Since Florida auto and homeowners insurance rates are some of the highest in the nation, we understand why you’re looking for ways to save on your insurance premiums. However, before you search for your next insurance policy, remember the purpose of insurance: to protect you financially in case of a claim, whether it’s to repair or replace your car, rebuild your house, replace your personal belongings, or protect your liability if you’re responsible for injuries or property damage. You need your claims to be paid, and you need the amount of the payout to make you whole financially, or protect you financially from a lawsuit. That’s why it’s important to find the right balance between a cheap insurance premium and insurance coverage that is adequate and appropriate for your financial situation.
So when you shop for auto or home insurance, don’t make these insurance mistakes—they could cost you big.
Not carrying enough coverage.
Homeowners: Some people mistakenly insure their homes for real estate market value. In many cases, that’s not enough if your home is completely destroyed. If that happens, you’ll need to receive enough money to rebuild it. If you’ve only insured it for market value, you’re unlikely to receive enough money in a claim payout to do that. A better way to keep the cost of homeowners insurance down is to raise your deductibles—talk to your Lakewood Financial agent about whether this option is right for you.
Auto: In the case of auto insurance, the mistake some people make is not carrying enough liability coverage. To fulfill the Bodily Injury section of the Florida Financial Responsibility Law, if you’re in an at-fault accident and you injure someone, you must carry Bodily Injury Liability coverage in the amount of 10,000 per person, 20,000 per accident at least. The problem is, those limits are likely far too low. According to Consumer Reports, the average payout for a car crash injury that doesn’t leave the victim incapacitated is $22,000. And what if more than one person is injured?
If your insurance limits aren’t high enough, you’re on the hook for the rest of the claim—or open to a lawsuit. Again depending on your financial situation, you will likely want to purchase higher limits of Bodily Injury Liability—the insurance industry recommends $100,000 per person/$300,000 per accident, and at least $50,000 for Property Damage Liability.
Going with the cheapest price, regardless of the strength of the insurance company or the quality of its customer service.
Price is important. But it’s not the only consideration. If you have a claim, or any kind of problem with your insurance, you’ll want an insurance company that will be easy to work with—and will pay your claims. An independent agency like Lakewood Financial can steer you away from companies with shaky financials or poor customer service.
Not buying flood insurance.
Flood damage is not covered by a standard homeowners insurance policy, and Florida, flat, surrounded by water and a target for hurricanes, is almost entirely at risk for flooding. Even if you don’t live in a high-risk area, between 2014 and 2018, more than 40 percent of all National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) claims came from outside of high-risk areas. And flood damage is expensive—just one inch of water can cause $25,000 worth of damage, according to FloodSmart.gov. (Lakewood Financial has several competitive private insurance companies that write flood coverage, often for less than you’d pay through the NFIP.)
Not checking insurance rates at renewal.
At least once a year, it’s a good idea to review your insurance coverage, and check that you’re still getting the best deal you can for your circumstances. Just remember, when comparing rates from different companies, compare “apples to apples”—that is, each quote you get should be for the same type and limits of coverage.
As an independent agency, Lakewood Financial will help you make the most of your insurance money. We represent multiple financially sound auto and homeowners insurance companies, not just one. We take pride in helping our neighbors in Sarasota, Bradenton, Lakewood Ranch, and surrounding areas find the most cost effective insurance options for them. Please call us at 941-747-4600 or contact us online for a no-obligation quote.