Vacant Remodel vs Builders Risk Insurance

Posted by on Jul 10, 2017 in Blog | Comments Off on Vacant Remodel vs Builders Risk Insurance

Vacant Remodel vs Builders Risk Insurance

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote about insurance for fixer uppers and homes being remodeled and mentioned vacant remodel and builders risk insurance (see http://wiseinsurancegroup.com/home-insurance-remodels-fixer-uppers/). I touched on a couple of their differences but wanted to dive a little deeper into how they are alike, how they are different, and when one may be a better fit than the other.

Both builders risk insurance and vacant remodel policies are designed to cover the value of the existing home while it’s being remodeled, as well as the increased value when renovations are complete. Additional similarities include:

  • They provide coverage for common perils such as damage from fire, lightning strike, water, etc.
  • The cover the vacant home during the remodel process and replaced with a home insurance policy when the project’s complete.
  • Personal liability and medical coverage are usually included.
  • Neither covers damage or theft of tools.
  • Both can be written to last up to a year or for a shorter term such as 90 days or 6 months.

Vacant remodel and builders risk insurance policies also have their differences which help me determine which one to recommend to a prospective client. These include:

  • Most vacant remodel policies do not provide coverage if structural changes will be made to the home while many builders risk policies will cover them (Note, underwriters will require documentation from a structural engineer before quoting). Structural changes include moving or removing walls, adding a story or wing, etc.
  • Builders risk policies may provide optional coverage for materials, appliances, fixtures, etc. while in transit or stored on-site.
  • Builders risk policies can be written for ground up or all new construction while vacant remodel policies are designed for remodeling of an existing home.

Based on the strengths and differences of these policy types, I usually recommend vacant remodel policies when the following circumstances are present:

  • The remodel project will be completed in 30 days to 6 months.
  • The project involves a cosmetic remodel to an existing home.

Conversely, I believe builders risk insurance provides a better fit when:

  • For projects lasting 6 months or longer.
  • Projects involving structural changes.
  • Ground up construction whether an all new home on a lot or when tearing down an existing home and building an all new home.
  • When coverage for materials, appliances, and fixtures is needed.

Pricing can be comparable between a vacant remodel and builders risk policy or significantly different. This is why I review both types when quoting a prospective client’s project. What do you think? Share your thoughts, questions, and experiences with me on my Facebook, Google +, and LinkedIn pages. I’d love to hear from you!

Thanks!

Ed Wise

Wise Insurance Group

Full Coverage vs Liability Only Car Insurance

Posted by on Jul 5, 2017 in Blog | Comments Off on Full Coverage vs Liability Only Car Insurance

Full Coverage vs Liability Only Car Insurance

Some people comparing car insurance cost will request a liability only policy while others request a quote for full coverage car insurance. Most people have a general idea what they are requesting when asking for one or the other, but they may not understand this can be written several ways. Let’s contrast the two and look at how both can be written.

In simple terms, full coverage car insurance means the policyholder’s car or truck will be covered if in an accident while liability coverage will pay to fix the car and provide some level of medical care for the person the policyholder hits. The sections of most car insurance policies include:

  • Bodily Injury Property Damage (BIPD): this is the liability piece which protects the vehicle owner if they are at fault in an accident.
  • Uninsured / Underinsured Motorist coverage (UM/UIM): optional coverage to protect the vehicle owner if they’re hit by someone with no or not enough car insurance.
  • Comprehensive deductible: covers damage to vehicle caused by hail, flood, falling object, hitting an animal, etc.
  • Collision deductible: covers repairs to owner’s vehicle caused by an accident regardless of who is at fault.
  • Towing & Roadside Assistance: optional coverage for a tow, unlocking a door, help with changing a tire, etc.
  • Rental Car Reimbursement: provides a rental car if vehicle is involved in an accident.

Liability Coverage: Pure liability only coverage means the policyholder only has bodily injury property damage coverage. There’s no coverage for UM/UIM, towing, roadside assistance, nor rental car reimbursement. In addition, there’s no comprehensive or collision coverage / deductible either. This is the cheapest form of car insurance.

Liability coverage, may also include adding one or more options including UM/UIM, and possibly even towing and roadside assistance. They may even add the comprehensive deductible, which most car insurance companies will require if the policyholder wants towing and roadside assistance.

The advantage of carrying UM/UIM is it provides medical coverage for the policyholder and their passengers and potentially repairs to the vehicle if involved in a not at fault accident. The cost to add these items is very little and may make sense depending on one’s budget and the vehicle’s value. The only items not covered in this approach are repairs to the policyholder’s vehicle and rental car reimbursement.

Full Coverage: At a minimum, full coverage simply means the policyholder has BIPD and the collision deductible. This provides coverage whether involved in an at fault or not at fault accident. Additional options may be added as desired including UM/UIM, comprehensive, towing and roadside assistance, and rental car reimbursement, however, one doesn’t have to carry all of them for it to be a full coverage policy.

If the vehicle owner has a car loan, the financial institution who made the loan may require the policy owner carry certain limits of coverage on BIPD, UM/UIM, and deductibles, but that’s because they want the loan protected as much as they want the vehicle protected.

Ultimately, my role as an independent insurance advisor is to understand what a person’s needs are and match the level and type of coverage which meets their needs. What questions do you have? Share them with me on my Facebook, Google +, and LinkedIn pages. I’d love to hear from you!

Thanks!

Ed Wise

Wise Insurance Group

Personal Liability Insurance and Umbrella Policies

Posted by on Jun 29, 2017 in Blog | Comments Off on Personal Liability Insurance and Umbrella Policies

Personal Liability Insurance and Umbrella Policies

I was talking with a prospective client the other day who’s asked us to review her home and car insurance. She’s been with the same carrier for over 10 years and wants a second opinion on whether she’s paying more for her insurance than she should. After asking questions about her home, car, and driving habits, I asked her if her annual income was more than $125,000. That, combined with a few details she shared indicated she should probably consider an umbrella policy. Let’s review what one is, the additional coverage it provides, and who should consider such a policy.

Both home and car insurance policies contain liability insurance for the home or car owner. Personal liability coverage on a home or renter’s policy is designed to protect the policyholder if someone comes onto their property or in the home, is somehow hurt, and sues the policyholder for negligence. Personal liability coverage on a car insurance policy is what pays if the policyholder is involved in an accident where they are at fault.

An umbrella policy is a separate liability policy which provides extra liability coverage in addition to what the auto and home policies provide. Umbrella policies provide coverage in amounts ranging from $1,000,000 to $5,000,000. When coupled with the underlying limits on the home or auto policies, an umbrella provides significantly more protection. For instance,

  • Take a home policy with $500,000 in personal liability and add to that a $1,000,000 umbrella, then the total liability coverage becomes $1,500,000
  • If the car policy has liability limits of 250/500/100 limits and you add a $1,000,000 umbrella the liability limits become $1,250,000/$1,500,000/$1,100,000

Umbrella policies also provide protection against libel and slander; two claims no home policy protects against. Umbrellas provide a higher firewall between the policy holder and a potential lawsuit for negligence, as no insurance company wants to write a check for over $1,000,000. One way to look at umbrella policies, is that for certain people, it’s like having an attorney on retainer.

I usually recommend an umbrella policy for people who meet one or more of the following criteria;

  • Homes with a value of $300,000 or more, have a pool or trampoline, or located in nicer parts of town
  • Combined household income of $125,000 or more
  • Certain career classifications – doctor, lawyer, engineer, architect, business owner, athlete, entertainer, etc.
  • Own rental property
  • Have inheritance or financial assets in non-protected accounts

An umbrella policy usually costs between $180 and $350 a year for a couple with one home and two cars with no tickets or accidents. Rates will increase somewhat if there is driving activity (tickets & accidents), a teen driver, multiple homes, motorcycles, RVs, etc. to somewhere in the $500 to $1,000 a year range. That amount is still much less than the cost of one or two hours with an attorney.

An umbrella policy doesn’t keep you from being sued, but it does shift a greater part of the defensive burden from you to the insurance company. Ultimately each client needs to determine if having an umbrella is right for them, but it’s also important for me to inform them aware of the protection it provides and they fit the criteria for having one. What do you think? Share your questions, comments, or experience with me on my Facebook, Google +, and LinkedIn pages. I’d love to hear from you!

Thanks!

Ed Wise

Wise Insurance Group

An Overview on Flood Insurance

Posted by on Jun 26, 2017 in Blog | Comments Off on An Overview on Flood Insurance

An Overview on Flood Insurance

North Texas was struck with heavy rains Friday night through Sunday. I was reminded flooding can happen at any time, whether it’s caused by torrential rains, a tropical storm, or hurricane. Let’s revisit flood insurance, its two types of coverage, and what they cover.

Many people refer to a major water leak as flooding. Insurance, however, defines flooding, or a flood as rising water caused by rivers, lakes & streams overflowing their banks, rising water from heavy rains, or tidal surge which enters the home. This type of water damage isn’t covered by your home insurance policy, it’s only covered by flood insurance.

There are two types of coverage available on any standard flood insurance policy; coverage for the home or dwelling, and coverage for your personal property. They may be purchased together or separately. For instance, some homeowners may elect to purchase coverage for their home, but not their contents or personal property, while renters only need coverage on their personal property.

Home or building coverage includes:

  • The home & it’s foundation
  • Electrical & plumbing systems
  • Central air conditioning equipment, furnaces & water heaters
  • Refrigerators, cooking stoves, & built-in appliances such as dishwashers
  • Permanently installed carpeting over unfinished flooring
  • Cabinetry

Contents coverage includes:

  • Clothing, furniture & electronic equipment
  • Curtains and window treatments
  • Portable & window air conditioners
  • Carpeting that is not already covered in property coverage (throw rugs, etc.)
  • Clothing washers & dryers

The amount of home coverage should be the same as the amount the home is insured for on the home insurance policy, or the replacement cost value of the home. The maximum amount a standard flood policy will provide on the home is $250,000. If the home needs additional coverage to be rebuilt, this can be purchased with an excess flood policy.

Personal property coverage is valued on an actual cash value, ACV, or depreciated bases. That not great, but it does provide some level of coverage to help replace contents ruined by floodwaters. Deductibles for both the home and the contents coverage are usually expressed in dollar amounts such as $1,000 up to $5,000.

Unless the flood policy is required by the mortgage company for a closing, there is a waiting period between when a flood insurance policy is purchased and when it goes into effect. The waiting period is 30 days. The reason for having a waiting period is to prevent someone from buying a flood policy only when flood waters or a storm is approaching.

If your home is in a high-risk area, or a mandatory flood zone, your mortgage company will require you have flood insurance on at least the home. If your mortgage company does not require flood insurance, I recommend people consider it when your home is located on the coast or adjacent to a lake, stream, creek, or river. I also recommend it for anyone whose home is downriver from a dam, in an area susceptible to mudslides or near a dry wash. These are the type of locations more likely to experience a flood than someone whose home is high on a hill.

What do you think? Share your questions, comments, and experiences with me on my Facebook, Google +, and LinkedIn pages. I’d love to hear from you!

Thank you!

Ed Wise

Wise Insurance Group

Tropical Storm Cindy Causes Insurance Moratoriums Along Gulf Coast

Posted by on Jun 21, 2017 in Blog | Comments Off on Tropical Storm Cindy Causes Insurance Moratoriums Along Gulf Coast

Tropical Storm Cindy Causes Insurance Moratoriums Along Gulf Coast

My email has been bombarded with notices since Monday from most of the insurance companies and brokers I work with. Each one has announced they are issuing a binding moratorium due to Tropical Storm Cindy. I thought this provided a good time to understand what an insurance moratorium is and how it impacts individuals and businesses when they occur.

An insurance moratorium or binding prohibition simply means an insurance company, or companies, are placing a temporary halt on issuing new policies or raising limits on existing policies until they determine it can be lifted. Moratoriums don’t happen often, however, they are not an unusual incidence.

Moratoriums can be issued for a variety of reasons and can be caused by human events or nature. Examples of moratoriums issued for human related actions include the rioting in Baltimore or Ferguson, Missouri. Nature causes the most moratoriums, usually due to a potential natural disaster such as a hurricane, tornadoes, flooding, earthquakes, and wildfires. Most insurance moratoriums issued in Texas have been caused by hurricanes and tropical storms when they enter the Gulf, flooding, and wildfires.

Binding prohibitions are not issued on a statewide basis, but are focused on areas most likely to be impacted by a storm or civil commotion. For instance, the moratoriums most insurance companies have issued for Tropical Storm Cindy are relegated to a few counties along the Texas, Louisiana, and Alabama coast. Texas counties impacted include Orange, Brazoria, Harris, Galveston, Chambers, and Jefferson. Once the threat has passed, insurance companies remove the moratorium allowing new policies to be issued and limits to be adjusted as desired.

The reason insurance companies issue binding moratoriums is to avoid paying for immediate and highly probable claims. No company wants to write a policy on a business or home that has a strong likelihood of being destroyed by a hurricane or flooded. To do so would be financially irresponsible for the company and unfair to existing policyholders.

Insurance moratoriums may impact individuals, families and businesses. Most of the companies issuing moratoriums for Tropical Storm Cindy have done so on personal lines policies (home, car, and flood insurance), as well as commercial insurance policies (general liability and property).

Hopefully, you’ll not experience nor be negatively impacted by an insurance moratorium. One of the best ways to avoid that is taking some time to review your personal and business policies now. You’ll be able to confirm if you’re prepared and have enough coverage before the storm strikes. What do you think? Share your comments, questions, and experiences with me on our Facebook, Google +, and LinkedIn pages. I’d love to hear from you!

Thank you!

Ed Wise

Wise Insurance Group

Home Insurance for Remodels and Fixer Uppers

Posted by on Jun 19, 2017 in Blog | Comments Off on Home Insurance for Remodels and Fixer Uppers

Home Insurance for Remodels and Fixer Uppers

You’ve found your new home. It has great bones, hasn’t been updated, and you can make it into something special! All it needs is a little, or maybe a lot, of remodeling love to go with your vision of how to bring it up to date and make it uniquely yours. If you’re planning something like this, don’t let home insurance derail your vision.

You may need something other than home insurance to tackle such a project; not all home insurance companies will write a policy for a home about to be or actively being remodeled. To determine which type of policy will provide the right kind of coverage and protection for you two questions need to be addressed:

  • Will the home be occupied during the remodeling project?
  • If not, how long will it take to complete the project, assuming everything stays on schedule?

Occupied Remodel: If the home is going to be occupied during the remodel and the project will be completed in a couple of weeks, then a standard home insurance policy will work in most cases. Most home insurance companies won’t write a policy on vacant home while it’s being worked on. Vacant remodel projects increase the risk to the insurance company a claim will be filed for vandalism, theft, or even a fire. If your remodel is short term, or more cosmetic in nature, and you are willing to live through it, then start with home insurance policy.

Unoccupied Remodel: If the project will last more than a couple of weeks because it’s more extensive, such as a building out a master suite and bath or gutting the kitchen to put in a new one with flooring, I suggest a vacant remodel or builder’s risk policy. These policies usually run from 30 days to 1 year and are used when the home will be vacant throughout the remodel.

Both vacant remodel and builder’s risk policies are designed to cover the home as it is now, what insurance agents refer to as the existing structure, as well as the renovations. Extensive projects, such as these, typically increase the home’s value, and both policies cover the before, during, and completed project valuation change. In addition, these policies usually come with some level of liability coverage to project the homeowner should a worker, or someone visiting the home gets hurt while the remodel is underway.

Determining whether a vacant remodel or builders risk policy is needed depends on the project’s timeframe and if structural changes will be made as a part of the project.

  • I usually recommend a vacant remodel policy for projects which will be completed in 6 months or less and does not involve structural changes.
  • Conversely if the project will go 6 months or more or involves structural changes such as adding square footage or a second story, I recommend a builder’s risk policy.

What did or will your remodel project entail? Share your pictures, as well as questions, comments, and experiences with me on my Facebook, Google +, and LinkedIn pages. I’d love to hear from you!

Thanks!

Ed Wise

Wise Insurance Group

New Safety Technology for Older Vehicles

Posted by on Jun 14, 2017 in Blog | Comments Off on New Safety Technology for Older Vehicles

New Safety Technology for Older Vehicles

Some friends of ours recently purchased a new Toyota Highlander. It’s equipped with some nice safety technology standard including blind spot and lane departure warning, a backup camera, and automatic breaking so you don’t rear end the person in front of you if they brake unexpectedly. I believe technology like this has the potential to help people be safer drivers and avoid accidents.

Sheri’s and my 2012 Camry doesn’t have any of the technology our friend’s Highlander has. However, according to a recent Insurance Journal article, we could add technology if we decided to do so. With cars lasting an average of 11.6 years, you could potentially add this type of safety technology to your car too with a few aftermarket products. Here are a couple of items available now.

Forward Collision & Lane Departure Warning: Tech company, Mobileye, offers a forward collision and lane departure warning system which warns drivers when they stray from their lane and when a collision is up to 2.7 seconds away. The cost of the system is about $1,000 which includes installation by a Mobileye technician.

Garmin’s Dash Cam 35 has the ability to warn a driver of an impending crash up to 130 feet away if the driver is going 30 miles per hour or faster. You can buy this on Amazon for between $92 and $130 depending on which seller you choose to order from.

Blind Spot Detection: These systems notify you when someone is coming up beside you in the next lane. Goshers Blind Spot Detection system, also available on Amazon, runs $299 or less and works using sensors to monitor within 10 feet on either side of the car. Unless you understand auto electronics, this is probably not a DIY project.

Backup Camera: Yada, a Chinese company, makes a weather-proof camera with night vision which attaches to the rear of the car. It sends images to a 4.3-inch monitor via a wireless connection anytime the car is in reverse. This can be purchased at Pep Boys for about $129. If you don’t like the idea of a monitor, Auto Vox makes a system that displays the image in the rear-view mirror. It’s available on Amazon for about $139.

Emergency Assistance: If you want something like General Motor’s OnStar system, but don’t own a GM vehicle, Verizon has something you may be interested in called Hum. It will call emergency services automatically if you’re in an accident, will send messages to your phone if there’s a mechanical problem, and offers a button drivers can push if they need roadside assistance. Hum is offered on a subscription basis for a cost of $10 a month plus a one-time $50 set up and activation fee.

At this point, I’m not aware of any car insurance company offering a discount on your car insurance if you decide to install one or more of these tech helpers, but I do think it’s inevitable. Are you interested in installing any of this on your vehicle? Share your thoughts and questions with me on my Facebook, Google +, and LinkedIn pages. I’d love to hear from you!

Thanks!

Ed Wise

Wise Insurance Group

Hurricane Season Insurance Review

Posted by on Jun 12, 2017 in Blog | Comments Off on Hurricane Season Insurance Review

Hurricane Season Insurance Review

Welcome to hurricane season which runs from June 1 to November 30th. It’s a great time for Texas homeowners to take a few minutes to review their home insurance keeping in mind a hurricane or named storm can impact north Texas residents as easily as it does our coastal neighbors. Let’s address two key areas of your home insurance policy to review along with two other related policies.

Home Insurance:  Review your wind, or wind / hail, deductible. This assumes you don’t have a separate wind policy. Wind coverage may be outlined in one of two deductibles:

  • Wind / Hail
  • Named storm

Most Texans are already familiar with the wind / hail deductible. This is usually specified as a percentage of the home’s insured value such as 1% up to 5%, which is the maximum most mortgage companies permit. If your home has an insured value of $200,000 and you have a 1% wind / hail deductible, you’ll be responsible for up to $2,000 of any repair to the home caused by wind damage before the policy takes over. For those with a 2% or higher wind / hail deductible, I recommend setting aside funds to cover the amount of the deductible should a hurricane strike our coastline.

The named storm deductible, also referred to as hurricane or tropical cyclone deductible, applies to any storm with a name, such as a hurricane or tropical storm. If your home policy has a separate named storm deductible, determine what is the lowest amount your carrier will write on your policy and that it doesn’t break your budget on the annual premium. I’ve seen a few policies in north Texas which default to a 2% named storm deductible, even from companies that will write a 1% deductible. By the time a hurricane reaches north Texas, it usually has been downgraded to a named tropical storm so this is a good exercise for north Texans to undertake!

Wind Insurance: Coastal communities such as Galveston, Corpus Christi, Brownsville, and others may have wind coverage excluded from their home insurance policy and require a separate wind policy. Like flood insurance, wind coverage can be written to cover the home only or it may be written to cover both the home and your contents or personal property. Having coverage on the home only doesn’t help much if you lose your roof and all your personal property is lost or severely damaged. Confirm you have coverage on both and enough to rebuild your home.

Flood Insurance: Flood insurance protects you financially whether the home is flooded by storm surge or from rising waters due to the heavy rainfall which accompanies a hurricane or tropical storm. You can have coverage only on the home or the home and its contents. If you live along the coast or in low lying areas inland, having flood insurance can protect you in ways even a home insurance policy can’t. Confirm you have coverage on both and enough to rebuild. If it will take more than $250,000 to replace your home, look into excess flood coverage. This can be a financial life saver!

What do you think?  Share your questions, comments, experiences and any suggestions you have with me on my Facebook, Google +, and LinkedIn pages.  I’d love to hear from you!

Thanks!

Ed Wise

Wise Insurance Group

Hurricane Preparation for 2017

Posted by on Jun 5, 2017 in Blog | Comments Off on Hurricane Preparation for 2017

Hurricane Preparation for 2017

The 2017 hurricane season started last week running from June 1 through the end of November.  Depending on which forecast you prefer to reference, the 2017 season will be higher than average with 11 to 17 named storms with 5 to 9 of those becoming hurricanes and 2 to 4 of those becoming a category 3 or greater.

If the forecasters are correct and one of these hurricanes makes landfall, the damage can be severe.  This makes it a great time to review your insurance and hurricane preparations.  This week I’ll focus on basic preparation and next week we’ll examine the insurance related items to review now.

Buy & Organize Now:  There are several things you can purchase now before a panicked run on Home Depot or the local grocery store.

  • Secure 3 to 5 gallons of water per day for each person in your family and store in a cool dry place.
  • Buy enough non-perishable food to feed your family for 3 to 5 days including dry beans, pasta, rice, and canned goods.  Add to that packaged tuna, salmon, and chicken that doesn’t need to be refrigerated.
  • Consider buying a camping stove so you’ll have a way to cook your food if the power goes out.
  • Purchase flashlights and extra batteries to last 3 to 5 days.
  • Have sleeping bags, air mattresses, or extra blankets and sheets.
  • Water purification supplies such as iodine tablets, a steri pen or water filtration system can be purchased from REI or a camping supply store.
  • Create a list of everyone’s medications and make photo copies of prescriptions if you need to refill one.  Keep a list of any special medical needs a family member may have.
  • Have extra baby food, formula, diapers, and other baby supplies ready.
  • Buy disposable cleaning wipes (baby wipes) for the entire family.  It may be a few days until that next shower happens.
  • Buy extra toiletries and personal hygiene items you may need.
  • Prepare an emergency kit for your car including flares, booster cables, maps (cell service may be out), tools, a first aid kit and a fire extinguisher.
  • Buy masking tape, nails, screws and sheets of plywood to cover large windows if you don’t have storm shutters.  This helps prevent wind and water damage caused by breaking windows and the tape protects against flying glass.
  • Buy a hand crank powered emergency radio.

Assemble these items and store centrally in a place you can easily access.  They need to be available if you’re unable to evacuate and will be invaluable if you have to leave quickly.

Important Documents:  Create a grab and go box for your important documents.  This should be a waterproof box of items to streamline filing claims, getting resettle, reconnected, and having life get back to normal.  Originals are better left in a safety deposit box in your bank.

  • Copy of passports, social security cards, green cards, driver’s license, etc. (photo copy both sides) which can be notarized by your local bank representative (usually free of charge).
  • Copies of insurance policies for home, auto, life, medical (flood and wind too if these apply).
  • Copies of any legal case papers.
  • Retirement and investment account numbers along with a copy of your last statement.
  • Copies of bill statements for all credit cards along with account numbers and contact information.
  • Last year’s tax return.
  • A recent back up to a thumb drive of your computer / laptop (look into Dropbox, Sugarsync, or other similar services).
  • Approximately $150 in cash for food, gas, etc.
  • Written phone contact list (physicians, family, friends, work, etc.).

Map Your Route:  Do you know where you’d go if you were ordered to evacuate?  This is a great time to decide and plan for that.

  • Take the time to map out your destination and evacuation route.
  • I’d also suggest planning two alternative destinations and routes (Google Hurricane Rita evacuation and you’ll understand).

Having these items purchased and organized before a storm is announced for your hometown means you’re not fighting for them with everyone else in a panic before the storm hits and the shelves are bare.  It also means you’ll be able to pull everything together quickly whether you need to evacuate or not.  Even for those who don’t live in a coastal area, these plans are appropriate for those who experience tornados, earthquakes, and wild fires.

What do you think?  Share your suggestions, questions, comments, and experiences with me on my Facebook, Google +, and LinkedIn pages.  I’d love to hear from you!

Thanks!

Ed Wise

Wise Insurance Group

 

Car Insurance for Kit Cars

Posted by on May 31, 2017 in Blog | Comments Off on Car Insurance for Kit Cars

Car Insurance for Kit Cars

Do you get weak in the knees looking at pictures of a Shelby Cobra, an Ultima Evolution, Catarham Seven or a Kirkham 289 Coupe? Do you dream of a Lister Bell STR, the Lamborghini Diablo, or the Ford GT40? You may not be able to afford the real thing, which can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars, or more, but there is a way to come close with a kit car. There are some amazing car kits with nice engines and the perks of our current vehicles for those who are interested. The issue I’d like to address is what kind of car insurance does a kit car need?

I answered this question for someone who was referred to me a couple of weeks ago. He owns a hot rod kit car based on a 1940’s era Ford. It’s a beautiful car with a chromed short block V8 engine, short windshield, leather seats, and a paint job to warm the soul. It also has a deep meaty rumble coming from the chromed side pipes that run the length of the car.

The limitation of writing a standard car insurance policy on such a vehicle is that it doesn’t consider the kit car’s completed value. A standard policy operates on a depreciation basis so if the car is in a wreck, then the claim will be paid on the vehicle’s depreciated value which may be much less than it’s completed value. The only way to get around this, is to write a car insurance policy which covers the vehicle for its stated value. This is the same approach we take when writing a classic, collector, or authentic antique car (see http://wiseinsurancegroup.com/car-insurance-classic-cars/).

In this individual’s case, the value of his completed kit is over $30,000. Depending on the kit type, underlying frame, and engine, kits can go for several times this person’s hot rod which is why a stated value policy provides the most complete protection for the owner’s investment. There are a few items an underwriter will want to review before writing a policy including:

  • Is the car street legal?
  • Was the kit built by the owner or someone who specializes in building cars?
  • Can it be driven over 50 mph?
  • How often will it be driven?
  • Is it registered / titled to the person seeking the policy?
  • Proof of its value such as a purchase receipt, appraisal, etc.
  • Pictures of all four sides, the interior, and in some cases, the engine compartment of the vehicle.

Not all carriers will require this information, but it does mean there are more options to choose from. In addition, this type of car insurance doesn’t cost an arm and a leg either. It’s very affordable depending on the vehicle’s value and what better way to protect your investment than with a policy covering it for what it’s worth?!

Do you own a kit car? Share your pictures, questions, comments, and experiences with me on my Facebook, Google +, or LinkedIn pages. I’d love to hear from you!

Thanks!

Ed Wise

Wise Insurance Group