Give yourself a raise!

If you haven’t noticed, homeowner’s insurance rates continue to rise here in sunny Florida.

“But Bay County hasn’t had a damaging hurricane since 1995”, many people say when they get their insurance renewals. This is true but it also shows that homeowner’s rates are affected by more than hurricanes. Fraud, liability, sinkhole claims and reinsurance are a veritable storm of their own. They affect all insurance policy holders regardless of whether you’ve ever filed a claim.

So how can a homeowner still save money?

The number one answer to this question is GO SEE YOUR INSURANCE AGENT. Yes, believe it or not this is the best way to lower your insurance rates. Many consumers automatically start shopping for insurance rates thinking they’ll be better off with another carrier. This is not always the case. Once a year you should talk face to face with your agent and review your policy.

The number two way to reduce your homeowner’s insurance premium is a WIND MITIGATION INSPECTION. This report can save you by far the most money.

The wind mitigation inspection will be at your own expense as the homeowner. Something you may want to check before ordering the report would be – does your house have hurricane clips or straps? Some houses as far back as the 70’s could have clips. The second question you want to consider is – have you replaced your roof in the last 13 years? If you have, there are discounts for your roof you are not getting if you haven’t submitted a wind mitigation report.

The building codes changed in March of 2002. What that means is this: all homes built from this date and newer already have some of these discounts accounted for in their insurance policy. However, there still may be a few discounts that are not automatic such as hurricane shutters. These inspections usually cost $75 – $150 and must be performed by a licensed contractor, inspector, architect, or engineer.

The number three way to save money is to ask your agent for an alternate quote. Again, go to your agent. You already have a relationship with them and your agent wants to keep you as a customer and they should be happy to get this information to you. Normally it’s best to try to stay with the same carrier if there is a solution. A new policy means a new application, new inspection and new underwriting from the new carrier. Insurance companies have 90 days to cancel any new policy for any reason. If the condition of your house has changed, or your financial condition has changed, it may be harder to get a new insurance policy. Your agent can go over the qualifications with you, to help you make the best decision for your circumstances. How long has it been since you’ve visited your agent? Are you missing some discounts? Are you ready to put money back in your pocket? Call and set an appointment with your agent today.

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