Auto Insurance for Canadians in Arizona

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If you are a Canadian resident spending part of your year in Arizona – thank you! We appreciate all you bring to our fine State. I have learned over the years how valuable your business and presence is to Arizona. Canadians are friendly, educated, pay their bills, and cause no trouble. From an insurance perspective, you do your best to NOT file insurance claims. While claims happen, I know that our Canadian clients would rather avoid a claim if at all possible. They are some of our best clients!

When buying car insurance for Canadians in Arizona, please be aware that some insurance carriers charge a foreign drivers license surcharge. The reason – they are unable to run a U.S. motor vehicle report to track your driving history. With many carriers, the easy solution is to provide your driving abstract. Be sure to speak with your agent about any foreign drivers license surcharges.

If you own a vehicle in Arizona, be careful loaning your vehicle to friends and family who come to visit. For those of you who own a seasonal residence in Arizona and keep a car here, you may allow others access to your vehicle. Talk with your agent. You do not want to find yourself in a gray area with the carrier if a claim were to happen. More than likely, an insurance carrier would pay the claim and follow the guidelines of your insurance policy. And yet, they do not, for obvious reasons want drivers of the vehicle that they have no knowledge of.

When buying your car insurance, ask about some of the less understood coverage, such as medical, uninsured motorist, and underinsured motorist. These are optional items and you can decline to carry them. At first glance, you may feel medical is of little use because you have great health care back home. But what if you need care in the United States? Also, what if you have a passenger who is injured while in your vehicle? Medical coverage may be of great interest if you understand it’s purpose and reason for carrying.

Uninsured and Underinsured Motorist are designed to offer you some protection against drivers who carry low insurance limits or fail to carry any whatsoever. Again, speak with your insurance agent about these items and see if you feel a need to carry them.

That’s it! If you want a quote on your auto insurance for Canadians in Arizona, please let me know.
Thanks!!
Gary Brown, Agent
(480) 659-0229
gary@choicearizona.com

Homeowner Insurance in Arizona for Canadians

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We like to do our very best for all of our clients, and especially for our friends north of the border. In the United States, we have slightly different rules when it comes to insurance and rating policies and understand that our Canadian friends go through more hoops to do business here. Plus, Canadians have to be watchful of the exchange rate when doing business in Arizona. We appreciate all business but want to be mindful of how much value and good will our Canadian friends bring to our great State.

If you are a Canadian looking to buy homeowner insurance in Arizona, there are a few key questions and points I would like to make. First of all, is the home a seasonal or rental?

If a seasonal, it is quite easy to find a competitive quote for you. If a rental, the sub question then becomes whether you are insuring to one family on an annual basis or renting to various people for short durations. If for short durations, it is a little harder finding a carrier willing to insure the home. Certainly you will find a less competitive rate under these circumstances. The reason – insurers feel the risk exposure increases when having different people stay for short durations versus one family who calls it home throughout the year.

Over the years, the main issue with insuring our Canadian clients (from a carrier perspective) is the water claim issue. On several occasions there have been water leaks. By living out of the country, you may not be made aware of a leak until substantial damage has occurred. I have, on more than one instance, seen a claim rise to six figures. The water leaks cause such substantial damage when not detected early. Water claims seem to be the biggest concerns for insurance carriers when insuring Canadian clients.

Still, our carriers seem to remain very competitive when offering homeowner insurance in Arizona for Canadians. And, according to several of our Canadian clients, our homeowner insurance for Canadians in Arizona is fairly competitive when comparing rates they find back home.

When buying a home in Arizona, pay close attention to the loss/claim history report that you should receive during the inspection period. If you see a theft, fire, vandalism or water claim, be sure to inquire with your agent if this will cause any difficulty in securing homeowner insurance. You want to find out that information prior to your inspection period running out.

That’s it! If you want a quote, please let us know. We appreciate your business and look forward to serving you!!

Gary Brown, Agent
(480) 659-0229
gary@choicearizona.com

Life Insurance after a major health scare

Is it possible to buy life insurance following a major health scare? Sometimes yet. If you have a bout with cancer and it is in remission there may be life insurance products that offer two years of extremely limited benefits and free up after that time period.

What about a heart attack?

As with any health issue, when applying for life insurance be completely open and honest. The carrier likely will find through your doctor, your exam or other methods of finding information. Giving everyone the heads up from the start makes the process much easier.

No in any particular order the carrier will want to know the following:

The date of your diagnosis
Any underlying issues
Regularity of doctor visits
Treatments recommended by your doctor
Treatments you had performed
Condition of your health issue since onset

In many cases, insurance companies will offer a life insurance plan that is rated, or substandard in its rate. Or, as described above in the first paragraph you may have to opt for a high risk plan until enough time elapses on your current condition without recurrence. It might be necessary that you lower your coverage to cover the added premium for your health issue.

How about life insurance for retirees who are in good health? Should you make a purchase of life insurance?

There is the matter of final expenses. But besides that, there are a number of other reasons to consider life insurance even in your retirement years. What if you want to leave money to finish paying off a mortgage. Or your spouse will need money to supplement his or her retirement. Or pay off other bills. Or continue helping kids or grandkids. You may have two retirement incomes that may be greatly affected with the death of a spouse.

In some cases, retirees who have had permanent life insurance policies for a duration and have accumulated monies inside can now access those for withdrawal.

Retirees should consider encouraging younger family members to purchase a permanent life insurance product so they lock in a premium at a much younger age. Let’s say you are 35 years of age and lock in a rate in a permanent life insurance policy. When you are 65, an age when life insurance is almost unaffordable, that rate will still be the same as thirty years ago. The longer you wait to apply for life insurance the more it will cost.

In my humble opinion, buy permanent life insurance early in life, as early as you can financially afford. You will lock in a rate for the rest of your life. When you get older you will understand the value of that decision.

Storm Damage and Homeowner Insurance

Back in October 2010 Arizona suffered one of those rare storms. We get storms, mind you. The rain that pours down so hard the streets are flooded and homeowners are hoping the water does not reach the front of back doors. But the storm five years ago was so significant in the damage it did. Between the rain, wind and golf ball sized hail, thousands of Arizona homeowners applied to the insurance company for a new roof or roof repairs.

I recall a dozen or so roofing companies stopping by my residence and offering to file a claim on my behalf. One even made his way up to my roof and claimed to spot a significant number of dings in my roof that he said compromised it. I declined to file a report or claim. For starters, I did not believe my roof had been significantly damaged. Secondly, I would have felt dishonest filing a claim for benefits I did not feel entitled….though it was mildly tempting.

With all that in mind, it might surprise you to know that six states account for 75% of at-risk homes, meaning potentially at risk for storm damages. These states are Florida (for obvious reasons), Louisiana, New York, New Jersey, Texas and Virginia.

All of these states have coastlines but what makes New York different is the amount of homes and property that have in a small area. Compared to the other states on this list, their coast line is much smaller.

To help protect yourself against the risk of a storm claim, it is advisable to have your roof inspected periodically. One item many homeowners forget to re-check over time is the grout or tar around a fireplace and roof vents. Especially in Arizona those get dry and crack.

When I originally bought the house I live in today it did not occur to me to check the tar and grout around areas like my fireplace. Sure enough, one summer storm and we had water trickling down into the living room. Now, every couple years I go back up and slap some fresh tar around it.

Before you paint your house go around with a tube of caulking and fill in any cracks. This helps keep your home a little better insulated.

One more item. Homes with air conditioners on the roof will have a condensation pipe that drips during the heat of the summer. Buckets of water every day will come out of it. If that water is dripping near your foundation you need to re-route it away. Over years that water is enough to fill a small swimming pool. Imagine what that can do to your foundation. We had gutters installed and now the water drips into my gutter. Attached to the gutter exit is a tube directing the water away from the house.