Author: Ali Palacios - Broker

Your Home, Your Rules – Showing your Home during the Conoravirus outbreak

Speak to your Real Estate agent about possible changes/rules that you can implement to make your property tours safer.

These restrictions may reduce the number of visits but it will assure you that those that do tour your property are serious buyers.

1. Have your listing agent request a copy of the buyer’s pre-qualification in advance. If they are not pre-qualified they shouldn’t be touring your property.

2. Have your agent use the following form to at least ask if the parties that will tour your property have symptoms.

3. Have all persons entering your home remove their shoes 👞👡 right outside your home. Add a note to your front door requesting this just in case the buyer’s agent forgets to tell their client.

4. Clean frequently touched surfaces and objects daily (e.g., tables, countertops, light switches, doorknobs, and cabinet handles).

5. Consider offering hand sanitizer by the front door. Add a note asking those entering to please use the sanitizer before they tour your home.

6. Speak to your agent about offering a video tour of your property. Sometimes a video with answer the questions buyers have about your property and they might rule it out based on further details. The truth is that your home is not for everyone. Let’s limit the tours to the ones that really are interested.

🗣This works both ways, if you as the seller are feeling ill please speak to your listing agent about canceling all showings until further notice.

We all have to do our part to help stop the spread!

COVID-19 Addendum provides for a 30-day extension of the closing date

My job as a Real Estate Agent is to protect my buyers and sellers during the buying and selling process. 🌟 We have seen many delays in the home selling/buying process. 🌟 These delays have caused extensions in closing dates. It’s very important to protect your interests. The Realtor Organization has created a form that will cover you should you need an extension due to the COVID19 outbreak. Ask your agent about this form. Read it and see if you feel you’d like it included in your offer/contract.

The 30-day extension under the addendum is available if the delay in closing is due to a quarantine or closure that affects the buyer, seller, or other service provider, including, but not limited to, a title company, lender, inspector, or appraiser.

Please note that any date extensions must be approved by sellers and buyers alike. If one party does not agree, you will have a problem.

Does it Freeze?

With all us buying more than usual these days we might find ourselves throwing food away that will be expiring soon or getting a little too ripe. There are ways to minimize waste and save some of these items. You can save this food with a little prep and freezer space. Below you will find a list of items that freeze very well.

Freezing Instructions

Produce

Almost all produce can be frozen.  Here are some that freeze particularly well.  See link below for instructions. I typically diced up the produce before I freeze. This is great for produce that is getting a little too ripe.

Here is a list of produce the freezes the best

  • Asparagus
  • Avocado (peeled, sliced or pureed with a little lemon/lime juice, perfect for guacamole)
  • Berries
  • Broccoli
  • Brussels sprouts
  • Carrots
  • Cauliflower
  • Corn
  • Grapes
  • Greens (including spinach, kale and collards)
  • Green beans
  • Mangos
  • Melon (cut in chunks)
  • Mushrooms (whole or sliced)
  • Okra
  • Onions
  • Peaches (peeled, sliced)
  • Peas
  • Peppers
  • Pineapple (chunks)
  • Potatoes (cooked or raw)
  • Pumpkin
  • Squash (summer squash, zucchini, and all winter squashes)
  • Strawberries
  • Sweet potatoes (cooked or raw)
  • Tomato (I dice the tomatoes before freezing and used them in cooked meals)

Produce that freezes but don’t hold up as well

  • Cabbage (will be soggy once it unthaws but it can be used in cooked dishes)
  • Celery (same as cabbage)
  • Garlic (frozen in oil works best)
  • Herbs I blend the herbs with water or oil and pour the mixture into ice cube trays to freeze. Ginger works really well in this manner.
  • Overripe bananas, peeled and diced (great for smoothies, sorbets and baking)
  • Apples (treat with a little lemon juice, great for baking. You can also make apple sauce and freeze it in this manner)

Don’t like plain water?

Frozen Ice cubes with produce and/or herbs are a great option to flavor water and keeps your beverage cool.

Grains and Nuts

These items last much longer in the freezer due to the higher fat content. In fact, the fats will go rancid much quicker at room temperature.

  • Nuts (this also includes nut flours)
  • Seeds
  • Flours

Baked Goods and Dough

Most baked goods will freeze really well.

BAKED GOODS:

  • Biscuits
  • Brownies
  • Cakes (frosted or unfrosted)
  • Crackers (saltines remain perfectly fresh once opened)
  • Tortillas
  • Muffins
  • Cookies (cookies or raw in small balls)
  • Sweet breads like banana bread
  • Donuts
  • Pie (no meringue topped pies)
  • Yeast breads

Most unbaked good will freeze well but it should be portioned in advance.

Cookies: I used a small scoop to portion the cookies and I freeze them in scoops. They can be taken from the freezer to the oven. No need to unthaw.

Yeast Dough: It’s best to pre-portion before you freeze if they will be rolls. If it’s a loaf, leave it whole.

Sweet dough: Cake batters can be frozen. It will need to be unthawed before it’s baked.

Pie crust: freeze very well whole or blind baked.

ZERO WASTE

Meats

Raw: Most meats can be frozen in its raw state. Unthawed and cooked as usual.

Cooked: Cooked meats freeze very well. I typically portion the cooked meats into individual portions and take them out as needed. These work great in casseroles.

Cooked or Raw Bacon: Bacon freezes well both raw and frozen. In its raw form, I normally diced it up before I freeze. This makes it super easy to take out only what you need for a recipe.

Other Items

  • Wine: Do you have left over wine? If so freeze it in ice cube trays. These cubes can be put into cooked dishes.
  • Sauces: Most sauces can be frozen and unthawed when ready to use. Think: tomato sauce, pesto, gravy, glazes, etc. Creamed based sauces don’t do well in the freezer.
  • Cooked Pasta: Place the pasta in a large freezer baggie and flatten it out before freezing. Unthaw as needed.
  • Casseroles: Almost all casseroles can be prepped in advance and frozen in an oven safe container. Think: Enchiladas, Lasagna, King Ranch Casserole, etc.
  • Fried foods can be frozen after they are fried. It’s best to reheats these in the oven to get them crispy.
  • Rice can be frozen and microwaved when ready to eat. Add a little water to create some steam.
  • Butter freezes perfectly. Just unthaw as needed. The high fat content makes this product last longer frozen
  • Block Cheeses freeze very well and last much longer in the freezer. It’s also a little easier to grate when it’s slightly frozen. Hard or semi hard cheese freeze better than softer cheeses like fresh mozzarella.
  • Eggs will freeze well separated and wished together. It’s best to portion the eggs out before you freeze so it’s easier to use in the future. These are best unthawed and used in baked good.
  • Citrus juice can be frozen in ice cube trays to later be used in recipes or drinks. The zest can be frozen as well to be used in future recipes.
  • Milk may become grainy after frozen and unthawed so it’s best for cooking and baking rather than drinking. Freeze in ice cube tray, for easy use in the future. Make sure to thaw the milk in the refrigerator.
  • Yogurt freezes well but the texture changes a bit once it’s unthawed. Eat it frozen for a cold treat.
  • Cooked beans freeze perfectly
  • Soups, stews and chili freezes very well once cooked.
  • When prepping for a meal, freeze the produce straps and meat bones for future stock preparation.

Deferred Mortgage Payments and Foreclosures

As the number of coronavirus cases in the US rise, many will find themselves unemployed or with cut hours. Yet your expenses have gone up due to unforeseen purchases. This can easily lead to financial struggles. Normally our largest expense is our mortgage payment so if we can find assistance here, it can be a relief.

There is a lot of information out there on mortgage forbearance/deferrals and foreclosures. Some of this information only applies to certain loans so make sure you ask questions before you agree to anything. Don’t assume that the bank will automatically stop payments or foreclosures. They won’t.

If you feel that making your mortgage payment will be an issue, contact your lender sooner than later. They may offer a mortgage forbearance or deferral BUT BEFORE YOU APPLY/AGREE MAKE SURE YOU KNOW THE TERMS.

A mortgage forbearance or deferral could allow homeowners to skip a few mortgage payments so that you can use your current funds on other unforeseen expenses until you return to work. This all sounds great, right!? Ask for details.

Most lenders will accumulate the skipped payments for a period of time and they will be all due once the period ends. Some lenders expect a lump-sum payment, while others offer repayment plans added to your normal mortgage payment.

We saw this happen after Harvey. Some of us contacted our lenders after Harvey and were offers a forbearance/deferral as a solution. Some of these same people were surprised to find out that after the 3-4 months of forbearance/deferral they owed 3-4 months of mortgage payments all at one time! I personally don’t feel that this is a solution. In fact, in most cases it makes matters worse.

When I hear the word deferral, I incorrectly assume that the payments are simply tacked onto the end of the loan. Although some lender did this, most did not. So ask before you agree to this assistance.

Escrow

Another question to ask your lender is how your escrow will be handled. Normally part of your monthly payment will be deposited into your escrow account. This account will then pay for your insurance and taxes. What happens if you don’t make a payment for several months? Your escrow account will be short and you will get a large bill come the end of the year.

Mortgage Modification

A better option might be a mortgage modification. Normally a modification will allow you to skip a few payments and they will be added to the end of the loan or the mortgage balance is altered so that the payments are divided amoung the remaining months. Every bank does this different so ask for details.

Foreclosures

President Donald Trump recently stated that the Department of Housing and Urban Development will suspend “all foreclosures and evictions” for a period of time. All single-family borrowers with a FHA-insured mortgage are eligible. What does this mean? It means that not all mortgage holders will fall in this suspension. It depends on the type of loan you have. If you are behind on your payments, call you lender and see if you qualify. Don’t assume you qualify. The foreclosure process in Texas is quick. Its best to speak to your lender as soon as possible. 

Helpful links:

HUD Guidelines of foreclosures and evictions (FHA loans)

Consumer Financial Protection Bureau

VA Loans

Federal Housing Finance Agency

Bank of America

Wells Fargo

Chase Bank

Window Cleaning and General Maintenance

Let’s take advantage of the low temperature right now and take care of an often overlooked area of maintenance in the home. Windows!

It’s recommended that we check out windows once a year. This is one of the most common areas in which moisture gets into our homes. It’s better to catch the problem right away then try to fix it once more damage has been done. Let’s review some general maintenance suggestions:

Cleaning

Cleaning your windows is not only recommend for esthetic reasons but it will also extend their longevity.

One of the best tools to use is this scrubber that can be attached to any broom handle or other long poles.

I’ve tried many cleaning products and the best ones are also degreasers. These seem to do a better job of cleaning all the build up on the windows. Dawn dish soap would be my second favorite.

Don’t forget the window sill and track

  1. Open the window and vacuum the window sill
  2. Use a tooth brush and warm soapy water
  3. Get in there with q-tips if needed
  4. Wipe down and dry the area
  5. Lubricate the track. For wooden tracks, use the right wax and for vinyl tracks, use a small amount of silicone lubricant.

Here are some tips from our friend Bob Villa

Check for damage

While you are cleaning the windows go ahead and check for common damage and general maintenance that might be needed.

Caulking

Check all around the window on the outside and the interior for separation in the caulking. This is one of the most common ways that moisture gets in.

Check out this video on how to caulk around your windows

Choosing the right sealant

Window Screens

Remove the screens and spray them down. As you are cleaning them check to make sure the window screens are in good shape. These can easily be repaired. Check out this video

Wood rot

Don’t forget to check the interior wood frame and interior sill. Looks for caulking separation, water stains, rot and other indications that moisture has been reaching the interior. This is one of the first places you will find damage.

Look for water stains, rot and other indications that moisture has been reaching the interior.

I love these products for minor wood rot repairs: wood hardener to treat the remaining wood and wood filler to build up any areas that are rotten.

Caulking window sills

Exterior wood rot repair

This is a more severe case of wood rot and water damage around a window.

TIP: This is a great cheap tool you can use to check for moisture in wood and sheetrock

Foggy Windows

Occasionally double pane window will get foggy or you will see moisture accumulation between the panes. This normally happens when the seals around the edges of the glass begin to fail and it allows the inert gas to escape and outside air to enter the space between the glass panes.

Before you do anything check to see if your windows are under warranty.

This page offers a better explanation and possible solutions.

Do you have any comments or suggestions? I’d love to hear them


Short Term Rental Scams

When people hear Airbnb, HomeAway or VRBO, they think vacation. These services connect homeowners who want to rent out a room or their entire house or apartment with travelers who want an alternative to hotel chains.

These short term rentals are used for many other reasons. They are temporary homes between selling and buying a home. They are temporary homes for business trips. They are used as temporary housing for college students.

These types of rentals can also be found on Craig’s list, facebook market page, other social media, etc.

In the last few years there has been a rise in cases of fraud.

Let review some of the most common scams:

  • Fake Rental – One scheme known as take the money and run occurs when a fraudster creates a fake vacation rental listing or website to get money from unaware victims. The pictures are usually stollen from other sites and the property they are advertising doesn’t usually exist. The fraudster will typically ask you to pay the first and last day or sometimes the stay in full. Once they receive the funds they tend to disappear. Usually the victim will not find out they were scammed until they show up at the property (or lack of property).
  • Bait and switch – Another scam is the bait and switch. In this scam, the fraudster shows unavailable properties to lure the would-be renter to a less-desirable property. This is sometimes done in a sneaky way. You may not even know you’ve been scammed.
    • Imagine that the short-term rental owner calls you the day of check-in. You are informed that the previous guest had flushed something down the toilet, which had left the unit flooded with water. He offers you another unit in the mean time and they will let you know when the flooded unit is available (which is probably never). This other unit is usually not the same quality.
  • Price jacking – You get to the property and it’s the property you expected but you are asked to pay more at the last minute. They may push you to pay by turning on the home’s WIFI, turn off the lights, etc.

In 2019, the median loss of victims who reported rental scams to Scam Tracker was $996. The Apartment List survey found that the median loss was $400, but one in three victims lost more than $1,000.

  • Let’s share the winnings: This is typically a scam targeting the short term rental owner. They will ask the owner to charge a certain amount for a room they never plan on using. In exchange they want the owner to give them 1/2 of the amount charged. If you receive a check that’s for more than the specified amount, return it. Do not deposit it. 
  • Cancelled Booking – The victim will receive an email stating that the home or home is not longer available due to renovations or repairs. You are informed that you will get a refund (which never happens).
  • No showings but give me more info – If you ask to see the property and they either tell you no or they book a tour but end up canceling. At times they will ask you to fill out an application with tons of personal info before they allow you to see the property. They might asked to run a credit check before they show you the property—they might say the property is so popular that they are only entertaining serious inquiries or a similar excuse. Red Flag.
  • Home for Rent – Longer term rentals also experience fraud. Fraudsters will use homes that are currently up for sale (and vacant) and they will list them for rent; normally using the same pictures. Sometimes they even gain access to the home and have copies of the keys. They will collect the security deposit and 1st rent, have them sign a lease, and give the victims the keys. It all looks legit until someone shows up to tour the home and realized that there is someone already living in it!
  • Rent-to-Own – I know this is appealing to some renters but the fact is that there is a lot of fraud in this area. This can be legally done by signing a rental agreement with an option to purchase.
Sample Fraud Communication
  • You owe me money! – On occasions the fraudster (property owner) will contact you after the fact and request that you pay a certain amount for repairs. Take photos and video of a property when they arrive and when they leave.
  • Room for Rent/fraudster tenant – There are fraudsters that are renting rooms in vacant homes or homes that they might have rented legitimately but have stop making payments on their rent. Normally they will try to rent every room in the home within a short period by offering an amazing rate. They will take a deposit and the month’s rent in advance. Shortly after they disappear.
  • No Credit Check – If someone is willing to rent you a home or a room for a period of time, wouldn’t they be concerned about your credit or criminal history? Red flag.
  • You can pay the rest later – If the property owner tells you that you can pay a portion of your security deposit now and the rest later, be careful. This is a way to establish trust and they may only be seeking to steal the first part of the payment.

How can you protect yourself?

  • Reverse image search – If you search the images and you find that they are stock pictures or they belong to another listing, this should be a BIG red flag.
  • Contact number – Search for the property owner’s telephone number. If it turns out to be a google number, this might be an issue. Not to say that all google numbers belong to fraudsters but I’d be on high alert.
  • Map the address – Map the address and make sure there is a property located at that address. Does the home match those in the picture?
  • Read reviews – A lot of times just reading the reviews will cause red flags. Do the good reviews sound strange? Do they use the same wording you found in the ad?
  • Cancellation Alerts – Are there multiple cancellation alerts on a property? Red Flag.
  • Price too good to be true? – It probably is. Red Flag. A guest offering to pay extra for a week because they love your place? Scam! A single traveler renting your five-bedroom house for themselves? Scam! Trust your instinct.
  • Payments – Is the host asking you to take their business off the official site? Red flag. All communications and payments should be handled through the site. If they ask for a money order or wire, backoff and report them.
  • Website – before making a payment look at the website address. Sometimes you are sent a link to an “airbnb” like site but the web address is not correct.

airbnb.com vs. airbnb-bookings.com

  • Owner Search – Search for the property’s owner. Make sure that the person that you are dealing with is the owner.  It will not hurt to ask for documentation to prove the identity of the person you are dealing with. If you find the property is owned by a company, call the company and see what you can find out.
  • Few or no reviews – Red Flag
  • Lease – You are asked to sign a lease before you are able to see the place/room.

More info/Sources:

Information about Brokerage Services – IABS form


Texas law requires all real estate license holders to give the following information about brokerage services to prospective buyers, tenants, sellers and landlords. 

In essence, we have to disclose who we represent in a transaction upon the first contact with a party or a licensee representing another party. There are different types of representation that we will explain below.

Real Estate License Holders Explained

  • The Broker – Brokers are more experienced and qualified and can work as independent agents or have other agents work for them. A broker, on the other hand, owns a brokerage and employs real estate agents (or may not). A broker generally has more training than an agent and handles some of the more technical parts of a transaction.
  • A Real Estate Agent – Real estate agents are licensed to facilitate real estate transactions, are paid commissions for their sales, and work for brokerages. They cannot work independently. A real estate agent is an industry professional who serves as the facilitator of real estate transactions. Everything that a Real Estate Agent completes, they do so on behalf of the broker.
  • REALTOR® – Realtors are part of the National Association of Realtors, a trade organization, and can hold any position within the real estate industry.
  • Seller’s Agents, commonly called “listing brokers” or “listing agents”, are contracted by owners to assist with marketing property for sale and/or lease.
  • Buyer’s Agents are brokers or salespersons who assist buyers by helping them purchase property.
  • Dual Agents help both the buyer and the seller in the same transaction. In Texas law does not permit dual agency. A license holder may not represent both principals as a dual agent under the revisions to TRELA. Under the current law, a broker must agree to act as an intermediary in accordance with the statute if the broker agrees to represent more than one party in a transaction. 
  • Intermediary – a person who acts as a link between people in order to try to bring about an agreement or reconciliation; a mediator. When the same brokerage represents the buyer and the seller, the broker must act as an intermediary and a sales rep will be assigned for each party. The broker will be neutral.
  • Subagent – This is an agent that represents a buyer without and buyer’s representation agreement.

Discounts on Insurance Policies?

Does it seem that some people are able to get discounts on everything?

There are a few tricks to get better rates on insurance. Insurance companies study the statistics of the general population to try and find indicators of clients that will not generate claims.

What are the companies looking for in a client?

There is some good news! Insurance companies prefer couples over singles. Service careers also are given a discount with many insurance carriers: military, police officers, fire fighters, educators and medical staff. Ask your insurance agent if you are eligible for any discount based on your employment. You will have to provide a copy of a license or employment ID to qualify but some companies give as much as a 10% discount.

Another area that indicates a responsible insured is education level. Any completed education above a high school diploma can help reduce your rate. Trade schools, junior college, bachelor’s degrees, masters and doctorate degrees all qualify for discounts and preferred rates. If you belong to any group, professional organization, or credit union many companies will offer an association discount.

You may be thinking – I do not fit any of those categories. There are other ways so don’t give up. Have you been in the same area for several years? Companies look for people who do not move constantly because it shows stability.

Another way to receive a discount is to either pay the policy in full in advance or put your payments on automatic payments with a bank account or a credit card.

What is an insurance score?

This leads to credit scores and how they can help you. There is an insurance score that is different from your credit score. Your Insurance score looks at your insurance history. Have you had continuous coverage? What is your driving record like? How many claims have you filed, and have you missed any payments? Another rating factor is how many people are on your policies. Believe it or not, the more people the cheaper the policy (per person)!

Young drivers are killer on the cost of an auto policy, however there are ways to soften the blow. All young drivers should complete a driving course taught by a local driving school. Parent taught students pay more for insurance! A young driver should be in an older vehicle and limit their driving to a defined area. The driving telematic devices that are installed in the car to track driving habits are also a way to gain a substantial discount if you are a good driver consistently over time.

Rates do not improve for younger drivers until about the age of 25. The idea that boys cost more than girls is not true anymore.

Do you have questions or would you like a quote for coverage? Just ask! You will find my contact info below.

Blog Contributor

Karen Tannery 

Account Executive

281-712-7272

karen.tannery@goosehead.com

Home Insurance Deductibles and Gambling Bets

Some people look for ways to keep their home insurance costs low. There are ways to do this wisely and other ways are just foolish. A deductible is the amount of money you pay before your insurance company will pay. For the example, the average home is around $250,000. (hypothetically) and a 1% deductible is $2,500 for any claim, 2% would be $5,000 and 5% would be $12,500. What is your gambling tolerance level?

Most people want a low to medium risk – the 1% to 3% deductible range. The cost difference in most homes is minor for the deductible difference. Yes, the higher the deductible the lower the premium, but before you go straight to the 5% or higher deductible look at the cost savings. It is usually not worth the return over about 3%.

It is usually not worth the return over about 3%.

If you are a young couple with little money just feeling lucky to get into a house – keep your deductibles low so that if anything does happen it will not be catastrophic to your family. Older couples who have a little more financial reserve might consider a slightly higher deductible because they could afford to take a hit financially if something happens to their home. You alone know your financial situation.

The “average roof” on our “average home” is about $20,000. So, if you get hit in a hailstorm and you need a new roof what are you comfortable paying out of pocket? Percentages based on your coverage A of $250,000- 1% at $2,500, 2% at 5,000, 3% at $7,500 or higher?

In Texas, most policies have two deductibles: Wind/Hail and All Other deductibles. The Wind/Hail covers damage to your home by weather – wind, storms and hail. This is the most commonly used coverage. It is also the most expensive of the coverages. If you can afford to pay a higher deductible, this is one place you can choose to have a higher deductible for a lower rate.

The downside is that if you need to use your coverage, the cost out of your pocket will be higher. Another consideration is the All Other Perils deductible to reduce the overall cost. This is a much lower impact to the overall cost of the policy. However, selecting a higher deductible will help lower the premium slightly. This deductible is used for theft, fire, and water claims – anything but storm damage. Assess your own financial situation and carefully review the differences in premiums to find the best balance for yourself.

Do you have questions about coverage or would you like to receive a free quote? Contact me at the info below.

Blog Contributor

Karen Tannery 

Account Executive

281-712-7272

karen.tannery@goosehead.com

How much Insurance do I need for my home?

People often wonder how home values are determined for insurance. It is sometimes difficult for buyers/sellers to separate the market value from the insurance value. Insurance value is the cost to replace/rebuild the home. No consideration is given to the land value or the location. You can have a $1,000,000 home to purchase only insurance valued at $487,000 because the cost of the land is not a consideration. The flip can also be true, a house on the market for $220,000 might take $300,000 to rebuild. Simple math formulas must be applied to the home.

Do not skimp on the overall coverage amount and here is why. Before Harvey the average rebuild cost per square foot in the Houston area was about $100. After Harvey the scarcity of building supplies shot the price up to $160 per sq. ft. and the price has only recently started to fall back to about $110 to $120 per sq. ft over two years later. A 2400 sq. ft. house needs to be covered for at least $264,000 to make sure there are enough funds to rebuild the property.

When looking at an older home, consider the risk of old systems and materials that are no longer available. It can be significantly more expensive to insure a smaller older home that has not been updated than a much larger 5-year-old home.

There are two levels of coverage as well, Replacement Cost and Actual Cash Value (ACV). Avoid ACV whenever possible- Why? The insurance adjuster will look at what the property insured is really worth- 10-year-old carpet is worth about $50 per room. No where can you purchase replacement carpet for a room at $50! Replacement coverage is exactly as it states- the amount of coverage needed to replace the insured property. ACV is really no coverage at all.

What exactly is Homeowner’s Insurance?

Insurance can be confusing because there are so many parts. Broken down the foundation of all policies are the same.

Coverage A – the Building – The amount your home is covered for in the event of a total loss. (Should be around $110 per sq. ft.) This covers the structure of the home and anything built in or attached. (Flooring, cabinets, appliances, and the A/C System.)

Coverage B – Other Structures – This is to cover the other structures you may have on your property. (Completely detached garage, a shed, a she-shed, a gazebo, the fence, etc.) This coverage is usually equal to 10-30% of the Coverage A amount.

Coverage C – Personal Property – The best explanation I have heard is this – If you could pick up the house and shake it, everything that falls out is your personal property. Another way to look at this is, if it goes with you when you move – it is personal property. Mathematically the amount is about 40-50% of the Coverage A amount.

Coverage D – Loss of Use – If you can’t be in your home, this pays for you to live somewhere else. Everyone thinks this is for floods or fires, but what if the water line to your home breaks, can you live for weeks with no water? A burst pipe in a kitchen can shut it down for weeks – can you live there if you can’t prepare food? This coverage is usually 10-30% of the Coverage A amount.

Coverage E – Personal Liability – This covers you if you, a family member or something under your control damages or causes harm to someone else or their property. Example – Your tree hangs over into the street. A windstorm comes through and a branch from your tree lands on a brand-new car visiting a neighbor. You are covered. A tree in your yard is blown over and lands on your neighbor’s house doing damage. You are covered. The fence blows over and kills your neighbors pedigreed pet. You are covered. This coverage is incredibly cheap. It is recommended that you have $100,000 more in coverage than the value of your home (Coverage A).

Coverage F – Medical Payments – A child comes to your home and decides to climb a tree which gives way causing the child to fall and break an arm. This coverage will cover the medical bills of the guests and visitors – not your own family.

Additional Coverage A – In response to situation like Harvey, this coverage provides additional funds to repair your home in the event of a disaster which is defined by law as an event that impacts three or more homes. Example- you have your home insured at $110 per sq. ft and another hurricane comes through the Houston area and your home is damaged by wind and subsequent rain- not flooding. The prices of repairs skyrocket and the cost to repair is now $150 per sq. ft. this Additional Coverage A is then available to make sure your home is repaired completely and with equal replacement materials. You will pay additional premium for this coverage, but it is minimal. ($25 to $50 per year on the average policy).

Do you have questions or would like a free quote? Feel free to contact me.

Blog Contributor

Karen Tannery 

Account Executive

281-712-7272

karen.tannery@goosehead.com