Home Insurance Basics for your Indiana Pa Home

Home insurance is something every Indiana Pa homeowner should have. It is a requirement by a lender if you have a mortgage on your home.

Not all-home insurance coverage’s are alike. Before you start shopping for Pa home insurance, it’s a good idea to have some knowledge of what type of coverage you will need for your Indiana Pa home.

First you will want to decide on your coverage amount. You want to be able to rebuild your house and replace everything in it in the event of a disaster. A home’s insurance value is based on the cost to rebuild your house, not the market value.

Conduct an inventory, this could streamline the claims process if you have to file a claim in the future. Take a video or photos of every room and keep receipts for your valuable items. Make sure you keep your records in a safe place where they can’t be damaged in the event of a disaster.

Home insurance does not cover problems that result from general wear and tear or poor maintenance. A basic home insurance policy should also cover other structures on your property and should provide for living expenses if you are not able to live at home as a result of a disaster.

You will need to choose the deductible amount. One way to have a lower premium is to choose a deductible of at least $1,000. But remember that in the event of a disaster, you will be responsible for paying your deductible out of pocket.

Consider flood insurance. Granted this is not for everyone, but if you live in an area that is prone to floods this is something you will want to think about. Water damage obtained from a flood is not covered under your home insurance policy. Flood insurance can be purchased through most home insurance agents. If you have a mortgage, your lender may require flood coverage if you live in a high-risk area, but it can be worth it to get flood coverage even if it is not required.

Shop online for multiple quotes, home insurance shopping is now very convenient online. Walbeck Insurance offers a free online quote that’s quick and easy.

We can help you properly value your Indiana Pa home and answer any questions you may have about your home insurance policy. Call Walbeck Insurance today!

Spring Cleanup Tips for your Indiana PA Home

5 Spring Cleanup Tips:

Spring is finally here along with the realization that the harsh winter has been harsh on the outside of your Indiana PA house for the last 5 months. Before you start putting out your deck furniture and planting flowers consider these following tips.

Check your downspouts and gutters
If you are able to get the ladder out and check for any clogs you should do so. The fall leaves or the build up of snow and ice can do a number on your gutters and downspouts. You want to make sure that all of the water is making it’s way out of the downspouts and away from your foundation. While your up there, you could do a visual check of the shingles on your roof and your chimney. If you are not comfortable with climbing a ladder, find a local contractor that provides this service that can do it for you.

Fix cracks
Cracks have a way of suddenly appearing in your walkways, foundation and patios, especially during the winter months. These cracks can be a welcome sign for water to get in your home and create damage.

Caulk and repair windows
Gaps between your windows can allow water inside, just like cracks. You will need to scrape the old caulking away and replace with new. If you have wood trim or window sills, check for signs of decay. If you see any you will need to repair or replace the items as needed. This can also help with energy efficiency in your home.

Move junk or wood away from your home
The pile of firewood you had close by your house to keep you warm during the winter months can be a perfect breeding ground for a variety of insects. For example if left, this damp area can attract such things as carpenter ants. These little guys can cause a lot of damage to your house and will most likely require a call to your local exterminator.

Inspect your outdoor faucets, lights and air conditioning unit
Before turning on your air conditioning unit for the hot summer months, you might want to consider having a certified professional inspect it. This can help prolong the life of the unit.

Also check your outdoor receptacles, lighting and faucets to make sure they are not damaged.

Please call Walbeck Insurance for all of your home insurance needs 724.479.9378.

Need Home Insurance For Your Indiana PA Home?

What Kind of Home Insurance Do You Need For Your Indiana PA Home?

There are various forms of home insurance associated with owning a home, including these major types:

Home Insurance:
Home Insurance is required by lenders and provides liability, fire and left coverage. They also can cover a surprising a number of things such as furniture, home office equipment and even wedding rings.

Title Insurance:
Title insurance protects the purchaser’s of real estate and mortgages against loss from defective titles, liens, and encumbrances. This is usually a one time fee that is purchased at closing time.

Flood Insurance:
This is generally required in high-risk, flood prone areas and is issued by the federal government. Your realtor can explain which locations require such insurance.

Home warranties:
Home warranties for existing homes are typically one-year service agreements purchased by sellers. In the event of a covered defect or breakdown, the home warranty company will step in and make the repair or cover its cost. Insurance policies and warranties have limitations and individual programs have different levels of coverage, deductibles and costs. Ask your realtor if this is available for you.

Please give Walbeck Insurance a call about your home insurance needs for your new Indiana Pa home. We will take the time to make sure you get the best policy.

Home Insurance for your new Indiana PA Home

Are You Buying a New Home in Indiana PA Soon?

Are you shopping for your dream house? Whether you’re looking in Indiana Pa, Homer City Pa, Blairsville Pa, or anywhere else in Pennsylvania there are many considerations when shopping for your dream house, such as home insurance, property taxes, school district, available recreational opportunities in the neighborhood, to name a few.

home-insurance-indiana-paBut an often overlooked but important consideration is the insurance implications of your purchase. You will be paying home insurance on your home for as long as you own it, so you should factor the cost of insurance into the home-buying process. You don’t want to find out after your purchase house that your dream home is more expensive to insure than you thought!

Before you start looking for a home, think through all the costs associated with buying a home that will make the process run more smoothly, and it may also save you money. It is important to:

  • Check Your Credit Rating
    A good credit history helps you in many ways. Good credit makes it easier to get a mortgage at a competitive rate, and it may also qualify you for a good credit discount on your insurance. Make sure you know your credit rating before you apply for a mortgage. Get a copy of one or all of your credit reports. Make sure they are accurate and report any mistakes immediately. If your credit is not as good as it could be take steps now to improve it. The I.I.I. has information on credit and insurance to help you with this process
  • Protect Yourself with a Renters Insurance Policy
    If you are currently renting a house or apartment, protect yourself financially with a renters insurance policy. This provides insurance protection in the event a fire, hurricane or other insured disaster damages or destroys your personal possessions. It also covers the cost of additional living expenses if something happens to make your rental home or apartment unlivable. Additionally, renters insurance gives you liability protection if someone is injured in your home and decides to sue you. Disasters happen, and it would be unfortunate to have to use the down payment you saved to buy your new home to pay for losses that could have been covered by renters insurance. Furthermore, having a renters insurance policy provides a useful insurance history to your prospective homeowners insurer when you go to buy your first home.

While House Hunting
As you search for your new home, remember that the physical characteristics of the house—its size, location, construction and overall condition—can affect the cost, choice and availability of home insurance. Following are some factors to consider when shopping for a home:

    Quality and Location of the Fire Department

  • Houses that are located near highly-rated, permanently staffed fire departments usually cost less to insure. This also holds true for homes that have a hydrant nearby. An important underwriting criterion for insurance companies is a community’s investment in fire protection, which includes trained firefighters, proper equipment and adequate supplies of water.
  • Proximity to the Coastline
    Houses located on or near the coast will generally cost more to insure than those further inland. There will also likely be a hurricane or windstorm deductible. This is a percentage deductible based on the cost to rebuilding a home, rather than a flat dollar amount. With a homeowners policy that has a $500 standard deductible, for example, the policyholder pays the first $500 of the claim before insurance kicks in. However, as percentage deductibles are based on the home’s insured value, if a house is insured for $100,000 and has a 2 percent deductible, the first $2,000 of a claim is paid out of the policyholder’s pocket.

    There are two kinds of wind damage deductibles: hurricane deductibles, which apply to damage solely from hurricanes; and windstorm or wind/hail deductibles, which apply to any kind of wind damage. Percentage deductibles typically vary by state and range from 1 percent to 5 percent of a home’s insured value. These come into effect if certain triggers occur—a deductible triggering event can be, for instance, an official National Weather Service declaration that a storm is generating hurricane-strength winds (i.e., 74 miles per hour, or more) in your community.

    In coastal areas with high wind risk, some homeowners may select higher hurricane deductibles to lower their insurance premiums, but that means they pay more if their home is damaged. In some coastal communities, private homeowners insurance coverage may not be readily available. Instead, you may need to purchase insurance through a state-run insurance program, which can provide less coverage, and in some cases be more costly, than private insurance.

  • Age of the Home
    A stately, older home can be quite beautiful, but ornate features such as plaster walls, ceiling molding and wooden floors may be costly to replace and raise the cost of insurance. Plumbing and electrical systems can become unsafe with age and lack of maintenance. So, older homes may cost more to insure. If you are considering buying an older home find out how much it will cost to update these features and factor it into the cost of ownership.
  • Condition of the Roof
    Ask about the condition of the roof. A new roof matters to insurers and keeps you and your family safer. Depending on the type of roof and whether or not you use fire and/or hail resistant materials, you may even qualify for a discount. Talk to your insurer about qualifying discounts.
  • Is the Home Well-Built and Up to Code?
    Find out whether the house has been updated to comply with current building codes. Homes built by careful craftsmen and those built to meet modern engineering-based building codes are likely to better withstand natural disasters. Consider hiring a licensed home inspector who is knowledgeable about the latest building codes to inspect the property before you sign a mortgage.
  • Risk of Flooding
    Damage from flooding is NOT covered by standard home insurance policies. If you are buying a home in an area at risk from flooding, you will need to purchase separate insurance. Insurance for flooding is available from the federal government’s National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), which is serviced by private carriers, and from a few specialty insurers. People often underestimate the risk of flooding. Ninety percent of all natural disasters in the U.S. involve flooding, according to the NFIP. More important is that 25 to 30 percent of all paid losses for flooding are for damage in areas not officially designated as special flood hazard areas. If you are not in a high-risk flood zone, NFIP coverage is available at a lower premium.
  • History of Earthquakes
    While earthquakes are most frequently associated with California, they have occurred in 39 states and, like flooding, are not covered under standard home insurance policies. Earthquake insurance is available from private insurers as an endorsement to a homeowners policy, and in California from the California Earthquake Authority, a privately funded, publicly managed organization. The cost of earthquake insurance differs widely by location, insurer and the type of structure being covered. Generally, older buildings cost more to insure than new ones. Wood frame structures may benefit from lower rates than brick buildings because they tend to withstand quake stresses better. Regions are graded on a scale of 1 to 5 for likelihood of quakes, and this difference is reflected in insurance rates.
  • Swimming Pool or Other Special Feature
    If the house has a swimming pool, hot tub or other special feature, you will likely need more liability insurance. You may also want to consider purchasing an excess or umbrella liability policy to provide added protection in the event someone gets injured on your property and decides to sue you.
  • Before You Place a Bid on the Home
    Check the Loss History Report
    Ask the current owner of the house for a copy of the insurance loss history report, such as a Comprehensive Loss Underwriting Exchange (C.L.U.E.) report from ChoicePoint or an A-PLUS report from ISO, a leading source of information about property/casualty insurance. This is a record of insurance claims on the house that can provide answers to two questions that any savvy homebuyer should ask:
  • Have there been any past problems in the home?
    If damage has occurred, was it properly repaired?

Note that prior claims are not a barrier to getting insurance. In fact, sometimes a recent claim can have positive ramifications. If, for example, a roof was damaged by a wind storm and replaced by a new one, this would make the house more desirable to an insurance company. If there have been no claims within five years, there will be no loss history report on the home.

Get the House Inspected
A thorough inspection of the Indiana PA home is very important. The inspector should:

  • check the general condition of the home;
  • look for water damage, termites and other types of infestation;
  • pay special attention to the electrical system, septic tank and water heater;
  • show you where potential problems might develop;
  • double-check that past problems have been repaired;
  • suggest upgrades or replacements that may be needed.

If the inspector raises questions, your insurance company will as well. And, be sure to find out if there is an underground oil storage tank, as many insurers will not provide policies for homes that have one.

Determine How Much It Will Cost to Maintain Your Indiana PA House

Routine maintenance is your responsibility as a homeowner. Losses caused by failing to properly care for your home are not covered by standard home insurance policies. The yearly cost of taking care of your house is another factor to be included in the overall price of owning the home.

Call Your Home Insurance Representative

Don’t wait until the last minute to think about insurance. Ask your insurance professional if the house will qualify for insurance, and get an estimate of the premium. The sooner you act, the smoother the process will be. Don’t be shy about asking for estimates on more than one house. Insurance is an important consideration when purchasing a home. If you are uncomfortable with the cost of insuring a particular house, keep looking for one that better fits your financial situation. If you do not already have an insurance agent or company representative, get recommendations from family, friends or co-workers, or consult your state insurance department.

Purchasing Insurance for your New Indiana PA Home

When purchasing a home insurance policy, work with your insurance agent or company representative to get enough insurance to rebuild the house in the event of a total loss. No new home buyers want to think that their house could go up in flames, but disasters do happen. It’s important to have enough insurance to completely rebuild your home and replace all of your personal possessions. You also need to make sure you have enough liability insurance to protect your financial assets. Ask about additional coverage such as:

  • Replacement cost for personal possessions
  • Extended or guaranteed replacement cost for the structure
  • Building code upgrades
  • Sewer and drain back-up coverage
  • Inflation-guard
  • Umbrella coverage for a pool or other high-risk items
  • Special riders for jewelry, collectibles and expensive items

To save money on your home insurance, shop around and take the highest deductible you can afford. Since most people only file a claim every eight to 10 years, having a higher deductible saves money over time and preserves your home insurance for when it’s really needed. You can also ask about available discounts for:

  • Multi-policy (home, car or other policies with the same company)
  • Smoke detectors
  • Fire extinguishers
  • Sprinkler systems
  • Burglar and fire alarms that alert an outside service
  • Deadbolt locks and fire-safe window grates
  • Being 55 years old and/or retired
  • Long-time policyholder
  • Upgrades to plumbing, heating and electrical systems
  • Earthquake retrofitting to make the home safer
  • Wind-resistant shutters

Additional Resources

  • ChoicePoint
  • CLUE reports
  • Fair Isaac
  • To order a credit report, MyFICO.com
  • For help in determining your credit score, call 800-777-2066
  • Institute for Business & Home Safety
  • ISO
  • -To order a copy of your A-PLUS report, call 800-709-8842
  • -For up-to-date information on fire protection services throughout the country, see the Public Protection Classification program
  • National Flood Insurance Program

For more information on Home Insurance in Indiana Pa, contact Walbeck Insurance.

Halloween Safety Tips

Halloween is a fun night for trick or treaters and parents. But because of increased activity out that night, the potential for related accident with young pedestrians increases four times according to a CDC (Center for Disease Control) study.

Here are a few tips to make sure it’s a fun night for everyone:

  • During trick or treating hours, it’s best to drive under the posted speed limit in residential areas to allow you enough time to stop fast if a child runs out in front of you.
  • You shouldn’t be using your cell phone anytime when you’re driving but it’s especially important not to use it during trick or treating time. You never know when someone could walk out in front of you and you don’t want to be distracted.
  • Pay extra attention at cross walks, intersections and each side of the road. When trick or treating kids tend to walk along the curbs and unexpectedly cut across streets to get to other houses. Keep scanning each side of the road.
  • Be extra cautious when passing parked cars, you’d be surprised how fast kids can appear running out from between 2 parked cars.
  • If your kids are out trick or treating make sure they carry a flashlight or a glow stick so that drivers can see your kids easily.
  • If you are picking your kids up or dropping them off to go trick or treating, turn on your hazards to alert other drivers so they will be cautious when passing by your car.

Happy Halloween!

Should You Buy Renters Insurance?

What You Should Know About Renters Insurance

renters-insurance-indiana-paYou’ve finally found the perfect apartment in Indiana, PA and you’re ready to move in. You’ve already bought all the furniture and items you need and you think you are set. But wait a minute, what happens if there is a fire, smoke, vandalism or theft? Did you purchase renters insurance to protect all the things you just purchased? Renters insurance provides financial protection against the loss or destruction of your possessions when you rent an apartment or rent a house. Even though your landlord has homeowners insurance, your possessions are not normally covered by your landlord’s insurance policy. And since you only need insurance that cover’s just the value of your belongings and not the physical building, the premium’s are normally pretty inexpensive.

There are two types of renter insurance policies you may purchase, actual cash value & replacement cost. Actual cash value pays to replace your possessions less a deduction for depreciation up to your policies limit. Replacement cost pays the actual cost to replace your possessions with no deduction for depreciation up to your policies limit.

Here are a few tips to help you when choosing renters insurance:

Keep a record of all your items that would need replaced by writing everything down and either have photos or a video of the items and keep them in a safe place in the event you would need to file a claim.

If you are living with a nonrelative roommate, they may not be covered by your policy. Ask your agent if they are.

Talk to your agent about additional coverage options that may be needed.

Renter’s insurance policies often differ by insurance carriers. By talking with one of our agents here at Walbeck Insurance, we are able to find the best coverage to meet your needs at an affordable price for you.

Car Insurance – Indiana Pa

What is car insurance?
Car Insurance is meant to protect you if you are responsible for causing injuries to others or damage to their property in an auto accident. It can also provide protection if your car is damaged in a car accident or is stolen. The protection that you have is stated in your car insurance policy.

What does car insurance cover?
At a high level, car insurance typically provides four basic things:

  • liability coverage
  • coverage for damage to your car or cars
  • coverage for medical expenses
  • coverage for uninsured motorist

There are a variety of coverage options available.

What are the common car insurance coverages?

Below are some simplified descriptions of common auto insurance coverages. All coverages are subject to the limits, terms and conditions of the actual policy you purchase.
Bodily injury liability coverage generally pays damages for bodily injuries to the driver and passengers of the other vehicle when you are responsible for an accident. It also provides coverage to defend you if you are sued because of an auto accident.
Property damage liability coverage generally pays for damages to another person’s property (e.g. their car) when you are responsible for an accident. It also provides coverage to defend you if you are sued because of an auto accident.
Medical payments coverage generally covers you, household relatives and your passengers for medical expenses that result from injuries sustained in an auto accident. It also covers you as a pedestrian if you are hit by a vehicle.
Some states have personal injury protection (PIP) in place of, or in addition to, medical payments coverage. This is also known as no-fault coverage. PIP can generally pay for medical expenses, funeral expenses, loss of income and other expenses for injuries or death due to bodily injury sustained as the result of a car accident.
Uninsured or underinsured motorist bodily injury coverage generally pays for damages for bodily injury to you and your passengers when caused by another in an auto accident and the person legally responsible either has inadequate or no insurance. This coverage varies greatly by state. In some states it may be a combined coverage, while other states may offer it as two separate coverages (e.g. one for uninsured motorists and one for underinsured motorists).
Collision coverage generally pays for damage to your car if it hits another car, object, or overturns. A deductible applies to this coverage.
Comprehensive coverage generally pays for damage to your car if it is stolen or damaged by certain causes other than collision, such as fire, theft, hail or vandalism. A deductible applies to this coverage.

What should I consider when purchasing auto insurance?
When you are purchasing car insurance in Indiana PA, make sure you find coverage that fits your needs. Here are some things to consider:

  • What is my household salary? What are my assets? How much in savings and equity do I have? The more assets you have, the more coverage you might want to consider.
  • How old is my car and how much is it worth? Do I own my car outright or is it leased or financed? The model year and original cost of your car helps determine the approximate value of your car today.
  • How much am I willing to pay out-of-pocket? Deductibles are applicable to certain coverages, such as comprehensive and collision coverages. In the event of a loss, a deductible is the amount that you must pay out-of-pocket before your insurance kicks in. A higher deductible could lower your premium.
  • Do I have health insurance? Auto insurance can include medical payments coverage for you and your passengers. If you don’t have your own health insurance, you should consider purchasing some type of medical payments coverage on your policy.
  • Do I have children of driving age? Children are generally more inexperienced drivers and can present a greater risk on the road. You might want to consider purchasing higher limits of liability coverage if you have children of driving age.
  • Walbeck Insurance Agency is an independent insurance agency that can help you with all of your car insurance, home insurance, and business insurance needs in Indiana PA, Blairsville PA, Homer City PA and surrounding PA areas. Call us for a free quote today.