Do your employees use their personal vehicles to transport equipment, other employees or deliver goods? This can pose a bit of a problem. Can you get by with just personal auto insurance, or do you need commercial auto insurance?

At our insurance agency in Brandon, this is a discussion we’ve had with many small business owners. A lot of them are worried that commercial auto insurance is more expensive than personal auto insurance. Others didn’t realize there were such a big difference, especially if their employees are using personal vehicles.

The reality is that personal and commercial auto insurance have significant differences. If your small business owner in Hillsborough that doesn’t operate a fleet of business vehicles, you may never have given commercial auto insurance much thought. You should know that if you’re using your own vehicle for work purposes that extend beyond commuting, then it’s time to talk about investing in a commercial auto insurance policy.

There’s a lot to talk about in this post, so let’s start by taking a closer look at the difference between these two types of auto insurance.

Commercial Auto Insurance or Personal Auto Insurance?

Our expert insurance agents will tell you that the primary difference primarily lies in the types of liabilities that each policy covers. Both personal and commercial policies will cover against vehicle repairs and medical bills following an accident. However, a commercial auto insurance policy in Florida have higher claims limits, cover a variety of different vehicles and account for the more complex legal issues that could arise from an accident involving a commercial vehicle.

If you’d like to learn more about what a commercial auto insurance policy covers, then please check out this blog post.

Why Personal Auto Insurance Usually Isn’t Enough

Personal auto insurance will only cover you if it’s an accident that occurred while using your car for personal reasons. This would include commuting to and from your place of work as well as travel that is unrelated to your normal job duties. Most personal auto insurance policies our clients purchase ensure the owner of the vehicle plus one or two immediate family members.

If you are a budding entrepreneur or sole proprietor, there are limited cases where the liability coverage from your personal auto insurance policy might be enough. This does not happen all the time. Call our agency if you’d like to ask about modifying your policy to include specific business uses.

Please keep in mind that this is would be for a very specific circumstance (ridesharing, part-time seasonal work, etc.) and not something that would apply to every business owner. That being said, this is why we see so some small business owners forgo investing in a commercial auto insurance policy. A personal policy that has been modified to cover specific business uses would typically be less expensive than a commercial auto insurance policy in Hillsborough.

Why You Probably Need Commercial Auto Insurance

Take your time reviewing these examples, because they should give you a clear picture of when commercial auto insurance is needed.

While running your business in Hillsborough, do you or your employees ever…

  • Deliver food or some type of product to paying customers?
  • Regularly drive long distances in order to meet with a client or survey a job site?
  • Haul equipment or tools to job sites where you’ll be working?

The Problem with Using Your Personal Vehicle to Transport Stuff

Let’s dive into each of these examples a little bit further. There’s a good reason why your personal auto insurance policy won’t cover an accident that occurred while you were transporting goods. It’s primarily because the risk is too high. For insurance companies, using a vehicle to deliver goods on a regular basis would increase your risk of getting into an accident.

Now, if you’re using your vehicle to take some of your office friends to lunch, that would be covered by your personal insurance policy. A lot of people have been asking us if they need commercial auto insurance to earn money as a Rideshare driver. This has represented a more challenging case for insurance companies. what we’re seeing now is that a growing number of insurers are offering Rideshare specific insurance policies. This type of policy would typically be cheaper than traditional commercial auto insurance. if you have some more questions about this, please contact us at (813) 685-9393.

It’s Not About the “Where,” It’s About the “Why”

So we want to make it clear that there is no limit to how much you can drive under a standard personal auto policy. That is as long as it’s for personal reasons.

Let’s look at a real world example from a small business in Tampa. This business employs a sales manager who regularly uses their personal vehicle in our to visit sales lead locations around the entire county of Hillsborough. If this employee gets into an accident on one of their sales runs, you could be facing significant liability.

What You’re Hauling Matters Too

As we mentioned before, commuting to a job is covered by personal auto insurance. Transporting heavy tools or equipment as a part of your commute is another matter. For example, a construction worker is using their personal vehicle to transport a trailer full of expensive, ladders, drills, etc. To an insurance company, this is a dangerous scenario due to the higher risk of property damage and theft compared to the average commuter. If that sounds familiar, you should speak to an insurance agent about commercial auto insurance.

Hired and Non-Owned Auto Insurance

There’s another type of insurance we wanted to cover briefly in this post and that is hired and non-owned auto insurance. This type of policy will cover vehicles that are used for business, but that your business doesn’t actually own. This includes…

  • Vehicles that are owned by employees and used for business errands
  • Vehicles that you rent for business

Hired and non-owned auto insurance would be used in a situation where you have an employee that is running an errand with their car and get into an accident. Say you send your assistant out to purchase some supplies and they end up rear-ending someone on the way back to the office in Tampa. If you didn’t have the right commercial auto insurance, your company could be liable for the resulting damages.

Modifying Your Auto Insurance Policy in Hillsborough

This blog post should have answered many of your questions when it comes to commercial auto insurance versus personal auto insurance. That being said, there are a lot of unique circumstances that could be impacting your situation. There’s no way for us to cover all of them in this post, so we do encourage you to contact our agency if you would like to learn more and you’re a business owner in Florida.

If you’re only using your car occasionally for business purposes, then an expert insurance agent might be able to modify your personal auto policy so that it covers these work-related uses. We’re often asked if commercial auto insurance is more expensive than personal auto insurance. While it may be more expensive to purchase a commercial auto insurance policy initially, the money it could save your business is significantly greater. A Florida business that relies on vehicles to operate can’t afford to not have a commercial auto insurance policy.

Charles D. Talley Jr Insurance Inc has been helping business owners in Hillsborough for over 35 years and we can help you too. if you have more questions about Commercial Auto Insurance or would like to save money on a better policy, then please contact us today at (813) 685-9393.

If you use a vehicle for work in Florida, then you should consider getting commercial auto insurance. If you’re not familiar with this type of insurance policy, then you have come to the right place. This post will show you exactly what commercial auto insurance covers and why it is such an important investment.

Most people aren’t surprised that semi-truck drivers need to have commercial auto insurance. The same typically goes for dump truck drivers and even food trucks. Where our insurance agents often see issues are with business owners who use their personal vehicles for work in one way or another. They believe things will be fine because their vehicle is covered under their personal auto insurance policy.

That is a line of reasoning that could lead to significant problems down the road. Please read on to see why…

What’s Included With Commercial Auto Insurance Coverage in Florida?

It is understandable why there is some confusion here for business owners in Hillsborough. A commercial auto insurance policy includes several types of coverage that should sound familiar to anyone with a personal auto insurance policy. These include:

Liability Coverage

This type of coverage would kick in if an employee caused bodily injury to another person while driving the covered vehicle. This coverage also includes property damage liability that would pay for any damages done to the injured party’s car or other property.

Note that while these liability coverages are typically separated out in personal auto insurance policies, they are combined into a single liability limit in a commercial auto insurance policy.

Medical Payment Coverage

Sometimes referred to as personal injury coverage, this would pay the medical expenses incurred by an employee driver and/or any passengers that were in the covered vehicle. Medical payment coverage will be applied regardless of who was at fault in the car accident.

Collision Coverage

This type of coverage will be used to pay for the damages inflicted to your commercial vehicle in an accident. Just like with the medical payment coverage, collision coverage will be applied regardless of who was at fault in the car accident.

Comprehensive Coverage

If you were wondering what would happen if one of your vehicles were damaged in a hurricane, then that’s where comprehensive coverage comes to the rescue. This type of coverage will be used to pay for damages sustained from theft, vandalism, mother nature or other non-crash incidents.

Uninsured Motorist Coverage

What happens if one of your delivery trucks gets backed into by someone who has no insurance? This could be a bad day just waiting to happen, but it doesn’t have to be if that truck is covered under a commercial auto insurance policy in Hillsborough. Uninsured motorist coverage would pay for those damages.

Specialized Coverages in Commercial Auto Insurance Policies

So now that’s out of the way, you should also familiarize yourself with the more specialized types of coverage that you wouldn’t see on a personal auto insurance policy.

  • Trailer Interchange Coverage – If you are hauling trailers with your commercial vehicles that are owned by other companies, then you’ll be happy that you have this type of coverage.
  • Rental Reimbursement with Downtime – This will be used to cover any costs your business incurs to rent a temporary replacement for a vehicle that is undergoing repairs.
  • Hired Vehicle Coverage – If you need to rent a car or van for your employees (or possibly for a client), commercial auto insurance provides hired vehicle coverage.
  • Non-owned Vehicle Coverage – This is a very important type of coverage. Some business owners in Hillsborough have employees use their own cars when conducting business. If they end up getting into an accident while operating their vehicle for work, you would be held responsible as the business owner. Non-owned vehicle coverage is included in commercial auto insurance policies for this reason.

Do You Need Commercial Auto Insurance if You Have Personal Auto Insurance?

As mentioned before, there are still plenty of business owners that mistakenly believe commercial auto insurance isn’t worth the investment if they have personal auto insurance.

To illustrate why this doesn’t work, you need to think of your auto insurance policy as a contract you have with your insurance carrier. They agree to cover damages inflicted on your car in an accident granted that you are using it for personal reasons. If you use the car for business reasons, then you are violating that contract. This gives your insurance carrier ample reason to reject your claim.

A commercial auto insurance policy differs from personal auto insurance in several distinct ways, including:

  • A commercial auto policy will have a higher liability limit than a personal auto policy
  • The cost of your commercial auto insurance policy is tax-deductible
  • A commercial auto policy can be used to cover specific named employees or blanket coverage can be applied for all employees
  • A commercial auto policy includes additional coverage for equipment like trailers and forklifts (something that personal auto insurance won’t include)

Do You Need Commercial Auto Insurance as a Rideshare Driver in Florida?

Driving for a rideshare company like Lyft or Uber is a viable way to earn a living, but the job comes with some extra considerations when it comes to auto insurance. The first thing to note is that rideshare drivers in Florida are required to have their own auto insurance policies. This is because there will be times you’ll be driving when not actively logged in to the rideshare app as a driver.

So do you really need a commercial auto policy as well? An insurance expert would say “yes” and here’s why. An insurance carrier can deny coverage to you during the time that the rideshare app is on.

For the time when you are driving with the app on, the state of Florida requires you to carry a higher insurance limit. Drivers can purchase the necessary insurance coverage themselves, but it is notable that companies like Uber and Lyft are required to provide coverage for any drivers with insufficient policy limits. Here are the specifics for when you have the rideshare app on:

  • When there is no passenger assigned – At least $50,000 of bodily injury coverage per person, $100,000 of bodily injury coverage per accident and $25,000 of property damage liability coverage per accident.
  • When there is a passenger assigned – You’ll be covered by the company’s third-party liability insurance policy, with at least $1 million coverage for bodily injury and property damage.

If you want full coverage while working as a rideshare driver, you should call us at (813) 685-9393. There are certain requirements that these companies have in order for their drivers to qualify for comprehensive coverage. This working situation can be stressful and confusing, so it is recommended that you speak to an insurance expert.

Additional Information for Business Owners

Commercial auto insurance is a great investment for any Hillsborough business owner who relies on vehicles in their day to day operations. Just remember that it won’t cover an employee who gets in an accident while driving their own personal vehicle. A simple errand could result in a significant accident and your business could be held liable.

If you are ready to make that investment, we can get you a commercial auto insurance quote ASAP. Complete our online form to get started or give us a call at (813) 685-9393. Our insurance agency has been helping Hillsborough business owners protect their livelihoods for over 35 years and we’d like nothing more than the opportunity to help you.

Hurricane season, which starts on June 1st, is fast approaching to the dismay of Florida homeowners. our insurance agency consider those 6 weeks to be one of the more turbulent times of the year. The good news this year is that Florida lawmakers approved a tax holiday that will overlap with the start of hurricane season.

If you have yet to hear about this “ tax holiday,” here’s what you should know.

The Sales Tax Free Holiday Starts May 31st

At the end of the legislative season, Florida lawmakers approved a $121 million tax break package. They also approved a tax holiday that remains in effect through the start of the hurricane season this year. This means that many of the important supplies that are recommended when preparing for a hurricane won’t be subject to a sales tax.

Do you need to buy a new generator? How’s your supply of batteries or tarps? Even with comprehensive home insurance and a great flood insurance policy, you don’t want to be unprepared during this time of year.

If you have them thinking about stocking up on these types of supplies for this year’s hurricane season, then this is great news. From May 31st until midnight on June 6th, you won’t have to pay a sales tax when purchasing any of these items. This tax-free holiday is only going to last for a week, so don’t miss out on this opportunity.

Which Hurricane Supplies Will Be Included?

Here is a comprehensive list of the various hurricane supplies that are included in this sales tax free holiday:

  • Flashlights and other portable self-powered light sources (as long as they cost $20 or less)
  • Portable self-powered radios like two-way and weather-band radios ($50 or less)
  • Gas or diesel fuel tanks ($25 or less)
  • Waterproof sheets like tarps, plus ties and ground anchors ($50 or less)
  • Batteries including AA, AAA, C, D, 6-volt and 9-volt batteries ($30 or less)
  • Note that sales tax will still be applied for car and boat batteries during this tax holiday
  • Portable generators ($750 or less)
  • Non-electric coolers ($30 or less)
  • Reusable ice ($10 or less)

Conclusion

With the amount storms we have seen threatening the Tampa Bay area over the last few years, it’s nice to see that this type of tax break was approved. Additionally, Florida lawmakers have approved a back to school sales tax holiday which will be in effect in early August. If you are a parent, then you’ll be happy to know that there will be no sales tax for the purchase of important items like computers, new shoes, clothes and other various school supplies.

Have questions about your insurance that you’d like answered BEFORE hurricane season? Speak to one of our insurance experts by calling (813) 685-9393.

In the latest post and video from Charles D Talley Insurance Agency, Inc, our resident insurance expert, Adam Talley, is talking about auto insurance in Florida. If you’re a driver in Hillsborough county, this is a video that you really need to check out.

When it comes to the State of Florida, there are two coverages that you absolutely need to have – these are state-mandated. You need to have at least $10,000 worth of property damage and personal injury protection coverage – otherwise known as PIP. Personal injury protection coverage for Florida drivers is also at a $10,000 limit.

As far as the State of Florida is concerned, these are the only two coverages that you need in order to be insured on the roads. That being said, you could find yourself in a bad situation if that this is the only thing that you have on your auto insurance policy in Hillsborough. We have a few more things we’d like to discuss if you want to be fully protected in case you ever get into a car accident.

How To Protect Your Car In The Event Of An Accident

To protect your car, you’re going to need to have comprehensive and collision coverage. Both of these usually come with deductibles. At Talley Insurance, these deductibles start out at $500. You can go as low as $100 or go as high as $2500.

Usually, $500 deductible will give you the best value for the resulting out-of-pocket expense.

If you combine comprehensive and collision coverage with bodily injury coverage, this is typically what other insurance agents in Florida consider to be full coverage for your car. However, this still doesn’t necessarily mean that you are fully covered in the event of an accident.

Bodily injury coverage starts as low as $10,000 per person and $20,000 per accident. Please know that these coverages are for when you are at fault for the car accident.

Will Your Auto Insurance Be Enough To Cover Your Medical Bills?

In 2019, $10,000 for one person usually isn’t enough to cover the medical costs incurred by their car accident injuries. That’s why these coverages can go all the way up to as much as $250,000 per person and $500,000 per accident.

There are a lot of different options when it comes to the level of coverage that you can get on your auto insurance policy. This is why clients like to work with independent insurance agencies like Charles D Talley Insurance Agency. You can reach one of our agents at (813) 685-9393 and they can go over all the options with you to ensure you’re getting the best value for your budget.

Florida drivers with comprehensive auto insurance in Hillsborough

Other Coverages To Consider for Your Auto Insurance Policy in Hillsborough

Next we’re going to go over some other types of coverages that aren’t always included in a Florida auto insurance policy. While a lot of drivers forego these options, they are worth considering and we want to make sure each of our clients understand that.

Uninsured Motorists Coverage

Have you ever wondered what would happen if you were in an accident that is caused by another driver that doesn’t have insurance? Sounds like a nightmare scenario right? Well this is why there is uninsured motorist coverage. This will protect you in the event of an accident where the at-fault driver does not have the proper auto insurance coverages.

In 2019, we feel this is a type of coverage that all of our clients need to consider for their auto insurance policy. As the price of insurance continues to climb, more drivers are choosing to forgo insurance altogether and run the risk. If you’re hit by one of these uninsured or underinsured drivers, you could end up paying for those expensive medical bills and car repairs out of pocket.

Please talk to your insurance agent about uninsured motorist coverage in 2019.

Roadside Assistance Coverage

This is the type of coverage that’s going to help you out when you’re stuck in those unexpected situations on the road. We’re talking about situations like getting a flat tire, running out of gas, a dead car battery or locking your keys in your car. These are the types of situations that could ruin an otherwise perfect day on the road.

Fortunately, roadside assistance coverage tends to be very, very affordable for drivers in Florida. Our agents usually are able to add this to a policy for as little as $10 to $25 for the entire year. That’s a really low cost, especially if you consider that it will probably cost you a hundred dollars to have someone come out to unlock your car or provide roadside assistance.

Rental Reimbursement Coverage

Now this is a type of coverage that you might not have ever heard about before. Rental reimbursement provides money for when you’re in a covered accident and you need to have a rental car. Essentially its protection against having to pay for a rental car out of pocket which can get really expensive really fast.

It’s coverage usually starts at $30 a day and is always for 30 day periods. So for a single month, you’re looking at about $900 in coverage for a rental car.

Conclusion

You’d be surprised to learn how many other coverages we still could go over when it comes to auto insurance in Florida. If you have questions about your current policy or if you are fully covered, and please give us a call today at (813) 685-9393.

Are you doing everything you can to prevent potential fires in your home? Our Insurance expert Adam Talley goes on Tampa Home Talk to discuss fire safety tips With Pasco County fire rescue officers, Corey Deirdrorff and Lisa Negron. Make sure that you don’t miss any of these important tips that can protect your home and your family in the coming year.

How Do You Handle a Grease Fire in Your Kitchen?

Unfortunately, this type of fire is quite common. people are cooking something on the stove and they get distracted; they go sit down, they get on their phone, or they even fall asleep. All of a sudden they’re dealing with a serious situation. it’s a grease fire! What do you do?

As both Cory and Lisa note, the one thing you should not do is try to douse the fire with water. This is not going to produce the desired effect and it can make the matter even worse. remember that a fire needs oxygen in order to survive, so what you need to do is stifle the grease fire. These Pasco County fire rescue officers recommend covering the fire with a sheet pan or a lid in order to take the oxygen out of that fire.

Fire Safety Tips for Your Holiday Lights

Do you like to dazzle your family and neighbors with an extravagant light display during the holidays? If you’re planning on putting up a bunch of holiday lights, there are some fire safety tips that you should keep in mind in order to protect your family and your home.

Review the UL Recommendations for Your Lights

On the end of the light chords you are going to be able to see what is called the UL recommendations. What does tells you is how many strands of lights can be safely strung together. Essentially, you need to read the tag!

The outlets that you will be plugging these lights into on the outside of your home should be GFCI outlets. If you come home and noticed that your lights are continuously popping, that’s because there’s just too much voltage running through them. You really don’t want to let things get to this point. This becomes a potential fire hazard for your home in Tampa.

According to the Pasco County fire rescue officers, this is what you want to do. First, make sure that you are not connecting more than four to five strands of lights to one single outlet. Next get wind of those safety covers that you can use for electrical outlets and slide them on the end in order to prevent any moisture from getting up into the back side of your lights.

If you are concerned about how many strands of lights that you can string together safely after reading the UL recommendations then do a Google search for more information. Also Lisa notes that you need to be careful about how many extension cords you are connecting to a single power outlet. this is another common mistake that many people make during this time of year and it could have disastrous results for your home.

How to Spot a Loose or Worn Bulb

Lisa notes that it is extremely important to inspect your holiday lights before you plug them in. Keep an eye out for any loose wires, missing rubber on the outside of the string, or any other noticeable defects. The fire rescue officers also recommend watching out for any of those classic lights that bubble in the middle. These tend to be a significant fire risk. Do you know which ones we’re talking about? Here is a picture:

Old Christmas lights in a home in Brandon

Recommendations for a Christmas Tree & Space Heaters

Corey recommends placing your Christmas tree and decorations at least three feet from any significant heat source. If you plan on using a space heater when the temperature gets a little colder, you need to be very careful. Corey and Lisa see a lot of home fires get started during this time of year due to space heaters.

Make sure that you take extra caution when using space heaters and that you have purchased one that is up to date. The latest models have extra safety features built-in. For instance, they will shut off if they tip over or if they become too overheated. And you also never want to use an extension cord with a space heater. This is extremely important!

What Should You Do if There is a Fire in Your Tampa Home?

Not surprisingly, the Pasco County fire rescue officers recommend that you call them as soon as you notice a fire in your home. Corey notes that it takes his fire team about 5 to 7 minutes to get to your home. After the 911 call has been processed, his team is dispatched and they make their way to the source of the fire rapidly.

Granted that in those five to seven minutes, a fire can grow exponentially. So that is why they recommend having a plan of action in place within your family in case of a house fire. Once the Flames have been seen, have someone call 911 and have another person help family members out of the home immediately. Do not wait to act even in the case of a fairly simple cooking fire. in action during this situation can lead to significant damage to your home and put yourself and your loved ones in danger.

Don’t ever hesitate to call 911 and get in touch with the local fire department. They would much rather have to cancel on route to a home then not be called at all and have that home burn down.

Insurance Risks If You Don’t Have Central AC in Florida

Furman Insurance perspective, it is pretty important to have a central AC system for your home. So for instance let’s say someone has a wall unit instead of central AC. This type of situation represents a significant risk and can be really difficult for insurance agents to ensure on your home insurance policy. During the warmer summer months, not having a central AC unit can also lead to significant mold growth in your home.

Smoke Detectors and Carbon Dioxide

Volume might not be able to get a discount on your home insurance for ensuring that you have smoke detectors in the most critical places of your home, however you can get a discount for having smoke alarms that will alert the fire department in the case of a detected fire.

Corey also recommends that you should be checking your smoke detectors every 6 months. Make sure that you are replacing the batteries and not waiting until it’s chirping at you.

Conclusion

Well, we hope that you learned a thing or two today from this discussion on fire safety tips for your home during the holidays and beyond. This is an extremely important topic and one that’s not talked about enough. if you have any questions about the fire safety tips that were discussed here or how certain factors might impact your homeowners insurance policy please don’t hesitate to contact the insurance experts at Charles D. Talley Jr Insurance Inc.

Most homeowners insurance policies have a sub-limit for jewelry items, usually somewhere between $1,500-$2,500. So if you are planning to buy your loved one an expensive piece of jewelry for Christmas, you will want talk with an agent about scheduled personal property, or a rider as it is commonly referred to.

Engagement ring covered by scheduled personal property in Tampa

What’s Scheduled Personal Property?

Ask any insurance agent, and they will tell you that personal property insurance coverage is an essential aspect of homeowner’s insurance. However, a good agent will also tell you to take a close look at what is protected under your policy.  You may discover that an additional coverage (aka scheduled personal property) can provide better protection for your most valuable possessions.

What’s the Difference Between Standard Personal Property & Scheduled Personal Property?

Your standard homeowner’s policy usually provides coverage for your personal property. However, there it may also apply a dollar limit to how much will be paid out for specific possessions, such as jewelry. Some policies have a per-item limit applied for these types of valuables.

So for instance, there could be a $1,500 sub-limit applied to what your insurance will pay for jewelry following a theft. This would be upheld even if your overall personal property limit is significantly higher that.

Continuing with this example, let’s say you or your spouse has an engagement ring that is worth $3,000. It is stolen during a break-in. If you haven’t asked your insurance agent about scheduled personal property, your policy will likely only cover up to the $1,500 (maybe up to $2,500) sub-limit. This isn’t a situation we want you to find yourself if, especially with the holidays coming up.

Scheduled Personal Property for the Win

Scheduled personal property is an optional add-on to your homeowner’s insurance policy that provides increased coverage limits for specific, valuable possessions like that expensive engagement ring. Experiencing a break-in is terrible, but this coverage can be extremely helpful.

What types of possessions are covered by scheduled personal property?

  • Art and antiques
  • Expensive cameras and technical equipment
  • Firearms
  • Jewelry and furs
  • Musical instruments
  • Extensive and unique collections

Please note that your insurance agent will usually need to see a recent receipt or professional appraisal for the item(s) you want covered.

Call one of our agents at 813-685-9393 to discuss your options, and make sure you and your loved ones are properly protected. Charles D. Talley Jr. Insurance Inc., serving the Tampa Bay Area since 1983.

Your home has sustained damage from a hurricane. It’s a horrible situation, so what should you do first? Adam Talley provides expert advice you can follow in this situation.

If you’re home has sustained damage during a hurricane, here’s what your insurance agent recommends doing. First you should take pictures of the damage. After that, the next thing you need to do is contact your insurance carrier.

Flood Zones & Wind Zones in Florida

In Citrus County, most people are going to have flood insurance. Most homeowners that are along the waterway are in a mandatory flood zone. They more than likely have flood insurance. That’s a good thing! The further north you get, that will more than likely be your wind insurance policies. Remember that both wind and flood insurance are covered under your home insurance policy.

Along the coast, you get higher velocity wind zones. In Florida, the normal homeowners policy has to offer wind protection. In those high velocity winds zones, carriers can decline this coverage. This means you might have to get a third policy that is specific to wind. This means that if you live along the coast, your homeowners insurance policy might not cover wind.

Can You Get Coverage If You’re in a High Risk Zone?

If you didn’t already have the appropriate coverage, you will likely will be out of luck if the storm is bearing down on you. When it comes to flood insurance, unless it’s for a closing and it’s mandatory by your mortgage company there’s a 30-day waiting period.

If you recently closed on a home in this area then you should be okay. if you were in a A flood zone or V flood zone, Your mortgage company more than likely already made you get the appropriate flood insurance.

The Difference Between Flood and Hurricane Coverage

This is a question we get all the time at Charles D. Talley Jr. Insurance Inc. Since many of our clients live within these potentially hazardous zones, we want to make sure that they have the full understanding of where they’re covered and where they aren’t in the event of a hurricane. So in this instance, there is a distinct difference that you should know.

Florida homes sustain flood damage from hurricane surge

Your flood insurance covers against rising water. However that isn’t going to cover against damage from wind-driven rain following a breach in your roof. That is where you’re going to want hurricane coverage for your home in Florida. If you’re wondering if hurricane coverage will protect you from the rising water caused by the storm surge, sadly this would not be the case. Even though that rising water was caused by the hurricane, this type of damage would only be covered by your flood insurance.

What To Do After You’ve Made Your Insurance Claim

First off, if you’re wondering if the hotel that you are going to have to stay in will be covered by your insurance policy, the answer is yes! This is covered under the “loss of use” portion in your home insurance policy. This covers the extra expenses you will incur eating out, staying at hotel, or whatever else is required to get you by while you wait for your home to be repaired. This is a good thing because mortgage companies don’t care about a storm displacing you. They will still expect that mortgage payment to be made on time.

A 4 Point Inspection – What Is That?

Essentially, this is an inspection for insurance eligibility purposes and it’s going to cover the four systems of your home. These four systems are your roof, the plumbing, electricity, and the HVAC system. The specifics of the 4 point inspection will depend on the age of your home and the carrier you have your home insurance policy with.

Our insurance agency works with several carriers that don’t need a 4 point inspection no matter what the age of the home is. Then there are some careers that require this inspection after 30 years others that require it after 40 years. Essentially it depends a great deal on the carrier in question.

What About The New Form For the 4 Point Inspection? Should You Be Concerned?

The new form that just came out is directed by Citizens Property Insurance and the purpose of this form Is to provide even more detail around the essential systems of the home. This provides important insights into potential risk areas for an older home that could lead to a significant claim in the future.

What Happens When An Issue Is Discovered During the Inspection?

These situations can actually differ significantly depending on the carrier involved and the situation that is discovered during the 4 point inspection. Carriers will defer in how they approach various items that might be deficient in the home. However, if it is a small issue and it is for a new home closing, they might let us write the policy with the stipulation that homeowner will fix the issue within a reasonable amount of time after they have moved in.

More significant issues like a roof leak will need to be addressed before we are able to write the policy. In fact, the roof is the number one rating factor when it comes to homeowners insurance in the state of Florida and it is the number one that can cause significant damage to your home. If you have additional questions about what you should do following a hurricane, or if you’d like to talk to an insurance expert about your home insurance policy, please don’t hesitate to give us a call at 813-685-9393. You can also request a home insurance quote online here!

Hurricanes can occur at any time at any time of year, but Florida and the rest of the Atlantic region, the season begins on June 1st and last until November 30th.

While hurricane season is stressful for anyone in the storm’s path, business owners have a host of additional concerns that come into play. As insurance agents in Brandon, FL, we are familiar with all the nuances of hurricane preparedness for business owners.

Business owners in Tampa prep for approaching hurricane

Developing a Hurricane Action Plan

As with many things in life, the best defense is to go on the offensive before the storm hits. Long before the threat of a hurricane is imminent, your business should have a Business Continuity Plan in place. This document, also called a Disaster Recovery Plan, should be tailored to your business’s unique needs.

It should address natural disaster risks that are unique to the Tampa Bay area, and your neighborhood specifically. This should take into account everything from your flood zone, which can be found on the FEMA website, to the material comprising your office building. It should also identify critical operations and how employees and management will communicate during the disaster.

Remember, this plan should be shared with employees. If you discuss your hurricane preparedness plan before a storm is imminent, it will be easier for everyone to digest the information with a clear head and calm demeanor. That way, they (and you!) will be ahead of the curve if it is actually needed.

How to Get Your Business Prepared for a Hurricane

When you know a storm is approaching, the active part of hurricane preparation begins. Utilize your knowledge of the storms timeline to prioritize the items on your timeline. This includes data-related preparation such as backing up all your files and uploading company information to the cloud. When this is done correctly, a company should be able to have all of its computers destroyed and still have access to all of its necessary electronic information.

In addition to preparing your electronic assets, you must prepare your company’s physical assets as well. Make sure you have implemented any necessary means of hurricane protection, including:

  • Getting electronics and other valuables up high
  • Putting furniture on cement blocks
  • Boarding up windows
  • Placing sandbags in strategic places to prevent flooding

Last but—as any business owner knows—far from least, you must protect your financial assets. Sadly, natural disasters are a prime opportunity for theft, so this should be prevented or at least mitigated to the best of your ability.

Make an inventory of your business assets, from electronics to vehicles, to merchandise and other supplies. Depending on your business, you may be able to get some of these items to a safer place.

The Assurance of Quality Insurance

No amount of preparation can guarantee your Tampa area business will be 100% safe from Mother Nature, but you can rest assured knowing you have excellent insurance coverage. It’s a good idea to secure commercial property coverage, which would allow you to rebuild if necessary. Even if you rent your building, commercial property insurance can be purchased to protect your contents and any improvements you have made to your leased space. In some instances, wind coverage will be excluded by your carrier. In this event, you would need to purchase a separate policy to cover for the peril of wind.

Flood insurance is also a necessity for most Florida businesses, especially if your business is in a Special Flood Hazard Area (SFHA). According to FEMA, “the SFHA is the area where the National Flood Insurance Program’s (NFIP) floodplain management regulations must be enforced and the area where the mandatory purchase of flood insurance applies”.1 Banks will require you to have flood insurance, if you got a loan to purchase your building and it’s located in an SFHA.

If your business is severely damaged by a hurricane, you will need to spend time cleaning, repairing, and potentially rebuilding. During this time, you will also need a paycheck! Don’t forget to ask your Brandon insurance agent about Loss of Business Income coverage. This protects your business from lost income, by not being able to continue normal operations due to a covered claim. In most instances your deductible for this type of coverage is calculated in hours, not a specific dollar amount. A common deductible would be 72 hours of business interruption, before the coverage would kick in.

Conclusion

As a business owner, you want to do everything in your power to minimize loss and restore your usual operations as quickly as possible. It’s critical to be prepared logistically and physically, and to have insurance coverage that will protect you financially.

When it comes to that last item, we are happy to help. As a family-run insurance agency here in Brandon, FL, we understand the importance of your business and will do everything in our power to help you protect it. Please give us a call at 813-685-9393 or get a free quote by completing our online form.

Are you looking to rent in Channelside Tampa? This is a popular neighborhood right now, which means renters are paying a premium for these coveted spots. Whether you’re about to move in, or are already settled, this is a good time to talk about your Channelside renters insurance policy.

Do you have the right protections? Are you missing something important that could come back to haunt you in case of an emergency? Our independent insurance agents have the expert information you’re looking for.

Reviewing Channelside renter's insurance policy with couple in Tampa

There are some myths surrounding renter’s insurance, as well as confusion over what exactly is covered in your renter’s policy. We are often asked by clients in Tampa about the specifics of renters insurance. Below we’ve detailed everything you need to know about renter’s insurance so you can make an informed decision about whether or not this form of protection is right for you.

What’s Covered for Renters in Channelside Tampa?

Think about the most valuable material possessions in your possession. Most renters have electronics, jewelry or artwork that can be quite valuable. Still very few have taken the appropriate steps to insure their possessions in comparison.

Your Channelside renters insurance policy should protect your property in the event of a loss.

Please note that you may be asked to provide proof of ownership during the claims process, so it’s wise to save receipts or take photos. Consider cataloguing items of great value and keeping the record somewhere safe, maybe on an external hard drive that isn’t left out in the open.

Other areas of coverage that most people might not realize include items stolen from inside your car or medical expenses incurred if a friend is injured at your house.

Sometimes the unexpected happens, and it’s wise to prepare for all situations. Additional protection can be added specifically for certain high-priced items, such as wedding rings. Make sure you organize some relevant information, such as an appraisal, about certain items that you are interested in protecting before you speak to an agent regarding your policy.

What Isn’t Covered By Renters Insurance?

Though renters insurance covers you from a number of unexpected disasters一things like fire, lightning, hurricanes, theft and more一it will not cover damage resulting from floods and certain other situations. However, if you have specific needs, please contact one of our insurance agents in Brandon who can tell you exactly what is and isn’t covered.

Why Landlord’s Insurance Isn’t Enough

Many renters dismiss the idea of renters insurance because they believe that their landlord’s existing policy is enough, and sadly that’s almost never the case. Your landlord’s insurance does not cover your personal property or any damage that you are liable for. That means that something as innocent as a grease fire could come back to bite you in the end. In cases like that, it’s the renter who will be at fault and responsible for the monetary damage if they’re uninsured.

Understanding Your Liability as a Renter in Channelside

The concept of liability is at the core of all insurance, especially with your renters insurance policy. Most apartment complexes require that you purchase liability coverage prior to moving in. While most complexes offer their own program, most of the time you can find a similarly priced policy that will also include coverage for personal property. That is why it is important to call one of our agents so that they can help you get the most out of your renters insurance policy.

A Pet Lover’s Best Friend

Did you know that renter’s insurance can also protect your pets? Perhaps your new dog was caught in a position that made them uncomfortable, causing them to lash out and bite your relative, or your cat clawed at a friend while they were playing. You may understand their behavior to be abnormal and largely harmless, but not everyone is going to see it that way. Liability coverage can extend to injuries inflicted by your pet. Every policy is different, so you will have to do your research, but it may be worth it, especially in cases involving family or friends. Even if your renters insurance doesn’t cover for animal liability, stand alone policies can be purchased at very affordable rates.

Channelside Renters Insurance Is Affordable

Compared to other types of insurance policies, renters insurance in Channelside has an affordable price tag. Most policies cost between $100 to $200 per year. For less than a person typically spends on coffee alone, you can ensure that your belongings will be protected from unexpected issues. Discounts are available for bundling your auto insurance with your renters insurance in Tampa. Our insurance agents have saved clients $100s by bundling these important policies.

Channelside Renters Should Be Protected

Perhaps the most important information that you can take away from this article is that renters insurance is simply a way to protect yourself, your belongings and your family. Though none of us hope to need insurance, we have it to protect ourselves during difficult times. Small problems can compound into big bills for the regular person, and this often occurs during a time that may be difficult for you personally. Even if a fire occurs in a building you’re living in but doesn’t reach your apartment, smoke damage can ruin all your clothes and electronics.

Renters in Channelside with the right policy can rest easy knowing their belongings are either going to be fixed or replaced.

Should your apartment become unlivable due to water damage, smoke, or a house fire, renters insurance will not only be there to compensate you for the value of your items, it will also cover the living expenses incurred by moving into temporary housing.

If you are interested in attaining renters insurance in Channelside, consider speaking with a professional about the best plan for you. Renters in the Tampa area can contact us to speak with our team of knowledgeable agents and receive a quote today.

Number two on the list of what insurance companies are most afraid of right now — after billions of dollars in Hurricane Irma claims — are armies of contractors and attorneys swelling those claims by billions of dollars more.

In South Florida, insurers have been raising rates for several years and blaming third-party repair contractors who persuade policyholders to sign over claims benefits and then sue if the insurer denies or underpays the contractors’ invoices — dramatically increasing claims costs.

To continue reading, please click the link to read the full article on the Sun Sentinel.