Personal insurance is designed to protect you from the losses you would not be able to cover on your own. Even driving to work or running a bath can lead to a financial disaster. If something goes wrong - you can get seriously injured or cause water damage to two apartments under yours.
Here are some of the personal insurance lines: Auto, Homeowners, Renters, Windstorm, Flood, Umbrella, Life, Health Insurance. Even though not all of these types of insurance are mandatory, you should get covered to avoid the probability of a financial ruin!
South Florida residents! This post will go into every little detail on getting the best out of your coverage for a minimum price on the example of Sunny Isles Beach Insurance.
Car Insurance - Save Without Risk
We have explained different types of Auto Insurance coverage in the Blog Post on Auto Insurance in South Florida (definitely worth going through if you are new to Miami).
Take a look at this short video explanaiton:
What Auto Insurance Coverage you must have:
- To register a car in Florida you must purchase Auto Insurance. The minimum requirement is: $10,000 for Personal Injury (to cover your and your passengers' medical expenses after an accident) and $10,000 for Property Damage (to pay for the physical damage you caused to someone's car or property);
- If you finance your car, the Lienholder will require you to have "Full Coverage" in order to protect your vehicle from damage. You will need to add Comprehensive (protects or replaces the car in case it was damaged or stolen being parked) and Collision (covers the damages caused in an accident);
- If you are leasing, apart from Comprehensive and Collision your policy should have high limits of liability to cover the losses of the third party when you are at fault: i.e. at least $100,000/ $300,000 for Bodily Injury (covers medical expenses for one / two and more people in the other car) and $50,000 for Property Damage (see above).
What Auto Insurance Coverage you should consider having:
Living in Sunny Isles Beach is like a dream come true! Driving among the newest Bmws, Teslas, Lamborghinis and Ferraris on Collins Avenue should be the best part of your day and not a horrible nightmare underinsured drivers have!
Remember: getting Liability coverage is as important as having your own car properly insured!
Here is an example of an auto insurance plan that will not empty your pockets:
- Bodily Injury / Property Damage: $25/50/25,000 to $50/100/50,000;
- Personal Injury Protection: $10,000 max with $1,000 deductible (do not exclude Work Loss);
- Comprehensive / Collision: $500 / $1,000 deductible;
- Roadside Assistance and Towing: Included (always choose this option, it is inexpensive and useful);
- Rental: $30 / day.
Obviously if the Lienholder requests Full Coverage with $100/300/50 for Liability there is no way around that, oh, wait, is it?
Some companies offer Split Limits of Liability (e.g. Infinity Auto). This means that your Policy will have the required $100/300/50 of BI and PD limits to protect the Lienholder in case of a lawsuit, and $10/20/10 to protect you. This trick will significantly reduce the premium.
Total Premium: from $160 / month.
The best part - Auto Insurance Discounts:
Every time your policy expires you receive a Renewal offer for the next 6 or 12 months. The price went up, what was it this time? Rate revision, speeding ticket, injury claim?
The reasons can go on and on and there is not much to do about them. (Unless you have been in the car accident - then you need to wait for 3 to 5 years for it to go away from your insurance "reports'). But maybe you are eligible for discounts, check if these apply to you:
- Advanced Quote: If you are shopping around for a better rate make sure to start one month before your current policy expires. The earlier you purchase new policy the better rate you will be offered;
- Prior Coverage: If you had auto insurance for the last 6 months and it has not expired or been canceled during the last month - definitely show proof of insurance to the Agent working on your quotes;
- Three Year Safe Driving: If you were not involved in accidents (At Fault or Not at Fault - both count!), didn't get red-light or speeding tickets from the police officer (camera tickets do not count) - this discount will be applied automatically when the Agent orders the MVR reports;
- Homeowner's: If you own property in Florida and it is your primary residence - bring your Homeowners Insurance, Mortgage Coupon or a Home Tax Statement as proof;
- Married couple: If your Marital status has changed - tell your Agent. Carriers see married couples as less risky drivers than singles (even if you two have been living together for years!);
- Paperless: There is no excuse not to get this discount: of course you have an e-mail address and of-course you care about environment - start getting all notifications electronically instead of having to empty your entire mailbox into the trash can every other day (don't forget to click on the confirmation link that will be e-mailed to you right away - if you miss this step the discount will be taken off the policy);
- Paid in Full: Save up to 20% by paying off your 6 or 12-month insurance premium! Pay in full with the credit card to receive less bills every month, and don't risk having the policy suspended for late or missed payment;
- Auto-Pay: If you prefer to pay for your insurance monthly - choose auto-pay option, by scheduling automatic withdrawals from your card or checking account you receive another discount;
- Safety features: Make sure the Agent mentions your car's Air Bags and Anti-Lock Brakes while quoting for you to get this credit, read here in detail;
- Passive Anti-Theft Device: If your vehicle automatically arms itself when it is turned off, when the ignition key is removed, or a door is shut - get a discount for your car's passive anti-theft system;
- Multi-vehicle: This credit is applied automatically when you add cars to your policy, the more cars are listed - the cheaper it is to insure each one (you cannot add more than 5 cars to one plan);
- Distant Student: It is required by law to list all family members residing at the same address on the auto insurance policy even if they are not driving the cars. Also if your children have just turned 18 and/or obtained their Driver's Licenses you can definitely expect the premium to jump up. But there is a way to save in this case too - if your kids are going to school or college in another town or state, but is still registered at your address - list them as Distant Students or if they are studying abroad - change their status as Out of Country (check with your carrier if these discounts are available);
- Good Student: In case your children reside with you and are active drivers - you can save by providing the proof that they are good full-time students maintaining at least a B average (3.0 grade point average);
- Safety Course: If you are under 21 or over 50 it is possible to bring the insurance costs down by taking safety or defensive driving course, you can find more information here;
- Data Collectors: Traditional rating factors as age, gender, marital status, violations, credit score, claims do not provide that one-of a kind rate you are looking for. Using telematics data collectors like Progressive's Snapshot (Read our Blog Post on Snapshot here) the carriers see true risk level of your daily car use and your behavior the road.
Some of the Sunny Isles Auto Insurance Companies we recommend:
Condo Insurance - Decide on Priorities
Construction never stops in Miami: high-rises with hundreds of condos keep growing like mushrooms! More and more Florida natives and guests of the state are purchasing condos on the beach.
We have explained different types of Condo Insurance coverage in the Blog Post on Condo Insurance in Sunny Isles Beach.
What Condo Insurance Coverage you should be getting:
Requesting a quote, decide what your priorities are and discuss the plan with your Agent:
- Do you need a basic HO6 policy for a seasonal use?
- Do you need higher limits for personal property and valuables?
- Do you rent the unit out annually without furniture?
- Are you concerned about the possibility of damaging your neighbors' units with water?
There are a lot of more questions an experienced Insurance Agent will ask you. But for an estimate please see the basic Condo Insurance coverage limits:
- Dwelling: $65,000 (for a basic HO6 quote go by the area of your unit multiplied by 50: e.g. 1300 sq.ft. x 50 - $65,000);
- Personal Property: $25,000 to 30,000 (Include Personal Property Replacement cost to be covered in full);
- Loss of Use: $4,000 to $5,000;
- Personal Liability: $300,000 to $1,000,000 (Choose the highest limit available: e.g. difference between $100,000 and $300,000 is about $14);
- Windstorm: 2-3% Deductible.
Total Premium: from $600 / year - HO6 without Windstorm;
from $900 / year - HO6 including Windstorm;
from $250 / year - HO4 (Renter's) including Windstorm.
Condo Insurance - What to Save On:
- Prior Coverage: If you had homeowners insurance for the last 12 months and it has not expired or been canceled during the last month - do not forget to provide the proof of prior insurance to get the credit;
- Paid in Full: Pay off the whole amount instead of choosing 2 or 4-pay plans not to be charged extra fees every time, also don't risk getting the policy canceled for a missed payment (if you receive too much paper spam and can easily miss an invoice from the Insurance Company - set up a reminder to make a payment through a smartphone app such as Wunderlist (Download for Android / Download for IOS);
- Alarms and Sprinklers: If the building and/or your unit have Fire Alarm System and your unit is equipped with Sprinklers - request a statement on the Condo Association Letterhead from the building management office to provide as the proof of the discount (remind them to put your unit number in the statement for the Insurance Company to accept it);
- Wind Mitigation: When you choose to add Windstorm Coverage to your plan to protect your apartment from wind-driven objects breaking the windows and the unit being damaged by rain - make sure to check if you qualify for credits. You need to order a Wind Mitigation Inspection to prove that the building has a Reinforced Concrete Roof and your unit has either Windstorm Shutters or Impact Resistant Windows (you will be eligible for this discount if all windows and openings are protected);
- Loss History: If there was no damage to the condo you are insuring or your other properties in the last five years - the Claims Free discount will be automatically applied (In case you had two or more claims recently most likely your application will only be accepted by a non-standard company)
Some of the Sunny Isles Condo Insurance Companies we recommend:
Homeowners Insurance - 5 Myths Deflated
There is a reward for those who made it this far in the article - Homeowners is very similar to Condo Insurance! The main difference is that Homeowners policy covers both: the Exterior and Interior of the house, it can also protect the other structures built on your land such as garages and tool sheds.
It is important to choose the right type of Homeowners Insurance as there are so many of them. It is better to work with a knowledgeable Agent who will ask the right questions and help you navigate in numerous coverage options. But for now:
Most common Types of Homeowners Insurance:
- HO3 Form - Homeowners Policy
This form is designed for Home Owners residing in the house at risk. To qualify for this form only 2 families can occupy a single private residence. HO3 offers the minimum coverage required by most Mortgage Lenders
- DP3 Form - Dwelling & Fire Policy:
This form is for rental properties, not occupied by the Owner. It covers the basics of the house (Dwelling) and does not automatically include Other Structures, Personal Property or even Liability Coverages - make sure to go through these options requesting a Homeowners Quote.
Perils Homeowners Insurance protects you against:
- fire and lightning; windstorms and hail; explosion; riots and civil commotion; aircraft; vehicles; smoke; vandalism and malicious mischief; theft; glass that is part of the home; volcanic eruptions (Basic HO1 Form);
- perils listed above plus damage from falling objects; water damage from accidental overflow of plumbing, heating air-conditioning and household appliances (Basic HO2 Form, HO3 Form) - make sure to find out if Water Damage is excluded or has limited coverage
Compared to Auto and Condo examples of coverage limits we have provided above, Homeowners is too complex for such estimation, but nevertheless please see the average limits for Sunny Isles and North Miami Beach Homes:
- Dwelling: $150,000;
- Other Structures: $50,000;
- Personal Property: $25,000 to 30,000 (including Personal Property Replacement);
- Loss of Use: $8,000 to $10,000;
- Personal Liability: $500,000 to $1,000,000;
- Windstorm: 3-5% Deductible.
Total Premium: from $1,600 / year - without Windstorm;
from $2,250 / year - including Windstorm;
Five Myths about Homeowners Insurance Exposed:
1. "Dwelling Coverage Limits should exactly the same as my Home's Current Market Value."
- No. Dwelling Coverage Limit is the amount of money your Insurer will pay to rebuild your home if it is destroyed. The Market Value of your home has nothing to do with it, your Agent chooses the Coverage amount according to the Replacement Cost Estimation for your house not to under- or over-insure it.
2. "Flood and Water Damage are synonyms."
- If your home was "flooded" plumbing accident - it is not actual Flood, it is the case of Water Damage. Flood is a risk that is covered by a separate policy to protect you in case of a natural disaster an area that is usually dry, suddenly gets submerged under water that is rising from the ground. This water can carry along objects like trees, cars, bridges, furniture and even houses (By the way, when the Lender requests Flood Insurance for an apartment on the 23rd floor - make sure to ask them for a clarification on this one!).
3. "Home Insurance will pay for the renovation repairs to my house."
- Homeowners Policies do not cover "Wear and tear" or damages caused by bad maintenance, it is your responsibility to take care of your house's condition.
4. "Medical Payments Coverage will cover me in case I'm injured at home."
- Medical Payments is designed to pay for small medical expenses of your guests and visitors in case they got injured on your property. You should have Individual or Family Health Insurance to cover yourself.
5. "My Homeowner's Insurance will fully replace electronics stolen from my house."
- Even if you have the photos, videos and receipts for each item of your Personal Property, the depreciation will be taken into account, for example replacing a 3-year-old laptop stolen from your house the Insurer will not pay for a brand new laptop but for a matching 3-year-old one. In order to be covered exactly for what you paid several years ago and to be able to afford the new computer - add Personal Property Replacement Cost to your policy.
Some of the Sunny Isles Home Insurance Companies we recommend: