Home > Blogs > Douglas Zeller's Blog
191,842 views

Douglas Zeller's Blog

By Douglas Zeller | Broker in El Dorado County, CA
  • Senators Boost Flood Insurance 'Time Out'?

    Posted Under: Home Insurance in Auburn, Home Ownership in Auburn  |  January 18, 2014 9:50 AM  |  446 views  |  No comments

    "This bill is going to come to the floor very, very soon," Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), a member of the Democratic Senate leadership, said yesterday at a press conference held on Capitol Hill. NAR President-elect Chris Polychron joined the senators on the podium to show NAR's support for the bill.

    The bill is called the "Flood Insurance Affordability Act" (S. 1846), introduced by Sen. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.), and today has 28 sponsors from both parties. It would require the Federal Emergency Management Agency, which administers the federal flood insurance program, to stop implementing changes to premiums so it can investigate and report to Congress on the magnitude of these increases. FEMA has been phasing out longstanding premium subsidies to certain home owners and requiring premiums to rise to their actuarial level. But questions have been raised by lawmakers, industry groups, and consumers about the accuracy of the levels that are being set.

    Watch the full C-SPAN video of the press conference.

    — Robert Freedman, REALTOR® Magazine

  • Senators Boost Flood Insurance 'Time Out'

    Posted Under: Agent2Agent, Home Insurance, Home Ownership  |  January 17, 2014 8:08 PM  |  473 views  |  1 comment

    "This bill is going to come to the floor very, very soon," Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), a member of the Democratic Senate leadership, said yesterday at a press conference held on Capitol Hill. NAR President-elect Chris Polychron joined the senators on the podium to show NAR's support for the bill.

    The bill is called the "Flood Insurance Affordability Act" (S. 1846), introduced by Sen. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.), and today has 28 sponsors from both parties. It would require the Federal Emergency Management Agency, which administers the federal flood insurance program, to stop implementing changes to premiums so it can investigate and report to Congress on the magnitude of these increases. FEMA has been phasing out longstanding premium subsidies to certain home owners and requiring premiums to rise to their actuarial level. But questions have been raised by lawmakers, industry groups, and consumers about the accuracy of the levels that are being set.

    Watch the full 
    C-SPAN video of the press conference.

    — Robert Freedman, REALTOR® Magazine

  • New Insurance Protects From Falling Home Values?

    Posted Under: Property Q&A in Sacramento, Home Insurance in Sacramento, Home Ownership in Sacramento  |  November 22, 2013 7:52 PM  |  459 views  |  No comments

    A new type of insurance debuting next month protects home owners against negative equity. Underwater Mortgage Protection, offered by AmTrust Financial Services, is to launch in three states in December. It is then to roll out nationwide within the next year. 

    "Our product fills a significant gap that was needed in the marketplace," says Matthew Kayton, vice president of the real estate insurance group at AmTrust. "We will be there to help consumers if they end up in a situation where life happens to them and they need to sell, and they might be in a down market."

    While the recent rise in home prices has helped lift nearly 5 million home owners into positive equity again, 21 percent of all home owners with a mortgage still owe more on their loans than their homes are currently worth, CNBC reports. 

    With this insurance from UMP, home owners will have an opportunity to pay an average monthly premium of $40 to $50 to get gap insurance on the value of their home. However, in order to apply for it, home owners must have at least 10 percent equity in their homes at the time. Also, home owners will be unable to refinance during the coverage period. 

    If home owners decide to sell their homes and the value of the home is not worth the mortgage amount, UMP will assist home owners in selling  the property through its own agents and then will pay the lender the difference. 

    Some critics of the program say that the insurance plays on home owners’ fears. 

    "Consumers who have an extra $40 or $50 per month can 'self-insure' against house price declines by paying down their mortgage principal faster," Barry Zigas, director of housing for the Consumer Federation of America, told CNBC. "This generates further equity and is an investment, not an expense for insurance that may never be recouped."

    Source: “Underwater insurance, as millions of homeowners emerge for air,” CNBC (Nov. 21, 2013)

  • Survey: Many Owners Fail to Get Flood Insurance

    Posted Under: General Area in Fair Oaks, Home Insurance in Fair Oaks, Home Ownership in Fair Oaks  |  April 26, 2013 8:30 PM  |  1,027 views  |  No comments

    The majority of home owners report know about flood insurance, yet only a small percentage actually add the extra coverage to their standard homeowner’s insurance policy, according to a new study by Bankrate.com.

    Eighty-one percent of Americans say they are aware that standard homeowner’s insurance policies do not cover flood damage. But only 13 percent of home owners report having a flood insurance policy, according to a 2012 poll conducted by the Insurance Information Institute. 

    Flooding is considered the U.S.’s No. 1 natural hazard, according to the Federal Emergency Management Agency and its National Flood Insurance Program. 

    FEMA classifies most homes as either high-flood risks or low-to-moderate, but only 51 percent of home owners in the Bankrate.com survey say they know the correct FEMA flood-risk designation of their home. 

    “This is a classic ‘do as I say, not as I do’ situation,” says Doug Whiteman, insurance analyst for Bankrate.com. “The vast majority of Americans know the key facts about flood insurance, but they haven’t taken the necessary steps to protect their homes.”

    Whiteman says the average flood insurance policy costs about $50 per month. 

    Source: Bankrate.com

  • Home Owners Finding Gaps in Insurance Coverage

    Posted Under: Agent2Agent in Pollock Pines, Home Insurance in Pollock Pines, Home Ownership in Pollock Pines  |  April 16, 2013 4:24 PM  |  667 views  |  No comments

    Homeowner's insurance rates have risen 69 percent over the past decade, now averaging $1,000 a year. But as rates rise, home owners are finding their coverage hasn’t. In fact, some insurance companies have added new restrictions or increased deductibles, CNNMoney reports. 

    Some home owners are being faced with tens of thousands of dollars in costs for damages that they originally thought would be covered by their homeowner's insurance policies.  

    "It's easy to think you're covered when you're not," says Amy Bach, executive director of advocacy group United Policyholders.

    For example, coverage most often falls short in covering flood damage and wind damage, according to the article. Private insurers mostly stopped covering flood damage, which forced home owners to be proactive in purchasing coverage through the National Flood Insurance Plan. Also, special wind deductibles have been introduced in several states, but home owners need to be proactive in checking their amount of coverage in case of a windstorm and deciding whether they need additional coverage. 

    Another area where homeowner's insurance policies fall short in coverage, according to experts, is covering water damage, such as from a cracked pipe, leaky toilet, or clogged drain. Many insurers have scaled back their coverage in this area. Some experts recommend home owners should increase their protection by getting a rider that covers sewer and drain backups, particularly if they have a sump pump. Wireless water alarms -- which cost about $25 for three -- also can help home owners detect a leak quickly before significant damage.  

    Source: “Covered by homeowners insurance? Don't be so sure,” CNNMoney (April 12, 2013)

  • Home Security Systems - Talking Points!

    Posted Under: Crime & Safety in Sacramento, Home Buying in Sacramento, Home Insurance in Sacramento  |  December 8, 2012 4:11 PM  |  1,009 views  |  No comments
    Homeowners should be wary of anyone selling home security systems door-to-door.  According to the state Dept. of Consumer Affairs, the salesperson could be breaking the law and trying to scam homeowners.

    The department warns homeowners that anyone selling home alarm systems door-to-door in California is required to have passed a criminal background check and have been licensed by the Bureau of Security and Investigative Services.  Unfortunately, the consumer agency says that many sellers have done listening and recommends that before listening to the pitch, homeowners should ask to see the salesperson’s state registration card.

    Homeowners also should be cautious of anyone pressuring them to sign a contract immediately.  Homeowners are sometimes pushed to sign overpriced alarm contracts that last for as long as five years, automatically roll over to a new term, and give limited opportunity to cancel, the department said.  Some contracts stipulate an early termination fee of several thousand dollars.

    It’s important to note that legitimate alarm companies also sometimes sell door-to-door.    Consumers can call (800) 952-5210 to check whether a business or person is licensed and see whether any complaints have been filed.

    State law gives consumers a three-day window after signing to cancel a home security contract and get their money back.  Deliver the cancellation letter in person or send it by certified mail.  To lodge a complaint against an alarm company, visit http://www.bsis.ca.gov and click on “File a Complaint.”


    Other news at: www.sierraproperties.com
  • Homeowners offered new Earthquake Policy Options!

    Posted Under: Market Conditions in Sacramento, Home Insurance in Sacramento, Home Ownership in Sacramento  |  July 15, 2012 10:55 AM  |  713 views  |  No comments

    The California Earthquake Authority, hoping to increase the small percentage of people who have quake insurance, has introduced a line of policies called Choice that gives homeowners more coverage and premium options.

    For example, homeowners can pay a lower premium if they want to cover structural damage to their dwelling alone and waive coverage for personal property (such as furniture and appliances) and additional living expenses if they have to move out of the house.

    The authority's standard policies - which it continues to sell - cover all three types of post-quake expenses, although homeowners can choose whether they want a 10 or 15 percent deductible. They can also choose how much coverage they want for personal property (in amounts ranging from $5,000 to $100,000) and additional living expenses ($1,500 to $25,000).

    More details at source: http://www.sfgate.com/business/networth/article/Homeowners-offered-new-earthquake-policy-options-3694619.php 

« Read older posts
 
Copyright © 2014 Trulia, Inc. All rights reserved.   |  
Have a question? Visit our Help Center to find the answer