How much damage can a little water do?

Am I covered for a flood?

rain is confetti Did somebody tell Mother Nature to bring on the rain this year? It sure feels like it! So far 2019 has been a series of storms which have brought California some much-needed pain, oops, I mean rain. Isn’t rain supposed to be good for our mental health and have healing powers? Who doesn’t love falling asleep to the sound of rain? Some say the rain is calming and can wash away your worries. The sound of rain actually sends a signal to our brain, similar to the signal it gets when you hear white noise, decreasing our need for sensory input which calms us down. It’s supposed to be like confetti from the sky, beautiful and light and fun, but I hate cleaning up confetti. Ironically cleaning up after a rain storm is just as annoying as cleaning up confetti. Instead of being wonderful and calming the rain has created more worry and has brought on some serious problems.

I know for me, the water just pudannoyed facedles in my backyard so the backyard is pretty much off-limits to everyone, and our dogs. Thankfully we have a gated courtyard to let them out in the front which will do for now, but man we cannot wait to have our backyard back! These are the looks I get when I don’t let them out there…

Our agency gets many questions about water losses. What’s covered versus what isn’t covered and flood is often a question of concern. Many people don’t know that a flood is not covered under your homeowners policy….did you gasp? Some people do. It is true, and that is why there is a specific type of policy for the loss of a flood.

Lately, the rainy weather has given us some pretty “swollen” creeks and rivers which has caused some significant flooding in the Sacramento area and beyond. Last month I had sent out our regular “Insurance Informational Email” to our customers with details on the cost of damage to a 1,000 square foot home from an inch of water, that I would like to share again. So if you received this post already, you’re welcome, it’s just another refresher!

Do you know how much damage one inch of standing water can do to your home? Just ONE INCH!?

I’m Covered for Flood…Aren’t I?                                                             January 4th 2019

A new season brings new weather, and this means a review of your insurance portfolio or making a conscious decision to obtain more coverage. Flood insurance is one of those special policies that you may not think you need, but will always come in handy when you least expect it.

As your Independent Agency, we’d like to give you a few things to consider:

  • Flood insurance is NOT covered by home policies.
  • Flood insurance covers your building and personal contents but does have some restrictions.
  • Flood insurance is affordable.
  • A Flood policy has a 30 day wait period.
  • A Flood doesn’t always come from a storm.

We live in an area that isn’t prone to mass flooding like other parts of the country, however that doesn’t mean it doesn’t happen and it doesn’t mean it isn’t just as costly. The Hartford National Flood has put together an example of how much damage just an inch of water can do based off of a 1,000 sqft home.


Just one inch of water can cost over $10k of damage in a 1,000 sqft home, imagine those figures compared to the size of your home!

For more information on getting a policy that will work for you, contact us to speak with one of our agents today!


American Diversified Insurance Services, Inc

A: 201 Natoma St Folsom, CA 95630

P: (916)985-7500 F: (916)985-7302 T: (916)970-9349

E: W:



Toto, we’re not in Kansas Anymore!

Does my home insurance cover a fallen fence after a storm?

Have you ever been in a Tornado? I haven’t, but it sure feels like I have with all of this strong wind lately! I don’t know about everyone else, but where I live the storms so far this year have brought rain/snow and some super gusty wind! Last night the wind was so violent sounding I felt like I was Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz flying through the air and landing in Oz.


No, I did not wake up in Munchkin Land like Dorothy, although my French Bulldogs could pass as Munchkins, I did wake up to a fallen down fence. You can only do so much prep work to make sure your home is safe but when Mother Nature decides to drop a house on you she’ll do it. I noticed it as I was leaving for work, the front fence was down and had knocked down our trash and recycling cans. I was able to pick it up and prop it up but that’s about all I could do quickly on my own, and in the rain.


Now our fence needs to be rebuilt, and it’s a task that has been put off for about three years now since we moved in. It has been maintained with several new boards here and there but repairs like that are really just a bandaid. We live in an older well-established neighborhood which means that things like the fence are older and will need to be replaced, not repaired.

Thankfully, my husband knows how to fix it…wink, wink…but it is a task that requires time and effort…AND of course, I will help! The fence is also something that is shared between you and your neighbors. Occasionally this doesn’t apply, for instance, if you don’t have any neighboring fences but for many of us it does. Figuring out fence issues can be a pain because of this situation. Maybe this is why fence replacement gets shoved under the rug?

If your fence is in need of repair or replacement talk with your neighbors about it. Put together an estimate and talk about it, split it, come up with an agreement together to repair it. Sounds easy right? Well, I do know that not all conversations or agreements will go so smoothly but the conversation will need to happen. It will either happen before the fence falls or after.

So what happens if my fence falls down after a storm? Does my homeowners’ policy cover a fallen down fence? The answer to this is sorta…what I mean by this is that insurance companies will look at the depreciated value of the fence and then split the cost with you guessed it, neighbors, if it is a neighboring fence. Finally, the repair will be subject to your deductible on your homeowners’ policy. So if your portion is under your deductible you will be responsible for making the repairs/replacement of your fence. You will also need to take into consideration the potential for your homeowners’ policy to increase. Some companies will surcharge for claims on your home, they may remove a claims-free discount or some companies may not have any impact. It never hurts to call and ask your agent what would happen to your insurance policy if you turned in a claim for your home.

tank and drama

Our fence that fell most recently is in the front, a non-neighboring fence which is ours to replace. Eventually, the rest of our fence will need to be addressed with our neighbors. Until then, we just have to make sure we are on top of the repair to keep our little Munchkins in the backyard!



American Diversified Insurance Services, Inc

A: 201 Natoma St Folsom, CA 95630

P: (916)985-7500 F: (916)985-7302 T: (916)970-9349

E: W:

Let’s ring in the New Year…with a Storm!

A storm could bring you home damage! Will you be covered?

thunderstormI love storms, thunderstorms specifically. I love being at home during a storm, under a cozy blanket and listening to the rain and wind on the roof. It’s even more fun if the power goes out and you have to get flashlights and candles for a bit! There was a huge storm back when I was in college that knocked the power out for hours. I remember just sitting in my apartment with candles and reading Harry Potter listening to the rain and loving every minute of it! (Yes I’m a Harry Potter nerd and proud of it) If it’s a thunder and lightning storm I like looking outside and counting the seconds between the thunder booms and the lightning strikes. Why do I do this? I don’t know? I remember hearing somewhere that the number you count between the thunder and lightning means that’s how many miles away the storm is. Who knows where I heard it, maybe from Helen Hunt in the movie Twister? And who knows if this is actually true?

val out in the rain.jpg

Of course, I don’t really like to be outside in a storm. My liking of them is only when I’m safe and indoors, however, I can totally walk around in a storm in Paris. You know who else hates being outside during a storm, my dogs. They refuse! Thankfully they get over it, but the mud they track in, oh and the wiping of paws and bellies…not so much!

Last weekend we had a pretty gnarly storm and it’s dubbed, by me, as the first big storm of the year. Boy was this one windy! I actually got a little bit fearful that the wind was a little too strong and thought for sure we would have damage to our home. In fact, I had gone outside a few times just to check our yard and fences to make sure everything was ok and even heaved buckets of water out of our boat. Now, my husband was out of town that weekend so I had to brave this storm on my own and prayed that I wouldn’t have major damage or a problem while he was gone. That did happen once. One of our sprinklers busted in the backyard and was flooding and I had NO CLUE how to turn it off! What to do next, call hubby…no answer, call Dad…he didn’t answer, then Grandad…he didn’t answer and then my husband called me on FaceTime who guided me on how to stop it. This instance actually made me have my husband take me around the house to show me the ins and outs of the “outside chores” so I could be prepared for something like this in the future.


It’s very important that we heed any warnings for storms because you can save yourself a lot of work and probably money. As a homeowner, you have to do a certain amount of maintenance and upkeep to try and prevent as best you can any sort of loss. Storm prevention is crucial. I’m not talking about boarding up your house for a hurricane, I’m talking about making sure outdoor clutter is picked up, outdoor furniture is tucked away, or a fence needing to be re-vamped, gutters cleared, drains cleaned etc. If you do your best to keep your yard and exterior intact you may come out of this storm without any or minimal damage.

Many people assume that because they have insurance on their home that everything is covered, which is not the case. Your home insurance is in place to cover losses that are sudden and accidental NOT wear and tear. This includes wind/hail damage, lightning, fallen trees that have damaged your property, some water damage, and power surges etc. Claims are subject to your deductible and your policy limits and the specific carrier you have may have limitations. You may have exclusions for certain coverage or what you think may be covered on your home policy isn’t covered at all, like flood or earthquake! By the way, your home policy does not cover you for flood or earthquake, so you must purchase a separate policy for those risks if you want coverage.


The best way to know if you have coverage for a certain loss is to call your agent and ask. If you do have a loss you can always call your agent to go over it before calling the claims department or call the claims department and put in the claim. Be mindful that for home claims some carriers will now surcharge for a loss, or if they offer a claims-free discount that could be removed at your next renewal.

As much as you prep or plan not to have a claim you never know when and if you’ll have one. The best thing you can do is have insurance and keep it up to date because if you do have a covered loss it’ll save you money and a headache.

tank wink.jpg

The second best thing to do is keep your home as maintained as you can even if that means walking outside in the rain in the middle of the storm! Hey, better late than never right? “Wink, Wink!”



American Diversified Insurance Services, Inc

201 Natoma St Folsom, CA 95630

P: (916)985-7500 F: (916)985-7302 T: (916)970-9349

E: W:


Top 3 Summer Insurance Questions!

Summer doggie Ah, summer is here. I know at some point this past week we have all thought how is it June, and almost July? If you haven’t thought that yet, you’re welcome. Also, you’re welcome for the cute dog pic! Where has the year gone?! I remember being so excited for summer break as a kid. No more school. Summers for me meant being outside in the back yard at the pool, making silly home videos with my sisters, sport camps and doing a minimum of 100 free throws in the street EVERYDAY no matter how hot it was! (Thanks Dad)

But as an adult summers are a little bit different. Time off is limited and no longer a stretch of three months. It is also jam packed with vacation planning, family visits, work, BBQ’s, pool parties, boating, RV/tent camping, weddings, showers, making sure kids are entertained and home maintenance etc.

This year I have a packed summer and while it will still take some effort on me and my husband’s part to prepare for it, I’m looking forward to it. We have family coming in from out of State to visit, a family friend from Germany coming to visit, short trips to Lake Tahoe, and several birthday parties for nieces and nephews along with some out of town weddings and bridal showers, and boating…always boating!

It is easy to get distracted in the summer planning and prepping to forget about making sure you understand your insurance policy, and what your needs are. Some of the most common questions we get around the summer months are:

  1. Does my policy cover my rental car when I go out of town?
  2. I am having a wedding/party at a church/event center or park and need coverage does my policy cover that?
  3. How can I make sure my belongings are covered when I go out of town?


Rental Cars:

If your policy has physical damage and you are renting a vehicle while out of town, or your vehicle is in the shop your policy will transfer to that rental vehicle like you were driving your own vehicle. The policy will only transfer if you are in the U.S. if you are going out of the country you will need to purchase the coverage when you rent the vehicle.

When you want to rent a vehicle just to keep mileage off your own vehicle you will also need to purchase the coverage when renting a vehicle. A good rule of thumb is your policy will transfer to the rental vehicle if:

  1. You have physical damage
  2. If you are in the U.S.
  3. If you are away from your vehicle (i.e. out of town, or your vehicle is in the shop)

Event or Party Insurance:

Wedding Crashers It’s Wedding Season and if you are having a wedding or large event where you are renting a space that requires listing the facility/company on the policy as an Additional Insured/Interest you will need to purchase Event Insurance. All of our carriers will not allow an event vendor to be listed on a homeowner policy. Event Insurance is relatively inexpensive and can be purchased online or if you cannot find a company online ask the vendor for a recommendation.

We all have the occasional backyard shin-dig and statistics show many claims happen while at home. In order to make sure you are safe at your own get together is to check for any trip and fall hazards outside like cracks in the concrete, water hoses, chords, lawn equipment etc. If you are going to have a lot of people over make sure your party area is picked up and give your guests room to move. You also want to make sure your BBQ has some good clearence. BBQ fires are very common in the summer so keep your guests especially little ones and pets away from the BBQ. If you haven’t used it in a while a good tune up never hurts! You’ll also want to make sure that your home/renters liability is a little higher if you have a pool or pets. If someone were to have an accident and sue you you’ll want to make sure you have enough liability for any legal fees…heaven forbid!

Personal Property and Scheduled Items:

If you have a renters policy or a homeowners policy your belongings are covered anywhere in the world. So if you were to go on vacation and your luggage is lost, stolen etc your belongings are covered less your deductible.passport-with-travel-elements-around-to-travel-time-vector However, if you have more valuable items such as jewelry, silver, artwork etc you will want to have them scheduled. This means you want that item insured to value so if it is lost or stolen the company can replace the item of like and kind with a zero dollar deductible. That means you do not pay a deductible for a claim on a scheduled item. Scheduling an item will result in an additional premium and the company will require proof of value and/or a photo. Some companies will put the item on a separate policy instead of adding to your homeowners policy which is most commonly called a jewelry floater, or personal articles floater.

If the item is lost or stolen and is not insured to value you will only be given the internal policy limit to replace the item and will be subject to your deductible. The most common minimum internal limit for jewelry is $1500 for all of your jewelry as a whole. Many companies can increase this limit but just to be safe schedule your valuable items. Especially if you are taking an item on a vacation!

We want you to enjoy your summer, no matter how chaotic or relaxing it can be. Take a few minutes and make sure you know what your insurance needs are and if you have taken the steps to get the coverage! As always, call us with any questions and check in with us on Facebook!

summer love

American Diversified Insurance Services, Inc

201 Natoma St Folsom, CA 95630

P: (916)985-7500 F: (916)985-7302 T: (916)970-9349

E: W:



If I turn in a Homeowners Claim will my my policy increase?

pissed val.JPG Whenever I go out of town my insurance brain comes with me. Nerd Alert! I cannot seem to turn it off. No matter where I go, or what I do I see risks right in front of me. I remember when I was a volleyball coach, see here I am mid game. We probably weren’t winning at this particular moment, I do not like to lose! Anyways, I was out of state for a tournament, and while I was en route to the gym I couldn’t help but stare at all of the homes that lined the freeway I was on. I wasn’t staring at these houses because they were gorgeous; I was staring at them because they reminded me of writing long memos to my customers about making repairs to their home.

These houses were bad. I mean, pretty bad! And it wasn’t just one! Several houses in a row, for a while, were in such poor maintenance I couldn’t believe they were livable or why people wanted to live there. Hey to each their own, right?! Each house had paint peeling, roof shingles lifting and or curling, the yard was completely overgrown and also covered with junk. All of these things and then some, are risks to an insurance company. Why? Because they could cause a loss of some sort! And as a homeowner, you’ll want to do everything in your power to NOT have a loss.

As we drove along my insurance brain kept writing memos to these homeowners. “Dear So and So, Please trim the tree branches that are overhanging and or touching the roof and provide photos….etcetera, etcetera.” The Insurance Companies aren’t asking for everyone to have a pristinely manicured yard, or require that you hire someone else to do that for you, but they do expect you to properly maintain your home. As a homeowner, you have a responsibility to make sure your home is well, maintained! That doesn’t mean you have to have a Stepford Wives house and yard, but it does mean a properly maintained home. What I mean by that is you are responsible for keeping everything working smoothly in order to prevent a loss. I mean everything! Make sure you are checking the interior and exterior of your house every so often to make sure that hazards are removed, repaired or replaced.

I mention in every post that insurance is to protect you from financial hardship. It also exists to cover “covered” losses that are sudden and accidental. For instance, the classic leaky pipe scenario. If you have had a leaky pipe for a few weeks this would be categorized as an existing condition and considered maintenance of your home and may not be covered. Now if you have a pipe burst then we have a different story.

rozen-pipeA few years ago this happened to a family member of mine who has a secondary residence in the mountains. This family member had been out of town during the holidays visiting relatives and had been away from their primary residence and secondary residence. A neighbor at their secondary residence went into to check on their home and boom, walked into a house full of really cold water. Not the best thing you want to deal with during the holidays, but it does happen. This photo isn’t the exact pipe, but it does show what can happen if your pipes freeze. Now, this wasn’t a situation of not properly maintaining the pipes, in this case, the pipes had frozen but my point is losses can happen and they can be costly. You’ll want to pay your deductible amount instead of replacing and repairing the whole thing, I know I would rather pay a $500 deductible than an out of pocket $12,000 water loss.

If you do have a homeowners claim, it will most likely be subject to your deductible. There are some additional endorsements that can be added on to your policy for an additional premium that would give you a zero dollar deductible, or a specific deductible for a specific incident should you have a loss. If you don’t know what an endorsement is click here for our video about homeowners endorsements. You’ll want to assess your damages and then get an estimate of the damages to make sure that the loss is over your deductible. For instance, if you have a $500 deductible and your loss will be $450 to repair you would be responsible for paying to repair that loss. If your loss is $550 you may choose to not to turn it in because you’ll still be paying the first $500 and the company will only pay $50. Homeowners losses tend to be more significant so if it is something minor you may not want to turn it into the company.

Some companies now are beginning to surcharge for home losses. It is kind of equivalent to an auto policy if you’ve ever had a ticket or accident and your rate increased at your following renewal. Every company is different and every policy is different so when I say “kind of” I mean “kind of” like that situation because the premium change amount will differ. It all depends on the loss, the policy, the insured and the company. If a company doesn’t have a surcharge you could lose a claims free discount so either way, your rate could change after you turn in a home claim. Depending on the carrier the loss could stay chargeable on your policy or remain without a loss free discount for up to 3-5 years. This is why I mentioned earlier if the loss is minor you may not want to turn the claim in.

home-maintenance-checklistThe best way you can avoid a loss is to properly maintain your home on a somewhat regular basis. But sometimes you just cannot avoid them. It’s almost like that saying about going to the dentist, or to the doctors for a check up. I’m pretty sure it’s no wives tale that if you go to the dentist twice a year for a cleaning along with daily self-hygiene you can prevent a major issue. Or “an apple a day keeps the doctor away”, Preventative Maintenance everyone!

You’ll want to do as best you can to keep your home in working order. My husband and I are always doing something. The list never seems to end, but at the end of the day, we get to enjoy our home; which is exactly what you should do. When I think of those homes out of state in such bad shape I can only imagine the losses that could happen, and oh yeah all the memos! Maybe the homeowners don’t care, or maybe they aren’t insured who knows. I hope I just caught all of those homes on a bad day, hey homes can have a bad hair day too right? Insurance Brain – OFF!

American Diversified Insurance Services, Inc

201 Natoma St Folsom, CA 95630

P: (916)985-7500 F: (916)985-7302 T: (916)389-1820

E: W: 


The Airline lost my baggage! Will my homeowners or renters policy cover my stuff?

I don’t know why but I’m on a “stuff” kick lately! Last week I wrote about how to take a home inventory of your contents for your home or renters policymom-to-do-list.jpg. I’m still in the process of taking my own home inventory so you’ll want to stay tuned about the experience I am having. It does take some time, so unless you actually dedicate one whole day to figure out what program you are using and enter it all in an app or computer program it’ll take a day or so. My problem is I’m in the middle of packing for a trip, getting a kid ready to start high school, get dinner ready for my family of giants and trying to maintain the household all at the same time. Sound familiar to anyone? I know it is extremely important to have this list so I need to step up my game and get it done. Get with it Val!

the crewThis weekend I’ll be heading out of town for a relaxing weekend with my best friends from high school! The four of us have kept in touch through the years and have gone through; out of state moves, weddings, and babies, and have seen each other at those happy occasions.  BUT, we haven’t really gotten to spend quality time together since we were home for break in college. palm springs weather.PNGWe’ve rented a house down in Palm Springs or as my husband likes to call it Palm 39, for the weekend. Which I just checked the weather by the way, and it’s going to be 109 down there!!! Why would I leave the 107 heat we had last week to go to another town that remains in triple digits??  I’m still asking myself this, but the house we rented has a pool and AC so we will be just fine. The point is to hang out with each other and continue to build on the relationships we have made through the course of our lives. I for one am pretty excited to see my friends!

Whenever us women go out of town a great deal of planning is involved. I know for me, I have to make lists for myself of what to pack, what to buy etc but also to make sure my boys are taken care of at home with food and also that my doggies have enough food so they won’t have to go to the store for any reason.The-25-Best-Travel-Memes-22 There are other things I have to plan for such as making sure my son is able to get to and from school the days that I’m gone, and then any sporting clinics, practices, tryouts etc have to be figured out too. This week also happens to be the first week of school so I’ve got to make sure he has his books, new clothes and all of the other stuff together he needs to start school. Starting high school is expensive! As you can see from the caption, men have it much easier when it comes to prepping for a trip!

After I get out of the house, the last thing that I want to deal with is lost luggage at the airport. Who wants to deal with that? Not me! I haven’t actually had this happen to me (knock on wood) but it’s happened to numerous friends and family members. What a big stink! Just the thought of getting off the plane and then not seeing your bag circle baggage claim is terrifying to me. Not just because you don’t have your stuff but because now you are stuck not knowing where it is or when you will get it back, and now you don’t have clothes or makeup, heaven forbid!girls packing problems Not that I would need makeup in Palm Springs this weekend, it would melt right off my face! But, I would feel totally helpless. I also hate flying so any other stressor on top of hating to fly would not be good. I know some of you may say, just carry on! I have never been a good packer so I have never been able to fit all of my stuff in those little suit cases to carry on the plane. I need to have clothing options people!

girls packing.jpg Hopefully the airline will recover your bag and deliver it to you in a timely manner but some times they don’t and it’s never recovered. Did you know your homeowners or renters policy may cover the cost of your lost items. Your personal property aka “your stuff” is covered anywhere in the world. So the companies may pay for your lost items. The companies do not pay for the time or man power to recover the items but they will pay for your belongings – IF you have a homeowners or renters policy and IF those policies are active and the contents lost are within your policy limits. Again, every loss is investigated and up to the insurance company, but your contents are covered anywhere in the world and the loss would be subject to your deductible. So if your homeowners deductible is $1000 and the contents that were lost total out to $500 then you would have to replace those items yourself.

If you are planning on taking some items that are higher in value you may want to make sure they are specifically listed or “scheduled” on your policy. A homeowners policy or renters policy has set limits built into your policy for jewelry as a whole which typically start at $1500 for all of the jewelry you own. If your wedding ring or a watch (for you men reading this) is $5,000 and you do not have the ring or watch listed to it’s value and your ring or watch is lost or stolen at the airport then the company will only pay out $1,500 and again it is subject to your deductible. If that $5,000 ring or watch was listed to value then many companies would replace the lost or stolen item without a deductible.

knowlege is powerPrepare yourself as much as possible, and when you do that you’ll have a lot more peace of mind when you travel. I know I do! Knowledge is Power! If you have an upcoming trip and have questions about scheduling items to value, or changing your deductible give us a call. Remember if you are scheduling a specific item there will be required documents from the company such as photos, and a current appraisal or receipt if you just purchased the item. Give yourself enough time before you leave if you are adding additional coverage.  If you have questions about a situation like this it is always a good idea to give us a call and talk about it.

The more you know, the better protected you’ll feel. You’ll have the peace of mind knowing you are protected. NEVER ASSUME! The insurance is in place to protect you from financial hardship. So if you are a constant traveler or just a weekend traveler and have worried about lost or stolen luggage give us a call and talk to us about it. You may find you’d like to lower your deductible or increase your deductible, or you may end up deciding you shouldn’t take specific items on your trip. For me, this weekend includes hanging out by the pool with my best friends so I’m just packing swim suits, sunscreen and maybe a giant flamingo floatie I got on amazon for the pool! Why not!?

American Diversified Insurance Services, Inc

A: 201 Natoma St Folsom, CA 95630

P: (916)985-7500 F: (916)985-7302 T: (916)389-1820

E: W:





Do you really need to take an inventory of your stuff?

home_inventory1This summer is the first summer in our new home. That means we have a new neighborhood and new neighbors. Any time you move you never know how the neighbors will be. Luckily we have met several of our neighbors and we cannot complain at all! Not only do we have great neighbors but our little community does all kinds of cool stuff together throughout the year!

One of the events is a community wide garage sale. Apparently this garage sale has been held every June for over 20 years. Each house (and there are about 200 homes in our community) is invited to participate, and from what we were told there have been lines of cars coming in and out of our neighborhood with shoppers.

AWESOME! Now, since we had moved in a few months prior we had accumulated quite a bit of stuff and this was the perfect opportunity to get rid of it. For weeks before the sale my husband and I went through everything. We had piles of stuff for the garage sale, piles to take to Goodwill and then piles to just dump! The night before the garage sale we stayed up late organizing our things and pricing them in anticipation of the huge lines of cars and shoppers we were told would arrive.

garage sale photo The next morning we were up at the crack of dawn setting up. By 7:30 we were ready for business. About an hour later we started to get a steady flow of people, but nothing had been sold. As we sat there just looking at our things we couldn’t help but wonder what is wrong with our stuff? Customers would walk up and down our driveway with their hands behind their back just looking and walking out of our yard. We didn’t have typical junk items at our sale. Our stuff ranged from snowboards, to art and fashion an electric fireplace and more. Yes they were all gently used but in great condition. These items were things we no longer had room for, couldn’t fit into or we simply wanted to change out decorations in our bedroom, family or living room. We had expensive art work that is still in style but was too girly for my husband, the snowboard was perfectly fine but our 14 year  old “man child” had grown out of it after one season. Yes I may be biased that our stuff wasn’t junk, but it really wasn’t. It was still sell-able.

So then we started to wonder if our items were priced too high. price markdownWe took off all of the price tags and just told everyone to make us an offer on items they wanted. I had a clothes rack set up with a bunch of nice dresses and expensive jeans that I didn’t want (or couldn’t fit into) anymore. They weren’t terribly worn and when I bought them new they were worth a pretty penny. I knew I wouldn’t get full or even half price and totally low balled the figure myself but I had a lady offer my .50 for my $120 pair of jeans. I looked at her and said no, and I thought I would rather give it away to someone who needs it for free than take .50 for it. I was blown away after that, and after about three hours we had barely sold anything.

At the end of the day we had only made $46.00, and as we thought we had a horrible day our neighbor across the street only made $43.00. So we didn’t feel as terrible. Our neighbor had told us that this particular year was the worst turn out he had ever seen and no one was buying anything. For the amount of work we did I am not in a rush to participate next year. mean girlsI was annoyed that after all this work, no one wanted our stuff it wasn’t even about making money. It made me feel like my style and taste was terrible and I live in a house of junk. I felt violated almost like I was being personally attacked, and took it personally a little. It was that feeling of the “mean girls” back in high school for making fun of your outfit. I did feel better after hearing my neighbor’s story but still, so much work for nothing…OUCH!

The good news is that we did clean out our home and organize it so the Goodwill will be getting a hefty lot from our household! Keywords, “will be” the piles of unsold garage sale items still sit in our garage two months later, I guess I should work on that, but it has been way too hot to hang out in the garage and clean it! I did end up $46.00 richer than I was the day before. So it wasn’t a total loss.

Home Inventory importanceNow that my house is a little less cluttered it is a great time to take an inventory of the items we own. Why would I need to take an inventory of my personal belongings? Well because should you ever have a loss either by natural disaster, fire, theft, vandalism, poor renovations, old pipes, etc and your belongings are stolen or damaged the insurance company will want a list of those items to help repair or replace whatever was stolen or damaged. How many of us can actually say we have a home inventory list? Or what about those receipts or appraisals for higher value items? Confession – I don’t even have an inventory list yet. What I do have are appraisals for some jewelry items for my husband and I but that is about it.

If we were to have a fire and our home was damaged the insurance company will ask us what we had in our home to try and replace the items as best as possible. If I don’t have a list I can tell you at that moment after a loss my brain, or anyone else’s brain, probably won’t be working clearly to write out a detailed list for my adjuster. You also want to make those lists and total the amount of coverage you’ll need for all of the items in your home. Even if you are not a homeowner, your renters policy will still provide you personal property so you’ll want to make sure as a renter that you do have a renters policy and figure out if you have enough personal property coverage.

I am talking about going through everything people, each room from top to bottom and even in your drawers and closets. Think of it this way, if you took your house and dumped it upside down everything will fall out. This is all of your personal property. Document everything, and take photos. You can even make a video and just walk around your house with your smartphone or video camera and walk through each room and go through the closets. The more information you have the better your insurance company will be able to pay out your claim.

There are also many apps, free and paid, that you can download on your phone to help organize your inventory. If you don’t have a smartphone you can create an excel spreadsheet or just write out on a piethe cloudce of paper each room and list out each item, the approximate purchase date and the value. When you have completed your inventory you’ll want to store it in a safe place, and possibly save it on your computer, or store it in a safety deposit box at the bank. If you have an emergency kit place a copy of your home inventory inside the emergency kit so if there is an emergency the inventory will be there. Or put in in the cloud, whatever that is.

You will also want to call your agent and check your coverage options. Some companies will only pay the Actual Cash Value for those items otherwise known as ACV, but many companies will provide Replacement Cost of your personal property and may charge a small additional premium for it. But that additional premium is well worth it if you have a loss down the road.

Example: you have a couch that is 10 years old or even 5 years old and your home has a total loss from a fire like this one. total loss house Your policy is ACV so you will get what your 10 year old or 5 year old couch is worth with depreciation which probably wouldn’t be anything. This would be equivalent to garage sale or Craig’s List prices. Versus if you have replacement cost the company would look at what it would cost to purchase a new couch just like it.

Make sure that with your higher value items you save your receipts and if applicable get updated appraisals every couple of years. If you have some items that are of higher value you will want to ask your agent about specifically listing them on your home or renters policy. This is most common with jewelry and artwork and called “Scheduling” in the insurance world. We have had many customers schedule artwork, rugs, oriental carpets, signed sports memorabilia etc. This is also something you want to do if you have a collection. Our agency does work with a company that insures only collections. That is all they do so they know everything there is to know about insuring collections. Your collections may not be covered or only partially covered under your homeowners policies so you will want to check the conditions of your policy to find out.

Take a look at your garage too! If you are into cycling, bikes can get pricey so make sure you ask your agent to see if you can schedule your bike or any other expensive piece of sporting or exercise equipment. The bottom line is you want to make sure you are covered in case something were to happen. Remember, insurance exists to protect you against financial hardship. So, take an inventory and put it in a safe place so if heaven forbid, something happened you are prepared. Stay tuned for my next post about how I will complete my home inventory and find out which smartphone app I used! It’ll most likely be a free one, cause I hate spending money on apps!

American Diversified Insurance Services, Inc.

A: 201 Natoma St Folsom, CA 95630

P: (916)985-7500 F: (916)985-7302 T: (916)389-1820

E: W:


The Claims Process: what happens after a car accident.

In my last post I gave you “The Accident” portion of my car accident story. In case you missed it you can click here to go to that post. In this post, I’m going to share with you the claims process for my specific claim. Remember, every loss will be different but you’ll get the idea.

On the way home from the car accident I called my carrier. The first person you speak with will most likely NOT be your adjuster. That person is your first contact and will ask what happened, where it happened, who was driving, who you were with, who was driving the other vehicle, what kind of vehicle was the other party driving, do they have a driver’s license and an active policy etc… Those representatives are supposed to gather as much information as they can to pass along to your specific adjuster. So that’s what I did. I was asked all of those questions, including what I was doing downtown and where I was going or coming from. I told her everything I knew, and all of the information I gathered.

IMG_4819 So now what? My front bumper wasn’t secured and I needed to have it repaired. I was given some options for collision centers that have been approved by my carrier and close to my home. If I use one of my company’s approved body shops my company will stand by the repairs made by that shop for the life of the vehicle. Meaning, if after I get my vehicle back and it still isn’t fixed, or one of the new parts they put in isn’t operating correctly then it will be replaced. If I chose to use a body shop outside of my company’s suggestions that is fine, however if something goes wrong I will not have my company to back the work of that body shop. I ended up choosing an approved body shop that was close to my house.

The claims representative told me she will send that body shop the claim information and they will call me to set up an appointment for the estimate. I was also given the option to call them myself to get the ball rolling. Since it was Saturday the body shop wasn’t open so I had to wait even if I called myself. Then the representative explained I will be getting a phone call from my adjuster to get more details of the loss and instructions on what will happen next.

When Monday came around I did receive a phone call from my assigned adjuster and the adjuster from the other company.  I had the same conversation with both adjusters. Each phone call was recorded and they wanted to know every detail. When I was telling them my side of the story I felt so strange. I felt like I was the bad guy. I felt like I was being investigated, and I was! I had to remember that is their job. They are there to investigate both sides of the story so they can come to a conclusion on fault status, and what actually happened during this accident. I knew the truth, but they didn’t so they needed to hear every bit of information I could remember.

I was found not at fault for the accident so I was not going to have to pay for any damages. But I decided with my adjuster through my company that they would pay for the repairs and then my company will submit their receipts to the other party’s insurance company for reimbursement; which is called subrogation. The only thing I had to pay for out of pocket to submit for reimbursement was for my rental vehicle. Why? Because I had removed my rental coverage from my policy when I moved and the premium increased. I was upset it increased because I now had a different zip code so to bring it back down I removed rental on a whim. Dumb Move AGENT VAL! I will not do that again, and I added the rental after my claim was completed. It is important to note that when I add rental after the date of the loss I cannot use it for that claim, only for losses that happen after I’ve added the coverage to my policy. So I had to pay for my rental vehicle for 10 days which cost me about $300 out of pocket, plus a refundable $200 when I picked up the vehicle. My adjuster explained to me that legally the other party has to pay for my rental car while it is being repaired; but because I went through my company to make the repairs I had to pay for it upfront and submit my receipt to the other carrier. It’s been about a month and I still haven’t seen my reimbursement. These things do take time and I understand there is a process but if you don’t want to spend your hard earned money add rental to your policy. It is a small price to pay in your premium versus paying a large chunk should you have an accident and need a rental car.

I scheduled an appointment at the collision center for an estimate the next day. That’s all that it was, an estimate. I brought my car in the morning and they took some pictures and didn’t even open the car and they told me they’ll have an estimate together for me by the end of the day. What happens now in the claims process?  The body shop puts together an estimate to give my insurance company (or the other insurance company) to approve or disapprove. If the estimate is approved I can then take my vehicle into the shop so the repairs can start to be made. If for some reason your estimate is not approved you will need to work with your adjuster to see what needs to happen in order to get the estimate approved. Now, you do have the option to do all of this yourself and not wait for the insurance company and pay out of pocket, but you’ll need to save the receipts and wait to be reimbursed. Then you’re at the mercy of waiting for your money back.

The body shop gave their estimate of roughly $1700 to my company and my adjuster ok’d the repairs. Now they always tell you it is just an estimate and they could find more damage once they go in and open up the vehicle. I brought my vehicle in and they began to work on the repairs. I ended up getting several phone calls stating that they found something else underneath the hood that needed to be replaced and the estimate had gone up. I didn’t mind because I knew that I wasn’t going to have to pay for it, as long as they fixed my car. IMG_4800 From the outside my car looked like it just had some minor cosmetic stuff, and $1700 seemed like a good amount to buff out the dent and secure the bumper to the rest of the car. My vehicle’s repair total came out to be about $4000 including labor. I was honestly shocked how many things needed to be repaired and how quickly the estimate increased. So many things were damaged on the inside that I couldn’t see.

What is important to note here is that the State of California requires a minimum limit of liability for property damage, which is $5,000. I have no idea what the other party’s limit of liability is for property damage but if such a minor accident created $4,000 worth of property damage on my car I suggest you look at increasing your liability limits. If the other party doesn’t have enough coverage, then my policy will have to be secondary, or I would receive a bill for the difference. Then I would be left with a choice to pay it out of pocket or I could go after the driver who hit me for the difference. Fender benders and car accidents happen all the time and you’ll want to make sure you’ve got the coverage.Soobie fixed You cannot plan an accident. You cannot plan who or what type of vehicle you could hit, or could hit you. I know that many vehicles out there are far more expensive to repair than mine and if my repairs are that much who knows how much a more expensive car would cost to repair. Again the insurance is in place to protect you from financial hardship so make sure to do the right thing and keep your insurance up to date and with adequate coverage. After 10 days I turned in my rental and picked up my car.

Every claim is different so if you have a claim it may not happen the way mine did. Your accident may be completely different than mine. Maybe your vehicle is completely totaled and needs to be towed from the scene of the accident. Or maybe you are injured and need emergency medical assistance and you’re taken away from your vehicle. You may be at fault, you may not be at fault; you may have comprehensive and collision or you may have liability only. Again, each claim is different, AND each policy is different. Your claim will be different but the hope with my story is to give you the understanding of how it works. There is a lot of behind the scenes work. Both companies will talk to each other and based off of their findings in talking to each person and witness. They will make a decision based off of the evidence and then figure out who will pay for the claim.

Whatever your case, your claim will be investigated and eventually it’ll be closed. Going through a claim is a process, that’s why they call it a claims process. The simplest way for me to describe the claims process for a car accident like mine aka “Super Common Fender Bender” is in 10 steps:

  1. Accident Happens – gather as much information as you can and take pictures if you can (if immediate medical assistance is needed please call 911)
  2. Once you are safe call the Claims Department
  3. Wait for instructions from your adjuster (unless you chose to do everything on your own and save receipts)
  4. If you need a rental vehicle right away and it is a weekend contact a rental company and keep your receipts if you haven’t heard otherwise from your carrier
  5. Get an estimate
  6. Submit the estimate to your carrier (if not done by your body shop)
  7. Vehicle repairs are made
  8. Turn in rental
  9. Pick up vehicle
  10. Submit all (if any) receipts for reimbursement

The company wants to get you back on the road just as quick as you do, and they’ll do their best to make that happen. It happened for me!

American Diversified Insurance Services, Inc

A: 201 Natoma St Folsom, CA 95630

P: (916)985-7500 F: (916)985-7302 T: (916)389-1820

E: W:



What to do when you’re in a Car Accident

I’d like to say I’m a pretty good driver. I’ve gotten one speeding ticket as an adult and only a minor fender bump in a parking lot when I was in high school. But other than that, smooth sailing. Until last month. Now before I start I will tell you I was not at fault in this accident so my record is still good. My story today is about the start of my claims process and what happened to me. We get so many questions about a company’s claims process and my gift to you is a true story and example of what happens when you have an accident. First, the accident story. Next week I’ll give you the repair process of my claim.

IMG_4746It was a Saturday morning and my husband and I were heading to downtown Sacramento for our good friend’s daughter’s Christening. We live about 30 minutes away from downtown so it was just a short drive on the freeway. Here is my husband and I at the Christening just before we left. The Christening was lovely and after the event we would head to their house, back in our neck of the woods, for a reception. This wasn’t the only event on our schedule that day. We had a pretty packed schedule for a Saturday. After the Christening, we had a vet appointment for one of our fur kids, followed by a birthday party for our twin nephews in Wheatland an hour away.

Why is our schedule important to mention? Because no one plans for an accident. We are all busy and no where on our schedule does it say “squeeze in a car accident”. You cannot plan for these things, but you can be prepared.

Back to Saturday morning. My husband and I had left the church in Sacramento and were headed back to the freeway. There was a ton of construction going on that day so my speed barely reached 15 miles per hour. As I approached an intersection and made my way through it I saw another car coming towards me, and there was nowhere I could turn. I began to slow and was almost stopped when that vehicle hit mine. My husband was on the phone with the vet trying to reschedule our appointment when it happened too. After the crash I was a little baffled. Did this really just happen? Now what? Can I drive the car? Will it move? How bad was the damage?

IMG_4799 So many questions flooded my brain and now I was in the middle of the intersection in the middle of downtown Sacramento. My husband and I started to discuss what to do next, and I had to contemplate those questions and begin to get out of the way. The other vehicle had started to move out of the intersection and over to the side of the road so I followed.

When we pulled over we got out of the car and started to asses the damage to my car and the other car. My front passenger side was damaged, and thankfully my husband wasn’t injured, or anyone actually. I thought ok, I’m an insurance agent I’ve got this part. I know what to do. We’ve discussed many times what to do when you have an accident with our customers; so I got to work. After I made sure no one was hurt I took my phone out and took pictures. I took pictures of my car, the other car, the intersection where it happened and the street signs. IMG_4800

I went over to the other driver and as I approached her people began to come over to make sure we were ok and that no one was hurt. We also had a pretty irate witness who lectured the other driver, who happened to be a young driver, for going too fast. People can get pretty heated over things like this, and with good reason. Vehicles are expensive! Driving is dangerous! The risk of loss is huge! My husband and I already have begun to discuss with our 14 year old the importance of paying attention and the expenses and responsibility of driving. “It’s a big responsibility!” (cue a deep adult voice and shaking a pointed finger)  I was surprisingly calm, but a bit shaken.

After the heated rant towards the other driver I went up to the witness and asked for her name and phone number. Why? Because when you are in an accident the claims department will investigate it. They will take both sides of the story and like any good investigation it’s good to have a witness. If you don’t have one, the claim will be investigated anyways, but it could help determine fault and could help the adjusters finalize the claim more smoothly.

When the witness walked away the other driver was sobbing. At this point I had to console her and then we got down to business. I asked about her insurance and she pulled out an ID card. Instead of writing it all down I took pictures of it. I took pictures of her license plate, and put her name and phone number into my hand-in-face-emojiphone so I had her contact. Now there is one thing I forgot, and I was so mad at myself for forgetting. Her DRIVERS LICENSE! Duh, Val!  When you are in an accident you need to gather photos of the damage, the other party’s insurance information, the license plate number, any witness information, the drivers contact information and their driver’s license number.

While I finished getting information she got on the phone. My husband and I were then remembering all of the things we had to do that day, and our friends were calling wondering where we were. I also remembered my husband was on the phone with the vet who heard the whole thing. As thoughts flooded my head the other driver came up to me and said, so the car is on my mom’s policy and I’m not listed, can you help my mom out and tell the insurance company she was driving and not me? SERIOUSLY? Now I can imagine this happens all the time, because that’s why insurance companies have fraudulent claims investigators. But I was shocked! Plus I had a very solid witness who saw her driving and hitting my vehicle.

IMG_4819 I told her that I was not going to do that and then explained to her the way insurance works. I was also thinking in my head, why don’t people know this. We tell our insureds all the time and I was upset that more people are not educated about the way insurance works. I told her that the insurance follows the vehicle, not the driver. So, her mom’s policy, will be responsible for the loss and damages but she will be charged with the accident on her driving record. Basically her mom’s policy will not be rated with an at fault accident unless her daughter is listed on her policy. Her daughter will have a point on her record and her policy, (if she has one) will increase due to the point. Now at this point I don’t know if they have an active policy, I do not know if her license is valid, I do not know the coverage limits or the regulations of that particular company. Some companies in this situation will require the particular driver to be added or excluded from the policy. However, if she was excluded from the policy there would not be coverage at all for this loss.

As I explained this to her, her mother had pulled up and we explained what had happened and again, I was asked to lie and then I explained about the insurance following the vehicle. I told them they will need to contact their insurance company to give them the information, and I would be doing the same. What happens next?  The insurance companies will talk to each other and come to an agreement of who is at fault, and who will be paying for the damages. Since both vehicles were drivable we were able to head home.

IMG_4820 With an accident, the party that is found at fault is responsible for paying the damages to the other party’s vehicle and paying for a rental vehicle if needed while their vehicle is being repaired. If the at fault party has damage to their vehicle with collision coverage, they are responsible for paying their collision deductible and the company will pay the rest of the repairs, up to the policy limits. If the at fault party does not have rental car coverage they will be responsible for paying for a rental out of pocket. If they do have rental car, the insurance company will provide a rental up to the policy limits. If the at fault party has liability only, they would be making the repairs and replacements on their own.

As we left and with my husband driving I got on the phone with my company. While I was giving the claims department the information I realized that the ID Card I had been given was almost a year out of date. I thought, well I hope this is just an old card and that they do have coverage. If they didn’t have coverage then my company would be paying for this out of my uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage and waive my deductible. The only downside would be that I would have to pay out of pocket for my rental car because I had removed it from my policy thinking I didn’t need it. Yes, dumb move and I had done that because after I moved in December the zip code increased my policy and I removed it to reduce my premium. This will not happen again.

The whole day I was thrown off. We missed the reception for the sweet little baby girl who had gotten Christened earlier that day, and surprisingly made it to the vet on time. After that on our drive up to Wheatland I couldn’t get the accident out of my head. I replayed the situation over and over in my head and I just thought I can’t believe this happened to me.  I cannot believe that I, a pretty good driver had an accident. Again, you cannot plan for these situations to happen. No one says, “I think I’ll have a car accident today.” I remember consoling the young driver and I told her that life happens and thankfully we weren’t hurt. We can only prepare ourselves by training our brains for what to do when we are in that situation. I even forgot to get the driver’s license. And, we must also prepare for these situations and keep our insurance policies up to date.

Safety-First It’s hard to remember what you are supposed to do after an accident. If anything try to remember, after getting to safety, to get as much information and as many photos as possible. If you aren’t able to move your vehicles or if you are hurt you can call the police. I could have called the police to file a police report but the damages were so minor, no one was hurt and both vehicles were drivable. This was just the beginning of the claims process for me. I then had to wait for my company to assign an adjuster and wait for their call on what to do next. Since my vehicle was drivable the claims rep told me I could take it to get an estimate while I waited for the adjuster to call with further instructions.

Stay tuned for the second part of my story, the repair process. I’ll share with you all the steps that were taken to get my vehicle back on the road! If you aren’t sure what to do in an accident you can always give us a call. We’ll let you know what information you need to gather, and give you the phone number to call for your specific company to report the claim.

American Diversified Insurance Services, Inc

A: 201 Natoma St Folsom, CA 95630

P: (916)985-7500 F: (916)985-7302 T:(916)389-1820

E: W:







Why does my homeowners insurance company ask about my dog?

There are dog people, and cat people, and animal lovers, and non-animal lovers. I am a dog person. I do love all animals however dogs are my thing. Ever since I was a little kid I’ve always had a dog. My family tried the cat thing but our orange tabby cat Pumpkin had a mind of his own and decided he hated us and went to live with our neighbor. Come to find out our elderly neighbor had been feeding him table scraps, so excuse us, Pumpkin for giving you kibble. (I’m not upset about it still or anything)

T&D Anyways, I’m a dog person. Currently I have five of them, yes five. Before I met my husband, Mike, I had gotten two Bullnese puppies. For those of you who do not know what that is I’ll tell you. It is a mix of a French Bulldog and a Pekinese. Their names are Tank and Drama and they are awesome! Then a few short years later I met my husband who is also a dog person. When we met he had three dogs! Two Pocket Pit Bulls, Bella and Meatball (Meaty for short) and a French Mastiff Cavali, who were all girls. bella and meaty Luckily mine were boys so we didn’t have that territorial alpha dog situation – well kinda. However, the Mastiff was the Mama and all of the doggies didn’t mess with Mama! See she was HUUUGGEE!

four doggies Sadly we lost our beloved Cavali as she was 9 years old, which is really old for the French Mastiff breed. Man, what a heartbreak that is! I only knew her for a little portion of her life but you become attached. And then there were four. Remember I told you I had five dogs?

One chilly November evening Mike and I had an appointment to go check out a new house. This particular house was right by his job and he fought me on going to this appointment because he didn’t want to be THAT close to his work. Me wanting to keep the appointment to at least check it out convinced him to go. As we approached the house we noticed that the tenant is still in the process of moving out, NBD (No Big Deal). However we were told by the owner that they hadn’t been to the house in a few weeks to finish moving out. As we walked in the house was covered in filth and we instantly thought “Let’s get the heck out of here!” Mike was right, I should have cancelled!” I kept thinking to myself as we both exchanged those glances of the I told you so smirks. Now we were in the thick of it and had to go through with this appointment. We walked all through the house pretending we were interested and were so grossed out that all we wanted to do was leave. Ok, I understand they were moving but this was different.

This house was laid out where the garage was towards the back of the house by the backyard. We had peaked out into the yard and saw more filth and piles of garbage, gross. As we were just about to wrap up and leave something inside me made me think about the garage. I thought, “Oh let’s just check out the garage, ya know just to be polite.” So I walked to the back of the house and outside through the filthy yard and up to the garage. My husband followed and I got to the door on the side of the garage and opened it.

Out sprinted this tiny little alien! Mind you it was dark and I got my phone out to turn my light on. What I saw upset me more than the filthy house we had just walked through. A tiny Chihuahua who looked like a furry skeleton was jumping at my feet. My first instinct was to pick it up, Val what are you thinking! This dog could have rabies, or some other sort of illness! I honestly forgot all of those things my mother taught me because the state of this little animal was so disturbing. I took off my jacket and wrapped the little dog into it and began to inspect her. I didn’t see any signs of disease other than extreme malnutrition. Mike checked out the garage and he saw no food or water, just empty bowls and stool everywhere. This poor little thing had been left to die, in the cold of November. She maybe had a few days left, which is sad but the truth. While I held her in my jacket we walked around the house looking for food or anything she could eat but there was nothing. My husband and I could not and would not leave her there. The owner of this house had no idea that the tenants had a dog. He was reluctant for us to take the dog because of the worry of a lawsuit but clearly this dog was unwanted. We were able to get the phone number of the tenant and as expected they didn’t want her. So we again have five dogs. Our first initial thought was to find her a good home because we already had the four, but as dog people we feel in love and couldn’t let her go. Not to mention our son was super attached by day 1. IMG_2442

Here she is on night one, and then exactly one week later. Her name is Little Bee and we’ve had her for about seven months and she is already a healthy and feisty little Chihuahua. Our vet told us she was about 8 months when we found her and extremely malnourished. Oh and she doesn’t have rabies or any other disease, Thank God! We have finally gotten her fat enough for her to be spayed and she gets along great with her brothers Tank and Drama. We haven’t yet introduced her to the bigger girls. She is a bundle of energy and hardly never settles down. littles nappingShe still has major food issues, but her anxieties are starting to fade away. One lazy Sunday I had the three little ones with me watching TV, and it happened. She crawled onto my lap and onto my chest and laid down to nap.  I couldn’t believe it. Seeing the healing process for her has been so rewarding, because getting her acclimated was not easy!

So, what does this story have to do with insurance? Well I’ll tell ya! Just like in our own lives dogs play a huge roll in homeowners insurance. In fact they play a huge roll, so huge as in they may or may not deny coverage. Have you ever called in for a quote and been asked if you have any pets? Why would this matter?

It matters because Insurance Carriers may not insure you if you have a dog on their excluded dog breed list. Yes, there is such a thing. Not all carriers are the same too. Some will insure your home and provide you liability but they will exclude your dog(s) meaning they will not provide coverage for a loss caused by your dog. Other insurance companies will straight up deny coverage. For instance, Pit Bulls are on that list.

Remember I have two! For me, finding a homeowners company is a bit more challenging and ultimately more expensive because I have two dogs that are at the top of the excluded list. The policy will be more expensive for me because I am no longer eligible in their preferred products. You see insurance companies offer homeowners products (or policies) that are either for preferred markets, or non-standard markets. Just like for auto policies, a preferred policy if you are a good driver and non-standard policy if you aren’t such a good driver. Companies can offer just one type or they could offer both. We have a carrier that offers both preferred and non-standard and in the non-standard all animals are automatically excluded. The non-standard policies are more expensive because of the higher exposure to risk.

Let’s take a look at the most common breeds that are on the excluded lists:

  • Pitt Bull Terriers
  • Rottweilers
  • Presa Canarios
  • Chow Chows
  • Doberman Pinschers
  • Akitas

Some carriers may have more breeds or less breeds on that list, so you’ll have to check with your specific company if you aren’t sure. If you have one of these dogs I am not here to debate how good, sweet, lazy or calm your dog is. I get it, I have two and I do love them, they are part of my family. I will just be spending more money on homeowners insurance.

Statistically insurance carriers have spent hundreds, thousands and even millions of dollars on dog related claims. So the stats are unfortunately against them. According to an article in Psychology Today, In 2013, dog bite related claims accounted for more than 1/3 of all homeowners liability claims totaling to about $490 million. They continued to state that the average payout was $30k and that was four years ago! If you’d like to read the whole article click here.

Any kind of attack can happen at any time. You cannot plan it. The attack could also be towards another dog not just a person. If your neighbor is walking by with their dog and your dog gets loose and a fight breaks out you are liable and could be sued for any injuries your dog may have given to the other dog. Or at the dog park, suddenly the fur kids aren’t getting a long and then boom, fight, then boom, lawsuit. This could happen with any breed of dog, even those not on the excluded dog list.

val's pack If you are thinking about getting a puppy in one of those breeds and you already have homeowners insurance, the company may end up non-renewing your policy. Occasionally the company will do an inspection upon your renewals and they will notate if you have a dog on the excluded list. It’s always best to be smart and contact your agent to discuss options if you want to get a dog on that list.

Mike and I continue to work daily on training and taking care of our pack. little bee Again, we are dog people. We will probably always have dogs. They bring such joy to you and become part of your family. They are our fur kids. Even if you aren’t a dog person you cannot deny that animals are helpless and shouldn’t be dumped in an abandoned garage. They don’t deserve that, Little Bee didn’t deserve it. If you have an animal that you cannot take care of please take it to the SPCA, or call the animal shelters or foster homes in your area. I knew there was a reason I fought to keep that home appointment. A life was saved, and I am thankful for that. My wallet isn’t that happy but it’s worth it! Besides, who doesn’t love this face!


Please follow me! I’ll share with you my life stories with little nuggets of Insurance Knowledge! Click the “Follow Me” Button today!


American Diversified Insurance Services, Inc

A: 201 Natoma St Folsom, CA 95630

P: (916)985-7500 F: (916)985-7302 T: (916)389-1820

E: W: