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Archive for the ‘ Homeowners Insurance ’ Category

Spring Cleaning Tips For Homeowners

Spring Clean Like A Pro and Avoid These Common Insurance Claims

As you start to sort through the clutter of your spring cleaning checklist, be sure to include a few valuable points that improve the quality of your home as well as protect against potential disaster. Most claims for homeowners insurance in Florida can be avoided with a little wise preparation.

Clear Away Lint

The vent hose on the back of your dryer needs to be thoroughly cleaned out at least once a year. Otherwise, the accumulating lint becomes a disastrous fire hazard. A single spark will ignite a highly flammable lint collection and quickly engulf an entire house, making dryer vents a common although easily preventable cause for Florida homeowners insurance claims.

Now is also a great time to also check air filters and any other parts of the house that collect debris or lint. 

Make a Quick Safety Check

smoke detectorCheck smoke alarms and CO detectors to ensure that they are functioning properly and have fresh, fully charged batteries. Also, make sure you have an accessible and working fire extinguisher on every level of your home. Preventative measures like these are easily overlooked and forgotten especially after years without use, but a routine annual check could spare you from disaster.

Schedule a Maintenance Checkup

Many local professionals in the area will happily provide routine maintenance checks at little to no cost. Also, some providers of homeowners insurance in Florida offer discounts and lowered rates for homes that are regularly maintained. Contact each of the following contractors to eliminate common household risks with a thorough inspection:

  • HVAC Technician to inspect your ductwork and air conditioning unit
  • Plumber to inspect water heater and pipes
  • Roofer to check for damaged shingles or potential weak spots
  • Electrician to inspect wiring and outlets
  • Pest Control to protect against potential invasions

Take a Home Inventory

Many claims for Florida homeowners insurance involve theft and vandalism, especially during Spring Break and Summer holidays when your home is more likely to be vacant. Before you endure the stress of painstakingly attempting to asses the value of your lost goods, make a comprehensive catalog of your valuables. Most insurers provide simple phone apps that allow you to save and record pictures and details, eliminating the time-wasting hassle of recovery.

Prep for the Next Coming Storm

The exterior of your house requires as much attention to safety as the interior. Because Florida is consistently prone to inclement weather and damaging storms, it is wise to take precautions against natural disaster.  Take the time to ensure that your home is prepared for floods, rain, and strong winds that are most detrimental to the property.

Make certain that your yard is clear of dead branches or any potential debris that may become a projectile during hurricane force winds. Keep trees well pruned and maintained, and clear your gutters and drains of any collected dirt. Furthermore, check the caulking and seals around windows and doors to ensure against leaks before rain falls.

Safety Tips To Avoid Insurance Claims

Road Sign about distracted drivers

Every claim you make to your auto insurance or Florida homeowners insurance is a potential increase in your premium. Car insurance in Florida quickly increases in cost even for minor claims. Practice these easy and convenient habits to reduce the risk of a possible catastrophe.

Road Safety

80 percent of vehicular accidents and even close calls are the direct result of a driver being distracted. Cell phones, in particular, are said to be as detrimental to a driver as alcohol impairment, and rates for car insurance in Florida skyrocketing if you are at fault texting and driving. Save all texts, drive through meals, and phone calls for the end of your trip.

To guarantee your focus, always be in a driving frame of mind when you get behind the wheel. Never drive when tired, angry, crying, intoxicated, or medicated. All of these conditions will impair your judgment and set you up for driving that is erratic and dangerous. 

Travel Safety

Long road trips become particularly dangerous when drivers succumb to highway hypnosis. Focusing on the same spot for an extended length of time is difficult, and even the most experienced drivers experience fatigue behind the wheel. Play music or roll the windows down to keep you in the moment. Above all, if you feel tired or spacey, pull over a take a break.

Before embarking on any long trip, pack your trunk with a few must-have items.

Your emergency roadside supply should include:

  • First Aid Kit
  • Flashlight
  • Umbrella
  • Jumper Cables
  • Tow Rope

Experienced travelers will also carry useful tools for any eventuality (gas can, tire sealant, water, blanket, etc). Always check the condition of your spare tire and car jack, as well.

For minor emergencies, you can avoid calling assistance with auto insurance in Florida with a little technical know-how. If you are not already familiar with basic car maintenance, have someone teach you the essentials. Be comfortable changing a tire, checking the oil, and other helpful quick fixes that will spare you from being stranded.

Fire Safety

A crucial factor in fire safety is to maintain working smoke detectors in the house. Always replace batteries at least once a year before they get low.

Many claims for Florida homeowners insurance can be avoided by using candles, ovens, heaters, and other household items responsibly. Always be attentive to candles and cooking food, and know the location and instructions for a nearby extinguisher. Use products like heaters and grills according to their directions.

Storm Safety

Homeowners insurance in Florida is particularly crucial during hurricane season. Always keep a close watch on weather reports to allow yourself plenty of time to prepare the house for impending storms. Remove any patio furniture or garden supplies that could become dangerous projectiles in high-speed winds. You can protect your home from flood damage by guarding entryways with sandbags. 

Even during a small storm, lightning strikes can send power surges that quickly wipe out electronics in your home. Unplug computers, TVs, and expensive equipment to avoid losing it all in a flash.


If you are leaving your home unattended for a long period, do your best to make the home still appear inhabited. Leave on lights, and if possible connect them to a timer to imitate movement. Have the postal company freeze sending mail while you are gone or ask a neighbor to check in occasionally. Burglars will also avoid a home that is well lit around doors and windows, making concealment difficult.

Attic Storage Can Cause Homeowner Grief, Hazards

Homeowners who don’t pay attention to what’s going on in their attics can face costly damage that can spread throughout their entire home, warns a new survey sponsored by the Chubb Group of Insurance Companies.

According to the survey of 1,000 adults, a little more than half of homeowners—some 52 percent—have discovered critters such as mice, squirrels, bats and bees living in their attics; meanwhile, one in 10 homeowners have never even seen their attics.

Full Article:

Florida’s Top 10 Sinkhole-Prone Counties

Florida houses many attractive reasons to live in, but hurricanes and sinkholes are on the not so attractive list.

Sinkhole losses have been on the rise the last few years in Florida. According to a report by the state, 211 property insurers responded that claims increased from 2,360 in 2006 to 6,694 in 2010, totaling 24,671 claims. The total dollar amount of those claims was approximately $1.4 billion.

RiskMeter’s Top 10 Sinkhole-Prone Counties in Florida are:

  • Pasco
  • Hernando
  • Hillsborough
  • Marion
  • Pinellas
  • Citrus
  • Polk
  • Orange
  • Seminole
  • Lake

Read the full article here:

IJ: Weekly Reader Picks

Top 10 for the Past Week

A Guide to Homeowners’ Liability for Injury to Trick or Treaters
Oct 31, 2014 — Halloween pranks. Google this phrase and more than 5 million results link you to a myriad of ways to “mess with peoples’ minds” on Halloween. Some of the recommended pranks require a higher education to …
The Hartford Offers Lump-Sum Pension Buyouts to 13,500 Former Workers
Oct 28, 2014 — Hartford Financial Services Group Inc. is working to reduce its retirement obligations by paying former employees to give up their pensions. Last month, the insurer offered voluntary lump-sum payments to about 13,500 …
Top 10 Market Conduct Issues for P/C Insurers
Oct 28, 2014 — A review of state insurance regulators’ examinations of U.S. property/casualty insurers shows that claims-handling, underwriting and producer requirements continue to be the top criticisms. According to compliance and …
Supreme Court Considers Taking Obamacare Tax Credit Case
Oct 30, 2014 — The fate of President Barack Obama’s healthcare law is again in the hands of the U.S. Supreme Court. Two years after upholding the law by a single vote, the justices are weighing whether to hear a Republican-backed …
Space Station Supply Rocket That Exploded Insured for $50 Million
Oct 29, 2014 — Authorities on Wednesday started investigating what made an unmanned U.S. supply rocket explode in a fireball moments after lifting off from a launch pad in Virginia, destroying supplies and equipment bound for the …  Read the rest of this entry »

Florida ‘Hurricane Tax’ Being Retired


The Florida Cabinet voted this week to end the assessment, a 1.3 percent surcharge on policyholders, that was initiated in 2008 and had been expected to continue until 2016. State law requires an assessment whenever the Florida Hurricane Catastrophe Fund (FHCF) does not have enough cash to pay insurers for the losses they incur. The surcharge, called the “hurricane tax” by some, is used to fund revenue bonds to pay the losses. READ MORE HERE

10 Ways to Protect Your Home Against Hurricane Damage

Hurricane season has begun, but you can still take steps to minimize the risk of damage to your home if a named storm swoops down on Central Florida this year.

Here are 10 ways you can beef up your home’s protection before a hurricane approaches – don’t wait until a storm is on its way!

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How Credit Scores Affect Insurance Rates

how credit scores affect your insurance ratesBack in the good old days insurance rates were determined by the driver’s age, sex, driving record and the type of car.  At that time you paid for homeowners insurance based on the type of construction and you got a big discount if you lived within three miles of a fire station.
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Can you Afford to Rebulid After a Hurricane?

Every year, hurricanes cause millions of dollars worth of damage to Florida homes and businesses. Hurricane insurance can be complicated, and laws about it have changed several times during the past few years.

The important question to ask yourself is, “if a hurricane wallops my area, can I afford to rebuild my home?”

For most of us, that answer is “no,” so we need to be sure our hurricane insurance policies cover us properly.
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What is Flood Insurance and Do I Need It?

Many Florida homeowners are confused about flood insurance, and for good reason.

In insurance terms, “A flood is an excess of water (or mud) on land that is normally dry” according to the National Association of Insurance Commissioners:

The NFIP (National Flood Insurance Program) is even more specific.

“A flood is a general and temporary condition of partial or complete inundation of two or more acres or normally dry land area, or of two or more properties.”
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