Pitfalls and Pratfalls of Homeowners Insurance

Ok, so you’ve purchased a Home in South Florida and now you’re ready to get that home insured. But first you have to tackle the craziest Homeowners Insurance Market in America. We’re in America’s “Hurricane Alley” and out of necessity the “Rules are Different Here”. The same goes if your premium just went sky high or you have been dropped from your current company….we can help!!!

So forget what you know about Single Family Residence Homeowners Insurance from up north and keep these tips handy when shopping.

  1. Everything starts with what we call “The Rebuild Cost” of the home…NOT the MARKET VALUE…why…Market Values include the land the home sits on…we do not insure the LAND…just the HOME!! Perfect example: I have insured a home on AIA in Palm Beach….the home sits almost an acre of prime Beach Front Real Estate…and could be sold for over 2.5 million dollars. But, the home is a 1700 Square Foot home built in 1967. It’s currently Insured for $300,000. By Florida Law, once you buy a policy through ABC Company…that company is Guaranteeing (BY LAW) that they will REBUILD your home, back to the way it was, should it be flattened/destroyed for any reason. Obviously if we can get ABC Insurance Company to agree that the Rebuild Cost of a Home is $250,000 instead of $300,000 the Consumer gets a better price.
  2. You MUST have a current Wind Mitigation Inspection. These (roof only) inspections tell the insurance company when and how your roof was put on. Every time we go through a hurricane the Florida Building Code changes to make your roof stronger. The newer the roof, the tougher the Building Code and the lower your premium will be. That is what a Wind Mitigation Inspection tells the Insurance companies. If you are purchasing a home that is 25 years or older you should also get a 4-Point Inspection. This tells the insurance company about your electrical, plumbing, HVAC, water heater and roof.
  3. Do you need Replacement Cost for your Personal Property? You have a choice every time you buy a policy…do you want to Cover your Personal Property (furniture, dishes, clothes, TVs, Computers, etc) with Today’s Replacement Cost or a Depreciated Value? I look at this way:  Would I insure a 10 year old Car the same way I would a NEW car? NO!!! Your furniture could be looked at the same way. My advice would be that if the bulk of your furniture is more than 10 years old that’s the time to think about NOT paying for this benefit (which if your home is insured for $500,00 or over could cost as much as $1500 per year). BUT…this is also something that requires a lot of thought and if you wish to talk to me directly…I’m always available to help you decide.
  4. MOST IMPORTANTLY you have to be working with an agent who can offer you MORE than one insurance company. When you work with me, I have at multiple options at my fingertips and can offer as many as 15 different companies for your individual home insurance. These options can help me customize your policy to give you exactly what you want while getting you the lowest price.
  5. Does your Agent have experience?  I can tell you that as an experienced agent (I’m doing this for over 12 years) this is one tough business. Companies change things on a regular basis, the laws change almost every year and it is our job to guide you through the maze of requirements and policy language.
  6. Be Proactive. When your premium goes up ask your agent to check the market to see if it is still competitive. If he won’t do it…I WILL!! That’s what we are here for!
  7. Take the First Florida Quote Challenge…go ahead…push the link…it’s safe and secure and just might save you a bundle.

You can always call me to discuss your situation and I’ll be happy to help you find the best policy based on your needs.

Woody Lifton