This is part 2 from the radio show Gail Shane and Friends from Sunday May 2nd 2010. The show was called “For the Love of Real Estate” and my business guests were Marty Hix and Michelle Woodham from Trout & Leigh Insurance in Bradenton, FL.
Marty is a Commercial Lines Agent and Owner of the company and Michelle is a Personal Lines Agent. They can be reached at www.troutandleigh.com and by phone at 941-748-1461. Marty and Michelle were interviewed by Gail about Homeowners Insurance, Wind Mitigation, Flood Insurance and More……
GS: Marty, I’m going to start with you and we are going to talk about homeowners insurance first…
MH: Obviously when you buy your house you want to make sure you have your homeowner’s policy in place. One of the things we are going to talk about is the different types of coverage on your homeowner’s policy like building law ordinances. You want to make sure you have that on your coverage. If you have an older home and it’s not built to today’s code this applies to you.
GS: So building law ordinances, what do you mean? When it comes to insurance I need the experts.
MH: What building law ordinance means is that if your home was destroyed by a peril of the policy 50% or more the county is going to require you to rebuild it at today’s code. So if you have a home that was built in 1950-1960 you’re going to have to make some major improvements to that dwelling to bring it to today’s code. It also includes debris removal. This is important coverage if your house is destroyed. You’re going to want that included under your policy.
GS: Michelle, can you talk about the difference of replacement costs vs. actual cash value?
MW: You want to check your policy to make sure it has replacement costs on the dwelling coverage and the personal property as well. Replacement costs replace old for new, actual cash value is cheaper and some people opt for it, but I always recommend replacement costs.
GS: How do you help one of Wendy’s clients with home insurance?
MW: We gather the information about the house and look up the value, and if there is no appraisal available we determine the replacement costs through various software programs. We then can determine the value of the house, replacement costs of the personal property is usually at 50% of the dwelling coverage. So if the house is valued at $100,000 the personal property will be insured at $50,000. Replacement costs are usually standard on the policy and it is normally included, but you always want to check to make sure it is there.
GS: So what are limits of liability?
MW: Liability insurance is standard in a homeowner’s policy and usually is $100,000. For a few dollars more you can get $300,000 and even $500,000 worth of liability on your homeowners insurance.
GS: What does liability cover?
MW: Liability might be if someone were to slip and fall on your property you are protected. That person could not come back and sue you. You are protected against a lawsuit.
GS: Marty, what is floater insurance?
MH: Your policy limits what is covered. So guns, jewelry, silverware, fine art, the coverage is limited. Make sure you schedule your items that are irreplaceable! Antiques, jewelry, guns, fine art, silverware, that type of stuff.
GS: So that’s the floater?
MH: Right. That’s the floater.
GS: So again it’s all about educating your client.
MH: Right and what is nice is some of the floater policies like if you were to lose a stone out of your ring or out of a bracelet it will replace that stone. So you don’t have to pull that out of your pocket.
WL: Is that tied into your homeowner’s policy?
MH: It depends some companies in Florida will let you write an inland marine policy along with your home owner’s policy and some might not offer it, but it can be purchased separately.
GS: If you live on the water and you have a dock with a boat that is separate insurance?
MH: Right, your boat will be insured by a boater’s policy just like a car is insured under an auto policy.
GS: And you cover that as well?
MH: Yes, we cover every kind of insurance. We also cover investments as well, annuities, long term care, that type of stuff.
GS: Is wind mitigation a way of saving money?
MH: Absolutely, there are companies out there that do wind inspections and charge a nominal fee, but what is nice about the inspection is most reputable companies will guarantee you the reduction on your insurance premium of the inspection expense. So it pays for itself. You are going to get that savings year after year on your policy. What they do is inspect your roof, they check for hurricane shutters; they want to see how your dwelling was constructed. Most of the condo associations have had this done so make sure you ask for the document to be sent to your agent to save you money.
WL: I recommend you have this done with the home inspection. I recently had this done and Marty was able to save me over $500 a year on my homeowner’s policy so I highly recommend it.
MH: The company that performs the wind mitigation test is licensed and insured.
GS: Michelle, can you share a little bit about flood insurance?
MW: Flood insurance is not included in a home owner’s policy. Everyone in the state of Florida is in a flood zone. You’re either in a high risk zone and you’re required to carry it or you’re in a preferred risk zone and the insurance is available and more reasonable. You can get flood insurance on a $250,000 home with $100,000 personal property for $355 a year.
GS: Again you will walk everyone through to get them covered well.
GS: Marty & Michelle’s phone number is 941-748-1461 and www.troutandleigh.com is their website.
Gail’s real estate show is every Sunday at 2 pm to 3 pm on http://www.wtmy.com or 1280 AM if you’re in the Sarasota area.