The Winter Garden Home Insurance Experts!
Southern Insurance Group is your local independent insurance agency specializing in Winter Garden homeowner Insurance with 35 of the top home carriers in the FL marketplace.
Why so many people choose Southern Insurance Group?
Many reasons, but most come to our agency because of our huge amount of carriers that we offer in FL that offer the most competitive rates throughout the industry. We are your genuine one stop shop. We do the shopping throughout the marketplace so you don't have to call around to each carrier to find the same rates.
Independent agencies like Southern Insurance Group have an unfair advantage over the captive carriers who only write through their own brand like State Farm, Allstate and the like. Those carriers have very restricted guidelines in their writing ability and don't have the ability to shop through carriers who specialize in your particular home. Because of our 35 preferred carriers, we very seldom lose a quote to anyone.
If you haven't shopped your Winter Garden home insurance policy in the past year or so please fill out a quote or give us a call at 352-243-9000. Most carriers in the past year have taken substantial rate increases so your rates may no longer be competitive. We are saving some of our Winter Garden home insurance customers 50% on their premiums for the same or better coverage.
What is a Wind Mitigation Inspection?
Due to the construction of your roof, you may be entitled to substantial discounts on your Winter Garden homeowners insurance premiums by having a wind mitigation inspection done on your home.
Because of the past hurricanes that our state has experience beginning with hurricane Andrew, new hurricane codes have come into play regarding roof tie downs as well as roof deck attachments. Homes built from 1994 to 2001 will have these discounted roofing features but unless you have had a wind mitigation inspection completed you will be missing out on the discounts. Homes built from 2002 to present date will automatically have these discounts credited on your insurance policy.
I have seen some homes in Winter Garden built in the 80's also have some of these features but know that if your home was built from 1994 to 2001 that you are losing out if you have not had this inspection performed. In order to receive a credit on your Winter Garden homeowner insurance you must have one of these wind mitigation inspections completed. The cost usually runs around $100 for these inspections but the discounts can range from 150-300 per home. Note that once again homes built 2002 and newer are already receiving these credits.
Below are the areas of credit that an inspector will verify:
- Roof deck attachment - This pertains to the nailing pattern on your wood underneath your shingles, tile or tin roof. Most nailing patterns are either every 6 inches or 12. The closer the pattern the greater the discount. Another factor involves the size of the nail. An 8 penny nail makes a more secure roof than a 6 penny nail.
- Roof to wall connection - your trusses on your roof are connected to the walls by various attachments. Some of these are toe nails, clips, single wraps and double wraps. The stronger the attachment the greater the discount.
- Age of your shingles, tile or tin on your roof. New roofs or replacement roofs from 2002 to present day will receive a credit for having a new roof as the quality of roofing materials were made stronger from this period on?
- Hip vs. Gable roof. The easiest way for me to explain a Hip roof is all the sides of the roof go down. a Gable roof has peaks like an "A" shape. When a roof goes down on all sides it is more wind resistant and therefore receives a much greater discount than a gable roof.
Oddly enough, I have found that most of our new home insurance customers in Winter Garden have never been told about this wind mitigation inspection and have been paying more than they should as a result. We will recommend a licensed inspection in Winter Garden to complete your inspection or you can use who you would like. Once the inspection is completed the inspector will email it to us and we will apply the discounts to your policy.
Winter Garden Homeowners Insurance-Captive agencies vs. Independent Agencies
When looking for a quote on homeowner insurance in Winter Garden, or any other line of insurance for that matter, you will generally find two types of agencies to do business with. There are captive agencies, and there are independent agencies. While both might have the same goal of earning your business while making sure you are properly insured, there is a major difference in how that goal is achieved.
Such captive agencies as State Farm, Nationwide, and Allstate, for instance, have only themselves to quote through. When someone looking for a quote on home insurance in Winter Garden goes to an agent working for one of these captive agencies, that agent can only quote through the company that he works for.
An independent agent on the other hand, working for a company such as Southern Insurance Group, who writes through as many as 35 different home insurance carriers, has the ability to quote you through each and every one of those 35 carriers. The age old expression, “it pays to shop around”, is the truth when it comes to purchasing anything, especially something as import as Winter Garden homeowner insurance.
There are many other benefits in going to an independent company for Winter Garden home insurance. Here is a scenario, Client A, is with a large captive carrier, while Client B is with an independent. Both have noticed a small rate increase in their policy premium for the upcoming renewal. Client A has no choice but to either pay the increase, shave off some coverage to lower the premium again, or go shop around somewhere else. Client B talks to their agent, explains that they would like to see if there is anything better out there for them. Their agent starts to quote them all over through his variety of carriers. One of two things will happen, either the agent will find a better rate for his client, thus saving them money again, or, the agent will find that the client is still with the carrier offering the most affordable premium, giving the client peace of mind knowing they are getting the best bang for their buck.
To recap, when looking for homeowners insurance in Winter Garden, make sure checking with an independent agency is your first choice, as you will most likely be surprised in the savings they can offer. With more choices, there are more opportunities to save.
3 - Plumbing and Electrical Updates: As homes age, plumbing and electrical issues become more prevalent. For instance, older homes with copper plumbing will tend to develop pin- hole leaks that usually keep forming until you eventually have to replace your piping. In addition, toilets, showers, and refrigerator hoses also have a high tendency to wear out over time. If you notice any changes a thorough inspection should be made to make sure there isn’t a further issue.
Helpful tips to help prevent you from filing homeowner claims
Winter Garden home insurance clients typically have no control over the claims that they file as usually most of these claims are items out of their control. You of course can't help when mother nature strikes, but what about other claims that may be within your scope of control? Below are some helpful tips that we suggest that you incorporate to help minimize the filing of claims that you may have some control of.
1 - Roof inspection: Having home insurance in Winter Garden, you know that when the weather turns bad, you will usually find out what the condition of your roof is regarding potential leaks. It is always a good idea several times a year to go on top of your roof to make sure that the areas around the vents and skylights are adequately sealed. As you know we have scorching heat in the summer which tends to wear out and crack the caulking around the mentioned items.
2 - Tree Limbs- Some of the most severe Winter Garden homeowner insurance claims that occur after a major windstorm or hurricane result from trees and tree limbs falling on roof structures. Before we hit the hurricane season each year, it is advisable for you to cut back your tree limbs. Also, any trees that look weak should be taken down. When the 2004 hurricanes occurred, 60% of the Winter Garden home insurance claims were a result tree issues. These happened to also be the largest claims that were filed as well. Keeping the trees trimmed back are the duty of the insured in maintaining the property.
3 - Outdoor Lighting & Motion Senors: You can minimize claims on your Winter Garden homeowners insurance policy by installing $40 dollars worth of outdoor motion detectors. These can be purchased at any local box store and are fairly simple to install. Any thief who might otherwise randomly break into your home would be a lot more hesitant to do so if motion lights popped on when they got close to your home.
For obvious reasons, going the extra step and securing a monitored alarm system will help minimize the threat even further. Of course during the daytime, the motion sensor lights aren't going to help with the break in issue, so by installing the monitored theft alarm you should have all the bases covered.
4 - Smoke alarm batteries and Home insurance in Winter Garden: Did you know that 30% of all fire claims reported in 2010, the occupant of the property at the time of loss said they never heard a smoke alarm go off. Why is this? If I had to guess I would say it is because everyone is beyond busy and something as simple as changing a battery in a smoke alarm can get overlooked.A rule of thumb for a lot of people for changing these batteries are when the time zone changes. By doing this, you will have fresh batteries year round.
5 - Fire Extinguishers- Whoever checks to make sure your fire extinguishers work? Or who can even remember where they have their fire extinguisher located or if they even own one? When a grease fire occurs, you have precious little time to get the fire out to minimize the damage. The difference between, a 500 claim that you may take care of yourself and a 15,000 claim is being able to get you hands on the fire extinguisher in a timely manner.
I hope these tips have been helpful in your understanding how to minimize your Winter Garden homeowner claim activity.
What is a Jewelry Floater Policy?
If you have home insurance in Winter Garden, you may not have all the protection that you need if you have jewelry in excess of 1000. Most Winter Garden homeowner insurance policies only protect you for theft up to a 1000 total. This means that if your wedding ring or Rolex watch is stolen, you will only have 1000 coming back to you.
There are two ways to give you increased coverage under your home insurance policy. The first is to increase the amount of jewelry coverage under the policy to a higher limit. Some home insurance carriers in Winter Garden are not able to increase jewelry like this but the ones that can will usually do so up to a certain limit of say 10,000 or 15,000.
Keep in mind that increasing your coverage this way will not allow you to file a claim due to mysterious disappearance or losing the item. A good percentage of the claims filed are due to this reason. They just can't find the item. They don't know if it was stolen or they just misplaced it or lost it somewhere. The only way to secure coverage for this type of loss is to schedule the jewelry which is how we usually structure your coverage.
To set up scheduled jewelry on your Winter Garden home insurance policy, you simply need to have a bill of sale or appraisal in the past two years. The reason why they recommend the 2 year time frame is because the prices of gold, silver, diamonds etc... change constantly so the 2 year time frame will give you a pretty current replacement value.
The main difference in a scheduled jewelry policy vs. just increasing your jewelry limit, is the scheduled policy will cover you for all risk. This means that the mysterious disappearance will be covered. Loss due to this accounts for about 50% of the claims filed so it is very important that your homeowners insurance policy in Winter Garden have this scheduled upgraded coverage.
The professionals at Southern Insurance Group will advise you of the options in making sure all of your jewelry and other items of importance are covered properly.