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IPS / Lighthouse Insurance Group Blog: home insurance

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When selecting renters insurance, your policy should reflect the type of property you live in. Apartments are the most common type of rental property. However, many people rent condominiums and town homes as well. image of couple moving into condo

In all cases, renters insurance is a valuable investment. Your policy should reflect the differences in these spaces.

What Is the Difference?

Consider the difference in ownership here. Those living in a condo only own what is in the condo. They don't own the building itself.

Your renters insurance policy should reflect coverage for what is within the property’s walls. In a town home, the owner owns the land outside of it as well. He or she also owns the walls and roofing system. If you are renting a town home, you may need more coverage, including structure protection. It should cover risks outside of the walls.

Ownership itself does not matter to renters. However, it does provide some insight into what your insurance policy should offer to you.

When Does This Matter?

Let’s say a person visiting your condo comes inside and falls on a rug. He suffers significant head trauma. Your renters’ insurance liability policy may cover the losses associated with this injury. If it occurs outside of the condo, this may not be the case. The accident didn't occur on property owned by you.

In a town home, the insurance policy should represent your responsibility outside of the property as well. In all townhouses, you will be responsible for anything that occurs inside and outside on the property. It provides more coverage across the entire property..

Clarification with Your Owner

It is important to discuss risk with your condo owner. If you live in a larger development, clarify what type and amount of renters insurance you should have. Determine what your responsibilities are.

Many renters in these larger spaces have assets outdoors, too. Be sure your policy reflects these assets. It could mean purchasing more coverage. You may need a policy with more protections for your liability risks. Every policy should be specific. In doing so, it gives you the policy you need.

Discuss your needs for renters insurance with an insurance agent at 734-421-9900 or 800-220-5582. You can also discuss them with the property management company. This information can give insight into your responsibilities. Even if you rent a single family home, proper coverage is essential. With a plan in place, you do not have to worry about risks. This includes losses of your assets. It also includes losses associated with injury to another person. A comprehensive plan safeguards your financials no matter what type of property you live in right now.

Also Read: The Costs Associated with Renting

image of woman working on a computerToday, more Americans than ever have high-value computers, laptops, smartphones and other electronics in their homes. Many of these products are expensive not only to purchase, but also to replace if they’re damaged or lost. Yet, theft, vandalism and even fire can lead to a loss of these valuables. Are they protected under your home insurance policy?

What Your Home Insurance Covers

There's good news for many people. Many of these assets are covered under a traditional property insurance plan for your home. They are considered assets and possessions as long as they are not used for business purposes and are in your home at the time of the event. This may include:

  • Your computers
  • Your laptop
  • Most electronics such as TVs and stereo systems
  • Your sound system
  • Cameras
  • Your tablet computers

It is important to fully document what you own, including photos. Be sure you've listed them on your policy when needed.

Keeping this in mind, you must also realize there is a limit. Let's say your computer shorts out due to an electrical incident that is covered under your home insurance plan. Most policies will have a specific dollar amount for these types of claims. The amount of that limit depends on many factors, specifically your deductible and your coverage limit.

How to Protect High-End Valuables

There's no reason to put these valuables at risk, though. You can purchase additional coverage to protect the value of these items. In situations where you have a significant amount of computer equipment or very expensive electronics, it is best to get an additional policy that extends your coverage limit to include these items. Do the same thing for jewelry, collectibles or fine art you own that exceeds the maximum coverage value of your policy.

Homeowners should take the time to review their policy on a regular basis. If you purchase any computer system or any other electronic item that is over $100 or more in value, it may be important to determine if you need to adjust your home insurance policy to match that new investment. Most very expensive computer systems should be specifically listed with your agency to ensure they are comprehensively protected from loss. Doing this helps ensure that, if a covered event happens, you do not have to worry about your limits.

Protect your valuables today. Call Insurance Planning Service at (734) 421-9900 for more information on Michigan home insurance.

Also Read: How to Create a Home Emergency Kit

Did you know?

  • The leading cause of fires in the kitchen is unattended cooking.
  • Most cooking fires in the home involve the stove top.
  • Frying poses the greatest risk of fire.
  • By following a few safety tips you can prevent these fires.

Take these steps to keep your family safe.

  • Stand by your pan: If you leave the kitchen, turn the burner off
  • Keep anything that can catch on fire away from the stove top.  Oven mitts, wooden utensils, food packaging, towels, and curtains should be kept clear from the stove.
  • Watch what you are cooking: Fires start when the heat is too high.  If you see smoke or the grease starts to boil, turn the burner off.
  • Turn pot handles toward the back of the stove: Then no one can bump them or pull them over.
  • Keep a pan lid or baking sheet nearby: Turn off the heat and use a pan lid or baking sheet to cover the pan if it catches on fire.
  • Baking soda: Baking soda will put out a small grease fire.  DO NOT USE WATER on a grease fire.
  • Cooking and Kids: Have a "Kid-free" zone.  You should have at least 3 feet around the stove and areas where hot food is prepared and carried.
Article courtesy: Michigan Millers Mutual Insurance Company
Image courtesy: stockimages /

    Clothes DryerDid you know?
    • According to the NFPA, there is an annual average (2006-2010) of 15,520 home fires, 29 deaths, 402 injuries and $192 million in property damage attributed to dryer fires.
    • The leading cause of home clothes dryer fires is failure to clean them.

    To help prevent fires:

    • Clean the lint filter in your clothes dryer after every use.
    • Clean the dryer vent and exhaust duct periodically.
    • Clean behind the dryer where lint can build up.
    • Replace the plastic or foil, accordion-type ducting material with rigid or corrugate semi-rigid metal duct.
    • Take special care when drying clothes that have been soiled with volatile chemicals such as gasoline, cooking oils, cleaning agents, or finishing oils and stains.
    • Make sure that your clothes dryer is located in an area that has proper ventilation, airflow and enough airspace.
    • You should always turn off your dryer before you leave the house or when you go to bed.

    Source courtesy: Michigan Millers Mutual Insurance Company

    Mailbox in Flooded NeighborhoodIt's human nature to think the worst scenarios are seen only on the news. But in reality, an emergency situation can take place anywhere, any time. It's better to be prepared for the unexpected than to stare in shock when the news indicates a tragedy in your town. And while emergency kits are commercially sold, it's better to build your own (or at last add to a store-bought kit) to ensure that necessary personal items are included. Check your kit biannually and replace expired items as necessary.

    A good home emergency kit should include the following:
    • Mess kits, paper cups and plates, paper towels, garbage bags and a manual can opener
    • Three-day supply of non-perishable food per person (protein-rich foods are the best option)
    • Three gallons of water per person for drinking and sanitation
    • Personal hygiene items, including soap, hand sanitizer, moist towelettes and feminine supplies
    • Change of clothes for each person, including sturdy shoes
    • Sleeping bag and/or blanket for each person
    • Baby items — bottles, formula, diapers, change of clothes etc.
    • Pet items — bowls, food, water, leash etc.
    • Glasses and/or contacts with saline solution
    • Battery-powered radio, flashlight and extra batteries
    • Cell phone with charger (bring a model that has GPS capability)
    • Flares or whistles to signal help
    • Multi-purpose tool
    • Cash
    • Books, drawing supplies etc. to entertain children
    • Copies of important documents, such as bank records and birth certificates (keep in a waterproof container)
    And lastly, a first aid kit is absolutely critical in emergency situations when you may not have easy access to medical care. Pack the following supplies:
    • Prescription medications or other necessary medical supplies, such as insulin, inhalers, blood pressure meds etc. as needed by your family
    • Over-the-counter pain medicine, anti-diarrhea medicine and antacids
    • Antibiotic towelettes and ointment, along with hydrogen peroxide for cuts
    • A variety of bandages and a roll of sterile gauze
    • Sterile gloves, scissors and tweezers
    • Thermometer
    Store your completed kit (however many backpacks it takes) in an easily accessible location within your home, such as a coat closet, so you can grab it and go if ever needed.

    Get the best protection for your family. Call Insurance Planning Service at (734) 421-9900 for more information on Michigan home insurance.

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    Lighthouse Group Main Office in Grand Rapids, MI
    Mailing Address | P.O. Box 530009, Livonia, MI 48153

    Phone: 734.421.9900 | Toll Free: 800.220.5582 | Fax: 734.421.9911

    Also serving these Detroit area communities in Michigan: Livonia, Farmington Hills, Ann Arbor, Southfield, Plymouth, Canton, Westland, Northville, Novi, Dearborn, South Lyon & Walled Lake