Three Ways Your Home May be Underinsured

Mortgage lenders require homeowners to have insurance that protects the bank’s investment in case of a loss. The State of Maryland doesn’t force people to carry insurance, but it’s in your best interest to have protection. The challenges that property owners face is understanding how much and what type of policy they need. At Ramsey Insurance, our professionals are available to help members of the Annapolis, MD; community gets the detailed coverage that can provide thorough security. We’ll work closely with you to avoid common misconceptions that cause some homeowners to be underinsured.

High Rebuilding costs

Many homeowners gauge their replacement costs based on the value of the home. That seems to make logical sense on the surface. But the difference between rebuilding a home at today’s materials and labor costs can be vastly different than the value of a home. Some properties depreciate, and the Real Estate market fluctuates. Today’s home construction costs can run about $150 per square foot and that may not include demolition work and removing damage. Add on the costs of permits, inspections and other hidden items, and you could very well be taking money out of pocket if there is a total loss.   

Natural Disasters and Floods

Many people aren’t aware that floods and other natural disasters are not a standard part of homeowners insurance. In fact, you will likely need to have flood insurance added to your policy. Considering that the Annapolis MD community has Seven River on one side and South River on the other, protection of rising waters may be prudent.

New Building Codes

People that own older homes are commonly tripped up by the expense of changing building and fire codes. Existing homes are not subject to updated safety codes. However, if you suffer damage that requires new construction, that work must meet today’s inspection standards. This is an important aspect to consider when you decide how much coverage to carry. The last thing you want is to pay out of pocket.

Choosing a homeowners policy or upgrading and existing one means making a number of informed chooses. At Ramsey Insurance, we take pride in serving members of the Annapolis, MD community. Our professionals are available to discuss a detailed policy that will provide you with a sense of home security.

Items to Include in Your Home Emergency Kit

No one every expects an emergency to happen in their town or in their home. However, even in Annapolis, MD, anything can happen. To prepare for the unexpected, you should have a home emergency ready at all times. If you have never created a home emergency kit before, use this list to ensure you have the necessities:

  • Food. You will definitely need food if you are stranded at your home during an emergency. You should have enough food for all of the people in your home for at least three days. Consider getting non-perishable food as well as food you can eat without cooking it in case you lose power. 
  • Water. Water is another item you need to have in your home at all times. You should have at least a gallon for every person to drink per day. 
  • Flashlights, batteries, candles, and matches. If you do end up losing power during an emergency, you will need a way to see around your home in the dark and these are the best items you can have on hand. 
  • A first aid kit. You can get one of these from a local store but make sure it is fully stocked in case you need it. This is a great way to take care of minor injuries if you are stranded at home.
  • A portable charger. If you need your phone and you do not have power, you will thank yourself for having this on hand.

Creating a home insurance kit is not the only thing you can use to protect yourself and your home. You should also have a great home insurance policy from Ramsey Insurance. For more information on home insurance policies and to get a free quote, be sure to contact Ramsey Insurance serving Annapolis, MD today. 

Oldest Driving Age in Maryland and Limitations

Most people are familiar with minimum driving ages, with most states allowing limited driving for learning at 15 years of age and then fully-licensed driving at 16. However, driving ability and permission doesn’t last forever, and as a person age’s there comes a limitation on how long that person can continue to drive legally. After all, there is no entitled to being allowed to drive a car on public roads.

In Maryland the age limit on legal driving doesn’t exist per se. That means, in theory, a person could be 100 years old and still be able to legally drive. However, it’s not a simple matter of having a license. At the age of 70 years of age, drivers have be on record that the person already has a Maryland driver’s license, and needs to be able to prove medical competence to drive from a licensed physician. The thinking here is that people’s biological age varies in terms of their capabilities for eyesight, control, reaction time and similar. Some people have issues at the age of 55 while others do just fine at the age of 90. So, instead of applying an arbitrary cut off age on everyone, Maryland’s laws were designed to put the burden of proof of being able to drive on people themselves. After 70, if the person can gain the support of a doctor certifying physical ability to operate a car properly, then licensing is allowed.

The Maryland age limit of 70 is not on seniors alone. After age 40, drivers in Maryland must have a vision test at every license renewal. Maryland can also apply restrictions case-by-case. To find out more, those in Annapolis, MD can contact their local auto insurance provider for up-to-date information.

Home Insurance Add Ons to Consider

Depending on your property, there are different home insurance add-ons you need to consider. These added forms of home protection will offer additional forms of protection. So, when living in and around Annapolis MD, we at Ramsey Insurance want to do everything in our power to show you potential home insurance additions that can protect your home. 

Flood Damage

Maryland can still be hit by big storms coming off of the coast. In addition, it is also prime for heavy snow as well. Depending on where you live, flooding can occur, which may not be covered by your home insurance. Additionally, with the colder weather comes frozen pipes, which in turn can lead to burst pipes. Flood damage insurance protection can pay for this damage. 

Valuable Items Insurance

Depending on the policy, you may need to list the kind of valuables you have in your home. For other forms of insurance, you’ll need to insure everything separately. Replacing electronics, computers, and other items can be costly. A quick smash and grab into your home can result in tens of thousands of dollars of lost electronics. If you have expensive valuables on hand, this is an insurance add on to consider. 

Personal Umbrella Policy

Maybe someone looking for a quick payout fakes a slip and fall on your property and tries to sue you. Even if you know it is fake you’ll likely still need to hire an attorney, which is pricey. The personal umbrella policy will help pay for this. 

Not all home insurance add-ons are right for everyone. It can often depend on where you live within the community, what is around your property and several other factors as well. At Ramsey Insurance, we want to make sure your Annapolis MD property is protected. So, feel free to contact us regarding any questions you have about these (and other) potential home insurance options. 

Getting More From Your Home Insurance in Annapolis

Besides making sure your doors stay locked and your storm windows are up this winter, there are a number of other ways that you can protect your property in Annapolis, MD besides the routines you likely already have. Your home insurance works to be the ultimate in protection, covering you from practically everything you can possible think of. Learn more about how you can get more out of it all. 

Consider Everything 

There are so many events that happen everyday, and most are entirely harmless. But it really only takes one second for everything to change, and when it does, you’ll be glad you took the time to be prepared. The precautions that you take today can determine the course of your whole life. In order to really make good decisions about home insurance in Annapolis, MD, you’ll want to go over not just the most obvious scenarios (e.g., theft, storms, blizzards, etc.), but also the slightly less common (e.g., vandals, flooding, etc.) Staying calm is all about taking care of the details. 

Choose the Right Company 

The large insurance companies have a number of employees and they never seem to be working when you need them the most, and they typically do not lead you to believe that you’re getting the most out of your home insurance. When you’re forced to tell different people the same story and listen to them tell you the same restrictions and clauses of your policy, it can be a truly maddening experience. You don’t need this at a time when you’re already facing enough confusion and turmoil. Calling Ramsey Insurance can give you the means to both understand what you should be covering in your home, as well as giving you direction if it all comes crashing down. Talk to us if you’re looking for a quote, or just hoping to have a few more of your questions answered. 

 

Fall Checklist of Things to Do to Avoid Plumbing Problems and Water Damage

Winter weather can cause water damage and plumbing problems when the temperature gets below freezing.

Here is a list of things to check to avoid having any plumbing problems or water damage during winter:

  • If there are any systems that will not be in regular use during winter, turn the water supply off, drain the system, and drain the supply pipes. Examples of these systems are external central air-conditioning units, landscaping irrigation, garden hoses, water connections to exterior kitchens, water features in the garden, outdoor ponds, and swimming pools.
  • Make sure there is adequate insulation in place to protect any water pipes that remain in use.
  • Clean gutters and downspouts. Check for any roof damage, such as missing roof shingles. Make repairs as necessary. This prevents water from staying on the roof and causing leaks.
  • Clean sewer drains to make sure there is no blockage by tree and plant roots that impairs the water flow. The best drain cleaning systems use high-pressure water to blow the debris out of the pipes.
  • If you have a septic system, winterize it with the proper chemicals to keep it functioning well. Wrap any exposed parts of the connecting pipes with heavy winter insulation to keep them from freezing.
  • Check the foundation for any cracks that allow water to enter. Repair any cracks, because any water that freezes in the cracks can break the foundation.

This is also a good time of year to conduct a home insurance coverage review with your agent at Ramsey Insurance, to make sure the coverage is adequate. Be sure to tell your agent of any significant life changes that occurred over the past year. Things to mention include any major home repairs or renovations, new appliance purchases, and adding new expensive personal items to the home such as a wide-screen television.

We hope these tips are helpful and that you have a safe, happy, and enjoyable holiday season.

Maryland Recreational Vehicle Owners: Stay Safe, Stay Insured

Camping is a great activity nationwide, no matter if you are in California or in Maryland. For as fun as it is, there are a lot of precautions that you must take before you go out. Specifically, if you are bringing a recreational vehicle out on the road, you need to make sure that you have the proper insurance to legally drive it. Every state handles insurance and registration differently, which can complicate things beyond a point that is reasonable. That’s where Ramsey Insurance comes in, to clear up all of the vague details.

In order to drive an RV, you of course need to have basic automobile insurance, so at least in that respect it is not too much of a hassle to get your RV properly insured. However, there are absolutely some extra layers involved in getting everything set up. In addition to proper automobile insurance, you will be expected to pay an extra fee to get your RV registered. How much extra you will need to pay is ultimately up to a variety of factors, which could put off people from caring to get an RV in the first place. If you are an RV owner without proper insurance or merely a prospective RV owner, we at Ramsey Insurance will – in a matter of minutes – check into your insurance needs in order to figure out the proper level of automobile insurance you need and to help you figure out how much you will need to spend to register your RV.

There are a lot of questions that an RV owner (or would-be RV owner) may have about insuring an RV. If you have any of them, you can shoot them our way by contacting Ramsey Insurance either through our website or by phone at (410) 266-9363 and we will answer them to the best of our abilities.

Basic Types of Commercial Insurance

There are plenty of considerations when it comes to fully insuring your business and knowing what types of insurance there are and what policies may benefit you can make a big difference in your overall success. There are three types of commercial insurance that are very basic and that fit the bill across many states.

The first is property insurance. This is going to protect your property and keep your business operating in the event of destruction of property. Say for instance your business is destroyed in a natural disaster. Property insurance will help replace the necessary elements to get you up and running again quickly.

There is also liability insurance. This is going to protect your business in the event that someone becomes injured in your business or covers damages to third parties. This is going to protect your business from being sued by employees or customers but is still going to give them the money they need to help pay medical bills and recover from the accident.

The last type of commercial insurance is commercial auto policies. Again, these are going to help protect your business in the event that your employee or someone driving a car associated with your business is in an accident. Say you own a delivery business and one of your trucks gets into an accident, this type of policy will help protect the assets of the business while taking care of the other driver and your employee.

If you have any questions about commercial insurance and you live in the Annapolis, MD area, the helpful agents with Ramsey Insurance can help you find the policy, level of coverage, and type of coverage you need to be safe, legal, and fully protected.

Why Do you Need Motorcycle Insurance?

Motorcycle insurance is a must for several very specific reasons. Just like car insurance is essential and you must be insured in order to drive legally, you must carry insurance on your motorcycle to avoid legal issues. So why might you need motorcycle insurance? The helpful agents at Ramsey Insurance can give you more details but here is an easy explanation to get you started.

First off, any vehicle that is going to be driven on the road must be licensed. Licensing a vehicle puts a record of the car in the system in your local government and lets the proper officials know who owns the car as a means of identification in the case of a hit and run or in the case that the car is stolen or some crime is committed using that vehicle. It also means that the car is going to be properly taxed by your local government as well.

In order for a vehicle to be licensed, it must be insured. Not only does insurance protect the driver, it also protects other drivers in the case of an accident. Say for instance your motorcycle strikes another car while driving, it is essential that insurance is in place to help pay the bills of the other driver and to protect your best interests as well. If you want to drive the motorcycle on the road, you are going to need insurance without a doubt.

If you want to be able to drive legally, you must have the motorcycle both licensed and insured to protect yourself and other drivers. Another reason you may need insurance is if your motorcycle still has a loan or a lien against it. The bank will require a full coverage policy to cover the cost of any damage.

How do you know if you need flood insurance

Whether you need flood insurance is often determined by where your house is located. Some houses are in high-risk areas, and some are in low-risk areas. If you are on top of a mountain, you may not need flood insurance, but if you are in a lower area, you may need insurance.

It is also a good idea to check on nearby creeks and rivers, and see what their historic flood stages have been. Even if there have not been any floods in the last 50 years or so, if you are near a stream of any size, there is always a risk of flooding.

There is a federal law that says if you are in a high-risk area you must have flood insurance.  The law says if there is a 25 percent chance of flooding in your area over a 30-year period, you must have flood insurance. People in moderate to low risk areas, meaning less than the one in four chance over 30 years, you are not required to have flood insurance, but you may still get a policy if you choose to.

According to FEMA, about 20 percent of flood claims from people who do not live in a high-risk area, so that should be taken into consideration.  A lender may require insurance on a mortgage whether you are in a risk area or not.

You may get flood insurance on your home itself, and on the contents, but those are separate policies. Keep in mind that flood insurance is not the same thing as home insurance. Most companies also have a 30-day waiting period to buy insurance.

Visit Ramsey Insurance Agency’s website for information about how to get flood insurance in the Annapolis, MD area, or let us update your policy if you are an existing customer.