What Kind of house should I buy?
Insuring homes in Clermont for the past 24 years, I know that buying a home with certain features would come into play with my next purchase. Various features that a home possesses may make a huge difference on the cost of homeowner insurance. Some of these features that I'll explain may save you a thousand dollars or more on your annual insurance premiums. Below is a list of some of those discounted features.
- Hip vs gable roof. A hip roof is a roof where all sides of the roof slope down vs a gable that looks like this ^ or shaped like an "A". The hip roof has a much stronger ability to resist high winds and therefore results in less damage as a result. Because of this you may find your homeowner insurance premium may be reduced up to 25% of the total premium.
- Mitigation credits. A mitigation credit is a credit that is offered for various roof features that make the roof stronger to resist wind damage. Some of these features are new roof covering, roof deck attachment, roof to wall attachment. Most homes built 1998 and newer start receiving some of these discount and homes 2002 and newer receive all three discounts. These features may save as much as 50% on your homeowner insurance premiums.
- Block vs frame home-when looking for a home, note that a block construction home is much cheaper to insure than a frame home. The discount for block homes average about 20-25% less than frame homes. Keep in mind that most carriers will treat a 2 story home as frame due to the home not being at least 66% block. Southern offers 6 quality carriers that will still allow this block discount for homes under 66% so keep this in mind.
- Fire Hydrant- if your home is plus a 1000 feet from a fire hydrant then you will be placed in a higher protection class which means you will pay higher insurance premiums. The reason for this is the fire department will not have a steady flow of water to hopefully put out the flames.
- Fire Station-If you are 5 plus miles from a fire station this also puts your home in a much higher protection class which equates to higher premiums. Note that about 70% of the homeowner insurance industry does not insure homes in this category.
- Acreage-most of the homeowner insurance industry will not write your home if you have over 5 acres. The reason why is this present an additional liability hazard because of animals, ATV's, hunting etc...
- Older homes-the older the home the more strict the insurance carriers become wanting to make sure the wiring, roof, heating, plumbing have bee updated and are in good working condition. you cut your number of insurance carriers who insure older homes down 80% if you home is over 50 years of age.
Differences between Captive and Independent agencies
Buying your first home is one of the most exciting purchases that you will make in your lifetime. When choosing a homeowner insurance company to place your most valuable asset where do you start if this is your first time doing so.Should you take our homeowner insurance coverage with a captive or independent agency like Southern. What are the main differences between insuring with an independent agency vs. a captive agency? Many people are not sure of the differences so this article designed to help explain these differences.
A captive agency is an agency that writes usually through one company like a State Farm agency. They are usually multiline companies which means they can write several different lines of insurance like, home, auto, boat etc… but only through that one company. Their customers desire to be insured with the company based on brand recognition.
An independent agency is just the opposite. An independent will shop your coverage’s through multiple carriers sometimes 20-30 of the best carriers in the industry to find your best pricing. These carriers will usually specialize in that particular product and sometimes that is all they do. This is usually a good thing as they know that one product or line of insurance very well and are priced competitively to write a lot of that one product line.
If you prefer the captive route you are at the mercy of how competitive that one carrier is. More times than not, price is important but not necessarily the main focus with insuring with a captive agency. On the other hand, the independent side will tend to be more competitive in price but with carriers that are strong but not as well know as the captive carriers.
In the State of FL the captive agencies are having the most difficult time due to major restrictions on the property side. Many captive agencies have major restrictions or are in the process of canceling their entire property book of business. Most of the business since the 04 hurricanes has shifted to the captives because of restrictions and price issues.How do you know that your home is insured properly?
When buying a home it can sometimes be a nerve racking experience because of all the decisions that you have to make all at once. Of these decisions, one of the most important is how much coverage do you need to adequately insure your home? Here are a few tips for you to consider to make sure you are insuring your home properly.
The first tip is understanding that your homeowner policy only covers the home and not the land. If your home burns down, your land will still be there to rebuild. So, in some cases you may be insuring your home for less that your mortgage amount. This is especially common when real estate values are high.
Right now the opposite is taking place in which the insurance values are substantially higher than what the mortgage values are for homes that especially have been purchased over the past 1-2 years. This is because the bottom has fallen out of the housing market and people are picking up deals all over the place.
Ironically, 4-5 years ago the values for homes in FL were at an all time high so people had their homes insured substantially higher than what new purchases are going for today. Why is this? It is mainly because the mortgage carriers what their customers to maintain a certain insurance coverage to loan value. Because the home values are so much lower today the mortgage carriers are not requiring as much coverage.
From an insurance companies perspective, we are only interested in the cost of what the home will cost for rebuilding purposes. These huge swings in values that have occurred over the years are primarily a real estate factors and are different than what the insurance companies use for determining how much coverage you need to insure your home for.
The professionals at Southern Insurance group will assist you in helping you insure your Clermont home properly. All agents have cost estimators that will give the agent a clear understanding for how much you need to insure you home for. If you as the client don't feel comfortable with the coverage amoun that the agent comes up with it is always open for further discussion. Most agents have a 20% swing from what the cost estimator states. It is always better to have a little extra coverage as due to supply and demand issues. If there is wide spread destruction it may cost more than usual to replace your home.
Just got pre-approved for a home loan? Congratulations! That’s a huge step in life – and it takes you so much closer to living the American Dream!
Insurance may not be your first thought when you start thinking about buying a house. But don’t let it be your last! Call your team at Southern Insurance Group early-on to avoid unpleasant surprises and save money. We can help you make this process as smooth and stress-free as possible. Simply follow this short checklist of house-buying tips that you should be aware of, from an insurance point of view:
Choose your own insurance
Your offer was accepted and now the real paperwork begins. Who would have thought that would be so many documents to produce, papers to sign, and questions to answer? When your broker assures you that she can take care of the rest, it’s easy to agree.
It’s a couple of months after you’re moved in that you have the peace of mind to take a closer look at the papers…and discover that your homeowner’s insurance rates are high. Very high! To say the least.
Just like property taxes have become commonly rolled into an escrow account and made part of a mortgage payment, so have homeowner’s insurance payments. Every lender requires that you have homeowner’s insurance in place. But that doesn’t mean that your mortgage company has to determine your insurance!
We can help you find the right protection at the best rate for your new home. All you have to do is get us involved early. Follow this short checklist, and with your permission, we can process everything so much faster when the closing date comes. Keep in mind that deadlines are always tight in the mortgage business.
Vicious Dog Breeds
Different strokes for different folks. If you have every heard that phrase you know that there are all kinds of people out there and everyone has their own favorite breed of dog. When we insure homeowner insurance in Clermont, one of the underwriting questions to qualify the risk is if you own a dog. if you answer yes then we need to know what type breed the dog is. All of the carriers have a vicious dog breed list so if your dog is on that list that carrier will most like not insure your property.
This is another compelling reason to you having your insurance with an independent insurance agency like Southern Insurance Group as will offer so many carriers that we very seldom run across a risk that one of our carrier can't accommodate. Now granted because of the dog, your competitive choices from carriers drops from 25 to about 2 but at least you have options to insure your property and keep you pet.
Just a piece of information to be aware of as you search for your dream home. For detailed rate quotes and more information about potential insurance rates for a house you’re looking at, just give us a call. We are here for you!
Don’t get bounced by a trampoline (or pool)
Now this house is really great! Not only does it come with a big yard and a swing set, but it also comes with a trampoline! The kids would love it! Unfortunately, the backyard isn’t fenced, but…well…a fence could be added later, plus the row of trees provides some privacy.
This doesn’t sound bad at all, does it?
Unfortunately, from an insurance standpoint, it does. There are an estimated 3 million trampolines in US backyards, and injuries caused by trampolines are steadily on the rise, averaging over 240,000 medically treated injuries every year. Over 180,000 involve children aged 14 and younger. Severe spinal cord and head injuries abound.
That’s why it is very difficult to find insurance for a trampoline. If the trampoline is located on your property and somebody – invited or not – gets injured while using it, you will be held responsible for the damages. That may mean many years of medical payments, or worse.
A trampoline is considered an “attractive nuisance”. Most insurance carriers have recognized the dangerous risk exposure that comes with a trampoline. Some carriers will not write a homeowner’s insurance policy for a home with a trampoline. Others may write it only if the trampoline is inside a 6-foot fenced area with a self-locking gate. Swimming pools are also considered “attractive nuisances” and are treated similarly.
Is it wise to file small claims on your homeowner insurance policy?
When setting your deductible for your homeowner insurance in Clermont, you should keep in mind that filing the smaller claims may end up hurting you down the road. Let me explain further. Your homeowner policy is really designed for the major catastrophe claims like hurricanes, windstorms, fires, liability claims etc...
Although your policy will cover you for much much more, filing the smaller claims that are slightly over your deductible may restrict you from ever changing to a different carrier in the future. Let me explain why this is and an example of a claim that I would not recommend filing. Lets say you have a hose that causes a leak behind your fridge. Fortunately you catch it fairly quickly but the cost of clean up and repair still runs around $600. You have a five hundred deductible so you say good I'll get back $100. This $100 over your deductible should be paid out of your pocket so it doesn't count against your policy.
Here is how this claim may impact you later. Although this claim in very minor in nature, insurance companies will look at your claim frequency so if you file one or two other claims with in a 3 year period, it most likely will cause your policy to be set up for cancellation. When shopping for a new plan, the new carrier will ask if you have had any claims in the past 3 years. When you state that you have had 3, they will tell you immediately that they can't help you. The only carrier that will be able to write you is the State of FL carrier of last resorts. You will pay a substantially higher rate as a result.
Note that just having the one water claim where a $100 was paid could restrict you from shopping to another carrier so you definitely want to try to minimize your claim
activity as much of possible. So if you have a minor claim, obtain estimates before you contact the insurance carrier. If the cost of repairs is slightly over your
deductible, then I would not recommend filing that claim. Some insurance carriers will even count the claim against you if you call them with a potential claim that you end up taking care of yourself.
So because of the reasons mentioned above, you should try to set your deductible to at least a $1000 and preferably $2500. This will help keep you out of trouble with filing the smaller claims plus it will save you money on your insurance premiums.
Part of a Homeowner’s Association? Check your association’s Master policy.
Living in a homeowner’s association can have its pros and its cons. But fact is that more and more condo, town-home, and other communities are bound together by a Homeowner’s Association. For each homeowner, that usually means an annual fee.
What does the homeowner’s association have to do with your insurance? Quite a bit, actually: From an insurance standpoint, if anybody got insured on the association’s joint property, such as, for example, a walkway or a playground, the association would be held liable. That’s why each homeowner’s association has a Master policy in place. The question is: What does the Master policy cover?
Some Master policies don’t provide high enough protection, so if a loss occurs that exceeds the policy limits, each homeowner in the association will share an equal part in the liability. In that case, you may be required to pay a share of hundreds or even thousands of dollars.
If you don’t have the right protection on your homeowner’s insurance, that money would need to come out of your pocket. Luckily, your homeowner’s insurance can be adjusted to provide you with adequate protection.
We can help you with that (and we can also help in checking your association’s Master policy). Give us a call 352-243-9000.
Located in a flood zone? You might need flood insurance.
Isn’t the sound of water one of the most soothing? Whether it’s rainwater drumming on your window, waves crashing on the beach, or a stream babbling away…Not to mention the view! To look out the window and see these sights is priceless.
A house near a river or the beach is a dream for many. But if that dream home is located in a flood zone, your lender may require you to have flood insurance in addition to your standard homeowner’s insurance policy.
Get a quote from us. We specialize in all your personal insurance needs and can help you with your flood insurance. Because sometimes, when it rains, it pours.
(PS: That said, with the weather patterns in recent years, Flood Insurance might be a smart idea, even if you live nowhere near a flood zone. Because certain water-related losses are excluded on a standard homeowner’s policy. Talk to us to learn more.)