Will I be liable if the damages occur because someone I employed is breaking the law?

Will I be liable if damages occur because someone I employed is breaking the law?

     This isn’t a question you want to have to think about as a business owner. Not only will this impact your bottom line, but it can mar your reputation if your employee breaks the law. You need to be covered, but you also want to avoid the situation completely.  SWFL Insurance Agency Inc. serving Fort Myers, FL can advise you here.

Why are employers usually liable for employees’ actions?

     There are multiple reasons the courts will generally hold an employer responsible for an employees’ actions. It’s easy when looking at a simple example, such as when an employee is driving a work vehicle running an errand and accidentally causes property damage.

     Here are some reasons the Courts will give:

  • When people are on the clock working for someone else, their time is not their own. The employer benefits from the good, and should be responsible for the bad.
  • When someone is injured or property is damaged by someone’s negligence, the law looks to someone who is able to compensate the victim. Often the employer is more able to pay than the employee.

     These examples don’t apply to criminal acts, which are deliberate and not negligent.

How can you protect yourself?

     As a business owner, you are normally only responsible for acts of negligence by your employees. You can protect yourself by:

  • Screening potential employees careful, with criminal background checks and drug screens.
  • Releasing employees if they commit criminal acts after joining your company.

      If you have any questions about your policy or need to file a claim call SWFL Insurance Agency Inc. in Fort Myers, FL.

How To Determine The Total Value Of Coverage You Need On Your Policy

A lot will go into a home insurance policy when you get quotes in Fort Myers, FL. You need to make sure that the total value of coverage on your policy makes sense for your home and everything inside of it. The more coverage you have, the easier it will be to file a claim. Your goal is to minimize out-of-pocket expenses anytime you file a claim. Determining how much coverage you need will make it easier to gain financial protection.

Conduct a Home Inventory

One of the first things you want to do in Fort Myers, FL is conducting a home inventory. This is where you will go room by room to identify everything inside. It will include such things as artwork, collectibles, furniture, appliances, and anything else you might have. Once you have a list of everything, you can then start to associate values with everything. Anything that is of significant value should have a receipt or appraisal attached to it.

Your home insurance policy will provide a certain level of coverage for your belongings. If you need to go above and beyond that level of coverage, it might be necessary to add a rider to include high-value items.

Work with a Professional Insurance Agent

At SWFL Insurance Agency Inc., we take the time to help you determine the total value of coverage that you need on your home insurance policy. One of our independent insurance agents will ask you a variety of questions involving your home, your belongings, and even your levels of activity. This will help to determine coverage levels for your dwelling, your belongings, as well as liability.

There is no reason for you to try to do everything on your own. Call an agent at SWFL Insurance Agency Inc. today and let us help with determining the coverage that’s right for you.

3 Ways to Save on Auto Insurance

Paying auto insurance can be a pain. Indeed, no matter what kind of car you drive, how much your payments are, or even how often you use your vehicle, you are expected to pay a premium for protecting your vehicle each month. Are you looking for some great ways to lower your insurance payments in Fort Myers, FL? You’re in luck! The following is a closer look at three tips to help you save on auto insurance.

Take a Defensive Driving Course

First of all, taking a defensive driving course is an excellent idea for all motorists in general as it ensures that you are a much safer driver in general. Moreover, taking the course can also reduce your insurance premiums. Many insurance companies will give you a percentage off in exchange for taking the course.

Students

In addition to that, although getting a discount on your insurance is by no means enough motivation to become a student, if you have been thinking about it or are already a student, this could save you some money. Many insurance agencies offer a discount simply for being a student. If you are a student and not receiving a discount, you may want to give you insurance company a call.

Switch Companies

Lastly, if all else fails, just switch companies! Although you may not be getting the best rates at your present company, by shopping around, you will easily see that you have some options.

Overall, let SWFL Insurance Agency Inc. be your go-to for quality auto insurance! Proudly serving the Fort Myers, FL area, SWFL Insurance Agency Inc. offers outstanding customer, competitive rates, and much more. Call us today and find out how to start your policy and save!

Beware of the AOB…..Assignment of Benefits….Avoid this at all cost.

   

“What is an Assignment of Benefits?”

“An Assignment of Benefits (AOB) is a contract between you and a contractor (such as a plumber, water remediation firm, roofer, etc.) where you give the contractor control of your claims benefits. They file a claim for their services and direct the insurance company to pay them directly.

What’s in it for the contractor?

Once you sign an AOB, you lose control of the direction of your claim. The contractor takes control, and can submit whatever they like to your insurance company, sometimes billing the company two, three, four, five times the going market rate for their services, and sometimes including work that was never performed. You don’t see this, and you can’t verify what they did.

What are the potential pitfalls in signing an AOB?

  • You have committed to this contractor, and you have little to no recourse if you’re not satisfied with their work.
  • You can no longer comparison shop if you are not satisfied with their work. Even if they walk off the job with their work incomplete, they can still claim compensation from the insurance company which gets deducted from your benefits.
  • Both you, and the contractor, are still bound by the terms and conditions of the policy, and if the contractor violates those terms and conditions, those actions could potentially jeopardize coverage for your entire loss.

What’s in it for the contractor?

This is where the age old mantra of “if it seems too good to be true, it probably is,” comes into play.  Has the contractor done any of the following?

  • Solicits a job from you unannounced for damages you didn’t even know were allegedly present?
  • The contractor is offering you something for nothing, such as a free roof or kitchen.
  • Wants to start work immediately and advises you to delay contacting your insurance company?
  • Offered to “take care of” your deductible.

Any of these issues could potentially lead to a fraud investigation which could jeopardize your coverage.

Possible Litigation:

As mentioned above, there is no standard for what the contractor can submit to the insurance company, and if the company questions the scope and/or the pricing submitted by the contractor the company can be sued directly by the contractor.  And while you may not be a party to this lawsuit, more likely than not you will end up being a witness.

What should you do if you have a claim?”

Contact your insurance agent to report the claim.  He can guide you through the process.  Some insurance carriers will have contractors that they have vetted and will recommend.

This article is compliments of Federated National and SWFL Insurance Agency.

Questions or need a Homeowners or Property coverage quote, call 239-265-9577 or email joshw@swflagency.com.  We are Your Insurance Answer People in SWFL.

Three Tips To Help Personal Property Claims Get Processed Smoothly

Homeowners policies provide people with the financial security that they can be compensated in the event of a loss. Over time, we accumulate valuable and personal items. It’s important to have appropriate documentation of these expensive items so that your claim can be smoothly processed. At SWFL Insurance Agency Inc.,  our professionals are committed to helping members of the Fort Myers, FL community with homeowners policies that provide a sense of security. We’d like you to consider these simple, but important, tips on how to keep good records of expensive personal items.

Photo Records

Given the ease of today’s technology, a photo record can be created by using your cell phone. These devices often have excellent cameras, and it will cost you nothing to walk around and document your jewelry, electronics, heirlooms, and collectibles. You can download these images or back them up to “the cloud.” In the event of theft or a disaster, you’ll be able to produce a visual record for the claim.

Keep Receipts Safe

Keeping your receipts is an excellent way to demonstrate the value of each item. Start a binder and put a note about each purchase on the receipt. It’s important to store the record away from your home. In the event of a fire, it could be destroyed along with the expensive items.

Make a Video

Some homeowners create a room-by-room video. This is an excellent idea because it shows each item inside the home. Again, many phones have video capabilities. The key is to store it safely out of harm’s way.

In the event of theft or disaster, it’s important that your claim is processed easily and you are fairly compensated. At SWFL Insurance Agency Inc., we are available to help members of the Fort Myers, FL community creates and updates homeowners policies that reflect the ongoing coverage they require for financial security.

Sooo You Operate a Business from Your Home…Note to Self…My Homeowners Policy will not cover My Business Property or Liability.

     Most people often believe that their existing Homeowners, Condo or Renters insurance  Policy will cover any loss or damage to their business equipment, furniture and supplies in the event of Fire, Theft or other catastrophe, when in fact, those policies usually explicitly exclude coverage for any business exposures on their premises.

The Home Business Policy, can solve this problem.  However, is not intended for all types of home businesses. It is specifically targeted for over 100 retail and services risks operated from the insured’s residence and presenting minimal product liability, professional liability and/or off-premises exposures.

Policy Benefits:

  • Provides coverage for over 145 classes of small retail & service-type home-based businesses
  • Affordable Premiums
  • General Liability coverage up to $1 million
  • Loss of business income protection up to 12 months available
  • Broad coverage with on premises theft included
  • Carrier is admitted and A.M. Best “A+” rated
  • Up to $100,000 (varies by state of risk) comprehensive coverage for business personal property both on and temporarily off premises

Popular Business Classes Include:

  • Residential Inspection Services
  • Real Estate Agents
  • Insurance Agents
  • Mortgage Brokers
  • Teacher/Tutors
  • Photographers
  • Accounting Services
  • Bakers
  • Computer Consultants
  • Interior Decorating
  • Jewelry (Costume)
  • Art Gallery / Art Studio
  • Crafts

Call us today to discuss your business and obtain a premium proposal.  Policies start at $150. Only takes a few minutes.

SWFL Insurance Agency, Inc.

8595 College Pkwy. Suite 160, Fort Myers, FL 33919

 239-265-9577

Elevation and car maintenance in Fort Myers

People who know their way around cars will tell you that you’re looking at a loss of about four percent power for every thousand feet of altitude away from sea level. So at 1k above sea level, 100hp becomes 96hp. This is such an odd quirk that it almost sounds like superstition, but the science backs it up.

The issue at play is air density. Closer to the ocean, the air is very dense. Towards the continental divide, the air is relatively thin. This has an effect on the fuel delivery system. Newer systems will adjust for this, but old carburetor systems do not.

There is less compression going on in your car, as well. At a higher altitude, you can use low octane gas, for instance, because lower compression means that a high compression engine is less likely to pre-ignite.

Forced-induction, or turbo/supercharged cars, can negate some of these issues and compensate for the thin air, which is why most airplanes use this means of fuel distribution.

Put simply: High elevation affects air density, creating less oxygen per each cubic foot. This means that your car is going to perform differently at a high altitude than it will closer to the ocean. In Fort Myers FL, you don’t have to worry about this too much, but if you ever take your car on a long road trip into the Southwest or Colorado, for instance, you may see some major performance issues.

Without proper care, you may wind up making a claim to SWFL Insurance Agency Inc. for a damaged fuel pump following a long road trip. In other words, if you drive an older car, it may be wiser to rent an auto if you plan on traveling too far from Fort Myers, FL to keep your premiums as low as they were when you first contacted SWFL Insurance Agency Inc.

Do You Have Enough Coverage?

Home insurance is a safety net of sorts that can help you rebuild if your home is destroyed. This means that if your home is destroyed by fire, damaged by storms, or damaged by a break in, your home owner’s insurance will help you recoup the cost of getting your home back to normal. For those that live in the Fort Myers, FL area, the agents with SWFL Insurance Agency Inc. can help you determine what level of coverage you need.

The main issue that comes with not having enough coverage has to do with the rise and fall of rebuild prices. What would have cost $100,000 to rebuild ten years ago could easily cost $150,000 to rebuild today with the inflation of building materials and the increased cost of labor as well? This means that each year you should reevaluate the amount of home coverage that you have.

Other factors like upgrading your home and doing remodels can also make your home worth more and therefore increase your need for coverage. On top of that, buying expensive things in your home can make it necessary to raise the amount of contents coverage that you have as well. It is critical that you evaluate how much coverage you have ever so often to make sure that you are going to have enough coverage if something happens.

No matter what, keeping coverage fluctuations in mind is going to be the best way to make sure you have enough coverage. Your agent can help you determine just how much coverage you need and an adjuster can help you adjust the amount of coverage that you have. SWFL Insurance Agency Inc. serves the Fort Myers, FL area and can help you find the right coverage today.

Family Risk Questionnaire

   

 SWFL Insurance Agency, Inc.  /    Family Risk Questionnaire

Please Compete and Return so we may update your account

Customer:                                                       Phone:                                Email:

Auto Insurance

If we do not provide your auto Insurance, can we provide a Proposal? Yes _____  No _____

Do you presently carry adequate Liability and Uninsured Motorist coverage?   Yes _____  No _____

How much is your net worth?  You should have liability limits to protect this wealth.

Can we provide you with a quote for increased Liability and Uninsured Limits?   Yes____   No___

Do you have electronic device/equipment that has not been declared?  Yes____  No _____

Do you have regular use of a vehicle that you do not own? Yes____  No _____

Do you need Rental Reimbursement and Towing and Labor coverage?  Yes____  No_____

Have any vehicles been titled to a Trust or another family member?  Yes ____  No______

Do you have recreational vehicles (boats, motorbikes, motor homes, golf carts, LSV? Yes ____  No______

Do you have any vehicles not listed on this policy? Yes ____  No______

Do you have drivers or persons who live in household not listed on policy? Yes ____  No _____

 

Home Owners Insurance/  Condo Owners Insurance

If we do not provide your Home or Condo Insurance, can we provide a Proposal? Yes ___No___

Costs of construction of homes increases every year.  Insured values should be reviewed each year.

Are your home and contents insured to 100% replacement cost?  Yes ___No___

Do you carry adequate Additions and Alterations for your condo?    Yes ___No___

Do you rent your home or condo to others?    Yes ___No___

Valuable items such as jewelry, furs, silver, guns typically have limited coverage under the HO Policy.

Do you have valuable items that need to be insured?  Yes_____  No_____

Are you interested in higher Liability Coverage Limits ?  Yes_____  No_____

We recommend that you consider purchasing an Umbrella Liability Policy.  Can we quote?  Y__  N___

Are you interested in Personal Injury coverage (libel, slander, defamation)?  Yes_____  No_____

FLOOD coverage is not included in the Homeowners Policy?

Do you need a quote for flood insurance?  Yes_____  No_____

If Wind/Hurricane coverage is not included in your Homeowners Policy, do you need a quote? Y___N__

Do you need Excess Wind or Flood coverage?  Yes_____  No_____

Do you operate a business from your home?  Yes_____  No_____

Do you own rental property or vacant land or a farm?  Yes_____  No_____

Do you have domestic employees in your home?  Yes_____  No_____

Have any property deeds been changed to another family member or trust?  Yes_____  No_____

Do you have pets?  If so what kind?  ________________________

Do you have children living away from home or away at school?  Yes_____  No_____

Do you have a pool ?  Do you have an enclosure?  Do you need insurance?  Yes_____  No_____

Do you have a dock?  Do you have a boat?   What kind and size?  _____________________

Do you have a new roof or new hurricane protection?   Yes_____  No_____

Have there been other changes that we should be aware of?  Yes_____  No_____

Do you have a significant other, roommate, etc. living with you….No Liability or Property coverage is provided for them…….discuss with agency.

NOTE:  This may not be a complete listing of every possible risk exposure that your family may have, however this list does include the majority of the most common exposures that occur. Please discuss with us any situation in which you may not be sure of coverage.

Thank you for taking the time to review and respond to this questionnaire.  These are important considerations for your valuable insurance coverage.  We look forward to assisting you with any new quotes that you may request.  We Value and Appreciate your Business.

Please copy and print this list as needed.

Please call us at 239-265-9577 or email info@swflagency.com  with any questions or requests.

Thanks much.

SWFL Insurance Agency

Sooo….Your fiancé, who lives with you, is driving your car and has a serious accident….Will your auto policy respond?

Today, over 50% of American households are occupied by individuals, roommates or unmarried couples.  If you fall into the living together but not married category, you should be very careful making any assumptions about how your insurance policies may respond to a Liability or Property loss.

Home Insurance

Coverage restricted to named insured, resident relatives by blood, marriage, adoption or someone under 21 in foster care.  Girl friends, boy friends, fiancés, roommates, tenants typically have no coverage extended to them.

No coverage extended to non insureds for liability losses or defense activity or costs.

No coverage for personal property of non insureds.

Example of problem….your girlfriend and teenage son live with you.  Her son is playing sandlot football and injures another child.  The parents of the child are suing the girlfriend / mother for medical bills and damages…..no coverage would extend from your homeowners policy.  The girlfriend should have a Renter’s Policy to provide liability and property coverage for she and her son.

Auto Insurance

Be wary of the definitions of “Named Insured” under the different coverage parts of the Personal Auto Policy.

Be very careful allowing any “non insured person”, especially those living with you, to use your vehicle on a regular basis.  There are exclusions that apply to such situations.  If you both use each other’s vehicle on a regular basis, you should consider having your girlfriend added as a driver on your policy and likewise adding you as a driver to her policy.

Need to discuss your life situation and how your insurance will apply, give SWFL Insurance Agency a call at 239-265-9577 or email me at joshw@SWFLAgency.com.  We are your Insurance Answer People.