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

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

Driving safely in Florida can keep your Car Insurance Premiums Down

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

L & M Insurance Group—your source for car insurance

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

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

For more information on safe driving:

The Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles

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Is Bundling Your Insurance Policies Right for You?

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

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

Will bundling save you money?

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

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

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

Other ways to save on insurance

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

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

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

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

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Are You Paying Too Much for Your Car Insurance?

Even though many insurers offered pandemic discounts during 2020, car insurance rates in Florida continue to be some of the costliest in the U.S.  You may wonder how insurance companies decide what to charge, anyway—and if there’s anything you can do to pay less for your car insurance. Aside from your driving record, here are six things that could be affecting your car insurance premiums. While some of them are common sense, you might be surprised by what factors insurance companies use to set their rates.

Your vehicle

Not only does the value of your vehicle influence the price of your car insurance, if your vehicle is popular with car thieves, it costs more than the average to repair, or has a poor safety record, you could be paying more for your car insurance.

Where you live

If you live in an area with an above-average crime rate, you’ll likely pay more.

Your commute

The farther you drive to and from work each day affects your insurance rate, because insurance companies figure the more time you spend on the road, the more likely you’ll be in an accident—whether you’re at fault or not.

Your credit record

Insurance companies have found a link between poor credit and increased insurance losses.

Your age

Younger drivers with less experience are more likely to be involved in an accident.

Your discounts

Different companies offer different types of discounts, but some of the most common include safe driver, low mileage, good student, vehicle safety features, claim-free, prior coverage, homeowner, and multi-car or multi-policy discounts.

Of course, we think the best way to make sure you’re not paying too much for your car insurance is to give L & M Insurance Group a chance to quote your policy—we write with many great insurance companies, both standard and non-standard, and we’d love the chance to earn your business!

If you haven’t shopped around for a better auto insurance rate recently, it’s time to do so.

Let L & M Insurance Group do the comparison shopping for you! Since we represent so many insurance companies, we can find the best rate for your situation, whether you have good credit, bad credit, a clean driving record or one that’s not so stellar. We also have companies that will write your policy if you’ve had a PIP claim, you need an FR-44 or an SR-22. Please call us at 813-672-4100, or click here for an auto insurance quote.

L & M Insurance Group is an independent insurance agency serving Riverview, Brandon, Valrico, Lithia, and surrounding communities in the Tampa Bay area. We have more than 30 years in the insurance business, and our agents are experts in personal insurance, business insurance, Medicare insurance, and Life insurance.

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Partner With Your L & M Insurance Agent to Get the Best Rate

We know car insurance in Florida can take a big chunk out of your budget. Choosing an independent insurance agency like L & M Insurance Group is one way to get the best deal—our agents are experts in the local insurance market and we represent dozens of great standard and non-standard car insurance companies. We’re committed to helping you find low-cost car insurance—but there’s something you can do to help us do that.

Information please

To give you the most accurate rate, your L & M Insurance agent will need some information from you. We keep all your personal information confidential, but we do need certain details in order to give you an accurate quote. Taking a few minutes to compile this information will help us to serve you better.

Here are some things we’ll need:

  • Make, model, and year of all vehicles to be insured.
  • VIN numbers of vehicles.
  • Names and ages of all drivers in household. If you have a teen driver in the household, does the student driver maintain a 3.0 grade average? You might qualify for a discount. Also let your agent know if your young driver is living away at school, whether or not he or she took a car with them.
  • Driving record information for each driver. Agents will pull reports that show claims and violations, but be sure to tell your agent if there is anything new not on record yet.
  • Your current insurance coverage and limits if you already have insurance. You can find this information on the declarations page (“dec page”) of your current auto policy. This helps us quote the same coverage you are currently carrying so you get a fair cost comparison.
  • Your insurance history: how long you’ve been insured overall, and how long you’ve been with your current company. Discounts are available for maintaining continuous coverage.
  • Your address and where vehicles are kept when you’re not driving since your location can affect your premium.
  • How much you drive. If you’re working from home now and putting very few miles on your car, let your agent know. There are insurance companies that will reward you for that.
  • Any business use of your vehicles. If you use your vehicle in your work, drive for a ride share service (Uber/Lyft), or deliver pizza, you’ll need a commercial auto policy. Don’t just assume a commercial policy will cost you more. Ask your agent if you have questions.
  • If your vehicle has any of the newest special safety features, like automatic emergency braking, lane-assist, or blind spot detection. While many safety features are now standard and insurance companies account for that, some are not yet common and might earn you a small discount.

Communication with your agent is key. If you don’t or can’t give your agent full and accurate information, he or she cannot give you the most accurate quote. It often backfires if you hide things from your agent because you think you’ll get a cheaper rate. It could cost more in the long run because you could be charged an additional premium, or you might have a claim denied. If your agent had the most accurate information to start with, he or she likely could have placed you with an insurance company more appropriate for your needs.

Your neighborhood insurance agency

The agents of L & M Insurance Group call the Tampa Bay area home, too, and we take pride in being able to help our neighbors with their insurance needs. Remember, even though we represent many quality insurance companies, we really work for you. If you need a car insurance quote—or information on another type of insurance coverage—please give us a call at 813-672-4100 or contact us online. Thank you for giving us the chance to serve you!

L & M Insurance Group also offers commercial auto policies, homeowners and renters insurance, health insurance, Medicare Advantage plans, and real estate investors policies.

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Commercial Auto Insurance Policies for Every Type of Business

If you own a business that doesn’t involve making deliveries or transporting clients, you may not think you need a commercial auto insurance policy. But if your vehicle is registered in a company name, you have employees who sometimes drive it, or if it is outfitted with permanent equipment used in a business and you don’t have a commercial auto policy, you risk having a claim denied because the vehicle is used for business purposes.

In fact, if you or an employee use a vehicle for business purposes, even just now and then, you really should protect yourself financially by purchasing a commercial auto policy.

Policies for small businesses and beyond

L & M Insurance Group can write commercial auto policies to cover all sorts of businesses, including lawn care companies, transportation services (for goods or people), real estate agents who take clients to see properties, construction companies, and housecleaner or janitorial services to name just a few. We can also write coverage for all types of vehicles—sedans, pickup trucks, box trucks, and more.

Terms and available coverage vary among companies, but the most common coverage options are: property damage liability; liability for bodily injuries to others; personal injury coverage for you, employees who drive the vehicle(s) and your passengers; collision (coverage for your vehicle in an accident, regardless of who is at fault); comprehensive (coverage for damage to your vehicle other than collision); and uninsured and underinsured motorist, medical payments, loss of use/rental reimbursement, and emergency roadside assistance. Your insurance agent can help you sort through what your individual needs are.


Need a commercial auto quote?

Call us at 813-672-4100

Or contact us online today!


Do commercial policies cost more?

You’ll be happy to know that commercial auto policies are often no more expensive to buy than personal auto policies. Factors that influence the cost are much the same as factors that matter for a personal auto policy. They include the amount of driving involved, the radius of operation (do you cross state boundary lines?), the types and number of vehicles to be insured, the driving records of those who will be on the policy, proof of prior insurance, and the amount of coverage you need to carry.

As independent agents, L & M Insurance Group will work with you to find the insurance policy that best meets your needs by comparing rates among the multiple companies we represent. We provide you with coverage for everything from a single vehicle to a fleet of vehicles, from a sedan to a semi. And since we’re local, you can reach us by phone, email, or even by visiting our office (COVID-19 protocols apply). We’ve been serving the insurance needs of Brandon, Valrico, Riverview and surrounding communities for more than 10 years, and we’d love to serve YOU!

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Why is Car Insurance So Expensive in Florida?

Living in the Tampa Bay area has many advantages, but cheap car insurance isn’t one of them. In fact, the Sunshine State has the third costliest car insurance premiums in the nation. Florida consumers pay about 48 percent more per year that the national average.

So why is Florida car insurance so expensive? Here are a few factors that contribute to higher auto insurance premiums for Florida drivers. (See below for a few things you can do to make sure you’re getting the best car insurance rate.)

High percentage of uninsured drivers

Florida has the highest percentage of people driving without insurance in the U.S.—more than one fourth (26.7 percent) of the drivers on our roads are uninsured. Insurance companies compensate for that with higher premiums for everyone who is insured.

High percentage of higher-risk drivers

Florida has many elderly drivers, tourists unfamiliar with the roads, and college students attending universities. These drivers are considered to be higher-risk, and therefore more likely to cause or contribute to an accident.

Extreme weather

Severe thunderstorms, hurricanes, and flooding events cause property damage to cars that insurance companies must pay for. Residents near the ocean, rivers, in low-lying or other flood-prone areas are especially affected.

PIP requirement

By law, Florida drivers must purchase Personal Injury Protection (PIP) insurance. This coverage, also known as “no-fault” coverage, pays for medical expenses for you and your passengers if you’re injured in an auto accident, regardless of who is at fault.

More lawyers, more money

Unfortunately, some areas of Florida are known for a high prevalence of fraudulent claims, as well as a high number of claims where there is lawyer representation. One of the latest problems with fraud involves assignment of benefits abuse related to windshield claims. Inflated claims and legal expenses raise the cost of doing business in Florida, and the result is higher insurance premiums for everyone.

Busy roadways

Florida roads are the third busiest in the U.S. More traffic means more chances for accidents.

What can you do?

Now that you know why car insurance is so expensive in Florida, there are a few things you can do to lower your auto insurance premiums. Of course, strive to keep your driving record clean, but also improve your credit score. Before buying a new-to-you vehicle, ask how it will affect your auto insurance rates. Remember, safe and boring is almost always cheaper to insure than fast and flashy! If your financial situation allows, raise your deductibles.

At least once a year, shop for the best rate, and ask about all available discounts. But be sure that you’re comparing the same coverage limits and deductibles. Shop again when a life event takes place that might change your insurance rates: a teen getting his or her license, a wedding, a child going away to college, etc.

And be sure to call L & M Insurance Group (813-672-4100) for a quote from one of our many quality auto insurance companies—or if you prefer, click here to request a quote via email. As an independent agency, L & M Insurance Group specializes in helping you find the best coverage for the best possible rate. We’ve been helping our neighbors in Riverview, Valrico, Brandon, and surrounding areas for more than 30 years, and we’d love to help you.

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Consumers Beware: Your Cheap Insurance Is Probably Cheap for a Reason

No one wants to pay too much for their insurance, but Tampa Bay area consumers need to be cautious if they get insurance quotes that seem too cheap. There’s usually a reason for that—such as the cheap insurance policy being quoted is stripped down to the bare minimum. As is the case for many things, with cheap insurance, you get what you pay for.

Financial trouble ahead

In an attempt to bring in business, some agents will quote bare bones, stripped down insurance policies that don’t provide the coverage most people need. We understand that money’s tight and no one really likes to spend money on insurance—a product you hope you’ll never have to use! The reality is, if you buy a stripped down insurance policy that covers only the bare minimum, you may find yourself in major financial trouble.

The purpose of insurance is to protect you financially in the event of an accident or other covered peril—this means replacing your own damaged or destroyed property, paying for your injuries, and paying for any damage you cause or are responsible for, even something as seemingly innocent as a trip and fall accident that takes place on your property. Insurance protects both your physical possessions and your liability.

Cheap Car Insurance Example

In the case of car insurance, for example, the minimum coverage to meet the Florida Financial Responsibility law requirement is bodily injury coverage of $10,000 per person/$20,000 per accident/$10,000 property damage coverage. When you get a car insurance quote, you may be quoted only the bare minimum. Many car accidents easily exceed these limits, especially if multiple vehicles or injured parties are involved, and then what happens? The injured parties are likely to come after you in court.

Cheap Homeowners Insurance Example

You should also be careful when comparing homeowners insurance. If you have a lender, they will require that you carry a certain amount of coverage to protect them. However, will that be enough to enable you to afford to rebuild if your home is completely destroyed? Will you have enough coverage for your contents if you need to replace them? When comparing quotes, ask if you’re being quoted replacement cost or actual cash value.

Compare Apples to Apples

Remember, when you request insurance quotes, make sure each quote is for the same coverage type and for the same limits so you can make a true comparison.

Let L & M Insurance Group help

The good news for you is that more complete coverage might not cost you much more that a stripped down policy. With multiple insurance companies to choose from, L & M Insurance Group is ideally positioned to find you the best coverage at the most cost effective rate. And your L & M Insurance Group agent can also help you find discounts that help lower your costs.

Yes, there are times in everyone’s life when the bare minimum is all you can afford. But during those times, you probably have the “bare minimum” to protect as well. Once you’ve begun to accumulate assets, such as a home, a newer model car, or expensive personal possessions, you’ll want to be sure your insurance coverage keeps pace. Please give us a call at 813-672-4100, or email us, if you’d like a quote, or have any questions about your insurance needs.