Home Insurance Apps for your Smartphone

Most individuals that are looking to buy a home, or those who simply browse the web dreaming about the perfect home, know that many real estate websites, such as Zillow.com and Trulia.com, have designed applications (“apps”) for smartphones, iPads, tablets, etc.  What many people don’t know is there are also a couple great smartphone apps that can assist with your homeowners insurance as well.

With the recent release of the new iPhone 5, it seemed fitting to share some information on a couple great homeowners insurance related apps.

When determining the amount of coverage needed for your personal property on your homeowners insurance policy, it is great to know what the contents of your house actually consists of. In the event that you have to file a claim, having an inventory of your home’s contents can be a big relief. The Insurance Information Institute (III) developed a free home inventory app called Know Your Stuff. The app makes creating and updating your home inventory easy and efficient, and provides secure on-line storage allowing access to your inventory anywhere at any time.

Another great smart phone app that can assist in the security of your home are those affiliated with your home security system provider. Many of these types of applications offer similar features, including, but not limited to: ability to view overall system and connectivity state while away from home, ability to arm and disarm alarm remotely, view of live camera feeds if you have security cameras installed in your house, log of past activity and some even offer control of thermostat and lighting!

Common questions regarding homeowners insurance and tree liability

After a hurricane or any kind of severe storm there is a chance trees will fall, and it is important for you to know who is responsible for the cost of removal.

 How does my homeowners insurance apply if a tree on my property falls on my house, fence, shed or other structure? Unless there is negligence involved, your homeowner’s insurance policy is responsible for covering the cost of damage to your property. If the tree blocks a driveway or wheelchair ramp it will also be covered by a homeowners policy. If a tree falls in your yard, but does not hit any structures then you will have to cover the cost of removal.

What should I do if my neighbors’ tree is leaning, dead and/or unhealthy and appears to be at risk of falling? If a tree in your neighbors’ yard appears to be at risk of falling on a structure on your property, it is advised that you communicate your concerns with your neighbor. In the event that your neighbor does not respond to verbal communication, providing written notification may be the next best options, as it can be documented in the event that the tree does in fact fall. If a dead or unhealthy tree does fall it is the responsibility of the tree’s owner to cover the cost of removal no matter where it falls.

Whose homeowners insurance applies if a tree from my yard falls on my neighbors’ home or other structure? If a tree located on your property falls on a structure of your neighbors (i.e. fence, shed, house, etc.), your neighbor’s homeowners insurance would apply unless you are deemed negligent. The same is also true if a tree from your neighbor’s yard damages a structure on your property. Unless your neighbor is deemed negligent, your homeowners insurance would apply.

Is tree removal included in my homeowners insurance policy? The cost of removing the tree off the damaged structure, such as your roof, will be covered; however, homeowners insurance policies will NOT pay to have the tree removed from the premises.

Review your homeowner insurance policy for further explanation. With negligence being a factor in determining whose homeowners insurance applies, there are often gray areas and incidents need to be looked at on a case-by-case basis. Contact your insurance provider with any additional questions you may have.