It’s both a blessing and a curse to be an Insurance Agent. I am lucky to be in a career that will always be in need and since it is constantly evolving, I am very rarely bored. However, if you and I are ever out to dinner in Destin and the person at the table next to us is talking about their home insurance policy in Niceville, let me apologize now because I am no longer fully listening to you. Although my eyes are still looking at you, I am also concentrating on what they are saying.
Then there is always that person on Facebook that posts something to the effect of, “I am so mad because my home/auto insurance wouldn’t cover me and they are horrible!” I try to keep my fingers still and not reply… But then, I see everyone else replying, agreeing and telling their own horror stories. I try and rationalize inside my head thinking, “If I put a plumbing concern on here, wouldn’t I want an actual plumber to respond and tell me what to do?” My professional reply is not always met with kindness but I have learned that some people would rather just complain than actually learn about things.
Remember when I told you about Auto Insurance Myths and how I reply to the tv when commercials come on from insurance companies? Well, the same thing happens when I see alarm company commercials or scrolling through news websites with articles titled, “How To Save On Your Home Insurance” or banner ads asking, “Are you paying too much for insurance in Niceville, Florida?”. So, since my doctor has told me to quit letting my blood pressure go up, let’s look at the home insurance myths I overhear quite often and then I can just start sending this link to everyone –
Common Homeowners Insurance Myths
“My neighbor and I have basically the same house but he is paying less.”
People expect it to be that easy. Ask yourself these questions – were your houses built the same year with the exact same square footage along with the same furniture and do you have the same type of dog and do you have the same valuables? If you answered no to any of those, your rates will not be the same. Neighbors only discuss premiums; they forget to discuss their dwelling coverage and other variables.
“My company canceled me for no reason.”
There is always a reason. ALWAYS. Some may not be your fault such as reduction in hurricane exposure and agent no longer with a company. Or, it could be underwriting guidelines such as the age of roof, dog breed, no fence around the pool, failure to maintain the house, etc. But, they ALWAYS will have a reason. You might feel that it is unfair, but when calling to get a new quote, we really need to know why.
“I can save up to 20% by having an alarm system put in.”
No. We tell each client that it will save around $30 to $40 a year and to put one in because they want it, not to save on their policy. Also, that smoke detector that you have installed, you will not get a discount for that either because not only are they required by underwriting, it is a Florida Building Code.
“I’m not in a Flood Zone.”
Repeat after me, “Everyone is in a Flood Zone.” You just may not be required to carry Flood Insurance from your mortgage company. If you happen to be friends with an insurance agent, say that phrase to them and see what their response is. It’s always good for a laugh.
“Changing my deductible will save me quite a bit!”
The savings of $150 every year may look good but is $12.50 a month worth it when you now have to come up with $2,500 instead of $500 for your deductible?
“My policy will cover ALL of my valuables.”
Your contents insurance is there for your personal property, yes. However, there is a cap on certain items. As the saying goes, the standard insurance forms must have been written by a man because guns are covered up to $2,000 and jewelry is only covered up to $1,000. Of course, every policy is different, so please look at yours. Also on the capped list is silverware, antiques, stamp collections, bicycles, computers, etc. If you have anything of value, please contact your agent to ensure adequate coverage.
“The dwelling amount is based upon the purchase price or market value.”
To simply put this, no. It is based on the rebuild value. Although your mortgage company would like you to insure the home for your loan amount, they cannot make you do that. We are here to offer you coverage to REBUILD your home to the same like, kind and quality.
“If I hurt myself at home, my policy will pay for my injuries.”
No. It’s to pay for the person that is walking up to your front door and trips over their own two feet and ends up with a broken ankle. (True story)
“Did you see that sinkhole on the news?”
How to know you work in an insurance agency… You will hear everyone in unison say, “Catastrophic Ground Collapse”. Basically, here is the quick difference – a sinkhole is when the home sinks an inch or two and is not condemned. A catastrophic ground collapse is when the home is swallowed up. So, although your policy probably doesn’t cover sinkholes, it does have catastrophic ground collapse.
“My home has withstood five hurricanes so it should cost less to insure.”
While that may sound like it makes sense, this generally means that it is an older home and we have to take into consideration things such as the age of the electrical and plumbing systems not to mention the natural deterioration over time.
“My termite inspector said that my home insurance policy may have coverage for the termite damage.”
This always makes me sad when I get this phone call. That inspector just doesn’t want to be the bearer of bad news because they know it doesn’t cover it. Your home policy covers things that are sudden and accidental, not something that could have been prevented by maintenance on your home.
“If I shop my renewal every year, I will get a lower rate.”
Not necessarily. While it is a good idea to check with your agent to see if there are any additional coverages that are newly offered, changing companies every year based on saving a few dollars every month could be detrimental at claim time or even the servicing of your policy. Why? Agencies and companies look at customer loyalty. Let’s say that there is an extenuating circumstance and you are late on your payment. If you have only been with the company a short time, they may not see the benefit on taking your late payment and reinstating your policy. However, if you have longevity with them, they may see you as a valuable client and be willing to make an exception.
“My home business is covered.”
Please, if you do business in your home, make sure you have that endorsed to your policy. If you make money off of your “at home business” and it is more than just sporadic (crocheting a blanket and selling to a friend) not only may your policy be canceled because this may be ineligible, you may not have coverage for your supplies or coverage if someone is hurt at your home. If your inventory is lost due to a fire, it’s not covered. If you are hosting an “open house” and someone slips and falls, your medical coverage may not pick up. Don’t think about telling the adjuster a different story, they are pretty smart and it is considered insurance fraud. Please tell your agent to make sure that you are with a company that will allow your business or to add an endorsement to make sure you are covered.
There are so many myths in insurance that I still have a pretty long list, so I am sure there will be a part 2. If you ever have a question about coverage, please do not hesitate to contact us here at Niceville Insurance Agency. All of our agents have at least 10+ years of experience each and we actually enjoy reviewing coverages and explaining how they work.
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