Thinking through all the costs associated with buying a home will make the process run more smoothly, and it may also save you money. It is important to:
Check Your Credit Rating
A good credit history helps you in many ways.
If you are currently renting a house or apartment, protect yourself financially with a renters insurance policy.
Car insurance exclusions are provisions written in the insurance contract. They exclude coverage for a particular driver or event. You should carefully check the Exclusions section in your policy.
The most common car insurance exclusions include:
Falling asleep behind the wheel of a car is a very serious risk. In some situations, it can lead to wrecks, significant damage or even the death of another person. Most often, your auto insurance covers the damage you cause to other people. Yet, there are some limits. Why you fell asleep could be a key factor in determining if the policy pays out.
Why Did You Fall Asleep?
Was it just a long day at work and you dozed off? Were you drinking and driving? Or, perhaps you have a medical condition such as narcolepsy that causes you to fall asleep often. In all situations, your insurer wants to know why you fell asleep at the wheel.
In most situations, the policy’s liability insurance covers losses to another person’s belongings. For example, it may cover damage to another driver’s car if you hit that driver after falling asleep. It may also pay for your damage if the incident was accidental, and you could not avoid it.
Talk to our Agency About Your Health
When you obtain auto insurance, your agent asks you about any reasons that you may be a high-risk driver. If you have a medical condition that may cause you to fall asleep behind the wheel, be sure to tell the agent. In some cases, your car insurance policy is void if you fail to disclose this type of information. Insurance companies need to know if you have any condition that makes you a high-risk driver. This may include narcolepsy but also conditions like sleep apnea.
It Was Just an Accident
In some situations, an incident like this occurs as a result of an accident. You just did not sleep well. You worked long hours. You just doze off. When this occurs, your policy is still likely to provide coverage to you. However, if you were driving under the influence, your insurance likely won't cover the damage. If you received a ticket for reckless driving, your insurance company may not pay out. In other words, you could have prevented this accident had you acted responsibly.
The key is to be sure you have the right amount of auto insurance in place. And, let our agency know about any risk factors that apply to you. This can help ensure your car insurance remains in place even if you do have an incident like this.
Quick quiz: Without looking at your policy, tell us what type of water damage is covered by your homeowners or renters insurance. If you answered, “Water that comes from the top down is generally covered, but not when it comes from the bottom up,” good for you! If not, read on…
Here’s something to think about: Homeowners and renters policies generally cover you for a burst pipe, or rain coming through a storm-damaged roof. But in the case of water damage caused by flooding and sewer backup, you’ll need a separate policy or endorsement.
If you’re among the many homeowners and renters who don’t have flood insurance, remember this: Just because flood coverage is optional, doesn’t mean you don’t need it. Events such as 2012’s Hurricane Sandy demonstrated that you don’t have to live in a coastal region to be in danger of flooding—in fact, some of the worst flooding from Sandy occurred hundreds of miles from the nearest ocean. Another point to consider: Because flood insurance is a specialized product, available through the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), it has its own set of rules--deductibles, coverage limits, and so forth. Some private insurers also offer flood coverage.
So what’s the best way to figure out your flood insurance needs? A good first step is to see whether your home is in an area that’s prone to flooding—you can do this by looking at FEMA.gov’s Flood Map Service Center. (FEMA also has tons of other resources to help with disaster preparation.) Another smart idea? Talk to one of our Insurance Agents. They can help you assess your risks and come up with smart insurance strategies to protect your home, family and belongings.
Watch and Learn: Even a Dummy Can Be Smart about Flood Insurance!
We will ask the following questions to make sure to get your classification and coverage right the first time:
1. What specific services do you provide?
And handymen can be especially easy to misclassify because they do so many odd jobs.
Whether you own a coffee shop or a pizzeria or a cantina, you need some fundamental business insurance
to get started. Many of your exposures can be addressed by…
While those policies may cover the basics, the where, when, what, and how of each food service operation impacts its insurance needs. For example, consider the unique exposures of a food truck, catering service, banquet hall, or nightclub. Clients in these professions might also need…
Shopping for your dream house? There are many considerations when looking at real estate, like property taxes, school district, the appeal of the neighborhood—and, of course, the bottom line. Don't overlook the financial implications of homeowner’s insurance as part of your overall investment. Use this guide to help think through all the costs associated with buying a home.
Before house hunting
Set yourself up to be a financially desirable buyer.
1. Check your credit rating
A good credit history makes it easier to get a mortgage at a competitive interest rate, and may also qualify you for a good credit discount on your insurance. Obtain a copy of one or all of your credit reports. Make sure they are accurate and report any mistakes immediately. If your credit is not as good as it could be, take steps now to improve it.
2. Protect yourself with a renter’s insurance policy
If you are currently renting a house or apartment, protect yourself financially with a renter’s insurance policy. In the event of a disaster, renters’ insurance can help protect the down payment you’re building to buy your new home, as well as provide a useful insurance history to your prospective homeowner’s insurer when you go to buy your first home.
While house hunting
As you search for your new home, remember that the physical characteristics of the house—its size, location, construction and overall condition—can affect the cost, choice and availability of home insurance. In some cases, desirable features—like ornate plasterwork or proximity to the coastline—can make insuring a home costlier or more difficult. Some factors to consider when shopping for a home are:
3. Quality and location of the fire department
Houses that are located near highly rated, permanently staffed fire departments usually cost less to insure. This also holds true for homes that have a hydrant nearby.
4. Proximity to the coastline
Houses located on or near the coast will generally cost more to insure than those further inland. They will also likely require a separate hurricane or windstorm deductible. In some coastal communities, private homeowner’s insurance coverage may not be readily available. Instead, you may need to purchase insurance through a state-run insurance program.
5. Age of the home
A stately, older home can be quite beautiful but ornate features like plaster walls, ceiling molding and wooden floors may be costly to replace and can raise the cost of insurance. And plumbing and electrical systems can become unsafe with age and lack of maintenance. If you are considering buying an older home find out how much it will cost to update these features and factor that into the cost of ownership.
6. Condition of the roof
A new roof matters to insurers and keeps you and your family safer. Make sure to check the roof's condition. Depending on the type of roof and whether or not it's made with fire and/or hail resistant materials, you may even qualify for an insurance discount.
7. Quality of construction
Find out whether the house has been updated to comply with current building codes. Homes well built by careful craftsmen and those constructed to meet modern engineering-based building codes are likely to better withstand natural disasters.
8. Risk of flooding
Damage from flooding is NOT covered by standard home insurance policies. If you are buying a home in an area at risk from flooding, you will need to purchase separate flood insurance, which is available from the federal government’s National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) and from a few specialty insurers.
9. History of earthquakes
While earthquakes are most frequently associated with California, they occur in the majority of states and are not covered under standard home insurance policies. Earthquake insurance is available from private insurers as an endorsement to a homeowner’s policy, and in California from the California Earthquake Authority.
10. Swimming pool or other special features
If the house has a swimming pool, hot tub or other special feature, you will likely need more liability insurance. You may also want to consider purchasing an umbrella liability policy to provide added protection in the event someone gets injured on your property and decides to sue you.
Before you place a bid on the home
Take precautions and understand the house's history, current condition, potential trouble spots—and costs.
11. Check the loss history report
Ask the current homeowner to obtain a copy of the loss history report on the home. Homeowners can obtain either a Comprehensive Loss Underwriting Exchange (C.L.U.E.) report, which is available from LexisNexis, or an A-PLUSTM property report from ISO®. These reports provide a record of the type of loss on the home and can provide extremely valuable information. For instance, if there was a claim for water damage on the home, it is important to find out the source of the damage (such as a burst pipe) and whether it has been properly repaired. On the other hand, a claim for wind or hail that resulted in a new roof makes the home stronger and is very attractive from an insurance perspective.
12. Get the house inspected
You’ll need to have the house inspected by a credentialed home inspector in order to get your mortgage approved. Accompany the inspector to make sure he or she is thorough and makes sure to:
13. Estimate maintenance costs
Routine maintenance is your responsibility as a homeowner so be sure to factor these costs into the overall price of owning the home. Losses caused by failing to properly care for your home are not covered by standard homeowner’s insurance policies.
14. Call our agency
Don’t wait until the last minute to think about homeowner’s insurance and don’t be shy about asking for estimates on more than one house. Ask if the house will qualify and get an estimate of the premium. The sooner you speak with one of our insurance professionals, the smoother the process will be. If you're uncomfortable with the cost of insuring a particular house, look for one that better fits your financial situation.
Family on Boat
The wind in your hair, the sun on your face, and the open water in front of you. Sound appealing? Then you might want to join the ranks of boat owners all over the country. But before you cut through that clear blue, there are some things to keep in mind. Whether you're buying a fishing boat, cabin cruiser, pontoon or speed boat, different components like cost, horsepower, weight capacity or onboard storage may prove to be more important to you than others.
Answer these questions before going boat shopping:
What are you hoping to use your boat for? All boat styles have a different design tailored to the use. Speed boats may be better for tubing and water skiing but wouldn't hold as many people or be as fish accessible as a pontoon or fishing boat. Maybe you're in the market for a sailboat or leaning towards a houseboat. There are so many different varieties of boats, so make an informed decision on which one is right for you.
What's your budget? This may help decide whether to purchase a pre-owned boat. New boats depreciate anywhere between 25%-33% immediately after leaving the dealer's lot. So, if you buy a pre-owned boat, someone else has already paid that depreciation cost - more boat for fewer dollars! However, buying a new boat will offer a warranty, the newest technology, and that nice shiny look as you move across the water - the choice is up to you!
How many people are you hoping to go on your boating excursions with? The capacity on personal fishing boats is generally smaller than a pontoon boat, which are made to hold anywhere between 8-15 adults comfortably.
What type of equipment will you want onboard? Here's some suggestions:
Will your car be able to tow the new boat? According to Auto Bytel, the average 21-foot boat trailer weighs between 500 and 1,000 pounds, while most boats in this size range hover in the 4,000-5,000-pound range. This means that you'll want an SUV or truck that is rated to tow between 4,500-6,000 pounds in total.
Will your new boat fit in your garage during the off season? Alongside your garage? In a separate storage space?
And a few other components to consider...
As your business becomes more successful, the risks of operating without proper insurance increase. Buying business insurance? Make the right choice for your company with these three tips:
1. Do Your Homework
The self-employed need to have their own back. Whether you’re a solopreneur with a web-based business, an independent contractor, or a freelance artist, you need to protect yourself and your assets. And as your business becomes more successful, the risks of doing business without proper insurance increase exponentially. In the end, you’re the boss and the buck stops with you. If you don’t protect yourself, who will?
Any event that results in a loss of income—natural disasters, acts of vandalism, illness, or frivolous lawsuits—could potentially sink your business. The best way to protect your business is with comprehensive insurance, but can you afford it?
Feeling overwhelmed by the variety of plans and packages available? Contact our agency.
We will begin by researching the insurance packages commonly carried by professionals in your industry. Depending on the nature of your business, you might need one or several of the following: general liability, commercial property insurance, professional liability, product liability, business interruption and worker’s compensation.
2. Know Your Risks
When you apply for a policy, your insurance company will measure the information contained in your application against a model of “acceptable risk” generated by an underwriter. In order to clear a profit, insurers need to do everything in their power to avoid clients whose behavior, occupation, or professional record suggests excessive risk.
An underwriter will assess your application to determine the rates and terms of your policy. Every underwritten policy carries a premium as well as a deductible. A premium is essentially the fee you pay in order to remain insured, and premiums vary widely from provider to provider.
A deductible is the amount of money you agree to pay every time you make a claim. Generally speaking, your deductible and your premium have an inverse relationship: If you agree to carry a higher deductible, then your premium payments will be significantly lower. But tread carefully: A low-premium, high-deductible policy seems like a bargain until it’s time to make a claim.
3. Let Us Shop Around for You
Insurance is the single greatest expense for many independent contractors. The cost of insurance varies for every business, but some providers specialize in insuring specific types of businesses, including independent contractors.
Our commercial insurance agents can guide you to a policy that fits the needs of your business. Our agency offers policies from a variety of companies, not just one.
Bottom Line: Running a business is an investment, and every investment contains a certain degree of risk. No matter what you do, you will never be able to eliminate risk from the freelance equation, but by buying the right insurance at the right price, you can moderate the financial risk associated with unexpected events. Nothing is as precious as peace of mind.
It's important that mobile home owners understand they have different insurance coverage requirements. We provide mobile home insurance policies for all types of manufactured and mobile home owners. When you choose our agency, you will receive the following:
Coverage for mobile/manufactured homes is generally offered using two approaches. Some policies include a laundry list of items (or perils) that may cause a loss. Other policies protect your home against everything EXCEPT for a host of specified perils. Either approach includes liability coverage that protects you for injuries or losses to others which you accidentally cause.
Our agency has very affordable policies with great coverage. Contact us today to see how much we can save you on your insurance needs.