Old roofs and new rules: Protecting your home from the top


A so-called 30-year shingle roof does not last 30 years in Florida. Asphalt shingles simply don’t last that long in the brutal Florida sun and with the nearly daily beating from rain over the six months of hurricane season. Some insurers are asking their policyholders to have an older roof inspected; they want a licensed roofer to certify the roof and give it the okay for at least another 3 years of useful life. Other insurance companies may choose to not renew a home insurance policy if a roof is approaching its 20th birthday.

Eight of top 10 most dangerous metros for pedestrians are in Florida


Walking is definitely good for your health. But it may be dangerous to your life in busy cities, particularly in Florida. A study by Smart Growth America ranked eight Florida metros in the top 10 after analyzing pedestrian deaths over a 10-year period.

The group created a Pedestrian Danger Index to compare pedestrian safety in cities of different size, density, and rates of walking. So, it’s not only a factor of big cities with more cars and more walking. The study contends it is also due to “poor pedestrian infrastructure,” meaning roads are designed to move cars along with little thought to people traveling on foot.

About football champions, a legacy of love, and life insurance


Former Tampa Bay Buccaneer Warrick Dunn has a legion of fans, and they are not only football fans. The man has amassed fans for his charity work, particularly with Habitat for Humanity. How he got involved is a story in and of itself.

Two days after Dunn’s 18th birthday, his mother was shot and killed in a robbery. She was a single mother and a police officer, who was working off-duty escorting someone to the bank to make a large deposit when the armed robbery occurred. Dunn was the eldest of six children, and he took on the responsibility to provide for his five siblings. One of his first actions was to use the proceeds from his mother’s life insurance policy to buy a home for the family to provide them with stability. He knew a stable environment matters – greatly. His work with Habitat involves providing homes for single mothers to bring that stability to others and to honor his mother.

Among the many beneficiaries of Dunn’s generosity is Clemson’s Deshaun Watson, who threw the winning pass Monday night to win the College Football Playoffs. Check out this story from last night’s CBS Evening News on how a former NFL great helped Clemson’s champion.

It helps to answer the question about why you should buy life insurance. It’s about love. And, it’s about a legacy of love.

A (single) winter day in Florida


It doesn’t dip below freezing very often in Florida (which is just the way we like it!). When it does, a refresher is in order on what precautions to take so cold temperatures don’t put a freeze on your budget due to costly repairs that could have been avoided. Check out our cold weather survival tips.

Most homeowners insurance policies cover damage from freezing conditions. It’s always best to prevent the damage in the first place, of course. Parts of the Florida Panhandle dipped below freezing over the weekend, and that could occur again in the coming weeks. Cold-weather warnings prompted me to buy all my outdoor faucets a hoodie (see photo above). For about $3 a faucet, it’s a good investment in preparedness, especially since you have to disconnect the hose to slip it on. Freezing temps can cause water locked inside garden hoses to expand and burst – and the cost of those hoses is not covered by insurance.

Frost on the ground in the morning, and in the mid-50s by mid afternoon. Gotta love it!


Winter months mean heightened wildfire risk


When the thermometer hits 80 degrees in January, it is hard to remember this is our winter season. But a drive along Florida’s forested highways is a visual reminder. Much of our greenery is brown, since rainy season is months away. And, that means the wildfire risk is heightened. From January through March, the wildfire risk in Southeastern states increases.

The state Dept. of Agriculture publishes a daily Wildland Fire Danger Index and only a few counties are currently at moderate risk (thanks to some recent thunderstorms). But the wildfire threat is present until we hit the summer months, so you’ll be hearing those Smokey the Bear commercials on the radio. Smokey’s familiar refrain (“Only you can prevent forest fires.”) is a refresher on some of the simple things to avoid, such as making sure your car does not start a wildfire. Hot cars parked on dry grass is like a match to a fireplace log.

Smokey knows 90% of wildfires are caused by humans. The Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety has tips on reducing wildfire risks. Top tips: Create defensible space by removing decayed leaves and trees near your home, and build with fire resistant materials.

#1 reason for unpaid hurricane claims? Minor damage


The 2016 hurricane season is a wrap, and you are probably seeing a few news stories detailing the number of insurance claims from Hurricane Matthew, as well as the  insurance claims from Hurricane Hermine. More than 87 percent of claims from Hermine are closed; almost 78 percent of claims from Matthew are closed. But the news headlines do not focus on that positive note. Instead, they point out that about a third of claims from the storm are unpaid. You have to read down six paragraphs in the newspaper story to find out why. I’ll tell you in the second paragraph below.

There are two primary reasons claims are closed without being paid:

  1. Storm damage was minor and under the amount of the hurricane deductible, or
  2. The damage was not covered by the policy.

Everyone knows headlines don’t tell the whole story. They are designed to attract attention and are not written by the reporter, but by someone looking to grab the reader.  To be truly informed, we have to look beyond the headline, true?

Insurers have encouraged policyholders to report storm damage even if it is minor because Florida has a calendar year hurricane deductible. That means storm damage from more than one storm in a season counts toward the deductible amount.

Damage not covered from the storms would include falling trees that do not damage an insured property, such as your house or fence.

Now you know rest of the story.