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As a homeowner, you hope you never have to file a claim for property damage. However, if you do, the average home insurance claim payout is around $13,800, according to the Insurance Information Institute. Unless you have that kind of petty cash lying around, you need excellent homeowners or auto insurance to protect your assets (and your wallet).
Before signing up for a policy, get to know the company you choose. Today, we are looking at Branch Insurance.
Here is everything you should understand about Branch Insurance:
- What’s protected with Branch Insurance?
- Branch Insurance details and reviews
- Where is Branch Insurance available?
- Filing a claim with Branch Insurance
- Final thoughts
What’s protected with Branch Insurance?
Branch Insurance is a relatively typical insurance company in that they offer all the primary types of insurance, including home, auto, renters, and umbrella insurance. Here is a breakdown of what a policyholder can expect:
Branch Insurance offers a standard homeowners policy, which breaks down into six parts:
- Category A (Main Structure). First and foremost, your homeowners insurance should protect your property’s physical structure. Category A also covers anything attached, such as a garage, patio, or carport. Be sure to speak with your Branch insurance agent about these attachments so that your plan includes them.
- Category B (Detached Structures). Chances are that you have other buildings on your property. Category B is perfect for protecting things like a she-shed, gazebo, or detached garage.
- Category C (Belongings). Whether you live with a big family or alone, you likely have tons of belongings inside your home. Even if none of them are valuable, it can be a substantial financial burden to replace them. This category covers all your stuff, but there are two ways you can get protected.First, you can have RCV, which offers a new product’s full price. Second, you can have the actual cost value (ACV), which only covers the item’s worth right now, after depreciation. The policy defaults to ACV, so if you prefer RCV, ask your insurance agent for an upgrade.
- Category D (Loss of Use). When disaster strikes, you may have to move out of your house. Fire, flooding, and severe weather (i.e., wind and hail damage) can make your house uninhabitable. If that happens, you need money to pay for additional living expenses (ALE), such as hotel rooms, food, and clothing.
- Category E (Personal Liability). One perk of having homeowners insurance is that you’re protected against lawsuits. If someone injures themselves on your property (i.e., a slip and fall), your personal liability coverage kicks in to ensure that you can avoid paying out of pocket.
- Category F (Medical Bills). In addition to protecting you financially against lawsuits, your policy can also help cover the injured person’s medical bills.
There are roughly 43 million U.S. rental households, including apartments, homes, and multi-family units (such as duplexes). If you’re living in one of those places, you need extra protection for yourself and your belongings. While the landlord will have separate insurance for the building and any damage caused by disasters or tenants (i.e., you), the policy will not cover you. That’s where renters insurance comes in.
As with home insurance, this policy type breaks down into multiple sections. Many of them are the same, including replacement cost coverage for your belongings, liability protection, and possibly additional living expenses if your unit becomes uninhabitable. Renters policies are typically smaller than homeowners, so you might need to add floaters or endorsements to cover high-end assets like electronics or jewelry.
Before signing your policy, be aware that there are some significant exclusions. For example, earthquakes, floods, and water backup damage are not usually covered. Your landlord might have extra protection like flood insurance on the building, but it would not extend to anything inside your rental unit.
Fortunately, you can also receive renters insurance discounts for being proactive. For example, if you install a home security system, you can save money since there is less burglary or theft.
No matter where you live in any of the 50 states, auto insurance is a requirement. However, while you can get away with limited liability coverage, it helps to get as much protection as possible. After all, accidents happen every day. In fact, in the U.S. in 2018, there were over 33,000 fatal crashes.
Even if you have a minor incident, it can still cost you quite a bit if you do not have the right insurance.
Here are the elements you can get with auto coverage:
- Liability Insurance. No matter how safe you are while driving, chances are that you’ll run into something or someone at some point. If that happens, liability protection will help cover any costs associated with those damages, including lawsuits.
- Uninsured Motorist. While every state requires car insurance, not everyone abides by the law. If you get into a collision with someone who has little or no insurance, you can still get financial compensation with this coverage option. Uninsured motorist insurance only kicks in when the other driver is at fault; otherwise, liability protection will.
- Personal Injury Protection (PIP). If you get into an auto collision, you might get hurt. PIP helps cover your medical bills, as well as any other costs associated with your injury, such as lost wages. PIP is not available in every state, so you might not be able to get it, depending on your zip code.
- Physical Damage. There are two ways that this coverage can protect your vehicle. First, if you damage something while driving (collision coverage), second, if someone else hits your car while it is parked (comprehensive). For example: if a skateboarder wipes out on your hood, this insurance will cover the repair costs.
As mentioned above, your homeowners or renters policy protects against personal liability claims. However, these plans typically max out at $100,000 or so, depending on your coverage size. So, what happens if you are on the hook for several hundred thousand or get sued for millions? This is where umbrella insurance comes into play.
This insurance both increases your liability protection and covers situations that your standard policy might not cover. That said, this protection does not increase your limits for yourself or your property.
Branch Insurance details and reviews
Typically, when shopping around between insurance companies, you’ll find that many have both online and in-person options. However, Branch Insurance is all online, making it fast and convenient to get the coverage you need.
One of Branch’s specialties is bundling home and car insurance in as little as 30 seconds. Just submit your personal information, wait for a credit report, and get an insurance quote almost instantly.
Branch Insurance began in 2017 when Steve Lekas and Joe Emison. Lekas had experience working at Allstate, and Emison was working with a company that compiled building data on structures across the country. Fusing their knowledge, they started Branch to make it easier to find home and auto insurance online.
Although speed and convenience are the primary selling points, Branch is also notable for having the General Security National Insurance Company underwrite its policies. GSNIC has an A+ financial stability rating from AM Best, meaning that you can shop for insurance rates with confidence.
Where is Branch Insurance available?
Currently, Branch operates in nine states:
Filing a claim with Branch Insurance
Because Branch is a tech-forward company, filing a claim is super easy. The website even offers a premium calculator for auto insurance to see how an accident will impact your monthly rates.
When it comes to frequent home insurance claims, all you have to do is submit your information through your customer portal or Branch’s mobile app. The app allows you to send details and photos about the situation (i.e., water damage from a rainstorm).
Another reason filing an insurance claim is convenient with Branch is that you’re assigned a claims adjuster immediately, who will work with you every step of the way. Whether you prefer to work online or talk over the phone, Branch Insurance has you covered.
Overall, you can expect a simple and straightforward claims process.
If you like the idea of working with a high-tech insurance company, then Branch Insurance is a nice new option to protect your property and cars.
Disclaimer: All insurance-related services are offered through Young Alfred.