Don’t Buy A Used Motorcycle Helmet

A motorcycle helmet is one of those essentials that will help save your life should you have an accident while riding your bike. This will protect your head from a damaging and even potentially fatal head injury. Motorcycle helmets are so important that state lawmakers have even included a directive in the state laws that orders all people riding the motorcycle to wear helmets.

Some people though do not understand the importance of this accessory. In fact, some people do not even like wearing it because it is too heavy and too suffocating. Others find it a killjoy not to be able to feel the wind on their faces when riding a motorbike.

Motorcycle helmets are not really that expensive, but they are also not cheap. Some who are not that well-informed will probably save all their money for the motorcycle leaving a really small budget for safety gears like the helmet. Some even buy used helmets instead of new ones. This, however, is one practice that should not be encouraged.

Using used helmets is extremely dangerous and impractical. Used helmets are actually worthless, and what is more, you cannot really tell whether they are damaged or not. You won’t even be able to tell if they are relatively new ones or not. This is because the helmet is made from a hard outer shell that envelops a layer of expanded polystyrene. You will never be able to tell if the expanded polystyrene is already compressed or not unless you cut the outer shell. An already compressed polystyrene layer will not protect you from an accident.

Another thing that you should consider is the fact that polystyrene becomes brittle as it ages. This is the reason why old helmets should be exchanged for new ones in a couple of years as it may not be able to absorb much of the impact when an accident does happen. The polystyrene layer is also easily damaged by the sun and by chemicals such as gas vapors.

Motor bikers who always place their helmet near the gas tank will also unknowingly damage the lining of the helmet. It is also not a good idea to always let the helmet sit under the heat of the sun. If you can, try to park your motorbike in areas that are shaded. Pointed objects may also compromise the lifespan of the helmet by piercing through the polystyrene layer inside.

Prom and Graduation Safety

This is the time of year when graduation parties and proms are in full swing. We congratulate all graduates on a job well done. High school is full of defining moments for Bay Area teens and two of the highlights for most are prom and graduation. We want your celebration to be a happy and safe one, so here are a few tips.

However, this time of year often sees other, more tragic defining moments – serious car accidents involving teens who are distracted or even under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

First, encourage your teen to follow these general safe-driving rules:

Absolutely no alcohol

Always use seat belts

No cell phone use (including texting) while driving

Special circumstances 

Of course, special events such as prom and graduation often present special circumstances. There may be dinner with dates before the dance and parties before or after either event. It’s a good idea to discuss your expectations well before each event, putting some guidelines into place before your teen heads out for the night. Here are some ideas:

Make sure you know the itinerary of the evening, as well as who else will be with your teen. You should have contact information for everyone.

Have a way to contact your teen at all times. You may want to require them to check in with you once or twice over the course of the evening.

Set a curfew, whether they are coming back to your home or staying with a friend. If they are staying elsewhere, make sure the curfew will be enforced by a responsible adult.

Discuss with your teen how to handle difficult situations, such as facing pressure to drink, or accepting a ride with someone who shouldn’t be driving. It’s a good idea to provide your child with money for a taxi just in case.

Offer a “no-questions-asked” ride home, should they need one during the evening.

If you’re worried about your teen driving, consider alternate transportation. A car service or limousine will provide a responsible, experienced adult driver. You also will be able to limit changes to the itinerary and contact the driver.

 

 

 

You May Have More Risk Than You Think

Most Americans have risks associated with their wealth and need the right insurance to manage that risk

When we think of high net worth people, most of us tend to think of CEO’s, athletes, or celebrities.  However, what we fail to realize, is that you do not have to be a CEO to have personal risks.  In 2017, over 3 million people increased their net worth to over a million dollars.  Even if your net worth is well under a million dollars, you have considerable personal risks.  We can help you manage all your personal risks.

Do you own a boat, motorcycle, or other recreational toy? If so, you need to make sure these assets are covered correctly.  We would also recommend a personal umbrella policy to cover your increased risk of injury to third parties.

Smart technology. Almost everyone is getting smart cars or homes. This could include a smart watch, video systems in your home, the Nest thermostat and more. All these items should be insured, and you will want to talk to our team about these.

Vacation homes or condominiums. According to the National Association of Realtors, 46% of vacation homes purchased in 2015 were in the South and 25% in the West, both of these areas are hotbeds for wildfire activity.

Jewelry, guns, and other collections. If you have a gun collection or expensive jewelry, you will need to have these insured separately.

What Is the Difference Between Homeowner’s Insurance and a Home Warranty?

Home warranties are offered by many companies, mostly during the selling process. Typically, there are two types of home warranties that people will purchase for their homes.  The first one covers any major systems or repairs for the first year, and the second is an annual renewal type contract which continues to keep the coverage active. See more

Homeowner’s Insurance

This is an insurance policy to protect your home and personal property from damages as result of a fire, wind, storm, or some other act of God or covered activity.

Home Warranty

A home warranty, on the other hand, is optional and typically covers the costs for repair or replacement of the electrical, plumbing and HVAC systems as well as major appliances like the refrigerator or oven.

Home warranty protection usually offers repair or replacement of a specific item for a specific period of time.

Even if you secure a home warranty policy, we recommend that you also have a homeowner’s insurance policy, as there are limitations in home warranty products.  If you have a mortgage, homeowner’s insurance is generally required by your mortgage company.

Personal Umbrella Insurance

You’ve worked hard to earn your lifestyle. Consider adding additional liability protection to your Texas Auto, Home, Renters or Condo policy. Personal Umbrella Liability coverage added to your other policies can protect you, your spouse and any relatives living in your home. Let the staff at Heaton Bennett Insurance show you the value of an umbrella liability policy.

Umbrella Insurance Protection

Umbrella Insurance provides extra protection or limits above the liability insurance you currently have. Just as an umbrella protects you from heavy rain, an umbrella insurance policy protects you from losing the entirety of your wealth and assets in the event of a claim. Umbrella insurance can provide limits above your business insurance, personal auto and home policies.

Umbrella insurance provides broad insurance beyond traditional insurance. It provides additional liability coverage above the limits of your primary insurance policies. It can also provide coverage for claims that may be excluded by the primary policies

It is true that personal umbrella insurance may not be for business or individual, but if you are a business, wanting to protect your company’s resources, building financial resources for your future, are a professional, own your home, boat or recreation vehicle, you should consider an umbrella insurance policy.  Having the added protection of an umbrella insurance policy is coverage no one should go without. Call us today, for a free review.

High Net Worth Individuals

Do you own a boat, second home or have other expensive toys? Often high net worth individuals need higher liability limits to protect personal assets. A simple rule is, the more you own the greater risk you may have of losing it. The nice thing about an umbrella policy is that it is competitively priced. Usually, it costs about $300 per year for each $1,000,000 increment of insurance that you buy, and it can bring you great piece of mind.

2017 Was A Tough Year For Many Insurance Companies

2018 is here, and 2017 is in the rear view mirror.  Last year we saw and experienced many hardships and disasters, but also hand many successes.  We hope 2018 brings you much happiness and success.  2017 was a year in which many entire communities were destroyed by storms and wildfires, 20 million or more people experienced an identity theft, and a number of women come forward describing their sexual harassment.

Here is a list of the top risk issues for 2017

Wildfires in California and Oregon – over $4 billion in damage

Storms in Texas, Florida, and the Northeast

Flooding in Texas, Oregon, and most of the Midwest

Identity theft and cyber breaches

An increase in sexual harassment claims

The continued evolution of driverless vehicles

The regulation of drones

Advances in home technology

Retention of key employees

The ability to attract quality workers

Terrorism

Random shootings

Over the next few months we will try to help you develop a clear plan on how to manage these risks. Please contact our office and we will be happy to help you identify what is important to you and then put together a plan to help you manage you risks most effetely.  Here are just two.

Identity Theft and Cyber Breaches

Identity theft insurance provides reimbursement to victims for the cost of restoring their identity and repairing credit reports.  This type of insurance will help you with certain kinds of expenses to aid you in restoring your credit. Cyber policies cover the liability arising from website media content as well as breach related property losses such as: (a) business interruption, (b) data loss/destruction, (c) computer fraud, (d) funds transfer loss, and (e) cyber extortion.  It can also provide notification and other services for a covered loss.

Harassment Claims

Your business must address this issue head on.  First, you need to secure employment practices liability insurance.  This insurance will offer defense and indemnification coverage should you be involved in an employment litigation.  Second, your business needs to have a clear anti-discrimination policy.  The policy should include reporting procedures and anti-whistleblower provisions.

 

 

Why Review Your Insurance?

 

Our agency is founded and run on the philosophy that client’s needs come first and foremost. We know you hear that a lot, so we wanted to tell you how we carry out our philosophy day to day. This article is the continuation of our series on how to think differently about insurance. Every client deserves an annual insurance review. The review may take different forms depending on the individual circumstances.

Benefits To An Insurance Review

Keeps your program up to date

Provides opportunity for feedback on services

Allows for the partnership to review goals

We take time to review key exclusions and other coverage items

You may need to modify, reduce or add coverage depending on your current situation

The review does not need to take a long time 

Business Insurance Review

A business review is important because risk is constantly changing. Maybe your operations have not changed, but laws and other statutes can impact your risk and need to be addressed. Here are a few examples:

Prices change and a review can determine if you are getting competitive rates on your insurance.

Your coverage needs may have changed and your policy should reflect these changes.

There may be new insurance companies to which we have access.

Laws and regulations are changing and may require a different kind of insurance. 

Personal Insurance Review

A review of your personal insurance can be completed in person, over the phone or even via email. But the important thing is that the client and agent communicate about your personal risk and what has changed. Changes in your personal situation can have an impact on your insurance needs. Examples might include:

Change in marital status

Kids headed off to college

Remodeling of your home

Purchase of expensive jewelry

How to Minimize Holiday Risks

A Personal Insurance Update

November is here and that means the holiday season has started.  Over the next number of weeks, holiday activities will consume much of our time.  This is also the season when homeowners have insurance claims for fire, burglary, theft from vehicles, and even auto accidents.

Now may be the best time to have us review your personal insurance in order to make sure you have the individual coverage you need.

Shopping Safety Tips

Always be aware of your surroundings.

Put your shopping bags in your trunk.

NEVER leave car doors unlocked or windows open.

ALWAYS park in lighted areas. Do NOT park in remote areas.

Shop with a friend.

Keep receipts in your wallet or purse.

Avoid carrying large amounts of cash.

As you return to your car, make sure to keep your car key in your hand.

If you make expensive purchases, like jewelry or guns, call our office, as we may need to add these to your policy.

Christmas Tree Safety (provided by the NFPA)

Make sure the tree is at least four feet away from any heat source, like fireplaces, radiators, candles, heat vents or lights.

Make sure the tree is not blocking any exit or door.

Add water to the tree stand daily.

Never use lit candles to decorate the tree.

Only used approved lights.

Connect no more than three strands of mini string sets and a maximum of 50 bulbs for screw-in bulbs

Replace any string of lights that has worn or broken cords or loose bulb connections.

Home Safety Tips

If you are planning a vacation during the holiday, here are few ideas to consider:

Get a security system.

Trim landscaping that is too close to your house.

Don’t advertise your vacation on social media.

Cancel mail and other deliveries.

Leave lights on when gone.

Have a neighbor check on your home.

Always lock your garden sheds and garages.

Use a variable light timer to activate lights inside your home.

Lock all doors and windows.

While you are gone, arrange for your lawn to be mowed.

Have adequate exterior lighting.

 

Five Reasons an Independent Agent Is Better Than Online Insurance

A Personal Insurance Update

Buying insurance for your home, auto, or business is one of the most important decisions you can make.  Just ask the people of Houston, Texas.  Currently, independent agents are on the ground helping their clients finalize their claims so they can get back to their daily lives.

We understand what is important to consumers when it comes to securing insurance. These are the things people feel are important when it comes to purchasing insurance: *

Cost

Ease of obtaining coverage

Speed of obtaining coverage

Peace of mind that everything is covered

Security of personal data

*Source: Adam Bishop

Here is how we help you with each of these

Cost – Independent agents have access to more markets and have better relationships with insurers, thus affording better pricing options for you.

Ease of obtaining coverage—We actually do all the legwork for you. You will not be routed to a call center, placed on hold, and then talk to someone who may not even be licensed.

Speed – It is easy to call or meet with us. We live in your community.

Peace of mind – We make sure that you are covered for what you need to be covered for.

Security – We make sure all your personal information is secure.

See full article

Home Insurance Update

Many homeowners have experienced premium increases. Our agency works very hard to bring our clients the best possible combination of premiums, coverage, and service.  Homeowners insurance plays an important role in society. It protects your most important financial asset, your home. Remember, each homeowner’s insurance policy is different, and if you bought your homeowners insurance online, you may not have proper coverage.

What Can We Do to Help?

We have the benefit of being an independent agency.  This allows us to search the market for the best possible combination of premiums, coverage and service. We compare insurance companies’ rates and use the competitive market to your advantage.  Here are some ways to save on your premiums:

Purchase all your insurance through our agency.

Ask us about additional discounts.

Consider increasing your deductible.

Keep your home well maintained.

Replace your roof, water heater, and other equipment when needed.

Review your policy regularly. You may not need the same kind of coverage you did a few years ago.

Remember to call our office today.  We will work hard for you.