Understanding the four essential protections provided by your homeowners policy


Homeowners coverage provides financial protection against loss due to disasters, theft, and accidents. Most standard policies include four essential types of coverage: Coverage for the structure of your home; Coverage for your personal belongings; Liability protection; Coverage for Additional Living Expenses


Coverage for the structure of your home

Your homeowner’s policy pays to repair or rebuild your home if it is damaged or destroyed by fire, hurricane, hail, lightning or other disasters listed in your policy. Most policies also cover detached structures such as a garage, tool shed or gazebo—generally for about 10 percent of the amount of insurance you have on the structure of the house.

A standard policy will not pay for damage caused by a flood, earthquake or routine wear and tear.

When purchasing coverage for the structure of your home, remember this simple guideline: Purchase enough coverage to rebuild your home.


Coverage for 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 disasters. The coverage is generally 50 to 70 percent of the insurance you have on the structure of the house.

Personal belongings coverage includes items stored off-premises—this means you are covered anywhere in the world. Some companies limit the amount to 10 percent of the amount of insurance you have for your possessions. You also have up to $500 of coverage for unauthorized use of your credit cards.

Expensive items like jewelry, furs, art, collectibles, and silverware are covered, but there are usually dollar limits if they are stolen. To insure these items to their full value, purchase a special personal property endorsement or floater and insure the item for its officially appraised value.

Trees, plants, and shrubs are also covered under standard homeowners insurance—generally for about $500 per item. Trees and plants are not covered for disease, or if they have been poorly maintained.


Liability protection

Liability 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 your pets. So, if your son, daughter (or even your dog) accidentally ruin a neighbor’s expensive rug, you are covered. (However, if they destroy your rug, you’re out of luck.)

The liability portion of your policy pays for both the cost of defending you in court and any court awards—up to the limit stated in your policy documents.

Liability limits generally start at about $100,000, however, it’s a good idea to discuss whether you should purchase a higher level of protection with your insurance professional. If you have significant assets and want more coverage than is available under your homeowner’s policy, consider purchasing an umbrella or excess liability policy, which provides broader coverage and higher liability limits.

Your policy also provides no-fault medical coverage, so if a friend or neighbor is injured in your home, he or she can simply submit medical bills to your insurance company. This way, expenses can be paid without a liability claim being filed against you. It does not, however, pay the medical bills for your own family or your pet.


Additional living expenses (ALE)

ALE pays the additional costs of living away from home if you cannot live there due to damage from an insured disaster. It covers hotel bills, restaurant meals, and other costs, over and above your usual living expenses, incurred while your home is being rebuilt.

Keep in mind that the ALE coverage in your homeowner’s policy has limits—and some policies include a time limitation. However, these limits are separate from the amount available to rebuild or repair your home. Even if you use up your ALE your insurance company will still pay the full cost of rebuilding your home up to the policy limit.

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



If you have any questions or would like to review your homeowners insurance coverage.  Please give us a call at 916-540-7000.

One morning this week while drinking coffee, I was scanning Facebook to see what the world was up to, while the rest of us were sleeping. As I was scrolling through today’s post, I noticed a post that said my niece’s house burnt down, and that they lost everything, including their cars. As I read the story of what happened, my heart became sad for their loss. For those of us that have not experienced a loss like this, it’s hard to imagine what that would be like, losing everything. When you suffer a loss like this, it’s overwhelming, and hard to know where or how even to begin putting your life back together.

Take a moment right now and take a look at your home, think of the all things you have collected over the years, the memories you have created. Think of the furnishings that you have bought that expresses your personality, the personality of your children. Wouldn’t that be devastating to think of experiencing such a loss? No one likes to think about losing everything, but if you were to think about it, what would I do? Being prepared is so important.

As insurance agents, we discuss coverage’s with our clients, and the importance of having the right amount of coverage in the event of a loss, rebuilding your home is just one part of the picture, how many of us could actually make a list of all our possessions and their value, after a loss? One way you can be prepared for the possibility of a loss is to go through each room and make a list of all your belongings, or go through and do a live recording of each room, so you have a record of what you own. Once you do this store it in a fireproof place or a safety deposit box. I know it could be a tedious job, but believe me; if you were to suffer a loss, you would be happy you recorded all your belongings.

As I read the last of the Facebook post, I read that this happened early in the morning, they were all up starting their day, when the smoke alarm went off, they quickly assessed what was going on, and was able to get themselves and their animals out safely before the house became engulfed. What if this had happened in the middle of the night? Do you have an escape plan, if you were to experience something like this? So many things to think about, but one thing is for sure, being prepared is very important for the safety of you and your family, so take it seriously, be prepared.

Give us a call at Sky Insurance, let’s review your homeowner’s policy together, and make sure you are properly covered.


Be prepared resource

Jenny Ebinger


Entering the season of giving.


As I sit drinking my coffee this morning, I heard the geese flying overhead, I love that sound. It brings back memories of when I was young, and summer would be coming to an end, we would see the geese fly over, and my mother would say, “fall is coming soon”.   Fall has always been my favorite season. It brings changes to the trees, with the many fall colors, the crispness in the air, and the beginning of the holiday seasons.


Each year as the holidays approach, I always start the season saying, I want to give back, or serve in some capacity, whether it be feeding the homeless, or helping a family in need. Each year flies by and before you know it, the season is over, and I didn’t find the time.   Last year our company decided to give back to our community, by picking two families during Thanksgiving and Christmas, to bless. We provided full meals and presents. Our whole office enjoyed the act of giving, and it gave us such joy to bless someone.


As the new holiday season approaches, and we start compiling a list of wants for Christmas, I encourage or shall I say, challenge you to take time this holiday season to do something special, volunteer to serve, or pick a family that is having a hard time and bless them. I promise you it will bless you, to be apart of something special, it gives the holidays new meaning. Incorporate your children into this act as well; it helps children to think of ways to help others.   Kids love participating in ways to help people, what better way to teach our children how to be selfless and to think of others. It teaches them kindness, love, and acceptance.


This is my challenge for you this holiday season!




Reflecting on Life Insurance


This morning while having my coffee, I was thinking of my kids and my grandkids. We just spent Easter together; having my kids and my grandkids around is pure joy.   Then my mind started to wander, wondering what would happen if I lost one of them, or if I died, how would it change our lives, their lives.   As a Law Enforcement Chaplain I have seen the devastation of death and what it does to families, we never know what life has in store for us.

Early on in my career as a Law Enforcement Chaplain, I was on a call with a family where a man had died unexpectedly; he was young maybe in his early forties. He had a wife and 3 children.   The wife was a stay at home mom for the past 17 years, they had suffered the effects of the 2008 recession, they had no more savings, and there was no life insurance.   As I sat there with the grieving wife and the children, it hit me; this woman and her children not only lost their husband and father, but they lost their financial security. They had nothing to fall back on financially.

I have been a Chaplain for 11 years; and believe me; I have experienced many more calls like this one. Most people think this will never happen to them, but life is full of the “unexpected”. Unless we are diagnosed with a terminal illness, we don’t know when we are going to die.  Over the last 11 years as a Chaplain, I have realized that we should always be prepared.   Ask yourself, if I die tomorrow; will my family be able to continue to live the life they are accustom too?   Will my family lose the house they call home? What debt will my family be left with? No one likes to think of death, but one thing is for sure, death will happen, are you prepared?

Life insurance is a great way to protect those you love from financial devastation. There are many products that would fit anyone’s budget, so when you say, “I can’t afford life insurance”, ask yourself, who would be devastated, or the most effected, if you were to die tomorrow?   The grieving process is hard enough on a family; it’s even harder when they have to worry about how they are going to survive financially.


Written by Jenny Ebinger


HOW MUCH IS IT GOING TO COST?                         Health Insurance



That is typically the first question I am asked by business owners, when considering offering health benefits to their employees. With the many changes in healthcare, and the employer mandates, I find most employers want to be compliant, however, offering an affordable healthcare package is important.

Many employers contribute a percentage of premiums, which requires a minimum of 50% employer contribution of employee only premium.   Percentage of premium, is a little more volatile when planning your budget, your contributions will increase as the premiums increase each year at renewal.

Another employer option is a defined contribution. Defined contribution is where the employer’s contribution is a flat dollar amount for each employee.   For example, the employer’s contribution is $200 per employee, the employee chooses a health plan that cost $400, the employee would have $200 from the employer, the employee’s responsibility would be $200, which would be payroll deducted.

If your employees pay a portion of their premium, don’t forget to have a Section 125 POP plan in place, this allows the employees portion of the premium to be deducted pre-tax , which lowers their taxable income, an in turn provides a saving on the employer’s Work Comp rates.

If you are interested in getting more detail on defined contribution, give Sky Financial & Insurance Services, to get more information. 916-540-7000

Deep thoughts by Jenny Ebinger


Building a company around relationships and integrity

As 2014 comes to a close and we prepare for the New Year and all the planning and excitement that comes with it.  I would like to take this time to reflect on this past year, where we were as a company, and the direction we see our company going.  For those that know us closely, know of the journey we traveled to get to this glorious point.  Our corporate restructuring, the rebranding of our agency name that complements our focus, and the rebuilding of a strong team.   We are building a company of substance and integrity. Every move was a calculated one, which moved us in the direction of becoming the company we can be proud of.  One that is built on integrity, trust and relationships that last.

In business, especially our industry,  trust and integrity are words that are often thrown around but hardly delivered on.  For us, it is centered at the core of our company and culture. As we transition into 2015 every decision we make, will be made with integrity.  Our goal is to make your experience with our agency, an exceptional experience when doing business with us.   We want to be the agency you turn to help protect your biggest assets, and the things that matter most to you, while building lasting relationships along the way.   We want to help you build your financial roadmap and guide you along your journey.

For us this is more than a job, it is a passion that we take pride in.  We care about what we do and strive to be better every day.   2014 was an amazing year, and the journey that brought us to this point was well worth it.  As we enter into 2015, we are stronger and better than ever.  We are looking forward to what the coming year has in store.  We thank everyone for the amazing support and continued trust.  You are what drive us and we are honored to serve you.

Our mission Statement:

“To inspire our clients to invest in their future by protecting what’s most important. Through education and guidance, we provide the financial tools to help navigate through life’s changing needs, while building lasting relationships along the way.”