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.

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.

Commercial Insurance

Combine your business auto, property, and liability into one package.

Take a close look at your policy and make sure you have the coverage you need.  There may be coverages you have that you do not need.

Look to insurers that offer loss control help. This will help you manage your risk and keep claims as low as possible.

Is your deductible too low?  You may save more than you think by increasing your property deductible to $5,000 or even $10,000. If you generally have no loses this may save you money.

Each insurer is different, but you might save by paying your premium in full upfront.

Commercial insurance is one of the most important products a new business needs. Our agency can help you review your risks and guide you through the process of securing the right combination of coverage and price.

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.

Insurance Policies Not To Consider In 2017

no-1532844_6402017 is going to be a year of change. We have a new President, we have a new healthcare system and we may recommend that you not buy certain kinds of insurance. We will be the first to say that certain insurance may not always be best for your needs. We believe each client is unique and therefore requires unique insurance solutions.

Here are some examples of insurance products you most likely do not need to buy.

  • Universal life – Typically term life insurance is going to be a better fit for you. Term life costs less, and you can take the premium difference and invest it yourself.
  • Extended warranty plans – These are never a good idea. The warranty premiums are mostly commissions paid to the salesperson. Some credit card companies offer this protection if you make the purchase with their cards.
  • Pet Insurance – Pet insurance usually is very limited in coverage and very costly.
  • Collision insurance on older vehicles – If your vehicle has little or no value, it is better to pocket the premium and place it into a fund for future losses.
  • Insurance on outstanding credit card balances – This type of insurance can be costly, and there are a lot of loopholes to go through before any benefit is paid.
  • Mini Storage Insurance – As long as you have homeowner’s or renters insurance you don’t need to buy special insurance. Most policies have automatic coverage for property away from your primary premises. Call us for details and limitations.
  • Mortgage life insurance – This protects the bank, not you. If you were to die, the payout goes to the bank, not your family. You are better off buying term life insurance.
  • Flight Insurance – This is completely unnecessary, as airline accidents are rare and your life insurance policy should already provide the coverage in the event of a catastrophe.

Insurance is designed for the accidents and unexpected events in life that are too costly to pay on your own. Call us for more information.

2017 Insurance Buying Tips

Home With Check Shows House  For Sale And Loan ApprovedNow that 2017 is here, it may be time to consider reviewing your personal insurance program. Most people don’t take time to review exposures, options, or their current economic condition before making their insurance purchase. We want to help you, so we prepared these insurance buying tips for 2017.

  1. Don’t buy insurance through the internet – Call our agency and let us provide outstanding service along with competitive pricing.
  2. Maintain good credit – Regularly check your credit score, since a low score may impact your premium.
  3. Review your auto limits – If you have limits of less than $100,000, that won’t even cover the medical bills in a serious accident. The minimum liability coverage that anyone with any assets or income to protect should be carrying is $500,000 to $1 million or more.
  4. Maintain a home inventory – Having an accurate account of your personal property can provide for greater recovery in the event of a loss.
  5. Bundle your insurance – Combine your auto, home and umbrella policies with one insurer to receive greater discounts.
  6. Set the right deductible – A higher deductible reduces your premium, but you have to pay more out of pocket in the event of an accident. If you have a good driving record and haven’t had an accident, you may want to gamble and opt for a higher premium. The reward for this risk could be up to a 40% savings.
  7. Consider Identity Theft – Identity theft is one of the fastest growing crimes in the U.S.
  8. Buy from a financially strong company – Your insurance is only as good as the company who stands behind the policy. The insurance company should have an “A+” rating or higher.
  9. Be prepared to make adjustments as your lifestyle and needs change.

Call us today and let us help protect what is important to you.

Remember, Criminals Are Also Looking For Deals This Holiday

aqazxaThe Most Common Holiday Theft Losses

We are in the middle of the holiday season.  While you are out shopping for that perfect gift, criminals are also out looking for ways to enhance their holiday take. While your personal insurance will most likely cover losses from theft, we thought it might be good to identify the most common holiday theft losses.

Now might be a good time to have us review your personal insurance. Stop in and have some coffee while we review your homeowner’s insurance coverage.

Theft From Vehicles

While you are in the store, criminals are in the parking lot looking for easy ways to get into your vehicle.  Keep all packages in the trunk; always lock your car, park close to the store, and in a well-lit area.

Home Burglaries

Home burglaries increase in December, due to people traveling and an increased number of easy targets.  When you leave your home, keep lights on, close your drapes, and never leave packages on your front porch.  Thieves will follow delivery trucks waiting for an opportunity to strike. Most online retailers send emails and text messages so purchasers know almost immediately when a package has been delivered.

Stolen Purses

When you are shopping, never leave your purse in the shopping cart, keep your purse closed, only take the credit cards you need, and leave other cards and documents at home.  Don’t carry a lot of cash and wait until asked to produce your credit card so a nearby thief can’t get your account information.

Identity Theft

Online shopping has become as big as direct shopping. Make sure to use secure websites and log off when completing any purchases.

Are You Shopping Online This Holiday?

WJFlwtJKSzRWQhvRPersonal Insurance Update

The holiday shopping season is upon us, and many of us are searching our favorite web pages for the best deals on the items that top this year’s wish list.  Last year, cyber Monday was the year’s single biggest day for shopping, generating over 2 billion dollars in sales.  This year, consumer experts predict an even bigger day.  However, this online activity is also a big day for cyber criminals.

We recommend that you have us review your personal insurance to make sure you have the right kind of insurance, including identity theft protection, to protect you and your family throughout the holiday season.

Holiday Cyber Safety Tips

Use a credit card rather than a debit card.  It is easier to resolve issues.

Make sure your computer has updated security software.  Verify that your antivirus software is up-to-date with the latest virus definitions, and that useful features like real-time scanning are enabled.

Update your passwords and make sure they are strong.  Do not use 1234 as your password.

Don’t open email advertisement for sources you do not know.

Use only familiar websites.

Check you statements to make sure charges are correct.

Always log out of websites after your shopping is complete.  Cookies can often keep you logged into accounts even after you close the browsing tab, an obvious no-no.  Get in the habit of clicking the “log out” button.

Try not to do your online banking on the same computer you use to shop online.

An extremely important online shopping safety tip is to keep your personal information protected.  No store needs your social security number or your birthday.

The National Retail Federation predicts that 25 percent of adults will do online browsing with their smartphones to find gifts.  If you use your smart phone to shop, make sure that you are only browsing safe, well-known sites.

 

Sources – Protection one, CNET, Identity Hawk.com, and Tripwire.