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I’ve Never Had a Claim—Why Does My Insurance Keep Going Up?

This is a common complaint among our customers who find their home and auto insurance rates continue to rise, even when they haven’t had any claims. We know this can be frustrating and we always do our best to find the most competitive insurance rates, no matter what type of insurance our clients need.

As we’ve noted before, the Florida insurance marketplace has some unique challenges, but the cost of insurance is rising in most states. Insurance companies look at many factors when they set their rates, only some of which you can influence—like keeping your driving record clean or improving your credit score. But there are some things which are beyond both your control and your insurance company’s control, factors which are at work in the industry at large. Here are a few things which affect the price of your insurance—even if you, personally, don’t have a claim.

Insurance is a “pool of risk”

First, understand that the central function of insurance is the sharing or pooling of risk. In return for a premium, the insurer agrees to pay for the covered losses of its policyholders. As the Insurance Information Institute (iii.org) rather poetically explains, “If risks—chances of loss—can be divided among many members of a group, then they need fall but lightly on any single member of the group. Thus misfortunes that could be crushing to one can be made bearable for all.”

Insurance protects against catastrophic loss, and in that role it helps to keep society functioning. We couldn’t get credit to buy a house or car, or to start a business if creditors couldn’t have some guarantee of being paid back in the event of a loss. A family who loses a home and all their belongings in a fire would be devastated without an insurance policy. A small business owner could lose everything if someone sued them after slipping and falling at their business. Insurance helps protect us all from financial ruin.

Claims have become more frequent

So remembering that insurance is a pool of risk, if claims become more expensive or more frequent, everyone in the pool will be affected. Simply put, you may not have made a claim, but plenty of other people have. According to Climate.gov, “In 2021, the U.S. experienced 20 separate billion-dollar weather and climate disasters, putting 2021 in second place for the most disasters in a calendar year, behind the record 22 separate billion-dollar events in 2020.” These events include wildfires, tornadoes, floods, and, of course, hurricanes. Plus, those claims numbers don’t include the more mundane events that take place every day—the fender benders, the burst pipes, and so on.

The cost of everything is increasing

This includes the costs to rebuild or repair homes and vehicles in the event of a loss. Home renovations, demand for new construction, and supply chain issues have limited the availability of construction supplies and materials, inflating prices. Auto claims costs are also rising because of similar factors.

Another significant expense for insurance companies is the rising cost of reinsurance (insurance for insurance companies).

Because of these factors, the cost of doing business has insurance companies scrambling. In order to stay in business themselves, they pass on these increased expenses to policyholders.

L & M Insurance Group—your independent agency

Despite the cost, buying appropriate insurance is still one of the best ways you can protect your assets. If you want to be sure you’re paying the most competitive rate for your insurance, why not call a local, independent agency like L & M Insurance Group? Our agents are well-versed in the Florida insurance marketplace and will be happy to answer your questions and give you a quote. We handle personal lines, such as homeowners and auto, as well as business insurance, health, and life insurance. Please call (813) 672-4100, or click here to contact us online. Let us help you find the best insurance coverage at the most competitive price.

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New Homeowners Insurance Legislation—Will It Bring Your Premiums Down?

If you own a home in Florida, you know that homeowners insurance premiums are skyrocketing, and it’s getting harder for some to even find homeowners insurance. In 2022 alone, six Florida homeowners companies became insolvent, leaving thousands of consumers scrambling for coverage. Many insurance companies are cancelling or non-renewing policies, as well as tightening underwriting requirements. Florida property insurance companies have recorded underwriting losses of more than 1 billion dollars for the past two years, and many are fleeing the state or raising premiums as much as they are allowed to by the Florida Office of Insurance Regulation.

And while hurricanes and other covered perils contributed to their losses, insurance experts note that lawsuits and assignment of benefits abuse have been the main reasons for underwriting losses.

In December 2022, Florida lawmakers met in a special session to address the crisis in the homeowners insurance market. They passed Senate Bill 2A (SB 2A) which was signed into law by the governor on Dec. 16.

SB 2A provisions

While there are still many issues to address, we hope this bill will help stabilize the homeowners insurance market in Florida, stop the steep rise in premiums, and keep homeowners insurance available to everyone. Here are a few of the main provisions of SB 2A:

  • Creates a state-backed reinsurance fund to offer reinsurance (insurance for insurance companies) at lower rates to insurers struggling with the cost. Reinsurance prices have risen significantly, and experts expect them to continue to go up in 2023.
  • Eliminates one-way attorney fee provisions. In the past, property insurers were responsible for paying the attorney fees of policyholders who sue them over a claim and win. Now, each party will pay for their own attorney fees.
  • Prohibits the assignment of benefits for both residential property and commercial property claims. Assignment of benefits is an agreement that gives a third party, such as a contractor, authority to do such things as file claims and collect insurance payments, without the involvement of the homeowner. Originally intended to streamline the claims process, assignment of benefits has become a vehicle for abuse and fraud.
  • Attempts to return Citizens Property Insurance Corporation to the status of insurer of last resort by requiring policyholders to accept renewal or take-out offers from an authorized company that is within 20 percent of the policyholder’s Citizens insurance premium.
  • Requires those with Citizens policies to purchase flood insurance.

The bill also contains provisions to encourage insurance companies to pay claims promptly, including requiring them to begin an investigation of a claim within seven days, and reducing the time for them to pay or deny a claim from 90 to 60 days.

Will homeowners insurance premiums come down?

The question everyone wants to know the answer to! Unfortunately, we won’t see the price of homeowners insurance come down right away, though it’s possible we might see decreases in a year to 18 months’ time. It will take time to see the results of the changes taking effect. State regulators and lawmakers say they will continue to monitor the situation and have requested data from the insurance companies about litigation and other factors which contribute to insurance company insolvencies.

Your partners at L & M Insurance Group

The insurance professionals at L & M Insurance Group are experts in navigating the Florida homeowners insurance market. If you receive a cancellation or non-renewal notice for your homeowners policy, or your renewal offer goes up drastically, we can help. Give us a call at 813-671-4200, (or click here to contact us online) and one of our agents will help you review your homeowners insurance options. L & M Insurance Group is a locally owned, independent insurance agency. We’ve served Riverview, Tampa, Brandon, Valrico, and surrounding communities for more than 30 years.

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Fire Pit Safety Tips

With the holidays and some of Florida’s nicest weather approaching, many of us are planning outdoor get-togethers. When the nights get cooler, one fun gathering spot is a fire pit—imagine relaxing around a fire, sipping a warm drink, maybe roasting marshmallows with the kids.

Florida homeowners don’t usually need a fire permit for a small fire such as one in a fire pit, but you may want to check with your homeowners association to see if there are any regulations to be aware of.

Fire pits can be either portable or built-in, and if you’re thinking of installing one, or enjoying one you already have, here are a few basic fire pit safety tips so you and your guests don’t get burned.

Preparing the fire pit

When deciding where to put your fire pit, be sure to position it at least 10 feet away from any structure (including your neighbor’s house). Be careful that there are no tree limbs or other flammable items hanging over the fire. You don’t want any flying sparks or embers to set landscaping or structures alight.

Make sure portable firepits sit on flat, even ground, on a non-flammable surface like pavers or concrete. Don’t put them directly on grass, leaves, or a wooden deck.

Before lighting the fire, check wind direction and strength. Windy conditions can send sparks or embers where you don’t want them.

Only burn clean-burning wood that isn’t stained, painted, or treated in any way. Do not burn yard waste, trash, or other combustibles in your fire pit. And don’t use fuel such as gasoline or lighter fluid to light or relight your fire. Taking care in what you burn will help ensure an even-burning, manageable fire.

Around the fire

When it’s time to enjoy your fire pit, arrange chairs a safe distance away, and keep hands and clothes away from flames. Keep children and pets a safe distance from the fire. Never leave the fire unattended by a responsible person.

You’ll also want to keep a hose, fire extinguisher, or bucket of sand or water nearby in case you need to put out the fire in a hurry.

When you’re done, put the fire out with water. Then stir up and spread out the ashes so they can cool. Dispose of ashes safely, making sure they are completely cooled.

L & M Insurance Group wishes you a safe holiday season

Sometimes, despite your precautions, accidents happen. If your home is damaged by fire or other covered peril, or if someone is injured at your home, that’s when your homeowners insurance will be there for you.

We hope you’ll consider giving L & M Insurance Group the chance to serve your insurance needs, whether you need homeowners, auto, commercial, or life insurance.  You can reach a licensed, independent agent by calling (813) 672-4100, or you can request information online here.

No matter what your plans are, L & M Insurance Group would like to wish you a safe and fun holiday season.

For more holiday fire safety tips, please click here.

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Do You Need Flood Insurance Even if You Don’t Live in a Flood Zone?

You know waterfront living carries risk of flooding, but did you know that about 25 percent of all flood claims come from moderate- to low-risk areas?

Every year, thousands of homes flood that aren’t in a designated flood zone.  Because Florida has flat terrain, low elevation and a high water table, realistically, nearly the whole state is a flood zone.

Flood facts

Flooding is the most common and expensive natural disaster homeowners face. Many Florida homeowners don’t realize that standard homeowners insurance doesn’t cover flooding. For flood coverage, you need a separate flood insurance policy.

Flood insurance covers physical losses to the structure of your home, including systems like plumbing, electrical, and HVAC, as well as your personal belongings up to the policy limit.

Floods can result from many causes, such as heavy rains, flash floods, storm surge, ground water rising, rivers overflowing. New land development can change the way water flows, affecting your risk of flooding. Flood damage is extremely costly. According to Floodsmart.gov, just one inch of water can do an average of $25,000 damage to a home.

Why does it cost so much to repair? Because flood waters not only damage belongings like furniture and appliances, they also wreak havoc with the structure and systems of your home. Flooding can also contaminate wells or carry debris that clogs septic tanks. And if flood water comes into your home, mold and mildew may grow on anything the water touches.

Flood insurance options

Homeowners may choose to buy flood insurance two ways, through FEMA’s National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) or through a private flood insurance company. For many years, the NFIP was the only choice, but new technology has made flooding more predictable, so more private insurance carriers are entering the flood insurance market.

Either option will provide insurance coverage for flood damage, but there are some advantages to buying a flood policy from a private insurer. With the NFIP, coverage is capped at a $250,000 limit—that may not be enough to cover your losses. You can get higher limits with private insurance companies. You’ll also have a 30-day waiting period before your flood coverage goes into effect with the NFIP that you often won’t have with a private flood insurance provider.

Call us for a quote!

If you need a quick and easy flood insurance quote for your home (or your business), give L & M Insurance Group a call at 813-672-4100, or click here for an online quote. Our independent agency writes with many quality insurance carriers for all insurance needs—including, home, auto, flood, and commercial insurance throughout Florida. Let us help you find the coverage you need to protect your most valuable investments: your home, your vehicles, and your business.

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How Your Credit Affects Your Insurance Premiums

As you’re shopping for home or auto insurance, you might come across the concept of the credit-based insurance score, or simply the insurance score. Hmm, that’s odd. What does credit have to do with insurance risk, and how does it affect the cost of your insurance? Does having good or bad credit affect your insurance policy premiums?

Your Credit Score may affect the Price of your Insurance

Your credit score may be affecting how much you pay for insurance. Most homeowners and auto insurance companies in Florida use credit-based insurance scores as part of the process of setting their insurance rates.

Read on for the answers to five commonly asked questions about credit scores and insurance.

1. What’s the difference between credit score and insurance score?

Credit-based insurance scores (or insurance scores) are ratings based on your consumer credit information. They use much of the same information to provide a rating as credit scores do—payment history, outstanding debt, pursuit of new credit, credit mix—but they are used to predict insurance losses. As with credit scores, the higher your insurance score the better, because, according to the Insurance Information Institute (iii.org), “Insurance claims tend to decline as credit scores improve.”

2. Why do insurance companies use credit information to rate premiums?

Insurance scores were developed in the 1990s to help insurance companies more accurately underwrite and price insurance policies. Though they are not the only measure used to rate a policy (see below), the industry has determined that “…people who have low insurance scores, as a group, account for a high proportion of the dollars paid out in claims.” (Source: iii.org.) Experts speculate that the connection is behavioral—those who manage their money and credit well tend to manage other areas of their lives, such as maintaining their homes and vehicles, in a responsible way, which reduces risk.

Also according to iii.org, when insurance companies use credit-based insurance scores, many people (more than 50%) see lower insurance rates overall because insurance companies are able to price coverage that reflects risks more accurately.

3. Does it hurt my credit rating when an insurance company asks for my credit info? No. When an insurance company requests information about your credit, it’s not considered a “hard credit pull.” Hard credit inquiries result when you apply for a loan, mortgage, or credit card.

4. What other information is used to determine home and auto insurance premiums?

In addition to insurance scores, for auto coverage, insurance companies will use some combination of your geographical area, model of vehicle, accident history, age of drivers, driving records, insurance claims, and sometimes how many miles you drive in a year. For homeowners insurance, they will consider things like the home’s age and construction, cost to rebuild the structure in case of a total loss, location, proximity to water for firefighting, and flood risk.

5. How can I improve my credit/insurance score?

This is a great question since people with higher insurance scores usually pay somewhat less for their insurance. First, check your credit score yearly. By law, you’re entitled to one free credit report each year from the national credit reporting companies Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion. Read over your report and correct any errors that might be bringing your score down.

The best thing you can do to improve your credit score is to make your payments on time, including bills, taxes, and any fines or fees you need to pay. It also helps to pay off your credit card balances or keep them as low as possible. If you need to apply for a new credit card or loan, try to wait six months or so between applications—applying for too much credit at one time can temporarily lower your credit score.

Remember, if you do improve your credit score, make sure you compare insurance rates at renewal time. Don’t just assume your insurance premium will decrease.

Shop your insurance with an independent agency

Whether you have good credit or bad credit, L & M Insurance Group can help you find auto and home insurance coverage at the most affordable price. Because we are an independent agency, we write with many different insurance carriers and have more options to choose from than a captive agency. Let our agents shop for your best insurance deal—call us at 813-672-4100, or click here to contact us online.

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 Safe Driving Tips for the Holiday Season

Most of us are looking forward to spending more time with family and friends during this holiday season. These get-togethers might take place in our own communities or at a far-off home of a loved one. Unfortunately, there’s always an uptick in traffic accidents, injuries, and deaths during the holiday season. In fact, according to the National Safety Commission, “Traveling by car has the highest fatality rate of any major form of transportation based on fatalities per passenger mile.” This is likely because there are more drivers on the road, and those drivers may be distracted, in a hurry, driving on unfamiliar roads, or even driving while under the influence.

Whether you’re driving across town or halfway across the country, here are some tips to help you drive safely this holiday season.

Before you leave

Safe holiday driving starts before you even leave your house. If you’re planning a road trip for the holidays, spend a little extra time preparing yourself, your family, and your vehicle before hitting the road. Gas up the car and have it serviced, if necessary, and make sure you have an appropriate vehicle emergency kit. Sign up for weather alerts at your destination and along your route or check the weather online. You may be driving in weather conditions you’re not used to. Also check traffic reports to see what to expect. If you’re using a GPS, program your destination in before you leave. If you’re using an old-school map, review your route before buckling up.

Get a good night’s sleep the night before your trip so you’re not driving drowsy. And no matter how short a distance you’re going, allow plenty of time to reach your destination without rushing. Drive at speeds safe for traffic and road conditions.

Everyone in the vehicle should have their seatbelts buckled, and small children should be strapped into an approved car seat.

On the road

No matter how far your destination, always drive defensively. You can’t control what other drivers do, but if you stay alert and practice defensive driving, you should be able to react more quickly to an emergency. Defensive driving practices include being aware of what is happening around you—frequently check ahead, behind, and in your blind spots. Stay out of others’ blind spots if possible. Don’t follow too closely. Use the three-second rule: Note an inanimate object and count the seconds between when the vehicle ahead of you passes it and you do. A three-second gap enables you to stop in time if the vehicle ahead of you ahead stops suddenly.

Another key to safe driving is to stay focused when you’re behind the wheel. You know you shouldn’t talk or text while driving, but did you know that animated conversations among passengers, listening to or changing the radio station, and eating or drinking can also distract you from your driving? Do your best to keep your full attention on the road.

Never drive while impaired by alcohol or drugs (even some over-the-counter drugs can cause impairment). Designate a driver, or call a taxi or ride share service.

Safe drivers pay less for their auto insurance

Safe driving during the holidays—and all year long—can not only help protect you and your family from danger, it can help you save money on your auto insurance. If you need car insurance, or any other type of insurance, please call your friends at L & M Insurance Group (813-672-4100) or contact us online. L & M Insurance Group is an independent agency located in Riverview, Florida, serving Riverview, Brandon, Tampa, Valrico, and surrounding communities.

We wish you a safe and happy holiday season!

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Choosing Medicare Options That Are Right for You

Nearly 4.8 million Floridians are enrolled in Medicare, the U.S. health care program for people over 65. If you’re one of them, you probably know that during the Annual Enrollment Period, from now until December 7, you have the opportunity to change how you receive your Medicare benefits. Changes you make now will take effect beginning Jan. 1, 2023.

Original Medicare or Medicare Advantage

You can receive Medicare benefits in one of two main ways: Original Medicare, which is a fee-for-service health plan with two parts: Hospital Insurance (Part A) and Medical Insurance (Part B). Once you pay a deductible, Medicare pays its share of the Medicare-approved amount, and you pay your share. If you need drug coverage, you can add a separate Medicare drug plan (Part D).

The second option for receiving Medicare benefits is Medicare Advantage, also known as Medicare Part C. Medicare Advantage is provided by private insurance companies that contract with Medicare. Plans include part A, Part B and usually Part D. They may also offer extra benefits that Original Medicare doesn’t offer, such as vision or dental. The number of Medicare Advantage plan choices continues to increase—according to the Tampa Bay Times, “Floridians enrolled in Medicare will be able to choose from 627 Medicare Advantage plans compared to 583 plans in 2022.”

Considering your options

So how do you choose?

Coverage is very similar. Both options cover most medically necessary services and supplies related to care in the hospital, your doctor’s office, and other healthcare facilities. Main differences include things like doctor and hospital choice (with Medicare Advantage, you need to stay in the plan’s network for non-emergency care), whether or not you need a referral to see a specialist, and as mentioned above, whether or not some routine exams—vision, dental, hearing—are covered. Medicare Advantage plans are increasing in popularity among Medicare-eligible seniors, largely because of the added benefits available as well as the cap on out-of-pocket costs, something Original Medicare doesn’t have.

As you consider your options, think about what type of healthcare needs you’ll have over the coming year. Of course, unexpected things happen, but you may already know you’ll need to see a specific doctor, or you’ll need certain prescription drugs over the course of the year. Once you have this figured out, you can compare plans to see which one is right for you. It pays to spend some time comparing the total you’ll pay for medical care, including premiums, co-pays, and deductibles for each option.

For more in-depth information on how Medicare Advantage and Original Medicare plans compare with each other, click here.

How L & M Insurance Group can help

Sound confusing? If you’re interested in finding out more about Medicare Advantage plans, L & M Insurance Group can help. In addition, we can also help if you want to stay with Original Medicare, but you want a supplemental policy (“Medigap”) to help cover your deductibles and coinsurance costs. A supplemental policy may be cheaper for you than covering all the out-of-pocket costs on your own, especially in the event of a catastrophic illness. We represent companies that offer Medicare Advantage, Medigap, and Medicare Prescription Drug plans, including UnitedHealthcare and Aetna. We’ll be happy to help you decide if one of these plans makes sense for you. Please call us at 813-672-4100, or click here to contact us online.

For additional information on Medicare benefits and plans, please see  https://www.medicare.gov/

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7 Simple Tips to Help You Stay Cybersafe

Cyberattacks take many forms and can target both businesses and private individuals. For example, criminals may access financial information or set up new accounts in your name, or install harmful software that disrupts your computer or transmits data from your hard drive. Since October is Cybersecurity Awareness Month, we would like to join others in government private industry to draw attention to cyber threats and digital security.

The good news is that there are many ways to safeguard your personal information. These simple habits will greatly reduce your chance of becoming a victim. Here are some basic cybersecurity recommendations from the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA).

Cyber safe tips

  1. Create strong passwords. Choose a unique password for each account, and change your passwords regularly. Longer passwords are more secure, so consider using a phrase of four or more random words. You may want to use a dedicated password manager to keep track of your passwords. A password manager stores your login information in an encrypted database. It will help you login automatically to the websites you routinely visit, and the only password you’ll have to remember is the master password for the password manager.
  2. Use multi-factor authentication when available. Multi-factor authentication involves using two of the three following credentials: something you know—a password or PIN; something you have—a token or ID card; and something you are—a biometric marker such as a fingerprint.
  3. For security questions, use only information you would know—not information someone could discover by checking out your social media. And while we’re mentioning social media, be careful what information you share there. Pets and children’s names, schools you attended, and so on, are often used as security questions, and posting them exposes that information to bad actors.
  4. Keep your software updated. Manufacturer’s updates often patch security problems. Just be careful to update only from the appropriate manufacturer’s website or built-in application stores to avoid problems.
  5. Only use secure internet connections you trust. Be very careful of public networks, which are not secure. Don’t use public networks to make purchases or make other sensitive transactions.
  6. Install a reputable anti-virus program.
  7. Recognize and report phishing and other forms of social engineering. Phishing involves using fake communication, like an email, to trick you into sharing sensitive personal information. It may request account numbers or your social security number, suggesting there is a problem. Once you respond with the information, the cybercriminal uses it to access or open accounts.  Never click on links or open attachments from unsolicited emails.

And beware: Criminals may capitalize on current events and disasters, such as Hurricane Ian. You may see online solicitation or social media posts from people posing as victims. If you want to help, be sure to send donations to established, legitimate charitable organizations.

If you own a business—protect yourself with cyber insurance

If your business uses or stores customers’ sensitive personal information, you may want to investigate cyber insurance. Cyber insurance protects your liability in the event of a data breach, something a general liability policy often excludes. Cyber insurance covers several types of risks including loss or corruption of data, business interruption, liability, identity theft, cyber extortion, and data breach.

Call L & M Insurance Group for all your insurance needs

Whether you need personal or business insurance (including cyber insurance), L & M Insurance Group has you covered. We will be happy to discuss cyber insurance, or any other aspect of business or personal insurance. We are an all-lines agency, independently owned and operated, located in Riverview, FL. We’ve served clients in Tampa, Brandon, Valrico, and surrounding communities for more than 30 years. Please call us at 813-672-4100, or click here to contact us online.

For more information on cyber safety, visit the Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency website at https://www.cisa.gov/uscert/ncas/tips

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Insurance 101: Understanding Your Deductibles

The high cost of home and auto insurance in Florida has us all thinking about ways to save money on policy premiums. While many factors are beyond your control, one that may help save money is your policy deductible. Generally, a higher deductible means lower premiums. A lower deductible means your premiums will be higher. You’ll have to decide which makes better financial sense for your situation.

Let’s talk about what a deductible is, and how it works with your home and auto insurance.

What is a deductible?

A deductible is the amount of money you’ll pay out of pocket before your insurance takes over when you have a claim. When you have an insured loss, the deductible is subtracted (or “deducted”) from the amount of money your insurance company will pay to settle your claim. If you have a loss that doesn’t reach the amount of your deductible, you won’t be able to make a claim.

In home and auto insurance, there are two types of deductibles:

  1. A flat dollar amount. A $500 deductible on the comp/collision coverage of your auto policy is an example of this type of deductible.
  2. A percentage-based amount. This type of deductible is usually found on a homeowners policy. The percentage is calculated based on the home’s insured value. For example, you have a two percent deductible, and your home is insured for $500,000. If your home is destroyed, your deductible would be $10,000.

In hurricane-prone states such as Florida, a special hurricane deductible also applies only to damage and claims from storms categorized as hurricanes by the National Weather Service. Homeowners insurance companies decide on what will “trigger” the hurricane deductible—usually when the National Weather Service officially names a storm or declares a hurricane watch or warning. A hurricane deductible is usually between one and five percent of your home’s insured value.

With auto and homeowners insurance, your deductible applies each time you make a claim. An exception might be your hurricane deductible, which may only apply once per hurricane season. Check your insurance policy for details.

Insurance is intended to help you financially in the event of a loss that is too big for you to handle by yourself. It’s important to note that making frequent claims on your homeowners or car insurance will not only result in higher premiums—it may also get your policy cancelled or non-renewed.

What to consider before raising your deductible

While it’s tempting to raise your deductible to save money on your insurance, remember that you’ll be paying more out of pocket if you have a claim. Will you be able to make necessary repairs with a higher deductible? If you do raise your deductible, consider setting aside money to cover it if you have a loss.

Do you need home or auto insurance?

Helping you with your insurance needs, including helping you decide what deductible is right for you, is just what L & M Insurance Group is here for. L & M Insurance Group is a locally owned, independent insurance agency serving Tampa, Brandon, Riverview, Valrico, and surrounding communities. If you need a home or auto insurance policy, call (813) 672-4100 to speak to an agent, or contact us online.

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Water Damage: What Your Homeowners Insurance Will—and WON’T—Cover

When you buy a homeowners insurance policy, you’re purchasing protection for your family’s safe haven as well as your most valuable asset. A homeowners policy is intended to help you recover from a sudden and accidental loss, likely an expensive one, such as fire, lightning, hail, etc. However, we find that coverage for one peril, water, is sometimes misunderstood.

Water damage is the second most common reason a homeowner will make an insurance claim, and it is often covered. However, that depends on what caused the damage in the first place. The key is in the concept of the damage being “sudden and accidental.” For example, if a pipe bursts or an appliance overflows, flooding your home and damaging it—those things are both sudden and accidental. However, gradual damage, like that which occurs over time from a leaking faucet, would likely not be covered. Homeowners insurance will not cover water damage due to negligence or lack of maintenance. It’s not intended to serve as a vehicle for maintaining your home.

In addition, your homeowners insurance will NOT cover water damage due to:

  • Intentional acts.
  • Sewer or drain backup (unless you’ve purchased that coverage).
  • Leaks from a swimming pool or other structure.
  • Ground water seepage.

What about flood damage?

A major concern in Florida is flood damage. Flooding is not covered under a standard homeowners policy. This includes flooding from a hurricane, rising water from overflowing rivers, storm surge, or water from heavy rains. If you need flood coverage, L & M Insurance Group can help you get the coverage you need.

Tips to prevent water damage

The best way to prevent water damage is to keep your home in good repair. Here are a few simple things you can do to prevent water damage (see “Fall Maintenance for Your Florida Home” for more suggestions):

  • Inspect dishwasher, water heater, and washing machine hoses and replace if necessary.
  • Turn off water supply to washing machine and refrigerator when going out of town.
  • Monitor your water bill for unexpected increases.
  • Install a leak detector/leak sensor, a device which detects and notifies you about leaks.

L & M Insurance Group—your source for homeowners insurance

If you have questions about what is or is not covered under your Florida homeowners insurance policy, don’t hesitate to call your insurance agent. And if you need a quote for homeowners insurance, please consider giving L & M Insurance Group a call. We understand the importance of finding the right homeowners insurance coverage for your needs. We are an independent insurance agency partnered with many great homeowners insurance companies, and we’d love to help you find the most cost-effective coverage for your individual situation. Please give us a call at 813-672-4100 or click here to contact us online.