As your insurance rates increase and you may be thinking about shopping for new homeowner’s insurance, I cannot tell you how important it is to shop coverage and not price!
While meeting with a client who had a fire at their home and reviewing their insurance policy, they were sadly underinsured and their policy did not cover the cost of the damages to their home. I was shocked to learn that their personal property coverage was higher than their building coverage! They said “we didn’t think we would ever have an insurance claim. This is the same insurance we have had since we owned the property and it has never changed in all these years”.
It is your agent’s responsibility to advise you to insure your home with enough coverage to keep up with the current property values and inflation costs. Sometimes this doesn’t happen, but it is also your responsibility as a homeowner to do the same and make sure you are properly insured.
While reviewing policies for our clients, we are always asked if there is a “cheaper” insurance company and should they change their coverage to reduce their rates. This is probably the worst thing you can do because that one day you have an insurance claim, your insurance company will not be there for you with enough money to cover your claim. I am sure you do not want this to happen nor do you want to have to come out of pocket for most of the repairs.
It is also important to make sure you do not have policy limits or exclusions on water damage coverage and that you stay away from any managed repair or right to repair insurance companies just to save money and reduce your premiums. For more information or an extensive policy review, please contact us https://www.reliantpa.com/
Recently when my mother received a ridiculous rate increase from her homeowner insurance company, I began researching a new policy for her. Having the knowledge about policies and coverage that I do, I was very specific with her insurance agent on what insurance companies and the types of policies to stay clear from.
When he was providing me a quote from a company I was not familiar with, he stated there were not many options. I was really taken aback by his comment as my mother only had one claim in the 15 years she has owned the home. Upon further research, it turns out the company he provided the quote from is a surplus lines carrier and not an admitted carrier.
What does this mean to you? If you are insured by a surplus line carrier, they do not have the protection of the Florida Insurance Guaranty Act if they were to go insolvent. Also, their policy rates and forms are not approved by any Florida regulatory agency. So, if you have have an insurance claim and you have any issues or complaints with them, you are at the mercy of the insurance company with no back up or help from the State.
When I pushed further for him to find coverage with an admitted carrier, not only did he come up with a quote from a known admitted carrier, but it was a better quote for less money! At that moment, it became very clear that my mother’s insurance agent was not looking out for what was best for her, but instead his own pocket.
There are many insurance agents that protect their client’s interests, but as I stated in my blog last week (The Never Ending Erosion of Coverage – Do You Know What You Are Covered For?) it is important to know what you are and are not insured for in your homeowners or business policy. This is another great example of why it is important to know who insures your property.
When purchasing insurance coverage for your home or business, you expect to be covered when you have an insurance claim. When you least expect it, then comes along that one day you need to file a claim and you are blindsided by your insurance company when they say you are not covered. I cannot tell you how many times we have heard “I didn’t know I wasn’t covered” and “Why didn’t my agent tell me”.
I refer to this as the never-ending erosion of coverage by the insurance industry. Our insurance agents should be explaining coverage to us, or should I say, the lack thereof. Many agents go the extra mile, as they should, and explain coverages to their clients. However, some do not and then beg the questions above.
An All Risk policy is supposed to be exactly that and cover us for our insurance losses, but they no longer do. The insurance companies are either placing limits on coverage or excluding coverage all together for example …
It is so important to understand and know what you are covered for and what you are not. We offer policy reviews and suggestions for coverage based on our years of experience. Remember, we are also homeowners and business owners. If you have any questions or concerns about your policy, please contact us.
New clients often ask what they can do to help their claim get paid. The answer we give is a simple one. Make sure your property is clean and neat when the insurance company adjuster comes to inspect the damages with us. By that, we don’t mean remove or cleanup the evidence of the damage, but rather make sure the rooms are uncluttered so the adjusters can move about and inspect without any difficulty. Clean floors and bathrooms so that the property has the look of one that is well kept and maintained.
So why is this important? It comes down to this. If an insurance company adjuster comes to a property that is unclean and poorly maintained, it is more likely they will view the damages they are being shown as being the result of lack of maintenance or neglect by the owners. Insurance covers damage that is sudden and accidental. They do not cover damage that is ongoing over a period of time.
If the damages are viewed in a setting that is neat, clean and organized, it is much more likely that an adjuster will see those damages as being new and not consistent with the way the rest of the property looks. It’s just human nature.
So, if it’s been a while since your property was treated to a good spring (or winter) cleaning, it may be time to bring out the vacuum and mop. It could help the settlement of your claim down the road.