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.

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!

I am renovating some parts of my home and the contractor was injured during the work, am I liable?

If you are a homeowner, you are undoubtedly concerned about potential liability when you hire a contractor. Since every homeowners policy is different, it is always best to ask your independent agency precisely what type of liability coverage that you have.

If a contractor was injured while working on a renovation on your property and he is injured during the work, you may be liable. Your homeowners policy will typically include liability insurance, which is the type of coverage needed for these situations.

However, just because a contractor sustained an injury while on your property does not mean you are automatically required to pay for the treatment of this injury or for any pain and suffering associated with said injury.

A licensed contractor will typically maintain his own insurance that would cover injury on the job. However, the specific details of the injury – the way in which it took place – can have a significant impact on who will end up paying damages related to that accident.

If there is a contractor injury on your property, it is important that you report it to your insurance agent right away. Your agent can help determine precisely what liability, if any, that you have as a homeowner in this situation. Should it be determined that you are liable or partially liable, your homeowners insurance will cover the damages claimed by the contractor.

When you shop around for your homeowners policy, it is very important that you compare policies to make sure you are getting the coverage you really need. Good liability coverage is essential for any homeowner, and by doing some comparison quotes you can make sure you have this, and all the other essential homeowner coverage.

Don’t take a chance on being caught without the full homeowners insurance coverage needed. You can do a quick quote comparison online through Agent Insure, allowing you to look at all your options and keep your home and family protected at all times.

Why should I report home renovations to my independent insurance agent?

It is essential that homeowners contact their insurance agent when there are plans to start a home renovation project. Whether the project is complex and involves adding extra square footage to a home or it is a simple room makeover, the insurance company needs to be informed.

The insurance company that is the provider of an individual’s homeowners insurance policy must be informed in order to adjust the policy. Adjustments need to be made when square footage is added, appliance/fixture upgrades occur, or a room undergoes considerable changes. Reporting these adjustments or changes to an insurance company may increase a current insurance premium, but the alternative is much worse – not having proper coverage.

After a home renovation project, if the homeowner has not made the proper adjustments to an existing homeowners insurance policy, the new upgrades and/or changes to the home or a specific room might not be covered. This means homeowners may not receive financial compensation or coverage if property in that area is damaged or requires a repair.

In some cases, if adjustments have not been made to the homeowners insurance policy, the room/space may still be covered. Unfortunately, the coverage that is provided will be based on what the insurance company has on file and may not adequately cover the cost of repairs.

Another reason homeowners should contact their insurance agent regarding home renovations is to make sure they are properly protected against any accidents or injuries that may happen during a project. Most contractors have general liability insurance policies, but those do not always provide the protection a homeowner wants/needs. Purchasing an additional general liability insurance policy can provide homeowners with protection against lawsuits that may arise if a contractor is injured while working on a project.

Don’t find yourself in a situation where you do not have adequate insurance coverage during and after a home renovation project. Work with an independent agency to find and compare insurance quotes online. It will help ensure that your home has the proper coverage for both during and after any home renovation project.

I bought some items shopping online, and my credit card information was stolen. Am I covered for this under my homeowners policy?

When it comes to e-commerce, it can be difficult to determine if a home insurance policy is appropriate for the situation. Although shopping online may be covered by some insurers, your homeowners policy may limit the amount that is available or may not provide coverage for certain situations.

Coverage for a Home

In general, homeowners insurance is designed to address the concerns associated with your house and the personal belongings that you keep in your house. When you compare quotes online, you may discover that certain items are covered by your policy while other items are not.

Depending on your insurer, you may or may not be covered for identity theft. The circumstances surrounding when you are covered may also vary. For example, you might be covered if your credit card is stolen from your house after a break-in, but your insurer may not cover you against identity theft if it relates to an online purchase.

Solutions After Identity Theft

If your insurer does offer coverage against theft from your credit cards, then you may make a claim on your policy. Read the plan carefully to determine if the situation is covered and that you do not have any clauses that may prevent your claim from being processed.

Since identity theft is a concern, you may discover that your credit card company has solutions available to reduce your financial liability. Inform your credit card company immediately if you notice strange activity or charges that you did not approve. The credit card company can freeze your account and then take steps to eliminate those charges. In many cases, you are not liable for any charged to your account from an unauthorized source.

It is bothersome when shopping online results in the loss of personal data, but that does not mean you have no options available. Even though your homeowners plan may not cover the situation, your credit card company may have options available to limit your financial risk. An independent agency can help you compare quotes and find solutions that are available. Contact us to talk to an agent for more information.

I am just starting out as an entrepreneur and am not sure if my new business qualifies for commercial insurance. What are my options?

A start-up company can qualify for a commercial insurance policy, but the details of any plan may vary based on the nature of the business. Depending on the type of products or services that you provide, the insurance policy that is most appropriate for your needs can vary. That is why it is important to work with an independent agency to find the best policy for your situation.

General Liability Plans

Depending on your company, the amount of liability protection that you need may vary. Regardless of your business and the fact that you are running a start-up company, it is usually best to obtain liability protection based on your risk and the possible injuries that may occur.

Liability protection will ensure that if your products have a defect or if your customers or visitors to your company happen to be injured for any reason, you will have the coverage available to pay for those injuries and medical bills.

Property Protection

If your business owns any property, then insurance is important. A commercial auto policy or a property plan is appropriate based on the type of property that you own.

Ideally, you want enough protection to cover the loss of property after any normal disasters. For example, a fire or a break-in may be covered under a basic policy. In some cases, it may be appropriate to look for additional protection if you are worried about specific problems, such as flooding.

Other Insurance

Any other form of insurance that is appropriate for your business may vary. An entrepreneur is responsible for coverage based on the potential risks, which may vary. For example, you may need workers compensation or other coverage for your employees, but that might not apply if you have not hired any employees.

Owning a company does not mean that you have no options available for commercial insurance. In many cases, coverage is necessary shortly after you set up the company. Contact us to talk an agent for more information.

I have some prized botanicals in my garden that were destroyed by the winter weather. Is their replacement covered by my home insurance policy?

When a person’s home is damaged in a winter storm, his or her first thoughts are often of making a homeowners insurance claim. What if all the value isn’t in your home, though? What if you have a collection of prized botanicals on your property, maybe even rare and expensive ones, that get damaged in that same storm? The call to your insurance agent may go quite differently in that case.

Damage to plants outside your home is generally covered only for perils such as explosion, fire, lightning, theft, vandalism, malicious mischief, and damage from vehicles not owned by anyone living in the dwelling. It is not impossible that your prized garden could be ruined by a lightning strike during a winter storm, but it’s not terribly likely, either. If it does happen that your prized plants are ruined by a covered event, then the coverage is often limited to not more than 5 percent of the value of the dwelling coverage and no more than $500 per plant.

If you want special coverage for particularly rare or expensive plants in your garden, you can get special policies or riders that not only cover your plants in the event of wind, snow and hail, but also increase the maximum benefit amount for plant claims. The cost of the coverage would depend on a number of factors, including risk, location, and the value of the insured plants.

When you are looking for a homeowners insurance policy with a rider to cover expensive plants, you should start by comparing the basic policies. Working with independent agents, we offer the chance to compare quotes on our website and to find the best possible policies for you with the best possible prices. Once you’ve narrowed your policy needs to a few choices online, you can start to ask more specific questions about riders for landscaping or expensive plants, helping to select the exact policy that you need.

Do any types of home insurance enable me to receive a tax deduction or credit?

When you are choosing the homeowners insurance for your property, you may have questions about tax regulations and whether your insurance purchase can qualify you for a tax deduction. While every case is different because each policy is unique, this is definitely something to speak with your independent agency about. You may be eligible for savings on your taxes thanks to your homeowners insurance purchase.

If you are the owner of the home and you reside in the home, you will generally not be able to take tax deductions or credits to offset your home insurance purchase, according to IRS regulations. However, you can sometimes take tax credits or deductions on the home insurance for the home that you own in certain other circumstances.

If you are operating a business that is fully or partially operated out of your home, you may be able to claim a tax deduction for the home insurance premium. If your home is partially used for business, you will typically be able to deduct an appropriate percentage (a percentage corresponding to the percentage of your home used for business purposes) on your taxes. In the event that you own a home that is used only for business and you do not reside there at any time, you will typically be able to take a full tax deduction for the insurance on the home.

If you are a home owner who rents the home in question to tenants, you will typically be able to deduct your home insurance costs on taxes. If you rent the entire home to a tenant, you may deduct the full amount of the home insurance on that home. In the case that you rent only a portion of the home and reside in the rest – for example, you rent individual rooms out to tenants and your family lives in the rest of the house – you will usually be able to deduct an appropriate percentage of your home insurance costs on your taxes.

When you look for your homeowners insurance, it is essential that you know exactly what you are getting. At Agent Insure, we help you to compare policies from multiple providers at one time. Try our online tool to compare rates now!

We are leaving on a beach vacation to escape the cold. What should we do to prepare our home while we are away?

With the winter weather now in full force, we are all feeling the effects – and that includes your home! When you decide to have a vacation from the cold on a lovely sunny beach, don’t forget that your home will still be exposed to the freezing temperatures you left behind. There are several things you can do to prepare your home for winter protection while you are away.

Our independent agency always likes to remind our homeowners to take precautions for their home during the winter, especially if you know you will be away for an extended period of time. One simple measure you can take is to shut off the water at its source. This can help guard against issues like pipes bursting. If you were to have a furnace failure while away, the pipes could quickly become so cold that they could freeze and cause serious damage but when the pipes are devoid of water the risk is eliminated.

Don’t forget to drain the pipes once you have shut the water off. Even though some of the draining will occur naturally, pipes can house residual water for a very long time. Even this small amount of lingering liquid could cause a pipe to burst if it were to freeze.

Set your property thermostat to a reasonable level but don’t turn it completely off. Make sure the temperature inside is set above the freezing point. This allows you to set the thermostat in such a way that you’ll have low energy bills while away but you won’t need to worry about your home interior having freezing damage.

The interior of your home will have the best air circulation if you leave doors open, so leave all the doors ajar before you leave. Even though you won’t have a great deal of heat circulating, this will help the heat that does need to circulate to reach all areas of your home evenly.

Even the best laid plans can sometimes go awry, and that is where your homeowners insurance steps in to help. Be sure that you have adequate homeowners insurance so that your home is prepared for any type of disaster, even the ones that can happen when you’re away! You can easily compare policy quotes from all the major insurance carriers online with the help of our independent agents. Give us a call and we will give you multiple homeowners policy options to review, all in one convenient place.

What are the advantages of using an independent agent for setting up commercial insurance for my business?

As a business owner, your list of insurance needs may seem like a mile long. It can be tempting to purchase your commercial insurance policies from the insurance company you have always done business with to save time on shopping around. But you could be throwing away thousands of dollars a year. Businesses always benefit from the services of an independent agent, who works for the client rather than the insurer.

Why Choose an Independent Agent for Your Commercial Policy?

Independent insurance agents can provide quotes from several of your state’s leading commercial insurance providers. These are the same policies available directly from insurance companies — only provided alongside multiple policies for easy comparison. Put simply, access to several insurers means you get quality coverage without sacrificing affordability every time you renew.

Another reason to use an independent agent is for time-saving purposes. You could go online or visit several insurance companies to shop and compare your own rates. But a thorough comparison could take several days, not to mention hours of sales pitches and follow-up contact. By using an independent agent, you can roll all of your comparison shopping into a single search that your agent completes on your behalf.

Finally, an independent commercial insurance agent will be available to support you long after you purchase your commercial policy. Often, dealing directly with insurance companies can be an impersonal process. You may find that you appreciate having a go-to representative who can answer questions and look out for your best interests.

For more information about commercial insurance coverage in your state, contact our office today. Whether you have been in business for years or are just starting out, we will walk you through the process of securing commercial coverage as quickly and affordably as possible. Call us for your free quotes. We’ll be happy to help you find the policy that best fits your business’s ever-changing needs.