Coverage for Jewelry
A personal articles floater provides coverage for possessions with higher monetary values like:

  • Jewelry
  • Cameras
  • China and Crystal
  • Firearms
  • Golf Equipment
  • Personal Computers
  • Silverware
  • Works of Fine Art

Why should I consider a Personal Articles Floater?
Benefit 1: A Personal Articles Floater will provide higher limits on your valuable items. 
A Personal Articles Floater provides much higher limits than a standard homeowners policy.  Claims are usually handled one of two ways:

  1. The insurance company will pay the amount to repair or replace the item.
  2. The insurance company will use an “Agreed Value” limit for the item.  This means that, in the event of a covered claim, your insurance company will simply just pay you the amount listed on the policy.

An Agreed Value limit is great when you’re insuring items like jewelry and other unique items because it means if you suffer a loss on a covered item, you will not have to negotiate a settlement price with the insurance company.
Keep in mind, though, that in order to have an Agreed Value limit on your policy on valuable items like jewelry, you may need to provide a copy of a current appraisal on the item.
Benefit 2: A Personal Articles Floater can actually provide additional coverage.
A standard homeowners policy does not include some insurance coverages that are very important for rare or valuable items.
For example, a Personal Articles Floater may include coverage for “mysterious disappearance” or losses due to “breakage.”  This means if you misplace a valuable piece of jewelry or accidentally break a fragile piece of art you will have insurance coverage for both instances.
Benefit 3:  Coverage for a Personal Articles Floater can be expanded worldwide.   
Your homeowners policy will typically only cover items located on the premises listed on the policy.   However, with a Personal Articles Floater you can rest easy knowing your items are protected, wherever they may be.
For example. if you lost a piece of jewelry while on vacation, your Personal Articles Floater policy would pay for a replacement.
Benefit 4:  Most Personal Articles Floaters do not have a deductible.
A standard insurance policy will usually include a $500 to $1,000 deductible.  A Personal Articles Floater is different; many of them actually remove the deductible.
This a great feature because it means any claims filed won’t result in out-of-pocket expenses.
Some Tips when Adding this Coverage

  1. Make sure to keep a detailed list of the items listed on the policy, including copies of the appraisals.
  2. Photograph each piece of your collection and store the photos in a safe place.  This will make it easy to list each item on you claim report if your entire collection is stolen or damaged.
  3. If you have a number of high value items, it may be in your best interest to store them in a safe deposit box or install a security system in your home.   Doing so will help discount the premiums on your policy as well.
  4. If you have something rare or unique not listed in the standard items above it may still be eligible for coverage.   Speak with your agent to find out what coverage options are available to you.

How Much Does the Coverage Cost?
Now the big question, right?   How much is this type of policy going to set me back?
The fact is Personal Article Floaters are actually much cheaper than you think given the coverage they provide.  The increased cost can be anywhere from $20 to $2,000 annually, depending upon the type of items insured and their associated value.
*The above information is to be used as guidance only, and should not be considered as definite in any particular case.   Every policy is different and you need to read through your policy and consult with your agent to best determine how your coverage will respond.  Within this article we simply cannot analyze every possible loss exposure and exception to the general guidelines above.


 
Given the current economy many of us are looking to save money wherever we can. Did you know your utility bills typically account for 15% of your take-home pay? Knowing those bills can consume such a large part of your paycheck, wouldn’t it be nice to cut 25 -50% off of those bills?
We like to share money-saving tips with anytime we can, even if they’re not insurance related. To that end we have put together a list of our top 20 energy and money-saving tips and tricks. You can find the complete list below.
1. Do your chores at night. Limit the use of heat-generating appliances such as the oven, dishwasher and clothes dryer during the daytime hours when temperatures are hottest. That way you won’t make your air conditioner work harder than it has to during the day.

2. Water in the early morning. If you water your lawn on a regular basis, do so in the early morning hours. By doing so you reduce the amount of water that evaporates.FYI: It’s not recommended to water in the late evening because having damp grass overnight provides a good environment for parasites that can harm your lawn.
3. Change your light bulbs. Compact florescent bulbs use about 25% of the electricity of standard incandescent bulbs and will last for years. In fact, according to the U.S. Department of Energy, replacing a standard 60-watt incandescent bulb with a comparable 15-watt fluorescent light bulb could save you $69 over the life of the new bulb.
4. Seal up the house. Did you know that a properly sealed and insulated home improves energy efficiency by up to 20%? Invest in caulk and weather stripping to plug up any drafts around the edges of you doors and windows.
5. Stop gushing. Turn the valves under the kitchen and bathroom sinks halfway off. When you open a faucet water won’t come gushing out, but there will be plenty to wash dishes or brush teeth.

6. Check your insulation. Having a well-insulated house will save you a significant amount on your heating and cooling bills and is well worth the cost. It is also the kind of project average homeowners can do themselves.7. Use fans. Using a fan is a lot cheaper than running your air-conditioning unit. By doing so you can also turn your thermostat up a few degrees and still be comfortable
8. Don’t vent. Use bathroom and kitchen vent fans sparingly in summer and winter. These fans cost money to run and blow your cooled or heated air outside, forcing your furnace or air conditioner to make up the difference.
9. Hang ’em out to dry. Besides your refrigerator, your electric clothes dryer is the biggest energy-gobbling appliance in your home. So if it’s nice outside, simply hang your clothes out to dry.
10. Change your showerheads. You can switch to a low flow head without having to settle for a wimpy shower. Newer showerheads can generate high pressure while using less water. These heads cost around $20, have multiple settings, and can save a lot of water.
11. Keep it clean. Clean air filters monthly for central air, window and wall units. Dirt and dust hinder airflow, reducing efficiency.
12. Close the blinds. Rooms get hotter without shades or curtains to block the sunlight, especially with south-facing and west-facing windows. Insulated window treatments can help further reduce energy consumption as well.
13. Consider time-of-use plans. A growing number of electric companies are offering time-of-use plans, which offer lower rates for energy consumption during off-peak hours (usually from midevening to early morning). The catch is users often pay more for peak-hours use, so consider your daily schedule before signing up.
14. Have a free energy audit. Many power companies provide energy audits free of charge to help you find inefficiencies you may not be able to find on your own. Contact your power company to see if they offer this service.
15. Unplug. Disconnect your electronic gadgets when they are fully charged or you’re just wasting energy. They draw power when they are plugged in, so don’t let them soak up juice all night. Standby power for appliances not in use typically accounts for 5% to 10% of residential electricity use, according to the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.
16. Keep the dust out. Keeping your refrigerator’s coils dust-free can save about 6 percent on its power consumption. Just make sure to unplug the fridge before you do anything.
17. Power down. If you have an electric water heater, install a switch so it is on only when you need hot water. You can also buy a timer to do the job automatically. Turning down the temperature on an electric or gas water heater will also save you money year-round.
18. Install a programmable thermostat. As simple as this sounds, do you know that a programmable thermostat saves homeowners $300 annually on their heating and cooling bills. =
19. Check it. Hire a certified technician for an annual check on your home’s heating, ventilation, and air-conditioning systems to ensure they are operating at peak efficiency. Leaking ducts, for example, could reduce energy efficiency by up to 20%.
20. Heat health. To conserve energy, turn off radiators or close heating and cooling vents in vacant rooms. Heavy drapes also lower energy bills.

Last week we mentioned how when the temperature drops, the number of claims associated with fires and frozen pipes skyrockets.   We also provided some tips on avoiding fire claims inside of your home.   This week our focus in avoiding the dreaded frozen pipes.
Before the Cold Hits:

  • Check for small holes or cracks in the exterior of your home and ensure they are insulated.
  • Cover around any water pipes that are on the inside of exterior walls.

 
If your House is Occupied During the Winter:

  • Maintain temperature settings at 3-4 degrees higher than normal.
  • Turn on any faucets and allow a constant trickle.
  • Open any cabinet doors under sinks to allow heat to warm the pipes.
  • Insulate your pipes.
  • Shut off exterior faucets used for garden hoses from inside your basement and leave the exterior faucets open outside.

 
If your House is Unoccupied During the Winter:

  • Set the thermostat no lower than 60 degrees and install a low heat alarm.
  • Have a plumber install a low water cutoff switch on a forced hot water boiler.
  • Have the water service shut off all to your house.
  • Drain all waterlines leaving drain valves open.
  • Shut off gas to the home.
  • Have the house checked weekly.

 
If you are interested in any additional tips for your home or you would like a quote on your homeowners insurance, please don’t hesitate to contact our office.

Flood vs. Water Damage

There are two insurance policies that deal with a homeowner’s damage due to water — a flood insurance policy and a homeowners insurance policy. Losses not covered by one of these policies may be covered by the other. Knowing the losses to which your home could be exposed will help you decide whether to buy one or both of these insurance coverage.
While insurance policies may differ in the coverage provided from homeowner to homeowner, there often are basic features common to all policies.
FLOOD INSURANCE
As the name implies, a standard flood insurance policy, which is written by the National Flood Insurance Program, provides coverage up to the policy limit for damage caused by flood. The dictionary defines “flood” as a rising and overflowing of a body of water onto normally dry land. For insurance purposes, the word “rising” in this definition is the key to distinguishing flood damage from water damage. Generally, damage caused by water that has been on the ground at some point before damaging your home is considered to be flood damage. A handful of examples of flood damage include:

  • A nearby river overflows its banks and washes into your home.
  • A heavy rain seeps into your basement because the soil can’t absorb the water quickly enough
  • A heavy rain or flash flood causes the hill behind your house to collapse into a mud slide that oozes into your home.

Flood damage to your home can be insured only with a flood insurance policy — no other insurance will cover flood damage.  To determine if your home is located in a flood plain, contact your county planning office. If you are living in a flood plain, flood insurance may be an excellent purchase.
HOMEOWNERS INSURANCE
A homeowners insurance policy doesn’t provide coverage for flood damage, but it does provide coverage for many types of water damage to your home. Just the opposite from flood damage, for insurance purposes, water damage is considered to occur when water damages your home before the water comes in contact with the ground. A few examples of water damage include:

  • A hailstorm smashes your window, permitting hail and rain free access into your home.
  • A heavy rain soaks through the roof, allowing water to drip through your attic or ceiling.
  • A broken water pipe spews water into your home.

Even if flood or water damage is not covered by your homeowners insurance policy, losses from theft, fire or explosion resulting from water damage is covered. For example, if a nearby creek overflows and floods your home, and looters steal some of your furnishings after you evacuate, the theft would be covered by your homeowners insurance because it is a direct result of the water damage. However, the flood damage would be covered only if you have flood insurance.
It’s important to note that flood insurance and homeowners insurance do not duplicate coverage for water damage. Instead, they complement each other.

Thanksgiving is one of the biggest holidays of the year in the United States. It’s an opportunity to gather with family and friends to celebrate, give thanks, and even watch a little football.
The Thanksgiving holiday has an interesting history and several intriguing facts surrounding it. For example, did you know that the government officials tried to make Thanksgiving an official holiday in both 1630 and 1789, but that it didn’t catch on as a holiday until President Lincoln officially made it one in 1863?
Please take a look at the attached infographic that provides a great breakdown on the history of this holiday, including food consumption, parade attendance, and the real reason why we play so much football on Thanksgiving.
We hope that you have a fantastic Thanksgiving with friends and family.

As an Arvada resident, if you have ever been in an auto accident you know it can be a stressful situation.  We hope you will find the following list of of steps to take if you are ever involved in an auto accident useful:

Be Prepared

  • Carry a set of warning triangles or emergency flares in your trunk to help alert traffic.
  • Carry a card in your glove compartment that contains emergency contact information and any necessary medical information.
  • Also, it’s not a bad idea to keep a pen and paper along with a disposable camera in the car.

Immediately After an Accident

  • Check for injuries; call an ambulance when in doubt.
  • If accident is minor, move cars out of traffic.
  • Turn on your vehicle’s hazard lights and use warning triangles or flares for safety.
  • Call the police.
  • Notify your insurance agent immediately.

Other Important Tips

  • Do not sign any document unless it’s for the police.
  • Make immediate notes about the accident, including specific damages to all vehicles involved, witness information.  If possible use a disposable camera or camera in your cell phone to document everything.
  • If the name on an auto registration is different than the driver, jot down the relationship.
  • State only the facts, and limit your discussion of the accident to the police.
  • If possible, don’t leave the accident scene before the police and other drivers do.

 

Here are 5 tips and tricks that will help Arvada residents save money on their insurance premiums while avoiding some of the most common pitfalls consumers have when it comes to purchasing insurance:

1. Insuring a home for its real estate value not rebuilding cost.  Insurance is designed to cover the cost it would take to rebuild your home rather than its market value.  For many this means that you may actually be able to decrease the current limit on your homeowners insurance coverage.   However, before you do that, be sure to speak with a qualified insurance agent that can provide you with some direction on the proper limit for your home.
A better way to save on homeowners premium: Raising your deductible is a much easier to save some money on your homeowners insurance.  Just raising your deductible from $500 to $1,000 can save you up to 25 percent on your insurance premiums.
2. Selecting an insurance company by price alone.  While most consumers are always seeking to save money on their insurance premiums, it’s important to take careful consideration of the insurance company you are placing your coverage with.   Do you know if they are financially sound?   Have they had issues with peacefully resolving claims in the past? Do they provide the proper coverages without obscure exclusions that may actually eliminate coverage on your policy?
A savvier way to pick an insurer: Work with an independent insurance agent.   An independent insurance agent can provide you with multiple insurance quotes from a variety of top-rated insurance companies.   They can provide valuable insight into the coverages each company provides and will be there as your advocate in the event of a claim.
3. Dropping flood insurance.  While dropping flood insurance may be an easy options to consider as you are trying to save money on your insurance, keep in mind that flood is one of the most common claims homeowners experience (90 percent of all disasters involve flooding) and the damages from a flood can be devastating.   Homeowners insurance doesn’t provide flood insurance coverage.   Rather, flood insurance must be purchased through the National Flood Insurance Program.
A smarter way to lower flood insurance costs: Before purchasing any new home, we recommend checking what kind of flood plain the home is in so you have a good idea of the associated insurance costs.
If you already own a home and it is in a flood zone, you still have some options: you can increase your deductible or help flood-proof by elevating the structure or other means.
4. Purchasing only the legally required amount of liability for your vehicle.  Some consumers, in an effort to decrease their premiums, will lower the limits carried on their auto insurance to state’s minimum required limits.  As many states require limits of only $10,000 or $15,000, we strongly advise against doing this.   One significant claim will immediately wipe out any limits and you will be personally liable for the difference.
A less risky way to cut auto insurance costs: If you are looking for ways to decrease your auto premiums, we recommend increasing your deductibles or taking a defense driving course.
5. Neglecting to buy renters insurance.  If you renting a home or apartment you should never skip on purchasing homeowners or renters insurance.   Most policies cost less than $200 annually and will provide coverage for all of your property located inside the residence.  In addition to coverage for your contents, renters insurance policies also provide liability protection as well.
A good way to cut the cost of renters insurance: Look into multi-policy discounts. Buying several policies with the same insurer, such as renters, auto and/or life insurance, will generally provide savings.
If you are looking for additional ways to save money on your insurance, please don’t hesitate to contact our office and one of our representatives will be more than happy to assist.

Halloween is one of children’s favorite holidays.  The chance to dress up in a costume and fill bags with candy is a sure way to excite any youngster.   For parents, though, the night can be a little stressful as you worry about your kids’ safety.
To help make sure the night stays safe and enjoyable for you and your children, we have put together a brief list of Halloween safety tips.   We encourage you to take a look at it just in case there is a tip or two that will help you avoid any potential accidents or danger.
Trick-or-treating

  • Make sure your children take flashlights so they can avoid tripping over obstacles on the sidewalk or in yards.  Flashlights and glow sticks will also help your children be seen by motorists.
  • If you allow your older kids to go out without your supervision, make sure they go out in a group.  Don’t ever allow your kids to go out alone or even in pairs; make sure they go out with at least 3-4 other kids.
  • Map out their route so you know where they will be and when they should be home.
  • Tell your kids to only stop at familiar homes where you know the residents and where the outside lights are on.
  • Instruct your kids to WALK from house to house and NEVER run.
  • Make sure your kids know to never enter anyone’s home, to never accept rides from strangers, and to never take shortcuts through yards or other dimly lit areas.

Costumes:

  • Costumes should be light enough to be clearly visible to motorists.  You may even want to add reflective tape to both your child’s costume and bag.
  • Make sure your child’s costume is labeled flame-resistant.
  • Costumes should be short to prevent trips and falls.
  • Try cosmetic face paint rather than a mask.   Masks, especially on children, may not fit properly and can obstruct vision.
  • Be sure to remove all face paint that night to prevent skin irritation.

Candy

  • Don’t allow your child to eat any candy before you have a chance to inspect it for choking hazards or tampering.
  • Only permit your child to eat candy that is unopened in its original wrapper.  Any homemade or unwrapped candy should be discarded.
  • A good way to prevent your kids from eating any candy before they get home is to make sure you give them a meal or snack right before they go out.
  • Above all else, limit the amount of candy your child eats after they get home or you will be dealing with one big stomachache.

Adults

  • Use additional caution when driving a vehicle.   Lookout for children who might run into traffic from behind parked cars or other obstacles.
  • Turn on your porch and any other exterior lights to welcome trick-or-treaters to your home.
  • Remove any obstacles from your lawns, steps or porches that could be a tripping hazard for children or adults.
  • Keep all jack-o’-lanterns from doorsteps or steps where a child could brush by the flame with their costume.
  • If you keep your jack-o’-lantern inside, place it on a sturdy table away from curtains or other ignitable decorations and out of reach from children and pets.

One of the most misunderstood and underutilized insurance coverages is gap insurance.
The easiest to explain gap insurance is to start from the moment you buy or lease a new vehicle.   As soon as you drive off the lot, your vehicle starts to depreciate.  In fact, many vehicles lose up to 20 percent of their value within the first year.   Since most new vehicles are financed, what happens is the value of your vehicle depreciates at a faster rate than what you owe.   And since insurance policies pay the current market value of your vehicle in the event of a claim, there are scenarios where you may still owe money to the finance company on a total loss.
Gap insurance is available to cover the gap between what your vehicle is worth and what you still own on it.  Gap insurance is a good idea to consider purchasing if you:

  • Made less than a 20 percent down payment on a new vehicle.
  • Financed your vehicle for 60 months or longer.
  • Leased the vehicle.
  • Purchased a vehicle that depreciates faster than the average.
  • Rolled over negative equity from an old car loan into the new loan.
Most car dealers will offer gap insurance as part of your purchase; however, what many people don’t realize is that most insurance companies will offer gap coverage as well, but at a much cheaper rate.  For approximately $20 a year, you may
be able to add gap coverage to your policy.
If you are interested in adding gap coverage to your auto policy, please feel free to give our office a call.

We all know that everyone wants to save as much money as possible on their auto insurance.   However, there are some mistakes that can be made that will cost you more money in the long run if you are not careful.
We wanted to spend this post showing what Arvada and Denver residents how cheap car insurance can backfire on you and cost you more money.
Here are seven ways cheap car insurance can backfire:
1. Not enough liability insurance to cover your assets
Many states have minimum limit requirements of only $10,000 or $15,000.   Unfortunately, those limits are no longer enough to really protect you and your family from any real claim.
All it takes is to hit an SUV and your insurance limits will be completely exhausted leaving you on the hook for the difference.
Also, many consumers are told they have full coverage, but don’t realize the limits on the policy they were sold were grossly inadequate to protect them and their family.
Tip:  We recommend most consumer purchase a car insurance policy with limits of at least $100,000.   Though more expensive, the limits are necessary to protect you and your family.
2. Raising the deductible too high
We all know that raising your deductible can help lower your auto insurance premiums.   However, you have to be careful that you don’t raise the deductible so high that it makes doing repairs on your vehicle unaffordable.
Tip: Try not to purchase a car insurance policy with deductibles higher than $1,000 on both comprehensive and collision coverage.
3. Watch out for the fine print
In many cases purchasing a cheap auto insurance policy can restrict or limit the coverage within your policy.
These are often considered no-frills policies that limit the coverage and protection provided by the policy.
Tip: Work with an insurance agent that understands all of the coverages and exclusions contained in your insurance policy to be sure he or she can provide proper advice on whether the policy you are purchasing is a good value.
4. Higher rates for tiny infractions
Cheaper auto insurance policies tend to be less forgiving with minor traffic violations or accidents resulting in high rate increases or your policy being non-renewed by the insurance company.
Tip: Ask the insurance company or agent presenting your quotes about their practices when customers have small infractions.
5. Bad customer service
Take a look online and talk to neighbors and friends about the reputation of the insurance company you are thinking of purchasing your policy through.  While the premiums may be cheaper, you could suffer when it comes to customer service or a claim.  You can also check with your state’s Division of Insurance to find out what types of complaints have been filed against the insurance company.
Tip: Try to only work with companies that have an ‘A’ rating from an agency like A.M. Best and that you have verified have a good, solid reputation.
6. No extras when you need them
Cheap auto insurance policies may skip on additional policy options that can really come in handy at a later time.   For example, rental car reimbursement (pays for a rental car while your vehicle is being repaired for a covered claim) and emergency roadside assistance (provides services like towing or tire replacement) cost less than $20, but may be left of off your policy for the savings.
Tip: Make sure your insurance quotes show the optional coverages and price breakdown so you can make an informed decision on their purchase.
7. Not enough protection for you and your passengers
In an effort to save money, many consumers will forego necessary insurance coverages like uninsured and underinsured motorists coverage.   These two insurance coverages are vital, especially if you are involved in an accident where the other driver does not carry enough coverage or it is a hit-and-run accident.
Tip: Purchase uninsured/underinsured motorists coverage with limits that at a minimum mirror your current liability limits.
The key to saving money
The real key to saving money on your insurance is to thoroughly evaluate all of your available options and make an educated decision.   The easiest way to do that is to work with an independent insurance agent.   An independent insurance agent can provide you with multiple insurance quotes from a variety of top-rated insurance carriers.   This allows you to save money on your premiums without falling victim to any of the pitfalls above.