Fort Myers Cares: Tips to Ensure Bicyclists and Drivers Safety

Sometimes it can be difficult to share the road with fellow drivers, let alone bicyclists. They’re typically going much slower than you, and can come from any direction. They have just as much of a right to the road as you do in Florida, so you need to adapt to their habits too. While your initial reaction might be not very positive, there are ways to safely work with them so everyone can get where they’re going. 

I Saw the Sign 

You should be aware of bicycle riders signs on the road. Before they make a left-hand turn, they’ll point their arm in the direction they’re going. If they’re making a right hand turn, then they’ll create a right angle with their elbow bent at 90-degrees. Do not try to beat a bicycle driver making these turns because you think you’re faster than they are. Many an accident has been caused by underestimating their speed as they head into the turn. 

Respect and Patience 

These are 2 concepts you’ll need to work with if you’re in a town with a lot of bicycle riders. We’re in such a hurry all the time, and all we can think about is being late. It can make for truly hazardous conditions for everyone. Don’t honk at them or yell, even when you feel like they’re being selfish and hogging the lane. They’re in a precarious situation on their bike and upsetting them will not help. 

Safety All Around 

For Myers is served by SWFL Insurance Agency Inc. and we want you to stay safe when you’re on the road. If you need insurance or are thinking about changing plans, then give us a call to see if we can help you today. 

Home Insurance and Your Belongings in Fort Myers, FL

If you live in Fort Myers, FL, there are many types of insurance that you might have to pay. If you own a home, a type of insurance that you may have is home insurance. While legally, you can own a home without home insurance, many lenders will require you to have this coverage if you are to finance your home with a mortgage.

Many people do not know this, but home insurance does not just cover the physical structure of the home. It also covers personal belongings that are located inside the home, such as clothes, furniture, and even sports equipment. If these items are destroyed by a natural disaster or other insured disaster, or if they are stolen, they will be covered by home insurance. Generally, the coverage is 50 to 70 percent of the insurance on your homes physical structure. The best way to determine whether this is enough for you is to perform an inventory of what is in your home. In fact, this coverage can extend to items that are not on the premises, as well as up to $500 of coverage for unauthorized credit card expenses. Plants, such as shrubs and trees, in the yard, are also covered, as are expensive items such as fur coats and jewelry (but only to a limited extent).

If you want to know more about which of your belongings will be covered by home insurance in Fort Myers, FL, you can go to the professionals at SWFL Insurance Agency, Inc. to get a great deal of useful information. SWFL Insurance Agency, Inc. has many individuals who can answer a variety of questions when it comes to how home insurance can affect you in terms of your belongings, as well as anything else having to do with home insurance.

3 Reasons You Need Auto Insurance Now

For licensed drivers of all kinds, acquiring quality auto insurance is of the utmost importance. No matter if you are a newbie or a veteran, there is an array of reasons why one should always maintain good coverage on their vehicle. With that said, the following is an overview of three reasons you need auto insurance right now.

Peace of Mind

First and foremost, while this may seem like a minuscule reason, having peace of mind while you’re on the road is necessary in order to stay focused and safe on the road. By purchasing a quality insurance policy, you do not have to worry about how accident related expenses will be covered. Thusly, this leaves you free to focus on the road. 

Avoid Lawsuits 

Speaking of which, if you do not have a sufficient auto insurance policy and are involved in an accident, you may be on the hook for astronomical costs and fees. However, by purchasing sufficient coverage, you will have the added protection of being financially backed by a reputable agency that you can trust. 

It’s the Law

Lastly, no matter where you reside in the United States (with the exception of New Hampshire) you must have some sort of auto insurance coverage in order to legally operate a vehicle. The failure to do so could result in fees, fines, or even jail time. In order to avoid these potentially harsh consequences, be sure to maintain coverage on your vehicle at all times. 

Overall, if you are seeking quality auto insurance in Fort Myers, Florida, SWFL Insurance Agency Inc. is a great company to consult. Call, stop by, or email them today to find out how you can quickly secure coverage and hopefully save big! 

Fall Season Risks: Why Fort Myers Residents Should Fear the Changing Seasons

There are a lot of things that Fort Myers, Florida homeowners – both new and old – need to take into account when the seasons change. Every state has its own differences with respect to the changes of the seasons; Florida, in particular, does not have the same seasonal changes for fall that Minnesota does, for instance. No leaves changing, and while the weather does cool off, it is a lot less substantial due to its location to such a degree that it has been joked that it’s just three seasons of summer and one season of Christmas. While the temperature does not prove too much a problem – and exiting the hurricane season is always a welcome treat – the  changing seasons have some unfortunate issues, particularly with the entry into fall.

One thing to note is that even when fall weather starts to roll in, you may still have to worry about hurricane and tornado weather, so try not to become complacent; high winds can be damaging, so it does not hurt to keep an eye on that. As fall comes, you should also be mindful of the dryer weather harming your home. The effects of dry weather can be significant on woodwork and furniture that are well-warmed, so if you do not use air conditioning during the hot summer months, you may find that the dry air is more likely to put moisture into these things. This is especially a problem for Fort Myers, Florida residents as well as other residents of the state.

If you are in need of insurance to avoid the consequences of fall’s characteristic dry weather, be sure to contact SWFL Insurance Agency, Inc. We can look over your insurance situation and try to get you the insurance coverage that you need.

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?

 

Avoiding Water Damage Losses in Your Home or Condo….Must Read

water-damage-home“From torn washing machine hoses to burst pipes, it’s no wonder that water damage is among the leading causes of homeowners’ claims across the country.

Anyone who has ever dealt with a water issue at home or been involved with a water loss claim can speak to the devastation. The loss is typically greater than the property that is destroyed.”

With so many SWFL homes and condos sitting unoccupied for various lengths of time, it is important to have your customers understand the risk associated with not shutting off the potable water supply to the plumbing system of their home. Water damage claims from a plumbing break can be devastating and can happen at any time. Losses are more likely to happen when you are not home and the damage will typically be more extensive.

Help your customers understand where the main water shut off for their home or condo is located. Make sure they know where the shut off valves for each plumbing fixture and appliance is located, Being able to get to the shut off quickly can reduce damages. This is particularly important for multi story homes and condos.

If the home or condo is 10 years or older, always recommend that the shut off valves be inspected and replaced. The quality of the water can cause deposits in shut off valves causing them to not operate. These valves are typically not turned at all, unless there is an emergency or a fixture needs repair. These valves are typically the weakest link in the plumbing system.

The condensate drain and catch pan for the air conditioning system is another potential cause of water damage. This system should be cleaned and inspected at least once per year to avoid problems. Many condensate systems utilize a shut off switch to monitor excess water in the drain catch pan and shut the system down. This switch should be inspected and replaced if not working. This switch can make the difference in avoiding water damage, which can be serious depending upon where system is located.

Technology advances have created devices to shut off the main water supply when a major drop in pressure is detected. Some devices can send a text alert to your phone. Learn more at Auto Shut Off Devices. Condominium associations with multi story buildings should consider having auto shut off valves installed in all units due to the potential for extensive losses affecting multiple units.

Your Homeowners Insurance Policy may have water damage coverage, check closely. If coverage is included or endorsed to the policy, the limit of coverage will typically be $5,000. This being the case, it is even more important to be pro active in preventing a water damage loss.

Questions…Need a Homeowners Policy competitive premium quote… Call SWFL Insurance Agency, Inc., 239-265-9577 info@swflagency.com………www.SWFLAgency.com

 

Customs Busted Up My Boat! Who Pays?

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Any coastal boat owner who’s been on the water for a decent length of time knows the power of the Coast Guard. Essentially operating as a federal police agency in both American and international waters, the Coast Guard has a tremendous amount of power in its role of protecting the country’s water borders. And that gives the agency the authority to stop boats and board them if necessary to search for contraband. Unfortunately, the coastal areas have been plagued with a rising number of entry attempts by those trying to bring drugs into the U.S. No surprise then, the Coast Guard has been ramping up its efforts to arrest and stop violations. That can also mean more folks who are entirely innocent get stopped and searched.

The Coast Guard search process isn’t always a gentle one. If there’s enough to raise suspicions, a search could involve opening up cabinets and containers of the boat, which usually ends up in some damage. While a general coverage policy can take care of boat damage caused by another party, damage caused a law enforcement search can be problematic. If there was indeed a viable reason for a search, all bets for coverage are off; most polices are voided by illegal activity. If there was no reason for a search, an insurer is going to want some kind of documentation from the Coast Guard stating the search was in error, and that’s very unlikely. Instead, the best one might get is a brief letter stating a boat owner is no longer under investigation, and these often take the help of an attorney to get.

The best approach is to find out how a boat policy will work on a law enforcement search before the trip happens. Those in the Fort Myers, FL area can drop in and ask SWFL Insurance Agency Inc. how boat coverage would work, getting a clear answer for planning purposes.

Call SWFL Insurance Agency for the best Boat and Yacht Coverage…..239-265-9577

Commercial Insurance for Your Business in Fort Myers, FL

Commercial insurance coverage is similar to home insurance. It covers certain kinds of damage and protects from financial disaster after a physical disaster has struck. However, state requirements vary from state to state and the coverage available for your business might be different from what you imagine it to be. Perhaps your business has changed over the years and you need different coverage altogether. Whether you are a new business owner or an experienced veteran of the commercial world, we recommend you contact us at SWFL Insurance Agency, Inc. for the latest rates available for your commercial property. We have independent agents who can compare the coverage and rates of several insurance firms to provide you with the information you need to make the best choice possible in your commercial insurance coverage. We offer online quotes as well as face-to-face discussions to help you. It’s our goal at SWFL Insurance Agency, Inc. to get you the insurance coverage that works for you.

Your business is important to you, so make sure you have the commercial insurance coverage that your business needs. You know your commercial property, and we know commercial insurance regulations, so together we can find the best coverage to serve you. We would be pleased to review your present coverage to determine any circumstances under which your insurance coverage needs might have changed. Things happen; it’s wise to be prepared as much as possible in case of unfortunate events so you can have a smoother recovery for your business with fewer difficulties. We find the most affordable rates and the options for more extensive coverage should you need it. At SWFL Insurance Agency, Inc. we proudly serve the Fort Myers, FL area.

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

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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….

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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