Real Estate Straight Talk – Property Insurance Hurdles

Real Estate Straight Talk – Property Insurance Hurdles

In today’s Real Estate market we routinely work with insurance professionals to provide required information prior to the issuance of a policy. So, I took my questions to Matt Cornelison of Thompson Baker Insurance Agency for “Straight Talk” about the most common hurdles home owners face when changing or purchasing a policy for their new home.
Does your current insurance policy provide flood coverage? I’ll bet you didn’t know that all of Florida is divided into flood zones with ratings from hazardous to low-moderate. Even those living in low-moderate zones should consider a flood policy as over 20% of flood claims are outside high-risk areas. Routine homeowner’s policies do not cover rising or tidal waters. If the costs to remediate and repair water damage to your home would exceed $250,000, you may even consider excess flood coverage. In a hazardous flood zone, the one item you’ll need to have handy is a copy of an elevation certificate for your home. It establishes the finished floor elevation as it relates to sea level. If your elevation certificate is old, it may not meet the latest guidelines. If you don’t have a copy but currently have flood coverage, you may also secure one from your insurance provider. The survey and elevation certificate are two pieces of information a buyer should always ask for when researching the right home to purchase.
You’ve probably noticed that roofing contractors are a little busy in Marsh Creek. Most insurance companies require shingled roofs to be replaced every 15-20 years. If the roof is older than 15 years it will likely be a negotiable issue for any pending real estate transaction. Likewise, if you make any changes to your policy, decide to rent it out or worse yet, your carrier drops your coverage, questions about the age of the roof will arise. Tile and metal roofs are treated differently. Depending on the age of any roof, an inspection may be required prior to the issuance of a new policy. There are several good roofers in business so please call if you need any names and numbers to interview.
Not all the news is bad. Several years ago the state of Florida approved wind mitigation inspections and your home may qualify for insurance discounts based on the design, quality and wind resistance. Not all inspectors are qualified to conduct these inspections so make sure you ask the right questions. You can probably even get them to inspect, make suggestions to improve and re-inspect once the improvements are made to assure your report reflects the most favorable condition for maximum discounts. Remember to keep this form in your property files in the event you decide to sell.

It’s Hurricane Season so make sure you’ve made all policy changes in plenty of time to assure new coverage limits. Once a storm has been named providers stop writing/changing coverage if we are anywhere in the target range. This will sometimes create delays in closings if coverage is not secured well in advance. Market demands are strong for property in Marsh Creek. The past five years hasn’t afforded a stronger time to sell. Progress is slow, but inventory is reduced and prices have stabilized. More high end buyers are beginning to surface. A comparison of the activity in our neighborhood for January-May of 2011 vs. the same period of this year is below:

2011 2012
Closed Sales 12 17
Price Range 270,000-723,000 290,000-1,450,000
Median Range 407,000 410,000
There are currently 5 homes under contract with list prices from 289,000-849,000.

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