It’s About Time to Spring Clean Your Insurance Policies

 It’s About Time to Spring Clean Your Insurance Policies

After the freezing winter season, it’s about time to spring clean your home and your insurance policies. As you will be sprucing up your house for this year’s spring ritual cleaning, clean also your insurance and do not forget to dust off your policies.

It’s important to spend enough time to check and put things in order for your health, car, life and home insurance plans. As people’s life conditions continue to change, so do your needs in insurance policies. Probably, there’s a need to find additional life insurance as your family grows.  Or most likely, you have a newly hired family driver who can be included to your auto insurance policy.

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Smoke Damage and Fire Damage Restoration

Smoke Damage & Fire Damage Restoration

Experiencing fire that accidentally hit your home or property is a big devastating experience.  Smoke damage and fire restoration involve serious and complicated tasks and they are designed specifically for professionals who are in the industry of fire restoration.

If solvent and adhesive materials get burned, no one can escape from inhaling toxic gases spreading out in the house.  The effect will be severely dangerous to health and the process of elimination needs accurate handling.

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Homeowners’ Bill of Rights: No Approved New Rights for Florida!

Homeowner’s bill of rights was drafted previously from Florida’s insurance consumer advocate’s office. The main concern of Jeff Atwater, Florida’s Chief Financial Officer, was to get it approved.

Homeowners’ Bill of Rights: No Approved New Rights for Florida!

According to Atwater, Florida homeowner’s bill of rights is very important.  It should be passed because there are almost 350,000 homeowners in Florida who file their claims annually.  Most of the time, Atwater’s office gets 125,000 phone calls straight from different policyholders.  Those policyholders call his office just to look for the right answer on their claims.  Other policyholders call up to file some of their insurance complaints.

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Hip Roof Vs. Gable Roof: Why Shape of Roof is So Important as a Discount Factor

Roof is the first layer that wind, hail, wildfire and other hazards really begin to act on. It is the gateway to far greater damage claims once it’s breached. So, to a home insurance the roof is the most important part of house. That is why roof geometry or shape of roof plays an important role in homeowner’s insurance premium discount in Florida. Here we will clearly distinguish Hip Roof Vs. Gable Roof–two of the most common type of roof shapes.

Hip Roof Vs. Gable Roof

Hip Roof Vs. Gable Roof



Gable roofs have two faces, whereas hip roofs have four. Gable roofs are comprised of two sets of parallel rafters that attach to the truss, angle up and meet at the ridge board, the piece of lumber extending the entire length of the structure. When in place, the vertical sides of the structure reach up to the fascia, making a triangular shaped top.
A hip roof consists of a shorter ridge board along with several types of rafters: common, jack, end and hip rafters. Consequently, it is a more involved construction. On a gable roof, rafters meet at the ridge board. On a hip roof, common rafters meet at the ridge board. In addition, end rafters must meet the ends of the ridge board, hip rafters slope up from the corners to meet the ridge board at 45 degrees, and jack rafters intersect the hip rafters all the way up to the ridge board from perpendicular sides.

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Beach Season everywhere else…But here in Florida it’s Hurricane Season!

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Beach Season everywhere else...But here in Florida it's Hurricane Season!

Beach Season everywhere else…But here in Florida it’s Hurricane Season!

Tropical Storm and Hurricane Tips

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Citizens Property Insurance Corporation recently posted some helpful information about the “What to do’s” for hurricane season in Florida. Check it out!

When there are tropical storm and hurricane warnings you should……

  • Check your family’s emergency supply kit– make certain you have food, water, medications, and other necessities to sustain you, your family and family pets for at least 72 hours.
  • Follow the direction of local officials – any evacuation orders come from local officials, so follow their guidance. When it comes to swimming, follow local warnings as well. Even the best swimmers can fall victim to the strong waves and rip currents caused by storms.
  • Keep up to date with local conditions – follow TV and radio reports from your area, or visit ( on your phone) for      the latest forecast.
  • Remember food safety – power outages and flooding may happen as a result of a tropical storm or hurricane, so have a plan for keeping food safe. Have a cooler on hand to keep food cold, and group food together in the freezer so it stays cold longer.
  • Have an adequate communication plan – be sure friends and family know how to contact you. Teach family members how to use text messaging as text      messages can often get around network disruptions when a phone call might      not able to get through.

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What’s all the fuss about mitigation forms?

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The wind mitigation forms were first introduced in Florida in 2007 and they were a godsend. Many homeowners benefited from lower premiums. Through the years, they have gone through many revisions.

Normally, the mitigation forms are good for five years but if you change insurance companies after the five year period, all companies will require a reinspection.  However, in February, 2012 a new form was introduced.  A few companies continue to accept the older form. Your agent will advise you what the requirements are for each insurance  company. These new forms  now have stricter guidelines but some homeowners may actually qualify for more credits with the new procedures.

At renewal, most people may see a premium increase. But don’t fret. Your agent is here to help. Your premium can possibly be reduced by just obtaining a mitigation inspection. It’s that simple.

Remember, if your rates go up, don’t panic just give your agent a call.

Hurricane Preparedness Week during 2011 runs from May 22nd through May 28th.

Hurricane Preparedness

Hurricane Preparedness Week

Hurricane Preparedness Week

History teaches that a lack of hurricane awareness and preparation are common threads among all major hurricane disasters. By knowing your vulnerability and what actions you should take, you can reduce the effects of a hurricane disaster. Hurricane Preparedness Week during 2011 runs from May 22nd through May 28th.

Hurricane season begins June 1st and lasts through November 30th. Hurricanes are dangerous and can result in devastating losses. The following are some helpful tips to help you through this year’s hurricane season.

If you live near the coast, know your evacuation zone and evacuation route.

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Homeownership: Still the American Dream?


Homeownership: Still the American Dream?

Buying a house is likely to be a lot different — but could be a lot better — in the years ahead, says Gallup’s chief economist Page: 123 A GMJ Q&A with Dennis Jacobe, Ph.D., Gallup’s chief economistThe mortgage finance system is broken. Housing prices continue to decline. In 2010, nearly 26% of all home sales were foreclosed houses. What’s more, although the number of foreclosures was down in the first quarter of 2011 compared to the previous quarter, it is expected to increase in the months ahead. So does this foretell the end of the so-called American dream of homeownership? In my view, the housing finance system is on life support. Not by a long shot, you might be surprised to know.

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Flood Facts! Protect Your Home & Loved Ones

by DMG Insurance & Financial Services, Inc. on Friday, February 4, 2011 at 2:51pm
Floods and flash floods happen in all 50 states.

  • Everyone lives in a flood zone. (For more information, visit our Flood Zones FAQs.)
  • Most homeowners insurance does not cover flood damage.
  • If you live in a Special Flood Hazard Area (SFHA) or high-risk area and have a Federally backed mortgage, your mortgage lender requires you to have flood insurance. (To find your flood risk, fill out the Flood Risk Profile to the left.)
  • Just an inch of water can cause costly damage to your property.
  • Flash floods often bring walls of water 10 to 20 feet high.
  • A car can easily be carried away by just two feet of floodwater.
  • Hurricanes, winter storms and snowmelt are common (but often overlooked) causes of flooding.
  • New land development can increase flood risk, especially if the construction changes natural runoff paths.
  • Federal disaster assistance is usually a loan that must be paid back with interest. For a $50,000 loan at 4% interest, your monthly payment would be around $240 a month ($2,880 a year) for 30 years. Compare that to a $100,000 flood insurance premium, which is about $400 a year ($33 a month).
  • If you live in a moderate-to-low risk area and are eligible for the Preferred Risk Policy, your flood insurance premium may be as low as $129 a year, including coverage for your property’s contents.
  • You are eligible to purchase flood insurance as long as your community participates in the National Flood Insurance Program. Check the Community Status Book to see if your community is already an NFIP partner.
  • It takes 30 days after purchase for a policy to take effect, so it’s important to buy insurance before the floodwaters start to rise.
  • In a high-risk area, your home is more than twice as likely to be damaged by flood than by fire.
  • Last year, about 25% of all claims paid by the NFIP were for policies in moderate-to-low risk communities.
  • The average annual U.S. flood losses in the past 10 years (1994-2004) were more than $2.4 billion.
  • When your community participates in the Community Rating System (CRS), you can qualify for an insurance premium discount of up to 45%. Read more about CRS Ratings.
  • Since 1978, the NFIP has paid over $36 billion for flood insurance claims and related costs (as of 3/22/10).
  • Over 5.5 million people currently hold flood insurance policies in more than 20,500 communities across the U.S.

For more policy and claim statistics, visit the <span>National Flood Insurance Program.</span>

Last Updated: Thursday, 23-Dec-2010, 1:24 PM (EST)

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Disaster Assistance: (800) 621-FEMA, TTY (800) 462-7585

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Creating a Safe, Healthy Playroom

Creating a Safe, Healthy Playroom
By: Erica-Lynn Huberty

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PLANNING FOR PLAYWhen designing a playroom, you’ll need to include plenty of play and crafting stations to keep your youngster busy. But make sure there’s enough adult-sized seating so grown-ups can enjoy the space, too.

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Keep It BrightIf the playroom is in the basement, you want to maximize whatever natural light you can. Placing plants in the window well outside, and near the window inside, keeps the place cheerful and less cellarlike.

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SEATING AND STORAGEIf you plan out multiple storage areas around the perimeter of the playroom, a toy bin is always within an arm’s length. Design the bins to double as built-in seating and you’ll maximize your space.

As the mother of a 4-year-old, and a fairly avid environmentalist, I know firsthand that “green” design can contribute to a beautiful playroom that you and your children will enjoy. All you need are some readily available, sustainable materials and some outside-the-box thinking. Here’s how I would approach it.

1. Materials

The key to a successful playroom is to make it a place adults will also want to spend time in. That means not skimping on the design elements: architectural details, interesting colors and furnishings, and comfortable fabrics. Besides, children are often far more visually sophisticated and aesthetically sensitive than we give them credit for.

A playroom is one of the best places to use natural materials because in addition to being earth-friendly, they’re also people-friendly. All-cotton fabrics and rugs resist mildew and clean up easily, which means they are healthier for children, who are more susceptible to allergic reactions from chemicals, mold, dust, and dander. Plus, many natural materials hold up better than their synthetic counterparts.

On the floor, consider cork, which is hypoallergenic, has a low-static surface so it resists collecting dust and pet hair, and can withstand moisture. It comes in easy-to-install planks or tiles and is as easy to maintain as hardwood. Cork is also soft underfoot, which makes crawling around more comfortable for kids. For the walls, you can now get low-VOC, water-based paints in a rainbow of colors from major brands like Benjamin Moore.

2. Design and Furnishings

While you want a room with furnishings scaled for kids, that doesn’t mean your playroom has to be a plastic palace. For instance, you can make a nice wooden kid-height table for finger painting or game playing by simply chopping a few inches off the legs of a full-size table. Likewise, wood garden benches can be cut down a few inches—just enough for little ones to be able to hoist themselves up, but not so low as to make sitting difficult for adults—and covered with comfy cushions.

Salvaged materials are obviously green, but they also give a room personality. Dress up windows with wood trim from an architectural salvage warehouse, finished in natural shellac and a coating of beeswax, which are nontoxic and won’t off-gas. Distressed painted furniture looks both fun and elegant; just be sure to seal it with water-based, clear topcoats so paint doesn’t chip off and into little mouths. Speaking of paint, to give the room a more airy feel, consider shades inspired by nature—water, sky, stone, or sand—instead of the ubiquitous primary colors.

Chances are your children are going to have heaps of toys that will need to have a home when not in use. Baskets, enamel bins, and garden containers set into armoires with the doors taken off make for beautiful, practical storage for toys and craft materials. Built-in seating and toy bins also clear up more floor space for playing and give kids another thing to crawl on and around.

3. Considerations for a Basement

Since you’re planning a basement playroom, you’ll need to pay special attention to such things as lighting and ceiling height, so kids don’t feel like they’ve been banished to the dungeon. I like to install tin ceiling tiles directly onto joists to get maximum headroom. On the walls I prefer plaster, which isn’t affected by moisture. If you frame up new walls, use paperless wallboard instead of the conventional kind, which can be a mildew magnet.

When it comes to lighting, take full advantage of whatever natural light you have and combine it with out-of-the-way fixtures like recessed can or track lighting. Larger, functioning windows are key to making a basement space feel inviting. To avoid a drab view, adorn window wells with potted plants or built-in planting beds. And if you make the entrance to the room a French door, you’ll get more light—plus you’ll be able to see your children enjoying their new space.

Get Anything Nice for The Holidays? Insure it!

Get Anything Nice for The Holidays? Insure it

 If Santa left a new TV, video game system or other pricey gift under your Christmas tree this year, you may need to update your home or renters insurance coverage. The electronics salesman at Wal-Mart or Best Buy will tell you every single detail about the new Toshiba big-screen lightning-fast laptop, but he won’t tell you that you probably don’t have enough insurance to replace it if it’s damaged or stolen. For instance, homeowners who get a $2,500 laptop in their stocking may need a rider to fully cover it against damage or theft. This is because their home insurance policy may consider it a “luxury item.” Similarly, renters need to be mindful of pricey items also. If your renters insurance only provides $2,000 in coverage and your new plasma TV is damaged during a rowdy New Year’s Eve party, you probably won’t have enough insurance to replace it. You’ve probably seen the Lexus commercial where a husband buys his wife a brand new SUV and wraps it in a huge red bow in the driveway. As you might have guessed, luxury cars cost an arm and a leg to insure, so if you’re one of the lucky few who got a new ride for Christmas, it might be a good idea to compare auto insurance quotes with InsWeb and keep your insurance premium low. Nobody wants to think about a lame topic like insurance before the Christmas spirit has completely worn off, but Santa would be mighty disappointed if your new plasma TV goes up in smoke and your insurance isn’t adequate to replace it. So don’t upset Santa, otherwise you may get a lump of coal in your stocking next year. In the old days, Christmas was all about families coming together and enjoying the Christmas spirit as a loving family–or so I’ve been told. But these days, Christmas is a time for eggnog and high-priced consumer goods, so make sure your valuables are 100 percent covered. December 27, 2010 | By: Robert Read more: .