Recreation Without Mass Transit – What to Know Before You Yell Bon Voyage

RV towing a boat on the highway

In the age of COVID, family time increasingly means Web searches for boat insurance and RV insurance. It’s no surprise: When embracing the open water (or the road), it’s easy to practice social distancing. When you’re sailing in Tampa Bay, that feeling of being cooped up dissolves. Likewise, operating an RV means taking your hotel room with you wherever you go. For the stir crazy and those seeking greater quality time with loved ones, boats and RVs have proved a worthy means of escape.

Some elements to consider include:

  • Insurance – Make sure you are properly covered before you embark upon this new family adventure. Boats and RVs have unique requirements for insurance. You’ll want to consider the type of vessel (or size of RV), intended use and more. It’s simple to find a comprehensive quote when you consult an advisor who asks all the right questions. You’ll then be able to hit the road or the Gulf with full security.
  • Skill level – Don’t be cavalier about your ability to operate a water vessel or a massive RV. Boater education courses can be found online (a socially distant plus) and RV tips and tricks can as well. Remember that other elements will need to be mastered as well. For RVS: emptying sewage tanks; for boats: docking protocols. There are more elements to consider, of course.
  • Purchasing or renting? Vacationers seem to be heading to the hills of North Carolina in droves – most in rented RVs. This is a smart strategy. If you can handle the winding roads of the Carolinas and your family members are still speaking to one another after the trip, you may want to consider purchasing an RV. However, if the vehicle breaks down, your family members feel confined and constrained, and you do not enjoy the trip, at least that RV is rented. Give it back – and try boating instead.
  • Chartering a boat may become a necessity as boat inventory decreases. The St. Petersburg Boat show is still scheduling for December, for example, but so many vessels have been purchased lately that dealers are waiting for new production boats to arrive.

Embrace life on the open road or water. It’s one silver lining to come out of the age of COVID-19: this time with family that we can nurture with a new hobby. For insurance answers for recreational vehicles or boat insurance, contact the advisors at W3 Insurance.

Have the Most Prepared Pet on the Block

From Collar to Crate to Everything in Between

July is Pet Preparedness Month, so it’s prime time to check the ‘go-bag’ for your furry friend. If the term ‘go-bag’ means the half-eaten container of kibble you keep in the garage, it’s extremely important that you read further. Not having the right materials on hand for your pet could prove disastrous in a time of crisis. Here’s what to set aside to ensure your pet’s comfort and health.

  • Food and water – All right, so you were on the right track with that kibble bag. We’re talking at least a three-day supply. Try not to dig into that emergency stash when the food supply gets low. In case of an emergency, you’ll need to know that it’s there. Otherwise, your dog could end up sharing snack cakes with you in a hurricane shelter, and we all know how sensitive his stomach is. That brings us to the next important task: researching shelters.
  • ‘Pet-friendly’ and ‘shelter’ are not terms that necessarily go together. Don’t chance that a shelter will accept your 100 pound Great Dane. Do a few minutes of research online first. That’s likely all the time it will take to learn whether or not your animal will be accepted into the shelter. If they are, be prepared to show the following:
    • Medical information – Since emergencies don’t tend to be scheduled on the calendar, it’s important to keep your pet’s immunizations current. Put those records in a safe place and be ready to grab them as you head out the door.
    • Identification – Slip that tag that identifies your dog as having been vaccinated against rabies onto his collar. It’s a quick way for people to see that he is not a threat.
  • Even if your dog never leaves your side, stash a leash in the kit. The change of scenery might make him prone to wander. While you’re at it, grab a first aid kit just for Fido.
  • Print out a picture of you with your pet and slip it into the kit. Sure, we know you have 455 similar pictures on your phone – but what if you forget your charger, lose the dog and have no way to identify him other than He’s small and white and snarls at everyone but me? Having a tangible picture is a solid idea.
  • Improve the treat stash. Just like you, your animal is going to feel the stress of a chaotic situation. This is not the time to withhold a good old-fashioned rawhide or hoard the bacon strips.
  • If your pet sleeps in a crate, take it with you. Better yet, take it even if he avoids the thing like the plague. A shelter may require your animal to stay in said crate, even if it’s the last thing he’s hoping to do.

If you’ve opted for pet insurance, include a copy of the policy in the kit or have access to it online. And if you’re trying to decide whether or not to opt for pet insurance, take a look here to generate your own quote now:

Click here for a free pet insurance quote

Insurance Coverage for Your RV – Protect that office on wheels

Before we share RV insurance wisdom, here’s a short quiz. How much do you really know about the glorious motor home – and how might the pandemic make this multipurpose marvel attractive to a new throng of remote workers?

A motor home (also referred to as a recreational vehicle) is commonly regarded as:

  1. Your occasional personal office space
  2. Home sweet home
  3. A means of transportation to wherever, whenever – from the beaches of St. Petersburg, Florida to the mountains of Denver, Colorado.
  4. All of the above.

‘D’ is the obvious correct answer. As more and more people embrace the work from home lifestyle, RV ownership is becoming exceptionally attractive. If you’re one of the many looking to hit the road in an office/home hybrid, you’re in luck. The following RV insurance tips will help you secure your investment.

When shopping for RV insurance coverage, take note:

  • Your premium may decrease during off-use. If you know that this will not be your permanent residence, for example, mention that to your insurance professional. Often, you won’t have to pay the same amount of premium if the RV spends months tucked inside its massive garage.
  • Don’t expect your car insurance policy to include RV coverage. Remember: An RV is not a car. It’s much, much more. You’ll need the specialized coverage that reflects this.
  • Look for an Emergency Expense Allowance in the RV policy. Imagine this scenario and you’ll understand why: You’re halfway to Toledo when the RV breaks down and the tow truck arrives. An Emergency Expense Allowance helps with temporary living expenses; plus, it cushions the financial blow of RV transport.
  • Pet owners, it’s meaningful to know that some carriers will help with veterinary bills if your pet is hurt while riding in your RV. If this is important to you, ask your insurance professional if it is part of your coverage.
  • Additional coverage for attachment devices (generators, etc.) will cover those as well.

Know the difference between Actual Cash Value (ACV), Replacement Value and Agreed Value (AV)– because the difference is potentially huge. Let’s say that your RV is totaled.

As a policy, Actual Cash Value is going to pay out in a basic manner, using fair market value. Anyone who has ever owned a vehicle understands the adage ‘It’s worth less as soon as you drive it off the lot.’ That RV will have depreciated in value since you purchased it shiny and new. You’ll receive less of a payout because of that.

Who knew RV insurance would involve so much deliberation? We did. Here at W3 Insurance, we specialize in helping you protect that which you hold dear – from boats to businesses to RVs and beyond. Call us at 727-522-777 and become properly insured before you head out on that marvelous home office on wheels.

Click here to request an RV insurance quote.

Shoo, Hurricane Dorian: A letter from the W3 Insurance Experts

Dear Hurricane Dorian,

You might as well head back out to fizzle in the Gulf; Floridians are not rolling out the Welcome mat for you. This isn’t some Disney-caliber homecoming. Expect storm shutters, LED lanterns, and hordes of prepared Southerners waiting out your wrath with plenty of batteries and board games. We have cases of Cheetos that our kids can’t wait to eat. Our water supply could satisfy a whale. And thanks to the tips shared by your nemesis, W3 Insurance, we’re as prepared as we possibly could be for you.

So go away, Dorian. If you do insist on landfall here in the Sunshine State, here’s what you can expect:

  • Millions of Floridians with solid hurricane insurance coverage. W3 Insurance advises clients to prepare long before that first blip on the radar. How? By putting together a comprehensive coverage program. ‘Hurricane insurance’ does not truly exist, but by combining the right policies, protection against high winds and rain is possible. Remember: Florida flood insurance is not the same thing as Florida homeowners insurance. W3 Insurance advisors know this and have directed their clients to purchase add-on policies accordingly.
  • We’ve checked our supply lists – and we’ve checked them twice. Floridians are no stranger to this game of storm roulette. Most of us can recite the necessities of physical preparation in our sleep: enough water and food stockpiled to last each member of the family at least three days. A log of possessions. Necessary medicines close at hand. Important documents gathered together, ready for quick evacuation if need be.
  • Thanks to W3 marine advisors’ foresight, Florida watercraft is ready too. In an attempt to minimize losses, our boat owners properly secure boats before a huge storm hits. These security measures can include placing the boat in storage, removing loose items such as canvas and more. Our clients understand hurricane haul out coverage and don’t hesitate to call our W3 Marine advisors to inquire as to whether it’s time to use it.

Dorian, whether you hit W3 clients as a blazing Category 3 or a piddling tropical storm (which we still acknowledge can cause significant damage), we Floridians are ready for you. And after you leave, W3 advisors will be at the ready to answer policy questions and more. We can’t change the weather, but we can change the way we handle it. And that’s where W3 Insurance advisors truly shine.

Hope to see you never, Dorian.


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The Truth About Jewelry Insurance – Give the gift of COVERAGE

It’s time to amend the diamond shopper’s guide referred to as ‘The 4Cs.’ Cut, clarity, color and carat are all important, but what about coverage?

Make sure that you consider insurance for that gorgeous tennis bracelet. The ring nestled as a stocking surprise needs protecting, too. Jewelry insurance is a part of most bauble purchases, yet few consumers understand how the process works.

Here’s the truth about jewelry insurance.

  • Your homeowners policy may probably does not fully cover jewelry. Most have limited coverage, if any.
  • Purchased a jewelry floater? That’s a great start, but if you schedule only certain items as part of that floater, those items are all that are covered. Unscheduled coverage is also imperative for smaller items.
  • The appraisal application is extremely important in securing jewelry coverage, so make sure it’s complete. You’ll be asked for a clear picture of the item as well as essential details unique to the piece. For example, up to 50% of the value of a diamond is derived from cut. If this information is missing, the insurance company cannot denote value.
  • A Graduate Gemologist who is also a Certified Insurance Appraiser is the ‘gold’ standard of jewelry insurance. Not only will this professional reveal the true worth of your piece, but his word is golden when it comes to securing proper coverage limits for it.
  • Appraisal forms vary widely. Some are long, some are short – most are downright confusing. Contact your W3 insurance agent to learn more about solutions for jewelry coverage.

Beautiful jewelry isn’t meant to collect dust inside a drawer. Insurance gives the owner piece to the fullest. For more information about jewelry insurance and how you can protect that which you hold dear, contact W3 Insurance at (727)522-7777.

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Christmas Tree Fire Safety

Every year for the holidays we gather with friends and family to celebrate. We spend quality time with family and cherish what we’re grateful for. Leading up to the holidays there are rituals of putting up your favorite holiday ornaments, lights, knick-knacks, and more. One of these holiday rituals can present a risk in your home when it comes to causing fires; a Christmas tree.

According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), fire departments in the United States responded to an average of 200 home fires per year that began with Christmas trees, both real and artificial. These fires caused an annual average of 6 civilian deaths, 16 civilian injuries, and $14.8 million in direct property damage.

Tips for preventing a Christmas tree fire:

  • Dry Christmas trees are the biggest reason for why a tree fire starts. When picking out your tree, look for fresh green needles that do not fall off when touched.
  • Add water to your tree daily.
  • Make sure your tree is at least three feet away from any heat source.
  • Make sure the tree is not blocking an exit.
  • Make sure you clean up any needles that do fall off the tree on a regular basis.
  • Check your holiday lights for split or fraying wires.
  • Always turn off the lights on a tree when leaving your home or going to bed.
  • Check that your smoke alarm is working correctly.
  • Have a fire extinguisher close by and know how to use it.
  • Remove your tree immediately after Christmas. A tree will dry out and the longer the tree is in your home the more at risk you are for a fire.

Of course, these tips may not completely remove the risk of having a Christmas tree fire, but they will lower your risk. Want to see what happens when a Christmas Tree is not properly maintained? Watch this video:

Should You Purchase Travel Insurance?

Whether you’re heading to the Australian Outback to backpack in the bush or planning a romantic Parisian schedule of croissants and leisure, consider purchasing travel insurance. At the very least, you’ll learn more about your current policies and what they include – and you may discover that electing travel insurance is extremely necessary. Here’s how to decide:

  • Don’t “double dip” – If you’re already covered through an existing policy for calamities that can occur during travel, electing travel insurance is like adding a raincoat to your existing one; it’s not vital. However, it often takes only a quick investigation to spot holes in protection. Your medical provider might offer some in-network options overseas, yes – but they may not cover emergency medivacs, which can amount to hundreds of thousands of dollars. Your credit card may reimburse for medical and baggage events – or perhaps not at all.
  • Don’t assume your current medical insurance is going to be enough – For those headed abroad, it’s often necessary to pre-pay for treatment. This can amount to thousands of dollars. Please note that those who are covered under Medicare almost definitely need travel coverage: Medicare does not usually cover overseas treatment.
  • Examine the intricacy of the trip – How might a flight delay affect the rest of your itinerary? If the answer is extremely, travel insurance is a must. Imagine for a moment that one plane flight is delayed throughout your journey – and this affects not just the time you spend in an airport, but the tour you’ve planned for the next day and the premium event you pre-booked. The right travel insurance can’t give you back those experiences – but it can reimburse you for the loss of them.
  • Partner with an insurance advisor who can tailor-make the plan for you – Wade through policy language if you’d like – or simply call your trusted insurance advisor with specific questions. They should be able to address the tough concerns and will save you time that you can spend packing for your upcoming adventure. This leads us to an obvious consideration that is nonetheless often overlooked:
  • Purchase the right type of travel insurance – Just selecting a policy blindly and hoping it covers any unforeseen travel impediments is not advisable. For example, there are plenty of cruise insurance products available to consumers, but not all of them are worth the price – or really cover all that much. With travel policies (as with existing policies) read the fine print.
  • Consider a yearlong policy if you travel frequently – Sure, you can insure trip-by-trip. Those who rarely travel distances further than 100 miles may find the best value with such policies. If you frequently travel for business or pleasure, a product like Chubb’s innovative Passport 360 may make more sense. Passport 360 offers customization (after all, your needs for that rustic Australian Outback trip differ from the Parisian one) but it consistently covers every single trip taken throughout that year. For those who always seem to be jetting from one locale to another, this is a huge benefit.

The advisors at W3 insurance pride themselves on selecting the right travel insurance for each client. Call 800.783.5085 today and ask about travel insurance! Travel safe and travel well: W3 makes sure you travel with peace of mind.