How named storms matter to property insurance

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Late summer is the peak time for hurricane season. And as if on cue, there’s a few storms brewing out in the Atlantic. It’s too early to tell if they will impact Florida, but it is not too early to prepare as if they are.

Review our hurricane season insurance checklist. First on the list is probably the most important: Make certain to have enough coverage to completely rebuild your home in the event it is severely damaged or destroyed. This means sufficient insurance protection to rebuild your home and replace all its contents.

Don’t confuse the real estate value of your home with its insurance cost. Typically, the older your home the bigger the gap between what it costs to insure it, which is the rebuilding costs, and what you would get if you sold it.

Flood Myth: Not in my neighborhood

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There are many myths about flood insurance, and the biggest myth is thinking you don’t need it. With a tropical weather system stalled over parts of Florida this week, the ensuing deluge should get you thinking about why you need this important protection.

A standard homeowners insurance policy does not cover flood insurance, and that’s been true for more than four decades. If you live in an area at high risk for flooding, the mortgage lender requires flood insurance. If you live in a low-risk flood zone, the lender does not require it. But that does not mean you don’t need it. Would you be motivated to consider flood insurance if you knew that nearly 25 percent of flood insurance claims are paid to people living in low- to moderate-risk flood zones? Well, now you know.

As of September 2015, there were 1.8 million flood policies in force in Florida. Yet, there are more than 3.1 million single family homes in our state. Many of those Florida flood policies are bought by people living in coastal condos. Do you need flood insurance if you live on the 9th floor of a high rise on the Gulf? Yeah, you do. Because if storm surge beats up the bottom floors of the condo making it uninhabitable, you won’t be able to retrieve your personal possessions as the building is likely to be unstable/condemned. Flood insurance would cover that loss.

Flood insurance statistics show about 68 percent of policies nationally cover single family homes, 21 percent cover condominiums, and 5 percent cover businesses and other non-residential properties. Two- to four-family units and other residential policies accounted for the remainder.

Earlier this summer, there was flooding in parts of Tampa Bay. The National Flood Insurance Program reported just 38 claims. That is not an indication of the minimal amount of flood damage; it is an indication of how few people have flood insurance.

Annual checkup time for trees

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Florida summers means thunderstorms nearly every day. Most trees benefit from the daily drenching, except for the dead ones. They get deader, if that’s really a thing. Dead trees and diseased or damaged tree limbs can cause havoc on your property as summer rains root out (literally AND figuratively) the weak from the strong. Inspect your property and get rid of damage waiting to happen.

Look up. If your home is surrounded by tall pine trees, you might see one that looks more like a telephone pole. That is an obvious sign that it has passed its useful life. A tree without branches is not a tree anymore.

Best job ever? Think insurance

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Remember Ned Ryerson from the “Groundhog Day” movie? Most Millennials were not yet born when that 1993 film hit theaters. But a comical stereotype insurance salesman is NOT who we are (though we do get the joke).

Insurance is a field that offers solid career opportunities with the positive environment to help people thrive. There are mentors, continuing education, a place where people feel they fit in, growth and advancement, variety in duties and responsibilities. The Insurance Information Institute produced a video on the limitless career options in insurance, featuring the new generation of industry pros.

Managed Repair Programs: How controlling claims costs benefits policyholders

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You’ve heard of preferred providers for health insurance policies. They are considered mutually beneficial because insured people get medical services at a reduced rate and the provider gains business since more patients are directed there. Auto insurers have used that model for decades. They have networks of pre-approved auto body shops to repair cars involved in crashes. Because most people don’t know the best place to unbend a fender bender, this is a proven formula for piecing a car back together. Similar programs also exist when a home or business suffers damage. Many insurers have managed repair programs for filing property claims to get damage repaired promptly and correctly – and to help control claims costs.

The most important thing to understand about controlling claims costs is the consumer benefit.

Florida tops for lightning damage

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Stormiest state in the U.S.? You’re living in it! Of the top 12 stormiest cities, Florida owns 7 spots. (Lakeland tops the chart.) Thunderstorms are just part of the summertime experience, and where there is thunder, there is lightning – and lightning damage. No surprise, then, that Florida ranks #1 for the most lightning claims.

In 2015, Florida had nearly 12,000 lightning claims. A look at the number of claims and average claim cost shows that Florida also leads in