Will Condo Insurance Cover My Personal Belongings?

If you own a condo in Fort Myers, FL, you aren’t required by law to carry condo insurance. However, if your furniture and clothing are damaged by a burst pipe or overflowing sink in your own unit, you may have to come up with the money to replace your belongings. Your condo association may also require a certain amount of insurance and lenders may have a similar requirement if you took out a mortgage on your condo.

The professionals at SWFL Insurance Agency Inc. can answer any questions you have on the types of condo insurance coverage you may benefit from. Here is some additional information on personal belongings coverage to get you started.

What is Condo Insurance for Personal Belongings?

Condo insurance is available to protect your personal belongings, which aren’t covered in your condominium’s master insurance policy. Often called a walls-in policy, condo insurance protects individual units. Typical policies offer various coverage options, including reimbursement for personal belonging lost or damaged in a covered event.

What’s Covered?

Appliances, clothing, jewelry, electronics and furniture and are usually written into your personal property coverage. If any of these items are damaged in a covered event, your insurance pays to repair or replace them.

Condo owners choose how much coverage they need, including:

  • Actual cash value gives you the depreciated value for your damaged belongings.
  • Replacement cost coverage reimburses you for the replacement cost of the lost or stolen items, regardless of depreciation.

Contact your SWFL Insurance Agency Inc. representative to set up an appointment to discuss your condo insurance needs. Come in for a quote on your Fort Myers, FL condo or contact an agent today so that you can rest assured that your belongings are covered in the unfortunate case of an event beyond your control.

3 Things to Know About Condo Insurance

Because condo owners only own their unit as opposed to the larger structure, condo insurance can become complicated quickly. Condo owners and the larger board may have very different ideas of who is responsible for what, and these details may only be revealed after an event occurs. SWFL Insurance Agency Inc. wants the people of Fort Myers, FL to have all the facts before they purchase a new policy or update the terms of their existing one.

Your HOA Has Its Own Terms 

This one may seem obvious to a condo owner who’s already been dealing with a board, but not everyone realizes just how complicated these terms can get. If the HOA doesn’t perform a formal review of your insurance policy, it’s your responsibility to understand their conditions and cover both your space and any communal space deemed necessary by the board.

Condo Insurance Covers Liability

There are a lot of reasons a condo owner may need liability insurance. Your dog unexpectedly bites a guest. Your child accidentally leaves a toy in the middle of the hallway floor and a fellow condo owner falls. From medical bills to lawsuits, liability insurance is included with your condo insurance so you have a way to pay your bills. Condo owners need to examine their policy limits to ensure they have enough insurance to cover a major event. 

Your Carrier Matters 

Your insurance carrier matters when it comes to how you structure your policy and how your claims are processed. If you have any questions about what condo insurance can do for you, call SWFL Insurance Agency Inc. for more information. We help the people of Fort Myers, FL get all the information they need, so they can keep their cool no matter what happens. 

 

 

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.

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

Condo Insurance: It May Not Provide the Protection You Think it Does

There are a few misconceptions around the coverage that condo insurance provides, and if you are looking to buy a condominium in the greater Fort Myers, FL area we recommend that you review all of your insurance needs carefully. At SWFL Insurance Agency Inc. we can provide you with the necessary guidance to make sure that your condo policy is appropriate for your situation. Typically, your COA policy will only cover the common areas of your building as well as the structure itself. In the event that a storm causes flooding or broken windows and other damage inside your unit, the loss will usually not be covered.

Your Insurance Coverage vs. That Provided by Your Condo Owners Association Insurance

Having a comprehensive condo insurance policy in place can provide the protection that you need in the event of loss or damage. Water damage caused by a plumbing problem in your bathroom is the type of accident that will not be covered by the Condo Association’s policy. In addition to damage and loss due to fire and theft, you may also want to look into liability coverage. Your personal property also needs coverage above your condo building’s policy. In simplest terms, your condo itself is your own responsibility when it comes to securing the right level of insurance coverage.

We Are Here to Answer All of Your Condo Insurance Questions

If you are thinking about buying a condo in the lovely Fort Myers, FL area, or would like to make sure that your current coverage is adequate, call SWFL Insurance Agency Inc. today. We can review the ins and outs of condo insurance with you and help you find the most appropriate policy to provide the coverage that you need. 

Parametric Insurance…an innovative way to cover that Huge Windstorm Deductible, the Dock Damage, the Tree Removal, etc. during the next storm….

Homeowners Insurance does not cover everything, and then there is that Huge Hurricane Deductible…which could be 2% or more of the insured value of your home. Many policies do not cover pool cages, boat docks, awnings, trees, landscaping, etc. And then there are all the additional costs of generators, fuel, travel, etc.

And now….. along comes an innovative idea to help cover these costs…Insurance based on an event, not a loss.

You can use your payments to: (This is cash deposited to your account within 72 hours)

·        Repair or replace swimming pool cages, boat docks, piers, seawalls

·        Remove fallen trees and debris

·        Restore landscaping

·        Fix property damage not covered under your homeowners insurance

·        Meet your hurricane deductible

·        Pay additional living expenses

·        Pay evacuation expenses

·        Replace a mobile or manufactured home

·        And more

Home types/structures covered: (no physical damage to your home is required to be paid)

·        Single family homes

·        Condominiums and Apartments

·        Mobile homes, Manufactured homes

·        Boat docks, car ports, entry structures, backyard patios, gazebos, fences and more

Causes of loss covered:

·        Wind

·        Water damage from rain, flood or storm surge

·        Flying debris

·        Mold

“This form of parametric insurance pays if specific parameters are met. In the case of hurricanes, the parameters are strength of the hurricane and distance of the insured property from the hurricane track. These parameters are easily available and verifiable, without the need for deductible, adjusters or a lengthy claims process.”

“Claims are paid electronically within 72 hours of an Hurricane Event, no claims representatives, no waiting for payment!  Claims payments can be used to pay for ANY losses that occur from a named hurricane. Exclusions include items such as: intentional loss, illegal acts, and neglect. The average policy offers $5K of coverage, has a $0 Deductible, and costs about $300 annually. Coverage limits up to $60K are available.”   Coverage is underwritten by an insurance carrier with an A.M.Best rating: A- (Excellent), and backed by a global reinsurer with A.M. Best rating: A+ (Superior).

Contact SWFL Insurance Agency, Inc. for a quote or information.

239-265-9577 Fort Myers / 941-624-3444 Port Charlotte / info@SWFL Agency.com

Why You May Need Additional Condo Insurance

Insurance for a condo is obviously very different than insurance from a home. The roof and grounds, for example, are usually covered under the primary building owner’s policy as opposed to a unit owner within the building. But just because the HOA enforces strict laws about home insurance doesn’t always mean that you have enough coverage to replace everything you care about. For condo owners in Fort Myers, FL, consider the following tips from SWFL Insurance Agency Inc. 

Times Goes By 

The passage of time isn’t just a natural inevitability, it’s also a recipe for change. The more time you live in your apartment, the more you have a chance to improve upon it and increase its value. From buying a new television to adding an expensive fixture to the bathroom, all of those small improvements you make can really add up. As the state of your condo becomes more and more luxurious, it can push you into a different coverage bracket where you need additional insurance to protect it all in case something happens to it. 

You Started Too Low 

Most people vastly underestimate their worth when it comes to their insurance policy. They do it because that underestimation translates into lower premiums. But it only takes one event to force you to come to terms with the fact that you never had enough coverage, to begin with. While it may mean paying a slightly higher premium, it’s necessary for condo owners to truly evaluate what they would want replacing if something were to happen. For more information or to ask questions about the right level of coverage for you, give SWFL Insurance Agency Inc. a call. We can help people of Fort Myers, FL find the right policy for them! 

The Difference Between Condo Insurance and Homeowners Insurance

If you’re interested in the purchase of a new condo or already own one and are looking to purchase insurance, you may have some questions about your coverage options. The first thing to remember when it comes to condos is that insurance for condos can be different than insurance for homes.

Here’s what you need to know about the difference between condo insurance and standard home insurance.

Six components are different to these type dwelling types.

There are numerous components to every dwelling insurance policy, and any particular policy will be determined by who owns what.

In a condo, you do not actually own the entire structure. Instead, you own the area encompassed by the drywall. On the other hand, if you own a home, you own the complete structure.

When it comes to your insurance plan, this means that some things will be different. Six components will be different to be exact. Here are the coverage types that you should expect changes in:

• Primary dwelling coverage
• Other structures coverage
• Personal liability coverage
• Loss of use coverage
• Personal property coverage
• Medical payment coverage

All condo insurance isn’t alike either.

Furthermore, remember that the policies and rules associated with your particular condo complex will be different than other complexes. You’ll need to check with your particular complex’s plan to make sure that you understand what’s covered and what’s not.

Contact SWFL Insurance Agency Inc. for More Information

If you’re a Fort Myers, FL resident who’s interested in condo insurance, rest assured that our agents at SWFL Insurance Agency Inc. can help you find the perfect condo insurance plan. We serve residents of Fort Myers, FL and the surrounding areas and would be glad to discuss any and all coverage options with you. Give us a call today or stop by one of our locations for a quote.

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