What is included with home insurance?

Buying a home is a very big investment. When you are looking to purchase a home, you will want to make sure that you have home insurance in place at all times. There are a variety of benefits that come with a home insurance policy, each of which can provide you with valuable protection. 

Covers Your Home

One of the most important types of coverage that you will receive in your home insurance policy is coverage for damage to your property. When you live in the Fort Myers, FL area, you are always running the risk of having your home damaged by storm, fire, or a variety of other casualties. When you have a home insurance policy in place, you will receive coverage for losses you incur in these situations. This could ultimately save you a significant amount of money.

Liability Coverage

An additional benefit that comes with home insurance is that you will receive liability coverage. If you are an owner of a home, you are taking on risk if you have a guest over to your home. If the guest is injured or comes ill while they are at your property, you could be considered liable. In these situations, your home insurance policy will come in handy as you will have a liability insurance coverage component in your home insurance. 

If you are looking for a home insurance policy in the Fort Myers, FL area, you should first visit with the team at SWFL Insurance Agency Inc. When you meet with the agents with SWFL Insurance Agency Inc. you will learn far more about all of the benefits that come with it and how it can protect you. 

What does it mean when your vehicle has been totaled?

Getting into an auto accident is aggravating enough. However, the unhappiness increases if your insurance company tells you that your vehicle has been totaled. That means you have to shell out more money to buy a new ride. And, if your car is not an obvious mangled pile of junk, the assessment seems unfair. Unfortunately, as the SWFL Insurance Agency Inc. serving Fort Myers, FL, explains, whether or not a car has been totaled stems from the economics of the automobile industry.

Essentially, when a car is totaled, the cost of repairing it, including such expenses as the tow from the accident site and the rental car cost, is greater than the appraised value of the model, make, and year of your vehicle. In short, it would cost more to repair the car than it would to buy an equivalent on the used vehicle market.

If your car is totaled, you have two options.

First, you can accept the settlement from the insurance company, based on the appraised cash value. You likely will not have enough money to buy a new car, but at least you have a substantial down payment.

Second, you can accept the settlement and use it plus whatever cash you have in your pocket to get your vehicle fixed. You might be attached to your car and cannot bear to part with it. Usually, this option is not recommended. A new car, at least, will not have the wear and tear your old vehicle has, even if the repair job makes it seem like new.

For more questions on auto insurance feel free to contact the SWFL Insurance Agency Inc. serving Fort Myers, FL.

 

Auto Insurance Changes After a Divorce

A divorce can be a painful and confusing time for an individual. During this time period, you will have many questions concerning how things should be divided and settled between yourself and your ex-spouse. Understanding how car insurance will be affected by your divorce is a starting place. There are a few rules you should keep in mind when you are dealing with car insurance during a divorce. 

Consent is Necessary

It is necessary to have the ex-spouse’s consent before you can remove them from the insurance policy. This can be a sore spot for some couples, as bad feelings or other difficulties can make communication stressful during this time. It is important to remember that the more cordial you can be during this time, the more quickly you will be able to settle car insurance questions and the more quickly you will be able to move on. 

Addresses Must Be Separated

It is also important to note that it will be difficult to separate car insurance while you are both still living at the same address. Maintaining separate addresses will make this process easier. If you and your ex-spouse are still living at the same address, wait until addresses are different before trying to divide car insurance. 

Separating Titles

It is also helpful to make sure that the titles to the vehicles are clearly separated during the divorce. This will make insuring the vehicles less complicated and confusing. 

Establishing a New Policy

It may seem a no-brainer, but one of the spouses will be required to get a new insurance policy. There is no need for this to become another point of contention between the couple. Acquiring a new insurance policy can be a simple and inexpensive process. If you need to speak with an insurance representative about obtaining car insurance after a divorce contact the helpful staff at SWFL Insurance Agency Inc. serving Fort Myers, FL and surrounding areas. 

 

What Does Umbrella Insurance Cover?

An umbrella policy in Fort Myers, FL doesn’t provide coverage on its own. Instead, it provides additional coverage or excess liability above the limits from basic policies. Things that can be covered include injury treatment and funeral costs for others, other’s property damage, and injuries or property damage suffered by a tenant if you are a landlord.

Understanding coverage for this policy is easier by understanding how this works. If you get into a car accident where there is damage to the vehicles and several people injured, and the accident is determined to be your fault, there is going to be a lot of things to pay for. Between the repairs, medical bills, legal fees if you are sued, and settlements from lawsuits, chances are that the total is going to be above what your auto liability insurance covers. If the total is $500,000 but your auto insurance only covers $300,000, then you have to figure out a way to pay for the additional $200,000. This is where umbrella coverage comes in. Once the auto insurance policy has been exhausted, umbrella coverage will pay the difference.

The example used is for auto insurance, but umbrella can kick in after a similar claim under homeowners insurance. In addition to kicking in for homeowners and auto insurance policies, umbrella insurance provides such additional coverage for things that aren’t covered under these standard policies. These protections include lawsuits involving defamation of character, libel, slander, and other personal attacks. While umbrella insurance is useful, there are some things it won’t cover, which include your own injuries or damage to your belongings, as well as intentional or criminal acts. For a personal policy, it won’t cover any injuries or damage that your business is responsible for and, depending on the policy, it may not cover injuries or damage caused by certain recreational vehicles such as jet skis. It’s recommended to have a million-dollar policy, but an agent at SWFL Insurance Agency Inc. can help determine your risks and coverage needs.

Contact SWFL Insurance Agency Inc. serving Fort Myers, FL, to get a quote on umbrella insurance. 

Protect Your Summer Condo From Fire With Renters Insurance

You love to vacation in Fort Myers, FL during the winter and rent a gorgeous condo every year for your trip. However, you are worried that fire could affect your condo while you are gone. Thankfully, you can get protection from one of the many high-quality renters insurance policies available with insurance providers like SWFL Insurance Agency Inc.

Renter’s Insurance Covers Fires

Accidental fire damage will be covered by just about every type of renters insurance. Problems that you couldn’t foresee, such as electrical issues caused by other tenants, are fully covered by most policies as are incidents of a fire triggered by the renter.

Liability claims of this type are particularly important to understand because they can help you when you accidentally cause a fire in a condo. For example, you may fry with excessive grease and trigger a small, but damaging fire. Liability coverage also protects you from lawsuits by people who are visiting your condo and who may be injured in a fire.

When a Policy Won’t Help

There are very few instances in which renters insurance won’t help somebody when their home burns down. Typically, these kinds of policies do not cover fire problems that were caused by the person on purpose as a way of collecting insurance payments.

After every fire, the insurance company will hire a professional inspector to check out what happened to ensure that nothing is too strange or unseemly about the situation. And most of the time, they will approve a claim unless there is real evidence that a person purposefully caused the fire.

Let Us Help You

So if you are concerned about your Fort Myers, FL suffering from a fire while you are away or even while you’re visiting, contact us at SWFL Insurance Agency Inc. to learn more about renters insurance policies. This type of insurance provides you with the help you need to avoid serious issues.

What Kind of Motorcycle Insurance Should I Get

For those that in the Fort Myers, FL area, nothing is better than spending a day out in the sun on your very own motorcycle. If you own a motorcycle, the first thing that you need to do is make sure that it is properly covered by insurance. There are several tips that should be followed that will help you to pick the right insurance policy for your situation.

Consider Liability Laws

When you are looking for a new policy for your motorcycle coverage, the first thing you need to think about is what your liability requirements are. In Florida, all motorcycle drivers need to have minimum liability coverage of at least $10,000 for personal property and bodily injury coverage of at least $10,000 per person with a $20,000 per incident cap.

Lender Requirements

When you are going to get motorcycle insurance, you should also make sure that you are in compliance with your lender. If you took out a lease or loan to get your motorcycle, you will need to make sure you comply with all insurance requirements in the loan or lease agreement. The majority of the time, your lender will require that you have collision and comprehensive coverage in place.

Personal Needs

While certain types of coverage may not be required for you, it is still important to consider your personal needs. You should consider not only the type of coverage you need but the level of coverage as well. This will ensure you have the right type and amount of coverage. 

If you are in the Fort Myers, FL area and own a motorcycle, you should contact the SWFL Insurance Agency Inc. When you meet with the team at SWFL Insurance Agency Inc. you will learn far more about your motorcycle insurance needs and options. The team will also help to make sure that you get into a good policy that provides you with the necessary protection.

Excess Flood Coverage: When Basic Flood Policies Aren’t Enough

Like the rest of the state, the area surrounding Fort Myers, FL is prone to severe seasonal flooding. Is your basic flood insurance enough? SWFL Insurance Agency Inc. wants you to be prepared for the wet weather. How can you tell if you need excess flood insurance?

  • Your primary policy doesn’t cover the total value of your home. In case of severe flooding, your home may need extensive repairs to the foundation, subflooring, and support structures. These expensive repairs can quickly eat into your primary payout, leaving you liable for a large out-of-pocket contribution. Higher-value homes need excess flood coverage to protect the owner’s personal wealth.
  • You own a commercial business. Does your business owner policy include flood coverage? Check with your agent to ensure your inventory, equipment, and buildings are covered. In combination with other policies, excess flood insurance gives business owners the capital they need to rebuild after a catastrophic storm or accidental flooding.
  • You are a collector. High-value possessions like jewelry, artwork, musical instruments, and antiques are difficult to replace. However, without enough insurance, finding equivalent replacements may be impossible. After paying for repairs to your property, there is rarely enough left over from your primary payout to replace your precious items as well. Excess flood insurance provides enough funds to replace and repair all of your important items. Even these policies, however, may not fully cover the value of lost items. Talk with your insurance agent about additional policies to protect high-value collectibles.
  • You’re a landlord. Don’t risk losing months of investment income because you don’t have enough cash to repair your property after a flood. Excess flood insurance allows you to fix damages while still making regular payments to the bank.

SWFL Insurance Agency Inc. serves the insurance needs of residents and business owners in the Fort Myers, FL area. Contact us for more information on excess flood insurance.

 

Buying Condo Insurance: Know Your Boundaries Before You Purchase

Are you shopping for condo insurance for your new Fort Myers, FL home? Before you sign on the dotted line, make sure you know where your property begins in the complex and what the condo association is responsible for maintaining. Your agent at SWFL Insurance Agency Inc. knows that condos come in all shapes and sizes, so your insurance policy must be written to fit your unit–not your neighbor’s.

Hallways, Entries, and the Front Porch

Are you buying into a high-rise or garden style condo? If you share the floor with a neighbor, the connecting hall, elevator, stairs, and even the front door are the responsibility of the COA. However, when you own the entire floor, you will be expected to cover any damage that happens from the ceiling to the carpeting. In a townhome, if everybody has a front porch, those are likely part of the association. Only your deed and plans will show you the details.

Yards, Pools, and Patios

Shared space usually results in shared liability. Should your unit have a private walled-in yard with a hot tub, that should be listed on your insurance policy. However, if you hold parties at the big pool and playground, liability coverage switches to the association as long as you follow all the rules and regulations.

Shared Walls and Roofs

What about your duplex? This can get sticky. Check with your COA to see who is responsible for the walls, interior plumbing, wiring, and structural elements when your unit is part of a multi-family home. You may wish to increase your coverage if the roof is listed as yours. 

Save your sanity and your wallet when you sit down with an SWFL Insurance Agency Inc. agent and design a condo insurance policy that fully protects your Fort Myers, FL home.

Preventing Water Damage Inside Your Home

  1. Know The Location Of Your Water Main

You’d be surprised how many homeowners have no idea where their water main is located. And knowing where your water main is located is the first step in preventing or minimizing any water damage disaster.

  1. Check Appliances Regularly

It’s important to inspect and maintain your home appliances regularly for any hidden leaks. Leaking or malfunctioning appliances account for a significant portion of water damage claims.

  1. Install Floor/Drain Pans at Hot Water Heater and AC

While they won’t protect your home from a catastrophic leak, they can help prevent any damage from small or slow undetected leaks.

  1. Upgrade Washing Machine Hoses

Washing machine leaks are among the most frequent causes of water damage loss for homeowners. Replace washing machine hoses at least every five years and consider using a flood safe hose. Replace your hoses regularly could avoid a nasty mess and expensive damage.

  1. Inspect Your Refrigerator

If your refrigerator has an ice maker or water dispenser, be sure to double check the water line hose between the fridge and the wall for any leaks. And again, consider upgrading to a flood safe hose.

  1. Inspect Your Water Heater

Be sure to inspect your water heater at least once a year, keeping an eye out for any slow leaks, water pooling, or any rust or corrosion, especially on the water pipes connecting the heater to the plumbing system.  If you do spot any issues, be sure to have your water heater serviced by a professional as soon as you can..

  1. Inspect Your Air Conditioning Unit

Another major culprit in water damage claims is your air conditioning unit. It’s a case of “out of sight, out of mind.” Air conditioning units are usually tucked away in a dark closet somewhere in the house that you rarely ever check, even worse when they’re located in the attic.

Know how your condensate drain works.  Does it have a float switch and pump? Have a qualified service person inspect and service you unit at least before summer, preferably every 6 months.

  1. Inspect Your Attic

It’s another case of “out of sight, out of mind.” Most homeowners never step foot into their attics, and signs of water damage in the attic may not sure until it’s too late, especially if it’s a slow leak. The issue with water damage in your attic is that it’s the prime environment for mold growth. Water saturates the wood and insulation causing mold to grow and spread – not only causing water damage to your home but now you have a health hazard that you need to deal with.

Another scenario is when water pools in the attic until your ceiling can’t handle the stress anymore and comes crashing down. A routine check of your attic is definitely worth your time.

  1. Seal Windows & Doors

Rain and snow can easily invade your home through badly fitted windows or doors, especially in conjunction with strong winds blowing against the side of your home.

Water seepage inside windows can damage your window frames and surrounding drywall. Fix this by applying caulk at exterior frame and trim and use weather stripping to seal windows and doors that aren’t closing tightly.

Do you live in an area with frequent storms? Consider installing storm windows to provide an additional layer of protection against wind and rain.

Properly sealed windows and doors will not only help keep water out but can also save electricity.

  1. Inspect Hoses, Faucets, & Sinks

It’s best to routinely check the hoses, faucets, and sinks for signs of any leaks. Be sure to check underneath the cabinets and keep an eye out for any water stains.  Have these leaks addressed before they become worse.

Shut off valves (stops) should be changed out at 10 years.  They are cheap units subject to failure due to the chemicals in our water supply.  These valves are located at every fixture including toilets, faucets at bath and kitchen sinks.

  1. Inspect Showers, Tubs, & Toilets

Your showers and tubs are constantly being exposed to water, there’s obviously no way around it. Usually built with tile and glass enclosures, they do a pretty good job of draining water and preventing any water flow outside of the designated wet areas. Over time, the caulking or grout between tiles can break off or become damaged. Be sure to repair these grout lines and caulk wherever necessary to prevent water from permeating the tile and damaging the underlying drywall.

  1. Check Pipes

Check any and all accessible pipes for any cracks or leaks. If you find any damage, be sure to have it repaired immediately to prevent even more costly repairs in the future.

  1. Never Pour Grease Down Sinks

Odds are, you’ve probably heard this before. Avoid pouring grease (hot or cold) down your kitchen sink; it also won’t matter if you flush it with hot or cold water. Grease can congeal and cling to your pipes, causing severe damage and blocking water flow.

  1. Use A Drain Snake Instead Of Chemicals

Clogs are inevitable and are going to happen, no matter how clean you are. Chances are you’ve used a powerful chemical drain cleaner to get the water flowing again. However, as convenient as they are, these chemicals can also eat away at your pipes, setting yourself up for leaks.  Consider owning a drain snake, they’re pretty inexpensive, and they’re a great solution to clear away any clogs.

  1. Monitor Your Water Bill

With so many water pipes hidden behind walls and floors, you might not know there’s a leak until the damage is visible. Keep an eye on your water bill, if you see it starting to creep up or receive an unusually high bill, it could be a sign that you may have a leak somewhere in your home.

  1. Shut Off Your Water Supply When On Vacation

Be sure to turn off your home’s water supply when you go on vacation. Some of the most common causes of water damage in the summer months are when families leave on vacation. Their homes empty for days, weeks, and sometimes even months. If there was a leak, even a small one, it’d be left unchecked and can cause a substantial amount of damage by the time someone ever notices.

  1. Install Water Leak Detection Devices/Alarms

Water Alarms work similarly to smoke alarms. When the device detects water in a specific area, an alarm is triggered. Basic leak detection devices are relatively inexpensive, ranging from $10-$30 each and require a 9-volt battery. You can place them directly on the floor or mount them in a variety of locations: in the basement, the attic, near your air conditioner, refrigerator, dishwasher, washing machines – basically anywhere in the house that’s susceptible to water damage.

  1. Install A Water Flow Monitoring System

Water flow monitoring systems protect your entire house by measuring the flow of water into your home, directly attaching to your water main. In the event that it detects continuous water flow that isn’t consistent with your everyday use of household appliances, it stops the flow of water into your house automatically.  Check out LeakSmart, a complete system with reporting to your smart phone.

For more information about your Policy and Interior Water Damage, send us an email at Info@SWFLAgency.com.

SWFL Insurance Agency, Inc.

www.SWFLAgency.com

239-265-9577

Is Boat Insurance Mandatory in Fort Myers, Florida?

Being a resident in Fort Myers, FL has many perks, one of which is the luxurious privilege of boating in the spectacular coastal waters. Such an experience can get to your head and lead you to throw caution in the wind. After all, Florida does not require boats to have insurance, neither are boat owners needed to have licenses to run their boats. However, you cannot be too careful and insuring your boat can save you lots of headache in the future. So before you dismiss boat insurance, you might want to reconsider.

Instances where you need Boat insurance in Fort Myers Fl

  • If you are struggling financially, need to take a loan and offer your boat as collateral, the lending institution will need you to have boat insurance cover.
  • You may be aware that most home insurance policies cover boats and watercraft. However, such insurance policies have an upper limit for covering the boats. You should, therefore, check the value of your boat, and if it beats the limit, a boat insurance cover will come in handy.

Choose a reliable Boat insurance provider

With the many agencies offering boat insurance, you might be caught up in deciding which one is suitable for you. SWFL Insurance Agency Inc. offers you a comprehensive variety of boat insurance policies. While you may not know which one suits your circumstances, we have highly-trained personnel who will advise on the best route to follow.

SWFL Insurance Agency Inc. upholds integrity and transparency; therefore we lay out our terms and conditions. Whatever the policy states and you do not understand, we never hesitate to break it down for you. So, don’t wait until an accident happens to start rushing for a policy. Visit us today for more details and let us help you secure your boat, for your peace of mind.