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

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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

 

 

 

 

Sooo….Is my boat dock covered by my Homeowners or Condo Owners Policy?

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In Florida, many times homes and condos are sold  with a boat dock deeded  with the property purchase.  Many times the boat dock is not directly connected to the “residence premises.  In these cases, the owner should be concerned about the “property exposure” and the “liability insurance”.

Typically, docks are covered for property damage under Coverage B of the Homeowners and Condo Owners Policy.  Coverage B is for “other structures on the residence premises”.  When the dock is attached to the residence premises, it is covered under Coverage B.   When the dock is not attached, it should be added by endorsement,  Coverage B-Off premises or Specific Structures Away From the Premises.   The  dock will not be covered  for Hurricane or Flood damage, but would be covered for Other Perils stated in policy for Coverage B-Other Premises Structures.

In any case, be careful of values for docks.  Coverage B has a limit of 10% of the home insured value.  In some cases, this may not be adequate..  For a home insured for $300,000. , the dock and other structures would be insured for $ 30,000.  Discuss with your insurance agent.

Your Homeowner or Condo Owner Liability Coverage should extend  to your deeded dock, however, in the case of the “off premises dock”, we recommend that you include the following wording in the declarations page of your policy. Wording such as “1234 Main Street, Anytown, Florida including boat dock deeded to insured” .  Again discuss with your agent.

Be very careful if you rent your dock to others.  There is no way to cover this liability exposure under the Homeowners or Condo Owners Policy, it becomes a Commercial insurance exposure that is very difficult to insure.  You will probably be self insuring the exposure…Not a good idea.

Questions…Call  SWFL Insurance Agency, Inc.,   “Your Insurance Answer People”       

239-265-9577    Info@SWFLAgency.com    

Concerned about Carrying a Concealed Weapon and the Liability issue?

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In a previous Blog post, we discussed Guns, the Homowners Policy and Liability coverage. We learned that the Homeowners Insurance Policy may or may not respond in a case where you intentionally shoot an intruder on your property or elsewhere.  If you carry a weapon on your person or in your vehicle, your exposure to a liability claim is much higher.

The requirement for all gun owners to have Gun Liability Insurance is being debated in various states including Florida. There is a very good website for U.S. Concealed Carry Association that offers a Concealed Carry Guide that discusses insurance and offers Gun Liability Insurance at reasonable rates.

The NRA offers Self Defense Insurance at reasonable rates. You need to be a member.  With membership, you receive $ 2,500 of coverage for your guns at no charge.

Remember, the Legal Representation and Legal Fees is the most important part of the Insurance Coverage that you are purchasing. Whatever the circumstances, the costs associated with protecting your rights can be expensive.  Review the policy language closely for any policy you may consider.

Need help understanding your Homeowners Policy and Gun Liability, call us at 239-265-9577 or visit our SWFL Agency Blog.

So……You bought your kid a $ 2000. Drone for Christmas…

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2015 will be “a defining year” for small drones. The projected total U.S. sales of 700,000 units in will mark a 63% increase from 2014. The wide range of drone models available this Christmas—from the $40 Protocol Neo-Drone Mini to a $3,000, 15-pound DJI T6000 with a sophisticated 4K video camera—means there’s now a model on the market to fit almost any budget.

So….your kid immediately flys the drone into your neighbors car as the wife is pulling into the driveway. She panics…hits the gas and runs through the garage door, demolishing the husband’s new Harley and breaking out her front teeth on the steering wheel……

Will my Homeowners Insurance Policy cover this loss?   Yes it will…as long as the definition of Aircraft reads similar to the following.   Aircraft means any contrivance used or designed for flight except model or hobby aircraft not used or designed to carry people or cargo. Your Homeowners Policy language should be reviewed. Call us.

Most drones have cameras. This is a big part of the fun. So, your son flies the drone with camera over the neighbor’s backyard spying on the 17 year old daughter through her bedroom window. He then downloads photos of her in her underwear and puts them online. Her parents are now suing you and they have pictures of the drone outside her window. Sounds like an invasion of privacy claim.

This claim will probably not be covered by the standard HO3 Homeowners Policy. There are various exclusions such as “intentional acts”, “criminal acts”, “vicarious liability” that could apply. You will need to have a Personal Injury Liability endorsement added to the HO3 form in order to have any chance for coverage. As noted, while there are some variations from insurer to insurer, Personal Injury Liability Coverage extends to five basic categories of acts or conduct. These include:

  1. false arrest, detention, or imprisonment:
  2. libel, slander, defamation, or product disparagement;
  3. malicious prosecution (which may include abuse of process);
  4. wrongful eviction, wrongful entry, or violation of right of private occupancy; and,
  5. invasion of or violation of right of privacy.

NOTE: Owners of consumer drones will have to begin registering with the U.S. government starting next week under a policy…charge will be $5. Starting Dec. 21, 2015.  Look for more regulations.

Call us for a full review of your present coverage and a quote for Personal Injury Liability coverage. Do not assume that you have it.

Call 239-265-9577 or email us at joshw@swflagency.com

Follow our Blog at SWFL Agency Blog

 

 

You SUCK: Your teenagers most recent Tweet could get you sued……

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Have you ever gotten into an argument with someone and called them something in public not exactly suitable for printing? What about the neighborhood rumor mill, ever passed along a juicy piece of information without first checking the facts? What about inflammatory posts on Facebook? These are examples of “personal injury” as defined in insurance terms. Libel, slander and defamation of character are the best known of the “personal injury” offenses.

The Internet has upped the ante on the need for personal injury protection. Posting an opinion to a website, Tweeting, blogging about an individual or business or simply forwarding a damaging email could result in a personal injury suit. The problem is personal injury is not covered in the unendorsed homeowners’ policy. An endorsement is required to gain the needed protection.

 

Personal injury protection is garnered by attachment of the HO 24 82 (or equivalent state-specific or proprietary) endorsement. Coverage is not limited to libel, slander and defamation of character, but is also extended to any offense commonly considered personal injury (in insurance terms) including: invasion of privacy, wrongful entry into or wrongful eviction from a premises (all three could be useful if the insured is a lessor or landlord), false arrest, false imprisonment or malicious prosecution.

How important is personal injury protection? In January 2008, a real estate developer sued a blogger for $25 million because of something he said on his blog. The number of claims and lawsuits are on the rise. People seem to be easily offended and more than willing to air their “hurt” feelings in court; most clients will readily admit this to be true. Kids can be cruel and many times they do not totally understand the consequences of their actions.

Adding Personal Injury Liability Protection to your Homeowners is as simple as a phone call. The annual premium costs vary from $15. To $25. for $ 300,000. Remember that when you purchase Liability Insurance, you are purchasing a legal defense team as well as funds to pay damages.

SWFL Insurance Agency, Inc. represents many fine Homeowners Insurance Carriers. Let us review your present policy for any coverage gaps and provide you with a competitive premium proposal.

Call 239-265-9577 or request a quote at www.SWFLAgency.com

 

 

Umbrella or Excess Liability 101

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What is Excess Liability or Umbrella Liability Coverage ?

Available in amounts ranging from one to five million dollars, excess liability coverage increases your personal liability limits by adding protection to your current auto, boat or homeowners policies. Also, if something is not covered in your homeowners policy (like libel), and it’s not specifically excluded in the excess liability policy, you’re covered.

Coverage provided

Excess liability coverage provides:

  • Protection for covered claims by others for personal injury or property damage caused by you, members of your family/household, or hazards on your property for which you are legally liable
  • Personal liability coverage for occurrences on or off your premises
  • An additional layer of protection above your primary auto policy against auto-related liabilities
  • Protection against non-business related personal injury liabilities such as slander, libel, wrongful eviction or false arrest
  • Legal defense costs for a covered loss. Lawyer fees and associated court costs are covered
  • Worldwide coverage- no matter where you go, with the only exception being situations involving foreign ownership of dwellings or cars

How it works

Depending on the type of accident, your homeowners, auto or boat policy liability limits are used up first, then the excess liability policy covers all remaining costs (up to the amounts of coverage you purchased). For example, if your neighbor dove into your swimming pool and broke his neck, your homeowners liability coverage would pay for the first $100,000 in damages. Your excess liability policy would cover the rest (including associated legal fees) up to the one million dollar policy amount that you had purchased.

Most companies require that you carry certain limits on your primary insurance policies (homeowners, auto and boat) in order to receive excess liability coverage. For example, a company may require the following primary liability limits: $100,000 for homeowners, $250,000 per person/$500,000 per accident for auto and $300,000 for boat/yacht coverage.

Some definitions

Insurance products tend to get loaded down with legal-sounding jargon, especially a product that specifically deals with circumstances for which you are legally responsible. Therefore, a few common definitions might help clear up any confusion:

Personal Liability:

Coverage for damages that you are legally liable (responsible) for. This includes incidents occurring at your home and/or caused by you, residents of your household or your pets. Here are some common examples: your dog bites someone, a guest falls down your front steps, your teenage son rough-houses with his buddy and accidentally breaks that friend’s leg!

Personal Injury:

This all-inclusive definition covers many predicaments. Personal injury can take many forms, including: bodily injury, shock, emotional distress, mental anguish, sickness or disease, or death arising from any of the above. Personal injury also means false arrest, detention or imprisonment, malicious prosecution, wrongful entry or eviction, humiliation, libel or slander, defamation of character or invasion of privacy.

Property Damage:

Accidental damage to the property of others caused by you, residents of your household, or your pets.

Exclusions

Often, insurance policies are defined not by what they cover, but by what they don’t. This is especially true for excess liability products. If something is not specifically excluded, you’re covered. Exclusions vary widely by company. Here are some common exclusions:

  • damages expected or intended by insured.
  • damages arising out of business or professional pursuits.
  • liability assumed under contract or agreement.
  • liability arising out of ownership, maintenance, use, loading or unloading of aircraft.
  • liability arising out of ownership, maintenance or use of non-traditional watercraft such as jet skis, air boats or air cushions.
  • liability arising out of ownership, maintenance or use of most recreational vehicles. Only snowmobiles and golf carts are covered.
  • damages to property you take care of, own or use.
  • damages covered under a Workman’s Compensation policy.
  • liability arising out of war or insurrection.

Speak with an independent insurance agent at SWFL Insurance Agency, inc. to determine your specific risk factors and learn more about how to protect your current and future assets. We have Umbrella liability Policies starting at $ 250. Annually. Call us at 239-265-9577 or Email Info@SWFLAgency.com

Umbrella Liability Claims Scenario #4…….More Scary Stuff

The Claimant and Insured have been longtime friends, live on the same street, and the Claimant had been to the Insured’s home on many occasions. The Insured lives in a home with a brick patio which had been constructed in the 1960s. Bricks were replaced one year before the incident. An area of the patio is bordered by an 18 inch retaining wall with a flower bed between the wall and the brick patio.

The Insured, Claimant, and another Friend met at a club, had a few drinks, and all returned to the Insured’s home where they sat on the patio in lawn chairs and continued drinking. At approximately 11:00 PM, the Insured went inside to the kitchen. The Friend also entered the house to call a cab.

When the Friend went back outside, the Claimant was no longer on the patio. He found the Claimant unconscious on the ground on the other side of the patio retaining wall. The Claimant remembers falling, but does not remember how it happened.

According to the Insured, on other occasions when the Claimant had been at the home, a patio table was in front of the retaining wall. The table had been removed, exposing an area of the wall.  The Claimant, age 56, sustained a spinal cord injury which rendered him an incomplete quadriplegic. He underwent surgery and was on a feeding tube for several months. He was able to return home 6 months after the incident, but continues to suffer partial paralysis of his arms and legs. He uses an electric wheelchair to get around his house and requires assistance with some activities of  daily living.

The Claimant owned his own business and was married 1 month before the incident. His wife now cares for him at home. The settlement to the Claimant exhausted the underlying coverage limits and paymentwas made under the personal umbrella.

 

Umbrella Liability Claim Scenario # 3…..More Scary Stuff

Claimant, age 2, was on the Insured’s property with his grandparents who were there to care for 2 horses owned by the Insured. The Insured were out of town on vacation. The Claimant was kicked by one of the horses, taken to the emergency room, and then life flighted to a larger hospital.

The Claimant was given a 5% chance of survival and underwent surgery for a cracked skull (a piece of which was missing) with 30% damage to the right side of his brain. He survived and is residing in a neighboring state at a rehabilitation center. A large payment was  made under the personal umbrella policy.

 

Umbrella Liability Claims Scenario # 2…More Scary Stuff

The Insured’s 18 year old son was driving the Insured’s car on a short trip to the store with his girlfriend, the Claimant. The car left the roadway and struck a tree. The Insured’s son told the police that a vehicle cut him off, but there were no witnesses and no evidence of any impact with another car. The Claimant has no recollection of the accident.

The Claimant, a 19 year old college student, was hospitalized for over a month with multiple fractures and internal injuries. She was in a wheelchair but is now able to walk with crutches and continues with physical therapy. She has a right drop foot as a result of the injuries.

The Insured’s personal auto bodily injury limit and the personal umbrella policy limit was paid.