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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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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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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Business Insurance Basics

machineryRunning your own business can be a stressful process, just as easily as it can be an enjoyable one.  There is nothing like watching a satisfied customer walk out the door with one of your products.  But when a customer has a complaint, you have some other issue with production, or one of your employees gets hurt on the job, that stressful parts of the business can take over.  Having the right insurance can help.

When you are looking for insurance for your business, it is important to talk with a professional to find out what is available.  Getting the basic requirements like liability and workers compensation are great, but your business is unique.  There may be other insurance types available that will be very beneficial if you ever need to file a claim.

For example, depending on where your business is located, you may be prone to flooding in the area.  Like homeowner’s insurance, your business insurance most likely does not cover flood damage.  You will need to have a separate flood insurance policy in order to protect yourself financially in the event of a flood.

Also, you may not think that your small business could benefit from having boiler and machinery insurance.  But if one of your small production machines breaks down, causing you to halt production and lose profits, you may find that having boiler and machinery coverage will help pay for the lost time as well as the broken machine.

We want to help reduce business related stress by getting your business the insurance coverage it needs if anything were to ever go wrong.  Call us at [astPhone] to find out exactly what type of insurance is available for your specific business.  We can offer you a quote on a policy tailored fit for your business at a rate that you’ll smile at.

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Holiday Decorating Safety

decorationsNow is the time when a lot of people start thinking about decorating their homes for the holidays.  What’s not to love about beautiful, festive decorations adorning both interiors and exteriors of people’s homes?  But when you start putting up those twinkly lights, remember to always think about safety first!  Here are some tips to help keep you and your home safe this holiday season:

  • Decorating the roofline with lights can be beautiful, but check the weather conditions before you head up there.  A windy or rainy day can really put a damper on your decorating endeavor. Rain can make everything slippery and wind can knock over your ladder quite easily.  Always have someone with you to hold the ladder,  And save the decorating for another day if the weather is not agreeable,
  • When putting up a tree inside, be mindful of placement.  Whether your tree is artificial or fresh from the forest, it can be quite flammable.  Placing it near a fireplace, candle, or other open flame could be disastrous for your home.  Be sure you keep real trees watered properly to prevent them from drying out and becoming even more flammable.
  • Shiny baubles can be very appealing to youngsters and pets who may want to touch or even put them in their mouths.  Keep your children and pets safe as well by keeping decorations out of reach.  Put up a child safety gate around your tree and keep ornaments high enough out of reach.

Before the holidays get underway, check your homeowner’s policy to make sure it is up to date and will provide you with the coverage you need in the event of an accident.  We want you to have the happiest of holidays this year, so stay safe and have fun decorating your home!

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