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All posts by Jason Levine

10 home maintenance tips to reduce claims and home insurance rates

10 Tips to Reduce Claims and Home Insurance Rates

There are a lot of factors that help determine your home insurance rates, but none are so easy to control as proper home maintenance.

Taking care of your home prevents wear and tear, damage, and the stress of having to deal with a middle-of-the-night emergency. When your home performs the way it should, you not only live better, you can breathe easier. And so can your insurance company when they consider how much of your risk they are taking on.

More claims lead to higher home insurance rates, so proper home maintenance is one way to keep your premiums down.
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Letter from V.P. Jason Levine [October 4, 2019]

Dear Valued Clients,

I am writing you today because your insurance is currently with Florida Specialty Insurance Company. Even if you’d already left Florida Specialty, there is some important information to share.

We’ve been trying to provide updates and communicate as much as we can since mid-August on the Florida Specialty insolvency situation. We have finally received confirmation today that on Wednesday, October 2, Florida Specialty was ordered liquidated by the Second Judicial Circuit Court in Leon County (Tallahassee). The Florida Department of Financial Services has been appointed Receiver.

  • If you are a homeowner (HO3 policies) we have either issued replacement coverage for you through Nationwide Insurance effective September 28th, 2019, worked with you to some other circumstance, or we are actively working to contact you regarding additional information needed to get replacement coverage in place.
  • If you are a condominium unit owner, the owner of a rental or non-owner occupied home, or a mobile home owner we have quotes ready for you and we’re in the process of trying to contact you. We need to speak with you ASAP, as for these types of policies we absolutely need your involvement with paperwork to get replacement coverage activated.

If we haven’t spoken with you or you do not have replacement coverage in place please call us immediately.

 Here is a quick rundown on exactly what’s happening:

  1. All roughly 91,000 Florida Specialty policies will be cancelled effective November 1, 2019 at 12:01 a.m. Formal notices should begin going out by U.S. Mail immediately.
  2. The Receiver, the Florida Dept. of Financial Services, will continue to accept claims for up to 1 year.
  3. The Receiver, the Florida Dept. of Financial Services, will continue to administer in-progress claims.  The Florida Insurance Guarantee Association (FIGA) will stand behind Florida Specialty claims as needed, but only within the scope of FIGA.  You can learn more here.
  4. The Receiver, the Florida Dept. of Financial Services, will continue to process pro-rata refunds that may be due to you. Unfortunately, those refunds are now subject to a $100 deductible imposed by Florida law. (Translation: Your refund will be $100 less than what it would normally be. Even if you’ve already moved from Florida Specialty, this will apply to you if your refund has not yet been processed.)

We are legally required to inform you that:

  • FSIC’s insurance policies are cancelled effective 12:01 a.m. on November 1, 2019, unless otherwise terminated prior to that date.
  • As your agent, we will first work to find coverage in the private market.
  • If we cannot find coverage for policyholders in the private market, Citizens Property Insurance Company (“Citizens”) will provide you with a guaranteed offer of coverage, but it must be bound using the process Citizens has put into place. There will be no lapse in coverage.
  • The deadline for filing claims in the FSIC receivership proceeding is 11:59:59 p.m. on October 2, 2020.

Please call us to discuss your options without delay. Our biggest goal is to make sure that you come through this process with the highest quality insurance coverage that we can make available to you. We look forward to speaking with you. As always, your business, professional trust, and your referrals are most appreciated.

View the Court Order for Liquidation here.

Important FAQ and Contact Information for Affected Policy Holders

How Long Does a Roof Last? (The Age of Your Roof and Insurance)

How Long Does a Roof Last?: Age of Roof and Insurance

Your home does a lot for you: it keeps you warm and dry, it keeps you safe, and it keeps all your things in one place. Aside from the odd repair or two, it’s holding up and doing its job well.

That’s why it comes as such as shock when your insurance company informs you that your roof age is too old and they are going to drop your homeowners insurance coverage if you don’t get a new one.

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Should I File For a Workers' Comp Exemption?

Should I File For a Workers’ Comp Exemption?

Workers’ compensation insurance is a crucial—and often mandatory—part of owning a business in Florida.

But if you’ve owned a business for some time (or spent enough time around insurance agents), you might have heard of some business owners filing for a workers’ comp exemption.

Filing a workers’ comp exemption is a complex issue that should not be taken lightly. There are requirements that must be met and proper procedures to follow.

So what exactly is a workers’ comp exemption, how does it work, and is it right for you?
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actual cash value vs. replacement value

Actual Cash Value vs. Replacement Cost

If you’re like most people, you don’t examine your insurance documents until you need to make a claim.

And that’s when you’ll notice it.

Your insurance company isn’t paying you enough to replace your totaled car, stating that your policy only reimburses you for “actual cash value.”

It’s a confusing distinction, understanding actual cash value vs. replacement cost is an important part of creating the coverage level you need.
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Understanding Your Certificate of Insurance

Understanding Your Certificate of Insurance

If you have a small business, you are probably aware that you need a Certificate of Insurance (COI).

You might have been asked to provide one by a savvy consumer or potential landlord. Or perhaps your independent insurance agent advised that you have one.

You may not even have the slightest clue what it is.

As Central Florida-based independent insurance agents, we not only know what a Certificate of Insurance is, we’re also used to answering questions about them. Let’s answer some of your top questions about your Certificate of Insurance.

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Local independent insurance agents

5 Reasons to Use Local Independent Insurance Agents

Maybe you’re starting a new business. Or perhaps you’re just curious about whether you’re overspending on your premiums. Getting an insurance rate comparison is a great way to research your options and get a policy that’s right for you.

But you have a choice: use up next week’s lunch breaks calling every insurance company you can or getting an insurance rate comparison from an independent insurance agent.

Aside from the fact that they’re completely free (yep!), here are five reasons why local independent insurance agents are better than buying your policies directly from the corporate office.

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Rideshare Insurance 101

With millions of drivers between them, ridesharing platforms like Uber and Lyft remain popular for anybody with a dependable car looking to make some extra cash.

But while you may have wondered whether you can actually make a living as an Uber driver, you might not have bothered to think about another crucial number: rideshare insurance.

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Does Homeowners Insurance Cover Theft Outside the Home?

Just like a Business Owner’s Policy (BOP) combines multiple categories of protection into a single policy, typical homeowners insurance covers three major categories:

  • Structure – Protects your home’s roof, walls, foundation, etc.;
  • Liability – Protects you from lawsuits in the event a third party experiences injury, damage, or loss (i.e. your dog bites someone or your neighbor slips and falls on your stairs);
  • Personal property – Protects your belongings (i.e. anything you would take with you when you move) against damage and/or theft.

It is this last category—theft—that often raises questions, even among veteran homeowners.

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What's the difference between personal and commercial auto insurance?

What’s the Difference Between Personal and Commercial Auto Insurance?

If you own any type of business, you probably know that a Business Owner’s Policy (BOP) is an essential tool to have in your insurance arsenal. But it’s not the only kind of commercial insurance you need.

Your BOP doesn’t provide any coverage for vehicles, so you’ll need a separate policy if you want auto insurance. (Trust us, you do!)

You might have heard from other well-meaning business owners that your personal auto insurance will cover business use. In most cases, this isn’t true.

Let’s take a look at the difference between personal and commercial auto insurance.
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