When Was the Last Time You…?

Do you ever feel like time is speeding up and your best days may be behind you? Perhaps it is because there are some enjoyable things you used to do in your younger days that you no longer experience. Perhaps it is time to ask yourself when was the last time you…

Had a Creamsicle, Fudgesicle or Nutty Buddy?

Most of us have fond memories of ice cream from our youth. Maybe it was a visit to the local ice cream shop or a stop from the ice cream man in his truck. Perhaps it was just at home. Visit the ice cream section of your favorite grocery and see what old favorites they may have from your youth. A few dollars can buy a trip back in time. 

Rode a bike?

A lot of adults still ride bikes to commute, for recreation or for exercise. Many others haven’t been on two wheels in years. You know the old expression “You never forget how to ride a bike?” It is only partially true, but you will quickly get the hang of it again. It may spur you on to a new healthy activity in your adult life. 

Played pool?

Call a friend and ask them to go out and play a game or two of pool with you. You don’t need to be good to enjoy it. In fact, it may be more fun if you both are just bad.

Went swimming?

Whether it is a community pool or a hotel, getting into a pool and swimming or even just relaxing can be amazingly rejuvenating. Nobody really cares about how you look in a bathing suit and everyone else is just as self-conscious too!

Tried a food you’ve never eaten?

Ordering the same thing from your favorite restaurant again? How about exploring some new options? It may even just be an appetizer but trying new culinary experiences may lead to some new favorites!

Looked at old photos?

Tired of binging videos? Dig out some old photo albums or review your collection of photos in the cloud. It may bring back some great memories and create some laughter and smiles.

Had an insurance review?

Odds are it has been far too long. Reviewing your insurance may not be as tasty as having a Fudgesicle or as enjoyable as playing pool with an old friend, but it may it just save you some money. Contact one of our independent insurance agents for a free insurance review and quote. 

Business Insurance for Start-ups

If you are considering starting, or have just started your own business, it may be tempting to postpone getting business insurance until your enterprise gets “on its feet”. There are, after all, far more elements to starting a successful business than most people realize. They key of course, is planning for a “successful” business.

Why should business insurance be a part of that plan from the outset? Here are some thoughts to consider.

Business Insurance Helps You Maintain More Control

There are many aspects of a business that may be out of your control. New competitors, the economic environment, material costs and others, for example. You don’t however, want to have your business threatened by something you could be protected from, like a fire, theft, liability claim or acts of an employee. Business insurance allows you the ability to be proactive in minimizing your daily risks while conducting business.

It Then Becomes a Fundamental Part of Your Business and Business Plan

When you acquire business insurance from the outset, it becomes a part of the fundamental way you conduct business. Even if your coverage is modest or even minimal at the start, you have a base of protection on which to build. As your company grows, your business insurance program can strengthen along with it.

You May Not Be Able to Afford the Loss of Your Investment

Whether it is a significant financial investment or a investment of time, you have likely put a lot into your business. To have that investment taken away by a slip and fall, natural disaster or even vandalism or theft may be more than you can afford. You may not have the resources to begin again. Make this shot count and protect it with business insurance.

Get the Guidance You Deserve

When starting a business it is prudent to get professional help when needed. This may include legal assistance and accounting and it should include talking to an experienced business insurance agent. Our independent insurance agents will discuss your specific business and the risks you may be exposed to. They can build a custom plan to not only your business, but your budget as well.

Start your business on a solid foundation. Begin with a business insurance plan. We look forward to assisting you.

Life Insurance Is Not About You

As you can imagine, we talk to a LOT of people about life insurance. One of the most common comments we hear has something to do with “Why should I get life insurance? I’ll be dead anyway!” Sometimes it is said in jest, followed by a chuckle. There are times, however, when the comment is made with a sense or seriousness.

Alright. We get it. The thing to consider, however, is that life insurance is not about you. It was never intended to be about you. Sure, it may make you feel better and give you peace of mind, but buying life insurance is about those left behind.

It is so those who care the most about you won’t have to worry about how they will manage paying for final expenses. It can serve to help your family stay in their home and continue to live life without struggling. It may help clear debts and pay off students loans, a car or a mortgage. Life insurance may even provide a path for your children to still be able to attend college in your absence.

Yes, life insurance can be one of the greatest gifts you leave your family, but like most gifts, it is not about you.

Life insurance can provide relatively quick access to cash following a death. Life insurance has certain tax benefits not provided by other assets or funds left in an estate. It may help your family keep a business going or provide for the time needed to sell it. Should you decide upon whole or permanent life insurance, a life insurance policy may even build value through the years. This is value that you may be able to access in an emergency.

We encourage you to contact us to talk about giving your family the gift of life insurance. We can start with a review of any current coverage you may have and the level you would like it to be. It is important to keep in mind that life insurance is at its least expensive when purchased when young and healthy so don’t delay.

Our independent insurance agents can do the shopping for you, getting quotes from multiple companies. The final decision, of course, is yours. While it is true you may not be here when your life insurance is needed the most, but life insurance was never about you. It is a gift for those you love.

Big Boy Toys and Auto Insurance

Someone once said that boys never give up their toys when they get older. They just get bigger and more expensive! Boats, jet-skis, motorcycles, dirt bikes, and ATVs are all vehicles, but are not all treated the same way when it comes to insurance. Here is a quick rundown on what you need to know about these various “toys” and how to insure them.

Motorcycles

Motorcycles are treated much like automobiles when it comes to insurance. Every state, except New Hampshire, requires liability insurance on motorcycles driven on the highways. State minimums are stated in three numerals, for example, 25/50/10. In this example, it would reference $25,000 bodily injury protection per person, $50,000 bodily injury coverage per accident and $10,000 property damage liability. Motorcycle insurance is generally much less expensive than automobile insurance especially in cold weather states where bikes may be stored seasonally. If you have a loan on your motorcycle, it is likely your lender will require full coverage.

Boats

If you have a canoe or a non-engine powered watercraft, it is likely covered by your homeowners insurance. For powered boats, however, you will want additional coverage under your homeowners’ insurance policy. At the very least, you will want sufficient protection should your boat be involved in an accident that causes injuries or property damage. If you have financed your boat, your lender may require full coverage.

Jet-Skis

Sold under brand names like WaveRunner, SeaDoo and Jet-Ski, these powered personal watercraft should be insured beyond the minimal coverage that may be provided by automobile or homeowners’ insurance. Separate coverage will help make sure you are sufficiently protected for injuries or property damage that may occur during usage.

ATVs and Dirt Bikes

Some states require insurance on these vehicles if they are used on public lands but may waive the requirement if only used on private property. Some homeowners insurance policies may also provide some minimum coverage. You should contact your insurance agent when considering the purchase of a dirt bike or ATV.

It may also be helpful to know that these vehicles may be at least partially covered by your automobile insurance while they are being towed. It is when they are independently operated you may have bigger concerns. Feel free to contact your independent insurance agent when considering adding any motorized vehicle to your garage.

Six Common Homeowners Insurance Mistakes

We understand that your homeowners’ insurance may not be at the top of your priority list. That is, of course, until you need it. If your home is damaged in a storm, you are burglarized or experience a kitchen fire, that policy suddenly becomes much more important. Some, however, discover that their homeowners’ insurance may not provide the protection they thought it would. To minimize the chance for any negative surprises regarding your homeowners insurance, here are six common mistakes to avoid when buying homeowners’ insurance.

  1. Assuming flood insurance is included. Flood insurance is part of a FEMA administered program that must be purchased separately. Flood insurance is not included in a basic homeowners insurance policy. If you feel you may benefit from flood insurance, ask your independent insurance agent for details and a quote.
  2. Under-insuring a home. Of course, price is always a factor but not at the expense of coverage. When acquiring homeowners’ insurance, make certain it is sufficient to meet your needs.
  3. Underestimating the value of a home’s contents. Homeowners’ insurance policies will likely limit the amount of coverage for your personal possessions and household contents. This may be a stated limit or a percentage of your home’s coverage. In either case, you will want to make sure the limit is high enough to cover replacement. This is particularly important if your have jewelry and collectibles in your home you want fully protected.
  4. Choosing a deductible that is too high. In order to save a few dollars. Some homeowners may select a deductible that is too high. This can be problematic when it comes to making a claim. Be honest about your ability to absorb that higher deductible should you incur damage to your home.
  5. Not understanding what is and isn’t covered. One of the values of having an independent insurance agent is having someone to be able to answer your questions about your policy’s coverage. They can also serve to consult you about sufficient coverage prior to making your insurance purchase.
  6. Not comparing. Some homeowners’ make the mistake of not comparing coverage and rates. It is not always about just price. You want to be assured you are getting both value and the coverage you expect. Our independent insurance agents can help.

When you contact one of our independent insurance agents, they can seek out quotes from multiple companies. They can assist in answering your questions and they can help assure your coverage meets the value of your home. There’s no need to go it alone when purchasing home owners’ insurance. Get the assistance of one of our professional agents today.

Five Recent Fads That Came and Went Quickly

It seems in the past, fads would last perhaps a summer or two. Hula hoops, mood rings and even bell bottoms seemed to have at least some staying power. Today, fads disappear almost as quickly as they catch on. Here are five recent fads that were gone in a blink.

Fidget Spinners

They were a toy, a stress-reliever and they gave those trying to quick smoking something to do with their hands. They were also annoying for many parents and teachers. These hand held gadgets, like most fads, really didn’t do anything. But somehow they caught fire quickly. Kids soon began modifying them into increasing dangerous toys and weapons. For a while in 2017 you would see them everywhere from convenience stores to specialty shops. They manufactured them in wild colors, they lit up and they made noise. Then they quickly went bye-bye, although they are still used in some forms of physical and mental therapy.

Planking

Planking became popular in the United States in 2010. It is part dare, exercise and comedic posing. Generally, plankers have their hands at their sides and stiffly pose face down in unusual positions. Of course, the fad wouldn’t exist without cellphone cameras and social media. There are those in fitness who believe planking is a terrific form of isometric exercise.

Selfie-Sticks

Wow, for a minute everybody had one of these to provide varying points of views of themselves in a pose. Quick frankly, they were handy in taking wider group shots. They quickly became banned by amusement parks and sports arenas and users became shamed in public. Never has a fad had its moment come and go so quickly.

Rear Pocket Messages

While guys had their sagging pants, girls tended to move toward using their jeans, in particular the rear end of those jeans and shorts, to send a message. From the cute to the seductive, it seemed everyone had something to say. When a word or two wouldn’t do, designs and “bedazzling” could step in. Pockets, no pockets, it really didn’t matter.

Pokemon

To be fair, Pokemon has been around for years. It was the virtual/digital game, however, that took over the world for a few months. This mobile game was played on smartphones, detecting virtual game characters and pieces on the screen that couldn’t be seen in real life. This led to a variety of accidents and incidents which led to injuries to players who were too focused on the game. It also led to charges of trespassing and unwanted crowds in public areas. At least it got young people outside if not away from their phones.

Fads are a blend of orchestrated marketing, organic happenstance and today, are often the product of social media. It is hard, if not impossible, to predict what’s next.

Are You Legally Required to Carry Business Insurance?

Most are aware that there are laws requiring drivers carry at least minimum levels of automobile liability insurance. You may even know that your mortgage lender will require you carry homeowners’ insurance as long as you owe on your mortgage. But what about if you own a business? Are there circumstances when you may be required by law to have insurance on your business? The short answer is yes. The full answer is a bit more complicated however. Here are when and why you may be required to have business insurance.

If You Have Employees

If your business has employees, federal law requires you carry workers’ compensation, disability and unemployment insurance. If an employee is injured performing work-related duties and you don’t have insurance, you could be subject to fines.

If You Have Loans to Finance Your Business

If you have borrowed money to finance your business location, buy inventory or purchase equipment, your lending institution will likely require you carry business insurance to protect their interests. This insurance may not be a legal requirement but your lender may require it all the same.

If You Own Your Location

If you own a bricks and mortar location for your business, there are a couple of circumstances when insurance may be required. The first is if you have a loan on your property. Your lender will likely require insurance. The second is if you live in a state that requires business owners who own their properties to carry liability or business property insurance if you live in an area prone to natural disasters.

While all businesses may not be required to carry business insurance, you are putting yourself and business at risk if you don’t carry it. Should a customer slip and fall and sustain and injury while on your property you could be held financially responsible. If your business location or inventory is destroyed, vandalized or stolen, your losses will not be insured. If you are sued due to the actions of an employee, you may be held responsible.

Most business owners have worked long and diligently to start and build their businesses. It deserves to be protected. Business owners’ insurance can help you do that. It may be more affordable than you think. Contact one of our independent business insurance agents to discuss your business and your risks. As an independent agent, they have relationships with multiple insurance companies from whom they can request a quote. You decide on the policy best suited for you and your budget. Contact us today to get the protection you deserve.

Four Needs Life Insurance Can Help Fulfill

Life insurance needn’t be complicated. Especially if you have the assistance of an experienced independent insurance agent to work with. They can help explain the details of any policy you may be considering. Before you get to the details, however, it can help to determine the role life insurance will play in your life and that of your family. This can be relatively simple, and will impact just how much life insurance you may require.

To Cover Final Expenses

Some may decide that just having enough life insurance to cover the costs of final expenses may be sufficient. Among those costs would be expenses involved in a funeral and perhaps even final medical bills. This frequently will be a modest amount of life insurance.

Clearing Debts

Along with covering final expenses, you may decide to acquire enough life insurance to cover any debts you may leave behind. This can help your estate from being diminished by debts. These debts should include credit cards, car loans, mortgages and even student loans. This can increase the amount of insurance you need significantly but will be extremely valuable to those you leave behind.

A Financial Safety Net

Once you’ve covered final expenses and debts, you may choose to provide for the financial security of your family. This may include enough to provide income for several years, a nest egg and even funds for college expenses for children. For some, this is the ultimate goal in the acquisition of life insurance.

A Financial Asset

A whole life insurance policy may not only provide financial protection upon a death, but it may also become a financial asset as years pass by. This is because whole life insurance policies can build value that increases the longer they are kept in force. This is an asset that can be used in emergencies or for opportunities. Cash values of life insurance policies can be used to help pay for college or serve as part of a retirement fund. Some young marrieds will buy whole life insurance not only because they need the protection, but they may have difficulty setting aside savings. The “forced savings” of a whole life policy may be very helpful for them.

To talk about your situation and how life insurance can best help you, contact one of our independent insurance agents. The can compare rates and policies from multiple companies in the search to find you the best value for your circumstances. Life insurance doesn’t have to be complicated. Certainly not with the help of our independent agents. Contact us today.

Car Insurance FAQ’s

What you don’t know about auto insurance can be costly. Here are some of the questions we hear most often from those seeking coverage or comparing rates.

Am I Required to Carry Auto Insurance by Law?

Every state has some form of financial responsibility law or law that requires drivers to have automobile insurance. You are not required to have full coverage, however, each state has minimum levels of coverage that are mandated for liability coverage.

If I File a Claim on My Auto Insurance, Will My Premiums Go Up?

Not necessarily. Your premiums will likely not increase if you are not at fault or if damage is minimum. It may increase if you are cited for an at-fault accident that causes significant damage or injuries.

What is High Risk Insurance?

Sometimes referred to as “non-standard insurance” in the industry, high risk auto insurance is for drivers who have been determined to pose a higher risk of becoming involved in an automobile accident. This may be due to repeated traffic offenses, too many points on a driving record or even getting a DUI. High risk auto insurance is significantly more expenses than an average policy.

Does Auto Insurance Follow the Car or the Driver?

Typically, automobile insurance follows the car not the person. This, however, may change depending on the policy and circumstances.

Does My Car Make & Model Affect Premiums?

Absolutely. Cars have different safety features, ratings, values, engines and other features that will impact rates. The cars age and likelihood of theft can also make a difference. 

Can Comparing Auto Insurance Rates Actually Save Me Money?

It may be the single best way to save on car insurance premiums. Differing companies offer rates that can vary widely. Others offer a variety of discounts. The best way to find out if you are over-spending on car insurance is to compare.

As an independent insurance agency, we have relationships with multiple companies. Our agents will go in search of the coverage you deserve at a price you can feel comfortable with. If you have any automobile insurance questions not covered here, or would like a free auto insurance review or price quote, we invite you to contact us. Let us do the shopping for you.

Five Quick & Easy Ways to Save on Homeowners Insurance

Odds are you wouldn’t mind saving money on your homeowners’ insurance premiums. There’s also a pretty good chance, however, that you don’t want to have to jump through some challenging hoops to do so. Here are five quick and easy ways you may be able to save on your homeowners’ insurance premiums.

  1. Bundle your insurance. You may be able to save on your homeowners’ insurance when you bundle it with other policies like your automobile insurance. One of our independent insurance agents can help determine if bundling may work to save you money.
  2. Raise deductibles. Raising your share of out of pocket expenses should a claim occur. Discuss if raising the deductible on your homeowners’ insurance policy will make a significant impact on your premiums. Our independent insurance agents can help.
  3. Improve security. Some homeowners’ insurance companies will offer discounts when homeowners upgrade the security of their homes. This can include anything from adding deadbolt locks or security windows to getting a complete security system. In some cases, the discounts can help pay for your improvements. As an added bonus, you will be improving your security and potentially add to the value of your property.
  4. Add safety features. You may become eligible for homeowners’ insurance discounts when you add safety features like fire and smoke alarms and even CO2 detectors. Ask your independent insurance agent how this not only will make your home safer for you and your family, but if there may be potential savings available on your homeowners’ insurance.
  5. Perhaps the best and easiest way to save on homeowners insurance is to have an insurance review. Once one of our independent insurance agents reviews your policy, they can seek out comparative quotes from a number of insurance companies.

Homeowners’ insurance policies can frequently be forgotten. Many may not know what coverage they have or even how much they may be paying. A review and price quote from one of our insurance agents will help. There is no-cost or obligation for a review and quote and it may be an easy way to save money. Contact us and get started today!