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.
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.
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.
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
Let’s start with the most important tip about deductibles: You should NEVER select a higher deductible than you can afford.
Big deductibles reduce the amount you pay for insurance. But the higher the deductible, the more you pay out of pocket when things go wrong. That means selecting a hefty deductible is only smart in a Perfect World. And, while we all wished we lived on that planet, all kinds of disasters happen – manmade and natural – to mess with it, at least temporarily.
You have two deductibles on your homeowners insurance: one is for hurricanes and the other is for everything else. The “everything else” deductible is for things like a fire, lightning strike or water damage, to name a few. It is usually a flat dollar amount, such as $1,000. The hurricane deductible is, obviously, for hurricanes – and for homes valued over $100,000, it starts at 2 percent of what the home is insured for, which is what it would cost to rebuild it. So, if the house is insured for $250,000, a 2 percent deductible would be $5,000.
In Florida, you can select up to a 10 percent deductible. And, some people decide to do that, which is fine if you have a plan to save that amount of money and keep it secured for when the wind blows.
Here is a handy factsheet on how insurance deductibles work in Florida. The Florida Office of Insurance Regulation explains when hurricane deductibles go into effect and how long they last. Regulators also require this notice on the declarations page of every homeowners policy, in boldface type of at least 18 points:
“THIS POLICY CONTAINS A SEPARATE DEDUCTIBLE FOR HURRICANE LOSSES, WHICH MAY RESULT IN HIGH OUT-OF-POCKET EXPENSES TO YOU.”
Now is the time to verify that the deductible amount you chose makes sense for your circumstances.
Today is Day 5 of the 2016 hurricane season, and Florida is on alert for a tropical system. It’s the third named storm of the year, and did I mention we are only 5 days into hurricane season? Pay attention please. There has never been 3 storms named this early in the season, which began June 1 and continues through November 30. Keep track of things locally, through the national Weather Prediction Center or through state weather status updates from the Division of Emergency Management.
Complacency is the biggest threat to storm preparation. Maybe you don’t scare easily. Maybe you were well prepared every year since the