PROPERTY INSURANCE

CODE UPGRADES: Home owners who own houses over 10 years old- possibly even newer- should consider insurance riders that pay for a replacement structure that meets new building codes. If your policy doesn't have it, you home may fall thousands of dollars short of full replacement. Unfortunately, not all riders will fully replace up to new codes- some will cover only up to 10% of the guaranteed value- others up to 30% (25% is considered minimum). It wasn't really a big issue until recently since properties with less than 50% damage do not have to be replaced to the new code. But the Oakland, Malibu, Laguna fires and the Florida Hurricane made the properties vulnerable.

INSURANCE: Property owners who have felt the wrath of a hurricane, fire or earthquake are having lots of problems with insurance adjusters. Apparently many adjusters are not well trained and are offering low ball offers. Worth magazine suggested the use of an PA or Public Adjuster who is an independent person you can hire to represent your claim. They take about 15% of any claim that's received, but considering comments from many who had disasters and tried to work with the insurance companies, it's apparently well worth it. The real unfortunate issue is that much could be avoided if the insured's had actually READ their policy. Further, most insured's had NO video, pictures or receipts of anything they owned. So I have to ask, whose fault is it if the insurance company balks at paying on unproven estimates.

MORE HOME INSURANCE: A guaranteed replacement home policy will pay to rebuild your home even if the cost to rebuild exceeds your policy limits (some companies limit the amount they will pay to 120% to 150% of the policy's face value.) Some companies won't give a guaranteed replacement policy on an old home- others won't pay the cost to upgrade your home to meet current code requirements if you have to rebuild. Some won't cover for earthquake insurance unless the house is bolted to the foundation. Flood insurance is provided solely by the National FLOOD Program- Call 800 638-6620 .

SEVERE PROPERTY DAMAGE: (WSJ)