Below are answers to some of the most commonly asked questions about insurance policies
Specific Hurricane information is listed at the bottom.
What is the difference between Actual Cash Value and Full Replacement cost when it comes to my personal property?
In a “snap-shot” and easy terms:
Cash Value/Depreciated Cost means if you lose a personal item i.e. a couch; insurance companies will depreciate the couch based on the age of the couch and then you receive a fraction of what it is going to cost you to replace it but you’ve been paying less for the coverage. An adjuster will have final say on the amount of the settlement.
Full Replacement Cost means that if you lose a couch, they will pay you what the national wholesale average price is (not retail price) to replace the couch of like, kind, and quality. You get a higher settlement for your loss but you’ve been paying higher premiums for that coverage. An adjuster will have final say on the amount of the settlement.
My policy just renewed, if I change to a different insurance company, can I get my money back?
Absolutely. Carriers will refund what is called “unearned premium”. This is a refund for coverage they haven’t given you yet and is returned to you directly in the form of a refund check. Please be aware that insurance companies will NOT refund your mortgage holder (escrow account) only the insured (you) directly.
What is the “wind inspection” that I have heard about and will it save me money on my premium?
In late 2007, state legislation was passed that required all insurance companies writing businesses in the State of Florida to provide substantial discounts to all homes that have construction features that reduce or lessen the severity of wind damage. However, in order to receive these discounts or credits, the inspection must be done on a specific standardized form and completed by someone authorized to perform the inspection. I would be happy to schedule the inspection for you…just contact me.
If my house “floods” is it covered?
Be careful when you use the word “flood”. If a pipe bursts and “floods” an area of your home causing damage, yes, you are covered but that is not FLOOD damage. It is WATER damage. Flood insurance must be purchased seperately.
What is Flood Insurance?
In simple terms, a “flood” is an excess of water on land that is normally dry. It is defined as a general and temporary condition of partial or complete inundation of 2 or more acres or normaly dry land area or 2 or more properties . i.e. overflow of inland or tidal waters, unusual and rapid accumulation or runoff or surface waters from any source.
It is a federally run program and it is not something you can “shop” for a better price. The rates are set by the government and they are what they are for your home depending on amount of coverage purchased and the flood zone that you are in. If you don’t know if you are in a flood zone area, contact me and I will be happy to run a flood zone determination for you.
My homeowners insurance is paid through my mortgage. How do I handle the switch?
I work directly with all lenders and will handle all aspects of updating the insurance information on your escrow account including processing the payment.
My insurance isn’t due to renew for a few months. Don’t I have to wait till then to switch insurance companies?
No. You may “jump ship” whenever you like. We will help you handle the canceling of your policy and will supply you with all (if any) needed documents so the cancellation and refund goes smoothly
My home is a condo/townhouse and the structure is covered by the Property Owners Association. Why do I need insurance?
The “external” structure ONLY is covered. Any loss to the interior of the dwelling (kitchen cabinets, wall to wall carpeting, closet doors, countertops, etc) are your responsibility. A homeowners policy affords you personal liability and personal property coverage as well.
Do I have to come to your office in order to purchase a policy?
No. I can secure you new coverage using telephone, e-mail, fax, and the good old USPS. We can get everything done! Easy as that!
How does the hurricane deductible work?
All policies have 2 deductibles. The first is identified as “all other peril or “AOP” It is also commonly referred to as the NON-hurricane deductible. The AOP is expressed in a dollar amount and can be anywhere from $500 up to $2500. The AOP deductible is applied for any claim other than hurricane. A policies second deductible for hurricane damage is expressed as a percentage and can be 2%, 5% or 10%. If you have a hurricane claim the first 2% would be your out of pocket before the carrier would pay the claim. If the home is covered for $225,000, then the hurricane out of pocket would be $4500. (225,000 X 2%).
Won’t I lose my “multi-policy discount” with my current company if I move my homeowners policy?
The “discount” ends up being far less than the savings you would recover by moving your homeowners policy to a new homeowners insurance carrier. So you need to ask yourself whether it is really a “discount” if you are paying more when all of the “multi policies” (auto, home, etc) are added together with your current insurance company? That total amount is usually much greater than what you would pay if you “separate” the policies and move your homeowners policy to another insurance company
How do I know if I am getting the best price?
I do not sell for just one insurance company. I have a very long list of potential companies that I use to shop your home to get you the very best price. Be aware that the bottom dollar should not always be your primary concern. You should make sure that your coverage is with an “A” rated, admitted, in-state carrier. There are quite a few small, sub-standard, start-up companies without enough assets opening up every day. They sell price but are they a solid company you can rely on? These are questions that I can help you sort through.
I am buying a home. Can I get a quote on it?
Yes, just go to Quote My Home on the menu and enter as much information about the home that you know and I will take it from there!
Do I have enough coverage? How much coverage should I need?
I will be happy to review your current coverage and run a fair current “replacement cost estimator” for you to be sure your coverage is adequate.
I was insured with Citizens and my policy was sold to another company. Do I have to go with the new company?
No. You may opt not to go with the new company. When you are insured with Citizens, the goal is for you to eventually be moved to a standard market carrier outside the state homeowners insurance pool. You should feel free to shop your home when you get the rollover offer from Citizens. Think of Citizens Property as a temporary place for your home until an insurance market opens up for your home. The insurance companies who purchase your policy from Citizens are referred to as “assumption” companies because they assume blocks of business from Citizens on a regular basis. Be careful, some of those companies can be out of the state.
Did you Know?
The Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Scale is a 1-5 rating based on the hurricane’s present intensity. This is used to give an estimate of the potential property damage and flooding expected along the coast from a hurricane landfall. Wind speed is the determining factor in the scale, as storm surge values are highly dependent on the slope of the continental shelf and the shape of the coastline, in the landfall region. Note that all winds are using the U.S. 1-minute average.
Category One Hurricane:
Winds 74-95 mph (64-82 kt or 119-153 km/hr). Storm surge generally 4-5 ft above normal. No real damage to building structures. Damage primarily to unanchored mobile homes, shrubbery, and trees. Some damage to poorly constructed signs. Also, some coastal road flooding and minor pier damage.
Category Two Hurricane:
Winds 96-110 mph (83-95 kt or 154-177 km/hr). Storm surge generally 6-8 feet above normal. Some roofing material, door, and window damage of buildings. Considerable damage to shrubbery and trees with some trees blown down. Considerable damage to mobile homes, poorly constructed signs, and piers. Coastal and low-lying escape routes flood 2-4 hours before arrival of the hurricane center. Small craft in unprotected anchorages break moorings.
Category Three Hurricane:
Winds 111-130 mph (96-113 kt or 178-209 km/hr). Storm surge generally 9-12 ft above normal. Some structural damage to small residences and utility buildings with a minor amount of curtainwall failures. Damage to shrubbery and trees with foliage blown off trees and large trees blown down. Mobile homes and poorly constructed signs are destroyed. Low-lying escape routes are cut by rising water 3-5 hours before arrival of the center of the hurricane. Flooding near the coast destroys smaller structures with larger structures damaged by battering from floating debris. Terrain continuously lower than 5 ft above mean sea level may be flooded inland 8 miles (13 km) or more. Evacuation of low-lying residences with several blocks of the shoreline may be required.
Category Four Hurricane:
Winds 131-155 mph (114-135 kt or 210-249 km/hr). Storm surge generally 13-18 ft above normal. More extensive curtainwall failures with some complete roof structure failures on small residences. Shrubs, trees, and all signs are blown down. Complete destruction of mobile homes. Extensive damage to doors and windows. Low-lying escape routes may be cut by rising water 3-5 hours before arrival of the center of the hurricane. Major damage to lower floors of structures near the shore. Terrain lower than 10 ft above sea level may be flooded requiring massive evacuation of residential areas as far inland as 6 miles (10 km
Category Five Hurricane:
Winds greater than 155 mph (135 kt or 249 km/hr). Storm surge generally greater than 18 ft above normal. Complete roof failure on many residences and industrial buildings. Some complete building failures with small utility buildings blown over or away. All shrubs, trees, and signs blown down. Complete destruction of mobile homes. Severe and extensive window and door damage. Low-lying escape routes are cut by rising water 3-5 hours before arrival of the center of the hurricane. Major damage to lower floors of all structures located less than 15 ft above sea level and within 500 yards of the shoreline. Massive evacuation of residential areas on low ground within 5-10 miles (8-16 km) of the shoreline may be required. Only 3 Category Five Hurricanes have made landfall in the United States since records began.