In this episode our agent, Seth Arruda talks about some of the serious effects of inflation and construction costs on property insurance. The cost of building has risen and we’re seeing that reflected in new construction, but it can also effect the cost to rebuild, especially after a large catastrophic wildfire.
Update: lumber prices have come down recently but that doesn’t mean they will return to pre-pandemic prices. Also the with inflation and with the additional higher costs involved in building those costs are being passed down to the consumer.
So let’s dive into how the rising costs of building materials and inflation are effecting replacement cost and being properly insured to value.
Want to look at a plan for your personal or commercial insurance? Schedule an appointment!
Renters insurance is a type of policy designed for a property you are renting that provides protection in the event of a sudden or accidental occurrence known as a covered peril. These policies protect your tenants in the event of a loss and include three key benefits: coverage for the person, their belongings and stuff, and additional living expenses. The coverage in the policy is referred to as personal liability, personal property, and loss of use.
In California, not everything is covered under renters insurance, so we’ll show you how each plan can be tailored accordingly to fit your tenant’s lifestyle.
Here’s a great resource you can provide to your tenants to educate them about the importance of renters insurance.
1. Does Renters Insurance Protect Landlords in California?
With renters insurance, landlords can protect themselves and their business against liability from tenant’s negligence. It can also protect you from additional costs due to natural disasters or other occurrences. When your tenants carry renters insurance, they protect themselves and it can add an additional layer of protection which can lead to fewer claims filed.
2. What Does Renters Insurance Cover?
We talked about the three key coverages that renters insurance includes: personal property, liability, and additional living expenses. Personal property will cover your contents and belongings inside the property from a covered peril. Things like clothing, furniture, appliances owned by the tenant, and electronics up to the limits of the policy. In California, a good recommendation is including replacement cost coverage for personal property. This provides full replacement for your tenants’ contents and belongings. Without replacements cost, personal property would be covered on an “actual cash value” basis, which could lead to tenant complaints. Liability is the second most important coverage on a renters policy and is overlooked in most cases. In the event of an accident like a slip and fall or personal injury matter like slander liability coverage will pay for claims that arise if a tenant is found responsible or liable for the injuries. It can also cover accidental damage to someone else’s property caused by a tenant.
This can help landlords and property owners reduce claims to their commercial property insurance and reduce out of pocket expense to their business. Another great reason to require renters insurance from your tenants.
The third coverage is loss of use. This will cover any additional living expenses for your tenant if their unit is damaged and needs repair. Things like, a stay at a hotel, or the cost to sign a temporary lease while the repairs are being completed. In California, it can also cover additional living expenses if your tenants are in a mandatory evacuation zone due to a catastrophic wildfire.
Fires are a common peril and can happen due to many different reasons. Whether it’s a kitchen fire, a faulty wire, neighbors negligence, or even a wildfire the damage that is caused can devastate a home or apartment building. Some renters insurance plans will cover fires if your tenant is negligible, like if they forgot to blow out a candle or left the stove on. Between the fire and smoke damage your building could cost more to repair than you think.
Water claims are the number one cause of loss in California and a huge pain point for landlords, especially when you own a building with multiple stories or units that share walls with each other. If a pipe bursts behind the walls it can cause major damage to the building and the interior, like your tenants belongings or furniture. Your landlord insurance covers your structure from water damage that is sudden or accidental and renters insurance covers your tenants “stuff” inside their unit.
Earthquakes and Floods
In California earthquakes and floods are catastrophic perils that require separate policies. When we say flood, we’re talking about outside water due to storm surge or rising water, like a tsunami. Earthquakes and seismic activity can cause total losses to buildings and force tenants out of their homes without a place to live. Tenants can also purchase coverage to protect themselves from these natural disasters separate from their standard renters policy. Your landlord insurance will cover your building but it will not cover any property owned by the tenant. That is why renters insurance is a must for your tenants and their policy will cover their belongings and in most cases replace them. Renters insurance with these additions gives landlords and tenants peace of mind that they can recover from a large natural disaster, like an earthquake or flood.
Having a safe home environment is important to your tenants. Living in an area with security is an important factor when choosing a place to rent. Proper basic protective devices like deadbolts, locks on windows, and even burglar alarms can deter break ins and theft which can reduce damage to the building and filing claims. In the event of a theft, renters insurance can help your tenants replace the items that were stolen. Make sure your tenants document the loss with the proper authorities, that way the renter’s insurance company will pay claims for theft to their property. Tenants can also purchase special coverage for valuable items like jewelry, artwork, guns, and antiques.
Tenants can be sued for a number of reasons due to their own negligence. A slip and fall accident by a guest or if a tenant is responsible for damaging someone else’s property can lead to liability claims that can be costly and stressful. Requiring renters insurance for your tenants in California can mitigate claims for the landlord if their tenants are responsible for damages or if guests are injured and seeking payment for their pain and suffering.
3. How Renters Insurance Protects Landlords
Rising Cost of Insurance
I think we’ve made good case for making renters insurance a requirement for tenants. It offers many benefits to renters to help them protect themselves while giving landlords another tool to protect their real estate investment. When landlords file claims it can lead to higher insurance premiums and in some cases your policy can be non-renewed if there is a frequency of multiple claims. Requiring tenants to provide renters insurance to protect themselves can reduce your exposure to claims and prevent rising insurance costs.
When landlords require renters insurance from their tenants, it creates an additional layer of protection against liability and additional fees due to catastrophic natural disasters, like wildfires in California, and sudden or accidental occurrences.
Managing risk exposures while reducing out of pocket expenses is very important when reviewing your real estate investment portfolio. If you own an investment property you should be working with an agent that specializes in helping landlords and real estate investors stay informed about potential exposures to their business and protect their real estate investments. Hiring a risk manager like Alta Vista Insurance is a sound business strategy to help you be financially protected, build wealth, and achieve financial freedom.
To book an appointment to talk about your investment property click the link here and let us help you create a plan to protect your real estate portfolio.
Morgan is out the studio. In this episode, my agent, Mark Lamb joins me with Edward Hull from Carlsbad Tax Services, a local tax firm in Carlsbad, California.
We dive into some of President, Joe Biden’s new proposed tax plans and a few different tax strategies that business owners, property owners, and high income earners can take advantage of to keep more money in their pockets.
This is an episode you don’t want to miss!
For the latest up to date tax information contact Carlsbad Tax services and click the button below.
Morgan and Seth are talking investment properties! In this episode they talk about getting into real estate investing, the advantages of buying a multi-family property as a smart first choice, and the best way to insure these types of real estate assets.
Whether you’re a first time homebuyer or real estate investor, it’s important to understand how to be financially protected. Click the video above and watch this episode!
To get a quote for your investment property or if you have a portfolio of properties and need an agent that understands how to properly protect those types of real estate assets in California. Click below and schedule a consultation to talk about making a plan.
Morgan and Seth talk about the crazy week the stock market experienced with the GameStop short squeeze, retail investors and the market manipulation, the real estate market in Southern California and how to protect those assets and why real estate continues to be a healthy and strong investment strategy.
Don’t miss this episode and make sure you like, comment, and subscribe because we love doing this!
We started a podcast! This is not your regular insurance podcast.
Since we’re in the business of protecting our client’s real estate assets, we thought it would be valuable to talk about real estate as a primary investment strategy, how to build wealth through real estate, and the best way to protect those assets.
We also talk about current events and how they relate to investing and talk to subject matter experts in the industry to hear their stories and give us some guidance on best practices so you can be financially protected, build wealth, and live your best life. We also have some fun along the way!
Check it out! Time for the call to action! Like, comment, subscribe!
I’m embarking on a new journey this year. Over the last thirteen years I’ve helped homeowners, new home buyers, and real estate investors in California protect their lifestyles and stay out of harms way so they can keep their assets in their pockets.
Very early on I saw the importance of being a problem solver and educating my clients so they could make the right decisions about their insurance protection. It sounds sexy, but it’s not. In fact, most people when you say the word “insurance” they immediately check out and look for the nearest exit.
WHY? I get it. Insurance is boring. Most consumers have no interest in it, until something happens in their life that changes their perception of what insurance actually does and the value it brings.
Insurance is a great tool and when used properly it can create a strong foundation to protect your income, your family, and your health.
I have said before,
the foundation to building wealth starts with financial protection. Understanding how to protect what you already have is one of the primary concepts to achieve financial freedom.
Many of these ideas have to do with the proper mindset. Mindset is everything. Without the right mindset you end up “running for the hills” when someone talks about insurance.
This is where the industry and many of my peers underdeliver. They constantly focus on price and the cost of insurance and overlook the importance of the proper protection. They do consumers a huge disservice by focusing so much of their time and resources on lowering the cost to squeeze every dollar out of the policy that it loses its value. And when the time comes when you need it the most the coverage doesn’t protect your lifestyle.
That is my goal as a personal risk manager. I want to change your mindset and the way you look at insurance. I want to invite you into a story where all your assets are protected, you have peace of mind, and you have the proper plan to achieve financial freedom.
Starting with a plan to be financially protected is the part of the story where we begin our journey. Insurance agents play an important role in guiding their clients in the right direction so they can make educated decisions about the proper protection they desire. That is very valuable to consumers seeking to protect their assets and their real estate investments.
In California, having an insurance agent that works closely with your real estate agent, CPA, and CFP creates a healthy ecosystem of “subject matter experts” that provide holistic solutions to their client’s problems.
Want to learn the benefits of adding a personal risk manager to your team?
And as your needs change they play an intricate role guiding you through different stages of life making sure you stay on the right path to building wealth through real estate.
No matter where you are on your journey through life it’s always best practice to educate yourself on the best way to protect yourself, your family, your income, and your health and well being. You don’t need a million dollars in the bank to start learning how to be financially protected and build wealth.
So let’s start making insurance exciting! Well, maybe not. How about we start with changing the mindset when it comes to insurance. This year I want to lay a foundation starting with some basic strategies that you can implement right now to help you create a plan for you and your family.
Whether you’re buying your first home in California or adding another investment property to your portfolio, this information will help you understand exactly how to protect your lifestyle.
Personal Insurance Protecting Your Home
I’m going to start with some basic tips on how to help you get the best value out of your homeowners insurance in California. These are benefits you can include if you own a home or you’re a first time home buyer!
Make sure your home in California is insured to value and your policy has extended dwelling replacement coverage. Replacement cost is a MUST. Your home has to be insured up to the replacement cost of the structure. How much would it cost to rebuild? That’s replacement cost or insurance to value. I recommend a minimum of 150% extended dwelling replacement. That will come into play if the cost of materials increase or labor costs increase after a covered peril.
Loss of Use. If you have a claim and you cannot live in your home while the repairs are being completed, you need additional living expense coverage. If you have a total loss from a fire you could be displaced from your home up to 1-2 years. This is why having adequate loss of use limits for your lifestyle are critical. Most people overlook this coverage and most agents will reduce this type of coverage to lower the rate. Purchase the maximum amount of loss of use that is available from your insurance company. In California, you can activate this coverage if your home is in a mandatory evacuation zone. Lodging, food, gas, and transportation costs can be covered under additional living expenses.
Liability for your residence premises. If you’re sued due to negligence this will keep your assets in your pockets. In some cases, this coverage can be activated for personal injury as well. Remember, you don’t have to be a millionaire to be sued like one. If you live in California, your property is one of your most valuable assets. You should purchase at least $500,000 in liability on your homeowners policy. Some insurance companies are offering up to $1 Million limits.
PRO TIP: I would also purchase a personal umbrella policy. This is a separate policy you can purchase that provides an additional layer of protection for your assets. It will cover your home, autos, toys, and rental properties and provide you with legal defense in case of a large lawsuit.
Some of my peers say insurance is like defense and if you played sports defense was never very glamourous. But, a good defensive strategy always wins championships. That’s how I want you to start thinking about your insurance protection. As a defensive strategy to help you win so you can live your best life.
After the recent 6.4 magnitude earthquake on July 4th and the 7.1 quake on July 5th, more and more residents understand that earthquake risk is REAL in Southern California. The seismic activity was centered around the towns of Trona and Ridgecrest, but the aftershocks were felt from LA to San Diego.
This last round of earthquake activity has shocked many California residents into rethinking the importance of earthquake insurance to protect their homes and assets.
If you’re looking to fully protect your lifestyle, it is highly recommended you purchase earthquake insurance…Now.
Other than wildfire, earthquakes are one of the leading natural disasters Californians face. Most residents live within 30 miles of an active fault line and only 10% of California residents carry earthquake insurance. 10 percent!
Does it make a lot of sense to partially insure your most valuable asset, your home?
Insurance tip: A residential property insurance policy does NOT cover damage due to earthquake or seismic activity. You need a separate earthquake insurance policy.
Watch this short video about the benefits of carrying earthquake insurance. Contact one of our insurance guides and get an earthquake insurance quote for your home today! Call 888-724-2124.
Can I purchase earthquake insurance after an earthquake? Yes.
The Department of Insurance released a bulletin on July 12th about the requirement of all California Earthquake Authority participating insurance companies to write CEA earthquake policies.
In response to the Northridge earthquake in 1994, the California Legislature created the California Earthquake Authority (CEA)—a not-for-profit, publicly managed, privately funded entity. Residential property insurers could offer their own earthquake insurance or become a CEA participating insurance company.
CEA provides two-thirds of the residential earthquake insurance policies sold in California. By selling policies exclusively through these participating insurance companies, CEA has become one of the largest providers of residential earthquake insurance in the world. The CEA is a not-for-profit organization and receives no funding from the State of California, whether for operations or claim liabilities, and is not a part of the state budget. CEA is financed solely through insurer contributions, policyholder premiums, and its own investment returns.
Following the recent earthquakes in Ridgecrest, the Department of Insurance received numerous complaints that some CEA participating insurers were denying applications for CEA earthquake insurance coverage from insureds who already had a residential underlying insurance policy with that insurance company.
Many agents and brokers were misinforming their clients that there is a “moratorium” on selling CEA coverage, even to those insureds who have an underlying insurance policy with that insurance company.
That is FALSE. There is NO moratorium on selling CEA coverage.
California Insurance Code Section 10083 requires that offers for earthquake coverage made by a Participating Insurer contain a specific disclosure that includes the statement, “If you choose not to accept this offer within the 30-day period, you may apply for earthquake coverage at a later date.” Refusing to write CEA earthquake insurance coverage for policyholders with a residential insurance policy is not in compliance with state law or the intent of the CEA statute and mission.
The CEA has confirmed to the Department of Insurance that it expects all participating insurers to take applications for and bind CEA coverage if requested by an insured who has an underlying residential insurance policy with the insurer.
A moratorium on earthquake insurance has never been declared by the CEA. Some participating insurers have declared a moratorium on the sale of their own new homeowners and other fire insurance policies in areas of California impacted by the recent Ridgecrest earthquakes.
And if that company is not writing new property insurance policies then they would not be making the accompanying mandatory offer of earthquake insurance to those homeowners.
However, this should NOT effect current insureds with a residential insurance policy from a CEA participating insurer. They should be assisted in purchasing a new CEA policy immediately.
“So, if you have property insurance from an insurance company that participates with the California Eathquake Authority you can purchase earthquake insurance NOW.”
Contact us and we can review your home insurance policy and tell you if your company offers earthquake insurance protection with the California Earthquake Authority. We’ll also do a coverage check up to make sure you have the right protection for your lifestyle. Give us a call at 888-724-2124.
Would you marry someone whose history was a mystery? Or are you prone to purchase a car without knowing the facts of its past?
To connect you with the history of a home you’re considering, we’re offering a free report, guaranteed to give you peace of mind and help you avoid time and money-wasting complications during and after the sale.
Get a clue! Come on, seriously.
A C.L.U.E., the Comprehensive Loss Underwriting Exchange, is a loss history information exchange provided by LexisNexis® Risk Solutions Inc. It enables insurance companies to access and use prior loss information in the underwriting process. Think of it as “the cloud of claims”.
Here’s how it works
Each month, participating insurers submit loss information to the C.L.U.E. information exchange, which is loaded to the C.L.U.E. database. Insurance companies request this data by forwarding search criteria such as an insurance applicant’s name, risk address, date of birth, and Social Security Number. The C.L.U.E. system searches its database for information that matches the requested search criteria. A C.L.U.E. report is then generated and forwarded to the insurer. When you or your insurance company receive a C.L.U.E. report, it includes all losses accessed by the search criteria that were reported to us within seven years of the date of the request. Home warranty claims are not included on a C.L.U.E. report.
The C.L.U.E. report is a valuable piece of information to provide you a clearer look into the prior loss history of the property you’re peeking at.
Reading the report
First, you want to look for claims associated with the risk address. The report can sometimes show claims filed on another location owned or occupied by the seller. You’ll want to look for claims frequency rather than severity. These would be claims that indicate a potential ongoing problem or the possibility for future losses. Multiple occurrences to the same areas in the home can indicate faulty or defective systems. For example, water losses and mold are big ones to look for and are one of the most widely reported causes of loss or perils. Other perils to watch out for are fires occurring in the home, not wildfire, and theft or burglary. These type of losses could indicate morale hazards or the home could be in a questionable area. Insurance companies are tightening their guidelines when it comes to water losses resulting from inside water damage, not weather related flood claims. Effective this year, many admitted insurance carriers will decline a risk if there has been a significant water loss on the property within the last 3-5 years. This would include damage exceeding $2,500. Normally, losses follow the insured and can impact the cost of insurance or insurability when moving to a new location. Due to the rise in frequency and extensive costs resulting from water damage claims. more and more companies are looking at water losses at new business and declining.
One Final Thought
The cost of the damage is important and can indicate the severity of the incident and the amount paid by the insurance company for the loss. Accidents happen. Just because a property has been impacted by a large claim or series of claims does not mean you should avoid buying that house. Review the report with your realtor and request a disclosure from the sellers about how the claims were resolved. Were all repairs completed and was everything built back to code? Was the home replaced with like kind and quality?
Talk to your insurance agent about the loss(es) that were filed, how the insurance companies handled the claims and how this will impact insurance for the home moving forward.