Homeowners Insurance Tips: Part II

May 9, 2014

Homeowners insurance--nearly every homeowner has it, but only a few fully understand this often confusing form of insurance. In Part I of this two part series, we addressed three of the top things to know about your insurance. We outlined what a typical insurance policy will cover, as well as what it does not. When our Miami Homeowners' Insurance lawyers addressed the importance of finding not just the right policy, but the right agent as well.

In Part II, we continue our list of insurance facts, with the hope that you will become a more informed consumer, better able to make critical decisions concerning your coverage and take prompt action in the event of a disaster or theft.

4. Preventative actions can reduce your premiums--you can reduce your premiums significantly by taking certain preventative actions. Installing a deadbolt, for instance, can reduce your premium by about 5%. Obtaining a burglar alarm system can decrease your premiums by about 15-20%. Other measures, such as installing smoke detectors and pool fences or covers, will also have effect. Insurance companies will price your premium based on the risk they foresee, accordingly taking smart preventative measures can reduce your liability risk. Consider the risks on your property and work to minimize them.

5. Replacement cost vs. actual cash value--every homeowner should know the distinction between replacement cost and actual cash value. Replacement cost covers the repair or replacement of your home and damaged property. Actual cash value is the price your property is worth when you take into account the depreciation of the property. A policy based on actual cash value is generally less expensive but you will not likely recoup as much in the event of a loss. For instance, we represented a homeowner who sustained water damage to his kitchen cabinets as a result of a supply-line failure. Our client's kitchen cabinets were over ten years old. However, the homeowner had a replacement cost policy, which provided full coverage for the kitchen cabinets at a replacement cost value. Therefore, we were able to recuperate sufficient funds from the insurance company for our client to replace his damaged kitchen cabinets with brand new kitchen cabinets. Had our client had an actual cash value policy instead, we would have recuperated far less funds because the insurance company would have discounted ten years worth of depreciation from the kitchen cabinet's value.

6. Do not wait to file a claim--be sure to ask what the time limits are for reporting a claim when you are purchasing a policy. Windows to report can be as short as a few days. Further, waiting to report the problem can make the property damage worse. One example would be a homeowner who waited to address water damage until mold set in. When the insured finally filed a claim, it was denied because it was outside the time limits.

7. Keep meticulous records--document everything related to your claim. Save receipts, appraisals, and contracts. Document phone calls. The more evidence you have of your actions to mitigate the damage, the better your chance of full coverage.

Greenberg, Stone, & Urbano, P.A.: Miami Homeowners Insurance Superlawyers

A home is one of the most expensive purchases that a person can make. In addition to the fact that insurance is a required component of obtaining and keeping a home mortgage, it also is the safety net for any repairs or rebuilds that might be necessary after a devastating event. When a claim is denied, a homeowner may feel that he has nowhere to turn, but the skilled homeowners' insurance attorneys at Greenberg, Stone & Urbano, P.A. have more than 120 years of combined experience in getting justice for homeowners. Our dedication to our clients has led to an "AV" rating from Martindale Hubbell, and it is why we have been asked to join Primerus, an international society of leading law firms. Moreover, the Miami Herald voted us as one of the top-rated South Florida law firm, and, we have earned the title of "Superlawyers," designating us as being among the best lawyers in America. We want to put this dedication to work for you, so call us at (888) 499-9700 or (305) 595-2400 or visit our website to schedule an initial consultation.