- Liability, which protects other people and property if you’re responsible for an accident
- Comprehensive, for incidents such as vandalism, flooding, and fires that may happen to your boat
- Collision, for instances in which you hit another object and damage your boat
- Fishing Equipment, which protects your gear on board or while it’s being transported on or off your insured boat
- Uninsured Boater, which protects you in case an uninsured boat collides with yours.
The start of summer is the perfect time to gather with family and friends for good food and fun times. This year, celebrate the adoption of the Declaration of Independence in a safe way. Our 4th of July safety tips cover a few key summer safety topics to keep you and your family safe this holiday.
Sparkler and Fireworks Safety
More than 50,000 fires are caused by fireworks every year. Take the proper precautions when operating fireworks.
- Never disassemble or try to make your own fireworks.
- Don’t point sparklers, or fireworks at yourself or others, especially while they’re being lit.
- Only light fireworks on the ground and in areas that are dry and fire resistant.
- Don’t attempt to light multiple devices at the same time.
- Never allow young children to handle fireworks or sparklers.
- Always keep a portable fire extinguisher close by. Also keep a water hose or buckets of water nearby to put out fires.
Water Activity Safety
As July is one of the hottest months of the year, many families turn to water activities to beat the heat. However, even fun water activities have serious risks if the proper precautions aren’t taken.
- Review safe boating practices.
- Never consume alcohol while driving a boat.
- Before boating, always check that there are enough life preservers on hand for every passenger.
- Set water safety rules for your family.
- Pools should be enclosed completely with a fence to restrict access to the area. Consider installing wireless outdoor sensors that will alert you via phone or with a chime inside your home if the sensors are activated.
- Keep a first aid kit near the pool.
July is one of the peak months for grilling fires. Enjoy grilling your favorite meals this summer while also keeping your family safe.
- Check gas grill hoses for cracks, holes and leaks.
- Keep children away from grills. Gas leaks, blocked tubes, and propane tanks can be a cause of grill fires and explosions.
- Never grill indoors, in the garage, in any enclosed area or on a surface that might catch fire.
- Keep the grill at least two feet away from decks, siding, branches and any outdoor equipment that can catch fire quickly.
Did you know that almost two-thirds of residential lessees in the United States don’t carry renters insurance according to the Independent Insurance Adjusters & Brokers of America (IIABA)? A renters policy is more important, accessible, and affordable than you might think. But renters are often unclear about what renters insurance is and what it covers.
Here are the top 5 myths—and the facts—about renters insurance:
- The landlord’s insurance covers your possessions. Don’t count on it. Most landlords’ insurance covers only the building and damages due to negligence. Coverage for some of the most common causes of property damage and loss, such as theft, vandalism, and fire, is entirely up to you. Without renters insurance, you may have to bear the financial burden of a loss on your own.
- Renters insurance is expensive. In this case, the numbers speak for themselves. According to the IIABA, the average renters policy costs just $12 a month for up to $30,000 in personal property coverage. That’s solid coverage for less than the cost of a couple of cups of coffee a week.
- You don’t need insurance if your stuff isn’t expensive. Most renters’ belongings cost more than they think. In fact, the average person has over $20,000 worth of belongings that are probably not covered by a landlord’s policy.
- Renters insurance covers only your possessions. In fact, renters insurance covers much more than just your personal property: The average policy also includes up to $100,000 in liability coverage. That means in the event of a covered loss your insurer will help cover the costs if you’re held responsible for injuring another person or damaging another person’s property, including your landlord’s. Moreover, this coverage applies whether the incident occurred within your residence or elsewhere.
- Renters insurance is hard to get. You can place a quick call with our agency. Answer a few questions and we’ll get you an instant rate quote.
After a disaster, you most likely want to fix your damaged home as soon as possible. However, did you know this is also a prime time for fraudulent contractors to scam you out of money? To help protect your home and your wallet, here are five tips to keep in mind when you’re hiring help for your home project.
1. Be Cautious of Door-to-Door Contractors
Be leery of any contractor who approaches you unsolicited. They may tell you they just completed a job in your neighborhood, have materials left over from another job or that they’re running a “one day only” deal — whatever the story, don’t buy it. A reputable contractor should have enough business from advertising and referrals to help keep them busy without knocking on doors, so make sure to reach out to contractors you find through respected sources.
2. Find a Reputable Contractor
You can find dependable contractors in online listings, referrals from friends and family or organizations like the National Association of General Contractors. You can also search on the BBB website to learn more about the contractor and check for a history of complaints.
Also, be sure to ask your contractor for proof of liability insurance, licensing, bonding and any references. A trustworthy contractor will typically have these handy and be more than happy to share them with you.
3. Consider Multiple Bids
You may want to consider getting multiple bids on all of your contractor jobs to help ensure potential quotes are consistent and fair. And when it comes to price, the lowest may not be the best. If one bid is dramatically lower than the rest, you may want to get more information from that contractor to see if there are any extra charges that may get added later on and ultimately make that contractor more expensive.
4. Don’t Pay the Full Amount Up Front
It’s unconventional to pay for 100 percent of the work up front. If your contractor suddenly insists on payment up front, it’s a red flag. Once paid, you may never see that contractor — or your money — again.
Make sure you receive a contract with details of the work to be performed and the costs involved.. Typical payment terms are about 10 percent up front and the rest upon completion of the work. Also, it’s best to avoid paying in cash — instead, use a credit card or check so you have a paper trail.
5. Educate Seniors on Scams
Scammers have learned to target the elderly. Make sure your older family members are familiar with the common red flags. Also, if you’re older and living alone, it’s a good idea to run any home improvement projects by people you trust.
With a little research, you may be able to avoid a potential home improvement scam and find a contractor you can trust.
- Location—The location of any home is always a factor in pricing insurance policies, but it can be especially significant for vacation homes. The very location that makes a vacation home desirable may also make it more expensive to insure. For instance, a ski house or hunting lodge in a remote or mountainous area could be at greater risk for damage due to wildfire. A beach house may be more exposed to wind damage or storm surge from a hurricane. These location-based risks will impact the price of coverage, and in some cases may even incur higher deductibles.
- Type of Property—As is the case with any house, a vacation home’s age and types of building materials used will impact the cost of insurance. In addition, these costs will vary depending on whether your second home is a single-occupancy house, a condominium or a townhouse. A condominium, for instance, may have lower insurance costs because the homeowners association maintains and insures the exterior of the property and may provide security. Generally, the cost of insuring the structure of the unit will be included in the monthly maintenance fees. Your personal condo insurance will cover your belongings and specific areas of the unit listed in the policy.
- Amenities—If your vacation home has a pool, hot tub or other special amenity that adds risk, you may pay a higher insurance premium. You may also want to purchase more liability protection as these items are considered “attractive nuisances” that lead to a higher probability of liability claims being filed.
People leave stuff in their cars every day. We drop our cell phones in the cup holder, leave a bag on the floor, and throw our golf clubs in the back seat. We’re human, so we forget about this stuff, park, and go inside. It happens. The thing is, sometimes when we come back to our cars, the things we left aren’t where we left them.
Does insurance cover this type of claim? If so, is it your homeowners insurance policy or auto insurance policy?
Some homeowners’ insurance policies treat your car as an extension of your house. That means your personal property coverage would protect almost anything (purses, luggage, camera equipment, electronics…all kinds of things) stolen from your car. This coverage may even be better than what’s offered by comprehensive car insurance! For instance, did you know comprehensive coverage usually doesn’t cover jewelry, clothing, and accessories kept in your car?
Keep in mind, though, that any claim would be subject to a deductible (most likely $500 or $1,000).
If you have additional questions, please feel free to contact our office.
There’s a difference between an insurance company canceling a policy and choosing not to renew it.
Auto insurance cancellation
Insurance companies cannot cancel a policy that has been in force for more than 60 days except when:
- You fail to pay the premium
- You have committed fraud or made serious misrepresentations on your application
- Your drivers license has been revoked or suspended.
Auto insurance non-renewal
Either you or your insurance company can decide not to renew the policy when it expires. Your insurance company must give you a certain number of days notice and explain the reason for not renewing before it drops your policy (the exact timeframes and rules will depend on the state in which you live).
There are a number of reasons an insurance company may choose not to renew a policy, and it may have nothing to do with you personally. For example, your insurer may have decided to drop that particular type of insurance or to write fewer policies where you live.
However, a nonrenewal can also be due to your record or your actions. Doing something to considerably raise the insurance company’s risk—like driving drunk—would be cause for non-renewal.
- Exercise caution when rain follows hot, dry spells. Engine oil and grease build-up on roads and highways over time, and when combined with precipitation, you’ve got the equivalent of an automotive Slip ‘N Slide. Road conditions may improve after the season’s first rain washes away most of the grime, but you’ll need to still exercise caution when driving in the rain.
- Slow down. Wet pavement causes tires to lose traction and vehicles become more difficult to handle.
- Avoid standing water on roadways. Not only can you hydroplane and lose control, but you can impair your vision and other drivers’ visibility by splashing through puddles. Moreover, standing water often shields potholes and debris from view and it can reduce the effectiveness of your vehicle’s brakes.
- Drive in the tracks of the car in front of you. This allows the vehicle ahead to displace any standing water that’s on the road.
- Increase your following distance. Slick roads, wet brakes and reduced visibility can lead to collisions. Give other vehicles plenty of room and brake early with reduced force.
- If your car begins to hydroplane, do not brake or turn the wheel abruptly as this may cause your vehicle to go into a skid or spin. Take your foot off the gas and keep the wheel straight until your car reclaims traction. Brake gently if needed.
- Don’t use cruise control. It can cause your car to accelerate when hydroplaning and reduces driver attentiveness.
- Grip the steering wheel with both hands to maximize vehicle control. This means putting down your cell phone (remember, texting while driving is still illegal in 35 states) coffee, makeup, shaver, sandwich or anything else that takes your hands off the wheel and eyes away from the road.
- Keep your windshield wipers in tip-top shape. Winter cold can wreak havoc on your blades, so get them checked before rainy seasons arrive.
- Defog your windows. Precipitation can cause your windshield to quickly fog up, so use the front and rear defrosters to maximize visibility.