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Florida Home and Auto Premiums Are Skyrocketing—Is There Anything You Can Do?

Almost every day we receive calls or emails from upset clients whose insurance premiums are going up, even when they’ve never made a claim. Some policies are going up by hundreds of dollars per year—what is happening?

The Florida insurance market is in crisis, particularly the homeowners and auto insurance sectors. A perfect storm of factors is contributing to today’s skyrocketing premiums and a market in which it’s getting harder to find insurance at all. In addition to rate increases, insurance companies are pulling out of Florida and tightening their underwriting guidelines. Florida consumers are facing insurance premium sticker shock and are finding it harder and harder to get the insurance coverage they need at a price they can afford.

Why insurance premiums are skyrocketing

As a locally-owned, independent insurance agency, L & M Insurance Group is committed to helping you find insurance that fits your needs and that you can afford. We also want to help you understand the factors contributing to this crisis. Here are the main reasons Florida insurance is seeing such steep increases:

Catastrophic losses. In 2020, Florida insurers lost nearly $1.6 billion dollars, and are reporting even greater losses in 2021. These losses mainly stem from litigation and reinsurance costs (see below), as well as continued payouts for hurricanes Irma and Michael.

Reinsurance costs. It might seem odd that wildfires in California or Australia would affect the price of insurance in Florida, but they can. That’s because disasters all over the world affect the cost of reinsurance for everyone. Reinsurance is “insurance for insurers”—a way for insurance companies to limit the extent of their own losses in case of disaster. The cost of reinsurance has been rising, and experts expect it to continue going up.

Skyrocketing construction and repair expenses. With the price of everything from car parts to lumber going up, it costs more than it did in past years to repair your vehicle or rebuild your house in case of a loss.

In addition, the value of vehicles and homes is also going up, which means in order for you to receive replacement cost in case of a loss, your insurance company will have to pay out more. It follows that if a covered item is worth more, then the cost of insuring it will be more.

Labor shortages are also affecting the price of construction, home, and auto repair. (Read more about how supply chain issues and labor shortages are affecting car insurance premiums.)

Lawsuits and fraud. For years, bad actors have exploited both policyholders and property insurers. Homeowners have been talked into filing claims and lawsuits by third parties like attorneys, contractors, or water remediation firms. Often times, homeowners don’t understand the claims process, or are relieved to have someone else take over. Unfortunately, every insurance consumer in Florida is paying the price for inflated or fraudulent claims and lawsuits.

Florida has, by far, the largest number of lawsuits related to homeowners insurance claims. For instance, in 2019, only 8.15 percent of all homeowners claims in the U.S. were filed in Florida, but more than 76 percent of property claim lawsuits were filed here. And what’s worse: only eight percent of the fifteen billion dollars that property insurance companies paid out in claims costs between 2013 and 2020 went to consumers. Seventy-one percent went to attorneys!

What can you do?

Much of what is happening in the insurance industry is out of individuals’ control, but here are three things you can do:

Review your insurance needs with an L & M Insurance Group agent. We can help you make sure you have the appropriate coverage for your situation, and that you’re taking advantage of all discounts available to you. We can also discuss whether or not an option such as switching to a higher deductible to lower your insurance premium is right for you.

If you have a claim, be sure to contact your insurance agent and/or your insurance company yourself. Do not sign anything without talking to your insurance agent or directly to your insurance company.

Contact your elected officials and tell them that continued insurance reform is still needed. Though recent legislation has helped to reduce assignment of benefits lawsuits, other types of lawsuits are still going up, at a cost to all of us.

We at L & M Insurance Group understand your worries and frustrations about the cost of home and auto insurance. We promise we will do the best we can under these difficult circumstances to provide you with the best coverage at the most cost-effective price. Please call us at 813-672-4100 if you need to discuss your insurance options. If you prefer, you may also contact us online.

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Make These Insurance Resolutions for the New Year

At the start of a new year, many people resolve to get their finances in order. L & M Insurance Group would like to remind you that appropriate insurance coverage is one of the best ways you can protect yourself from financial disaster. Insurance can protect your most valuable assets, like your home and your vehicle, protect you from lawsuits, and even care for your family after you’re gone.

Here are a few things you can resolve to do now to make sure you have the financial protection you need—for the lowest possible insurance premiums.

Review your life changes. Was 2021 was an eventful year for you? Did you experience any major life changes, such as marriage, divorce, or the birth of a child? Did you renovate your house, buy a new vehicle, turn 55, or start a business? Become an empty nester? Even if you already notified your insurance agent about these changes, now is a good time to do a more thorough review of your insurance coverage to make sure you’re properly protected.

Review your coverage. Once you’ve reviewed your personal situation, you’ll want to see how it lines up with your insurance coverage. Insurance is meant to protect your financial assets in case of accident, crime, or disaster, including providing liability protection in case someone sues you. Some common areas of concern we see frequently include:

For auto insurance, do you carry bodily injury in high enough limits? (Insurance experts recommend 100,000/300,000 for most situations, even though Florida state requirements are much lower.) Do you carry uninsured motorist (UM) coverage? (In Florida, we have many un- or under-insured drivers on the roads, so we recommend carrying UM coverage.)

For home insurance, does your policy provide replacement cost coverage? Your home should be insured for enough to rebuild, repair, or replace it and your personal possessions with comparable quality—not just for how much you owe on your mortgage or the home’s market value.

And speaking of personal possessions, did you buy or receive any expensive items in 2021—such as jewelry, art, or home electronics? High value items may need special coverage, over and above what is covered under a standard homeowners insurance policy.

Consider your life insurance needs. Do you have life insurance? Do you need it? If you do have life insurance, be sure that your policy is up to date with the correct beneficiary, and any other details that may have changed. Life insurance is surprisingly affordable, especially for younger people who are most in need of it to help safeguard their families’ futures. If you don’t have life insurance but would like to explore your options, please call 813-672-4100, or click here for an online quote.

Keep your driving record clean. Still one of the most basic things you can do to keep your auto insurance rates down!

Maintain or improve your credit record. Many insurance companies look at your credit when calculating insurance premiums. Boosting your credit record can result in cheaper insurance rates and more policy options to choose from. (Even if your credit is not great, L & M Insurance Group can still help. Give us a call at 813-672-4100.)

Work with an independent agency. Independent agencies, like L & M Insurance Group, represent multiple insurance carriers instead of just one. This means we have more flexibility to shop for the best policy and insurance company for your individual situation. We can also write just about any type of insurance you need, including personal and commercial auto, home, life, renters, and business insurance. And OUR number one new year’s resolution is to help YOU find the best insurance deal! Give us a call at 813-672-4100, or contact us online for all your insurance needs.

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Home Shopping in Tampa Bay? These Factors Can Affect Your Homeowners Insurance Rates

If you’re looking for a home in the Tampa Bay area, you’re home shopping in a real estate market that’s as hot as one of our August days! Zillow reported that home prices are still increasing, and that homes spent a median of just six days on the market in the months of September and October.

As thrilling as buying a home can be, it is a big investment and you have many decisions to make and options to consider. Many people don’t think about the additional expenses which come with being a Florida homeowner. One of those expenses—homeowners insurance—can be a significant cost in our area. If you want to keep your homeowners insurance rates as low as possible, here are a few factors that will affect your premiums:

Credit rating

You’re probably already dialed in to how important your credit rating is since you’re trying to qualify for a home loan. But did you know that good credit can often net you lower homeowners insurance premiums? If your credit is less than stellar, now is the time to try to improve it.

Location, location, location

Where your home is located is important for many reasons. You may be considering school districts, your commute to work, and other factors. Homeowners insurance companies are interested in things like how close you are to the coast, and if you’re near a fire department or even a fire hydrant.

In Florida, you also need to be aware of your potential home’s flood zone. Standard homeowners insurance policies don’t include flood coverage, and many areas in our communities are prone to flooding, even if they aren’t in what’s considered a high risk zone.

Age, size, and condition of home

Common sense tells us that it will cost more to insure a larger or more luxurious home, or a home near the water. Additional factors that matter include things like the home’s roof and its systems, like plumbing and electrical. Many homeowners insurance companies have strict underwriting guidelines for roofs—if your prospective home has an older roof, you may pay more or even have trouble getting coverage at all. And if you’re looking at an older home, note whether the home’s systems have been updated. A home that is well constructed, under up-to-date building standards, will be more likely to withstand natural disasters—and cost less to insure. Be sure to have a home inspection done on any home you’re considering buying.

Special features

As wonderful as it is to have a pool or hot tub, these special features can drive up the cost of your homeowners insurance. You will want to be sure to carry enough liability coverage in case someone is injured and sues you. You may even need an umbrella policy in addition to your homeowners insurance in order to protect your financial assets from possible lawsuits.

The home’s loss history report

Prior claims filed on the home by the previous owner are also a big factor in obtaining homeowners insurance coverage. Lenders are starting to require loss history reports from the seller to make sure the home will qualify for new coverage. Let your real estate agent know you’ll need this information.

Shopping for homeowners insurance?

Don’t wait until the last minute to look for homeowners insurance coverage for your new property. In today’s tumultuous insurance market, you want to choose an insurance agency you can trust—like L & M Insurance Group. We’ve been serving the needs of our neighbors in Tampa, Riverview, Brandon, Valrico, and surrounding communities for more than 30 years. Give one of our agents a call at 813-672-4100, or click here for a homeowners insurance quote. Our agency is local and independent, and we represent multiple financially sound homeowners insurance companies. Let us find a homeowners insurance policy that is just right for you!

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Can Supply Chain Problems Affect Your Car Insurance?

Florida drivers already pay some of the highest car insurance rates in the nation, and those rates are likely to go up in the near future. Why? Because insurance companies’ claims costs are skyrocketing, and strange though it may seem, supply chain and other pandemic-driven causes are contributing.

Shortages and supply chain issues

Because of pandemic-fueled, industry-wide shortages of raw materials and parts to build vehicles (including semi-conductor chips), there are fewer new vehicles in showrooms. This has caused the cost of both new and used vehicles to rise. Insurance companies use the value of the vehicle when calculating rates for comprehensive and collision coverage. They also use vehicle value to determine how much to pay out when a vehicle has been in a crash and is declared a total loss. Since both new and used car prices are going up, so are premiums and claim payments.

Claims costs are also rising because the cost of parts has gone up, and it’s taking longer to repair damaged vehicles because of shortages of both car parts and qualified auto mechanics. At least one of our companies has reported that they have had to total out vehicles because they can’t find parts to repair them.

And one more thing—when it takes longer to repair a damaged vehicle, the cost of a replacement rental car also goes up since the client needs the rental car for a longer time.

What you can do

Unfortunately, you can’t do much about supply chain issues. But the best thing you can do is minimize your risk of an accident or moving violation (which will also raise your auto insurance premiums) by driving defensively. Don’t drive distracted or while impaired, obey speed limits, and wear your seat belt. And be sure to check in with an L & M Insurance Group agent to help you shop for the best car insurance rate for your situation. L & M Insurance Group is a local, independent insurance agency, and we partner with many quality insurance companies. Please call 813-672-4100 if you’d like a no-obligation quote, or contact us online.

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Simple Ways to Avoid Holiday Hazards

The holidays are almost here! You’re probably looking forward to spending time with family and friends, enjoying delicious meals, and giving and receiving gifts. Maybe you’re even going to travel to spend a holiday with far off loved ones.

As you prepare to travel or host festivities for family or friends, L & M Insurance Group would like to remind you to take a few simple precautions so you can have a safe and crime-free holiday season.

Safe at home

Hosting meals and decorating the house for holiday cheer doesn’t seem risky, but it is! Falls and fires are two of the most common holiday hazards to watch out for. In fact, home fires are the most frequent disaster in the US, according to the American Red Cross, and many of them take place during the holiday season. Cooking fires peak on Thanksgiving Day, with Christmas Day not far behind. Stay in the kitchen when something is cooking, and be sure no decorations are near the stove where they could catch fire.

Christmas trees, candles, and holiday lights can be the cause of a fire, so take precautions. Keep real trees well watered, and all decorations at least three feet from heat sources. And don’t forget fireplace safety. Make sure the flue is open before lighting a fire, and keep all decorations and Christmas stockings well away from it. Also, don’t burn wrapping paper—it can flare up dangerously. Store matches and lighters up high in a locked cupboard to keep them out of children’s hands.

Click here for holiday decoration safety tips from the Consumer Product Safety Commission.

Click here for more holiday fire safety tips.

In addition to fires, injuries from falls are another holiday hazard to watch out for. If you need to climb a ladder to hang lights or other decorations, make sure you position it properly and keep three points of contact on it at all times (two feet and one hand, for example). Also keep doorways and walkways clear of extension cords, decorations, bags, toys, and gifts—anything that could cause someone to trip and fall.

Don’t be a crime victim

Criminals often take advantage of the extra shopping (both in person and online) and packages being delivered. Reduce the chances of being victimized with these tips from the Florida Sheriff’s Association:

  • Carry your purse close to your body or your wallet inside a coat or front trouser pocket.
  • Park in a well-lighted area and be sure to lock your car doors.
  • Have your keys in hand when approaching your vehicle.
  • Check the back seat and around the car before getting in.
  • Avoid carrying cash if at all possible. Use credit cards instead.
  • Double check that you have your credit cards and wallet after you pay for your items.
  • Save all receipts. Print and save all confirmations from your online purchases.
  • If you are shopping with your children, talk to them ahead of time about what to do if they get lost in the crowd.
  • When shopping online use secure websites for purchases. Look for the icon of a locked padlock at the bottom of the screen or “https” in the URL address.
  • Beware of online “bargains” from companies with whom you are unfamiliar—if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is!

At home, don’t advertise your gifts by leaving them in plain sight, or by putting the boxes they came in out for garbage collection. Break down the boxes and put them in your recycling bin or inside a trash bag.

Leaving home?

Don’t let your home become a target of thieves. Package thefts and home break-ins spike between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day. If you plan to travel this holiday season, don’t announce your plans on social media. Make your home look “lived in” while you’re gone. Set some lights on a timer (including outdoor lights), and perhaps ask a neighbor to park a car in your driveway. Have mail and newspapers held, or ask friend or neighbor to pick them up for you. Make sure all doors and windows are locked, and trim back any landscaping around your home so thieves have nowhere to hide. Leave a key and a contact number with a friend or neighbor, but don’t hide one outside. Thieves are familiar with all the best hiding spots.

Protect your valuables

Taking precautions to avoid holiday hazards such as fires, falls, and crime can help you have a much happier and safer holiday season. Another way to protect your valuables is to carry insurance tailor-made for your situation. If you need an auto policy, homeowners insurance, or umbrella policy to cover some of those new Christmas gifts, please consider giving L & M Insurance Group a call. We represent dozens of financially stable insurance companies for all your personal and business insurance needs. Please call 813-672-4100, or click here to contact us online—and have a very happy (and safe) holiday season!

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Fall Maintenance for Your Florida Home

Florida homeowners may not have to prepare for cold weather the same way our northern neighbors do—but fall is still a great time to perform some important home maintenance tasks. Keeping your home in good shape will save you money by preventing expensive home repairs later, and is more likely to help your home withstand Florida’s extreme weather.

Fall is the perfect time to address some of these tasks—since hurricane season is over and the temperatures and humidity have eased. Some of the following maintenance tasks you can do yourself. For others, look for a reputable professional company to do the inspections or repairs. And remember, homeowners insurance is for unexpected damage to your home, not routine maintenance.

As any homeowner knows, there are many necessary home maintenance tasks, but for now, we’ll concentrate on ones that relate to two of your home’s biggest enemies: fire and water.

Fire prevention                                                                                                                

Did you know that during the approaching holiday season, the risk of a home fire rises? Be prepared by making sure your fire extinguisher is full and properly pressurized, and that you know how to use it. You should also test your smoke detectors and replace batteries as necessary.

Even in Florida, it’s nice to sit around a cozy fireplace. Before you light that first fire, ensure your fireplace flue and gas line are in good condition. You may need a professional to inspect your chimney, and to clean it and remove any blockages. A blocked chimney can send toxic gasses and smoke into your home, or even start a fire.

Gutters and downspouts

Gutters and downspouts serve an important purpose by channeling water away from your home’s foundation. Blocked or damaged gutters allow water to drip and pool around your home, possibly causing flooding or roof leaks, or damaging your foundation. Clear out leaves or other debris or blockages in your gutters, and repair any damage to gutters and downspouts. And check that water drains away from the house, not toward it.

Roof

Your roof is your home’s first line of defense against rain and wind. Though we had a relatively mild storm season, fall is a great time to check your roof for any damage. Look for popped nails, broken, or damaged shingles, and check flashing around skylights, pipes, and chimneys. Keeping your roof in good repair keeps water from entering your home, damaging the structure or causing mold growth. Tip: Try using a pair of binoculars to examine your roof—no ladder climbing necessary.

Windows and door seals

Another area to inspect and fix to keep moisture out: the seals around windows and doors. A well-sealed home also helps to keep cool or warm air in and rodents, and insects out. Re-caulk or re-weatherstrip any holes or gaps you find near windows, doors, or baseboards.

The role of homeowners insurance

Homeowners insurance is another important way to protect your home. The right policy will help you rebuild your home and replace your belongings should they be damaged or destroyed by a covered peril. That’s where L & M Insurance Group can help! We represent multiple homeowners insurance companies, and our agents will be happy to help you find the coverage that’s best for you. Please give us a call at 813-672-4100 (or click here to request a quote online). As a local, independently-owned insurance agency (based in the Brandon/Riverview area), we’re experts in the complicated Florida homeowners insurance market.

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With NFIP Flood Insurance Prices Rising, Is It Time to Consider Private Flood Insurance?

Insuring a home in a flood zone has just become more expensive. Recent changes to the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) went into effect Oct. 1, 2021 for all new flood insurance policies, and will begin affecting existing flood policies at renewal. Under the new program, called Risk Rating 2.0, 80 percent of Florida’s flood policy premiums will be going up, according to FEMA, the government agency which administers the NFIP.

There is another option. Flood insurance written by a private company may be a good fit for you if your premium goes up under the NFIP, or if you need higher limits of coverage than that program offers (see below).

Who needs flood insurance?

Florida is surrounded by water and experiences frequent storms and heavy rain, so flood risk is higher here than in much of the U.S. Even if your home is not in a high-risk area, you may still want to carry flood insurance. Between 20 and 25 percent of flood losses in the U.S. are outside of a high-risk flood zone. (Click to find your flood zone.)

Damage from flooding can be devastatingly expensive—just one inch can do more than $25,000 worth of damage, and the average flood loss can be as much as $40,000. And remember, standard homeowners, renters, and business policies do not cover flood damage. You’ll need to buy a flood policy if you want coverage.

NFIP or private insurance?

Flood insurance policies cover physical damage caused by flooding to the structure and major systems of your home, as well as to your personal belongings, such as furniture, clothing, or electronics. However, the most you can insure for under the NFIP is $250,000 for your home and $100,000 for your personal property. If you need higher limits, you’ll likely have to buy a policy through a private flood insurance company.

With NFIP policies, there’s usually a 30-day waiting period. Policies offered by private insurers come with a shorter waiting period, or none at all.

Other things to be aware of while you’re shopping for a flood policy: some private flood insurance companies will not insure mobile homes, and very rarely, a mortgage company will not accept flood coverage from a private company. Make sure the policy you buy will satisfy your mortgage lender’s requirements.

Private flood insurance may be cheaper than NFIP coverage. Private companies have more flexibility in calculating their rates than the NFIP does, and that may result in a lower premium for consumers.

Let L & M Insurance Group give you a flood insurance quote

Don’t wait until a storm is brewing to decide you need coverage for flood losses. The agents at L & M Insurance Group can help you decide which flood insurance policy is right for you. In addition to writing for the NFIP, we represent several private flood insurance companies that write flood insurance at competitive rates. Click here to fill out an online request for a flood insurance quote, or call us at 813-672-4100.

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Yes, We Can Insure Your E-bike!

The popularity of electric bicycles, or e-bikes, has soared over the past couple of years—sales were up 145 percent between 2019 and 2020, according to market research firm NPD Group. If you’re one of the many people zipping around for fun, or even commuting to work with a little help from an e-bike, you might wonder if you need insurance for your new toy.

Do I really need insurance for my e-bike?

While Florida doesn’t require insurance for e-bikes as long as they’re not capable of going more than 28 miles per hour, it’s not a bad idea to carry it. Here’s why:

The main reason is that while your homeowners or renters insurance policy may provide some coverage for an electric bike under personal property (be sure to check with your insurance company for details), that coverage will likely be limited and subject to your deductible. In addition, you’ll need to make sure you have adequate coverage for your injuries if you’re hurt while riding, and for protection for your liability if you injure someone or damage property while riding your e-bike.

Since e-bikes are heavier and more complex machines, and they travel faster than a pedal-only bike, the potential for injury (to rider or pedestrian) and property damage is greater. And since e-bikes are more expensive than standard bikes, if yours is stolen or damaged, you may find it a financial hardship to replace it. Quality e-bikes often cost thousands of dollars.

What does e-bike insurance cover?

The good news is that a standalone e-bike policy is usually inexpensive—policies start at around $100 a year. Cost depends on the coverage you choose, the value of your e-bike, and your deductible.

Basic bike policy coverages include:

  • Physical damage to your bike if you hit something—another vehicle, a curb, a tree, and so on.
  • Liability if you’re at fault and you injure someone or damage property.
  • Theft and vandalism—coverage to repair or replace your bike if it’s stolen or vandalized.
  • Uninsured motorist—coverage that pays for your injuries if you’re hit by an uninsured driver (and unfortunately, we have many of those in Florida).

Whether you use your e-bike to commute or just for recreation, protect your investment and your personal liability with a standalone electric bicycle insurance policy. Give L & M Financial Group a call at 813-672-4100, or contact us online for a quote. Happy riding!

We can insure your e-bike!

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Protect Your Vacant Investment Properties

Property investors who own rental properties, or who buy, renovate and resell homes, may occasionally find they have vacant properties on their hands. If your property is vacant, it could be a magnet for trouble, attracting thieves, vandals, squatters, even neighborhood kids looking for a place to hang out. Here are seven steps to take to protect your vacant investment properties:

1. Secure the property

Make it hard to get in by ensuring doors and windows have sturdy locks, and keep them locked! If a tenant has recently moved out, have the locks changed or re-keyed. You may also consider reinforcing exterior doors with metal doorjamb or hinge shields in case someone tries to kick down the door.

2. Monitor and maintain the exterior

Check on your vacant property frequently to make sure it’s secure. Keep landscaping tidy by pruning shrubs and keeping lawns mowed. Make sure plants and trees don’t provide hiding spots or cover for thieves or vandals. Remove any mail or newspapers that arrive—nothing says no one is home more quickly than a stack of newspapers in a driveway or an overflowing mailbox.

To guard against fire, remove any flammable debris around the structure, including construction materials, dead vegetation, paper, cardboard, and so on.

3. Light the property at night

To deter thieves and vandals, make sure your property has working exterior lighting, either on a motion sensor or a timer. In addition, have a few lights on timers inside the property to help it make it look like someone is there. These simple measures can make a casual thief or vandal think the property is occupied.

4. Set up an alarm system

In some cases, you may want to set up security cameras or an alarm system to protect your investment property. Even if you don’t have an alarm system, simply placing a sign or sticker saying you do may help to deter thieves.

5. Make friends with the neighbors

If possible, become friendly with the neighbors near your property. They can act as an extra set of eyes and ears when you’re not around. Give them contact information, yours or your property manager’s, to call regarding any suspicious activity.

6. Advertise wisely

While you want potential buyers or renters to know your property is available, you should be careful about how you share information. Don’t share too much with people calling or inquiring online. Some professional thieves locate vacant properties to hit this way. You’ll probably want to leave a For Sale sign up, but you might consider whether leaving a For Rent sign at your vacant property may attract unwanted attention.

7. Carry insurance

Vacant properties and properties being renovated still need insurance coverage, to protect the structures themselves, and your liability as a property owner. You may need a builder’s risk policy that provides coverage for damage to the insured structure and liability coverage during renovation. Or perhaps you need a vacant dwelling policy, which covers properties that do not meet the requirements for a builder’s risk policy, properties that are between tenants, or those waiting for a buyer. If you have any questions about what type of insurance you need…

We can help!

The agents at L & M Insurance Group have years of experience working with property investors, and we’re familiar with the insurance requirements of properties purchased in the name of an entity such as a land trust, LLC, or corporation. We are proud to partner with companies that also understand your needs—like REInsurePro, an insurance program specifically designed with real estate investors in mind.

Please allow us to help you with all your insurance needs including protecting your vacant property. You may reach us by phone (813-672-4100) or contact us online by clicking here. For more than 30 years, L & M Insurance Group has been serving the personal and commercial insurance needs of Riverview, Brandon, Tampa, Apollo Beach, Gibsonton and surrounding communities.

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Prepare Now for the Medicare Annual Enrollment Period

If you’re receiving healthcare benefits from Medicare, there are only a few chances each year to make changes to your coverage. One of those periods is quickly approaching: the Annual Enrollment Period, which runs from Oct. 15 to Dec. 7. During this time, you can:

  • Change from Original Medicare to a Medicare Advantage Plan (or vice versa)
  • Switch from one Medicare Advantage Plan to a different one
  • Join a Medicare drug plan
  • Drop your Medicare drug coverage
  • Change from one Medicare drug plan to a different one

Four Steps To Prepare you for Medicare Annual Open Enrollment Period

Step 1: Review your current plan

You should soon receive notices from Medicare detailing your current coverage and any changes that will be going into effect for the coming year. Look for an Annual Notice of Change (ANOC), and review your 2021 “Medicare & You” handbook.

Step 2: Consider your health insurance needs for the coming year

What health services do you expect to need? What medications do you take? Do you need dental, vision, or hearing coverage? Having an idea of what services you’ll need will help you decide which plan is best for you.

Step 3: Compare your current coverage with other available options

You should compare your current coverage with other available plans including deciding whether Original Medicare or a Medicare Advantage Plan will work better for you. If you’re happy with your current plan, you don’t need to do anything. But if you decide you’d like a change, now is the time to make that change. There are a few differences between Original Medicare and Medicare Advantage Plans, so you can read this medicare packet for more information.

Step 4: Contact us!

If you’ve decided that a Medicare Advantage Plan is the way to go, or you need to purchase Medicare Supplement coverage (“Medigap”) to complement your Original Medicare, L & M Insurance Group can help. We know sorting through Medicare information can be confusing, but our agents can help you make sense of it all.

Medicare Benefit Package Options

Healthcare can be a significant expense during retirement. Choosing the right Medicare benefits package for you can help ease that financial burden. We represent companies that offer Medicare Advantage, Medicare Supplement, and Medicare Prescription Drug plans. For more information, give us a call at 813-672-4100 or contact us online. For additional information on Medicare benefits and plans, please see https://www.medicare.gov/.