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Published: Monday, September 11, 2017 @ 3:16 PM
— Thousands of homeowners impacted by Hurricanes Irma and Harvey will have to figure out how to deal with insurance claims and all the complicated work that can go along with filing a claim in order to begin rebuilding their lives and their home.
First, what kind of homeowner’s insurance do you need?
Some policyholders mistakenly think they need to insure their house for its resale value. You should be insuring your house for its replacement value, which is the amount it will take to rebuild the home if it is destroyed by a covered peril, like a hurricane or a tornado.
Your insurance agent will provide you with an estimate, but experts also advise paying a contractor, engineer or a trained appraiser to place the right replacement amount on a house if you do not agree with your agent or company replacement cost amount. Be aware that these expert expenses could be the responsibility of the homeowner.
In the event your home is destroyed, your policy will pay up to the limits on your policy to rebuild your home. Some insurers have what is called an inflation guard contained in the policy. This will increase the amount of insurance on your home by a small amount each year to keep up with inflation.
Some insurers pay only the replacement value stated in your insurance contract, while others will provide a cushion of up to 25 percent. The replacement estimate may not take into account a surge in demand after a storm that could increase the cost of supplies and labor.
Florida homeowners are allowed to waive coverage for furnishings and other contents. Some companies also allow consumers to pick the level of contents coverage. Insurers used to give consumers coverage pegged at a certain value of their structure — 50 percent was common — even if their furnishings and belongings were minimal.
Florida statute 627.712 allows homeowners to exclude coverage for wind events in some cases. Most mortgage holders, however, require wind coverage.
To waive wind coverage, a homeowner must provide a letter from their lender that says it is all right with the lender if the insured drops the coverage. The savings from a policy by dropping windstorm coverage could be substantial, up to half of the total premiums paid.
Even so, use caution before dropping the coverage, because it comes with a high risk. It’s not just hurricanes that it covers, but any wind scenario. That would include a tree falling on your house if it did so as a result of a strong wind and not just a hurricane.
An option that could offer substantial premium savings is raising your deductible. Your mortgage company might be able to veto such a move. Most insurers offer hurricane deductible of $500, 2 percent, 5 percent and 10 percent.
Florida Statute 627.701 allows insurers to offer deductibles beyond the 10 percent, but not all insurers offer larger deductible options. To have a deductible in excess of 10 percent, the home must be valued at less than $500,000 and the policyholder must provide to the insurer a letter, written in his or her own hand, saying what amount in deductible they are willing to pay.```
Permission must also be obtained by the mortgage company if applicable. Calculate whether you could make repairs yourself in the event of a catastrophic event. Do you have $30,000 on hand, the amount you would pay if you took a 15 percent deductible, and your house suffered $200,000 worth of damage?
You will want to check your state's current laws before the storm hits to make sure you are covered after the storm.
Published: Friday, December 08, 2017 @ 5:19 PM
— When severe weather keeps you inside your home with your children, there are things you can do to keep kids entertained while you keep your sanity.
If you're home for the day, or a few days, here are a few things you can do to stay entertained without going crazy or running up your data plans.
If you still have power:
Do some family-friendly baking:
One way to keep kids occupied is with a slew of simple cooking tasks (cracking eggs, manning the mixing bowl) and the promise of sweets.
And not having kids is no reason not to bake in bad weather: for company, just sub in the closet available roommates, family, friends or pets. (This advice applies to the rest of the list.)
Check out these party games:
Jackbox's Drawful is a bizarre twist on Pictionary: players score points not just for drawing the best possible version of, say, "angry ants"; but also for getting other players to guess their answer for a given drawing instead of the correct one.
Drawful comes packaged as part of the Jackbox Party Pack and is available to buy and download here, and is compatible with the Xbox One, PlayStation 4, Amazon Fire TV and others. All you need to play is a phone, tablet or controller.
But if you're feeling more competitive and less artistic, consider QuizUp. Available for both iPhone and Android. This competitive trivia app pits two players against each other in seven rounds of questions in one of several hundred different categories, including pop culture and academia. And it's free.
Create a crafting area in your home. Fill it with crafting materials like tape, paper and boxes. When inspiration strikes your child, they can create fun things in their own “workshop.”
When the house goes dark, kids’ imaginations light up. A trip to the bathroom with a flashlight can become an adventure, and reading stories by candlelight will stick with them more than just another movie night.
Get ahead of a power outage:
Stock up on glow sticks. Kids can really have fun with these simple light sticks. Once you crack them, they provide a bright light for up to 12 hours and a dim light for as long as 36 hours. They come in all kinds of shapes, sizes and colors, and can provide hours of fun for children.
Build a fort:
Published: Monday, October 16, 2017 @ 5:44 PM
— An eerie weather phenomenon across parts of the United Kingdom is turning the skies an anemic yellow color and making the sun appear blood red.
The anomaly is not the beginning of the end of days or a sign of the apocalypse, scientists said. Instead, it’s directly related to Hurricane Ophelia, which is whipping through the region.
The storm’s tropical air dragged in dust from the Sahara Desert and air pollution from wildfires in Spain and Portugal as it moved north through the Atlantic, creating the strange spectacle, the BBC reported.
Spooky dark yellow light in London skies at the moment...hurricane Ophelia? pic.twitter.com/XOHR3Vsi3L— Capricorn LS (@CapricornLS) October 16, 2017
Welcome to London where our skies are.... Yellow..? pic.twitter.com/t7L0zt2DWl— Thackery Binx. (@JoshuaCuthbcrt) October 16, 2017
“The dust gets picked up into the air and goes high up into the atmosphere, and that dust has been dragged high up in the atmosphere above the UK,” BBC weatherman Simon King said, according to the Express.
The blood-red sun Monday morning across the region is a result of the same weather phenomenon creating the yellow skies, according to the U.K.’s Meteorological Office or Met Office.
“The same southerly winds that have brought us the current warmth have also drawn dust from the Sahara to our latitudes and the dust scatters the blue light from the sun letting more red light through much as at sunrise or sunset,” Met officials said on the agency’s website.
Social media users in London chronicled the spectacle on Twitter.
3.20 pm in London. Skies have gone yellow; natural light vanishing; street lights have switched on. pic.twitter.com/LojPxZUEkK— Patrick Walsh (@Walsh_e_Patrick) October 16, 2017
London under nuclear yellow skies this afternoon https://t.co/8zynZw0Tun— Harry Taylor (@HTaylor_KHFC) October 16, 2017
Published: Thursday, September 21, 2017 @ 11:21 AM
— President Donald Trump on Thursday declared a federal disaster in Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria brought pounding rain and punishing winds to the island, knocking out power and causing widespread flooding and landslides.
The declaration allows for federal resources to be used for Puerto Rico’s recovery efforts.
The island is reeling after Maria made landfall Wednesday as a Category 4 hurricane. With maximum sustained winds measured at 155 mph, according to the National Hurricane Center, Maria was the strongest hurricane to hit Puerto Rico in more than 80 years.
"Months and months and months and months are going to pass before we can recover from this," Felix Delgado, mayor of the northern coastal city of Catano, told The Associated Press.
Videos posted on social media showed swift floodwaters and powerful winds brought to Puerto Rico by Maria.
Maria knocked out power to the entire island and its 3.4 million residents, officials said Wednesday.
Ricardo Ramos, CEO of the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority, told CNN that it could be as long as six months before power is restored.
“The system has been basically destroyed,” he said.
Published: Tuesday, September 19, 2017 @ 6:35 PM
— There’s really no place that’s 100 percent safe in Florida when it comes to hurricanes.
Even Orlando got hit twice in 2004 by hurricanes Charley and Frances.
And, although Florida enjoyed a more than 10-year hurricane drought after 2005’s Hurricane Wilma, Hurricane Hermine made landfall in the Florida Panhandle in 2016.
Still, Homeinsurance.com has ranked Florida’s cities based on their evaluation of NOAA-identified storms from 1965 to October 2014, doling out scores based on the number of storm events, number of storm-related deaths, property damage and storm-related injuries.
The top 10 safest cities in Florida during a hurricane, according to the insurance study, are:
The entire ranking is below.