Property Insurance

Market Value vs. Replacement Cost
When deciding how much insurance you need to cover your home, think replacement cost rather than market value.
Most people tend to think about the market value, which is the selling price of your home. This value goes up or down based on the economy, the supply and demand for homes in your neighborhood, local employment levels and other factors. Replacement cost, on the other hand, is the amount it would take to rebuild your home at today's prices. If your home suffered devastating damage you want enough insurance to pay the cost to rebuild. Make sure your home and personal property are adequately covered. It is important to have your insurance agent help you estimate how much coverage you'd need to actually replace your home and cover your personal property.

The amount of your mortgage balance is totally irrelevant to the amount of homeowner guaranteed replacement cost insurance you should carry. In many states, over insuring for more than replacement cost is illegal-because over insurance encourages arson. Be sure your guaranteed replacement cost policy includes a building code endorsement. That means the rebuilt home will be constructed to today's building codes, not the codes in force when your home was originally built.

Start with a guaranteed replacement cost insurance policy.
Raise your deductible to $500 or $1,000 for each loss.
Compare policy costs with several insurance agents.
Consider whether you need depreciated or full replacement cost personal property insurance.
Review your liability coverage to see if an umbrella policy will give you better protection at lower cost.

Insurance Hard to Get
Obtaining homeowners insurance in Florida has in some cases become an inconvenience mainly due to past hurricanes and/or flooding in the area and because state law forces the company to offer flood insurance. A few areas the consumer may find it hard to get coverage include: sales in beachfront/island areas or near flood zones and older homes.

Take Inventory Now
Imagine coming home some night and finding your home burglarized, vandalized or burned. Would you remember all the items missing or destroyed, and their value?

Keep Accurate Records of Your Household Possessions
- Make a list of items in each room as you move in.
- Write down serial numbers if they have them.
- Take photos or video's of items in each room.
- Put the owner's manuals of items you purchase along with their receipts together.
- Keep in a safe storage spot.

Burglary Prevention Tips
- Put up a Beware of Dog sign.
- Give your home a lived-in look.
- Keep garage doors closed and locked.
- Leave a radio on. It signals that someone is home.
- Trim shrubs around doors and windows so that anyone can be seen more easily.
- Set inexpensive timers to turn on lights in different rooms at different times.
- Leave shades and drapes open. If closed, it's a sign you're gone.
- Place lamps close to windows to obscure a view inside.
- Install outside lighting that is activated by motion.
- Join or start a neighborhood watch program.

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