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How Inflation Is Affecting Your Insurance Rates and What You Can Do About It

Florida residents already pay some of the highest auto and home insurance rates in the country—and now inflation is making it worse. Some of the same factors driving inflation in general are driving premium increases across nearly all lines of insurance. These factors include supply chain issues, labor shortages, and the rising cost of goods and services. Insurance companies are businesses, and the cost of doing business has gone up considerably. Read on for how inflation is affecting your insurance, and for a few tips to help lower your premiums.

What’s driving up car insurance prices?

Cars have become so high tech that not only do they cost more to repair, they require new training for auto mechanics. Add that to an already existing shortage of qualified mechanics and getting a vehicle repaired becomes even more challenging. In addition, repair shops can’t get the parts they need to fix damaged vehicles so they’re forced to total them, resulting in larger claim amounts being paid out. These higher expenses are taken into account when insurance companies calculate their rates. You can learn more on how supply chain problems can affect your car insurance in a recent blog article.

Homeowners insurance and inflation

Homeowners across the nation are facing rate increases that Florida homeowners have been enduring on a larger scale for the past couple of years. Inflation-related drivers of these price increases include the cost of building materials and a labor shortage of construction workers. Simply put, houses cost more to repair or rebuild, so once again, insurance companies are calculating these costs when setting their rates. (In Florida, the homeowners insurance market faces even more challenges. See: “AOB Abuse and Fraud Help to Drive the High Cost of Insurance.”)

How can you reduce insurance premiums?

There’s only so much you can do in the tight insurance market we have here in Florida, but every little bit helps. Here are a few suggestions for saving money on your insurance premiums:

  • Shop for your insurance with an independent insurance agency. An independent agency like L & M Insurance Group has more options than captive agents when quoting a policy. We represent more than 80 high-quality insurance companies.
  • Improve your credit score. A higher credit score almost always results in lower insurance premiums.
  • Keep your driving record clean. Still one of the best ways to help you get the lowest rate possible.
  • Ask about discounts. You may be able to get small discounts on your auto or home insurance for things like safe driving, safety features or alarm systems, having no gaps in your insurance coverage, signing up for auto pay or paying in full, living in a gated community, and so on.
  • Reduce coverage. Sometimes if money is tight, it makes sense to reduce coverage in order to save on premiums. You’ll need to think carefully about your situation, and what you can handle financially if you were to have a loss. An L & M Insurance Group agent will be happy to help you consider your options.
  • Increase your deductibles. You’ll have to decide if the amount you save in premium is worth the additional amount you’ll owe out of pocket if you have a claim.

Talk to an independent agent

We know you have many choices when it comes to insurance, and we’d like to thank you for considering L & M Insurance Group for your insurance needs. If you have any questions about what coverage you need, or you need a quote for a car, home, or business policy, please call us at 813-672-4100, or click here to contact us online. We’ve been helping our neighbors in Riverview, Brandon, Gibsonton, Valrico, Tampa, and surrounding areas for more than 30 years.

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Insurance Tips for Back-to-School Season

Believe it or not, it’s already back-to-school season! Younger kids go back to school this week, and college students follow soon after. If you’re a parent, upcoming events in your kids’ lives could impact your insurance coverage. And whether or not you’re a parent, this time of year requires that all drivers take extra care while on the road.

Safety reminders for all drivers

The back-to-school season brings increased traffic, as well as kids walking, biking, or scootering to school. Tickets issued for violations related to school zones and buses are expensive, and will certainly affect your auto insurance rates. And it goes without saying that no one wants to injure a child.

Be especially alert near school zones, school bus stops, and intersections with crossing guards. Be aware that kids don’t always stay in crosswalks. Obey school zone speed limits and instructions from crossing guards, and stop for school buses. You may need to allow extra time to get to your destination so you’re not tempted to drive faster than is safe. Let’s all work together to keep kids safe on the roads!

If you do have kids, especially kids in high school or college, read on for information regarding how going back to school may affect your insurance coverage.

Parents of high school students

Will you have a new driver this year? Inexperienced drivers, such as high schoolers driving for the first time, may be prone to distraction. Stress to your young driver the importance of minimizing distractions while they’re behind the wheel. (And don’t forget to model the behavior you want!)

Be sure to add your child as a driver to your auto insurance policy as soon as he or she starts driving. If they’re not listed as drivers and they’re in an accident, your claim will almost certainly be denied.

Worried about your car insurance rates going up because you add an inexperienced driver to your policy? Give L & M Insurance Group a call for a rate comparison. As independent agents, we have access to companies with more affordable rates. And remember, if your child has good grades and/or has taken a safe driving course, you may be eligible for discounts.

Parents of college students

If you’re concerned about covering your college student’s personal belongings while they’re away at school, there are a couple of ways to handle that.

Will they live in a college dormitory or in an off-campus rented apartment? If your child lives on campus, your homeowners insurance may offer some coverage for their personal belongings (usually around 10 % of your policy’s contents coverage). However, if your child lives in a rented apartment, your homeowners insurance will probably not cover his or her belongings, and you may want to consider renters insurance. Even if your homeowners insurance would cover your child’s things, you may still want to consider a renters policy in order to avoid having to make a claim on your homeowners insurance and risking a rate increase.

Whatever you decide to do, make a list of the items your child is taking to school that you want to be covered. Keep receipts and take photos—this will be helpful if there’s a claim.

What about car insurance?

If your child won’t be taking a car to school and will be living away from home, can you take him or her off your policy? It’s not a good idea to do that, since they’re likely to drive a family car during breaks and over the summer. However, if they live 100 miles or more away, you may be able to get a discount on your policy—ask your insurance agent.

If your child is planning to take a car to school, you will need to notify your insurance agent about the vehicle’s change in primary location and find out if any changes need to be made to your coverage due to this new situation.

L & M Insurance Group is here for you

Whether you have questions about your existing coverage or you need a quote for a new policy, please consider locally owned and independent L & M Insurance Group for all your insurance needs. The agents at L & M Insurance Group are happy to review your situation and help you to find the right policies for you. Give us a call today at (813) 672-4100, or click here to contact us online.

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AOB Abuse and Fraud Help to Drive the High Cost of Insurance

If you’ve purchased or renewed homeowners insurance lately, you know that premiums are skyrocketing. While there are several factors driving Florida’s insurance crisis, our high insurance prices are, in part, due to fraud and assignment of benefits abuse.

Let’s take a closer look at what’s happening.

What is Assignment of Benefits (AOB)?

Assignment of benefits (AOB) is a legal agreement between a policyholder and a third party in which the policyholder gives (“assigns”) some of his or her rights and benefits under the policy to that third party. Under certain circumstances, this works well, such as when preapproved health care service providers bill your health insurance company directly for covered benefits. However, in the world of homeowners (and auto insurance), AOB abuse has become rampant, adding more strain to an already stressed insurance market. Most AOB abuse claims stem from homeowners insurance (primarily related to roofing scams or water losses), PIP claims, and damaged windshields. This article will address AOB abuse related to homeowners insurance claims.

What does AOB abuse entail?

In Florida, two things are at play. First, unscrupulous companies are submitting inflated or fraudulent homeowners insurance claims. One common scenario involves roofing companies canvassing a neighborhood after a storm, offering “free roof replacement” after they look for damage that may or may not exist or be caused by that storm. In this and other situations, fraudulent contractors also may do unnecessary repairs, overcharge for repairs, or in some cases, charge for repairs they don’t make.

Second, when an insurance company balks at paying an inflated claim, the fraudulent contractors are hiring attorneys to file excessive lawsuits alleging breach of contract or bad faith. In some cases, lawsuits have been filed even before the insurance company has been notified of the claim!

As we noted in a previous article, “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!”

Of course, not every claim is inflated, nor is every lawsuit unwarranted. But Florida currently has an environment of abuse.

AOB abuse “acts like a tax”

Put plainly, even if you’ve never had an insurance claim, AOB abuse and fraud are costing you money. Insurance companies have no choice but to pass legal costs to defend AOB lawsuits as well as the costs of inflated claims to all insurance consumers. According to the Insurance Information Institute (iii.org), “…had legal costs tracked nationwide averages, the cumulative total savings for Florida homeowners insurers (and their policyholders) would have been nearly $1.6 billion.” This statistic only refers to legal costs themselves, not the amount of money paid out in inflated claims settlements. “AOB abuse acts like a tax on Florida consumers,” according to iii.org.

If you have a claim

If you have a homeowners insurance claim, contact your insurance company as soon as you can. Most have 24/7 claims service, either by phone or online. Insurance company representatives will be happy to walk you through the claims process. Don’t allow a contractor or water remediation company to contact your insurance company for you. You don’t need to sign an AOB to have your claim paid.

(For more information, see “Demolish Contractor Fraud.”)

L & M Insurance Group—your source for insurance

We hope this has helped you understand one of the major factors driving the skyrocketing costs of insurance in Florida. Please remember that reputable insurance companies, like the ones L & M Insurance Group represents, will be there for you if you have a claim. If you need a quote for personal auto, homeowners, renters, or business insurance, we partner with multiple insurance companies, and our agents are experts at finding the right match for your individual situation. Please call 813-672-4100 or click here to contact us online.

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Fatal Roads: Working Together to Reduce Traffic Deaths

After years of declines, traffic fatalities* are rising again. For decades, seat belt laws and improved vehicle safety features helped to contribute to roadway safety. In 2020, for the first time in years, roadway deaths increased, despite there being fewer cars on the roads due to pandemic lockdowns. Some experts believe with fewer cars on the roads, drivers began driving more recklessly and aggressively. In 2020, nearly 38,700 people died in crashes, an increase of seven percent over the year before. In 2021, roadway deaths continued to increase.

Community planners and governments have been taking a closer look at traffic deaths and creating plans to reduce them. 

Reducing traffic deaths with “Vision Zero” and the Safe System approach

More than 40 U.S. communities have adopted policies based on the Safe System approach, and in January the U.S. Department of Transportation released a new policy known as the National Roadway Safety Strategy. Here in the Tampa Bay area, the city of Tampa is committed to the Vision Zero Action Plan:

“Vision Zero represents a shift in how we think about and address roadway safety problems. It requires shifting our thinking upstream in order to prevent problems before they happen. This entails moving beyond focusing on changing individual behavior and instead accepting shared responsibility for putting a safe system in place for all road users.”

Principles of the Safe System approach

  • Safe road users—encourage those who use our roads to act safely and responsibly, and create conditions that help them reach their destination unharmed.
  • Safe vehicles—design and regulate vehicles to expand vehicle features and systems which help prevent crashes and minimize their impact.
  • Safe speeds—promote safer speeds on all roads, allowing for additional time to avoid crashes and reducing the force of impact if a crash occurs.
  • Safe roads—design roadway systems to mitigate human error as well as encourage safer behaviors.
  • Post-crash care—improve the availability and speed of emergency care if a crash occurs, as well as manage the crash site to prevent additional crashes.

What you can do to prevent traffic deaths

While some of these actions must take place on the community level, there are a few things you as an individual can do to help prevent traffic accidents and fatalities. Proponents of the Safe System approach note that this will require a shift to a more safety-minded culture for everyone.

  • Slow down. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), “An increase in speed is directly related both to the likelihood of a crash occurring and to the severity of the consequences of the crash.” Just a one-percent increase in speed results in a four-percent increase in fatal crash risk.
  • Do not drive while under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
  • Wear your seat belt and insist your passengers do the same.
  • Secure children in proper child restraints (car seats or booster seats). Doing so “can lead to a 60 percent reduction in deaths.” (WHO)
  • Wear a helmet when riding a motorcycle.
  • Put your phone away. Using a mobile phone slows reaction times, and being distracted makes it harder to stay in your own lane as well as maintain correct following distances.

If we all work together, we can reduce the number of traffic deaths in our community. (As a bonus, these safe driving tips will also help you avoid tickets and non-fatal crashes, too, which can help you keep your car insurance rates down.)

If you need car insurance

As an independent insurance agency, L & M Insurance Group specializes in helping you find the best coverage for the best possible rate. We’ve been helping our neighbors in Tampa, Riverview, Brandon, Valrico and surrounding areas for more than 30 years and we’d love to help you. Please give L & M Insurance Group a call at  (813) 672-4100, or if you prefer to contact us online, please click here.

*Traffic fatalities include those from vehicle-on-vehicle crashes, as well as collisions with pedestrians, cyclists and motorcyclists.

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L & M Insurance Group Is Your Source for Affordable Commercial Auto Insurance in Florida

Of all the many decisions Florida business owners have, choosing the right commercial insurance coverage is one of the most important. Without proper insurance protection, you could easily find yourself in serious financial trouble—you might even lose your business. L & M Insurance Group can help you with all your commercial insurance needs, but today we’re going to highlight commercial auto insurance.

Who needs commercial auto insurance?

Anyone who operates one or more vehicles in the course of doing business, or who owns or leases a vehicle for business use needs commercial auto insurance (also known as business auto insurance). All kinds of businesses need commercial auto insurance, including trucking and hauling services, taxi or limo services, moving companies, delivery services, repair services, locksmiths, landscaping companies, and day care or van services. You need a commercial auto policy if:

  • The vehicle is registered in the name of the business
  • You have permanently attached equipment or pull a trailer in relation to your work
  • You have a commercial license plate
  • You have a sign or advertising for the business on your vehicle
  • Employees drive the vehicle, or drive their own vehicles while working for your business
  • The vehicle is used to deliver packages or food
  • The vehicle is used to transport clients or other employees
  • You transport people for a fee, such as driving for Uber or Lyft

Don’t expect your personal auto policy to cover business use. Business use is almost always excluded under personal auto policies, and your insurance company could deny claims if they find you’re using your vehicle in your business. (If you still have questions about whether your usage qualifies as business use, please consult a commercial auto agent.)

A commercial auto insurance policy offers the same types of coverages as a personal auto policy, including liability (property damage, bodily injury, uninsured motorist) and comprehensive and collision. Commercial auto policies are designed to address the needs of the business owner, and whatever situations might arise from business use of a vehicle. The good news is that the cost of commercial insurance is often quite reasonable—and not always more expensive than a personal auto policy. The best thing to do is to discuss the types of coverage and limits you need with a commercial auto insurance agent, like one of the professionals at L & M Insurance Group.

How to get a commercial auto insurance quote

It’s simple! Just give L & M Insurance Group a call at 813-672-4100, or click here to contact us online. Our experienced agents will help you choose a commercial auto policy that suits your needs. Some info that will help us give you the most accurate quote includes:

  • How many vehicles you need to have insured
  • Who the drivers will be, and as much of their driving history as you know
  • How the vehicles are used
  • Whether or not you transport cargo or people
  • How many miles will be driven each year

Protect your business with a commercial auto policy

A commercial auto policy will help to protect your business—and you, personally—from financial loss stemming from the cost of an accident if you or one of your employees is at fault. L & M Insurance Group writes commercial auto insurance for both large and small businesses. We have more than 30 years’ experience serving the insurance needs of Riverview, Brandon, Valrico, Tampa, and surrounding communities. Please give us the chance to help you protect your business!

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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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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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Don’t Forget This Tip for Keeping Car Insurance Premiums Down

Many factors determine what you’ll pay for car insurance—things like how expensive your vehicle is, how old you are, and how good your credit is. But don’t forget one of the most important rating factors if you want the cheapest car insurance: keeping your driving record clean!

Driving safely in Florida can keep your Car Insurance Premiums Down

While driving safely may seem like common sense, it doesn’t hurt to be reminded of basic defensive driving principles. Driving safely helps you avoid costly tickets which raise your insurance rates—and it also helps you—and your passengers—stay safe from auto accidents.

Now that kids are back in school there may be more traffic, and thus more distractions, on the road. We’re also still in our summer weather pattern and may face driving through heavy rainstorms. Florida drivers, who pay some of the most expensive car insurance premiums in the U.S., need all the help they can get. Here are some tips from the Florida Department of Motor Vehicles that could keep you from getting a ticket and/or being in a car accident and seeing your car insurance rates rise because of it.

Drive defensively. This means being constantly aware of what is happening around you.

  • Are there children playing next to the road, and could they run out into the street?
  • Is someone backing out of a driveway up ahead?
  • If it’s raining, do you have your wipers and lights on, and are you slowing down if necessary?
  • Are you following the vehicle ahead of you too closely?

Defensive drivers do everything they can to watch for danger and avoid a crash.

Avoid bad drivers. If you see someone tailgating, failing to signal, speeding, swerving, or changing lanes unexpectedly, back off! Their distraction could cause an accident—and even if it’s not your fault, you don’t want to be caught up in a situation like that.

Never drink and drive. It’s just not worth it. Aside from the danger to yourself and others, if you drive while impaired and are cited for DUI, expect your car insurance to skyrocket.

Focus on the road. Don’t talk or text on your cell phone, adjust the radio, eat or drink, or turn to look at others in the car while you’re driving. Pull over and stop if you must do any of these things.

Don’t drive aggressively. Aggressive drivers often cause accidents. If you find yourself yelling at other drivers, speeding up so that other drivers can’t merge in front of you, or tailgating, you might be an aggressive driver! And if another driver makes you angry, let it go. Report a dangerous driver to the police—don’t try to “teach them a lesson.”  

L & M Insurance Group—your source for car insurance

While it’s true that good drivers will pay less for their car insurance, L & M Insurance Group can still help you find an auto insurance policy if your driving record isn’t perfect. Because we are an independent insurance agency, we write with many different car insurance companies. Whether you have a clean driving record or violations, good credit or bad credit, PIP claims, or if you need an SR-22 or FR-44—we have a partner company who will write your business. Give us a call at 813-672-4100 or click here for a car insurance quote.

Need a commercial auto policy? L & M Insurance Group writes commercial auto policies for every type of business! Call us today at 813-672-4100.

For more information on safe driving:

The Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles

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Is Bundling Your Insurance Policies Right for You?

You’ve probably seen TV commercials that talk about bundling your insurance coverage, and you may be wondering if bundling—buying more than one type of insurance policy from the same insurance carrier—is right for you. Could you save a significant amount of money by buying your auto insurance and homeowners insurance from the same company, for example?

Maybe. But maybe not. Here are some things to think about if you’re considering whether or not to bundle your insurance coverage.

Will bundling save you money?

The most popular reason to bundle insurance is to save money on policy premiums. Bundling discounts vary by company, but usually range from 5-25%. In Florida, however, you might not get much of a discount—one study found that Florida consumers saved less than those in other states on bundled policies, only about 6.7%.

In certain situations, you also won’t save much, if anything, by bundling your insurance—if you have a less-than-pristine driving record, for example. We’ve found that companies that offer a good rate for your auto insurance may not be competitive for your home insurance, or vice versa.

Some consumers like the convenience of dealing with one insurance company for multiple policies. But this convenience can sometimes be a disadvantage if you want the most cost effective insurance. Once you place your policies with one company, you may be less likely to shop around for a better quote at renewal. While it may be tempting to “set and forget” your insurance coverage, if you do so, you may wind up paying more than you need to. Premiums tend to inch up at renewal each year. It’s good practice to review your coverage and your premiums yearly, or if you have a major life change such as marriage, divorce, or a move.

Other ways to save on insurance

Insurance premiums are based on a number of factors, including the value of what you’re insuring, your credit record, and where you live. Bundling may save you money, but not always. Your best bet is to contact an independent agency, like L & M Insurance Group. Our agents will shop for the best rates and coverage for your situation, whether it’s with one insurance carrier or more than one.

Bundling is also not the only way to save on your insurance coverage. Talk to your agent about ways to lower your insurance costs. Ask about discounts (for example, some auto insurance companies offer a discount if you have a homeowner’s insurance policy, even if it’s not with them) and consider raising your deductibles. Also, if your credit improves or a moving violation comes off you driving record, your insurance premiums may go down.

And if you’re still interested in bundling your insurance, remember to compare the price you’d pay for bundled policies with the two lowest cost individual policies. And always be sure you’re comparing similar coverage when you compare insurance quotes.

We know shopping for insurance is no one’s favorite activity. That’s why an independent insurance agency like L & M Insurance Group is an excellent choice to represent you. We can do the comparisons for you—we partner with many great auto and homeowners insurance companies, as well companies that write insurance for boats, RVs, jet skis, and so on. We also write life, health, and business policies. We’ll work with you to create an insurance package that will work with your budget and provide the insurance coverage you need. Please give us a call at 813-672-4100 (or contact us online) for a free quote today!