Got Iguanas?

If you live in South Florida, of course you do!  And their numbers are growing.  A recent broadcast report by Terri Parker of WPBF-News in West Palm Beach revealed there could be millions of them out there.  And, as they encroach your property to feed on their favorite plants, they can wreck the foundation of your home along way.  Their burrowing will undermine seawalls, sidewalks, roofs, patios and levees as they feast on your valuable landscaping. If you have a second story home, Iguanas will eat their way up to your balcony while munching on colorful bougainvillea.

A Gnawing Problem

Internet service has been interrupted by iguanas climbing up power lines and chewing through cables.  A spokesman for Florida Power and Light reported that, in South Florida, iguanas are the second leading cause of power outages, behind squirrels.

Although Iguanas are vegetarian, they will bite you and your pets.  Veterinarians are reporting an increase in dogs being bitten by iguanas or slashed by their razor- sharp tails.

And why are we on the subject of Iguana damages today?  Because, typically, homeowner’s insurance policies exclude damages caused by reptiles, rodents, insects, birds, etc.  Most pest infestations and the accompanying damage are considered maintenance issues by insurance carriers. The insurance companies are counting on you to prevent those kinds of mishaps by eradicating the problem before it reaches Godzilla-like devastation.

Defending Your Turf

Pallant Insurance Agency wants to help you be proactive in avoiding the kinds of damages that are outside the perimeters of your homeowner’s insurance policy.  The following resources are provided with that in mind:

If you would like to learn more about the invasive, infringing intruding iguana,  Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission is an excellent resource.  You […]

By |2018-11-14T12:23:22-04:00November 14th, 2018|Insurance|0 Comments

Buying a Condo? –

If you are thinking about purchasing a condominium in Florida, you’ll need to keep in mind some important aspects of Condo Insurance.  Also known as an HO6 policy, Condo Insurance is intended to extend your protection beyond the limits of the master insurance policy carried by your homeowner’s association (HOA).  The potential for losses due to water leaks and house fires spreading to other units is much greater in shared-wall or multi-family dwellings than in detached homes.  Condo Insurance is interior coverage from the “walls in” and protects you financially from loss, damage, theft and unforeseen expenses.

Standard coverage in a condo insurance policy includes:

  • Personal property: This can include such items as furniture, electronics, household goods, clothing, etc.
  • Personal and premises liability: This will protect you in the event someone is accidentally injured inside your unit.
  • Damage to unit structureEverything nailed down from the “walls in” is covered by your condo insurance: carpeting, ceilings, cabinets, countertops and built-in appliances.
  • Additional living expenses: If your condo is damaged to the point that it’s uninhabitable, this helps relocate you and pay living expenses while repairs are made.
  • Special insurance assessments:  In the event your community’s master insurance policy falls short in a covered peril loss, the condominium corporation may pass on assessments to the unit owners.  Loss Assessment coverage will protect you financially in such events.

Already Own a Condo?

Most likely, if you already own a condominium in Florida, you have condo insurance.  Although homeowner’s insurance is not mandatory in this state, your bank or mortgage company will require “creditor-placed” or “force-placed” insurance as part of the terms of your loan agreement.   If you obtained your home or condo insurance through your lender, it is possible that your coverage was […]

By |2018-11-07T10:59:45-04:00November 7th, 2018|Insurance|0 Comments

Protect Yourself and Your Home This Halloween –

According to Travelers Insurance, last year insurance claims related to property crime, including theft, vandalism and malicious mischief, spiked by 24% on Halloween.  The Highway Loss Data Institute reported in recent years, “Nationally, the number of vandalism claims on Halloween was 81% higher than the yearly average.”

Whatever festivities you have planned for tonight to celebrate All Hallows Eve, there is an increased risk of unexpected or unfavorable events occurring as a byproduct.  Here are a few tips to protect yourself, your family and your property from becoming one more ghoulish statistic.

Use Candles Carefully

FEMA’s U.S. Fire Administration reported an increase in fires reported to fire departments around Halloween.  If you’re illuminating a jack-o-lantern, use a battery powered light or LED instead of a candle that needs constant supervision.

Prep Your Property

Clear your walkways and entryway of any obstacles that could cause a slip and fall accident and be sure there is adequate lighting for visitors.  The Center for Disease Control and Prevention offers an extensive list of ideas worth noting to protect those little trick-or-treaters as well as the grownups showing up at your door.

Protect Your Pets

With all the additional excitement, costumes, noise and other out-of-the-ordinary merriment taking place, your pets will be on sensory overload.  A normally friendly dog could be confused by the strangeness of a costume and provoked to bite someone. Keeping pets in a quiet, separate room will be in their best interest. And be sure they are safely out of reach from anything they might consume that could make them ill – or worse.

We hope you will have nothing more to report tomorrow other than having had a really enjoyable evening tonight.  And, as we kick off the holiday […]

By |2018-10-31T12:47:15-04:00October 31st, 2018|Insurance|0 Comments

Does Your Home Insurance Cover Sinkholes?

Spotting Sinkholes – 

Florida is the sinkhole capital of the nation.  Some regions of the state report more sinkhole activity than others, but we all share a common foundation, primarily limestone or dolomite, which dissolves easily in rainwater.   That process creates an acidic moisture resulting in a terrain known as “karst,” a porous, cavity-ridden underground layer that is less supportive and can give way when its ceiling (the ground) is overburdened.

While rainfall on limestone is a natural occurrence, it’s the consequences of man-made development that aggravate the sinkhole situation in Florida.  Land-use practices such as excavating, creating landfills, groundwater pumping or blasting from construction are common human-generated causes of sinkholes.

If you’re buying or selling a home, Florida Statute  requires the seller to disclose to the buyer if a sinkhole claim was made against the property, whether the claim was paid by the insurer, and whether the funds paid were used to repair the insured damage from the sinkhole.

Sinkhole Season

Sinkholes can happen anytime but occur more frequently between early spring and late summer.  Heavier rain in the spring, along with agricultural needs to pump groundwater in a cold snap, and increased construction development are factors that make that time of the year Sinkhole Season.

Does My Homeowner’s Insurance Cover Sinkholes?

Every insurer must provide coverage for “catastrophic ground cover collapse” if the home is rendered uninhabitable by the occurrence.  However, if your home is still livable, the damages from a sinkhole event will only be covered if you have an additional policy for sinkhole coverage.

According to the United States Geological Survey,  “Sinkhole damages over the last 15 years cost on average at least $300 million per year. Since there is no national tracking of sinkhole damage […]

By |2018-10-24T11:32:00-04:00October 24th, 2018|Insurance|0 Comments

Hard Hitting Facts on High Impact Windows

Improving Your View

One of the most impressive images from the devastation caused by Hurricane Michael last week was the family home of Dr. Lebron Lackey on Mexico Beach, Florida.  Still standing amid the debris of so many other homes that were completely leveled in this storm, the “Sand Palace” is a testimony to the staying power of a home built to endure.

In an interview with the New York Times, Dr. Lackey stated he and his uncle built the beach house to withstand winds of 250 mph.  Although it was not without damages, most of windows remained intact.  So what strength of impact resistance does it take to withstand a wind incident of that speed?

Windows are rated for their design pressure (DP rating), which reflects the strength of the window and how well it will withstand high winds.  The higher the DP rating the stronger the window.  For the purpose of hurricane resistance, a rating of DP30 or higher is needed.

  • DP30 can withstand sustained winds up to 110 mph or a Category 2
  • DP40 is able to withstand a Category 3 hurricane with wind gusts up to 127 mph
  • DP50 is the highest rated window and has been tested to withstand a wind load up to a Category 5 hurricane with winds exceeding 156mph

Might Be Worth Considering

If you’re thinking of retrofitting your home for hurricane windows, you can expect to pay upwards of $50 per square foot of window area, plus installation costs. In addition to protecting your home from hurricane strength winds, here are a few additional advantages:

  • Security – discourages break-ins through windows
  • Lower Energy Costs
  • UV Ray Reduction
  • Sound Reduction
  • Adds to Property Value
  • Lower Insurance Costs*

*Florida Statute 627.0629 requires insurance […]

By |2018-10-16T15:09:21-04:00October 16th, 2018|Insurance|0 Comments

What About Mold Damage?

Is Mold Damage Covered by Your Homeowner’s Insurance?

Short answer:  Possibly.

The rest of the story is that, typically, home insurance policies cover mold damage that is directly related to a “covered peril.”   Assuming your home is well maintained, covered perils include these types of scenarios:

  • Mold that resulted from burst waterpipes before you discover the damage.
  • Mold caused from a flood – IF you have Flood Insurance.
  • Mold from accidental discharge of moisture from plumbing, heating, air conditioners, sprinkler systems or household appliances.

Why Are We More Vulnerable?

Florida’s warm, wet climate is the perfect host for mold and mold related illnesses that are prevalent in high humidity states.  The Florida Department of Health provides a comprehensive report on the health hazards of mold and detailed information on combating it when you find it in your home.

To summarize, mold is a fungus that needs water to grow. The spores travel through the air and attach to surfaces such as wood, sheetrock, insulation and mattresses.  Conditions that provide breeding grounds for mold are leaky pipes, interior flooding, and unventilated rooms that are commonly warm and moist including bathrooms, laundry rooms and kitchens.

Breaking the Mold

These are a few steps you can take to keep you home dry:

  • Be proactive in preventing or stopping leaks that can be found in appliance hoses, under sinks or in attics under a leaking roof.
  • Replace dishwasher and refrigerator hoses every five years
  • Control indoor humidity with air conditioners and dehumidifiers. Replace filters regularly to prevent condensation
  • Regularly clean, ventilate and dehumidify rooms prone to higher humidity

To learn more about adding mold coverage to your homeowner’s insurance policy, give us a call at Pallant Insurance Agency.

(954) 522-3800

Or click […]

By |2018-10-09T14:44:31-04:00October 9th, 2018|Insurance|0 Comments

Keeping Your Home Safe

How Secure Is Your Home?

If you’ve ever locked yourself out of your own house (as I did, just this morning), and frantically and fruitlessly tried to find some way to get in, you may have reached the conclusion that your home is about as secure as Fort Knox.  Until another day comes when you return to your secure home and find that someone else did find a way to get through those locked doors and removed all your valuables while they were there.

According to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, there were  88,778 burglary offenses reported in this state in 2017 and 63,052 of them were residential.

In general, reported crimes have been steadily declining and we are now at the lowest crime rate on record in 47 years, according to an article in the Sun Sentinel.   2017 saw a 4.5% drop from the previous year but, if you are one of the victims, you are 100% impacted by the incident.

These statistics were reported by the three counties nearest to us:

Broward County reported 8,186 burglaries, down from 8,813.

In Miami-Dade County, burglaries dropped to 11,628 from 11,774.

Palm Beach County had the biggest drop in South Florida, to 6,033 from 7,770.

6 Things You Can Do to Secure Your Home:

Experts advise that taking these essential measures are the best practice to deter crime and secure home self-defense.

  1. Make sure all your doors and windows have a locking system.
  2. Install thick, solid doors that would be hard to kick in and implement additional bracing from the inside.  If your door has a window, install a secondary floor lock that would be beyond the reach of someone breaking and reaching through the door window.
  3. Install an alarm system.  If […]
By |2018-10-03T11:18:05-04:00October 3rd, 2018|Insurance|0 Comments

Do You Need Umbrella Insurance?

Who Needs Umbrella Insurance?

Starting with a minimum protection of $1 million, you may think of umbrella insurance as something that doesn’t relate your lifestyle.  But you don’t have to be an oligarch to be subject to potential losses exceeding what your homeowners insurance covers.  In our litigious culture, with increasingly hefty settlements being awarded every day, everyone is vulnerable to accountability for unintended incidents resulting in damages to another party.  Umbrella Insurance is a good investment for anyone who has more in assets than they have in liability coverage from their homeowners, condo or renters insurance.

What Does Umbrella Insurance Cover?

An Umbrella policy steps in after you have reached the limit and paid out the maximum liability coverage from your homeowners policy. It will also cover you for things such as libel and slander and will even protect you for liability claims when you’re traveling outside the United States.

Umbrella Insurance protects your savings and other assets. If you’re sued for damages that exceed the liability limits of your homeowners policy, an Umbrella policy helps pay what you owe.

These are some every day scenarios that could accidentally cause major injuries or property damage to someone else and lead to financial ruin …

  • Doing volunteer work
  • Coaching your child’s sports team
  • Participating in sports that cause injury to a teammate or spectator
  • Owning a dog that does things that dogs sometimes do
  • Posting an opinion on social media

The list goes on and on of everyday activities and situations in an average, day-in- the-life of most Americans.  Normal things we do with no intention of causing damages to someone else but – BAM! – it sometimes does and there you are.  Holding the bag of financial responsibility and facing a lawsuit […]

By |2018-09-25T13:09:35-04:00September 25th, 2018|Insurance|0 Comments

Windstorm Insurance

3 Facts About Windstorms You Should Not Blow Off:

  1. Windstorms can have wind speeds in excess of 200 miles per hour
  2. Heavy winds cause about $1 billion in damages in the United States every year
  3. Approximately 85% of all windstorm-related insurance claims are due to roof damage

Windstorms – How Much Damage Can Wind Cause?

Windstorms are weather events that produce strong winds and violent gusts accompanied by very little or no precipitation. Hurricanes, cyclones, derechos and tornadoes are often classified as windstorms as are any events that include heavy winds strong enough to cause significant property damage.

Windstorm insurance is a special type of property and casualty insurance designed to cover damages caused by high winds. Windstorm insurance may cover damages from hurricane-force winds, tornados, hail and other weather events that are accompanied by wind gusts that exceed 35 miles per hour.

Although Florida is considered a high-risk zone for wind hazards, windstorm insurance is not mandatory in this state. However, it may be required by your mortgage company.  If you do not purchase windstorm insurance for your home on your own accord, your lender may strap on a force-placed policy to your mortgage to cover windstorm damage and it will, typically, be at a higher cost to you than a policy shopped by your own insurance agent.

Click here to receive a FREE, No Obligation Quote

Or, please call us at 954.522.3800 or email us at info@pallantinsurance.com for a quote.

What Does Windstorm Insurance Cover?

Windstorm insurance will typically cover damages to your home and personal belongings inside your home. Many policies will also include coverage for detached structures such as garages, sheds and even swimming pools. When gale force winds harm roofs and windows, this […]

By |2018-10-05T10:44:09-04:00September 18th, 2018|Insurance|0 Comments

Disaster Preparedness for Pets – Planning with Pallant

Along with all the other measures you take to prepare for hurricanes, floods or other disasters and the possibility of a mandatory evacuation, your pet requires a few extra considerations in addition to all the needs of your human family.  With adequate planning, your furry children will be as road ready as the rest of the family if the need arises to get out of your home for a few days.  These are some priorities to keep in mind when looking out for your pet’s safety during a disaster.

Identity Crisis –

Avoid this crisis altogether by having your pets micro-chipped in advance.  This simple procedure involves your veterinarian inserting a small device in your pet’s skin.  The microchip stores an identification number that can be read with a scanner and remains in them throughout their life.  If you pet is separated from you and found by someone else, your contact information is listed in a registry linked to their microchip.  This system is the best possible backup plan if your pet should lose their collar and tags.

In addition to micro-chipping,  a collar with tags is essential.  It’s a faster way to reunite you with your pet when a microchip scanner is not available.

Of course, both identification systems are only as good as the contact information you provide so it’s important to update any changes in your address or phone number with all your pet’s identification records.

Gimme Shelter –

If you’re lucky enough to stay with friends who love you as much as they love your dog, you are lucky indeed.  But, as a second choice,  if you’re able to find  pet-friendly lodging you’re still pretty lucky.  BringFido.com and PetFriendlyTravel.com are directories of hotels, campgrounds and […]

By |2018-09-11T13:50:20-04:00September 11th, 2018|Insurance|0 Comments