So you made it through the hurricane unscathed…

Now is the time to review your policy!

While our area is very fortunate to have been outside of Dorian’s path, preparations for the hurricane may be a wake up call for some.

Whether having your declaration page handy for a claim, calculating your hurricane deductible before the storm, or calling our office for scenarios of how your policy would apply, it’s important to take hurricane preparations very seriously. Now that Dorian has passed though, are you confident with your coverage? Now is the time to review your policy!

We see many clients call the week of a storm to revise their policy or even add coverage such as Flood Insurance. It’s not uncommon to make last minute changes… did the thought cross your mind this week?

 

You have options…

Again, now is the time to review your policy. Want a lower deductible? What about flood insurance we just mentioned? Would you like a policy review? Do you know if your fence is covered? What about your wife’s She Shed?

Since we cannot guarantee that the next hurricane won’t cause damage or make your experience any easier, let’s focus on peace of mind that you’re covered in case your property sustains major damage. 

 

Take action before it’s too late!

Hurricane season is not over! Contact our office before binding restrictions take effect due to a storm and prevent you from getting proper coverage. 

Call our office today! Don’t wait until the last minute before the next hurricane. Florida has been hit too many times not to have the insurance you need. Let’s make sure your ready.

386-673-5550

Coverage

It is a common practice in Florida to have a deductible that is a percentage of your coverage. Coverage is the insured value of your home, and it’s important to know what your deductible is. It’s also important to know that it’s not the responsibility of insurance companies to determine if you have a claim or not. While it can work this way, it’s not the ideal way to go about handling a claim. Check out this article to learn more about what to do before you file a claim

Unless you are absolutely sure your damage exceeds your deductible, you should really talk with your agent before taking action. Just because your agent has all the carrier’s claim phone numbers listed on their site doesn’t mean you start there. Your agent’s role is to help you navigate the claims process, which starts with determining if you need to file a claim.

 

Know Your Deductible

Locate your hurricane deductible on your declaration page. Depending on the insurance company, you could have a $500, $1,000, $2,500, $5,000, or even a deductible that is 1% or 2% of your Coverage A. For example, if your Coverage A or Dwelling (also known as Building Coverage) is $200,000 and you have a 2% deductible, your deductible amount is $4000. Like all deductibles, the lower the deductible, the higher the premium. While many carriers only offer 2% deductibles for hurricane, carriers have more recently started offering $500.

 

Contact Us

Contact your agent or our office to discuss what a lower deductible premium would look like for you. Lowering your deductible can only be done at renewal as it is not an endorsement. The other option would be to rewrite your policy to another company midterm. Contact your agent or our office to determine the best option for you.

386-673-5550

Here’s what you need to know.

After a hurricane, it is rare not to have some impact to your property. Hurricanes are mother nature’s way of cleaning up her yard such as blowing away dead tree limbs and branches which could result in damage to your home or vehicles.

While your first reaction may be to call your insurance company, it’s important to note that most policies have an increased deductible when it involves a hurricane. So you’ll need to first determine if the damage exceeds your deductible. For instance, if you have $2,500 in damage and a $4,000 deductible, filing a claim is the last thing you’ll want to do. Not only will your claim get denied, they’ll be contacting you to make sure all damage has been repaired to their specifications.

Get all the numbers and know where you stand. Your agent should be able to assist you with this with a quick call. Also, request that your agent documents your call to find out whether or not to file a claim. Your next step is to get estimates. 

 

Why estimates? They serve two purposes. 

  1. They help determine if your damages exceed your deductible and warrant a claim.
  2. It’s good to understand that most adjusters immediately after a hurricane are generalists such as an electrician. If you have an electrical claim, that’s the adjuster you want. That same electrician also assesses other damage, such as your roof, which gives you a head start on resolving your claim.

With the information you’ve gathered, you can now make a decision to proceed with a claim or not.

Your agent is your resource on filing a claim. Insurance companies look at claims all the same whether it’s a $5,000 claim, a $15,000 claim, or a claim filed that pays zero. That matters because it has an impact on your ability to shop for insurance in the future, or worse, subject you to a non-renewal from a denied or an unpaid claim.

 

Contact our office should you have any questions 386-673-5550

Congrats, Florida, for striking 1st

Did you know Florida is THE place for lightning strikes in the US? World Atlas says Florida sits between the Atlantic and Gulf coasts mixing sea breezes, tropical heat, and humidity for perfect thunderstorm condition. Congrats to Florida for ranking #1 in the nation with an average of 1.45 million strikes a year!

 

What if one strikes your home?

You may see the drastic stories on the news about a house burning down because of lightning. There are far fewer stories about the more common result of damaged electronics from a strike.

Have you considered what would happen if lightning struck your house? Maybe you know someone that has experienced it, and it’s good to know how an insurance policy responds to a lightning strike.

Most comprehensive policies will cover the insured’s personal property on items such as a TV, pool pump, and even your HVAC system when damaged by lightning. If anything in your home sustains damage from a strike, do some research before filing a claim to determine if it will be cost effective.

 

Here are some steps to take:
  1. Note all the things that have stopped working
  2. Have a technician or respective service agent perform an inspection
  3. Get a written document stating lightning caused the damage and what the cost is to repair or replace the item

Simply put, get an estimate of your repairs and though it will not guarantee satisfaction of your claim, it will definitely help move things along more quickly.

When you file a claim, an adjuster will assess the damage. Something to note: adjusters are not specialists but more generalists that know a little about a lot of things. In most cases, it just makes sense for a specialist that’s familiar with the hardware to accurately assess your device.

It’s important to make sure this estimate is well above your deductible before filing a claim for two reasons. First, so you actually get paid. Second, if the cost to replace those items is lower than you’re deductible, you’ll not only be paying out-of-pocket, but you’ll also have a claim permanently on your record making it difficult to get insurance in the future.

 

Next, what is your deductible?

An estimate on replacing your items may surprise you if you haven’t been shopping lately. Let’s say your brand new TV cost $3,500 five years ago. The cost to replace that same TV may only be $500 today and will still be better technology.

When you discover mother nature fried your devices, don’t panic and file a claim. If you have a $2,500 deductible, and the cost to replace your TV, Blu-ray player, and receiver is only $800 in today’s market, a claim is more than unnecessary – it’s going to damage your insurance record.

Make sure your estimate to replace all items is above your deductible. Insurance kicks in after a catastrophic loss, which means that your loss needs to be higher than your out-of-pocket costs.

 

Our Advice?

Contact our office. Let us review your current policy to make sure you have adequate coverage to handle a situation such as a lightning strike.

In an effort to lower premiums, agencies avoid Replacement Coverage on contents, which means you’ll get the “garage sale” value (Actual Cash Value) of your items at the time of loss instead of what it would cost to replace them.

We’ll look to see that you have Replacement Cost for your personal items, let you know your options, and advise what we believe would benefit you the most.

Before talking to an agency that does not take the time to discuss your needs and situation, let us help. We are a full-service agency with licensed professionals that have your priorities in mind when discussing your policy.

 

Contact us today!

You see the light turn green and enter the intersection. Out of the corner of your eye you see a driver from the right, clearly not going to stop. You both try to avoid the collision, but too late.

No one’s hurt, luckily, but during the information exchange you learn that you both have the same insurance provider. What happens next?

Ideally – and in most cases – nothing is different when drivers have the same insurance company. In most cases, your insurance company will assign separate adjusters in order to avoid a conflict of interest. By law, these adjusters are required to treat the claim the same as any other.

The reality is that a few differences do exist when you have the same provider, however. If you were not at fault, for example, you do not have to worry about your deductible in most cases. Instead, to simplify the process, the company usually applies the at-fault driver’s policy to pay for your deductible.

In cases where fault isn’t clear, however, the company will wait until their investigation is complete in order to apply this benefit. If you are found not at-fault, you will usually be reimbursed for your deductible.

It’s a common belief that insurance claims made between the same company will be processed faster, but this usually doesn’t actually hold true. Adjusters must still communicate with each other and investigate the situation as with any other claim.

Risks and Challenges

In most cases your insurance company will handle the claim with as much good faith as they would with an external company.

That said, unethical practices are not unheard of in these situations. The most common complaints are simply a lack of communication. While this is bad service, it does not necessarily mean bad faith practice. Be persistent and keep in touch throughout the investigation to make sure your provider is handling the claim in a timely manner.

Much less common are cases of claim denials. These usually involve loopholes such as policy coverage or lapses. At the same time, these are not necessarily more likely when the company is the same for both drivers.

Be wary if your company assigns only one adjuster to the claim. In these cases there’s a very real risk of conflict of interest.

In most cases, you do not need to worry about having the same insurance company as the other driver. As with any insurance claim, patience and persistence are the most important factors to receiving compensation.

In the market for an insurance provider? Just looking to save more on your auto insurance policy? O’Quinn Insurance Services can help match you with the best policy for your needs. Get a quote today! (It’s free!)

Are you having problems with getting insurance because you’re a “high-risk driver”?  high risk drivers can find it difficult to get insured. It can actually make it almost impossible to get it at a good rate. The reason is that insurance companies make their money from safe drivers. The longer someone pays insurance and doesn’t get in an accident, the more money they make. These are the drivers that insurance companies like to work with. If you are a high-risk driver, it means they might be spending more money on you. Though it is not always your fault for carrying this title, as we will explore below.

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Art itself is a powerful medium for many of us. Art is a way to put emotions, thoughts, ideas, stories, and legends into a physical format that other people can experience. Perhaps one of the most powerful forms of art lays in photography. Not only can photography capture moments, tell stories, and express emotions, it has several practical uses in everyday life. It can be the basis of advertising or even be a business itself. It also holds a lot of importance when it comes to insurance claims. It is a powerful tool that should not be forgotten or underestimated.

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Let’s channel our inner Bob Ross for a moment a paint a picture. You got rear-ended while stopped at an intersection. You exchanged information, contacted the insurance company, etc and so on. Now your car is in your driveway with a banged up back bumper and you have a couple hundred dollars worth of insurance money from your coverage to get it fixed. That money, however, could also be used to upgrade your television to a new 4K curved Samsung. After all, the bumper might be beaten up, but the car itself still runs just fine. Are you allowed to do this, or does the money have to go toward repairing your vehicle? What if the same thing happens to your home, can you spend the money then? Well, the answer to that question is a resounding maybe.

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Everyone enjoys their cars in their own way. Some of us simply enjoy having a car that gets us from Point A to Point B. Some of us enjoy having a car that can get us there in half the time and some enjoy having a vehicle that truly is unique from any other vehicle on the road. To be unique, however, you might have to put a little extra into it, or rather, onto it. Many custom vehicles will have something added to the vehicle that doesn’t come standard. These are known as aftermarket parts and can typically include mufflers, rims, stereo systems, and engine modifications, along with other forms of aftermarket modifications. The problem with aftermarket modifications is that while they might turn your $10,000 car into a $25,000 car, your Insurance will only pay to replace that $10,000 car.

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When it comes to home insurance, there are multiple forms of protection that you can get. To get the full advantage of these benefits, however, you need to do a little bit of work. One thing that you have to do is know how much your stuff is worth. Not just your home, but the things inside of it. If something is stolen or destroyed, the insurance company needs to know how much that something cost to reimburse it. Of course, you can’t make these prices up, you need to make sure that you have the actual price for an item’s value. This can go up or down depending on time and condition. Over time things tend to lose value until they get old enough to become antiques, which can actually make their value go up due to rarity. Though being an antique doesn’t always guarantee rarity.

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