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.

Are You Putting Your Homeowner’s Insurance at Risk?

Things That Will Impact Your Homeowner’s Insurance

If you own a home or rent, you need the right kind of homeowner’s insurance.  Homeowner’s insurance is needed to protect yourself, your family, and your property from loss and/or damage.  We can provide you with many homeowner’s or renting insurance options.  Let us do the shopping for you.

Do not place your homeowner’s insurance at risk!

Pay your insurance premiums on time. A poor payment history of constant late payments may encourage the insurance company to cancel your coverage.

Do not file an excessive number of claims. No doubt, you buy insurance to pay for covered claims or losses.  However, if you nickel and dime the insurance company, they may be apt to not renew your coverage, or offer a policy with a higher deductible or at a much higher premium.

Having a high risk is costly. If you own a pool, have an old home where the wiring or roof has been neglected, or own certain breeds of dogs, you may not get the most competitive rates.

Criminal activity. If you have been convicted of certain crimes, your insurer may not offer a renewal.  These activities might include assault, drug convictions, or fraud.

Be completely honest on your application. If it is found that the information on the application is dishonest or intentionally incorrect, you may be subject to a non-renewal.

Summer Can Be Risky for Everyone

A Personal Insurance and Safety update

Summertime means more of us are heading to the pool, lake, ocean, or river to relax and have fun.  Unfortunately, these activities can lead to accidents and injury.  Summer also brings increases in heat related illness and teen driving accidents, according to PC260.com.

It is also important to have a personal insurance review to make sure all your summer activities are covered.  For example, if you have purchased a boat, you may need a separate watercraft policy.  In addition, if you have installed a pool you will need to add that risk to your homeowner’s policy.  We want you to have an enjoyable and safe summer, so here are some reminders about summertime safety.

Some of the Top Summer Risks

River water can be very cold, especially as the early snowmelt flows downriver.  Even if it is 100 degrees outside, the river water temperatures can be very cold.

If you are planning foreign travel, remember to check travel advisories.  Also, be sure you have all your medical issues managed correctly.  Check with your health insurer, as many will not provide coverage in foreign countries.

Don’t forget your pets. Summer heat can affect your pets, so make sure they are not left in vehicles or in homes during long heat waves.

When you are on the water, do not mix drinking and water craft driving.  Verify that you have life vests for everyone and keep life vests on all children all the time.

Heat stress is one of the most common illnesses during summertime.  The risk of getting skin cancer is much higher among people who sunbathe, and especially those who have experienced multiple sunburns.

Barbecues and fire related risks increase during the summer.  Always keep children away for open fires, and keep barbecues away from buildings.

When riding your bike we recommend you always use a helmet.

July 4th Safety Tips

Fireworks during the Fourth of July are as American as apple-pie, but did you know that two out of five fires reported on that day are started by fireworks, more than for any other cause? So you think it cannot happen to you? Here are a few facts:

In 2013 over 9,000 people went to the emergency room as a result of fireworks related injuries. There was an estimated 15,500 reported fires started by fireworks. These fires resulted in an estimated eight reported deaths, and $36 million in direct property damage. This is why it is a good idea to have a free home insurance review and quote, call us today!

Injuries by Fireworks Type (US department of Health & Safety)

17%: Sparklers

14%: Reloadable Shells

13%: Firecrackers

7%: Roman Candles

6%: Bottle Rockets

6%: Novelties

2%: Multiple Tubes

1%: Fountains

Fireworks Safety Tips

Buy fireworks only from licensed vendors

Never combine fireworks

Obey all local laws

Never have any portion of your body directly over a firework while lighting

Follow directions

Never relight a firework

Don’t smoke or drink while lighting fireworks

Soak used fireworks in water before placing in trash

Make sure there is parental supervision

Never experiment with homemade fireworks

Use fireworks outdoors, in a safe area away from dry grass and buildings

Keep a fire extinguisher, bucket of water, wet towels and a garden hose nearby

Light one firework at a time – then move back quickly!

Never shoot fireworks from metal or glass containers

Never carry fireworks in your pocket

Never point or throw fireworks at people or animals

Clean up all used fireworks including debris

“Fireworks and celebrations go together, especially during the Fourth of July and year end celebrations. Remember, fireworks can be dangerous, causing serious burn and eye injuries. You can help us prevent fireworks-related injuries and deaths” Consumer Products Safety Commission.

Be Smarter Than Burglars

The majority of home burglaries do not involve violence or the use of a weapon. The average dollar loss from a burglary in the United States is just over $2,000, and there are over 2 million burglaries in the US every year.

Your house is more than just an investment, it is a place where memories are made and dreams are built. Whether you are a first time home owner or celebrating many happy years in your dream home,  We are here to help you protect the home you love and the life you’ve built. The good news is about 80% of home burglaries are considered preventable. As you plan your holiday travel, here are a few things to remember.

Most burglars are afraid of getting caught, and will only go through unlocked doors and windows.

Thieves love to see piled up newspapers on your lawn. It lets them know you aren’t home.

If a burglar sees that no lights are on, chances are no one is home.

Attractive ornaments or pricey “kids’ things” outside your home can indicate to a potential intruder that your house is full of valuables.

Cyber thieves hope you put your old financial records in the trash without shredding them, because they want to collect your personal information.

Leaving your cars unlocked and valuables inside is an invitation to a burglar—even if it is in your own driveway.

If you post your vacation pictures on Facebook while you are away, it lets burglars know that your home is unoccupied.

People who fail to lock their guns in a gun safe are more likely to get them stolen. Lock all guns in a cabinet and use trigger locks as well.

If do don’t tell your neighbor you will be gone, it is just one less person for the burglar to worry about.

If you have a security system, use it 100% of the time. Burglars will generally not enter a home with a security system.

Create and maintain a detailed household inventory, and call our office today.  We can provide information that may help you determine if you have adequate insurance coverage on your home and belongings if, despite your good planning, the worst case scenario occurs.

Don’t Make These Mistakes

Personal and business insurance buyers–don’t make these mistakes

Everyone who buys insurance often runs into what we call the 7 deadly sins of buying insurance. These apply to both personal insurance and business insurance. Read these to see if you can relate to any of them.

Your deductibles are too low. The lower the deductible the higher the premium. Consider increase auto physical damage deductible on older vehicles.

You have more than one agent. Having two agents it not wise. Select one agent whom you believe will be best for you. Two agents can trip over each other, and you could end up un-insured.

You don’t consider the insurance cost when buying a car. The make and model of the car you purchase will have an impact on the insurance costs.

Your replacement cost value is not correct. It is very important to keep your replacement cost up to date. Replacement cost coverage will replace or rebuild your property with like kind and quality of materials.

Failure to develop a property inventory. Having an accurate inventory of your personal property can reduce stress at the time of a loss and help insure you receive 100% of what you lost.

You have coverage you do not need. There are many different types of insurance you can buy but not all are needed. For example, travel insurance, pet insurance, extended warranties and mortgage life insurance is not always needed. We have other options and recommendations, call us today.

Cancer insurance. Marketed by specialty-insurance companies, these plans supplement health insurance for cancer-care costs. Annual premiums range between $400 to $2,000 dollars. Despite their high cost, the policies may not cover outpatient care. Chances are that your existing health insurance already covers cancer expenses.

March Madness – Insurance Style

An Insurance Review

March is over and we spent the while month watching 64 college basketball teams play to the final four, then to the championship game.  Congratulations to North Carolina! The entire thing reminded us of some insurance madness. We thought we would share with you our “insurance madness final four.” These can impact your business insurance and personal insurance programs.

Insurance Madness Final Four

  1. Always use an independent agent. Independent agents will search the market for the best possible insurance designed for your family or business. Independents agent do not work for an insurance company, they represent you and look out after your interests first.
  2. Never buy insurance online. When you buy insurance online you never know if you are getting the best combination of coverage, price, and service. However, you do find out when you have an uninsured claim.
  3. Always consider deductible options. A simple way to save money is to consider increasing your deductible on your auto insurance, home insurance, or even your business insurance.
  4. Many people don’t consider these coverage’s but they should
    1. Identity theft is the fastest growing crime in the United States. Every homeowner should consider identity theft coverage.
    2. A personal umbrella can offer additional protection for those who own a home or have personal assets worth protecting.
    3. Your business might be at risk if you do not have cyber liability or employment practices liability.

 

Carbon Monoxide Detectors Can Protect Your Family

smoke-detector-235123_640A Personal Insurance Update

Often called the silent killer, carbon monoxide is an odorless gas that can kill.  Carbon monoxide, also known as its molecular form “Carbonous oxide” (CO) can be found in many household items, including stoves and furnaces.  According to the latest information from the National Fire Protection Association, there were over $100,000 non-fire CO incidents last year.

Your personal insurance will most likely respond to a claim made by a third party, but you or anyone who lives in your home will need to look to medical insurance if you have an illness because of a CO injury.

What are the symptoms of CO poisoning?

According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the most common symptoms of CO poisoning are headaches, dizziness, weakness, nausea, vomiting, chest pain, and confusion.  High levels of CO inhalation can cause loss of consciousness and death.

Carbon monoxide detectors sound an alarm when they sense a certain amount of carbon monoxide in the air over time.

Safety Tips

Make sure all appliances are properly vented to the outside.

Never BBQ inside your home or in the garage.

Follow manufacturer instructions when installing a CO detector.

Install a CO alarm in a central location on every level of your home.

Test your alarms on a regular basis.

If the CO alarms sounds, move to the outside and open doors and windows.

Choose a CO alarm that has the label of a recognized testing laboratory.

How To Tell Parents It Is Time To Stop Driving

car-160343_640There is no question automobiles give us incredible freedom. Having the ability to go to the store, doctor, or out to eat brings joy to all of us. As we age, it is normal for our driving abilities to change. Few people like the idea of depending on others or relying on public transportation. However, when age diminishes the ability of seniors to drive, endangering themselves and others, it is time to start making hard decisions.

Auto Insurance And The Senor Driver

Auto insurance companies understand this problem; accident rates increase for people over the age of 65. As our baby boomers move into retirement there will be more senior citizens on the road. The decision to know when to stop driving can be a wrenching one for all family members.

Signs It Is Time To Hide The Keys

Slow responses

Lots of dents on the car

Increase in accidents in a short period of time

Driving angry

Difficulty turning to see when backing up

Riding the brake

Easily distracted while driving

Incorrect signaling

Failure to notice traffic signs

Difficulty maintaining lane position

We recommend that you drive with the seniors in your life from time to time to see how they respond in different driving situations. Start a discussion early about driving safety and even provide resources to read. Their safety and the safety of others should come first.