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Your Quick Guide to Florida Insurance Laws

Settling down in the Sunshine State?

Florida remains one of the most popular states in the country, with roughly 900 people moving to the state every day. That’s 330,605 new residents each year! And frankly, with year-round sunshine, warm temperatures, beautiful sandy beaches, and countless things to do, who can blame them?

But if you’re planning on joining us in this wonderful state, you’ll need to know more than what hours Disney is open. Here are some of the things you need to know about Florida insurance laws.

Keep reading our guide so that you’re prepared for your big move.
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Drone Insurance Covered by Your Homeowners Policy? Think Again!

Every time something useful, cool, and new is invented, there are new dangers that come along with it. Newton’s Third Law of Physics even states that for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. Well, guess what? Drones may be the hottest new present for children and tech enthusiasts, and a cutting-edge business tool, but an estimated 80% of them are operating without proper FAA approval or appropriate insurance protection.

drone insurance policy

Photo Credit: khunaspix on freedigitalphotos.net

Drones at home are less of a problem than drones used for business. Remember, once Bob the neighbor pays little Johnny $10 to take an aerial picture of his house, there has been a business transaction. You may not agree, but there was a transaction in the eyes of the court! Insurers are struggling to deal with the new risk posed by drones, whether it is drones running into each other, drones being flown into people or property, or drones having mechanical failure and crashing into people or property. There’s also that whole spying on people thing, despite plenty of existing laws and legal precedents to deal with that (just think cell phone cameras). You may think of drones as harmless, but rest assured, there are some very important things for homeowners and business owners to know about this potential insurance issue.
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Fraud is Causing Your Rate to Go Up

It seems like every year homeowner insurance costs more. We have talked about this before, but it is still happening and your rates are still going up. Our goal is to make sure everyone is educated about what is happening so you can make informed decisions about your home.

Normally, when people spend money they like to receive something of value in exchange for it. It’s difficult for insurance to provide obvious or immediate value because no one ever wants to have to use it. Everyone’s financial sensibility is vulnerable to ads like the one below that seem to bring that value. A new roof on your home can cost anywhere from $5,000.00 to $50,000.00 depending upon size, materials and contractor. The free roofs that are being promised all across Florida in ads like these, however, are not free at all. In fact, they are incredibly costly to the homeowner and the general public.
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A New Free Roof?…It Must be Too Good to be True

Free-lunch_Guy-Downes-20101

Credit – http://www.guydownes.com

If it’s too good to be true, it probably is.

A stranger knocks on your door.  You apprehensively answer.  They tell you that they can get you a entirely kitchen worth $25,000 or more if you’ll let them inside.  You laugh, say it’s too good to be true and send them on their way.  So why do people allow those making such outrageous claims to climb on their roofs, have access to their insurance policy  information, and ultimately to involve them in a rapidly growing fraud scam?  I suppose it’s because they aren’t be asked to actually invite the perpetrators in, but they are being promised a new roof typically valued anywhere between $10,000 and $40,000.

Insurance is there to protect homeowners from sudden and accidental damage.  Unlike a home warranty or maintenance contract, insurance does not cover wear and tear or an item reaching the end of its useful life.  Insurance is designed and priced to repair or replace a roof if a tree falls on your house, a hail storm causes damage or another sudden, accidental and unforeseeable event damages your home.  Unfortunately, opportunistic and criminally liable contractors are looking for homes with shingle roof at or around 15 years old all over Florida.  These roofs are naturally reaching the end of their lives, and most homeowners dread having to purchase one from within their household budget.  Knock, knock…
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My Insurance Company Told Me My Roof is Too Old, is it?

You might have some roofing issues!

You might have some roofing issues!

 

  Q.  Why is my insurance company telling me my  roof is too old and that I need to replace it? It  looks fine to me!

A.  Keeping a comfy roof over your head is one of peoples’ highest priorities no matter where they are.  When it comes to homeowner insurance roofs can quickly become a lot more complication than just shingle or tile.  Insurance carriers have detailed data on how long roofs are expected to last, what are the most common causes of roof related claims, and which types of roofs tend to work best. 
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Have You Saved With A Wind Mitigation Inspection?

Douglas Inspection Service logo (1)

We interviewed one of our clients, Douglas Inspection Service about Wind Mitigation Inspections. If you haven’t had one yet you may be able to save money on your Homeowners insurance! You can learn more about Wind Mitigation Inspections on our blog and read about them and Douglas Inspection below!

Q. How long is an inspection?
A. The time spent at the property is usually less than an hour. We do research prior to the appointment and at the home we verify the results of our research and confirm the way the roof is secured to the house. It really depends on how far into the attic the inspector has to go to find and photograph the features the insurer is looking for.
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Personal Injury Endorsement

Do you know what they are posting online?

Do you know what they are posting online?

 

 

What is a Personal Injury Endorsement?

Leading the way when it comes to sometimes disturbing truths about the litigious nature of American society, people must now pay particular attention to their social media posts.  Unlike innocuous playground, weekend or break room banter, when someone posts comments in writing they can and will be used against you in court.  The rise of bullying awareness and the perceived need to always be politically correct have now fostered an environment where lawsuits including but not limited to those for slander and libel are becoming increasingly common.  What’s more is that parents are now being held accountable by courts for their children’s social media posts.  It’s now time to check your homeowner insurance policy for an endorsement, or coverage add-on, called Personal Injury.
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Roofing Homeowner Scam

Ok, this roof truly needs help!

Ok, this roof truly needs help!

 

 

 

 

Thank you American Integrity Insurance for this great article. You can read the original here.

This time it’s your roof! Florida homeowners scammed

by Amanda Richter

This time it’s your roof! Florida roofing homeowner scam

A couple weeks ago we wrote about a growing problem – contractors using “assignment of benefits” to hijack consumer water claims. This alarming trend is finding its way to the roofing industry. Just last week the Department of Financial Services (DFS) announced the arrest of five NBRC Roofing Company employees for allegedly organizing a $525,000 insurance fraud scheme.

According to a press release from the DFS, the scam involved “visiting homeowners following a storm, convincing the homeowners roof repairs were necessary, helping the homeowners file insurance claims for repair and finally convincing the homeowners to give NBRC the sole right to make the repairs and the assignment of benefits for the insurance claim. But once NBRC was paid for insurance claim, the repairs would not be completed and the insurance money would be pocketed by NBRC employees.”

This is just another example of why assigning the rights to your insurance claim to a third party is a bad idea. When you sign a contract which contains an “Assignment of Benefits” (words to the effect of ‘I transfer and assign any and all insurance rights, benefits, and causes of action under my property insurance policy’ to the contractor) you sign the rights to your claim and any monies for your damage to that contractor in exchange for the contractor fixing the problem. If you disagree with how the contractor handles the repair or the amount charged you have given up your right to resolve the issue with your insurance company.

According to the DFS the below defendants were arrested in relation to this case:

  • Frank Martin Pureber, Apollo Beach
  • Carlton D Dunko, Tampa
  • Stacy Lynn Dunko, Tampa
  • Joel Samuel Deserio, Tampa
  • Alexander Josue Gomez, Riverview

Additional arrests are expected to be made of the following individuals:

  • Eric Shane Johnson, Bradenton
  • Christopher Michael Rios, Brandon
  • Benjamin Zebulon Matthews, Lakewood Ranch

The cases will be prosecuted by the Office of Statewide Prosecution.

How can you prevent this from happening to you?

  1. Call your insurance company first when you have a claim: they can help you partner with a reputable contractor and help explain what an “Assignment of Benefits” really means.
  2. Read any document you’re asked to sign: a contractor should only require you to sign a work authorization so if you see the phrase “Assignment of Benefit” do not sign.
  3. Unsavory contractors are especially prevalent after big storms when many Florida homeowners report damage. To avoid being a victim, prepare in advance by keeping a list of trusted contractors. Your insurance company may also be able to recommend experts. ASK THEM FIRST. It is to both your benefits to get quality work done at a reasonable price.

How much Screen Enclosure Coverage do I need?

Screen Enclosure

 

 

 

Q.  How much Screen Enclosure Coverage do I Need?

A. Just like with any type of property coverage owners should purchase enough coverage to replace their pool cage should it be completely destroyed.  Referencing your original purchase paperwork or getting an estimate from a licensed contractor can help take the guess work out of the number.  Be careful though!  Many homeowner insurance companies do not offer screen enclosure coverage, or they only offer coverage for the actual cage or aluminum framework but not the screen material itself.  Screen enclosure coverage is usually by special add-on, so if it doesn’t appear on your policy you should ask your agent about your specific needs and the details of the your specific policy.