In Florida, if you keep your boat at a local marina or boatyard they may require you to carry boat insurance. But, what about all those private lakes around our state? Many of our clients tell us “I live on a private lake, I don’t have to have insurance on my jet skis/boats”. It is true that if you live on a private lake it is unlikely that you will be pulled over by Marine Patrol to verify your vessel is insured BUT that does not mean you do not have a need for boat or personal watercraft (PWC) insurance.

Thanks to our “endless summer”, Florida has the highest number of registered boats in the US. Having more boats and watercrafts means that we also have the highest number of boat accidents resulting in property damage of more than $9 million in 2016. Your home insurance won’t be able to cover you in case your boat gets damaged or you cause damage while operating it. You will need to take out a boat insurance to protect your personal watercrafts.

What is PWC Insurance?

PWC insurance in Florida helps insure you and your personal watercraft like small boats and jet skis against accidents, vandalism, and other liability. The team at Seibert Insurance Agency can help you get the right personal watercraft policy to suit your needs.

Why You Need Boat/Jet Ski Coverage

Imagine if you had your friends over for a day on the lake…it is a beautiful day out, you are swimming in the lake and waterskiing and then your friends ask if they can drive your jet ski. They tell you they know what they are doing so you let them drive it. You fail to remind them that on a jet ski, you have no brakes and you have to hit the gas to turn…before you know it they are headed the wrong direction around the lake and are head on with another boater because they want to jump that wake that the boat is putting out. They get too close and let off the gas, try to steer away but keep moving straight towards danger and then crash into the boat. Now, your neighbor’s boat is damaged, people are injured inside the boat, your jet ski is wrecked and the driver of that jet ski is critically injured.

Did you know that you are responsible for all that damage simply because you own the jet ski? Because you are. You have just put all your personal assets at risk if you have no insurance on your jet ski. Did you know that most jet ski/boat insurance is less than $500 per year?

Because insurance needs differ depending on what kind of personal watercraft you own and would like to insure, it’s important to know the details in your Florida insurance policy to see what is covered and what is specifically excluded.

What’s Generally Covered by Boat and PWC Insurance?

Your personal watercraft or boat insurance policy typically protects you against many common liability losses whether you operate it or loan it to another person like in the above example.

  • With proper boat and PWC insurance, you may be covered for:
  • Damage to another watercraft or dock
  • The negligence of another driver while using your PWC
  • Towed water skiers who become injured while using your craft
  • Physical damage to your boat or PWC
  • Injury to you caused by an uninsured watercraft operator
  • Bodily injury or death to another person caused by you

If you have a boat, jet ski or any other recreational vehicle that is not insured – call Seibert Insurance Agency near Tampa, Florida today for a quote to protect your assets.

Did you know that water damage is the most common cause of loss under a home insurance policy?  Unfortunately, it’s also one of the most destructive.  At Seibert Insurance Agency, we understand how important your home is to you and your family, and we will do everything in our power to help you protect it.

We’ve been on the other side of unexpected water damage and know how scary it can be to see water gushing from places water shouldn’t be coming from. Fortunately, there are several easy, inexpensive (yet effective!) things you can do to prevent water damage from occurring.  Because water damage is so common, we’re sharing more tips to help you prevent water damage to your home.

1.Check the hoses on appliances.  Replace rubber hoses with steel braided hoses on your toilets, washing machine, and any new appliances (standard hoses on new appliances are not as durable as they used to be).  Don’t trust your handyman skills?  No problem!  Most plumbing companies will replace these hoses for less than a couple hundred dollars.  This small expense can save you thousands in water damage and deductibles.

2. Make sure your water pressure is not too high.  For about $6, you can purchase a gauge that will help you test your pressure for the appropriate level (which should be between 60 and 80 PSI).

3. Check your water before you leave home.  A lot of water damage occurs when no one is home.  Never (and we mean never!) let your washing machine or dishwasher run while you are out.  Water leaks can happen in an instant and a lot of damage can be caused in just minutes.

4. Make sure your water pressure is not too high.  For about $6, you can purchase a gauge that will help you test your pressure for the appropriate level (which should be between 60 and 80 PSI).

If you’re going out of town, it’s a best practice to turn off the water to the house before you leave. No one wants to come back to a flooded home!

5. Stay on top of home maintenance.  Florida summer rains can lead to roof leaks and more severe damage if you’re not careful. Our Tampa insurance experts recommend you examine your roof every few months as damaged shingles will allow water to come in and claims may be denied if you can’t say when the roof damage occurred.

If any roof shingles are worn, curled, or missing, replace them immediately.  Also, keep water from leaking into the walls or floor of your bathroom by replacing cracked tiles and re-grouting when necessary.

6. Know your home. Quick: Do you know where your water shut off valve is for the house?! It is extremely important to know! And you’d be amazed how many Florida homeowners and renters have no clue.

If you are home and a pipe bursts, you will want to immediately shut off the water to prevent further water damage.  Also, stay on top of that water heater!  Seventy-five percent of water heaters fail before they are 12 years old, so make sure you know the age of your heater.  As it gets older, it’s a good idea to have it inspected by a plumber.

What to do After a Water Loss?

We understand that accidents happen; that’s the reason you carry insurance in the first place. In the case, you have a water loss and need to file a claim, call your home insurance carrier or agent ASAP. We can refer a list of contractors that will help with repair work. If you happen to use your own vendor or contractor, DO NOT sign your policy rights away via an “Assignment of Benefits” to the contractor.  This is a new scam that is occurring in Florida and it can end up costing you big time.

Call Seibert Insurance in Tampa, FL

At our Tampa independent insurance agency, we want to make sure you’re prepared for all of life’s accidents. These water damage prevention tips should help you to minimize your risk of home damage and insurance rate hikes.

If you would like a quote for flood insurance or home insurance, please contact Seibert Insurance Agency at (813) 960-4672 for a hassle-free insurance quote today!

The most popular resolutions normally focus on healthier changes. Keeping a New Year’s resolution is one of the hardest things to do. Adding to this that life, unfortunately, doesn’t always go as planned. Insurance is a safety net just in case things don’t go the way you planned. Here are 7 resolutions for the new year to help reduce your Florida insurance rates in 2019:

1. Improve your credit

Having bad credit may impact you more than you may think. It is more likely for you to be considered a high risk the lower your credit score is. Look into different ways to improve your credit in order to receive better insurance rates.

2. Find gaps in your insurance plans

Got a new car over the holidays? Maybe this year your teen will start driving? Buying or renting a new home? Call your insurance provider to see what exactly you have covered. Our Tampa, FL insurance agents will go through your coverage plan(s) to make sure you have the necessary coverage. Make sure to mention these things to your insurance agent to proactively see what plans might be best for you.

3. Take a home inventory

Did you and your significant other exchange jewelry, watches, or cufflinks for your anniversary or the holidays? The value of the jewelry in your home can sneak up on you over the years, and most insurance policies have a limit on how much they will pay for jewelry. Adding additional coverage is simple and relatively inexpensive, so make sure you know your jewelry limits and know how much your existing jewelry is worth. A comprehensive home inventory allows your home belongings to be rebuilt, recovered or replaced. You will be able to include that anniversary gift with your protection. Contact us to find out how much coverage your current policy offers or you can increase your limits.

4. Update your life insurance

Life insurance can be a critical step in helping to secure your financial future. Have your needs changed or did assets increase in 2018? Have you stopped smoking or lost weight? If you have family or assets to protect, life insurance will ensure that finances will not be a problem for your family if something were to happen to you. This can be critical for a family that loses half its income. Most importantly, life insurance is normally affordable. Give Seibert Insurance a call and we can help you with this.

5. Secure your home

Add cameras throughout your home for extra security. You will be able to watch your house 24/7 from your phone. There are many smart-home setups on the market which include surveillance and supported smartphone apps, which make it easier to know what is going on throughout your property at all times. Also, in case of theft, you will be able to see who comes in and out of your home. These are beneficial in cases of theft, for instance, when a package that has been ordered online, is delivered to your doorstep and has been stolen.

6. Prepare Car Emergency Bags

For when natural disasters strike, make sure every vehicle in your household has an emergency kit in it. One should include jumper cables, flares, emergency blankets, a first kit, and other useful items. If your children have a car, make sure their vehicle has one as well. Since you’re leaving something of value in your car, make sure to keep it hidden or put it in your trunk. And don’t forget to lock your doors to help prevent auto thefts! Planning ahead and being prepared is one of the best things you can do for your family.

7. Update/Maintain plumbing

Make sure that all of your plumbing is updated or maintained to avoid a potential flooding. If you are unsure of the condition of the plumbing in your home, or even if you haven’t had an inspection done in a while, have a plumber come out and assess your home. One of the most frequent reasons a home floods is because the homeowner has rubber supply lines – make a new years resolution to replace all supply lines with steel braided lines. It is an inexpensive way to avoid a small disaster at your home!

So looking into the new year, think about the changes you want to make and take small steps towards changing those habits. Making some changes with these resolutions can help give you peace of mind. They may have a big impact on your insurance rates in the new year.

About Seibert Insurance Agency

Since 1971, Seibert Insurance Agency has been a full-service, one-stop agency representing more than 100 top insurance companies, has been servicing the Tampa Bay area’s insurance needs. Seibert Insurance has deep roots in the community, helping almost 7,000 individuals and families and more than 500 businesses. Contact our Tampa insurance agents today for a hassle-free quote to help your new year go right!

Tis the season for holiday parties!  However, if you’re hosting, you should be cautious of hazards that can arise that will give your shindig a serious buzzkill-and possible insurance premium hikes.  Here are some of the more common insurance issues that any good host should be aware of… 

Distracted Cooking

According to the National Fire Protection Association, cooking is the leading cause of home fires, and the holidays are the peak season for them.  Additionally, Travelers Insurance reports that home fires increased by 12% from Christmas to New Year’s Eve compared to a typical week. This holiday season be careful of multi-tasking to the point of forgetting about safety procedures.  

Holiday dinner fail? Well, home insurance generally covers structural damage, and both home and rental insurance cover damage to belongings and living expenses (if the home is uninhabitable while being repaired).  

Overserved Guests

It’s the holidays and there’s a good chance there will be alcohol going at your event.  However, you should be careful with how much you serve.  If a guest overindulges in alcohol at your house, drives, and causes an accident, you could face consequences.   

 Home insurance typically includes liquor liability coverage which would cover your legal costs up to the policy limits (typically $100,000 to $300,000) if an accident victim sued you.  Laws and policies do vary, so make sure to check your policy limits, conditions, and exclusions.  

Food Poisoning

It really is every host’s worst nightmare…  If your guests get sick after eating at your home, their trip to the ER can rack up expenses fast.  You could be held responsible for medical payments, pain and suffering, or other costs associated with food poisoning 

The medical payments coverage under home or renters insurance will pay for guests’ medical expenses up to the policy’s limits (typically between $1,000 to $5,000).  In addition, home and rental insurance policies also include liability coverage (typically $100,000 per incident) which would pay for your defense costs should you be sued.   

Home Hazards

Any good host should be aware of potential home hazards that could lead to injury prior to your party.  This could be anything from an icy front porch to an easy-to-miss step.  Unfortunately, injuries are all too common this time of year especially when there is alcohol involved.   

As a homeowner, you may be held liable for an injury to a guest that occurred in your home.  Should this happen, your home insurance would likely pay for medical expenses, damages, and even pay for lost wages. But our Tampa insurance agents stress the importance of understanding your specific policy coverage.    

Before you host that holiday party, make sure you are properly covered with home or renters insurance.  For more information or quote, please contact Seibert Insurance Agency in Tampa, FL today!  Our independent agents will review your homeowners or renter’s insurance policies with you, so you know what coverage you have before an accident occurs at your holiday party!

Thanksgiving is a time when insurance claims can go through the roof! From house fires to home intrusions, a variety of problems can occur while you’re celebrating the holidays with family and friends. Certainly, no one expects it or plans for it, but things happen and unless you’re protected by your homeowner’s insurance, Thanksgiving could wind up costing more than just the price of a turkey. Here are the most common insurance claims that occur over the Thanksgiving holiday:

The (In)Famous Turkey Fry

Here are some interesting (and not so surprising) statistics: Thanksgiving Day is the busiest day for home cooking fires! The day before Thanksgiving is the second busiest… According to the U.S. Fire Administration, an estimated 2,400 residential building fires occurred on Thanksgiving Day between 2014 and 2016, resulting in $19 million in property loss. While nothing beats a fried turkey, you may want to reconsider this cooking method or at least make sure your insurance policy is up-to-date first.

Food-Poisoned House Guests

If you manage to give your guests food poisoning, you could end up being held liable for medical bills. If your guests end up in the emergency room due to your holiday meal, you should be protected by your Florida homeowner’s insurance policy. This coverage may help pay for medical bills, lost wages, as well as pain and suffering associated with food poisoning.

Over-Served Guests & Accidents

Thanksgiving weekend (6pm Wednesday through 5:59am Monday) is one of the most dangerous times to be on the road! According to the National Safety Council, there has been an average of 506 car-related deaths on Thanksgiving weekend over the past two decades.

Drunk driving is a huge contributor to this problem. While each state’s laws are different, you could be held liable if a guest is injured in a car accident after being served too much alcohol and driving. In most cases, your homeowner’s insurance should cover damages, but there are typically limitations to coverage.

If you’re visiting a family or friend’s place for Thanksgiving or just running out for that last ingredient, be careful on the road. Seibert Insurance recommends you also review your auto insurance policy to make sure you’re covered for uninsured motorist before the holidays get into the full swing.

Trips, Falls, & Dog Bites

If a guest is injured in your home from a trip, fall, or dog bite, you will most likely be held liable if it goes to a lawsuit. Unless you are properly insured with animal liability insurance, you will end up having to cover the costs for medical bills, lost wages, and/or pain & suffering caused by your dog or cat. Some of these accidents may be covered by the liability portion of your homeowner’s policy, but only up to your policy limits.

Home Intrusions

AAA has forecasted that 43.4 million Americans travel 50 miles or more for Thanksgiving. This means that a lot of homes are left empty and ripe for the picking. If you’re going out of town this Thanksgiving, protect your home by doing the following: do not post your trip plans on social media, put timers on your lights, and set your burglar alarm.

If you are the victim of a home intrusion and you have the proper homeowner’s insurance coverage, you should be able to recover damages easily.

Do you need to re-visit your current homeowner’s insurance policy or purchase a new one? Seibert Insurance Agency can help! Contact our Tampa independent insurance agents today for a hassle-free quote for your Florida home or auto insurance.

Great question! The answer is “it depends”. It used to be cut and dry, if you had a ticket it was X% increase and if you had an accident it was Z% increase on your Florida car insurance. Nowadays, there are thousands of factors that go into the rate of insurance. If you have an accident with a small payout, that is looked at more favorably than if you have an accident with a large payout. If the driver that has the ticket or accident is under the age of 25, they will pay more for their insurance come renewal than someone that has the same profile that is older. If you have a not-at-fault accident combined with a ticket and an at-fault accident, it will be harder for you to find coverage than someone with a similar profile but without that not-at-fault accident.

Statistically, if you have a ticket, an at-fault accident or a not-at-fault accident, you are more likely to get into an accident than someone with a squeaky-clean driving record. Because you are more likely to get into an accident, the car insurance company will charge you more.

Other factors that go into your cost of auto insurance…your insurance score (similar to a credit score), the address where the vehicle is parked, the distance to/from work, age of drivers, how many cars to drivers ratio, payment history, type of car you have and many more factors…Our team of experienced Florida insurance agents will help you find the most affordable car insurance that meets your specific coverage needs.

Many times if you have just had a ticket or accident, the best bet is to sit tight until renewal and see what happens to the renewal rate. If it skyrockets, that may be the time to shop the insurance. Sometimes insurance companies do not pick up on a ticket. Even though, motor vehicle reports (MVR) also known as your driving record, help car insurance companies determine how to set rates, it is costly to run a MVR so some carriers don’t run them. If that is the case and the carrier does not find out about your ticket, it may be best to stay with that same carrier for another year or so vs shopping at renewal. Your best bet is to use an Independent Agent that represents multiple carriers they can do the shopping for you.

Curious to learn more about how much an accident or speeding ticket can impact your Florida car insurance? Contact the team of Independent Florida insurance agents at Seibert Insurance Agency near Tampa!

Are you tired of increasing premiums when you have had no accidents?! Seibert Insurance Agency in Tampa, FL shares 6 Best Practices that are sure to head off premium increases for commercial vehicles. 

If the best practices are implemented, not only will they decrease the likelihood of an accident – they will decrease the cost you are paying for your commercial fleet insurance in Florida! 

Daily 60-second Safety Inspection

  1. Look for low tire pressure, ladder not secured properly, blinkers not working, etc.
  2. If documented and logged regularly – mitigates liability for the company

Click here for a free example.

Auto Fleet Safety Policy

  1. Sets the expectation for the driver
  2. Lays out the steps for discipline if tickets/accidents do occur
  3. Mitigates liability for the company

Click here for a copy of free example.

GPS Tracking Devices

Track speed, route, fast acceleration, hard braking

We recommend these companies that offer this service:

http://uniqueotto.com/ **local to Tampa Bay Area

https://www.trackyourtruck.com/

http://www.rhinofleettracking.com/

Dash cams are another great investment for fleet liability claims.  Today, companies can use video to protect commercial fleets and monitor events in the case of an accident.

Quarterly Safety Training

  1. Reminds drivers of the importance of safely driving
  2. If documents and logged – mitigates liability for the company

Click here for a free example.

Incentive Program for Drivers

Reward drivers for logging safety inspections and being accident/ticket free 

Click here for an example incentive program guideline. 

Regular Vehicle Maintenance Log 

Evidence of regularly scheduled service on the vehicle helps to mitigate liability for the company

Click here for a copy of a free maintenance log.

If a commercial client were to buy these resources, it would cost you hundreds or even thousands of dollars. Have a  local fleet (plumbing, electrical companies, housekeeping, etc.), Seibert Insurance Agency in Tampa Bay is here to help any fleet of 10 or more vehicles. Contact our Tampa insurance agency today to learn your commercial auto insurance options!

“Never trust your insurance company” is a message that we hear all the time as Florida insurance agents. The funny thing is when you step back and look at our industry, the vendors out there are the ones you don’t want to trust. Sadly, several of our insurance clients have received lawsuit paperwork mailed to me that named me as a plaintiff and I have no idea why.” Unfortunately, our industry is riddled with fraud and what is known as “AOB’s”. These AOB’s are an assignment of your benefit to the policy, some go so far to have the vendor be a power of attorney! AOB abuse causing insurance rates to skyrocket!

Watch out for AOB Abuse

One client, small business owner Mike Hinsch’s trouble started after replacing the windshields in three work trucks. His commercial auto policy increased from $16,000 a year to $22,000 over the windshield claim! Why? This plumber had no idea the glass company hit his insurer up for 14 thousand dollars.

Too often, clients will contact the insurance company to get the approved replacement costs that are covered in their policy. Then once they are signing paperwork for their appointment, the vendor slips something into the paperwork, and doesn’t explain it’s an assignment of benefits of the policy. This gives them the right to sue the carrier on your behalf without your permission.

Why would they need to sue the carrier? Because they decided to change the price of the windshield to $1,500 from the original estimate of $700. They don’t tell you they were changing the price, they had no reason to change the price…they just did.

They did that because they knew that insurance would only agree to pay the agreed upon price of $700 and then they knew that they could then file a suit to try to get the additional $800 PLUS now the attorney can charge thousands of dollars in attorneys fees…sounds crazy, but it happens every day!

Hinsch had no idea the glass company hit his insurer up for 14 thousand dollars.

Clients have been named as a plaintiff in a lawsuit, and never knew until they received paperwork after the fact!

What can you do?

Keep good records and get written evidence that they quoted $700 to replace the windshield. That way, you can sign an affidavit and undo what the vendor has done under AOB. Once there, read what you’re signing.

Another recommendation is if you have a claim, even something as small as a windshield replacement, call your carrier or agent FIRST! If you use a vendor recommended by the carrier, they guarantee the work and the quality AND you avoid scenarios like this where you are involved in a lawsuit and don’t even know it!

Football is back! It’s the season for diehard fans to celebrate their love of the sport & cut loose with friends and family. However, your fun tailgate can quickly take a wrong turn thanks to open flames, alcohol, extra traffic, and even rivalry pranks. A tailgate is all fun and games until a car catches on fire thanks to an open grill. Or an excited friend breaks the tailgate trying to start a chant. Don’t have an insurance fail this football season; make sure you have the right insurance coverage! If your idea of a great game-day includes a tailgate party, then keep reading for 5 football tailgating whoopies that insurance will pay for.

  1. You leave the grill in the car…and it burns the car to the ground. When you have comprehensive coverage on your auto policy, that coverage pays for things like fire. As long as the act was not intentional, your comprehensive coverage will kick in and you will just be responsible for your deductible. If you are grilling, bring a fire extinguisher.
  2. An opposing fan vandalizes your car. We all know that those Florida v. Florida State games can get pretty heated…if a fan of the other team were to key your car and you have comprehensive coverage, coverage would be in play for the damage caused.
  3. Give your friends food poisoning… many times there is not a spot to properly wash your hands and/or keep food at the exact right temperature. In the event, you give a friend food poisoning…home, renters or condo insurance can kick in and help pay for this accident.
  4. You damage another tailgaters stuff…say you are playing football with friends and are running for a catch and accidentally dive into another tailgaters area and destroy their tent, grill and chairs…again home, renters or condo insurance liability can kick in to help replace these items you damaged on accident.
  5. You hit a parked car…we all know how excited we get before the big game, looking for that perfectly shaded parking spot…if you accidentally smash into a parked car while focusing on that perfect tailgate spot, your Property Damage coverage from your auto policy would kick in to pay for the damage you cause up to the limit of coverage.

Wondering Am I Covered? Florida Insurance Needs for Tailgating

Before you head out for that tailgate, make sure your auto and homeowner’s Insurance are current! We recommend comprehensive car insurance coverage. Collision auto insurance coverage will protect you on the road, but a for a non-moving incident your comprehensive coverage will kick in. This valuable coverage is a must prior to your next tailgate!

Hot dogs check. Drinks and plenty of ice check. The right auto or home insurance coverage…? If you want to make sure you can focus on the fun while tailgating, then our Florida insurance agency is here to help! We’ll review your policy and let you know what you’re covered for. If there are gaps, you can trust the Siebert Insurance team to find the comprehensive car and home insurance you need.

Happy Tailgating From Seibert Insurance Agency!

Five minutes of your time could save you thousands of dollars and a ton of headaches when it comes to water damage. I don’t know about you, but we certainly don’t want to deal with the mess of a water pipe bursting or a toilet overflowing at home causing damage to flooring or cabinets. Prevent this from occurring at your home or business! Today, Seibert Insurance talks water damage prevention tips you won’t want to miss…

Know Where Your Water Shut Off Valve is for the House

This an important question to know the answer to since water damage is the MOST common cause of loss under a home insurance policy in Florida. If you are home and a pipe bursts and water is flooding into your home, that is not the time to want to go and look for your water shutoff valve.

Know The Age of Your Water Heater

Did you know that 75% of all water heaters fail before they are 12 years old? Our Tampa insurance agents recommend you have your inspected by a plumber once it reaches that age and consider replacement to avoid a flooded home.

More Water Damage Prevention Tips…

  • Replace rubber hoses on your toilets and washing machine to steel braided hoses. You can do this for less than a couple hundred dollars with most plumbing companies…which is way less than your deductible on your home policy which you would have to pay if you had a water loss claim.
  • Never let your washing machine run while you are not home (same for the dryer to prevent fire)! If your machine overflow and you are not there to stop it, that could be disaster!
  • When you leave town, do you want to come back to a moldy house with water on the floor?? We didn’t think so! Make sure to turn off the water to the house before you leave town.
  • Inspect all water supply line hoses every 6 months.
  • Pay attention to your water bill. A big jump could indicate a leak.

What Should You Do If You Have a Water Loss?

Call your home insurance carrier or Agent and ask for a referral to a vendor to help you clean it up. If you find a vendor on your own, be careful you do not sign your policy rights away to them via an “Assignment of Benefits” *this is the new scam that is sweeping through Florida.

Use these tips to prevent water damage at your home and just in case save our number in case of a loss. At Seibert Insurance we treat you like a person, not just a policy. Call us if you have questions about your Florida home insurance policy!