Get to know your homeowners (HO) insurance options

“HO” insurance coverage – you could certainly use it, and if you’re not already familiar with the term, we promise that’s not an insult. It actually just refers to homeowners insurance, but can also apply to renters’ insurance as well. Whenever possible, it’s extremely important to have your dwelling covered. Your residence is likely one of your biggest, if not actually your biggest financial asset, and getting insurance coverage can mean the difference between a temporary setback and a major disaster if something happens to it. Of course, you never need this kind of coverage until you do, so if it’s something you can budget for, do it.

Fortunately, there are different kinds of coverage, so depending on what your home is at the greatest risk for, you might be able to choose a cheaper option. The following nomenclature is standard everywhere except Texas, so talk to your agent for more info if you’re looking for coverage there.

HO-1, HO-2 and HO-3 policies are all homeowners’ policies from specific perils. HO-1 is the most basic, and usually the most affordable. HO-2 will include coverage against things like damage from falling objects or ice, which isn’t really as big of a risk factor if your home is in, say, Arizona. In most cases, if you’re living in a place like that, you can stick to HO-1 and save yourself some money. HO-3 covers everything that’s covered in an HO-1 or HO-2, as well as anything that isn’t specified with the exceptions of damage from war, a nuclear plant malfunction (read: *kaboom*), an earthquake, or a flood. This option is great if you want absolute protection.

HO-4 is renters’ insurance, and is usually more affordable than you’d think. It protects your personal property from everything an HO-2 would cover except for the building itself – it’s your landlord’s responsibility to insure that. An HO-5 is a bit of an uncommon policy. It’s total coverage against basically everything for both the building and personal property. It’s pricier, as you might imagine, and there aren’t very many situations where an HO-1, HO-2, or HO-3 wouldn’t do the trick just as well. HO-6 is a condominium policy, and carries special protections for such situations. The HO-8 is similar to an HO-1, except that it covers repairs or the actual cash value of an object that gets damaged. It’s useful in situations like an historic building that has greater replacement value than its market cost.

The terminology may differ depending on carriers and other factors, but this should give you a good idea where to start with your agent when you’re ready to get covered. Don’t hesitate to contact Client First if you have any questions!

In Sickness and Health – Merging Insurance Companies

Concerned about all the merging insurance companies? Wondering if your coverage will change now that another company bought your health insurance provider? 

The health insurance marketplace can seem like an uncharted frontier lately. With new health insurance laws always at the forefront of legislative discussion and action, there’s a lot in flux right now, and one thing that everyone can benefit from being in the loop about is the mergers that are occurring as the health insurance field shifts and stirs.

Take Aetna’s purchase of Humana, for example; it’s a 37 billion dollar deal, and the largest in insurance history. A purchase of this size and scope will inevitably impact consumers, and certainly faces antitrust issues. That said, it’s not necessarily a bad thing for you and your family. Mergers have some different effects as they concern consumers, but depending on your situation, they might actually be a boon instead of a setback.

A bigger market share for one insurer will tend to mean fewer policy options. Antitrust procedures reduce the likelihood that one big bad insurer could exploit this, but in general, it means that there is less competition, and that usually tips the scales against the little guy. Don’t despair, however – the silver lining is that these acquisitions mean that the number of doctors that are considered “in network” increases substantially. So you may actually have an increased likelihood of having access to the care you need.

The process of merging insurance companies is huge and complex. If your carrier is merging and you’ve got questions about how it could affect your coverage, don’t hesitate to give Kirk a call or stop by the office and chat – health care may be a hot button issue in the political realm, but at Client First, there are no politics. It’s just you, the best possible coverage at the most comfortable price point, and whatever it takes to make a connection between the two.