Unnecessary Flood Insurance

Everyone knows the golden rule of real estate: “Location, location, location.” But that’s also one of the golden rules of insurance. If you live in a city with a high rate of car accidents and thefts, for instance, you can expect to pay more for your car insurance premiums. It’s understandable that insurers would adjust premiums based on regional trends, but it’s also not entirely fair: A safe driver who parks in a locked garage is still going to pay high premiums if he or she lives in a city like Washington, D.C.

And it turns out the calculus for determining whether you need to buy flood insurance can also be unfair.

As the Today Show reports, some homeowners are being forced to buy flood insurance even if they aren’t in a flood zone...

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2 Years Later, Congress Poised to Undo Flood Law

Flood Insurance

Wayne Parry/AP

WASHINGTON — Less than two years after Congress approved a landmark bill to overhaul the federal flood insurance program, lawmakers are poised to undo many of the changes after homeowners in flood-prone areas complained about sharp increases in premiums.

The House overwhelmingly passed a bill Tuesday night that would allow sellers to give their subsidized, below-market insurance rates to new buyers and lower the cap on how much flood insurance premiums can rise each year.

Rep. Michael Grimm, a New York Republican who co-sponsored the bill, said it would ensure that families across the country, including those still struggling to recover from Superstorm Sandy, can avoid “a wave of devastating premium hikes and foreclosures.”

The Senate could soon follow. Sen...

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Most dangerous states: Crime rankings for 2010

%image_alt%Better lock your doors! The results of ‘s annual State Crime Rankings are in and, for some states, the results aren’t pretty. For nearly two decades, these rankings have shown how the 50 states compare against the national average for six crimes: murder, rape, robbery, aggravated assault, burglary and motor vehicle theft.

According to , the six categories are compared to the national reported crime rates and then indexed (with each of the crimes carrying equal weight) to create a summary score and ranking. Larceny-theft, which accounts for 59% of all reported crimes in America, is not included as part of this report because the FBI and other criminologists concluded in 2004 that this was no longer a true indicator of crime.

In this year’s ranking, Delaware saw the biggest increase in cri...

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Should new flood insurance program include wind coverage?

floodFlood insurance is only available through the federal National Flood Insurance Program, and this program is scheduled to expire in March.

Now groups are lining up on both sides of the question of whether to include wind damage in the coverage. The Hurricane Katrina experience showed how difficult it can be to separate damage from moving water from that caused by wind.

U.S. Representative Gene Taylor of Mississippi has proposed the Multiple-Peril Insurance Act, which would expand the government’s program to include wind damage. Taylor accused major insurers of ducking payment for damages from the hurricane by claiming that damage was due to flooding, which was not covered under their policies, rather than wind, which was.

Taylor believes that by bundling wind and flood damage, claimants wi...

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Five Financial Tips for Baby Boomers Hitting 65

Baby BoomersBaby Boomers hit a big milestone this year: the oldest will be hitting 65, what was once called the Golden Years. For the next 19 years, 10,000 of them will mark this big occasion every day, according to Pew Research Center.

To help them navigate this new era and the growing pains that come with it, here are five tips from Jodi Olshevski, head of The Hartford Advance 50 Team, and Lisa Lobo, a Hartford consumer insurance specialist:1. Re-evaluate Your Home

Telling yourself that stairs are a form of exercise doesn’t make walking them any easier. If you are downsizing to a smaller house or redoing your home, consider how flexible the space is and whether it can be adapted as you age.

Olshevski said that the National Association of Home Builders had nine recommendations, including having the m...

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Hurricane Sandy, One Year Later: Following the Recovery Money

Noreaster (Residents of a flood-wrecked home in Point Pleasant Beach N.J. offer encouragement to fellow victims of Superstorm Sa
APPoint Pleasant Beach, N.J. in the days after Sandy. — Hurricane Sandy was without a doubt the most destructive storm to hit New Jersey in modern times, causing dozens of deaths, damaging or destroying nearly 350,000 buildings, and leaving 7 million residents in the dark. Official estimates put statewide losses at around $37 billion, but one recent study speculated that once factors like loss of economic activity and tourism dollars, borrowing costs, infrastructure repairs, and storm mitigation are taken into account, the cost could rise billions or even tens of billions higher.

New Jersey’s 127 miles of coastline contain billions of dollars of real estate, and they’re the source of tens of thousands of seasonal jobs and a $19 billion tourism industry, so rebuilding the...

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The 2 Mortgage Guys explain benefits of escrow

This week on Show & Tell with The 2 Mortgage Guys we’ll explain how escrowing works when included in your mortgage payment. We’ll explain the benefit and advantage of escrowing your taxes and insurance as well as what could happen with future payments.

Ryan Minick and Steve DeLon are The 2 Mortgage Guys. Subscribe to their newsletter or visit them at

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Hurricane Sandy, One Year Later: Assessing the Economic Cost

Superstorm Sandy Breezy Point (A worker walks the roof line of a house under construction in the Breezy Point community of New Y
AP, Mark LennihanA worker walks the roof line of a house under construction in the Breezy Point community of New York’s Queens borough on Wednesday, July 24, 2013. It is the first house to be rebuilt in the beachfront community where more than 110 homes burned to the ground during Superstorm Sandy in October 2012.

The intersection of hurricanes and economics is a heartless, insensitive place. If it can be avoided, you shouldn’t go there.

We’re referring specifically here to Hurricane Sandy.

For the Country as a Whole, Just a Blip on the Economic Radar

As we approach the one-year anniversary of the second most destructive storm in American history, thousands of people are still displaced from their homes, businesses continue to struggle, and municipalities are squeaking by on a fraction ...

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Why Insurance Deductibles Should Be So High They Hurt

home covered

Getty Images

NEW YORK — You can save up to 41 percent in home insurance premiums if you raise your policy’s deductible — but there is risk.

Insurers will charge you less in premiums if you hike your deductible, although the amount you save depends on what state you live in, and often works in their favor by putting more financial burden on the homeowner in the case of such problems as fire or flood.

For example, if a small fire causes $4,500 in damage to your home and your policy has a $5,000 deductible, you’re on the hook for the entire cost of repairs.

Since savings vary so much from state to state, consumers need to consider the bottom line before increasing deductibles.

“Since savings vary so much from state to state, consumers need to consider the bottom line before increasing ded...

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