Sooo….Is my boat dock covered by my Homeowners or Condo Owners Policy?

boat dock

In Florida, many times homes and condos are sold  with a boat dock deeded  with the property purchase.  Many times the boat dock is not directly connected to the “residence premises.  In these cases, the owner should be concerned about the “property exposure” and the “liability insurance”.

Typically, docks are covered for property damage under Coverage B of the Homeowners and Condo Owners Policy.  Coverage B is for “other structures on the residence premises”.  When the dock is attached to the residence premises, it is covered under Coverage B.   When the dock is not attached, it should be added by endorsement,  Coverage B-Off premises or Specific Structures Away From the Premises.   The  dock will not be covered  for Hurricane or Flood damage, but would be covered for Other Perils stated in policy for Coverage B-Other Premises Structures.

In any case, be careful of values for docks.  Coverage B has a limit of 10% of the home insured value.  In some cases, this may not be adequate..  For a home insured for $300,000. , the dock and other structures would be insured for $ 30,000.  Discuss with your insurance agent.

Your Homeowner or Condo Owner Liability Coverage should extend  to your deeded dock, however, in the case of the “off premises dock”, we recommend that you include the following wording in the declarations page of your policy. Wording such as “1234 Main Street, Anytown, Florida including boat dock deeded to insured” .  Again discuss with your agent.

Be very careful if you rent your dock to others.  There is no way to cover this liability exposure under the Homeowners or Condo Owners Policy, it becomes a Commercial insurance exposure that is very difficult to insure.  You will probably be self insuring the exposure…Not a good idea.

Questions…Call  SWFL Insurance Agency, Inc.,   “Your Insurance Answer People”       

239-265-9577    Info@SWFLAgency.com    

Important! Do you run a small business out of your home?

Home business1

Will your homeowners insurance cover you when…

  • Your business equipment is stolen out of your vehicle?……………….NO!
  • You accidentally knock over the display next to you at an exhibition or show?…………NO!
  • Your groceries spill onto your inventory in your trunk? …………………NO!
  • A power surge damages your computer and fax machine? ……………NO!
  • Someone steals your cash box?…………………………………………….NO!

Most homeowners and renters policies do not cover liability or damage to property from business activities. Our Home Business Insurance Policy provides coverage for as little as $150 per year!

Protect your home-based business! You’re not home free with most homeowners policies. Imagine having your inventory or equipment stolen or damaged. Typical homeowners insurance does not cover this type of loss for people who run a small, side business out of their home. We are pleased to offer the perfect coverage for your in-home business: Home Business Insurance Policy.

Features Include:

  • Liability limits up to $1 million Satisfies most event or show liability requirements
  • Business property protection up to $100,000 (with $250 deductible)
  • Optional coverage for money and securities
  • Electronic data processing coverage Loss of income coverage
  • Premiums starting as low as $150 annually*

Call or email SWFL Insurance Agency today for a quote.   

         239-265-9577          Info@SWFLAgency.com

Sooo…You lost your roof in the hurricane…What do I do now?

Home damage 2

Sooo….the worst has happened.  The hurricane has taken your roof off and the interior of your home is a mess.  Furniture, flooring, window treatments, clothes , electronics……all gone.  When your mind calms down, you call your insurance agent.  After discussing your damage, he asks if you have a detailed inventory of the personal property that was damaged or lost and do you have photos by chance. Opps…so you never got around to doing this.

Well, Homezada.com has a very cool Free app that makes documenting your property room by room with photos a snap.  Check it out.  We can answer any questions you may have about what is needed to document a claim made under your Homeowners or Condominium policy.  Call SWFL Agency at 239-265-9577.

 

 

 

 

 

UPDATE: Drones and the Homeowners Policy

drone2

Insurance carriers are now starting to take a position on the “personal” drone and coverage under the Homeowners Policy form HO3.   A quick snapshot looks like this.

  • Ownership of a drone will not adversely affect underwriting of your policy
  • Owners are required by FAA to register the aircraft.  FAA
  • Usage must be for hobby or recreational use only.
  • Homeowners are expected to operate aircraft responsibly and safely.

The drone will be covered for damage by an insured Personal Property named peril subject the applicable deductible.  There is no coverage for Bodily Injury or Property Damage caused by any sort of aircraft, no exception for hobby aircraft.  Personal Injury, such as invading privacy appears to be covered for now.

Consult your own policy for specific language.

Other Drone related articles that may be of interest.  Florida Drone LawSo…You bought a drone.

SWFL Insurance is always available to answer any questions that you may have about your policy.  Please call us at 239-265-9577 for all your insurance needs.

Condominium Owners Insurance 101Revised

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Condominium coverage provided by the HO6 Policy Form for condominium and co-op owners, bridges the gap between your condo association’s master policy (which insures property owned by all unit owners) and your property and personal liability protection. The master policy includes coverage for the actual building in which you reside, as well as common property like a pool or gazebo.

Your condominium owners policy offers you the following important protection:

Additions and Alterations

According to your Florida Condominium Statute 718.111, you most likely are responsible for interior parts of your unit such as floor coverings, cabinets appliances, etc.  The condominium statutes in Florida changed substantially in 2008.  Check with your condo board and management company to understand clearly what you are responsible for insuring and what the Association must insure.  The statute now dictates the responsibilities, not the condo documents…..so be warned.

Determining the coverage limits for the Coverage A Dwelling -Additions and Alterations can be difficult but very important.

The following are typically excluded from coverage by the Association and you must insure.

Floor coverings, tile,wall and ceiling coverings (not drywall, but in most cases paint                                     Electrical fixtures                                                                                                                                                               Appliances                                                                                                                                                                           Water heaters and filters                                                                                                                                                   Built in Cabinets  and Counter Tops                                                                                                                             Window treatments                                                                                                                                                           Replacement of any of these

Additions, alterations and other improvements that you or a previous owner installed such as built-in appliances, additional cabinets, wall-to-wall carpeting, upgraded kitchen cabinets, plumbing and electrical fixtures, etc. that were not installed in the original unit should be insured under the Coverage A- Dwelling.  Additional information can be viewed at What is Additions and Alterations?  SWFL Insurance Agency can aid you with determining the proper values for this coverage.

Air conditioning units, no matter where located, are the primary insurance responsibility of the Association.

Personal Property Coverage

A condominium owners policy provides coverage for your furnishings and personal possessions against such covered hazards as fire, lightning, windstorm, hail, explosion, collapse, smoke or vandalism. This is also called Coverage C-Personal Property and it ensures that your damaged or destroyed property is protected up to the amount of insurance protection you purchase.  If you were able to turn your condo unit upside down, everything that would fall out is considered Personal Property.

Theft protection: the condominium owners policy also protects your property against practically every type of theft loss in your condo or anywhere in the world. Also included is coverage for thefts from your unattended car or boat, even if there is no evidence of forced entry.

Special coverage for important possessions: Most condo policies offer special amounts of coverage for certain types of property. For example,

  • $200 for money and coins
  • $1,500. For Securities, evidences of debt, bank notes, personal records, etc.
  • $1,500 for theft of jewelry, watches or furs
  • $2,500 for theft of firearms
  • $2,500 for business property at home.
  • You may be able to increase these amounts. See policy language for the actual special limits that apply to the policy that you purchased.

Optional Property Coverages

Every home is different. You may require special coverages for your individual needs. The following coverages may be available:

  • Broadened Coverage for Contents: Provides “all-risk” protection for your possessions. This        means that your personal property is covered in most situations, regardless of the cause of loss.
  • Contents Replacement Cost: pays full cost to repair or replace most personal property in your  condo with no deduction for depreciation.
  • Personal Articles: provides higher limits and in most cases, worldwide protection for special property such as jewelry, silverware, fine art, furs, cameras, firearms, musical instruments, and home computers for an extended variety of losses
  • Coverage for other structures: you may own other structures that are not part of your basic condo unit (such as a carport, detached garage or storage shed). If these structures are not considered to be common property, they are not covered under your Association’s Master Policy. This coverage would insure these other structures.

Deductibles

A deductible is the amount of loss you agree to assume before your insurance coverage takes over. There will typically be a Hurricane Deductible of 2% or more and an All Other Perils Deductible of $ 500. or more. Typically the higher your deductible, the lower the cost of your policy premium. The deductible applies to property losses only. Liability protection does not require a deductible.

Additional Living Expenses

If your unit is damaged and you have to move out while it’s being repaired, you’re covered! The policy pays for all necessary living expenses (hotel, meals, laundry, etc.), in most situations, up to 40% of the contents coverage amount you selected.

Loss Assessment Coverage

Protection may be available for coverage against financial loss if damage to commonly owned property exceeds the amount of coverage in the Master Policy. If your condo association is forced to assess all unit owners for the additional loss (or for personal liability claims against the association), you’re covered!  Coverage typically is limited to $ 1,000.  It is important to understand what deductibles apply to the Association insurance policies, both property and liability.   Inadequate coverage limits and deductibles can yield loss assessments to unit owners.

Personal Liability Protection

Liability coverage is important protection in the event that you are sued for accidentally hurting other people or damaging their property. Personal liability helps to cover the associated legal costs and related damages. Most condo owners policies provide $100,000 (minimum) of financial protection against liability claims and lawsuits brought by others for accidental bodily injury or damage to their property.  Higher Liability Limits and Umbrella  Liability Policies should be considered in your wealth protection planning.

  • While in your condo
  • Caused by your personal activities, including most sports
  • Caused by your children or pets. Careful here, some carriers exclude Animal Liability.
  • Damage to property of others: Should you accidentally damage someone else’s personal property while that property is in your care, your owners policies will pay up to $500 for each occurrence.
  • Medical payments: Most policies will pay up to $1,000 per person in medical bills — regardless of your legal responsibility — when an accident involves bodily injury to others. Higher coverage amounts are available.

Most insurance carriers will not allow rental of your unit for less than a year at a time.  Coverage for Condominium units rented for one week or more is available.  Please call for a quote.

We are pleased to offer Condominium Owners policies through a number of strong carriers. We have carriers that will provide Hurricane coverage with their policies for most of the islands and beachfront. Spend a few minutes and allow us to provide you with a competitive quotation.  Call 239-265-9577  or www.SWFLAgency.com.

 

Need to Know Information When Buying Condominium Owners Insurance

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Sooo…..You have just received a call from the listing agent for a lovely water front condo  His seller has accepted your customer’s purchase offer.  You advise your buyer that the seller wants to close asap.  This unit has had substantial remodeling completed and the subject of insurance comes up.  So…….. will the Association Master Policy cover any of the improvements?  How does the HO6 Condominium Owners Insurance Policy insure these improvements?  What is covered by the HO6 policy?

Personal property or contents is covered for this loss to the limit purchased for Coverage C, Personal Property.  As distinguished from personal property, “Addi­tions and Alterations”  are those properties which comprise a permanent attachment to the condo unit and are installed within the perimeter walls, floor and ceilings of the unit. This includes items originally installed, as well as improvements made by the unit owner.

Since 2008, Florida Statutes provides that the word ‘building’ does not include floor coverings, wall coverings or ceiling coverings,  electrical and plumbing fixtures, appliances, air conditioner or heating equipment, water heaters,  built-in cabinets and tops included within the perimeter walls, ceiling and floor of a unit and the unit owner is required to repair or replace these items.

Any such interior items additionally installed by the unit owner after acquisition of the unit, or any increase in value created in upgrading the existing interior items, would have to be protected by the unit owner unless responsibility is assumed by the condominium association and covered by the association insurance. These items are covered under the Condominium Owners Insurance Policy, Form HO6 as Coverage A, Dwelling/ Building.

This Coverage A Loss Exposure demands very close attention of the condominium unit owner.

Two important questions must be resolved:

(1) what property is the responsibility of the unit owner, and

(2) what is a proper valuation of such property?  

When purchasing Condominium Unit Owners Insurance, it is important to determine the following:

  • What do the condominium documents say about which “building” or Additions and Alteration items you are responsible for, to insure and maintain?
  • What improvements were made to the unit by previous owners.  Can you obtain costs of improvements?
  • Have there been any previous insurance claims involving this unit or building?
  • Determine if you are responsible for roof covering or any part of air conditioning system?
  • Has a Windstorm Mitigation Inspection been made for the Association in reference to your building?  This report can yield premium credits for your Condo Unit Owners Policy.
  • If the unit is older, have the baths and kitchen been remodeled?  Has the AC system been replaced? Has the roof been replaced? Has the electrical system been upgraded?
  • Ask about any “large deductibles” that apply under the Association insurance policies. You may be assessed for a portion of these deductibles at the time of a loss.
  • Are there any pending Loss Assessments that apply to your unit?
  • Will you need Flood Insurance?  We can help you understand your risk.

SWFL Insurance Agency has the ability to help you accurately establish the value of your Additions and Alterations coverage.

We have competitive rates and have carriers that can provide HO6 policies that include Wind and Hurricane coverage for properties on the Islands and beachfront, as well as Inland properties. Quotes for an HO6 are Quick and Free.

Call SWFL Insurance Agency us at 239-265-9577 or visit www.SWFLAgency.com. 

 

 

 

Need to Know Information for the Condominium Buyer

condo1

So… you just purchased a condominium unit in Southwest Florida with plans to occupy the unit about three months each year during the winter. Your unit is on the fourth floor overlooking the back bay.  Typically, the balance of the year, the unit will not be occupied or may be rented.

  • What happens if a pipe breaks and floods my unit while I am away?
  • What happens if my unit is vandalized or burglarized while I am away?
  • What coverage do I have when the unit is being renovated and I move my furniture to storage?
  • What happens when I rent the unit to others?

Some definitions to consider……”Vacant” means entirely empty. “Unoccupied” means belongings of sufficient value are present to make it reasonable to believe that the insured has not abandoned them.

Typically, if a unit is “vacant” for 30 consecutive days, the following losses or damage will not be covered. Refer to your policy for specific language that may apply.

  • Vandalism
  • Accidental discharge from fire protective sprinkler system, plumbing, heating, AC, hot water heater, appliances. (Possible coverage if systems have been shut off and drained.)
  • Glass breakage
  • Water damage
  • Theft, attempted theft
  • Malicious mischief
  • If you plan to renovate your unit, moving your belongings to storage, your unit may be considered “vacant”. Always discuss this situation with your agent…avoid surprises.

Typically, the unit can be rented to others on an annual basis. Some insurance carriers will endorse the policy for “rental to others” for less than a year. If you plan to rent, discuss this in detail with your agent.  Not having the proper endorsement or policy could prohibit payment of a claim.

SWFL Insurance Agency can answer any questions and provide competitive condominium insurance proposals. Please call us at 239-265-9577 or visit www.SWFLAgency.com.  Read all of our posts SWFLAgency Blog .

Accidental Water Damage…What is covered by My Homeowners Policy?

Plumbing Leak

First let’s look at definitions.  

A back-up is an accumulation caused by a stoppage in the flow; (Typically not covered)

  • Something prevents the water from continuing down its path
  • The flow is forced to reverse direction and go back the other way.
  • A collapsed drain pipe or blockage can cause a back-up.

An overflow is when the water exceeds its boundaries;

  • The space is filled to capacity and water then spreads beyond its limits.
  • A bath tub left running creates an overflow.

A discharge is a flowing or issuing out;

  • Water coming from a pipe.
  • A leaking pipe discharges water from the hole in the pipe;
  • It is not a back-up or an overflow.

Discharge or Overflow?

The Homeowners Form HO3 and HO6 provide coverage for water damage that is the result of a discharge or overflow of a plumbing, heating, air conditioning, or household appliance if it is on the residence premises.

This covers

  • pipes that leak behind walls, floors, or ceilings including AC drip pans,
  • washing machines and dishwashers that overflow,
  • toilets or bathtubs that overflow, or
  • storm drains off premises that overflow due to high rains or floods.

It is important to note that a sump, sump pump or related equipment, or a roof drain, gutter or downspout or similar equipment is not considered a plumbing system or household appliance.

  • A discharge or overflow caused by a storm drain, water, steam, or sewer pipe is covered as well if it is off the premises.

The coverage is for repair of the damaged property—the walls, floors, tiling, and carpet, areas that got saturated and need to be repaired or replaced. Even the tear out of a wall, for example, to get to a leaking pipe is covered.

What is not covered is the leaking pipe itself; a pipe leak is often caused by simple wear and tear or age of the system, and that is a maintenance item. However, even if the insured is hanging a picture and pokes a hole in a brand new home and new pipes, the damage to the pipe is not covered. The exclusion for damage to the item causing the loss is all encompassing, and has no exceptions.

The policy specifically excludes water that backs-up through sewers or drains, overflows from sumps, sump pumps, or related equipment.

But wait…….. this is where a lot of losses occur. 

To provide coverage for this occurrence there is the Water Back-up and Sump Discharge or Overflow endorsement, HO 04 95.

  • This provides $5,000 of coverage for back up through a sewer or drain or
  • Overflow or discharge of a sump, sump pump or related equipment,
  • Even if the equipment suffers a mechanical breakdown.
  • This coverage does not, however, increase the limits of liability for coverage A, B, C, or D in the homeowners’ policy.

This takes the problem of defining back-up or overflow out of the equation of certain losses, since the endorsement provides the coverage that is excluded in the main policy itself.

Make sure to ask for this coverage to be added to your Homeowners Policy.

Call SWFL Insurance Agency at 239-265-9577 for a full review of your present coverage and a competitive quote.

Note:   Damage caused by repeated leakage of water, such as rot, fungi, mold, deterioration are covered under a specific peril with conditions.  See Fungi, Mold.

 

A Great Homeowners Theft Prevention Guide

Burglary

In today’s world, preparing for the possible burglary at your Home is very important.  Take a look at this  Theft Prevention Guide provided by Security First Insurance.  Take a minute to assess your home and determine what you can do to be prepared.  Do not become the next victim.

Are you receiving the proper premium credits on your Homeowners Policy.  Let us review your policy and offer a competitive quote.  Call 239-265-9577 or Request a Quote from this page.

The Third Nail – The reason your Homeowners Premiums increased without warning!

third nail

The Lack of a Third Nail could cause your Homeowners Premiums to increase without warning! 

Due to changes in the 2012 Florida Wind Mitigation form  (OIR-B1-1802. Rev. 01/12), Homeowners insurance windstorm premium credits for homes having clips or straps with less than Three Nails for the roof truss to wall connection is not allowed. The previous Wind Mit form allowed credits for metal connectors with nails.

For Homes constructed before 2002, you should contact us for a review of your Wind Mit form and Homeowners Policy. We will determine if you are receiving the proper credits and provide you with our best premium proposal.  We have construction, wind mitigation and home inspection experience and are able to provide up to date information.

If we determine that you can benefit from adding the “Third Nail”,

  • We will determine your estimated Homeowners premiums savings.
  • We will recommend a couple of licensed contractors to contact who can complete the required work.
  • Typically the cost of adding the Third Nail for a 2500 SF home is about $ 800., one time. The typical windstorm premium savings is $ 600. to $ 1,000. every year going forward for this home.
  • Typically, a new Wind Mit form is completed and included with the contractor’s work.

Homes built prior to 1960 typically do not have metal straps or clips. Many times these homes can be retro fitted to install the metal connectors and nails required by the building code.  Call us about a free evaluation.

Call SWFL Insurance Agency today 239-265-9577.  We will help you save money!!

Email us at Joshw@SWFLAgency.com