Another Insurance Saving Tip

Hello all, here is another insurance savings tip.

Save your deductible by doing some simple home maintaince that we call could be doing on our hot water tanks. We all know the water in AZ is horrible with heavy metals – what that means is not only do the wives complain about how it fees on their skin it also means death to appliances and your hot water tank.

Prevent future problems, save energy, extend the life of your water heater. Sediment build up in your water heater may cause clogged water lines, and faucets resulting in low hot water pressure. Other problems associated with excessive sediment are slower recovery rates (increase energy bills), glass liner in tank cracking, shorter water heater life and bacteria growth.

Recommended maintenance schedule:

  • Test pressure/temperature relief valve once a year.
  • Flush water heater every 4 months.
  • Clean water heater once a year.
  • Replace anode rod every 2-5 years.
  • Gas water heater – check/clean burner every year.

Test the relief valve at least once a year to be sure it’s working properly. The first step in removing sediment from a water heater is to drain the tank. Most of the sediment in a water heater will settle in the bottom of the tank. The anode rod should be replaced before it deteriorates completely.

Remember – when you are performing maintenance, be sure to always think “safety first”!

Kids Water Saftey – Can Save You On Homeowners Insurance

Here’s another tip that has been drilled into you by TV and radio in AZ but I bet your insurance guy never told you how this impacts your wallet.

Another insurance savings tip. Save your deductible – By Watching Kids Around Water / Pools. If you have a pool + kids + friend = potential trouble. Check to see what your liability limits are on your policy.

Even better question is why don’t you have an Umbrella to give you an extra $1 million of coverage for pennies? I know your kids’ friends’ parents would easily value their loss of a child at over a million.

Want some Facts?

On average, nearly 90 people die from drowning in Arizona each year with the majority of those deaths happening between April and August.

Although they make up only 20% of the number of total drowning deaths in Arizona according to the Arizona Department of Health Services, news reports usually center on children who have drowned in their family’s or a friend’s backyard swimming pool. Most of them, about 75%, were being supervised around water by at least one adult and were out of the sight of those adults for 5 minutes or less.

It only takes 2 inches of water and a couple of minutes for a small child to drown.

Did you know we have a National Safety counsel to tell us how to be safe?

Simple water safety procedures from the National Safety Council:

  1. Never swim alone.
  2. Never leave a child alone near water. If you must leave, take your child with you.
  3. Enroll children over age three in swimming lessons taught by qualified instructors.
  4. Always use approved personal flotation devices (life jackets).
  5. Don’t jump or dive into unknown bodies of water.
  6. Always have a first-aid kit and emergency phone contacts handy.
  7. Never consume alcohol when operating a boat or other watercraft.

Be safe around water – you might be surprised at how much it can save you on your Arizona homeowners insurance policy.

Monsoon 2010 and Home Insurance

With today the first day of summer and all the TV news stations in the valley broad casting their annual Monsoon Do’s and Don’ts for the season I thought I might shoot a quick reminder to all our homeowners about insurance this time of year.

As a home owner there are a couple simple things you can do to help prevent a claim and also help prevent the cost of incurring your deductible on your homeowners insurance.

Take a look around your property, if you landscaper, or you as the case may be, has not done so make sure all your trees are trim and not hanging over you home. Many of us in Phoenix do not believe this is important because we are in the “city” vs. up in the Mountains of Payson or Prescott. But trim trees are important to us too down here. If you have any large trees and we get a decent wind storm the shallow root base of many of our trees is a recipe for a tree into your roof or windows.

Next, take a quick peak at your roof. You do not need to go for a walk about on your roof to do a simple inspection. Just look up from your drive or out a window. If you see a lot of cracked tiles now might be the time to call a roofer for a free estimate or review before you have a leak in your bedrooms. Also, look at the ends of all your eves. If you have tile most eves are caped with roofing clay to prevent wind and rain from sneaking up under your tiles and causing wind damage or water damage. Again if they look off compared to your neighbors or what you think should look “normal” call the expert and get it checked out, it free.

Enjoy the summer heat, and stay cool in the pool all.

Arizona Homeowners Insurance: What You Need To Know

The number one misunderstood insurance term, hazard insurance, is a term most mortgage lenders use but not insurance agents. For this reason alone most customers don’t understand what hazard insurance is or what to expect for it.  The most common term is home or homeowners insurance.  Hazard insurance is a term that banks use to make sure that there home is protected against perils that could damage the home.  The most devastating perils that a home faces include fire, tornadoes, or hail damage.

Hazard Insurance, Home Insurance, Homeowner’s Insurance… all the same thing.

When Shopping for Homeowners Insurance These are the Things to Know:

Remember that all insurance companies collect information on the client and the home to create a rate. Most of the insurance companies score the client with metrics that  include FICO score and how they pay their bills. The pertinent information on the house are what the insurance companies use to come up with the replacement cost.

Replacement cost formulas vary from company to company. Refer back to my previous article on to understand replacement cost estimators.

Another factor in creating the rate is the distance between the home and closest fire station. The greater the distance the more expensive the premium. This is why, back in the day, Hazard Insurance was called Fire Insurance.

How is Hazard Insurance affected in today’s real estate market of short sales and foreclosures?

A good tip for shopping hazard insurance is to note there is a difference between occupied and non-occupied homes. When purchasing hazard insurance, the rules for owner occupied and landlord properties are very similar. They are both preferred and the rates are cost effective. On the flip side, vacant investment properties (non-occupied) throw up red flags.

These  homes would be considered a higher risk and would be placed in a standard company versus a preferred company, which will result in a higher premium.

The consumer today is shopping their insurance with a greater frequency.  Above are the basics on what you need to know when you are shopping for hazard insurance.

If you have any questions, or would like to discuss any of these items in further detail, please feel free to Contact Mark Fortuna.

Homeowners Insurance: Replacement Cost Check Up

Homeowners Insurance: Replacement Cost Check Up

In general the consumer today is all about saving a buck! Lately I have taken a few calls regarding home insurance premiums going up because of the replacement cost increasing on the dwelling coverage part of the policy.

Home Replacement Cost Estimators

The following list of “calculators” was compiled to aid homeowners’ discussion about the adequacy of their homeowners insurance coverage with their insurance agent. These estimating services give differing construction cost estimates that can be used in evaluating the amount of replacement cost insurance on your dwelling.

Keep in mind, the coverage on your dwelling is to reconstruct your home in the event it is damaged or destroyed. Reconstruction costs, so are usually different from new construction costs. In addition, homeowners insurance does not cover your land, so the “market value” of your property is not indicative of the amount of homeowners insurance you need.

Homeowners might consider utilizing more than one estimator, but here is a brief list of some of the top estimators.


AccuCoverage by Marshall Swift Boeckh

Requires a fee; estimate based on details of home’s specific construction and characteristics.

XactValue by Xactware, Inc.

Requires “log-in” and fee; estimate based on details of home’s specific construction and characteristics.

Insure to Value by Bluebook International

Requires a fee; estimate is based on zip code or neighborhood and some home characteristics.

For additional tips on evaluating homeowners insurance, you can also see the “Homeowners Insurance Check Up” checklist on Arizona Department of Insurance ‘s site.

Open House: The Criminal Element in Desperate Times

Open House: The Criminal Element in Desperate Times

Realtors hosting an open house on a clients property on any given weekend could lead to a burglary. Believe it or not the potential buyers walking through the house can create an opportunity for a future crime scene.

While walking through and casing the property the criminal will crack a window open or even unlock an exterior door. They will wait and let themselves in with no sign of forced entry and clean out the house literally!

Here is one example of a real-life situation that I have seen:

My client had her custom home up for sale and her Realtor was set to host an open house one weekend. After two days of showing the property to many people the Realtor shared that he was pleased with the amount of activity. The next week she left her home to go grocery shopping and did not set her alarm. The reason being
she would be back in an hour and half and felt safe because of living in a gated community.

To her surprise when she returned home her house was cleaned out.

The police said: “These are Professionals, they are fast and furious. No sign of forced entry!

They had gotten in through the window they had cracked slightly during the open house. All the contents were covered with the policy but the gun collection and jewelry has limits. The policy coverage for guns is $3000 and jewelry is $5000 limits in coverage.

Realtors make sure to secure all windows and exterior doors after hosting an open house! If you are paying for an alarm use it at all times. Also check with your insurance agent about limitations in your homeowner’s insurance coverage.