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Beware of Cheap Premiums – Too Good to be True!

This month, we are sharing coverage education, insight into industry trends and expectations, and explaining that cheaper is not always better when it comes to home insurance.

While the information we share may seem alarming, we want you to know we are 100% in the trenches with you! We are here to guide you in the best way we can through these troubled insurance times, as well hold on together to get through this.

Insurance 101

Home insurance is designed to protect us in the event of a catastrophic loss. We like to educate our clients on what coverages mean. Are you properly insured?

Coverage A- Dwelling: This amount should be the estimated cost to rebuild your home. This coverage takes into account the house and permanently attached structures. This is why we take a detailed info page when you call us for a quote.

Coverage B- Other Structures: This coverage is designed for detached structures. For example: detached garages, fences, gazebos, pergolas, etc. This is typically a percentage of Coverage A.

Coverage C- Personal Property: This coverage is for your personal belongings – from your furniture all the way down to your toothbrush! For example, go into your bathroom and take a quick catalog of all your personal belongings: shower curtain, shower liner, shower caddy, loofa, shampoo, conditioner, body wash, face wash, razor, toothbrush, toothpaste, floss, mouthwash, cotton swabs, moisturizer, skin toner, etc. In the event of a catastrophic or total loss to your home, these personal property items may be items that need to be replaced. The standard coverage with most carriers is at 50% of Coverage A.

Coverage D- Loss of Use: If you cannot live in your home due to a claims scenario while the home is being repaired or rebuilt, this coverage helps pay for your additional living expenses above what you normally pay, up to your policy limits. Most carriers set this at 10% or 20% of Coverage A.

Coverage E- Personal Liability: This coverage may assist if you are responsible and sued for someone’s injuries or damage to their property. For example, if someone is injured due to a loose railing on your steps. The standard limit for this coverage is $300,000.

If you have renovated your kitchen or bathrooms, added a pool, added a screened enclosure, etc – please be sure to let us know. We want to make sure you are properly insured.

Industry Trends, Premiums, & Problems

“Citizens President and CEO Barry Gilway has bluntly stated ‘the industry is on life support.‘” *

This year alone, there have been as many as 7 carriers either be shut down by the state of Florida or pulled of out of Florida entirely. That means it is slim pickings – the era of ‘choice‘ has dwindled down. Before, we were able to offer upwards of 10 options to a client, easily! Now, unless it’s new construction, we may find 3 options – or we may need to make suggestions on the current policy to try to reduce the premium.

“In 2021, Florida generated 7.03% of property insurance claims nationwide but was responsible for 76.32% of the nation’s homeowner insurance lawsuits filed.“* These numbers are alarming and they are causing significant issues in the Florida insurance market.

Due to the vast amount of litigations on roof claims and inflated claims costs, carriers have made major changes to stay viable. Many carriers have instituted strict underwriting guidelines – including year built limitations, roof age restrictions, and have had to increase premiums. They’ve also introduced massive non-renewals and cancellations to reduce exposure.

It is no secret that home insurance rates in Florida have increased. We have seen substantial rate increases – rates doubling and tripling from just the year prior. We honestly find ourselves having the same conversation multiple times a day and hearing heartbreaking stories from many clients, scared that they may lose their homes due to the rising insurance costs effecting their mortgage payments. It’s a scary thought and we are doing absolutely everything we can to help!

The unfortunate reality is that insurance premiums have risen dramatically. Gone are the days of seeing insurance premiums less than $1,000 – even low $2,000 rates are extremely rare. Here are some premium examples for proper coverage with reputable carriers
$2,514 – 1987 Year Built, 2020 Roof
$3,167 – 1990 Year Built, 2008 Roof
$7,974 – 1949 Year Built, 2017 Roof
$2,265 – 1990 Year Built, 2012 Roof
$3,017 – 1984 Year Built, 2022 Roof
$2,749 – 1974 Year Built CONDO, 2018 Roof
$1,863 – 2016 Year Built
$1,555 – 2021 Year Built
$1,819 – 2022 Year Built

Please keep in mind, these are only examples of recent rates. There are many other underwriting and rating factors that will determine eligibility and premium.

*Crisis in Home Insurance

Thinking of Shopping?

As an independent agency, we have access to the top carriers in Florida. We are happy to review policies for our clients to see if they are eligible with other carriers, or if we need to make recommendations on the current policy.

As we mentioned earlier, carriers have instituted strict underwriting guidelines. When a new policy is written, a carrier will perform their own inspection to confirm eligibility (this is after we have submitted the required insurance inspections like a 4 Point Inspection or Wind Mitigation Inspection). This means you are now opening up your home to new inspection requirements/fresh eyes, and carriers are stricter than ever on the condition of homes. The reason carriers are inspecting homes is due to agents not properly doing their field underwriting, so carriers have to back check all agents to be sure they are getting the correct risk.

This could lead to repair requests and additional costs, or policy cancellation. We’ve received underwriting memos for many things: overgrown trees/shrubbery, broken screens, broken window, cracked driveways, yard debris, corroded plumbing fixtures, roof condition, peeling paint, wood rot, fascia damage, and more. They are looking at everything.

When it comes to home insurance, cheaper is NOT better!

It has certainly been a very stressful few years, and we are all feeling the effects of inflation on all aspects of life. However, insurance is one of those services that matters very much in the event of a claim.

We think of insurance as a commodity, but like anything else, we typically pay for what we get. If you find premiums to be significantly lower than what we are offering, there is a reason why.

We will certainly review your insurance and do everything we can to find the best fit for YOU, but we also will advise you about various coverage rather than just cutting coverage without your knowledge or consent. Unfortunately, this has been the trend with a lot of insurance agents. We will certainly reduce coverage, but you will be included in such discussions so you are AWARE of these reductions.

We Are Here to Help!

PLEASE SHARE WITH YOUR FRIENDS AND FAMILY!

There’s a lot of incorrect info going around. We take pride in educating our clients on the ins and outs of insurance – even if that means a hard conversation sometimes. We want you to be educated to make the best informed decision for your family.

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