September 2015 - In This Issue:

According to American Modern Insurance Group, 30% of all burglaries occur as a result of something as simple as an open or unlocked window or door. Even if you feel your neighborhood is safe, empty homes are more vulnerable to theft.  The good news is, home theft is preventable. American Modern offers the following 12 tips for homeowners to help them take the proper steps and measures to secure their homes.
  • Install strong door locks and deadbolts.  Choose a lock set that is proven to withstand drilling or picking.
  • Reinforce doorjambs and strike plates.  Most often, structural failures occur when strike plates separate from doorframes.
  • Apply window security film. This prevents glass breakage and can deter a smash and-grab.
  • Lock your windows.  If your windows don't already have locks, add them. Or, drill small holes into the upper and lower sashes at their overlap point and insert removable eyebolts.
  • Close and lock your shed and garage every night.  Make sure your vehicles are under cover and secure before you go to bed. On a smaller scale, stolen tools and lawn equipment are also a lucrative trade, so ensure these items are securely stored away.
  • When away from home, don't advertise your absence.  Put temporary holds on mail and newspaper delivery, or have a trusted neighbor collect them. Put lights on staggered timers. Avoid posting on social media about your travel plans, which can increase the risk of burglaries and break-ins while you are away from your property.
  • Put in motion-activated outdoor lighting.  Make sure entry points are especially well-lit.
  • Protect Vacant Properties and Vacation Homes.  Keep vacant home doors and windows securely locked as they are a big target for metal scrappers or vandals. Put interior lights on staggered timers and install motion-activated exterior lights.
  • Vehicles and items left in them.  Most vehicle-related thefts take place in under 20 seconds. Never leave loose items on the seats or dash; lock them in the trunk, or better yet, take them with you. If you have a garage at home, use it. If you must park on the street, install a loud alarm system with a visible, blinking dash light.
  • Not every thief is after traditional valuables.  Some thieves are after materials that can be sold to scrappers or recyclers for quick cash. Some want moderately expensive items that can be sold online before an owner realizes they're gone. These items can include: bicycles, sporting equipment, pool pumps and copper coils from air conditioning units.

Imagine trying to list every possession you own, along with each item's worth, after your home has been destroyed by fire or a natural disaster. The task will feel overwhelming and will be nearly impossible.  However, having a detailed home inventory can make the difference between a paid insurance claim and a disputed claim. Relying solely on your memory could be expensive.
A home inventory can simplify filing an insurance claim, help you secure a settlement and prove useful when verifying property loss for taxes. When you assign values to your items, a home inventory can also help estimate how much insurance you really need.

11 rules for creating an all-inclusive home inventory:

1. Read your homeowner's policy (or discuss it with your agent)
Less than 5% of people actually read their homeowner's policy. Review you policy or talk to your insurance agent to understand what's covered.
  • Are you covered for the replacement value of your possessions or only actual cash value?
  • Do you need any special riders or endorsements for unique items?
  • Do you have any musical instruments that need to be covered?
  • If you have firearms, fine arts, jewelry, are they covered?
  • Are your golf clubs covered?
2. Start with photos of the outside of the house
Take photos of the outside of your house from at least four angles. Be sure to photograph your home's landscaping so you'll be able to have it recreated in the event of loss. Don't forget to photograph all outdoor furniture and ornaments.
3. Photograph each room from at least four angles
Take a room-by-room photographic inventory. Take as many pictures as needed to inventory each and every room in your house.
4.  Open every closet, cupboard and drawer
Before you open a drawer, try to list every item in the drawer. You're losing money if you forget anything.
Document the following information about every item in your home: When you got it, where you got it, and how much it cost.
Keep receipts, if possible. Scan receipts to keep with your home inventory. Keep the receipts of new household purchases in a special folder so you can update your inventory at least annually (tax time is a good time to update).
Clothes, shoes, purses, accessories and jewelry add up in value. Be sure to take photos of your bedroom closets. For any item over $350 in value, take a separate photo of the item and label.
5. Don't forget to update your inventory after home improvements
Did you get new window coverings or new hardwood floors? Be sure to update your home inventory. Homeowners often go years without documenting upgrades.
6. Photograph model and serial numbers for electronics
In today's homes, electronics are major purchases. Be sure to photograph (and list) each piece of electronic equipment. Take a photo of the model and serial number plates. Include: televisions, stereo systems, computers, and mobile devices.
8.  China, crystal and silver need special attention
Lay out a full set of your china to photograph. Take a picture of the front and back of your plates to show the brand and pattern. Then, take of picture of where your china, crystal and silver is stored to show you own the whole set.
9. Don't overlook garage contents
It's common that your garage contains more dollars per square foot in inventory than anywhere else in your home. Take lots of photos.
Document bicycles, sports equipment, tools, equipment like lawn mowers, and all items stored in your garage.
10. Take photos of things that can't be replaced (family photos, childhood mementos, etc.)
Do you have cherished photographs and family heirlooms? Although these items can't be replaced, at least you'll have photos and a "living legacy" of these items if they are destroyed. Think of what's precious.
Also, don't forget to include rare or high-end items you have purchased or inherited in your inventory.
11. Store the home inventory off premises
Be sure to keep a copy of your home inventory outside your home, off premises. Use your personal cloud storage to keep copies electronically. Don't save the inventory only on a computer drive that could be destroyed. Also, consider making a flash drive copy and placing it in a safety deposit box.


Homeowners with poor credit pay twice as much for homeowner's insurance as those with excellent credit, a new study revealed. The study, conducted by,showed that homeowners with fair credit pay 32% more than those with excellent credit, up from 29% in 2014, while premiums of those with poor credit may increase by 100%, up from 91% in 2014.
Homeowners with poor credit pay at least twice as much as those with excellent credit in 38 states and Washington, D.C. The highest in the nation is West Virginia with a 202% increase, followed by Washington, D.C., with 185%, then Montana with 179%.
Insurers are prohibited from using credit to calculate homeowner's insurance premiums in three states: California, Massachusetts and Maryland. In Florida, credit does not normally affect premiums, but insurers are technically allowed to take homeowners' credit scores into consideration.
 "In most states, insurers are putting more emphasis on credit scores this year," said Laura Adams,'s senior analyst. "The impact of a poor credit score is higher now than it was last year in 29 states and Washington, D.C., while it is lower in just 17 states. It's more important than ever for people to maintain a solid credit rating by paying their bills on time, keeping their balances low and correcting errors on their credit reports."
Montana, Texas and Washington, D.C., showed the greatest difference in increases when credit drops from excellent to fair. Montana showed a 66% increase, Texas a 55% increase and Washington, D.C., a 61% increase.


In observance of Labor Day, Hartselle Insurance will be closed on Monday, September 7th.

We will resume regular business hours on Tuesday, September 8th.  We wish all of our customers a happy and safe holiday weekend!

8200 113th Street North
Suite 201
Seminole, Florida 33772