Tag Homeowner’s Insurance

AIUA recently announced significant changes to their homeowners insurance policies which will become affective June 1, 2016. AIUA has typically been seen as the “insurer of last resort” due to the majority of their lower premium programs being offered having an Actual Cash Value, or ACV, settlement method. An ACV settlement method means the insurance company will pay you the depreciated value of your property (home, contents) in the event of a claim. That means that many property owners would not be able to afford to pay to rebuild or repair their homes in the event of a storm because the depreciated value is so much lower than the actual cost to repair or replace. Alabama Department of Insurance Commissioner, Jim Ridling, was quoted as saying: “If you drive from here to New Orleans, you get a good view of what happens when people cannot afford to rebuild. There are still abandoned homes, slabs, blue tarps and abandoned businesses from the Mississippi border to New Orleans. I do not want that to happen in the state of Alabama when we have a storm.”

The more favorable settlement method, and that used most often sold by SSIA is the Replacement Cost Value, or RCV, settlement method. This settlement type pays you for the cost to replace your property with items of like kind in the event of a claim. Check out our quick, 2-minute video which describes the two settlement types.

The policy changes which AIUA has just announced will provide policyholders with the option of purchasing the RCV settlement method for a smaller fee than previously offered, however the coverage the AIUA policies offer is still very limited as compared the policies that can obtained through the many carriers writing coverage along the coast. SSIA’s experienced agents can walk you through the benefits of obtaining better coverage while also finding you the best rates available with an RCV settlement method. Don’t let your property go under-protected, as the cost savings you see now may come back to haunt you in the form of high deductibles or inadequate settlement payment after a storm.

Why wait until June to look at changes? Obtain a fast, free, real-time insurance quote in just 5 minutes or less with no personal information via our online quote portal: www.ssiaquote.com.

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South Shore Insurance Agency is proud to announce our recent appointment with Safeco Insurance.Safeco Insurance

Originally founded in 1923, Safeco Insurance is an industry leader, providing comprehensive personal lines insurance products, including homeowners insurance, as well as auto, boat and RV insurance, at competitive prices. SSIA is proud to offer Safeco products to our customers because they share our mission – to not just provide the best product options at the best price, but to help educate and grow with our customers as their lives and needs change.

Contact one of our agents today to learn more about insurance options with Safeco Insurance – 251.923.4463 or email them directly at admin@sshoreins.com.

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Fortified Homes

Carriers are rewarding customers with discounts for building and renovating homes to be more structurally sound – and these building standards make a significant difference in a storm. According to www.disastersafety.org, “FORTIFIED can be affordable at every price point and uses a unique systems-based method for creating stronger, safer homes. The program employs an incremental approach toward making new and existing homes more resistant to damage from hurricanes, tropical storms, hailstorms, high winds and wind-driven rain associated with thunderstorms. With three levels of FORTIFIED Home™ designation available – Bronze, Silver and Gold – builders can work with homeowners to choose a desired level of protection that best suits their budgets and resilience goals.”

The links below provide downloadable fact sheets explaining in greater detail FORTIFIED Homes in Alabama:

What Is FORTIFIED?

FORTIFIED Homes for Existing Structures

FORTIFIED Homes for New Homes

 

 

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With insurance, the devil is in the details.  With so many abbreviations and industry specific terminology, shopping for the right coverage can often seem daunting.  One of the most important things to know about your homeowner’s insurance policy is the policy’s loss settlement method.  Loss settlement types refer to the way the insurance company will settle your loss and value your property in the event of a claim.  There are two types of loss settlements: ACV (Actual Cash Value) and RCV (Replacement Cash Value).  Knowing the type of loss settlement method your policy includes is incredibly important as it determines what you will, or often won’t, receive in the event of a loss.

 

Roof

Let’s review by using the example of a roof with a 20-year life that is 10 years old and that would cost approximately $10,000 to replace.

 

In the event the roof is damaged and must be replaced, an ACV (Actual Cash Value) settlement method will consider the cost of depreciation of the roof before settling the claim for a dollar amount.  For example:

  • Cost to replace the roof = $10,000
  • Roof is 10 Years old x 5% Depreciation per Year = 50% Depreciation
  • Settlement from Insurance Company = $5,000 (after applicable deductible)

 

Seems a little unfair, right?  This settlement type will leave the insured with a $5,000 out of pocket expense in addition to his or her deductible.

 

Now let’s look at the same loss situation under an RCV (Replacement Cash Value) settlement method.  In the event of a loss, an RCV settlement type will NOT consider deprecation as part of the settlement in the event of a claim.  For example:

  • Cost to replace the roof = $10,000
  • No Depreciation subtracted
  • Settlement from Insurance Company = $10,000 (after applicable deductible)
Appliances
Appliances depreciate 15% per year
Clothing
Clothing depreciates 50% per year
Home Electronics
Home Electronics depreciate 25-50% per year

For many insureds who either do not understand, or were not properly informed about their policy’s settlement method, this can be a rude awakening at the time of a loss.  At SSIA, we recommend RCV settlement types for all homeowner and dwelling policies.  Please don’t forget that the contents in your home depreciate too! Depreciation is based on the lifespan of the item. For example:

Remember, it’s not just about the deductible at the time of a loss, but also the settlement method.  If you need assistance reviewing your policy for these details, feel free to give us a call.  Don’t allow the devilish details cost you more than you anticipate!

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Information courtesy of Selective Insurance, photos courtesy of AL.com
 

President Obama Signs the Homeowner Flood Insurance Affordability Act of 2014 

On Friday, March 21st, HR3370, also known as the Homeowner Flood Insurance Affordability Act of 2014 was signed and approved by President Obama. This bill introduces changes to the NFIP (National Flood Insurance Program) that would address some of the unintended consequences resulting from the implementation of the Biggert-Waters Reform Act of 2012 (BW12).

katrina-flooding----gulf-shoresjpg-44e147ebe4a81158

Some of the major elements that Homeowner Flood Insurance Affordability Act of 2014 looks to address include:

• Preventing FEMA from raising average rates above 15% for a class of properties and above 18% on individual policies per year.

• Rescinding provisions in BW12 requiring policyholders to pay the full-risk rate for Pre-FIRM properties at the time of purchase.

• Rescinding provisions in BW12 requiring Pre-FIRM property owners to pay the full-risk rate if they voluntarily purchase a new policy.

• Rescinding provisions in BW12 terminating grandfathering.

• Requiring FEMA to refund policyholders for ‘overpaid’ premiums.

 

At this time, FEMA and the NFIP are actively working to analyze the changes this new law brings and determine how each element will be implemented, however industry analysts believe it may take 12-18 months to implement those changes and to begin issuing any refund checks.

SSIA will continue to monitor updates to this program, and share them here and on our social media sites.

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SSIA's 2013 Homeowners Policies Map

In less than a year, we’ve been fortunate enough to assist over 600 families find affordable solutions for their homeowner’s insurance.  Considering that we have been able to help over 50% of our callers, we feel it is well worth the ten minute phone call it takes to see if we can do the same for you. SSIA has been successful when competing against ASI, Centauri, AIUA, and GeoVera just to name a few. Call the office at 1-251-923-4463 to see what SSIA can do for you! 

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