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

Does My Homeowners Insurance Policy Cover My Dog?

If you are a new homeowner in Fort Myers, FL, you need the services of a reputable insurance agency such as SWFL Insurance Agency Inc. The agents will help you determine whether or not your homeowners insurance covers your dog. Dog owners often have to deal with liability claims if their dogs bite other people within their property. Over half of dog attacks happen within a homeowner’s property. Each bite costs about $30,000. It may be a lot to pay out of the pocket.

Even though homeowners insurance may cover your dog, it does not cover any injuries or illnesses for your pet. You need a separate insurance policy for that. Coverage for your dog varies depending on your location, your insurance provider, and the type of dog you own.

Are All Breeds Covered?

Some insurance providers do not cover certain breeds of dogs. They stay away from breeds such as German Shepherds, bulldogs, and breeds that are considered aggressive. If you already have homeowners insurance, ask your insurance provider if they blacklist any breeds. Notify them if you purchase dogs that may be considered aggressive. Your premium rates may go higher.

What If Your Home Insurance Doesn’t Cover Your Dog?

If your insurance provider does not cover your dog under homeowners insurance policy, do not give up. Ask our insurance agency to help you find an insurance company that does. It is possible to find a provider that is lenient. Another option is to get a separate insurance policy. Pet liability insurance helps you pay for liability claims if your dog harms other people. This policy covers your dog regardless of its breed. It helps you to reduce claims on your homeowner’s insurance.

Contact SWFL Insurance Agency Inc. for your homeowner’s insurance in Fort Myers, FL.

Top Tips for Buying Renter’s Insurance

Most renters presume they do not need a renters insurance coverage if their landlord has property insurance. This is wrong. Having a renter’s insurance policy ensures that your personal property is protected against hazards such as fires, burglary, and other natural disasters. Here are the top tips you should follow when buying a renter’s insurance policy:-

Go for a higher deductible
The deductible amount refers to the amount of money you have to pay to your insurer before they settle your claim. While it is tempting to go for a lower deductible as it implies a lower amount once you file a claim, it is not always a good decision. A higher deductible means lower premiums. 

Choose a correct coverage amount
You could come up with the correct coverage amount by taking stock of all your possessions and their worth. This gives you a rough estimate of the amount of coverage you should get.

Understand what’s covered and what is not covered
While renters’ insurance policies cover a wide range of things, not all disasters might be included. For instance, some policies exclude natural disasters such as floods or hurricanes. Depending on your insurer, you could have the policy adjusted to include such happenings or purchase a different policy for them.

Bundle your policy
Combining your insurance with the rest of your insurance policies is an effective way of saving on your coverage costs. This is because most insurers offer a significant discount on a combined policy. For instance, you could combine your renter’s insurance policy with your automobile and liability coverage.

SWFL Insurance Agency Inc. has been offering renter’s insurance policies to Fort Myers, FL residents for years now. Contact us today and learn about our tailormade coverage options. 

I’ve Lost Everything- Help!

Here in Fort Myers, FL, we know that disaster can strike. From hurricanes to floods, it’s heartbreaking to lose everything. When the unthinkable happens, it’s important to know what steps to take next. 

– First, call your insurance agent at SWFL Insurance Agency Inc. While it’s not likely that you’ll have a clear head in the middle of a disaster, your insurance agent is trained to handle these situations. They’ll be able to walk you through the claims process so that you can get your life back on track as soon as possible. It’s a good idea to write down their instructions so that you don’t forget anything.

– Next, take photos of all damages. You may feel like you’re being over the top, but you cannot take enough photos. Your insurance company will want to see close-ups, various angles, etc., and with cell phones, it’s not like you’re going to run out of film. When in doubt, take a picture. 

– Fill out the required forms. Your insurance agent will walk you through exactly what forms need to be filled out in order to get your home in working order again. 

– Arrange to have an insurance representative survey the damage. The representative will walk through the remnants of the house with you to help the insurance agency get a clear picture of the damage. 

While home destruction is an unfortunate reality for some Fort Myers, FL residents, SWFL Insurance Agency Inc. is there to walk you through the entire process of getting your life back. Stop by our local Fort Myers, FL office today to chat with an agent and make sure your home insurance policy suits your needs.

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

Do You Need Additional Home Coverage?

Determining the amount of home insurance coverage you need in Fort Myers, FL is important in order to make sure your family is protected in the event of a problem. Your home insurance policy will include six types of coverage: dwelling, other structures, personal possessions, loss of use, personal liability and medical payments. The amount of coverage you have should equal the full replacement cost of your home in the event your home is a total loss. However, there are some other considerations that you may want extra coverage for.

Contents Coverage

It’s possible that your contents may be underinsured. Many replacement cost policies don’t include full replacement and instead, you would receive a percentage for the furniture and other possessions. For condos, you need to read the fine print about what the association covers and what you need to ensure. Make sure you have enough to cover your valuables. If you have fine jewelry, silverware, fur coats or expensive artwork, you may need some additional coverage.

Remodels

If you upgrade your kitchen, bathroom or other areas of your home, it may increase the value of your property, which would mean you need to increase your policy coverage.

Other Upgrades

Certain upgrades also require additional insurance costs. If you put in a pool, it’s wise to have an umbrella policy. Speak with your agent at SWFL Insurance Agency Inc. if you have upgrades in your home.

Flood Coverage

Flood coverage is not covered under a typical home insurance policy. Therefore, if you live in an area that is prone to flooding, think about getting a separate policy.

Certain dog breeds

Some dog breeds, like pit bulls and rottweilers, may not be insurable and may require additional liability coverage.

Contact an agent at SWFL Insurance Agency Inc. serving Fort Myers, FL to work on a policy for homeowners insurance.

If My Dog Bites An Intruder Will My Insurance Cover Their Treatment?

Your dog is a member of your family, but there are times when a friend or neighbor may get on their bad side. Dog bites can lead to expensive medical bills and often result in hard feelings on both ends. At SWFL Insurance Agency Inc. agents are ready to answer the questions Fort Myers, FL residents may have when it comes to dog bites that occur on their property.

Injuries That Occur On Your Property

When an injury occurs on your property, your homeowner’s insurance policy will kick in and cover the person’s medical expenses. This is also true if your dog bites someone or causes them to fall. It’s important to remember that any type of injury that occurs on your property is your responsibility. Just like you would be responsible for someone falling down a flight of stairs, you will also be responsible for any injuries that were caused by one of your pets.

Containing Your Dog and Maintaining Control

Responsible pet ownership means containing your pet and maintaining control of your pet at all times. This can mean surrounding your property with a high fence, keeping your dog on a strong leash while others are present and making sure your pets are current on all of their vaccinations.

The agents of SWFL Insurance Agency Inc. serve residents throughout the Fort Myers, FL area. If you have questions about your homeowner’s insurance coverage and how to handle a dog bite situation, don’t hesitate to call the office and speak to a licensed agent. They can provide you with the answers you need and provide you peace of mind.

Do Rental Properties Need Home Insurance?

If you have rental properties that you are renting out, then you have probably asked yourself whether or not you need to invest in homeowners insurance. In most cases, you will need some type of landlord policy. If, however, you do not intend to rent out the property on a full-time basis — you are only going to rent out sporadically — then a homeowners policy might make for a better fit. Let’s take a quick look at an important factor to consider when deciding what type of insurance you need on your rental properties. 

What is the length of the rental agreement?

If you intend to rent out your home for a short period of time, like for a sporting event that’s taking place over the period of one or two weekends, then you probably don’t need a landlord insurance policy. Instead, you should speak with your insurance agent to see if your current homeowner’s policy will provide protection. If, however, you intend to rent out your home for more than a period of 14 days, then a landlord policy will likely be needed. Still yet, if you do decide to rent out your home for only a short period of time yet you don’t live in the home, then a homeowners policy might not be suitable. This is why it is so important to speak with your insurance agent about the best type of policy to invest in. 

Understanding Coverage

It is pertinent to understand that landlord policy and homeowner’s policies will likely not cover your tenant’s belongings in the home. This is why it is important to tell your tenants that they need to invest in a renters policy. 

To learn more about putting insurance on rental properties, please contact SWFL Insurance Agency Inc. serving the Fort Myers, FL area. 

Why take up a renters insurance cover?

As an apartment renter, you need to ensure that you are protected in the event of the unexpected, because your landlord’s insurance will only cover damages to the structure of the building, and not the contents therein. The implication is that your belongings will not be included in this case. Most landlords will require you to purchase renters insurance for your new lease, while some will not demand this, but this is something you should consider.

Coverage For Personal Belongings
In the course of your stay at the apartment you are currently renting, your belongings are exposed to many risks, some of which may be hard to prevent. If there is damage or theft of your possessions, your landlord’s insurance will not cover for these, but your renter’s insurance will do. As such, it may be wise to take an inventory of all your belongings as well, as a record for the insurance company. 

The record will be helpful in case you need to make a claim. Such a document should be kept safe either at a friend’s or relative’s house or an online platform and not your house.

Cushion Against Loss Or Damage
At SWFL Insurance Agency Inc.  Fort Myers, FL we understand that you may have put in a lot to furnish your home, and saving enough money to replace the same after loss or damage may take a while. For that reason, we will offer compensation when that happens, to help you recover fast without having to spend more from your bank account.

Insurance Solutions To Suit Your Budget
Since the lifestyle of one individual is different from that of another, their financial muscle will also vary to some extent. SWFL Insurance Agency Inc. Fort Myers, FL renters insurance solutions are customized to satisfy these requirements, and one that suits you is available.

Some tenants imagine that renters insurance is expensive, which keeps them from purchasing it, when it may cost them much more later. This is a myth you should not trade for your possessions.

 

Does Renters Insurance Cover Things Outside the Home in Fort Myers?

Many people understand how important it is to have renters insurance in Fort Myers, FL. However, they don’t understand just how much renters insurance really protects them. It doesn’t just protect things in your home. At SWFL Insurance Agency Inc., we think it’s a good idea for you to understand how renters insurance can protect your off-premise property

Personal Property is Still Personal No Matter Where It’s At

Your personal property belongs to you no matter where it’s located. Understanding that can help you understand how your renter’s insurance can cover your things, even when they’re not in the home.

How an insurance company covers off-premise items can vary, so it’s important to discuss the possibilities beforehand. It’s certainly possible for your renter’s insurance to cover some or all the following:

  • Items in a storage unit
  • Lost, damaged, or stolen luggage when traveling
  • Lost, damaged, or stolen items from your vehicle

Things immediately outside your home may also have coverage. For example, items in a shed or on the lawn are outside the home, but they’re still your personal property.

Often, insurance companies will only cover a portion of the value of property not at the home. This can vary, but even some assistance is better than none at all when it comes to recouping a loss.

You May Have More Coverage for Your Personal Property Than You Know

As mentioned, your policy may not cover all off-premise items, but it will cover some. Even if your policy or agent doesn’t specifically say you have certain forms of off-premise coverage, it never hurts to ask.

A situation may arise where something belonging to you becomes damaged, stolen, or lost while you’re not at home. Contact your renter’s insurance carrier to see if they can help you out.

Renters insurance is incredibly versatile. If you rent in Fort Myers, FL, you should consider renters insurance a necessity. To learn more about how renters insurance can cover you, contact SWFL Insurance Agency Inc. today.