The best homeowner insurance is the insurance that best meets your needs. The insurance shopper that takes the time to understand the basic elements of home insurance will have much more confidence and sense of satisfaction when making an insurance purchase. The homeowner policy has been around for a long time and so most of us have a general concept on how the policy works. The more you know about the market value of your home and the approximate cost to rebuild it the better off you will be when shopping for the homeowner policy.
This kind of knowledge is the foundation for determining what kind of policy to purchase. The age of your home has a direct bearing on the market value. The older homes built in the 1900’s have much lower market values today because most of them have depreciated. The market value for an older Victorian style home may be $50,000 but the actual cost to rebuild that home may be $200,000. The older homes that depreciate in market value are insured with actual cash value policies. They are often called market value policies. These policies will reimburse you for the market value of your home when there is a total loss. The market value policy is the best homeowner policy for the older home that has depreciated.
The replacement cost policy is better designed for newer homes or homes under construction. The replacement cost of a home and the market value are almost the same. Replacement cost is applied to the dwelling and most often to the contents of the dwelling. Replacement cost will repair or replace any loss with like kind and quality of materials without depreciation.
The best homeowner insurance for you will be determined by the age and market value of your home. The discounts for older and newer homes are the same. The protective device discount for deadbolt locks, smoke detectors, and fire extinguisher apply to both types of policies. Fire and burglar alarm systems are additional discounts that could be applied to both older and newer homes. Check our recommended insurers for more details.
Last year the UK's average premium for Buildings Insurance increased by 1% to just over £205 and the average for Contents Insurance rose to £151, up 2%. But within the market we've seen some much bigger rises – if you're with Norwich Union you'll have seen your premium rise by around 6%.
So what's going on? Every year we see premiums rising. Surely with so much competition in the home insurance market, you wouldn't expect to see such inexorable rises in premiums?
Let's consider the situation more carefully.
The cost of repairing and rebuilding houses is a reflection of the rising price of labour and building materials. This means that cost to the insurers of claims under the buildings cover similarly rises. So as their costs rise, so do your premiums. And there's also the indisputable fact that cost inflation also affects the insurance companies own operating costs. Wherever possible, they're bound to add a little extra on for that!
Then there's that lovely British weather. Michael Fish could be forgiven for believing we don't live in a hurricane zone, but nevertheless it's a fact that storms, and especially floods, are becoming ever more frequent. Flood damage can be particularly destructive with, according to the Association of British Insurers, the average insurance claim ranging between £15,000 and £30,000. And during the last 18 months we have seen particularly destructive floods create headline news at Helmsley in North Yorkshire, Carlisle, and Boscastle in Cornwall. Those events must have cost the insurance companies multi-millions.
The other area where costs have been rising is burglary. The average burglary claim has now risen to around £1,400. There seem to be two reasons – firstly burglars are finding pickings easier to come by and move on. Modern family homes are packed with valuable electronic gismos – from laptops to I pods, digital cameras and flat screen TV's. The other reason is that burglars are targeting well-off neighbourhoods more and more.
Against this background the insurance companies are able to price home and contents insurance down to individual postcodes. If their records show a problem with flooding, or subsidence, or an increasing incidence of burglary in you immediate area, their computers will load your premium to reflect the additional risk.
Your no-claims discount will only serve to offset these upward pressures to a certain extent. And don't forget that once you have a five years no-claims record, your discount doesn't increase, it's capped. Thereafter, all the premium increases will land fully in your lap.
So what can you do to save money?
The most important step by far, is to shop around every year for the best available deal. Maybe it's a chore, but thirty or forty minutes on the Internet (including ten minutes on this web site!) will yield you results. Within that space of time you'll have found the cheapest insurer and, as an online customer, you'll probably have qualified for an additional 10% discount. Then you can always agree to pay by direct debit – that'll also trim off a bit more.
Of course there are other things you can do, especially in the arena of home security. Join the local neighbourhood watch scheme, install security locks on your windows, fit external security lighting, up-grade the locks on your doors and get a burglar alarm. Added security will earn you discounts on your insurance but will cost you money to install! Perhaps the added peace of mind alone will be worth the cost. Only the local neighbourhood watch scheme arrives free!
The best general rule is don't stick with the same insurance company too long. Keep them on their toes. They have a tendency to take loyal customers for granted. Yes, it really does pay to shop around – try it and prove it to yourself!
Universal Insurance Holdings, Inc. ("UIH" or the "Company") was organized as Universal Heights, Inc. in 1990. The Company changed its name to Universal Insurance Holdings, Inc. on January 12, 2001. In April 1997, the Company organized a subsidiary, Universal Property & Casualty Insurance Company ("UPCIC"), as part of its strategy to take advantage of growth opportunities in the Florida homeowners’ insurance marketplace. UPCIC was formed to participate in the transfer of homeowners' insurance policies from the Florida Residential Property and Casualty Joint Underwriting Association ("JUA"). The Company has since evolved into a vertically integrated insurance holding company, which through its various subsidiaries, covers substantially all aspects of insurance underwriting, distribution, claims processing and exposure management.
Universal Insurance Holdings, Inc. (UIH), with its wholly-owned subsidiaries, is a vertically integrated insurance holding company performing all aspects of insurance underwriting, distribution and claims. Universal Property & Casualty Insurance Company (UPCIC), a wholly owned subsidiary of the Company, is one of the three leading writers of homeowners insurance in Florida and is now fully licensed and has commenced its operations in Alabama, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Indiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and South Carolina. American Platinum Property and Casualty Insurance Company (APPCIC), also a wholly owned subsidiary, currently writes homeowners multi-peril insurance on Florida homes valued in excess of $1 million, which are limits and coverages currently not targeted through its affiliate UPCIC.
UIH’s insurance company subsidiaries have established strong relationships with a network of over 8,000 independent agents by emphasizing personal interaction, offering superior services and maintaining an exclusive focus on homeowners insurance. The Company’s insurance company underwriters work closely with independent agents to market and underwrite business. With competitively priced products, convenient installment billing plans and proactive claims management, both UPCIC and APPCIC provide their customers with superior service.
At December 31, 2015, UIH's insurance company subsidiaries serviced approximately 624 thousand homeowners and dwelling fire insurance policies.
Sean P. Downes
Chairman and Chief Executive OfficerSean P. Downes has been Chairman of the Board of Directors and Chief Executive Officer of the Company since 2013 and a director of the Company since 2005. Mr. Downes also served as President of the Company from 2013 until March 2016. Prior to serving in these roles, he served as Senior Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of the Company since 2005 and Chief Operating Officer and a director of UPCIC, a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Company, since 2003. Mr. Downes was Chief Operating Officer of Universal Adjusting Corporation from 1999 to 2003. During that time, Mr. Downes created the Company's claims operation. Before joining the Company in 1999, Mr. Downes was Vice President of Downes and Associates, a multi-line insurance claims adjustment corporation.
Jon W. Springer
President and Chief Risk OfficerJon W. Springer has been President and Chief Risk Officer of the Company since March 2016 and a director of the Company since 2013. Mr. Springer has held several senior leadership positions with increasing responsibility at the Company, and has been instrumental in the development of the Company’s reinsurance programs and operations. Prior to assuming the positions of President and Chief Risk Officer, Mr. Springer served as Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of the Company since 2013. Previously, Mr. Springer was Executive Vice President of Blue Atlantic Reinsurance Corporation, a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Company, from 2008 to 2013, and Executive Vice President of Universal Risk Advisors, Inc., a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Company, from 2006 to 2008. Before joining Universal Risk Advisors, Inc., Mr. Springer was an Executive Vice President of Willis Re, Inc. and was responsible for managing property and casualty operations in its Minneapolis office.
Stephen J. Donaghy
Chief Operating OfficerStephen J. Donaghy has been Chief Operating Officer of the Company since March 2016. Mr. Donaghy has held key senior leadership roles in the areas of operations, marketing, sales and corporate strategy throughout his career. Prior to assuming the position of Chief Operating Officer, Mr. Donaghy served as the Company’s Chief Marketing Officer, a position he held starting in January 2015. Mr. Donaghy previously served as the Company’s Chief Administrative Officer from 2013 to June 2015, Chief Information Officer from 2009 to 2013 and Executive Vice President from 2006 to 2009. Before joining the Company, Mr. Donaghy held various executive positions at JM Family Enterprises, a top 100 Forbes private company in the United States; including Vice President of Strategic Initiatives, Vice President of Sales and Marketing and Senior Information Officer.
Chief Financial Officer and Principal Accounting OfficerFrank C. Wilcox became Chief Financial Officer and Principal Accounting Officer of the Company and its wholly-owned insurance subsidiaries in 2013. Prior to this role, he served as the Company's Vice President - Finance since 2011. Before joining the Company, Mr. Wilcox was Director, Consolidation and SEC Reporting at Burger King Corporation from 2006 to 2011. From 2000 to 2006, he served as Senior Vice President, Controller at BankUnited. Earlier in his career he served in various capacities within the financial services industry, which included a role as an auditor at a large public accounting firm. Mr. Wilcox has been licensed as a certified public accountant in New York since 1996.
Kimberly D. Cooper
Chief Information OfficerKimberly D. Cooper became the Chief Administrative Officer of the Company in June 2015 and the Chief Information Officer of the Company in February 2015. Prior to assuming these roles, Ms. Cooper spent eight years in the Company’s IT department, serving as both IT Manager and then IT Audit Director. She managed new application deployment and performed ongoing security and risk awareness training to improve operational efficiencies and ensure ongoing compliance with regulatory requirements. Before joining the Company, Ms. Cooper supervised audit and assurance engagements for Fortune 500 clients in the financial services industry, both domestically and internationally, as part of the systems and process assurance practice at PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC). She has been licensed as a Certified Information Security Auditor (CISA) and Certified in Risk and Information Security Controls (CRISC) since December of 2007. Ms. Cooper holds a Bachelor of Science degree from University of California, Berkeley.
Cape Cod Home Insurance
Q3 2016 Universal Insurance Holdings Inc Earnings Call
Fort Lauderdale Nov 3, 2016 (Thomson StreetEvents) -- Edited Transcript of Universal Insurance Holdings Inc earnings conference call or presentation Wednesday, November 2, 2016 at 8:45:00pm GMT
TEXT version of Transcript
ACTUAL CASH VALUE
An amount equivalent to the fair market value of the stolen or damaged property immediately preceding the loss. For real property, this amount can be based on a determination of the fair market value of the property before and after the loss. For vehicles, this amount can be determined by local area private party sales and dealer quotations for comparable vehicles.
A licensed person or organization authorized to sell insurance by or on behalf of an insurance company.
Coverage on the risks associated with driving or owning an automobile. It can include collision, liability, comprehensive, medical, and uninsured motorist coverages.
A temporary or preliminary agreement, which provides coverage until a policy, can be written or delivered.
A licensed person or organization paid by you to look for insurance on your behalf.
The termination of insurance coverage during the policy period. Flat cancellation is the cancellation of a policy as of its effective date, without any premium charge.
Notice to an insurer that under the terms of a policy, a loss may be covered.
The first or third party. That is any person who asserts right of recovery.
Provision in an insurance policy, usually optional, under which the policyholder, for a reduced rate, agrees to maintain insurance equal to a specified percentage of the value of the property covered. Policyholders who fail to maintain the minimum amount of coverage specified, assume a proportionate share of the loss.
The company refuses to accept the request for insurance coverage.
The amount of the loss which the insured is responsible to pay before benefits from the insurance company are payable. You may choose a higher deductible to lower your premium.
A decrease in value due to age, wear and tear, etc.
Amendment to the policy used to add or delete coverage. Also referred to as a "rider."
Certain causes and conditions, listed in the policy, which are not covered.
The date on which the policy ends.
The dollar amount to be paid to the beneficiary when the insured dies. It does not include other amounts that may be paid from insurance purchased with dividends or any policy riders.
Coverage for loss of or damage to a building and/or contents due to fire.
A period (usually 31 days) after the premium due date, during which an overdue premium may be paid without penalty. The policy remains in force throughout this period.
An option that permits the policyholder to buy additional stated amounts of life insurance at stated times in the future without evidence of insurability.
A policy that will pay specified sums for medical expenses or treatments. Health policies can offer many options and vary in their approaches to coverage.
An elective combination of coverages for the risks of owning a home. Can include losses due to fire, burglary, vandalism, earthquake, and other perils.
A policy provision in which the company agrees not to contest the validity of the contract after it has been in force for a certain period of time, usually two years.
The policyholder - the person(s) protected in case of a loss or claim.
The insurance company.
A policy that will pay a specified sum to beneficiaries upon the death of the insured.
Maximum amount a policy will pay either overall or under a particular coverage.
The amount that can be borrowed at a specified rate of interest from the issuing company by the policyholder, using the value of the policy as collateral. In the event the policyholder dies with the debt partially or fully unpaid, then the amount borrowed plus any interest is deducted from the amount payable.
The policyholder / applicant makes a false statement of any material (important) fact on his/her application. For instance, the policyholder provides false information regarding the location where the vehicle is garaged.
An incorrect estimate of the insurance premium.
The cause of a possible loss. For example, fire, theft, or hail.
The written contract of insurance.
The maximum amount a policy will pay, either overall or under a particular coverage.
The amount of money an insurance company charges for insurance coverage.
A policyholder contracts with a lender to pay the insurance premium on his/her behalf. The policyholder agrees to repay the lender for the cost of the premium, plus interest and fees.
When the policy is terminated midterm by the insurance company, the earned premium is calculated only for the period coverage was provided. For example: an annual policy with premium of $1,000 is cancelled after 40 days of coverage at the company's election. The earned premium would be calculated as follows: 40/365 days X $1,000 = $110.
An estimate of the cost of insurance, based on information supplied to the insurance company by the applicant.
The restoring of a lapsed policy to full force and effect. The reinstatement may be effective after the cancellation date, creating a lapse of coverage. Some companies require evidence of insurability and payment of past due premiums plus interest.
The cost to repair or replace an insured item. Some insurance only pays the actual cash or market value of the item at the time of the loss, not what it would cost to fix or replace it. If you have personal property replacement cost coverage, your insurance will pay the full cost to repair an item or buy a new one once the repairs or purchases have been made.
Usually known as an endorsement, a rider is an amendment to the policy used to add or delete coverage.
When the policy is terminated prior to the expiration date at the policyholder's request. Earned premium charged would be more than the pro-rata earned premium. Generally, the return premium would be approximately 90 percent of the pro-rata return premium. However, the company may also establish its own short-rate schedule.
A licensed employee of a fire and casualty agent or broker who may act for the agent or broker in some circumstances.
An extra charge applied by the insurer. For automobile insurance, a surcharge is usually for accidents or moving violations.
To terminate or cancel a life insurance policy before the maturity date. In the case of a cash value policy, the policyholder may exercise one of the nonforfeiture options at the time of surrender.
The process of selecting applicants for insurance and classifying them according to their degrees of insurability so that the appropriate premium rates may be charged. The process includes rejection of unacceptable risks.
A period of time set forth in a policy that must pass before some or all coverages begin.
Here are some resources that we think you may find useful as a potential home buyer or real estate agent. We will be updating this list regularly, so stay tuned.
Download our inspection contract here.
266 CMR 2.00: Definitions
Definitions of common home inspection terms.
266 CMR 6.00: Standards of Practice
Massachusetts rules and regulations for licensed home inspectors.
Realtors: Get updated on home inspection procedures and the newest MA rules and regulations for home inspectors.
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EPA Private Well Standards
Information from the EPA for homeowners with a private well.
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Some common questions and answers about radon gas.
Hurricane Joaquin, an extremely dangerous Category 4 storm, remains parked over the central Bahamas producing hurricane-force winds, storm surge flooding and torrential rain.
Dozens are trapped in their homes in the central Bahamas, with authorities unable to reach them. All schools have been closed in The Bahamas.
(MORE: Bahamas Latest News/Impacts)
The odds of the U.S. mainland seeing its first landfalling hurricane in 15 months are now very low as the forecast track continues to trend farther to the east. The storm could pass close to the southeast New England coast, and a close pass to Bermuda cannot be ruled out.
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Arthur D. Calfee Insurance Agency, Inc. is proudly serving primary home, vacation home, auto, collector car, business, general liability, property, professional liability, contractor's liability, worker's comp, key man, whole life, term life, group or personal disability, & long-term care insurance policies to patrons in the following Cape Cod, Massachusetts towns, communities and villages: Barnstable, Bourne, Brewster, Buzzards Bay, Centerville, Chatham, Cotuit, Craigville, Dennis, Eastham, Falmouth, Hatchville, Harwich, Hyannis, Hyannisport, Marstons Mills, Mashpee, Orleans, Osterville, Provincetown, Sandwich, Truro, Wellfleet, Woods Hole, Yarmouth, and Yarmouthport.