Homeowners insurance is one of the most important insurance products for any homeowner in Los Gatos. If you’re like most people, your home is your most valuable asset.  Your home is where your family will build memories that will last a lifetime. To protect such an important asset, making sure you have the proper insurance policies in place is imperative.

Homeowners insurance policies can differ based on the type of property you own, the different types of coverage you choose to protect your home with, and the amount of coverage you choose to carry.

Here are 5 tips that every homeowner in Los Gatos should follow when reviewing their home policy:

  1. Make sure you have sufficient dwelling coverage. What’s dwelling coverage? Dwelling coverage provides you with protection to replace or repair your home after an insurable loss like a fire. The one problem we see way too often when bringing on new clients is that they are currently extremely underinsured. The amount of dwelling coverage their current policy provides them with would simply not be enough to rebuild their home in the event it was destroyed. That’s where our job comes into play. We properly educate clients in making sure they have a sufficient amount of coverage to replace their home in the event of a major loss.
  2. Personal Liability coverage. Your liability coverage protects you against lawsuits for any bodily injury or property damage that you or a family member are found legally responsible for. This coverage includes legal fees and any court awards up to your policy limits.  If you have a pool, a trampoline, dogs, etc. you could be at risk for a major liability claim. We always recommend our clients carry at least $500,000 in personal liability coverage.
  3. Get an umbrella policy.  An umbrella policy protects you when the liability coverage on your homeowners insurance or auto insurance are exhausted from a major claim.  If you are in a serious auto accident and the other party suffers injuries that will now sideline them from being able to work for months, or years, they can sue you for lost income, medical bills, and pain and suffering. These costs can add up quickly. Without an umbrella policy you may be left having to pay for some of these expenses out of pocket. How do you know if you are carrying enough umbrella insurance? Depending on what you want to protect we like to recommend carrying enough liability insurance to cover your net assets. Not only will an umbrella help you sleep at night but they also very affordable. Sometimes they can also provide you with a discount on your auto and home insurance.
  4. Cover your valuable articles. Whether it’s your engagement ring, a piece of fine art, or that expensive piece of jewelry passed down to you from your grandmother, you need to make sure these items are properly insured. Homeowners insurance policies all have different limits of coverage for jewelry and fine art and these limits are typically not nearly enough to replace these special items you have acquired over the years. Some companies will give you the option to schedule these items on your homeowners insurance policy for a specific limit. These items then typically do not have a deductible and are covered for most types of losses. Others offer a personal article floater policy where you can have all of your valuable items insured together. Make sure you have a copy of a recent appraisal. Many companies require appraisals for items insured up to a certain limit.
  5. Find an Independent Agent. Many customers don’t fully understand how important this is. At the end of the day, many things separate one agent from another. The ability to proactively service their policyholders, their knowledge of the insurance industry, products, and different situations that may present themselves to their clients. An independent agent gives you access to a wide range of companies, different product types, claims assistance, can make the process of switching from one carrier to another extremely easy, and you are also supporting a local business.

For more information on how we have been helping individuals with homeowners insurance in Los Gatos give us a call at 408-402-3646 or fill out our online quote form and see how we can help you. https://www.donwilliamsinsurance.com/quotes/

Homeowners Insurance in Los Gatos, Ca.

I’m pretty confident that if you asked anyone who has ever owned a rental property you would get an overwhelming response that it’s not as lucrative or easy as they thought it would be. In fact, owning a rental property can be a major pain, and end up costing you a ton of money!

I certainly don’t mean to be a “Debbie Downer”, and I know that if it’s done right it can be lucrative, but from an insurance agent’s perspective, I don’t see a lot of people doing it right.

So you’re probably thinking, “Well Chris, you are an insurance agent. What do you know about real estate or rental properties? Why should I take advice from you?”

I’m not a real estate agent, and I don’t own a rental property. However, several of my friends/family/clients/co-workers own rentals, and because I insure a bunch of their properties, I’ve had a first hand account of the process, and I’ve learned what to do, and what not to do.

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I was recently asked this question by one of our Don Williams & Associates clients, and thought I would share the answer here for our readers.

There are a lot of things that go into homeowners and auto insurance rates, one of them being credit. I’ve heard a lot of complaints from people who don’t like the fact that insurance companies use credit in their underwriting.

Some people have absolutely no idea that it’s used in the rate at all.

At the end of the day, there’s not much we can do about it though. Insurance companies have been using credit in their rates for decades, and that’s not likely to change.

By the way, insurance companies don’t pull your credit like a mortgage company or credit card company does. There is no negative impact on your credit as a result of an insurance company looking at it.

When I say “pull” what I mean is that the insurance company is doing what’s called a soft inquiry, which is not the same thing as having your credit pulled (hard inquiry).

When does credit play a role in insurance rates?
It’s important to understand that insurance companies don’t continuously check or monitor your credit. Usually, they only check it when you first get a quote and/or sign up with them in the very beginning.

This means that if your credit score increases (or decreases) your insurance company does not automatically know about it.

So, to my customers question of whether or not his increased credit score will lower his rates, the answer is not automatically.

What has to be done on our side as the agent is contact the carrier the insurance and ask them to do what’s commonly referred to as a “re-score”. This is when the insurance company can re-run the person’s credit (soft inquiry) to see if there is any positive bearing on the rate.

This isn’t something that the insurance company is going to let the agency do every single year, so it’s not worth even asking unless there has been a significant change in your credit score, and only you as the customer would know if that was the case.

If you’d like to get a better handle on your credit rating, it could be helpful to setup credit monitoring. We hope this was helpful! As always, leave us comment below if you have any questions.

Why do my auto insurance rates keep going up even though my car is getting older?  At Don Williams & Associates, many of our clients ask this question so I would like to address it from a couple of angles.

First things first, even though it’s called car/auto insurance, it covers more than just your car. It should technically be called “auto-owners” insurance, similarly to how home insurance is actually called “home owners insurance”.

It’s important to understand that there are a lot of variables that go into insurance premiums, and with auto insurance, it’s no different.

The insurance company is much more concerned with you crashing into someone and causing them (or yourself) bodily harm, or death, than they are about your car. A car is a material possession which can be replaced.

A human life is not.

When is the last time you looked at your auto insurance policy?
If you look at it you’ll notice there are a lot of different coverages on your auto policy.

Bodily injury
Property damage
Un-insured motorist
Under-insured motorist
Medical Payments
Loss of Income
Funeral Expense
Loss of use
Rental Reimbursement

These are all things that you are covered for on your auto policy. How many of them have to do with your car?

None.

How many of them have a price next to them on your policy?

All of them.

Your car isn’t the only thing you’re being charged for on your policy
That’s because auto insurance covers far more important things than your car as mentioned above.

Let me re-phrase that: your car insurance rate isn’t just based on your car.

You’re not the only one…
It’s also important to understand that you are not the only person your insurance company insures. You are one fish in an ocean of other fish, sharks, and sea creatures, all who have different characteristics and risk profiles.

Insurance is all about spreading costs over a large number (risk pool) of people, which each person paying their fare share. That risk pool is constantly changing, and is impacted by a ton of different things, including the overall economic climate.

This means that you are sharing in the cost of millions of other people, many of whom may have poor loss history and/or credit.

That’s what insurance is though — sharing in the cost.

The next time your auto insurance rates go up, take a look at the big picture. Make sure you’re looking at ALL of the coverages, and corresponding rates.

Hope this helps!  If you would like to know more about Car Insurance be sure to visit our page dedicated to it.