Ivan Penn, Times Staff Writer
In Print: Saturday, December 6, 2008
Looking for savings on home¬owner’s insurance?
Finding a discount might be as easy as hiring a certified home inspector.
Greg Karsa, 61, of Palm Harbor, did just that this week, and now he could save more than $1,000. His home, the inspector found, already had several protections against hurricanes that were not calculated in his original $3,100 premium.
What did the inspector find?
Nails in the roof.
Don’t laugh. It’s true. Nails were a part of the discount because they work better than the staples used on the roofs of some homes that were devastated during Hurricane Andrew.
The nails have to be the right length, spaced correctly and properly attached. But the point is, there are some protections hiding under the shingles and guarding windows and doors that could save money, if the home is formerly reviewed by an approved inspector.
The state’s My Safe Florida Home Program helped tens of thousands of homeowners find insurance discounts by paying for inspections and providing grants for qualified Floridians to strengthen their dwellings against storms.
After inspections through the My Safe Florida Home Program, the state deemed 212,268 homeowners eligible for an average discount of $218.15 based on an average premium of $1,081.78.
The program reached its mandated goals and ran out of money in July. But “there is nothing to prohibit the homeowner from going to the inspector directly,” said Tami Torres, program administrator for the My Safe
Florida Home Program.
The cost is about $150.
Torres cautions homeowners to ensure they use licensed inspectors who are trained and certified. She said the Legislature is being asked to established sanctions for those who cheat homeowners with fraudulent inspections.
Brian Cesare, the certified inspector who reviewed Karsa’s home, said some inspectors have offered questionable inspections for $25.
“I’m really suspicious of that,” said Cesare, owner of OSI Inspection Services in St. Petersburg.
Otherwise, Cesare, who performs 100 inspections a month, said his customers generally realize some discount benefit. “It’s like a stimulus package.”
Ivan Penn can be reached at email@example.com or (727) 892-2332.
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