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Homeowners Insurance

Whether you own a house, townhome, condo, or rent where you live, you have the potential for financially devastating losses. A fire, a broken water pipe, wind, smoke damage, theft, or even being sued can cause thousands of dollars in losses. Since a home purchase may be the largest investment you ever make, it should be properly insured. Similarly, as a condo owner or a renter, it’s important you have the coverages you need. We help you select the best combination of coverages to protect you from potential losses. Our access to multiple insurance companies will help you secure the necessary coverage at very competitive rates.

3 Common Mistakes People Make:

  1. Underinsuring your home – The most common mistake we see is homes being underinsured. Recent surveys of fire victims in California showed that almost 50% of homes are underinsured, meaning they could not be rebuilt for the amount it is insured for. The most common reason for this coverage gap is the home features not being accurately reported to the insurance company. All insurance companies use a third-party reconstruction cost calculator to develop a minimum replacement (rebuild) cost of your home. This calculator is only as good as the data that goes into it. For example, if you have 9 – 10 foot ceilings throughout the home, and the insurance company shows 8-foot ceilings, the calculator would yield an amount lower than the actual cost to rebuild. For comparison, on a 2,300 square foot home, this ceiling difference would cause up to a $25,000 gap in rebuild cost. A kitchen remodel where you updated cabinets and countertops also could have been missed, widening the coverage gap. If you forward us a copy of your current policy, we will review your coverages and replacement costs with you.
  2. Underinsuring your valuables – Most home/condo/renter policies have limited coverage for valuables like jewelry, silverware, collectibles, firearms, computers, cash, and other categories. Depending on the category, the limited coverage may only apply to theft losses, however, several categories are limited for all types of losses. These limits vary by carrier and can range from a few hundred dollars up to $5,000 or more. Jewelry is often underinsured, and in most cases, additional coverage can be purchased to reflect what you own and wish to protect. Forward us a copy of your current policy and we will review the specific coverages with you.
  3. Missing valuable policy enhancements that close coverage gaps – Most homeowner policies offer additional coverages beyond physical damage to your home or personal belongings. New offerings like Service Line coverage covers the damage to your underground water and sewage pipes caused by tree roots. Typically, this damage is not covered since there was no physical loss to your home. Coverage like this may only add $50 in premium, but can easily save you from a $10,000 repair bill. Another example is Personal Injury Liability that protects you if you are sued for libel or slander, a much greater risk due to social media and online forums and chats. If you own a business and store inventory or tools at your home, there is coverage that can be added to protect these items as well. These are just a few of the available options which can be added depending on your needs. Forward us a copy of your current policy and we will review these kinds of enhancements with you.

Buying Home Insurance FAQ’s

You’re in good company

Why is my home insured for much less than what it is worth?

You just purchased your home for $750,000, but your new homeowner policy only insures it for $400,000. In most cases, insurance companies are not concerned with market values or loan amounts. They focus on the cost to rebuild your home with similar quality, size, and features on your current lot. To do this, the insurance company collects the features of your home and uses a third-party calculator to estimate the cost to rebuild a similar home. Thus, it’s important that the insurance company have accurate information about your home.

The market value of your home is impacted by several other features, but location tends to be the most important. A 2,000 square foot home in a typical California suburb could be worth anywhere from $250,000 to $750,000, or significantly more if located downtown area of a major city or in a beachfront community. However, the cost to rebuild that home in all these areas would be relatively similar.

Do I need earthquake insurance?

A quick answer is that the more equity you have in your home or condo, the more you should consider coverage; however, your financial ability to withstand such a loss is also a primary factor. If a large earthquake severely damaged your home, you would need to find an alternative place to live. The cost to repair your home, continue paying your mortgage, and the extra cost to live elsewhere may not be financially feasible. With “demand surge” after a large earthquake, the cost to rent a similar or another home will be extremely high.

A primary concern with this coverage is the high deductible. We still recommend the coverage, even with a large deductible due to the significant damage a serious earthquake will cause. Additionally, most companies do not apply a deductible for the Loss of Use coverage, which pays the cost for you to live elsewhere when your home is inhabitable after a loss. If you own a condo and your Homeowner Association (HOA) has earthquake coverage, it will not cover the inside of your unit, the extra cost to live elsewhere during repairs, or the assessment they will levy on all unit owners to cover their large earthquake deductible.

Why do I need condo insurance if I am part of a Homeowner Association (HOA)?

While your HOA may insure the building structure, typically they do not cover the interior of your unit. Your CCRs (HOA rules) outline what the HOA covers and what you are responsible for. For example, if the hose to your toilet or washing machine broke and damaged the floors and walls, you are likely responsible for those repairs. This is true for all types of losses that may damage your interior. You can select how much coverage you want for the interior.

Additionally, a Condo policy covers your personal belongings like furniture, clothing, computer(s), TV(s), jewelry, and other items that may need to be replaced. A Condo policy also provides Loss of Use coverage which reimburses the cost for you to live elsewhere after a covered loss while your unit is being repaired. Finally, a Condo policy can cover certain assessments an HOA would charge each unit owner to make larger HOA repairs.

Why do I need insurance if I rent?

As a renter, you are not typically responsible for losses that occur to the structure (house, condo, or apartment) where you live. However, you still have several risks to consider, including losses from fire, smoke, water, and theft. Would you be able to replace your furniture, clothing, computer(s), TV(s), jewelry and other personal belongings after a loss without insurance? A renter policy also provides Loss of Use coverage to pay for you to live elsewhere while your home is being repaired after a covered loss. The cost to stay elsewhere, eat meals out, and any additional costs you incur would be covered under Loss of Use.

A Renter policy also provides Personal Liability coverage. This protects you if someone tries to hold you responsible for an injury or damage to their property. Examples include your dog biting someone; a person tripping or slipping in your home; hosting a party and serving drinks to someone who gets into a car accident; or playing catch and accidentally breaking a window or denting a car. Basic Renter policies start as low as $150 per year and can be tailored to meet your specific needs.



Our Clients Say It Best

“Jon and his staff are a great team to work with. They are very responsive to their clients and they offer excellent advice. Jon and his team balance coverage recommendations with value. Jon and JSG have helped us with both our personal insurance needs as well as our small business needs. We run a small family daycare and Jon helped find the best insurance coverage for our specialized needs.

When speaking to any of the staff in the office you are always treated like a close friend. We feel like they are truly looking out for us.

We unfortunately had a loss due to fire in October 2019. Jon called immediately to make sure we were OK. Once our claim was taken over by the company Jon continued to check in to make sure things were progressing as they should. He even made calls on our behalf when some unusual circumstances arose.

We have been clients of JSG for many years and will continue to rely on them for their expertise and personal service.” — Scott and Marybeth H.

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If you have other questions, ask us here and provide your e-mail address. We will answer your question within 2 business days. We promise that we won’t spam your e-mail address or sell it to a third party.

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Have a question?
Feel Free to Ask

If you have other questions, ask us here and provide your e-mail address. We will answer your question within 2 business days. We promise that we won’t spam your e-mail address or sell it to a third party.

"*" indicates required fields

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Beyond questions, it may be valuable to have a second opinion about your policy. We’ll provide a free review if you provide us with a copy of your Declaration pages (the pages that show the vehicles, coverages, and premiums). Our review includes a short bullet point analysis of potential coverage issues and recommendations.

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