Why We Want to High Five You at 64.5!

Medicare has been so closely associated with the age of 65 for so long now that many people think they can wait until they actually turn 65 to address their health insurance needs and begin that transition. With regard to eligibility and actually enrolling in Medicare, that’s perfectly fine since you have a 7 month window surrounding your 65th birthday to do so. However, there are several things to consider as you approach 65 that make it really beneficial to do your research and get things moving in that direction in advance. This being said, we encourage that you start this process at 64.5.

If you are still working, there are things to consider such as comparing your employer provided group coverage to that of Medicare for both coverage and cost. Another important factor is if you are contributing to an HSA, you must stop at least 6 months before going on Medicare for tax purposes. Also, if you currently have a spouse and/or family members on your plan that will need to come off, you’ll want some time to quote that and make arrangements financially as it can be much more costly than what you’ve been used to.

Whether you are working with a financial advisor or not, you will want to plan for Medicare financially and weight out your options. Gathering all of the information on Advantage plans vs Supplements and those cost differences will help you decide what aligns with your budget. There are also many prescription drug plans you can shop in order to make the right decision for you.

All of this can take time and there is no need to wait, which will only add more stress to an already somewhat overwhelming process. We have a 64.5 checklist that may be helpful if you’d like to see the steps we advise taking at that time. And of course, we’re always ready and willing to hand out some high fives for being on top of your Medicare at 64.5!

“What flood zone is my home in?”

This is such a common question we hear from home owners as well as realtors and mortgage lenders when it comes to property in Florida. Although it’s been proven that the majority of flood claims come from “low risk” flood zones (determined by FEMA), it’s still extremely important to know what level of risk you have for your home to potentially sustain flood damage.

There is a new tool called Flood Factor from First Street Foundation that can help determine the flood risk of a property just by entering the physical address. This tool can tell you approximately what percentage the chances are of your property being damaged by flood and what amount of flooding might occur. There are also projections up to 30 years into the future of how that could change over time. And if you’re interested, you can see some further statistics on your zip code, county and state within this tool as well.

This is beneficial in many ways but mostly to bring awareness to home owners of what their own situation is with regards to flooding and also what threats the surrounding areas may face. This also brings to light some gaps in the current FEMA mapping system, especially in smaller communities and rural areas. FEMA has reportedly only mapped one third of the nation’s riverine and coastal floodplains. That’s not nearly enough! But without an appropriate level of funding from Congress, that won’t be completed. This tool also helps with planning, identification of hazard mitigation opportunities, and conducting emergency response action plans.

One thing to note is that this tool is limited on how many details it knows about the property so it will not take into account things like community action, manual drainage systems put in place, etc.
It has been discovered that even just one inch of flooding can cause up to $27,000 of damage to your home so this isn’t something to take lightly. Most standard home owners and renters insurance policies do NOT cover flooding so it’s worth checking this out and seeing if you need a separate flood insurance policy. For more information on flood insurance or to obtain a quote, please contact us at (352) 371-7977 or info@mcgriffwilliams.com.

What exactly is Other Structures coverage?

Many people question the Other Structures coverage on their homeowner’s policy and don’t fully understand exactly what it is. It’s also referred to as Coverage B since it’s built into the core coverages on a standard HO-3 policy.

Other Structures applies to anything on the property that is not attached to the home itself. Examples of this would be:

• Fences
• Sheds
• Detached garages
• Gazebos
• Chicken coops
• Pump houses
• Pole barns
• Swimming pools (if not attached to the home)

However, there are often times exclusions for hurricane loss to the following if not attached to the dwelling (unless they are constructed with the same material as the main home):

• Awnings
• Aluminum framed screen enclosures/carports
• Solar panels
• Solar water heaters

A popular other structure in Florida, especially after everyone has stayed home more during the COVID-19 pandemic, is a swimming pool. If the pool is attached to the home (even by a connecting patio or screen enclosure), it would be covered under the Dwelling. Otherwise, it’s under Other Structures.

Typically, Other Structures coverage is 2% of the dwelling amount but it can be increased by endorsement with most companies to be sure you have enough. If you don’t have any detached structures on your property, you may question why you have this coverage at all. It is included as part of the policy without additional premium and cannot be fully excluded.

Be sure to evaluate these things on your property as sometimes they can be overlooked but also the things that commonly sustain damage in storms. If you have questions regarding what should be covered, at what value or under which coverage on your homeowner’s policy, we’d be happy to discuss it with you.