Guest Blogger Jessica Wilson

Four things you need to know now about Homeowners Insurance

As hurricane season approaches, forecasters predict this year to be an active one. If you’re unsure about your insurance coverage or you know it’s lacking, now is the time to make necessary changes. You don’t want to wait until a storm is heading your way because many insurers won’t sell policies with a named storm in pursuit.
And one thing that everyone needs to fully understand is that Flood insurance is not included in a standard Homeowner policy, so it’s a good idea to make sure you have Flood insurance now, too.
Here are some questions you can start asking today to get ready for hurricane season:
1. Do I have an adequate dwelling coverage limit?
Take out your Homeowners insurance policy and look for the “Declarations Page.” This is the summary of the coverages you have in place. Your Coverage A, commonly called dwelling coverage, is the maximum amount your insurance company will pay you to replace your home. Is it enough to rebuild and replace your home? Remember that the cost to replace your home is not your home’s market value (or the amount you could receive if you sold your home). Replacing your home involves cleaning up the site where your home used to sit and buying building materials at current-market costs to rebuild.2 If unsure if your Coverage A is adequate, talk with an Insurance Agent.
2. Do you know what Ordinance and Law is, and do you have the coverage?
While Ordinance and Law coverage isn’t a topic of conversation in other parts of the country, that’s not the case in Florida.
Building codes in Florida change over time (they changed dramatically following
Hurricane Andrew in 1992). Subsequently, the cost to repair and rebuild homes may dramatically increase as building codes require owners to bring homes into compliance (think structural, electrical, heating, ventilation, air conditioning, and plumbing).
Perhaps most costly of all, building code changes may require elevating above the flood line before building a new home.
Ordinance and Law coverage can provide coverage for these costs in the event of a covered loss. If you don’t have this coverage, talk with an Agent.
3. Do you understand how the hurricane deductible works?
A Florida Homeowners policy features a “Hurricane Deductible” that is a percentage of your Coverage A limits, versus a flat dollar amount.
A common Hurricane Deductible is 2% of your Coverage A. Therefore, if you own a $400,000 home, your Hurricane Deductible is $8,000. If water or wind from a named storm damages your home, you are responsible for paying your deductible amount before other coverage starts paying.
A Florida homeowner may have a windstorm deductible, which is a percentage of Coverage A.
It’s important to know your deductible amounts and that you can afford them.
If you don’t know how much your deductible amounts are, talk with an Agent.
4. Do you know the difference between Actual Cash Value and Replacement Cost when it comes to your personal possessions?
Actual Cash Value pays damages equal to the replacement value of damaged property, minus depreciation. For example, if you have a five-year-old refrigerator, its actual cash value is lower than buying a new refrigerator.
Replacement Cost coverage pays the dollar amount needed to replace damaged personal property without a deductible for depreciation.3 Regardless of which you choose (I always recommend Replacement Cost), know that there is a limit on the amount of money an insurer will pay for Personal Property losses—it’s on your policy’s Declarations Page. If this amount isn’t enough to replace your Personal Property, see an Agent right away.
A Florida native, Jessica Wilson owns Brightway, The Wilson Agency in Safety Harbor, Florida. You can reach Jessica and her team through or by calling 727-316-5004. If you need to insure property outside of Florida and are not already a customer of Brightway Insurance, you can click here to find a local agent in your state.
Please share this information, because there are many that need some help and not sure what to do.  We can help many by sharing information.
Jeanne White
Station Manager
Passionate World Talk Radio
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