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Lenny Bauman: Be wary of “unlicensed” advice | Gainesville.com | The Gainesville Sun | Gainesville, FL

Dealing with flood, fire or other serious damage to a home can be an extremely stressful experience, as owners attempt to secure precious belongings, protect their home against further damage and document their loss for insurance purposes. Words of advice come from nearly every angle, as everyone from friends, family and neighbors to insurance company…

Florida may gut discounts for hurricane shutters

Homeowners who cut their insurance bill by installing shutters will soon see those discounts slashed if insurers have their way. Kurt Bressner spent more than $16,000 installing storm shutters, a reinforced garage door and an impact-resistant front door on his Boynton Beach home. In return, he got more than peace of mind. Effective this year,…

Will Your Insurance Pay If Vandals Strike?

When people buy homeowner’s insurance, they usually intend for it to cover the home in which they live. That is also the insurance company’s expectation, and most of the time, that is the case. However, sometimes circumstances change and the home is left empty. For example, the family goes on a weeklong vacation, or one that lasts a month or more. One member of the couple may accept a temporary job transfer that will last for a few years, and they may decide not to sell the home. In other cases, the family may move into a new home but find themselves unable to sell the prior one. In all of these cases, the home is rendered either unoccupied or vacant. This change in status can affect the insurance coverage.

The standard homeowner’s policy provides coverage for losses caused by vandalism and malicious mischief. For example, the policy will pay for the repair and replacement of windows if the family comes home and finds all of the first floor windows broken. A reasonable person could conclude that vandals broke the windows. However, the policy will not pay if the home has been vacant for more than 60 days. Insurance companies design the policies and set the prices under the assumption that a home will be occupied. A vacant building is vulnerable to damage by vandals, so the companies have designed other policies to cover them.

Insuring your home against disaster

(Money Magazine) — If last fall’s devastating California wildfires weren’t enough of a wake-up call, consider this: Nearly 60% of homes nationwide don’t carry enough insurance coverage to be fully rebuilt. On average those homes are underinsured by 21%. To give yourself a chance of being made whole, follow these steps before and after disaster…

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