Do you live in an area where crime is on the rise? If you live in Lakeland, the answer is yes. According to the FBI, property crimes in 2017 were 48% higher in Lakeland than the rest of Florida and 58% higher than the national average. You’ve worked hard to purchase your home and furnish it; you need to protect your investments. With that idea in mind, here are some tips on how to protect your home from would-be burglars.
A recent study at the University of North Carolina ‘s criminology department found that burglars avoid homes that have security systems or that they believe have security systems. If the robber sees multiple cameras situated in various angles, they know there is a greater chance the authorities will apprehend them. Having a home security system can give you both peace of mind, and in some cases bring discounts on your homeowner’s insurance.
If you don’t want to spend the money on a home security system, then signs and decals placed around the home can act as a deterrent, but experienced crooks may not fall for the ruse. Remember, most burglaries take place between two and three in the afternoon when most homes are empty. Be sure that if you decide to install a security system, it not only alerts the police but you as well.
Many of the new “doorbell” type security systems have speakers that allow you via your smartphone to warn encroaching burglars that you are aware of the situation and that the police are on the way. Motion activated lighting on the exterior of your home is another simple way to deter burglars. Experienced burglars may spot motion activated lights and know how to get around them, but given the choice of a home with motion activated lights, or a neighbor’s house without them, most of the time criminals will avoid a home with lights.
Make sure that your home has secure locks that cannot be easily picked; this in of itself can act as a deterrent to burglars. A big loud dog is also an excellent deterrent to burglars; they do not want the hassle of placating your dog and will move on. Make sure that things that could tempt a burglar are not in plain sight. Having expensive tools left out on the driveway will entice crooks to investigate further. If you have an expensive piece of art or collectible, don’t place it where it can easily be seen from the street. Likewise, easily visible TVs, computers, gaming consoles, and computers should be placed in areas that conceal them.
If you have valuable jewelry or keep large amounts of cash on hand, you should be using a safe to protect them. The type could be a wall safe, drop safe, or a safe bolted to the floor. It is also an excellent place to store financial documents, data storage devices, and family heirlooms.
If you are going on vacation a simple way to deter burglars is to make them think your home when you are not there. In the digital age which we find ourselves, it has never been easier to fool criminals. Smart devices in your home can be activated remotely through your home’s Wi-Fi even when you are not there. Smart plugs can let you turn lights, TVs, stereos, appliances and other things on and off while you are away giving your home the appearance that it is occupied.
Be sure not to post vacation or travel photos on social media until you return home; this is especially true if you have a lot of friends or followers on your social media accounts.
Make sure you document all your home’s valuables in the event your home is broken into, and items were stolen. There are many apps that let you create a home inventory right from your smartphone and make the task easier.Continue Reading
Living in Central Florida your home is at risk from a number of natural things such as hurricanes, lightning, flooding, sinkholes, and tornados. Natural disasters are not the only thing that put your home at risk, a grease fire in the kitchen has burned many homes to the ground over the years. Faulty electrical wiring can be the source of a fire, and old natural gas lines have caused entire homes to be leveled by an explosion.
With so many ways your home could be damaged, and your property lost forever, it is crucial that you create a home inventory list. Having a detailed inventory of your possessions can make things easier when you file a claim, and it can also guide you on what kind of coverage you want.
Creating a home inventory list to submit to insurance is not a difficult thing to undertake, but you can’t cut corners when creating the list and still hope to receive reimbursement for your lost property. Here are a few steps.
You should follow Nike’s advice when deciding on which room should be your starting point when composing a list “Just do it.” The room does not matter; what matters is that you start the process of compiling a list of your possessions. The logical choice would be a room with items which are the most valuable; but it really does not matter, what matters is you have started creating your list.
In the digital age, we currently live in documenting your possessions has never been easier or had more ways you can capture them. Apps like Sortly, Memento and Nest Egg can help you create list organize them and record details about each item on the list. These apps use your phone’s camera to add pictures to the list.
Apps are preferable to creating a physical list for two reasons. First, your phone is portable and likely to be on your person when you flee whatever disaster is damaging your home. Second, an app stores your list in the cloud, should you lose your phone in a fire or other emergency, you can log in to the app from another phone and retrieve your list. Be sure to include serial numbers, purchase dates, photos of receipts (if you have them), SKU numbers. With the technology available now there is no reason that your possessions should not be fully documented.
Lock Insurance has its own app that has an inventory list built into it. Our agents have access to the data in the app and they can send the list for you to the insurance company in the event of a claim.
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Things like art, jewelry, antiques, and collectibles may have increased in their worth and will require individual coverage apart from your standard homeowner’s insurance. You should research these items value and speak with your agent about coverage before they are lost to a disaster.
When documenting your possessions, it is easy to forget the attic or garage. Your tools, exercise equipment, golf clubs, and other valuable items may all be stored in your garage. Antiques and your children’s old toys may be stored in the attic, so don’t forget to climb up there and document items.
Remember to document your clothes along with your other possessions. Record how many of each article of clothing you own such as jeans, shoes, and shirts. If you have a coat or other item of clothing that is valuable, be sure to record details about it.
Items in your rented storage unit may also be covered by home insurance, ask your agent to be sure if your policy covers them.
When it comes to financial documents, family photos, and other important documents, be sure to store them in a fireproof safe or safety deposit box. Make sure to include a copy of your list as a backup to your home inventory app.
Creating a home inventory list doesn’t have to be a monotonous chore; it can be quick and easy if you just follow the above suggestions.Continue Reading
Lock Insurance has been in business quite awhile and have been through several hurricanes, but hurricane Irma really showed who and what was covered. A lot of insured do not realize how high their deductible was for Hurricanes. We also found that they did not know there was a lower hurricane deductible option.
In Florida the 2%, 5% and 10% deductible is a calendar year deductible, which means that it is a percentage of your structure amount dwelling. For instance, $100,000 thousand dollar house with a 2% deductible would result in the homeowner being responsible for the first $2,000 dollars from a named storm event.
What happens if there are multiple named storms in a single calendar year and you have to file more than one hurricane claim? Once your deductible has been met, you have no further deductible responsibility for that year.
In the past few years some carriers have started offering Hurricane Deductibles as low as $500.00 dollars.
Contact us today and find out more so you will not be caught with High out of pocket cost for minimal difference in price when the next storm is coming in.
I want a quote for $500.00 deductible for hurricanes. Click Here.Continue Reading
Shopping around for auto insurance is the best way to make sure you are getting the best deal. But not every agent or insurance company quotes in the same way.
It’s important to be sure you are comparing apples to apples when you compare auto insurance quotes to ensure that you are getting a great deal. That low price may come with lower coverage or higher deductibles and might not be such a great deal after all. Learn how to compare auto insurance quotes for a truly good rate.
Are The Coverages The Same?
When you read over an auto insurance quote (and do read it-ask for it to be emailed or faxed to you, as mistakes can be made over the phone!) look to be sure that the numbers listed for liability limits, uninsured motorist coverage, and the comprehensive and collision deductibles match up. Then look for additional coverages that are listed on the quote, such as roadside assistance. Make sure that all of the quotes you compare list exactly the same coverage, for accurate comparison.
Is The Policy Term The Same?
Some rates look absolutely incredible-until you realize the policy term is only six months. Some companies offer different policy terms as well as different payment plan options. If you plan to make monthly payments on your policy, be sure to ask for the monthly premium. It isn’t necessarily as simple as dividing a yearly premium by twelve. Many insurance companies charge fees for the privilege of paying your premium on a monthly basis, which can make the total yearly cost of the policy higher than quoted.
Are The Discounts The Same?
An auto insurance rate may appear lower because it was quoted with a discount such as auto/home which you may not necessarily qualify for or desire. If you don’t plan to take out a homeowner’s policy with the same company, make sure they haven’t quoted it that way. Also check for other discounts; they won’t all match up, as every company offers different discount options. The best thing to do is to compare which discounts you do qualify for, with each company, to help determine who is offering the best discounts. Be on the lookout for discounts that don’t actually apply to you and will likely be removed by underwriting after you accept the policy.
A good quote will be simple, straightforward, and easy to read. It will outline all of the coverage included in the quote and apply only those discounts for which you truly qualify. An inaccurately low rate in the quote won’t do you much good if it changes once you accept the policy.Continue Reading
Whether its damage due to a natural disaster, an unexpected accident or break-in, knowing when you should file a home insurance claim and what the consequences will be either way, is important.
When should you file a homeowners insurance claim? What will that mean for your future rates or eligibility for a new policy with a new carrier? Here are some things to consider before contacting your insurance company.
The first thing to consider when making a home insurance claim is whether your current policy will cover the claim or not. You should know exactly what your insurance covers before you ever need to make a claim; however, checking on the specific claim you are going to make-before contacting your insurance company-will give you the upper hand.
Once you have determined whether you are eligible or not, the next thing to consider is whether a claim is necessary. There may be instances when the deductible for your particular claim is higher than the costs. In that case a claim would be a waste of time. You may also want to consider if the overall cost is worth any potential rate increases that may result from a claim.
If you do decide to make a claim, arming yourself with all the necessary information will make the process go quickly and smoothly. Be sure you have all your insurance policy documents readily available. You should also gather as many documents that relate to the claim-repair estimates, police reports, and photographs. It is also a good idea to keep track of all contacts with your insurance provider, in case a dispute occurs.
In most cases, making a claim on your home insurance is a good idea. Keeping calm, organized, and informed can make the process stress free as well, most importantly contact us for advice.Continue Reading
Whatever your profession, protecting yourself with professional liability insurance is not just a smart thing to do, but a necessity in today’s litigious society. You have worked hard and put in years of education and work to get where you are in your career. Without the right coverage for potential negligence suits, you could lose everything you have worked so hard to achieve.
General liability insurance can protect you from a wide variety of claims against you and your business, but will not protect you from the type of lawsuit that can result from the simple errors we are all capable of making. Nor will it protect you from claims made against you that are unfounded. Remember that even if there is no truth to the accusations against you, you can still find yourself in court defending yourself and your professional reputation against them at a very high cost to you.
Those who provide a service or advice, or in any other way use their knowledge and experience to help others are in need of professional liability insurance. This includes things like errors and omissions insurance and malpractice insurance, both of which are types of professional liability. The similarity is that the types of lawsuits brought against professionals are usually based on actions, advice, or services that may not have caused property damage or direct injury but nonetheless can in some way be shown to be a result of the negligence of the professional.
You do your best to provide good advice, to make sure that everything you do and offer to your clients is as accurate and helpful as possible, but everyone makes mistakes. And even when you didn’t make a mistake, all it takes is someone who is unhappy with the outcome to turn on you and put the blame at your feet. These lawsuits can cost professionals incredible amounts of money, even if you win. Having to pay out on such a lawsuit can easily bankrupt even the most well off professional.
Professional liability insurance provides you with the means to defend your good name in court against accusations as well as to pay out on settlements when you are found to be negligent. Without it, you could find yourself not only out a lot of money, but your reputation could be on the line because you are unable to fight an unfounded lawsuit. Don’t take chances; protect everything you have worked so hard for with the right professional liability policy for your industry.
Your insurance agent can help you to ensure you have the coverage you need to have complete peace of mind.Continue Reading
Homeowners insurance is an essential part of owning a home and is a cost usually considered as part of the regular maintenance and protection of your house. In most places it is also required by your mortgage lender, but how much home insurance do you really need?
The minimum coverage may suit some homeowners, but most need additional types of coverage that the minimum policies do not include. So what are the types of coverage home insurance policies typically provide, and how do you determine how much home insurance you really need?
While disaster insurance that covers natural occurrences such as floods, earthquakes, and hurricanes can be expensive, if you live in an area where these types of events occur frequently the cost of replacing your home will certainly far exceed the cost of the insurance. In the case of disaster insurance it is a matter of balancing risk, financial situation, and peace of mind.
While most basic home policies include content coverage, the amount of this coverage and the cost of the deductible may not be appropriate for your particular situation. If you have a number of valuables, such as jewelry or rare items such as antiques, your basic coverage will not protect these in case of theft or damage.
On the other hand, if you have few belongings, choosing a policy with a high deductible to save money may not be worth it, as the value of your items may not be much more than the deductible itself.
Again, most basic home insurance plans do not offer extensive coverage for loss from theft or damage due to a break-in. If having the peace of mind that comes with this kind of protection is important to you, then this additional coverage will definitely be worth the cost.
If you have a home-based business or own a condo, having homeowners liability insurance is important. If a client had an accident on your property or your negligence caused damage to a fellow condo owner’s property, liability coverage would protect you from the potential costs associated with this, including legal costs.
Seeking the professional advice from a Lock insurance expert can help you determine how much home insurance you really need.Continue Reading
Unless you are very lucky, you probably have a mortgage on your home. Your mortgage company, also known as a lien holder, has a vested interest in the protection of your home. If you fail to carry he correct homeowner’s insurance and a loss occurs, their monetary loss will be much greater than yours. This is the reason the lien holders require that you carry homeowner’s insurance. You won’t be able to close on a purchase without it, and if it lapses, your lien holder will step in.
Forced-Place insurance is a policy that your lien holder takes out on your home when your policy has lapsed or you have not provided them with proof of a policy that is acceptable to them. In order to protect their interest in the property, your mortgage company will obtain a policy and attach the payments on this policy to your mortgage. This insurance will remain in place until you provide proof of an alternate insurance policy.
It doesn’t seem like such a bad deal to let the mortgage company handle placing insurance on your home. The problem is that this type of policy exists only to protect the mortgage company’s interests-not yours. There is no coverage for your personal property, and in the case of a claim you will get nothing-only the mortgage company will receive payment. In return for this limited coverage, force-placed insurance is very expensive-much more so than traditional homeowner’s insurance.
First of all, make sure your homeowner’s insurance coverage doesn’t lapse! Make your payments on time. If you have trouble remembering, consider rolling the insurance in with your mortgage payment, or having it automatically withdrawn. Another important consideration is to make sure that the insurance company has accurate information regarding your lien holder, including their address. This will ensure the insurance company provides proof of insurance to the correct lien holder and there is no question that you already have insurance in place.
Force-placed insurance isn’t what the mortgage company wants, nor is it the best choice for your interests. Be sure your homeowner’s insurance stays in force and proof is provided so that your interests, as well as those of the mortgage company, are protected.Continue Reading