Make Your House Safe For Trick-Or-Treaters

Make Your House Safe For Trick-Or-Treaters

 Halloween is fast approaching. All kids love to dress up, get together with friends, and go door-to-door hoping to find the full size candy bar.

A little pre-planning can prevent unfortunate accidents that could turn out to be tragic for kids and trying for you. Here are some pointers for ensuring your house is a safe place for trick-or-treaters on Oct. 31.

Pets first. Dogs, cats, and other furry family companions get scared when oddly dressed strangers approach their door in droves. Make sure your pet is in a safe and comfortable space or take them to a secure, relaxing offsite location for the evening.

 Clean up your yard. If your yard gathers stuff – like toys, rakes and other yard tools, hoses, tree branches, you name it – take the time to clean it up. Make sure your yard is free of potential hazards and create a clutter-free walking path well before dusk falls this Halloween.

Are all your lights working? Make sure you offer a well-lit path.

Candles. Candlelit pumpkins should be placed on a sturdy table.

Turn it off. When you’re done for the night, make it obvious by turning any and all inviting lights off.

Decorations. Don’t go overboard with decorations, they can cause fires and injuries.

Safety tips for kids

Never, ever go into a house

Go with friends

Costumes should be short enough to prevent children from tripping and falling

Young children should always be accompanied by an adult or an older, responsible child

Only go to homes with a porch light on

Plan costumes that are bright and reflective

Don’t eat homemade food

Look at all wrapped candy, if it has been opened toss it out

Use a flashlight

 

 

Homeowner’s Insurance

You buy home insurance to protect your most important asset.  There are many items to consider and we can help you through the process of finding the right coverage for you and your family. Remember not all homeowner’s insurance policies are considered equal.

There are many factors that go into determining your homeowner’s insurance premiums.  We thought it might be fun to address our “top ten list” of things every homeowner should know before purchasing insurance.  As your agent we can help you identify the best possible combination of coverage, price and service.

  1. You are a statistic. To an insurer, you are a set of risks. An insurer bases its premium (or its decision to insure you at all) on your “risk factors” including your occupation, who you are, what you own, and where you live. To us, you are a person and we value our relationship with you.
  2. Know your home’s value. Before you buy a policy, it is important to know your home’s replacement cost.
  3. Insurers differ. As with anything else you buy, what seems to be the same product can be priced differently by different companies. You can save money by comparison shopping.
  4. Don’t just look at price. A low price is no bargain if you don’t have the right coverage.
  5. Go beyond the basics. A basic homeowner’s policy may not promise to entirely replace your home.
  6. Look for discounts. Insurers provide discounts to reward behavior that reduces risk.
  7. Be sure that you have the proper documentation if you have a claim. Your idea of fair compensation may not match that of your insurer. Your insurer’s job is to restore you financially. Your job is to prove your losses so you get what you need.
  8. Know your policy. Keep your policy updated, and reread it before you file a claim so there are no surprises.
  9. Check you deductibles. It may benefit you to increase your deductible, especially if you have a good claims experience.
  10. Your policy excludes Quake and Flood. Check with us and we will provide you with a quote.

Summer Driving Tips

rance Update

Summer is here, and many families are planning that great summer road trip.  Whether you are planning a day trip or a longer weeklong adventure, it is important to be prepared before you hit the road.  Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) statistics reveal that more fatal traffic crashes occur over the summer months than over the winter months.

Summer Driving Tips

If you have teen drivers, make sure they have taken driver safety training.

Never use your phone while driving.

When on a long drive, take frequent breaks.

Roads become very slippery in the first few minutes of rainfall because the rain mixes with the oil and dirt on the road. It takes about 30 minutes of steady rain to wash the oil and dirt off the road.

If your car is due for a tune-up, oil change, battery check, or tire rotation, now is the time to get it done.

Use seats belts every trip, all the time.

Traffic laws vary by state, so it is important to follow traffic signs.

Pack extra water and supplies in case of an emergency.

Drive at a safe speed. Speeding increases the likelihood and severity of a crash.

Auto Insurance

It will be important to have an auto insurance update before you go. Laws vary from state to state, and when it comes to your auto insurance, it is important to have the best possible combination of coverage, price, and service.

Five Keys to Improving Your Personal Insurance

 

A Personal Insurance Update

We work to ensure that your personal insurance provides the protection you deserve and need.  We understand you may need different coverage like a personal umbrella, RV insurance, valuable articles coverage, earthquake, or flood coverage.

Over the years, we have found that homeowners who adhere to the following strategies have a better chance of obtaining the best possible combination of coverage, price, and service.

Use an agent like us to represent you in the market.  We know and understand personal insurance, and we are much better equipped to help you manage your personal insurance program.  We will stand by you in every claim situation.

Only use financially strong insurers.  It is vital that your insurance is there to pay for claims.  Look for insurers with an “A” rating by AM Best.

Make sure you have high liability limits.  It is essential that every homeowner have enough liability insurance to cover the unexpected events.  This is especially true if you own an RV, ATV or boat.

Consider increasing your deductibles.  Often a slight increase in your deductibles can reduce premiums.  If you are able to manage a larger deductible, you may be better off in the end.

Allow your agent to manage your entire personal insurance needs. Having one source for all your policies will save you time.  Also having one professional handle all your needs gives them the ability to understand your entire needs.

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.

Can Life Events Impact Your Insurance?

Most of us buy insurance in this order; auto insurance, renters’ insurance, home insurance, and then life insurance.  However, many of us do not think about how the events in our lives may affect our need for different kinds of insurance.  As your life changes, the need to protect your life, investment, and family also changes.

Here are some major life events that will affect your need for personal insurance

College –– If you have a child heading off to college, you may need to update your auto and home insurance.  If your child has a car, the rates may be less in the city of the college.  You will need to notify your insurer regarding the new location.  In addition, if your child is renting, you may need to provide renters’ insurance to the property owner.

Retirement – If you had commuted regularly to your job, your mileage has likely plummeted in retirement.  If so, you should report it to your auto insurer to significantly lower the cost of your auto insurance premiums.  In addition, you will need to consider other insurance options.

Marriage or Divorce –– Changes in marital status, or even just moving in together, means the combining of households, cars, and other property, so you’ll want to update your insurance policies accordingly.  Are you both protected? Are coverage limits adequate?

Having a baby –– When your family grows, you may want to consider life insurance to protect your loved ones.  Life insurance can provide the financial security for many years, and give you peace of mind.

Moving –– Whenever you move, you will need to update your auto and home insurance.  New addresses may actually lead to lower costs.

Home Renovations – If you have made major improvements to your home, such as adding a new room, enclosing a porch, or expanding a kitchen or bathroom, report those changes to your insurance company.

Apple Insurance Specialists is an Austin-based independent insurance agency offering a wide range of cost effective solutions to individuals, families and businesses.

Homeowner’s Insurance 

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We always ask about smoke detectors and security systems in your home. Many insurance companies offer discounts for those homeowners who have security systems. Here are few of the different kinds of security systems that can help reduce your home insurance costs.

Outside lights- Set these up on timers so they come on even when you are gone. Also, motion detecting lights are an excellent deterrent and can be installed at a low cost.Cameras are also a good deterrent.  Place cameras around outside doors and your yard. Many home improvement stores offer cost-effective products.

Alarms are always a good idea. Alarm systems that are connected to a central station will yield the best discount.

Other Home Insurance Credits

Most insurance companies offer many types of discounts for homeowners. We are committed to keeping up on all these discounts to make sure you are getting the best coverage and price. Some of these discounts can include:

Gated communities

Community security

Updates in wiring and/or plumbing

New roof

No claims

Non smokers – The No. 1 cause of home fire fatalities in the United States is smoking.   Smoking caused 16,000 residential fires in 2012, killing over 500 people and causing $376 million in residential property loss. Source- U.S. Fire Administration

Sprinklers- Many new home building codes require sprinklers. These can be expensive but will provide home insurance discounts.

 

Home Safety for the Holiday Traveler

Home Safety Tips

Many people will be traveling this holiday–in fact about 98 million according to travel experts.  After you have packed your bags and planned your itinerary, you still need to consider how to best protect your home while on vacation. But leaving home more often demands a dutiful travel safety checklist that includes precautionary measures to help keep your home safe and secure when you head out.

Remember to get a homeowner’s insurance checkup before you go.  We can help to make sure you have the best possible combination of coverage, price, and service.

If you are planning to vacation during the holidays, here are few thoughts 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.

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.

Have adequate exterior lighting.

Never put your home address on your luggage tags. Write your phone number instead.

Set automatic timers to turn your lights and a radio on and off.

Happy Holidays!

There Are Many Ways to Get Discounts on Your Auto Insurance

Insurance Life Reimbursement Protection Concept

There Are Many Ways to Get Discounts on Your Auto Insurance

An Auto Insurance Update

Everyone likes to get the best possible combination of price and coverage on their auto insurance.  For the most part, your auto insurance is based on your driving record and the type of vehicle insured.  There are a few things you can control when it comes to purchasing auto insurance.  Many insurers offer a variety of discounts that can affect your auto insurance premium savings.  Discounts may vary from insurer to insurer.

Good student discount. For teen drivers, this can save hundreds of dollars. Typically, if your student maintains an A or B average, the discount will apply.

Multi-policy discounts. Most insurance providers offer discounts to customers who carry more than one line of insurance with them.

Drivers education courses. Many insurers offer discount if drivers have taken driver’s education courses.

Military discount. Many insurers offer discounts for military service.

Equipment discounts. If your vehicle has special safety equipment, you may be eligible for discounts.

Call our office for more information on how these discounts may apply to your situation.

Holiday Shopping Safety

Personal Insurance and Safety Update

Halloween is over and that means we are in the middle of the holiday season.  During the next 60 days, we will all be busy shopping, eating out, and traveling.  Thieves know that the police are overloaded during the holiday season, and they take full advantage it.  Burglars know that there are many expensive items in homes and cars during the holidays.

Your home or renter’s insurance will provide coverage for theft or loss if you have the coverage. Now would be a good time to call us for a free personal insurance review. Whether you are holiday shopping at the mall, online, or a little of both, keeping yourself and your personal information safe is important.  Here are a few holiday shopping safety tips:

Holiday Shopping Safety

Always be aware of your surroundings.

Lock your shopping bags in your trunk.

Never allow children to make unaccompanied trips to the restroom.

Never leave car doors unlocked or windows open.

Always park in lighted areas. DO NOT park in remote areas.

Shop with a friend.

Teach your child to go to a store clerk and ask for help in case your child is separated from you.

Avoid wearing expensive jewelry.

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.