Q. What is a Wind Mitigation inspection and should I get one?
A. A Wind Mitigation inspection must be performed by a licensed general contractor, building contractor, architect, engineer, building inspector or home inspector. The form used as of August 2014 is OIR-B1-1802 and photos must accompany the report for it to be valid.
Wind Mitigation credits were mandated by the Florida Legislature several years ago, and they earn premium discounts for construction methods within your roof that resist damage by wind. There are several categories of credits, and within the several categories there are several levels of discounts. The age of the home and roof will be examined and inspectors will also be noting and taking photos of the roof deck attachment, roof to wall connection, roof shape and the existence of a secondary water resistance barrier.
The cost of a Wind Mitigation Inspection varies by vendor, but it is generally inexpensive. Do your research on inspection companies. You want to make sure the inspection is done properly. If you need a referral we work closely with and trust a few local inspectors so just ask!
The only way to know exactly how much you can save is by having the inspection done. The inspection cannot hurt you or cause your premium to go up. It can only cause the premium to stay the same or go down, sometimes by several hundreds of dollars!
Q. What is water back-up coverage?
A. Water Back-Up and Sump Overflow coverage protects against water intrusion in the event that public utilities and/or septic systems become inundated and reverse course. This type of coverage became very common after the 2004 hurricane season during which storm drains could not handle the amount of rain water inundating them. This coverage is separate from flood insurance and most homeowner insurance already covers water damage from roof leaks/burst pipes/certain other causes. Simply put, if your toilets and/or sinks began overflowing into your home due to reasons outside of the home (not a hairball in the P-Trap or tree roots in the main drain) this coverage may apply. If you are not sure if your policy has Water Back-Up and Sump Overflow coverage call your agent.
Q. What is Employment Practices Liability Insurance?
A. Employment Practices Liability Insurance (EPLI) is a critical form of protection that all businesses need to have. Like Worker’s Compensation it does not matter if a company has 1 part-time employee or 1,000 full-time employees; this coverage is paramount. EPLI primarily provides legal defense against claims of improper employer behavior (hiring/firing practices, discipline, harassment in the workplace) and it can sometimes provide coverage for accusations of improper tabulation of hours and payment of wages, as well as third-party (i.e. customer) harassment claims. While illegal and intentional acts are never insurable, the cost of defending such claims can be into the hundreds of thousands of dollars. Employment Practices Liability Insurance policy premiums are incredibly small compared to the potential legal fees that an honest employer may have to pay to defend accusations (whether true or not) made by a disgruntled employee.
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I don’t safety standards allow this anymore!
Here is a brief introduction into Worker’s Compensation Insurance
Q. What is Worker’s Compensation Insurance?
A. Everyone who owns a business with even a single part-time employee needs Worker’s Comp! Worker’s Comp is an amazing product that essentially voids an employee’s ability to sue an employer for negligence/liability in the event of a workplace injury. It provides a stated limit of liability for employer negligence and unlimited coverage for covered workplace injury treatment. If an employer doesn’t have Worker’s Comp they are risking their business. Absent coverage employees may directly sue their employer. Everything from keyboard induced Carpel Tunnel Syndrome to catastrophic accidents are covered.
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Q. What is Cyber Liability Insurance and do I need it?
A. People have heard of the Target Hack. You may be thinking, well my business isn’t that big or my credit card vendor will cover such a breach. You are wrong. Cyber Liability a category of insurance protection that is needed by every business that uses any sort of electronic database system, takes credit cards, or facilitates any type of electronic transaction using customer information. People often believe that their credit card processing vendor offers them protection, and in some cases they may offer some small form of coverage.
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Julie and Jason have an umbrella!
Q. What is Umbrella Insurance and do I need it?
A. Liability Umbrella policies are incredibly valuable and affordable protection needed by individuals and business, alike. Your primary policies – home/car/boat/business owner’s/worker’s compensation/commercial automobile/etc. – provide an initial layer of liability protection. This primary coverage is often maxed out at $300,000 – $500,000 for individuals and $1,000,000 for businesses. Umbrellas can come with many different coverage limits, but the most common limits are $1 million, $2 million and $5 million. Insurance is designed not only protect your current assets, but it also aims to protect your future earning potential against wage garnishments and judgments that a major claim may give rise to. Umbrellas extend your liability protection beyond your primary coverage. Simply put, someone with $500,000 primary liability and a $1 million umbrella effectively has $1.5 million in protection (within the bounds the policies involved). Umbrellas can sometimes even provide additional coverage that your primary insurance does not.
Whether or not you buy an umbrella policy is up to you, but for guidance call your agent!
I would like to thank one of our agents, Kathy Barton, with suggesting this question for our blog. This is a very specific question and if you have any questions on what exactly your policy covers make sure to call your agent.
Q. I just went grocery shopping and filled my deep freezer and refrigerator right before the big storm hit. My power has been out for 2 days and all the food has spoiled. Will my homeowner’s insurance cover this?
A. Your homeowner insurance may very well cover for spoilage of refrigerated property due to off premises power failure. However, this is usually only by a special add-on that incurs an additional premium. That means that you must request and pay for this specific coverage. It is not part of most standard homeowner policies. When reviewing your policy you should ask your agent what upgrades or optional endorsements, like spoilage coverage, are available through your homeowner insurance company.
Q. Does my auto insurance cover my rental car?
A. There is a strong chance that it does. Most standard and preferred automobile insurance carriers extend coverage to private passenger vehicles that you rent such as while on vacation. You must check with your specific carrier though, as many non-standard carriers and certain standard/preferred carriers do not extend such coverage. Also, remember that most auto carriers do not extend coverage to non-private passenger vehicles such as do it yourself moving trucks. As always if you have specific questions as to your coverage and policy make sure to contact your agent.
Q. Does my homeowner’s policy cover a flood?
A. No, it does not! No homeowner insurance policy covers flood. Flood Insurance is a federally administered program in conjunction with FEMA and the NFIP. People must purchase separate flood insurance through their agent, like Harry Levine Insurance. Interestingly, you may not be covered if your house floods but your neighbors’ do not. FEMA defines flood as: A general and temporary condition of partial or complete inundation of two or more acres of normally dry land area or of two or more properties (at least one of which is the policyholder’s property) from: Overflow of inland or tidal waters; or unusual and rapid accumulation of runoff of surface waters from any source; or mudflow; or Collapse or subsidence of land along the shore of a lake or similar body of water as a result of erosion or undermining caused by waves or currents exceeding anticipated cyclical levels that result in a flood as defined above.
Last blog post was about Wedding Insurance. Now that you are married (or on your way down the aisle) what do you do what that beautiful ring on your finger? What about that antique brooch from your grandmother or the pocket watch from your great-great -grandfather? Now we will discuss what to do with the valuables in your life.
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