Coverage B: Don’t be fenced in

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There are six parts to a homeowner’s insurance policy. Most people understand that Coverage A insures against damage to the structure itself. Coverage B offers insurance protection for detached structures, such as a garage, storage shed, swimming pool and the backyard fence. For no extra charge, almost every policy extends coverage to other structures on the property by 10 percent of the amount for which the home is insured. Is the 10 percent sufficient for your situation?

Mastering condo insurance requires review of condo master policy

Miami Florida 2007 High Rise Condo Construction

Florida is condo crazy. They seem to sprout faster than lawn mushrooms. And, condo owners need to know that an equivalent metaphorical fungi can grow in the gaps in condo coverage if they shop for insurance based on price alone. Weed out gaps by getting a copy of the condo association’s master policy.

Independence Day Safety: Focus on “fire” in fireworks

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Buying fireworks this week to scare off a flock of egrets grazing in your yard? (Wink, wink) Sure you are — because to buy exploding or flying fireworks just to shoot off in the street on Independence Day is illegal, according to Florida’s fireworks law. Yet, there’s a loophole in Florida law as big as one of those roadside tents run by fireworks vendors; sellers of pyrotechnics get customers to sign a form saying they are using the fireworks to scare off wildlife. Illegal or not, chances are thousands of dollars in fireworks will be going up in smoke in your neighborhood this weekend. Think about the fire and injury risk beforehand, plus your liability, by reviewing fireworks safety tips before you light a match.

Flood Insurance Premiums

Pensacola Flood

Rainy season is here, and parts of Florida know it all too well as some areas experienced heavy rainfall in the past 24 hours – with more on the way, almost daily. And, that reminds me that my flood insurance premium is due.

Renewing flood insurance coverage should be a no-brainer for those living anywhere near a body of water.

“Framed” in a minor fender bender

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A picture says a lot, so look at the photo above of my Camry’s bumper after a fender bender last week. Connect the dots. It’s a perfect outline of a spiked license plate frame available at most big-box retailers for about $10. Absent that frame from the front of the SUV that rear-ended me, there would have been zero damage to my car.

An inside view of flood damage

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You’ve probably seen numerous dramatic photos of the recent flooding in Texas. Cars underwater, buckled roads, smashed houses. The photo below is what it looks like when the water recedes and a home doesn’t wash away. If you ignore the piles of soggy carpet, limp drywall and damp possessions awaiting the trash man at the curb, the homes look fine on the outside. On the inside, it’s a mess.

I was in Houston last week, helping share information on disaster recovery. In a flooded neighborhood along one of the bayous, home after home was deep into the drying out process. It’s a shared experience none of them wanted, and several of them had been through it before. Tropical Storm Allison affected the same neighborhood in 2001. Interestingly, I saw only one home that was elevated more than a few inches. There likely were more, but this one stood out because it stood UP high and dry above the others, at least 3 feet.

Houston homeowners who had flood damage are learning about an ordinance that requires them to elevate their homes if their damage exceeds 50 percent of the structure’s market value. This is something that Floridians need to think about, too. Do you have enough insurance to rebuild after disaster, taking your local ordinances into account? Don’t wonder about it. Be sure! Call your insurance professional to ask about your law and ordinance coverage.