Home Maintenance Tips for the Fall

Although it may feel as though you’ve just finished up all of your home’s spring maintenance chores, fall in Brandon, FL is just around the corner, so there’s no better time than now to get started on your fall home maintenance. Taking preventative steps now will save you both time and money down the road as well as the headache of dealing with issues that often occur as the weather gets colder. Here are a few tips from Runnels Insurance to help you get started on your fall maintenance.

Clean the Gutters

One of the most important fall home maintenance tasks you should include on your list is cleaning the gutters. Nobody likes cleaning the gutters, but if left alone the gutters and downspouts can lead to much more significant and expensive damages, including roof leaks. It’s typically recommended that the gutters should be cleaned at least twice each year, once in the spring and again in the fall. If your home is surrounded by trees this should be done more frequently. Cleaning the gutters prevents clogging. Over time the leaves and debris build up in the gutters, eventually preventing the water from flowing away from the roof and spilling over which causes damage to the foundation.

Inspect the Roof

Fall is the best time to inspect your roof. The winter rains can cause significant damage to the roof, the structure of your home and lead to issues with pests. When inspecting your roof, make sure to check for loose shingles, missing shingles, and any damaged flashing around chimneys and vents. If there is any buckling, curling or cracking shingles, be sure to replace them before winter arrives. If there is extensive damage, you may want to consider hiring a professional roofing contractor to replace the existing roof.

Pest Prevention

People commonly assume that spring and summer are when they will notice the most pest activity in and around their home. While this is often the case, the reason why spring is the time of the year when you’ll notice an influx in pests is because the eggs that have been laid over the winter are hatching. Pests, such as ants, spiders, centipedes, roaches, and a host of other creepy crawlies start looking for a warm place to spend the winter and your home is the perfect winter home for them. As these pests take up residence in your home over the winter, they lay eggs, which eventually hatch in the spring; ultimately possibly leading to an infestation. So, the best way to prevent the problem is to address the issue in the fall before there’s a risk.

Residents of Brandon, FL interested in learning more information about home insurance should contact Runnels Insurance.

When Should You Add Coverage To Your Home Insurance?

Life is constantly evolving. The way we use our homes is always changing, too. At Runnels Insurance, we encourage our Brandon, FL customers to regularly reevaluate their home insurance needs. Big changes to your property mean big chances that your coverage may not be enough to protect your new investments, such as:

Additions To Your Property

Are you considering adding a room to your home? How about installing a new swimming pool or deck? Finally going to build that covered parking, garage, or workshop? All of these situations call for new coverage. You don’t want to have something major cause damage or even total loss of your addition, only to find out it was not covered by your current policy. Whenever you make a major change or improvement to your property make sure you have proper insurance coverage.

Renting Out Parts Of Your Home

Leasing out an unused section of your home can be an excellent way to generate extra income. However, your current homeowner’s insurance might not cover damages caused by renters. Furthermore, if you end up leasing to a tenant who decides to sue you later your current policy may not cover legal or court fees. While Florida law does not require landlords to purchase rental-specific coverage, it’s still important to consider the "what if’s" with your insurance agent and adjusts your coverage appropriately.

Hosting Major Events

From super sweet 16th birthdays to graduation blowouts to intimate backyard weddings, our homes can play host to many of life’s special events. Unfortunately, the more people that gather at your home, the more chance there is for something to go wrong. People can accidentally get hurt or damage your personal property. Before you host a large event at your home, examine your current policy to make sure you’ll be covered if a guest gets hurt or breaks something valuable. You may want to consider increasing your coverage or opt for an umbrella policy to fill in any gaps.

Changing home insurance coverage can be confusing to do alone. Runnels Insurance extends a friendly and encouraging hand to all homeowners in Brandon, FL. Let us work together to make sure your policy fits your personal needs.

Can You Insure a Lawn Mower on Home Insurance Policies?

Insurance is something that many people may have difficulty truly understanding. There are nuances, extras, and items that may not be so obvious. For those homeowners that have expensive lawnmowers or other expensive lawn equipment, having some form of insurance is a great way to feel a bit more secure. For those in the Brandon, FL area, the agents with Runnels Insurance can help you find the policy that covers all your needs.

For those that have a lawn mower or other expensive lawn equipment, it is helpful to know that these items are covered on your home policy. They are covered either on the contents of the home or the contents of the garage or other outbuildings that you have on the property. These coverages are perfect for making sure that if there is damage from a fire, from a storm, or from theft, that these high-cost items are covered so that you can repair or replace them.

If your garage catches on fire for example and your lawn mower is destroyed, you can call on your home policy to help replace or repair your lawnmower. If the fire was caused by your car you may be able to call on your auto policy. It is important to note that your lawn mower is likely going to be covered by some form of insurance that you hold but if you feel you need extra insurance, you can take out policies that are specifically for lawn mowers and other lawn equipment. For those that live in or around the Brandon, FL area, the agents with Runnels Insurance can help you get the perfect policy to make sure that all your high-cost items are covered in some way or other.

Putting in a New Deck for Summer? Don’t Forget to Update Your Home Insurance

Summer’s a great time to make home renovations to accommodate the growing needs of your family. As renovations may alter your insurance coverage, it’s wise to discuss home improvement plans with a Runnels Insurance agent before upgrading your Brandon, FL home. Updating your home insurance ensures you are fully covered against damage or loss. Here are a few ways in which home renovations could alter your current insurance coverage.

Increase Home Value

Major improvements such as adding a new deck or patio can increase the value of your property. This means your current policy limits may be insufficient to cover the cost of home repairs in the event of fire, wind or storm damage. Updating your policy gives you a chance to raise property damage or liability coverage limits to coincide with your home’s new value. This way you will have the protection you need in the wake of a major disaster. By adding renovations to your policy, you also protect these investments against damage or loss.

Increase or Decrease Insurance Costs

Home improvements may result in an increase or decrease in your insurance premium, depending on the contribution they make to your property. A new roof or replacement windows, for example, will increase your home’s security, which could make you eligible for a discount on insurance costs. In contrast, adding a new deck, patio or bathroom will increase property value, which could result in an increase in your premium. By planning ahead, you can configure higher insurance premiums into your monthly budget. 

If you’re considering renovating your home this summer, contact us at Runnels Insurance, Brandon, FL, to update your policy. We can help customize a homeowner’s insurance policy conducive to your family’s individual needs. 

Why Home Insurance Is Cheaper Than Not Having It

Most households maintain a budget these days. They keep a close eye on where their money goes so that they will have enough at the end of the month. In many of these households, home insurance isn’t included in the budget because they don’t have it. If your household in Brandon, FL doesn’t have home insurance, you are setting yourself up for a financial letdown.

Avoid Costly Repairs with Home Insurance

Although home insurance increases your monthly expenses, you can budget for it. However, the cost of making repairs following a hurricane or other disaster can cost you thousands of dollars. Between 2010 and 2014, the average cost for a fire, lightning, and debris removal claim was $39,791. When you compare that to the average annual cost of home insurance in Florida, $1,991, it’s easy to see that not having home insurance costs more.

Home Insurance Covers Liabilities

Another protection offered by home insurance is liabilities. If a guest visits your home and sustains an injury on your property, it’s possible you will be responsible for making them whole. Without home insurance, you must cover these costs alone. If you are fighting to maintain your budget, an injury on your property could be the budget-breaker that prevents you from providing for your family.

Home Insurance Prevents You from Replacing Personal Assets

When you experience a loss, odds are, you will experience a loss of personal property as well. Items like computers, TVs, and furniture are expensive to replace. Imagine if you had to replace all the personal belongings you own in one room. How much would it cost? What if you had to replace all of your personal belongings? Fortunately, you may not have to do that if you have home insurance.

In Brandon, FL, home insurance is a necessity. If you don’t have it, contact us to get it now by contacting us on our website. Budgets are great, but they can’t help you avoid a financial catastrophe due to repairing your home or replacing your property following a loss.

How To Choose the Right Home Insurance

Home insurance is something that should be specific to each and every policy holder and as such, finding the right policy is going to be different for every person. What might work for some may not work for others making it necessary to learn how to choose the right policy. For those in the Brandon, FL area, Runnels Insurance can help you find your perfect policy.

Where to Start

You should first start by determining how much you home and its contents are worth. This is going to help your agent determine how much they need to insure your home for and how much it would cost to replace the contents of your home and rebuild in the current economy. You then need to speak with an agent about how much you need to take out.

The Next Steps

After your initial consultation and finding out how much your home is worth, you also need to take the time to see what supplemental policies you might benefit from. For instance, if you live in an area where flooding is common, where hurricanes happen, or where an earthquake is likely, you might want to add those policies to make sure you are covered.

Checking Coverage

Even after you get your coverage taken care of and your policy is in place, it is beneficial to check coverage often and to update it to reflect changes that have been made to your home and value changes in rebuild costs. Your agent will work with you to make sure your policy is up to date through the duration of the time that you are with the agency and that you hold that particular policy.

For those that want more information and live in the Brandon, FL area, contact the agents at Runnels Insurance today.

Home Insurance: Filing Small Claims Versus Filing a Big Claim Only

When people buy home insurance, it’s natural to think that they have bought rights to protection, one which they can rely upon when something goes wrong. After all, that’s what seems to be contracted for when one buys insurance coverage in the first place. However, home insurance needs to be viewed as catastrophic protection versus an everyday problem remedy. A lot of this perspective is due to how home insurance is sold in the first place.

Policies for a neighborhood and region are sold by an insurance provider because the company feels it has enough policies in its pool of customers to offset occasional payout risk. As long as the majority don’t file a claim, the concept works. However, when the number of claims starts to rise, the profit margin starts to disappear. Either those filing the claims now have to pay more for continued protection, or they need to be removed from the pool so that the rest are not impacted adversely. Alternatively, a company could raise rates on everyone, but that will likely drive customers away en masse to the competition, so most insurers don’t choose this path.

As a result, while a homeowner could file a claim for a small damage issue like a broken window or a drywall damage, it’s not a good idea. Each claim tags that homeowner as a rising risk for a coverage provider. Not only will the homeowner’s premium rise as a result come renewal, but the homeowner contracts gets flagged as a potential issue for the pool. On the other hand, a customer who uses the policy only for catastrophic events has a far better response because ultimately that’s what the policy was intended for. Full coverage is honored, and the homeowner has protection when needed.

To better understand how claims work, those in the Brandon, FL region can connect with Runnels Insurance for expert advice and guidance. Their agents understand the claim process in detail and how home insurance can be expected to work.

The Benefits Of Home Inventory

It is always a good idea to conduct home inventory on your home in Florida. This way, if you have to file a claim, you know exactly what is inside your home. Without an inventory, it could be problematic to prove what you have and get the money need to make replacements.

Know What You Have

You may not even realize just how much you have until you start creating inventory. You will want to go room by room to list what you have. It’s also a good idea if you photograph every item. This will help to reduce the likelihood of being denied something.

Determine Values

Go through and determine the value of everything within your home inventory. This is important for several reasons. First, it will make it easier for a claim to be filed if you know exactly what you possess. Second, it will ensure that you have enough coverage on your policy based upon the value of the items inside your home. For example, jewelry and art can be valued higher than you may think – and you want to have it dictated on your policy.

Simplify Claims

Filing a claim with your home insurance company can be long and tedious. The claim adjustor is going to want to know everything you had that was lost or damaged. If you cannot produce a thorough list of everything, it can make it harder to establish a value, and you could end up getting cheated out of money that is rightfully yours. When you have a home inventory, you can produce a list, complete with photos and values.

To learn more about home insurance and home inventories, contact Runnels Insurance today and speak to an agent. This will make it easier to enjoy peace of mind.


What Kind of Liability Coverage Do You Need for Home Insurance?

Liability coverage on a home insurance policy is used to protect you against damages associated with an accident occurring on your property. In many cases, liability insurance helps safeguard a homeowner against lawsuits resulting from an injury occurring within your home or damage to another’s personal property. Your level of coverage is accessed based on your budget and need.

Determining How Much Liability Insurance is “Enough”

Different carriers will offer several types of inclusions on liability insurance plans for homeowners. Most standard coverage will include payments toward medical bills if a visitor is injured in your home and the courts find you legally responsible for the accident. Legal fees may also be covered within the inclusions of liability insurance. Loss wages could also be reimbursed under a liability plan if the injured was out of work because of the accident. Liability insurance may help cover property damage caused by an accident, like the breaking of an expensive family heirloom. If a person dies within your home, dependent on the kind of policy you have, death benefits may be paid out under the plan.

An agent can talk to you about the minimum and maximum amounts of coverage provided through each plan. There is also typically an option to add an umbrella policy to offer additional protection beyond the maximum coverage amount. Exclusions are also important to review with an agent. For instance, a home insurance policy with liability coverage is not likely to protect the insured if an automobile caused damages.

Never get caught without having the proper amount of liability coverage to protect your home and valuables. Contact an independent insurance agent at Runnels Insurance for quotes and available policies for homeowners in Brandon, FL and surrounding areas.

Insuring your RV Home and Possessions

When making the jump to live in an RV full-time, it is important to make sure that the insurance policy you carry covers not only the RV itself, but also all your personal possessions and property.  An insurance policy for those living in an RV is very similar to a homeowner’s policy.  The two main types of coverage to consider when purchasing or renewing a policy are:

Property Coverage
When living in an RV full-time, all the possessions that you own are with you and for that sole reason, you want to make sure that all personal items are protected and covered should loss or damage occur.  When shopping for insurance, inquire about how much monetary coverage the policy provide and if it will cover the costs of your items.  Ask if all items such as jewelry, electronics, small furniture items, tools, etc. are covered.

In addition, many who live in an RV full-time may store possessions in a storage shed away from where the RV is..  If the possessions within are damaged or stolen, check to see if insurance can be bought to cover these items. 

Personal Liability
Just as you would with a homeowner’s policy, bodily injury and property damage needs to be purchased as part of a policy in case of an accident if someone falls or slips while in your RV or on the campground area of where your RV is parked.

Runnels Insurance, serving Brandon, understands the different types of insurance needed to protect your personal possessions and your RV.  Visit our website or call us at 813-653-0681 to talk to one of our team members about what type and how much insurance you need.  We offer various types of insurance to provide you with the best pricing possible.