Archives for homeowners insurance

At iMGA we work very hard to make things as easy as possible for our agents and customers. We know our agents work with many companies and many products and it can be hard to be sure you let the customer know what is and is not covered on their policy.

We think we have part of the solution. While we still do not require signed applications for our policies, we now have applications available for you to provide to your customers. As of today, those applications for our Texas Elite HOA/HOA+/HOB and Admitted HOA/HOA+ Homeowners products automatically display the covered perils for the dwelling and contents along with limits and whether the coverage is at replacement cost or actual cash value.

Here’s a shot of what that looked like for a sample base HOA policy without replacement cost coverage:

HOA Plus Application Image


We hope this makes your life simpler, and makes it much easier for you to ensure your customers understand their coverage.


If you’re an agent who doesn’t work with us already and you’d like to work with a market devoted to making Texas MobileHome, Homeowners, Dwelling, Vacant and Umbrella as easy as possible, please tell us about yourself.

Daniel Schwarcz, a University of Minnesota Law School associate professor and the author of an 88-page study scheduled to be published early next year in the University of Chicago Law Review, says homeowners policies differ “radically with respect to numerous important coverage provisions.”

Professor Schwarcz found that “all five companies with substantially less generous policies” use captive agents (like State Farm, Allstate and Farmers) but “two of the three carriers providing the most generous policy forms use independent agents”.

The study concluded that consumers are most likely to be harmed by potential differences in homeowners coverage “if those consumers do not have access to an intermediary that is informed about these differences.”  Also that “Captive agents… are substantially more likely than independent agents” to be unable or unwilling to offer consumers coverage alternatives.

In other words, it’s really important to have a good independent agent.

At iMGA we couldn’t agree more. We’re proud to offer fantastic coverage options most companies don’t, but that’s not helpful without great independent agents who care enough about their clients to make sure those clients are well covered.

Fortunately we have those – spread all over Texas.

Consumers: Find a great agent to work with on insurance for you home or rental dwelling.

Agents: Work with a company that appreciates the value you bring to your clients.

At iMGA we are dedicated to offering Texas property owners coverage options they cannot get anywhere else.

We’re proud to continue that tradition today by announcing that our Texas Elite homeowners insurance product now offers:

A $500 deductible option!

Companies all over Texas, large and small, are requiring 1% minimum deductibles and rolling insureds to those deductibles without offering insureds any choice in the matter.

IMGA’s Texas Elite policies in all of the state except Tier 1 and Tier 2 will have an option that is particularly helpful for those on a fixed income or tight budget who want to minimize the out of pocket cost of any claim they might have in the future.

If you are an independent agent who’d like to work with a market that understands Texas and isn’t afraid to be different, complete the form on this page.

If you would like to get a homeowners insurance quote from an independent agent near you that offers iMGA products, please visit our find an agent page.

Hurricane Irene's massive size dwarfs the Bahamas on August 24, 2011.

Photo courtesy of NASA

Our thoughts and prayers are with all those who are preparing for what Hurricane Irene may bring this weekend.

Because of her path along the heavily populated East coast of the United States Irene is forecast to affect as much as 1/5th of our nation’s population.

For those of us fortunate enough not to be in that path, it’s important that we take this time to check our own preparations. Hurricanes can cause:

  1. Flooding from storm surge along the coast,
  2. Wind damage both along the coast and inland, and
  3. Flooding inland from heavy rains.
  4. Damage from trees blown down and on to the house.

Texans who live in “Tier 1” (coastal) counties need a special wind coverage policy from the Texas Windstorm Insurance Association (also known as TWIA or “the Texas Windstorm Pool”). All other Texans have coverage for wind automatically on their Homeowners insurance policy.

No Homeowners insurance policy includes flood coverage, though. So if you want or need coverage in case of flooding, contact your independent insurance agent about a flood policy. These are very easy to purchase and, in most cases, very reasonably priced.

If you would like, we’d be happy to refer you to a great independent insurance agent who can make sure you have the coverages you need.

Do you get tired of telling your customers that an appliance breakdown is not a covered claim?   Equipment Breakdown coverage available on selected iMGA Homeowners (HOA/HOA+), TDP1, TDP3 and MobileHome policies is so unexpected and unique that we need to show you examples of the loss scenarios. You can now tell you customers, “yes, this claim is covered!”.

A family of four awakened early to get ready for work and school only to find they had no water! Their home’s water was supplied by an on-site deep-well pump. The service company suspected the 230-volt pump motor short-cir- cuited to ground pulled it from the well to assess its condition. Upon inspec- tion, it was determined the cost to repair the pump was greater than the cost to replace it. This hardworking family was grateful for homeowners equip- ment breakdown coverage. After deductible, the policy paid the $1,260 cost to replace the pump.

A couple welcomed their newborn daughter into the world and looked for- ward to bringing her home. While they had prepared their home for their newest addition, they weren’t prepared for the unexpected failure of the air conditioning system during a heat wave! A service contractor informed the couple the compressor experienced an internal mechanical failure and needed to be replaced. Fortunately, the house was protected by home- owners equipment breakdown coverage, and the policy paid $2,800 after deductible—an unexpected expense the new family was relieved it didn’t have to pay out of pocket.

A gas fired boiler was leaking water. It was determined that the boiler’s low water fuel cut-off failed, causing the boiler to overheat. The boiler could not be repaired due to its age, so replacement was necessary. After the deductible, their Homeowners Equipment Breakdown Insurance paid them $5,200 to replace the boiler.

A 200 amp electrical panel overheated, causing an overload condition which damaged its six circuits. It was determined that the electrical panel needed to be replaced. After the deductible, their Homeowners Equipment Breakdown Insurance paid them $1,625 to replace the panel.

A family’s Central Heating and Air Conditioning system stopped working. Examination of the unit revealed that a power surge had burned out both the compressor and fan motor. The system was replaced as it was not cost effective to repair the old system. After the deductible, their Homeowners Equipment Breakdown Insurance paid them $2,150 to replace the system.

Dad was in the den working on his computer while the kids gathered in the family room to watch a movie. Suddenly, a short-circuit at a nearby substation caused a power surge that damaged their home theater components and the computer. After the deductible, their Homeowners Equipment Breakdown Insurance paid them $1,637 for their loss.

A domestic water 230-volt deep well pump short-circuited to ground. Upon being pulled from the well to determine its condition, it was concluded that cost to repair the motor was greater than the cost of replacement, and their Homeowners Equipment Breakdown Insurance paid $1,850 for replacement and an additional $186 for loss of use after application of the deductible.

An air conditioning system suffered an ice buildup in the evaporator due to a cracked compression fitting. The ice plugged the condensate drain causing water to flow into the control cabinet, short-circuiting the solid state controls for the air conditioning system and furnace. After the deductible, their Homeowners Equipment Breakdown Insurance paid $2,800 to replace the system.

Oh, and the price? It’s $0 – Equipment Breakdown is included automatically – there’s no separate charge!

Don’t get caught without this valuable protection – talk to your Texas Independent Insurance Agent about getting an iMGA policy with Equipment Breakdown coverage. Or if you’d prefer, complete the form and we’ll refer you to the nearest iMGA agent.

If you are a Texas Independent Insurance Agent who does not already represent iMGA and you’d like to be able to offer this coverage to your clients, contact us today.

Mike Gibbs, our Director of Personal Lines, has prepared this comparison of the coverage differences between the Texas and ISO Homeowners policy forms. The comparison is available in four different versions:

  1. Homeowners Comparison Presentation with Notes
  2. Homeowners Comparison Detail with Notes
  3. Homeowners Property Coverage Comparison Table
  4. Homeowners Liability Coverage Comparison Table

Clearly it’s important to work with professionals who really understand Texas property to avoid potential pitfalls that can come from the many differences between the policies. Fortunately we happen to have those. 🙂

Texas weather is VERY hard to predict. In the middle of winter it might be 75 degrees one day and 25 the next. It’s completely normal to have a really nice March that somehow also includes a hard freeze late in the month.

Frozen Roof DamageTexas homeowners need to take precautions to minimize their losses due to freezes. With deductibles that easily exceed $1,000 and the high cost of repairing or replacing damage pipes, building walls and/or floors and contents lost to damage from the water, it’s in everyone’s interest to take preventive actions. Even more important, though, is that many policies don’t cover freezing damage claims. As a professional insurance advisor it’s important that every Texas independent agent know and explain clearly to their customers what is and is not covered.

This isn’t always as easy as it seems. As independent agents you’re able to offer multiple products from many different carriers, each with different optional coverages. This means dozens of potential combinations.

iMGA products offer a range of coverage for freezing or water damage:

  • The Basic HO-A policy does not provide any coverage for water damage or freezing.
  • Our Non-Admitted HOA+ covers freezing and resulting water damage as long as the originating point for the break is above the slab, foundation or surface of the ground (whichever is applicable).
  • Our Admitted HOA+ and our Non-Admitted HOB cover freezing and resulting water damage regardless of the originating point for the break.
  • With iMGA if freezing and resulting water damage is covered there is no sub-limit for the coverage – it’s available up to the applicable building and contents limits.

As you can see, there are a wide range of options. Your other carriers will have even more variations, including what limits may apply if any coverage is available. They may even be using completely different forms. Not everyone will want, need or be able to obtain the most coverage available. The important thing is that you understand the options and communicate them clearly to your clients.

Of course it’s also important they take precautions. Texas weather is, above all, unpredictable and avoiding a potential claim altogether is still the best possible solution.

You might be surprised to learn that there are cases where – even for a homeowner – an iMGA Texas Dwelling Policy (TDP3) with liability coverage added offers more coverage than a Texas Homeowners policy (either HOA or HOA+). As a professional independent insurance agent it is important that you know the differences so you can offer the coverages that best fit your clients’ needs.

Where an iMGA TDP3 Policy is Better

  • Covers all perils not excluded (commonly known as “All risk” or “open perils” coverage) vs. named perils on HOA/HOA+
  • Loss of Use Coverage – 20% vs. 10% for HOA/HOA+.
  • No deductible for Fire and Lightning, and only one deductible. HOA/HOA+ has a deductible on all perils including fire and lightning and a separate deductible for wind and hail losses.
  • Wind-driven rain IS covered. It is not on an HOA/HOA+ policy.
  • There is no coverage for Fire, Lightning and Vandalism and Malicious Mischief after the dwelling has been vacant for 60 days. On an HOA/HOA+ policy there is no coverage for any cause of loss after vacancy for 60 days.
  • There is no subrogation clause. HOA/HOA+ policies do have a subrogation clause.

Where an HOA+ (“HOA Plus”) Policy is Better

  • TDP3 doesn’t provide coverage for business personal property,  property of guests or residence employees away from the premises. HOA/HOA+ policy does except for business personal property.
  • Both provide a 10% extension of personal property off premises. On the TDP3 this is not additional insurance and does not increase the personal property (Coverage B) limit.
  • TDP3 covers only utility failure under Consequential Loss. HOA/HOA+ covers loss due to change in temperature as a direct result of damage to the dwelling, equipment in the dwelling including damage to any power, heating or cooling equipment (including connections and supply pipes not in or on the dwelling under Consequential Loss.
  • HOA/HOA+ provides some Automatic Removal coverage and In-Transit coverage. The TDP3 does not.
  • The TDP3 does not provide glass breakage as a named peril insured against.
  • The TDP3 does not provide any coverage for theft of personal property.

Of course every policy can have unique conditions and endorsements, so it is important that you carefully read and understand all the policy language.

The Texas EliteTM Non-Admitted HOA/HOA+/HOB product offers your customers choices when it comes to deductibles,
including a $1,000 deductible option – even for wind/hail (where applicable)!

More deductible options are important for your clients, especially in these challenging economic times. iMGA is happy to
provide products that make it easier for you to offer your clients the choices they need.

So login now to quote Texas EliteTM or any of our other great Texas Personal Property products
(MobileHome, TDP1/TDP3, HOA/HOA+ and Vacant).

At iMGA we work hard to make things easier for you and your clients.

Hail resistive roof credits are just one of the ways we do that. Metal, Cement Tile, Impact Resistant Composition and many other types of hail resistive roofs are allowed significant discounts in Texas.

Most companies require extensive, difficult-to-acquire documentation before applying a discount for these types of roofs, though.

iMGA will apply a Class 2 credit automatically to any qualifying roof type in our Texas Elite Non-Admitted HOA/HOA+/HOB program. That means a discount of up to 17% (depending on territory) – without any unnecessary paperwork!

So login now to quote any of our great Texas Personal Property programs (MobileHome, TDP1/TDP3, HOA/HOA+, Non-Admitted HOA/HOA+/HOB, and Vacant Dwelling).

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