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We all know that homeowners, in most cases, carry insurance policies protecting their property. These policies insure their home or property, and often the contents of the home or property, in the event of damage or disaster. What many renters don’t realize is that these policies, in most cases, do not cover any of the renter’s belongings.
What does this mean for you as a renter? If the property being rented is destroyed or damaged due to a fire, windstorm, or busted pipes, the landlord’s insurance will pay to repair the property, but will not pay to replace your couch, clothing, or computer. Additionally, your lease likely states that the landlord is not responsible for damage to these items. Unless you have a renter’s insurance policy, you are also going to be responsible for your own moving expenses in the event the home you are renting is damaged. According to State Farm Insurance Agent David Vargas “Many renters don’t realize they aren’t protected until it’s too late.”
Vargas, whose State Farm office is located in the heart of St. Petersburg, Florida, points out that the biggest component of renter’s insurance is what they call “Loss of Use”, “If the renter is displaced due to a loss, we pay up to 35% of the cost to relocate them and cover their relocation rent. But, that is by no means the extent of their coverage”, says Vargas. “Renters insurance can also cover property when it’s not even in a tenant’s home. Say, for example, a laptop or expensive camera equipment is stolen while the renter is on vacation, it’s often considered insured property and in many cases is still protected by the insurance policy whether or not it’s inside the dwelling.”
A good renter’s insurance policy can often be obtained for an average of $18.00 per month, a small price to pay to protect thousands of dollars in personal belongings. Not all policies are created equal, however. Before paying for a policy, a renter should always look at the fine print. It’s important to ask your insurance professional what it covers, and make sure you understand the specifics of the policy. It’s also important to take inventory of what you own. A renter’s policy is likely going to cover the replacement cost of items, so determine how much it would cost to replace the items you own. You may be surprised that it can be as high as $20,000 or more when you factor in the cost to replace your items with similar ones. If you are a pet owner, check to make sure you are covered for liability in the event that the pet causes damage to property or people. According to Vargas, “Our State Farm policies do not exclude any breed of dog. Renters should always check to make sure this is the case before they pay for a policy.”
When Hurricane Irma made its way through Florida in 2017, many residents in the St. Petersburg and Tampa Bay area, as well as throughout the state, were without power for several weeks. Many families lost food in their fridge, which can be costly if you are living paycheck to paycheck and meal-planning. Neighborhoods were rallying together to feed families. These perishable contents in their fridge likely would have been covered under a renter’s insurance policy. “Also, their policies may have paid for them to relocate to a property comparable to the one they were living in”, according to Vargas. “In a state like Florida, especially during our active hurricane season, it’s even more important that renters talk to an insurance professional to make sure they are covered.”
Written by Bobby Poth is the Broker/Owner of Poth & Associates Real Estate and Packard Property Management Group in St. Petersburg, FL and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
David Vargas is a State Farm Insurance Agent and owner of David Vargas- State Farm Insurance in St. Petersburg, Fl and can be reached at email@example.com.
It’s August in Florida and a hurricane is approaching Florida’s Gulf Coast. You bought your home three years ago, and since it wasn’t in a flood hazard area that required you to carry flood insurance, you didn’t purchase a flood insurance policy. You’re living in St. Petersburg, Florida, which is a peninsula on a peninsula, so your city is surrounded by water. Before you know it, the water levels have risen, and water has creeped into your house. You think “No problem, I’ll file an insurance claim”, and that’s where the trouble starts. Your insurance agent says “Bob, I’m sorry this has happened to you, but your homeowner’s insurance does not cover the water damage.” You frustratingly hang up the phone and review your policy and realize that your insurance agent is correct, those rising waters were not covered!
Most homeowner’s insurance policies do NOT cover flood damage to homes. According to floordmart.gov, more than 20 percent of flood claims come from properties outside high-risk flood zones. According to State Farm Insurance Agent David Vargas “Many property owners who are not in a high-risk area qualify for Preferred Risk Policy rates, which can be as low as $400.00 per year.” These preferred areas include flood hazard zones B, C, X, AR, and A99 zones.
As a real estate company, Poth & Associates Real Estate always recommends that our clients carry flood insurance, even when it’s not required. “A homeowner can’t prevent a flood, but they can prevent a financial disaster by making sure they are insured”, says Poth & Associates Real Estate Agent Stephanie Pia, “houses off the water can flood just as easily as houses on the water, so I encourage everyone to protect their investment.”
According to Vargas, this is a smart idea. “When you look at the number of flood insurance claims filed by homeowners who are not in high flood risk areas, it just makes sense to protect yourself.” According to FEMA’s National Flood Insurance Program, Federal disaster assistance is only made available when there is a Presidential Disaster Declaration, and most flood events do not result in a declaration. Federal disaster aid typically comes in the form of low-interest disaster loans that must be repaid. According to Vargas, this is where the importance of flood insurance comes in. “FEMA’s low-interest loans are often around $5,000, and one-inch of water damage can cause over $25,000 in damage to someone’s home” says Vargas, “Flood insurance would cover that damage, and the cost of those repairs does not have to be repaid.”
It’s not just homeowner’s that should be protected. Renters may also qualify for flood insurance policies. In addition to renter’s insurance, renters can also purchase an NFIP flood insurance policy to protect their belongings if a flood disaster occurs.
As we enter Florida’s Hurricane Season, many insurance and real estate agents are reminding their clients about the importance of Flood Insurance. “We are sending emails to clients to remind them to check their insurance policies to make sure they are protected”, said Pia.
Post written by Bobby Poth, Broker/Owner of Poth & Associates Real Estate in St. Petersburg, FL. firstname.lastname@example.org.
David Vargas is a State Farm Insurance Agent and owner of David Vargas- State Farm Insurance in St. Petersburg, Fl and can be reached at email@example.com. Stephanie Pia is a licensed Sales Associate with Poth & Associates Real Estate in St. Petersburg, FL and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
On Saturday, June 22, Poth & Associates Real Estate agents, clients, customers, and supporters participated in the 17th Annual St. Pete Pride Parade. Our team is committed to fair housing for ALL people, regardless of Race, Color, National Origin, Religion, Sex, Familial Status, Disability, Sexual Orientation, or Gender Identity. We are proud to include categories in our company non-discrimination policy that are not yet included in either Federal or Florida fair housing laws. Here are some pictures of our fun!
St. Petersburg, FL ranks #3 for TOP LGBT PLACES TO LIVE! With St. Petersburg and cities around the country celebrating PRIDE month, we feel it's fitting to post a link to this fantastic article!
Curious about local real estate? So are we! Every month we review trends in our real estate market and consider the number of homes on the market in each price tier, the amount of time particular homes have been listed for sale, specific neighborhood trends, the median price and square footage of each home sold and so much more. We’d love to invite you to do the same!
You can sign up here to receive your own market report, delivered as often as you like! It contains current information on pending, active and just sold properties so you can see actual homes in your neighborhood. You can review your area on a larger scale, as well, by refining your search to include properties across the city or county. As you notice price and size trends, please contact us for clarification or to have any questions answered.
We can definitely fill you in on details that are not listed on the report and help you determine the best home for you. If you are wondering if now is the time to sell, please try out our INSTANT home value tool. You’ll get an estimate on the value of your property in today’s market. Either way, we hope to hear from you soon as you get to know our neighborhoods and local real estate market better.