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

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

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

Insurance is a “pool of risk”

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

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

Claims have become more frequent

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

The cost of everything is increasing

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

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

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

L & M Insurance Group—your independent agency

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

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

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

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

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

SB 2A provisions

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

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

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

Will homeowners insurance premiums come down?

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

Your partners at L & M Insurance Group

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

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Fire Pit Safety Tips

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

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

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

Preparing the fire pit

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

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

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

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

Around the fire

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

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

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

L & M Insurance Group wishes you a safe holiday season

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

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

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

For more holiday fire safety tips, please click here.

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How Your Credit Affects Your Insurance Premiums

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

Your Credit Score may affect the Price of your Insurance

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Shop your insurance with an independent agency

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

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Insurance 101: Understanding Your Deductibles

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

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

What is a deductible?

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

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

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

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

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

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

What to consider before raising your deductible

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

Do you need home or auto insurance?

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

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

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

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

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

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

What about flood damage?

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

Tips to prevent water damage

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

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

L & M Insurance Group—your source for homeowners insurance

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

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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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Safe Grilling Tips for National Grilling Month

Ah, the smell of backyard barbecue—one of the best aromas of summer! July is National Grilling Month, and the height of “grilling season” across the US. And while most people go their whole lifetimes without an incident, July is also peak month for grill fires, resulting in thousands of injuries and millions of dollars of property damage each year. While fire is a covered peril under your homeowner’s insurance, no one wants to deal with the trauma and hassle of coping with a house fire.

So before you fire up that grill, protect your property and loved ones with these key grilling safety tips.

Grilling safety tips

Always operate your propane or charcoal grill outdoors in a well-ventilated area. In addition to posing a fire risk, grills produce deadly carbon monoxide fumes—so never use your grill inside your house or garage.

Position your grill well away from your home, garage, deck railings, overhanging branches, or shrubs. Make sure it’s on a flat and level surface so that it won’t tip over or roll. Don’t move the grill once it’s lit.

Keep children and pets at least three feet away from the grill, and never leave it unattended. Make sure matches and lighters are not where children can reach them.

Keep your distance from the heat and flames by using long-handled tools when grilling.

Keep a fire extinguisher handy in case of a grill fire. Grill fires are basically the same as grease fires, so using water won’t work and can be dangerous. If you don’t have a fire extinguisher, you can try smothering the flames by closing the lid and grill vents to cut off oxygen to the fire. If you can do so safely, you may also pour baking soda on the flames.

If there’s any danger of the fire spreading to your home (or a neighbor’s), call the fire department immediately. House fires can spread rapidly.

If you have a gas/propane grill:

Before you grill for the first time this season, or if you haven’t already done so, check that tank hoses are in good condition with no leaks or blockages. Apply a 50/50 soap and water solution, and if you see bubbles, there’s a leak. Turn off the propane, and have the tank serviced professionally. You can use a pipe cleaner or wire to clear any blockages.

Make sure the lid is open when lighting the grill. If the lid is closed, gas can build up and cause a fireball.

Don’t lean over the grill as you light it.

If a burner won’t light or goes out after lighting, turn off the grill and wait at least five minutes before trying again.

Remember to turn off the gas when you’re done grilling!

Note: if you can still smell gas after you turn off the grill, call the fire department.

If you have a charcoal grill:

If you use starter fluid to light your coals, only use fluid specifically made for grilling. Once you’ve lighted the charcoal, do not add more lighter fluid. You might also want to try an alternate method for lighting charcoal, such as a charcoal chimney starter that uses newspaper as fuel.

Once you’re done cooking, close the air vents to let the coals begin to cool. Let coals cool completely before disposing of them in a metal container.

After you grill

Keep your grill clean. Not only will you avoid potential fire hazards, the food you cook will taste better! Scrape down grill grates and clean drip trays. Keep your grill covered to protect it from dirt, insects, and moisture.

Always store propane tanks outside and away from your house.

Maintain your grill, use it safely, and know what to do in an emergency, and you’ll be able to enjoy some good times and good food while grilling this summer. Let us know what time to come over—we’ll bring the potato salad!

Protect your home from fire as well as other perils by buying the right homeowners insurance for your situation. The agents at L & M Insurance Group will help you navigate the confusing Florida homeowners insurance market. Please call us at 813-672-4100 or email us for a free homeowners insurance quote. L & M Insurance Group is a full-service, independent insurance agency.

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Insurance News You Can Use

The Florida insurance market is especially volatile right now, with many factors influencing the price of coverage. At L & M Insurance Group, we follow developments in the insurance industry, and share them with our clients and prospective clients so you can understand some of what’s happening to the price of insurance. Here are three recent news stories that may affect you.  

Florida Homeowners Insurance Legislation

After a special session to address Florida’s homeowners insurance crisis, Governor Ron DeSantis signed bipartisan legislation intended to improve the situation.

“Lawmakers made changes that involve the broader market, such as allowing insurance policies to include new deductibles for roof damage, imposing restrictions on insurers that seek to refuse to write or renew policies based on the ages of roofs and placing additional restrictions on what are known as ‘bad faith’ lawsuits against insurers,” according to a story from News Service of Florida.  

The Florida homeowners insurance market remains in critical condition, with additional insurance companies going into bankruptcy or limiting the policies they write in Florida. It remains to be seen what relief homeowners will see, and how long it will take for them to see it.

Post-pandemic Distracted Driving

According to the 2022 Travelers Risk Index for Business, 30% of drivers are more anxious on the road and 54% believe distracted and aggressive driving have increased since before the pandemic. Contributing to this anxiety and distraction is the expectation that employees respond to work-related messages when out of the office during work hours. Employees feel pressured to answer work-related calls, emails, and text messages even while they’re driving.

Employers should address safe driving practices with employees, and refrain from calling or texting employees when they’re likely to be behind the wheel. Employees should not be required to read texts (or type them) while driving. An immediate response to a message isn’t worth a life!

Dog-related Claims Rising

In 2021, dog bites and other dog-related injuries cost homeowners insurance companies $881 million—or more than one-third of all homeowners liability claim payments. (Florida is second only to California in the number of claims made.) Aside from the cost of these claims, no one wants to be responsible for their pet injuring someone else.

Take time to train and socialize your dog, and teach children the basics of dog safety. Dogs may develop behavioral issues when left home alone when pet owners return to school or the workplace, so don’t hesitate to address these. Dog owners may also need to carry pet liability coverage and/or an umbrella policy. (Contact L & M Insurance Group if you need a quote for an umbrella policy.)

An independent agency for all your insurance needs

We understand that the insurance market in Florida can be confusing and volatile. L & M Insurance Group is a full-service, independent insurance agency serving Tampa, Brandon, Valrico, Riverview, and surrounding communities for more than 30 years. We write auto, home and commercial insurance, and represent multiple quality insurance companies. We pride ourselves on finding the right coverage for each person, tailored to fit your specific situation. Please call us at (813) 672-4100, or click here to contact us online.