5 Winter Home Insurance Tips Everyone Should Know

Winter is around the corner and with it, comes the challenge of protecting your home from snow-related damages. According to the Insurance Information Institute, winter-related claims accounted for 6.7% of the total number of claims in 2016.  However, most of the problems can be avoided or prevented through the following ways:

1. Check on the status of your roof
A weak or damaged roof could result in water damages within your home. Before the onset of the winter, inspect the roof for general wear and tear, missing shingles, and cracks that could cause leaks. Prevent ice dams on your roof by cleaning and repairing the gutters and downspouts. You can go a step further and install gutter guards. Having a professional inspect your roof on an annual basis is highly recommended.

2.  Protect your pipes
Frozen pipes are the biggest source of property damage. Make sure that you disconnect and drain hoses. Drain the sprinkler supply lines if you have any. Insulate the pipes that are in unheated places such as in the garage, attic, crawl spaces, and in the basement. Apply a heat tape or pre-molded foam rubber on the pipes that are most vulnerable.

3. Beware of damages from falling trees
While insurance companies will compensate you against damages caused by falling trees or branches, the coverage is against living trees. It is your responsibility to remove any dead trees near your home and low hanging tree branches. Some insurance companies will also cover the cost of repairing your landscape.

4. Test the detectors within your home
Home fires during the winter are quite common. Therefore, ensure that the smoke alarm is working. The heating appliances used to warm your home produce carbon monoxide. It is vital that you have a carbon monoxide detector to monitor the carbon monoxide levels and alert you should a certain limit be exceeded. Test the detectors and change their batteries regularly.

5. Insulate your home
Insulating your walls will help retain heat without incurring high energy bills. Insulate the sides and top of your water tank to keep it from freezing. Insulate the external faucets as some insurance policies exclude frost damage to outdoor plumbing. Ideally, the attic should be warmer than the outdoors to minimize the formation of ice dams, thus, ascertain that it is well insulated too.

While most insurance policies cover damages that could occur during winter, it would be wise to understand your type of policy.

AgentInsure gives you access to a host of independent insurance agents from whom you can get comparative rates at the comfort of your home. Log into our website and use our online rater to find a suitable insurance quote.

Prepare Your Automobile for the Fall and Winter Months

The first chills are just around the corner, and you need your car to be prepared for the winter months ahead. This will ensure that your auto insurance premiums do not go over the roof. Read on to find out how you can get the car ready for the snowy roads and chilly temperatures.

Take care of the fluids
Check the fluids levels and change the oil as part of the service. Thinner oil will serve you better as circulation around the engine won’t be impaired. For the safety of your engine, ensure that you have the right antifreeze mixture. More than 50% of water in your coolant is a recipe for disaster.  Use an antifreeze tester to ascertain the proportions of the mixture. Keep your gas tank as full as possible.

Check the battery and engine
Ascertain that your battery can properly store charge. Have your mechanic remove any corrosion that may compromise your battery’s efficiency. The brutal weather increases the likelihood of car breakdowns. It is prudent that you check the spark plugs as well as the belts to minimize the chances of your automobile’s breakdown.

Invest in wipers 
Your wipers will need to be at their best if you are to navigate through the snow and constant rain. Invest in freeze resistant wiper fluid and purchase a new set of wiper blades if possible. Do not think twice about walking around with a spare. It may come in handy on a rainy day quite literally.

Maintain the right tire pressure
The tires will pretty much be the most vulnerable part of your car. They’ll also have a more pronounced say in your general safety. Have a gauge to check the tire pressure and make the adjustments as the need arises. The cold winter air will most likely lower the pressure time and again.

Buy snow tires 
Get snow tires in good time and avoid the last minute rash. You are guaranteed to have more traction thanks to their deeper grooves. You’ll also have better control of your car regardless of the weather and will enjoy safe rides throughout the winter and fall seasons.

Have an emergency kit
Never leave your house without an emergency kit. You never know what the day holds for you. A flashlight, a warm blanket, drinking water, jumper cables, and a windshield washer fluid should all be available in the kit.

You can’t always be too prepared. An auto insurance policy will go a long way in getting your car in shape in case you get involved in an accident.  A local insurance agent will help you make this possible.

For great rates and a comprehensive cover get in touch with AgentInsure. Keep all these tips in mind and guarantee an overall safer ride all winter long.

Getting Your Home Ready For Fall

There is no doubt that your home is one of your biggest and most treasured possessions. As such, you will want to protect your property from the severe weather and threats that characterize the fall. You will also want to ensure that your home offers you the comfort you are used to during the changing season. There are a number of tasks that you will need to do in order to prepare your home for fall. While you can do some on your own, others are better left to professionals.

Clean the gutters and downspouts
Water can cause serious and extensive damage to your home. It is important to check and clean your gutters as well as downspouts in preparation for fall. By getting rid of any leaves, dirt and debris that could have clogged the drainage system, you will keep water flowing smoothly in case it rains. This will help to avoid damage to the foundation walls as well as the exterior of your home.

Inspect your roof and chimney
You should also get a professional to inspect your roof for any damages and carry out the necessary repairs. Loose or missing shingles, broken seals and damaged metal flashing around the chimney could let in water, resulting in bigger problems. Make sure that your chimney is also inspected, swept and any dangers are addressed. Such an exercise will go a long way in helping to reduce the chances of a chimney fire.

Check your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors
As fall approached, the winter heating season will also be drawing near. Remember to have your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors checked to make sure that they are working properly. You can also change their batteries so that you receive alerts in case of a problem with your heating system or any other life-threatening emergency.

Put up storm windows 
Depending on where you live, you should consider putting up storm windows. Storm windows will not only make your home more energy efficient but also control moisture and protect your normal windows from the ravages of rain and wind. The windows will also reduce UV exposure and sound, allowing you to enjoy more comfort while in the house.

Get the right home insurance 
There is a lot more than you can do to prepare your home for fall. However, buying the right home insurance will ensure that your home and its contents are protected in the event of a disaster that causes damage to the property. If you are to get the coverage that meets your needs, you should consider working with a local independent insurance agent.

Before buying home insurance, you should compare the products offered by different insurers. AgentInsure allows you to compare insurance quotes so that you can choose the best policy. Use our online rater today to find a quote and make an informed decision.

Why Home Insurance is So Important for the Summer, Too

When people think of homeowner’s insurance, they often think about disasters and events that happen in the winter months – flooding caused by broken pipes, fires caused by improper heating, roof problems due to rain and snow, and so on.

However, summer also holds dangers for homes, and there are still plenty of events that can make homeowner’s insurance necessary. Take a look at the top reasons that home insurance is still very important in summer, and why you should continue to take precautions to protect your home.

Outside Grilling Means Outside Fires

Summer is the perfect time for grilling outdoors and enjoying late evening fires. However, these popular activities also increase the chance of accidentally starting a fire…an unfortunately common consequence during the summer months. This can quickly cause damage to the siding and roof even when the fire is noticed. One of the most common causes is grilling with an open flame too close to the house – keep the grill at around 10 to 15 feet away from the walls and roof, and keep trees and shrubs well-clipped.

Burglaries Are Much More Common

It may sound like an odd statistic, but burglaries are actually much more common in the summer than the winter. On second glance, it makes sense: Thieves can move around more easily and comfortable in summer months to look for access points into homes. This means that burglary reports and claims for stolen goods also rise in the summer. Remember to keep your house secured when away, and consider investing in smart security devices.

Summer Vacations Mean More Time Away

Summer is also the time when many people head away from home on a summer vacation. This leaves the house unattended, which raises the risk of several problems. There may be an increased risk of fires or burglary during this time. Problems with leaks will go unnoticed and may cause widespread damage before they are caught. It’s always best to have someone check up on your home if possible.

Add-ons Like Pool Insurance Become Very Important

This is also the time of year when swimming pools and other summer features are enjoyed (trampolines, etc.). There are usually add-ons to home insurance that cover these particular home elements, and for good reason: They can be dangerous, and if they break then replacements can prove costly.

Summer Weather Holds Its Own Dangers

Remember, summer weather can also cause damage! Summer thunderstorms can create plenty of problems, especially if lightning creates local fires in the dry undergrowth. Additionally, summer heat can cause damage to unprotected roofs and siding, which may need expensive replacements.

Have more questions about home insurance, what you need, and what to look for in a complete, affordable plan? Visit AgentInsure online today learn more!

Warning Signs That You Need to Change Your Car Insurance

Are you ready to change your car insurance? Most people don’t think about switching car insurance unless they think they can save money. This is one reason, but there are several warning signs that mean it’s time to look at other auto policies.

Online Resources: What online resources does your car insurance company currently provide you with? Can you look up your policy and find details? Can you explore ways to lower your insurance through tips or programs? Does your agent even have a quality website – or any website at all? If the answers tend to be no to these questions, then it’s definitely time to consider switching car insurance. These days, there is no excuse to be without a proper website that provides customers with real benefits.

You Have Recently Moved: If you have recently moved, then your auto rates may have changed based on your new location, job, etc. It can be difficult to find out just how much things have changed until you ask for a few new quotes from other car insurance options. So if you have made a significant move recently, reach out to new services to make sure you aren’t missing anything.

Poor Claim Service: Nothing can justify poor claim service. If you have had a bad experience trying to make a claim or get a claim fulfilled, then it’s time to look at new car insurance. Even if a claim is denied, it should be a polite and informative process that leaves you with your questions answered. Unfortunately, not all car insurance companies are good at this: Find a place with good customer service first.

Unexpected Rate Hikes: No one likes their rates to go up, but sometimes they do. It can happen for a variety of reasons. But if you are seeing a constant rate creep without any significant reason for it, this could be a sign that your car insurance company is not the best for you. Contact other insurance options and ask about rate guidelines and how your rate should be changing.

Family Changes: Do you have a teenager that is about to start driving for the first time? What about a grown child that is getting ready to leave for college, or a new baby on the way? An important family change is the right time to consider looking at new auto insurance: Other insurance policies may be more affordable or more practical for your new situation.

 

 

 

Do I Have Enough Auto Insurance Coverage?

Before getting behind the wheel, it is always wise to consider the enormous responsibility that driving entails. A motorized vehicle can do great damage to other people and property. Of course, someone must pay for this damage. The average driver does not have enough money on hand to cover the thousands of possible dollars needed to recompense those harmed in an accident. Therefore, people need auto insurance.

Most states require a certain minimal amount of auto insurance coverage. It is always wise for motorists to check with their state road authorities on this requirement. It is also imperative that they consider additional coverage. Just how much depends on their level of expected need. As a guideline for those contemplating among various auto insurance plans, following are types of protection available across the nation.

Bodily Injury Liability (BIL) Auto Insurance

BIL pays for the damages a driver causes to other people during an accident. These policies have maximum amounts that the policyholder knows when making the purchase. A 20/50 policy, for example, covers $20,000, for injury to a single driver and $50,000, for all passengers hurt in a car.

Property Damage Liability Auto Insurance

The other car may also be damaged during an accident. Property damage liability insurance takes care of these costs. It is common for consumers to add this type of coverage to an existent BIL plan. For example, a 20/50/20 policy would provide $20,000, for a single driver and $50,000, for all passengers in a car and $20,000 for automobile repairs or replacement.

The amount of coverage and its cost depends on where the potential customer lives. The best way to make an informed decision among policies is to check rates live online. The numbers quoted online are those available at the moment in a particular zip code.

Personal Injury Protection (PIP) Auto Insurance

Along with paying for damages to others and their property, drivers also want to protect themselves. Medical expenses can prove costly. PIP will make things more affordable. Some PIP policies even provide an income while the driver remains out of work rehabilitating from accident injuries, so prices vary.

It is always best to compare policy quotes before deciding. It is even possible to do so online from home.

Making an Informed Auto Insurance Choice

Drivers need to weigh many factors before choosing an auto insurance plan. Most importantly, they must know the current rates being charged in their area. Then, it is necessary to be sure to have enough coverage to handle an unfortunate auto collision.

What Is Auto Gap Insurance And Do You Need It?

There are many additional things you can add to your auto insurance. Often, these things are not well known to the public so it can be difficult to know whether or not you really need the additional coverage. One of these things is gap insurance. But what exactly is it and is it something you really need?

What Is Auto Gap Insurance?

Auto gap insurance is really a very simple concept. This kind of insurance covers the difference between the value of your car and what you still owe on it. When you purchase your car, the loan does not just cover the full value of the vehicle. Included in the loan is the interest on the loan that you will pay over the lifetime of it. That means that the loan likely covers more than the value of the vehicle. However, when you insure your car, you are insuring the value, not the loan amount. If for some reason the vehicle is stolen or destroyed, your insurance will pay for the value of the car but not the remaining balance on the loan for interest charges. What is left is referred to as the gap and that amount is what is covered by gap insurance.

Do You Really Need Gap Insurance?

For some auto owners, gap insurance is a good idea. However, if you are almost done paying your auto loan, it might not be the best add-on for you. Also, if you own the vehicle outright and you no longer have a loan payment on the vehicle, you definitely do not need gap insurance. If you put down a large down payment when you purchase your vehicle, it also may not be something you need. Something to keep in mind is that if you lease your vehicle instead of purchasing it, you may be required to purchase gap insurance. Many auto dealers offer gap insurance when purchasing but you do not have to make the decision when you are at the auto lot. You can also purchase gap insurance with your auto insurance policy. It is smart to look at the depreciation rate of the vehicle and how fast you are paying down the interest. Gap insurance is not right for everyone but in a lot of cases, it makes sense. Hopefully you never have to use it but you may find that it was a good buy if you run into an unfortunate situation with your vehicle.

 

 

How to Avoid Paying Too Much For Car Insurance

If you own a car there is no way around paying for car insurance. Luckily for you, however, there is plenty you can do to avoid paying too much for that insurance. There are common mistakes that people make when beginning to shop for car insurance to take note of. Knowing these mistakes can better prepare you for your insurance shopping.

Failing To Be Prepared

Not knowing what you need and what you don’t need from your car insurance can lead you to purchase an inadequate policy, therefore, paying too much for it. Before you even begin shopping, you should know what is required by your state, how much coverage your lender requires (if the car is not paid off), how much you can afford for your monthly premiums, and how much you can afford to pay out of pocket if the situation arises. Also consider things like roadside assistance if you don’t have AAA or if you can’t afford a rental car in the case of an accident. Knowing what you can and cannot afford will help you better understand what you really need on your auto policy. Another thing to consider is collision and comprehensive coverage. As a rule of thumb, to save money on car insurance, if your premium is more than 10% of your car’s value, you may not need it. If you can afford to replace the vehicle if stolen or totaled, you really may not need it.

Failing To Shop Around

The same policy could be substantially cheaper from another company. Failing to look at what other companies will offer you as a rate is doing yourself a major disservice. If you are already going through the motions to get car insurance, make sure you look at several companies so you can get the same rate. However, you should keep in mind that not all companies are equal. A very low rate from a company with a bad reputation is worse for you in the long run. Make sure you research the companies first before purchasing car insurance. Once you find a few companies that you like, compare the quotes to get the best rate.

Failing To Ask For Discounts

Almost every single car insurance company offers discounts for something. When getting your quotes, make sure you ask about any discounts that may apply to your situation. If you do not ask, you will never know, and you could end up paying a lot more for insurance simply because you didn’t ask. Some common discounts including bundling, good driver, good student, low mileage, and much more.

Why You Should Shop Around for Home Insurance

It always pays to shop around for insurance, especially when it has to do with your home. In the home insurance business, rates and coverage are all over the place. One company can be twice as expensive as another while still offering less coverage. Two companies might have the same deductible, replacement and liability coverage, but could vary in price by thousands of dollars per year. Depending on where you live can drastically alter prices as well. For instance, if you live in a natural disaster prone area, like Kansas or the Florida Panhandle, you will pay more than living in a relatively mild weather event area like Montana or Tennessee. Each state’s companies look at the data and create their rates based on risk factors, yet some companies weigh different factors at different price points which causes the rates to vary substantially. 

With all that said, when shopping for insurance, it is very important to do your research. Don’t settle on the first company you see. A great way to start your search is through a comparative quote website. These websites allow you plug in your location, the type of coverage you desire and will redirect you to a list of insurance companies in your area with their live rates. This allows you to look at all of the information in one convenient location and will save you a lot of time in your search. 

With this information in hand, it is time to start calling the agents. Be ready to ask them for as much information as you desire. Ask them what your policy will and won’t cover. You need to know exactly what you are purchasing. Ask them about their dependability. If their rates are much lower than everyone else, find out how and why. You should also find out how their claims are handled. You don’t want to have a major incident in the middle that requires you to give them a call, only to find out they are not available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.  Never be afraid to ask questions to a potential agent. After all, you are the customer and are making a real investment. 

So shop around, use a comparative quote site to narrow down your options, and investigate. This will help you get the right home insurance for you.

How Will Safer Roads and Vehicles Effect the Car Insurance Industry?

In the midst of newly built and freshly paved roads as well as newer, safer automobiles being introduced into the market, the act of driving will soon be something to no longer get wound up about. Indeed, while this may be bad news for insurance companies, this seems to be great news for the future of consumers.

How Will Safer Roads and Vehicles Effect the Car Insurance Industry? 

With the emerging prominence of self-driving cars as well as the growing popularity of car services such as Uber and Lyft, experts are projecting that there will be an 80% reduction in terms of roadway accidents by 2040. What’s more, with new advances such as lane departure warnings, traffic jam assistance, and collision avoidance technology, there has already been a reduction in accidents. If the projected numbers are true, this would almost completely undermine the need for car insurance and force drastic changes in terms of packages and pricing offered by auto insurance companies.

The Present State of the Auto Industry

While the aforementioned money-saving advances should be exciting for drivers everywhere, we are still over 2 decades away from realizing this potential driver’s utopia. The fact of the matter is, most of us will still need to subscribe to a solid, reputable auto insurance company in order to ensure that our vehicles are covered in the unlikely event of an accident. What’s more, while finding the perfect auto insurance company can sometimes be a task in and of itself, there are a number of sites, such as this one, that will do the majority of the grunt work for you.

By simply providing some basic information about yourself as well as your driving history, you will receive live, comparative quotes that allow you to easily select the best insurance company for your personal needs. One of the best methods of acquiring auto insurance, don’t make the mistake of paying more money for less coverage when you can simply weigh out all of your options with the click of a button.

Overall, while the nature of driving is something that continues to change for the better, being properly prepared for potential accidents can mean a world of difference.