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Investing in Your Business: Tips for Buying a Company Vehicle

As your small business grows, you might consider purchasing a vehicle to use for business purposes. If you or an employee are often using your personal vehicle to drive to multiple job sites or transport clients, a company vehicle can make good sense.

Note: Any car, owned by an individual or a business, which is used for business purposes should be covered by a commercial auto policy. Personal auto policies will not cover business use. Please consult your insurance agent if you have any questions about whether or not your usage is considered “business use.”

Some pros and cons of the company vehicle

Buying a company car has several pros and cons. On the pro side, it’s one way to reinvest profits in your business, and you can often take advantage of tax benefits. A company car can be an asset, as well as a perk for you or your employees.

You may find that a company car can help you project a professional image and provide reliable transportation. And a company vehicle can even provide advertising opportunities if you choose to add a sign or professional wrap to it.

On the con side, buying a company car can be a sizeable expense. Not only does it cost money to buy in the first place, you’ll also have additional costs to register and maintain the vehicle. With a dedicated company car available, you or your employees may find yourselves on the road more often, thus exposing your business to more liability should you be in an accident.

Tips for choosing a company vehicle

If you decide buying a company vehicle is right for you, just as you would when buying a car for personal use, take time to think through your needs, research potential vehicles, and determine your budget. Some questions to consider include:

Does it make more sense to lease or own?

Should you buy new or used? New usually costs more up front, but a used vehicle may have higher maintenance costs.

What type of vehicle will be best for your needs: sedan, SUV, van, or truck?

How will the vehicle be used? Making deliveries, driving between work locations, transporting clients?

Who will drive it?

How often will it be used?

What features are important to you, such as comfort, fuel economy, safety features, or a warranty?

What type of image does your business wants to project?

What will be the ongoing costs of owning and maintaining each possible company vehicle?

Tip: While you’re in the research stage, call your insurance agent to see how much commercial car insurance will cost for the vehicles you’re interested in. Some makes and models are expensive or hard to insure—don’t wait until you’ve bought the vehicle to find this out!

Call L & M Insurance Group for your commercial auto needs

Once you’ve decided on a vehicle, make sure you protect your investment with commercial auto insurance. Just like personal auto policies, commercial auto policies can cover liability, property damage, comprehensive and collision, coverage for injuries, and coverage for uninsured motorists. The policies do differ in some technical respects, so consult with an experienced insurance agent to discuss your options.

An independent insurance agency like L & M Insurance Group is a great place to start your search for the best commercial auto policy. We write with multiple commercial auto carriers and can help you compare rates and coverage options to suit your business needs. Please call one of our agents at 813-672-4100 or click here for an online quote. Our office is located in Riverview, and we also serve clients in Tampa, Brandon, Valrico, Lithia, and surrounding communities.

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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.

Resources:

https://www.ready.gov/business/toolkits

https://www.ready.gov/business/emergency-plans

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What Is Social Inflation, and How Does It Affect You?

As if the Florida insurance markets don’t have enough challenges, there’s a relatively new concept causing concern here as well in the rest of the country: social inflation. In fact, some insurance industry experts list it as one of their main concerns in 2023.

What is social inflation?

Social inflation describes the impact on the cost of insurance claims caused by rising litigation costs. These costs are different from those related to traditional inflation—things like material costs, labor prices, or supply chain issues. One example of the impact of social inflation: According to a report released March 6, “U.S. commercial auto insurance liability claim payouts increased $30 billion more than would have been otherwise expected between 2012 and 2021 due in part to social inflation.”

The primary factors influencing social inflation include:

  • Runaway litigation—insurance companies face a much higher than normal number of lawsuits.
  • “Nuclear” verdicts—an increase in huge jury awards.
  • Rollback of tort reform which placed limits on non-economic damages.
  • Litigation funding from third parties—third parties provide legal funding to clients and their attorneys in exchange for a share of a winning jury award or arbitration, often resulting in legal proceedings that take longer than expected (another driver of social inflation).

The use of the word “social” indicates that the attitudes of society play a role. Negative attitudes of the public toward corporations, a desire to “see someone pay” when an accident occurs, and the ability of plaintiffs’ attorneys to play on the sympathies of a jury all affect litigation costs. At this time, social inflation is primarily affecting commercial auto insurance, professional liability, product liability, excess liability and umbrella policies, and increasingly, personal auto insurance.

How does social inflation affect you?

As we’ve seen in the Florida homeowners insurance market, the actions of some affect what we all pay for our insurance. Social inflation makes insurance cost more because it inflates the cost of claim payouts. It likely also increases the costs of goods and services, because when businesses have to pay more for insurance coverage, they pass some of that cost on to their customers.

Insurance companies have tools to plan for factors influenced by traditional inflation, but social inflation is unpredictable and hard to foresee. If social inflation continues for a significant amount of time, insurance companies may not be able to keep premium increases in line with the rising costs of claims. This threatens the solvency of insurance companies, and in some instances, results in insurance companies deciding not to write certain coverage at all. This makes it harder for you to get the insurance coverage you need.

What can be done about social inflation?

Insurance companies have become more aware of social inflation, and are doing what they can to mitigate its effects, including improving risk management practices, educating the public, and advocating for more transparency around third-party litigation funding.

As an independent insurance agency, L & M Insurance Group partners with multiple commercial and personal lines insurance carriers, and monitors insurance markets for current trends. If you need a quote for commercial auto, personal auto, homeowners insurance, commercial liability, or any other form of business or personal insurance, please give us a call at (813) 672-4100, or contact us online. Because we’re independent, we have much more flexibility in finding insurance coverage tailored for your specific needs.

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Are You Covered? Liability Insurance Options for Business Owners

You’ve spent years working to make your business a reality. Finally, after all your hard work, you’re making money. Then—disaster! A customer slips and falls in your office and sues you, one of your employees is injured on the job, or a computer with sensitive client information is stolen!

Most if not all businesses need the protection of commercial liability insurance. Along with your own best practices, partnering with a commercial insurance company can give you peace of mind that your business can survive a lawsuit, data breach, or other covered loss. Commercial insurance can protect many different businesses—from a small retailer to a real estate investor, a landscaping company, to a CPA.  

What is liability insurance?

Commercial liability insurance covers what you as the policyholder are legally obligated to pay because of bodily injury or property damage caused to another person. For businesses, this coverage is essential, protecting assets from lawsuits that could be financially devastating, or even put you out of business entirely.

What type of liability coverage do I need?

The type or types of liability coverage you need to protect your assets depends on your business. The kind of work you do, your property and equipment, your customers and employees—these factors influence the kind of coverage you’ll need. Here are some of the most important coverages to consider:

Commercial general liability. Most businesses need general liability. This coverage protects you from claims that include customer injury or property damage, mistakes that adversely affect a client financially, or advertising that hurts a competitor. General liability insurance can be bought by itself, or as part of a business owner’s policy, or BOP, which combines business liability, property, and income coverage into one policy.

Workers compensation. This coverage provides financial compensation to employees who have been injured on the job and can’t work. Employer’s liability, which is often included in a workers comp policy, helps employers pay for legal costs when an employee is injured on the job.

Professional liability insurance, or errors and omissions insurance (E&O). Like malpractice insurance for doctors, this coverage protects you if a customer sues you because of a professional mistake or oversight.

Umbrella or excess liability. Additional coverage which takes over once policy limits have been reached on your general liability, employer’s liability, or commercial auto policy.

Employment practices liability. EPL covers damages and defense costs if an employee claims harassment, wrongful termination, discrimination, or makes another employment-related claim. 

Cyber liability. Helps your business deal with the financial repercussions of a data breach or cyberattack.

How can L & M Insurance Group help me with my insurance needs?

You’re not wrong to think there’s insurance available for almost any crisis a business might face! If you need help in sorting through the insurance coverage your business needs, please consult with an L & M Insurance Group agent to discuss your specific situation. We can help you tailor your insurance coverage to address the specific risks unique to your business. Reach us by phone at 813-672-4100, or click here to contact us online. L & M Insurance Group is a locally owned, independent small business—let us help you protect your business from the unexpected.

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Is Your Business Hurricane Ready?

Every year private residents hear a lot about preparing for hurricane season—but what if you own a business? Are there any hurricane-readiness actions Tampa Bay business owners should perform?

Business owners should also make plans for hurricane season. How you prepare depends on your type of business, and what assets, property, data, and people you need to protect.  Below are some general considerations for how to make your business hurricane ready. For detailed instructions, see ready.gov’s Ready Business Hurricane Toolkit.

Assess your risks

When a hurricane approaches, what will be the biggest risks to your business? Wind damage to structures, flooding, power outages, losing data, losing inventory? Will you and/or employees need to shelter in place?

Check your business insurance coverage—will it be adequate for your needs? If you have any questions, contact your insurance agent. (If you need a business insurance quote, please call us at 813-672-4100.)

Don’t wait until a storm is bearing down on you to decide what hurricane readiness plans you need to make for your business. Make a list of any items that need to be bought or stored, and set out in writing your business hurricane preparedness plan.

Create your business hurricane preparedness plan

Once you know which risks you need to account for, start preparing immediately. You should communicate with and include your employees in your plans, as they may have their own roles to play in your hurricane preparedness plans.

Some actions you might take to prepare include:

Make a checklist of things to do just before a hurricane. This downloadable hurricane preparedness checklist for businesses is a great resource.

If your business relies on stored data, sign up for data storage and/or backup services if you don’t already have them. If your business has physical files or other important physical documents, make sure you have waterproof containers to store them in.

Create an emergency communications plan to keep in touch with employees, clients, and suppliers. Make sure you have up-to-date contact information for these people, and that information is readily accessible. Include contact information for your insurance agent and business insurance company.

Find a place to store vehicles and movable equipment to protect them from wind and water damage.

If you own your own building, be prepared to secure it as you would your residence. In addition, examine roof-mounted and other signs, benches, vehicles, outbuildings, and other outside items, such as potted plants. Decide how you’ll secure or store them before a hurricane strikes.

Find a suggested evacuation route.

If you or any of your employees will shelter in place, stockpile a three-day supply of water and non-perishable food, flashlights, a battery-operated radio and cell phone charger, a first aid kit, and bedding where you will be staying. 

Locate a secondary location you can use for your business if your primary location isn’t safe or accessible.

Enact your plan

When a hurricane is forecast, track the storm using sources such as the National Weather Service and your local news station. Secure your property, evacuate, or shelter in place. Monitor local authorities using a radio or the internet if possible.

Return to work safely

Once the storm has passed, contact employees to check on them. Watch for any warnings from local authorities, and only return to your business when it’s safe to do so. Be careful of damaged buildings, downed power lines, and so on. If your business has been damaged, take photos or video, and call your insurance agent or insurance company to report the damage.

We at L & M Insurance Group hope the 2022 hurricane season passes us by, but in the event that it does not, we hope these tips prove helpful. If you need business or personal insurance, please consider calling us for a quote. You can reach us at 813-672-4100, or contact us online. We’ve been serving Tampa, Brandon, Valrico, Riverview, Lithia, and surrounding communities for many years—and many hurricane seasons!

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3 Factors Raising Your Commercial Property Insurance Rates

There have been plenty of headlines lately about Florida’s skyrocketing homeowners insurance prices. Unfortunately, we’re also beginning to see rising commercial property insurance premiums as well. Some of the same troubling trends plaguing homeowners insurance are also driving up the cost of commercial property insurance. If you are wondering why commercial property insurance rates are increasing here are some of the major factors.

Troubling trends in commercial property insurance

As a business owner, you carry commercial property insurance to protect your company’s physical assets—such as office equipment, inventory, and the physical property you own or rent. You can buy commercial property insurance by itself, or as part of a Business Owner’s Policy (BOP). Covered perils generally include fire, explosion, storms, theft, and vandalism. Since the coverage protects your financial investment in physical property, the premium increases are being driven by factors which include:

Catastrophic losses—In the U.S., we’ve endured more frequent and catastrophic storms, floods, tornadoes and fires than usual. There have been 89 weather/climate/disaster events over the past five years with losses totaling more than 764 billion dollars, according to NOAA National Centers for Environmental Information (NCEI).

Rising construction and replacement costs—Replacement cost is the amount needed to replace damaged or destroyed property without deducting for depreciation, up to the policy limit. Rising retail prices mean property items are more expensive to replace. In addition, construction costs have risen, largely driven by the cost of lumber and steel. Shortages in materials, project delays, and a shortage of skilled labor are also increasing the amount of time and money it takes to rebuild after a loss.

Cost of reinsurance—Reinsurance is “insurance for insurance companies.” It’s a way for insurance companies to limit the extent of their own losses in case of disaster. Global reinsurance rates have been rising for several years.

The danger of being underinsured

Even though the cost of business insurance is rising, it’s still an essential part of your business plan. As the U.S. Small Business Administration notes, statistics show 1 in 4 small businesses will have to close if hit by any type of catastrophe. Carrying the proper business insurance can help you avoid that fate. Even if you carry commercial property insurance, you should remain vigilant that you’re not underinsured, meaning you don’t have the right coverage or enough coverage for the risks your business faces. That’s where an expert in insurance can help!

L & M Insurance Group—your partner in commercial insurance

Is it time to review your commercial property insurance? Let L & M Insurance Group help you protect your business. We are an independent insurance agency, with the expertise to find the best coverage for your unique situation. Please call us at 813-672-4100 to discuss your commercial property insurance needs, or request a quote online.

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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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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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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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Five Reasons to Work With an Independent Insurance Agent

When you need insurance coverage, you have many decisions to make. One of the first ones may be whether to go with a captive insurance agent, or an independent insurance agent.

What’s the difference? The main one is this: a captive agent works for one insurance company and sells only the insurance products that company offers, while an independent agent represents many different companies.

Both types of agents are licensed professionals and can help with your insurance needs. However, working with an independent agent from an agency like L & M Insurance Group offers many benefits. Here are five of the most important ones:

More choices

Independent agents have more options than captive agents when deciding which insurance company will best protect your assets. For example, L & M Insurance Group represents more than 80 high-quality insurance companies. After taking your information, our agents will do the comparison shopping for you. Not only will we check premiums, we’ll also take into account coverage options and service. After all, if you have a loss, you want to know that your insurance company will be able to pay your claim in a timely fashion.

More flexibility

What if your circumstances change during the policy term—maybe you buy a more expensive home or add a teenage driver to your policy? It’s possible that change may make you ineligible for your current insurance policy, or make your premium skyrocket. An independent agent can offer you a quote with a different company he or she represents, if necessary. This is much more convenient than having to start the entire insurance shopping process all over again.

Competitive rates

We know insurance coverage in Florida can be costly. As independent agents, we’re not limited to the insurance offerings of just one company. Instead, we’ll compare the rates of multiple companies to find the most cost effective option for you.

Personal relationships

L & M Insurance Group agents will be happy to explain your insurance coverage in understandable terms and answer any questions you may have. And don’t forget, the agents at L & M Insurance Group live in the same community you do. We understand the risks and challenges of living in the Tampa Bay area, as well as Florida’s insurance requirements. And while much of our work with clients takes place over the phone or via email, we are always available to consult in person if you need us.

One-stop shopping

L & M Insurance Group, like most independent agencies, offers multiple types of insurance—everything from home and auto, to renters, umbrella, or business policies. Even life and health.  We can help you purchase every type of insurance you need.

As an independent agency, L & M Insurance Group will work hard to get and keep your business—for life! Think of it this way—we don’t work for any one insurance company, we work for you. Please give us the chance to earn your trust and your business.

Give us a call at 813-672-4100, or contact us online, if you’d like to know more about what L & M Insurance Group can do for you.