Lock Insurance – Lakeland, Florida

Category Archives for Home Insurance

Fun in the sun!

poolraftThe summer months are finally here and Floridians are doing what they love to do… get in the water. Some are going to the beach and others are going as far as their back patio. Many homes in Florida have swimming pools, a luxury and privilege Floridians are used to. But with privilege comes responsibility.


According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), children ages 1 to 4 have the highest drowning rates and most of these drowning’s occur in home swimming pools. Most of these drowning’s however could have been prevented.


The​se are some safety tips every parent or guardian should remember at home:

  • Nothing replaces good supervision; never leave your child alone, even for a second as it only takes a second for accident to occur.
  • Although floating toys are fun for children, they are not a substitute for a life jacket; make it a habit to always put a life jacket on your child.
  • The CDS recommends installing a fence around your pool and removing all toys from the pool when you are finish swimming so children are not tempted to get back in the water.

Other common things to make sure any doors leading to the pool are locked and cannot be unlocked by the child. If you or your child will be exposed to water on a continual basis, swimming lessons are always a good idea. Following these steps does not prevent all accidents as the water and situations are unpredictable.

Make sure as a parent or guardian you are trained in Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR). Knowing how to resuscitate your child can mean the difference between life and death as time is always of the essences in water related accidents. The summer months are meant to be enjoyed and what better way to enjoy them, than a nice afternoon swim with the family?

Make sure your day doesn’t end in disaster. Take the time to make the swimming environment a little safer for everyone especially your child.

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Going to the Beach this Summer? Play it safe.

summerbeachFloridians are fortunate enough to live in a state that experiences beach weather almost year round but before you put on the sunblock and shades there are things you must remember. Number one, safety should be the ultimate goal, as ocean water is not like any other type of swimming environment and the perils of swimming in the ocean are many.


Knowing how to swim is essential in any water but more so in the ocean as the ocean lends to unpredictable and most times unforeseen circumstances. According to the American Red Cross, rip currents causes the death of beach goers each year.


Aside from knowing how to swim, there are simple rules you and your family can adopt and these should be followed every time you enter the water. Always make sure you are never alone, if something does go wrong someone will see and be able to get help.


Also make sure you obey all the posted rules and regulations, they are there for a reason. Pay extra close attention to children in the water as they themselves are unpredictable and make sure that you do not go too far out, staying as close as possible to the shore line reduces the risk of an incident.


Even the most experienced swimmers can find themselves in difficult situations in the ocean. If you are not an experienced swimmer you should consider a life jacket at all times. Keep in mind that not all beaches have lifeguards on duty so knowing what to do to prevent an accident is the best way to ensure you and your family’s safety.

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What you must know about Home Inspections

inspectorsMost people only think of getting a home inspection when purchasing a home and while that is the most common reason for getting one, it’s not the only reason. Home inspections serve many purposes. Some inspections are required when closing on a home, some are required in order to purchase home insurance and others help you get appropriate discounts on your home insurance.


Below are the three most common home inspections:

  • Standard Home Inspection
  • Wind Mitigation Inspection
  • Four-Point Inspection

When buying a home the closing cost normally includes a fee for a “Standard Home Inspection”. This inspection is required to ensure that the condition of the home meets requirements. It also protects the buyer from purchasing a home with existing damage.


A “Wind Mitigation Inspection” is different and most people are not familiar with this inspection. This inspection is completed on your roof and gives the insurance companies information regarding the type of roof, age, and tie downs you have. If certain features of your roof qualify for the wind mitigation discount you could see a big savings in your homeowner premium. Most discounts apply to roofs that were installed prior to 2003.


Below is a list of information that is provided in this inspection:

  • How the trusses are attached to the walls of your home… i.e. Toe nailed, clips, single strap, double strap
  • Size of nails that are used and far they are spaced on each shingle
  • Shape of roof
  • Shutters and missile tested window ratings

The third type of inspection is a “Four-Point Inspection”. Most times this inspection is required in obtaining homeowners insurance for older homes.


Below are the four areas of your home that is inspected.

  • Roof (not the same as wind mitigation inspection)
  • Electrical System
  • Plumbing System
  • A/C and Heating System

Every insurance company is different and requirements change so be sure to contact your agent to make sure a Four-Point is not required.


These inspections usually cost anywhere from $65-$125 and most inspectors can do all of the above inspections most times for half the cost if the inspections are combined. Please do not hesitate to contact our agency for a better understanding of these inspections.

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Flood Insurance Will The Changes Effect You?

flood1On July 16, 2012 changes were made to The National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) that required the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to remove subsidies on flood policies, which resulted in rate increases for thousands of homeowners who were required to carry flood insurance.


Luckily for those homeowners the rate increases were not implemented thanks to the bill, H.R. 3370, that was passed by Congress known as the Homeowner Flood Insurance Affordability Act of 2014. This bill delayed the implementation of the rate increases of flood premiums for four years.


If you are a homeowner who is fortunate enough to live in a “Preferred Flood Zone”, flood insurance is not required, so not to worry. However purchasing flood insurance is something you should still consider because every home has the potential of experiencing a flood and that flood resulting in damage.


Others however are not so fortunate and flood insurance is required. Flood premiums have to be paid in full at the renewal of each policy.


If you are required to carry flood insurance remember that in order to get the best rate, an Elevation Certificate is recommended. This certificate allows the NFIP to provide you with the most accurate rate. Failure to secure an elevation certificate could result in the highest premium as premiums typically have to be manually rated.


Flood insurance serves many purposes. What most don’t know is that flood insurance covers for more than just water damage due to a flood. Coverage goes beyond water damage but includes hurricanes, tornadoes, flooding, droughts, ice storms, earthquakes, wildfires, and tropical storms. Any of these perils could occur as Mother Nature is unpredictable.


If you are wondering whether or not you should purchase flood insurance, or if you have questions on your existing flood policy do not hesitate to give your agent a call.

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Protect Your Home from Fires!

burnthouseAccording to FEMA there are an estimated 405,000 in residential home fires a year and 4.7 billion in property loss. The fact is, some of these fires could have been prevented or damage mitigated if the residents had been alerted early. The average cost of a smoke alarm is ten dollars and the astonishing fact is that 6% of Americans do not have them. When millions are paid out a year in insurance claims, everyone pays.


To the policyholder, a fire claim can cause your homeowner premiums to rise dramatically; it can also cause your policy to be non-renewed from your current insurance carrier.


To make matters worse, a fire claim can hinder and in most cases prevent any other potential insurance carrier from underwriting your policy. Claims in general affect everyone, because insurance companies have to offset cost, rate increases across the board are a factor, so don’t be surprised if you too see a rate increase on your policy.


In an ideal world preventing a claim would be the way to go, but prevention is not always an option… Lessoning the damage is the next best thing.


A few things to consider:

  • First, make sure you have a proper working smoke alarm, replacing the batteries when needed.
  • Second, make sure candles are blown out, stoves are turned off, and appliances unplugged, among other things.
  • Third, make sure you know the location of your fire extinguisher and more importantly make sure it has been service, as fire extinguishers do not normally expire, however some may need to be recharged.

Taking pride in your home means more than just keeping it clean, it also means keeping it safe.

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We want to welcome Peoples Trust Insurance Company to Lock Insurance

SAMSUNGTheir Mission: People’s Trust is committed to making Florida homeowners insurance affordable by providing our customers with protection that emphasizes savings, security, and customers first.


People’s Trust is in the business of protecting the foundation of our customer’s lives – their home. We were founded by Florida homeowner Michael Gold who was inspired to create a new kind of company when his own homeowners insurance premiums skyrocketed.


Determined to make a difference for Florida homeowners People’s Trust was founded. A team of experienced and tenured insurance executives were assembled to build out the vision. A distinguished board of directors was recruited to provide governance, oversight and counsel to the venture. Together, a company committed to integrity, ethics, and doing the right thing for their policyholders was born.


People’s Trust knows that when you purchase homeowners insurance you want to be a part of a strong dependable company. We are financially backed by “A” rated reinsurance companies and we are proud to have been assigned a Financial Stability Rating® of A, Exceptional by Demotech, Inc., a financial analysis and actuarial consulting firm in Columbus, Ohio. We have met or exceeded all of the State of Florida requirements to write and service insurance policies.


We offer the exclusive benefit of the Rapid Response Team, an affiliated company of People’s Trust that provides our customers with professionals that can guarantee 24 hour a day, 7 day a week response and outstanding service in the event of a loss. Rapid Response operates out of statewide warehouses that are stockpiled with top quality materials – ready in the event of an everyday loss or catastrophe.


With our employees all living in Florida, approaching property insurance from a Florida homeowner’s perspective comes naturally to us. We have each felt the financial pain of increasing premiums and we are committed to reversing the trend. Trust isn’t just part of our name; it’s a fundamental component of the way we do business.

TAKE CONTROL – Switch to People’s Trust Insurance Today!

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Flood Insurance Rate Increases

flood2The Senate passed a bill in January to delay certain flood insurance rate hikes. The bill delays the implementation of certain provisions of the Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance Reform Act of 2012. The Senate bill would halt premium hikes by retaining most flood insurance subsidies for four years to give the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) time to complete an affordability study and guarantee that its flood maps are accurate. The bill would also grandfather low rates for homeowners placed into a flood zone for the first time or moved into a higher-risk flood zone due to remapping.


“The strong vote from the Senate today shows the importance of addressing the unintended consequences of reforming the flood insurance program. While we remain committed to introducing actuarial rates as required under the Biggert Waters Act, today’s action by the Senate allows that process to move forward with the least disruption to homeowners and supports the worthy goal of returning the NFIP program to solvency,” ABA said in a statement.


The National Flood Program has been a Federally backed and ran program since the beginning, pumping Billions of dollars back into to it in the 1970s. I believe if you have a home is in some very low areas it should not be rebuild unless they can build it up or have a garage on the bottom with proper flood vents.


I think the answer could be Private companies starting to offer there own Flood Insurance. Open market is always good for the consumer.

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The difference between Homeowners Replacement Cost and Actual Cash Value.

house damageYou have two main areas where this coverage comes into question.

An H-03 (most common type of policy)normally comes with replacement cost on the structure, an example of this is you have roof damage the field adjuster meets you at the property to access the damage he does not know what your policy contains. Let me do hypothetical example. You have roof damage, to replace is $15,000 dollar he will take out the deductible and then he looks at age and wear and tear and actual cash value will deduct another amount for the depreciation, if you have replacement cost it will be the full amount to replace the roof minus your deductible.


Most common were you have to make this critical decision is on personal property coverage (t.v., furniture,and everything that is not attached to the structure). Most people do not know if they have it or not until you have the claim an it is to late. Like the structure the field adjuster does not know what you have but he will make to list actual cash value and replacement cost. Best way I explain it to customers when you have to go and replace your property do you want to buy it new or go to salvation army or yard sales.


There are many different options in your policy make sure you have the right coverages or make sure you are not paying for something you don’t need. Contact your agent today or give Lock Insurance a call we would be happy to review your current coverage even if you are not a current client.

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Ordinance of Law Coverage

Florida-HomesmallWhy most of our customers have a general idea of what there Home insurance covers most don’t understand covered perils and how the claim is handled. Just like I don’t understand a lot of things under the hood of my car that the mechanic does. Ordinance and law coverage is one of them.


One of our clients in Winter Haven Florida had a kitchen fire recently they deemed the house was over 40% damaged because it was not built to code the county is requiring to be removed and rebuilt from ground up. The undamaged portion of the structure has to be tore down and rebuilt due to a change in municipal codes. This is where ordinance of law coverage comes into play.


Normally your policy comes with a percentage a lot of times it is 10% of the structure value, in some cases you can increase the percentage for a fee.


Ordinance of law coverage is designed to pay for:

  • Cost of the demolition and removal of the debris of undamaged portions the structure that must be torn down of modified.
  • Increased cost of reconstruction, that is the added cost to repair or rebuild in accordance with the current code. This may included upgraded electrical system sprinkler systems redesigning to meet hurricane resistant standards
  • Loss of Value of the undamaged portion of a building when it must be torn down to meet code requirements.

I would suggest becoming familiar with local and state zoning laws. You can contact zoning board and ask the questions such as:

  • Since the building has been constructed has there been any changes in code that could effect my property?
  • Does existing code prohibit from rebuilding, location or size, and what percentage has to be damaged to rebuild?

At Lock insurance we always recommend this coverage and really stress on older homes, contact us today so we can review your current policy to make sure you have the correct information so you can make a wise decision. Once the claim happens its to late to review your policy and implement the changes.

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Protecting your Home from Fire Risks

kitchenProtecting your home and family

On average a home blaze happens every 87 seconds, 7 people die and 40 are injured. The number one cause of fire is kitchen stoves. Always be careful with grease and keep away clothing, paper products and pot holders.


There are 35 fires a day from candles in homes. Always test and make sure smoke detectors are installed properly, two thirds of all fire deaths happen when they are not working correctly.


We emphasize the importance of developing a fire escape plan for your family, making sure each family member understands what to do in an emergency.


Visit https://www.usfa.fema.gov/prevention/ for more detailed prevention ideas.


From all of us at Lock Insurance we want you to have a safe holiday, keep your family safe, and never have to go through a fire claim. But if you do, we are here for you and your family, and we will take care of every step of the way.

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