Winter may be coming for me and the rest of America’s Game of Thrones fanatics but for the many snowbirds who make Florida their seasonal abode — Winter is gone — leaving questions about what happens if something happens to their homes while they’re away. Well, here are some important tips for our wintering friends as they make their way back to cooler climates:
1) Make Sure That Your Insurance is in Place – Your home is your castle. Make sure that it’s protected and that your insurance coverage is in place. It’s especially important to assure that you have Windstorm coverage in place as hurricane season spans the summer and fall.
2) Check That You Have the Coverages That You Need – Many insurers sell separate coverages or exclude certain risks so be sure that you have the following on your policy: windstorm coverage (for hurricanes), flood coverage (if your property is low-lying.
Windstorm coverage will generally not cover rising water), and fire/theft coverage (which your lender will generally require).
3) Have Someone Regularly Check on Your Home and Secure It – You may be on a pilgrimage to your kingdom of the North but while you’re away be sure that someone is holding the fort. Most insurance policies won’t provide coverage if you don’t timely notify them if something happens and may refuse payment if you don’t quickly take measures to contain any problem that arises.
4) Check That Your Alarm is Working and That Your Service is Active — Besides the obvious safety reasons, remember that many insurers offer discounts for working alarms. If you have a claim and the insurer later discovers the system wasn’t active they might deny the claim.
So remember the above to protect your castle from storms, theft and dragon fire. After all — Winter has come and gone.
Russel Lazega is an attorney and author of two of Florida’s most widely distributed legal textbooks on Florida Insurance Law. He also represents storm victims and consumers at war with their insurance companies and is based in North Miami, Dania Beach, Orlando and Tampa, Florida. Questions? Contact: Russ@fladvocates.com.