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.

How to Choose Commercial Insurance in Fort Myers

In order to run a successful business in the state of Florida, you will likely be required to have some sort of viable commercial insurance. Commercial insurance is also a great investment for your business, as it protects that business from large out-of-pocket expenses from unexpected emergencies.

Here are some of the characteristics for the commercial insurance policy that you should look for to protect your business in Fort Myers.

  • General liability insurance – This kind of insurance will help you if your business gets sued for property damage or personal injury. You will be covered for accidents that occur on your business grounds or if there is an accident that occurs because of the use of your goods or services.
  • Attorney’s fees – Certain kinds of commercial policies can be modified to include all attorneys fees in case there are legal processes that you have to go through.
  • Property insurance – This is a more comprehensive policy to cover accidents that happen on your property. If you are in a high-traffic area, then you may have to get specialized property insurance in order to cover everything that could happen.
  • Workers comp policies – This is a very important kind of business insurance that protects the business if an employee is hurt on the job. In Florida, most businesses with warehouses or large amounts of inventory are required to have Worker’s Comp. policies.

SWFL Insurance Agency Inc. provides commercial insurance for businesses in Fort Myers, FL and surrounding areas. If you need to protect the business, key employees or a commercial estate, make sure that you give the dedicated experts at SWFL Insurance Agency Inc. a call or an email today.

When Can You File a Claim on Your Auto Insurance?

Owning a car is a significant achievement in your life. However, you need to purchase an auto insurance policy to ensure that your car is protected all the time. An auto insurance policy will provide you with the much-needed peace of mind since you know that you will always have someone behind your back when the worst happens. However, most car owners in Fort Myers, FL do not know when to file an auto insurance claim. When your car is damaged, you need to file a claim with your insurance provider such as SWFL Insurance Agency Inc. to ensure that you do not incur significant financial losses. Here are some scenarios when you can claim your auto insurance.

Claim When You Are Sued

Accidents always occur, and you never know when it will happen to you. If you’re driving and you get involved in a costly accident, or you hit another person on the road, he or she may decide to file a lawsuit against you. If this is the case, your liability coverage should help you meet the cost of hiring an experienced attorney to represent you in court. It should also help you settle any medical bills of the injured individuals.

When Your Car is Damaged but Not in Accident

If a tree falls on your car during a windy day or your car gets burglarized, and you cannot meet the repair costs, your auto insurance provider will come in and help you repair it if you have a comprehensive coverage policy. Also, if fire, floods or storm destroys your car, you are right to file your auto insurance claim. Before you file your auto insurance, you should ensure that the primary cause of your car damage is a covered event.

Are you a car owner in Fort Myers, FL? Stop by SWFL Insurance Agency Inc. today for a comprehensive auto insurance policy.

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.

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. 

Collision and Liability Insurance for Your Boat

Living near the Gulf is one of the great joys of being a Fort Myers, FL resident, and when you have a boat, the water is even more fun! At SWFL Insurance Agency Inc. we provide a comprehensive range of collision and liability insurance policies for your boat and other watercraft. While the requirements for boat insurance can be quite limited, we recommend that all of our clients carry comprehensive coverage.

Some Advantages of Collision and Liability Insurance for Your Boat

Protecting your boat from damage and theft is always a smart idea, and this protection can be found in basic boat policies. If you are also seeking liability protection to protect you in the event of injury or damage caused by your boat, there are comprehensive policies available. In fact, the most complete coverage will also cover events such as repair and tow in the event that your boat malfunctions while you are out on the water. 

Having liability insurance can help you in the event that your boat causes damage that is not due to a collision. We offer both types of protection because of the risks associated with liability damages in today’s society are too great to go uncovered. Comprehensive coverage will protect you from all manner of mishaps, from dents and dings to damage and injury caused by your boat. Owning a boat is a wonderful way to spend time with family and friends and enjoy all that our beautiful area has to offer. 

Interested in Learning More about the Benefits of Boat Insurance?

We strongly advise all of our clients to carry adequate coverage for their boats and would welcome the opportunity to review boat policies with you. If you are in the greater Fort Myers, FL area, contact SWFL Insurance Agency Inc. to learn more.

What Does a Commercial Insurance Policy Cover?

Commercial insurance comes with a wide range of policy options that are put in place to protect a business from financial loss. Every commercial operation experiences its own set of risks; therefore, every commercial insurance policy must be tailored to fit a particular business’s needs. We live in a litigious society where a simple lawsuit against your Fort Myers, FL business could render it bankrupt.

Every commercial entity in Fort Myers, FL isn’t required to have commercial insurance except when it has employees or own vehicles that are used for commercial purposes. From the inception stage, a business faces risks from every angle, which makes commercial insurance coverage with SWFL Insurance Agency Inc. the perfect way to protect your investment.

Our commercial insurance coverage will help you cover the following:

Liability charges

If your business is held responsible for personal injuries and property damage towards a third party, then commercial insurance will cater for the cost of defending you and resolving the lawsuit.

Property

In case your commercial business property is lost or damaged, commercial insurance will cover the cost of repairs or replacement.

Workers

If employees suffer work-related injuries and illnesses, commercial insurance covers medical treatment, disability, and even death benefits.

Company vehicles

This part of your coverage functions just like the standard auto insurance. It covers company vehicles and drivers for personal injury, property damage, collision, comprehensive, liability, third party bodily injuries, and much more.

Loss of income

In the event of a disaster or a catastrophic event, your business operations are likely to be interrupted, which could lead to loss of income. Commercial insurance covers business expenses such as employee wages and rent.

By helping you get the right coverage, SWFL Insurance Agency Inc. is able to help your business avoid major financial losses. Contact us today for any commercial insurance needs.

 

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.