The “Great Resignation” and labor shortages throughout 2021 made recruiting and retaining employees a challenge for businesses across the country. And, while 2022 remains an employee’s market, there’s room for hope. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ April 2022 jobs report showed that both the unemployment rate and participating labor force closely mirror pre-pandemic numbers, remaining steady at 3.6 percent and 62.2 percent, respectively.
But, with an abundance of competition, what does it take to secure the perfect employee in Florida? It starts with a successful recruitment strategy.
First, incentivize employment referrals to utilize your greatest resource: your current employees. You hired them for a reason, so harnessing their professional networks is a great way to find similarly committed and capable employees. Financial, social, gift, or vacation time referral bonuses – both for the employee and the referred hire – will prove more than worth the expense.
Similarly, look for possible candidates internally. Internal promotions increase morale and demonstrate a commitment to employee career growth and success. As an added benefit, hiring from within reduces the costs associated with onboarding a brand new employee.
Make sure all recruitment processes, from the advertising, marketing, and online applications to the initial interview and job offer, is as positive, inclusive, technically savvy, and clear as possible. Larger companies, in particular, might benefit from clarifying corporate identity, creating related media, and publishing testimonials to attract the right candidate. Make sure job postings are clear and concise. Simplify application processes and focus on relevant factors for the position, rather than generic qualifications and interview questions. Be forthright about expectations, and implement unbiased protocols for selecting, interviewing, and offering or passing on prospective candidates.
Consider networking events, career fairs, and industry-specific conferences and seminars to target potential hires and evaluate their possible fit with your current team. These scenarios offer casual interactions that can often prove more illuminating than the often anxiety-inducing interview process.
Finally, make technology work for you. Investing in a few digital recruiting tools – from email campaigns to social media blasts – can make all the difference in establishing a large pool of diverse candidates. Employee candidate selection digital platforms can also ease the process of narrowing the field by auto-administering pre-employment assessments and skills tests to algorithmically find an ideal fit.
Once you find the perfect candidate, make a strong, competitive offer. Research competitors’ compensation packages and, if possible, exceed them. As inflation surges, money matters. Consider other perks and non-monetary benefits – remote work options, abbreviated work weeks, company retirement and healthcare allotments, gym memberships, etc. – to sweeten the deal if the budget doesn’t allow for a highly competitive salary.
How often should I update my insurance policy? Personal lines policyholdersshould plan to make updates annually, whereas commercial lines policyholdersshould schedule quarterly or bi-yearly meetings with their agents, depending on the size of the business.
How do I update my insurance policy?Get in touch with your agent and schedule a time to sit down and discuss your polices in detail. They should be able to guide the conversation and ensure you have addressed any relevant changes.
Many insurance policyholders adopt a “set it and forget it” mindset when it comes to their coverage. They figure that once they’ve done their due diligence to make sure their key assets are insured, they can wait until they need to file a claim before worrying about their policies.
Unfortunately, this practice is ineffective in properly managing your insurance coverage. In fact, many insurance experts recommend reviewing your insurance policies at least once a year, if not more frequently.
“There are so many people who have not reviewed their coverages for a long time,” says Pat Filipkowski, Personal Lines Underwriting Manager at Central Insurance. “And if you haven’t, you should make it a priority to call your agent, review your coverage, and ensure you’re protected against anything that might come up.”
What is National Insurance Awareness Day?
Observed on June 28th each year, National Insurance Awareness Day is a holiday recognized by insurance carriers, agents, and policyholders alike. On this day, these groups take a moment to acknowledge the safety and peace of mind that come with proper insurance from a trusted carrier.
“National Insurance Awareness Day acts as a reminder to review your insurance, and to make sure that everything you have is covered appropriately.”
At Central, we challenge our policyholders to use this annual observance as more than just a passing celebration; we encourage them to use National Insurance Awareness Day as a strategic reminder to check their existing policies and make the necessary updates to reflect any changes within the last year.
Read on to explore how often different policyholders should update their policies, what kinds of changes to report, and how to initiate that conversation with your agent.
For personal lines customers, a yearly audit of your existing policies is required to ensure you are adequately covered.
This is because “a lot can happen in a year,” Filipkowski says. “You want to make sure you have your policy reviewed regularly and that you and your agent look at everything that’s changed, whether it’s a new car, a new job, a new driver in your household, etc.”
When it comes to commercial lines, smaller businesses should plan to review and update their policies once a year as well, whereas larger companies should consider an even more rigorous review process.
“For larger insured commercial customers or just larger businesses in general, we recommend checking in quarterly or at the very least twice a year with their agent, just to make sure everything is accounted for,” says Ruth Eanes, Commercial Underwriting Manager at Central Insurance.
What kind of changes should personal lines policyholders update an agent about?
Although a yearly audit is recommended for personal lines, Filipkowski emphasizes you should notify your agent whenever you experience a significant life change.
Significant Life Changes to Report
1. Your home. If you purchase a new home, make changes or additions to your existing home, purchase a second property or house or begin renting out a new property, you will want to keep your insurance agent up-to-date. “We’ve seen a lot of people making additions to their homes during the pandemic,” he says, “and that’s something to note with your agent because you want to make sure the value we’ve set for your house is still accurate.”
2. Your cars.Alongside the purchase, lease, or even sale of a vehicle, the most important aspect to note when it comes to your cars is the drivers who will be using them. “If you have a new driver in the house…you have to make sure they’re on your policy so that they’re covered when they’re driving your cars,” Filipkowski says. Similarly, he recommends noting if any elderly drivers are using your vehicles, as they are often more at risk for accidents, and your coverage may need to be updated accordingly.
Keep In Mind: Younger drivers taking Central’s Teen Smart Driving program or older drivers engaging in defensive driving courses can both lower rates when it comes to auto policies. Make sure to update your agent if these changes have occurred, as well.
3. Your job. Keeping your agent up-to-date with any career changes is an essential aspect of your policy reviews, as well. Factors like whether you’re using (or no longer using) a company car, driving a different amount of miles to work, etc. can all impact your rates.
4. Your purchases.“You want to make sure that if you had any large purchases recently or if there’s something you already own that you want to cover, you run that by your agent as well,” Filipkowski says. Insuring an engagement or wedding ring, for instance, is an often overlooked aspect of wedding preparation and yet a crucial one in case of loss or theft.
Other Factors To Keep in Mind
Alongside these changes and life updates, Filipkowski also emphasizes the importance of making sure your current policy will continue to cover any losses you may have.
“Especially with inflation right now, things cost more today than they did a year ago,” he says. “We’ve seen the cost of houses and the cost of replacing houses go up dramatically in the last year, so you need to make sure you update your policy as needed and that you still have enough coverage there in case of an accident.”
Don’t Forget: Personal lines policyholders aren’t the only customers who need to consider the impact of inflation on their insurance. Commercial customers need to stay up-to-date on these trends and speak with their agent about the potential impact on their policies.
The rising costs of bodily injury coverage and medical bills are also vital to keep in mind when determining how much to increase your coverage year over year.
What kind of changes should commercial policyholders update an agent about?
Similar to personal lines customers, commercial policyholders should update their insurance agent if their organization experiences major changes. These might include:
Increased or decreased use of company cars among employees.
Work from home trends among employees.
Increase or decrease in sales.
Increase or decrease in employee count.
Updating your coverage ensures that your employees and assets are safe, and that you are paying only the anticipated amount for your policy. This is because failure to report significant changes like those listed above can result in unexpected charges at the end of the year after a standard audit.
“If a carrier were to go out and see what a company’s sales are and how many employees they have, and they find that they have earned [more than originally reported on their policy], they could be charged an additional premium to cover that additional exposure,” Eanes says. “It’s important that commercial policyholders know they can update their policy as they go, so they can avoid this kind of a bill at the end of a policy period.”
Keep in Mind: Commercial customers should review their policies on schedule to stay on top of exclusions. “It’s important for our policyholders to regularly make sure that they have all the coverage they need and that there are no exclusions on their policy,” Eanes says. “Being aware of those exclusions gives customers time to make sure they’re adequately insured.”
Don’t forget that your insurance agent is a trusted partner when it comes to keeping your business running. They are there to ensure you are protected, even as you experience inevitable changes in your organization, and to inform you about new products and trends that might be most relevant to you.
For example, Eanes explains “one thing insureds need to check on right now is that they have cyber coverage. With the pandemic and everyone working from home, it’s important to make sure everyone is adequately covered in case of a cyber attack.”
This is the type of insight your agent can provide as they work with you to keep your business thriving.
How do I update my insurance policy?
The process of updating your insurance policy is simple. Start by scheduling a phone call or meeting with your independent insurance agent. At Central, we always recommend our customers take the time to sit down with their agent face-to-face whenever possible, as this helps to streamline conversations and build trust between the two parties.
During the scheduled conversation with your agent, bring up any aspects of your personal life or business you want to make sure they are up to date on. Come with a list of questions prepared, or lean on your agent for guidance as to what changes your policies might need depending on these shifts.
Pro Tip: Don’t be afraid to overshare changes in your life that you think might be relevant to your insurance coverage. Our agents would prefer to have all the information when it comes to updating your coverage.
From there, your insurance agent will work their magic and draft up any changes to your policy. As a reminder, the key updates you might receive from this kind of meeting include:
Changes in rates.
Additional exclusions on your policies (for commercial customers).
Updates to coverage limits (due to global financial trends).
“Only you know what you need covered and what comfort level you have with all of your property, possessions, drivers, cars, and so on,” Filipkowski says. “So bring everything you can think of to the table when you meet with your agent. Because yes, they are there to guide you and ask the right questions, but at the end of the day, the most important thing is that you feel comfortable with the coverages on your policy.”
Celebrate National Insurance Awareness Day by updating your policies today.
Don’t fall for the “set it and forget it” insurance trap. Be sure to check your policies regularly—whether on National Insurance Day or otherwise—and take control of your peace of mind.
“There are many people that haven’t reviewed their coverage since they signed their initial policy because they just don’t know when they should bring it up or how,” Filipikowski says. “If that sounds like you, don’t wait. Call your agent today and make sure you’re protected.”
Already insured with Central? Get in contact with your agent today to start discussing your coverage options. Not yet covered by Central? Explore our extensive coverage options and find an agent in your area today.
How old is too old to drive? It’s not necessarily an easy question to answer. Depending on physical health, skill, vision, and even location, elderly drivers can be capable of safely and predictably handling a vehicle well into their seventies and even eighties. And, as baby boomers age further into their golden years, an increasing percentage of drivers will find themselves in that bracket. In fact, the Federal Highway Commission’s 2016 data noted a record 41.7 million drivers over the age of 65. That’s nearly one in five of the licensed population, an increase of 15 million over 20 years ago. By 2020, drivers aged 75 and older numbered more than 17 million. And, by 2030, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimates that one out of every four drivers will be an older adult.
These numbers aren’t particularly surprising. As healthcare and a host of other factors improve, people are living longer, and few of those people want to give up the self-sufficiency of driving. But when does the need for safety, both of the driver and those with whom they share the road, outweigh the desire for independence? After all, males aged 85 and older have the highest crash rates, equal only to their 20 to 24-year-old counterparts.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), most aging drivers impose their own restrictions, avoiding driving situations – dark hours, bad weather, busy traffic – in which they don’t feel safe or capable. It also appears that the appropriate time to relinquish a license is more about the skills than the age. Some early warning signs that driving days might be limited include getting lost or disoriented; ignoring traffic signals or common safety precautions, like checking mirrors and blind spots; failing to adequately anticipate changes in traffic and conditions and react accordingly; and displaying generally poor judgment.
Physical limitations will be a determining factor, as well. Impairments to vision or cognition are critical to driver safety no matter the age. Regular vision checks, in particular, should be a part of every aging driver’s annual evaluation. Medications and certain conditions, like Parkinson’s disease or dementia, should also be cause for concern. Any condition that impacts sleep significantly; apnea, insomnia, pain, will also dramatically impair driving capability. In fact, studies have likened the impact of lack of sleep on driving to alcohol’s effects. According to the Sleep Foundation, after just 18 hours of being awake, reaction, coordination, and judgment are comparable to a blood alcohol content (BAC) of .05%; that increases to .08% – the legal limit in most states – after 20 hours and escalates to .1% after 24.
To determine if you or your aging family member need to consider an alternative transportation plan, you can take a self-assessment on any number of respected websites, schedule a professional assessment; and/or work with a driving rehabilitation specialist to evaluate weaknesses and improve skills. Until in-personal driver’s license renewal and vision requirements are federally mandated after a certain age, proactively evaluating your driving ability, or that of your loved one, is the best precaution against accidents and injury.
Finally, while it may be tempting to shelter your aging parent or friend from the truth, honest conversations and appropriate planning should happen well before an accident necessitates them. Sharing concerns and helping to develop a realistic mobility plan can do wonders to alleviate the sting of lost independence.
Never has a vacation seemed more appealing than the present. On the heels of a pandemic that just won’t quit, the country is currently reeling from the everyday impacts of inflation on transportation, housing, groceries, and more. For many, vacation plans have taken a backseat to the responsibility of more pressing financial matters. But, that needn’t be the death knell for the unique family experiences and meaningful memories that only time spent away from it all can provide. Here are some budget-friendly options to get in on a little taste of the sweet life.
Many of us are so intent on “getting away” for a vacation that we miss all of the amazing spaces and places outside our backdoor. Whether it’s the myriad of landmarks, museums, galleries, restaurants, and tourist attractions of urban destinations or the lakes, campsites, ghost towns, and natural spectacles of rural locales, your hometown region arguably has more to offer for a well-rounded staycation than you may have considered, and there’s no time like the present to find out.
Visit the National Parks
Camping can be a fantastic inexpensive vacation option, with campsite fees seldom exceeding $40/night and park entrance fees, when applicable, hovering around $20. This is a particularly great option for families and those with campers. If you’re intent on creature comforts and indoor plumbing, you can rent a posh RV or find nightly lodging in or around the outskirts of most parks, as well. Check out vacation rentals near some epic outdoor attractions for extended vacations.
Whether it’s a cruise to Alaska, a South American tour, or a flight to Timbuctoo, last-minute bookings can be as budget-friendly as they get. Although this option requires a level of flexibility, it’s a great fit for singles or couples needing a quick escape. And, you never know what amazing destination you might find that you never considered visiting. Think Athens instead of Rome, or Peru instead of Hawaii. We tend to visit obvious vacation destinations, big cities and coastal locales, but so many places around the world offer incredible culture, culinary treasures, breathtaking views, diverse people, and an abundance of once-in-a-lifetime memories just waiting to be had. Check out Google Flights to search for flights from nearby airports or get on Scott’s Cheap Flights to get deals delivered directly to your inbox; look at the Hopper app for hotel deals; and jump on specific cruise websites to see what’s available last minute.
House-sit Somewhere Amazing
Take the expense out of travel by house sitting. It might take a minute to build up a portfolio. Start small and local and get some solid five-star reviews under your belt but, once you’ve gained some street cred, the world is your oyster. Sometimes these gigs are even paid!
Drop-in on Relatives
Visiting relatives, especially if they are within reasonable driving distance, allows you to minimize travel expenses, like lodging and flights, and free up a little extra green for amusement parks, water park passes, special meals, etc. And, you get the warm fuzzies from spending time with loved ones after a long pandemic-induced hiatus.
Think All-Inclusive and Off-Season
If you have a little more to spend, staying at popular locales and resorts during the off-season can prove surprisingly affordable. The peak season for Caribbean travel, for instance, is during the winter, so rates can be much more budget-friendly during the summer months. Many resorts even offer free accommodations and meals for children. Keep in mind that all-inclusive options may actually prove cheaper.
You might find yourself wondering, “Do I really need an umbrella policy?” The short answer is: yes.
While many consider umbrella coverage a supplemental policy compared to home, auto, and even life insurance, for many, the safety net provided by this unique type of policy is anything but optional.
In this article, we will review everything you need to know about umbrella insurance— from who it’s for to how much it costs—and explore some of the unique features that set Central Insurance’s umbrella policies apart.
What Is Umbrella Coverage?
A personal umbrella policy is designed to provide an additional amount of liability insurance protection and a broader range of coverage than typical homeowner, auto, and other types of personal insurance policies.
“It’s important to remember that an umbrella policy is for liability to others,” says Stephanie Olsen, Senior Personal Lines Product Development Specialist at Central Insurance. “It will not cover your own injuries or personal damage…[nor] will it cover business liability-type exposures.”
Instead, she explains, umbrella policies exist primarily to protect your assets.
“In the event of a claim or lawsuit for which you are responsible, if the limits of your auto or home policy are insufficient…you may experience financial repercussions, including your personal assets being used to satisfy the suit.”
With an umbrella policy in place, however, “if there is a large claim for which you are responsible, the umbrella policy would pay up to those limits,” she says.
Typically, these policies extend your liability limits from $1 million to $5-10 million in addition to the liability limit contained in your other personal policies.
Who Needs Umbrella Insurance?
“There are few people who don’t need an umbrella policy,” Olsen explains. “If you drive a car, own a home, have a pet, have guests to your home, or have a new driver in the family, you should not be without this additional layer of liability.”
This is because, she continues, tragic and unexpected accidents can happen to anyone at any time, and it’s important that you have the coverage you need to protect yourself if they do.
For example, “about 30-40 percent of all of our auto insureds do carry an umbrella policy [at Central],” Olsen explains. “And we always recommend that extra layer of liability…especially for those who have an older or new driver in the house.”
This is because the CDC has found that the risk of motor vehicle crashes are higher among teenagers ages 16-19 than they are with any other group, citing that “per mile driven, teen drivers in this age group are nearly three times as likely as drivers aged 20 or older to be in a fatal crash.”
Liability from auto accidents caused by new or elderly drivers is not the only type of unexpected situation where umbrella insurance can help.
For instance, Olsen explains that there have been situations where a policyholder is walking across the street as a pedestrian and they are hit by a car, yet the person driving doesn’t have their own insurance. In this situation, “if [our policyholder] had uninsured motorists on their umbrella coverage, their injuries would be fully covered by both their underlying auto policy and their umbrella policy together.”
Another recent incident Olsen encountered where umbrella insurance came into play, was when a young man took his parents’ boat out for a drive without permission. One of his friends fell off the back and his leg was severely injured in the propeller. Though not directly involved in the incident, the young man’s parents were considered libel for that accident because they were the owners of the boat. Luckily, the parents could lean on their umbrella coverage to help cover that unexpected claim. Had they not had such coverage, they might have had to sell their personal assets to cover the costs.
“If a situation strikes and you don’t have that layer of umbrella coverage to protect you, your wages could be garnished [or] you could lose your home,” Olsen says. “Simply put, you would have to find some way to cover the difference [between what your current policy covers and the amount you owe]. Your umbrella insurance should be that layer for you.”
How Much Does Umbrella Coverage Cost?
Though the cost of umbrella coverage might vary by company, at Central an average premium ranges between $150 and $175 per year. “This is a relatively inexpensive investment for a million dollars in coverage,” Olsen says.
What is Not Covered By An Umbrella Policy?
Despite the dozens of opportunities for policyholders to utilize their umbrella coverage, it’s important to note that it is not applicable in every situation. Below, we’ve outlined a list of some of the most common incidents that would not be covered under your umbrella insurance policy.
1. Things that happen directly to you, your home, your car, or your property.
2. Intentionally illegal behavior or criminal acts.
3. Intentional damage to people or property.
4. Contracts entered knowingly by both parties.
5. Damage to business or business-related property.
Keep In Mind: A commercial umbrella policy is required to cover costs related to business liability.
It’s also important to remember that anything explicitly excluded in your policy—such as injuries caused by certain breeds of dogs or from specific recreational vehicles—will not be covered by umbrella insurance.
Who Has The Best Umbrella Insurance?
Though there is something to be said for each unique umbrella coverage policy, at Central we believe we’ve developed a system that can meet our policyholders exactly where they are and provide the coverage they need to feel safe.
For example, Olsen explains that there are two types of umbrella insurance in the market today: one is considered an excess liability, and the other a true umbrella. Where excess liability is designed to cover losses that exceed the limit of your primary insurance policy, true umbrella insurance offers both higher liability limits and extended protection of areas an underlying policy might not innately cover.
“At Central, our umbrella coverage is considered a true umbrella,” she says. “So in a situation that enacts your umbrella policy, your coverage will drop to the first dollar of that claim. With excess liability, there is an amount of payment you would have to meet first before that protection coverage kicks in.”
Central also offers exceptional coverage at reasonable prices with its Summit Personal Umbrella Policy package which is designed to add a series of unique additional coverages to the standard umbrella policy.
What’s more, Central offers Uninsured/Underinsured Motorists Coverage for your personal umbrella policy, which can protect you from having to pay personal injury expenses caused by another driver without insurance out of pocket.
Learn more about Central’s Umbrella Policy here, and get in touch with an agent today to explore your coverage options.
Although this data is certainly alarming and might make parents question the safety of water-based activities, there are ways to ensure that you and your children remain safe.
In this article, we explore what the three main types of drowning look like, and dive most deeply into the phenomenon of dry drowning—a non-medical term for when someone exhibits the symptoms of drowning but without any actual water present in their lungs.
Read on to uncover the main symptoms of dry drowning, and the steps you can take to protect yourself and your family this season.
The 3 Types of Drowning
When someone experiences wet drowning, a laryngospasm—or spasm of the vocal cords—occurs when water enters the airways. In most drowning cases, the spasm relaxes and water enters the lungs. In a much lower number of drowning cases, the spasm does not relax and no water enters. This is known as dry drowning.
Dry drowning occurs when the vocal cords get irritated enough from taking in water through the nose or mouth that they spasm and close. Though water never reaches the lungs, this spasm shuts off your airways, making it difficult if not impossible to breathe.
While this phenomenon is something to be wary of, it’s also important to remember that the phrase “dry drowning” is not considered an actual medical condition. According to Dr. Amy Groen, DO, of UnityPoint Health in Iowa, “It is a term that has been used and sensationalized by the media to describe when lungs of drowning victims contain no water. The reason for this is because the body forcefully closes the airways. This can happen when water is attempting to enter the lungs.”
Like dry drowning, secondary drowning is a non-medical term used to refer to delayed symptoms experienced after submersion in water. “These terms (medically known as submersion injuries) are often used interchangeably—even by some experts—but they’re actually different conditions,” says Mark R. Zonfrillo, M.D. at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.
According to experts, during secondary drowning, a little bit of water gets into the lungs and causes inflammation or swelling that makes it difficult or impossible for the body to transfer oxygen to carbon dioxide and vice versa. Where dry drowning usually occurs soon after exiting the water, it can take up to 24 hours for secondary drowning victims to show signs of distress.
Symptoms of Dry Drowning
Submersion injuries are rare, but if you’re going to be spending time in the pool, lake, river, or ocean, it’s smart to be aware of the warning signs and symptoms. Some of the most common include:
Sudden fatigue or drop in energy level
How to Prevent Dry Drowning
The steps needed to prevent dry drowning reflect those needed to prevent any form of drowning. Most commonly, parents should:
Provide children with swimming lessons.
Enforce water safety through supervision at all times.
Encourage the use of flotation devices.
Only allow swimming in areas that have lifeguards on duty.
Never let children swim alone.
Never leave a baby alone near any amount of water.
If you do encounter a situation in which you think your child has experienced any form of drowning, the safest choice is to get them medical attention right away, as some forms of drowning don’t start showing symptoms until as late as 24 hours after the incident.
Protecting Yourself from Liability
While the risk of drowning is high in any body of water, homeowners who have pools on their property must follow necessary precautions to both keep their families safe from danger, and to protect themselves financially from any water-related accidents that might occur on their property in general.
This might include installing signage reminding people to walk not run in slippery pool areas, clearly marking the depths of the pool, having easy access to life jackets or other flotation devices, always having an adult supervising children in the water, and more.
Though these precautions can help to keep invited guests safe, homeowners must not forget the additional steps required to protect those who are not invited to swim. This might include a child who has accidentally wandered into the water, or even adults who choose to use your pool without permission.
“Pools are considered an ‘attractive nuisance’ in insurance, because somebody you don’t know might see that you have a pool on your property and be drawn to it,” says Stephanie Olsen, a Senior Personal Lines Underwriter at Central Insurance.
From an insurance perspective, even if you do not invite these individuals onto your property, you are considered responsible for what happens to themwhile they are there.
“If someone were to visit your pool, even without your permission, and something were to happen to them like an injury or a drowning…you are still considered responsible for that injury or death.”
Stephanie Olsen, Central Insurance
This is why local and city ordinances often insist pool owners install a fence around the pool, and include a lock on that fence for extra protection.
“A fence is your first line defense to keep something like that out or from happening,” Olsen continues. She also warns that, “even if you are a responsible homeowner and have a lock on a gate that restricts access to the pool, if you don’t keep that lock in good working condition and somebody gets injured because of it, that’s your responsibility as the owner.”
For this reason, insurance agencies often suggest homeowners with pools invest in added protection like umbrella coverage. A personal umbrella policy is designed to provide an additional amount of liability insurance protection and a broader range of coverage, including pool-related accidents. In the event of such an accident, this umbrella policy is able to cover any additional payment not already handled under the homeowner policy.
Summer’s generally agreeable weather and extended daylight hours in Florida make it an ideal season to tackle renovations, remodels, and other household fix-its. Still, these projects aren’t without inherent challenges and risks. A little due diligence at the onset can do much to minimize unhappy surprises and make for successful, stress-free (or, at least, as close as it gets) renovations.
Dial 811 before you dig. Flooding and electrical issues comprise some of the most common, problematic, and costly remodeling mishaps. No one wants a swimming pool for a basement, backyard electrocution, or raw sewage fertilizer. To avoid, always call 811 – the underground utility service line that notifies necessary utilities of impending work – a few days before you intend to dig. Companies can then send out service personnel to mark lines, preventing problems before they begin.
Protective gear can mean all the difference in situations of predictable exposure and the unfortunate accidents that seem par for any renovation course, so suit up. Maybe you’re painting or installing carpeting, perhaps you’re demolishing an old wall to make way for a new open concept, or maybe you’re just lucky enough to uncover a delightful vermin infestation or a wasp nest, step on a nail, or reveal mold growth behind that old shower. Lead, asbestos, mold, and high-VOC materials are all toxic, dangerous, and can have long-term impacts on health. Donning full-coverage clothing; hard-soled, close-toed shoes; and protective masks, headsets, and eyewear can keep you safe and healthy during the demo or painting. And, in cases of larger renovations where exposures or infestations are of concern, hire a professional: They have tools for that.
Speaking of mold, be sure to consider proper ventilation in all bathroom and kitchen remodels, both during the remodel and in the final layout. Both spaces are notoriously poorly ventilated, paving the way for science experiments only your children will find exciting. When cleaning up mold blooms, wear a mask and do your best to move spore-laden air out of living spaces as efficiently as possible. While you’re at it, make sure you don’t recreate the same mess for the next do-it-yourselfer by planning for ventilation needs and installing necessary fans – most experts recommend one 100 CFM (cubic feet per minute) fan per appliance – and windows where possible.
Avoid the temptation to save money by cutting corners, going with the cheapest products and providers, or skimping on the budget. You get what you pay for and your home should be the last place you apply penny-pinching frugality. Ask around, check out business reviews, and consult with local interior design and home stores for recommendations on products and services, carefully weighing budget against bid and reputation. Set aside a portion of the total project budget for problems: they’re going to happen and it’s always better to be prepared. While you’re at it, if flooring changes are in the plan, order extra to make up for cuts, breakage, and loss; you’ll need it.
Finally, manage expectations and expect the unexpected. Unless your renovation is intended to end in tears, divorce, or dismemberment, take time to rest. Breathe deeply anywhere except areas of mold growth, asbestos, and VOCs – laugh at the mistakes, take accidents in stride, and, when all else fails, take your frustrations out with a sledgehammer.