Do I really need to read my car insurance policy?

Read car insurance policy

Read car insurance policy

Getting the right car insurance policy can seem like a long, stressful process. By the time you’ve gotten everything squared away, reading over the terms and conditions can seem like an unnecessary waste of time. However, there can be some hefty consequences to skipping over this bit of helpful homework. Here are a few reasons you should read through your auto insurance policy, even after you’ve gone over it verbally with your agent.

Why should you read your car insurance policy?

1. Make sure you understand what’s covered.

Every year, people end up losing money or paying more out-of-pocket costs after an accident because they didn’t properly understand what their car insurance policy covered. Your auto insurance is there to protect you and your car in an emergency. However, your policy will only cover certain accidents and instances that are specifically outlined in your policy. So, reading up on your policy is a key part of truly understanding the certain sticky situations that your car insurance can help you out of.

2. Make sure everything is correct

This goes beyond just checking how your name is spelled or that your contact information is actually yours. (Although, you should make sure this information is correct.) You’ll want to read through your policy to make sure you’re actually getting the coverage you wanted and that you believe you’re paying for. Instead of going up the creek without a paddle, read through your policy to make sure that all of your coverages are there and take the opportunity to ask your agent any questions about what is and isn’t included in your car insurance.

3. Understand when you have to pay your premium

Your auto insurance premium is the amount you have to pay just to have insurance coverage. Many people assume that this is a monthly payment amount. However, different carriers offer different ranges of available payment options, including monthly, quarterly, semi-annually, and annually (the last of which may help you get a discount on your car insurance). So, it’s important to read through your policy to know exactly when your car insurance payment is due. That way, you can prevent lapses in coverage and keep your insurance rates low.

4. Prepare to pay your deductible amount

Your car insurance deductible is the amount you’ve agreed to pay in repairs or damages before your policy starts paying in full. But that’s not the only thing you’ll need to know about your deductible. You’ll also need to keep in mind that:

  • Your deductible can affect your premium
  • Deductibles are different depending on your policy.
  • Your deductible on one type of coverage may be different than another.

Reading through your entire policy can help you prepare for what you may pay after an accident. That way, you can set aside enough money to cover your deductible for whatever type of coverage you use before you urgently have to use it.

5. Learn how much coverage you have and in what circumstances

Additionally, there’s a limit to what your insurance will cover – literally. Reading through your car insurance policy entirely can help you understand how much your insurance policy can help you cover and when. Different scenarios call for different coverages, and different coverage may have different amounts that you’re covered for. If you only have a brief overview of how much your insurance might cover in a general sense, then you risk not having enough coverage for a certain situation when you need it.

6. Know when your coverage starts and stops

Just because you’ve made the decision to get car insurance, chosen a carrier, and chosen a plan, it doesn’t necessarily mean that your car insurance is in effect. Each policy has what’s known as an effective date, and a driver isn’t covered under that policy until that date. This means that if you’re starting a new insurance plan or you’re in between plans and you drive before your new effective date, you won’t be covered until your policy actually says you are.

Reading your policy to find this date is the best way to prevent car insurance lapses or even just the charge of driving without insurance (which is illegal all over the nation).

7. Generally, just feel good about where you’re putting your money.

In any case, it’s just good to know why you’re spending your money and how it’s being spent. Car insurance may be a legal requirement, but if you don’t know much about it, the whole process can seem like a big waste. In fact, many people think car insurance to be a nuisance that only costs them more money the more they use it.

Reading your policy, on the other hand, can help you see all the neat things that your car insurance does help you with, whether it’s an accident or a crack in your windshield. It can help people understand that you’re investing in a great amount of help in your future and peace of mind.

Of course, you may not be able to recite your policy forwards and backwards after you read it. In fact, you may not be able to read it all in one go. Your auto insurance policy may be a long-winded document but taking it in though bite-sized pieces every so often can help you truly understand and feel protected in the policy you choose.

Our experts can also help you feel confident in the coverage and rates you choose for your car insurance. We’re here to walk you through getting free, customized quotes on the auto insurance you need in the easiest way possible. To start your best insurance experience, call us today, fill out our online form, or LiveChat with a specialist today.

How to get daycare insurance

Get the right daycare insurance for your business

Get the right daycare insurance for your business

Opening a daycare can seem overwhelming. Daycare owners must not only watch out for the risks of a normal customer service business, but also for kids generally being their rambunctious selves. So, as a daycare business owner, how can you protect yourself from the specific day-to-day hazards? Let’s take a look at how to get the best daycare insurance for you.

How to get daycare insurance.

1. Think about your risks.

There are numerous risks to consider at a daycare – both for parents and children. So, to start searching for the right insurance, you’ll need to ask yourself about the situations you could be held liable for. For example:

  • What if a child is seriously injured?
  • What if a parent is injured while visiting the property?
  • What if my employees are injured at work?
  • What if something happens to my building, and I have to close for repairs?
  • What if someone is robbed or their car is broken into in my parking lot?
  • What if I give out a snack that makes a child sick?
  • Can and have I properly secured cleaning products and other materials out of the reach of the children?
  • If I offer shuttle services, what happens if I’m in a wreck?

These are just a few of the things that daycare owners will have to consider before opening and during their operations.

2. Consider the coverages you may need

Once you’ve assessed the daily risks you may face, it’s a good idea to get a general sense of the insurance that can help if you’re faced with those dangers. Typically, businesses will need:

General liability

General liability coverage can help businesses with expenses, such as medical bills and legal fees, if a visitor is hurt on the property. (For your daycare, make sure you understand who would be covered under your general liability policy.)

Property coverage

Property coverage can help repair your company’s building if it is affected by a covered loss like fire. Remember, though, that commercial property insurance doesn’t cover all disasters. For instance, floods are typically not covered by a business insurance policy. Coverage for that requires an entirely different flood insurance plan for businesses.

It's important to have the right daycare insurance

Business interruption

Speaking of disasters, there can be tons of continuing expenses that occur while you’re rebuilding your business. So, you’ll want to consider business interruption coverage to help cover costs such as lost income to your daycare or expenses associated with relocating your business temporarily if you’re hit by a covered loss.

Workers compensation

Another important coverage to consider (in fact, you may be required by law to have it) is workers compensation insurance. If one of your employees is hurt on the job or for job-related purposes, that would be terrible, but workers’ comp can help pay for their medical bills and part of their salary while they’re out.

Professional liability

Professional liability coverage can help cover legal costs due to an employee giving out improper information or neglecting a child in the classroom. Even if the employee had taken the proper measures and care, if a parent sues, professional liability insurance is a great coverage to have to cover the costs of defending the employee and your daycare business.

Commercial auto insurance

If you want to take your tykes on field trips, you’ll need to consider commercial auto insurance coverage for your daycare van or other mode of transport. Personal auto policies are typically built for handling the risks of casual driving and commutes, not other business purposes. So, having a commercial auto policy when using any type of vehicle for business purposes can be a great investment.

Other coverages to consider

Although the previous types of common business insurance coverages can cover daycares in different ways, there are still certain, specific policies that daycare owners must also consider to properly protect their company, such as:

  • Abuse & molestation liability
  • Accident medical insurance
  • Cyber liability
  • Crime insurance
  • Umbrella insurance

3. Get quotes on daycare insurance

Thinking about these risks, you’ll want to make sure you’re getting the daycare insurance you need while paying the best price. It’s important to properly manage the risks of parents, visitors, and children to your daycare. However, sifting through various types of insurance plans and carriers with different types, amounts, and conditions for coverage can seem like a stressful, never-ending process.

That’s why our experts strive to make the insurance process as easy and pleasant as possible with these 5 steps:

1. Contact us.

We want to make sure we’re easily accessible to you from the very start. So, give us a call, fill out our online form, or LiveChat with one of our specialists – whichever is easiest – so that we can start to understand your business.

2. We’ll have a quick chat.

Once we’ve heard from you, one of our agents will have a quick conversation with you to hammer out some minor details that they’ll need to get you the best insurance for your business.

We know that getting to know your business inside and out is the best way to get the most accurate rates and shop for the perfect coverage fit for you. However, we also know that you’re busy – with tots, parents, and more. So, our agents are accessible through phone, email, or text message. Just let us know what you prefer!

3. Our experts start shopping for your quotes.

Like we’ve said, we know that you’re a busy bee. So, we’ll take the time to shop for the daycare insurance that fits you. That way, you don’t have to take tons of time out of your busy day to get wrapped up in insurance coverage options. Just leave it to us!

Our agents have tons of experience and tons of connections to the best of the best insurance carriers and plans. So, you can rest assured that after we get to know your business, we’ll pair you with the best carriers and plans that fit your needs.

4. We’ll go over your options.

Once we’ve gotten your daycare insurance quotes, we’ll present you with only the best business insurance options. Our experts will go over the best policies that can handle your specific risks. We want you to know how your insurance will work for you and that you’re getting the best rates on quality coverage.

5. We’re always here to help!

After we’ve paired you with your perfect policy, don’t worry, we’re not going to just ride off into the sunset. Our agents are always here to help if you have questions, concerns, or changes to make with your policy. We’ll even shop your rates year after year so that you can rest assured that you’re getting the lowest rates on great daycare insurance.

Getting your daycare properly insured can seem completely overwhelming, but our specialists are here to make business insurance easy. To start getting free, customized quotes on affordable daycare insurance, call our experts today, fill out our online form, or LiveChat with an agent today!

Why is SEO important for marketing my business?

SEO for small businesses

SEO for small businesses

SEO is a marketing term you’ve probably heard of so much that you’re sick of it. It can seem like a vague, unreachable concept for small businesses, but don’t let the words of others scare you. Optimizing your business for search engines is easy and necessary if you want your company to flourish. So, here’s an easy guide to what SEO is and why your business needs it.

Read moreWhy is SEO important for marketing my business?

Watch out for these holiday hazards

Holiday hazards at home

Holiday hazards at home

Your home can be a wonderful haven for friends and family during the holidays. It can also be a madhouse full of holiday hazards that can stop fun in its tracks. There are tons of accidents that can happen at home during this time of year. However, there are just as many ways to prevent these mishaps to keep you and your family out of harm’s way. Here are some holiday hazards to be wary of around your home and how to prevent your friends and family from being hurt.

Holiday hazards to look out for.

1. Falls.

Slips and falls are a common household injury. Around the holidays, there are a lot more ways to fall prey to this peril. To prevent some of these holiday spills:

Practice ladder safety.

If you’re hanging decorations inside or outside of your home, have someone spot the person at the top of the ladder. Have them hold the ladder steady while you avoid power lines and secure your footing. As you come down, make sure you’re not skipping rungs and that you have solid footing on each rung before moving to the next one.

Clean as you go.

If you’re whipping up your holiday specialty, be sure to address any floor spills as soon as possible. Keep a mop, paper towels, or cloths nearby to help absorb any messes you may make. Try not to rush around the kitchen, especially when moving hot dishes. Plus, use proper kitchen safety materials and practices so you can cook more safely and efficiently.

Stash the cords.

It can be easy for anyone, especially kids, to trip over loose cords while they’re not paying attention. If possible, stash loose cords along the bottoms of your walls or behind furniture. If there are cords out in the open, invest in some gaff or electrical tape from your local hardware store to tape them down to your floors.

2. Electricity.

Exposed wiring can pose a major hazard for curious kids, nosy pets, and even absent-minded adults. To stay away from shocking revelations this holiday:

Repair or replace broken lights.

Inspect your lights before using them. Wrap up any exposed wires with electrical tape or just replace the lights altogether. It’s not worth the potential shock or fire to keep the old lights around. Cover any broken bulbs or exposed filaments to prevent shocks and sharp glass from harming others.

Look out for these holiday hazards

3. Fire.

Everyone loves to snuggle up by a fire, light a few holiday-scented candles, or heat up the oven for a holiday treat. However, it only takes a moment for a flickering flame to spread and get completely out of control. So, if fires or high temperatures are a part of your holiday plans, be sure to avoid holiday hazards by:

Keeping an eye on your stove and oven.

Don’t divide your attention outside of the kitchen while cooking. When nothing is in the oven or on a stove eye, make sure everything is turned off so that nothing flammable crosses a hot path.

Keeping small children and pets away.

The pitter-patter of all kinds of feet through your home don’t belong in the kitchen while you’re cooking, especially when handling hot or heavy dishes. You may even want to cook on the back-burners of the stove and keep food away from the edges of counters to keep it off the floor.

Extinguishing candles at the end of the night, and not using real candles on your tree.

Instead, use battery-powered candle lights. They’re safer and they won’t get messy wax everywhere!

Having your fireplace examined before you use it.

Flammable debris may have entered your chimney while your fireplace was out of use. So, make sure to maintain and sweep out your fireplace year-round, as well as open the flue when it is in use.

Checking your smoke detectors.

You’ll want to be properly alerted if something does go awry. So, make sure your smoke detectors have fresh batteries and are in working order.

Keeping objects AWAY from space heaters and radiators.

Keep a keen eye on either one of these if you’re using them to heat your home this winter. Don’t toss blankets, curtains, wrapping paper, or anything else flammable on or near a heat source. Additionally, don’t place your tree or other natural holiday decorations too close to heaters.

4. Poisoning.

There are tasty treats to be had, possibly ones that are exclusive to this time of year. However, these treats should be the only things consumed heartily and safely. Help keep these holiday traditions safe from holiday hazards by:

Choosing age-appropriate toys.

Read the labels and age ranges for the types of toys you gift. Be careful of giving younger children playthings with small parts or batteries that could become choking hazards. Be aware that even if you give an older child an age-appropriate toy, younger siblings may steal some playtime. So, try to choose gifts that are appropriate for all ages in the household.

Checking expiration dates on canned foods and condiments.

Some canned goods may be marked as “non-perishable,” but they still have an expiration date. Before serving food, pay attention to when the food expires and how they should be stored. If you’re unsure about serving it, it’s best to steer clear and replace that item with a fresh one.

Prep carefully.

The same utensils should NOT be used for both cooked and raw meat. If you must use the same utensils, wash them thoroughly under hot soap and water. Limit cross-contamination by washing your hands between prepping, cooking, and serving, and don’t leave out any meat or dairy for long periods of time.

Enforce a cut-off.

If your holiday celebration is more geared towards adults, enforce cut-offs for alcoholic beverages. Encourage and accommodate designated drivers and provide resources for taxi or ride-sharing services to prevent drunk driving. Also, offer plenty of water and food to your guests in addition to these drinks.

5. Theft.

The holidays can be prime time for thieves to snatch your belongings or your information. Keep your stuff secure by:

Limiting your posts on social media.

It can be tempting to post real-time happy memories as they’re being made. However, your picture in a new location can give thieves the heads-up that you’re not home. To prevent break-ins, save the posting on social media for after the parties or your travel plans.

Getting a house-sitter.

The best way to make sure that thieves believe that a home is occupied so they don’t break in is to have someone actually occupy the house. If you’re going to be gone for an extended period of time, have someone house-sit and grab your mail until you come back. If you’re going to be gone for a short period of time, have a neighbor keep an eye out for anyone suspicious lurking around.

Using secure networks.

When online shopping, make sure that the web address has an https and a padlock at the beginning of the site name. This ensures that you’re shopping over a secure connection where your information is the most difficult for hackers to decode. Additionally, avoid putting personal information into a website when you’re using a public Wi-Fi connection. It can be extremely easy for a hacker to access all sorts of information on your computer from a network that’s not password protected.

These are just some of the common ways to protect you, your family, and your belongings from holiday hazards. At the end of the day, just make sure you’re not letting your guard down during this time of year to keep the holiday cheer going.

It’s also important to have good home insurance in case something does happen. Homeowners’ insurance can help you take care of the medical bills of someone hurt at your home, replace or repair your property in a covered loss, and lots more. The best news is that our experts can help you get great rates on the coverage you need. To start getting free quotes on customized coverage, give us a call, fill out our online form, or LiveChat with a specialist today!

12 do’s and don’ts when hiring a contractor

Hiring a contractor

Hiring a contractor

Whether your house is a fixer-upper or you just want a special addition to your dream home, you may have to hire a contractor. There are plenty of professional and legitimate businesses out there. Nonetheless, there are also tons of scams and unlicensed people advertising their work. So, how do you know that you’re choosing the right contractor to work on your house? Here are 12 do’s and don’ts to hiring a contractor.

DO hire a contractor who:

1. Has the proper licensing.

There are tons of specific and general websites that will show results for licensed contractors in your area, and don’t just take the contractor’s word for it. Search for their business name or an individual contractor on their industry’s regulatory website, ending in .org instead of .com. That way, you know that the licensing agency isn’t a fly-by-night operation like an unlicensed contractor may be.

Additionally, make sure they know and notify the proper people and authorities before they start their work. The last thing you want is your city to discover that your renovations or home isn’t up to code and that you have to tear it down and start again.

2. Has the proper experience.

Certain projects may require a level of experience that can only be gathered in the field. For example, someone may be licensed for bathroom remodeling. However, they may not have experience with the problems that can happen when remodeling a bathroom in an older house. When deciding on a contractor, ask about their experience with your specific type of project. Check for a portfolio or a few pictures on similar projects.

3. Has enough insurance coverage.

Even if a contractor or a company has years of experience, things can still happen. So, make sure that the contractor(s) you hire have the right business insurance for the work they’re doing. Otherwise, you could be on the hook for any damages done to your home during the process, or any injuries to the contractor while onsite.

The industry standard coverage limit for contractors is $1 million in general liability for residential work. In addition, Georgia law requires contracting companies with three or more employees to have workers’ comp. Make sure they have the proper documentation to verify these limits. You may even want ask their insurance company to send over their certificate of insurance.

4. Has great online reviews overall.

It may be true that some people only like to leave reviews for bad experiences. However, a slew of negative reviews across several websites is nothing to ignore. Check multiple trusted websites like Google, Angie’s List, Kudzu, etc. for customer experiences, especially about the business’s customer service.

Remember to also check the more recent reviews for a company. Some websites default to a certain layout of reviews that may have represented the company in the past but not the way the business runs now.

5. Tells you about their materials and process.

There can be some common misconceptions about which materials, chemicals, processes, etc. should be used for a particular contracting job. So, ask what your contractor uses and how it’s used before they start their work. If you’re so inclined, you may even want to do a little research to make sure their methods or chemicals won’t damage the particular materials your home is made of.

6. Has a written and discussed contract.

Your contractor should always, always, always write down and discuss their planned scope of work. Schedule a time to sit down and go over the contract with your contractor. Ask questions about anything you don’t understand.  Know what will be excluded from their plans. Ask about the warranty on their work, what’s covered in the warranty, and for how long.

Tips for hiring a contractor

DON’T hire a contractor who:

1. Contacts you first.

Good contractors don’t have to go door to door to drum up business. Business usually comes to them – whether it’s through advertising or word-of-mouth. If someone comes to your door to quote you for a renovation or offer a “free home inspection,” they may not be a legitimate business. More than likely, the free home inspection will turn up mysterious problems with your home that were neither noticeable nor necessary to work on.

2. Pressures you into doing home repairs immediately.

Additionally, be wary of contractors who follow up too much or too frequently. Contractors and contracting companies are usually pretty busy with their book of business. So, if a company has enough time to constantly hound you about the contract or quote that they’ve given you to think about, it’s time to think about another contractor.

Someone may follow up with you once after a few weeks, just as a reminder that their quote is only valid for a certain number of days. Generally, though, a contractor will give you the quote and their contact information for you to reach out to them if you have questions.

3. Asks you to pay 100 percent in advance.

The most common type of contractor fraud is people who tell customers to pay upfront and then never return to start or finish the actual work. If a reputable contractor asks for any money upfront at all, it will only be a portion of their estimate. Legitimate contractors will want you to review their work before you pay the entire amount.

Furthermore, a contractor can only quote you on what they see at first glance. There are various issues that can pop up while they work and changes that you may want to make later on in the project. These changes will more than likely change the amount of your quote in one way or another. So, asking for full payment at the start is more than a little fishy.

4. Changes the contract or charge order without your written consent.

Again, things come up during a renovation. Your contractor may have to bring things up to code, repair a damaged water or electrical line that was discovered, or just change the type of material they use because of your house’s structure.

Regardless of the type of change, your contractor needs to discuss and amend your contract or charge order in writing with both of your signatures. It’s not enough to have verbal consent. A true contractor will want to have documentation that you approved changes to the plan.

5. Can’t give you a specific start date.

A contractor may be busy, but that also means that they have to be efficient. They can’t just show up to their customers’ houses and start working. They need to work on projects at certain times that work for both them and their clients. So, even if they can’t immediately give you a start date while quoting onsite, they should be able to tell you something once they have access to their schedule.

6. Uses your insurance to pay for unnecessary repairs.

Another common type of contractor fraud is convincing you to use your home insurance policy to make unnecessary repairs. This can cover a wide range of things, from using too many expensive types of equipment to causing damage themselves to get an insurance check. So, it’s important to read your home insurance policy all the way through and talk to your agent before, during, and after the renovations.

Hopefully, these tips can help you account for the warning signs of people who want to compromise your money, safety, or information. Also, don’t be afraid to sleep on deciding the best contractor for you. It’s a big decision!

If you’re looking for cheaper rates on home insurance to handle you, your family, and your home as they grow, just give our agents a call, fill out our online form, or LiveChat with an agent today!

7 tips for employee training

Employee training tips

Employee training tips

Employee training can be a tricky subject if your business is just now needing an extra set of hands. Hiring is a vital part of keeping your company running smoothly. Before a new employee starts, though, they have to know how to fulfill their role in your company. How do you know you’re giving your employees the tools they need? Here are 7 tips.

7 tips for employee training.

1. Think about your employees’ day-to-day.

When you’re making an employee training plan, consider what they’ll have to do every day. Write down the tasks that each position will need to do during the day or the week. Then, break those tasks into sections so it’s easier to write specific instructions on how to do them. This will form a good base for deciding how and when to teach new employees certain skills.

2. Train for your employees’ skill level

Different employees have different experience levels and may be used to different processes than your own. When training, account for these differences in skill level to make the process easier or more quickly understood.

For example, there may be a new hire who has experience with a similar computer system to yours. In this case, it’s important to remember that they have a vague knowledge of how the system works, but not the specific details. This way, you can train them to translate their existing general knowledge to your particular system instead of working from the bottom up, as you would with someone unfamiliar with the system.

3. Give people enough time to retain the information

It can be tempting to jam-pack a lot of information into a few training sessions. However, especially when it comes to safety training, this mindset can be dangerous. You’ll need to make sure they retain their training knowledge while they’re on the job. So, create a training timeline that actually allows new hires time to take in what they’ve learned.

4. Consult your seasoned employees

Of course, you don’t have to do it all yourself. If you have long-time employees, enlist their help to help you train, to consult on what knowledge has helped them, and to pass on their expertise about the job to trainees. If your seasoned employees do volunteer to train new employees, offer incentives for their hard work – whether it’s a raise, a bonus, extra vacation days, or another great perk.

If you don’t quite have seasoned employees, consult connections in similar industries. Ask what types of knowledge were valuable in their training. Then, tailor that advice to your particular business.

5. Cross-train your workers

Cross-training employees offers more benefits than helping a short-staffed business owner. It can give your employees a broader view of how your company works. They’ll know what your company goals are and how they help execute them. Cross-training can also teach skills that translate to an employee’s primary role. You’ll be able to offer new employees new perspectives on different departments and teach others how to seamlessly work with other departments to improve the business.

6. Take stock in how effective your training is

Your work isn’t done after just the initial training. You’ll need to monitor employee progress by forming both SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, Timely) and qualitative goals for what they’ll learn. Schedule review periods to measure the effectiveness of your process or materials.

Gathering feedback from new hires about training can also be useful. Ask how practical people think the training was after being on the job. Inquire which areas they may have needed more information on. Then, use this information to adjust your training methods for the next group of hires.

7. Refresh and retrain regularly

Continuing education is a staple in most professions, and it shouldn’t stop with yours – even if you don’t need a special license for your line of work. Refreshers on policies and precautions can be an excellent way to make sure that all your employees are on the same page and consistently aware of your business’s basics.

It’s important to invest in your employee training in order to prevent hiccups in your operation, avoid dangerous accidents, and show your employees that you care about their success.

It’s also vital to invest in the right business insurance for anything that’s out of your control. Our experts can help you find the best business insurance to protect you from the unexpected perils of business ownership, especially with employees. To start your free, customized quotes, give our experts a call, fill out our online form, or LiveChat with an agent today.

Source:

https://www.forbes.com/sites/mikekappel/2018/02/07/5-tips-for-successful-small-business-employee-training/#236c2d835cc9

How does a car insurance deductible work?

How does a car insurance deductible work?

How does a car insurance deductible work?

When you’re talking to your agent about car insurance, they may mention a little thing called a “deductible.” You may be a little confused about this amount you may have to pay in addition to your monthly premium, but it’s vital to the way that insurance works and what can make your policy and your rates work for you. Here’s how.

What is a deductible?

If something happens to your car, your auto insurance deductible is the amount you’ve agreed to pay – your insurance has its part, you have your part. For example, let’s say you have a $500 deductible. You’re in an accident where the damages total $2,000. You would have to pay the $500 deductible, and your car insurance would pay the rest of the money to fix your car ($1,500) so long as it’s a covered claim.

We say your car because a car insurance deductible typically applies to collision and comprehensive coverage. If you only have bodily injury and property liability coverage, your insurance company will probably just pay the other driver’s fees. However, the claim could make your rates go up for next year.

Why do I need collision/comprehensive insurance?

While Georgia requires bodily injury and property damage liability, these coverages are only to cover your responsibility to the other driver in an accident. Collision and comprehensive coverage are the types of coverage that can help you repair damage to your car. Without those, you’ll have to pay the entire amount of your car repairs out-of-pocket. So, a deductible, in the grand scheme of things, isn’t that bad.

What is a car insurance deductible?

Is it worth going through my car insurance for a repair?

Additionally, some things aren’t really worth going through your car insurance because of your deductible. For example, let’s say you have a $250 repair bill for your car. If you have a $500 deductible, you would have to pay out-of-pocket for the total amount of the repair anyway. Because the repair isn’t more than the deductible, it might not be worth it to file a claim for something you’d pay for out-of-pocket anyway.

Similarly, if you had a $600 repair and a $500 deductible, you may just want to take care of the repair yourself instead of making your insurance pay the extra $100, potentially raising your rates next policy term. However, if you have a much higher repair bill than your deductible, by all means, let your insurance help you out!

How does my deductible affect my car insurance?

The thing about deductibles is that they can affect your premium. So, if you’re already paying more for your monthly premium, you can have a lower deductible because you’ve, in a sense, already “paid (part of) your dues” on a monthly basis.

On the other hand, if you choose a higher deductible, your insurance company can see it as you taking more financial responsibility if you have to repair your car. So, they can lower your monthly premium/payment into the risk pool. It’s all a balancing act.

How do I choose my deductible?

So, what does all this mean for you? Well, it means you can be a little more informed in the deductible you choose. That way, you can customize your auto insurance policy for your needs. A good place to start considering the deductible you want is by asking yourself these questions:

How much would I be able to pay if I filed a claim?

Budget for how much you could reasonably pay if you had to repair your car. What amount could you put into your car without being significantly set back in your finances? Your insurance is there, ultimately, to help you. Don’t let it hurt you.

Am I willing to have a higher monthly payment or higher repair costs later?

If you believe you’re able to pay out more every month for your car insurance, and you don’t think something will happen later, go ahead and choose a lower deductible. Accidents happen, even to safe drivers. Still, if you’re not in a high-risk situation that could affect your auto insurance rates, you may be comfortable taking the chance that you won’t have to pay a deductible later on.

However, if you think you won’t be able to afford higher monthly payments, but you would be able to save up gradually for your deductible, choosing a higher deductible and a lower monthly payment may be for you. Remember, though, that your car insurance deductible doesn’t build on itself like health insurance. Each claim that you file means that you have to pay that deductible for that claim. So, if you have a $500 deductible, and 2 claims throughout your policy term, you would have to pay $500 for each of those 2 claims.

Do I still have to pay a deductible if I’m in an accident, but I’m not at fault?

It depends on the direction you want to take. If you want to ensure that your rates won’t go up, you could go directly through the other driver’s insurance policy to have your car repaired. However, going through another carrier may take longer than expected.

If you have collision coverage, you could go through your insurance to have your car repaired more quickly. In this case, you may end up paying your deductible while your insurance takes care of their part of the repairs. Then your insurance would subrogate (ask the other driver’s insurance company for money) and reimburse you for your deductible.

Overall, deductibles and premiums are a fine balancing act between your premiums, your coverage, and your budget. It can be tough to navigate. That’s why our car insurance experts are here to help you every step of the way. We’ll walk through your risks so that we give you quotes and discounts on auto insurance that fit your needs. To get started, just give us a call, fill out our online form, or LiveChat with an agent today!

7 things to know about car insurance if you’re moving

Changing your car insurance if you're moving

Changing your car insurance if you're moving

Moving can be quite the hassle, especially when handling important paperwork like your insurance. Transferring your home insurance plan may seem like a no-brainer, but your car insurance may seem like another beast. After all, one of the factors that contribute to your car insurance rates is your address, or where you park your car normally. So, what do you need to know when that address changes? Let’s look at these 7 things that you may need to know about your car insurance if you’re moving.

7 things to know about car insurance if you’re moving.

1. How to change the information on your car insurance

Changing your car insurance policy to fit your new location might be as simple as calling your insurance agent and going through a quick filing process. However, if you’re moving to an area that’s outside of your carrier’s area of coverage, you’ll need to shop for a new car insurance carrier all over again. Luckily, our experts have access to multiple insurance companies nationwide. So, we can help you determine the specific risks you’ll face in your new location and find similar carriers with the best rates around.

2. You have a certain amount of time after you move to change the address on your policy

Different states have different requirements for when an insured needs to have their car insurance policy registered with a new address. You’ll need to find out that exact timeframe, but it’s a good idea to go ahead and have your policy switched over as soon as possible.

As a rule of thumb, most states require you to register your car to your new address within 30 days of your move. So, it could be a good idea to go by this timeframe for your auto insurance as well.

3. You may have new state-required minimums if you move

Each state has its own minimum requirements for car insurance. If you’re moving out of state, you’ll need to know which coverages your new state requires and how much your coverage limits need to be. Some states require more coverage. Some states require less.

It’s important to note, though, that even though a state may require less coverage than your previous address, you could be putting yourself in a sticky situation by not having enough coverage if something does happen to your car.

More often than not, state minimums only require a certain amount of bodily injury liability and property damage coverage. In addition to the state-required limits not being enough, these coverages only cover the other person’s injuries and property. If you want to be able to protect you and your car in an accident, you may want to look into collision coverage, comprehensive coverage, and medical payments insurance.

Car insurance when you're moving

4. Your car insurance rates may change if you’re moving

On the same token, since your car insurance coverage limits may change, your rates may change along with them. Although, that doesn’t necessarily mean that your rates will be more expensive. Car insurance rates depend on a lot more factors than just your address or what your location requires for auto insurance. It can depend on your deductible, your coverage limits, your age, your marital status, and more.

Plus, if you have to change carriers, there may be an entirely different market of insurance companies in your location that offer lower rates. So, just take the move as a blank slate for your insurance as well, and shop for what you need!

5. If you’re being removed from a policy, you may have to provide your new proof of insurance or proof of residency to your old insurance company.

If you’re a bit younger and moving out on your own, or you’ve just been taking advantage of a multi-car discount and are moving to a separate address, switching car insurance can be kind of tricky. There are certain documents that your old insurance company may need in order to take you off the original policy without putting you at risk for a lapse in coverage.

One way that you could change policies is by giving your old carrier proof of new residence for your new home. Showing multiple forms of official mail (i.e. a water bill, a copy of your signed apartment lease/house deed, etc.) could be enough to switch you to a new policy that’s all your own. However, be prepared to ask if your carrier needs additional documentation. Another method could be to give your old insurance carrier proof of new insurance. This way, they know that you’re canceling your car insurance with them while still being covered.

6. Know your new policy’s effective start date

Before you pull the trigger on canceling your old insurance policy, make sure that your new car insurance policy picks up exactly where your old one leaves off. Even if you sign the paperwork for a new policy on one date, that doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re covered from the signing date forward. And even if it’s just a one-day lapse in car insurance coverage, it still counts as a lapse.

That means that if you need proof of insurance while being pulled over or after an accident, you’ll be out of luck for any coverage that you need, and you may have to pay for damages out-of-pocket. Additionally, it’s illegal to drive without insurance in every state. So, check out your declarations page or even read your car insurance policy all the way through to make sure you know that you’re covered no matter what.

7. Know that you may be able to get a refund in the middle of your policy

Life doesn’t usually line up perfectly with your plans. So, moves don’t typically line up with the end of your policy date. Still, you don’t want to pay for an old car insurance policy if you already have a new one. Luckily, if you need to change your insurance in the middle of your plan, your carrier can refund you according to the number of days still left on your first policy.

Even if you pay for your policy on a month-by-month or a semi-annual schedule, a carrier can usually prorate the amount you’ve already paid and refund you the rest. That way, you don’t have to pay for what you don’t use!

These are just some of the things to keep in mind about car insurance if you’re moving. A new journey doesn’t have to mean a whole new set of problems, especially if you’re working with our specialists. Our agents are experts in getting the auto insurance you need for a great price, no matter where you are in the U.S. To start getting free, customized quotes on car insurance, give us a call, fill out our online form, or LiveChat with an expert today!

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What you need to know about commercial flood insurance

Commercial flood insurance

Commercial flood insurance

If your business is in a coastal area, you may be fully aware of the benefits of commercial flood insurance. However, even if you’re not in a flood-prone area, there are still tons of factors that could cause your business to flood. The worst part is, your standard commercial insurance policy won’t cover the damages due to this unforeseen incident. But how much of a risk does your company really have of flooding? Why aren’t you covered for flooding in a business insurance policy? And how can you protect your business and livelihood from flood damage? Here’s where we’ll give you a rundown.

What is commercial flood insurance?

Commercial flood insurance is a type of business insurance policy that can help you repair damages to your company building due to flooding and help you replace your inventory or office equipment because of flooding.

You may be thinking, “Doesn’t my regular business insurance policy cover the structure of my business location and my commercial property?” Yes, it does. The big BUT, though, is that business insurance policies specifically exclude flood damage. A regular commercial property or liability policy doesn’t include coverage for certain types of water damage, including flooding.

What does commercial flood insurance cover?

We’ve learned that a typical business insurance policy won’t cover damage due to flooding. So, when you add flood insurance to your coverage, what exactly does it cover? Well, flood insurance for a business can cover expenses like:

  • Replacing inventory & merchandise
  • Replacing or repairing machinery
  • Debris removal

Do I need commercial flood insurance?

Again, if you’re not in a flood or storm-prone area, you may ask yourself, “Why would I even need flood insurance?” However, statistics show that all 50 states have experienced floods and flood damage. Data also shows that:

  • 25 percent of businesses shut down from flood-related natural disasters and never reopen.
  • The average amount of a flood claim from businesses in the past 5 years has been $89,000.
  • The average amount of commercial property damage sustained due to flooding totals to more than $3.5 billion each year.

Plus, flooding isn’t only a result of hurricanes or heavy rains. Floods can happen because of:

  • Overflowing bodies of water
  • Mudslides
  • Melting snow
  • Ice jambs
  • New construction & Land development
  • Improper drainage

So, yeah. Flood insurance can be an extremely important addition to your business insurance.

How do I get flood insurance for my business?

Valid flood insurance can come from the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). However, you can’t buy it directly from the organization. You must purchase a policy from an agent or agency that participates in the NFIP (like us! Give us a call today to start getting customized flood insurance quotes for your business.)

There are a few things to keep in mind before you buy, though. If you’re in a high-risk area for flooding, you may be required to get commercial flood insurance for your building. If you’re in a low-risk area for flooding and you still want to get flood insurance, you may qualify for a Preferred Risk flood insurance policy, which can cost and cover a bit less. Flood coverage also may have a 30-day waiting period before coverage takes effect. So, buying flood insurance at the last minute before a storm or hurricane could still mean trouble for your business.

How much does commercial flood insurance cost?

Flood insurance policies can vary. This is because the cost of flood insurance will be different from business to business, depending on certain factors. Usually, carriers determine the price of your commercial flood insurance from factors such as:

  • Your building’s height and age
  • Your building’s maximum occupancy
  • Your company’s location within a building (if you’re renting a space in an office complex)
  • The location of your lowest floor in relation to the elevation requirement on the NFIP flood map
  • The deductible and amount of coverage you choose for your building and contents coverage.

The good news is that NFIP commercial flood insurance policies can cover up to $500,000 of your building’s contents and $500,000 for the structure of the building itself.

How can I prevent my business from flooding?

You can also save money on your commercial flood insurance by taking preventative measures. Some of the most effective are:

  1. Buying flood boards to install over your doors when a flood may be coming
  2. Sealing floors to prevent water from seeping in through the ground
  3. Installing non-return valves to drains and pipes inside and outside of your business
  4. Checking and raising electrical sockets to a full foot above the 100-year flood level in your area
  5. Keeping a water removal pump handy
  6. Stockpiling useful materials like plastic sheeting, plywood, sandbags, nails, hammers, and shovels.

Additionally, you’ll want to form a flood emergency plan for your business to make sure your employees are safe and that damages to your company are minimized. Some tips you may want to consider are:

  1. Know how to turn off your utilities

In a pinch, you’ll need to know exactly how to shut off your company’s electricity, water, and gas. This way, none of these power supplies can cause more damage to your property and the flood water damage to those utility lines.

  1. Have a list of important phone numbers on hand

You should already have a contact list of numbers and other ways to reach your employees in an emergency. Additionally, your flood plan should include a list of useful phone numbers for your company posted in an easily found location. Include the numbers of your local government, your insurance carrier, additional flood warning systems, services for your building, your building manager, your suppliers, and any emergency contacts for your business overall.

  1. Train your employees on flood safety

As a part of hiring or continuing education for the employees of your specific business, include proper flood safety measures for individuals, flood protocol for your company, and evacuation procedures. Make sure everyone knows where to find pertinent phone numbers and establish a meeting place is everyone suddenly needs to evacuate.

  1. Create a stockpile of important supplies

Finally, create an emergency supply for your business. It will look a little different from your personal home emergency kit, but there are still some vital pieces you’ll need to have stocked at your commercial location. Stock up on materials like first aid kits, plastic sheeting, plywood, flood boards, sandbags, nails, hammers, and shovels. That way, the materials you need are on hand, and no one is running out to get an important supply in dangerous conditions.

Keep your flood plan in an easily accessible location so everyone can refer to it at any time.

Make sure your employees are trained on proper flood safety procedures. Designate an emergency flood contact and a safe meeting place if everyone suddenly needs to evacuate. Create a flood continuity and contact plan for your suppliers and clients.

You can get started on business insurance quotes by filling out our online form, giving us a call, or messaging us on LiveChat.

How to insure a haunted house

How to insure a haunted house

How to insure a haunted house

We all know that home insurance can cover some pretty scary stuff, but what if your house is scary all by itself? If you’ve got creaky doors, bubbling brews, and spooky, scary, skeletons, you might need more than your average coverage. So, here are some of the things you may consider when insuring a haunted house.

How to insure a haunted house.

Liability

Let’s start with the basics: A heck of a lot of liability coverage. Liability coverage for your home is the part of your insurance that can help you pay for medical bills, legal fees, and settlements if someone is hurt in your home. Considering there would probably be a lot of ghosts scratching people, making people fall people down stairs, throwing objects at people, and generally exacting their vengeance on all who dare to enter, the house would probably have to have a high limit of coverage, to say the least.

Personal property

On the same token, whoever owns that house (the living ones) should have plenty of personal property coverage, which can help you cover damage to your belongings due to:

A haunted house would be particularly prone to these types of risks, especially if the “throwing plates” thing is considered vandalism. So, the homeowners will need a lot of overall personal property coverage. They may possibly need high-risk home insurance carrier because of the heightened risk, since it may be tough for them to get normal home insurance.

Jewelry & valuable items coverage

The homeowners may or may not need this type of coverage, depending on if they have expensive items lying around or if the poltergeist was brought into the home through a valuable item. If they did need this coverage, though, they would need to add it to their policy. Homeowners’ insurance policies typically only cover valuable items up to a certain amount – and that amount is usually low. So, if a haunted ring was somehow destroyed by a covered loss because of the dark energy inside it, it might be a good idea for the homeowner to have valuable items coverage so that they could replace the ring with a similar, less haunted one.

Loss of use/Additional living expenses

If the situation got so out of hand that the homeowners were forced out of the home by the activity, they’ll want to check their policy for Additional Living Expense (ALE) coverage. ALE coverage can help give you additional funds to keep up your quality of living while you’re forced outside of your home due to a covered loss. For example, after a house fire, your property coverages could help you replace your items and rebuild your home. Your loss of use coverage, however, could help you bridge the gap between the cost of paying your mortgage for the month and renting an extended stay hotel room while your home is repaired.

Vacant home coverage

It would also be a good idea for the homeowners to read their insurance policy through to see how long their home insurance covers a vacant house. Even if the house is full of spirits, a carrier would probably still consider the home empty, which poses a huge risk for them. If a person isn’t living in the house, it becomes more prone to squatters and vandalism. If there were a fire, there would be no one to “alert the media” and protect the homeowner’s and the carrier’s investment.

Even if the homeowner was trying to sell the house, they may still need vacant house coverage if the home is on the market for longer than their home insurance policy will cover. Depending on the level of the haunting, it may take a long while before anyone takes the house off the owner’s hands.

Are perils that exist only inside of the home covered under a home insurance policy?

One of the more interesting questions our horror movie buffs had are from movies like 1408. When perils like fires or earthquakes happen inside of the home, but there are no visible signs of the event outside, are they covered by home insurance?

First and foremost, flooding and earthquakes are typically excluded from home insurance coverage. So, unless the homeowner specifically had policies for those perils, they wouldn’t even be able to start this conversation. That being said, what if the homeowner did have an earthquake or flooding policy?

One could argue that the damaged items inside the home could be covered. You could also argue that there’s no proof of widespread damage in the neighborhood. So, a carrier couldn’t be sure that the damage was due to a covered loss or just the actions of the homeowner. Either way, we suppose they would have to check with their carrier about if and how they would file a claim.

And so marks the end of our basic theories. These coverages may be the absolute minimum a homeowner should worry about if their house was haunted. Still, there could be a lot more coverage needed or a few more caveats that your homeowners’ insurance carrier might have about insuring the haunted house.

For now, you don’t have to be haunted by the thought that you don’t have enough home insurance. Just call our experts today! We’ll get you quotes from different carriers on the affordable home insurance coverage that fits you. To start getting your free quotes, just give us a call, fill out our online form, or LiveChat with a specialist today!