As Hurricane Season begins homeowners and potential new homeowners may be hard pressed to insure homes or modify their coverage during this time. Hurricane season runs from June 1st to November 30th each year, and if a storm (could be a hurricane or tropical storm) is named many insurance companies will suspend binding coverage prior to the storm hitting land, as well as after a storm has hit. In order to prevent the delay of closings use these three tips for Home Insurance during hurricane season.
Encourage buyers to purchase their coverage early.
Purchasing Home Insurance should not be the last thing buyers do before a closing. As soon as a contract is entered home buyers should be getting in touch with an insurance agent to secure their home insurance. There are no laws on how soon an insurance company can suspend service once a storm is named so buyers cannot depend on having ample time to get insured. If a closing is during a suspension period but a home buyer completes their application and has all documents submitted to their agent then coverage will be put in place the date stated on the insurance application. Remember to let buyers know about additional coverage they may need to add during this time that isn’t covered under their standard home insurance. For example flood insurance is generally not included. For more information check out our post about flood insurance.
Connect the mortgage company and insurance agent early in the process.
By connecting these two important parts of the home buying process early you can help your buyer begin the process of insuring their home. Many mortgage lenders require insurance so connecting these two parties will help to avoid delays and to encourage buyers to get coverage early. Insurance agents and lenders will also be more aware of the potential for companies to suspend services surrounding the announcement of a storm.
If a storm is approaching and insurance is not in place encourage your buyer to call an insurance agent as soon as possible.
The likelihood of a closing being delayed increases as a buyer waits to obtain their insurance. Once a storm reaches the Florida coast it may be impossible to access insurance. Imagine you have a buyer who’s closing is the last day of the month. A week prior the news is broadcasting about a storm that may potentially affect the state. Your buyer has received a quote for their home insurance but has not contacted their agent to secure the policy. Insurance companies tend to suspend binding as the storm approaches the state. Since there is no set rule as to when these suspensions are put in place it is best to contact the agent as soon as possible in case the storm does affect the state.
With pool party season approaching we have some tips to keep you and your loved ones safe at the pool!
10. Use non-slip materials on the pool deck
9. Check the pool and equipment periodically for cleanliness and good maintenance
8. Keep a first-aid kit poolside and post CPR instructions and learn procedures
7. Establish safety rules for your pool area such as “no diving” and “please walk” and make sure to enforce these rules
6. Make sure you have a barrier around the pool with a self-closing gate (for children and pets)
5. Ensure everyone in your home knows how to swim well
4. Teach children water safety skills as early as possible
3. Always provide adult supervision when the pool is in use; children should never be in the pool without supervision
2. Have young children wear flotation vests or use flotation devices
Our #1 tip for the pool this summer is to have fun while being safe!
There’s a lot of talk about the future of health insurance in Florida (across the nation actually) right now, especially with the current presidential election. There may have been some terminology mentioned in debates that you aren’t familiar with. One is the Health Savings Account or HSA. It’s not a new plan but may be expanded to have more options available in the near future. This type of plan can be beneficial to many but understanding how it works is the first step.
An HSA from a bank or savings perspective is a type of account you set up with a participating bank that is designated to be used to health-related expenses only. The money you put in to this account is tax-free but cannot be used on anything but health-related things such as doctor’s visits, procedures, prescriptions, dental and vision services, etc. Health Savings Account funds cannot, however, be used to pay actual premiums.
An HSA from the health insurance perspective is a policy you elect that is typically all out of pocket up to a certain maximum. The most common HSA plan with Florida Blue has a $3,600 deductible (for individuals) that you would pay for yourself, then any and everything over that amount for the remainder of the calendar year is paid for in full by the policy. The maximum amount that you can deposit into the HSA bank account per year is $3,350 for an individual and $6,750 for a family (in 2016) but it will roll over to the next year if unused. After age 65, you can withdraw funds from an HSA account to be used for any reason, without penalty. If you withdraw funds for non-medical use prior to age 65, you must pay the appropriate income taxes as well as a 20% penalty.
The objective and benefit of an Health Savings Account is that you are setting aside money in a “savings” account that you may or may not need for health-related expenses but you’re saving on the taxes. You’re also guaranteeing that you won’t pay more than a certain amount of money towards health insurance costs in one calendar year. Health Savings Accounts are typically offered as an option on employer-provided group insurance as well as individual health insurance.
The following are some examples of qualified health-related expenses that an HSA can be used for:
- Alcohol and drug addiction treatment
- Breast reconstruction surgery
- Dental treatment
- Diagnostic tests and devices
- Doctor’s visits
- Eyeglasses, contact lenses and exams
- Fertility enhancements
- Hearing aids and batteries
- Operations/surgery (non-cosmetic)
- Nursing services
- Physical therapy
- Psychiatric care
- Smoking cessation
Learn more about Health Insurance by visiting other blogs on the topic on our website.