That is probably the last thing you want to hear ringing from the hallways of your home this holiday season. According to a National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) there are approximately 210 house fires per year in which the first item to catch fire was the family Christmas tree. These fires injure over 2,600 people, and cause over $930 million in damage.
The leading cause for these accidents is typically electrical malfunctions. While it’s really awesome to have the “biggest, baddest” tree on the block, it’s important to understand the risk associated with using decorative lights with live voltage. Location also matters, so be careful placing the tree too close to a heat source like your fireplace.
Now before you call us a “Scrooge” we like to point out that in our office lobby stands a beautiful Christmas tree. It even has presents underneath!
We don’t know how or when they got there, but they ARE there. This isn’t meant to discourage you from having the best lit house or tree in your neighborhood, rather to help you protect yourself when you do!
So, unroll those mega-light sets you bought from Costco and make the greatest holiday display that would make Clark Griswold jealous.
In the spirit of the holiday season, we didn’t want to only talk about the risks associated with the season, we also wanted to give you the most important tip on how you can protect yourself in the event of a loss. Essentially, you can say “i80 Insurance is saving Christmas this year.”
Having a simple renter’s insurance policy can help you if you’ve had a fire or burglary loss. Your renter’s policy comes with “personal property coverage” that replaces the value of your lost items.
“But wouldn’t my landlord help me if we have a fire in his house or apartment?” Great question, but the answer is “NO”. Your landlord or property manager has no obligation to replace any of your lost or stolen items in your home. Their only responsibility is to protect their structure. Your personal items are your responsibility.
“How does a renters insurance policy work?”
A California renter’s insurance policy is simple and offers three important coverage’s that help you if there is a claim.
1) PERSONAL PROPERTY
Just the name of this coverage is pretty easy to understand. Renters insurance covers your personal property. If there is a fire and the items in your home are damaged by flames or even smoke, your renter’s insurance policy will cover the value. If someone breaks in and steals or vandalizes your property, that too is covered!
When shopping for renter’s insurance, it’s important to make sure your items are covered for “full replacement cost”. This insures that if an item is damaged or stolen, that the insurance company replaces it for its full value, and not at its depreciated value.
So, if your spouse buys you a big screen 4k television set that costs $3,000 from the store and it sits nestled under your tree, you can make sure your insurance policy covers it for the full $3,000 and not the depreciated value.
All property claims are subject to whatever your deductible is. Typical deductibles range from $250-$500. So keep that in mind when comparing quotes and options.
TIP 1: One of the first questions asked by a claims adjuster during the claims process will always be, “Do you have any proof you owned this item”. We suggest keeping an inventory list of your items on file somewhere safe. Include pictures, videos, receipts, etc. Anything that shows you did own the lost items will help tremendously during a claims situation.
TIP 2: Keeping this list in the house that just had a fire may not be a good idea. We suggest letting us keep this list in your client file which is backed up in the cloud for safe and easy management.
If you’re negligent in anyway, and someone is hurt, or their property is destroyed, you can find yourself in the middle of a liability claim. So, if you negligently start a fire in your apartment, and that fire hurts your neighbor, or if it destroys their property, your liability portion on your California renters insurance policy will have to cover the damages.
We typically see many people carry the lowest limit of $100k in liability coverage on their renters policy. When you get a California renters insurance quote from i80 Insurance Solutions, you will have $500k in liability coverage. Why do we insist on more liability coverage? Because it’s the cheapest portion of your policy. We believe in protecting you, and we realize $100k can dry up faster than a Christmas tree on December 26th. So for a few dollars more a year (literally) We always suggest a minimum of $500k in liability coverage.
3) LOSS OF USE
Having your home or apartment catch on fire is heartbreaking. But then you have a scary thought, “where will I stay now?” Being displaced from your home is stressful. Luckily, your California renters insurance policy comes with “loss of use” as a standard coverage item. This coverage helps pay for additional living expenses in the event of a claim. Additional living expenses can include a hotel, food, clothing, etc.
It is generally a percentage of the “personal property” coverage. So if you have $25,000 in personal property coverage, your “loss of use” coverage will typically cover $5,000 – $7,500 in displacement coverage.
Another key item to pay attention to, is if the coverage only lasts for a specific time period. Some polices will only pay out for a year or two, while others will pay up to a specific amount.
Whatever coverage options you decide, we recommend speaking with one of our trusted independent agents today to get a quote for your California renters insurance policy that is structured to protect you and your personal items. The process is incredibly simple, and we can make sure you’re covered this holiday season and beyond.
Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays from i80 Insurance Solutions!