Archive for August 2013

Auto Insurance Myths and Realities   Leave a comment

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Myths

Red cars cost more to insure.

Color is not a factor used to calculate car insurance rates — we don’t even ask you what color your car is when you get a quote from us. Factors that do matter are the year, make, model, body type, engine size and age of your car, as well as drivers on your policy.

One speeding ticket will make my car insurance rates go up.

Sometimes this is true, but in many cases, you have to get two tickets before your rate goes up. Your driving history, the length of time you’ve been insured with a company and how fast you were going when you were cited can affect whether your rate increases or not. Keep in mind that a speeding ticket may not be the sole reason your rate increases, as several factors are considered when reviewing them.

Auto insurance rates aren’t regulated, so auto insurance companies can charge what they want.

Each state requires auto insurance companies to file how they calculate customer rates, and insurers cannot deviate from these filed rates. Each state also has regulators who review that information and the rates companies charge.

I only need the bare minimum amount of car insurance.

Many states have minimum car insurance requirements, but the minimum amount of required insurance may not cover all of your costs. If you cause an accident that results in a lawsuit and your insurance limits don’t cover all of the damages, your assets could be pursued.

Cheaper cars cost less to insure.

If your cheaper car has a large engine, weighs a lot or is an unusual model, it might cost more to insure than a more expensive small car. However, if you have a cheaper car, you will pay less for Comprehensive coverage, which covers damage caused by vandalism, hail, fire or animal accidents.

If someone driving my car causes an accident, I won’t be held responsible.

It’s possible you’ll be financially responsible for an accident — even if someone else is driving your car. In most states, the car insurance policy covering the vehicle is considered the primary insurance, which means that the insurance company for the vehicle must pay for damages caused by an accident. Even so, it’s still possible that the driver’s insurance company could be responsible for some of the damages. Why? If the vehicle’s insurance limits are too low and don’t cover all the damages, the driver’s insurance may be next in line to pay for the remainder of the damages.

Since policies and laws differ by state, knowing how your state’s insurance system works could influence who drives your car.

Older cars are cheaper to insure.

Car insurance rates for all vehicles vary depending on several factors, such as who drives a vehicle and its annual mileage. For older vehicles, many drivers choose to carry only Liability (BI/PD) coverage, which covers injury or damage to other people or property, not damage to the insured person or vehicle. Liability only coverage may be cheaper than insuring a vehicle with Liability, Comprehensive and Collision coverage.

My car insurance rates will be higher if I’m a smoker.

Your car insurance rates will not be higher if you smoke — we don’t even ask you if you’re a smoker when you get a quote from us.

My car insurance rates will be similar to my neighbor’s rates.

Car insurance rates are individually determined, so factors such as age, driving record, type of vehicle and marital status are considered. Each person’s situation is unique, and car insurance rates will vary because of this.

Car insurance rates go down dramatically when drivers turn 25.

Younger and older drivers typically have the most car crashes, and customers of different car insurance companies have different claims experiences. When determining auto insurance rates, insurers generally consider a variety of information about you, including age, vehicle information, claims history and the claims experience of other customers like you.

While it’s generally true that rates will go down when you turn 25 if all information about you and your vehicle remains the same, changes in one or more of the other pieces of information used to calculate a rate could lead to you getting a higher, lower or the same rate when you turn 25.

Comprehensive coverage protects drivers in all situations.

Comprehensive coverage is one type of protection available on an auto insurance policy (others being Collision, Uninsured Motorist, etc.). Comprehensive coverage pays only for damage caused by an event other than a collision, including:

  • Fire
  • Theft
  • Vandalism
  • Weather (hail, floods, etc.)
  • Vehicle collisions with animals

I can use Rental Reimbursement coverage to rent a car for my vacation.

Unless your insured car is in the shop as the result of an accident, you won’t be able to use Rental Reimbursement to rent a car for vacation. Depending on the limits you selected when you bought your policy, Rental Reimbursement coverage pays for some or all of the cost of a rental car — but only when your insured car is in the repair shop because of a car accident.

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Realities

People who live in the city pay more to insure their cars than people outside the city.

Within a state, city dwellers usually pay more for car insurance than rural residents. Cities have a higher risk for claims due to more traffic, more people and more theft, which generally means higher car insurance rates.

An accident can make my rates go up, even if it’s not my fault.

Accidents that are your fault have a direct effect on your car insurance rate. Depending on the circumstances, you also may be placed in a group of customers who receive higher rates, even if an accident isn’t your fault.

Anyone who drives my car with my permission is covered if I have insurance.

If you allow someone to drive your car, that person is covered by your insurance policy. Keep in mind that if the person who drives your car doesn’t have insurance and causes an accident, you could be held responsible for the damage, which could make your car insurance rate go up.

Information from my credit report is used when determining my car insurance rate.

Most auto Insurance companies in Florida use what is called an insurance score — this score is used when determining your car insurance rate. We use credit because numerous studies have shown that credit is a very powerful and independent predictor of the likelihood of future accidents or insurance claims. In fact, one company’s data shows that consumers with the worst insurance scores are twice as likely to have an accident or insurance claim as those with the best scores.

“Our blogs are for general education and information only and may not represent your unique needs. Coverages will vary. Please contact your insurance agent to verify your specific policy terms and conditions.”

Some information courtesy of Progressive.

Posted August 27, 2013 by leecountyinsurance in Uncategorized

Driving with Hazard Lights on is Illegal in Florida   Leave a comment

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It has been a big discussion on social media: motorists who use their hazard lights while driving in the rain.

In Florida, it is illegal to drive with your hazard lights. Hazards lights are for stopped vehicles only, officials say. The one situation where Florida drivers are allowed to use their hazards when in motion is when the vehicle is being used in a funeral procession .  

An FHP spokesperson said that flashers are for emergency situations. “First responders look for flashers to see if someone needs help.”

Law enforcement officials say hazard lights can actually reduce visibility making other drivers think you are stopped or stalled.

Other drivers say flashers make it difficult to see when a motorist is tapping the brakes or using a turn signal.  

The FHP spokesperson says if visibility is so bad that you cannot see, pull over in a parking lot, plaza or somewhere safe until conditions improve. 

Florida has a high number of out of state drivers that may not know this law or believe it is acceptable or even helpful to drive with hazard lights on in the rain. If you are one of these drivers or know someone who does this please let them know it is not only illegal according to Florida Statute 316.2397, but its also dangerous.

“Our blogs are for general education and information only and may not represent your unique needs. Coverages will vary. Please contact your insurance agent to verify your specific policy terms and conditions.”

Posted August 26, 2013 by leecountyinsurance in Uncategorized

Hurricane Deductible?   Leave a comment

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Background
A deductible is the amount of money a policyholder pays before their insurance kicks in. Homeowners insurance policies in Florida have two separate deductibles; one for hurricane damage and one for all other perils. Hurricane deductibles are available in many coastal states to help keep private sector property insurance available and affordable by having policyholders share more of the risk with their insurer. Hurricane deductibles apply when there is wind damage to a home in the state as a result of a hurricane that is named by the National Hurricane Center and comes with a hurricane warning.

 

 
Deductible options
Hurricane deductibles are based on the total insured value of the property. Unless homeowners choose a higher amount, a hurricane deductible is $500 for dwellings under $100,000 and 2 percent for dwellings insured for $100,000 or over. Florida statute 627.701 states that insurers must offer hurricane deductibles of $500, 2 percent, 5 percent and 10 percent. Selecting a higher deductible lowers annual premiums, but it increases the amount of money you have to pay before insurance kicks in. An example: For a home insured for $200,000,  a 2 percent deductible means the homeowner pays $4,000 before insurance kicks in.
 
Multiple hurricanes, one deductible
Florida law requires that hurricane deductibles apply on an annual basis to hurricane losses that occur in a calendar year. For that reason, policyholders are encouraged to report all windstorm-related damage as it occurs. If a property is damaged by more than one hurricane in a calendar year, insurers may apply a deductible to the subsequent hurricane that is the greater of the:
·   Remaining amount of the hurricane deductible, or
·   The amount of the deductible that applies to all other perils.
 
Reporting damage from hurricanes that fall under the deductible amount
enables insurers to help policyholders keep track of damage and ensures you
will get fully reimbursed if another hurricane occurs later that year.
 
How to check your deductible
amount
The Declarations Page of your insurance policy lists the dollar amount of your deductible, along with the premium credit you receive for choosing a higher deductible.

“Our blogs are for general education and information only and may not represent your unique needs. Coverages will vary. Please contact your insurance agent to verify your specific policy terms and conditions.”

Posted August 22, 2013 by leecountyinsurance in Uncategorized

Are You Socially Connected?   Leave a comment

Chances are you are a Facebook user, we are too. But we know there are other social media websites. We are excited to now be connected on Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+ and YouTube and of course we are still on Facebook. We invite you to Follow us on all of these social media platforms. You never know which will become your favorite and we wouldn’t want to miss seeing you. Is anybody still using MySpace? Click on the images and they will forward you to our website, then select each social site you want to follow us on.  And don’t forget our Blog also. While your there, why not check out our “Quotes” tab to get a quote on your home or auto insurance.

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Posted August 21, 2013 by leecountyinsurance in Uncategorized

Preparing an Effective Evacuation Plan   Leave a comment

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In the event of a sudden emergency such as a hurricane, you may have just minutes to gather your family and important papers, and get out of your house, possibly for good. Are you prepared? Where would you go? What would you take with you?

With preparation and practice, you stand the best chance of getting out with what you and your family need, and ending up in the right place.

Planning ahead is crucial; this five-step plan can help get you and your family on the road to safety. 

1. Arrange Your Evacuation Ahead of Time 

  • Identify where you can go in the event of an evacuation. Try to have more than one option: the home of a friend or family member in another town, a hotel or a shelter. Keep the phone numbers and addresses of these locations handy.
  • Map out your primary route and a backup route in case roads are blocked or impassable. Make sure you have a map of the area available.
  • In case your family members are separated before or during the evacuation, identify a specific place to meet and ask an out-of-town friend or family member to act as a contact person.
  • Listen to NOAA Weather Radio or local radio or TV stations for evacuation instructions. If advised to evacuate, do so immediately. 

2. Create a Home Inventory 

A home inventory will help ensure that you have purchased enough insurance to replace your personal possessions. It can also speed the claims process and substantiate losses for income tax purposes. A detailed home inventory is also helpful should you need to apply for disaster aid.

To make creating a home inventory easier, the I.I.I. provides free Web-based software at KnowYourStuff.org. Know Your Stuff allows you to organize easily and list your possessions, as well as add digital photographs of your valuables and upload scanned receipts. The program provides free, secure storage of your inventory on Amazon Web Services. Storing your inventory online gives you the ability to access it from any computer in the event your own computer is damaged or destroyed. 

3. Plan What to Take 

  • Medicines, prescriptions and first aid kit
  • Bottled water
  • Clothing and bedding (sleeping bags, pillows)
  • Flashlight, battery-powered radio and extra batteries
  • Special items for infants or elderly or disabled family members
  • Computer hard drive or laptop
  • Photographs
  • Pet food and other items for pets (litter boxes, leashes) 

4. Gather Important Documents 

Keep important documents in a safe place that you can access easily. In the event of an evacuation take the following documents with you: 

  • Insurance policies
  • Prescriptions
  • Birth and marriage certificates
  • Passports
  • Drivers license or personal identification
  • Social Security cards
  • Recent tax returns
  • Employment information
  • Wills, deeds and recent tax returns
  • Stocks, bonds and other negotiable certificates
  • Bank, savings and retirement account numbers
  • Home inventory 

5. Take the Ten-Minute Challenge 

To find out if you are ready, do a real-time test. Give yourself just 10 minutes to get your family and belongings into the car and on the road to safety. By planning ahead and practicing, you should be able to gather your family members and pets, along with the most important items they will need, calmly and efficiently, with a minimum of stress and confusion.

“Our blogs are for general education and information only and may not represent your unique needs. Coverages will vary. Please contact your insurance agent to verify your specific policy terms and conditions.”

Will My Policy Cover Trees and the Damage They Cause if They Fall? It Depends….   Leave a comment

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Does my insurance cover damage from falling trees?

A homeowners insurance policy covers two types of damage associated with trees: damage to your insured property (casualty damage) and damage for which you are responsible (liability).
 
For example, if a tree in your yard fell onto the roof of your home, your homeowners insurance policy would pay to repair the damage and remove the tree.
 

What if my neighbor’s tree falls on my house? 

It doesn’t matter who owns the tree. If there is damage to your property, your insurance policy would cover the loss. However, if the tree that toppled over was diseased or tilting severely and should have been removed or trimmed before the damage occurred, the neighbor could be held liable. Your insurance company will generally pay for your damage and then try to recover the money they paid from the neighbor who owned the tree.

What happens if a tree falls in my yard but does not hit anything?

Homeowners insurance policies cover real property. If nothing that was insured was damaged, there is no coverage. That means removing the tree would be done at your expense. This is why homeowners are encouraged to inspect the trees surrounding their homes to be sure they are properly maintained and are healthy enough to stand up to high winds. If a hurricane strikes and many trees are damaged, it may take a while before a crew could reach you – and when the demand is high and resources are limited, the costs of services such as tree removal are often higher.
 
If the tree hits my shed or fence, is it covered by insurance? 
 
Yes, and you should review the Other Structures section of your homeowners insurance policy to learn what the policy limits are for this coverage.  Repairs to a shed or fence are covered up to the policy limit, but if the repairs and cost of getting the tree off the damaged structure exceed the limits, there is typically additional coverage available for removing the debris, usually with a 5 percent cap. For example, if you have $10,000 in coverage for Other Structures, your insurer will pay a maximum of $10,500 for repairs and tree removal.
 
Why won’t my insurance pay to remove a damaged tree that is leaning toward my home? 
 
There is no coverage if the tree has not damaged insured property. An insurance policy covers damage, not the threat of damage. A homeowner insurance policy is not a home maintenance policy. Learning to recognize tree hazards will prevent damage from worsening and could protect your landscaping.
 
Is there another way to cover my expenses from tree removal if my insurance doesn’t cover it?

Typically, losses not covered by insurance or other means can be deducted as a casualty loss on an individual’s federal income taxes. Talk to your tax professional or review IRS publications on calculating casualty losses. The IRS defines a casualty loss as an “identifiable event that is sudden, unexpected, or unusual.”
 
“Our blogs are for general education and information only and may not represent your unique needs. Coverages will vary. Please contact your insurance agent to verify your specific policy terms and conditions.”

Posted August 20, 2013 by leecountyinsurance in General Info, Homeowners

12 Terrible Pieces of Insurance Advice   Leave a comment

Not all advice is good advice. Here are some common bits of insurance wisdom that, it turns out, aren’t so wise after all.

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When you have an insurance claim, the last thing you want to discover is that you didn’t buy the right coverage. While it’s easy to point the finger at agents, coverage gaps could be a two-way street.

Sometimes friends and family members offer bad advice, including tenuous, illogical and even illegal strategies, hoping to save you a few bucks. But the eventual losses can be huge.

“When people shop for insurance, a lot of times they’re looking for the best deal,”.

No. 1: Lock up all insurance policies and other important documents in a safe deposit box

Do not keep your life insurance policy in a safe deposit box. If yours is the only name on the safe deposit box, no one but the executor of your will can get into it without Power of Attorney. If your life insurance policy is locked in there, your beneficiaries will have to wait until the estate is opened by a government entity and an executor is appointed.

If you want the assurance of having important documents locked up, buy a fire-safe box.

“Just make sure documents aren’t stored in a place where they can be lost in a flood or fire,” With today’s technology, there’s no excuse not to scan everything and create electronic copies of important papers that can be put on disks or in other storage devices.

No. 2: You don’t need flood, earthquake or other disaster insurance

If an earthquake destroys your home, you won’t recover a penny unless you have an earthquake insurance policy. The same rule applies to floods.

Decisions about flood insurance should be based on your proximity to a body of water that could overflow, not whether the area flooded before. On the plus side, if you’re in a low-risk area, your policy will cost less while still providing the maximum protection.

“Floods occur in all 50 states, and in many cases flood damage happens in areas that aren’t high-risk flood zones.”

No. 3: Renter’s insurance is a waste of money

Many renters mistakenly assume that their belongings are covered under the landlord’s policy. Not the case! If some calamity were to occur, such as a fire, your landlord’s insurance won’t cover the contents in your apartment, nor will it pay for you to live in a temporary space while your place is uninhabitable.

If someone is injured while visiting you and sues you, your landlord’s insurance won’t cover that either.

No. 4: Get the best rate even if you have to lie a little

It might be tempting to fudge the truth on a life insurance application, especially if you have a serious health condition. “Don’t do it,” Not only is it insurance fraud and a felony in most states, but it could prevent your beneficiaries from receiving the death benefit.

No. 5: Base your home insurance policy on the real estate value of your home

Experts recommend setting the structural limit of a home insurance policy on what it would cost to rebuild the home if it were destroyed, not the real estate value. Trouble is, the rebuilding cost is a subjective number.

“Many agents use online tools to estimate the rebuild value, but those tools can be misleading,” It’s more important to talk to a contractor and find out what the local costs are for your home’s particular type of construction, whether it’s in a tract home or custom construction.

No. 6: Set your dwelling limit low

Some insurance agents try to give customers the lowest premium possible in order to close the sale.

“One of the ways they’re doing it is by underestimating the value of the dwelling and slapping a 100 percent extended coverage endorsement on the policy,” explains Bach. “Most policies have four separate categories of coverage: 1) Dwelling. 2) Contents. 3) Other structures. 4) Additional living expenses. Three of the four pay a percentage of the dwelling, so if you lowball the dwelling value because you have 100 percent extended coverage endorsement, you’ll be underinsured for your contents, other structures and additional living expenses.”

The other problem is that most insurance companies either no longer offer the extended coverage option or they cap the additional coverage at 25% above what you actually purchased.

No. 7: Purchase the state minimum coverage for auto insurance

Many drivers buy the minimum coverage their state law requires for auto insurance.

“In Florida that minimum was set in 1972” A lot has changed since then. So when you look at your auto policy, understand that if you’re only getting what’s mandated by law, you may be woefully unable to pay any kind of a claim.

The limit on liability for property damage in California is $10,000. That can be exhausted quickly, even with just a fender bender.

For personal injury to you, the limit per accident in Florida is $10,000.  For injuries you cause to someone else, Florida says you only need $10,000 of Bodily Injury coverage and to make it worse, they don’t require you to have it in the form of insurance. The other driver could “self insure” for the $10,000 under the financial responsibility provision in the law. This is where you need uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage to protect you against those drivers that don’t carry Bodily Injury coverage or don’t have the money to self-insure.

“If your policy has a $10,000 limit on Bodily Injury and the medical expenses of the person you hit is $100,000, you’re on the hook for that $90,000.”

No. 8: Ignore uninsured motorists coverage

Protection against underinsured and uninsured motorists is an important add-on policy for anyone who spends a lot of time on congested roads.

“If you drive frequently in a city where there’s a lot of traffic, your odds of having an accident with someone who isn’t covered rise.” The added protection can be invaluable. In Florida it is estimated that over 30% of the drivers do not carry the Bodily Injury coverage to protect you and nearly 50% are underinsured.

No. 9: List your vacation home as your primary address on your auto insurance

The ZIP code of your vacation home might qualify you for better car insurance rates than your primary address. But don’t lie about the principal place where your car is garaged.

“If you have a loss and your insurer finds out, they may delay your claim settlement or take other adverse action.” Most people don’t grasp the concept that insurers want to know about the risks they’re undertaking, and if you mislead them there can be serious consequences.

No. 10: Drain your retirement accounts to fund a life insurance policy

You should never stop contributing to your 401k because an agent tells you to put that money into a life insurance policy.

“Funding a tax savings retirement account should come before you buy anything except term life insurance, which is quite competitive (in pricing).” “Buy enough life insurance to protect your family, but fund all retirement accounts that save on taxes first.”

No. 11: It’s no problem to take cash out of a permanent life insurance policy

“Agents often mislead people about cash value policies, saying you can borrow on it later to fund a college tuition or retirement.” But if you take the cash out, you won’t have the insurance.

Withdrawals from cash value reduce the coverage amount.

Also, unless you’re young and you’re putting a lot of money in an insurance policy, it’s not going to develop enough cash for you to take money out and still have adequate coverage.

“You have to be 100% sure you’re happy with the policy indefinitely.”

No. 12: Term life insurance policies are always the best choice

“Most people die without insurance.” “If you’re in your 50s or 60s and you want a burial policy, don’t buy term insurance. That’s not the purpose of term insurance.” If, on the other hand, you have young kids and a mortgage on your house, buying term insurance makes sense.

“Our blogs are for general education and information only and may not represent your unique needs. Coverages will vary. Please contact your insurance agent to verify your specific policy terms and conditions.”

Posted August 19, 2013 by leecountyinsurance in Uncategorized

Swimming Pool Safety   Leave a comment

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Whether you have a luxury in-ground pool, or plan to blow up an inflatable kiddie pool, it is important to consider the safety implications. 

There are an estimated 7.4 million swimming pools and five million hot tubs in residential or public use in the United States, according to theCenters for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Furthermore, there are over 3,400 fatal unintentional drownings in the United States each year, with more than one out of five drowning victims being a child 14 years old or younger, according to the CDC.

The I.I.I. suggests taking the following steps if you own or are considering purchasing a pool or spa:
  • Contact your town or municipality
    Each town will have its own definition of what constitutes a “pool”, often based on its size and the depth of the water. If the pool you are planning to buy meets the definition, then you must comply with local safety standards and building codes. This may include installing a fence of a certain size, locks, decks and pool safety equipment.
  • Call your insurance agent or company representative
    Let your insurance company know that you have a pool, since it will increase your liability risk. Pools are considered an “attractive nuisance” and it may be advisable to purchase additional liability insurance. Most homeowners policies include a minimum of $100,000 worth of liability protection. Pool owners, however, may want to consider increasing the amount to at least $300,000 or $500,000. You may also want to talk to your agent or company representative about purchasing an umbrella liability policy. For an additional premium of about $200 to $300 a year, you can get $1 million of liability protection over and above what you have on your home. If the pool itself is expensive, you should also have enough insurance protection to replace it in the event it is destroyed by a storm or other disaster. And, don’t forget to include the chairs, tables or other furniture around the pool deck.

If you have a pool, the I.I.I.  recommends taking the following safety precautions:

 
  1. Install a four-sided barrier such as a fence with self closing gates to completely surround the pool. If the house forms the fourth side of the barrier, install alarms on doors leading to the pool area to prevent children from wandering into the pool or spa unsupervised. In addition to the fences or other barriers required by many towns, consider creating several “layers of protection” around the pool, in other words setting up as many barriers (door alarms, locks and safety covers) as possible to the pool area when not in use.
  2. Never leave small children unsupervised—even for a few seconds. And never leave toys or floats in the pool when not in use as they may prove to be a deadly temptation for toddlers trying to reach them who might then fall into the pool.
  3. Keep children away from pool filters and other mechanical devices as the suction force may injure them or prevent them from surfacing. In case of an emergency, know how to shut off these devices and clearly post this information so others can do so too.
  4. Ask if pool users know how to swim. Learners should be accompanied by a good swimmer. If you have children, have them take swimming lessons as early as possible. And, do not allow anyone to swim alone.
  5. Check the pool area regularly for glass bottles, toys or other potential accident hazards. Also, keep CD players, radios and other electrical devices away from pools or nearby wet surfaces.
  6. Limit alcohol use around the pool, as drinking alcoholic beverages negatively impacts balance, coordination and judgment—and its effects are further heightened by sun exposure and heat. The CDC reports that alcohol use is involved in up to half of adolescent and adult deaths associated with water recreation.
  7. Clearly post emergency numbers on the phone, in the event of an accident. Keep a first aid kit, ring buoys and reaching poles near the pool. You may also want to consider learning basic water rescue skills, including first aid and CPR training. For additional information, contact the American Red Cross.

“Our blogs are for general education and information only and may not represent your unique needs. Coverages will vary. Please contact your insurance agent to verify your specific policy terms and conditions.”

Posted August 12, 2013 by leecountyinsurance in Uncategorized

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Know Your Coverage   Leave a comment

The coverages on your homeowners insurance policy may seem like alphabet soup: A, B, C, D, E…. What are the coverages, and why are they important? Here’s a quick summary.

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Coverage A: Anything involving the physical structure of your home, generally termed “dwelling.”

Coverage B: Other structures that are not directly attached to your home, such as a separate garage, shed, or fence.

Coverage C: In a word, the “contents” of your home. If you flipped your house upside down, everything that fell would be contents. It is all the items that are not attached, or built-in, to your home.

Coverage D: If you have to live elsewhere temporarily due to covered damage to your home, you will need this coverage for your additional living expenses.

Check with your insurance agent to be sure that you have adequate coverage, and that your policy has been updated to include recent home improvements or high-value items. Your agent has access to Replacement Cost Estimate (RCE) software that can help in estimating whether or not your current Coverage A amount is adequate.

A complete home inventory will help you find out if your contents (Coverage C) amount is adequate, or if you need to purchase additional coverage for some items. Here are some examples: your new diamond anniversary ring; great-grandma’s antique silver service and china set; the mini music recording studio in your garage; or the coin collection you recently inherited from your great-uncle. After you finish your home inventory, or if you have questions during the process, check with your insurance agent to be sure that your policy includes the coverage you need.

“Other structures,” Coverage B, is often the most confusing. Most commonly, other structures are defined as those which are “set apart from the dwelling by a clear space.” Example: A fence that is not attached to the dwelling is generally included under Coverage B (Other Structures), but if the fence is attached to your house, it is considered part of Coverage A (Dwelling). Is your garage separated from your house, or attached? Is your workshop a stand-alone building in your backyard, or part of the garage attached to your house?

If you spent all spring building a new gazebo in the middle of your back yard or redecorating your stand-alone pool cabana, check with your insurance agent to find out if you are covered. The cost of other structures, such as pool decks and screen enclosures, can add up quickly, so you want to be sure they are included under the Coverage B portion of your policy. You may also want to ask you agent about adding an Emerald Endorsement to your Tower Hill policy, or a Personal Articles Floater (PAF) for high-value items.

 Information Courtesy of Tower Hill Insurance
 
“Our blogs are for general education and information only and may not represent your unique needs. Coverages will vary. Please contact your insurance agent to verify your specific policy terms and conditions.”

Posted August 7, 2013 by leecountyinsurance in Uncategorized

How to Create a Home Inventory   Leave a comment

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Would you be able to remember all the possessions you have accumulated over the years if they were destroyed by a fire or other disaster?

 
Having an up-to-date home inventory will help you get your insurance claim settled faster, verify losses for your income tax return and help you purchase the correct amount of insurance.
 
Start by making a list of your possessions, describing each item and noting where you bought it and its make and model. Clip to your list any sales receipts, purchase contracts, and appraisals you have. For clothing, count the items you own by category (pants, coats, shoes, for example), making notes about those that are especially valuable. For major appliances and electronic equipment, record the serial numbers, which are usually found on the back or bottom.
 
  • Don’t be put off!  
    If you are just setting up a household, starting an inventory list can be relatively simple. If you’ve been living in the same house for many years, however, the task of creating a list can be daunting. Still, it’s better to have an incomplete inventory than nothing at all. Start with recent purchases, then try to remember what you can about older possessions.
  • Big ticket items  
    Valuable items like jewelry, art work and collectibles may have increased in value since you received them. Check with your agent to make sure that you have adequate insurance for these items. They may need to be insured separately and it is important that your insurance company know about these items before there is a loss.
  • Take a picture 
    You can also take pictures of rooms and important individual items to have a visual record of your belongings. On the back of the photos, note what is shown and where you bought it or the make. Don’t forget things that are in closets or drawers. If you use your phone or a digital camera, you may also be able to add a description of the item when saving the photo.
  • Videotape it  
    Walk through your house or apartment videotaping and describing the contents. Or do the same thing using a tape recorder. This can be useful for items such as clothing or kitchenware. You can simply open a kitchen shelf or closet and describe the contents. For instance, in the kitchen, it would be sufficient to state that you have a set of dishes for 12 that includes a dinner plate, salad plate, etch with when and where it was purchased
  • Create a digital record  
    Use your computer or mobile device to make your inventory list. There are many software options and mobile apps that can help you create a room-by-room record of your belongings. To make creating your inventory as easy as possible, the I.I.I. offers free Web-based home inventory software, Know Your Stuff® – Home Inventory. The software includes secure online storage so you can access your inventory anywhere, anytime. You can also download the Know Your Stuff app in the iTunes App Store (or search for “iii inventory”) or from Google Play. Information about your belongings can be entered either through the mobile app or online and your data will automatically synchronize between the two. All of your information will be kept in your personal, password protected account, on Amazon secure servers. And, like the online version, the Know Your Stuff® app is free of charge. 

 

STORING YOUR LIST 

Regardless of how you do it (written list, photos, computer hard drive, flash-drive, or in the cloud), keep a record of your inventory. If it is a physical document, store it along with the receipts in your safe deposit box or at a friend’s or relative’s home. If it is a digital file, make sure to back it up and keep a copy on an external drive or online storage account. That way it will be easily available to give your insurance representative if your home is damaged. When you make a significant purchase, add the information to your inventory while the details are fresh in your mind.

“Our blogs are for general education and information only and may not represent your unique needs. Coverages will vary. Please contact your insurance agent to verify your specific policy terms and conditions.”

Posted August 6, 2013 by leecountyinsurance in Uncategorized

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