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.

Insurable Risks Derived From Growing Businesses

A business insurance review

Recently, small business owners were surveyed to help identify some of the top risks they faced when growing their businesses1.  Many small business owners are unaware of the new, and increased, risks that come with growth.  For example, many business owners erroneously think that a claim is not covered, so they fail to file the claim.  A leading commercial insurer has identified the top five most costly business insurance claims.

Leading losses for small businesses and the average claim cost

Reputational harm: $50,000

Vehicle accident: $45,000

Fire damage: $35,000

Product liability: $35,000

Customer injury or property damage: $30,000

New and growing risks faced by expanding businesses

As your business grows, your risks change.  It is beneficial for business owners to have an understanding of how risks change because of growth.

Contract disputes increase. Growing businesses often develop relationships without written agreements, resulting in disputes.

Increased employee litigation. When businesses hire new people, often they overlook proper hiring practices. This often leads to litigation.  Make sure your business has an employment practices liability policy.

Increase in worker injuries. A greater workload leads to increased hours and the possibility of employee injury.  Your workers’ compensation policy will cover work related injuries.

Building damage. Often, growing businesses fail to pay attention to building maintenance, which can lead to all kinds of damage. Read your property policy to make sure you do not void your coverage through lack of attention to safety issues.

 

1Source for article: PC360.com

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.

 

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.

Is Your Business Prepared For A Loss?

tightropeA Business Insurance Update

Your business insurance can respond to many kinds of risks and losses. Protecting your business from loss can mean the difference between having a great year, and having to close your doors. According to the Insurance Information Institute, 30% of businesses that have a fire never re-open. Therefore, it pays to have the right business insurance and to manage your tops risks. However, do you know the most common risks faced by most businesses?

Business Risks

Cyber breach – Your small business has a greater chance of having a data breach than it does of having a fire. Make sure you have a cyber liability insurance policy. Don’t save passwords on your computer, use the latest security software, train your employees on cyber security, and never use an open network.
Customer trip and fall – Make sure you keep your business entry clean and clear of clutter.

Flood – Your business insurance excludes flood damage. If you are close to water, make sure you consider flood insurance.

Fire – Every business is subject to fire. Install automatic alarms to ensure proper notification, disconnect equipment when not in use, and never overload sockets with plugs.

Theft – Develop a system for end of day closure procedures. Keep a light on at night. Burglars are less inclined to break in if they think someone is there.

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.

Are You Interested In Reducing Your Business Risks?

board-1364647_1920There is no question that operating a business comes with certain risks. But there are also many benefits. The range of business threats is evolving rapidly but your organization can thrive and gain a competitive advantage if you know how to manage your risk. Here are a few simple ways to manage risk:

Follow insurance company loss control recommendations. These are designed to reduce the probability of a loss and to reduce the severity if a loss occurs.

Develop an employee handbook. Having a set of procedures involving roles and responsibilities will help reduce employment issues in the long term.

Evaluate your facilities. Unused equipment, obsolete security systems and lack of attention to risks on the site present significant potential for loss.  Insurance companies encourage all business owners to maintain clean and safe premises for the health and safety of employees, vendors and customers.

Make safety a priority. Having a safety program can not only reduce your costs but will improve employee productivity.

Train your staff. Employees perform better if they have an understanding of what their roles and responsibilities are. Make safety part of every job description.

Keep employees healthy. A local company, for example, has instituted a comprehensive wellness program that includes disease management for afflictions such as asthma and diabetes, as well as offering flu shots, cancer screenings, smoking-cessation sessions and a round-the-clock phone line staffed by nurses. The company found that for every dollar it invested, it saved $4.23.

If your business changes, your insurance should too.  Meet annually with us to determine whether your business has changed in significant ways that require modifying or adding coverage.

Raise your deductible. Raising the deductible on your insurance usually lowers your premiums. Even if you end up having to pay the deductible, it’s likely to be less than the amount you save.

 

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.