Identifying home insurance savings opportunities

A storm of different market trends has caused property insurance prices to skyrocket. If you’re one of the thousands of Americans countrywide who have seen what appears to be an unprecedented difference in your rates, know that you’re not the only one who might be confused.

Multiple factors, including a shortage of skilled labour, low housing inventory, and historic demand for housing, has caused the cost of insuring homes for repairs and replacements to skyrocket. In this article with data from SafeCo, we’ll go over why this is all happening and how to identify savings opportunities despite the hard market conditions.

Why are home insurance prices so high?

With only around 980,000 unsold homes on the market in 2023 (down from 34% based on the past 3 years) the price of homes that have been sold in the United States has risen 42% since 2019.

*Source: National Association of Realtors, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis

The price of homes, combined with a shortage of skilled labour to build (and repair or restore) homes, plus high material costs due to shortages not having fully returned to pre-pandemic levels, are all reasons for home insurance prices increasing. Homes simply cost more to replace and repair than they once did, making for a greater need for higher coverage limits and therefore costlier premiums.

Opting not to select coverage limits that would fully cover the cost of your home were it to be destroyed in a total loss is one “solution” many policyholders may feel drawn to, but doing so may leave your home vulnerable in the event of an unexpected loss and could cost you more out-of-pocket than you would otherwise spend on your premiums. Raising your coverage limits may not cost as much additional per month as you might think, and it’s worth having full coverage in the long run.

Savings opportunities

With current rate inflation, many homeowners may be pushed to focus on savings opportunities where possible. Allow us to help – with our partnerships with insurers like SafeCo, we can help you find excellent discount opportunities that may help to combat or fully nullify the rate increases many policyholders across the United States are experiencing. We may suggest:

Home and auto bundling

One of the more popular insurance discounts, bundling your home and auto through the same provider can save you between 5% and 20%, depending on the insurer. With SafeCo, for example, you can save up to 15% on premiums, and tacking on other polices (like RV, renters, boat, etc.) can help the savings add up even more. Ask an agent to see what policies qualify.

New or renovated home

Have a newer home, or a home that’s been substantially renovated recently? You can win big on tremendous savings. Ask your agent about what age of home or standard of renos qualifies for new/renovated home discounts.

Roof payment schedule

Companies like SafeCo offer coverage for roof damage which depreciates payout based on roof age/type, which can save customers up to 4% on average, but even higher savings with severe storm states and homes that have older, unrenovated roofs.

Protective device discount

If your home features an approved protective device, such as a sprinkler system or a burglar alarm (and said devices are properly maintained and charged/have up-to-date batteries) you could receive a substantial discount.

Extra protection for at-risk customers

Although adding endorsements to your policy can increase your rates, there’s value in considering additional coverages if you’re at-risk of certain losses, such as sewer backup, groundwater flooding, and more. Adding these coverages could, in the long run, actually help you to save more money, and with today’s unpredictable (and oftentimes severe) climate, it can be greatly beneficial to preserving your peace-of-mind and the sanctuary of your household.

Consider these endorsements, or discuss with an agent:

Water backup or sewer backup

This endorsement, added to your home policy, offers coverage when water escapes or discharges from a sump or sump pump/similar system and enters your home. Sewage is filthy and can seriously hurt the health of your household, but a mop won’t do the trick. This coverage covers the cost of cleanup and can help to pay off the cost of repairs to your home.

Personal property ACV

Should you experience a covered loss, this endorsement guarantees actual cash value for your belongings at the time of a loss, and then up to the full amount of what it would cost to replace with today’s market.

In unprecedented times, AHI is here to help

All things considered, between the hard market and COVID-19 ripples, it’s tough to be a policyholder. When you feel as if your rates have risen for “no reason,” you might feel tempted to even cancel your policy. We advise you give us a call to discuss your options. While cancelling your insurance might seem like the “right” decision, it can leave you massively exposed – and for many, could void the conditions of their mortgage agreement.

AHI Group is happy to discuss your insurance with you and go over your options. While we understand current rate fluctuations can be confusing and even upsetting, we’re here to provide you with ways to save and can help you comparison shop to find the best rates. Give us a call.

Why Life Insurance Should be a Must for Most

Sadly, some people will die young. While many folks would rather not think about something as morbid as death, the simple fact is that you and your family must prepare for every contingency. If you or a loved one passes away, it will not only be an emotional burden but often a financial one as well. Fortunately, the right life insurance plans can mitigate risks. If you are considering life insurance plans, get in touch with AHI Group. We serve Olathe, KS and other communities and would be happy to explain various life insurance options to you.

The Financial Security Life Insurance Provides

Unfortunately, when someone passes away, a family will often lose many valuable resources. While the first consideration after death should be emotional and should focus on grieving, the simple fact is that death can leave a family in a dire financial situation. This will make it hard for the family to plan a funeral and to grieve.

That said, life insurance policies may provide financial assistance in the event of a death. To be clear, you’ll need to read the fine print of any insurance policy you’re considering, or you should work with an insurance agent. What is covered can vary from plan to plan. An insurance pro can help you select the right plan for your given situation.

The payout provided by insurance can greatly reduce stress for the surviving family members. The funds could be used to help pay for a funeral, cover mortgage payments, and fund child care. This will greatly reduce the stress for surviving family members, which in turn will help them focus on grieving and supporting loved ones.

Think you need to take out a life insurance plan?

Contact the AHI Group, which serves Olathe, KS and other communities.

Understanding flood coverage in renters insurance

You may already know what an “endorsement” in insurance is. You may already know that a standard home policy won’t cover flooding, and that in order to have flooding coverage in your policy you’ll need to purchase an endorsement to modify your existing coverage. This makes sense with home insurance. Water damage can be detrimental to someone’s property.

What you may not know is that renters are eligible for flood insurance as well, even while renters insurance doesn’t insure the physical unit where you live it does insure your belongings, which could be at risk if your unit were to flood. Flooding occurs in every U.S. state and just a few inches of standing water can cause irreparable damage to your belongings. Here’s what you need to know about flood coverage in renters insurance.

An overview of renters insurance

Renters insurance, also referred to as tenant insurance, is a crucial financial safeguard for individuals and families who are residing in rental properties. It offers protection for personal belongings, liability coverage, and additional living expenses in the event of covered perils such as fire or theft. However, there’s a notable gap in standard coverage regarding floods, a peril that can cause significant damage to property and possessions – especially in some areas of the U.S., and especially for those residing in “at risk” homes or units, such as those on the ground floor or below-ground, and those near lakes, rivers, and in low-lying regions or valleys.

Mending the gap: Adding flood coverage to renters insurance

Floods, though not always top of mind for renters, can pose a substantial risk, especially in certain geographical areas. Many standard renters insurance policies don’t automatically include coverage for flood-related damages. To bridge this gap, renters have the option to add specific flood coverage to their policies. This additional protection ensures that the financial impact of flood-related losses, such as damage to personal property and the cost of temporary living arrangements, is mitigated.

Flood insurance, when added to a renters policy, typically insures against:

  • Overflow of tidal or inland waters, including flooding due to prolonged rain, overflow of rivers, lakes, or other freshwater bodies, and storm surges.
  • Flash floods, which can include sudden and intense floods (known as flash floods) which occur with little to no warning.
  • Mudflows and landslides due to heavy rainfall, although this isn’t true of every policy.
  • Storm-related flooding due to tropical storms, hurricanes, and other severe weather events.

Flood insurance will almost never cover tsunamis or saltwater flooding. Flood insurance will also not cover water damage due to poorly maintained piping or appliances which break and cause damage over time.

Flood insurance may insure you for the repair or replacement cost for your personal belongings damaged by flooding as well as the cost to temporary relocate elsewhere while your home/unit is being restored following a flooding event.

Quick Questions about Flood Insurance as a Renter:

How much does flood insurance cost to add to renters insurance?

The cost of adding flood insurance to renters insurance can vary based on several factors. These may include the location of the rental property, the level of flood risk in that area, the chosen coverage limits, and the insurer’s specific pricing policies. Generally, the cost can range from a relatively modest annual fee to a more significant amount, depending on the perceived risk of flooding in the region. Renters can enlist an agency like AHI to obtain an accurate quote tailored to their specific circumstances and see for themselves how much the endorsement will cost to add. Keep in mind that renters insurance on its own tends to be relatively inexpensive, and even the addition of flood insurance may still be far from “breaking the bank.”

How do I know if I need flood insurance as a renter?

Determining the need for flood insurance as a renter involves assessing what kind of risks flooding poses to you and your home. Factors to consider include the property’s location, proximity to bodies of water, historical flood data for the area, and local floodplain maps. Areas designated as high-risk flood zones by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) are more likely to experience flooding, and obtaining flood insurance is often strongly recommended in these regions. Additionally, renters should consider the potential consequences of flood-related damages to their personal belongings and the cost of temporary relocation. If the rental property is in a moderate-to-high-risk flood area, or if there’s a history of flooding incidents, it’s not a bad idea for renters to seriously consider adding flood insurance to their renters insurance policy. We recommend reaching out to an expert agency, like AHI, to review your flood risk and provide you with valuable insights to help you make a more informed decision!

Is flood insurance something you should add to your renters policy?

As a renter, assessing your flood risk and considering the addition of flood insurance keeps you well-prepared for the potential damages to your personal property and living space that flooding could bring. At AHI Group, we are committed to helping you navigate the complexities of renters insurance. Take a moment to review your policy with us, ensuring that you have the right coverage to safeguard your belongings and provide peace of mind in the face of unexpected challenges. Your protection is our priority, and we’re here to assist you every step of the way.

Weathering the storm: What to do after a major snowfall

Kansas recently experienced an unexpected snowstorm, burying the bulk of the metro area in 6 inches of snow. As the snow settles, the real work begins to ensure a smooth recovery process. While this particular storm may not have been “world-shattering” for many residents, it’s a fair reminder of our need to be prepared in the event of unexpected disasters. In this guide, we’ll walk you through the essential steps to take after a major weather event, offering valuable insights on how to restore normalcy to your living or working space.

And, for those seeking professional assistance in the cleanup after a snowstorm (even our most recent one), we’ve partnered with Sage Restoration, experts in emergency services such as water extraction, fire, and smoke cleanup. If you need to make a claim, we highly advise enlisting their services to get yourself back to normal ASAP.

Step one: Assessing the damage and taking stock of the aftermath

Begin by conducting a thorough assessment of your property, inside and out. Check for visible damages such as roof leaks, broken windows, or structural issues. Pay close attention to the foundation and ensure there are no signs of shifting or cracking. Additionally, inspect electrical systems and appliances for any potential hazards.

As you survey the exterior, be mindful of fallen trees or branches that may pose immediate dangers. Note any downed power lines and keep a safe distance. Take photographs or videos to document the extent of the damage for insurance purposes. This documentation will serve as valuable evidence when filing claims. And, perhaps most importantly, consider your own safety and if you are worried about re-entering your home after a major event, consult with professionals before re-entering.

Step two: emergency measures: Prioritizing safety and mitigation

Once you’ve evaluated the damage, focus on immediate actions to safeguard yourself and prevent further harm to your property. Prioritize safety by turning off gas and electrical utilities if necessary. If you smell gas or suspect a leak, evacuate the premises immediately and contact the utility company.

Mitigate risks by securing vulnerable areas. Cover broken windows with plastic or boards to prevent further exposure to the elements. Use tarps or buckets to collect water from leaks and reduce interior damage. If water has infiltrated your home, place towels or buckets strategically to minimize its spread.

Consider seeking temporary shelter if your home is unsafe. Local authorities often provide emergency shelters during severe weather events.

Step three: Dealing with flood and moisture issues

As the snow begins to melt, one of the primary concerns is water damage. Addressing this issue promptly is crucial to prevent long-term structural problems and mold growth. Start by identifying areas affected by flooding or excessive moisture. Remove standing water using pumps or wet vacuums, and open windows and doors to enhance ventilation.

After extracting visible water, focus on thoroughly drying the affected spaces. Use dehumidifiers to reduce humidity levels, aiding in the prevention of mold proliferation. Remove wet or damaged materials such as carpets, insulation, and drywall to minimize potential health risks and accelerate the drying process. Professional water extraction services, like those offered by Sage Restoration, can ensure a comprehensive and efficient restoration of your property.

Step four: Rebuilding and recovery

After mitigating immediate concerns, shift your focus to rebuilding and long-term recovery. Begin by developing a comprehensive recovery plan. This should outline the necessary steps, timeline, and budget for the restoration process. Engage with professionals, such as contractors and restoration experts, to assess the structural integrity of your property and create a detailed plan for reconstruction.

Coordinate with your insurance company to understand the coverage and file necessary claims. Keep all documentation from the initial assessment, as well as receipts and records of expenses incurred during the recovery process.

Partnering with the best

AHI Group is proud to partner with some of the best companies in KS, MO, and NE – like Sage Restoration. The restoration and recovery process is one unspoken part of insurance that often goes underappreciated. Insurance agencies and companies work with top-rated restoration services to ensure their policyholders’ expedited recovery and return to normal.

For further questions about recovering from a major weather event, like a huge snowstorm, give us a call here at AHI Group. We’re more than happy to discuss your needs or give you guidance when you need us most to help you get back to life as you once knew it.

What does it mean to have full car coverage?

When it comes to auto insurance, you have options. Nearly every state in the USA has mandatory auto insurance, and of those states there’s a certain kind of auto insurance you are required to buy. You may be eligible, depending on your record, to purchase insurance add-ons to further customize your coverage, such as comprehensive and collision. Some consumers opt for what’s known as “full car coverage” – but what is that, really?

What is full car coverage?

To break it down briefly, full car coverage doesn’t actually exist. There’s no way to buy auto insurance coverage that fully insures your vehicle against every potential risk out there. Full car coverage generally refers to an automobile owner who drives a vehicle that is insured with collision, comprehensive, and liability coverage. Insurance companies may also offer additional protection, such as coverage for rental cars or even ticket forgiveness.

While it’s not “full car coverage” in the sense that it insures against every possible risk, it’s the fullest available car coverage there is. So, when you see the term “full car coverage,” this is actually referring to the combination of insurance coverages designed to protect a driver financially for damages done to their vehicle, the passengers or occupants of that vehicle, and any other individuals involved in the accident.

*Key takeaway here: there is no definition for full coverage auto insurance. Your best bet is to work with an agent to determine what options give you the fullest, most attainable peace-of-mind.

What are all the coverages included in full car coverage?

While the definition of full coverage may differ from insurer to insurer, here are the coverages you may expect to have included in a “full car coverage” plan:

Liability Insurance

If you are in your vehicle and get into an accident, this coverage helps pay for the damages and injuries. It is required in virtually every state in the USA, with the exception of New Hampshire. Certain states will mandate certain levels of coverage, usually between $200,000 and $1 million. Most insurers offer the option to increase your coverage.

Uninsured or Underinsured Motorist Insurance

In states where it’s mandatory to have insurance, some drivers still opt to go without. If you get into an accident with an uninsured driver, or perhaps a driver who flees the scene, this coverage will protect you from the damages to your vehicle, or even medical expenses you incur in the accident.

Personal Injury Protection (PIP)

Depending on the state, PIP or personal injury protection may be mandatory to protect you from the cost of medical expenses for you or others in your vehicle. Some types of PIP can include coverage for lost wages and other expenses for injuries in an accident.

Collision Insurance

Collision insurance is optional and may be purchased to increase your coverage to protect against damages done to your vehicle in an accident, even if you were responsible. It may also protect against damage to your vehicle if you hit something stationary or if your vehicle rolls over.

Comprehensive Insurance

Comprehensive coverage is optional as well and insures your vehicle against damages due to things other than accidents, specifically when your vehicle is not moving. An example of this is if a tree falls on your vehicle in a storm or if someone breaks your window attempting to steal something in your car.

With some optional coverages, specifically collision and comprehensive, a deductible will apply. This means that to have a claim paid out, you’ll need to pay your deductible amount towards the repairs before your insurance company pays for the remainder.

Other auto insurance options

Depending on your state and your insurer, you may be eligible for additional insurance options to help further “round out” your policy. Some examples include:

  • Gap Insurance: Aka loan or lease payoff insurance, this insurance helps to pay for the gap left on what you owe for your vehicle if it’s wrecked in an accident.
  • Car Rental Coverage: This insurance option offers car rental reimbursement, as rental shops will often offer insurance, but at a very high price with very minimal coverage.
  • Towing and Roadside Assistance: Some insurers will automatically offer this coverage, where for others it’s an option to include it. Roadside assistance coverage, to cover the costs of towing and changing flat tires, can be a great asset to have.
  • Glass Breakage: Glass damage regularly falls under comprehensive coverage, but if you have a high deductible that could wipe out any glass coverage you’d get. With full coverage, you might have the option to get better protection for glass coverage with no deductible (but a slightly higher premium).

Ask an agent about these coverages for more information, or for more suggestions on what to include to have fuller car insurance.

Should I have full car insurance coverage?

In no situation is full car coverage beyond the state mandatory technically required, although certain coverages may be asked of you if you’re lending or leasing a car. Otherwise, optional coverages are entirely up to your preference.

We would recommend considering additional protections, specifically collision and comprehensive, especially if you don’t have enough money saved to cover yourself in the event of an accident. You are best off purchasing coverage which addresses the biggest likelihoods. Note that having a low deductible may result in high premiums, so if you want to save on your premiums you’ll choose a lower deductible.

Talk with an agent if you aren’t sure. A representative from AHI can help you decide on what options are best suited to your needs, what makes the most sense, and what’s the most affordable. Call us today!

Is life insurance a smart investment for millennials?

Within the landscape of personal finance, millennials may find themselves navigating a score of different options to secure their financial future. They’re a generation known for embracing change and redefining traditional norms – including their approach to investments. One topic that often sparks debate is the role of life insurance in a millennial’s financial portfolio.

A millennial is anyone born between 1981 and 1996. Millennials within this range may be approaching a variety of different milestones in life, but many, if they haven’t already, may be starting to think about their financial future. Life insurance is one of many options, but is it a smart investment?

Why buy life insurance as a millennial?

In 2024, a millennial is anyone ages 28 to 43. Within this age range, millennials may be getting married, having children, buying their first homes, starting businesses, etc. – all milestones worthy of life insurance protection. To put it simply, life insurance isn’t a purchase associated with a specific generation or a specific age. It’s a policy best purchased when the prospective policyholder has something worth protecting, or someone. Sometimes, this is an investment, like a home or business, but most of the time it’s a spouse or dependent(s).

We advise purchasing life insurance younger because life insurance is cheaper the younger you buy it, but in the end it’s something you should get when you need it, not just because you’ve reached a certain age. For example, purchasing life insurance to help pay off their mortgage for their family in the event of their unexpected passing is a no-brainer – and that can happen at 25, 30, 35, or even 40.

What reasons are there to purchase life insurance as a millennial?

The average age for purchasing a home in America in 2022 is 36, where the average age for purchasing a home in 2021 is 33. Millennials, being between 28 to 43, fall just in that range. Protecting your family from having to pay off your mortgage in your absence is just one reason why a millennial might buy life insurance, but it tends to be one of the more common incentives.

*Source from the National Association of Realtors (NAR).

Here’s some other reasons why a millennial might want to purchase life insurance:

  • To provide financial support for spouses, children, or other dependents.
  • To help cover financial obligations like loans, mortgages, or other debts.
  • To lock in lower premiums at a younger age.
  • To use as a tool for business continuation planning or to fund a buy-sell agreement.
  • To replace lost income, ensuring family members can maintain their standard of living.
  • To cover funeral and burial expenses for family members.
  • To provide liquidity in covering estate taxes or ensuring an inheritance for beneficiaries.
  • To ensure coverage before developing health issues at a later age.
  • For a sense of security – knowing loved ones are financially protected.

Like any individual in any age group, it’s essential for millennials to carefully assess their current needs or even work with an agent to determine if life insurance is a good choice for them.

What type of life insurance should a millennial buy?

It depends on the individual, really. There’s no clearcut answer, and with the range there is between the youngest and oldest millennials, it’s hard to say given that you could be at any one stage of life.

Some considerations for millennials buying life insurance include:

Current Financial Situation

  • Millennials with tight budgets may lean towards term life for cost-effectiveness.

Long-Term Goals

  • Consider whether lifelong coverage and a cash value component align with long-term financial goals.

Financial Responsibilities

  • Assess current and future financial obligations to determine the necessary coverage duration.

Investment Preferences

  • Decide whether the insurance policy should serve purely as protection or also as an investment/savings tool.

Flexibility Needs

  • Evaluate the need for flexibility in adjusting coverage based on life changes.

What’s the difference between term and permanent life insurance? In short, permanent life insurance offers lifelong coverage and usually features a cash value component, which accumulates with time. Permanent life insurance may be the better option for those who want to focus on estate planning and legacy, as well as a permanent solution for dependents who may need long-term care.

Term life insurance is better for the everyday millennial, or just someone who needs coverage over a set term (such as until kids are adults and financially independent, until mortgage or debts are paid off, and so on) and is often the more inexpensive option.

Financial Planning with AHI Group

As millennials, securing a robust financial future requires a nuanced understanding of the choices available. AHI Group’s expertise in providing comprehensive insurance solutions prompts an exploration into the distinctions between term and permanent life insurance. The focus here is on cost-effective alternatives that resonate with the budget-conscious approach of this generation. Additionally, delving into the integration of life insurance into a broader financial strategy is crucial. AHI Group’s insights into coverage, flexibility, and long-term planning can offer valuable perspectives tailored for millennials. Give us a call today to start the conversation.