Ensuring Insurance Knowledge
Insurance is an integral part of any financial plan. While it is easy to make decisions based on prices alone, neglecting certain coverages (such as replacement cost settlement and building ordinance coverage) can create much bigger costs down the line. The time to ensure that you are adequately and appropriately insured is not after an accident occurs: it is now!
The following are some interesting and important things to keep in mind:
Don’t be Mr. or Mrs. Claims-a-Lot: Every claim you file is a telling piece of data for an insurance company. If you are even remotely considering changing providers, think twice before filing claims for things like cracked windshields. A prospective insurer who sees many claims sees a more risky person. Sometimes it is better in the long run to pay the full cost of small repairs without getting an insurer involved. (I made this mistake myself! Little did I know that what appeared to be harmless assistance with my cracked windshield would be on my record years later and affect another insurance claim!)
“So… I know a… friend who…”: Even calling to inquire about hypothetical claims goes on your record! You shouldn’t feel too anxious over this and avoid a necessary phone call, but it’s something important to consider.
Keep it local: Having a local insurance agent is truly worth its weight in scrap metal and drywall. More and more, agents are marketing outside their areas of operation. Some of the agents marketing in the Fort Myers area live over 200 miles away! While this does not discredit their general insurance knowledge, it renders them much less competent when you need help. A local agent knows the secrets of the area and local building codes better. Using one can also mean lower replacement, transaction, and research costs for everyone involved.
Have the documents: Make sure that you have all pertinent documents (declaration pages, receipts, pictures, and serial #’s of items) stored on ClientView. These can make the claims process much less of a hassle.
Plan for the pooch: If you have any animals that could even remotely cause bodily injury to someone, bring this up with your insurance agent. Highly improbable yet regrettable and avoidable incidents have occurred to loving pet owners. Avoid a nasty situation by planning in advance!
Avoid a sinking heart: Sinkholes are a relatively common occurrence in Florida and are NOT included in homeowner’s coverage. Talk with your insurance agent about getting an inspection. They are inexpensive and can be invaluable down the road.
Get blown away : If your house was built before 2002, you might want to consider getting a wind mitigation report/analysis. Costing usually between $100 and $150, it typically pays for itself in the first year. However, if you already have a wind mitigation discount, don’t get another analysis done. That could lower your savings.