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

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

Providing Liability Insurance for the “6-pack” or “Charter Boat Captain’s License”

The Coast Guard Auxillary defines the “6 Pack License” as follows. “This license is properly termed “Operator of Uninspected Passenger Vessels” (OUPV) and is commonly referred to as the “6-pack” or “Charterboat Captain’s License”. The word “uninspected” means that the equipment required and the design of the boat are less regulated. “6-pack” refers to the 6 passenger limitation placed on the license. OUPV licenses are issued with a particular route. Your license can be for the Great Lakes, Inland routes meaning bays, sounds, rivers, lakes, etc. of the US or Near Coastal routes out to 100 miles offshore. All OUPV licenses are for 100 Gross Tons vessels (about 100 feet, more or less). The OUPV license may be upgraded to a Master license.”

In a nutshell, the 6 Pack Liability Insurance is typically provided under a “Charter Boat Policy”.  The policy language specifically addresses chartering, clients and crew.  Read your policy….they are not all alike.  The Hull and Liability Insurance typically follows the boat, not the Captain.  If a 6 Pack Captain contracts to be the captain of a non-owned vessel, the Yacht Insurance Policy for the non-owned vessel should be amended to include crew coverage for one or more and endorsed for charter.  This process and the resulting policy endorsement language may be different from policy to policy.  Scuba diving, snorkeling, parasailing, and similar activities are typically excluded,  but may be endorsed to the policy.

Let us quote your Charter Boat Policy ….We will make sure that you have the correct coverage.  Call SWFL Insurance Agency, Inc. at 239-265-9577 or email Info@swflagency.com to request an application.

The Third Nail…..An Easy Way to Save on Your Homeowners Premiums

Example…..1982 Home in South Ft. Myers. Frame construction, new roof, metal clips with 2 nails.                                                                                                           Value at $ 378,000. Annual Homeowner Premium is $4,450.

Same Home after retrofit adding Third Nail to top and bottom of metal clips…Cost of $900.                                                                                                                 Value at $ 378,000. Annual Homeowner Premium is $ 2,777.

Annual Premium Savings of  $1,673. Each and every year. That is a No Brainer.  (Note: Every Home is different)

How can I determine if my Home will benefit from a Hurricane Strap Retrofit adding the Third Nail?

  1. If your home was constructed prior to the year 2000, you are a candidate.
  2. Review of your present Wind Mitigation Report.
  3. If your report is dated prior to 2012, your insurance company will probably require a new report on the new Revised 2012 OIR-B1-1802 form. If you need a new inspection, call your inspector or call SWFL Insurance Agency at 239-265-9577.
  4. On the new 2012 inspection form, review Item 4, Roof to Wall Attachment.  If “Toe Nails” is checked, you can definitely benefit from a Hurricane Strap Retrofit adding the Third Nail.
  5. Once you have your Wind Mitigation Report on the Rev.2012 form, call SWFL Insurance Agency at 239-265-9577 for a Premium Quote Comparison for adding the Third Nail.
  6. Once you have the New Premium Quotes, you can determine the savings and decide if it makes economic sense to have the Hurricane Strap Retrofit completed. If you want to proceed, we will put you in touch with licensed contractors who can complete the retrofit. Typical cost for Retrofit is $900 to $1,000.

Questions?   Call us at 239-265-9577 or Email at Info@swflagency.com

Thanks much.

Josh Weaver

Vice President

SWFL Insurance Agency, Inc.

 

 

 

Beware of the AOB…..Assignment of Benefits….Avoid this at all cost.

   

“What is an Assignment of Benefits?”

“An Assignment of Benefits (AOB) is a contract between you and a contractor (such as a plumber, water remediation firm, roofer, etc.) where you give the contractor control of your claims benefits. They file a claim for their services and direct the insurance company to pay them directly.

What’s in it for the contractor?

Once you sign an AOB, you lose control of the direction of your claim. The contractor takes control, and can submit whatever they like to your insurance company, sometimes billing the company two, three, four, five times the going market rate for their services, and sometimes including work that was never performed. You don’t see this, and you can’t verify what they did.

What are the potential pitfalls in signing an AOB?

  • You have committed to this contractor, and you have little to no recourse if you’re not satisfied with their work.
  • You can no longer comparison shop if you are not satisfied with their work. Even if they walk off the job with their work incomplete, they can still claim compensation from the insurance company which gets deducted from your benefits.
  • Both you, and the contractor, are still bound by the terms and conditions of the policy, and if the contractor violates those terms and conditions, those actions could potentially jeopardize coverage for your entire loss.

What’s in it for the contractor?

This is where the age old mantra of “if it seems too good to be true, it probably is,” comes into play.  Has the contractor done any of the following?

  • Solicits a job from you unannounced for damages you didn’t even know were allegedly present?
  • The contractor is offering you something for nothing, such as a free roof or kitchen.
  • Wants to start work immediately and advises you to delay contacting your insurance company?
  • Offered to “take care of” your deductible.

Any of these issues could potentially lead to a fraud investigation which could jeopardize your coverage.

Possible Litigation:

As mentioned above, there is no standard for what the contractor can submit to the insurance company, and if the company questions the scope and/or the pricing submitted by the contractor the company can be sued directly by the contractor.  And while you may not be a party to this lawsuit, more likely than not you will end up being a witness.

What should you do if you have a claim?”

Contact your insurance agent to report the claim.  He can guide you through the process.  Some insurance carriers will have contractors that they have vetted and will recommend.

This article is compliments of Federated National and SWFL Insurance Agency.

Questions or need a Homeowners or Property coverage quote, call 239-265-9577 or email joshw@swflagency.com.  We are Your Insurance Answer People in SWFL.

A Heads Up to Small Businesses….What are the most common claims and their cost?

“Despite experiencing these types of events, the survey found that many small businesses aren’t filing claims for them. Insureon cites the following possible reasons for this trend:

  • They don’t have insurance or don’t have the right policy to cover the claim.
  • The cost of the incident is less than their deductible, so they deal with it out of pocket.
  • They worry that filing a claim will cause their premiums to go up.
  • They prefer to handle the matter on their own rather than wait for resolution from an insurance company.

As a result, many small business owners are choosing to let their carrier know about an incident, but don’t file a claim. Instead, they pay for the incident out of pocket to prevent higher premiums in the long run. But how does the cost of a claim stack up against the cost of coverage?”

“According to The Hartford, the 10 most expensive types of claims (and the cost per incident) are:

  • Reputational harm: $50,000
  • Vehicle accident: $45,000
  • Fire damage: $35,000
  • Product liability: $35,000
  • Customer injury or property damage: $30,000
  • Wind and hail damage: $26,000
  • Customer slip and fall: $20,000
  • Water and freezing damage: $17,000
  • Struck by object: $10,000
  • Burglary and theft: $8,000

In comparison, the median price that most small businesses pay for coverage is:

  • $428 per year for general liability insurance
  • $920 per year for professional liability insurance

Compared to a $20,000 bill for a customer slip-and-fall accident, most business owners would probably rather pay $428 for general liability per year, plus their deductible, to pick up the tab.

How do the most expensive claims compare to the top incidents small businesses experienced in 2016?” Read more…at PropertyCasualty360.com.

For a review of your business insurance risks and a competitive proposal for coverage, call SWFL Insurance Agency at 239-265-9577 or drop an email to joshw@swflagency.com. www.SWFLAgency.com

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

Family Risk Questionnaire

   

 SWFL Insurance Agency, Inc.  /    Family Risk Questionnaire

Please Compete and Return so we may update your account

Customer:                                                       Phone:                                Email:

Auto Insurance

If we do not provide your auto Insurance, can we provide a Proposal? Yes _____  No _____

Do you presently carry adequate Liability and Uninsured Motorist coverage?   Yes _____  No _____

How much is your net worth?  You should have liability limits to protect this wealth.

Can we provide you with a quote for increased Liability and Uninsured Limits?   Yes____   No___

Do you have electronic device/equipment that has not been declared?  Yes____  No _____

Do you have regular use of a vehicle that you do not own? Yes____  No _____

Do you need Rental Reimbursement and Towing and Labor coverage?  Yes____  No_____

Have any vehicles been titled to a Trust or another family member?  Yes ____  No______

Do you have recreational vehicles (boats, motorbikes, motor homes, golf carts, LSV? Yes ____  No______

Do you have any vehicles not listed on this policy? Yes ____  No______

Do you have drivers or persons who live in household not listed on policy? Yes ____  No _____

 

Home Owners Insurance/  Condo Owners Insurance

If we do not provide your Home or Condo Insurance, can we provide a Proposal? Yes ___No___

Costs of construction of homes increases every year.  Insured values should be reviewed each year.

Are your home and contents insured to 100% replacement cost?  Yes ___No___

Do you carry adequate Additions and Alterations for your condo?    Yes ___No___

Do you rent your home or condo to others?    Yes ___No___

Valuable items such as jewelry, furs, silver, guns typically have limited coverage under the HO Policy.

Do you have valuable items that need to be insured?  Yes_____  No_____

Are you interested in higher Liability Coverage Limits ?  Yes_____  No_____

We recommend that you consider purchasing an Umbrella Liability Policy.  Can we quote?  Y__  N___

Are you interested in Personal Injury coverage (libel, slander, defamation)?  Yes_____  No_____

FLOOD coverage is not included in the Homeowners Policy?

Do you need a quote for flood insurance?  Yes_____  No_____

If Wind/Hurricane coverage is not included in your Homeowners Policy, do you need a quote? Y___N__

Do you need Excess Wind or Flood coverage?  Yes_____  No_____

Do you operate a business from your home?  Yes_____  No_____

Do you own rental property or vacant land or a farm?  Yes_____  No_____

Do you have domestic employees in your home?  Yes_____  No_____

Have any property deeds been changed to another family member or trust?  Yes_____  No_____

Do you have pets?  If so what kind?  ________________________

Do you have children living away from home or away at school?  Yes_____  No_____

Do you have a pool ?  Do you have an enclosure?  Do you need insurance?  Yes_____  No_____

Do you have a dock?  Do you have a boat?   What kind and size?  _____________________

Do you have a new roof or new hurricane protection?   Yes_____  No_____

Have there been other changes that we should be aware of?  Yes_____  No_____

Do you have a significant other, roommate, etc. living with you….No Liability or Property coverage is provided for them…….discuss with agency.

NOTE:  This may not be a complete listing of every possible risk exposure that your family may have, however this list does include the majority of the most common exposures that occur. Please discuss with us any situation in which you may not be sure of coverage.

Thank you for taking the time to review and respond to this questionnaire.  These are important considerations for your valuable insurance coverage.  We look forward to assisting you with any new quotes that you may request.  We Value and Appreciate your Business.

Please copy and print this list as needed.

Please call us at 239-265-9577 or email info@swflagency.com  with any questions or requests.

Thanks much.

SWFL Insurance Agency

Sooo….Your fiancé, who lives with you, is driving your car and has a serious accident….Will your auto policy respond?

Today, over 50% of American households are occupied by individuals, roommates or unmarried couples.  If you fall into the living together but not married category, you should be very careful making any assumptions about how your insurance policies may respond to a Liability or Property loss.

Home Insurance

Coverage restricted to named insured, resident relatives by blood, marriage, adoption or someone under 21 in foster care.  Girl friends, boy friends, fiancés, roommates, tenants typically have no coverage extended to them.

No coverage extended to non insureds for liability losses or defense activity or costs.

No coverage for personal property of non insureds.

Example of problem….your girlfriend and teenage son live with you.  Her son is playing sandlot football and injures another child.  The parents of the child are suing the girlfriend / mother for medical bills and damages…..no coverage would extend from your homeowners policy.  The girlfriend should have a Renter’s Policy to provide liability and property coverage for she and her son.

Auto Insurance

Be wary of the definitions of “Named Insured” under the different coverage parts of the Personal Auto Policy.

Be very careful allowing any “non insured person”, especially those living with you, to use your vehicle on a regular basis.  There are exclusions that apply to such situations.  If you both use each other’s vehicle on a regular basis, you should consider having your girlfriend added as a driver on your policy and likewise adding you as a driver to her policy.

Need to discuss your life situation and how your insurance will apply, give SWFL Insurance Agency a call at 239-265-9577 or email me at joshw@SWFLAgency.com.  We are your Insurance Answer People.

Vacant Homes being Renovated or Remodeled…Hard to Insure?

Sooo….you purchased a home that has been vacant, and you do not intend to immediately occupy.  Your intent is to have the house remodeled before you occupy.  This situation can present a difficult insurance problem.

Most Homeowners and Dwelling Insurance policies have a limitation on how long a home can be vacant before coverage will no longer be afforded.  Vacancy typically means no furnishings, no one living in home.  Each policy will have specific language regarding what constitutes vacancy.

The best way to provide coverage in this situation is to purchase a short term policy, typically a dwelling policy form for the period of time that the house will be renovated.  This will typically be a named peril policy with loss by theft being excluded.  Wind coverage will be available based on location in the county.  Contents coverage may be available.

Once the renovations are complete and the home is occupied, a standard Homeowners Policy should be available, dependent on whether it is rented or owner occupied.  Every situation will be unique.

When you have vacant property of any kind, call SWFL Insurance Agency at 239-265-9577.

We have extensive markets and are able to place your property coverages at the best price.