Posted on February 1, 2016 in Homeowners Insurance Florida
"How much did my premium change?" This is usually the only question asked by Florida homeowners when they are looking over their renewal papers. However, taking the time to evaluate how your insurance needs have evolved over a year is crucial to receiving the proper amount of coverage and getting the most bang for your buck. Check out these tips to help guide you through your Florida home insurance renewal process.
Tip #1: Factor In Any Home Renovations, Big or Small
When reviewing your insurance policy, it is important to keep in mind that your premium is based on the cost to rebuild your home, not the market or resell value. That means any home renovations you made over the past year could leave you either under-insured. Renovations that might affect your policy include:
- House Extensions or Additions
- Kitchen or Bathroom Upgrades, such as Countertops or Appliances
- Roof Upgrades
- Tile Flooring
- Pool and/or Patio Upgrades
- Converting your Garage into a Living Space
You might even qualify for new discounts. Some renovations, such as centralized security systems, or smoke detectors can qualify you for discounts and add security to your home. Contact your insurance agent or insurance company to see how your recent renovations will affect your premium before you renew.
Tip #2: Consider Updating Your Personal Liability Coverage
This coverage provides protection if someone were to file a lawsuit against you, claiming you caused them bodily injury or damaged their property. Liability coverage can protect you in situations that may be unforeseen, such as a friend twisting their ankle on a loose step. Increasing liability coverage often costs very little, and will help protect your assets if you’re ever sued. If you have more personal assets this year, you may also have "more to lose" in a major lawsuit. Consult with your agent to see if you have the right amount of coverage.
Tip #3: Rethink Your Deductibles
Has your financial situation changed in the past year? If it has, make sure to take the time to examine your deductibles (the amount you pay out of pocket before insurance covers a loss). If your financial situation has improved over the past year, you may want to consider raising your deductibles, which will lower your premium.
Tip #4: Evaluate Your Experience
Just as your life has changed in the past year, so has your insurance company. The renewal process is the perfect time to reflect on your overall experience with your current homeowners insurance company. Ask yourself (or agent) these questions when evaluating:
- Can they pay my claim during a catastrophe or hurricane? What is their financial stability plan?
- Did their customer service meet or go above and beyond my expectations?
- Am I receiving a competitive rate?
- What services, technology, and resources does my insurance company offer that I haven’t taken advantage of yet?
Your current homeowners insurance company will most likely notify you several weeks before your renewal deadline. Use that time period to evaluate how your insurance needs have evolved over the past year and contact your agent or current company with any new information or questions before you renew.