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EDISON BLOG

Homeowners Insurance on Shoestring Budget by Edison Insurance Company

Being a homeowner in Florida is becoming harder and harder.  While interest rates are at an all-time low; homeowners insurance premiums are at an all-time high.  Carriers throughout the state are raising rates sometimes as much as 30-40% in some areas, and they say they need more.  Because homeowners insurance is necessary, we take a look at why the costs continue to rise and what we can all do to save money.

For many years Florida was spared from the wrath of hurricanes or tropical storms making landfall in the state. Policyholders are now confused as to why their rate continues to increase even though they have not filed a claim.  The problem is complex and multifaceted. 

The Insurance Industry

Insurance consists of a global network of investors and insurers taking risks and speculating on when, where, and at what severity a natural disaster may occur.  The storms affecting the State of Florida are not the only ones affecting the rates homeowners are paying for their policies.  Insurance companies, such as Edison Insurance Company, just like many homeowners, also purchase insurance.  The rates paid by private carriers are dependent upon the global stage, as well as the local market.

Global events such as the typhoons in Asia, earthquakes in Haiti, and other such natural disasters affect the costs of doing business in the State of Florida.  Hurricanes affecting Texas and Louisiana and sparing Florida are a sign of good fortune, but also increase the cost of everyone’s premiums.

In the State of Florida, the rampant insurance fraud by unscrupulous contractors, as well as the overwhelming filing of frivolous lawsuits have forced carriers to their limits and forced them to operate while being financially insolvent or close their doors.

To provide coverage for our policyholders, Edison Insurance purchases reinsurance only from A rated companies. Edison has secured coverage in the event of multiple storms in the same year, as well as coverage for damage from a 1 in 100 year storm; a storm we hope to never experience.  Our priority to is to be here for our policyholders when they need us for many years to come.   It is important to note, when shopping for homeowners insurance, peace of mind comes from knowing your carrier is financially stable and prepared to stand by their policyholders. 

Fighting Fraud

Fraud costs the insurance industry millions of dollars each year.  Understanding how to avoid and report fraud is how you can help keep the costs of your premiums low.  Currently, areas throughout the state are being blanketed with advertisements from roofing companies claiming they will be able to replace your roof at no charge as the insurance company will pay for all damage due to Hurricane Irma.  Hurricane Irma occurred 3 years ago.  Any wind damage suffered by the passing of this storm would have been noticed a long time before this year.  Yet, contractors continue to visit homeowners, enticing them with exorbitant incentives, and encouraging them to sue insurance carriers for, sometimes, up to 3 times the cost of a roof replacement. 

Oftentimes, contractors convince homeowners to sign an Assignment of Benefits forms (AOB), effectively stripping away the rights of the homeowner to make decisions on their home repairs, as well as their ability to recover monetary compensation for the covered losses.  The AOB misdealings were so prevalent in Florida, the legislature passed reform to curve the use of AOBs and protect the rights of policyholders.

If you see fraud, report it. You can do so anonymously, directly to the state, by visiting https://first.fldfs.com/.

Review your policy

Talking to your agent and having an honest conversation about your home and insurance needs will help you assess what coverage is really needed, and where savings can be captured.  Here are a few items to start the conversation:

  • New roof – if you have replaced your roof in the past 10 years, you may want to consider obtaining a wind mitigation inspection as discounts may be available.
  • Opening protection – if you have added storm shutters, hurricane windows and doors to ALL your openings, submitting a wind mitigation inspection can save you money.
  • Deductibles – increasing your hurricane deductible may be a risk, however, it can save you dollars in the short term.
  • Limiting your water coverage – limiting your coverage to $10K for a water loss occurring in your home, can significantly reduce your insurance premium.
  • Maintenance contract – although not covered by your homeowners insurance policy, when appliances break, suddenly and accidently, they may cause damage to your home which is covered by your homeowners policy.  Having a maintenance program for your water heater, refrigerator, washer, dryer, etc., can save you money.

 

Insurance is costly, but we can all work together, homeowner, insurance carrier, and agent, to impart industry knowledge, combat fraud, and save money.  Ask your agent, how they can help you find the proper coverage and savings or call us at 866-568-8922.

 

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Go Back-to-School on Homeowners Insurance Coverages

Updated: August 1, 2020

 

 

As a homeowner, it is important to know and understand your coverage through your specific carrier. Having a reliable homeowners insurance plan in place will not only give you peace of mind but will protect your family and belongings as well. As a policyholder, you can make changes to adjust the amount of coverage you have, which may cause changes to your annual policy premium. Keep in mind, if you do not have enough coverage in place, you could be responsible for any out-of-pocket costs in the event of a loss. Each homeowners policy is different, and it is important you understand your coverages, so you and your agent can select the options which work best for the needs of your family.

 

What is covered?

Your homeowners insurance is made up of coverages which will pay to repair or replace your belongings and your home should they be damaged by certain perils such as fire, theft, or windstorm. These coverages may include, dwelling, personal property, loss of use, and liability. Edison Insurance Company offers additional types of coverage, should you choose to further customize your policy.

 

The ABC’s of Homeowners Insurance Coverage and Knowing What They Insure

 

Coverage A: Dwelling - which covers damage or destruction to your home, attached structures, and fixtures in your house like built-in appliances.

 

Coverage B: Other Structures - protects physical structures on your property and not attached to your home. For example, detached structures such as garages, storage sheds, and fences.

 

Coverage C: Personal Property - covers the contents of your home, including furniture, clothing, and appliances if they are damaged, destroyed, or stolen by perils covered in the policy.

 

Coverage D: Loss of Use - will pay for additional living expenses if your home is inhabitable during repairs.

 

Coverage E: Liability - Protects against financial loss should you be sued and found legally responsible for someone else's injury or property damage.

 

Coverage F: Medical Payments to Others - covers medical bills for those injured on your property. This coverage may also pay for some injuries which may happen away from your home.

 

 

What is Not Covered?

 

While your homeowners insurance covers many types of perils, there are exceptions, and it depends on your particular policy. Certain events, including neglect, intentional loss, earth movement and settlement, power failure, war, nuclear hazards, or other circumstances may not be covered within your policy. Another peril which is not covered under most standard homeowners insurance policies is flood insurance. Usually, flood insurance would need to be purchased as a separate standalone policy. However, Edison Insurance Company offers a certified endorsement to qualifying policies which is not offered through many other private carriers. If your property does not qualify for Edison Insurance Company’s endorsement, be sure to speak with your agent obtaining flood coverage through the National Flood Insurance Program.

 

Your home is likely one of the largest financial investments you will make. In the event of a fire, flood, or natural disaster, this investment can disappear in a matter of minutes, even seconds. Your insurance policy can cover not only damage, but it can save you from financial ruin. As such, it is important you understand what your particular policy covers and what may not be covered. If you have any questions or need to make any changes to your policy, please contact us at 866-568-8922 or speak with your agent.

 

Does Homeowners Insurance Cover Your College Student's Possessions?

 

Amidst the emotional process known as, sending your children off to college, it is important to prioritize your child's safety. Whether your child is living in a dormitory or an off-campus apartment, it is essential you ensure they have the necessary coverage to account for their expensive belongings such as laptops, televisions, printers, jewelry, etc. An important question many parents with children heading to college often ask is if their homeowners insurance policy will cover their college student’s possessions in the event of a loss.  

 

Understanding A Student’s Coverage at College: 

  • Students under 26 years old who live on-campus are usually covered under their parents’ homeowners insurance policy, under “off-premise” coverage. Each policy is different, so be sure to refer to your homeowners insurance policy to understand your policy limits.  

  • Because of these limits, or if the student is living in off-campus housing such as renting an apartment or home, you may consider obtaining renters insurance. Renters policies cover their personal property in the event of a covered loss, such as damage from theft, fire, or any unexpected circumstance, which isn't covered by the landlord's or rental facilities insurance.  

  • Some items, like electronics, may have stand-alone insurance should they become stolen, lost, or damaged, depending on the warranty or the benefits used from the store or credit card at the time it was purchased.  

 

Should you have questions or concerns about your family's insurance coverage and the implications of your child becoming a full-time college student, or to determine if additional/supplemental coverage or renter’s insurance is needed, please contact your agent.  

 

Ways to Lower Your Risk of Theft or Damage of Personal Belongings While on Campus: 

  • Leave valuables at home. 

  • Consider purchasing a small safe to store important documents or valuables.  

  • Do not access personal accounts on public computers. 

  • Purchase and use a laptop security cable.   

  • Take inventory of all the possessions your child plans on bringing to college, preferably with pictures and dollar estimates of the object's value. This will provide you an estimate of how much coverage your child will need and will come in handy should you need to file a claim.  

 

We hope this information assists you in making important decisions while you send your children off to college. Should you have any questions in regards to your Edison Insurance policy, give us a call at 866-568-8922 or contact your agent.   

 

Items You Should Have in Your Hurricane Supply Kit

Updated: July 1, 2020
 

The 2020 Hurricane Season is upon us, and it is crucial we are prepared for the unexpected. If you have not already, now is the time to stock up on all your hurricane supplies. If you wait until the last minute to purchase supplies when a hurricane is approaching, some essential items may not be available. Here are some items you should have in your hurricane supply kit: 

  

Have at least a two-week supply of non-perishable food and drinks including: 

  • Ready-to-eat canned meats, fruits, and vegetables 

  • Comfort foods 

  • High-energy foods 

  • Water 

  • Vitamins 

  • Ice 

 

First Aid Kit: 

  • Bandages 

  • Wipes 

  • Cold packs (non-refrigerated type) 

  • Over the counter pain relievers 

  • Gloves 

  

 

Tools and Supplies: 

  • Scissors 

  • Manual can opener 

  • Plastic storage containers 

  • Paper cups, plates, and plastic utensils 

  • Battery-operated radio 

  • Flashlight 

  • Tape 

  • Portable chargers 

  • Batteries 

 

We hope this list helps you know what you should be purchasing for your hurricane preparations. Remember, this is just a list of basic items you should have. Don’t forget to include items to best fit the needs of your family including kids, seniors, and pets. For more suggestions on hurricane safety items, visit the Tips and Tools section of our website. Should you have any questions in regards to your homeowners insurance policy during hurricane season, Edison Insurance Company is here to help. Give us a call at 866- 568-8922 for policy assistance.