by: Christy Bieber

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.

Homeowners insurance protects against many problems that can develop with a property. But does homeowners insurance cover foundation repair? This guide will explain when problems with a foundation are covered so homeowners can be prepared.

When does homeowners insurance cover foundation damage and repairs?

Does homeowners insurance cover foundation repair? It depends on the cause of the damage to the property’s foundation. Here are some examples of situations where the answer to the question, does homeowners insurance cover foundation issues, is yes.

Damage from covered natural disasters

Homeowners policies usually cover damage resulting from:

  • Fires
  • Lightning
  • Collapse due to snow or ice

In some parts of the country, damage from windstorms is also covered. If a covered cause results in foundation damage, then insurance will pay for necessary repairs. So in determining, does homeowners insurance cover foundation issues, the big question is what the cause of the issue is.

Damage from fallen trees

If a tree falls on a property and damages the foundation, the answer to the question, does homeowners insurance cover foundation repair, is likely yes. However, in many cases, damage from tree roots is excluded. So when asking, does home insurance cover foundation problems related to trees, it’s important to be specific about the cause.

Water damage from certain leaks

Does home insurance cover foundation repair due to water damage? It depends. Standard home insurance policies exclude flood coverage. So, does homeowners insurance cover foundation repair after a flood? Not unless the property owner has a separate flood insurance policy.

Water damage, however, can be covered if it occurs as a result of a plumbing or HVAC system leak.

Damage from man-made causes

Most homeowners policies cover damage due to riots or civil disturbances. Many also cover damage resulting from aircraft accidents. Vandalism may be a covered peril as well. As long as a policy doesn’t exclude a man-made cause, any resulting damage to the foundation should be covered.

Does homeowners insurance cover foundation leaks?

This is a complicated question. In some cases, a policy will cover this type of loss. But in others, it won’t. It will cover a foundation leak only if the leak occurred due to a covered cause.

For example, if the plumbing in the soil surrounding the home leaks and cracks the foundation, the underlying cause is a covered plumbing issue. The foundation leak would be covered. While homeowners insurance wouldn’t usually pay for any damaged pipes in this situation, it would pay for water damage resulting from the foundation leak as well as repairs to the damaged foundation itself.

However, foundation leaks resulting from earth movements, flooding, or other excluded causes will not be covered.

When is foundation damage not covered by your home insurance policy?

Foundation damage is not covered if it occurs due to certain excluded causes. Here are some examples of situations where the answer to the question, does homeowners insurance cover foundation repair, is no.

Natural settling

Homes can settle over time. This can cause cracks in the foundation. Home insurance will not cover repairs resulting from natural settling of a house.

Normal wear and tear

Sometimes, foundations simply get old. When normal wear and tear causes foundation problems, it’s typically not covered.

Floods

Floods are excluded from coverage with standard insurance policies. If a flood occurs and damages the foundation, it will not be covered.

Sinkholes

Sinkholes are also excluded from standard home insurance coverage. Policyholders can choose to buy separate sinkhole protection. When sinkholes cause damage to foundation, standard insurance policies will not pay for repairs.

Does homeowners insurance cover foundation repair necessitated by pests such as vermin or termites. The answer is no. Unfortunately, any pest-related damage to a home’s foundation is not paid for by home insurance.

Faulty construction

If a builder or contractor fails to construct the home’s foundation properly, this can result in serious issues. Home insurance does not cover this type of problem.

But while the answer to the question, does homeowners insurance cover foundation issues caused by contractor negligence is no, homeowners may have some recourse. They could potentially make a claim against the builder.

What to do if your policy doesn’t cover foundation issues

When choosing a home insurance policy, property owners should make sure they are fully covered. This may mean buying additional protection beyond standard homeowners insurance coverage. For example, someone who lives in a sinkhole or flood prone area may want supplementary sinkhole coverage or flood insurance.

Buying extra protection can raise the average price of homeowners insurance. But it may be well worth it to avoid having to pay for costly foundation damage out of pocket.

What are signs of foundation or structural damage?

Common signs of foundation damage include:

  • Cracks in walls, floors, or window and door frames
  • Bowing in the walls of a home’s basement
  • Water intrusion or signs of water damage
  • Sagging floors in crawl spaces
  • Doors that don’t open or close properly
  • Sunken steps, decks, or porches

How to prevent home foundation damage

Steps to prevent damage to a home’s foundation include:

  • Limiting water intrusion by ensuring proper drainage around the home
  • Using the services of a pest control company to prevent an infestation
  • Avoiding planting trees too close to the house that could cause foundation problems through overgrown roots
  • Ensure gutters are kept clean and drain water away from the home

By avoiding damage, property owners should hopefully never need to ask, does homeowners insurance cover foundation repair?

How do you file a claim for foundation damage?

Insurers lay out the claims process within insurance policies. Generally, policyholders must contact an insurer within a limited period of time after damage occurs. Depending on the insurer, they may be able to file a claim online or via phone.

Homeowners should provide documentation of damages resulting from a covered cause. An insurance adjuster will evaluate whether the claim is covered and how much compensation the property owner should receive. Always make sure to ask, does homeowners insurance cover foundation repair, before spending time making a claim.

FAQs

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Christy Bieber

Christy Bieber

Christy Bieber is a full-time personal finance and legal writer with more than a decade of experience. She has a JD from UCLA as well as a degree in English, Media and Communications with a Certificate in Business Management from the University of Rochester. In addition to writing for The Ascent and The Motley Fool, her work has also been featured regularly on MSN Money, CNBC, and USA Today. She also ghost writes textbooks, serves as a subject matter expert for online course design, and is a former college instructor.SHARE THIS PAGE    

November 18, 2021

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.

An insurance company is suing the mother of two boys killed by her estranged husband over a $4 million life insurance payout which claims she may not have been legally entitled to receive. Meanwhile, she is trying to collect $10 million from her husband’s estate.

The legal battle, just underway in federal court, is the latest twist in the crime that happened earlier this year. It sheds new light on the father’s actions days before the killings and hints at the vast amounts of money at stake for surviving family members.

Paul Reinhart, 46, of Gainesville, fatally shot the couple’s young sons on May 4 before setting fire to the family’s vacation home near Suwannee in western Florida and fatally shooting himself.

Court records in the new lawsuit revealed that Reinhart – a former medical device sales executive – attempted to change term-life insurance policies on April 26 to prevent his wife, Minde Reinhart, 42, from collecting any of the money upon his death. They were separated at the time and heading toward divorce.

The policies were worth $2 million each and were purchased in 2005 and 2015. They permitted full payouts in the instance of suicide as long as Reinhart hadn’t killed himself for at least two years after buying them.

With the changes, Reinhart sought to designate his sons, Rex, 14, and Brody, 11, as primary beneficiaries. If they had died, Reinhart identified one of his brothers, Konrad Reinhart, 45, of Gainesville, as a secondary beneficiary. Paul Reinhart submitted a signed, notarized document with the requested changes to Fidelity Investments Life Insurance Co.

Reinhart’s actions add to evidence suggesting he plotted the deadly violence days in advance. Records in a related probate court case showed that Reinhart had updated his will on April 19, just 15 days before he killed his sons and himself, to prevent his wife from receiving any of his assets after 19 years of marriage.

In a related dispute over that change to the will, Mrs. Reinhart’s lawyers said in court records that based on Reinhart’s actions in the days before he died, Konrad Reinhart knew or should have known that her husband was plotting violence, according to Florida news reports.

Sponsored by Florida Surplus Lines Service Office (FSLSO)

Fidelity wrote back to Reinhart in a letter dated April 30 saying it was unable to update his policies as requested because he failed to specify the city and state where he had signed the document, which was notarized in Gainesville. The company’s “term beneficiary change form” did not specify on the document that information was required.

It was unclear whether Reinhart received Fidelity’s letter – mailed from the company’s life insurance offices in Atlanta – before he fatally shot his sons and himself four days later. A final report covering the criminal investigation by two sheriff’s offices and the Florida Department of Law Enforcement in the case has been mysteriously delayed for months.

Mrs. Reinhart declined to discuss the new lawsuit through one of her attorneys, Jeff Aaron, of Gray Robinson in Orlando. She has continued to honor the memory of her sons on social media, posting pictures of a new bench in Suwannee earlier this month dedicated to Rex and Brody and placed near a bridge where they swam. She flew to Washington with her parents in late September to attend the congressional baseball game, where Rep. Kat Cammack, R-Fla., said she was playing in memory of the boys, who were avid baseball players.

In its lawsuit filed earlier this month, Fidelity said Mrs. Reinhart requested the $4 million payout through her attorney on May 14. The company said it sent her two checks, for just over $2 million each, which also included small amounts of overpaid premiums and unpaid interest.

Six weeks later, the insurance company said, Konrad Reinhart asked about his brother’s life insurance payments and said he should be the sole surviving beneficiary under the changes his brother had requested.

Fidelity said it stopped payment on the $4 million in checks it had sent to Mrs. Reinhart. It said she and Konrad Reinhart have agreed the money should be deposited in a bank account controlled by Fidelity’s law firm until a judge decides who will receive the money. Its new lawsuit named both Mrs. Reinhart and Konrad Reinhart as defendants.

Mrs. Reinhart’s law firm wrote in a letter Aug. 3 that it anticipated litigation against Reinhart’s estate. At the time, the family was already fighting behind the scenes over the $4 million and related matters, but the life insurance dispute – and size of the payout – didn’t become part of any public record until now.

Konrad Reinhart months ago threatened a reporter who called to ask about a related issue. “If you call this number again it’s going to be a big problem,” he said in early September. “Stop calling me.” He and his lawyers did not respond to phone messages this week.

In court papers, the insurance company described itself as “merely a disinterested stakeholder” and said it was “in danger of being exposed to multiple liability” unless a judge rules in the case. It stressed that it was not attempting to keep the $4 million.

In the probate case, Mrs. Reinhart filed a claim in September for $10 million against her husband’s estate, citing the “wrongful death by murder” of her sons. That case in Alachua County Circuit Court is pending.

In that case, Konrad Reinhart was fighting efforts by Mrs. Reinhart to obtain confidential files from Withers Harvey, the Gainesville law firm that handled the updated will that excluded her. In court papers last week, Konrad Reinhart’s lawyers said those files were protected by attorney-client privilege.

Mrs. Reinhart’s lawyers earlier objected to a request by Konrad Reinhart that the estate be divided among Reinhart’s five siblings and Mrs. Reinhart. Konrad Reinhart’s lawyer estimated the estate’s value at $75,000 in personal property. He did not list any bank accounts, investments or other assets.

Konrad Reinhart’s request listed himself, a sister and three brothers as beneficiaries before also including Mrs. Reinhart in the court papers. His lawyer included on the list Erick Von Reinhart, 50, who pleaded guilty in an unrelated crime to fatally stabbing his own ex-wife’s new boyfriend – just one week after their divorce – then trying to take his own life with a large kitchen knife.

Erick Reinhart is serving a 40-year murder sentence in a Florida prison and could be released as early as July 2053.

Last month, Mrs. Reinhart finalized the sale to a chemical industry executive of the $1.65 million home in Gainesville she had shared with her husband before they separated. She used the proceeds to pay off a $900,000 mortgage on the home Oct. 15, records showed.

The family still owns the waterfront home in Dixie County where the murders and fire occurred, according to property records.Copyright 2021 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

November 19, 2021

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

After two months of significant declines, litigated claims for Florida’s largest property and casualty insurers rose 5% in October, a litigation tracking service reported.

CaseGlide, a litigation management software firm that analyzes claims dispute data, said the number of litigated claims is still down almost 40% from the peak in July. The numbers fell sharply in August and September, partly due to legislative reforms that have sought to limit assignments of benefits and lawsuits, and because of the three-year time limit on filing claims from Hurricane Irma, which hit parts of Florida in 2017.

The CaseGlide report noted that just over 4,000 litigated claims were filed against the 17 largest Florida carriers in October, up from 3,909 in September.

The October increase was expected.

“The October 2021 results follow a similar pattern to previous years in that there was a moderate increase over September figures, a trend that could continue until we reach a level of around 5,000 litigated claims per month where we were prior to July’s spike,” said Wesley Todd, CEO of CaseGlide.

“One new trend worth noting is that Hillsborough County crept into the top five counties in Florida for new litigation for the third straight month, a top five generally dominated by counties located in the southern part of the state,” he said.

Of the 17 largest carriers monitored, all but three saw an October increase. Three of them registered an increase of greater than 40% from September.

Assignment-of-benefits cases dropped slightly, from 26% in September to 25% in October. The share of litigated claims that were AOB cases is still near its highest level since January 2020, Todd said. One restoration contractor was responsible for 6% of the litigation in 2021.

TOPICS TRENDS FLORIDA CLAIMS

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

American International Group Inc. and other insurers avoided steep losses from a spate of extreme weather this year thanks in part to the reinsurance industry. But increased reliance on those policies probably means price hikes are coming.

“This year we’re seeing good demand and good price increases for reinsurance, and I think that just keeps happening,” Matthew Palazola, an analyst with Bloomberg Intelligence, said in an interview.

Disaster costs this year are approaching $300 billion, and insurers are expected to foot the bill for more than $100 billion of those losses, according to data from insurance brokerage Aon Plc.

AIG Chief Executive Officer Peter Zaffino this month pegged global third-quarter catastrophe losses at $45 billion to $55 billion.

Paying those bills was easier because of coverage from reinsurers — the firms that backstop risks for insurance companies — helping AIG and its peers power through the catastrophe-heavy third quarter and still report a profit. It’s likely the industry’s reliance on reinsurance will increase as extreme weather becomes more common.

“If climate change has a truly material impact on the volatility of these events and the size of these events, then reinsurance becomes more and more important,” J. Paul Newsome, an analyst with Piper Sandler Cos., said in an interview.

Greater Severity

The insurance industry is set to surpass $100 billion in losses in 2021 for the fourth time in five years, according to Aon, and company executives have pointed to rising global temperatures and ensuing extreme weather as key culprits.

Sponsored by Florida Surplus Lines Service Office (FSLSO)

“We’ve never seen consistent CAT losses at this level,” AIG’s Zaffino said on a conference call with analysts earlier this month, referring to catastrophe losses. The industry needs “to acknowledge that frequency and severity has changed dramatically as a result of climate change and other factors.”

It’s too early to say exactly how much reinsurers are on the hook for when it comes to Hurricane Ida and other third-quarter natural disasters, according to Tom Johansmeyer, who heads Verisk Analytics Inc.’s property-claim services division. The process typically takes many months, he said.

But it’s clear those disasters battered reinsurers. The property/casualty reinsurance business at Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway Inc. posted an underwriting loss of $247 million in the third quarter, compared to a profit of $99 million during the same period a year earlier. Berkshire attributed some of the reversal to “significant catastrophe events,” including Hurricane Ida.

As reinsurers grapple with more destructive natural disasters, as well as inflation in the cost of construction materials, higher premiums can’t be far behind.

Another possible option is fine-tuning the models they rely on to better grasp their exposure.

“It all comes down to pricing the risks appropriately,” said Karen Clark, CEO and co-founder of risk modeler Karen Clark & Co. The firm estimated in a white paper this month that average annual hurricane wind losses could increase 10% to 19% by 2050 as climate change strengthens storms.

Outside Capital

While steeper losses mean higher prices, there is one encouraging development for the reinsurance industry: Financing has become easier to secure.

“The path for capital to get to the reinsurance market has been well-paved,” Palazola at Bloomberg Intelligence said. “You can participate in this market a lot more ways.”

Rates in the sector are becoming particularly attractive for outside sources of capital, and that could help to keep prices down, Palazola said.

At the same time, higher reinsurance rates could bode well for hedge funds and pensions that seek out tangential investments such as catastrophe bonds. Pricing for those securities often mimic reinsurance rates, since both markets rely on modeled natural-disaster losses.

And it’s been a booming market, with $13 billion of bonds issued in the 12 months through June 30, $4 billion more than a year earlier, according to data from Aon. More broadly, capital tied to insurance-linked securities increased to $97 billion from $91 billion.

For their part, reinsurers see an opportunity to tackle one of the vexing issues facing the global financial system and society more broadly.

“Due to our industry’s holistic view of the risk chain, we are uniquely positioned to understand the systemic risks of climate change, and deploy the capital needed to better protect people in the face of extreme events,” RenaissanceRe Holdings Ltd. Group Chief Risk Officer Ian Branagan said in a statement.

–With assistance from Katherine Chiglinsky.Copyright 2021 Bloomberg.

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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10 Surprising Things That Home Insurance Covers

Duration: 01:25 19 hrs agoLikeComments|2Most people understand that their homeowners insurance will pay if a tree lands on the roof or the garage goes up in flames. However, many policies cover a number of other losses that you may not expect. Of course, it goes without saying that every insurer is different, and you should check your policy to determine what coverage you have specifically. When you do, you may find you have coverage for the following things. 1. Terrorist attack As long as the U.S. isn’t at war, your insurance company should pay for any damages caused by a terrorist attack. Most insurers specifically exclude acts of war, but an isolated event that results in fire, smoke or other damage to your property should be covered under your policy’s standard provisions. 2. Dorm room contents When your son or daughter moves to college, your home insurance may protect their possessions as well. But that’s only if they live in a dorm, as we detail in “3 Types of Insurance Every College Student Needs.” 3. Your lawn and landscaping If someone drives over your yard and tears up the grass, your insurer may pay to fix the damage. That’s because trees, plants and shrubs are generally covered by standard homeowner insurance policies. The Insurance Information Institute says plants are generally covered up to $500 per item as long as they are not diseased and have been properly maintained. 4. Marijuana plants Surprise. Marijuana plants may also be covered by your insurance policy. Depending on the insurance company and your state laws, marijuana plants may be treated the same as shrubs and other plants. See Also: 9 Houseplants That Remove Toxins From Your Indoor Air 5. Stolen goods Speaking of personal possessions, if you have belongings stolen far from home — anywhere — a standard homeowners policy should cover the loss. That is true even if something is stolen from your car. It’s a home insurance policy that will pay, not car insurance. 6. Falling objects If a falling object — such as part of a satellite — damages your house, your insurer likely would pick up the tab for any repairs. The Insurance Information Institute says falling objects — from satellites to asteroids — are covered under most standard homeowners policies.More From Money Talks News

November 17, 2021

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 Miami lawsuit charges that a luxury condominium tower built just a few feet away from Champlain Towers South caused structural damage to the already ailing building in Surfside, leading to the collapse that killed 98 people in June.

The complaint alleges that builders of the newer condo, known as 87 Park, brushed off warning signs and built structures that exacerbated the Champlain Towers’ problems, the Miami Herald newspaper reported.

Among the class-action suit’s allegations:

  • Pumping out groundwater during excavation shifted the site’s water table, redistributing the soil and putting “excessive and dangerous structural stress” on Champlain Towers.
  • Contractors at 87 Park built a walkway between the two properties at a sloped angle that funneled water into the basement of Champlain Towers, “corroding [the tower’s] structural supports.”
  • Pile-driving at 87 Park shook the Surfside tower beyond “acceptable and safe limits,” even though engineers for the developers had suggested alternative techniques that would have been less intrusive but more expensive.

The suit names nine defendants, including the development firm for 87 Park, along with engineering firms, the Champlain Towers Condominium Association, and a law firm that represented the condo association. The development group has denied all the charges, blaming the collapse on poor construction and inadequate maintenance at Champlain Towers.

The lawsuit is one of dozens that have been filed over the collapse.

The two properties were originally separated by a street, 87th Terrace, in Miami Beach. But Beach commissioners voted to vacate the 50-foot road to the developers. The developers in turn made a $10 million contribution to the city — something the class-action claims is illegal because Florida law does not permit the purchase of public rights-of-way, the Herald reported. The developers then turned the road into a narrow walkway, bringing 87 Park’s property closer to Champlain Towers in 2016.

“By acquiring 87th Terrace, the Terra Defendants could add almost a half-acre to the footprint of the 8701 Collins Avenue Property, increase the density, build additional units and square feet, and maximize their profits,” the complaint reads.

TOPICS LAWSUITS ABUSE MOLESTATION CONSTRUCTION CONDOMINIUM

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

Your house is a wreck, but unless you know how to handle yourself throughout the insurance claims process, the disaster might just be getting started. Here are six common mistakes homeowners make during this critical time.

by: H. Dennis Beaver, Esq.November 16, 2021

A house on the beach is destroyed after a storm.

Getty Images

“These past two years, Mother Nature revealed her fury, resulting in property loses of terrifying, historic amounts,” observes a veteran of some of the most destructive fires in the Western United States, San Francisco attorney Dan Veroff, adding:

“And many insurance companies — trusted to help make families whole again — did the exact opposite, with adjusters massively underpaying valid claims.  Sadly, the lack of knowledge by business and homeowners of the claims process —and steps they needed to take before the loss — magnified the harm.”

 He outlined “the worst mistakes a claimant can make when facing what we call a CAT – catastrophic – insurance claim.”Related Videoshttps://www.ultimedia.com/deliver/generic/iframe?mdtk=04500882&zone=3&type_player=0&sendstats=0&src=qqfrf85&width=683&height=384&urlfacebook=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.kiplinger.com%2F&ad=1&autoplay=no&fstart=2&title=First+Apartment+Checklist%3A+Make+the+Most+of+Your+Search&endMessage=um_ultimedia_wrapper_kw3jqgcb_ultimediaEndRoll&widgetPrefix=um_ultimedia_wrapper_kw3jqgcb_&tagparam=&tagparamdecoded=&sspParam=&visible=&gdprconsentstring=

1. You take whatever the first adjuster tells you as gospel

Consequences: They could misstate your rights under your insurance policy.

Insurance companies bring in an army of CAT “storm chasers” who are almost always from out of state. Rarely do these insurance adjusters have specialized knowledge or training in creating accurate estimates of repair costs, or state law as it applies to your loss.

They often tell claimants that they have less insurance coverage than what their policy provides.

Please, do not act on what they tell you without consulting with an attorney! (More on what kind of attorney in a moment, and to my readers, this is really important!)

2. You accept the first payment as being complete and comprehensive

ConsequencesYou will be underpaid!Advertisementhttps://fbd55773cfd4873ccf9d71b035bde50b.safeframe.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-38/html/container.htmlAdvertisement – Article continues belowhttps://fbd55773cfd4873ccf9d71b035bde50b.safeframe.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-38/html/container.html

In a typical case, a CAT adjuster comes out with an estimator who is in the insurance company’s pocket. They write up a “quick and dirty estimate,” in their car and cut you a check to cover rebuilding and temporary living expenses.

This is where things get sticky.

Usually, an insured will meet with a contractor who will prepare a bid for repairs, but it can take months for it to arrive and will almost always be much higher than what the adjuster has already paid.

If you had a rebuilding estimate available before the loss, you could have reviewed it with the adjuster. Now you are starting from square one, and your limited payment for temporary housing has run down further. Also, your claim has probably been reassigned to a second or third adjuster, because CAT adjusters are usually only deployed for a short period of time. 

You’ve got to learn what the claim is actually worth quickly. Never count on the insurance company to do this, and always expect the initial estimate to be well below what it should be. You have a duty to yourself to question what you are told at the scene by the CAT adjuster and those who follow.

Under extreme pressure and worry, accepting what the adjuster tells you can be a costly mistake.

3. You fail to get an estimate to rebuild your home as it was before a CAT loss

Consequences: You will be at the mercy of an adjuster who will likely under-value the claim.

After disasters, it’s not uncommon for homeowners to want to make some changes to their home’s original design during the rebuilding process. The carrier is obligated to pay the cost of rebuilding your home as it was before the loss and not a different home. Yes, you can rebuild something different, but the rebuilding cost sets your maximum insurance budget.  Only getting proof of the home you want to build now – with modifications and improvements and not what you had before – helps the adjuster stick with their low estimate, dispute your figures and thus underpay the claim.

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So, you need to answer this question: “What will it cost to replace or rebuild the home we had, not the home we would like to build now?”               

If you get this estimate from a contractor in advance — before any potential loss may occur — you will be ahead. You can also use the estimate to ensure you have adequate insurance coverage.  After a disaster strikes, it’s important to get a good replacement cost estimate ASAP. At the same time as you get the replacement estimate, have the contractor prepare an estimate for the home you would like to build. As long as the cost comes in within the amount of your insurance coverage, you should be OK.

4. You fail to prepare an inventory of the contents in your home

ConsequencesUnless you do this well in advance of a potential loss, you will have to create it from memory, from photos that you might be able to find, receipts, talking with family members. Who can remember all the books, the dresses and suits, the details?  Lacking proof, you will not be paid.

Also, assembling this inventory in advance allows you to increase the amount of coverage for personal property so as to not be underinsured. Save the list to the cloud.

5. You hire a lawyer who is not experienced with insurance law

Consequences: Missing key deadlines and losing your rights. Getting involved in litigation for years when it could have taken months. Having the case turn out badly.

Insurance law is unique. If a lawyer tells you, “Oh, I know personal injury, divorce, tax – whatever – therefore I can handle your insurance claim,” RUN! Lawyers inexperienced with property insurance law lose cases because of their lack of knowledge.

So, look for a lawyer who primarily concentrates on property insurance work.

6. You exaggerate your loss or outright lie

Consequences: In some states, if the company can prove you have lied, they can deny the entire claim. Lie about a dollar and you lose the whole thing!

Advertisementhttps://fbd55773cfd4873ccf9d71b035bde50b.safeframe.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-38/html/container.htmlThis article was written by and presents the views of our contributing adviser, not the Kiplinger editorial staff. You can check adviser records with the SEC or with FINRA.

About The Author

H. Dennis Beaver, Esq.

Attorney at Law, Author of “You and the Law”

After attending Loyola University School of Law, H. Dennis Beaver joined California’s Kern County District Attorney’s Office, where he established a Consumer Fraud section. He is in the general practice of law and writes a syndicated newspaper column, “You and the Law.” Through his column he offers readers in need of down-to-earth advice his help free of charge. “I know it sounds corny, but I just love to be able to use my education and experience to help, simply to hel

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 Insurance Commissioner David Altmaier has approved a 4.9% average decrease in workers’ compensation rates for 2022, as recommended by the National Council on Compensation Insurance.

The decrease is the sixth straight for Florida, and for the first time in four years, Altmaier’s office did not ask the NCCI to revise its plan and produce a larger reduction in overall rates. Last year, the NCCI proposed a 5.7% cut but the Florida Office of Insurance Regulation demanded more and ultimately approved a 6.6% decrease for 2021.

David Altmaier

“Safer workplaces, innovative techniques and improved risk management practices have resulted in the continued decline in workers’ compensation claims, ultimately benefitting Florida businesses,” Altmaier said in a news release issued Friday.

Rates jumped in 2017, after a landmark court ruling struck down statutory limits on attorneys’ fees. But loss costs and rates have fallen every year since then.

The latest rate decrease will take effect Jan. 1 for new and renewing policies. An actuarial analysis by the NCCI can be seen here. It shows that while changes in experience, trends and medical and indemnity benefits have declined almost 7% in recent years, loss adjustment expense, or the costs associated with handling claims, increased slightly.

The NCCI’s recommendation, filed earlier this year, did not include data or adjustments needed for the impact that the COVID-19 pandemic may have had on Florida comp insurers. Instead, the rating organization proposed a separate catastrophe fund to help manage nationwide, non-terrorism events that result in workers’ compensation losses of more than $50 million. The fund would have required extra charges to be paid by Florida employers.

But the OIR announced that the NCCI has withdrawn its catastrophe provision recommendation. A Nov. 11 letter from NCCI said the provision “will be resubmitted at a future date as and when appropriate.”

TOPICS FLORIDA

By William Rabb

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

Who would have thought, given what many have called a crisis in the Florida property insurance market, that an insurance company would decide it could improve its bottom line by focusing solely on the storm-plagued Sunshine State?

FedNat Insurance, formerly known as Federated National, is planning to do just that, according to a third quarter financial report from the Florida-based carrier’s holding company. The publicly traded firm (Nasdaq: FNHC) said it is pulling out of all other states after being battered by major storm losses in Texas and Louisiana in the last two years.

“I wouldn’t say it’s a smart move; more of a necessary move,” said Paul Newsome, an insurance industry analyst with Piper Sandler investment bank.

FedNat, founded in Florida in 1992, has been ranked as the fourth-largest homeowners’ carrier in the state in recent years. It expanded into other Southern states, including Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and South Carolina, in 2013. The company accelerated that expansion in 2019 – just in time for a devastating winter storm in Texas early this year and Hurricane Ida, which struck Louisiana this year and left as much as $30 billion in industry claims in its wake.

“The impact of these significant catastrophe weather events has put a strain on FedNat’s capital position and further action is now appropriate. We are therefore exiting the non-Florida markets and refocusing on the improving Florida homeowners’ market…” FedNat CEO Michael Braun said in a report to investors, posted Monday.

Despite recent signals from some Florida-based insurers that they are facing continued losses and “a sea of red ink” from storms, roofing claims and litigation, the Florida market may have improved somewhat for FedNat in the last two years. State lawmakers approved measures designed to reduce assignment of benefits agreements and litigation, and regulators have allowed several significant rate increases for struggling carriers. FedNat has been allowed rate increases amounting to 70% over the last four years.

FedNat Pulling Out of Louisiana, Texas Amid Heavy Storm Losses

FedNat also has pared back its Florida book of business by a third, from 272,000 policies in force in 2017 to 168,000 at the end of the third quarter this year. But premiums remained stable at $430 million, due to the rate increases, the company explained.

Sponsored by Florida Surplus Lines Service Office (FSLSO)

“As a result, we believe now is the right time to focus on writing policies in Florida, where FedNat continues to have significant market share, strong underwriting and claims handling capabilities, and strong agent relationships,” Braun said in the statement.

The move does not necessarily mean Florida’s market is stabilizing or that FedNat is out of the woods.

“It’s definitely been a challenging quarter for FedNat,” Newsome said.

Braun could not be reached for comment Tuesday. But the financial release said FedNat Insurance Co. was propped up with a $20 million infusion capital from its holding company in September. The company also experienced a net loss of almost $25 million for the third quarter, compared to a loss of $21 million in Q3 2020.

Total revenue decreased by 31% in the third quarter this year and the combined ratio stood at 165.4, well above the U.S. property and casualty industry average of 97.5 for 2020, according to Statista research.

Losses and loss adjustment expenses actually decreased by $39 million – almost 40% – for the third quarter of this year, FedNat reported. The quarter included about $20 million in catastrophe losses from Hurricane Ida. But the numbers were an improvement over this time last year, when the carrier saw $38 million in catastrophe losses due to Hurricane Laura, which struck part of Louisiana, and from Hurricane Sally, which hit the Florida Panhandle.

FedNat may have run into other issues with its Louisiana claims. The company was listed as having 157 complaints from homeowner policyholders in early 2021, the second-highest number, behind the much-larger State Farm Insurance, according to the Louisiana Department of Insurance. In Florida, FedNat ranked fifth, with 339 complaints or about half as many complaints as the state-backed Citizens Property Insurance Corp., the Florida Office of Insurance Regulation reported.

One industry source wasn’t convinced that FedNat’s retreat to Florida will help it in the long run, particularly if Florida is hit by more intense hurricanes in coming years, as expected.

“If thinly capitalized (firms) cannot survive in Texas and Louisiana, it’s hard to see how better pricing in Florida would make a business more sustainable if that state also experienced a few more multi-billion industry loss storms,” wrote Artemis, a reinsurance and insurance securities analysis firm.

FedNat may be able to expand its Florida book as Citizens moves to depopulate, Artemis suggested. Citizens is the largest carrier in Florida and is expected to reach more than 1 million policies by the end of next year. The company has taken several steps to move homeowners to other carriers, including the launch of an aggressive property inspection program over the next four years.

A FedNat spokesman said Tuesday that the carrier would only accept Citizens customers who will pay FedNat’s rates and meet its underwriting standards.

Other industry experts said that while the Florida property insurance market may be more troubled than other states’ markets, many coastal areas are producing big losses for insurers. Florida’s insurance regulator, who is appointed, may have allowed the recent rate hikes while elected insurance commissioners in other states have not.

“They’re cutting their losses and refocusing on their core business in Florida,” Michael Carlson, president of the Personal Insurance Federation of Florida, said about FedNat. “But it’s unfortunate to hear of their financial situation. We need a healthy market here. We need a whole mix of companies writing in the state.”

Despite the problems in the Florida market, FedNat appears to be positioned to survive in the state, said Paul Handerhan, president of FAIR, Federal Association for Insurance Reform, which is based in Florida. He noted that FedNat has sufficient surplus and reinsurance needed to achieve a favorable rating from Demotech, the financial rating service, and to withstand at least two significant storm events in the same year.

To unwind its operations in other states, FedNat said it will “commence an orderly runoff” of its subsidiary, Maison Insurance Co., and will soon file a withdrawal plan with state regulators. Nonrenewals of Maison policies will begin in January in Louisiana, in February in Texas, and in June in Florida.

Demotech recently informed FedNat that it has withdrawn its rating for Maison.

FedNat’s non-Florida book of business has been written through SageSure, a managing general underwriter. By next month, SageSure will work with policyholders to move policies to other carriers, FedNat’s report said. The runoff and transfer should take about 18 months.

“We expect the benefits of this transition to begin to materialize immediately in the form of lower capital requirements and lower exposure to catastrophe weather losses,” Braun said.

by Dana George

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

You may be surprised by how much insurance this financial guru says you need.


Key points

  • Term life insurance is one of the easiest ways to protect loved ones after your death.
  • Term life is inexpensive and easy to buy.

If your income helps provide for the people you love, there is no question that life insurance is essential. Unless you have a huge pile of cash lying around somewhere, life insurance will allow your beneficiaries to pay bills after your death. The amount of life insurance suggested by financial advisors has changed through the years, and in fact, the answer is different depending on who you ask.https://762897def445e42be09a5d1318537500.safeframe.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-38/html/container.html

Financial guru Suze Orman caused more than a few people to clutch their pearls when she wrote that you should have at least 20 times your annual salary in life insurance. She went on to add that 25 times is even better.

What’s that mean for you? According to Orman, if you currently earn $75,000 a year, you’ll need between $1.5 million and $1.875 million in coverage. If you’re making $100,000 a year, that’ll be $2 million and $2.5 million.https://762897def445e42be09a5d1318537500.safeframe.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-38/html/container.html

Orman’s reasoning

Whether you love Orman or risk a severe shoulder injury shrugging every time you hear her speak, she does come at the life insurance issue with some solid reasoning.

Employer-provided insurance won’t last long

If your employer provides life insurance, it’s likely worth between one and two years of your salary. So, if you earn $50,000 annually, your employer’s policy will pay your beneficiaries between $50,000 and $100,000. While that money is likely to come in handy, it won’t last long, particularly if it’s the only insurance you carry and you were the primary breadwinner in the family. Once that money is exhausted, it’s up to your heirs to figure out how to cover the bills.https://762897def445e42be09a5d1318537500.safeframe.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-38/html/container.html

Term life insurance provides affordable protection

There are all kinds of life insurance products, but the most basic — and certainly most affordable — is term life. As the name suggests, term life insurance provides coverage for a specific “term.” As long as premiums are paid, coverage lasts until the term expires. Term life is typically sold in 5, 10, 15, 20, 25, and 30-year terms.

The average 25-year-old man in good health can buy a $500,000 20-year policy for $37 per month. For a healthy 25-year-old woman, a $500,000 policy would run around $31 per month.https://762897def445e42be09a5d1318537500.safeframe.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-38/html/container.html

The older you are when you purchase a policy, the more it will cost. For example, a healthy 45-year-old man will pay around $95 per month for a $500,000 policy, while a 45-year-old woman in good health would pay $75.

Still, if you break it down into weekly payments, a 45-year-old man will pay just under $22 per week for coverage, and a 45-year-old woman will pay less than $18 per week.https://762897def445e42be09a5d1318537500.safeframe.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-38/html/container.html

Not everyone needs life insurance

According to Orman, you may not need life insurance if you’re single and don’t have children. Unless you have someone who depends on your income to get by, life insurance is unnecessary. That said, keep in mind that the cost of buying insurance goes up with each passing year, so snagging a long-term policy while you’re young can pay off, especially if you plan to get married or have kids one day.

It’s never been easier to purchase a policy

Insurance companies have moved into the 21st century by allowing you to get quotes online and even purchase a policy from your computer. Most insurers do require a medical exam to make sure everything on your application matches up with the reality but will send someone to your home to check vitals and possibly draw blood.https://762897def445e42be09a5d1318537500.safeframe.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-38/html/container.html

In a world with few real bargains left, term life insurance just may be one of them. And purchasing term life means knowing that your loved ones will have money in their bank account after your death.

Life Insurance Protection for You and Your Family

While many varieties of insurance coverage are designed to help protect a person’s family and assets, life insurance is a vital type of protection. The right life insurance can help protect the people that depend on you the most if you should pass away. Choosing the right life insurance policy is critical to ensure your loved ones are protected properly. We have sorted through the various options to provide you with our choices for the best life insurance policies available today.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Dana George

Dana George

Dana has been writing about personal finance for more than 20 years, specializing in loans, debt management, investments, and business.