Category Archives: Appraisals

insurance scams

How to Avoid Insurance Scams

These days, it seems like scams are more prevalent than ever. Most of us have become acutely aware of people online trying to get our money through shady practices, but the fact is that they can happen anywhere. Thus, it’s imperative that you stay vigilant at all times and learn the various ways that insurance scams can occur.

Insurance scams are especially troubling because they can take advantage of you relatively easily. In most cases, if you’re not aware of the potential for fraud, you could get duped without knowing it.

So, with that in mind, we want to help you learn to avoid insurance scams. Knowing what to do in these situations will ensure that you don’t become another victim.

Types of Insurance Scams

The fact is that shady people can take advantage of you and your insurance in a multitude of ways. Some of the most common methods can be-

Fake Insurance Companies – these scammers get you to buy insurance through them, only to find out that they don’t provide the services they promised.

Intentional Damage or Injury – usually, this type of fraud occurs with your car. Because all states require drivers to carry some insurance, scammers target them all the time. In this case, they will cause collisions intentionally, either with another vehicle or as a pedestrian.

Inflated Prices – whether it’s after a natural disaster or it’s your mechanic inflating the cost of your repair bill, scammers will try to get more money from you or your insurance company.

How to Avoid These Scams

Knowing about the various ways that people will try and take your money is a significant step toward avoiding them. However, here are some other tips to make sure that you don’t get duped.

Do Your Homework
If insurance representatives or salespeople contact you, don’t take their word at face value. Thankfully, it’s easy to look up illegitimate businesses online, which you can even do from your phone.

Don’t Agree to Anything if You Don’t Understand It
If you’re going to be signing off on anything, you have to make sure that you know what’s going on. With many insurance scams, the scammers will be pushy or aggressive and try to get you to either pay immediately or provide your information before you have a chance to figure out what’s going on. If this happens to you, make sure to walk away before agreeing to anything they say.

If It’s Too Good to Be True, It Probably Is
This adage is valid when talking about insurance scams. For example, if an insurance company comes to you with a substantially lower rate, you want to question whether it’s really a good deal. In many cases, filing a claim is next to impossible, which means you have to pay out of pocket if something does happen.

Bottom Line – Be Cautious
Insurance scams are out there, but that doesn’t mean you have to be a victim. Keep a vigilant eye at all times, and don’t be afraid to say no to scammers. They thrive on misinformation and persistence, so don’t let them get your hard-earned money.

If you have any questions regarding your coverage always feel free to reach out to us at Northeast – Metro West Insurance.
27555527 - time for review

Is it Time To Review Your Insurance Coverage?

We’ve all heard the stories of loss after natural disasters or catastrophic events, such as fires or burglaries. Homeowners and renters insurance policies will cover your home and valuables in a lot of instances but there are some very important exclusions. Getting to know your policy, what is covered and what is not, can save a lot of trouble down the line. It also affords you the opportunity to acquire additional coverage to make sure you can replace all those items that reside in your home with you.

What May Not Be Covered?

Aside from the normal exclusions for war or natural disasters, there are usually exclusions or minimal coverages (sublimits) provided for expensive or specialty property you might own. Some of these items might include, but are not limited to:

  • Firearms
  • Art
  • Furs
  • Watches and Jewelry
  • Silverware
  • Precious metals and coins
  • Specialty electronic equipment
  • Memorabilia (sports, historical collections, etc)

For example, sublimits for jewelry are typically $1,500 or up to $10,000 if you have a high-value homeowners policy. If you have expensive watches and jewelry, it won’t take long to exceed those values. Thankfully additional coverage and endorsements are available to cover these types of items. But how much should you ensure them for? What is their real value and how do you document it for the insurance company to make sure it is adequately covered and replaced?

Documentation and Appraisal

The first thing you need to do is keep your receipts and records for valuable items. Collectors tend to keep accurate records of memorabilia and its value, but do you have an idea of the current value of your other valuables? You can collect this information and keep it safe with a summary list. Most insurers don’t require appraisals unless, for instance, a single item of jewelry is over $50,000 in value or a piece of art is over $250,000. In any case, if you do have an appraisal having these records will give the appraiser a good place to start.

 

When you do have high-value items or if you lack records to support the value, due to gift or inheritance, it is a good idea to have the items appraised. The valuation from the appraisal will allow you to set a value, acquire appropriate insurance coverages and provide you with an itemized third-party inventory of what you have. Alternately, you can get blanket coverage for your valuable items. This type of coverage generally increases the sublimits on items and is a good way to insure numerous small items.

There is an additional cost to having appraisals and buying additional coverage, of course. The key is to find out the appropriate value so you get the most appropriate coverage for the lowest price. Acquiring your property and collections takes your time, money, and resources. Your insurance policy should be crafted to make sure your investments are protected.

Do you have a question about your appraisal? Feel free to call one of our team members at  (800) 443-7007.

Appraisals: What Are Your Valuables REALLY Worth?

AppraisalsThe winter holidays are approaching fast, which means many people will soon be brainstorming about all of the expensive purchases to make for friends and family. That brand-new, state-of-the-art flat screen television would go great in your son’s bedroom or the game room. You dream of that $500, high-powered mixer that looks fantastic on your kitchen counter. Don’t forget the new table saw in the shop out back!

Although you usually think of expensive gifts during the fall and early winter, you should consider protecting your valuables all year long, including your one-of-a-kind antiques and the gifts you just purchased. Take a look at the following five tips on the best ways to appraise your valuables, whether they are new purchases or family heirlooms.

Understand What You Have:

Understand what the value of certain pieces might be in terms of sentimental value passed down from one generation to the next. Antiques might be in the form of jewelry, toys, furniture, rugs, artwork, and even wine. You’d be surprised about the hidden value of certain items. Once you figure out what you’ve got, it’s time to find an appraiser.

Find the Right Experts:

If you have antiques that you think might be worth some money, find the right experts who may know a few things about what you have on hand. Ask around with your lawyer, insurance agent, real estate broker or financial adviser to see if any of these people know any good appraisers in town. Search the Appraisers Association of America website to find an appropriate expert. Some appraisers may examine an item using pictures you send them remotely as opposed to showing up to your home in person.

Vet Your Experts:

Once you find an expert for your item, ask them questions about their services. How much of a fee does an appraiser charge? What are the person’s qualifications? Does the appraiser have any referrals? Find out the answers to these questions before hiring someone to determine how much your valuables are worth and the additional costs of their appraisal services.

Update Your Appraisals Regularly:

Just like the value of your home or car changes over time, so does the price of your antiques and high-priced electronics. Experts recommend updating appraisals every five years. That way, you can adjust any insurance coverage you want to purchase. Every so often, peruse online auction sites such as eBay to see if any items similar to yours are selling. This can give you a rough estimate to see if the value of your item is going up or down.

Retain Your Documentation:

It’s very important that you keep your documentation as to what your items are worth, including a written statement by the appraiser. For your winter holiday gifts, retain your purchase receipt and any warranty information. It is also recommended to make a list of all items that you have had appraised and catalogue each one by estimated value, last date of appraisal, the name of the appraiser and next expected appraisal date. Keep these important papers locked away in a fireproof safe or in a safe deposit box in a bank. Otherwise, your insurance policy may not be able to help you.

Insurance for Valuables:

Your homeowner’s insurance doesn’t cover the contents of your house, just the structure itself. Taking out an insurance policy on your valuables protects your assets in case of fire, a natural disaster or even theft. If you don’t take out the right kind of insurance policy, an insurance claim for your valuables might be denied. Talk to the experts at Northeast Insurance to find out what insurance policy is right for you.

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