Summer in Florida means lots of fun and exciting activities–barbeques, time at the beach or at the pool, boating, and fireworks, just to name a few. Along with these activities comes an increased risk of injury and property damage. That is why the start of summer is a good reason to make time to review your homeowner’s policy. After all, you get yourself, your car, your pets, and your kids checked up on a routine basis, so why not include a yearly review of your insurance policy on this list? It is important to ensure that your policy covers what you need it to cover, as not all policies offer the same coverage and not all homeowners need the same things covered. The Florida Homeowners Insurance Claim lawyers at Greenberg Stone and Urbano, are experienced in representing individuals in homeowner’s insurance claims. We want to make sure you have the coverage you think you have, as well as the coverage you need.
Below is a list of things to consider when determining what your homeowner’s policy needs to include.
• Do you have an in-ground or above-ground pool? If so, you may want to consider increasing your policy coverage for two main reasons. The first is the risk of serious personal injury or death to you, family members or guests using the pool. The second is to cover damage to your pool, which can be very expensive to repair.
• Do you have extensive collection of art, antiques, other collectibles, or jewelry? If so, you should consider getting a rider for these items, as replacement of these expensive items often quickly consumes policy limits.
• Do you have a dog? Dog owners are often protected for bites inflicted by a dog residing at the home. Given the costs associated with defending against and paying for dog-bite claims, if you have a dog, you should make sure you have protection under your policy for such an occurrence.
Additionally, many people are surprised to learn that a homeowner’s policy may cover some of the following things, at little to no additional cost for inclusion:
• Accidents outside of the home may be covered. Examples include injuries sustained while bike-riding, while at a friend’s or family member’s house, and during sporting events. In short, covered claims do not always involve your home or events occurring at your home. Everyone should make sure this type of coverage is provided.
• After a loss event, additional repairs or remodeling may be necessary to bring a home up to current code or ordinance requirements. Homeowners’ policies often cover the costs of such repairs or remodeling. If you have an older home, this provision may be beneficial to include.
• Loss of you and your family’s property while away from home, such as on vacation, or while your child is away at college, may be covered. If your family travels often, or you have children away at school, this type of provision would be very beneficial to you.
• After a lengthy power loss, food has often spoiled and must be replaced. Many homeowners’ policies cover replacement of lost food items. If you entertain and typically have significant amounts of food on hand, or have a deep freezer with a significant amount of food kept in it, this is worth keeping in mind.
• Though libel (written defamation) and slander (oral defamation) claims are relatively uncommon, such claims can be very expensive to defend against. Ensuring coverage for libel and slander is an easy way to protect yourself against incurring these costs and expenses.
One notable exception to homeowner’s policy coverage is flooding. While most Floridians are well aware of this exception, it is always worth repeating. Flood insurance in Florida is extraordinarily expensive, but you may nevertheless be required to carry it, depending upon where you live. More information about mandatory flood insurance requirements adopted in 2012 can be found at http://www.floodsmart.gov/floodsmart/. One other often surprising exception to coverage is individuals residing in your home who are not related to you and your family. Your homeowner’s policy will likely not cover this individual or his or her possessions, and it is wise to have any such individuals obtain a separate renter’s insurance policy
If you have experienced a personal injury or property loss that you think may be covered by your homeowner’s insurance policy but have questions about what to do next, please contact the attorneys at our law firm, who are experienced at handling homeowner’s insurance claims. We can be reached at (888) 499-9700 or 305-595-2400 to set up an initial, no-cost consultation.