Homeowners Insurance Tips
1) Install a monitored burglar and fire alarm: Having your home protected by a burglar alarm that is monitored by a central station will help lower your home insurance annual premium, normally by about 5-10%. If you also have the alarm monitored for fire, there could be an additional savings of 5-10%. In order to obtain this discount, you will need to provide us with a proof of monitoring statement from your monitoring company. Contact your monitoring company directly to have this sent to us.
2) Increase your deductibles: Just like car insurance and health insurance, the higher your deductibles are the lower your annual premiums will be. However, it is best to only raise your deductible to an amount you can afford at any given time. If you only have a $1,000 emergency fund, then it is probably best to only raise your deductible to $1,000 no matter what the savings are with a higher deductible. But as your savings grows, let us know and we can look at increasing your deductibles at any time for possible savings.
3) Ask about a multiple policy discount: While the amount of insurance companies that offer all lines of insurance (auto, home, flood, rental properties, umbrella, etc.) have diminished over the last 15 years, most home insurance companies still offer a discount of 10% or more to their customers that maintain other lines of insurance with them. For example, most home insurance policies offer discounts for having either a rental property or flood policy with them. Make sure to give us a complete picture of what you have, that way we can maximize your savings on all your policies.
4) Consider a wind mitigation inspection: If your home was built before 2002 and your roof was replaced after 2002, you should highly consider having a wind mitigation inspection completed. Florida building codes changed in 2002 that require roofs to be better secured to the home, which means there may be a potential for some huge savings on our home insurance policy of anywhere between 10-45%. If your home was built in 2002 or later, then those savings are automatically factored into the quote so you do not need to obtain a wind mitigation inspection since the home had to be built to the new codes. However, if you have hurricane shutters or hurricane resistant windows, you’ll need this inspection in order to get the credit on your home insurance policy.
5) Keep track of updates you have made: If your home is over 30 years old, most home insurance carriers will want to know if there have been any updates done to your home’s electrical, plumbing, roof, and heating & air conditioning system. They will also want to know the materials used and the condition of those components. If you don’t have the receipts for the work that was performed, the next best thing you can have is a 4-point inspection. This inspection will outline all the information that an insurance company will need in order to provide a quote. Otherwise, you may be limiting the number of insurance companies that will offer a quote to you and miss out on the best rate.
6) Contact your agent first regarding any claims or questions: If you have a question about a possible claim, it is best to contact us as your agent to answer any of those questions for you. Otherwise, if you contact the insurance company directly, they will open up a claim regardless if anything is paid out or not. If you have a claim, please contact us first. As your agent, we’ll do our best to make your claim experience a smooth one. And if at any time during the claim you think that you’re not being treated fairly, need help along the way, or want to share your positive experience with us, please let us know.
7) Schedule your annual policy review: A lot can happen in a year, and it is important to review all of those changes with us. Perhaps you added a pool, installed an alarm system, paid off your mortgage, or renovated a bathroom. Whatever the case may be, let us know so we can make sure you are properly covered and are getting the maximum amount of discounts possible.
Auto Insurance Tips
1) Increase your deductibles: Just like home and health insurance, the higher your deductibles are the lower your premiums will be. However, it is best to only raise your deductible to an amount you can afford at any given time. If you only have a $1,000 emergency fund, then it is probably best to only raise your deductible to $1,000 no matter what the savings are with a higher deductible. But as your savings grows, let us know and we can look at increasing your deductibles at any time for possible savings.
2) Get uninsured motorist coverage: Uninsured motorist coverage (UM) protects you financially if you’re in an accident with someone who’s found at fault and either has no insurance or insufficient insurance. Basically, UM pays what you are legally entitled to recover from the at-fault party. Three years ago, the Insurance Information Institute reported that about 24 percent of the vehicles in Florida were totally uninsured. Recently, the Florida Department of Financial Services published a report showing that 50.9 percent of all insured vehicles have bodily injury liability limits of $25,000 or less. Those two numbers added up says that about 75 percent of the cars driving on the road today carry $25,000 or less in coverage to pay for your loss, which means this coverage is a vital part of your insurance policy.
3) Carry higher liability coverage limits: Increasing your liability coverage doesn’t always mean your rates will increase drastically. Often times, increasing your liability limits puts you in a better rating class with the insurance carrier, which means your rates may be better.
4) Purchase a personal umbrella policy: An umbrella policy kicks in where your liability coverage for your auto (or home) policy ends, and is a necessity if you have any assets to protect. Umbrella coverage starts at $1,000,000 and the rates for this coverage are low. You can often save on an umbrella by buying it through the same insurer you get your auto policy from, but each situation is different.
5) Don’t buy a teen their own car: This isn’t a very popular fact when I was 16 either, but the truth is that it’s usually cheaper to not add a third car to your policy when you’re adding a teen driver to a two-parent/two-car policy because insurance companies rightly assume the teen driver will drive less without his own car. However, if you and your spouse both drive new luxury cars with comprehensive and collision coverage, then it might make sense to buy your teen an older, less expensive used vehicle without collision coverage. Each situation is different, so before you make the decision give us a call. We can run a few different scenarios for you to see which best fits your budget, without having to reduce your coverage.