With all of the extremely cold temperatures we are experiencing this winter, many of us have turned to electric heaters just to keep our homes warm. They help heat up a room faster, but also come with some dangers. One third of all home heating fires are caused by space heaters.
Please follow these tips in order to avoid fires and burns:
Don’t place a heater too close to clothing, mattresses, bedding, or upholstered furniture.
Don’t place a heater under any furniture or in an enclosed space.
Use newer heaters that automatically shut off if they tip over.
Keep heaters at least 3 feet away from any object that is combustible.
Always plug the heater directly into the wall receptacle, never into a extension cord!
Keep children & pets from directly touching heaters or sitting too close.
It’s a new year and the perfect time to take a fresh look at the many areas of your life which you can improve. Aside from improving your health and breaking some bad habits, it’s also smart to take a critical look at your insurance policies to be sure you are properly covered and getting the best rates possible.
Take a look at these six tips for getting more out of your insurance in 2018 and plan to put them to use in the coming months!
Learn What Coverages You Really Need
When it comes to insurance, you don’t want to overpay for coverage you don’t need and you certainly don’t want to be underinsured. It’s smart to educate yourself on what coverages you really need for home, auto, life and any other type of insurance you purchase. Your agent should offer you sound advice, but you should also have enough base knowledge to ask questions and understand exactly what you’re getting in a policy.
Bundle Insurance Packages
Working with a single agent and bundling multiple insurance packages can save you time, money and stress. Many insurance companies offer a full suite of insurance policies and when you purchase multiple policies, there is a cost-savings involved. You will get the most out of your insurance by bundling packages because you will (most likely) only need to work through one company and one agent which increases efficiency and lowers costs.
Invest in Safety and Anti-Theft Devices
Get more out of your insurance this year by investing in safety and anti-theft devices for your home, car, boat and other insured assets. Most insurance policies will then offer a discount for installing such devices that reduce the risk of your items being stolen or damaged. Not to mention, this is a huge benefit to you, too. Win, win!
Stay in Direct Communication with Your Insurance Agent
It’s important that you have a direct line of communication to your agent, especially in case of emergency. Get the most out of your insurance, and reduce your stress, by working with an agent who is professional, responsive and proactive. You should also schedule a regular (i.e. annual) meeting with him or her to review your policies and insurance needs, as these frequently change over time. You want to be sure you always have accurate coverage and are taking advantage of the best possible rates.
Maintain Good Credit
For so many reasons, it’s smart to regularly check your credit score and to take steps to improve it. When it comes to insurance, your credit may play a role in setting your policy rates. Your credit-based insurance score helps the insurer determine your likelihood of experiencing an insurance loss. It’s important to note that not all insurance companies consider credit ratings when determining your policy rate, but a good credit score will help you in so many other areas of your finances that it’s one more way you can get more out of your insurance in 2018.
Consider service, not just price
It’s easy to focus on the bottom line of what your insurance costs, but don’t forget to consider the service aspect. Working with a company and an agent who delivers exemplary customer service is invaluable. This will save you headaches – and likely money – in the long-run. When shopping around, consider how responsive and knowledgeable the agent is and whether you would feel comfortable turning to this person in an emergency situation.
What other insurance-related questions do you have? Leave a comment and let us help you find an answer!
Celebrating a birthday, adding to your family, making a new purchase or adopting a pet are all wonderful milestones in life. To keep these as positive additions, you’ll want to be sure to openly communicate with your insurance agent so you can alert him or her to any of these milestones. Why? Because even some of the most unexpected scenarios can impact your insurance policies. For all the things in life you hold dear, you don’t want to risk them being hurt or damaged without insurance to help make things right.
Take a look at 9 milestones that can impact your insurance and what you should do to keep your belongings and loved ones safe.
Yes, your birthday matters when it comes to the cost of your insurance! For car insurance, drivers around 25 or younger will pay a higher premium as they are still considered “young drivers.” Usually your rate will go down a little at a time as you age into adulthood. There are some possible discounts that you can age into for car insurance, so be sure to ask! For life insurance, age most often works against you. The older you become, the more your premiums will rise. Make sure you always have your insurance agent factor in your current age into all of your policies.
Marriage or Divorce
Marriage is a great thing, and insurance is just one more way you’ll benefit from tying the knot. Commonly your car insurance will be significantly reduced with marriage. You will merge your previously two policies into just one, even if you’re still driving two cars. In divorce, the opposite is true. You’ll return back to single policies at a higher cost per car.
Birth or Adoption
If you’re expecting a new bundle of joy, be sure to include your insurance agent on that birth announcement – or at least have a discussion with him or her as to how it could change the type and amount of insurance you have. You may wish to have a life insurance policy on your child. You may also wish to increase your own life insurance, now with an extra dependent. Finally, your car insurance and health insurance will likely change due to the new addition to your family. Be sure to bring this to the attention of your insurance agent so there are no surprises later!
Getting or Losing a License
Having a child get their learner’s permit or license is something that you should always tell your insurance agent. Sometimes they are required to be listed on the policy at time of permit & sometimes at time of license. Be sure to check with your agent to find out which it is. On the flip side, loss of a license due to health or incidents, is also something that your agent would need to know so that you are properly covered.
Believe it or not, even the addition of a furry friend could trigger a change in your insurance policies. By increasing the chance of a house guest being injured by a pet, or the pet destroying part of your home, your home owners’ policy may need to account for the additional risk. If you don’t update your policy to accurately reflect the addition of a pet, your existing policy may not cover any of the associated damages or costs.
A significant change in career could result in a change to your insurance policies. First, your life insurance policy could be impacted by the safety of your new job. If there is a greater risk of injury or death, you’ll want to be sure to update your insurance agent. Additionally, if your job requires a change in commute time or work location, your car insurance premium could go up or down.
New or Renovated Home
Purchasing a new home is an obvious reason to update your home owners insurance, but many people forget to update their policy when they complete renovation work. For example, finishing your basement will increase your livable square-footage and impact your policy. Also, enhancing your house with security features could lower your premium. Additionally, when moving to a new home and a new neighborhood, your car insurance could be impacted by the change in location. If you’re moving from an urban area into a suburban or rural area, your premium may be lower.
A new car will certainly impact your car insurance. Without talking to your agent, it is difficult to know whether your rate will go up or down. Getting a car with enhanced safety features compared to your old car can result in a lower premium. On the chance you purchased a sports car or some other type of vehicle deemed to be less safe, your premium may be affected in the other direction. Any car with a loan requires collision & comprehensive coverage. So if you purchase with a loan, make sure you are thinking about paying for these coverages as well. Alerting your insurance agent of your new purchase is unavoidable as your aren’t likely able to drive your new car without a policy for this specific vehicle.
Addition of a Boat, RV, Motorcycle, etc.
Some people may choose to purchase a recreational vehicle, boat or motorcycle. You should (and in many cases, must) insure these items. Upon purchase, you’ll want to have an immediate conversation with your insurance agent about obtaining proper insurance before you take these items out on the road or water.
Have you recently experienced one or more of these milestones in the last 12 months? It would be worth a discussion with your insurance agent to review your best options for coverage!
Insurance is meant to be your safety net should life throw you a curve ball. Not many of us have the disposable income to purchase a new home, a new car or replace all of our belonging if they got damaged. This is why it’s so important to have insurance to cover you in the event of a loss. However, having too little insurance or not the right insurance could cost you big. Take a look at these four insurance mistakes and be sure to avoid making them!
#1. Buying only the minimum
Most states set a legal limit to the minimum amount of insurance you must have, particularly for cars. Don’t make the mistake of buying only the minimum! Sure, it might save you a few bucks now, but it will certainly cost you big in the event of an accident. Most often, this minimum insurance will cover the other driver and their car, but will not fully recover the damage to your vehicle. You will be forced to pay out of pocket or fulfill a high deductible to fix or replace your vehicle. If you rely on transportation to get to your job, run errands and anything else, think about how this could impact your finances – and your life!
#2. Not seeking out discounts
Always be sure to ask your insurance agent about possible discounts or money saving tips. Some companies will reward safe drivers or offer a diminishing deductible after a certain length of time. If you consider yourself to be safe and responsible, there is likely a discount program that will reward you for that! Ask and do your research to be sure you aren’t leaving money on the table.
#3. Selecting a deductible that is too high or too low
Let’s talk about deductibles. It’s important to pick a deductible level that fits your finances. How much money could you reasonably pay out of pocket at any time to fix damage to your home, car or personal belongings? Setting a high deductible will often reduce your monthly premium, but if you cannot fulfil it in the event of an accident, it really won’t do you any good. On the flip side, don’t set your deductible too low, either. You will likely see your monthly premium increase as a result and you may go years without ever needing to take advantage of it.
#4. Shopping by price alone
Finally and most importantly, be sure to consider more than just the price of your insurance policy. Look for online reviews of an insurance company or ask someone you know who has worked with them before to gauge their professionalism and customer service. The cheapest coverage may save you some money right now, but if their customer service is substandard, this will most certainly cause you headaches and frustration in the long-run.
Have you personally experienced any of this mistakes or maybe another one we didn’t mention? Share your thoughts by leaving a comment!
Are you a new homeowner? If so, congratulations! Welcome to the wonderful world of homeownership. There is also a lot of responsibility that comes with owning a home, as you are likely figuring out right now. Once of the most important things you can do is make sure you are properly insured to protect this valuable asset. Take a look at some key things you need to know about home insurance.
Know the exact value of your home
To start, it’s very important to know the exact value of your home. Underestimating your home’s value could result in not enough coverage and overestimating the value could result in paying too much for insurance you don’t really need. Work with both your insurance agent and a real estate professional to fully assess the value of your home.
Decide how much coverage you need
Based upon the value of your home, and the assets within in, your insurance agent will work with you to determine the right amount of coverage you need. There’s a lot more to consider than just insuring your physical dwelling. You will also want to consider personal property, other structures on your property, liability protection, guest medical protection and more.
Make an inventory list
Once settled in your new home, you will want to make a comprehensive inventory list that accounts for your home and the property in your home, assigning a value to each item. Keep this list in a fireproof safe or somewhere other than your home so it’s available to you even if your house should sustain severe damage. This will be a great help to you when it comes time to work with your insurance company to replace your belongings.
Understand replacement cost vs. actual cash value
Your insurance policy will want you to select whether you want replacement cost or actual cash value. Most simply put, actual cash value (ACV) is equal to replacement cost, minus any depreciation. The right choice for you will depend upon a couple of variables and so you’ll want to talk with your insurance agent to fully understand what makes most sense for your particular situation.
Utilize things that can lower your premium
Make sure you are aware of all the ways you can save money by making your home safer. Adding things like a security system, shatter-proof glass or updating your roof may help save you money on your insurance because your home is likely to better withstand a disaster.
Review your policy often!
Finally and most importantly, meet with your insurance agent annually or upon making any major change to your home to ensure your policy is still offering you the most appropriate coverage. As your home ages or you make upgrades, you may need to change certain aspects of your policy. It’s better to do this early and often than be left underinsured and experience a disaster.
What other questions do you have about home insurance? Leave a comment or contact me directly and I’d be happy to offer some insight.
4 Signs You Need to Break Up with Your Insurance Agent
February is a month to focus on love. However, it’s likely there are some things you may not “love” about your current insurance agent right now. If a lack of customer service, rising prices or poor communication have you feeling frustrated, it just might be time to break up the bad relationship. Here are 4 tell-tale signs that you and your current insurance agent need to “start seeing other people.”
They are unresponsive.
You call and email but never seem to get a timely response to your questions. This is a big problem! In case of an emergency, you may need information quickly. If you can’t count on your insurance agent to respond to your questions in a reasonable amount of time, this isn’t a sustainable relationship. Your insurance agent should be easy to reach and quick to reply. A good agency will have customer service line that you can reach outside of business hours, should disaster strike late at night or on the weekend.
Prices continually increase, but quality service declines.
Have you found that the price of your premiums increase with every passing year for the exact same coverage? Sure, increases may be needed to adjust to inflation & increased claim costs, however this shouldn’t be the case every renewal. Customer service is really important when it comes to your policy as agents can’t always control costs, but they can offer you any available discounts & make sure your policies still match what your family needs. If you find that you’re paying more for worsening customer service and coverage, it’s time to get out there and shop around!
They don’t follow through.
When your insurance agent says they are going to do something, you want to be able to trust that they will follow through. In any business, you are only as good as your word. When it comes to insurance, it can be a major problem if your agent fails to make sure your paperwork is properly submitted and your billing is up to date. Should their forgetfulness cause you to lose coverage, this is more than just a headache, it could be a big financial problem for you, too.
You are not their priority.
If you get a sense that you are anything but top priority for your current insurance agent, it’s time to starting looking for an agent who will put you first. The safety and security of your family and assets should be their foremost concern, not just making money off of your business!
What other reasons have you found to be a sign to “break up” with your insurance agent? Share your experience by commenting below!