| Spring Series

Don’t Think You Need Business Insurance? Read this First!

Don’t Think You Need Business Insurance? Read this First!

If you’re a business owner, you know that there are real costs and risks associated with doing business. Just one unfortunate event like a fire or theft could be enough to put you into bankruptcy – that is, if you’re not insured properly.

If you’re tempted to cut business insurance out of your budget, you could be putting your livelihood at great risk. The investment you make in insuring your business completely is more than returned to you if you use it just once. Plus, the peace of mind is priceless for a business owner who has many other matters weighing on their mind.

Before you buy – or deny – business insurance, read these five points first!

Know the cost of insurance before you begin your business.

If you are considering starting a new business, get commercial insurance estimates prior to taking the entrepreneurial leap. You might find the cost of fully insuring your risks makes your business less profitable than is worthwhile. Additionally, if you go without insurance for a period of time, it’s often then very difficult to find an insurance company that will take you later on. The five major areas of insurance to shop for are: property insurance, general liability insurance, professional liability insurance, commercial automobile, and workers compensation. Many times these are bundled together to offer a cost savings and efficiency.

Insure your risk completely.

If you are a retail location, make sure you estimate your business personal property correctly. In case of a fire, where just about everything is destroyed, your insurance needs to fully cover everything you will need to purchase or repair in order to again open your doors for business. If your coverage falls short, and you are unable to restart your business, you’re nearly in as bad of a position as if you had no insurance at all.

Know the age of the building you buy or rent.

This may seem like a small detail, but it’s an important one. The age of a building impacts the cost and coverage of your commercial insurance, even for a renter. If the age of your building works in your favor to save you money, you want to take advantage of this! And even if it doesn’t necessarily reduce your cost of insurance, you will be sure that you are fully and accurately covered, which is extremely important.

If you are a contractor, insure your tools.

One critical error that is commonly made, is that contractors will insure their truck, but fail to insure the individual tools inside the truck. If the truck is stolen or damaged, resulting in lost or damaged tools, you’ll have to pay out of pocket to replace all of these – if you fail to insure them! Just because they are stored in an insured truck, this doesn’t mean they are covered. It’s not just contractors that have tools though!  You may own other types of tools or supplies that aren’t immediately covered as well!

Insure your digital information.

Finally, and so importantly in this digital age, make sure you have some form of cyber theft and cyber liability coverage to help protect you financially if you are hacked and you or your customers’ information is stolen. Many businesses operate completely virtually, meaning their main assets are the information they store in a cloud or on their computers. As hackers continue to grow more and more sophisticated in their tactics, sensitive and valuable information created by your business could be here today and gone tomorrow. Without insurance, this could be a business-ending scenario!

What other questions do you have about business insurance? Leave a comment!

6 Ways to Better Control Your Spending

6 Ways to Better Control Your Spending

If you feel like lately your spending has gone off the rails and you don’t know where to begin to get back on track, the good news is there are some easy changes you can implement to make a big difference! Take a look at these six tips for how to better control your spending and stay on budget for reaching your goal of a debt free life!

Create a budget…and stick to it!

It doesn’t matter where you stand financially; it’s smart to have a budget for how you spend. This provides valuable insight into where you spend your money and potentially areas you can cut back, should you need to. It only take a little effort to outline a budget that allows both flexibility and accountability.

Only shop when there is a goal in mind

Shopping is a favorite pastime for many! It becomes dangerous when spending unplanned money becomes an ongoing habit, especially for things you simply don’t need. If you really want to curb your spending, only shop when you have a goal in mind. Create a clear shopping list and stick to it. Sure, some other things might catch your eye, but if they are not on the list, they don’t make the cut until you’ve saved up additional funds to pay for them.

Don’t fall for marketing traps

In line with shopping with a goal in mind, be aware of marketing traps that most commonly come in the form of sales. It’s a store’s job to convince you to buy something you don’t really need by making it seem like you’re getting a deal. The best “deal” you can get is paying nothing and walking away from an item you don’t really need. Fifty percent off is still 50% more than what you came intending to spend on something not on your shopping list.

Keep in mind your long-term goals

Spending your money on an impulse buy might seem enjoyable right now, but what would be more enjoyable is that Caribbean vacation (or anything else!) you had been meaning to save up for long-term. Don’t lose sight of the prize. Put reminders around your house, in your car and in your wallet so that you stay focused on that long-term financial goal.

Make spending feel more “real” by using cash

Using cash instead of plastic is a tried and true way to curb a spending addition. You are better able to physically see your budget for the week (or month) as well as how quickly it’s being spent on different items. Once you run out of cash, you essentially run over your budget, so it’s a hard stop on spending that makes you think twice about those impulse purchases.

Use technology for easy tracking

Finally, be sure to take advantage of the many different platforms available to help track spending and set a budget. Mint.com is a highly reputable platform, free of charge, that aggregates all of your bank accounts to show you income verses expenses as well as month to month trends in spending.

No matter where you stand financially, these tips should help put you on the right track to living within your means. Share the tip you plan to put into practice first and why by commenting below!

4 Summer Food Trends You’ll Want to Try Right Now!

4 Summer Food Trends You’ll Want to Try Right Now!

It’s (almost) summer and that means it’s grilling season! This is the perfect time of year to take advantage of eating outside as often as possible and making use of the many fresh foods available this season. It’s also the perfect time to step outside your comfort zone and try something new. Whether you’re craving something sweet or savory, we have some recipe ideas that will get your taste buds tingling!

Watermelon Ice Cubs

You read that right! A hot (or should we say cool) trend out right now is taking pureed watermelon and freezing it in an ice cube tray. You can add these sweet cubes to a regular glass of water, for a fruity kick or use them in any variety of juices or cocktails to add flavor without watering down the drink. Why stop with watermelon? Any fruit puree can be frozen and used in the same way. Peaches, cantaloupe, honeydew and pineapple would all make great varieties.

Vegetables Wrapped in Steak

This trend offers a new twist on the ever-popular kabobs. All it requires is a thin piece of meat, like skirt steak, and your favorite vegetables. Slice your vegetables long, about the same length as your steak, or meat of choice. Then wrap them with the meat and pin closed with tooth picks. Add them to the grill and watch the magic happen. The meat adds flavor to the vegetables, while keeping them moist. The end result is a perfectly portioned meal, ready to be served.

Grilled Fruit

This next summer food trend marries the smoky taste of the grill with the sweet taste of fruit. Maybe you’ve had grilled pineapple before, but this new trends opens the door to every fruit! Place your strawberries, watermelon, peaches, blueberries and more on skewers, just as you would meat or vegetables, then grill them to perfection. You can serve these as a side dish, or add them atop a scoop of vanilla ice cream for the perfect summer dessert.

Campfire Cones

Of course we can’t end without dessert! Campfire cones are as simple as they are delicious, and everyone can make them just the way they want them. Essentially you start with a waffle cone and fill it with any variety of ingredients such as chocolate, marshmallow, bananas, raspberries, nuts, and more. Next, you wrap the cone in tinfoil and place it over a heat source like a camp fire or fire pit. After three to five minutes, the chocolate and marshmallow will have melted to create a deliciously gooey dessert you’ll want to try again and again.

Which of these food trends is your favorite? Or do you have another trend to show? Join in the conversation by leaving a comment.

7 Family-Friendly Activities this Spring in Central PA

7 Family-Friendly Activities to Do This Spring in Central PA

Spring in Central Pennsylvania is a beautiful and fun time of year when everyone seems to come back to life and branch out into the community looking for fun, family-friends events to enjoy. Central PA has an ever-growing list of activities, parades and festivals that cater to a wide variety of interests. Here’s a look at 6 of the many family-friends activities to put on your calendar this spring!


St. Patrick’s Day Parades – Varied Dates

All across Central PA, St. Patrick’s Day Parades will be taking place over the course of March. This means multiple opportunities for you and the family to head out and experience the fun of this lively Irish holiday. Here is a snap shot of the St. Patrick’s Day Parades scheduled this year in Central PA: Scranton and York on March 11; Lancaster (a Saint Patrick’s Day benefit concert) on March 11; Philadelphia on March 12; Harrisburg on March 18; Stroudsburg on March 19; and Girardville on March 25.

Central PA Comic Con – April 1-2, 2017

Saturday, April 1 through Sunday, April 2, the York Fairgrounds will be transformed into “Central PA Comic Con.” Memorial Hall East will feature 28,000 square feet of fandom fun with meet and greets with some of your favorite comedic stars. This year marks the five year anniversary of the event, and they have plans to make it the best one yet. If your family is a fan of comics, be sure to mark your calendars for this event.

Spring Carlisle Car Show – April 19-23, 2017

From Wednesday, April 19 through Sunday, April 23, the Spring Carlisle Car Show will again take place at the Carlisle Fairgrounds. This is a collector and classic car swap meet, car corral and auction that has been noted as one of the top five automotive swap meets in the world by Fox News. This is a great family event where you can casually explore the 8,100 vending spaces and even slip behind the wheel of some of the vehicles!

Dillsburg Picklefest – May 13, 2017

This small town festival kicks off with a 5k Pickle Chase & then all of the food starts up.  Of course, there are many pickle flavored items to try!  There is a charming arts & craft show, a kids zone, and even a little of history to explore at the Maple Shade Barn.  If you are looking for a relaxed free event, Picklefest has what you are looking for!

Greek Fest of Holy Trinity – May 19-21, 2017

Starting on Friday, May 19 and running through Sunday, May 21, Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Cathedral in Camp Hill will again host its ever-popular Greek Fest. What really draws in the crowds in the mouthwatering array of handmade, authentic Greek food. Whether your taste is sweet or savory, you and the whole family will find a treat worth indulging in at the Greek Fest. Better yet, there are an assortment of vendors selling crafts and various other items. Come rain or shine, this is one event not to miss!

Army Heritage Days – May 20-21, 2017

Whether someone in your family is a war-buff, or simply enjoy exploring the open grounds of the U.S. Army Education Center, make it a point to come out to Armed Forces weekend May 20-21, 2017. The grounds feature a timeline living history event that features several hundred reenactors from all eras spread out over the one mile long Army Heritage Trail. Best of all, this is a free event, making it that much more family-friendly!

Arts Fest of Greater Harrisburg – May 27-29, 2017

From Saturday, May 27 through Monday, May 29, the Riverfront Park in downtown Harrisburg will again be transformed into a bustling hub of activity including hundreds of vendors selling arts, crafts and delicious treats. This is a great family event because “kids” of all ages will enjoy the festival setting and all the inspiring works of art created by vendors in PA and beyond.


4 Insurance Mistakes That Could Cost You Big!

4 Insurance Mistakes That Could Cost You Big!

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!

What New Homeowners Need to Know About Insurance

What New Homeowners Need to Know About Insurance

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.


David Downey
Insurance Agency Owner
11 N US Hwy 15, Ste 7
Dillsburg, PA, 17019
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