Most homeowners can tick off the top five or ten homeowners’ insurance companies when you ask them. Typically the top five they give are the insurance companies that advertise the most on TV or online.
But what happens when you are shopping for insurance and the top five’s rates are too high or your home is in an area that insurance companies prefer to stay out of? That’s when you consider Universal Property and Casualty homeowners insurance.
Universal Property and Casualty Insurance Company (UPCIC) is one of the few home insurance companies that stepped up about 20 years ago when the big guns fled the state of Florida because of hurricane claims. In those days UPCIC was one of the only places other than the state’s high-risk pool that homeowners insurance could be found.
About Universal Property and Casualty
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Established in Florida in 1997, Universal Property and Casualty Insurance Company (UPCIC) came to Florida’s rescue when hurricane claims were hurting the major insurers’ bottom line.
Many companies like State Farm, Allstate, and Nationwide, stopped issuing new homeowners insurance policies and began to non-renew existing policies because they were not approved for rate increases they claim would allow them to continue offering homeowners insurance in the state.
Although the company struggled coming out of the gate, they managed to grow their book of business and began looking to expand its operation. Because of their decision to take a chance in Florida, UPCIC now has operations in the following states:
|New Jersey||New York||North Carolina|
Insurance Products Available from Universal Property & Casualty
Universal Property and Casualty focus all of their attention on property insurance and do not offer auto insurance or business insurance. Additionally, unlike other major players in the industry, they do not offer any life insurance, which is unusual since life insurance is much more profitable for an insurance carrier. The products that they do offer are:
- Homeowners Insurance (HO2, HO3, HO5, and HO8)
- Condo Owners Insurance (HO6)
- Renters Insurance (HO4)
- Landlord’s Insurance (DP1, DP2, and DP3)
In this article, we’ll turn our attention to Universal Property and Casualty homeowners insurance, specifically the HO3 Special policy which is the most popular policy purchased by homebuyers.
Universal Property and Casualty Homeowners Insurance
Like most insurance carriers, UPCIC uses the HO3 Special insurance policy form for the majority of its homeowners’ insurance policies. This form is popular because it is a package of comprehensive coverages that are bundled together and offered with different limits and deductibles.
The coverages found in the HO3 homeowners’ policy are:
|Type of Coverage||What it Covers||Typical Limit of Coverage||Deductible Applied|
|Dwelling||Covers the structure of the home and any attached/built-in appliances||Claims are generally based on replacement cost of the home (land or lot not covered)||Yes - Flat amount or % of structure value|
|Other Structures||Covers any structures on the property not attached to the house such as fences, barns, workshops||Usually 10% of dwelling limit. Can be increased if needed.||Yes|
|Personal Property||Personal belongings inside and outside of your home||50% of dwelling limit but can be increased or decreased as needed||Yes|
|Loss of Use||Pays for temporary relocation expenses while the home is under repair||20% of dwelling limit||Yes|
|Personal Liability||Pays for medical expenses and legal expenses if found liability for injuries or property damage to a third-party||Typically available limits are $100,000 to $1 million||No|
|Medical Payments||Pays medical expenses for third-party injuries regardless of fault||Typical limits are $1,000 to $10,000||No|
With UPCIC policies, applicants do have options and not every policy is intended to be cookie-cutter coverage. In fact, UPCIC offers 11 optional coverages for homeowners who prefer not to take chances with their most valuable asset.
|Optional Coverage||Coverage Provided|
|Personal Property Replacement Cost||This option provides policyholders with replacement cost coverage on personal belongings (new for old) instead of actual cash value coverage (depreciated coverage).|
|Utility Service Coverage||Provides coverage if buried utility or service lines are damaged.|
|Water Backup||Helps pay for damage caused by drain and sewer backup or sump pump failure.|
|Scheduled Personal Property||Allows the policyholder to schedule (insure) valuable personal property for the appraised value rather than be subject to special limits in the HO3 policy.|
|Personal Injury||Pays if a policyholder is found liable for slander, libel, false arrest, or malicious prosecution.|
|Mechanical Breakdown Coverage||Mechanical breakdown covers service equipment like your HVAC system.|
|Animal Liability||Pays an additional limited amount for animal-related claims.|
|Loss Assesment||This coverage pays if your HOA or neighborhood assesses your home for common area upkeep, signs, and recreational areas.|
|Debris Removal||Debris removal coverage pays when debris must be trucked from your property resulting from a covered peril.|
|Ordinance or Law||If when repairing or rebuilding your home, you are charged additional costs because of changes in the building code, your insurance policy will pay up to the selected limits in the policy.|
|Higher Liability Limits||If your liability limits are less than the value of your assets, this option allows you to increase the limits to an acceptable level.|
Please note, if your home is a historic structure, your agent will likely recommend that you purchase an HO8 policy that is specific to older homes and responds to the various construction differences in older homes versus newer homes. UPCIC will also have optional coverages available that can be added to the HO8 homeowners’ insurance policy.
Yes. There are Discounts
In today’s economy, consumers are savvy enough to know that rates with every company are similar and that the discounts are what makes the difference between a good homeowner’s insurance rate and a great homeowner’s insurance rate. UPCIC is one of those carriers that offer a bucket of discounts that are easy to qualify for:
- Prior Insurance – If you are switching your homeowners from another company to UPCIC you’ll be rewarded with a discount for doing so.
- Loyalty Discount – Once you become a UPCIC customer, you’ll be rewarded over time for staying with the company and not moving your business if your policy goes up at renewal.
- Claims Free – Applicants who have been claim-free for the previous three years will be rewarded with a claims-free discount.
- Monitored Burglar and Fire Alarm – Claim activity is greatly reduced when a home has a burglar and fire alarm system. UPCIC will reward applicants with a discount for having one installed and activated.
- Sprinkler System – Although most homeowners consider sprinkler systems an eyesore, an active sprinkler system can make a dramatic difference if a kitchen fire or lightning strike sets your home ablaze.
- Windstorm Protective Devices – UPCIC will discount homeowners’ insurance rates for applicants who have protective windstorm protective devices like automatic shutters on their windows.
- Senior Citizens – Applicants who are 65 and older pay a little less than younger policyholders.
- New Roof – Applicants who are insuring a home with a new and updated roof will save money on the dwelling coverage.
Universal Property & Casualty’s financial and customer service Ratings
It’s only logical that homebuyers and homeowners who are considering Universal Property and Casualty homeowners insurance check out the company’s financial ratings and BBB ratings to help them decide if UPCIC will be the best fit to protect their home and belongings.
Frequently asked Questions
Does Universal Property & Casualty sell car insurance?
Universal Property & Casualty does not currently offer car insurance but they will offer a bundling type discount if your car insurance is with an approved carrier.
Does Universal Property & Casualty offer discounts?
Universal property & casualty offers 9 discounts that you might qualify for and reduce your homeowners insurance premium substantially.
Will Universal Property & Casualty insure historic homes?
If you have a very old home or an unusal home, Universal Property & Casualty has a policy specifically designed to make sure you have the coverages to protect it.
Will Universal Property and Casualty insure condos?
Universal Property & Casualty does offer an HO6 condo policy for condominiums owners. For people who are renting a condo, they can use a the UPCIC renters policy to protect their belongings and get personal liability coverage as well.