Location, Location, Location = Expensive, Expensive, Expensive

Homeowners insurance is something that you just can’t go without, but depending on where you live, your premiums could be among the highest or lowest in the nation. According to the Insurance Information Institute, the ten states with the lowest homeowners’ insurance premiums are:

  1. Idaho, at number 51, with a $538 premium.
  2. Oregon, at number 50, with a $567 premium.
  3. Utah, at number 49, with a $580 premium.
  4. Wisconsin, at number 48, with a $631 premium.
  5. Washington, at number 47, with a $648 premium

That’s not to say that these states don’t have their own unique hazards, or that homeowners never make claims. It’s just that these states have the lowest rate of catastrophic losses due to weather related claims. It’s possible that you could still live in one of the states and experience an earthquake, flood, or a tornado.

However, the states with the highest insurance premiums are:

  1. Florida, number one, with an average premium of $2,084. Let’s face it, eight of the 12 most expensive hurricanes in American history have hit Florida. They have the second highest inventory of insured coastal property at risk from hurricanes, and a high number of lightning strikes and sinkholes.
  2. Louisiana, number two, with a premium of $1,742. Louisiana has had catastrophic losses stemming from hurricanes such as Katrina and other extreme weather events. It is also, according to Investopedia, one of the most litigious states for homeowners’ insurance related claims. Meaning that if the insurance company has to pay for those lawsuits, so do you.
  3. Texas, at number three, is another Gulf state with high insurance premiums. In addition to hurricanes, hail damage is one reason that Texas is always high on the list, and is consistently one of the states with high rates […]
By |2018-06-09T09:47:49-04:00May 27th, 2015|Insurance|0 Comments

Citizens Data Breach: What You Need to Know

Even if they’re not calling it a data breach under the laws of Florida, Citizens Property Insurance Corp has mistakenly disseminated customer information in error. The Citizens Board of Governors has elected to allocate $640,000 to offer credit monitoring services to the nearly 20,000 affected customers. From December of 2014 until March of 2015, information consisting of declaration pages – documents that include names, addresses, and phone numbers of the insureds, coverage limits and what property is covered, mortgage and lien information – were mailed to the wrong mortgage company, while some were mailed to two policyholders.

Whoops!

Fortunately the information did not contain any of the “jackpot” information in demand by identity thieves. No credit card numbers, payment information such as bank account or credit card numbers, or usernames or passwords were included on the declaration pages. The information has been retrieved from the mortgage company, and the policyholders returned the packets unopened. The move to cover credit monitoring for those affected by the breach is merely a prudent move both to allow customers to be alerted to any unusual activity or items on their Experian report, and to shield Citizens from any identity theft or fraud that might arise from unauthorized access to the information. Despite the lack of information on the items that identity thieves love most, it is possible that the information extant could be used to malicious purposes, and to gain access to those items.

Know the Signs

When you monitor your credit, use the FTC’s guide on what to look for.

  • People who might seem that they are working for a legitimate company or institution such as government agencies, banks, insurance companies, doctors’ offices, and utilities who try […]
By |2018-06-09T09:47:49-04:00May 20th, 2015|Insurance|0 Comments

2015 Hurricane Season: What’s In Store for Florida

Just in time to highlight the return of the 2015 Atlantic hurricane season, tropical storm Ana became the first named storm of the year on Thursday, May 8. While the season officially begins June 1, Ana had been churning off the coasts for days before being declared a tropical storm. However, while many experts are generally predicting a quiet hurricane season, there are those believe that this hurricane season could be one of the most active and destructive in a decade.

Global Weather Oscillations Inc. is taking the opposite tack from such experts as The Weather Channel, Colorado State University, North Carolina State University, and University College in London. Global Weather Oscillations is predicting that the 2015 Atlantic hurricane season will bring at least 14 named storms, and eight hurricanes of which three will be major hurricanes. They are further predicting that the next three seasons will be the most dangerous and active in the past 10 years. Florida, which has not seen a major hurricane since 2005, could be looking at an extremely rough ride. However, last year’s season was very quiet, with only hurricane Arthur making landfall in July. GWO’s hurricane predictions have been very accurate, by about 86%, since 2006.

Not So Fast

Taking a look back at the 2014 season, other forecasters were far more accurate in their assessments. In fact, North Carolina State University hit the nail on the head with their prediction of 8 to 11 named storms, four to six progressing into hurricanes, and one to three becoming major hurricanes. The Weather Channel, Colorado State University, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration also called it correctly, so their predictions for the 2015 season correspondingly […]

By |2018-06-09T09:47:50-04:00May 13th, 2015|Insurance|0 Comments

Insurance, Catastrophes, and Your Wallet

When you buy your home, you naturally have a vision of all the good things that will happen.  You’ll have good times with family and friends, entertain, spend cozy evenings with each other, and plan for the future. However, sometimes events beyond your control can tear apart that future, and leave you scrambling to keep everything together. Life anywhere has its special set of risks, even here in the Sunshine State. Planning for them in advance can’t make them go away any more than ignoring them, but insurance is about being covered when the unthinkable happens. And some disasters like black mold or defective drywall don’t even rate a warning from NOAA.

It’s Coming from Inside the House!

Two of the main hazards of home buying in Florida are right inside the house. One is a direct outcome of the ‘hurricane train’ of 2004 where, between August and October, the state was hit with two tropical storms in addition to hurricanes Charley, Frances, Ivan, and Jeanne. With the Atlantic hurricane season continuing to be heavy in 2005 – the year of Katrina – there was ample damage to homes and a need to import drywall when the domestic supply proved insufficient due to a housing boom. Though not exclusively a Florida problem, many of the first complaints were concentrated here. It’s advised by the CPSC that prospective homebuyers have a special inspection for homes built between 2001 and 2009.

Mold, another hazard, can be hard to spot but can grow on sheetrock, wood, or almost any porous building material – even carpets, pillows, and in mattresses – in a warm, humid environment. Not all molds are toxic, but they can cause health problems even when not […]

By |2015-05-06T08:30:19-04:00May 6th, 2015|Insurance|0 Comments