Thursday, August 17, 2006
More Bang for Your Buck: Insurance
Consider it the legacy of hurricanes Wilma and Katrina. All over Florida, residents are upset over the increasing cost of home insurance. But in tonight's More Bang For Your Buck, there are ways to reduce your rates - even during storm season.
WSVN -- Like all of us, Evelyn Moss remembers sitting in the dark during Wilma and Katrina.
But while her house suffered minimal damage, you wouldn't know it by looking at her insurance bill.
Evelyn Moss: "My insurance was approximately $26 hundred a year and the new bill is going to come in at $52 dollars... maybe even more."
Unfortunately, Evelyn doesn't have many options.
In June, her original carrier Poe went bankrupt leaving her no choice but to sign up with citizens - the state run carrier.
Evelyn Moss: "We can't find anyone who wants to write so i dont know where we're going to shop around. everyone's pulled out."
And she's not alone.
According to Betty Jiminez with first choice insurance, if you're with citizens, you'll most likely have to wait until after hurricane season to find another carrier.
In fact right now, a company called coral insurance is just about the only other carrier signing new policies.
Betty Jimenez: "You really have to play with what you can do within the policy itself to lower the payment."
To do that, you should first make sure your home qualifies for all discounts.
In 2003, the state passed a law offerng incentives to people with more wind reisistant houses.
Everything from shutters to the shape of your roof can make a difference.
There's even a discount for having plywood.
Betty Jimenez: "The risk is less to the carrier. A lot of people put shutters and don't advise the insurance agent."
You can also take the state up on a new $5,000 grant program.
It will provide qualified homeowners with matching funds to protect their houses against hurricanes.
If all goes well, the program should even start taking applications by the beginning of September.
Of course, Evelyn's convinced there is one other option.
With an upcoming election year, she plans to rally behind the candidates offering the best rate relief
Evelyn Moss: I think someone needs to step up to the plate. Our elected officials for sure and demand that the insurance companies justify."
If you want to know if you qualify for the grant program, the phone number is 800-342-2762.
FOR MORE INFORMATION:
First Choice Insurance, Betty Jimenez
8315 SW 24th St, Miami, FL
Grant Program to Harden Homes: