What is the Big Deal about Credit Ratings and Insurance Scores?

A big factor in determining the premium of a personal auto policy has nothing to do with a person’s driving record—it’s his or her credit record. According to Conning and Company, more than 90 percent of insurers use an applicant’s credit history—his or her insurance risk score—to slot him or her into a certain program. When a person applies for auto insurance, the insurance company asks for permission to pull his or her credit information. The insurer then secures a credit report from one or more of the credit bureaus—TransUnion; Experian; or Equifax. For more information on credit reports or to secure a copy of your own report, go to http://www.credit.com. Credit scores range from 300 to 850. If your score is below 650, you may have trouble getting insurance or you may have to pay a higher premium. In order to improve your credit score, keep in mind the following factors that influence the score.

● Payment history—The largest factor is credit and loan account payment history. A steady record of on-time payments going back several years shows responsibility.

● Debts owed—The number of accounts you currently have, including type and balance. Try to have just a few active accounts with low balances.

● Length of credit history—The longer your credit history, the better.

● New accounts—Every time you apply for a new account, a record of that application appears on your credit report and drops your score. Limit the number of applications you submit.

● Balance of accounts—It is best to have between two and six open credit cards and one or two loans.

● Negative records—Collections, judgments, and bankruptcy filings will drop your score.

Copyright 2008, 2016, International Risk Management Institute, Inc.

When Should You Review Your Renters Coverage?

If you have lived in your rented residence for some time in Fort Myers, FL, do you know the last time you reviewed your policy? Reviewing your policy periodically will ensure that you aren’t paying more for what you need, and you have the right coverage to protect you. You should always let an agent at SWFL Insurance Agency Inc. know if you are moving, but there are some other times you may want to contact your agent as well.

Changes in Life: If you get new electronics, jewelry, or expensive items in your residence, you will need more insurance coverage. Think about how much it would cost to replace all the items in your home and increase the coverage amount if required. Maybe you have gotten an inheritance, and now you have more assets to protect and need to increase your liability limits. If you get a dog or other pets, are they covered under the policy? Whenever you have significant changes in life, be sure to check with your insurance agent to make sure you are still covered.

Discounts and Increases: It’s not uncommon for your insurance premiums to increase each time you renew your policy in Fort Myers, FL. However, you may not realize that if you review your insurance and get pricing quotes, you can also save some money. Your renewal yearly is a great time to make sure you review your coverage. Consider different discounts you can get, such as lumping all your policies together with the same company. You may also be eligible for other discounts if you haven’t had any recent claims.

Changes to Deductibles: A lower deductible may mean you have a higher premium. You should run some numbers with your agent to see what is better for your budget.

Contact SWFL insurance Agency Inc. to get a quote on renters insurance.

What Information Is Needed For A Home Insurance Quote In Florida?

When you live in Fort Myers, FL, you can choose to be in the city or the suburbs. What’s important is that you protect your home thoroughly. To do that, you need home insurance. Obtaining a home insurance quote is easier when you work with us at SWFL Insurance Agency Inc. We’ll show you what information is needed to get a quote.

Your Address

The first thing that is needed is the address of your home. This identifies whether you’re in a flood zone or not. It will also use your zip code to understand more about what other people in that zip code have experienced, such as the number of claims, the overall crime rates, and more.

Details of Your Home

A few details about your home will be needed to get home insurance, too. This includes the age of the home, its estimated value, as well as the total square footage. Any “additions” to the home have to be included, too. This way, you can be sure that they’re covered within the policy in case they get damaged in a storm or anything else. Such things include a detached garage, a pool, a privacy fence, or anything else that is a structure away from the home itself but still on the property.

Personal Details

Finally, you will need to provide some personal details. This includes your name, social security number, and contact information. If you have pets that will be living in the home, they need to be identified, too. This way, the level of liability can be better determined.

Are you ready to get a home insurance quote in Fort Myers, FL? Contact us at SWFL Insurance Agency Inc. today. One of our insurance agents can walk you through the process and customize a policy for you and your home.

 

What does my renters insurance cover?

Disasters in Florida are quite common, and many renters are having difficulty securing their homes and belongings. Renting is on the rise particularly in Fort Myers, FL and other areas, and therefore renters insurance is one of the most valuable financial protection for renters.

Renters insurance protects you, your family and your belongings in case of an accident or disaster attack. Many renters assume that the landlord already purchased an insurance policy to protect their homes, but unfortunately, this is never the case–the landlord only insures what he or she owns which is the house structure itself. At SWFL Insurance Agency Inc. we recommend every tenant to purchase renters insurance and stay protected.

What renters insurance covers

Before purchasing insurance, it is quite critical that you know what is being covered to avoid confusion.

Personal property

A comprehensive renters insurance pays or replaces your personal property like clothes, furniture, appliances, and other personal items. In case of a disaster, your insurance company will assess the damage and determine what will be repaired and what will be replaced.

Liability &medical expenses

If someone is injured in your apartment, liability coverage in your renter’s insurance will pay for medical bills and any lawsuit if you are sued.

Temporary living costs

In case your home is too damaged, you may need to find temporary housing before your home is fixed. Your insurance company will take care of all the living expenses you incur until you move back to your previous home.

other coverages

  • Credit card coverage
  • Items store elsewhere
  • Food
  • Other people’s property

Securing your family and property is very important. However, this may not be accomplished without a certified insurance company like SWFL Insurance Agency Inc. in Fort Myers, FL. We ensure that all your insurance needs are taken care of. Visit or call us for more.

Why Your Tax Preparation Business Needs Commercial Insurance Today

With the tax season officially opened for 2019, covering your tax preparation business is essential with insurance. Like any other business, tax preparers can find their business in accidents and situations that require quality commercial insurance. For tax preparers in Fort Myers, FL, SWFL Insurance Agency Inc. understand the importance of commercial insurance and the need for unique coverage depending on the business and its needs.

Liability Coverage

Liability coverage for any business is essential. For tax preparers, the work season is condensed, often causing high traffic in small spaces. Clients and their children can be found in the lobbies of the office from open to close. Because of this volume, the risk for accidents and liability increase. Should an unforeseen accident occur, a liability claim can be filed and your insurance will cover any associated expenses, allowing your business to continue daily operations during this time. 

Errors & Omissions Coverage

Many businesses find the need for errors and omissions coverage in their commercial insurance policy. Unfortunately, errors by your business can happen during high volume times and can cause significant financial damages in claims. With tax preparation, this service is delicate and tedious, making it a risk for errors and lawsuits if the IRS decides to audit a client and find mistakes that were inadvertent. Not being covered can cause out-of-pocket expenses, and close the doors to small tax businesses.

Contact Us Today

If you have a tax preparation business in or around the Fort Myers, FL area and are not insured with commercial insurance, contact one of our agents at SWFL Insurance Agency Inc. for more information regarding a policy. If you think you need to add to your current commercial insurance policy, we can upgrade your policy to customize your business needs. 

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. 

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.