Clermont Homeowner Insurance

If you have lived in Clermont, FL since the 2004 hurricanes you know hurricane season can be a stressful time of the year. I recall during the 2004 hurricanes having to put garbage bags over our computer terminals every Friday after work as we had 3 different hurricanes that hit Central FL  three straight weeks in a row.

Who would have thought that we would have had sustained winds over 100 mph rip through Central FL. The aftermath of those storms resulted in quite a few roofs needing to be replaced in our town of Clermont.         

A homeowner insurance policy in Clermont Florida can be one of the most misunderstood policies that an individual can purchase. Since the 2004 hurricanes, many changes to Clermont homeowner insurance policies have occurred to expand what is covered and also to clarify what the policy excludes. Our dedicated protection team will guide you through this selection process to make sure you are comfortable with the various provisions and coverage's within the homeowners’ policy.

To be very clear, the ultimate purpose of homeowners insurance is to enable the homeowner to rebuild his or her home and life, even in the event of total destruction.

In general, a good homeowner's insurance policy will cover:

  • Your residence
  • Any detached structures, like garages or garden sheds
  • Your personal belongings
  • Additional living expenses in the event of a loss
  • Personal liability
  • Medical expenses to others who may be injured on your property

Is Your Clermont Homeowner Policy Being Non-renewed or Canceled?

Thousands of policyholders have been dropped this year as a result of the larger captive insurance companies dropping customers Or has your homeowner insurance carrier surprised you with a large rate increase? The politics of the homeowner insurance in Clermont is no doubt very confusing in today’s marketplace with so many carriers canceling policies. Relax and take a deep breath because the professionals at Southern Insurance Group are here to help. Because we are true independent agents we are able to shop the market for your most competitive pricing. This is a huge advantage over the captive companies who can only write through one company.

If you are used to a captive agency, you most definitely haven’t benefited from an independent agent shopping your insurance through top rated insurance carriers for the best price. Instead, you have been given a very limited choice of what is available through that one company, if anything. Your agent has been offering you a vanilla ice cream cone for years and you haven’t realized that there are 31 other flavors out there that taste much better. It just stands to reason that if you have the ability to check rates with multiple carriers vs. just one, the odds are greater that the company who obtains multiple offers will come out on top. We very seldom if ever lose on price to anyone because of this advantage. So call the professionals at Southern Insurance Group and give us a try, you won’t be disappointed.

The best time to understand how you are insured is before you have an insurance claim. Here are some pointers so that you can have some peace of mind.
1. Purchasing the right homeowner insurance for you.
Homeowner insurance is a package policy comprised of dwelling, other structures, content’s, loss of use, liability, and medical payments to others all wrapped up into one plan.  Most carriers will offer this same format of coverage’s but may offer slight differences in the value of each category. Here is a description of each. Structure is the value of your dwelling. Other structures pertains to any detached structure. Contents involves your personal belongings in your home. Loss of use pays for relocation expenses while your home is being repaired, liability and medical payments pay to a 3rd party due to injuries and lawsuits.

2. Getting the right endorsements- After you determine your coverage’s you then need to customize your homeowner insurance policy by adding various endorsements. For instance, your policy comes with actual cash value or depreciation for your contents. By electing the replacement cost endorsement, your contents then change from depreciation to full replacement cost which pays you new for old. There are quite a few other endorsements that can be added so make sure your agent thoroughly reviews your options at time of application.

3. How are claims handled- Some carriers will pay you actual cash value (depreciation) for your contents payout and then they pay you the difference whenever you replace the item that was claimed. Also how long you have to replace your items may come into play if you are out of your home for quite some time.  Some people after hurricane Andrew and Katrina where out of their homes for a year plus so make sure there is no time limit on how long you have to replace your things. Your agent should be able to assist you with these answers.

4. Make an inventory of your belongings. If you were at work today and someone asked you to make a list of all your belongings you most likely wouldn’t remember half the stuff in your home. Your best bet for avoiding this memory loss is to photocopy or take pictures of your household. Ideally you should go room to room with a video camera and then keep the tape in a safe location away from your premises. For more valuable items you should jot down any serial numbers as these will be needed for your inventory list at the time of the claim. By doing this it will cut your claim filing process in half not to mention verify what you actually owned so there is no dispute from your adjuster.

5. Buy floaters. Your policy comes with limitations for contents items like jewelry, furs, computers, silverware, and fine collectibles.  If you own extensive items in any of the categories with limitations you will have a coverage exposure.  Usually these items can be extended through a floater which will schedule these items for their true value. An additional cost is associated with scheduling these items but you will have adequate coverage in the event of a claim. Usually the floaters will offer broader coverage then the regular policy as well. Sometimes an appraisal may be required to verify the proper value of the item to be scheduled.
6. Inflation guard. Most Clermont home insurance policies offer this standard but make sure your policy has this valuable feature. This will increase the value of your home each year according to the inflationary indexes of what the costs are to replace your home. It may not make a big difference year to year but over the course of ten years it could represent 30-40,000 in value. Give us a call so we can make sure this is in place.

7. Consider flood insurance. How many times to you turn on the news to hear about the torrential downpour that is now causing the rivers to breach the levies and now the whole town is flooded. Prior to the flood no one would ever have thought the water would ever get that high but it happens. Homeowner policies do not cover rising water from an outside source.  This exposure can only be covered by a flood policy. Give us a call and we can quote this for you.

8. Do you need an umbrella policy? Your home, auto boat rental home etc… have underlying liability limits that protect you in the event of a negligent act on your behalf that cause an injury to a 3rd party.  What happens if these limits are exhausted and someone is suing your for more than what you are insured for?  The easiest and most cost effective way to provide additional limits of protection on all your policies is through securing an umbrella policy. These policies are fairly inexpensive for the amount of protection they provide. Your Southern agent can recommend how much additional coverage you need so give them a call today. They usually come in 1,2,3,4 & 5 million increments.

Four ways to lower your homeowner insurance premiums

Having homeowner insurance in Clermont, FL can be very challenging because of the constant hurricane storm activity we have over the years. As a result, the homeowner insurance market has undergone quite a few changes. Most of these changes that have taken place involve roofing discounts called mitigation credits. The most commonly asked questions over the past few years have been what are these mitigation discounts and how much can you save on your homeowner premiums? Here is the quick answer. New construction building requirements became more strict since March of 2002 for roof deck attachment, roof wall attachment, and roof geometry, and new shingles. Because of these stricter roofing guidelines, the cost of homeowner insurance has decreased dramatically.

Here is an explanation of what each category involves.

  • Roof deck attachment- this involves your plywood on your roof and the nail pattern that is used to attached plywood. The greater the nail pattern the greater the discount.
  • Roof wall attachment-This involves the tie downs to your roof trusses. Some examples are toe nails, single wraps, double wraps, and structural anchor bolts. The same holds true with the discounts being greater for the stronger tie down feature.
  • Roof shape- You basically have two different types, hip and gable.The easiest way to explain the differences between the two is a gabled roof is shaped like an "A" where the roof goes down on only two sides while the hip roof goes down on all sides. The hip roof has stronger wind resistent than gable and will therefore have a lower insurance premium.
  • Roof replacement- If your roof has been replaced from March of 2002 to present date, you will be eligible for a new roof credit. So keep this in mind if you replaced your roof recently. All you will need to do to receive the above mitigation credits is to have a mitigation inspector complete a routine inspection of the above factors to see how many discounts you are eligible for.         
What are the key differences between your AOP and hurricane deductible? 

Many people who move to FL from other states are sometimes blown away with the two deductible concepts we have here in FL in regard to our homeowner insurance. For those of us who have lived here for a while we have kind of gotten used to these changes since our system slowly changed after hurricane Andrew in 1992.

First of all what is an all other peril (AOP) deductible? This deductible is for non-hurricane related claims like fire, theft, vandalism, accidental water discharge and acts of God like lightning, tornados, hail to name a few. If a windstorm that is not a named storm causes damage, this is usually subject to your AOP deductible. These deductibles are usually 500, 1000 or 2500 with most carriers.

Your hurricane deductible is much different and only applies to named storms classified as hurricanes. With most carriers, if your home is valued over $100,000 then the standard hurricane deductible is 2% of your coverage A(dwelling) Some people get confused thinking they have to only pay 2% of the damage which is a big difference from how it is actually paid. As an example lets say your home is valued at 250,000. If you have a 2% hurricane deductible then you will be responsible for the first 5000 of damage to you home. Anything over that deductible the insurance company will pay up to your policy limits to fix your home.

Some carriers will set your deductible at 2% but let you buy down to as low as a 500 deductible. Note that not all homeowner insurance carries allow you to do this. In deciding which deductible to choose you have to just weigh the pros and cons of your exposure vs. the add'l cost of lowering your deductible. If you are closer to the coast then this may be something to strongly consider. However, keep in mind that the closer you are to the coast; less carriers will offer the ability to buy down your deductible. Some even make it mandatory for you to go with a 5% or even 10% hurricane deductible to lower their exposure. 

Our office will provide you with the most comprehensive policy available on the market today which will help to put your life back in order in the event of a catastrophic loss.Not all home insurance policies are alike. To be sure, there are many insurance companies in the market today that will quote an inexpensive policy but most of them are only giving you the “bare bones” coverage. When quoting your home insurance premium, we will use a full replacement cost valuation to be sure that you can replace your home in the event of a total loss.

Eight Natural Disasters That Are Covered Under Your Clermont Homeowner’s Insurance Policy

Your homeowner policy is a package policy that covers your dwelling, other structures, contents, additional living expenses, liability, and medical payments. Of these coverage’s, the largest claims that are paid out are for natural disasters. A couple storms that come to mind are hurricanes Andrew and Katrina. These were multi- billion dollar claims from a single event.

Below are listed 8 of the most common natural disasters that are covered under your homeowner policy. Discover what is covered and what isn’t when it comes to how homeowner’s insurers view natural disasters.

Eight Perils

There are eight major disasters to consider when obtaining homeowner’s insurance in Clermont.

  • Sinkholes- are a natural depression or hole that develops underneath your home that causes substantial cracking and damage to the structure.
  • Earthquakes- a violent shaking and sudden shifting of rock below the earth’s surface that can cause property damage to the structure from ground movement or fire.
  • Floods- are a natural disaster that involves rising water from an outside water source that seeps into a structure and causes damage. Of all the natural disasters declared by a president, over 75% of them involve some kind of major flooding. Each year floods claim billions of dollars in property damage. So if you are in a special flood zone make it a priority that you secure a flood insurance policy.
  • Hail- if you have ever been involved in a major hailstorm you know when hailstones reach the size of a quarter plus can cause major damage on your roof. On March 25th of 1992 Central FL had one of the most devastating hailstorms in the history of the state. Tens of thousands of roofs had to be replaced as a result. The hail was over 3 feet high in some areas with some of the hailstones being as large as a baseball.
  • Hurricanes- if you live in the state of FL you know that June 1st to Nov 30th is hurricane season and it is time to get prepared for the possibility of a major storm. Hurricanes have caused more property damage than any other storm because of the damaging winds, rain and flooding. Over the past two decades, major hurricanes like Andrew and Katrina have changed the states of Florida, Mississippi, and Louisiana forever with stricter building codes and homeowner restrictions.
  • Lightning- if you have ever been in a severe lightning storm you know that at anytime it can strike you home and fry your electrical components in your home. An average of 70 people are killed each year from these strikes. Equipping your home with lightning arrestors can help save you from the surge entering inside your home.
  • Wildfires- in some states like California wildfires seem to be a common occurrence with thousands of fires and acres being destroyed each year.
  • Tornadoes- statistics show that over 1100 tornadoes are reported each year resulting in 90 deaths and more than 2000 injuries.

The ABC’s of homeowner insurance

Owning a home for most people is the most important asset they own. Insuring it properly should also be as equally important. The major perils that are covered under a homeowner policy are fire, theft, vandalism, acts of God perils like hurricane, windstorm, lightning, hail, and accidental discharge of water. Note that water damage from inside the home is covered while flood or rising water form an outside source is not covered under a homeowner policy.

The biggest peril to face in the State of FL is of course hurricanes and tornados. Concerning these two different wind storms, your policy will actually have different deductibles in most cases for these two exposures. Most homeowner policies usually cover tornados under your all other peril deductible (AOP) while hurricanes are covered under a separate hurricane deductible of usually 2%. Usually you AOP deductible is much lower than the hurricane deductible with the average AOP deductible being 1000. If you have a 2% hurricane deductible this means that you have to pay the first 2% of your dwelling coverage for the loss. E.G. if your home is insured for 200,000 then your hurricane deductible is 4000.

Keep in mind that your homeowner policy is actually designed to cover major losses and not to be utilized for smaller claims. Although you can file any size claim that you would like you have to keep in mind that insurance companies will count claim frequency against you if you have to shop your insurance. If you have 2 or 3 minor claims in the past 3 years you may find it almost impossible to shop your insurance. Although most homeowner policies have a standard hurricane deductible of 2% some carriers will allow you to buy back down to as low as 500. You just have to weigh the pros and cons of the cost vs. the deductible amount if you decide to do this.

Dusting off your home insurance policy

At least once a year it is a good idea to dust off you homeowner insurance policy to make sure your coverage’s are still relevant for your needs. This not only holds true for your home policy but also for your auto, life and health policies. Below are some quick tips for making sure your policies are current and up to date. Homeowner's  insurance policies for the most part, year after year, tend to not need to make too many changes regarding coverage’s or limits. However, whenever you have some kind of life-changing event like a new piece of jewelry or a swimming pool, you should make sure certain items are updated. For instance, if you upgraded your roof to include clay tile instead of the previous shingles, you'll need to call to make sure the extra value for the clay tile is taken into consideration for replacement cost of your home.

Homeowner insurance has changed quite a bit since the 04 hurricanes that hit the state of FL. Now carriers are offering huge discounts for wind mitigation factors like new roofs, roof tie downs, and shutters. If you have made any of these changes you’ll need to submit these to us so we can file for your proper discounts. In addition, if you have made any structural changes to your home, you’ll definitely want to contact you agent to make sure the values for your home reflect these changes.

Also, the dwelling values have dropped about 40% over the last 3 years so you may also find that your home is over insured. We can complete a replacement cost estimator to verify the proper value. What if you just bought your wife an expensive diamond anniversary ring worth $10,000? You assume because you have $150,000 of contents coverage on your homeowner policy that you are covered. Unfortunately, if someone stole her ring they would find out that all homeowner insurance policies have limitations for theft of jewelry for 1000.

A review with our staff on a routine basis would have allowed us to ask the various questions to uncover this exposure and insure it properly. Lastly, keep in mind that if you have added a diving board, slide, trampoline, ATV, or buy a dog on the bad breed list, your coverage’s may change if a claim arises from these hazards. Most insurance carriers won’t write you if you have one or more of these risks so if you obtain them after your policy is in force just make sure you understand how your coverage’s will apply if at all. Dusting off your policy and reviewing these changes in your lifestyle with your agent, it may save you a lot of headaches down the road.

Will my roommate’s belongings be covered under my homeowner insurance policy?

A Clermont homeowner insurance policy is designed to cover the named insured as well as residing family members as far as personal belongings are concerned. This includes both contents inside the home as well as contents away from your premises that may be in storage or a secondary residence. What happens if a non family member like a boyfriend or girlfriend moves into your home? Will their contents automatically be covered?

The answer is typically no as this person does not fall into the definition of a named insured or residing relative. To solve this coverage issue, the non-family member will need to secure an inexpensive renter’s policy to cover their belongings.

What about your child’s contents who is away at college? Will they need to secure their own renter’s policy or will their contents be covered under the parent’s homeowner policy.  This answer is different as the child, although away at college is a residing relative so the contents will extent to the child's contents away at college. Some policies have limitations for what percentage will be covered away from premises so give us a call and we can help answer this question for you.

The same holds true if you own a secondary residence. Your contents coverage under your primary residence will actually transfer covering the contents under your secondary. Based on this you can adjust your coverage downward so that you don’t duplicate your contents limits. Of course keep in mind that you have to make sure that the contents limits under your primary are adequate to cover both locations. For more details on how your contents are covered please contact the professional at Southern Insurance Group for your detailed homeowner insurance review today. 

Let us also make sure you are clear about any areas of the homeowner policy that have limitations and exclusions. Items such as earthquakes, landslides and floods are excluded from the policy but may be purchased separately.

Because homeowner insurance has limitations for items such as jewelry, coins and collectible items, we can schedule these items to the policy by providing appraisals and paying a small additional premium.

Most of our home insurance policies also offer many discounts for newer homes, alarm systems, good credit,  higher deductibles, and mitigation credits.

Mitigation credits can be provided for certain roof tie downs, having a Hip roof, or having new shingles put on your roof since 2001. We can explain what these discounts represent and how they reduce your premiums by having them. 

 If a car is stolen from a home garage is this covered under the home policy?

The definition of the homeowner insurance policy strictly prohibits coverage for four wheeled motorized vehicles so just because the auto was in the garage has no bearing on a claim being paid by the homeowner policy. It unfortunately is an exclusion under the policy so the answer is no.

If this claim occurs, you would need to file the theft under your comprehensive coverage under your auto policy. Once you report the claim with your insurance carrier, you will need to wait 30 days for a claim to be settled. The reason for this 30 day waiting period is because the company will want to see if the vehicle is recovered.

On the other hand, if your contents are stolen from your vehicle, you don't file the contents under your auto policy but rather your homeowner policy. The reason being
is because the loose contents are not a covered feature under your auto policy. In order for the contents to be covered under the auto policy, they would have to be
permanently installed and most likely endorsed on your auto policy if it isn't a factory installed feature.

Your homeowner policy covers contents both in your home and away from premises. These loose contents can actually be claimed on your home policy under your personal property contents less your deductible. If some of these stolen contents are business items there might be a limitation for business contents away from your main residence. Please refer to your policy or agent for exact details.  

As you can see, when it comes to homeowner insurance in Clermont, our protection team understands the way home insurance works. Let us identify the kind of policy and coverage you need when obtaining premium quotations to find the best values.