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Why are Home Insurance Quotes So Different?

Why Are Home Insurance Quotes So Different?

If you’ve shopped for home insurance recently, you might be wondering something…

Why are home insurance quotes so different between carriers?

 

It’s great to get home insurance quotes from multiple companies before settling on one. After all, isn’t that how you get the best value on your insurance?

But it begs the question,” why do homeowners insurance quotes differ so much?”

In last month’s article, “How Does Insurance Work?” we discussed how certain risk factors (or liabilities) can increase the amount you have to pay toward your premium or deductible. This might explain why insurance on your three-bedroom ranch is so different from your sister’s McMansion, but can it explain why your house received four completely different quotes from four different companies?

Turns out, there is a good explanation for that!
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Why Are Federal Pacific Breakers Uninsurable?

You’ve been denied insurance coverage…all because of your electrical panel.

Learn why Federal Pacific breakers (and other panels) are ineligible for insurance.

 

You rely on electricity to power your favorite devices, but it can also be dangerous without the right safeguards in place. In fact, most homeowners aren’t aware of what’s going on in the wires behind their walls.

If there’s an issue with the electrical wiring, many people don’t find out until it’s too late…or until a home inspection uncovers a potential problem.

We’re willing to bet that you’re reading this article right now because you were recently informed that the electrical panel on your home is ineligible for insurance. We’re insurance agents—not electricians—so we can’t pass judgment on the safety of your electrical wiring. But many insurance companies will refuse to issue policies on homes that have certain types or models of circuit breaker (models such as Federal Pacific breakers and Zinsco).

Why is that? And what can you do about it?

 

How Does an Electrical Panel Work?

You know what an electrical panel is and you (hopefully) know where yours is located, but do you know why they’re important?

Electrical panels—also known as breaker panels, load centers, service panels, or breaker boxes—are the housing for your home’s circuit breakers. In the event of a power surge, short circuit, or circuit overload, the breakers are designed to “trip,” which is another way of saying they cut the electricity to that particular circuit.

circuit breaker illustration

While it may be irritating to experience a power outage at the moment you’re trying to make your morning cup of coffee, circuit breakers are a vital safety feature that prevent electrical fires.

If a breaker fails to trip, the high amounts of electricity can melt the plastic coating of the wires and spark a fire. The entire electrical panel can also overheat, which can cause it to catch fire.

Put this way, it is easy to see why having a high-quality, reliable electrical panel is so important.

 

Why Certain Electrical Panels (Such as Federal Pacific Breakers) Are Uninsurable

If you’re wondering, “Will a Federal Pacific panel pass inspection?” the answer is no.

Electrical fires are one of the top causes for residential fires, and cause an estimated 500 deaths and $1.3 billion in property damage each year. This isn’t a risk that most insurance companies want to take on.

In our recent article, “How Does Insurance Work?”, we explained how spending more money on claims means the insurance company has to collect more in premiums. If your home is located in a certain area or has certain features that the insurance company has deemed to be riskier, you will pay higher premiums than homeowners without those features.

There are some features, however, that are more than just “riskier.” And Federal Pacific breakers (among others) are one of them.

Just like the infamous polybutylene plumbing, some electrical panels have cost insurance companies so much money that they simply refuse to insure them. For them, it’s essentially a losing bet.

 

Which Electrical Panels Are Dangerous?

Despite their importance, there have been a surprising number of electrical panel “fails” over the past few decades. In most cases, the panels work fine for years, giving many homeowners the impression that nothing is wrong. In fact, most aren’t aware of what type of electrical panel they have until they get a 4-point inspection.

So, which are the ones your insurance company won’t touch with a 10-ft. pole?

Federal Pacific breakers (also known as Stab-Lok breaker panels) were some of the most widely used electrical panels from the 1950’s until the 1980’s. Yet nowadays, they are popular for an entirely different reason.

Not only do Stab-Lok panels fail to trip during a power surge (failure rates are between 25-65%), they can fail to switch off power when the switch is in the “off” position, resulting in electrocution.

electrical socket with burn marks

Despite the known dangers, a Federal Pacific electrical panel recall did not occur until 2002, and an estimated 28 million of these panels are still being used in homes today.

Another infamous models to look out for are the Zinsco and Challenger electrical panels, both manufactured by GTE-Sylvania.

However, when looking into the safety of your electrical panel, it’s important to look beyond the brand name and into the function of the panel itself.

Building codes have changed since the 1970’s and many older electrical panels simply do not meet modern standards.

Think about how much more electricity your household uses compared to, say, your grandmother’s day. Your WiFi router, Alexa, laptops, cell phone chargers, and gaming console have a much bigger appetite than a 1950’s blender.

 

Replacing Your Electrical Panel

While there are some insurance companies that will provide coverage on homes with these types of electrical panels, most homeowners prefer to have them replaced.

After all, the average cost of replacing an electrical panel is around $1,100 and you’ll have the added benefit of more choices when it comes time to renew your policy.

If you suspect that your home might have a recalled or outdated electrical panel, don’t try to replace it yourself as your weekend project! Instead, have it examined and replaced by a qualified electrician.

 

Conclusion

Electricity is part of what makes our modern-day lifestyle possible. But having good insurance coverage is just as important as having safe electrical wiring.

Whether you need to find an insurance carrier who will accept your current electrical panel or you just want to see if you can get a better value from your homeowners insurance, let the friendly agents at Harry Levine Insurance help!

What Is a Wind Mitigation Inspection?

What is a Wind Mitigation Inspection?

Wind mitigation inspections do more than give Florida homeowners peace of mind.

Find out how a quick wind mitigation inspection can help lower your insurance premiums.

Floridians are well-versed at protecting our homes from hurricane-related wind damage. We secure doors and windows, fill up sand bags, and clear our yards of loose debris.

But most people forget about the biggest area of protection for their home: the roof.

Your realtor or home inspector might have recommended that you get a wind inspection, but what is it? And—more importantly—why is it so important?
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4 Reasons Your Home Insurance Premiums Increased

4 Reasons Why Your Home Insurance Premiums Increased

You haven’t filed a home insurance claim in years…so why do your rates keep going up?

Here are four reasons why your home insurance premiums increased (that have nothing to do with your claims history).

 

Like most Florida homeowners, you probably noticed that your home insurance premiums increased over last year, even though you didn’t file a single claim. What’s up with that?

If you’ve always assumed that increased premiums are caused by increased claims, you’re right. But that’s only part of the story.

There are several reasons why your home insurance premiums increased recently (and why it’s likely they will next year, too) that have nothing to do with how many claims you filed.

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Is slander covered by a homeowners policy

Is Slander Covered By a Homeowners Policy?

Here’s why slander is such a big deal and how to get the protection you need.

 

Libel, slander, and other defamatory statements don’t just happen on TV. They’re very real and very common, especially with social media.

In today’s litigious society, lawsuits are increasingly common, even for seemingly “trivial” things. Which is why it’s so important for homeowners to know that defamatory statements are not covered by your standard Homeowners Insurance policy.

But that doesn’t mean you have to pay for lawsuits out-of-pocket.

Here’s everything you need to know about protecting your family from the financial devastation of a defamation lawsuit.
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10 Common Home Insurance Myths Debunked

10 Common Home Insurance Myths Debunked!

There’s a lot of misinformation about homeowners insurance. Let’s set the record straight.

Learn the truth behind these common home insurance myths so you can make educated decisions about your coverage.

 

As of April 2020, there are no laws in Florida that require you to get homeowner’s insurance. And yet, it’s one of the most important things you will ever buy.

But how much do you understand your insurance policy?

Many of our clients find the insurance industry confusing…and we can’t blame them! Between the lingo, legal jargon, and exceptions to the (many) rules, it’s no surprise that certain common home insurance myths have stuck around.

At Harry Levine Insurance, we love to help our clients better understand their insurance policies so they can make informed decisions about their coverage. In this article, we’ll dispel some of the most common home insurance myths.
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Dwelling Insurance Explained

What is Dwelling Insurance?

Welcome back to Harry Levine Insurance on YouTube. I’m Jason Levine and I’m here to talk to you today about dwelling fire insurance.

 

What is Dwelling Insurance?

A lot of people don’t know the difference, nor should they, between homeowners coverage and dwelling fire insurance. The two types of policies are actually very, very similar; the principle difference is in the design.
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5 Things You Need to Know About Home Insurance

Whether you’re a first-time homebuyer or you’ve owned your home for 50 years, you might still have a lot of questions about home insurance. Hey, I get it! Insurance can be confusing and overwhelming.

But, if you own a home, you should understand your home insurance coverage. In this video, I’ll go over 5 things you need to know about home insurance to bring you one step closer to total insurance mastery!
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Sinkhole coverage vs. catastrophic ground collapse

Sinkhole Coverage vs. Catastrophic Ground Collapse

Florida is famous for many threats—hurricanes, alligators, the eponymous “Florida Man”—but one of its most dangerous features lurks right underground: sinkholes. Which begs the question: “How does this affect my insurance?”

Your Florida homeowner’s policy includes catastrophic ground cover collapse, but is that the same as sinkhole insurance? In this article, we’ll compare sinkhole coverage vs. catastrophic ground collapse to see how the two measure up.

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Builder's Risk Insurance for New Construction in Horizon West, FL

Builder’s Risk Insurance for New Construction in Horizon West, FL

Nestled between Clermont, Winter Garden, and Windermere lies the burgeoning neighborhood of Horizon West, Florida. With easy access to both Disney World and downtown Orlando, it’s easy to see why Horizon West could make 34787 the next “it” zip code.

Local builders seem to think so. Construction is underway for dozens of subdivisions in the area. And one thing that no new construction project should be without is adequate builder’s risk insurance.

Just because new construction homes aren’t occupied doesn’t mean they aren’t full of risk. Here’s everything you need to know when purchasing builder’s risk insurance.
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