A month ago I got the renewal notice for my home owners insurance premium. Although it had actually gone down a little after the policy was sold from Citizens Insurance, the Florida-run insurer of last resort, to another carrier, I still thought that it was a lot of money.
But how can I save any more on the cost of home owners insurance? The last thing I needed was being underinsured with inadequate coverage.
One mistake that was made on the Citizens policy was the description of the roof type. It was marked ‘gable’ when it was actually ‘hip’. I had asked for a correction to the policy but from the renewal notice I found out that the correction had not been made a year ago.
But I also requested a discount for having hurricane clips or anchors on the roof trusses and framing. It is easy to see from the outside what a roof shape is, but not so easy to prove there are anchors in the walls and rafters. I needed a certified inspector’s declaration to satisfy the insurance company.
I contacted Mike Johnson of Wind Inspections, who responded immediately. He not only confirmed the roof shape and hurricane anchors but also found some other construction features that would lead to more discounts. With the wind mitigation certificate in hand, and a request for discounts to the agent, I applied for a reassessment of my home owners insurance coverage.
It took another couple of weeks but the outcome was that I got higher replacement value coverage and a $1078 discount off the premium!
Another bonus is that Citizens Insurance now owes me a partial refund on their expensive policy.
Not many people seem to know about the availability of discounts for wind mitigation. Insurance agents may not tell you because they fear reduced commissions, but in my case I also upped the coverage. Insurance carriers did not inform customers that discounts were possible, but Mike Johnson told me he has worked hard at getting disclosure mandatory. It was these few pages in the renewal policy that made me take action.
After the destructive 2005 hurricane season many carriers abandoned Florida and insurance rates sky-rocketed. Now some carriers are entering the market with more competitive rates. It is worth shopping around for home owners insurance and getting all the discounts you deserve.
The wind mitigation certificate costs about $125 and is valid for 5 years. That’s a good investment for many thousands of dollars saved.