Homeowners Insurance Safety Tips While You Vacation

Save On Your Homeowners Insurance With Our Safety Tips For When You Travel

Home break-in’s can run rampant in the summer time especially during the day. Often the thieves are kids out of school on Summer vacation and don’t have much supervision. If you are traveling this Summer here are some quick tips to help protect your home and safeguard you from making a homeowners insurance claim:

1) Don’t post on social networks when you are leaving or when you are returning….and don’t post photos of you while on vacation, post when you return

2) Purchase bandit bars for sliding glass doors – these are adhesive and stick to the glass so an intruder cannot pry open the doors

3) Purchase a door bar – this bar fits under the doorknob on the inside of your door. Burglars will be unable to kick in your door

4) Motion sensor lights – have these on and make sure they work; replace any broken pieces to them

5) Don’t park vehicles near your house that they can block windows or sliding doors – park your vehicles and trailers away from your home so the house is totally in view

6) Stop your mail – an obvious one but usually forgotten

7) Place “beware of dog” signs around your property – it works!

We hope your home is secure this Summer while you travel. If you need help in reviewing your homeowners insurance policy please give us a call. We offer free home insurance reviews at any of our three locations. Call us today for help!

Home Insurance

home insurance

Home Insurance Policies and What To Look For

Home insurance policies differ in many ways. We think of home insurance as a must, but don’t always explore our options when looking for the perfect home insurance policy. It is not your insurance provider’s responsibility to make sure you get the best deal, it is your responsibility. There are many ways to make sure you get the best possible home insurance that fits your needs, let’s talk about a few.

Always shop around for the perfect insurance. Sometimes people just want to stay insured by the family insurance company but shopping around could be to your advantage. Even if you stick with your family insurance company getting other quotes could help you negotiate with your current insurer.

Another thing you can do is to take advantage of special discounts insurance companies offer. Insurance companies do not automatically deduct these discounts; you have to ask for them. Your driving record or report card are two examples of discounts which may apply to you. Ask your insurance company yearly for a list of discounts that may apply to your family.

Make your home more disaster ready. The best way to prepare for a disaster is before it happens. Being prepared for a disaster might not help lower your insurance rate, but it will help after the disaster happens. You could cut down trees close to your home or install hurricane shutters so your home would sustain less damage during a storm.

Often when your home has a security system installed an insurance company will offer a discount. Installing a security system is not a hard or as expensive as it sounds. Ask your provider for specific details on what needs to be installed to be eligible for the discount.

Did you know where you live depends on your insurance cost? Your home insurance cost depends on if you live close to the ocean, elevation, flood risk, and many other claims that have been made close to your home. If you have not yet bought a home you should check out the area before purchasing. Insurance rates could go up two blocks down the road from your home. Your dream home might not be as dreamy as you think.

These are a few things you should take in to consideration when searching for your perfect home insurance policy. If you need help finding a great policy call Gulf Coast Educators Insurance at 239-591-0963. It would be our pleasure to serve you.

 

Sinkholes

sinkhole

Sinkholes In Florida

Sinkholes in Florida occur all the time without any warning signs. Some might ask how does a sinkhole form? The peninsula of Florida is made of limestone, which helps to store and move groundwater. Soil sits on top of the limestone and over time, groundwater erodes the limestone, forming a cavity. When this occurs a sinkhole is created. The cause of a sinkhole is when a period of drought is followed by heavy rain, along with a heavy pumping of groundwater by people.
Tampa counties which include Hillsborough, Pinellas, Hernando, and Pasco are affected the most by sinkholes. Does your insurance cover sinkhole damage? Florida law requires insurance companies to provide coverage for catastrophic ground cover collapse, this is when a sinkhole opens suddenly and severely damages your home. In some cases sinkhole incidents catastrophic ground cover collapse coverage will not cover the damage. Actual sinkhole coverage is available to add to a homeowner’s insurance policy for an additional cost.
The Florida Department of Environmental Protection stated, “Many insurance companies rely upon the regional maps showing zones of sinkhole occurrences based on the local geology and historical sinkhole activity, or on private sinkhole data.” When you are choosing a homeowners insurance policy take into consideration the area you live and the risk of sinkholes in the area.
At Gulf Coast Educators Insurance we thrive in helping you to choose the right policy that fits your needs, give us a call at 239-591-0963. It would be our pleasure to serve you.

Florida Flood Insurance

Flood Insurance For Your Home

Flooding is considered the highest ranked natural disaster in the United States, according to FEMA. Most people living in Florida think they are not living in a flood zone. Truth is known that Florida as a state is in a flood zone; your exact location varies on the levels of risk. It is said that if you live in a Preferred Risk Zone as determined by FEMA, you could purchase flood insurance for as little as $129.00 a month. Did you know that, homeowners insurance does not cover floodinflood insuranceg in your home or property that is destroyed? The rainy season is here and flooding could happen at any time unexpectedly. As bills are being passed through the senate about flood insurance, now is the time to have your home covered. The Senate bill, SB 542, which was passed last week would aim to give more flexibility to policyholders and private insurers to select various deductible amounts and choose between insuring their property for the outstanding balance of their mortgage, the property’s replacement cost, or the actual cash value. This bill would give the insurance policy holder options.

If you have been thinking about purchasing flood insurance for your home, now is the time. Don’t wait; it takes up to thirty days for your insurance policy to be in effect. Gulf Coast Educators Insurance’s number one priority is the help you. You can call one of our three offices Naples at 239-591-0963, Port Charlotte at 941-391-5423, or Fort Myers at 239-997-0420 for a quote. We look forward to hearing from you.

Lightning Can Cause Hundreds of Dollars in Damage

Lightning Is Dangerous To You And Your Home!

Thunderstorms and lightning are either loved or hated. Some people are scared to death at the first sight of lightning and thunder, either way thunderstorms can cause a lot of damage. When lightning hits the ground, a tree, or a building it does not strike straight down it spreads. Annually in America there are more than 20 million lightning strikes the actually hit the ground. $1 billon dollars in damage are reported each year to insurance companies, damage from lightning can be severe.
If lightning hits the your home or nearby power lines it could potentially destroy your property. Lightning can travel through wiring and phone lines which can ruin your computers, televisions, stereos, and other electronics. One way to safeguard those belonging is to unplug those electronics if you are expecting a thunderstorm. Sometimes if your install a surge protector it will help protect your electronics but if the lightning strike is a direct hit it will jump the surge protectors. Your insurance company may or may not cover these electronics if they are ruinlightninged by lightning, check with your insurance agent to see if you are covered. Lightning strikes are not just limited to direct lightning strikes on a building but can strike trees which then could split, falling through your roof. Be careful after a lightning storm avoid using landline phones if power lines are down; if your home gets hit by lightning during a storm call an electrician to inspect and repair your home.
Thunderstorms are dangerous and your home should be protected. If you need home owners insurance and live in the Naples, Florida area call Gulf Coast Educators Insurance at 239-591-0963.

A Home Inventory Check List

A Home Inventory Check List is important in the Case of Fire or Theft

A home inventory check list is very important. In the event of theft or fire your valuables should be in check. Did you know in 2011 there were 364,500 residential fires, which is almost 1,000 fires a day. The total loss is more than $6.65 billion. In the event of a fire in your home, an inventory check list would save a precious time and get your claim filed in a timely manner.

It would be almost impossible to figure out what is missing and destroyed in your home after a theft or fire. You would be stressed and in shock after the loss of your property and you might miss the most important items. If you make an inventory list of your home before anything happens you would have a complete list of everything in your home that is important to you.

It takes some time to make take proper inventory of your home. If you have never made an inventory list of your valuables it is easy and here is how. Use a video recorder and walk around your house, take a video of everything; get up close to everything of importance such as televisions or jewelry. Use the video to go back and take the inventory. Probably the easiest way to take down your inventory is to use a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet. Take pictures of everything on your spreadsheet including all serial numbers and model numbers. If you receive a gift of value remember to update your spreadsheet so nothing is forgotten. Put the inventory spreadsheet in your email account or somewhere similar so no one can steal your information.

Start your inventory spreadsheet today. It will save you time and money if anything ever happens to your home.

General Insurance

Security And The Idea of General Insurance

The need of security brought on the idea of insurance. We as people are always trying to shield ourselves from crisis whether it is the security of ourselves or family, or our possessions. general insuranceInsurance just as its name insures your health, vehicle, and property. General insurance needs come from the facts that all things that matter to you should be insured, if your possessions are insured you are more likely to live a risk-free life. Everything that is a hard earned possession should be insured these items include your personal vehicle, business, property, or anything that can be a financial loss. Health insurance should be taken in to consideration because any health emergency can drain you financially in the blink of an eye. Car insurance is a must. It covers your vehicle damage from theft, accidents, or fire; it would also cover natural calamities. Another general insurance is property insurance and this includes your home. Your home is probably your most priced asset and it should be insured. Insuring your home protects you against burglary, fire, and other risks that could cause harm to your home. If you are in need of general insurance call Gulf Coast Educators Insurance at  239-591-0963, they can help you get reliable insurance when you need it the most.

Protect your Home against Flooding

Flooding is the most common natural disaster worldwide. Protecting your home against flooding and flood damage is very important. Flood damage can get very expensive but the prevention of flooding is far less expensive. Ask yourself this, would you rather help prevent flooding or deal with the consequences later? There are many different things in your home that you should check to prevent flooding, whether from the weather or from pipes located in or around your home.
Leaking pipes in your home are an easy flooding disaster. You should check under sinks, this includes every sink not just the kitchen, to make sure that there are not any slow drips; if there are it could cause flooding. Any slow drips could result in a burst at any time. These small drips should be fixed. Also, your washer machine hose is something that should be changed every three to five years. A bulge or fray in the hose could also cause a flooding problem. A great way to check if you have any leaking pipes anywhere around your home is to check your water meter and to not use any water for an hour, go back and check the meter if the meter reader has changed a leaking pipe maybe be the culprit. You should also know where the water shut off valve is and make sure it is operational.
Even with all the water sources in your home to check you should also be aware of the water that comes from the sky. Outside your home you should check roofs and gutters. Leaking roofs can cause significant damage to the inside of your home and should be fixed immediately. If you do not fix the leaks it could cause mold to grow in your home. When inspecting your roof you should check the shingles for cracks or even broken ones. If you get a new roof put on your home, you should ask for extra protection, you can get a rubber underlay as a waterproof barrier to protect your home from intruding water. You can also keep tree branches cut back from excessively rubbing the shingles. If you don’t already have gutters on your home it would be a good idea to install. They will carry water away from your house so it does not sit. If you have gutters, you should ensure they are free of debris. The debris can build up causing damage.
Although there are many different ways to prevent flooding or flood damage these are few to take into consideration. Just remember that flooding can be caused by more than just rain, but leaky pipes as well.

Replacement Cost vs. Actual Cash Value

At one point or another you may need insurance on something of value. There are two types of coverage to get your money back if that item is stolen replacement cost and actual cash value.

              Replacement cost means the insurance company gives you enough money to replace the item with an item similar to what you had and for the same purpose. An example replacement cost would be if you had an expensive camera that was insured by your insurance company, and you lost your camera, you make a claim through your insurance agency and they will give you the equal amount of money to replace the camera.

              Actual cash value is a little different from replacement cost the insurance company gives you the money to replace the item minus the wear and tear the item has. The insurance company takes into consideration how old the item is and the product category it falls into. An example of this would be if you lost your camera and made a claim, the insurance agency would give you less money back if the item was an older model camera, but if it were a new camera you would get more money back for your claim to replace the camera.

              Replacement cost and actual cash value both get your money back to replace an item. One is not better than the other, it is a personal choice. Which would you choose if you needed to insure your personal property?

Top 5 Homeowners Insurance Claims

When you buy a home or rent an apartment, it is important to make sure it is properly insured to cover any kind of accident or damage. While individuals should always get the state-mandated minimal insurance, it is always a good idea to look into getting additional coverage to handle any high-cost claims that you may incur.

Water Damage

Water damage is a common claim, and can still affect you even if you don’t live in  a flood zone. Depending on how old your home or apartment is, there is a chance for a pipe to burst or your toilet overflows. Remember to purchase a policy that will cover water damage despite the source of the water.

Wind and Hail

Severe weather can damage your home, and as Florida residents we endure high winds during hurricanes which can also hail and tornadoes. Exterior damage can be expensive to repair, so make sure to have adequate coverage for your state’s climate.

Accidents

You never anticipate that a visitor on your property will get hurt, but because there is a possibility of being sued if this happens, you need proper liability coverage.

Dog Attacks

If you are a dog owner, you must make sure they are properly controlled at all times. You never know what could make a dog feel threatened and decide to bite someone. If someone gets bitten, they have a right to sue you posing a lot of financial duress. With dog attack claims, the dog owner assumes primary responsibility and could be found liable. Make sure you have enough liability coverage and keep your pets under control.

Fire

Losing your home to a fire is overwhelming, and the claims process doesn’t help relieve any of the stress. When you make a fire claim, you must be able to prove the worth of what was lost. If the insurance company doesn’t agree on the value, an investigation will follow. To help matters, make sure to keep a running tally of your belongings as well as their value.

When searching for a homeowner’s policy, make sure to look at the scope of the policy as well as the price. If you don’t have proper insurance coverage, you could be looking at additional financial burdens after an unwanted disaster.