TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 27, 2018
Most homeowners insurance policies provide financial protection from big, common risks. Fires, theft and vandalism are a few of those. Liability lawsuits filed against a homeowner may get support, as well.
Yet, most policies also have exclusions. These are specific types of events the policy does not provide any coverage for in most cases. It is important to know what these exclusions are. Knowing exclusions might let you know how to augment your coverage for more thorough protection.
Check your current homeowners insurance policy for more information on these exclusions. A typical policy will contain these exclusions or non-covered incidents. Most policies list them explicitly.
Neglect: Home insurance only provides coverage for accidental and unavoidable incidents. It likely does not cover anything you did not properly maintain. For example, it will not cover damage related to roof leaks if it was due to poor roof maintenance.
Flooding: If a home floods from a weather event, insurance is unlikely to cover the damage. Some homeowners have specific flood insurance to minimize this risk. Policies typically exclude flooding from rising water. However, it might cover flooding from burst pipes, for example.
Vacant Property: Many insurance policies do not provide coverage for an empty home. This is usually a home in which no one lives for 30 days or more. The risks of damage such as vandalism or break-ins are often too high. If you have a vacant home, special home insurance may be available to help cover your property.
Mold: Mold damage from failure to maintain a property has no coverage under most plans. If the roof leaks and causes mold buildup, the mold cleanup and removal will not have coverage under most policies. You might, however, qualify for mold cleanup as part of a settlement for a covered claim.
War and Nuclear Events: These policies typically do not cover acts of war. This includes events such as a nuclear plant leak. The same applies to acts of terrorism that impact your property.
Pre-existing Damage: You bought a home. There’s damage to it. Your insurance is unlikely to provide coverage for this type of loss. It also does not provide coverage for manufacturer defects related to your home.
Small Business Losses: Many homeowners run a business out of their home. If so, you need small business insurance. A typical home insurance plan will not cover losses caused by a small business or losses to a small business.
Speak with your home insurance agent about these types of risks. Determine which is the most common area of concern for your needs. Then, find a policy to cover those specific areas of risk if necessary.
THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 22, 2018
Thinking about car insurance isn't high on most people's list of fun things to do. But what if you save more money by spending an hour or two learning some trade secrets? You won't get that from another two hours of reality television.
Here are some insider tips that may help drop your car insurance premiums:
Choose a high deductible. Companies appreciate customers who take on more risk. Not everybody is willing to have a $3,000 or $5,000 deducible. However, statistically speaking, you will be a better customer than those who have $500 deductibles. Your insurance company might not have to issue a claim for smaller damage. You agree to handle it yourself.
Consider whether to make a claim or not. Assuming you choose a high deductive, this will be easy. But even a $200 repair will likely be worth making out of pocket. Insurance companies often look at your past claim history to determine your rates. The more frequent you make claims, the more your car insurance costs. Remember insurance is a safeguard to protect you when something goes wrong, such as when you get rear ended and need thousands of dollars of repairs. It's not an investment. Companies will reward you with lower rates when you show that you don't cost them much money. It's probably not worth it to make a claim on the scratches left by the neighbor’s kids when you can fix it for $100.
Bundle your auto and home insurance. It's easier to keep a client than to get a new one. Auto insurance companies will often give you a discount for giving them the extra business. You might also get benefits for referring new clients, as well.
Raise your credit score. Easier said than done, but important nonetheless. Paying your bills on time and paying off debt, especially old debt can help increase your score. These are key factors in your credit score. Insurance companies use your credit score to gauge how much of a risk you will be. It's not foolproof, but it's an industry standard.
Pay annually. While you won't see a huge drop in the price when you pay once a year, it might drop by several dollars or more. Companies frequently reward customers who pay their full premium up front. This is because they won't have to rely on you to make a monthly payment. To make it easier on your bank account, set aside 1/12 of the total amount every month. Come next year, you'll make your payment painlessly.
Remember, every little bit of savings adds up. To save money on auto insurance, look for a company that offers these or similar policies.
THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 15, 2018
As we get older, our instincts don’t respond like they used to. Sometimes that means it is harder to react quickly while driving. What’s more, changes in your vision and hearing can impact your ability to drive. Some seniors get a bit nervous knowing this.
You should not be afraid to drive. Instead, consider improving your skills with a senior safe driver course. Your auto insurance may encourage this.
What Can You Expect?
This type, of course, can happen in two ways. Sometimes, seniors can watch a program online or in a classroom. You will learn how to react better behind the wheel. You will also learn defensive driving methods. These can help you to gain confidence when driving with other drivers who may be more aggressive.
The second type of course happens on the roadways. You will get tips and techniques taught to you while driving. This gives you hands-on attention to your needs. And, you’ll often feel more confident after the first day. This type of class is great for those who need a bit more hands-on experience and want to gain real-world skills.
Where Can You Find a Senior Safe Driving Course?
This type of course is available from a variety of driver education programs. One of the best options is to call your car insurance provider first. Sometimes these agencies can help make recommendations for the program. If they do, they may also offer a discount to you for enrolling in and completing the program.
If your agent cannot help you, the local Department of Motor Vehicles will likely have information available. The courses may have a fee, but the safety you receive in return is worthwhile. Ask your local authorities for more information.
What Are the Benefits of Taking a Senior Safe Driving Course?
Seniors gain real-world skills for challenging situations on today’s roads. Even if you have years of experience, you will learn more about how to be a safer driver. You will also learn how to avoid dangerous situations you do not cause. Seniors may also see a discount on their car insurance for enrolling in this program. It may even pay for itself in that way.
A senior safe driver course is an excellent way to gain new skills for today’s challenging roads. It can give you peace of mind every time you head out on the road. And, your auto insurance company will appreciate your vigilance in remaining a fit driver. For more information on auto insurance, you can contact one of our agents today.
MONDAY, FEBRUARY 12, 2018
Over the last 12 months, the United States has had numerous outbreaks of fires. These fires happen in any type of dry climate. Many of them create significant damage. They destroy entire communities.
Many homeowners do not realize there are steps they can take to minimize these risks. You cannot stop forest fires from occurring on a grand scale. And, you will always need home insurance to help you cover the losses from these types of events. However, there are steps you can take to protect your home.
Create a Defensible Space Around Your Home
At the heart of reducing the risk of wildfires is your ability to create a space around your home that slows down the wildfire’s access to it. It may even allow the fire to go all the way around the home, leaving it untouched. To do that, consider these steps.
Utilize Nonflammable Materials
- Use native vegetation in the area that is less likely to catch on fire.
- Be sure an irrigation system is in place and working well.
- Be sure all vegetation surrounding your home is healthy. Remove dead or dying limbs. Prune all trees and shrubs.
- Space out larger trees to limit their ability to touch and spread a fire. Aim for at least 10 feet between them.
- Be sure all flammable liquids around your home are safely stored. Use metal cans for them.
- Do not use wooden fencing that connects to your home and to the neighbor’s home.
The fact is, many wildfires will spread close to the home. To avoid the most extensive damage, utilize non-flammable materials or build your home with fire-resistant materials wherever possible. Many residents of fire-prone areas have convenient access to these materials.
- Non-combustible roofing materials are essential.
- Install spark arresters within the chimney.
- Use fire-resistant materials such as treated wood to box in all of the home’s eaves, soffits, subfloors, and fascia.
- Cover exterior walls with materials that will not catch on fire. This includes stucco, brick, or even stone.
- Place non-combustible screening over the top of all eaves and vent openings.
It is also a good time to speak to your home insurance agent. Be sure that your insurance coverage is ample. Discuss any type of risks the agent sees on your property. He or she can offer advice on minimizing these types of risks. Be aggressive in defending your home. You may be able to watch the fire spread around it instead.
THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 8, 2018
Why is it that some businesses fail quickly, while others turn into multi-million dollar companies?
As the owner, you have more power than you might think. One way to make sure that you have a successful business is to follow best practices from others. Here are six habits you can put in place today:
1. Focus on one task at a time. Science has shown that multitasking is a myth. You can work faster and get better results when your mind focuses on one thing at a time. Each afternoon, make a list with your top two priorities for the next day. Then block out time so you can work on them with extreme focus.
2. Protect your time. This is how you'll accomplish focusing on a single task. Put your phone in airplane mode, turn off email and social media notifications. Shut your office door and set a timer for 30 to 60 minutes. Buckle down and work only on the project at hand. When the time is up, get up from you desk and take a short break. Drink some water, do some stretches. Then do another focused block of work.
3. Follow a written budget. Financial worries can turn a good day into a bad one real fast. Losing a client due to budget cuts. Finding out the manufacturing costs 30% more than you'd expected. These things happen. Be prepared by working regularly with an accountant. They can help you create a working budget and retained earnings account.
4. Be positive. You're bombarded with bad news as soon as you turn on your computer. The world seems to thrive on it. It's sad, but you can't let yourself dwell on it. Keep a notepad with an ongoing list of things for which you're grateful. Also note your "wins" of the day, and ways in which you gave or received generosity. Read over these daily and anytime you feel down.
5. Don't do everything by yourself. You might start out as a one-person business, but don't keep it that way. As your business grows you'll need to pass of some of your work. This may be a virtual assistant to manage email and website projects. A house cleaner to clean once a week so you can focus on work. Outsource tasks that are better done by someone else.
6. Have proper amounts of insurance at all times. Not only will this include business insurance to protect your business assets, but home, health and life as well. Bad things happen to good people. Make sure that you have insurance no matter what happens. This is key to allowing you, your team and your family to get back on track after something happens.
Follow these six habits and you'll be on your way to being as successful as possible.