Should You Buy Renters Insurance Through Your Property Manager or Leasing Agent?

Should You Buy Renters Insurance Through Your Property Manager or Leasing Agent?

As more large investment firms and professional property management companies get involved in rental properties, more are requiring tenants to secure renters’ insurance. Some have gone so far as to “suggest” or “recommend” a provider. The question is, should you get your renters’ insurance through your property manager? Are there any benefits to doing so?

Convenience

Clicking on a button on your leasing agent or property manager’s website to secure renters’ insurance may seem to be simple and convenient. But there may be a price to pay for that convenience. You may not get the coverage you deserve at a price that is comfortable for your budget. There are reasons you should secure renters’ insurance on your own.

Shopping for your own renters’ insurance policy keeps you in control. You decide the limits, coverage, and deductibles. You will also likely have more options to suit your budget.

When you make the decision on your renters’ insurance, you may qualify for a bundle discount with your auto insurance provider.

When you purchase your renters’ insurance individually, you are purchasing protection that works for you, not just your current landlord or property manager. This includes a variety of add-ons to cover personal electronic devices, coverage while traveling, and liability.

If you rent where you live, renters’ insurance is a good idea to protect your personal belongings and cover you for liability claims. Perhaps best of all, renters’ insurance is very affordable. We invite you to see just how affordable it can be for yourself.

If you are looking at renters’ insurance options, we encourage you to reach out to one of our independent insurance agents. They will connect with a network of companies to get you the coverage you deserve at a premium you can feel comfortable with. Securing renters’ insurance is prudent, but getting it through your landlord or property manager may not be. Contact our independent agents today.

America’s Biggest….

America’s Biggest….

Some blogs don’t require a lengthy introduction. This is one. These are the answers to “What is America’s biggest…”

Convention Center

With a combined total of 2.6 million square feet of exhibit space over four buildings, Chicago’s McCormick Place is the nation’s largest convention center. Orange County Convention Center in Orlando is second, with 2.1 million square feet of exhibit space over two buildings.

Shopping Mall

Shopping habits and the pandemic have greatly impacted mall shopping in recent years, but the Mall of America in the Minneapolis, MN area still reigns as king.

Fanbase

It is estimated that the Dallas Cowboys have over 8.5 million people in America who call themselves fans. This makes them the most popular professional sports team in the country. It is also, in part, what makes them so valuable. The New England Patriots are a distant second.

Casino

The largest American casino isn’t in Las Vegas or even in Nevada. In terms of gaming tables and gambling machines, it is said that WinStar World Casino and Resort in Thackerville, Oklahoma is the biggest. When it comes to square feet, Foxwoods in Connecticut has the honor.

Stadium

Not including raceways, the largest stadium in the country is at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. It has a capacity of 197,601. It is followed by Beaver Stadium at Penn State at 106,572 and Ohio Stadium in Columbus with a capacity of 102,780.

Gas Station

Fuel and convenience store chain Buc-ees is building mega-gas stations so large and expanding so quickly that this could change at any time. For now, the honor is being held at the Buc-ees location in New Braunfels, Texas. The location is over 66,000 square feet and has the world’s largest car wash.

Ferris Wheel

The tallest Ferris Wheel or Observation Wheel in the United States is in Las Vegas. The “High Roller” is owned by Caesars Entertainment and is located at the LINQ Hotel Resort and Casino. It places riders over 50 stories in the air at its peak.

McDonalds Restaurant

Located near the International Drive tourist district, the country’s largest McDonald’s is a multi-level marvel that is 19,000 square feet. Here you’ll find video games and amusements, along with a menu you won’t find at your neighborhood Mickey D’s. Burger lovers headed to Orlando can also discover the World’s Largest White Castle, at nearly 5,000 square feet. Bon Appetit.

While one could argue whether bigger is better, few would disagree with the fact that more options are better than fewer options. That’s what you get when you insure through our independent insurance company… more choices. You see, as opposed to captive agents that can only offer the products of the company they represent, we work with a network of insurance companies who compete for your business. This means we do the shopping for you! For auto, home, life, and business insurance, compare. Contact us for a no-obligation quote today.

Why Some Partnerships Fail

Why Some Partnerships Fail

When you start a business, one of the first things you’ll need to do is decide on your business structure. It could be a sole proprietorship, a corporation, an LLC, or a partnership. A simple partnership often involves just two people who decide they can work successfully together to build a business. While partnerships can offer a sense of security compared to going it alone, it can have its drawbacks. This is why some partnerships fail.

Similar Skills

Partners should complement each other with different skills and talents. If partners come from similar backgrounds or education, their skills may not be diverse enough.

Unequal Efforts

Many partnerships fail because one partner puts in more work than the other. In some cases, partnerships fail because one partner FEELS LIKE he is working harder than the other. It is important to split and assign responsibilities so each is accountable.

One Partner Gets Distracted

Owning and operating a business takes commitment. It takes long hours and financial sacrifice. If one partner or the other feels like they have to supplement their income by doing outside projects, it can be the beginning of the end.

Personal/Family Stress

At some level, when you are in a partnership with someone, you are also in a partnership with their spouse and family. Be cautious if you don’t get along with a potential partner’s spouse. It could mean trouble ahead.

Fundamental Business Differences

It helps when both partners are on the same page when it comes to fundamental business goals and decisions. Where do profits go? How important is growth or expansion? What are your long-term goals? Of course, all this needs to be addressed before going into business together.

Starting, building, and maintaining a successful business can be a huge challenge. While having a business partner beside you can be reassuring, make sure you are compatible and that each of you brings something unique to the table. A failed partnership can be a financial disaster and damage relationships forever.

One thing you should be able to agree on is business insurance, including life insurance for each partner. Our independent business insurance professionals can help. We’ll discuss your goals and potential risks. We can help design a business insurance plan, especially for your organization. Reach out to us today.

Worldwide Facts About Life Insurance

Worldwide Facts About Life Insurance

Most don’t give it much thought, but life insurance is a product that extends beyond the U.S. borders. It is sold worldwide. There are some aspects that can change from country to country, while others are the same or similar. Here is a look at “the world” of life insurance.

The United States is the Global Leader in Life Insurance

While life insurance is available in many countries, most of it is still sold in the U.S. In fact, it is estimated that 55% of all life insurance is sold here.

Your Coverage Extends to Other Countries

Your U.S.-based life insurance policy remains in force should you visit, or even move to, another country, assuming you keep your premiums up-to-date. However, you should let your provider know if you have moved.

Life Insurance in China

Life insurance in China is administered by a state-run financial enterprise. Life insurance in China is not mandatory. In terms of overall premiums paid, China is second only to the United States.

Life Insurance in Russia

Life insurance is the most popular insurance product that is non-compulsory in the country. Much like in the United States, a large number of insurance companies compete against each other to gain market share.

Life Insurance in India

IndiaFirst Life Insurance Company is India’s first life insurance firm that started in 2009. The company has seen rapid growth and offers both group and individual insurance policies.

Life Insurance in Egypt

There are only 32 companies selling insurance in Egypt, and only 13 of those are considered life insurance companies.

Life Insurance in Japan

A large percentage of households in Japan have life insurance, making it the third highest country in the world for life insurance premiums.

What is your life insurance situation? Do you have enough to take care of final expenses? What about your debts? Could you pay off your house or provide for your spouse and family? You may be surprised at how affordable life insurance may be. Contact one of our independent insurance agents for a free quote today.

What Your Car Knows About You

What Your Car Knows About You

Who knows you best? Your spouse? Your smartphone? Google? Perhaps it is your car. Over the past decade or so, cars have become increasingly adept at retrieving and storing data, including that from smartphones. Your car may know more about you than you imagine.

It Knows What Makes You Happy

If your car has modern memory features, it knows where your seats need to be positioned for your comfort, what temperature the cabin should be, and even what music you like. Some vehicles can even adjust interior mood lighting to preset levels.

It May Know What Your Smartphone Knows

If you’ve connected your smartphone to your car, odds are your car knows the data that is in your smartphone. This can include your contacts, text messages, emails, call histories, and photos.

How You Drive

Cars are now constantly collecting data on how you drive, including speed, acceleration, and braking patterns. This information can be used in determining insurance rates and even to determine blame in automobile accidents. Yes, your car may even know if and when you are wearing your seat belt.

Where You Go

Your car’s navigation system knows where you go, how long you spend there and the routes you are most likely to take. As part of this information, it knows where you are likely to eat lunch, dinner, shop, and buy gas. Some buy-here / pay-here car dealers install GPS tracking so they know where to repo a car if payments are missed.

Why is it important that you know what your car knows about you? Because, at some point, you will want to sell or trade in your vehicle. Do you really want those private messages, contacts, and photos left in the car’s database?

Thankfully, they can be cleared through a series of steps and your car dealer can even help clear the data. There are a lot of reasons it is convenient for your car to collect data. It also can be a bit problematic when selling your car.

Protect yourself, your car, and your passengers with sufficient car insurance protection. We can help. Our independent auto insurance agents shop with a network of companies to find you the best value in car insurance. Contact us to get started today.

Five Factors Influencing Home Insurance Rates

Five Factors Influencing Home Insurance Rates

Taking the mystery out of homeowners’ insurance can start with understanding the factors that impact home insurance rates. If you’ve ever wondered why your cousin Bob pays less for home insurance than you do, it could have to do with one or more of these five factors.

Property Location

A major factor affecting home insurance rates is the location of the home. Not just the neighborhood, but the terrain and risks of natural disasters. Rates may also be impacted by the proximity of the nearest fire department and even fire hydrants.

Price, Value, Replacement Costs

The cost of your home and what it would cost to replace it in a total loss plays a large role in the rates one pays. This value can be impacted by square footage, building materials, features, and amenities as well as where it is located.

Coverage Limits

Generally speaking, the higher your coverage limits, the more home insurance will cost. This includes structures, contents, and liability coverage. An independent insurance agent can help you determine what a reasonable amount of coverage for your situation is.

Deductible

Your home insurance deductible amount is the amount of money you pay out of pocket for a covered loss before your insurance policy proceeds kick in. The larger the deductible, the lower the premiums may be.

Age and Condition

As construction techniques and building codes have improved, so has the general safety of homes. This is why it can be cheaper to insure a new home than a vintage one. Older homes can have older plumbing, out-of-date wiring, and roofs that may soon need replacement. Some properties may be uninsurable unless some basic improvements are made.

While insurance companies use similar factors in determining rates, the weight they place on each factor can be different. This is why it is important to compare when shopping for home insurance. Our independent insurance agents can assist you. They can reach out to a number of companies to find the coverage and premium you are comfortable with. Contact us today to get started.

The Indelible Impact of “Happy Days”

The Indelible Impact of “Happy Days”

Starting in 1974 and lasting for 11 seasons, Happy Days was a hit TV series that made an indelible mark on America. It featured the All-American Cunningham family of Milwaukee, with hardware store owner Howard, stay-at-home mom Marion, son Richie, and daughter Joanie. The show was set in the late fifties and early sixties and left behind some memorable moments, sequels, and characters.

The Return of Opie

Child actor Ronnie Howard, who played Opie on The Andy Griffith Show, made his return to TV, playing the role of Richie Cunningham. Richie was basically Opie as a teenager. Howard would go on to a remarkable directing career, giving us films such as Apollo 13, A Beautiful Mind, Cocoon, Splash, and about two dozen others.

Notable Sequels

Happy Days spawned three notable sequels and two forgettable ones. Laverne & Shirley starred characters Laverne DeFazio and Shirley Feeney, best friends who worked at Shotz Brewery. Penny Marshall, who played Laverne, would go on to have a successful career as a director/producer, giving us films like Jumpin’ Jack Flash, Big, A League of Their Own, and more. Happy Days also gave us the quirky “Mork and Mindy“ spinoff with Pam Dawber and a young Robin Williams. Other shows branching off Happy Days included “Joanie Loves Chachi” with Scott Baio. “Blanksy’s Beauties” and “Out of the Blue”.

The Fonz

Happy Days gave us one of the most memorable characters of the 1970s, Arthur Fonzarelli, better known as the leather jacket-wearing bad boy “The Fonz.” He had a way of fixing things with a snap of his fingers or a pound of his fist. His catchphrase was the simple but effective “Ayyyy”. He would go on to appear in movies like “Scream” and TV shows that included “The Practice” and “Arrested Development”.

Jumping the Shark

The show is also credited with the idiom “jumping the shark.” It referred to one particularly far-reaching episode in which Fonzie jumps over a shark on water skis. It has since come to mean that something has gone too far and is beginning to lose popularity.

Tired of bingeing and streaming? You may want to go back and visit some old friends like Opie, the Fonz, Lenny and Squiggy, Laverne and Shirley, and others by watching a few episodes of Happy Days.

When was the last time you revisited your insurance program? We can help with a no-cost, no-obligation review of your auto, home, life and even business insurance. Connect with us soon for a free quote.

Fast Growing Industries

Fast Growing Industries

One of the most enlightening ways to take the pulse of the economy is to look at the industries that are growing at faster rates than others. It can also give us an idea of our priorities at any given time. Here’s a look at some of the fastest growing industries in the country and what insight that growth may offer.

Hospitality and Travel

It may not be a surprise that Americans are getting out and about. This is good news for hotels, resorts, cruise lines, airlines, car rental services, and other travel and hospitality-related industries. Unfortunately, part of the reason for the massive increase is that this is an industry that was hit so badly by the pandemic.

Media/Marketing/Advertising

While this field was traditionally dominated by newspapers, broadcast TV, broadcast radio, and cable TV, it now includes competitors like digital and social media, blogs, podcasts, videos, and video streaming. Digital marketing is extremely targeted, effective, and trackable. It is also more accessible to smaller businesses.

Security Related Services

Security has become an increasing concern for families and businesses, and this is translating into a booming business sector. While security includes cameras and alarms, it also includes monitored services and in-person security. Security-related products can include locks, shatterproof windows, and doors and fences. People are taking steps to feel safer, and security and security-related products are benefiting.

Real Estate

In some areas of the country, there is almost a perfect storm when it comes to increasing home prices. Large investors are buying single-family homes. Working from home has made it possible for many to live and work from almost anywhere; interest rates have been favorable; and there are more buyers than sellers. Late-arriving millennials are also moving into home ownership, adding even more demand.

If your business is related to one of the above, odds are you are currently doing well. It could be time to look into reviewing your business insurance. Business insurance can protect your assets, your income, and provide liability coverage. Contact one of our independent business insurance agents and request your free review and price quote. We look forward to assisting you.

Life Insurance: A Good Investment?

Life Insurance: A Good Investment?

Ever since there has been cash value or whole life insurance, there has been a bit of a debate. Is this type of insurance a good investment?

The answer depends on what is precisely meant by the question.

If the question is “is life insurance worth it?”, you should know that in 2020 it is estimated there were over $90 billion in life insurance benefits paid. With most average policies ranging from $10,000 to $50,000, that is a lot of families benefiting from life insurance proceeds.

If the question is asked to determine how life insurance compares with other financial investments, you should first understand that life insurance is a product with benefits of its own. Beyond insuring lives, it may have waiver of premium benefits in case of disability or even a loss of limbs benefit. To a degree, the cash value aspect of life insurance is a “bonus”. Life insurance is not designed to compete with stocks or bonds, for example.

One also needs to keep in mind that there is a risk/reward aspect to traditional financial investments. Life insurance already provides value, is low risk, and has a cash value benefit attached to it.

Finally, it is worthwhile to note that many families, especially young ones, may have a difficult time saving money or investing. Life insurance can provide needed protection while building a nest egg. This equity can be tapped into at a later date for emergencies or opportunities. It may even be used as a starter fund for college or a first car. Cash value life insurance can make it a bit easier to set aside some money.

If you have questions about what is called whole life, permanent or cash value insurance, we encourage you to reach out to one of our independent life insurance agents. They can discuss your situation and your goals and go shopping for a life insurance policy that can help you meet those goals. If you already have some life insurance, they can even review those policies with you and help you determine if they have any current cash value. Contact us today.

Should You Own a Collectible Car?

Should You Own a Collectible Car?

Do you get a little envious when you see someone driving a vintage Mustang or a classic Corvette? Do you find yourself tempted to stop at a car show when you see one? Have you ever thought about owning a collectible car? There can be some pretty good reasons for doing so.

Classic Cars Can be a Good Investment

Unlike a brand new car that can lose about half of its value in the first seven years, a vintage car tends to hold its value and may even increase its worth. Classic cars can be more like fine art or antiques in this regard.

It Can Expand Your Social Network

Vintage car collectors are known for being helpful, friendly, and knowledgeable. You can build friendships as you build upon your knowledge of your classic car.

It Is a Terrific Hobby

There are so many aspects and nuances to owning a classic car, and it can be a terrific hobby. The hunt for original parts alone can have its own thrills.

You Can Choose Your Own Level of Entry

You don’t have to start with your dream car. Instead, you can select a car within your budget and that meets your skill level. Of course, if you have some sort of personal connection with the make and model of car, it can help make the experience even better.

It Is Enjoyable.

Owning a classic car can be fun. They can be enjoyable to drive, fun to show off, and exciting to improve. Owning a vintage car can be an exceptional experience.

If you are considering the purchase of a classic, vintage, or antique car, you should know that your standard car insurance is not sufficient to properly insure it. You should look into specialty car insurance that covers classic and vintage cars. Classic car insurance can insure your car for its real value as opposed to its “book value.” To learn more about this special form of car insurance, contact one of our independent car insurance specialists. They can help make sure you have the appropriate car insurance for your investment.