Please call  Lee from  USAsurance Powered by WeInsure & Calle Financial. 954-270-7966 or 833-USAssure at the office. My email is lee@myUSAssurance.com . I am Your Insurance Consultant  about Home Insurance, Auto, Flood, Private Flood, Car, Life Insurance, Mortgage protection, Financial Products, Business  & Commercial Policies, & Group Products for business owners to give Employees benefits at no cost to the employer. My email is lee@myUSAssurance.com

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Jennifer Brozic

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What if I hit a deer, or a pothole, or put the wrong gas in the tank? These are some of the wacky things car insurance covers—and doesn’t—that you may not have thought about

If your car falls into a sinkhole, comprehensive insurance covers you. GETTY IMAGES
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If you have auto insurance, you probably expect it to protect you if you’re in a crash. But there are also some unusual things covered by car insurance, including those pesky marmots that have been making headlines recently. And that’s just the beginning.

We spoke with Jim Hickey, vice president and head of personal lines at World Insurance Associates, about some of the wacky things car insurance covers that you may not have thought about. He told us what’s covered, what’s not, and what types of coverage you need to have to make sure the insurance company picks up the tab.

What comprehensive insurance covers

Car insurance policies that include comprehensive coverage protect you from the mishaps listed below. With weather-related insurance claims on the rise, if you don’t have comprehensive coverage, it might be worth adding it to your policy.

1. Hail, trees, and golf balls

Was your car the casualty of a hailstorm? Or maybe you live a little too close to a golf course. Whether it’s natural or human-made, if a falling object damages your car, you’re covered.

2. Rodent damage

If a marmot, rat, squirrel, or other rodent finds its way into your vehicle and chews through wires, tubes, or upholstery, your car insurance will pay for the damage. Your policy covers insect damage, too.

Marmots are out to get your car. ISTOCK

3. Earthquakes

If you live in an area where earthquakes are common, you don’t need to buy a stand-alone policy to cover your car. Auto insurance covers earthquake damage. Inquire with your home insurer about a separate policy (in addition to your homeowner’s) to protect your home, though.NOW PLAYING: Video: Fire at Puerto Rico Power Station Leads to Massive Blackout

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Check out: The cheapest electric cars

4. Puddles

Sometimes it can be difficult to tell how deep a puddle is before you drive through it. If you go through water that floods your engine or causes other damage, you’re covered.

5. Vandalism

If someone keys your car, smashes your windows or slashes your tires, your auto insurer has your back.

6. Floods, tornadoes, and hurricanes

Water and wind can cause significant damage to vehicles, sometimes making them not drivable. If a flood, tornado, or hurricane damages your car, insurance covers the cost to repair it.

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ReadHere’s the science behind why hurricanes repeatedly batter some areas more than others

7. Wildfires

In 2020, nearly 60,000 wildfires burned more than 10 million acres across the U.S., according to the National Interagency Fire Center. If a wildfire damages your vehicle, you can rest easy knowing your policy will pay for repairs.

8. Sinkholes

Sinkholes often occur without warning. When they do, they can swallow up everything in their path. If a sinkhole damages your car, insurance covers you.

9. Volcanoes

There are 169 potentially active volcanoes in the U.S., according to the U.S. Geological Survey. Lava flows, ash falls, and gas clouds are among the risks you could face if you live near one. As long as your auto insurance policy has comprehensive coverage, your insurer will cover damage from a volcano.

10. Wild animals

Do you live in an area where deer routinely walk through your yard or bears and raccoons forage for food in your trash cans? If you hit a wild animal while driving your car or one gets bored looking through the trash and decides your vehicle would make a better chew toy, insurance pays for the damage.

11. Fraudsters

If you sell your car only to find out the personal check the buyer gave you won’t clear, it might be considered theft under your policy, and the insurer might cover you. But it depends on the policy, so you’ll need to check with the insurance company. If you plan to sell your car, it’s a good idea to require a more secure form of payment, such as a cashier’s check, which is guaranteed by the financial institution that issues it.

See: These everyday ‘scams’ have become so normalized that we hardly even notice them anymore

What collision and personal injury protection covers

While comprehensive covers a lot, collision and personal injury coverage can come in handy as well, sometimes when you least expect it.

1. Potholes

While it’s best to avoid them if you can, accidents happen. Suppose you drive over a pothole and damage the undercarriage or some other part of your car. The collision portion of your policy covers the damage, even though the “crash” wasn’t with another vehicle.

SeeThis is how much America’s damaged roads are costing you

2. Plows

Whether a snowplow comes through your neighborhood to remove a foot of snow or baseball-sized hail, if it hits your car and damages it, the insurance company will pay for the damage when you have collision coverage. The same is true if a tractor, backhoe, car, truck, or other vehicle causes damage to your car.

3. Injuries not caused by a collision

You probably know that car insurance covers injuries you sustain if you’re in an accident. But did you know personal injury protection covers injuries that occur as a pedestrian, when you’re getting in and out of your car, or working on your vehicle?

What is not covered by car insurance

While car insurance covers many of life’s misadventures, it doesn’t cover everything. Here are four mishaps insurance does not cover.

1. Wrong fuel

Mistakes happen, and if you accidentally put the wrong type of fuel in your car, it could damage the engine. But your insurance company won’t pay for the repairs, even if it was an honest mistake.

2. Condensation in gas tank

Condensation occurs when water vapor turns back into water. If it accumulates in your gas tank, it can lead to corrosion in the tank or engine, which can be expensive to fix. But unless the condensation occurred because someone vandalized your vehicle, the insurance company probably won’t cover it.

3. Wear and tear

Over time, car parts wear out, and you need to replace them. That’s routine maintenance, and insurance doesn’t cover it. Check your car warranty or go to the nearest car repair shop. Sometimes the car manufacturer’s extended warranty will cover these items if you purchased one.

4. Golf clubs and laptops

If someone steals personal property from your car, auto insurance won’t pay to replace it. If you have renters or homeowners insurance, your policy will typically cover you up to the policy’s limit.

Check out: The best cars for new college grads

Many states require drivers to maintain a minimum amount of liability insurance, but other types of coverage aren’t usually required by law. If you’re unsure whether your policy covers you for the events we describe above, you might want to check with your insurance company or agent.

This story originally ran on Autotrader.com.

Please call  Lee from  USAsurance Powered by WeInsure & Calle Financial. 954-270-7966 or 833-USAssure at the office. My email is lee@myUSAssurance.com . I am Your Insurance Consultant  about Home Insurance, Auto, Flood, Private Flood, Car, Life Insurance, Mortgage protection, Financial Products, Business  & Commercial Policies, & Group Products for business owners to give Employees benefits at no cost to the employer. My email is lee@myUSAssurance.com

Please call  Lee from  USAsurance Powered by WeInsure & Calle Financial. 954-270-7966 or 833-USAssure at the office. My email is lee@myUSAssurance.com . I am Your Insurance Consultant  about Home Insurance, Auto, Flood, Private Flood, Car, Life Insurance, Mortgage protection, Financial Products, Business  & Commercial Policies, & Group Products for business owners to give Employees benefits at no cost to the employer. My email is lee@myUSAssurance.com

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said that he will sign recently-passed legislation addressing property insurance costs and roofing contractor practices while adding that he believes that the state needs to do more to curb excess litigation and improve the insurance market.

The measure he said he will sign attempts to solve some of the issues plaguing the state’s homeowners insurance market in which insurers lost more than $1.5 billion last year. Consumers are facing double-digit rate increases, restricted coverage, or having to turn to the state’s insurer of last resort, Citizens Property Insurance.

DeSantis revealed his intentions to sign the measure during a meeting of the Enterprise Florida board of directors. He said that he wants to see “manageable premiums” and a “stronger private insurance market,” according to the Orlando Sentinel.

He said he thinks the legislature did a “pretty good job” addressing the insurance market but that the state is probably going to have to do more.

The governor’s office told Insurance Journal DeSantis had not yet signed the bill as of late morning.

Too Little, Too Late? Breaking Down Florida’s Latest Property Insurance Reforms

Some stakeholders agree with DeSantis that more needs to be done to lower costs and reduce litigation, citing the omission of two provisions the insurance industry said were essential. Other policymakers are optimistic that the measure as passed will still have a positive effect.

The legislation, Senate Bill 76, which passed on the last day of the legislative session session, includes changes to the state’s one-way attorney fee statute, the eligibility and glidepath of Citizens, and the deadline to file claims. It also places new requirements and restrictions on roofing contractors.

But two provisions the industry and experts identified as critical to addressing cost drivers and stabilizing the market were left out of the final bill — the elimination of the state’s attorney fee multiplier and a provision allowing insurers to implement policy language to mitigate roof replacement costs. The provisions were sticking points in both legislative chambers.

Sen. Jim Boyd, also an insurance broker and owner of Boyd Insurance & Investments in Bradenton, Fla., acknowledged that what passed didn’t have everything he or the industry wanted, but he is confident what did pass will make a difference.

“Rates aren’t going to go down tomorrow, of course,” Boyd said. “But I firmly believe this will have a definite downward impact on what has been continually rising homeowners rates in Florida … I really, truly believe we have done a lot of good toward getting at the root causes of the problem.”

Sen. Jeff Brandes, who co-sponsored the legislation, voted to pass the bill but said it was only a “40% solution for what is needed in Florida to bend the cost curve. Hopefully, it stabilizes rates, but really will ultimately do nothing to actually lower them,” he told his Senate colleagues.

“In my view, the most important provisions are the ones that didn’t get in it,” said Joseph Petrelli, president and founder of ratings analysis firm Demotech, which rates more than 40 Florida domestic insurers

“It’s a watered-down bill that won’t restore market stability. It will not curb rate increases,” agreed American Integrity CEO Robert Ritchie. “Everybody is set up for these expectations and everybody’s going to be mad at each other.”

The insurance measure was one of 13 bills sent to DeSantis yesterday for signing. After signing by the governor, the legislation would take effect July 1.

In its key provisions, the legislation:

  • Changes the eligibility, rate glidepath and actuarily sound rate indication for Citizens Property Insurance Corp.
  • Replaces the one-way attorney fee-statute to make the recovery of attorney fees and costs contingent on obtaining a judgment for indemnity that exceeds the pre-suit offer made by the insurance company.
  • Reduces the claims deadline on all claims to two years from the date of loss, except for on supplemental claims which will have an additional year.
  • Requires plaintiffs to file a pre-suit demand at least 10 days before filing a lawsuit against an insurer that includes an estimate of the demand, the attorney fees and costs demanded and the amount in dispute; disallows pre-suit notices to be filed before the insurance company can to make a determination of coverage; and allows an insurer to require mediation or other form of alternative dispute resolution after receiving notice.

The bill also makes several changes to tackle what insurers claim has been an explosion of roofing claims and litigation, including making it illegal for roofing contractors or any person acting on their behalf to make a “prohibited advertisement,” including an electronic communication, phone call or document that solicits a claim. Offering anything of value for performing a roof inspection, an offer to interpret an insurance policy or file a claim or adjust the claim on the insured’s behalf will also be prohibited. Additionally, contractors are prohibited from providing repairs for an insured without a contract that includes a detailed cost estimate of the labor and materials required to complete the repairs. Violations could result in fines of $10,000.

Please call  Lee from  USAsurance Powered by WeInsure & Calle Financial. 954-270-7966 or 833-USAssure at the office. My email is lee@myUSAssurance.com . I am Your Insurance Consultant  about Home Insurance, Auto, Flood, Private Flood, Car, Life Insurance, Mortgage protection, Financial Products, Business  & Commercial Policies, & Group Products for business owners to give Employees benefits at no cost to the employer. My email is lee@myUSAssurance.com

Sigrid ForbergWed, June 9, 2021, 6:00 PM·4 min read

Most homeowners say it’s OK to lie to save on insurance, survey finds
Most homeowners say it’s OK to lie to save on insurance, survey finds

With budgets tight, many homeowners are trying out an innovative strategy to reduce their insurance premiums: lying.

A full two-thirds of homeowners say it’s OK to fudge the information they provide on price-comparison websites to save on home insurance, according to a U.K. study from LexisNexis Risk Solutions.

Does your insurer really need to know whether you have a fireplace? Rent a room on Airbnb? Own a Rottweiler?- ADVERTISEMENT -https://s.yimg.com/rq/darla/4-6-0/html/r-sf-flx.html

While fibbing may seem like a low-stakes way to claw back some cash from greedy insurers, you could face serious consequences for doing so. Here’s why you’ll want to try some other ways to lawfully lower your premiums.

Homeowners are feeling cheated

Colorful house on a street with black metal fence outside and red details.
Vruln / Twenty20

The vast majority of homeowners (about 71%) purchase their policies online, often through third-party sites that make it easy to compare quotes from multiple insurers. The LexisNexis study suggests that shopping on these sites may make it easier for people to lie.

Indeed, the U.S.-based Insurance Information Institute says misrepresenting facts on an application is one of the most common forms of fraud, alongside inflating or inventing damages during the claims process.

Yet the U.K. results show people are most likely to lie or omit information when they feel aggrieved by the cost of insurance or cynical about an insurance provider’s motivations.

Nearly 90% of consumers who had filed recent claims believe providers try to avoid paying out claims at least some of the time, and people who had recently settled a claim were most likely to consider stretching the truth in the future.

To their credit, it’s true that insurers are very careful about which claims they pay out. Studies show fraud was rising in the U.S. even before the pandemic, and providers may be even more vigilant now that so many Americans are dealing with heavy debt and looking to cut down their bills.

The consequences of getting caught

Woman looks down at a piece of paper and holds her head in her hand.
Antonio Guillem / Shutterstock

Although it may be easier to lie on your homeowners insurance when you are applying online, modern technology also makes it fairly easy for the provider to follow up on all the details you include.

Sigrid ForbergWed, June 9, 2021, 6:00 PM·4 min read

Most homeowners say it’s OK to lie to save on insurance, survey finds
Most homeowners say it’s OK to lie to save on insurance, survey finds

With budgets tight, many homeowners are trying out an innovative strategy to reduce their insurance premiums: lying.

A full two-thirds of homeowners say it’s OK to fudge the information they provide on price-comparison websites to save on home insurance, according to a U.K. study from LexisNexis Risk Solutions.

Does your insurer really need to know whether you have a fireplace? Rent a room on Airbnb? Own a Rottweiler?- ADVERTISEMENT -https://s.yimg.com/rq/darla/4-6-0/html/r-sf-flx.html

While fibbing may seem like a low-stakes way to claw back some cash from greedy insurers, you could face serious consequences for doing so. Here’s why you’ll want to try some other ways to lawfully lower your premiums.

Homeowners are feeling cheated

Colorful house on a street with black metal fence outside and red details.
Vruln / Twenty20

The vast majority of homeowners (about 71%) purchase their policies online, often through third-party sites that make it easy to compare quotes from multiple insurers. The LexisNexis study suggests that shopping on these sites may make it easier for people to lie.

Indeed, the U.S.-based Insurance Information Institute says misrepresenting facts on an application is one of the most common forms of fraud, alongside inflating or inventing damages during the claims process.

Yet the U.K. results show people are most likely to lie or omit information when they feel aggrieved by the cost of insurance or cynical about an insurance provider’s motivations.

Nearly 90% of consumers who had filed recent claims believe providers try to avoid paying out claims at least some of the time, and people who had recently settled a claim were most likely to consider stretching the truth in the future.

To their credit, it’s true that insurers are very careful about which claims they pay out. Studies show fraud was rising in the U.S. even before the pandemic, and providers may be even more vigilant now that so many Americans are dealing with heavy debt and looking to cut down their bills.

The consequences of getting caught

Woman looks down at a piece of paper and holds her head in her hand.
Antonio Guillem / Shutterstock

Although it may be easier to lie on your homeowners insurance when you are applying online, modern technology also makes it fairly easy for the provider to follow up on all the details you include.

These days, many insurance companies use predictive modeling and social media analysis to root out fishy applications during the underwriting process. Untruths do get missed, but the insurer will likely take a closer look once you’ve filed a claim later on.

The vast majority of insurers now have special investigation units to help identify and investigate suspicious claims, according to the Insurance Information Institute.

Once a fib is found out, you can face several penalties. Your insurer may decide to:

  • Immediately charge you the total amount of savings you’ve enjoyed so far.
  • Deny your claim, leaving you out-of-pocket for whatever disaster just hit your home.
  • Cancel your policy, which can make it more difficult and expensive to get coverage elsewhere.

A better way to save on your home insurance

Side view of male hands typing on laptop keyboard
Peshkova / Shutterstock

Suddenly getting a big bill instead of financial support can turn any disaster into a catastrophe. Honesty really is the best policy when it comes to your insurance policy.

And playing Pinocchio isn’t the only way to reduce your premiums.

About 70% of homeowners in the LexisNexis study simply renewed their policy with the same provider when it came due. But the Insurance Information Institute recommends comparing at least three quotes to ensure you’re getting a good price.

And if you’d like to save a little more month to month, you can always opt to raise your deductible. Just make sure you don’t set the deductible at a higher level than you can afford in a crisis, and put some of your savings aside in an emergency fund.

Take your savings further

Woman sitting at laptop computer, making notes, calculating expenses.
EA March / Shutterstock

The same principle — shopping around for the best rate — applies to your other types of insurance policies, too.

In fact, if you haven’t shopped around for a new price on your auto insurance, you may be overpaying by more than $1,000 a year.

And don’t forget your health insurance, either. Some quick price comparisons, along with new tax credits, can lower your costs by hundreds of dollars a month.

You may also be able to bring down your home expenses by refinancing your mortgage. An estimated 14.1 million Americans have the opportunity to refi and save an average $287 a month, according to recent research from the mortgage technology and data provider Black Knight.

Please call  Lee from  USAsurance Powered by WeInsure & Calle Financial. 954-270-7966 or 833-USAssure at the office. My email is lee@myUSAssurance.com . I am Your Insurance Consultant  about Home Insurance, Auto, Flood, Private Flood, Car, Life Insurance, Mortgage protection, Financial Products, Business  & Commercial Policies, & Group Products for business owners to give Employees benefits at no cost to the employer. My email is lee@myUSAssurance.com

A Pensacola, Florida insurance agent has bee charged with selling fraudulent insurance policies to his clients in exchange for approximately $4 million in insurance premium payments.

Jason R. Coody, acting U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Florida, announced the charges Tuesday against John Michael Thomas as Thomas made his initial appearance in federal court in Pensacola on wire fraud charges related to his business, Thomas Insurance, LLC..Thomas was arrested on the criminal complaint in Phoenix, Arizona on April 1.

The criminal complaint alleges that between September 2013 and December 2020, Thomas operated an insurance business and defrauded customers through a type of insurance fraud known as premium diversion. Thomas collected insurance premiums from customers and kept the funds for personal use instead of producing insurance policies, according to the charges. Thomas gave the customers fraudulent documents referencing insurance policies that did not exist.

Officials said the arrest resulted from a joint investigation by the FBI and the Florida Division of Investigative and Forensic Services, Bureau of Insurance Fraud, and work is ongoing to ensure all alleged victims are identified.

Assistant United States Attorney Jeffrey Tharp is prosecuting this case for the Northern District of Florida.

A criminal complaint is merely an allegation that a defendant has committed a violation of federal criminal law and is not evidence of guilt. All defendants are presumed innocent and entitled to due process.

Please call  Lee from  USAsurance Powered by WeInsure & Calle Financial. 954-270-7966 or 833-USAssure at the office. My email is lee@myUSAssurance.com . I am Your Insurance Consultant  about Home Insurance, Auto, Flood, Private Flood, Car, Life Insurance, Mortgage protection, Financial Products, Business  & Commercial Policies, & Group Products for business owners to give Employees benefits at no cost to the employer. My email is lee@myUSAssurance.com

Any driver needs an auto insurance policy that will protect them in the event of an accident. However, If they’re in an accident, there’s a good chance the price of their policy will increase. The question is, “how much does insurance go up after an accident?” The answer depends on where a driver lives and the insurance company they work with. Here, we take a dive into auto insurance to get a picture of what happens to the price of a policy following an accident.

How much does insurance go up after you’re at fault in an accident?

How much more a motorist will pay for auto insurance if they’re at fault in an accident depends on a number of issues, including the state they live in and which auto insurance company they use.

How much rates go up after an accident, by state

The amount rates can go up depends on the specifics of an accident. But the following table shows how much rates increase — on average — after an at-fault accident. These averages, compiled by Quadrant Information Services, refer to a policy with:

  • $100,000 in bodily injury per person
  • $300,000 bodily injury per accident
  • $100,000 coverage for property damage

We’ve rounded for simplicity.

STATEAVERAGE RATE INCREASE
Alabama34%
Alaska31%
Arkansas50%
Arizona34%
California74%
Colorado34%
Connecticut47%
Delaware28%
District of Columbia36%
Florida40%
Georgia45%
Hawaii39%
Idaho36%
Iowa44%
Illinois45%
Indiana47%
Kansas60%
Kentucky65%
Louisiana37%
Maine47%
Maryland45%
Massachusetts62%
Michigan50%
Minnesota36%
Mississippi44%
Missouri30%
Montana43%
Nebraska37%
North Carolina63%
North Dakota28%
New Hampshire34%
New Jersey65%
New Mexico34%
New York26%
Nevada36%
Ohio46%
Oklahoma40%
Oregon40%
Pennsylvania45%
Rhode Island48%
South Carolina39%
South Dakota36%
Tennessee38%
Texas43%
Utah39%
Vermont44%
Virginia43%
Washington38%
West Virginia44%
Wisconsin44%
Wyoming32%

Data source: Quadrant Information Services and Forbes.

Here’s what these rate increases could mean for someone’s everyday budget. Let’s say a driver lives in Arkansas and currently pays $1,200 per year for coverage ($100 per month). If they were the at-fault driver in an accident their premium could go up by 50%. So, instead of paying $1,200 per year for coverage, they would pay $1,800 ($150 per month).

Do insurance rates go up after a no-fault accident?

Typically, no, insurance rates won’t increase following a no-fault accident. The insurance company of the at-fault driver is responsible for all expenses, from vehicle repairs to medical costs. As long as an insurer does not have to pay out any money, it won’t increase the policy rate.

How long do accidents stay on insurance record?

The answer to the question “how long does an accident stay on your record?” is three to five years. That said, drivers should do everything within their power to avoid traffic tickets and additional accidents for six years. If a policyholder is involved in another incident within that time frame, their insurance rates are likely to skyrocket.

Should I file a claim after an accident?

It depends on what specifically happens. Let’s say a driver lives in California. They slide off the road in a rainstorm, hit a neighbor’s mailbox, and dent the front bumper of their car. Now they need to decide if they should file a claim. They were definitely at fault, but there are a couple of things to consider. The first is that filing a claim means the accident (no matter how small) will remain on their insurance record for three to five years.

In addition, because they live in California, their insurance premium may increase by 74%. Say they’re currently paying $1,200 per year for coverage. That means it will jump to $2,088 per year (or $174 per month). Multiply that $888 increase by three years (the minimum amount of time the accident will remain on their record). That’s a total of $2,664 ($888 x 3 = $2,664). Can they repair the mailbox and car for less than that amount? If so, the driver is better off taking care of it out of pocket.

Another thing to consider is their car insurance deductible. Say they have a $1,500 deductible. If they can get repairs for around that price, it makes little sense to file a claim.

Important note:

Any time a driver is in an accident and isn’t sure who’s at fault, they should call the police. If they’re in an accident and it appears the other party is at fault, the police should still be called, even if the other party asks them not to. Insurance companies will want a police report, and it can help bolster the no-fault driver’s side of the story if the other driver decides to change their account of events.

What is accident forgiveness?

Accident forgiveness is a type of auto insurance that can stop a driver’s rates from going up after an accident. Depending on the insurer, accident forgiveness may be awarded after a period of safe driving, or a driver may pay extra to add it to their policy. If a driver has accident forgiveness, their policy may not go up after their first at-fault accident.

Some of of the big-name companies currently offering accident forgiveness are:

  • State Farm
  • USAA
  • Geico
  • Progressive
  • Liberty Mutual

How to lower insurance costs after an accident

If a driver is in an accident and was at fault, it’s a safe bet that their policy rate will increase. If that’s the case, all is not lost. Here are five possible ways to decrease the price:

1. Rate shop

There’s no reason not to shop around with other insurers after an increase in premium. In fact, it’s smart for drivers to shop around once a year anyway, just to make sure they have the most complete coverage for the price. Depending on the severity of the accident, the policyholder may find themselves shopping for high-risk car insurance. No insurer is going to ignore an at-fault accident, but some will charge less for the premium than others.

2. Increase your deductible

If a motorist currently has a low deductible, they should be able to lower the price of their policy by increasing the deductible. Before doing so, drivers should work their budget to make sure they have enough in emergency savings to cover the deductible if another accident occurs.

3. Search for missed discounts

It’s possible to miss a discount when signing up for auto insurance. Or someone’s situation could change in a way that makes them eligible for a discount. Here are some of the most common auto insurance discounts offered:

  • College student, away from home
  • Good student
  • Low mileage
  • Senior
  • Military
  • Professional
  • Policy bundling

4. Raise your credit score

Many insurance companies factor in credit score when determining policy rate. If your score was low when you first took out your policy, you can take steps to raise it. Once your credit score has improved, you can request a rate review from your insurer.

5. Take a driver’s education course

Taking a defensive driving course or accident prevention course can cut a driver’s premium. The amount varies by insurer, but it’s a discount worth learning more about.

The average driver has a lot on their plate. Worrying about what will happen to their auto insurance rate in the event of an accident should not be one of them. If you’re concerned about being hit with an insurance increase following an accident, the first step is to contact your auto insurance company to learn whether it offers accident forgiveness coverage, and how much it will cost. You may also want to ask things like:

  • How long do accidents stay on insurance?
  • How much can I save by bundling auto with home and life insurance coverage?
  • Can I lower my rates by raising my credit score?
  • Do speeding tickets affect insurance? If so, by how much?
  • How often will you recalculate my rate?

The first, most important, step is to have insurance coverage. The next step is to make sure that coverage fits the level of risks you are comfortable assuming. If you haven’t compared prices from more than one insurance carrier recently, you may be pleasantly surprised by your options.

Please call  Lee from  USAsurance Powered by WeInsure & Calle Financial. 954-270-7966 or 833-USAssure at the office. My email is lee@myUSAssurance.com . I am Your Insurance Consultant  about Home Insurance, Auto, Flood, Private Flood, Car, Life Insurance, Mortgage protection, Financial Products, Business  & Commercial Policies, & Group Products for business owners to give Employees benefits at no cost to the employer. My email is lee@myUSAssurance.com

Florida has 90,000 private flood insurance policies in force now– a 300% increase since passing legislation to encourage private insurers to offer the coverage in 2014, according to Florida Insurance Commissioner David Altmaier.

Noting there are 5 million properties in the state that still have no private or government flood coverage at all, Altmaier acknowledges there is still a “long way to go.”

In this interview with Insurance Journal Southeast Editor Amy O’Connor, Altmaier discusses how Florida’s private flood market has grown, the challenges of educating consumers on their risk, and why he thinks changes to the National Flood Insurance Program could be a boon to private market development.

Southeast states looking to protect their residents from the ever-growing and costly threat of flood damage may be helped by Florida’s experience.

Top Photo: The St. Marks River overflows into the city of St. Marks, Fla., ahead of Hurricane Michael, Wednesday, Oct. 10, 2018. (AP Photo/Brendan Farrington)

Hurricane season has officially begun. Now is the time to revisit your property insurance coverage to make sure you know what to expect should a storm come

Please call  Lee from  USAsurance Powered by WeInsure & Calle Financial. 954-270-7966 or 833-USAssure at the office. My email is lee@myUSAssurance.com . I am Your Insurance Consultant  about Home Insurance, Auto, Flood, Private Flood, Car, Life Insurance, Mortgage protection, Financial Products, Business  & Commercial Policies, & Group Products for business owners to give Employees benefits at no cost to the employer. My email is lee@myUSAssurance.com

The standard advice applies every year: Have all of your policy documents and videos and photos of your belongings in one place if you need to evacuate. And don’t forget to prepare your home ahead of time against hazards like overhanging branches.

But there are a few other things to consider this year. The Tampa Bay Times spoke with Jake Holehouse, president of St. Petersburg-based HH Insurance Group, about what to expect. Responses have been edited for clarity and length.

What do Floridians need to know about what they’ll pay out of pocket on their policies?

“One of the big things in Florida, like other states, is we have a hurricane deductible. For most people, they have a $2,500 deductible for non-hurricane loss (damage not caused by a hurricane), and a 2 percent or 5 percent deductible on hurricane loss. That percentage is not the claim amount. It’s the dwelling coverage (for the home that’s insured). If we have a $300,000 house, for a 5 percent deductible, that is a $15,000 deductible. Know what that means and what your deducible is because now is the time to make an adjustment prior to a storm coming.”

When does a hurricane deductible kick in?

“Any time the National Hurricane Center (issues) a hurricane watch or warning for any part of the state of Florida, your hurricane deductible kicks in and lasts for 72 hours after the advisory has been lifted.”

What if a hurricane comes through but the damage to my home isn’t enough to meet the deductible?

“In the Florida marketplace, any admitted insurance carriers offer that deducible on a calendar year basis. Each claim adds up to that hurricane deductible. Even if you have a high deductible on there, we recommend reporting that claim to the insurance carrier even if it comes in below the deductible (because) it can add up to your deductible (over the year).”

What’s new this year?

“The roof age is really affecting new business. It’s stricter this year. You have basically four main types of roofing materials. Composite shingles, a flat shingle…were insurable to 15 years old. Then you have an architectural shingle, where you see a little dimension; those were insurable to 20 years old. Tile roofs were insurable 40 to 50 years old. Metal roofs were also 40 to 50 years old. (This year), the market average is that composite shingles from a new business standpoint (are insurable to) 10 years. Architectural shingle is 15 years. For tile, there’s some (carriers) that have gone to 15 years but most sit on 25 years (for) tile. And metal is still a 40 to 50 year material. The reason for (the) tile (change) is that it’s so difficult to match.”

Fifty thousand policyholders need to find new coverage in the coming weeks and months. What do you recommend for them?

“Talk to your agent as soon as you can and see what they’re doing to re-market your account. Ask if you’re going to need any new type of inspections to get a new policy. In Florida, you often have to get a four-point inspection and a wind mitigation inspection. If that’s the case, you might have to schedule that and get that inspection back to get a policy written. You want to start that as soon as you can. If you see a significant rate increase, look at additional (coverage) options. Start with your current (insurance) agent who’s going to help you (and) already has all of your records.”

Please call  Lee from  USAsurance Powered by WeInsure & Calle Financial. 954-270-7966 or 833-USAssure at the office. My email is lee@myUSAssurance.com . I am Your Insurance Consultant  about Home Insurance, Auto, Flood, Private Flood, Car, Life Insurance, Mortgage protection, Financial Products, Business  & Commercial Policies, & Group Products for business owners to give Employees benefits at no cost to the employer. My email is lee@myUSAssurance.com

Security First Insurance, one of the largest private homeowners insurers, has launched its Homeowner’s Premier HO5 policy.

Floridians must have no claims or one claim caused by a weather event and with good-to-excellent credit could quality for a 20% premium savings, the insurer said. Security First Insurance said the policy also offers replacement value starting at $350,000 and with equipment breakdown and service line coverage included at no additional cost.

Many homeowners are seeking relief from insurance rate hikes caused by the overwhelming amount of contractor fraud committed in Florida and exorbitant litigation costs as a result of frivolous lawsuits being filed against insurance companies for illegitimate claims, the insurer said in a statement. “We have worked very hard to improve Florida’s insurance laws to curb the increase in fraud and prevent excessive and unwarranted attorneys’ fees,” said Melissa Burt DeVriese, president of Security First Insurance. “New legislation being passed this year will help, but it will take some time for it to have an impact on rates, so we’ve also been working away to create new solutions to offer some benefit and relief now,” she said.

Last year, the company launched a new Dwelling Basic policy for homes valued at $150,000 to $1 million that provided an option to customize coverage and lower rates. The company also offers policies for renters, condo-unit owners, and landlords who are leasing their property to others.

Security First Insurance, headquartered in Ormond Beach, Fla., has been assigned a Financial Stability Rating® (FSR) of A, Exceptional, from Demotech Inc.

Please call  Lee from  USAsurance Powered by WeInsure & Calle Financial. 954-270-7966 or 833-USAssure at the office. My email is lee@myUSAssurance.com . I am Your Insurance Consultant  about Home Insurance, Auto, Flood, Private Flood, Car, Life Insurance, Mortgage protection, Financial Products, Business  & Commercial Policies, & Group Products for business owners to give Employees benefits at no cost to the employer. My email is lee@myUSAssurance.com

Bigger Deductibles today can truly matter over time! Bigger homes can also now take Bigger AOP deductibles.

Most people don’t have the alarm credit on a home, but if you have a monitored alarm system, you must give an alarm certificate to your agent for the discount to be applied.

Call for a free review of your coverages & discounts by sending us your current renewal for a free review.