Important Information Policyholders Need to Know about Homeowners Insurance & Disasters [Part I]

Although homeowners insurance provides financial security to property owners, many people pay their premiums but have little more than a passing familiarity with the terms and conditions of the policy.  This lack of knowledge about an individual’s policy and rights can become a huge problem if a policyholder experiences catastrophic loss to their home.  Our Miami home insurance law firm has provided important information that you might not know about your insurance coverage in this two-part blog.

Key Information about Wind Insurance Claims

A severe windstorm or hurricane can cause complete devastation to your home.  Damage from wind will be part of the coverage included in your homeowner's policy.  Depending on where you live and your policy, wind insurance may require a separate deductible though the deductible is built into the standard policy premium in Florida and other regions of the country where wind damage is common.

There are steps you can take to reduce your premium for wind insurance.  Discounts might be available for construction features that are wind resistant.  If you are interested in this type of discount, your insurer might request a windstorm mitigation inspection.  Wind mitigation measures might include:

  • Roof decks with large nails and close spacing
  • Secondary covering that is water resistant to protect against water damage if the roof is wind damaged
  • Roof coverings that comply with state board standards to mitigate wind damage
  • Utilize impact resistant protection systems to prevent blown out windows
  • Hurricane straps that secure the structure of the roof to walls

Functions of Homeowner's Insurance

A homeowner's policy is an important part of your ownership when you purchase a home.  Homeowner's insurance serves the following functions:

  • Pays the cost of defense and liability judgments or settlements if someone is injured on your property
  • Provides financial protection from theft, vandalism, storms, fire and other perils
  • Fulfills a mandatory requirement when securing a home mortgage
  • Supplies financial means to pay for alternate housing and additional living expenses while your home is being repaired

The risks against which homeowner's policies provide protection are referred to as “perils,” which include specific types of hazards or events that can damage your property.  Examples of perils typically covered by homeowner's insurance include hail, water, theft, fire, vandalism and wind.  Although most policies will cover all of these types of perils, some policies are limited to certain types of perils, so an insured needs to read through a policy and discuss it with his or her agent.  Two types of coverage that are generally not included are flood and earthquake coverage which requires a separate policy or rider.

Other Items Homeowner's Policies Cover

While the most important item that your homeowner's insurance covers is your residence, other forms of property also are covered under homeowner's policies.  These items might include but are not limited to the following:

  • Property in close proximity to your home
  • Personal property in your home even if you are traveling or moving
  • Valuables like art, antiques or jewelry (subject to a limit unless additional premiums are paid)
  • Judgments or settlements arising out of injury to someone on your property

Although your policy will cover personal property inside your residence, including valuables, the policy will impose monetary limits on such coverage.  It is important to review your policy for such limits to determine if the purchase of additional coverage is justified.

My law firm represents policyholders in claims disputes in Miami and throughout Florida.  The Law Firm of J.P. Gonzalez-Sirgo, P.A. offers free consultations and case evaluations.  No Recovery, No Lawyer Fees.  Call 305-461-1095 or Toll Free 1-866-71-CLAIM.

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