admin@geauxquote.com
1-844-762-5085

Frequently Asked Questions

How can I save money?

Save Money on your Home and Auto Insurance

If you haven’t taken the time to sit down with your Louisiana insurance agent recently, there’s a good chance that you could be paying too much in premiums. Here are some tips for cutting your Louisiana home and auto insurance premiums.

1. Before you buy a car, compare insurance costs

Auto insurance premiums are based in part on how much the vehicle costs, how much it costs to repair it, how safe it is, and how likely it is to be stolen. Many insurers give large discounts for safe driving which means no violations or accidents, having mutiple cars on one policy, or features that reduce the chance of theft, such as an alarm system and VIN etching on the windows.

2. Higher deductibles cost less

Increasing your deductibles from $500 to $1000 can save you around 15-20 percent. It’s the same story on your homeowner’s insurance policy. By raising your deductible to $1000 or $2500, you can save on your premiums. Many companies allow you to have a split deductible, which pays one deductible for wind and hail losses, and another, usually lower, deductible for other losses such as fire and theft. Before increasing your deductible, make sure you have enough money set aside to meet the higher out-of-pocket expense associated with a claim.

3. Does that older vehicle need full coverage?

If you are paying for full coverage on an older vehicle, it may be time to just carry liability insurance on that vehicle. A ballpark guide for determining if your vehicle is worth enough to justify the cost, is to multiply the premium times 5. If your vehicle is worth less than that amount, it may be time to drop the full coverage.

4. Package your Louisiana home and auto insurance for a discount

One of the best ways to decrease your insurance premiums is to insure your home and auto with the same company. This can save as much as 20 percent off each policy by insuring with the same company. Some companies give discounts for longevity, so staying with a company for a longer period of time can earn you discounts as well.

5. Keep your credit rating in good shape

Almost all insurance companies now use some form of credit scoring to help determine the premium you pay. A high credit rating can reduce your premiums as much as 50 percent or more. Check your credit on a regular basis and rectify any problems that may be apparent.

6. Stay Insured – Don’t let your Louisiana insurance policies lapse

Never let your insurance policies lapse. Customers who let their insurance policies lapse are statistically a higher risk, and companies may charge more if you let your policies lapse.

7. Buy a longer term policy or pay your policy in full

If you are financially able to pay your entire policy amount with one payment, you will save money over paying in installments. Some companies give discounts for a policy that is paid-in-full or electronic fund transfer or EFT, and most companies charge an installment fee for paying monthly or quarterly.

8. Drive safely and don’t get tickets

Insurance companies try to determine the likelihood of future claims by your past claim history. If you have had an accident in the past 3-5 years, you will likely pay a higher premium than if you were claim free. Even if you forget to tell your agent about a claim, it will be discovered because most insurance companies subscribe to a service that tracks poliyholder claims for all participating companies. The same goes for speeding tickets and traffic violations as those appear on your permanent Louisiana driving record.

9. Make sure you accurately determine mileage driven per year

Many companies give a discount for autos that are driven less. Make sure you calculate the miles driven accurately so you can obtain this discount. Some companys, like Progressive, are using usage based insurance or UBI insurance which acutually how far you drive, what time you drive and how had you brake.

10. Improve your home security

Most companies give discounts if your home has deadbolt locks, a fire extinguisher and smoke alarms. Added discounts can be had by having a central burlar alarm or a sprinkler system in your home. These disounts can be as much as 15-20 percent of your Louisiana homeowners insurance premium.

11. Pay attention to where you buy your home

If you are shopping for a home, be sure to check to see if your home is located in a Louisiana flood zone. If it is, you could be required to obtain a federal flood insurance policy before getting financing. The premiums on flood policies are high, even if you don’t insure the contents. It could pay to look for a home in a different location.

Homeowners that are farther away from the local responding fire department pay higher premiums than those that are closer. If your home is outside the city limits or more than 5-10 miles from the nearest fire station, expect to pay a higher Louisiana homeowners insurance premium.

How much do I need?

That’s the million dollar question, and here’s some tips to help you decide

How Much Louisiana Homeowners Insurance do I Really Need?

You need enough insurance to cover the following:

The structure of your home.

Your personal possessions.

The cost of additional living expenses if your home is damaged and you have to live elsewhere during repairs.

Your liability to others.
The structure
You need enough insurance to cover the cost of rebuilding your home at current construction costs. Don’t include the cost of the land. And don’t base your rebuilding costs on the price you paid for your home. The cost of rebuilding could be more or less than the price you paid or could sell it for today.

Some banks require you to buy homeowners insurance to cover the amount of your mortgage. If the limit of your insurance policy is based on your mortgage, make sure it’s enough to cover the cost of rebuilding. (If your mortgage is paid off, don’t cancel your homeowners policy. Homeowners insurance protects your investment in your home.)

For a quick estimate of the amount of insurance you need, multiply the total square footage of your home by local building costs per square foot. To find out construction costs in your community, call your local real estate agent, builders association or insurance agent.

Factors that will determine the cost of rebuilding your home:

Local construction costs

The square footage of the structure

The type of exterior wall construction–frame, masonry (brick or stone) or veneer

The style of the house (ranch, colonial)

The number of bathrooms and other rooms

The type of roof and materials used

Other structures on the premises such as garages, sheds

Fireplaces, exterior trim and other special features like arched windows

Whether the house, or parts of it like the kitchen, was custom built

Improvement to your home–adding a second bathroom, enlarging the kitchen or other additions that have added value to your home
Standard homeowners policies provide coverage for disasters such as damage due to fire, lightning, hail, explosions and theft. They do not cover floods, earthquakes or damage caused by lack of routine maintenance.

Replacement cost policies
Most policies cover replacement cost for damage to the structure. A replacement cost policy pays for the repair or replacement of damaged property with materials of similar kind and quality. There is no deduction for depreciation–the decrease in value due to age, wear and tear, and other factors.

If you purchase a flood insurance policy, coverage for the structure is available on a replacement cost basis.

Guaranteed or extended replacement cost coverage
After a major hurricane or a tornado, building materials and construction workers are often in great demand. This can push rebuilding costs above homeowners policy limits, leaving you without enough money to cover the bill. To protect against such a situation, you can buy a policy that pays more than the policy limits.

An extended replacement cost policy will pay an extra 20 percent or more above the limits, depending on the insurance company. A guaranteed replacement cost policy will pay whatever it costs to rebuild your home as it was before the fire or other disaster.

Building codes
Building codes are updated periodically and may have changed significantly since your home was built. If your home is badly damaged, you may be required to rebuild your home to meet new building codes. Generally, homeowners insurance policies (even a guaranteed replacement cost policy) won’t pay for the extra expense of rebuilding to code. Many insurance companies offer an Ordinance or Law endorsement that pays a specified amount toward these costs. (An endorsement is a form attached to an insurance policy that changes what the policy covers.)

Inflation guard
Consider adding an inflation guard clause to your policy. This automatically adjusts the dwelling limit when you renew your policy to reflect current construction costs in your area.

Older homes
If you own an older home, you may not be able to buy a replacement cost policy. Instead, you may have to buy a modified replacement cost policy. This means that instead of repairing or replacing features typical of older homes, like plaster walls and wooden floors, with similar materials, the policy will pay for repairs using the standard building materials and construction techniques in use today.

Insurance companies differ greatly in how they insure older homes. Some won’t insure older homes for the replacement cost because of the expense of re-creating special features like wall and ceiling moldings and carvings. Other companies will insure older homes for the replacement cost as long as the dwelling is in good condition.

If you can’t insure your home for the replacement cost or choose not to do so–in some cases, the cost of replacing a large old home is so high that you might not want to replace it with a house of the same size–make sure the limits of the policy are high enough to provide you with a house of acceptable size and quality.

Your personal possessions
Most homeowners insurance policies provide coverage for your personal possessions for approximately 50 percent to 70 percent of the amount of insurance you have on the structure or “dwelling” of your home. The limits of the policy typically appear on the Declarations Page under Section I, Coverages, A. Dwelling.

To determine if this is enough coverage, you need to conduct a home inventory. This is a detailed list of everything you own and information related to the cost to replace these items if they were stolen or destroyed by a disaster such as a fire. If you think you need more coverage, contact your agent or insurance company representative and ask for higher limits for your personal possessions.

Replacement Cost or Actual Cash Value
You can either insure your belongings for their actual cash value, which pays to replace your home or possessions minus a deduction for depreciation up to the limit of your policy. Or you can opt for replacement cost, which pays the actual cost of replacing your home or possessions (no deduction for depreciation) up to the limit of your policy.

Suppose, for example, a fire destroys a 10-year-old TV set in your living room. If you have a replacement cost policy for the contents of your home, the insurance company will pay to replace the TV set with a new one. If you have an actual cash value policy, it will pay only a percentage of the cost of a new TV set because the TV has been used for 10 years and is worth a lot less than its original cost. Some replacement cost policies also replace the item and deliver it to you.

Generally, the price of replacement cost coverage is about 10 percent more than that of actual cash value. If you need a flood insurance policy for your belongings, it is only available on an actual cash value basis.

Insuring expensive items with floaters/endorsements
There may be limits on how much coverage you get for expensive items such as jewelry, silverware and furs. Generally, there is a limit on jewelry for $1,000 to $2,000. You should ask your agent or look it up in your policy. This information is in Section I, Personal Property, Special Limits of Liability. Insurance companies may also place a limit on what they will pay for computers.

If the limits are too low, consider buying a special personal property floater or an endorsement. These allow you to insure these items individually or as a collection. With floaters and endorsements, there is no deductible. You are charged a premium based on what the item (or collection) is, its dollar value and where you live.

You can determine the value by providing your agent with a recent receipt or getting the item or collection appraised.

Additional living expenses after a disaster
This is a very important feature of a standard homeowners insurance policy. This pays the additional costs of temporarily living away from your home if you can’t live in it due to a fire, severe storm or other insured disaster. It covers hotel bills, restaurant meals and other living expenses incurred while your home is being rebuilt.

Coverage for additional living expenses differs from company to company. Many policies provide coverage for about 20% of the insurance on your house. Some companies will even sell you a policy that provides you with an unlimited amount of loss of use coverage, for a limited amount of time.

If you rent out part of your house, this coverage also reimburses you for the rent that you would have collected from your tenant if your home had not been destroyed.

You should talk to your agent or company to make sure you know exactly how much coverage you have and how long the coverage will be in effect. In most cases, you can increase this coverage for an additional premium.

Liability to others
This part of your policy covers you against lawsuits for bodily injury or property damage that you or family members cause to other people. It also pays for damage caused by pets. It pays for both the cost of defending you in court and for any damages a court rules you must pay.

Generally, most homeowners insurance policies provide a minimum of $100,000 worth of liability insurance, but higher amounts are available. Increasingly, it is recommended that homeowners consider purchasing at least $300,000 to $500,000 worth of coverage of liability protection.

Umbrella or Excess Liability
You should buy enough liability insurance to protect your assets. If you own property and or have investments and savings that are worth more than the liability limits in your policy, you may consider purchasing an excess liability or umbrella policy.

Umbrella or excess liability policies provide extra coverage. They start to pay after you have used up the liability insurance in your underlying home (or auto) policy. An umbrella policy is not part of your homeowners policy. You have to purchase it separately. In addition to providing a higher dollar amount, they offer broader coverage. You are covered for libel, slander, and invasion of privacy. These things are not covered under standard homeowners or auto policies.

The cost of an umbrella policy depends on how much underlying insurance you have and the kind of risk you represent. The greater the underlying liability coverage, the cheaper the policy. This is becaue you would be the less likely to need the additional insurance. Most companies will require a minimum of $300,000 on your home and your car, if you own one.

Is flooding covered?

When it rains, the questions come pouring in. Here’s the answers!

Standard homeowners policies do NOT cover flooding. You can purchase flood coverage directly through your Louisiana homeowners insurance agent. However, the policy is provided by the Federal Flood Insurance Program.

Replacement cost coverage is available for the structure of your home, but only actual cash value coverage is available for your possessions. Replacement cost coverage pays to rebuild your home as it was before the damage. Actual cash value is replacement cost coverage minus depreciation so that the older your possessions are, the less you will get if they are damaged. There may also be limits on coverage for furniture and other belongings stored in your basement.

Louisiana flood insurance is available for renters as well as homeowners. You will need flood insurance if you live in a designated flood zone. But flooding can also occur in inland areas and away from major rivers. Consider buying a Louisiana flood insurance policy if your house could be flooded by melting snow, an overflowing creek or pond or water running down a steep hill. Don’t wait for a flood season warning on the evening news to buy a policy—there is a 30-day waiting period before the coverage takes effect.

The federal flood insurance program provides only limited coverage. If you need more coverage than the federal program provides, additional coverage known as “excess” flood insurance is available from specialized insurance companies. Depending on the amount of coverage purchased, an excess flood insurance policy will cover damage above the limits of the federal program on the same basis as the federal program—replacement cost for the structure and actual cash value for the contents.

Excess flood insurance is available in all parts of the country—in high risk flood zones along the coast and close to major rivers as well as in areas of lower risk—wherever the federal program is available. It can be purchased from specialized companies such as Lexington Insurance Company, part of American International Insurance Company, and Lloyd’s through independent insurance agents, or from regular homeowners insurance companies that have arrangements with a specialized insurer to provide coverage to their policyholders.

Are you prepared?

Complete your home inventory today because you don’t know what tomorrow will bring!

Perform a Home Inventory Today to Prevent Disaster Tomorrow

Would you be able to remember all the possessions you’ve accumulated over the years if they were destroyed by a fire? Having an up-to-date home inventory will help you get your insurance claim settled faster, verify losses for your income tax return and help you purchase the correct amount of insurance.

Start by making a list of your possessions, describing each item and noting where you bought it and its make and model. Clip to your list any sales receipts, purchase contracts, and appraisals you have. For clothing, count the items you own by category — pants, coats, shoes, for example –- making notes about those that are especially valuable. For major appliance and electronic equipment, record their serial numbers usually found on the back or bottom.

Don’t be put off!
If you are just setting up a household, starting an inventory list can be relatively simple. If you’ve been living in the same house for many years, however, the task of creating a list can be daunting. Still, it’s better to have an incomplete inventory than nothing at all. Start with recent purchases and then try to remember what you can about older possessions.

Big ticket items
Valuable items like jewelry, art work and collectibles may have increased in value since you received them. Check with your agent to make sure that you have adequate insurance for these items. They may need to be insured separately.

Take a picture
Besides the list, you can take pictures of rooms and important individual items. On the back of the photos, note what is shown and where you bought it or the make. Don’t forget things that are in closets or drawers.

Videotape it
Walk through your house or apartment videotaping and describing the contents. Or do the same thing using a tape recorder.

Use a personal computer
Use your PC to make your inventory list. Personal finance software packages often include a homeowners room-by-room inventory program.

Storing the list, photos and tapes
Regardless of how you do it (written list, floppy disk, photos, videotape or audio tape), keep your inventory along with receipts in your safe deposit box or at a friend’s or relative’s home. That way you’ll be sure to have something to give your insurance representative if your home is damaged. When you make a significant purchase, add the information to your inventory while the details are fresh in your mind.

How do I take a home inventory and why?

Would you be able to remember all the possessions you’ve accumulated over the years if they were destroyed by a fire? Having an up-to-date home inventory will help you get your insurance claim settled faster, verify losses for your income tax return and help you purchase the correct amount of insurance.

Start by making a list of your possessions, describing each item and noting where you bought it and its make and model. Clip to your list any sales receipts, purchase contracts, and appraisals you have. For clothing, count the items you own by category — pants, coats, shoes, for example — making notes about those that are especially valuable. For major appliances and electronic equipment, record their serial numbers usually found on the back or bottom.

Don’t be put off!
If you are just setting up a household, starting an inventory list can be relatively simple. If you’ve been living in the same house for many years, however, the task of creating a list can be daunting. Still, it’s better to have an incomplete inventory than nothing at all. Start with recent purchases and then try to remember what you can about older possessions.
Big-ticket items
Valuable items like jewelry, artwork and collectibles may have increased in value since you received them. Check with your agent to make sure that you have adequate insurance for these items. They may need to be insured separately.
Take a picture
Besides the list, you can take pictures of rooms and important individual items. On the back of the photos, note what is shown and where you bought it or the make. Don’t forget things that are in closets or drawers.
Videotape it
Walk through your house or apartment videotaping and describing the contents. Or do the same thing using a tape recorder.
Use a personal computer
Use your PC to make your inventory list. Personal finance software packages often include a homeowner’s room-by-room inventory program.
Storing the list, photos and tapes
Regardless of how you do it (written list, floppy disk, photos, videotape or audio tape), keep your inventory along with receipts in your safe deposit box or at a friend’s or relative’s home. That way you’ll be sure to have something to give your insurance representative if your home is damaged. When you make a significant purchase, add the information to your inventory while the details are fresh in your mind.

Can I get insurance if I rent my apartment?

Yes, renters insurance is available and, in most cases, the premium is relatively inexpensive. This is because, unlike a homeowner’s policy, renter’s insurance covers only the value of your belongings, not the physical building. While your landlord may be sympathetic to the burglary you experienced or the fire caused by your iron, destruction or loss of your possessions is not usually covered by your landlord’s insurance.

By purchasing renters insurance, your possessions are covered against losses from fire or smoke, lightning, vandalism, theft, explosion, windstorm and water damage (not including floods). Like homeowner’s insurance, renter’s insurance also covers your responsibility to other people injured at your home or elsewhere by you, a family member or your pet and pays legal defense costs if you are taken to court. Renter’s insurance covers your additional living expenses if you are unable to live in your apartment because of a fire or other covered peril. Most policies will reimburse you the difference between your additional living expenses and your normal living expenses but still may set limits as to the amount they will pay.

There are two types of renter’s insurance policies you may purchase:

• Actual Cash Value – pays to replace your home or possessions minus a deduction for depreciation up to the limit of your policy

• Replacement Cost – pays the actual cost of replacing your home or possessions (no deduction for depreciation) up to the limit of your policy

With either policy, you may want to consider purchasing a floater. A standard renter’s policy offers only limited coverage for items such as jewelry, silver, furs, etc. If you own property that exceeds these limits, it is recommended that you supplement your policy with a floater. A floater is a separate policy that provides additional insurance for your valuables and covers them for perils not included in your policy such as accidental loss.

Can I own a home without homeowners insurance?

Unlike driving a car, you can legally own a home without homeowner’s insurance. But, if you have bought your home and financed the purchase with a mortgage, your lender will most likely require you to get homeowner’s insurance coverage. That’s because lenders need to protect their investment in your home in case your house burns down or is badly damaged by a storm, tornado or other disaster. If you live in an area likely to flood, the bank will also require you to purchase flood insurance. Some financial institutions may also require earthquake coverage if you live in a region vulnerable to earthquakes. If you buy a co-op or condominium, your board will probably require you to buy homeowners insurance.

After your mortgage is paid off, no one will force you to buy homeowners insurance. But it doesn’t make sense to cancel your policy and risk losing what you’ve invested in your home.

Are there different types of policies?

Yes. A person who owns his or her home would have a different policy from someone who rents. Policies also differ on the amount of insurance coverage provided. Check with individual insurance companies to determine what policy is appropriate for you.

What is in a standard homeowner's insurance policy?

A standard homeowner’s insurance policy includes four essential types of coverage. They include:

• Coverage for the structure of your home.
• Coverage for your personal belongings.
• Liability protection.
• Additional living expenses in the event you are temporarily unable to live in your home because of a fire or other insured disaster.
The following is an explanation of each of the four elements of a standard homeowner’s insurance policy:

The structure of your house
This part of your policy pays to repair or rebuild your home if it is damaged or destroyed by fire, hurricane, hail, lightning or any other disaster listed in your policy. It will not pay for damage caused by a flood, an earthquake or routine wear and tear. When purchasing coverage for the structure of your home, it is important to buy enough to rebuild your home.

Most standard policies also cover structures that are detached from your home such as a garage, tool shed or gazebo. Generally, these structures are covered for about 10% of the amount of insurance you have on the structure of your home. If you need more coverage, talk to your insurance agent about purchasing more insurance.

Your personal belongings
Your furniture, clothes, sports equipment and other personal items are covered if they are stolen or destroyed by fire, hurricane or other insured disaster. Most companies provide coverage for 50% to 70% of the amount of insurance you have on the structure of your home. So, if you have $100,000 worth of insurance on the structure of your home, you would have between $50,000 to $70,000 worth of coverage for your belongings. The best way to determine if this is enough coverage is to conduct a home inventory.

Expensive items like jewelry, furs and silverware are covered, but there are usually dollar limits if they are stolen. Generally, you are covered for between $1,000 to $2,000 for all of your jewelry and furs. To insure these items to their full value, purchase a special personal property endorsement or floater and insure the item for its appraised value.

Liability protection
This covers you against lawsuits for bodily injury or property damage (other than professional or motor vehicle related liability) that you or family members cause to other people. It also pays for damage caused by your pets. So, if your son, daughter or dog accidentally ruins your neighbor’s expensive rug, you are covered. However, if they destroy your rug, you are not covered.

The liability portion of your policy pays for both the cost of defending you in court and any court awards — up to the limit of your policy. You are also covered not just in your home, but anywhere in the world.

Liability limits generally start at about $100,000. However, experts recommend that you purchase at least $300,000 worth of protection. Some people feel more comfortable with even more coverage. You can purchase an umbrella or excess liability policy which provides broader coverage, including claims against you for libel and slander, as well as higher liability limits. Generally, umbrella policies cost between $200 and $350 for $1 million of additional liability protection.

Your policy also provides no-fault medical coverage. In the event a friend or neighbor is injured in your home, he or she can simply submit medical bills to your insurance company. This way, expenses are paid without their filing a liability claim against you. You can generally get $1,000 to $5,000 worth of this coverage. It does not, however, pay the medical bills for your family or your pet.

Additional living expenses
This pays the additional costs of living away from home if you can’t live there due to damage from a fire, storm or other insured disaster. It covers hotel bills, restaurant meals and other living expenses incurred while your home is being rebuilt. Coverage for additional living expenses differs from company to company. Many policies provide coverage for about 20% of the insurance on your house. You can increase this coverage, however, for an additional premium. Some companies sell a policy that provides an unlimited amount of loss-of-use coverage — for a limited amount of time.

If you rent out part of your house, this coverage also reimburses you for the rent that you would have collected from your tenant if your home had not been destroyed.

What is homeowners insurance?

Homeowner’s insurance provides financial protection against disasters. A standard policy insures the home itself and the things you keep in it.

Homeowner’s insurance also cover your liability or legal responsibility for any injuries and property damage (other than professional or motor vehicle related liability) you or members of your family cause to other people.

Damage caused by most disasters is covered but there are exceptions. The most significant are damage caused by floods, earthquakes and poor maintenance. You must buy two separate policies for flood and earthquake coverage. Maintenance-related problems are the homeowner’s responsibility.