Florida Drivers, Here’s What You Can Do About Rising Car Insurance Premiums

While skyrocketing home insurance rates in Florida have gotten all the press lately, Florida drivers are finding the cost of auto insurance is also steadily rising. Major insurers in Florida, such as Progressive, Geico, Liberty Mutual, and State Farm, have raised their rates up to 44 percent over the past year.

“But I’ve never had a claim!”

We hear this lament every day, and we feel your pain! The fact is, you may not have had a claim, but thousands of other Florida drivers have. In addition to the same economic and social inflation factors driving up car insurance all over the nation, Florida faces some additional unique factors, including:

How can Florida drivers save on auto insurance premiums?

Auto insurance companies base their premiums on a number of factors, including the age and gender of the drivers, driving records, address where the vehicle is kept, and how much driving you do. But there are some things you can do to ensure you’re getting the best possible car insurance rate for your needs.

The first and most obvious one is keeping your driving record clean. In addition to a safe driving discount, ask about any other discounts available, such as good student (if you have teen drivers). (Sometimes “bundling” auto and home insurance policies will save you money—and sometimes not. An L & M Insurance Group agent will help you figure out what’s right for you.)

Shop for a better rate at renewal—at least once a year. Compare quotes from at least three insurers.

Before you add or change vehicles check with your insurance agent to find out what impact that will have on your car insurance. Certain makes and models can be very expensive or difficult to insure. To keep auto insurance premiums in check, when choosing a vehicle, opt for more “boring” versions with good safety records, like certain sedans or mini-vans.  

Pay your bill in full—some companies offer a five to 10 percent discount for paying your policy in full. You may also receive a small discount if you set your policy up on autopay.

Some people choose to drop comprehensive and collision coverage or raise deductibles if their auto insurance is too expensive. There are some situations where this is appropriate, but remember that if you do that, you’ll be responsible for paying for your own losses.

One of the best ways to make sure you’re getting the best price for your auto insurance is to work with an independent insurance agency like L & M Insurance Group. We partner with many auto insurance carriers and can compare the rates from multiple insurance companies for you. Click here to get an online auto insurance quote, or give us a call at (813) 672-4100. Our agents will be happy to help you find the best value for your insurance dollar. We’re located in Riverview, and also serve Brandon, Tampa, Valrico, Lithia, and nearby communities.  


High Tech—and Affordable—Ways to Protect Your Home

With the cost of everything rising, from personal goods to homeowners insurance, it’s smart to look for ways to prevent loss before it happens. In our last post, we talked about ways to harden your home against damage. Today, let’s discuss some additional ways to protect your home using high tech and “smart” gadgets. These products are becoming more affordable all the time—and you might even find some of these included in Black Friday deals.

Water leak detector

Damage caused by a burst pipe or other water leak can cost thousands of dollars in repairs. If a leak goes undetected, you might have to rebuild walls, kill mold, and replace personal belongings damaged by water. Installing a leak detector is one way to stop that damage before it starts.

Leak detectors sense water leaks and alert you to the problem. Some can even automatically shut off water to your home if a leak is detected. These models are more expensive and need to be professionally installed, but if you’re often away from home for extended periods, they could be a great investment. Some are able to monitor water flow in pipes to detect a leak behind your walls, saving you money on your water bill as well as alerting you to a leak.


Ting (no affiliation) is a small sensor device you plug into a wall socket and monitor using an app. Its purpose is to prevent home fires by detecting unique signals given off by tiny electrical arcs that are “precursors to imminent fire risks,” Bob Marshall, co-founder of Ting’s maker, Whisker Labs, told the Insurance Information Institute.

According to U.S. Fire Administration data from 2012-2021, while home fires from cooking and heating have decreased, electrical fires have increased by 11 percent during that time.

“Electrical fires are often the most devastating type of house fire. Ting monitors your electrical network for the main precursors to electrical fires, micro-arcs, and sparks that develop in faulty wires, loose connections, and faulty appliances or devices. These signals usually develop over weeks and months, so Ting is designed to provide you with advanced warnings to address these hazards, prior to the hazard starting an electrical fire,” according to information found on Ting’s website.

Ting is not a smoke detector—it doesn’t alert you if a fire has started. What it does do is help to prevent an electrical fire from starting in the first place.

Some homeowners insurance companies offer Ting as a benefit to their clients, but if yours doesn’t, you can buy the device yourself and subscribe to Ting’s monitoring service on your own. Click here to learn more about Ting.

Smoke alarm

Most of us already have smoke alarms installed, but newer models have more features like voice alerts and flashing lights. Smart alarms offer text messaging so even if you’re not home you can be notified if the unit senses smoke. Some alarms must be wired into your electrical system, so you may need to hire someone to install them.

Video doorbell camera

Using live video and audio connected to an app on your phone, a video doorbell camera lets you see who’s at your door, even if you’re not home. Thieves often ring the doorbell to see if anyone is home, so being able to see and talk to someone at your door can be a deterrent to both break-ins and package theft.

Peace of mind

Installing these high-tech products can help you improve your family’s safety as well as prevent or reduce damage to your home. To add to your peace of mind, make sure you also have the best homeowners insurance coverage for your needs. This is where L & M Insurance Group can help. We are an independent insurance agency with more than 30 years of experience serving the insurance needs of Tampa, Brandon, Riverview and surrounding communities. We offer a wide range of choice of insurance carriers, and we’ll help you find the one that is right for you. Please call 813-672-4100 for a homeowners insurance quote, or click here to contact us online.


Fall Is the Perfect Time to “Harden” Your Home

We’ve weathered another hurricane season in the Tampa Bay area. It’s always a relief when we escape major damage. But even though hurricane season is over, home disasters can happen at any time. For instance, home fires increase and are more severe during the winter holiday season. Flooding, fires, wind, and water damage are also possible at any time of year.

Before you get too comfortable, in addition to making sure your Florida homeowners insurance is up to date, why not take some time to strengthen (or “harden”) your home against the most common perils of wind, water, and fire? Of course, homeowners insurance is there to help you recover from disaster, but there are things you can do to lessen the extent of the damage. When we talk about “hardening your home,” we’re referring to ways to improve your home that make it less likely to be severely damaged by a peril such as wind, water, or fire.

Now that you likely don’t have to worry about an impending hurricane, you can take your time to shop for the best prices for any home improvements you make. Some home improvements may even save you money on your homeowners insurance!

(Check with your insurance company to see if any discounts on your homeowners insurance are available when you take steps to harden your home against loss.)


Water damage is one of the most common homeowners claims, and is very costly to repair. To be covered, water damage must be “sudden and accidental”—such as a burst pipe or overflowing appliance. It can’t be due to lack of maintenance. Make sure you regularly inspect and maintain appliances and plumbing.

One great way to protect your home from water damage is to install a leak detector. By alerting you to a leak, leak detectors can keep a minor problem from becoming a major one. Some can even shut off water to your home.

What about flood damage? Coverage for flooding is not included in a standard homeowners insurance policy. You’ll need a separate flood policy if you need flood coverage. Click here for a flood insurance quote.


Strong winds, not just hurricanes, can damage your roof or send debris flying into your windows. Install wind mitigation features such as storm-resistant shutters, hurricane clips, and impact-resistant windows and doors. Keep trees trimmed and make sure limbs aren’t hanging over your roof or screen enclosure.

Florida homeowners take note: Certain items used to harden your home against hurricanes—impact-resistant windows, doors and garage doors—are exempt from sales tax until June 30, 2024.

What else can you do?

We realize some of these home hardening ideas require professional installation or may be too expensive for some of our clients. There are still ways you can help protect your home. Make sure your smoke detectors are working and have fresh batteries. Install items like deadbolt locks, surge protectors, and gutter guards. Install an alarm system. If your smoke detectors and alarm system are monitored, you may be able to get a small discount on your homeowners insurance.

(See “Fall Maintenance for Your Florida Home” for more ways to protect your home.)

Even though Florida homeowners insurance is there to protect you in case of a major loss, no one wants to go through the hassle of living through the repairs. Maintaining and upgrading these areas of your home may save you money and headaches in the future. Please call an L & M Insurance Group agent at 813-672-4100 if you need a quote for homeowners insurance. If you prefer to contact us online, please click here.

L & M Insurance Group is an independent insurance agency in Riverview, FL, and we write personal insurance such as homeowners and auto, as well as commercial auto, business insurance, and more. Please give us a chance to help you with all your insurance needs!


Make the Most of Medicare’s Annual Enrollment Period

You’ve probably seen those TV ads urging Medicare recipients to call about Medicare Advantage plans or Medicare Part C, and talking about the Annual Enrollment Period (AEP). Some of their promises sound too good to be true. Should you consider a Medicare Advantage plan? Medicare Advantage plans can be a good option for many—in fact, according to AARP, in 2023 more than half of Medicare beneficiaries enrolled in a Medicare Advantage plan.

The AEP, which runs from Oct. 15 through Dec. 7, is the perfect time to examine your current Medicare coverage, note any changes taking place in the upcoming year, and see what other options are available to you. Changes you make now take effect Jan. 1, 2024.

But before you call that 800 number, why not call someone you know and trust—like local independent agency L & M Insurance Group? Read on for more information about Medicare Advantage plans and more!

Is a Medicare Advantage plan right for you?

There are two ways you can receive your Medicare benefits: through original Medicare or through Medicare Advantage. Original Medicare consists of Parts A (hospital coverage) and B (medical coverage). Many people also enroll in a standalone Part D prescription drug coverage policy.

Medicare Advantage plans consist of parts A and B and often Part D. These plans are offered by private insurance companies approved by Medicare. Medicare Advantage plans are similar to the managed care plans you may already be familiar with through your employer. They’re often HMOs or PPOs: you will need to see providers in the plan’s network or pay a much higher copay or risk not being covered at all. Most of these are regional networks, so if you’re a snowbird who lives up north during the summer, you probably won’t have in-network options for your non-emergency healthcare. You will likely need referrals for specialized care and preapproval before certain treatments are covered. Some say that denials of coverage are more frequent than with original Medicare. However, through the careful management of care, a Medicare Advantage plan can often cost you less out-of-pocket and sometimes include coverage for dental, vision, and hearing, which original Medicare does not.

The AEP is one of the only times you have to change the way you receive your Medicare benefits. During this period, you have several options:

Choosing between Medicare and Medicare Advantage

  • Change from original Medicare to a Medicare Advantage plan (also known as Medicare Part C)
  • Change Medicare Advantage plans
  • Switch from a Medicare Advantage plan to original Medicare

If you’re happy with your current choice, you can stay with it as long as it is still being offered—just be sure to check if there are any changes that affect your coverage to the plan you’re currently enrolled in. You should have received an Annual Notice of Change listing any upcoming changes. Medicare Advantage plans and Medicare drug plans may change what they cover, their costs, and their provider networks from year to year.

Health care costs can eat up your retirement savings, so carefully consider your health and financial situation. Someone with a health history of chronic disease that requires expensive prescriptions will likely need a different plan than someone who sees his or her doctor once a year for a physical.

Questions to consider when choosing a plan during Annual Open Enrollment

  • Have you received a new diagnosis or started taking a new medication?
  • Did you change doctors?
  • Can you afford the costs (copays, deductibles, etc.) that come with your current coverage?
  • Does your prospective plan include your doctor in network?

Find out more from L & M Insurance Group

There is a lot to sort through during the AEP, but it’s worth taking the time to review your health care coverage to see if it still meets your needs. If you’d like help understanding your Medicare options, why not have a trusted insurance professional help you? In addition to providing Medicare Advantage plans through companies like Aetna and UnitedHealthcare, if you’re staying with original Medicare, L & M Insurance Group can also help you with a supplemental (“Medigap”) policy or a Medicare prescription drug plan. Call us at (813) 672-4100, or click here to contact us online.  

For more information, see the 2024 Medicare & You Handbook.


Four Ways to Protect Yourself from Cyber Crime

Between work projects, ordering groceries, paying bills, and keeping in touch with friends on social media, most of us spend a lot of time online. While the Internet can make life so much more convenient, it can also expose us to cyber criminals trying to steal our money or our personal information.

Reducing the chance that you’ll be impacted by cybercrime doesn’t have to be complicated or expensive. In honor of Cyber Security Awareness Month, here are four ways you can stay cyber safe, courtesy of the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA). Follow these procedures at home and at work. And see below if your small business needs cyber insurance!

Choose strong passwords and use a password manager.  Avoid using simple passwords like 12345, or personal details like birthdays or pets’ names. This information is easy for hackers to discover, leaving you vulnerable to breaches. CISA recommends passwords be long (at least 16 characters), random (mix letters, numbers, and symbols, or use a memorable phrase), and unique—one for every account.

Worried about remembering all those passwords? Use a password manager—a program that stores your passwords and automatically fills them in when you log on. Then all you need to remember is your password for the password manager! Check Consumer Reports, PC Mag, or CNET for advice and recommendations for a reputable password manager.

    Use multifactor authentication (MFA), also known as two-factor authentication or two-step authentication. This means whenever you log in, you’ll be required to have a second method of proving who you are—perhaps a numeric code sent to you by text or email, an authenticator app or use of biometrics (fingerprint or face recognition). Often, you’ll find this option under Account Settings & Privacy or similar. Turn it on every chance you get, especially for banking info, online purchases or bill paying, email, social media.

    Recognize and report phishing. Phishing refers to when criminals attempt to access your computers or personal information by getting you to open harmful emails, links, or attachments. The emails or links often appear to be from someone or some organization that you know and trust. They often use urgency and/or an appeal to emotion as tactics to get you to click. Watch for incorrect or shortened email addresses, links or URLs (“amazan” instead of amazon, for instance). They may also request personal or financial information. DO NOT click on any links or attachments including the “unsubscribe” button. Report them as spam, block the sender, and delete the message.

    Keep software updated. This is the simplest of all the tips. Check for updates regularly when you log on, or, better yet, sign up for automatic updates. Updates often include security patches for known weaknesses, as well as features to improve performance and fix bugs. If you choose to download updates yourself, make sure they’re from your device’s app store. Don’t respond to random pop-up windows on websites you visit.

    Need cyber insurance?

    If you own a small business that uses or stores the personal information of clients, you should consider buying cyber insurance. Cyber insurance protects your liability in case of data breach, loss or corruption of data, identity theft, cyber extortion, and more. It’s one more way you can protect your business from the unexpected.

    Please call an L & M Insurance Group agent at 813-672-4100 if you have any questions about cyber insurance, or any of your personal or commercial insurance needs. L & M Insurance Group is a full-service, independent insurance agency, serving Tampa, Brandon, Riverview, Valrico and surrounding communities. (Click here if you’d prefer to contact us online.)


    Four Tips to Prepare Your Business for a Natural Disaster

    Unlike with hurricanes, there is no “natural disaster season”—they can strike at any time. That’s why every year in September the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) sponsors National Preparedness Month.

    Not Being Prepared for Natural Disasters could cost you your Business

    Being prepared is not just for Boy Scouts and individuals—it’s also crucial for small business owners. If you own a small business, a natural disaster could be, well, disastrous. According to FEMA, 25 percent of small businesses never reopen following a disaster.

    4 Tips to help you prepare

    Don’t let a natural disaster cause your small business to fold. Plan now before a disaster such as a hurricane or fire affects your business. Here are four tips to get you started.

    1. Assess your risks.

    What natural disasters could affect your business? In the Tampa Bay area, these include hurricanes, floods, tornadoes, and fires.

    Do you own your own building? Do you have inventory or equipment to protect? What about vehicles used in your business?

    Once you know the risks your business faces, and the assets you want to protect, you can move to the second step.

    2. Make a disaster plan.

    Depending on what type of business you own, your plan could include things like:

    Locations of evacuation routes and emergency exits and a plan for using them—for you, your employees, or customers.

    Communication plans for employees—how will you communicate with them? Have several options, and make sure contact information is up to date.

    How and where your business will operate if your location is compromised. Will it be possible for employees to work remotely? You may need to set this up ahead of time. What about making arrangements to operate from a temporary location?

    A communication plan for your clients. You may need to explain reduced operating hours or delayed shipping. (And don’t forget to let them know when you’re back to running at full speed!)

    A record of your business assets, such as inventory or equipment. Take pictures or shoot video, write descriptions, and keep copies of receipts for large or expensive items in case you need to make an insurance claim.

    Go over your plan with your employees and get their input. Make sure everyone understands the policies and roles you’ve agreed upon. Review your plan at least once a year.

    3. Protect your data.

    Most businesses store some kind of data. If this material is in physical form, you may need to make a digital copy and sync it with a cloud-based system so you don’t lose it in a fire or flood. You should then be able to access it from anywhere. Make sure to back up computer systems regularly.

    Keep handy a copy of any data you need to access in case of disaster, like your insurance policy number and claims instructions, payroll information, and/or passwords and account information for your cloud-based storage.

    4. Review your business insurance coverage.

    Discuss your needs for business insurance coverage with an insurance professional (like an L & M Insurance Group agent!). Review your policy at least once a year to be sure it continues to meet your needs. Understand what is covered and what isn’t. For example, flood damage isn’t covered by most standard policies. Flood coverage is available through the NFIP or private carriers (request a flood insurance quote).

    Having the right insurance coverage is probably the most important thing you can do to be sure you’ll have the financial resources to recover from a natural disaster. (Remember, if you run a small business from your home, you’ll still need to buy a business insurance policy of some type. Homeowners insurance generally doesn’t cover business activities.)

    Protect your small business from disaster with careful planning—now, before it’s too late. And please let L & M Insurance Group be a part of your disaster planning. Give us a call if you have questions about your business policy, or you need a quote for business insurance. Reach an agent at 813-672-4100, contact us online.



    If Your Pet Hurts Someone, Will Your Homeowners Insurance Protect You?

    For many people, a house is not a home without a dog—in fact, 85 million dogs live in U.S. households. While the vast majority of dogs never hurt anyone, about 4.5 million people are bitten by dogs each year, most of them children. And in 2022, Florida had the second highest number of dog bite insurance claims as well as the second highest average cost per claim ($78,203), according to the Insurance Information Institute (

    Even if your dog is calm and well-mannered, it’s still true that even the sweetest of dogs can bite someone if they’re scared or agitated. In addition, your dog doesn’t need to bite to injure someone. He could knock over a child or an elderly person, or cause someone to trip and fall. What financial protection do you have if that happens?

    (View more tips for preventing dog bites.)

    Homeowners insurance and dog bite liability

    Dog bite coverage, also called pet or animal liability, covers legal and medical expenses for anyone your pet accidentally injures. While many homeowners (and renters) insurance policies do offer liability protection if your dog bites or otherwise injures someone, more and more home insurance companies are excluding dog bite liability or limiting coverage. Some companies won’t cover certain dog breeds thought to be aggressive, such as pit bulls or Rottweilers.

    If you have a dog, review your homeowners insurance policy to make sure it includes animal liability. And if you buy or adopt a dog during your policy term, check with your insurance company to make sure you have animal liability coverage should you need it. 

    Animal liability options

    If your homeowners policy doesn’t cover animal liability, or doesn’t provide enough coverage, you have some options. You may be able to buy an umbrella policy to supplement your homeowners coverage—just make sure the policy you choose includes animal liability.  

    Also, some Florida insurance companies have created separate dog bite liability policies or endorsements that offer more coverage and/or don’t have any breed restrictions.

    Finding the appropriate policy is something you’ll want to discuss with your insurance agent.

    L & M Insurance Group for all your insurance needs

    Whether or not you have a dog, if you need a homeowners insurance policy, please give L & M Insurance Group a call (813-672-4100) or click here to contact us online. One of our trusted agents can guide you through the process of finding the insurance coverage that’s best for your individual situation.

    In addition to homeowners, we also write most types of insurance, including auto, business and commercial, flood, and life. L & M Insurance Group is an independent agency located in Riverview, and serves clients in Brandon, Tampa, Valrico, Gibsonton and surrounding communities.


    Considering Solar Panels? Call Your Homeowners Insurance Agent First!

    Solar panels and Florida sunshine might seem like a perfect match. And while it’s true that solar power is becoming more popular, installing solar panels on your roof can actually put your homeowners insurance coverage in jeopardy! Many Florida homeowners who have installed solar panels have been shocked to find their coverage dropped by their homeowners insurance company.

    Ask first: Does my insurance cover solar panels?

    Before you spend thousands of dollars to install solar panels on your home, please call your homeowners insurance agent or company to make sure your insurance company won’t drop you!

    Solar panels and your homeowners insurance

    While some homeowners insurance companies in Florida will take homes with solar panels, many of them won’t. Carriers cite concerns about wind damage and water intrusion into your home where solar panels are attached, as well as added claims costs if your roof is damaged and has to be replaced. The solar panels will have to be removed then reinstalled, adding significant cost. Some homeowners carriers have opted not to accept the risk at all.

    If a homeowners insurance company accepts solar panels, and those panels are permanently attached to your roof, they would be considered part of your home and covered by the dwelling portion of your policy. Since solar panels are expensive, you may need to raise your coverage limits be sure to include them.  However, even if a homeowners insurance carrier accepts a home with solar panels, sometimes wind or hail damage to solar panels will be excluded.

    In some instances, homeowners will lease solar panels rather than buy them. Even if you lease the panels, you still may need to carry additional coverage, AND you still need to check with your insurance agent first to avoid any problems with insurance coverage.

    Avoid any unpleasant surprises

    Any time you’re considering making a significant change to your home you should contact your insurance agent to find out what impact it will have on your homeowners insurance. Florida already has a tumultuous homeowners insurance market with premiums far above the national average. Before you make a change that could raise your premiums or seriously harm your chances of getting coverage at all, take the time to make a simple phone call to your insurance agent.

    Our Agents are here to help

    At L & M Insurance Group, our agents work with many different insurance carriers in an effort to find you the insurance policy that best suits your financial needs. As an independent agency, we are able to compare the rates of several companies rather than just one. We can also compare rates for your other insurance needs, such as auto, flood, commercial, renters, and recreational vehicles. Please give us a call at 813-672-4100 or click here to contact us online.


    If a Tree Falls…Does Homeowners Insurance Cover the Damage?

    Trees are a great landscape feature, providing beauty, shade, a windbreak, and other benefits. But what if a tree falls on your property, or a large limb crashes down on your car? Will your Florida homeowners policy cover the damage?

    Does homeowners insurance cover tree damage?

    Since homeowners insurance protects your belongings, the structure of your home, and other structures on your property, it’s likely that if a tree falls on your home and damages it, as long as the tree damage is “sudden and accidental” and not stemming from negligence, then yes, your homeowners insurance will likely cover damage to your home.

    If a tree falls on your car, your auto insurance will pay for repairs if you have comprehensive coverage (the “comp” part of comp and collision).

    What if it’s your neighbor’s tree?

    In general, if your home is the one with the damage, you would make a claim on your own homeowners insurance (and vice versa if one of your trees falls on your neighbor’s home). However, if it’s clear that your neighbor was negligent and didn’t remove a dead or diseased tree in a timely fashion, you or your insurance company may be able to make a claim against your neighbor’s insurance. It’s not easy to prove negligence, though.

    Maintain friendly relationships with your neighbors, and discuss any concerns you have about their trees before they become a problem. And be sure to keep your own trees properly maintained.

    If you find that your neighbor is unwilling to cooperate, you may want to put your concerns in writing. That way if the tree does damage your property, you or your insurance company may be able to recover at least part of the cost of repairs.

    Tree maintenance

    As a homeowner, it’s your responsibility to frequently inspect and maintain your trees, especially after a storm or heavy winds. Keep trees properly trimmed, and remove any that are dead, diseased or leaning and that could fall and damage your property or your neighbor’s. You may want to hire a certified tree expert to inspect your trees for disease, and/or trim them.

    What about tree removal?

    If a tree falls on and damages your home, the cost of the tree and debris removal would be covered up to policy limits as part of the damage claim. It would also likely be covered if a tree blocks your driveway or blocks a handicap access ramp. If the tree simply falls into the yard but doesn’t damage or block anything, the expense of removing it wouldn’t be covered.

    If a neighbor’s tree falls into your yard, you’re still responsible to pay to have it removed, but you may be lucky enough to get your neighbor to split the cost of removal—especially if you’ve developed a good relationship with them. (And remember to be willing to do the same thing if one of your trees falls into their property!)

    When to file a claim…and when not to

    If the damage to your property is major—say the tree has destroyed a section of your roof—you will want to file a claim with your homeowners insurance. However, if the damage to your property is minor and likely won’t be more (or much more) than your deductible, you may not want to file a claim. Filing small claims is often not worth it in the long run, since you may lose discounts for not having any claims for a certain length of time.

    Insurance for your most valuable asset

    As a Florida homeowner, making sure you have homeowners insurance to cover your most valuable asset should be one of your top priorities. L & M Insurance Group is an independent agency committed to helping our clients find the most cost-effective coverage for their individual needs. We’ll help you navigate the Florida homeowners insurance market to find a policy that’s right for you. Please call us at 813-672-4100 or contact us online for a homeowners insurance quote. We also write auto insurance, commercial insurance, and life insurance—please give us the chance to earn your business!


    Boat Safely This Summer

    Boating season is in full swing in Florida waters. Whether you’re hitting the Gulf of Mexico or one of the many rivers and lakes in our beautiful state, boating is an excellent way to get outdoors, even when it’s as hot as it has been lately.

    If you’re a new boat owner—and even if you’re more experienced—here are some basic reminders to help your next boat trip be nothing but smooth sailing.

    Before you launch

    Familiarize yourself with the rules of the water. This includes such things such as knowing what signs and symbols mean and rules for encountering other vessels on the water. You may want to take a boater safety course, and if you were born on or after Jan. 1, 1988, you are required to do so by law if you operate a motorized boat of 10 horsepower or more. Boating safety courses are inexpensive or even free.

    Equip your boat properly. Make sure you have the safety equipment you need in case of an emergency. This includes a fire extinguisher, a radio (cell service on the water can be spotty), a paddle or oars, and a noise maker such as a whistle or horn to draw attention to your location if something goes wrong. And most importantly, make sure everyone onboard has a Coast Guard approved personal floatation device (life jacket)—even your pet! There are different types of life jackets for different types of water, but the best one is the one you’ll wear. Life jackets should be worn while on the water, since you may not have time to put one on if an emergency arises.

    Stock your boat with basic first aid and tool kits, and make sure you have plenty of drinking water on hand.

    Check weather conditions—especially those for wind and small-craft advisories.

    And before you set out, leave word with someone about where you’re going and how long you expect to be gone.

    On the water

    Once you’re on the water, aside from enjoying the beautiful scenery, make sure you keep a sharp lookout at all times. Watch for other vessels, swimmers, shallow water, debris, and any areas where the natural environment is delicate—in some cases, watch out for manatees! These slow-moving creatures suffer injuries at the hands of boaters every year.

    Maintain a safe speed and distance from other vessels. Follow the rules of the water, and take extra care in busy areas, such as boat launches or docks.

    Make sure all passengers ride safely—not on the bow, gunwales or seat backs, and that everyone wears their life jacket.

    Never operate a boat while under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

    L & M Insurance Group has boat insurance

    One more thing: Enjoy the water more knowing that both your boat and your financial liability are protected by boat insurance. Most boat insurance policies cover physical damage to or theft of the boat itself, property damage you cause to another vessel or structure, and medical payments for injuries to you (the boat owner) and your family. You may also want coverage for injuries to people other than your family, guest passenger liability (coverage for someone using your boat with your permission), and/or coverage for your boat trailer and accessories. Discuss which deductibles and limits are right for you with your insurance agent.

    If you need boat insurance, please give L & M Insurance Group a call at (813) 672-4100 or contact us online by clicking here. We write boat insurance policies in addition to our competitive homeowners, renters, auto, and commercial insurance. Our agency is located in Riverview, and also serves Brandon, Valrico, Lithia, Tampa, and surrounding communities.

    For more information:

    The Florida Boater’s Guide