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Personal Umbrella Insurance – The Basics

Personal Umbrella Insurance – The Basics

One of the side effects of working in the insurance industry for years is the tendency to point out things that could lead to a liability claim, literally everywhere.  Although it could be annoying, the fact is that the possibilities exist. Policies such as Automobile and Homeowners insurance provide liability coverage up to certain limits, but then there is also Personal Umbrella Insurance.  Personal Umbrella Insurance is a secondary policy that kicks in after the limits of the primary policies (such as auto insurance) have been exhausted.  It covers over the primary policies that satisfy the minimum liability limits required by the Personal Umbrella insurance company.

A Personal Umbrella policy may provide secondary coverage for bodily injury, property damage, personal injury and the cost of legal defense.  The amount of coverage available starts at $1 Million to $2 Million and can go up. Generally, the annual cost of Personal Umbrella Insurance is very low and worth the excess coverage.

An example of how a Personal Umbrella policy can work is below:

Scenario: You are in a car accident that was your fault. The accident results in bodily injury to another driver and property damage to the driver’s vehicle. You have auto insurance, but the medical expenses and cost to replace the vehicle that you are liable for exceed the limits of your auto policy.

Solution: Personal Umbrella Insurance. A Personal Umbrella policy would kick in after the primary insurance policy has been exhausted.

Talk to an insurance professional to learn more about Personal Umbrella Insurance. It’s worth your time. For more information click here to contact Gigi or call her today at 561-254-4648

 

 

Gigi Huguet No Comments

Automobile Insurance (FL) – The Basics

Automobile Insurance – The Basics

To simplify automobile insurance I learned that one of the easiest ways to understand the basic coverage was to break it down to: Coverage for yourself, Coverage for others and Coverage for your vehicle. The basic coverage that you will have to decide on when purchasing automobile insurance are:

  • Personal Injury Protection
  • Medical Payments
  • Uninsured Motorist / Underinsured Motorist
  • Bodily Injury
  • Property Damage
  • Comprehensive
  • Collision

Below is a little explanation of some of the basic coverage you may come across when purchasing or reviewing your auto insurance.

Personal Injury Protection

PIP is required in the State of Florida for all vehicle owners and drivers at a minimum limit of $10,000. The coverage covers your medical expenses, loss wages, and a death benefit regardless of who is at fault in the event of an accident up to the coverage limit selected.  Many insurance companies offer additional options that allow you to tailor this coverage to your needs/wants. For example, if you are retired and no longer need wage loss coverage then many companies will allow you to remove the benefit.

Medical Payments

Generally, Medical Payments covers the medical expenses for you in the event of an accident regardless of fault.  It also covers medical expenses if you are hit by a vehicle as a pedestrian/bicyclist.

Uninsured Motorist/Underinsured Motorist

In the event of an accident where the other party is found to be at fault, but is uninsured or is underinsured, then UM may cover your medical expenses and loss wages up to the limit you selected.

Bodily Injury

The medical expenses to others in an accident that you are at fault and liable for can be covered through BI up to the limit you selected.  This may also be called liability coverage.

Property Damage

PD is also required in the State of Florida with a minimum limit of $10,000. The repairs to a vehicle(s) or property that belongs to others in an accident that you are at fault and liable for can be covered through PD up to the limit you selected. This may also be referred to as liability coverage.

Comprehensive

The cost to repair or replace your vehicle due to events such as fire, theft, vandalism can be covered through Comprehensive Coverage. The repairs of your windshield may also be covered through Comprehensive Coverage.  It is helpful to research the age and value of your vehicle when deciding if this coverage is right for you.

Collision

The cost to repair or replace your vehicle due to a collision with another vehicle or object may be covered through Collision Coverage.  May be also be called Other Than Collision Coverage.   It is helpful to research the age and value of your vehicle when deciding if this coverage is right for you.

It is important to know that each company offers different limits and other optional coverage that may be beneficial to you such as gap insurance or towing & roadside assistance. It is also important to understand what is covered and what is not under each coverage as each company may differ.

Having the right type of insurance is very important, especially in FL. If you have any questions on your existing insurance or if you want to see if there is a better solution for your situation, contact me here.

Gigi Huguet No Comments

Shop Smart!

Shop Smart!

Did you ever think of how the attributes of a property you are looking to purchase could affect you later?  The attributes of a home or investment property have a direct effect on the price of property insurance.  The majority of the dwelling attributes are used to determine the dwelling coverage limit and some attributes stand alone on the affect it has on your property insurance.

The Cost to Replace.

Replacement Cost Estimates (RCE) are typically required by insurance companies to determine the dwelling coverage limit of your property insurance.  The estimate is completed by insurance agents through entering the majority of the dwelling attributes into a program.  The program calculates the cost to replace your dwelling in the event of a total loss.  Some of the information we gather to complete an RCE are listed below:

Year BuiltConstruction TypeRoof Type
Roof ShapeLiving Square Footage Number of Stories
Wall HeightNumber Bathroom(s) & Quality TypeNumber of Kitchen(s) & Quality Type
Floor TypeMoldingsNumber of Doors & Type
Electrical AmperageHeating & Cooling SystemAttached/Built-In Garage
Attached Porch/PatioAttached PoolsAttached Screen Enclosures

The more accurate the replacement cost estimate is then the more accurate the coverage limit and cost of insurance will be.  The information is gathered from different sources such as, from the owner of the property, property appraisals, county records, and current photos of the property.

Property Features that stand-alone on affecting your insurance cost in a positive way!

Year Built

Newer homes get better rates for different reasons, but eventually the credit does fall off.

Construction Type

Dwellings built of Reinforced Concrete construction have the biggest positive affect on the insurance premium, however this type of construction is typically only found in high rise buildings.  In all my years as an agent, I can recall only three clients of where their single family homes were built of Reinforced Concrete.

Dwellings built of Concrete Block/Masonry Construction have a lower insurance premium than those built of Wood Siding/Frame construction.

Roof Features

The roof cover, roof shape, roof deck attachment, roof to wall connection are all features that can have a positive effect on the insurance premium.  A wind mitigation inspection report is required by insurance companies to determine what the dwelling is equipped with.  There are many variations that can result in different amounts of discounts and therefore if and what the discount will be can only be determined when the report is furnished.  Some insurance companies automatically apply credits to newer homes in some counties, which is why it would be advisable to first consult with an agent before ordering an inspection.

The roof shape can be determined without the wind mitigation inspection.  The roof shape can be confirmed through aerial views and current photos of all four sides of the dwelling.  A hip roof shape can result in a discount.

Wind Protection

A dwelling equipped with hurricane shutters and/or impact glass windows may receive discounts.  A wind mitigation inspection report is required to determine what the dwelling is equipped with.

Secured Community

Many insurance companies offer discounts to properties located within a secured community.  A secured community could be a 24 hour gated community that is manned or allows entry through a passkey/passcode.  Some companies will even apply a discount if your community has a single entrance.  A signed statement from the association on the association’s letterhead detailing how the community is secured would be required to determine eligibility for discounts.

Alarms

A home equipped with a monitored central station burglar and/or fire alarm can be eligible for discounts.  A current Alarm Certificate (less than one year old) from the monitoring company is required.

Contact me for a property insurance review to confirm your policy is being rated accurately.

Gigi Huguet No Comments

Flood Insurance – The Basics

Have you checked if your community participates in the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP)?  The Federal Emergency Management Agency, better known as FEMA, offers insurance coverage to those in participating communities to help reduce the burdens caused by flooding through the NFIP.  The goal of the NFIP is to help restore the community as quick as possible after the effects of flooding.

What policy is right for you?

Dwelling Policy

Primarily for:

  • Residential Buildings with 1 to 4 Units
  • Residential Condominium Unit
  • Residential Tenants
General Property Policy

Primarily for:

  • Non-Residential Buildings and Units
Residential Condominium Building Association Policy (RCBAP)

Primarily for:

  • Residential Condominium Buildings

How much does flood insurance cost?

The cost of flood insurance is based on a couple of factors.  Some of those factors are the flood zone the property is located in, the coverage limits selected and the year the structure is built.  Another factor that affects the cost is the elevation of the building’s lowest floor in comparison to the base flood elevation.  In some cases, an Elevation Certificate is recommended or required to confirm elevation information for proper rating.

FEMA also offers a lower cost coverage called Preferred Risk Policy (PRP) under the Dwelling and General Property Policy.  The program is primarily available to properties located in low to moderate flood hazard areas.  Per FEMA, the average annual cost of a PRP is $395.00. 

Flood Zones.

You can view your community’s flood map by visiting the FEMA Flood Map Service Center.

DesignationZone
Special Flood Hazard AreaA, AO, AH, A1-A30, AE, A99, AR, AR/AE, AR/AO, AR/A1-A30, AR/A, V, VE, V1-V30
Moderate Flood Hazard AreaB, X (shaded)
Low Flood Hazard AreaC, X (unshaded)
Undetermined Flood Hazard Area D

What are some questions you should be asking?

What is considered a flood?

The NFIP has a legal definition for flood that reads as follows, “A flood is a general and temporary condition where two or more acres of normally dry land or two or more properties are inundated by water or mudflow.

What is covered?

Once a loss has been determined to be caused by what NFIP defines as a flood, a flood policy would typically cover losses to the building and/or the contents of the building, up to a set limit.  It is also important to understand how a building and/or the contents of the building are defined.   Additional coverage may be available, however many are specific to details like the usage, occupancy and policy forms.  For instance, a detached garage may have some coverage depending on factors like the usage and occupancy of the detached garage.

A great site to visit for these answers is www.floodsmart.gov.  I highly recommend homeowners take the time to go through the site and become familiar with the flood insurance coverage that FEMA offers.

On a side note:  some private insurers are now offering flood coverage.  It is advisable that homeowners understand if and what the differences are in the coverage that may exist between the NFIP and  flood coverage offered by a private insurer.

For more information or if you would like me to review the policy you have, contact Gigi Huguet here

 

 

 

Gigi Huguet No Comments

Property Insurance – The Basics

One of the largest financial investments we may make in our life is buying a home. Luckily, for certain scenarios like fire or hurricane damage, property insurance was created to lessen the financial burden of when we have a loss to our home.

What policy is right for you?

Homeowners Insurance

– Primarily for:

  • Single family homes
  • Occupied by the owner of property
  • Used as a primary, secondary or seasonal residence

Dwelling Fire Insurance

– Primarily for:

  • 1-4 family dwelling
  • Occupied by the owner of the property and/or a tenant
  • Used as a primary, secondary or seasonal residence and/or investment property

Tenant Insurance

– Primarily for:

  • Coverage for personal property only
  • For a tenant of a single family home, apartment and/or condo unit.

Unit-Owner Insurance

– Primarily for:

  • Partial coverage to Condominium Units, Villas, Townhomes
  • Occupied by the owner of the property and/or a tenant
  • Used as a primary, secondary or seasonal resided and/or investment property

** There are specialty policies for unique scenarios that fit outside of the basic policy type. Some of those scenarios may include vacant properties and properties under renovation/construction.

What questions can you expect an insurance agent to ask when securing a property insurance policy?

Insurable Interest

  • Who’s name is listed on the warranty deed and/or settlement statement?
  • Is the owner of the property an individual, trust or corporation?
  • Is there a mortgage, personal loan and/or equity line on the property?

Property Specifications

  • What is the property address?
  • What are the specifications of the property? (ie: year built, square footage etc.)
  • What discounts are the property qualified for? (ie: wind mitigation features, fire alarm etc.)

Occupancy and Usage

  • Who will occupy the property within the year? (ie: owner occupied, tenant etc.)
  • How will the property be used (ie: primary, seasonal, secondary etc.)

Claim History

  • What losses has the owner had at all properties owned by the owner?
  • What is the status of all claims made by the owner? (ie: open or closed)
  • Are there any existing disrepair to the property to-be insured?
  • Has the property to-be insured sustained any sinkhole losses and/or in an area with sinkhole activity

**It is to everyone’s benefit for application questions and answers to be as thorough and accurate as possible in order to secure coverage through the right product and company.

What should YOU be asking when obtaining property insurance?

Many insureds tend to ask these questions when it’s too late, but these questions should be asked and answered when obtaining your property insurance policy. The declaration page, policy forms and endorsements of your policy will provide answers to questions such as who is covered, what is covered and what exclusions exist.

The declaration page will include information such as the named insured, effective date, insured property address, policy limits and deductibles. This is typically unique to you and your insured property address.

The policy forms and endorsement will include details of what perils your property is covered for, who else is covered, what exclusions exist, and what the settlement value will be. This is typically unique to the policy form and endorsements selected and the company you are insured through.

Ultimately, it is the insured’s responsibility to understand the declaration page and policy forms at time of obtaining a property insurance policy. It is always strongly encouraged to review it carefully.

Things to do when you experience a loss

  • Take photos of the loss
  • Immediately, protect your property and take action to prevent further damage
  • If you are a unit-owner, contact your association or property management company for their assessment of the loss and clarity on their responsibility and your responsibility as the owner of the unit.
  • Obtain estimates from licensed professionals for repairs
  • If the cause of the loss falls within a scenario that would be covered by your insurance policy and above your deductible; contact your insurance company immediately to submit a claim. Be sure to write down your claim number, the claims adjuster’s name, contact number, and email address. Be prepared to cooperate, be responsive and available through the claim process.

For More information about Property and Casualty Insurance or if you have questions about your own policy, click here and Gigi will get back to you soon.