post

Insurance for Real Estate Investors

What Kind of Insurance do you need as a Real Estate Investor and other Insurance Help to protect your real estate investment

As a real estate investor, you have specialized needs when it comes to insuring investment properties. You may have multiple properties, some of which may be vacant. And those properties may be titled in the name of an individual, an LLC, a corporation, or a land trust. Insurance for real estate investors is different than insurance for home owners. You may have questions about which type of policy to buy, and what it covers.

L & M Insurance Group has extensive experience helping real estate investors with their unique insurance needs. On March 3, L & M’s president, Mark Holley, along with colleague Larry Johnson, made a presentation to the general meeting of the Suncoast Real Estate Investors Association (SREIA) covering several points of interest to real estate investors. Here is some key information from the presentation:

DP3 vs. DP1 policies

The DP3 and DP1 policies are two types of tenant-occupied policies that real estate investors should consider. Typically, the DP1 form only covers named perils that are listed on the policy, including fire, smoke, wind, hail, lightning, explosion, and so on. DP3 policies cover all perils except those that are specifically excluded in the policy documents. Basically, the DP3 form is for property owners who want a tenant-occupied policy with all the bells and whistles. If you need to save money, or are interested in assuming more risk yourself, choose the DP1 form. Be sure to talk to your agent about what is included and what isn’t, so you can get the policy you need.

Builder’s risk vs. vacant dwelling

Builder’s risk provides insurance coverage for either residential or commercial buildings under construction or renovation. Vacant dwelling covers a dwelling that is unoccupied.

One thing to remember is that the liability coverage included on a builder’s risk policy doesn’t cover exposure to claims related to renovation, so the people you hire should carry general liability and list you on their policy as an additional insured.

4 point inspections and wind mitigation reports

If you own a home or rental property older than 30-40 years, a homeowners company may require a 4 point inspection before they’ll sell you a policy. A 4 point inspection looks at the four main systems of the property: the roof, the plumbing system, the HVAC system, and the electrical system. These inspections generally cost between $75-$100, and are good for three years. If the inspection reveals something unacceptable to the underwriting rules of the insurance company, they may decline to cover you. You may then choose to fix the problem(s), or try another insurance company. Your independent L & M Insurance Group agent can help you determine which company will be most likely to cover your property.

Even if the insurance company will write the policy, certain things will cause premiums to be higher, including aluminum wiring, an old or patched roof, and plumbing or heating/cooling systems that have not been kept updated.

Wind mitigation reports tell us about your roof, and what credits can be applied to your policy. The inspector will examine and report on your roof’s covering, roof deck and roof wall attachment, roof geometry (hip, flat, or other), secondary water resistance, and opening protection.

In addition to certain physical features that cause your premiums to be higher, certain situations may also increase the cost of your insurance. These include lapses in coverage, short-term rentals, and property being held in a land trust or a land trust with multiple entities.

Our partnership with you

L & M Insurance Group’s goal is to write your real estate investment insurance policy for the best price with a company that will pay your claim if you have one. That’s one of the reasons we need full and accurate information about your properties when we’re quoting your policy. You can help us by answering our questions truthfully and fully. We have markets that will write almost any kind of situation, but we need to know certain details in order to place your policy with a company that is right for you.

Have questions? Please give us a call at 813-672-4100, and let L & M Insurance Group help you protect your real estate investments. 

Are you sheltering in place due to the COVID-19 coronavirus? We can serve your insurance needs without seeing you in person! Please call us at 813-672-4100 or email us by clicking here if you need an insurance quote, have to make a claim, or have any questions about your insurance needs. We also have a live chat feature on our website.

Our office is temporarily closed to the public in order for us to follow social distancing guidelines and protect the health of our employees and customers. If you need to make a cash payment, please call our office at 813-672-4100 for instructions.

post

Builder’s Risk Policy Basics

There are some instances when a standard homeowners insurance policy won’t cover your property, such as when you’re building a home from the ground up, or you own a vacant property undergoing renovations. What happens if your property burns to the ground, or incurs another type of serious damage or loss? To protect your under-construction or renovation properties, you’ll need a builder’s risk policy.

What is a builder’s risk policy?

A builder’s risk policy provides insurance coverage for either residential or commercial buildings under construction or renovation. If you’re a homeowner, property investor, builder, or contractor building or remodeling a building, this is the policy you’ll need to protect your financial interest. You can purchase a policy for as short a term as one month, all the way up to a year, depending on how long you think the construction process will take. If the project doesn’t finish in the expected time, you can extend coverage. You can also cancel the policy if the building is finished before the end of the policy term.

Depending on what perils you choose to include, builder’s risk policies cover loss or damage at construction sites, including building materials being used to remodel or complete ground-up construction of a building. You can buy a builder’s risk policy with varying deductibles and levels of coverage—your L & M Insurance Group agent can help you decide what policy features are best for you.

What builder’s risk doesn’t cover

Builder’s risk policies do not typically cover liability for accidents or injuries on the construction site that are related to the construction itself. Also, a builder’s risk policy is different from a vacant dwelling policy, which is just what it sounds like: a policy that covers your home or investment property when it is vacant, but not under construction.

L & M Insurance Group has many years of experience helping clients in Brandon, Riverview, Valrico, Gibsonton and surrounding areas choose the right insurance coverage to protect their financial interests. We understand the insurance needs of property investors as well as private individuals, and would love to help you with all your property insurance needs. Please contact us via phone at 813-672-4100 or click here to email us.

post

Extra Protection With American Integrity

During October, we’ve introduced you to one of our trusted partners, American Integrity. Not only does American Integrity offer programs for small boat owners and owners of high value homes, they also write coverage for more modest homes, condos, manufactured homes, renters insurance, and more, including:

Coverage for rental properties. If you own rental property, American Integrity writes DP-1 and DP-3 policies.

Umbrella policies.

Cyber attack coverage. In conjunction with a homeowners or renters policy.

Golf cart coverage.

Home Systems Protection. This policy covers repairs or replacement when certain home systems, such as your central air conditioning or conventionally installed water heater, break down and cause physical damage. Most standard homeowners policies don’t cover this kind of damage. Home Systems Protection is included in their Silver, Gold, and Diamond Reserve endorsements for your homeowners or condo insurance, or can be purchased as stand-alone coverage under certain programs.

Identity theft insurance. This coverage includes identity restoration case management as well as reimbursement for the expenses you face when restoring your identity. This coverage is also included in American Integrity’s Silver, Gold, and Diamond endorsement bundles, or as stand-alone coverage for a $25 fee in conjunction with a standard homeowners insurance policy.

Don’t forget the discounts!

American Integrity also offers many different types of discounts, including discounts for newly-built homes (within the past five years), alarm systems, secured communities, recent updates to your roof and/or other major systems like electrical or plumbing—even a discount if the policyholder is 55 or older. Be sure to consult with your L & M Insurance Group agent to see if you’re receiving all the discounts you’re entitled to.

If you have any questions about American Integrity, or any of our other carriers, please call L & M Insurance Group at 813-672-4100 (or click here to email us). As your local independent insurance agency, we want to help you find the insurance coverage that will give you financial peace of mind. 

post

Property Investors: Do You Have the Right Insurance?

As a property investor, your insurance needs are more complex than the average homeowner. Some insurance agencies are unfamiliar with the requirements of investment properties, particularly ones purchased in the name of an entity such as a land trust, LLC, or a corporation. At L & M Insurance Group, we have a lot of experience working with property investors and others with complex real estate insurance needs.

Types of Investment Property Insurance

Whether you intend to buy an investment property and flip it, or install a tenant, we represent many companies who are happy to insure your investment property. These companies offer a variety of policies tailored to the needs of property investors, including:

 

DP3 Dwelling Fire—Dwelling Fire policies provide coverage for residential buildings that are not owner occupied, but are usually rented to others. The most popular version of this policy is called a DP3. It provides coverage for the building’s structure from all perils except those specifically excluded in the policy, as well as personal liability and loss of use. It is also a replacement cost policy, and we consider it one of the best non-owner occupied policies on the market.

Builder’s Risk—This policy provides coverage for damage to the insured structure and liability coverage during a renovation period. We can write these policies in terms of two, three, four, five, six, or 12 months. Renovations need to improve the property by 50 percent of its value to qualify for a Builder’s Risk policy, so if your property renovations are only cosmetic, you may insure your property with a Vacant Dwelling policy (see below).

 

Vacant Dwelling—In addition to being appropriate for a property that doesn’t qualify for a Builder’s Risk policy, Vacant Dwelling also provides coverage for property investors who own rental property and are between tenants or are trying to sell a property no one lives in.

 

Ready to insure your Property

So whether you’re a property investor who buys and flips homes or one who rents to tenants, we’ve got you covered, even during the renovation process. Please call L & M Insurance Group at 813-672-4100 or email us if you’d like to know more about how we can help you protect your investments. For more than 30 years, L & M Insurance Group has helped customers within Riverview, Brandon, Gibsonton, Apollo Beach and the Tampa Bay area.

Why You May Need a Vacant Dwelling or Builder’s Risk Policy

Insurance Policies to Protect your Vacant Dwelling in Brandon, Tampa, Riverview and Surrounding Florida

Vacant Dwelling Builder's Risk Policy Brandon, Tampa FloridaEmpty buildings or buildings under construction or renovation present some unique concerns. An empty home or other building can be a magnet for vandalism, and if someone isn’t living there, a small leak could easily become a big flood. Empty buildings are just as likely to be affected by fire, wind, or lightning. Standard homeowner’s or commercial insurance policies may not cover you if the insured building is vacant. Certain remodeling projects, and residential and commercial construction jobs require specialized insurance policies. At L & M Insurance Group, we have the experience and knowledge to help you with your unique needs.

Here are two types of policies that might apply to your situation:

A vacant dwelling policy covers your home if it is left vacant for a certain length of time, usually at least 60 days.

A Builder’s Risk policy covers a building under construction. It can cover just the building itself, or also the materials at the job site for use in construction of the building. Coverage limits should be for the completed value of the structure, less the value of the land. The policy can be written for as short a term as one month all the way up to 6 months or a year. The policy can also be extended if construction is not finished in time, or be cancelled if the building is finished before the end of the policy term.

Let’s look at some scenarios in which you should have a vacant dwelling or builder’s risk policy:

Vacant dwelling

  • You’ve bought a home, but for some reason you can’t move in yet—you haven’t sold your old home, or, conversely, you’ve moved to your new home and need an insurance policy to cover your previous home until it sells.
  • You own a commercial building or rental property that currently has no tenant.

Builder’s risk

  • You bought a home as investment, intending to have renovations done before selling it, and it will remain vacant until you sell.
  • You’re building a home from the ground up.
  • You bought a bank-owned home you’re renovating before you move in.

Unlike many agencies, at L & M Insurance Group, we have a lot of experience working with property investors and others with complex real estate insurance needs. We understand and are familiar with the situations that require these types of policies. Please contact us so we can tailor the right policy for your unique builder’s risk or vacant dwelling needs in Tampa, Brandon, Riverview and all of Florida.

Congratulations Kristin!

Kristin Gott Insurance Agent for L&M InsuranceCongratulations Kristin!

 

We would like to extend our congratulations to Kristin Gott, who is now a fully licensed Registered Customer Service Representative.   Because she completed the required online college classes to get the designation, she was able to successfully obtain her Florida 4-40 customer service representative license to sell and service insurance.

If you talk to her be sure to congratulate her on this accomplishment.

Well done, Kristin.

Can I Save Money With a Multi-Policy Discount?

Can I save money with a multi-policy discount?

Why Bundling Insurance Might Cost You More

multi policy insurance discount

Another way I hear this question asked is; if I bundle my auto and home insurance with you, will I get a discount? It’s a great question, and there are companies out there that offer discounts if you purchase both your auto and homeowners insurance with them.   However, it’s usually the captive agencies that offer it. Captive agents sell for just one company, generally one with a familiar name that has been built up with a tremendous amount of advertising, but in the end, you are just buying a brand. They will provide one quote from one company, and it may or may not include a multi-policy discount.

Your best rate will almost always come from an independent agency. An independent insurance agency like L&M Insurance Group will offer you the most choices in coverage options and prices. Independent agencies represent more than just one national brand–for instance L&M Insurance Group represents more than 40 different insurance carriers.   We know it’s convenient for you to have all your insurance with one agency, and that’s why we work so hard to make sure we represent the best companies with the lowest rates for all types of insurance–your car insurance, home insurance, commercial insurance, renters insurance, and life insurance.independent vs captive insurance agency

A couple of months back, I got a call from someone looking for a better rate on his homeowners insurance and a rental property he owned as well. He was insured with a national brand insurance company that you would recognize instantly. The individual believed he was getting a great rate because he was told he would get a “special” rate for bundling his insurance. When I finished quoting and writing his two properties, I was able to save him THOUSANDS of dollars–that’s how much he was overpaying.   He was shocked and thrilled at the same time.

I have been licensed to write insurance for 24 years and during this time I can honestly say I rarely see where a policy could be lower in price bundled than if you quoted both out separately. I have found that the companies that bundle either offer a decent homeowner insurance rate and kill you on your auto premiums or offer decent auto premiums and have horrible home insurance rates. Think about it for a moment–if their rates are so great on both auto and home, why do they need to give a bundling discount?   Because it’s a great marketing gimmick and they make more money!


J.D. Power and Associates’ 2011 U.S. National Auto Insurance Study found that customers who had auto and home insurance policies with two different companies were more satisfied with what they’re paying for auto insurance than customers who bundled their auto and home insurance policies.


Of course, we at L&M Insurance Group would love to write all your policies–and it’s convenient for you to have all your policies in one place. Our focus will not be on who will offer a bundled price, it will be on how can we write all your insurance for the lowest price, the best coverage and with the best carriers. We represent your interests as an independent agency–unlike a call center or direct writer that writes with just one national brand.

So the answer is no, I don’t believe you can save money taking advantage of a bundling discount. But you can save money if you shop with an independent agent like me.   So give me a call–you will never find someone who will work harder to save you money and protect your interests.   Click this link to send me an email or call me today at 813-672-4100

What is General Liability Insurance and Why Do I Need It?

What is General Liability Insurance and Why Do I need It?

General Liability Insurance For Florida including Brandon, Tampa, Riverview and Hillsborough County

general liability insurance Brandon Tampa Florida

You’ve put your blood, sweat and tears into building your business, yet you could lose it all in the smallest of mishaps that could result in a large lawsuit. We live in a litigious society, and although it may be unlikely for you to face a claim, getting general liability insurance is a wise investment that doesn’t cost much.   Most annual premiums range from between $550 to $2,000, depending of your type of business, coverage limit requirements, years of experience in your business and your company size.  The premiums obviously can be higher if you own a large business.

 

Tampa Brandon general liability insurance

Liability insurance (also known as Commercial General Business Liability) protects you from a variety of claims, including bodily injury, property damage, products and completed operations, and personal injury (libel, slander or advertising injury) that can arise from your day to day business operations.   Liability insurance will typically cover the cost of your legal defense and any settlement should you be successfully sued, up to the limits of your policy.

It’s important to understand that general liability is not the same thing as a product warranty policy.   For example, if a plumber installs a water pipe that leaks and causes property damage, the GL policy should cover the property damage during the time when converge was in force, but it would not pay for the defective pipe or bad workmanship.

  • Additional risks not covered under a comprehensive general liability policy include:
  • Workers compensation
  • Automobile liabilityBrandon Commercial General Liability Insurance
  • Directors and officers liability
  • Errors and omissions or professional liability
  • Non-performance of contracts
  • Employment practices
  • Damages or injuries resulting from intentional acts

General liability insurance can be purchased on it’s own, or in some cases, it is included as part of a Business Owners Policy (BOP) which combines the liability with property insurance at a cost effective rate.

All of us at L&M Insurance Group take your protection seriously and will work hard to help you evaluate all aspects of your business to ensure you have the general liability policy that’s right for your business. We have been serving the insurance needs of Brandon and East Hillsborough County for more than 10 years and have access to dozens of A-rated insurance companies, allowing us to provide the best coverage at the lowest rate. Call us today at 813-672-4100 or click this link to send us an email.

Does It Really Matter Where You Buy Insurance?

Choosing the right Insurance Agent Can Make a big difference in your Insurance Rates

Does It Really Matter Where You Buy Insurance?

Yes, and making the wrong choice could be costing you money, service and coverage protection. Purchasing insurance for your car, home, business or life is too important to treat lightly.

Independent Insurance Agents Give You Options

There are basically three ways to purchase insurance. The first is through captive agents. Captive agents sell for just one company, they generally have a familiar name that has been built up with a tremendous amount of advertising, but in the end, you are just buying a brand. They will provide one quote from one company. The second way to buy insurance is with a telephone representative, and once again, you are getting a quote from a heavily advertised brand name with very little choice. Finally, the third way is through an independent insurance agency like L&M Insurance Group–this is the way that will offer you the most choices in coverage options and prices.independent insurance agent

 

 What Are The Benefits Of Working With An Independent Insurance Agency Like L&M Insurance Group?

 

  1. L&M Insurance Group represents multiple insurance carriers. In fact, we represent more than 40 different insurance companies. With this many carriers we can insure any risk you bring through our door. For instance, if you called us today for a quote on your auto insurance, we would be able to provide rates from more than 15 different companies and another 20 companies if you needed us to insure your home. By doing this we can provide the best combination of rate, service, company strength and coverage options of any captive agent or telephone representative anywhere.
  1. L&M Insurance Group is on your side. Do you ever wonder who represents YOU and YOUR needs when it comes to insurance? Don’t wonder anymore. WE do.   WE work for you, not the insurance company. We periodically review your coverage to make sure it meets your changing needs and to make sure you are getting the best value for your money. You can’t say that of a telephone representative or a captive agent–they are both employees of the insurance companies.
  1. L&M Insurance Group is your trusted insurance professional. Need questions answered about SR22 insurance, replacement cost coverage vs actual cash value? Need help understanding wind mitigation reports, 4-point inspections or commercial general liability? Call and ask! Try that with a telephone representative who is evaluated on one criteria only–did he/she SELL you insurance.
  1. L&M Insurance Group can do it all. That means whether you need car, renters insurance, commercial auto, homeowners, general liability, life or builders risk–we can help you. It’s nice to have all your insurance taken care of by one professional.
  1. L&M Insurance Group will always treat you like a person. You are not a number to us.   Customer satisfaction is paramount here. We return calls and go out of our way to make each encounter with our agency a positive experience.

L&M Insurance Group: Your Local Independent Insurance Agency

Proudly serving Brandon, Riverview, Tampa and surrounding cities in Hillsborough County and beyond.

Contact L&M Insurance Group today for a free review of your insurance needs. Partner with us and you won’t regret it. 813-672-4100. Click this link to email us.

Florida Independent Insurance Agents

How Do We Determine the Replacement Cost Estimate of Your Home or Investment Property?

How Do We Determine the Replacement Cost Estimate of Your Home or Investment Property?

 

When we insure your home we insure it for its “replacement cost estimate,” and I get asked all the time, “How did you come up with that amount?”   That’s a fair question, but before I answer it, I need to tell you that replacement cost is NOT:

 

  1. The market value of the home.replacement cost estimator
  2. The home’s purchase price or the cost of the land.
  3. The outstanding amount of any mortgage loan.

 

As we learned in the previous blog, replacement cost is: “the amount of money it would take to repair, replace or rebuild your home with materials similar to the kind and quality used in constructing your home.”

 

So how do we determine the replacement cost? It’s simple. L&M Insurance Group uses software packages provided by insurance companies that ask a series of specific questions about the structure. These questions include frame or block construction?   Slab or open foundation? What is the square footage? How many bedrooms/bathrooms? Is there a garage/carport, pool, etc. Once this information is all entered, the software gives us the replacement cost estimate.

 

If you want to determine your home’s replacement cost, here is a website you can use.   Building-cost.net

 

Call today (813-672-4100) or click this link to get a quote today on your home or investment property.