Get the Facts from ABCO: Flood Insurance 101

ABCO can help with Flood Insurance

No matter where you are in the world, natural disasters are bound to happen. One common and highly destructive natural phenomenon is flooding. In some areas, flooding may be an annual event. In other places, it can be a once in a lifetime incident. Extreme flooding is something that is out of human control, but there are ways to protect yourself, your loved ones and your belongings. Most people don’t have all the facts about flood insurance – or even know where to find them. Truth be told, there are things you might not know about your insurance that will be critical to know if the floods gates do indeed open.

Homeowner’s Insurance

This may come as a surprise, but a basic homeowner’s insurance policy does not, in fact, protect you from flooding as a part of your coverage. You need to seek out flood insurance and determine your premium payments based on factors like how much coverage you need, your deductible, your age, your level of risk, the elevation of your home, and even the type of home you own – just to name a few. Flood insurance is completely supplemental and most people are confused by where they can find flood insurance and why it might be helpful to have. ABCO Insurance Agency is a great place to learn about and fully understand your flood insurance needs.

Flood Insurance Facts: Did You Know?

Coverage basics are present in most insurance policies but flood insurance has specific coverage details. That means it’s critical to understand clearly what is and is not covered under that policy. Thankfully, flood insurance policies cover most of the physical damage that may happen to your property and possessions because of a flood. Here are just a few examples of what is – and isn’t – covered under typical flood insurance.

  • Coverage: To start, you have coverage with flood insurance for all electrical and plumbing systems. Though these may be, in full or in part, outside the house, they are still covered as building property. There is also coverage for certain built-in appliances such as refrigerators, stoves and dishwashers. They also cover some permanently installed furniture items. These would include portable dishwashers, bookcases and microwaves.
  • No Coverage: There is not coverage through your flood insurance for any outside furniture or appliances. This could be decks or patios, fences, pools or hot tubs. These items are not covered by your insurance in the event of a flood even though these items are still your property. To cover some of these items, you would need to seek out special types of insurance to protect them. There is also no coverage for water damage that may have been preventable.

What’s the Best Coverage for Me?

To start determining which coverage is the best for you, you must first determine whether you are covering a residential property (such as your home) or a commercial building (such as a business). Residential coverage policies are different from commercial coverage policies, and both types have distinct, important factors to consider. With residential coverage, you can be protected if you are a homeowner, renter, condo owner or renter, or other cases of commercial building rentals. With commercial policies, you can get coverage for the building plus the contents inside that building, or just the contents of the building alone.

After determining which type of coverage you need, you will also need to check into your risk map. This map will help give home and business owners an idea about the risk or probability of flooding might be in their area. Often, homes or commercial businesses are regulated by law to have flood insurance if they are deemed close to or inside a high-risk flood area. However, the government required coverage may not be enough to cover all your needs. Lower areas of risk might not have these federal requirements, but floods don’t always follow the same map and could happen at any time and in any place. Using the map as a guide for where the risk areas are will help buyers understand the pattern of a flood, and help determine if flood insurance is necessary.

Knowing which coverage you need and where you’re located on the risk map will give you a much clearer picture about the coverage you’ll require for your property. The rates for each type of coverage and areas are also dependent on such factors as date of construction and type of home you own or rent, the elevation of your residential or commercial building, and many other details. If you do need flood insurance, there are professionals to assist you in finding a plan with the most coverage for a price you can afford.

Knowledge Is Being Prepared

After you have acknowledged flood insurance is a good investment no matter where you live, the next step is to contact a professional – like those from ABCO Insurance – to help ensure you are receiving the coverage you need and deserve. Taking a closer look at your own home or commercial property and analyzing the risk map will also outline what level of coverage you might need. Even though you might not be in a direct risk zone or have never needed flood insurance in the past, there is never a wrong time to protect your spaces and your belongings.

From there, deciding on premiums, deductibles, and coverage are the final steps. Before disaster strikes in your area make sure you have the plans in place to protect the things you love and care about. Each flood insurance policy will be different and unique to your needs, but determining your risks and your options about what you can do to insure your home, property, or business is a great first step. ABCO Insurance Company is trained and educated on flood insurance and is there to help you learn, understand, and pay for such an important part of keeping your belongings protected.

To Grab the Best Deal: For Auto Insurance, Always Shop Around

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These days, the most common way to get car insurance is to use an easy and convenient method, such as a direct quote online, or with a price comparison tool. Rarely do people go through an agent anymore – this might be because, with all the tools available to consumers, it simply isn’t necessary any more.

That said, when shopping online for auto insurance, there are a few things you should keep in mind in order to get the best deal. The main point to remember, however, is to do your due diligence to get the best price.

Car Insurance: Reasons Why Shopping Around is the Best Plan

It Saves You Money

When insurance companies need to compete for your business, you save. When their prices are stacked up against each other, the best deal will shine like a newly polished gem. Companies will want to edge each other out to look the best for the customer – you!

Put simply, shopping around reinforces the competition in the market. It also reassures you that you’re getting the best deal, because you’ll be aware of price changes and competitor rates.

It Gives You an Understanding of the Insurance Marketplace

Even if you’re new to shopping for car insurance, the act of shopping around will quickly give you a quick course on the ins and outs of the process.

Among other things, you’ll learn about types of insurance, deductibles, premiums, pricing, policy options and limits. You’ll get comfortable with these terms and the lingo, so that the next time you shop, you’ll be even more savvy about scoring the best deal with the coverage you need.

It Lets You Move Through the Process at Your Own Pace

Shopping around for insurance online is perhaps the most low-stress way to find the best, most affordable coverage.

Firstly, no one is trying to sell you anything directly, which means you won’t face pressure and the stress of quick decision-making. Secondly, you get to go at your own pace. You can look through your policy options as carefully as you want, and even put the process on hold and come back to it later.

All of these things might mean you’ll make a wiser, more well-informed decision. Plus, if you do find that you need help, you can still call up an agent.

Tips for Shopping Around for Auto Insurance

Keep Your Personal Information Handy

You may know some information off the top of your head, such as the make and model of your vehicle, your address, date of birth or your Social Security number, but you will need additional information when shopping for car insurance that you will want to keep at hand.

Examples include your auto insurance history, the year of your vehicle, your license status, and the personal information of any other drivers you want to be included on the insurance policy. Keeping this information readily available will speed up the process, especially when you need to enter it into a price comparison tool.

Understand the Different Types of Coverage

If you don’t understand the type of auto insurance coverage you’re getting, you may be spending more money than necessary. Read up on the various types of coverage and decide which are essential and which are not.

Basic types of car insurance coverage include the following:

  • Comprehensive coverage: This type covers you in any situation unrelated to a traffic accident. Weather, natural disasters, vandalism and more all qualify.
  • Collision coverage: Get collision insurance in order to cover your own damages in a car accident.
  • Uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage: In an accident situation where the other driver doesn’t have adequate car insurance (or any motor insurance at all), this type of coverage protects you.
  • Personal injury protection (PIP): Regardless of who’s at fault in a traffic accident, PIP pays for lost wages, medical expenses, and other costs associated with the incident.

Don’t Settle

You should never settle for the first quote you get when it comes to car insurance. This is because the industry is competitive – providers don’t keep their prices at the same rate from year to year in order to stay relevant in the market.

This means you need to look around at different prices and quotes and compare and contrast what they offer. The best deal for you may require a bit of digging in order to find it.

Keep Credit in Check

When shopping around for insurance, don’t forget to look at your credit and check the state of your score. Make sure there are no errors in reporting, and give yourself plenty of time to get errors corrected in case you do find some – it can take as long as two months for these to be investigated and fixed.

Also – and this may be a no-brainer – it helps if your credit is at least in the “good” range. Anything less, and you will not get the best deal.

Use an Auto Insurance Price Comparison Tool

Shopping for insurance can be a lot easier if you use a comparison tool. These tools let you enter your basic information and then present a variety of auto insurance quotes from different companies, side-by-side. This lets you quickly see who’s offering the best prices without having to click through a maze of websites.

A comparison tool also lets you test how adding various policy options changes your quote. You can play with your options and the price to your heart’s content without having to commit to anything. This is incredibly useful for finding the best balance between price and options.

A great place to get quote comparisons and find the best deal for your insurance is at ABCO Insurance. With us, you get a comparison of 25 different insurance companies, so you’re sure to find the best quote that fits your needs at the right price. When it comes to car insurance, we give you options, not to mention the power of choice.

How Life Insurance Will Benefit Your Loved Ones

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While it is never fun to think of a time when you will no longer be present among your loved ones, it is important to always consider the future and how you can ease the burden of your loss on your family.  This is where life insurance can come in.  Life insurance can benefit your family and loved ones in many more ways than one.  If you have never considered the benefits, consider the following:

Paying For Final Expenses – Final Expenses include funeral costs, cremation costs, estate administration costs, medical bills, other bills and expenses, and more.  You don’t want to burden your family with mounting expenses while they are grieving your loss, and life insurance can ensure that all of your final expenses are covered.

Paying Estate Taxes – The heirs to your estate may be hit with an estate tax upon receiving it.  With the help of your insurance provider or a financial professional you can see if your estate can be used to pay these taxes on their behalf to ease their burden.

Paying Off Debt – Credit card bills and mortgage bills don’t stop just because you can no longer physically pay them.  Thankfully, though, with a good life insurance policy your debts can be cleared so that your family will not be burdened with them.

Replacing Lost Income – If you were still providing an income for your family, the loss of that income can be very stressful or even devastating.  The right life insurance policy can replace that income to ensure that your family can continue to pay monthly expenses or can even use that money towards your children’s education and more.

Inheritance – Beyond helping to pay off debts and lost income, your life insurance policy can also be used to provide an inheritance for your heirs.

A strong life insurance policy can give you the peace of mind that you’re your heirs and loved ones will be well taken care of upon your death.  If you want to learn more about life insurance policies, call ABCO Insurance Agency today.  Our helpful and knowledgeable staff can help you find the right policy for you.

With Hurricane Season Under Way, What Insurance Is Best In NJ?

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When you live in a coastal state such as New Jersey, it is important to understand how your insurance policy can protect you in the event of a hurricane.  After all, we have seen the devastation that hurricanes can cause to our coastline and beyond.  With this in mind, are you properly covered in the event of a hurricane?  Consider the following to ensure that you are adequately covered:

Homeowners Insurance Should Cover Hurricane Damage – The good news is that your Homeowner’s policy already covers hurricane related damages.  However, does your particular coverage cover everything you would need if your home we destroyed or left uninhabitable?  If you live in a particularly hurricane prone area it may be worth considering an Extended Replacement Policy, Guaranteed Replacement Cost Policy, Inflation Guard, or Ordinance and Law Coverage.  These policy extensions can ensure that your home is fully covered in the event of a natural disaster.

Don’t Forget To Cover The Stuff Inside Your House, Too – While most homeowner’s policies cover the structure of your home, does yours adequately cover your material belongings?  In the event of severe hurricane damage you can lose furnishings, appliances, electronics, jewelry, collectibles, just to name a few.  These items can be really expensive to replace if you don’t have the right coverage.  Two coverage options exist: Replacement Cost Value and Actual Cash Value.  With replacement cost value, you replace your object at its current value while as actual cash value pays for the depreciated value of your object as it ages.

Are You Covered If You Have To Live In A Hotel While Your Home Is Fixed? – Additional Living Expenses coverage will help cover you if you have to take temporary shelter away from your home while it receives repairs.  Without this coverage, you will be stuck paying out of pocket for these expenses.

Flood Insurance Is Separate From Hurricane and Wind Coverage – If you live near a body of water and your home gets hit with a hurricane, you could see flood damages to your home.  Your regular homeowner’s policy will not cover flood damages, however.  In many flood prone areas you are required to carry flood insurance by law.  However, if you feel that your home could suffer flood damage and you are not required to have coverage, you should talk to your insurance provider about adding this coverage to your policy.

If you aren’t sure what your current insurance policy covers, it is important to review it or to talk to your insurance provider today.  At ABCO we can help you get competitive rates on all of your home insurance needs.  Call us for more information or fill out one of our convenient contact forms online.  We want you to be covered for any emergency that may come your way.

Flood Insurance For The Shore: Facts You Should Know

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If you are lucky enough to own real estate at the Jersey Shore, you want to protect that property from all natural disasters that could come its way.  After all, as beautiful as the coastline is the majority of the year, a strong storm or hurricane can turn it into a very scary place.  Even a small amount of damage can cost thousands of dollars to fix.  It is important to understand flood insurance for your property.  Here are a few important facts you should know:

  1. Homeowner’s Insurance Does Not Cover Flood Damage – Flood insurance is an extension on your homeowner’s policy. If your home is damaged by a flood and you do not have flood insurance, you will not be covered.  Because of this, it is important to find out how high the flood risk is near your home.   Even in low flood potential areas, flooding can occur.  If you live at the Jersey Shore, you almost certainly live in a flood prone area.
  2. You May Be Required To Carry Flood Insurance By Your Mortgage Lender – In high flood risk areas, homeowners may be required to carry flood insurance. Chances are that you are required to have flood insurance on your Jersey Shore property.  This is important to help protect your investment to ensure that your home is covered in case of flooding.
  3. A Few Inches Of Water Can Cost Thousands In Damage – It doesn’t take much to cause thousands of dollars in damage to a home. A few inches of water can do the trick.  A small amount of water can ruin drywall and plaster walls, wood and carpet flooring, cause electrical damage, ruin all cloth and paper goods in its path, ruin furniture, cause deadly mold to grow, and more.  If you live in a highly flood prone area, it is important to consider where you place certain objects in the home that could get damaged by flood waters.  Flood insurance is essential to guarantee that you get reimbursement in the event of a flood.
  4. In High Risk Areas, Your Home Is More Likely To Be Damaged By Flood Than By Fire – That’s right, you are more likely to have a flood than a fire if you live in flood prone areas. This is why flood insurance is often required in these areas.
  5. There Are Two Types Of Policy, Actual Cash Value (ACV) and Replacement Cost Value (RCV) – You have choices when it comes to your Flood insurance policy. An Actual Cash Value policy with cover the actual cash value of your property and belongings.  This will be based on the appraised value of your home.  Therefore, if your shore property is a low value fixer upper, you will only receive the cash value of the existing property in the event of a serious flood.  However, the Replacement Cost Value will consider the cost of replacing your property with newer structures and materials.  The RCV policy is usually more expensive than the ACV policy.  Your insurance provider can help you decide which policy is best for you.

ABCO Insurance Agency has a convenient location right in Egg Harbor Township, and can offer you competitive rates on your Flood Insurance Policy at the Jersey Shore.  Call us today to speak to one of our friendly associates!

Renters Insurance: Tips For College Students Going Back To School

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It is almost that time of year: back to school for college students.  Between thoughts of classes, social gatherings, and friends old and new, you probably aren’t spending much time thinking about renters insurance.  After all, it is no fun thinking about a stressful event such as a theft or a fire.  That being said, renter’s insurance can help ease your stress by covering you for whatever comes your way in the coming school year.  Here are 5 valuable tips for renters going back to school.

  1. If You Live In Campus Housing, You May Not Need Renters Insurance – It is important to check with your insurance agent, but sometimes your belongings can be covered under your parent’s homeowner’s policy if you are living in campus housing. There may be a cap on the amount that your insurance provider will pay out for items lost or damaged outside of their home, so you may want to consider getting an extension on very valuable items such as electronics, jewelry, musical instruments, etc.  If you are living in an off campus rental, you will need renters insurance to cover your belongings.
  2. You Are Best Off Getting Your Own Individual Renters Insurance Policy Even If You Are Sharing Housing With Roommates – It might be tempting to try to save money by sharing a renter’s policy with your roommates, but doing so could lead to trouble. After all, your belongings may be more valuable than your roommate’s, but splitting a lump sum pay out could be tricky when it comes to who gets what.  Covering yourself with the policy that is right for you is the best way to ensure that your items are completely covered in any event.
  3. Make A List Of All Of Your Possessions That You Want To Cover With Your Policy – The best way to both choose coverage, and to receive a proper payout for your items is to have an accurate list of what you are covering. Consider all of your belongings including electronics, furniture, clothing, jewelry, accessories, collectibles, recreational items, and more.  The value will add up!  Keep this list somewhere safe so that it is easily accessible in the event of a loss such as a fireproof box or a safe deposit box.  It will help you remember all of the items you need to replace in the event that something happens to them and will make the process go much more smoothly.
  4. Consider Extensions On Particularly Valuable Objects – Your insurance may not cover the full value of an expensive piece of jewelry or an expensive electronic.  With this in mind, it may be worth getting an extension on your policy to cover these items.  Without an extension, you could be making up the difference when you go to purchase a new item to replace what you lost.
  5. Choose Between An Actual Cash Value Policy Or A Replacement Value Policy – There are two types of policies to choose from, and they range in price. With an Actual Cash Value Policy, you will receive the current value of your object considering depreciation over time.  This policy is usually cheaper, but it means that if you have a 3 year old laptop that cost you $5,000 new, you will not receive $5,000 to purchase a new one.  Rather, you would receive the cash value of a 3 year old laptop, which will be less.  A Replacement Value Policy will pay for the cost of replacing a lost or stolen object.  This means that if your 3 year old laptop got stolen, you would get the money to buy a brand new laptop to replace it.  The policy is more expensive, but it ensures that you are able to buy a full replacement of the items you lose.

A renter’s insurance policy covers more than just the loss of your possessions.  It also covers personal liability issues if someone should get injured on your property as well as property damage.  If you are bringing important valuables with you to school, make sure you are covered for whatever the next semester brings.

Contact ABCO Insurance Agency today for help with your renter’s insurance policy.  We offer competitive rates to help you get the best coverage at a great price.  Call us today!

What Types Of Coverage Does Construction Insurance Offer Me?

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Construction sites are dangerous, which is why it is imperative to have adequate insurance coverage for your project.  Of course, construction insurance policies are not the same as other business policies, and therefore cover different needs.  Not sure what types of insurance you need for your contracting or construction company.  Here is a list of important policies to consider:

Commercial General Liability Policy (CGL) – This policy offers coverage for bodily injury and property damage caused on a construction site.  The specifics of these terms are defined in the policy.  An important note is that this policy will not cover the cost to repair defective work.  It is for use with on site accidents related to your construction project.

Umbrella Liability Coverage – For larger contractors, this policy can supplement your CGL to offer you extended coverage.  CGL policies have maximum policy limits, which is where umbrella liability can kick in to provide more coverage.  Your insurance agent can help you decide if this policy is necessary for your business.

Builder’s Risk Policy – This policy protects the names of the insured from certain named perils while a building is being constructed.  Many contracts require the owner or general contractor to get a builder’s risk policy for a project.  There are often exclusions such as flood, weather damage, or employee theft with this policy.

Professional Liability Coverage – This coverage is becoming more and more popular with contractors.  These policies cover businesses that offer services from error and malpractice issues.  Typically this insurance is covered by the designer of a project, however with a designer-builder it is becoming necessary.  The CGL does not offer professional liability coverage.

Contractor’s Pollution Coverage – This coverage will cover a contractor if they ever receive a claim of bodily damage or property damage due to a pollution incident during a contractor covered operation.  If your work includes potential pollutants, this is an important coverage to add to your policy.

Contractors and construction companies need the proper insurance.  ABCO Insurance Agency can get you quotes from multiple insurance companies to save you time and money.  Contact ABCO today for more information.

What Kind Of Insurance Is Best If I am Opening A Small Storefront?

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When it comes to insuring your business, it is important to have the right coverage.  After all, you could get stuck paying a hefty price if you suffer a loss without the proper insurance.  Not all businesses are the same and can require different types of insurance coverage.  If you are opening a storefront, you should consider carrying the following coverage:

General Liability Insurance – This insurance covers you for legal hassles that may come your way.  This includes claims of negligence, accidents, and injuries caused to employees and patrons.  Almost all small businesses carry general liability insurance as part of their coverage.  You don’t want to be caught in an expensive lawsuit without it.

Product Liability Insurance – As a small storefront, you may sell retail products or potentially even manufacture, distribute, or wholesale products in your space.  If this is the case, you need product liability insurance.  It will cover you should your product ever be defective or cause someone bodily harm.  All storefronts should be covered with product liability.

Professional Liability Insurance – Any business providing a service should cover themselves with professional liability insurance.  This insurance covers you in cases of negligence, malpractice, or errors when serving your customers.  Service based businesses including doctors, lawyers, mechanics, plumbers, and other service based businesses should definitely carry this insurance coverage.

Commercial Property Insurance – Beyond needing coverage for errors or negligence caused by your business, you also need coverage for damage done to your business.  This includes fire, water, and wind damage as well as vandalism and civil disobedience.  You can get this insurance in either an all-risk policy (which covers a range of issues) or peril specific policies (where you choose the perils you are specifically concerned with).  It is important to cover your business with commercial property insurance should the unthinkable happen.  Beyond covering the damage to your building, it can also cover lost wages if you are displaced or stolen objects in the case of theft.

Having the right coverage is imperative for your storefront.  ABCO Insurance Agency can help get you the right coverage at the best price.  Contact us today to learn more about our business insurance coverage options.  We will help you compare rates to save you money.

What To Do If You Have An Accident On A Road Trip

So your road trip has turned into a bit more of an adventure than you expected: you’ve had an accident.  What can you do?  Can your insurance company help you?  Is your coverage the same out of state as it is in the state you live in?  Relax and take a deep breath.  Chances are that you are covered.

It is important to check with your specific auto insurance policy before you hit the road.  While most policies cover all accidents within the continental United States, you should always make sure that your policy is among them.  If it is, you are covered no matter where your accident occurs so long as it is within the US.

Your policy will cover you the same no matter where your accident occurs, and the course of action you take if you have an accident is the same.  Call your insurance company right away to report your claim.  They will guide you through your best course of action to ensure that you are properly covered for your accident.

Need a tow truck?  Maybe an auto body shop?  Not sure how you will get your busted car home?  Your insurance company can help you get help and get yourself home.  That is why we are here.  We can help you arrange for the proper help to ensure that the rest of your trip runs smoothly.

If you need auto insurance before your next road trip, ABCO Insurance Agency can help.  With three convenient locations in South Jersey, we have an experienced staff that is ready to help you find the perfect policy.  Call today for more information.  We’ll keep you safe on the road for all of your road trip adventures.

Do I Need Special Insurance On A Vacation Rental Property?

If you own a property in a desirable vacation destination, chances are that you have considered renting your home during the time that you are not there.  After all, the money that can come from renting your vacation home can help offset the cost of maintaining your home as well as potentially help you profit off of your property.  Of course, with renting a property to others comes the risk of damage to your home or liability issues.  Because of this it is important to make sure that you have the proper coverage for your property.  Your Homeowner’s Policy will most likely not cover renting your property to strangers.

Renting a vacation home is not the same as a full time income property that someone would most likely be renting for months or even years at a time.  You are renting to a variety of people for days or maybe weeks at a time, and only during the time that you are not living on the property yourself.  Because of this you need to talk to your insurer about your best insurance options.

In some cases, an addendum may be added to your homeowner’s policy.  The availability of this coverage depends on your insurance provider and how frequently you rent out your property.  If you have a regular rotation of guests for the better part of the year, this may not be available to you due to higher risk and liability.

Many insurance companies may steer you towards a business policy and specifically one that is more of a hotel type policy.  This will cover you for damages, but it may not cover you for personal liability or theft from your home.

The bottom line is that when you open your home up to others, you must make sure that you have the best coverage available to cover you for damages to your property and liability if a guest is injured or their property is damaged.  Your insurance provider will be able to help you make important decisions on the best policy or policies for your vacation home.

Before you rent your vacation home out to others, make sure you have the right insurance coverage.  The experts at ABCO Insurance Agency can help.  Call us today for more information on vacation rental coverage!