Category Archives: Apartment Insurance

New Year, New Insurance

How to Get Lower Rates on Your Insurance

As the New Year approaches, one of your resolutions may be to find more ways to save money. You can do this by rethinking your insurance policies. It’s always a good idea to do an annual insurance review, because you might discover that you could be eligible for discounts and other savings that you aren’t currently taking advantage of!

For example, if you have an older car, you may have had the same car insurance for years. But did you know that your rates could be lowered based on any changes that have happened recently? For instance, if you changed jobs and don’t commute as far, that can affect how much you pay. And most likely, it will reduce the cost.

More Ways to Save on Homeowners Insurance

Also, you might be eligible for discounts to your Homeowners Insurance if you recently installed a security system or quit smoking. If you started bundling all of your insurance policies with one company, they’ll most likely give you discounts for that, too.

How to Do an Annual Insurance Review

Take time before the New Year to collect all of your insurance policies, whether it’s home, auto, renter’s, motorcycle, etc. Usually you can find the basic information on the summary page of your policy. Here’s what to look for: the amount of coverage, your premium costs and your deductible. Keep in mind, if you want to lower your premiums, you’ll be raising your deductible. First, you should make sure you can afford the deductible amount if you have to make a claim.

Could You Rebuild Your Home If You Had To?

This is an important question when you’re reevaluating your home insurance. The reality is, construction costs could be much higher than when you first took out your insurance policy. Also, remember that insurance companies will tell you that if something major needs to be replaced, it will be replaced with something of “like kind and quality.” Your kitchen may still look like the 1980s. If you needed to upgrade your kitchen with more contemporary cabinetry and appliances, you’ll need to be able to cover that cost.

Did You Purchase Valuable Items?

In the past year, you may have purchased jewelry or other very valuable items that you may not have extra coverage for. Do an inventory to make sure you haven’t forgotten that priceless painting! If you discover that you did buy something like that, you’ll need to increase your coverage for “personal possessions.”

Is Your Home More Likely to Flood?

When you purchased your house, it may not have been in a flood zone at the time. But in recent

years, have you had more damaging storms and repeated flooding in your basement? It may be time to consider getting flood insurance, even if it wasn’t required.

What Umbrella Insurance Can Do for You

Last but not least, consider umbrella insurance. It’s a low-cost way to get extra protection for things like your retirement fund, investments and any future income, which may all be lost as the result of a lawsuit. Many people don’t think about liability coverage until it’s too late. So umbrella insurance will help protect you above and beyond your standard home and auto insurance coverage.

For all your home, auto and other insurance needs, please contact Zawada Insurance Agency. We work to give you comprehensive coverage at a competitive price.

Zawada Insurance Agency, Inc. is a family-owned and operated independent insurance agency, located in Worcester, Massachusetts, serving central Massachusetts and beyond.

Evictions and Other Issues

How To Protect Yourself as a Landlord

When you are a landlord, it’s important to make sure your insurance policy protects you from things that are often beyond your control. Here are some of the situations and coverages to consider:

How do you legally evict a tenant?

First, make sure you have liability insurance to protect you from claims made by a tenant for “wrongful eviction.”

You’ve probably heard stories about landlords having locks changed, etc. This is illegal. As a landlord, you’re obligated to follow the rules in your state. You can’t simply change locks or remove a tenant’s possessions from their apartment. You can’t use harassing behavior or turn off utilities. If you do any of these things, the tenant could take legal action.

If the tenant does not pay the rent or continues to cause disruption of some sort, you need to present him or her with a Notice to Quit. This has to happen before filing for eviction. If it’s a rent issue, prepare all correspondence and bank statements that prove the rent isn’t being paid. Have all pertinent documents to back up your reason for the eviction.

What if you recently changed your house to a rental?

If you have converted your home into a rental space and no longer live there as your main residence, you’ll need to let your insurance carrier know. Your policy will change to a Landlord Policy, and the amount of coverage you need will be reassessed.

What if your tenants can’t pay you for a period of time?

It’s important to have Loss of Rent coverage! If there’s any reason your tenants are unable to pay rent (if they had to temporarily relocate during the restoration of the building after a storm, for instance), you will want to make sure you’re covered. Fair Rental Income Protection will ensure that you receive income even if you’re unable to collect rent during these circumstances. It can be an act of nature or if the apartment building is undergoing repairs.

How can you get the total cost back for damaged property?

Guaranteed Replacement Cost is the better coverage if property becomes damaged. This will replace the property no matter what the cost. Often, insurance carriers will only cover you for the value of the property at the time you took out the policy, which won’t always cover the current cost. That’s why you need the Guaranteed Replacement Cost.

What if someone is hurt on your property, and it’s not your fault?

Be sure you have Legal/Liability/Medical Coverage. This will protect you if a tenant or contractor is injured on the premises. It will cover their medical costs. This is one of the most important coverages, because anything can happen on your property that isn’t necessarily caused by your negligence or anything you did wrong. That’s why you want to be protected.

Zawada Insurance Agency is your go-to place for home, auto and other types of insurance. Please contact Zawada Insurance Agency for details.

Zawada Insurance Agency, Inc. is a family-owned and operated independent insurance agency, located in Worcester, Massachusetts, serving central Massachusetts and beyond.

True or False: Insurance Quiz

Can you guess which of these 8 statements are true?

There are myths about insurance—auto, home, health—and they persist in spite of the facts. As we’ve said in other blogs, it’s important to get the facts straight before you purchase insurance of any kind. Here are eight true and false statements to see how well you understand insurance.

  1. Vehicles stored in your home or garage are covered under your Homeowner’s policy.

False. Cars and other vehicles should be covered by Auto Insurance. Garden tractors and other related items are part of what is covered by Homeowner’s Insurance.

  1. Commercial Liability Insurance provides coverage for your employees who are injured on the job.

False. Only Workers Compensation covers on-the-job injuries.

  1. Homeowner’s Insurance is based on the real estate market value of your house.

False. Your coverage is based on what it would cost to rebuild your home. This cost can vary, so an insurance agent can help you calculate these costs.

  1. The Affordable Care Act prohibits health insurance companies from basing rates on pre-existing conditions.

True. Health insurance companies used to raise the rates for people with a pre-existing condition. Not anymore. For those who have medical conditions such as high blood pressure, asthma and other chronic, pre-existing medical issues, this is a big relief. In addition, insurance companies can’t charge different amounts for men and women, either.

  1. It’s not necessary to have Other Structures coverage in your Homeowner’s policy.

False. But this is a trick question. It depends on you, the homeowner. Your Homeowner’s policy, at least 10% of it at least, is devoted to Other Structures. These include any buildings or structures not attached to your house—sheds, barns (not used for business), detached garages, driveways and fencing. You can always add to your Other Structures coverage if you need more. But it is important to keep it as part of your policy in the event of some unfortunate occurrence.

  1. If you get a speeding ticket in another state, it WILL follow you home.

True. Not only will it follow you, but it will also affect your insurance rates.

  1. Homeowner’s policies cover flood, earthquake and other natural disasters.

True. . .and False. They don’t automatically cover these things. Make sure you have it, or add it to your policy. The majority of policies exclude types of water damage.

  1. If your boat is hitched to the back of your vehicle on the highway and you back into someone, your Auto Insurance will cover it.

True. However, it will be limited to the coverage that your Auto Insurance provides, so it may not pay for property damage, injury or loss of life.

Keep checking our blog for more tips and advice about all types of insurance.

For all your home, auto, boat and other insurance needs, please contact Zawada Insurance Agency, Inc. We’re a family-owned and operated independent insurance agency, located in Worcester, Massachusetts, serving central Massachusetts and beyond.

Apartment Building Owners: Insurance Must-Haves

If you own an apartment building, the worst thing you can do is choose an insurance policy simply because it’s the cheapest and you’re trying to save money.

The first three things you MUST consider are:

  • the right type of insurance
  • the right amount of coverage
  • the right insurance broker

Getting these right is critical to having peace of mind should the unexpected occur.

4 Types of Customized Coverage

When you look at the types of coverage available to property owners, it falls into four categories:

Business Property – protects you from damage to the building caused by storms and natural disasters.

Business Liability – protects you from issues relating to accidents, injuries and things that could result in potential lawsuits.

Business Crime – protects you in case of theft, vandalism or employee wrongdoing.

Business Ordinance – covers costs for remodels and work needed to be done after a natural disaster, such as a tornado or hurricane.

Get “all risk” over “named-peril” policies.

It’s recommended that you get a broad policy, or all-risk insurance, rather than “named-peril” policies. This is because you can’t predict what may happen. If you have “named-peril,” your policy will only cover those disasters that are specifically named in the document. If you have “all-risk,” you can rest assured that you’ll be covered for all kinds of things—tornadoes, hurricanes, explosions, sinkholes, fires, floods, earthquakes and things not necessarily mentioned in your contract.

Coverages to consider.

In this blog, we’ll be talking in more detail about various types of coverage. For the apartment building owner, you’ll want to have general liability insurance. This will protect you in case someone falls on your property and suffers bodily injury—you won’t be held liable for accidents like this. This is a common scenario—someone slips and falls around the pool area of your apartment complex. You could be considered negligent for having a slippery patio area. That’s why you want insurance to protect yourself should something happen that’s beyond your control.

If you accept a tenant in your building whom you later find out is selling drugs, you’ll want to have property manager professional liability insurance. This will protect you from lawsuits should your tenant screening process not catch something in the applicant’s history. It will also defend you from allegations of Fair Housing Discrimination Violations should you need to evict a tenant. In essence, this protection covers a variety of situations that could also be beyond your control.

Enhanced Apartment Building Coverage

As an apartment complex owner or multi-family housing manager, you’ll want to consider coverages that can protect you from those intangibles that could happen—theft, flooding, sewer back-up, outdoor landscaping, debris removal, pollutant clean-up and removal, and more.

Zawada Insurance Agency is your all-in-one resource for helping you find the coverage that best suits your needs. We’re a family-owned and operated independent insurance agency, working to get you the most comprehensive coverage at a competitive price.

For more information about apartment building, multi-family and 3-family insurance, please contact Zawada Insurance Agency today.

Zawada Insurance Agency, Inc. located in Worcester, Massachusetts, serving central Massachusetts and beyond.