Flood Insurance For Your Business

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My husband’s family lives in Rhode Island, along with our friends at Astonish Results. Last night my mother-in-law told me that the Warwick Mall recently reopened after being closed for nearly five months. In March, Warwick, Rhode Island underwent historic flooding. You can see how severe the damage was in this photo gallery. Dan says the mall was at or below sea-level. It took millions of dollars to restore the mall.

If you own a business here in Florida, you know you need flood insurance. It rains here nearly every afternoon and evening. Can you afford to rebuild or put your business on hold due to flooding? One of the mall’s largest department stores, Macy’s, isn’t scheduled to reopen until the Spring of 2011. They must have lost so much keeping their store closed for so long. Just think of all the employees who were suddenly out of work.

If you’d like to learn more about commercial and flood insurance, please call us at 1-888-721-1949 or stop by our office at 11322 Seminole Boulevard in Largo, Florida. You can also check out www.FloodSmart.gov and find out if your business in a low-to-moderate risk area or a high risk area–if it’s in the former you may qualify for a lower/preferred rate. Don’t forget that there’s a 30 day waiting period for flood insurance from the date of purchase to the date the policy goes into effect. So don’t put off that phone call or business.

5 Years After Katrina: Are You Prepared?

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Can you believe that’s been nearly 5 years since Hurricane Katrina swooped through the Southeast United States? No other single event in the history of global insurance has ever been so costly. 1.7 million claims were submitted and over $45 billion were paid out by insurance companies as a result of this Category 3 storm. Not only was Katrina one of the most costly storms, it was one of the deadliest. Sadly somewhere between 1,300 and 1,500 lives were lost. Countless people had to uproot their families and move to new cities and states because their homes and businesses were destroyed. We don’t know when another hurricane of this magnitude will strike again, but we can learn from the past and better prepare ourselves for future storms. Below you’ll find a video from the Insurance Information Institute that will give you 4 steps you can take to protect your family and your and your property.

You can also read our other blog entires about preparing for hurricanes. To learn about disaster supply kits click here. To learn how to prepare your home and yard, click here and to read about having a hurricane plan, click here. Finally if you’d like to speak to an insurance agent about insuring your home and belongings, please call us at 1-888-721-1949, stop by our office (11322 Seminole Blvd. Largo, FL), or visit our website (www.patronsinsurance.com).
One of our friendly and knowledgeable would be happy to help you purchase the coverage you need.

Is Special Event Insurance For You?

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Would you ever consider purchasing special event insurance? You may want to if you’re one of the many brides planning a summer wedding. You put so much time, effort and money into planning what’s supposed to be the biggest day of your life, you don’t want anything to go wrong. Lots of people insure their weddings. In fact some wedding vendors require you to carry it.

Special event insurance can help you recover some of your costs should you have to cancel or reschedule your wedding, anniversary party, bar mitzvah, sweet 16 or any other special occasion. It even helps when one of the key participants or vendors cannot be there, like your caterer, officiate or photographer. If your future spouse is a member of the armed forces, you may want to consider purchasing a policy in case they are called to active duty. Special event insurance may also cover your wedding gifts, gowns, tuxedos and your honeymoon.

Major sporting events like the FIFA World Cup require all their vendors to carry special event insurance. Coverage for the games themselves cost about $8.95 billion. Who could count how much the rest of insurance costs are? The biggest sporting event in the world definitely relies heavily on the insurance industry.

If you’re having a special event and you don’t want to take any chances, give us a call and we’ll put together a policy for you. Each event will call different types of coverage, so it’s important you discuss all the details with your agent.

Why You Need Renters Insurance

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In the past two years, I’ve known two different families who have lost all of their possessions because the homes they rented were destroyed by fires. Thankfully, in both cases, the families were not hurt. Neither family had renters insurance so none of their belongings were covered. These situations are traumatic enough, but add the idea of replacing all of your necessities out-of-pocket, including clothing–unbearable. Fortunately both families are very well-loved. In both instances their friends and family collected furniture, clothing, appliances, food, toiletries, money, etc. that helped them to start their lives over. This is one reason why tenants should carry renters insurance.

Renters insurance covers items that are lost due to fire, smoke, lightning, vandalism, theft, explosions or windstorms. However, it does not cover flood damage, only flood insurance does. Your landlord’s homeowners policy does not cover the items you own inside the house or apartment. Their insurance only covers the building and any items that they may own in the house. If someone breaks through a window in your home and steals your television, your landlord’s insurance will pay for a new window, but not a big screen.

Renters insurance is inexpensive compared to homeowners insurance or your other bills, unless you own lots of expensive things. Katie, an agent at Patrons Insurance Agency recently quoted me $382 a year for $20,000 worth of coverage, which works out to be $32/month. That’s less than all my bills, except Netflix. To find out how much coverage you need, use this free online tool.

Renters insurance does more than pay for your stuff. It also offers liability, which is probably more important. This protects you if someone comes into your home and injuries themselves. If they choose to sue you, your renters policy will help pay for medical expenses and any of your legal fees, both of which can cost a great deal more than your computer, t.v., or couch. If you own a rental property, you may want to require your tenants to purchase renters insurance because you could potentially be sued as well. Talk to an agent to discuss your options.

Losing Homeowners Insurance Because of Your Dog–That Bites!

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Pit Bull

Doberman

Chow

Did you know that having a particular breed of dog could keep you from getting homeowners or renters insurance? Here in Florida, most insurance companies exclude coverage for dog bites, but some will add coverage back on for a higher premium. Homeowners usually have to pay for the victim’s medical expenses, lost wages and other costs “out of pocket” if their dog bites a person, but not if that person is trespassing.

Rottweiler

If you own a Pit Bull, German Shepherd, Chow, Doberman or Rottweiler almost all insurance companies (including Citizens, the state-run company)
will not write your homeowners or renters policy at all. These breeds are considered to be especially dangerous based on public health records and claims history. Let’s say you rent a home in Florida and you own a German Shepherd, chances are you would not be able purchase renters insurance.

German Shepherd

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You may decide it’s better not to mention your “best friend” to the insurance company. However, if the insurance company discovers that you own one of these dog breeds, they can then cancel your renters policy and your landlord’s homeowners policy. Other states (like Michigan and Pennsylvania) require companies to cover injuries and deaths caused by all breeds of dogs. So the next time you go out looking for a puppy, keep this list of breeds handy, because your dog may bite in more than one way.

Beware of Sinkholes!

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Massive sinkhole forms after Tropical Storm Agatha hits Guatemala on Sunday.

Have you seen the enormous sinkhole that was formed in Guatemala City, Guatemala on Sunday? I heard that it’s 66 feet in diameter and 100 feet deep. It swallowed a whole building and part of another! Here in Florida, sinkholes are a common occurrence. Our states bedrock is made of limestone which is whittled away by acidic water. Rain that’s already slightly acidic drains through the soil, where plants give off carbon dioxide, making it even more acidic. Eventually, the underlying structure collapses under the surface weight and voila–a sinkhole!

Florida homeowners may be concerned about the potential of sinkholes on their property and the dangers and destruction brought about by them. If you’re shopping for house in Florida, you may not be able to obtain information about the risk of sinkhole formation for a particular home or neighborhood, but you can check out a map that shows where sinkholes have already formed. The process of assessing the risk is very expensive, but you can hire a geologist to run tests. However, their results may not be conclusive.

If a sinkhole has formed on your property, or you think one may have, here’s what you need to do:

  1. Mark and block off the depression.
  2. Carefully read over your homeowners insurance policy and take notes on all the sections related to sinkholes.
  3. Document the damage on paper. Take a drawing of your home and property and mark the affected areas.
  4. Take lots of photos and video of the damage to be attached to your insurance claim.
  5. Call your insurance agent to file your claim. They will ask you some questions and appoint an insurance adjuster to handle the claim.
  6. Talk to the adjuster about your claim. He will ask many more questions, so keep your notes and records handy.
  7. A field inspector will come out to evaluate your home.
  8. Stay in regular contact with your insurance adjuster and agent. This process will probably take several weeks/months.

Hopefully in the end, the inspection and repairs will be covered by your homeowners policy. Want more sinkhole answers? Click here.

Insuring Your Restaurant

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Restaurant owners need to carry several kinds of insurance to protect their business. Exactly how much and what kinds may vary from business to business, depends on the scale and scope of their operation. A small family owned and operated bagel shop would require different types of coverage than a chain of bars & grills. Here are the different kinds of insurance you’ll need to discuss with your agent:

  • General Liability: This covers any of those circumstances that a customer may want to sue you. General liability is for situations when a customer slips and falls or gets ill from eating your food.
  • Property Insurance: This type of insurance obviously covers the property itself and is a must for those who own the restaurant as well as the land. You’ll be covered in case of vandalism or damages, but it may not cover natural disasters like floods (flood insurance is usually purchased separately).
  • Worker’s Compensation: If you’ve hired any employees to help you run your restaurant, you must have this. Let’s say one of your cooks burns himself on the grill, Worker’s Compensation will pay for his medical expenses. Employees used to sue their employers to pay their hospital bills and many walked away with way more than needed for their expenses. Not having this coverage can easily put a restaurant out of business.
  • Liquor Liability: This type of liability is only for business with a liquor license. This covers you in case a customer gets tipsy/drunk then hurts himself or someone else.
  • Food Contamination Insurance: This covers you if food spoils due to a power outage. My husband has dealt with this several times at his cafe.
  • Loss of Business Insurance: This insurance can be expensive, but may help you break even should you have to shut down. That’s a very real possibility in this kind of business. Restaurants are especially hard to keep afloat.

If you’d like to discuss all of these options and more, please call Patrons Insurance Agency at 1-888-721-1949 or stop by at anytime 11322 Seminole Blvd. Largo, FL 33778. Agents Skip and Tim would be happy to help you.

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