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Does Homeowners Insurance Cover Pipe and Plumbing Leak Water Damage?

There are few things more awful than coming come to a room full of water as a result of a leak. When it comes to water damage, home insurance companies can be tricky to navigate as some instances are covered while others are not.

While Florida insurance companies do often cover sudden and unexpected water damage, they will not cover anything that happened over time and you, as the owner, may be stuck with the cost of it.  Also, flooding is not covered unless separate coverage is purchased. Finally, certain parts of a broken or leaking pipe incident may be covered. Let’s take a more specific look at what is and isn’t covered by your standard homeowners insurance.

What is covered:

If the nature of the water damage is unexpected such as a burst pipe or ruptured water heater, there’s a good chance that your policy will provide you with compensation.

The key words are ‘accidental’ or ‘sudden’ – if those describe your situation, then you will likely be covered.

Your insurance policy covers your dwelling which consists of your walls, roof, floor, appliances, and mechanical systems. Also, it can cover your personal items but does have a cap on luxury items which may require the purchase of a rider to cover the total cost.

Finally, if you are unable to stay in your home due to the damage, your insurance policy should cover the living expenses such as hotel or transportation that are affected as a direct result of it.

What isn’t covered:

While insurance policies will cover sudden breaks, there are instances in which they may not. If an adjuster finds that there are signs of normal wear and tear or negligence on your part or that of a plumber, your claim may be denied. It is only in the instance that the pipes were properly maintained and malfunctioned that the insurance company will cover the damage.

Sewage backup and flooding are not covered by regular policies, but there are affordable options to add that protection, which is highly recommended.

Most often, mold damage isn’t covered by Florida insurance companies either. However, if it is the result of a covered leak, then you may have the possibility of coverage. Policies often have a cap on how much is covered so a rider may have to be purchased to cover the full extent of the damage.

If your claim gets denied or underpaid…

If you had the proper insurance coverage and were denied or your claim was underpaid, you may employ the services of a homeowners insurance claim attorney.

Law Firm of David Low and Associates, P. A. | 844-96-CLAIM

DISCILAIMER: The information in this article is purely for educational purposes, reflective of the time it was published. It is not to be understood as legal advice.

Hurricane Season: Why Homeowners Should Seek Professional Advice When Shopping for a Policy.

Out of all the states in the U.S. damaged by hurricanes, Florida has been hit the most – a staggering 40%. Its expansive coastline puts Florida in a unique position of being extremely vulnerable to hurricanes. We have warm Atlantic waters to the east and the Gulf of Mexico to the west.  Plus, the majority of Florida’s residents live along the coastline.

Hurricanes are an expensive threat to homeowners. For example, during Hurricane Irma alone, Floridians suffered $23 billion in insured losses. This was excluding flood damage which caused even more expenses for Florida homeowners.

Because of our unique vulnerability to damage, there are insurance companies that do nearly all of their business within the state of Florida. There are many to choose from and it can be daunting for a homeowner in Florida to know whether they’re making the right choice for their needs and to cover all of their bases in case a hurricane or storm-related catastrophe strikes.

It’s easy to simply settle on the biggest and seemingly ‘most trusted’ company in the U.S. without giving it much further thought – the larger names recognizable from radio and television. However, paying attention to the amount of Floridian markets they serve and whether or not they have policies tailored to the specific needs of Floridian conditions is important. For example, State Farm, which insures 20% of homeowners in the United States, only ensures 7% or less of Florida homeowners and Allstate, operating under a different name in Florida is ranked 19th in the market share in the state.

The more prudent insurance companies to target are the ones that are more focused within the state instead of a national scale, and as a homeowner, you should look for a policy that is attuned to the risks facing a Florida home. For example, it is not generally wise to obtain a policy without water damage coverage, the leading cause of damage in the state.

According to research conducted as to policyholders, a staggering amount of Florida policyholders are unhappy with their insurance policies. There is no one factor that can be pinpointed because a combination of many factors are at play, based on the experiences and needs from customer to customer. However, big factors include the price of the policy and experiences with claims.

Many policyholders’ claims for damage are either underpaid or have been denied. If your claim has been denied or underpaid, it is recommended that you employ the services of a homeowners’ insurance claim attorney. By doing so, you increase the chances of getting your claim paid in full. In some cases, your attorney will work with you on a contingent basis, meaning that you will not pay attorney’s fees until your claim is paid.

Law Firm of David Low and Associates, P. A. | 844-96-CLAIM

DISCLAIMER: The information in this article is purely for educational purposes, reflective of the time it was published. It is not to be understood as legal advice.

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HO3 Homeowner’s Policies in Florida

There is something about Florida and its constantly changing weather that makes residents want to stay in the state, even after a natural disaster. The resultant property damage that often occurs due to weather events is well-documented. However, Florida people live here willingly, even if they are aware that their lives can be turned inside-out at any time, sometimes on a moment’s notice. It is this uncertainty that keeps homeowner’s insurance companies in business and very busy. It is also why Florida residents continue living here. Often, homeowners don’t appreciate the value of their homeowner’s insurance until there is an emergency.

What is a HO3 Home Insurance Policy?

The HO3 Home Insurance Policy is the most common homeowner’s insurance policy in the United States. That is because it provides excellent coverage for your home, as well as good coverage for your personal property. The HO3 Policy is actually a hybrid of two types of policies; the first is an “open perils” policy on your home, in which the “perils” not covered are listed. If something happens and it is not specifically on the list of exclusions, it will be covered. The second is the “named perils” policy that covers personal property. With a “named perils” policy, the perils that are covered are specifically listed, which means, if the disaster is not listed, the damages caused by the disaster will not be covered.

Throughout the state of Florida, homeowners are susceptible to tropical storms and hurricanes. In fact, most homeowner’s policies include loss from theft and structural damage from fire, leaks, water discharge, fallen trees, or as a result of a storm. Fortunately, most wind or windstorm damage is usually covered. In fact, damage from win is almost always included as part of any homeowner’s insurance policy, although flooding and many other types of water damage is not.

What Many HO3 Insurance Policies Lack in Coverage

Though it is the most common homeowner’s policy available, there are some limitations to the policies that homeowners must be aware of:

• These policies often offer only limited water damage coverage – These policies do include sudden and accidental water damage, but there are a lot of exclusions, and sometimes, low policy limits.
• Open Perils coverage of personal property – These policies generally only cover personal property for a very specific 16 perils, though they cover the dwelling for many other perils. Additional perils may be covered, but you will have to pay an additional premium for each one. It is best to discuss the coverage you are looking for with your insurance agent.

The 16 perils most HO3 policies will cover for personal property are as follows:

• Fire or Lightning
• Windstorm or Hail
• Volcanic Eruption
• The excessive weight from ice, snow or sleet
• Explosion
• Sudden & Accidental Damage from Artificially Generated Electric Current
• Aircraft
• Vehicles
• Falling Objects
• Smoke
• Vandalism or Malicious Mischief
• Theft
• Riot or Civil Commotion
• Volcanic Eruption
• Accidental Discharge or Overflow of Water or Stream
• Sudden & Accidental Tearing Apart, Cracking, Burning, or Bulging
• Freezing

The purpose for homeowner’s insurance is to helps pay for the repair or rebuilding of your home, as well as to replace personal property due to a covered loss.

According to experts, most claims tend to be for water leaks; from air conditioning systems, water heaters, plumbing and roofs, and not the most dramatic natural disasters we all see on the news. In most cases, wind damage will be covered, but flood damage usually requires a separate policy. Most homeowners’ flood policies are administered by the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). This is some excellent insurance to have, since the federal government has standardized the rates, which means your annual premium will be the same, regardless of the insurance company who writes your homeowner’s policy. Right now, the maximum coverage available through the NFIP is $250,000 for the structure and $100,000 for the contents, and the cost of the premium in a Preferred Flood Zone is $414 per year, with a $1000 deductible for each claim.

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Unusual Homeowners Insurance Claims From Valentine’s Day Accidents

Roses are red, Violets are blue, We love an unusual claim, Don’t you?

We’re taking a moment from enjoying chocolates and roses on Valentine’s Day to reflect on some unusual homeowner’s insurance claims that didn’t all come up hearts and flowers!

Cupid has his arrow, but our first homeowner had a gun

As a professional gun restorer, one would normally remember to check the chamber for bullets, which is gun safety rule number one.  The homeowner was surprised to discover that the gun he was cleaning was actually loaded and he inadvertently shot his television set.  His insurer believed his claim and reimbursed for it, which was quite a gift to him!

Doves are the birds of love, but swans are shockingly beautiful

Our next tale involves the solemn story of a swan who didn’t notice that he was flying directly into some high voltage power lines until it was too late.  After the poor bird’s unfortunate shock, the swan flew straight into a home, leaving a large hole in the roof when the bird entered.  The claim was paid, and the damage was repaired fast.

Steamy kitchen claim

One couple loaded up their dishwasher to the max only to encounter a horrible mess when the dishwasher got stuck on high heat. The kitchen was overwhelmed by steam, positively drenching the entire room.  Although their home insurance provider rejected their claim, the couple’s flood insurance kicked in and covered all the damage.

And they called it puppy love

Dogs can do amazing things like save their owners lives or help calm anxiety.  Generally, arts and crafts are not their strength.  When a homeowner accidently left a can of paint open while painting her walls, she was in for the surprise of her life.  Her dog wandered over to the can of paint and as he passed it, his tail landed in the can and proceeded to coat her house in paint as he wagged through each room. The shocked homeowner was happy to have her claim paid. Her dog retired from painting but enjoyed a lovely bath.

Will you ‘bee’ mine?

A bee caught our homeowner’s eye and he became hypnotized by the insect’s flying and buzzing around his head.  When he stood up, he became dizzy and proceeded to fall over and put a substantial dent right in his kitchen wall.  Unfortunately, the damage that was incurred didn’t exceed the man’s deductible, so he had to deal with the sting of paying for the repairs himself.

Not all homeowners are so lucky to get their claims paid. When homeowner’s insurance claims are denied or underpaid, we fight for your compensation. Save our number for when this happens to a homeowner you know in Florida: 844-96-CLAIM.

Five New Year’s Resolutions Homeowners Should Make

According to Inc Magazine, 60 percent of Americans admit to making New Years’ Resolutions, but only 8 percent successfully achieve them. This is largely because resolutions take consistent effort. For example, if your goal is to lose weight, you must consistently make choices that support that goal. It’s easy to get off track.

Resolutions concerning your biggest investment – your home – can have long-term benefits while typically requiring a one-time effort. Here are a few to consider:

Resolution 1: Shop for Better Homeowners Insurance

If you financed the purchase of your home, you were required to purchase and keep a homeowner’s insurance policy. In more cases than not, homeowners buy insurance policies that fit their budget but don’t necessarily provide the full coverage they may need.

First, understand what your current policy covers. Since Florida properties are highly prone to wind and water damage, it is important to consider all possibilities. Some factors to take into account include your proximity to zones especially susceptible to storm damage, the value of your home, and the value of your personal property.

The latter could have changed since you first got your existing policy, which brings us to Resolution #2.

Resolution 2:  Take Inventory

Take inventory of your valuables and the state of your property. In addition to having an updated list of valuables to cover under your insurance, taking a look at your home can help prevent unnecessary damage in the future. Keep in mind that damage that is found to occur due to neglect is not covered by insurance policies, even if it was worsened by a storm.

Inspect your roof, gutters, windows, sidewalks and large trees for any potential issues and make repairs as needed. Hurricane season is only 5 months away. Test your carbon monoxide and smoke detectors, replacing batteries and the units themselves if necessary.

In your preparations, take down important numbers in case of damage. You should include a public adjuster and a homeowner’s insurance attorney in case your insurance claim is denied. Our number is easy to remember: 844-96-CLAIM.

Resolution 3: Create an Energy Efficient Home

While you’re taking your property’s pulse, consider making your home more energy efficient. Areas to consider include lighting, windows, sliding doors, appliances and solar panels. Depending on the changes you make, you can see immediate savings on your energy and water bills. Some cities even offer incentives to make your home more “green”. Here are some of the rebates, incentives and programs the City of Fort Lauderdale offers its residents for adopting sustainable practices in their homes.

Resolution 4:  Pay Down Principal

What’s another good use for your tax return? Put it into paying down your mortgage. Here are a few ways to do so:

  • If you have private mortgage insurance or PMI, paying down your mortgage can help you save. When you bring it down to the 80 percent equity level, you will wipe out the need for your PMI payment each month, which can save you about $100/mo depending on your payment.
  • Work with your lender to pay down the principle. You can use your tax return to make an extra mortgage payment for the year or space it out and pay extra every month. Be sure to discuss these options with your lender to make sure your additional payments are going towards the principle.

Resolution 5: Consider Refinancing Your Mortgage

This option is not the right fit for everyone, but can be helpful if you:

  • Plan to stay in your home for at least the next 5 years
  • Want to lower your monthly payment
  • Have improved your credit score

One of the most important things to consider when refinancing is whether the savings outweigh the closing costs (about 2% – 4% of your home’s value). The goal is to save money so you will want to make sure that you fully understand the pros and cons.