The Third Nail…..An Easy Way to Save on Your Homeowners Premiums

Example…..1982 Home in South Ft. Myers. Frame construction, new roof, metal clips with 2 nails.                                                                                                           Value at $ 378,000. Annual Homeowner Premium is $4,450.

Same Home after retrofit adding Third Nail to top and bottom of metal clips…Cost of $900.                                                                                                                 Value at $ 378,000. Annual Homeowner Premium is $ 2,777.

Annual Premium Savings of  $1,673. Each and every year. That is a No Brainer.  (Note: Every Home is different)

How can I determine if my Home will benefit from a Hurricane Strap Retrofit adding the Third Nail?

  1. If your home was constructed prior to the year 2000, you are a candidate.
  2. Review of your present Wind Mitigation Report.
  3. If your report is dated prior to 2012, your insurance company will probably require a new report on the new Revised 2012 OIR-B1-1802 form. If you need a new inspection, call your inspector or call SWFL Insurance Agency at 239-265-9577.
  4. On the new 2012 inspection form, review Item 4, Roof to Wall Attachment.  If “Toe Nails” is checked, you can definitely benefit from a Hurricane Strap Retrofit adding the Third Nail.
  5. Once you have your Wind Mitigation Report on the Rev.2012 form, call SWFL Insurance Agency at 239-265-9577 for a Premium Quote Comparison for adding the Third Nail.
  6. Once you have the New Premium Quotes, you can determine the savings and decide if it makes economic sense to have the Hurricane Strap Retrofit completed. If you want to proceed, we will put you in touch with licensed contractors who can complete the retrofit. Typical cost for Retrofit is $900 to $1,000.

Questions?   Call us at 239-265-9577 or Email at Info@swflagency.com

Thanks much.

Josh Weaver

Vice President

SWFL Insurance Agency, Inc.

 

 

 

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.

A Heads Up to Small Businesses….What are the most common claims and their cost?

“Despite experiencing these types of events, the survey found that many small businesses aren’t filing claims for them. Insureon cites the following possible reasons for this trend:

  • They don’t have insurance or don’t have the right policy to cover the claim.
  • The cost of the incident is less than their deductible, so they deal with it out of pocket.
  • They worry that filing a claim will cause their premiums to go up.
  • They prefer to handle the matter on their own rather than wait for resolution from an insurance company.

As a result, many small business owners are choosing to let their carrier know about an incident, but don’t file a claim. Instead, they pay for the incident out of pocket to prevent higher premiums in the long run. But how does the cost of a claim stack up against the cost of coverage?”

“According to The Hartford, the 10 most expensive types of claims (and the cost per incident) are:

  • Reputational harm: $50,000
  • Vehicle accident: $45,000
  • Fire damage: $35,000
  • Product liability: $35,000
  • Customer injury or property damage: $30,000
  • Wind and hail damage: $26,000
  • Customer slip and fall: $20,000
  • Water and freezing damage: $17,000
  • Struck by object: $10,000
  • Burglary and theft: $8,000

In comparison, the median price that most small businesses pay for coverage is:

  • $428 per year for general liability insurance
  • $920 per year for professional liability insurance

Compared to a $20,000 bill for a customer slip-and-fall accident, most business owners would probably rather pay $428 for general liability per year, plus their deductible, to pick up the tab.

How do the most expensive claims compare to the top incidents small businesses experienced in 2016?” Read more…at PropertyCasualty360.com.

For a review of your business insurance risks and a competitive proposal for coverage, call SWFL Insurance Agency at 239-265-9577 or drop an email to joshw@swflagency.com. www.SWFLAgency.com

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

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.

Vacant Homes being Renovated or Remodeled…Hard to Insure?

Sooo….you purchased a home that has been vacant, and you do not intend to immediately occupy.  Your intent is to have the house remodeled before you occupy.  This situation can present a difficult insurance problem.

Most Homeowners and Dwelling Insurance policies have a limitation on how long a home can be vacant before coverage will no longer be afforded.  Vacancy typically means no furnishings, no one living in home.  Each policy will have specific language regarding what constitutes vacancy.

The best way to provide coverage in this situation is to purchase a short term policy, typically a dwelling policy form for the period of time that the house will be renovated.  This will typically be a named peril policy with loss by theft being excluded.  Wind coverage will be available based on location in the county.  Contents coverage may be available.

Once the renovations are complete and the home is occupied, a standard Homeowners Policy should be available, dependent on whether it is rented or owner occupied.  Every situation will be unique.

When you have vacant property of any kind, call SWFL Insurance Agency at 239-265-9577.

We have extensive markets and are able to place your property coverages at the best price.

 

 

 

If I let my Mother in Law borrow my car, is she insured?

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The Problem

Soooo, your mother-in-law needs to run to the airport. Or, your brother needs to borrow your pickup to haul his new big-screen television. They all say they will return your vehicle in an hour.

You may not realize it….But you may be creating a HUGE Problem for yourself.    As an auto insurance policyholder, if you let someone not listed as a driver on your policy drive your vehicle, you could be setting yourself up for an expensive headache.

Sooo…You lend your vehicle….Then, the next thing you know your brother or your mother-in-law is involved in a fender-bender. Or, your brother is rear-ended, your pickup and his new TV damaged. The headache that’s developing is called a lending loss.

Insurance Speak

Your insurance company considers that your act of Lending is giving permission to someone not listed as a driver on your auto insurance policy to drive your vehicle.  Your underwriting of your  insurance policy for acceptance and premium rates has been based upon the driver details, violations and accident history as established by your application and DMV reports.  Lending creates an unknown exposure.  You typically have a driver with unknown driving record and experience behind the wheel of an unfamiliar vehicle.  Research has shown that borrowed cars have a much higher probability of getting into an accident.  Think about it…when you get behind the wheel of an unknown vehicle, it takes time to become proficient and comfortable.  Many drivers who borrow do so because they don’t own a car and don’t have auto insurance.   Insurance carriers discourage “lending” and consider it a reflection on your driving decisions.  If someone drives your car often, they should be added to your policy to avoid the “lending” issue.

The policyholder — and owner of the vehicle — is “primary.” That means he will be liable for anything the driver does to or in the vehicle — legal or otherwise.  Soooo….someone else’s accident could cause you to LOSE your coverage, lose your preferred rate, or worse expose your asset because the loss was greater that your coverage limits. In most states, if you loan your vehicle and then the borrower loans the vehicle to someone else who then gets into an accident, you the policyholder may still be at fault.

Tell the Family

Always remember this about lending your car or truck: Insurance follows your vehicle, but insurance responsibility usually follows the policyholder. Be sure to have this discussion with your driving-age children.

Your teens generally have no idea that it’s not OK to lend the car or let someone else drive.  We even see a few parents who casually hand over their car keys to their kids’ friends.  Bad idea.

The best advise is to never be a lender or a borrower.

Need Insurance advice…Call SWFL Insurance Agency at 239-265-9577 or email info@swflagency.com.

See more about this subject at Who is an insured under your Auto and Homeowners policies?

 

Sooo….What does the Louisiana Thousand Year Flood Event mean to you? Are you at Risk for a Flood?

La.Flood

So let’s look at how FEMA determines if you are “at risk”.  Flood maps, known officially as Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRMS), show areas of high and moderate to low flood risk.  Cities and counties use the maps to set minimum building requirements for coastal areas and floodplains.  Lenders use them to determine flood insurance requirements, and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) uses them to help determine what you pay for flood insurance.

High-risk areas are identified on the FIRMs as:

  • Zones AE, A, AH, AR, A99, or AO. These properties have at least a 1 in 4 chance of flooding over the life of a 30-year mortgage.
  • Zones VE or V. These properties also have at least a 1 in 4 chance of flooding over the life of a 30-year mortgage. In addition, these properties face hazards associated with coastal storm waves and storm surge.

 Insurance note: Federally regulated or insured lenders require mortgage holders to purchase flood insurance for properties in high-risk areas.   

An elevation survey of the lowest living level of your home is required in order to apply for Flood Insurance.  The surveyor will provide a Flood Certificate showing the elevation.  When buying a home, make sure to ask if a flood Certificate is available.  Flood Insurance rates are based on the Flood Zone as determined by FEMA maps and the elevation of your home.  The higher your home is above the required minimal flood elevation, the less your pay in premiums.

Moderate- to low-risk areas are identified on the FIRMs as:

  • Shaded Zone X. The risk is reduced in these areas but not eliminated.
  • Zone X. These properties are in an area of overall lower risk.

Insurance note: Lower-cost Preferred Risk Policies (PRPs) are often an option in these areas. Flood insurance coverage is not mandatory in these areas but is recommended, as the risk for flooding is still very real. Keep in mind that while your property could be designated as moderate to low risk, it still may be geographically close to a high-risk area

In this case you should consider purchasing a Preferred Risk Flood Policy.  Premiums are reasonable.  Typically, for $250K on your Home and $100k Contents, annual premiums are $450.  Every homeowner in Louisiana was probably eligible.  Just because your Mortgage Company did not require you to purchase Flood Insurance does not mean you do not have a Risk of flooding or that you were not eligible for Flood Insurance.

Not sure about your home or business’s true Flood Risk,                                                             call SWFL Insurance Agency, Inc.  239-265-9577

We will help you assess your risk, review your present coverage and make recommendations.  Do  not take chances with your most important asset.

Find out what is covered by Flood Insurance

Renting your Home or Condo?…An important point to consider….

Beaches3

Soooo….You just purchased a great condominium on Fort Myer Beach, FL.  You purchased the property with your Mom and Dad.  You intend to use the property about 6 weeks out of the year and then list the condo for rental with a local Property Manager/ Realtor, AirBNB, HomeAway or other home sharing rental company.   You actually calculated the rental income when making the purchase decision. This sounds great…..

Until you call your insurance agent……When homeowners or renters head to a home-sharing website to rent out their homes in exchange for income, “most probably do not think through the fact that they’re beginning to engage in a commercial endeavor”.

Homeowners and condo owners insurance policies will have language that excludes “business pursuits”….renting your property for income is a “business pursuit”.  And as soon as an owner creates a business exposure in their home, their homeowners insurance carrier can not only refuse coverage for a related claim—they also have the right to suspend all liability and property coverage.

The Liability Exposure created by “renting” is huge and needs to be a primary consideration.  The “home-sharing businesses” will most likely require you to have Liability Coverage.  If they offer some level of Liability Coverage with the “for rent contract”, the language should be reviewed closely, possibly by your attorney.  You will be wise to secure your own liability and property insurance with all owners listed as “named insured”.  In the case of a condominium, the Association may require proof of insurance and be listed as a “additional named insured”.  If your property is located outside of the USA, be very careful…protecting your assets will take careful planning.

Personal Umbrella Liability policies will not extend to this “Rental Property”.   This is considered a “Commercial” risk and requires a Commercial Umbrella Policy.  Discuss this important “gap” with your insurance agent.

We offer Property and Liability Insurance coverage designed for these rental situations.

Call us at 239-265-9577.

SWFL Insurance Agency, Inc.    www.SWFLAgency.com      Info@SwflAgency.com