Spring is in the air, as is the pollen from the Mango and Palm trees here in beautiful Naples, FL, but the weather is wonderful and Easter is upon us. This time of the year many folks do a thorough cleaning of their homes. They take apart everything and give their places a good scrub down. I think this is an excellent habit to develop in many aspects of our lives. As we clean and dust and scrub, it is also a great time to check the batteries on your smoke alarms as well as the fire extinguishers in your home. As our beloved statesman Ben Franklin once said "an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure", his widsom applies in many areas of our lives including insurance and specifically homeowners insurance. Interestingly enough, Ben Franklin helped to organize one of the first fire departments in the United States, and later fire departments were the first version of the homeowners insurer. In those days you would sign up with a specific department and pay a fee. If at some point your home would catch on fire they would come and put it out for you. If you did not pay your fee, or if your fire department was on another fire, then you were now the proud owner of a pile of ash.
Speaking of an ounce of prevention, it is now April 1st in south Florida. To those of us that have lived here for a bit we can begin to smell the arrival or Hurricane season. After you finish your Easter ham and have checked your smoke detectors and fire extinguishers it is a great time to give your hurricane supplies a once over. Check expiration dates on the beenie wiennie in th eback of the pantry as well as the batteries that you have for your flashlights and radios. Now is a great time to get those types of things purchased and put away in case they are needed later. Check your shutters or plywood and make sure they are still serviceable and check all of the fasteners. If you need bolts or screws, it is a great time to get them now. If you have a generator, it is a good time to test it....yes test it BEFORE you need it. That way if you need repairs, you have ample time to get them done. Also, make sure you have plenty of oil, spark plugs, and gas cans. All of these items can be easily found now, at a reasonable price, when you are not in a crisis. That is unless you enjoy driving all over Collier and Lee county for a pack of D batteries that you heard about in a line at 7-11.....everyone is so helpful during a storm. Get it done now, that way you can prepare for the storm like a pro....and get the house ready early and if you choose to LEAVE to a safe location, with time to spare.
Now your homeowners insurance. This year, many of us are expierencing a signifigant rate increase or even being non renewed from our current insurer. There are many factors that are contributing to this mess here in Florida, and the industry is working on solutions with the State Legislature to protect the policyholders and the insurers from crooks who take advantage of a bad situation and profit from it. When you are reviewing your policy and considering changes be very careful. There are many carriers and policies that are being sold that look just like yours but are missing very important features that you may not notice until after the claim happens...then it is too late. My best advice is to shop for an agent not a price. Find someone who you can trust to give you a good policy and tell you plainly the strengths and weaknesses of each of your choices. In today's insurance market, if your are finding something that is too good to be true....I can guarentee you that it is. You are missing something, I represent well over a dozen homeowners carriers and folks.... it is a tough year for pricing and availability. Again, find someone you trust and take their advice, as you would with any professional. It is overwelming and confusing out there, if you ever need someone to just ask a question, feel free to call me. Many times I can get you something better at a reasonable price (comparatively speaking), sometimes I cant, but I will tell you either way.
Until next time....Happy Easter to you and your famlies,