Wednesday, June 2, 2010
Help Me Howard: Planning For Protection
The reality is, no matter how much you prepare, some storms are going to leave damage behind. That's why it's so important to make sure you have the right insurance.
WSVN -- Patrick Fraser and Howard Finkelstein are breaking down what you need to know when planning for protection.
Patrick Fraser: "Hello everybody, I'm Patrick Fraser."
Howard Finkelstein, 7 Legal Expert: "And I'm Howard Finkelstein."
Patrick Fraser: "And Howard, if you own a house, there are two things you already know. Number one, insurance is sky high. Number two, if you have a mortgage, you have to have that sky high insurance."
Howard Finkelstein, 7 Legal Expert: "Your basic homeowners insurance policy generally covers you for damage from fire and theft.
To protect yourself in a hurricane, you need windstorm coverage."
Patrick Fraser: : "And Howard, you need to read that policy because after a storm hits, you'll get that second shock when you look and you see what is and isn't covered."
Howard Finkelstein, 7 Legal Expert: "You need to make sure you know what's covered and under what circumstances. Also check your deductible, because windstorm deductibles are usually very high."
Patrick Fraser: "In fact, the windstorm deductible on most homes is 2 percent, meaning if you own a $400,000 home, you have to pay the first $8,000.
Another thing, most insurance policies only pay for what an item is worth at the time, so is that why people go and get what is called replacement cost?"
Howard Finkelstein, 7 Legal Expert: "Yes. Replacement value means you get a new television, a new couch or a new floor. Actual cost means you get $50 dollars for your television, $15 for your couch because that's what your insurance company decided it was worth."
Patrick Fraser: "So if I don't have replacement insurance and I lose everything, the insurance company could give me pennies on the dollar?"
Howard Finkelstein, 7 Legal Expert: "That's right, Patrick."
Patrick Fraser: "The policies keep piling up. Some people need what's called flood insurance, which you have to have if you live in a flood zone."
Howard Finkelstein, 7 Legal Expert: "Patrick, that will cover damage from waves, storm surge, overflowing rivers or lakes and groundwater runoff. If you don't know if you need flood insurance, contact your lender; they will know."
Patrick Fraser: "Those are the policies you need for a house.
Now if you live in a condominium, everything changes, because the building is covered by one policy and your unit is covered by another policy."
Howard Finkelstein, 7 Legal Expert: "The building's insurance covers the building in case the roof gets ripped off. It also covers the common elements like the pool.
Patrick Fraser: "But your property inside your unit is your responsibility. You have to cover everything, like the furniture, the appliances; even the walls themselves are the owner's responsibility."
Howard Finkelstein, 7 Legal Expert: "That means you will need windstorm, condo insurance and, believe it or not, in some cases, even if you live on the tenth floor, flood insurance."
Patrick Fraser: "What about renters?"
Howard Finkelstein, 7 Legal Expert: "They, like condo owners, have to have their own insurance coverage because the landlord's policy will not pay for their damages. But renters insurance is not that expensive."
Patrick Fraser: "Now, as for your car, whether it's in the driveway or in the garage, car insurance is the only thing that will cover the damage, correct?"
Howard Finkelstein, 7 Legal Expert: "Correct, Patrick. You have to have what's called comprehensive coverage. It's the only thing that will pay for storm damage to your car."
Patrick Fraser: "One final thing. After you get your insurance policies, take pictures or videotape everything inside your home. Then take those pictures and put them in a safe place."
Howard Finkelstein, 7 Legal Expert: "Patrick, if your home is destroyed, those pictures will help you prove to the insurance company all of the things that need to be replaced."
Patrick Fraser: "Of course, let's hope you never need to pull those pictures out. With Mr. Finkelstein, I'm Patrick Fraser. Seven News.
And, keep in mind, if you are not sure you have the right coverage, call your agent. It's the agents job to review your policy with you.
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