Going on Vacation? 5 Tips for Brevard County Homeowners

Summer is in full-force, and homeowners in Brevard County are planning their vacations. Maps will be looked at and destinations decided. Next, a budget will be planned, and travel arrangements made. But as with all things, safety must be the first priority.

And while safety during your vacation is important, your home’s safety should be your first line of defense. Remember, your homeowner’s insurance covers your losses, but it’s your job to limit those losses and take every precaution necessary to ensure the protection of your home and your belongings.

Home Safety Tips from Atlantic Coast Insurance

Tip #1: Pause Your Mail Delivery

Identity theft is a real concern. Pausing your mail delivery will help prevent identity theft through the theft of your mail, which can contain account information, bank statements, and sometimes very personal information. With a simple piece of your mail, a stranger can obtain your full name, your address, your bank name, and account information for your bank accounts and utilities. This can be enough information to request forgotten passwords and more.

Tip #2: Leave Your Homeowner’s Insurance Card with a Neighbor

In case of a fire, a hurricane, a flood, an earthquake, or any other natural disaster or freak accident resulting in property damage, leave your homeowner’s insurance agent’s card with a neighbor you trust.

Tip #3: Install Outdoor Security Lights

When it appears someone is not home, especially for several days at a time, it can seem like an open invitation to would-be criminals. Having exterior security lights is a major deterrent for anyone looking to break into your home.

Tip #4: Save the Social Posts Until You’ve Come Home

A big vacation trip may be exciting news, but don’t share it with the world. At least not before or during your trip. Announcing that you will not be home for an extended period of time is the exact kind of information you do not want in the wrong hands.

Tip #5: Install a Security System

Nowadays, security systems can be very inexpensive. You can purchase a cheap WIFI home security system for under $300, and sometimes much less than that. Many of which can be remote controlled with an app. A quick set up can give you peace of mind knowing that in the event your home is broken into, an alarm system is in place to scare away a home invader.

Following these 5 tips for home safety will not only minimize risk of damage or property theft, they will give you the peace of mind knowing you have done everything you can to prevent a loss. Not to mention, it will also provide a clear picture of the steps you took for your home insurance agent in the event something unforeseen does happen.

Hurricane Season Came Early

While the Space Coast in Florida is a wonderful place to live, hurricane season is a part of life around here. Homeowners must do everything to ensure their property is adequately protected when a nasty storm does roll around towards Brevard County Florida. Certain steps must be taken before buying or building a home in the area, while other measures can be taken before hurricane season.

Floridians who live along the coast, particularly in the Brevard County area, will have to deal with damage from hurricanes and other major storms during the year. It is always the hope that a majority of the harsh winds and rains from a hurricane will pass over the area, but sometimes a storm can deliver its most vicious blow to the Florida coast.

In these circumstances, homeowners could do with adequate homeowner’s insurance, proper protection for certain parts of their property, and an adequate understanding of shelters and other resources that may be available during a storm.

Preparing Homes in Space Coast Florida

When building or buying a home near the Space Coast, it is important to avoid areas that are known spots for flooding during major storms. Homes should be built with the style and materials that are more durable during a hurricane and other major storms. For instance, hipped-roof homes are better equipped to handle intense winds as compared to gable-end roofs.

Homeowners who already have property along the coast may not have the option or budget to make major changes to their property ahead of hurricane season. But there are still measures they can take to ensure their property is better equipped to handle a major storm.

A family should always have a plan ahead of hurricane season. Storms are unpredictable and can arrive at any point. It is best to have an action plan, along with hurricane supplies, ready to go in case there is an emergency. An evacuation and survival kit may also be useful, as it would include nonperishable food, first aid supplies, medication and flashlights.

When there are reports of a major storm heading towards the Brevard County area, families who have relatives in other parts of the country may want to go and stay with them. It is best to board up a home and depart, instead of attempting to ride out a serious storm.

Choosing the Best Homeowners Insurance Policy

Atlantic Coast Insurance offers quality homeowner’s insurance policies that feature impressive protection and low deductibles. Those who do not have a current policy would be advised to set one up before hurricane season rolls around.

Homeowners who already have insurance policies may want to see whether Atlantic Coast can offer an improvement on what they are already paying. Having more protection with a lower deductible can be incredibly useful, especially in areas where hurricanes have a tendency to cause major damage every few years.

Even the best constructed home can fall victim to a massive storm. Having a proper homeowners insurance policy gives families peace of mind knowing their financial future is secure, should such a storm hit their area.

Spring Break Road Trip

A woman with pink flip flops hanging them over a car doorWith a lot of people from the colder regions of the United States planning on visiting Florida’s Space Coast within the near future, you may either be ready to join the party or you may want to spend your spring break elsewhere.  Road trip!

Just remember that whether you are traveling by car, train, or airplane, there are many things that could go wrong if you are not careful.  Here are some tips to make your spring break the best one yet!

  • Pack lightly. The more you bring, the more you stand to lose if something were to happen to your luggage.
  • Make sure your vehicle will be able to make the trip. If you haven’t done it in a while, get your car an oil change, check the tires, and have the engine checked for any problems.  Also, check your auto insurance policy to make sure you have all the coverage you need for the trip.
  • Contact your credit card companies and banks so they are aware of your upcoming trip. Some companies and banks will block your card as a precautionary measure if they notice any unusual purchases being made.  If they know you are on vacation, they will be aware that it is actually you making those purchases.
  • If you are planning on packing any of your good jewelry or other more expensive items, make sure you have the proper insurance to protect you if they are damaged, lost, or stolen. Remember, your auto insurance does not cover personal items that are left in the vehicle.  Your homeowner’s insurance or renter’s insurance will have you covered, but only after your deductible is met and only up to the limits of your policy.

If you have any questions of concerns about your insurance and how it will cover you on your spring break trip, you can contact us at [astPhone].

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Flood Insurance vs. Homeowner’s Insurance – Which Will Cover It?

floodThere are several scenarios that may have you questioning which insurance policy will cover your claims.  Here are some examples:

1. You notice that your swimming pool is losing water.  At the same time, you notice that your basement is gaining water.  Coincidence?  Nope.  Your pool has a crack in it, which caused water to seep out.  Which insurance will cover the damage to your basement?

– In this case, your homeowner’s insurance would be the one to file against.  However, whether or not you will have coverage for your basement will depend on the cause of the leak.

2. A huge rainstorm is blowing rain into your first floor because the seal around a window is not properly holding.  The sheetrock and window pane are clearly suffering from water damage.  Which policy will cover it?

– Once again, contact your homeowner’s insurance claims department.  Water that comes down from the sky is not considered flood water, so your homeowner’s policy would be the one to cover this loss.  Be sure to check with your agent as wind-driven rain is not always covered under homeowner’s policies.

3. The same rainstorm caused the retention basin next to your house to overflow and leak into your basement.  Will your homeowner’s policy cover that loss?

– Unfortunately, no, your homeowner’s policy would not cover this loss.  In this case you would need to have a flood insurance policy in effect in order to recover any of the loss.  If any of your property is damaged other than the structure of your home, you will need to have flood coverage for your property as well as the structure.

If you are uncertain about what type of coverage you need or would like more information on flood insurance in your area, please contact us.  We would be happy to give you a quote on a flood insurance policy to cover your home, business, and other property.

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Rental Car Insurance: Is it Necessary?

rentalIf you frequently rent vehicles while on trips, you probably have been offered rental car insurance more than a few times.  You may have always turned it down thinking that your business’s insurance or your personal auto policy will have you covered if anything were to go wrong during your time with the rental car.  While that is true, there are some stipulations with your policies that may cause you to reconsider passing on that rental coverage.

Your personal auto policy does cover you when you are driving a vehicle other than your own.  However, it only covers you within the limits you set for your policy.  If you only have the minimum required insurance, you will not have coverage for anything that happens to the rental car itself.  You will need to have comprehensive and collision coverage if you are looking to be covered for rental car damaged as well.

Also, you must remember that your personal auto policy has deductibles that must be met before your policy will pay for anything.  While that may be ok for your own vehicle because you can choose whether or not to file a claim, when dealing with rental agencies you will most likely be required to pay for any damages in full.  Having the rental insurance is beneficial in those times because they carry no deductibles and will pay for damages up to the limits of the policy.

It really is a toss up as to whether or not you should purchase the rental insurance when it is offered.  You must weigh the cost of the insurance against the probability that you will need its benefits.  If you are concerned about it, please feel free to call us for a more thorough explanation.  We may be able to help make your decision about purchasing the rental insurance next time you rent a car.

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PROTECT YOUR ON-WATER INVESTMENT

As fellow boaters, we know the importance of maintaining your vessel – oil, filters and zincs are a few of the many things we have to remember to change in order to keep our investment in good, safe working order.  Keeping her properly insured is equally as important. Have you checked your insurance policy lately?  Our agency has been able to security insurance for all boaters with all kinds of insurance needs — i.e., hurricane deductibles from 2% to 10%. The choice you make can determine the value of your investment after a weather event. Call us at 254-9799 and let us help you protect your on-the-water investment.

4 Insurance Myths

redcarBeing in the insurance industry, we have heard it all.  There are so many different myths about insurance that have little to no truth behind them.  We would like to tell you the top 4 myths we have heard over the years and debunk them right here and now.

  1. Owning a red sports car will not cause your insurance premium to be higher than if you own a sports car of any other color.  The color of your vehicle is not in any way factored into your premium rate.  The vehicle’s make, model and year are used, but the color is completely irrelevant.  So go ahead and splurge for that shiny fire engine red one!
  2. If you are a smoker, you can get life insurance.  Although, your rate may be higher than that of a non-smoker. Quitting smoking now will not only be good for your health, but it will be good for your insurance premium as well.  Some life insurance policies could cost up to 4 times as much for smokers.
  3. Yes, you should consider life insurance if you are a stay-at-home parent.  Think about how much life would change financially for your family if you were to pass away.  Your spouse may need to pay for child care and/or housekeeping when you are not there.  That could take away from the finances you had set aside for your children’s future.  For a very minimal premium payment, you could have a significant life insurance policy to help offset any charges that could occur when you pass away.
  4. No, flood insurance is not just for people who live near water.  Most flood claims come from areas that are not prone to flooding.  Any water that comes in from the ground up is considered flood water and is not covered by most standard homeowner’s policies.  Call [astPhone] for a quote on a flood insurance policy today!

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Stress Reduction for a Longer, Healthier Life

stressSure, we all know that we need to reduce stress in our lives.  Stress can be debilitating if it occurs very often.  All the cortisol and adrenaline that our bodies release from prolonged stress can be harmful to our health.  But how can we reduce that stress without completely changing our lifestyles we have grown accustomed to?

There are many ways to reduce stress in your life.  One of the easiest methods of stress reduction is avoiding the things, events, or people that cause you stress.  It may seem easier said than done, but it actually can be easier than you think.  Just getting up and walking away from a stressful situation can give your body pause and help reset your mind.  Sometimes that small respite from the stress can open you thoughts to a different way of handling the situation.

Of course, there are times when just walking away is not an option.  In those cases, try to take deep breaths and focus your energy on the positive aspects of the situation.  For example, instead of worrying about how you will pay this month’s bills with the money you currently have, focus on how you can make a positive change in your spending to keep future bills from draining your bank account.

 

Keeping stress at bay can help keep you happy and healthy by staving off illnesses such as heart disease, obesity, gastrointestinal problems, depression, and even premature death.  We want you to be as happy and healthy as possible.  To find more tips on how to reduce stress in your life, talk with your doctor or other health care provider.  Your health insurance carrier is also a good resource for answers.  And of course, we are always here to help you in any way we can.  Just give us a call at [astPhone].

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What To Do With Your Christmas Tree

christmastreeSo now that all those holiday decorations are about to come down and be put away, you may be wondering what to do with the dried out Christmas tree that has been dropping needles in your living room for the past few weeks.  While we definitely recommend removing that fire hazard from your home as soon as possible, we can also recommend steps to take it from there.  Here are some ideas:

  1. Find out when local pickup is scheduled and leave it right at your curb.  If you can’t stand the sight of it anymore, you could probably bring your tree to them as well.  Find out when your town’s waste management center will be open and drop it off.
  2. Contact your nearest conservation center to see if they have a use for it.  Some agencies use Christmas trees as housing for birds or other woodland creatures.  Others use them to help replenish beaches.  They sink them in the water to help restore shores all across the coastline.  Just make sure you have ALL decorations off the tree.  Tinsel may look pretty, but it could do serious damage to wildlife.
  3. Rent a wood chipper and make mulch.  That beautiful tree can do more than just look pretty with decorations on it.  It can be used to keep your flower beds moisturized this spring!  If you don’t want to go through the trouble of mulching the tree yourself, find out if your waste management center will do it for you! In fact, you may be able to take even more mulch for free!  It never hurts to ask.

Your beautiful Christmas tree brought a lot of joy to you and your loved ones during the holidays.  Now you can start planning for this year’s Christmas… it’s only 11 months away, after all!

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Choosing the Right Car Seat for Your Child

carseatAs if driving through rush hour isn’t stressful enough, finding the right car seat for your infant, toddler, or child can be downright nerve racking!  But with car crashes being a leading cause of death amongst children ages 1-13, having the right car seat is extremely important.

Your child is an individual with his or her own body type: height, weight, and age all need to be taken into account.  But there are some guidelines that can help you narrow down which seat is right.  There are three things to remember when looking for a seat, and they all involve finding the proper fit.

  • Does it fit your child properly?
  • Does it fit your vehicle properly?
  • And does it fit your lifestyle properly?  In other words, is it easy to use?

But even when you find the perfect seat, you want to be sure it is installed properly.  Did you know you can find a certified Child Passenger Safety technician in your area by checking www.safecar.gov/therightseat?  He or she will check to make sure your seat falls within the laws of your state and is safely installed in your car or truck.

In the meantime, here are some guidelines for you to remember:

  • Always keep children under age 1 in the back in a rear-facing car seat.
  • Keep children ages 1-3 rear-facing as long as possible.
  • Don’t let children under 13 ride in the front seat.
  • Have your child’s car seat checked at an inspection station or by a certified child passenger safety technician. Bring the Car Seat Instructions AND the Vehicle Owner’s Manual with you to a seat check appointment!

Also, having the right car insurance is important.  Call us at [astPhone] with any questions about how your insurance will cover you and your family in the unfortunate event of an accident on the road.

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