We recommend that you review your current policies at least once a year, and we can help you with that process. There may be gaps in your coverage that need to be filled or rate increases that should be addressed. With the ever-changing landscape of insurance and carriers not renewing homes with old roofs in central Florida, it is more important than ever to stay on top of your coverage. Check out our Hometown Connection Newsletter for more tips on this and other insurance questions.
Both admitted, and non-admitted insurance companies must apply to the Office of Insurance Regulation to write insurance in the state of Florida. As part of that application, they go through a rigorous vetting process. However, to be approved within the admitted market, the carrier must adhere to state regulations. For example, when admitted carriers change their rate, coverage, and policy language, they must file them and receive approval from the state. In exchange for their compliance with regulation, the admitted insurance company is protected by the Florida Guaranty Association (FIGA), which provides a safety net for policyholders in the event a claim is filed with an insolvent insurance company.
A non-admitted company, on the other hand, has more flexibility with rates, coverage, and policy language, but they are NOT protected by (FIGA). For this reason, an agent must attempt to place coverage with an admitted carrier before considering a non-admitted option.
Excess liability and umbrella coverage are types of insurance that provide additional protection beyond the limits of the primary liability policies. The difference lies in the additional coverage they offer. An excess liability policy mirrors the underlying policy but provides higher coverage limits. An umbrella policy is designed to pick up where the underlying liability insurance policies leave off and not only increase coverage limits but also provide a broader, more flexible form of coverage.
The short answer to this question is to call your insurance provider before you sign anything! An assignment of benefits, or AOB for short, is an agreement that gives a third party (typically a contractor or service provider) the ability to directly bill and receive payment from the insurance company for services rendered. Initially, this may sound like a relief, but many service providers take advantage of the situation. When a service provider can file a claim on your behalf, make decisions about repairs, and collect insurance payments from your insurance company directly, it gives way to insurance fraud. For this reason, Florida passed reform bill HB7065 in 2019 to curb the abuse of AOB practices minimizing the risk of signing away your rights to the wrong party. Although the claims process may seem tedious, the key takeaway here is that speaking to your insurance provider directly avoids the risk of being taken advantage of. Give us a call. We will always have your best interest at heart. Quick tip – the Better Business Bureau is an excellent resource for finding accredited and rated service/repair companies in your area. Visit www.bbb.org for more information.
A good question to ask the current homeowner is their insurance claims history for the property. Reason being when insurance companies evaluate the risk for underwriting eligibility, they consider the individual’s profile as well as the profile of the house. A house with prior claims or losses has a greater likelihood of experiencing yet another claim; as such, it may be less desirable for an insurance company to insure. Carriers often want to know that prior damage has been professionally repaired and the property is in good condition. So, before signing the dotted line, it’s a great idea to get those details from the current homeowner.
While some may believe that flood risk only exists when living in a “Special Flood Hazard Area,” studies show that 25 percent of all flood claims come from moderate- to low-risk areas. Even though it is called the Sunshine State, Florida experiences several hurricanes and tropical storms yearly, putting its residents in danger of flood damage. Most homeowners insurance policies don’t cover floods, so flood insurance is a separate policy that protects your home in the case the groundwater rises and floods your home. Before disaster strikes, we recommend you speak with one of our qualified Risk Consultants to look into the possibility of obtaining a flood policy. After all, 40 percent of all natural catastrophes involve flooding.
We recommend contacting someone from our agency first if you have any doubts about the damage to your home. We are an independent agency, which means we house your policies and provide you with service, but we are not the carrier. While the seemingly better option is to call the carrier directly, whether you intend to file a claim or not, the carrier is obligated to open a claim on your behalf. By speaking to us first, you will receive informative advice and guidance regarding your specific situation, which may very well have a solution outside of filing a claim. Our Claim Advocates are happy to assist you!
After purchasing a homeowners policy, it may seem odd that your home’s coverage limits are higher or lower than its estimated market value. But your property’s insured value is based on the amount your home would cost to rebuild (replacement cost), not the market value. Replacement Cost is the amount it would take to repair or rebuild your home at the current prices of construction and materials needed, including the cost of debris removal. Market Value is the amount your home is worth on the housing market, which is influenced by the home’s location appeal, the land on which it’s built, and the amount other homes in the area are sold for. If you’re still in doubt, connect with one of our risk consultants if you want to dig into how replacement cost is calculated.
The simple answer is YES! Water claims are widespread and, oddly enough, completely avoidable with water leak detection systems. Water leak detection systems monitor the regular flow of water through your home’s pipelines. When an abnormal water flow is detected, it is flagged, and the flow is immediately stopped before costly damage can occur. These systems include real-time smartphone app alerts, so you can know your home is safe even when you’re away. Most leak detection systems require a licensed professional to install them, and the prices may vary, but the protection is well worth the investment.
Yes, it is common and normal to see an increase in your premium each year. A few contributing factors include the age and location of the home, claim history, and replacement cost. Other factors that recently influenced the rate fluctuation include inflation and the detrimental effects of fraudulent claims and roofing scams. If you see a significant increase in your premium, contact one of our risk consultants. We can help you understand the changes in rate and explore any alternatives that may fit you best.
Most insurance carriers do not offer a grace period. It is crucial to mark your calendars at the time of your policy renewal to avoid losing coverage or scrambling to reinstate a policy. You are always welcome to stop into one of our eight office locations or give us a call to make sure you know exactly when and how you should pay your renewal premium.
Homeowners insurance covers the water damage caused by hot water heaters but doesn’t cover the cost of replacing the appliance itself. Moreover, the carrier may deny your claim if you own a hot water heater that is past the recommended replacement age and the damages were caused by outdated hardware. On average, hot water heaters have a 12-year lifespan, so be sure to keep note of the year and stay on top of repairs to save you money in the long run.
Yes! We partner with Hagerty to offer insurance solutions specifically for classic cars. They boast a 34 percent lower average premium than daily driver insurance. Hagerty’s industry-leading tools help determine an accurate value of your classic car to ensure you will be paid every cent of your car’s value in the unfortunate event of a covered total loss. Ready to review coverage options for your classic car? Reach out to one of our Risk Consultants.
Several factors can contribute to the estimated market value of your collector car, including supply and demand, historical sale prices, and a review of current asking prices on available inventory. Although these channels are helpful benchmarks for determining your vehicle’s market value, using multiple valuation sources will guarantee a better estimate. Sites like CollectorCarMarket.com and CAARGUIDE.com offer free value guides/tools to help you determine the value of your vehicle. As always, our Risk Consultants are available to assist you during your research and to ensure you are adequately protected. Reach out to one of our collector car coverage professionals today for a complimentary consultation.
Insurance companies look at numerous factors to calculate how much you will pay for your auto insurance. Some factors include your chosen deductibles, what you drive, how often and how far you drive in a year, where you live, your driving record, your credit history, and your age, gender, and marital status. But don’t let this intimidate you. There are also various ways to help lower auto insurance premiums, such as telematics programs. Now available through many of our carriers, these programs consist of a small system or application that collects information about your mileage and driving habits. Combining your auto insurance with purchasing a home policy, otherwise known as bundling, is another way to cut costs. Be sure to speak to your Risk Consultant to explore your options. They will review your current situation and coverage details, checking to see if other discounts or reasonable options are available to help lower your costs—ensuring you settle in with a policy best for you and your situation.
There has been an uptick in questionable auto glass claims due to Assignment of Benefits (AOB) issues. AOB is a legal process allowing policyholders to sign their insurance benefits to a third party in exchange for a quick repair. Many policyholders who sign AOB agreements do so to avoid dealing with the repair or claim themselves; however, the promise of a windshield repair may lead to inflated and fraudulent auto insurance glass claims. The best advice we can give is to ignore the incentives offered for signing an AOB and speak to a licensed insurance professional before proceeding with an auto glass claim.
Although you may have physical damage on your personal auto insurance policy, that coverage does not typically transfer to a vehicle you rent or borrow. Your safest option is to purchase the collision damage waiver (CDW) or loss damage waiver (LDW) the rental car company offers. The CDW or LDW is an optional damage coverage that waives your financial responsibility for any loss or damage incurred to the rental vehicle while in your possession. In your rental agreement, this coverage is commonly offered to you for an additional daily charge, separate from supplemental liability insurance. As part of your rental agreement, you can be held responsible for more than just the damage to the car. If the vehicle is out of service for an undetermined amount of time due to repairs, you would be responsible for the lost rental revenue, and those charges can add up. In this scenario, we think it’s better to be safe than sorry.
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Long-term care insurance, or LTC, is coverage designed for those with chronic conditions who cannot independently care for themselves. At-home care or assisted living accommodations become a necessity when activities that most people can do independently, such as bathing, dressing, eating, and toileting, are too challenging to execute. This type of care can often be very costly; as years go by, that cost just continues to increase. Medical insurance and/or Medicare does not cover the cost of this specialized care; therefore, considering LTC insurance is incredibly important to include in your retirement planning. A member of our Financial Services Group is available to assist you with finding a plan that fits your specific needs at a reasonable cost. In the end, this will save you time and unwanted expenses. Our review will be personalized with options presented to meet your individual needs.