Homeowners’
Insurance
A Toolkit for Consumers
Florida Department of Financial Services • Division of Consumer Services • 1-877-MY-FL-CFO (693-5236)
www.MyFloridaCFO.com/Division/Consumers
Revised July 2018
Homeowners’ Insurance
TOOLKIT
Florida residents know rsthand that it pays to plan ahead. Dealing with wildres, oods, tornadoes,
hurricanes, winter storms, sinkholes and other disasters, can drastically change our lives. Individual
losses such as a home burglary, kitchen re, or a lightning strike can also disrupt our daily lives.
Homeowners’ insurance helps pay to repair or rebuild your home and replace personal property due
to a covered loss.
This toolkit provides information to assist you with insuring your home. It also contains tools to help
you if you have a covered loss that involves the largest investment you’ve made - your home.
Contents
Page
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Section 1
Insuring Your Home
Page
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Section 2
Know What Your Policy Covers
Page
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Section 3
Property Inventory and Claim Process
Page
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Section 4
Legal and Financial Document Checklist
3
11
15
29
3
Florida law does not require homeowners’ insurance, but most people want to insure the largest
investment they may ever make – their home. Also, if you own certain pets or a swimming pool, some
cities and counties require liability coverage, which would pay for covered injuries to others, or damage
to their property, for which you are legally responsible.
For mortgaged homes, the lending institution may require insurance coverage on the home, including
ood (if located in a special zone).
Depending on your home and which insurer you choose, you may obtain one of several homeowners’
insurance packages to cover your home and personal property. Each package provides coverage
against specied perils or events that cause damage to property, such as re, windstorm or theft.
Normally, a homeowners’ insurance policy provides coverage for the following:
Structure (the dwelling itself)
Other structures (like sheds and fences)
Personal property (the contents of the structures)
Loss of use (also called Additional Living Expense or ALE)
Personal Liability
Medical Payments to Others
The rst four are considered as “property” coverages located under Section I of your policy. Personal
Liability and Medical Payments to Others are considered “liability” coverages located under Section II
of your policy.
Property
Property coverage helps pay for damage caused by covered perils to your home, the contents of your
home and other personal belongings owned by you or family members who live with you. In some
cases, it helps pay for damage to other structures, such as tool sheds, detached garages, small boats,
guest houses and their contents. Your insurance agent or company can point out the items covered in
a given policy.
Most policies provide special limits to some
personal property, such as cash, antiques,
rearms, jewelry, furs and electronics. You
may be able to add additional coverage for
these items as an endorsement to your
insurance policy for an additional premium.
Your homeowners’ insurance policy may also
cover your dependent children’s belongings
while they attend college, whether they live
on or off campus. Check with your agent or
company representative concerning coverage
Section 1
Insuring Your Home
4
for children living away from home. You may need a separate policy.
Additional Living Expense (ALE)
Homeowners’ policies provide Additional Living Expense coverage that will pay some extra expenses
if damage to your home prevents you from living there while it is being repaired. Most policies also
provide this coverage when a civil authority (law enforcement agency, emergency management service,
etc.) prohibits the use of a residence or access to a residence due to direct damage to neighboring
homes by a covered peril.
The items typically covered - above and beyond normal expenses - include extra costs for food, housing,
telephone, relocation and storage, utility installation and furniture rental for a temporary residence. Be
sure to check your policy to nd out what is specically covered or excluded. This coverage applies only
to the additional amounts, over and above differences in expenses. For example, it would apply to the
cost of restaurant meals minus “normal” food expenses. It does not cover your mortgage, groceries and
utilities or the monthly cost of a telephone in a rented space. These are not expenses over and above
your normal expenses.
Your policy may designate a specied limit of coverage for additional living expenses, but your policy
does not obligate your company to pay this amount up front or in full if you suffer a total or partial
loss. For this reason, you must keep receipts for additional living expenses and submit these to your
company for reimbursement. Policies generally offer ALE coverage without any deductible. It applies
only to the residence in the event of a loss. ALE coverage does not apply to your dependent children
while they are away at college, and ood insurance policies issued through the National Flood Insurance
Program do not provide this coverage. If ood is covered under your homeowners’ insurance policy or
if you have a separate policy issued by the voluntary market, check your policy or talk to your agent to
determine coverage.
Personal Liability
This coverage protects you against a claim or lawsuit
resulting from (non-auto) bodily injury or property
damage to others. For example, if a neighbor slips
and falls in your house and sues you, and a jury nds
you legally liable, this coverage would pay that claim
plus legal fees up to the policy limits. This coverage
applies to you and all family members who live with
you. It does not cover intentional damage or harm
caused by you or family members who live with you.
Check your policy for exclusions and discuss them
with your agent.
Medical Payments
This coverage pays for medical expenses, up to
the medical payment limits, of persons accidentally
injured at your home, regardless of fault. It does not
apply to your injuries or those of anyone living with
INSURING YOUR HOME
5
you, or to activities involving an at-home business.
Ination Guard
Ination can increase the replacement cost of your home and its contents, while the actual cash value
of your home may decrease over time. An ination guard endorsement gradually increases your
dwelling’s coverage limit annually to assist you in keeping your home insured at its true replacement
cost. However, it is your responsibility to make sure you have the amount of coverage you need.
How Much Insurance Should You Buy?
Do not rely on the purchase price of the home, the amount of the mortgage loan, or the amount set by
the property tax appraiser or insurance agent. In order to be adequately covered, your home must be
insured for the amount it will take to rebuild the home at current prices for building materials and labor
costs. You may also need coverage to comply with current building codes when making repairs.
If your home is underinsured at the time of loss,
there may be a penalty or reduction in the amount
the insurance company will pay for the loss.
Ask your agent about limits and exclusions.
Insurance Packages
This section explains some of the insurance
packages available to Florida homeowners,
condominium-unit owners and mobile home
owners. The homeowners’ policy is a package
policy that may be modied, but dwellings,
INSURING YOUR HOME
Perils may include:
• Fire or lightning
• Windstorm or hail
• Explosion
• Riot or civil commotion
Aircraft
• Vehicles
• Smoke
• Vandalism or malicious mischief
• Theft
• Falling objects
• Weight of ice, snow or sleet
Accidental discharge or overow
of water or steam
• Sudden and accidental tearing
apart, cracking, burning or bulging
• Freezing
• Sudden and accidental damage
from articially generated electrical current
• Volcanic eruption
Homeowners’ Insurance
The three packages offered most frequently to owner-occupied, single-family homeowners’
include Broad Form HO-2, Special Form HO-3, and Modied Coverage Form HO-8. These
policies insure your home and personal property against a number of perils (examples listed
below are not inclusive).
6
unattached structures, personal property, liability, and medical payments are normally covered.
Florida Law also requires insurers to provide policyholders the option to exclude coverage for your
personal property as well as coverage for windstorm, if the policyholder personally writes a statement
that he does not want such coverage.
Coverage under homeowners’ insurance policies will vary from company to company. It is important to
review your insurance needs with your agent or company representative. It is also very important that
you read your policy so you understand the coverage you have.
Special Form (HO-3) is the most popular and most comprehensive homeowners’ form of the three
forms mentioned above. It covers the home for all causes of loss not specically excluded. So, it’s very
important to read the exclusions. All homeowners’ policies provide liability coverage.
Condominium Insurance
Condominium Unit-Owners’ Form (HO-6) covers your personal property and certain building items not
insured by the association’s policy. It also includes personal liability coverage.
A condominium association may choose to cover some items in its policy, so make sure you are
thoroughly familiar with its by-laws and policy to know what the association is responsible for. If you
have difculty obtaining copies of these documents, call the Florida Department of Business and
Professional Regulation, Division of Florida, Condominiums, Timeshares and Mobile Homes, at (850)
488-1122.
A condo association policy usually does not cover the following items if they are located within your unit:
• Floor, wall and ceiling coverings
Electrical xtures
Appliances
Water heaters
Water lters
Built-in cabinets and countertops
Window treatments, including drapes, blinds and hardware replacement
Unit-owners should insure interior additions or upgrades which are not the same kind or quality as the
original building items.
If an item is covered by both the association’s and unit owner’s policy, the association’s policy should
pay rst. This can affect the amount of coverage you need for the building under your policy, so it is
important to review your existing policy with your agent to make sure you are adequately covered.
Condo associations may assess individual unit-owners for damage to the commonly owned areas that
are not covered by the association’s policy. Your unit-owner’s policy may provide limited coverage for
such a “loss assessment.” The extent and amount of “loss assessment” coverage varies by insurance
company, but all admitted carriers (those issued a Certicate of Authority by the Ofce of Insurance
Regulation) are required to include a minimum of $2,000. Always review your coverage with your agent
or insurance company. An assessment by the condo association for the association’s policy
deductible is usually not covered by your unit owners assessment coverage.
INSURING YOUR HOME
7
Mobile Home Insurance
Mobile home policies may not provide coverage as broad as a homeowners’ policy. You should review
your individual policy to determine what is covered and what is excluded. There are three settlement
options available on a mobile home policy. All three are subject to the limits shown on your policy. You
should review your individual policy to determine your options.
A stated amount policy species that you will recover the policy’s face amount in the event of a total
loss, based upon the agreement made in your application. Insurance companies usually offer this type
of policy for newer-model homes.
An actual cash value policy will pay the
amount needed to repair a home after
depreciation is subtracted.
A replacement cost policy will pay for the
replacement of a damaged or destroyed home
without deducting for depreciation.
Home Rental or Dwelling Insurance
If you rent your home to others, insurance
companies offer landlord coverage to suit your
situation. If you rent a room or a portion of your
home, ask your agent what coverage you may
need.
Other Factors to Consider
When analyzing needed coverage, these are some other factors to consider:
Coverage Availability When Storms Threaten
You cannot obtain new or additional coverage when a tropical storm or hurricane watch or warning has
been issued for any area within the state of Florida. Don’t wait until the last minute to purchase your
policy, especially during hurricane season (June 1 through Nov. 30), when several storms can form
simultaneously.
Building Materials
The building materials used in the construction of your home will affect the cost to insure it. For example,
it’s more expensive to insure a frame house than one made of brick. If you are building a new home,
using stronger construction materials and construction techniques can save you money on insurance
premiums. Talk with your agent to see what discounts and/or reduced premiums are available to you.
Home Warranty Plans
Homeowners’ insurance can protect your home from losses due to re, theft, and other perils. A home
warranty plan, though, offers a service contract that can pay for unexpected repairs to the home’s
plumbing, electrical system, appliances, etc., during the warranty period. However, these plans offer no
substitute for a homeowners’ insurance policy.
INSURING YOUR HOME
8
Options If You Can’t Locate Coverage
The following options may be available if you are having difculty locating insurance for your home.
Florida Market Assistance Plan (FMAP)
The Florida Market Assistance Plan (FMAP) was created by the Florida legislature in 1985 as a service
organization designed to assist consumers in obtaining property and casualty insurance coverage from
authorized insurers in the private market.
FMAP’s online services utilize a computer database that stores information on consumers seeking
insurance coverage for their property located in Florida. The FMAP application matches those seeking
insurance coverage with participating licensed Florida agents that may be able to write the requested
insurance policy. The matching agent(s) or insurer(s) then call the interested party seeking coverage to
determine eligibility and provide an offer where applicable. Their website is www.fmap.org. Their toll-
free telephone number is 1-800-524-9023.
Citizens Property Insurance Corporation
You may be eligible for coverage with Citizens Property Insurance Corporation (Citizens) if you can’t
locate coverage in the voluntary market. The 2002 Florida Legislature merged the Florida Windstorm
Underwriting Association and the Florida Residential Property and Casualty Joint Underwriting
Association to form Citizens. (See the “Windstorm Coverage” section of this guide for more details on
Citizens, or visit www.citizensa.com.) Policies with Citizens are sold by local insurance agents.
Surplus Lines Companies
Admitted companies (those with a Certicate of Authority from the Ofce of Insurance Regulation) often
reject risks that do not meet their underwriting requirements. Some of the underwriting criteria may be
the age of the home, the construction of the home, the age of the roof, plumbing or electrical wiring.
The location of the home may be an underwriting concern. The insurance company will also ask what
type of animals you own.
Surplus Lines insurers help ll this need for consumers who can’t obtain coverage from admitted
companies. Before turning to a surplus lines insurer, your agent must apply for and receive rejections
from at least three admitted companies.
Freedom from most insurance regulation, such as form and rate lings, allows Surplus Lines companies
to respond to unmet needs of customers. The one thing you should be aware of is the Surplus Lines
Carrier is not covered by the Florida Insurance Guaranty Association in the event it becomes insolvent
or goes out of business and you have an unpaid claim or are due a refund of premium. A Surplus Lines
policy must have stamped or written on the rst page of the policy the following words:
“This insurance is issued pursuant to the Florida Surplus Lines law. Persons insured by
Surplus Lines carriers do not have the protection of the Florida Insurance Guaranty Act
to the extent of any right of recovery for the obligation of an insolvent unlicensed insurer.”
Thoroughly read any Surplus Lines policy, if purchased, since DFS does not regulate the rates these
companies charge or the forms they use. These policies may not provide the same coverage or
deductibles offered by admitted insurance companies.
INSURING YOUR HOME
9
Your Lending Institution
Most lenders providing mortgages require you to purchase property insurance to protect their nancial
interest in the property. The mortgage holder has an interest in the dwelling and unattached structures
portion of the policy until the loan is paid in full, but not the personal property, additional living expense
or liability portion of the policy.
This means your insurance company will make any claim checks for damage to the dwelling or
unattached structures payable to you (the insured) and your nancial institution. The lender has a right
to make sure repairs are completed.
The lender will inform you of its stipulations to obtain the money for repairs. In some instances, the
lender will provide money up front for you to begin the repairs and as they are completed, you will show
the lender proof of the repairs and they will continue to advance money. In other instances, the lender
may allow you to provide a signed contract for the repairs and they may pay the contractor directly as
repairs are made. When repairs are completed, lenders can’t keep remaining settlement proceeds to
cover the balance of your loan, unless your payments are in arrears.
If you feel your nancial institution is withholding funds that are rightfully yours, call the Ofce of Financial
Regulation at 1-850-487-9687.
Force-Placed Homeowners’ Insurance
If you fail to obtain homeowners’ insurance, your lender may purchase it for you since loan contracts
usually require it. This is called “force-placed” insurance.
Warning: The premium for force-placed coverage is very expensive. The policy only covers the structure
and not your personal property, or the policy may only cover the loan’s outstanding balance. Also, the
insured is actually the lender purchasing the policy; therefore, you may not have any rights to the policy
even though you were billed for the premium.
Private Mortgage Insurance
Most homeowners know this type of coverage by its initials, PMI. This insurance helps protect lenders
from default by borrowers. The mortgage company may require this type of insurance if your down
payment is less than 20 percent of the property’s value. This insurance allows you to qualify for a larger
mortgage than is otherwise available with a small down payment.
Credit Life Insurance
This type of insurance may pay off your home in the event of your death. The premium for this insurance
will vary depending on the face amount of coverage, the term of the loan and the age of the insured.
Certain health related questions may also be asked on the application. Coverage is not guaranteed.
You may obtain this coverage for both spouses under one contract on a rst-to-die basis. This means
that the surviving spouse becomes the beneciary. As with all insurance policies, it is a good idea to do
research in order to choose the credit life insurance policy that is right for you.
INSURING YOUR HOME
10
What About Building a New Home?
If you plan to build your own home or hire a contractor to build one for you, a Builders Risk policy may
be what you need while the home is under construction. Coverage under a typical Builders’ Risk policy
covers the home from the start of construction and continues until a stated time found in the policy after
construction is completed.
Builder’s Risk policies cover items such as the home under construction, building materials, machinery,
equipment, permanent xtures, debris removal,
pollutant cleanup, oor plans, blueprints,
valuable records or papers, landscaping, etc.
This coverage can help ensure that you or your
contractor can obtain funds to repair or rebuild in
case of loss. In addition, liability coverage may
be purchased to cover your liability exposure in
connection with the construction.
Before you start a home-construction project,
nd out whether you or your contractor should
purchase a Builders Risk policy. Individuals
hiring a contractor to build a home can require
them to obtain a builders risk policy as part of the construction contract.
Also, some homeowners’ policies are used to cover a home under construction. You should contact
your insurance agent or insurer for more information.
Policy Termination
Admitted insurance companies can take up to 90-days to decide whether you meet their underwriting
guidelines. Within this 90-day period, a company must give you a 20-day notice if it intends to cancel
the policy, except for nonpayment of premium, which requires a 10-day notice.
After 90-days, your company may cancel your policy if:
You don’t pay your premium;
You provided false information on your application;
You failed to follow the company’s requirements; or
You increased your risks through new activities or home improvements.
For reasons other than nonpayment of premium, the company must provide a 120-day notice before it
may cancel your policy.
Companies can always non-renew, with certain limitations, your policy with proper notice. The non-
renewal notice must be provided at least 120-days in advance.
You may cancel your policy at any time by providing a written request. You should receive a refund of
any unearned premium. However, if you cancel an insurance policy early, the company may retain 10%
of the unearned premium amount. If you are changing insurance policies or companies, make sure you
do not have a break in coverage between the two policies. This could result in your mortgage company
adding the cost of a force-placed policy to your mortgage.
INSURING YOUR HOME
11
Special Limits on Certain Personal Property
Homeowners’ insurance policies usually have special limits of coverage on personal items such as
cash, jewelry, silverware, guns, antiques, boats and other items. If you need additional coverage for
these items, talk to your insurance agent. In most cases, additional coverage can be obtained by
paying an additional premium.
Replacement Cost Versus Actual Cash Value
There are two settlement options available when purchasing insurance on your home. You can elect to
insure your home and personal property for Actual Cash Value or Replacement Cost.
Replacement Cost
Replacement Cost is the amount needed to repair or replace your damaged property with materials of
similar kind and quality, without deducting for depreciation (the decrease in the value of your home or
personal property due to normal wear and tear).
Actual Cash Value
Actual Cash Value is the amount needed to repair or replace an item, less depreciation. For example,
your insurance company would deduct for the age and condition of a 17-year-old roof with a 20-year
life expectancy. In this scenario, you have used 17 out of 20 years expectancy. You would be paid for
the remaining three years value.
Here is how both settlement options work in practice. Let’s say you purchased a new television in
2013 for $1,000 and it was destroyed by lightning in 2015. If the settlement option available on your
insurance policy is Actual Cash Value, your insurer will pay an amount that reects the current value
of the 2013 TV. If the life expectancy of the 2013 TV is approximately 10 years, you would have used
two years so you would receive the value of the other eight, $800. A policy that settles claims based on
the Actual Cash Value will consider depreciation. A Replacement Cost policy would cover the cost to
replace the TV with a new one of the same like, kind, and quality even if it’s more than what you paid
in 2013 - say $1,100.
Your agent must offer you Replacement Cost coverage on your dwelling. In order to receive the
replacement cost benet, most homeowners’ insurance policies require the policyholder to insure their
home for at least 80% of its replacement value.
If your home is covered by a Replacement Cost policy that requires you to have it insured for at least
80% of its replacement cost, and you do not insure the correct amount, you may become a co-insurer
for any partial loss claim.
For instance, if you insure the home for $100,000 and the true replacement cost is $200,000, you should
have insured the home for at least $160,000. If you have a loss of $25,000.00, the company would
pay only $15,625, less your deductible, on the claim. The formula used by the insurer to determine
the amount they owe in this example is the amount of insurance carried divided by the amount
Section 2
Know What Your
Policy Covers
12
KNOW WHAT YOUR POLICY COVERS
of insurance required, times the amount of loss, equals the amount payable by the insurance
company ($100,000 divided by $160,000 times $25,000 = $15,625 and then subtract the deductible.)
Windstorm Coverage
Most homeowners’ insurance policies cover damage caused by windstorms, hurricanes and hail,
unless you sign to waive the coverage. Also, if your home is located in the Wind-Pool Area, it is likely
that Windstorm Coverage is excluded on your regular homeowners’ policy and you must purchase
a separate windstorm policy if you want the coverage. Most lenders require you to carry Windstorm
Coverage if you have a mortgage.
Flood Insurance
Most homeowners’ policies exclude ood damage (rising water). Depending on your home’s location,
however, you may qualify for ood insurance through the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). You
also may qualify for a discount if you include a special elevation report with your application. Recently,
other insurance companies have entered the ood insurance market. In some instances, you may be
able to purchase ood insurance through the same insurance company that provides your homeowners’
coverage. The private industry policy must meet at least the requirements of policies issued by the
NFIP. For more information, contact the National Flood Insurance Program at 1-888-FLOOD29 (1-888-
356-6329), or your insurance agent.
Flood insurance is available for your home and personal property. Normally, there is a 30-day waiting
period before a ood insurance policy becomes effective with the National Flood Insurance Program,
unless the policy is purchased at the same time you purchase or renance your home. Flood Insurance
can be obtained from your local agent.
Sinkholes and Catastrophic Ground Cover Collapse
Insurance companies are not required to automatically include sinkhole coverage on homeowners’
insurance policies. In some cases, sinkhole coverage may be offered, but the insurance company
has a right to inspect the premises for possible sinkhole activity and decline coverage if it’s found. In
other cases, the company may decline sinkhole coverage if your home is within a certain distance of
conrmed sinkhole activity.
Insurance companies must include “catastrophic ground cover collapse” which means:
1. The abrupt collapse of the ground cover;
2. A depression in the ground cover clearly
visible to the naked eye;
3. Structural damage to the building,
including the foundation; and
4. The insured structure being condemned
and ordered to be vacated by the
governmental agency authorized by law
to issue such an order for that structure.
13
Insurers may also restrict sinkhole and catastrophic ground cover collapse to the principal building, as
dened in the applicable policy.
Surplus Lines insurers are not required to offer sinkhole coverage, but many do. Ask your agent for
details.
Ordinance or Law Exclusion
If a local building ordinance or law has changed which increases the cost to repair or replace your
home, the insurance company does not pay that extra amount, unless your policy includes ordinance
or law coverage.
This is how it works: Let’s say your home was built in 1982. Let’s further say the home was damaged
over 50% during a hurricane in 2015. At the time of the hurricane, the building code required you to
rebuild the entire structure to comply with current building codes if the home was damaged 50% or
more. Ordinance or Law coverage could help demolish the undamaged portion and rebuild the home to
comply with the current building code. Complying with current building codes may require changes in
design and/or building materials which
could result in you paying more to repair
or rebuild your home. In the example
above if you didn’t have this valuable
coverage, the insurance company
would not pay for the demolition of the
undamaged portion of the structure or
the increased cost to comply with the
current building code.
Admitted carriers must include a
Ordinance or Law coverage limit of at
least 25% of the dwelling coverage.
Also, they must allow you to select
50% of the dwelling coverage. Some
insurance companies will allow you to
reject this coverage by signing a waiver.
Mold
Typically, mold that results from a covered peril is covered under your homeowners’ policy, although
the amount can be limited. An example of a covered peril would be a sudden and accidental discharge
of water - like a burst pipe or other plumbing failure, or claims that arise from water intrusions due to
hurricanes.
Most insurers offer limited levels of mold-related coverage in their policies. The most common limitation
we see is $10,000. In some cases, an insured can purchase higher limits of mold coverage for an
additional premium. Other companies exclude coverage for mold-related claims.
KNOW WHAT YOUR POLICY COVERS
14
Sample Declarations Page
Where to Locate Policy Information
0!
- Policyholder name and location of insured
dwelling
0@
- Company Name
0#
- Policy Number
0$
- Premium
0%
- Mortgage holder name and address jewelry
or silverware
0^
- Summary of basic coverages and limits
0&
a - Deductible (amount policyholder must pay
per claim or accident)
0&
b - Hurricane deductible
0*
- Liability protection
0(
- Type of policy (in this case, HO-3)
a
- Optional coverage (called an endorsement)
for special items such as
1!
- Coverage offered or required under Florida
law
1@
- Name of agent or company representative
KNOW WHAT YOUR POLICY COVERS
15
We recommend completing a room-by-room inventory so if you have a claim, you will be able to provide
complete and accurate information to the insurance company so they can process your claim. The
more detailed documentation you can supply during the claims process, the fewer problems you will
experience.
The following inventory includes the main rooms of a home, but don’t forget other areas such as
your closets, basement, attic, garage, porch, patio, workroom or sheds. In addition to completing an
inventory, take photos of your personal property. Pictures add details about your inventory that written
documents can’t. Also, include serial numbers if they are available.
Once the inventory is complete, estimate the replacement cost of your property using current prices
and compare that amount to your personal property coverage limit. If you feel your coverage should
be increased, contact your agent. Also, review your inventory list for items that may be underinsured
due to the limitations on certain types of personal property (discussed earlier). Since insurance policies
differ, you should check your own insurance policy for the list of personal property subject to limitations.
If you determine you need additional coverage for any of these items, contact your insurance agent.
It’s very important to update your inventory at least once a year.
Personal Asset Inventory
The inventory provided includes the following rooms. Use additional sheets of paper if needed.
Disclaimer: This toolkit may not provide a complete list of items in your inventory. You should add pages
as needed to complete your own personal inventory.
Living Room
Dining Room
Kitchen
Family Room (Den)
Bedrooms
Bathrooms
Other
Section 3
Property Inventory &
Claim Process
TIP: When dealing with an insurance claim, never give original documents
to anyone. Always provide copies and keep the original documents.
TIP: If possible, take photographs or video recordings of
your property and store all records in a safe, dry place.
16
PROPERTY INVENTORY & CLAIM PROCESS
Financial Account Information
Name of Institution:
Address:
Phone Number:
Account Number:
Website:
Mortgage Information
If your home is mortgaged, any insurance claim settlement will be made out to you and the mortgage
holder. You will need to keep the mortgage holder informed of the process and arrange a schedule of
release of funds for repairs.
Name of Institution:
Address:
Phone Number:
Account Number:
Website:
Additional Accounts (utility companies, cell phone provider, etc):
17
PROPERTY INVENTORY & CLAIM PROCESS
Living Room Inventory
Item Qty
Purchase
Date
Purchase
Price
Brand Name Make/Model/Serial #
Furniture
Sofas/Chairs
Mirrors
Lamps
Rugs/Carpet
Tables
Curtains/Draperies
Entertainment Center
Bookcases/Books
Other:
Arts & Crafts
Pictures/Paintings
Sculptures/Pottery
Other:
Electronics
Television
Stereo
VCR/DVD
CDs
Telephones
Computer
Clocks
Other:
Miscellaneous
Air Conditioner
Cabinets
Fireplace Fixtures
Blinds
Other:
Additional
Notes:
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PROPERTY INVENTORY & CLAIM PROCESS
Dining Room Inventory
Item Qty
Purchase
Date
Purchase
Price
Brand Name Make/Model/Serial #
Furniture
Tables
Chairs
Cabinets
Curtains/Draperies
Chandeliers/Lamps
Mirrors
Rugs/Carpet
Other:
Electronics
Telephones
Clocks
Other:
Arts & Crafts
Pictures/Paintings
Sculptures/Pottery
Other:
Miscellaneous
China/Crystal
Glassware
Table Linens
Blinds
Other:
Additional
Notes:
19
PROPERTY INVENTORY & CLAIM PROCESS
Kitchen Inventory
Item Qty
Purchase
Date
Purchase
Price
Brand Name Make/Model/Serial #
Furniture
Floor Mats
Cabinets
Curtains/Draperies
Tables
Chairs
Other:
Major Appliances
Freezer
Refrigerator
Oven
Microwave
Other:
Utensils
Pots/Pans
Silverware
Glasses
Plates/Dishes
Cooking Utensils
Other:
Miscellaneous
Blender
Toaster
Can Opener
Coee Maker
Pictures/Paintings
Blinds
Cabinets
Other:
Additional
Notes:
20
PROPERTY INVENTORY & CLAIM PROCESS
Family Room (Den) Inventory
Item Qty
Purchase
Date
Purchase
Price
Brand Name Make/Model/Serial #
Furniture
Tables
Sofa/Chairs
Rugs/Carpet
Entertainment Center
Game Table
Bookcases/Books
Desks
Mirrors
Other:
Arts & Crafts
Pictures/Paintings
Sculptures/Pottery
Other:
Electronics
Television
VCR/DVD
Stereo
CDs
Computer
Video Game System
Clocks
Other:
Miscellaneous
Air Conditioner
Fireplace Fixtures
Blinds/Draperies
Other:
Additional
Notes:
21
PROPERTY INVENTORY & CLAIM PROCESS
Bedrooms Inventory
Item Qty
Purchase
Date
Purchase
Price
Brand Name Make/Model/Serial #
Furniture
Beds
Nightstand
Lamps
Desks
Rugs/Carpet
Bed Linens
Curtains/Draperies
Dressers
Bureaus/Chests
Bookcases/Books
Mirrors
Other:
Arts & Crafts
Pictures/Paintings
Sculptures/Pottery
Other:
Electronics
Computer
Clocks
Television
VCR/DVD
Stereo
CDs
Other:
Miscellaneous
Blinds
Clothing
Other:
Additional
Notes:
22
PROPERTY INVENTORY & CLAIM PROCESS
Bathrooms Inventory
Item Qty
Purchase
Date
Purchase
Price
Brand Name Make/Model/Serial #
Furniture
Hamper
Floor Mats
Mirrors
Bath Mats
Bathtub
Curtains/Draperies
Other:
Arts & Crafts
Pictures/Paintings
Sculptures/Pottery
Other:
Electronics
Electronic Toothbrush
Hair Dryer
Shaver
Curlers
Other:
Miscellaneous
Towels/Linens
Toiletries
Scale
Other:
Additional
Notes:
23
PROPERTY INVENTORY & CLAIM PROCESS
Other Inventory
Item Qty
Purchase
Date
Purchase
Price
Brand Name Make/Model/Serial #
Real Estate
Vehicles
Cars/Trucks
Boats
RVs
Other:
Jewelry & Collectibles
Computer Hardware/Electrical Devices
Additional
Notes:
24
PROPERTY INVENTORY & CLAIM PROCESS
Other Inventory
Item Qty
Purchase
Date
Purchase
Price
Brand Name Make/Model/Serial #
Miscellaneous
Cameras
Furs
Antiques
Tools
Firearms
Plants
Toys/Porcelain Dolls
Telescope
Fish/Fish Tanks
Musical Instruments
Outdoor Furniture
Lawnmower
Other:
Additional
Notes:
25
The Claims Process
If you have a covered loss, you should determine if the amount of the loss exceeds your policy
deductible. If the damage exceeds your deductible, report the loss to your insurance company as
soon as possible. If the covered loss is due to a hurricane and the amount of the loss is less than your
hurricane deductible, you should still le a claim with your insurance company, and save all invoices
and receipts for the repairs that were completed.
It is important to le the claim because the hurricane deductible is a calendar year deductible. This
means, you only have to meet the hurricane deductible once during the calendar year. If there are
two or more hurricanes in the same calendar year, the deductible that will be applied to damage that
occurs from a second hurricane will be either (1) the amount left over from the deductible applied to the
damage from the rst hurricane or (2) the “all peril” deductible stated in your policy, whichever is greater.
If your home is damaged, you must make emergency repairs to prevent further damage. You should
keep all your receipts for material and labor while making emergency repairs. It is benecial to take
pictures of the damaged property before starting the emergency repairs. You should never repair all
the structure damage or throw away any damaged personal property until instructed to do so by the
adjuster. The company has a right to inspect the damage before you receive payment.
Make sure your adjuster is properly licensed in Florida. If you have any questions about the license
status of an adjuster, or the way your claim was handled, call the Department’s Insurance Consumer
Helpline toll-free at 1-877-My-FL-CFO (1-877-693-5236).
Keep a phone log of the dates, times, and names of all persons you speak to regarding your claim. Also
keep a copy of anything you sign.
Options Available If You Have a Claim Dispute
Mediation: This is an informal process where a trained, neutral mediator tries to help resolve the
dispute without dictating the outcome. The insurance company pays the cost of the mediation process.
Mediation is not binding on either party. You are not required to accept the offer made by the company
at the mediation conference. To determine if your claim qualies for mediation, call the Department’s
Insurance Consumer Helpline at 1-877-My-FL-CFO (1-877-693-5236).
Appraisal: If you and your company representative cannot reach a satisfactory settlement and your
policy allows appraisal, you may hire an appraiser to reach a compromise gure. Your appraiser will
negotiate with the insurer’s appraiser to reach a settlement. If the two appraisers cannot agree, they
will hire an umpire. The cost of the umpire is shared by you and the insurer. A decision of any two of
the three appraisers is binding on all parties.
Types of Adjusters
When you report a claim to your insurer, they normally assign an adjuster to inspect and estimate your
loss. Adjusters must be licensed in the state of Florida. There are three types of adjusters.
1. Company Adjusters: They work and are paid by your insurance company to inspect and estimate
your loss. They submit a report directly to the insurance company which is used by the company
to determine payment to you. In the event of a disaster, emergency adjusters are licensed to
assist in Florida. The emergency adjusters are also hired and paid by the insurance companies.
PROPERTY INVENTORY & CLAIM PROCESS
26
2. Independent adjusters: They may be self-employed or work for an independent adjusting rm.
Independent adjusters and their rms are also hired and paid by insurance companies to adjust
claims of their policyholders. They inspect and estimate your loss and report it to the insurance
company. The company makes the nal decision regarding the amount they pay you.
3. Public adjusters: They may be self-employed or work for a public adjusting rm. You may hire
a public adjuster to estimate your damage and negotiate a settlement on your behalf with the
insurance company. A public adjuster charges a fee to handle the claim on your behalf. Their
fee is normally stated on the contract as a percentage of the amount they collect on your behalf.
In Florida, there are limitations on the amount public adjusters can charge depending on the
type of claim you have. When you call to verify a public adjuster’s license, you should also verify
the amount they are charging you is correct.
Make sure your adjuster is properly licensed in Florida. If you have any questions about the license
status of an adjuster, or the way your claim was handled, call the Department’s Insurance Consumer
Helpline toll-free at 1-877-My-FL-CFO (1-877-693-5236).
You may use the following log to record the name and contact information for the adjuster assigned to
your claim as well as any conversations you have. You should also document attempts to contact the
adjuster that were unsuccessful or conversations with others regarding your claim. This information
could be benecial at a later date.
Adjuster Name:
Adjuster’s Company:
Adjuster’s Phone:
Adjuster’s License Number:
Claim Number:
PROPERTY INVENTORY & CLAIM PROCESS
LOG:
27
PROPERTY INVENTORY & CLAIM PROCESS
Conduct scheduled reviews of your insurance policy to make sure you are adequately
covered and your coverage is up to date.
Make sure you have a designated place to meet other family members in the event of
an emergency. If you are directed to a specic location by local authorities, make sure
other family members know where you are.
Listen to the news on your TV or radio to receive emergency instructions from local
authorities and to keep up with the current weather conditions. You should have a
battery-operated radio available in case you lose power. Make sure you have extra
batteries on hand.
If you know a storm is headed your way, ll up your gas tank in case you must evacuate.
It is not always easy to nd an operating gas station as the storm approaches.
If you must evacuate, try to contact your employer and let them know your plans.
You should always have an emergency kit for injuries or illnesses on hand. It is a good
idea to have one located permanently in your vehicle.
Make advance plans for your pets. Not all public shelters or hotels allow animals unless
they are “service animals”. If you must leave your pets at home, leave a 3-day supply
of food and water.
Before a storm arrives, move any outside furniture or other valuables into your home
and lock all windows and doors. Pick up any loose items in the yard as they can become
projectiles in a storm. Also, check on your neighbors to see if they need assistance.
You should keep cash on hand. ATMs will not work if the power is out, and banks may
not be able to restock the ATMs for a while once power is restored.
Before the Storm
28
As the Storm Approaches
Make sure your family has a plan of evacuation, including a list of people to contact in the event you
need to leave the area.
People to Contact
List individuals to be contacted before and after evacuation (one person should be located out of state if possible).
Name:
Email:
Phone Number:
Name:
Email:
Phone Number:
List Evacuation Route Options:
Route One:
Storm Shelter:
Route Two:
Storm Shelter:
Medical Information
Physician’s Name:
Physician’s Phone Number:
Pharmacy Name:
Pharmacy Phone Number:
List of Necessary Medications
Health Insurance ID card (s)
Record of Immunizations/Allergies
Disabilities Documentation
Living Will
Dental Records / Child Identity Cards / DNA Swabs
PROPERTY INVENTORY & CLAIM PROCESS
Note: If you take prescription medications regularly, you should contact your pharmacy
before a storm strikes to get prescriptions lled so that you don’t run out.
29
Make sure you have the following information. If you are missing some of this information and are
unsure where to obtain it, see the list of resources at the end of this list. These items may assist if you
need to le for government disaster assistance, tax assistance, etc.
Insurance Policies
Make sure you have the correct phone number to report a claim with your insurance company. Review
your coverage to make sure it is adequate for your current circumstances.
Property Insurance
Auto Insurance
Health Insurance
Life Insurance
Other
Financial Information
Bank/Credit Union Statements
Credit/Debit Card Statements
Retirement Accounts (401K, TSP, IRA)
Investment Accounts (Stocks, Bonds, Mutual Funds)
Tax Information
Tax returns from the previous year may be required to apply for loans and to verify your income in the
event you need to apply for assistance.
Previous Year’s Income Tax Return
Property Tax Statement
Personal Property Tax (i.e. Car Tax)
Sources of Income/Assets
You may be required to provide verication of your income and its source if you need to apply for
assistance.
Recent Pay Stubs for All Sources of Income
Government Benets (e.g. Social Security, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, Veterans’)
Alimony Income
Child Support Income
Professional Appraisals of Personal Property
Rewards Accounts (e.g., Frequent Flyer Programs, Hotel Rewards)
Section 4
Legal & Financial
Document Checklist
30
Vital Insurance Information
The following information will be of the most importance immediately after a storm and will help expedite
the ling of claims. Be sure to know what your insurance policies cover. It is a good idea to perform
an annual review of the type and amount of coverage you have, to make sure you are adequately
protected in the event of a loss.
Property Insurance Health Insurance
Company Name Company Name
Policy Number Policy Number
Company Phone Number Company Phone Number
Company Address Company Address
Deductible Deductible
Premium Due Date Premium Due Date
Wind Only Policy Life Insurance
Company Name Company Name
Policy Number Policy Number
Company Phone Number Company Phone Number
Company Address Company Address
Deductible Deductible
Premium Due Date Premium Due Date
Auto Insurance Other Insurance (Boat, Windstorm, Flood, etc.)
Company Name Type of Policy
Policy Number Company Name
Company Phone Number Policy Number
Company Address Company Phone Number
Deductible Company Address
Premium Due Date Deductible
Premium Due Date
LEGAL & FINANCIAL DOCUMENT CHECKLIST
Special Note about Security Concerns
In addition, electronic payments, credit/debit cards and software programs for taxes and other
nances require a password, PIN (Personal Identication Number) or personal security questions
as an extra measure of protection. It is important to keep these access codes secure. DO NOT
include a list of passwords and PINs in your documents.
Choosing secure passwords is one of the most important things you can do to keep your electronic
accounts safe and avoid the headaches and potential suffering caused by security breaches. Be
sure to select a password or PIN that is something you will be able to remember, but that is
NOT something easily associated with you, such as a birth date, phone number, nickname or
other reference someone could easily discover. Never write your password down or store it in an
unencrypted le.
NEVER give out a password or PIN for any account to anyone, no matter who the person is or
claims to be. No customer service representative, systems administrator or corporate security
ofcer should ever ask you for your password or PIN. If someone is authorized to access your
account, he or she does not need your password to get access.
31
LEGAL & FINANCIAL DOCUMENT CHECKLIST
Financial Obligations
Having a record of your nancial obligations can be extremely important to demonstrate your discretionary
income and to qualify for income-based assistance following a disaster. If you do not have a lease,
having proof of utility payments is very important to demonstrate residence in the home.
Mortgage Statement
• Lease
Utility Bills (Electric, Water, Gas)
Car Payment
• Student Loan
Alimony Payments
Child Support Payments
Elder Care Facilities
Other Debt
How to Get Important Documents
You can obtain copies of birth, death, marriage, divorce and adoption certicates from your state health
or social services administrations for a minimal fee.
The IRS requires all U.S. Citizens who receive income to have a Social Security Number. You may
obtain assistance in obtaining replacement cards at http://www.socialsecurity.gov/ssnumber/ or you
may visit your local Social Security Ofce.
If you need to replace your passport, a copy of your passport helps expedite this process. Additional
information may be obtained at http://travel.state.gov/content/passports/en/passports.html.
If you need to replace naturalization documents please visit http://www.uscis.gov/n-565. Naturalization
documents are the only acceptable proof of citizenship for individuals not born in the United States.
Additional information regarding U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services is also available at the site
listed above.
A Will is an extremely important document that can help reduce family conicts, probate, time and
expenses during the stressful time of losing a loved one. A Short Form Will, an uncomplicated will
used to give all assets equally to one or more heirs, can generally be obtained for less than $10. Most
nancial planners can help you with this or you can contact your local legal aid ofces.
A Power of Attorney is a legal document that authorizes another person to act on your behalf. That
person does not have to be an attorney, just someone you trust to make decisions for you if you cannot
make them yourself. A Power of Attorney can grant complete authority or can be limited to certain acts
and/or for certain periods of time.
If you need a copy of your mortgage or deed of trust, contact your lending institution. Proof of home
ownership may be required in order to receive federal disaster assistance.
If you do not have the title or registration to your vehicle, you should be able to get a duplicate title or
registration from your local Department of Motor Vehicles.
32
Notes:
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Homeowners’ Insurance - A Toolkit for Consumers
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