What First Time Home Buyers Must Know About Home Insurance

Taking the keys to your first home and opening the front door is one of the most energizing and validating experiences in American life. To see the value of your hard work manifest in a physical location means a lot, especially the first time it happens. 

While you revel in the experience of being a new homeowner, consider taking the time to learn about what the right home insurance can do for you. 

The easiest way to learn about home insurance is to call Kevin Dennis Insurance Agency. Your dedicated insurance agent will patiently explain homeowner insurance to you, and get you started on your homeownership journey.

Coverage

The coverage your home requires depends on several factors. 

Your home insurance should cover the cost of replacing your home. If you purchased your home using a mortgage loan, your mortgage provider might require that your coverage equal 80% of the cost to replace your home.

Deductible

Home insurance policies typically require the payment of a deductible if the policy needs to cover a loss. When purchasing a home, it’s essential to consider the amount you will be willing to pay in deductible, should you need to utilize the policy to cover damage or loss.

What is Not Covered 

Most homeowner insurance does not cover flood damage, as flood insurance is issued separately. Call Kevin Dennis Insurance Agency to learn more about what is and is not covered by a typical homeowner insurance policy. 

Your Mishawaka, IN Home

Whether your first home is a condo, a townhome, or a single-family home, your family will be delighted to organize and decorate– knowing this place will be your very own for years to come. Watch your daughter’s room change as she moves from figure skater posters to boy bands. Your wife will love selecting window treatments for the front room and choosing the perfect tile backsplash for the kitchen.

But before you get cozy in Southbend or Mishawaka, IN, contact Kevin Dennis Insurance Agency for a free home insurance quote. Make a choice to protect yourself and your family today. 

How to create a home inventory

Owning a home comes with plenty of work and worries. You update your home to fit your needs and you have good home insurance to protect you in the event that something bad happens. But, if something bad does happen, are you prepared to be able to tell the insurance company all the things that you had in your home before the damage occurred? When you file a claim, you need to account for your possession if you want to be able to make sure that you are able to replace everything that you had. If you live in or near South Bend or Mishawaka, IN, the Kevin Dennis Insurance Agency can help you to understand the value of a home inventory.

Why Do I Need a Home Inventory?

Creating a home inventory is going to take some time. The more detailed your inventory, the better. Begin by taking photos of every room in your home. Take a few photos of each room from different angles. Then list the items in the room one by one. The more information included the better. Brand names, models, and serial numbers should be included. If you have the sales slip for the item, even better, attach it to the inventory. 

If you have expensive items, it is wise to include an appraisal. Once you have done all the rooms, do the attic and basement. Open closets and cupboards. When everything is documented, place your papers in a safe place preferably off the premise. At the very least, place it in a water and fireproof container. 

A home inventory is one of the single most important documents that you can have when you are filing a claim for a covered hazard on your home. At Kevin Dennis Insurance Agency, we offer the residents of South Bend, Mishawaka, IN, and surrounding areas the benefit of our years of insurance experience. Give our office a call or stop by for a no-obligation quote.

When to Talk to an Agent About Your Indiana Homeowner’s Insurance

From newborn babies to employment changes, life rarely stays the same for long. When change is the only constant, flexibility becomes an accurate measure of strength.

How reliable is your homeowner’s insurance?

If you’ve recently experienced any of these adjustments in life circumstances, it may be time to schedule a meeting with the experts at Kevin Dennis Insurance Agency to ensure your Mishawaka, IN home is fully covered.

  • Birth or death in the family – Changes in your dependents directly affect your potential payouts, especially if the primary dependent is unable to collect due to death or other circumstances. Make sure your qualified dependents are up-to-date by talking to your insurance agent.
  • Change in marital status – Getting divorced or joining households with a new spouse means changes to your credit score. This, in part, affects your premiums and other aspects of your homeowner’s policy.
  • Starting a home-based business – Working from home is a dream come true for many. However, your commercial activities may not be covered by your regular policy. Your agent can help you come up with a plan that includes all of your bases.
  • Renting your extra property – Do you own multiple residential properties? Renting out an old home is a great way to earn a side income. However, being a landlord comes with a different set of risks. Create a new plan with your agent that protects your finances and your renters.
  • Employment changes – Whether you’re taking advantage of a well-deserved retirement or changing careers in mid-life, changes in your employment status usually mean changes in your finances. See how these fluctuations affect your long-term financial plan by scheduling a meeting with your insurance agent.

The experts at Kevin Dennis Insurance Agency offer more than claims assistance and new policies. Contact our Mishawaka, IN area offices to learn how little life changes might affect your Indiana homeowner’s insurance.

Does Home Insurance Cover A Roof Collapse As A Result Of Snow?

Mother Nature is both unpredictable and destructive, which is why it is crucial to be prepared for anything. Homeowners can arm themselves with quality protection in the form of comprehensive home insurance that can help cover expenses incurred as a result of storm damage. This damage may even come in the form of snow accumulation on the roof, which may cause the roof to collapse. 

Preparing For Heavy Snow

People who live in areas where there is potential for heavy snow accumulation should be well versed on what their insurance policy will cover in the event of a roof collapse. Keep in mind that most home insurance will cover the damage to the home, but unfortunately, the coverage may not include the water damage from melted snow after the collapse. Consult with the insurance agent before selecting the policy and find out if additional protection from melted snow damage is available and which options could work best. 

Work With Experienced Agents

Part of the process of protecting property is choosing the right insurance policy, which is why those who live near the South Bend or Mishawaka, IN area should be prepared before heavy snow arrives. Homeowners can get a better picture of what the options are, and which provides the most complete coverage by working with Kevin Dennis Insurance Agency. If additional insurance products are necessary, we can point this out and walk the customer through the process of discovering which additional measures work to offer comprehensive home protection.

People who live in or around the South Bend or Mishawaka, IN area, should call or stop by Kevin Dennis Insurance Agency to find out more about ways to protect a home from damage to the structure. Planning in advance can help save thousands in the event of a roof collapse during the winter months. Contact us for a quote.

Does Home Insurance Cover Your Personal Property?

Homeowners insurance is an important policy with different coverage options that protect your largest asset from claims and financial liabilities. However, protecting your personal assets in your home is also prudent. These are the possessions you’ve worked your entire life for, and they are worth preserving. Do generic homeowner policies protect your personal property, though? 

According to the Indiana Department of Insurance, homeowners insurance will cover some of your family’s personal property. These items include furniture, rugs, clothing, and appliances. However, you may not be able to attain insurance that will protect 100 percent of your personal property. The percentage of coverage you receive will be stated in your policy. It is important to document all of your personal property though, in case you have to file a claim for reimbursement. 

Sitting down with a qualified insurance professional at Kevin Dennis Insurance Agency in Mishawaka, IN is an important first step in protecting your home and assets. There are different types of homeowner policies, and knowing the nuances of the industry and available options is key for optimal protection. Working with a diligent professional that understands your needs can have a huge impact on your insurance policy. Your risk mitigation strategy should include using an insurance agent that will work with you to help preserve your financial well-being, in an efficient and cost-effective method. 

To learn more about home insurance and coverage options, please contact Kevin Dennis Insurance Agency in Mishawaka, IN today. The right insurance policy can help protect your home and personal assets while giving you peace-of-mind. Look to insurance professionals that understand the nuances of home policies for guidance and effective risk mitigation. 

 
 

How to Know You Have Adequate Coverage For Your Home

Do you know if you’re buying the right kind of home insurance policy for your South Bend or Mishawaka, IN home?

Sometimes, the most basic policy is not the right one for you. Also, the most expensive policy might be too comprehensive for your needs. Use these tips to figure out which coverage from Kevin Dennis Insurance Agency is right for you.

1. Do You Live On A Flood Plane?

If your home is located near a river or another body of water, you might like to invest in flood insurance.

Flood insurance is always a separate purchase from your standard home coverage policy. In fact, some states require the purchase of flood insurance by law. This is especially true if you’re paying for your home via a mortgage loan.

A standard home insurance policy covers basic damages due to a house fire or a break-in, but water damage is not included in that type of coverage.

2. How Safe Is Your Neighborhood?

If you live in a statistically safe neighborhood where property crime is infrequent, then you probably have adequate coverage in the basic type of home insurance policy. Basic home coverage includes reimbursement for theft and some types of disasters (such as fires), up to a maximum amount depending on your individual policy limits.

If you live in a town where property crime is prevalent, however, you might be interested in itemized coverage. This type of coverage requires you to take inventory of your possessions, from the most valuable to the most mundane. This inventory includes valuation and pictures. You can then be reimbursed for your specific belongings.

3. Do you have pets?

If furry friends are a part of your family, your home insurance coverage may be affected. Typically, a standard home insurance policy does not cover most damage caused by dogs and cats. If your dog chews through to your drywall or severely scratches your hardwood floor, for instance, you may not be able to collect on a claim.

You can find home coverage that includes damage caused by animals, or you can purchase additional liability insurance. Home liability insurance usually covers damage done by the pets of your visitors, however.

Furthermore, certain dogs may void your standard home insurance policy. If you have a German Shepherd or a Pitbull, for instance, this may automatically go against your policy.

Purchase Your Ideal Home Insurance Policy

Learn more about how to protect your home in South Bend or Mishawaka, IN with the appropriate amount of coverage. Call a friendly Kevin Dennis Insurance Agency representative with any questions you may have. We will guide you to the policy that best suits your circumstances.

What To Do In Your Home When the Temperatures Drop Below Freezing

One of the biggest concerns of homeowners when the temperatures drop below freezing is frozen pipes. Temperatures in Mishawaka, IN can drop below freezing, and it’s good to know what to do when it happens. At Kevin Dennis Insurance Agency, we know all too well the damage that can happen if you don’t protect your home from freezing temperatures.

Frozen Pipes and Other Issues

If you have exposed pipes, such as those that could be found in a garage or attic, wrap them with pipe insulation to prevent freezing. If you’re in a pinch and don’t have materials or time to wrap your pipes, a quick temporary fix is to aim a heat lamp on the exposed pipe. Always keep a close eye on this, however, as you don’t want it to get too hot and start a fire.

Another common tip when temperatures drop low is to leave your faucets running at a slow drip. This is especially important in garages and basements where it may be cooler. Doing so keeps the water moving, so it is less likely to freeze. Another great tip for the pipes inside your home is to leave any cabinets or closets that contain pipes open, so the heat from your home reaches the pipes.

If you are going away, make sure you follow all of the above tips and also be sure to keep your heat on. If you turn your heat off completely, you just might come home to broken pipes and a flooded home.

In the unfortunate event you do have a pipe burst, shut off the main water valve to your house as soon as you realize the pipe has burst. If you recognize that a pipe is frozen, but it has not yet exploded, you might be in luck! Use a heat lamp or hair dryer to thaw out the pipe, but again, keep a close eye and never leave these items unattended.

Another area of the home that can suffer from freezing temperatures is your gutters. Make sure they are cleaned out so the water can flow freely; otherwise, it’s likely to freeze and clog or even burst your gutters.

Kevin Dennis Insurance Agency wants to make sure all homes in Mishawaka, IN and surrounding areas stay safe and dry this winter. If you need help insuring and keeping your home safe, please give us a call today!

Choosing Home Insurance on More Than Just Cost

A critical mistake that many new homeowners make in Mishawaka, IN and the South Bend area is choosing homeowners insurance simply based on the cost of a policy alone and nothing else. However, the same policy will be expected to be available and relied on for anywhere from the next 5 to 30 years or as long as you live in the home. So, would it not make sense to do a bit of research on a policy to make sure it will be there if needed some 15 years down the line? Few people actually take the time to do so.

Taking the Time to do the Research

Researching what is needed from a good homeowners insurance policy is not hard, especially not with the help of Kevin Dennis Insurance Agency in Mishawaka, IN. First off, learn to disregard the cost factor alone. It can be a misleading element that gives you a policy that is no good when it matters because the underlying company is questionable. Second, you want the help of an insurance expert who can objectively look at the market, educate you on the various elements of a homeowners insurance policy that matters, and can find you real-time viable alternatives to choose from.

The Kevin Dennis Insurance Agency has done this service for dozens and dozens of customers. Vetting various insurance policies on the market and breaking them down for what really matters for customers. The homeowner’s insurance policy that a young family needs with a new dog is going to have a very different criterion set than that of a retired couple. And a homeowner running a small business out of a home office will need extra protections beyond what a private residential policy typically provides. The staff at Kevin Dennis Insurance Agency has seen, worked with, and regularly solved these challenges for customers. Let us give you a hand and pick the right coverage for your home. Reach out to us for a quote or try our online rating tool.

Common Mistakes First-Time Homeowners Make That Can Damage Their Home

If you’re a first-time homeowner in Mishawaka, IN, you might be making some common homeowner mistakes that you don’t realize can damage your home.  These are the most common no-nos that come from good intentions.

  1. If bleach is a go-to for many issues in the home, you might want to use caution.  Bleach can eat the sealant on surfaces like granite, discolor laminate and colored grout, fad enamel and acrylic bathtubs, dissolve vinyl, and corrode seals inside the garbage disposal.  A better answer is vinegar and water.
  2. Do you have ivy climbing on the outside of your home?  It may look nice, but it can cause damage because it sends roots into any cracks or crevices that create openings for moisture and insects to enter.
  3. Chemical drain cleaners may seem like the best way to go for a clogged sink, but they are made with hydrochloric acid and sulfuric acid that can erode pipes.  An old-fashioned plunger, drain snake, or a Zip-it gadget is safe and more effective.
  4. Being a dutiful homeowner, you’re likely to fix any caulking you see coming apart or to seal up cracks. Make sure to use the right type of caulking because the wrong type can lead to damage by allowing moisture in because it didn’t adhere properly.
  5. If you have countertops that need occasional resealing, such as natural stone, concrete, wood, or glass, be sure to take care of it, but not to the point of suffocation. Over-sealing countertops can create streaked or cloudy surfaces.

Kevin Dennis Insurance Agency

The Kevin Dennis Insurance Agency has over 46 years of experienced insurance agents working to provide home insurance to those in the Mishawaka, IN area.  Contact us today to explore your homeowner’s insurance needs. 

5 Ways to Childproof Your Yard for Summer

Childproofing your yard will make it a safer environment for summertime fun. Whether you’re planning fun activities for the family or getting together with neighbors and friends, the following steps can help get your yard ready for kiddie play.

Flora and Fauna

If your yard is sparse on grass, consider planting some to soften the blow of trips and falls during outdoor play. Make sure all plants in your garden are safe for kids to touch. Young kids, in particular, could get sick by touching or ingesting poisonous plants.

Upgrade Outdoor Furniture

Old patio furniture with sharp edges makes your kids more susceptible to accidents. By upgrading to child-friendly patio furniture with extra padding, you can create a safer patio environment.

Safeguard Pool

Protect your kids from accidental drowning by enclosing your in-ground pool with a security fence that comes with a lockable gate. Portable kiddie pools should be set up on level ground and emptied after every use. Even several inches of water can pose a threat of drowning to toddlers.

Lock Up Garden and Grill Tools

Designate a safe location in your South Bend, Elkhart, or Mishawaka, IN home for storage of garden tools and grill equipment when not in use to keep them well out of reach of children.

Invest in Safe Play Equipment

If you’re buying playground equipment, invest in safe, name-brand structures that are appropriate for your child’s age. Set up play equipment in a safe location away from trees and bushes and check it periodically for signs of wear and tear that could cause accidents.

Before hosting summer BBQs and parties, review your homeowner’s insurance policy from Kevin Dennis Insurance Agency in Mishawaka, IN to make sure you’re covered for any eventuality. For more information on coverage options, contact an agent from Kevin Dennis Insurance Agency today.