10 tips for organizing your Atlanta home office to boost productivity

Check out these tips for setting up your home office.

Check out these tips for setting up your home office.

If you work from home or have a home-based business, you’re going to need a sweet space to work from. You’ve got a lot to do, but working from home is great – you’ve got your pets, comfort, and the best commute ever. However, it can also be very distracting, which is why it’s important that your space allows you to be productive and allow you to be the best “you” you can be. Check out the following tips for organizing your home office to boost your productivity.

10 tips to organize your home office to boost productivity.

1. Stake your claim and have your own space.

In order to get everything done that needs to get done, you’re going to need your own space. Your home office should be somewhere that you can settle down and work. Find a place where you can work well that will be free from distractions. You may need to find your own room and stake a claim, declaring it to be your space where you can focus.

2. Don’t let clutter take over.

If you work at home, the tendency could be that “home” and “work” blend together. You might have some dishes on the chair over there, maybe some cleaning stuff from when you wiped down the kitchen on the desk, perhaps some of the kids’ toys scattered over the floor… And then there’s the work clutter – papers, files, office supplies, and whatnot…

So, overall, there’s a lot of stuff.

Anyways, it’s really important that you have a space free of clutter. Chaos tends to draw the eye…and the mind is quick to follow. It’s much easier to focus when you have a clean, organized space that isn’t filled with clutter and distractions that will send your mind off in a thousand directions.

Pro tip: Keep all of the electrical cords from your computer, phone, and other gadgets out of the way and store them safely. Don’t overload power strips or outlets. This beats having a huge clump of electrical cords taking up room on the floor, and it can also help you prevent an electrical fire.

3. Have a to-do list for each day.

Being at home might make it tricky to get into the “work” mindset. Make sure to equip your home office with an agenda, planner, or notepad to keep track of what needs to get done and when. You can create a to-do list for each day so that you keep track of your goals.

And crossing things off on a list is extremely satisfying and fun.

4. Dress in real-people clothes and have a routine.

While it’s extremely tempting just to schlep down to the home office in your pajamas, getting dressed in “real people” clothes can help you get in the right frame of mind to work. Yes, pajamas are amazingly comfortable, but they also make you feel sleepy.

Try too start your mornings consistently and develop a routine. Take a shower to freshen up, get dressed, eat breakfast, dance around the kitchen to your favorite music, then settle down to work – or whatever works for you. This helps your mind get ready to kick into work-mode.

Another tip is to start and end your day at the same time. It helps to have consistent hours so that you get used to a routine. That way you don’t end up with an unbalanced work week where you work ten hours one day and three the next.

5. Make sure your office is comfortable.

It makes sense to make your home office a comfortable space – you’ll be spending a lot of time there, after all! Okay, moving a bed and pillows into the office might be going too far, but make sure you’ve got a nice, comfortable chair and place to work. Your computer station should be set up so that you can sit comfortably and work without straining your body.

Your home office should be a comfortable place to work.

6. Put your desk by a window.

You might worry that having the desk by the window would be distracting, but give it a try. The natural sunlight streaming into the room will help your body keep track of what time it is. Your internal clock is a real thing, and if you’re easily able to see and feel the sun as it moves through the sky you’ll be able to feel the day progressing. You can even decorate the area outside the window with plats and such to give a peaceful, distraction-free view that will give you something pretty to look at.

If you don’t have windows, brighten up your space by hanging artwork over the desk. It’s nice to be able to look at something other than just paint. Paint is boring. If you can, get lighting that allows you to control the brightness. Yellow-cast lights tend to be ideal because they’re comforting. They’re not oppressively bright, but they’re not too dim, either. Anyway, don’t let your office be a dark, dim hole, but don’t flood it with too-bright light.

7. Make sure your space is functional and designed with purpose.

Before you start decorating and rearranging your home office, you also need to consider exactly what kind of work you’ll be doing and what’s needed to get the job done. From there, you can make decisions about what sort of storage you’ll need, what equipment you need, and how best to organize everything.

Many home offices aren’t the biggest, and you can work with that with some creative planning. Utilize the vertical space in the room with tall bookcases or cubbies for storage. Once you’ve established exactly what needs to go into the office, you can plan accordingly. Try to keep things off your desk by using shelves, or invest in vertical file folders to sit on your desk. This will help you keep your workspace clear and clean.

Of course, that doesn’t mean that you need to sacrifice the aesthetic appeal of the room. Your space should be your space. It should be comfortable and welcoming – a place that you’re content to settle down and get to work.

8. Consider what color to paint the walls.

Why not go the whole hog and paint the room? Choose a color that works for you. Some people like yellows, lime greens, or oranges because they’re energizing and cheery. Others like calming shades like pale blue or aqua. Bottom line: choose a color that’s going to help you work. As crazy as it sounds, colors can have a profound effect on your mood.

9. Have a designated area for breaks.

You’re also going to need a space separate from your office where you can take breaks and clear your mind. It’s healthy to have a change of scene during the workday – your brain uses a lot of energy, so it needs a rest from time to time. Have a “break room” of your own at home. Maybe it’s the kitchen, where you can make a cup of coffee and have a light snack. Maybe it’s the living room, where you can retreat and give yourself fifteen minutes to read a book, work on a puzzle, or listen to the radio.

Getting up to stretch and take a mental break is good for you. When you settle back down to work, you’ll be recharged and reenergized.

10. Take care of your eyes.

Staring at a computer screen is not your eyes’ favorite thing to do. The light emitted from a screen is hard on them, and as a consequence, it’s easy for your eyes to get strained if you’re spending a lot of time on the computer. Try to schedule your time so that you can take breaks from the computer. Even if you have to get up and walk a lap around the house, give your eyes a break.

It’s also a good idea to avoid putting your computer directly under an overhead light. That only increases the glare from the screen, which will not make your eyeballs happy.

11. PRO TIP: Make sure you’re insured.

You’ve probably got a lot of business-related equipment in your office. It’s really important to make sure that you’re properly insured. Computers and such are very expensive, so you need to check out your home insurance policy to see if it covers any business-related items. If you have a full-blown home business, you need to make sure that you’ve got the right home-based business insurance.

Speaking of insurance, we can help you get the insurance you need, whether that’s home-based business insurance, home insurance, or auto insurance. Our team of insurance experts are pros at helping Atlantans save on their insurance by shopping their rates. You can compare pricing and coverage options by filling out our online quote form or giving us a call today.

Don’t make these 8 Atlanta home insurance mistakes

You never know when a home insurance tip is going to come in handy.

You never know when a home insurance tip is going to come in handy.

Getting home insurance can seem extremely difficult. It can be hard to know how much insurance to get, what coverages you need, and what’s a good rate. To help you on your home insurance mission, we’ve got 8 common home insurance mistakes for you to avoid as you set your coverage. We’ve also included a home insurance tip for each one.

Avoid these home insurance mistakes.

1. Not getting enough home insurance.

Home Insurance Tip #1: Ideally, you should have enough home insurance to do the following three things:

  1. Rebuild your house from the ground up if it’s damaged.
  2. Replace all of your belongings.
  3. Cover your liability.

You need to make sure that you have enough home insurance to rebuild your home completely if it’s destroyed by a fire or another loss. That means you have to consider the extra costs of construction and clean up. This is your home’s reconstruction value. Rather than insuring your home for its market value, it’s a good idea to insure it for the reconstruction value so you have enough coverage to account for the cleanup and construction (which are very expensive.)

It’s also important to take a home inventory so that you know how much coverage you need for your personal belongings – and that way you’ll know exactly what to claim if you have a loss to your home.

Basically, the point is to make sure you’re not underinsured. You need enough coverage to protect you from financial loss if your home is damaged or destroyed.

2. Setting a deductible that’s too low or too high.

Home Insurance Tip #2: Set a deductible that fits your finances.

Your deductible is the amount you agree to pay if you have a claim. You’ve got your portion of a claim and the insurance company takes care of the rest. So, if you have a claim that’s $5,000 and your deductible is $1,000, you’ll pay $1,000 and the insurance company will pay $4,000.

Your deductible is important because it relates to your home insurance rates. If you set a deductible that’s higher, you could see lower premium because you’re less likely to file a claim. But you don’t want to set your deductible so high that it would be burdensome to pay if you ever have a claim. It’s a bit of a balancing act. You have to evaluate your finances and decide how much you can comfortably afford to pay in the event of a claim. If you find you could raise your deductible, you might see lower rates.

3. Not asking about home insurance discounts.

Home Insurance Tip #3: Be sure to ask about discounts.

Many home insurance companies offer discounts for home insurance. Be sure to ask your agent what discounts they offer and see if you qualify for them. Some common home insurance discounts are…

  • Having a monitored burglar alarm or security system.
  • New roof.
  • Bundling your home and auto insurance.
  • Being claims-free for a certain number of years.
  • Home improvements (new wiring, plumbing, AC system, roof.)

4. Not adding coverage to account for exclusions.

Home Insurance Tip #4: Make sure to cover any gaps in your home insurance policy.

Unfortunately, home insurance doesn’t cover everything. Certain losses aren’t covered (and these losses are called exclusions.) Some common – but surprising – home insurance exclusions are…

  • Mold
  • Flooding
  • Sewer backup
  • Sinkholes
  • Jewelry (Most policies only offer limited coverage for valuables.)

You have to make sure to cover any gaps in your home insurance. If you want flooding to be covered, you have to get flood insurance from the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) through an agent. If you want sewer backup to be covered, you have to add that coverage to your policy. If you want all of your valuables to be covered, you have to add extra coverage for your jewelry and other treasures.

Be sure to discuss these things with your agent and ask questions about what is or isn’t covered.

5. Choosing coverage based on price alone.

Home Insurance Tip #5: Keep in mind that the lowest price might not be the best home insurance policy.

Yes, it might be tempting to choose the cheapest coverage available, but cheapest doesn’t mean best. It’s a good idea to really explore your options and compare coverages. You also have to make sure you’re looking at an apples-to-apples comparison of home insurance coverage when you consider pricing. Then consider the insurance company itself. Do they have a good reputation? Will they truly be there for you if you have a loss? You might find that the best option costs a little more than the cheapest option, but the extra expense could be well worth it.

6. Not telling your agent about home renovations.

Home Insurance Tip #6: Keep in touch with your agent and let them know about planned home insurance renovations.

If you do renovations to your home, you could be adding significantly to its value. That means that you might need to add home insurance to make sure that you still have enough coverage for your home.

Also, if you have to move out of your home for a while as the renovations are being done, you may need to get vacant home insurance. Many policies will not continue to protect the home if no one is inhabiting it.

7. Not reading through the home insurance policy thoroughly.

Home Insurance Tip #7: Take the time to read through your policy.

The only way to really understand what your home insurance policy does and does not cover is to read through it carefully. It’s important to read through the policy, tedious as it might seem, so that you’re aware of how your home insurance will handle various situations. If you have any questions about all the “insurance-speak” in your policy, don’t hesitate to give your agent a call to clarify. It’s better to be equipped with knowledge when it comes to handling your home insurance.

8. Not shopping for home insurance.

Home Insurance Tip #8: Get multiple quotes for Atlanta home insurance.

When you get home insurance in Atlanta, its’ a good idea to shop around for multiple quotes. That way you’ll be able to compare coverage options and pricing. By shopping, you give yourself the change to save money on home insurance. You might find comparable coverage from a comparable company – but at a lower rate than the other guy’s offering. Though it might be tempting just to go with the first quote you get, a little patience can go a long way.

Speaking of shopping for home insurance, our agents can help you get multiple quotes for Atlanta homeowner’s insurance. We’ll shop your rates and go over your options for coverage, and we’ll make sure that we understand your unique situation so you get the coverage that’s right for you. Get started with your Atlanta home insurance by filling out our quote form or giving us a call today!

Will filing a home insurance claim make my rates go up?

Filing a home insurance claim may raise your home insurance rates.

Filing a home insurance claim may raise your home insurance rates.

You might have heard that filing a home insurance claim will make your insurance rates go up. And maybe it doesn’t seem quite fair – the whole reason that you have insurance is to use it when you need it. And the thing is that while your Atlanta home insurance will protect you from financial loss, it’s important to understand the effect that certain claims could have on your Georgia home insurance rates. It’s not a given that a home insurance claim will make your rates go up, but it’s also not a given that it won’t. We’ll explain about how claims can affect your home insurance rates.

Will filing a claim make my home insurance rates go up?

A 2014 study from InsuranceQuotes.com examined the effect of filing claims on home insurance rates. They broke it down state by state. And they found that, on average, filing a claim could raise Georgia home insurance rates by about 8-10%. Of course, that’s not a guarantee – it’s not like any claim causes an automatic 10% increase in your rates. It really depends on the type of claim it is, how big a claim it was, and whether or not you file claims frequently. For example,  if you’re filing your first claim and it’s from a weather-related loss that you had no control over, you might not see an increase. But if you’re filing two or three claims in a short time, you might have a bit more trouble.

What kind of home insurance claims will make your rates go up?

Liability.

Usually, claims that are related to liability could cause your rates to rise. For example, if your dog bites someone, that would be a liability-related claim. (Dog bite claims can be very expensive, which is why some insurers have a “dangerous dog list” of breeds that they won’t insure.) Another example is slip-and-fall claims, meaning that someone fell on your property and got hurt because of a hazard. This kind of claim can cause your premiums to increase. It could also cause your coverage to get nonrenewed.

Water damage.

Water-damage claims also might cause a rate increase. While insurance covers certain types of water damage, insurers get a bit concerned because of the potential for mold. Mold is not cheap to fix. Anyways, if you have a water-damage claim that’s pretty minor, you might want to consider taking care of it on your own if you’re financially able to do so. Insurance companies see “water damage” and immediately think – mold.

Burglary or vandalism.

If your home is burglarized or vandalized, your rates could go up because you could face another loss in the future. Insurance companies tend to view crime as risk, and if your potential for crime is high, your rates could reflect that. Be sure to take steps to protect your Atlanta home from burglary.

What’s a CLUE report and why does it matter to my rates?

But wait – how do insurance companies know what claims you’ve made and when?

Your CLUE report comes from the Comprehensive Loss Underwriting Exchange, which is a database of home insurance-related information that insurance companies can access. A CLUE report is essentially a record of all the claims you’ve made – it gives your name, the address where the loss occurred, what the loss is, and the amount the insurance company paid out. Your CLUE report goes back about seven years, and if your insurance company looks at your report and decides you’ve had too many claims, they could decide not to renew your insurance or raise your rates.

There’s no hiding the fact that you’ve made claims. It’s right there in the CLUE.

How can you keep your home insurance rates from going up?

Now, it’s probably best not to have your home insurance rates rise at all. Though there’s no guarantee that your rates won’t ever go up when your renewal rolls around, there are a few things you can do to keep your rates down.

1. Try not to file minor claims.

Try to reserve your home insurance for major catastrophes that you can’t cover on your own. If there’s minor damage to your home from a storm or another loss, you might want to consider taking care of it on your own and paying out of pocket rather than filing a claim. Yes, your insurance is there to help you when you need it. But you might not want to use it for every minor thing – if you do, you risk making your rates go up.

2. Consider your deductible.

Your deductible is the amount of money that you agree to pay if you have a claim. You pay your deductible and your insurance covers the rest of the claim. You probably don’t want to file a claim that’s close in value to your deductible because you’ll still have to pay your deductible – insurance would only cover a small portion of the claim anyway, and then you’ve got that home insurance claim on your record.

For example:

Let’s say your deductible is $750. You have a home insurance claim for $1,100. Yes, you could file the claim and insurance would pay the $350 that’s left after you pay the deductible. But is it really worth filing that claim when you already have to pay $750 anyway? At that point, it might just be more prudent to take care of the entire claim on your own.

3. Check your CLUE report.

Your CLUE report, as we mentioned earlier, gives a history of your claims – and possibly even claims inquiries. If you’re concerned that your claims history isn’t looking too great, get a copy of your CLUE report and check for any mistakes that could be hurting your rates. If you find any, politely ask for them to be corrected.

4. Really think about filing that second claim.

You might want to give some real thought to filing that second claim if you’re worried that your coverage could be renewed or your rates could go up. Remember, filing too many claims could lead to that outcome. So, take out your calculator and think about your finances and if it’s worth filing a claim based on your deductible.

If you face a loss and there’s damage to your home, you’ll have to decide whether or not to file a home insurance claim. There are many reasons that your rates could go up at renewal time, and it is possible that your rates could go up if you have lots of claims or a really large claim. So, it’s important to really consider when filing a home insurance claim. However, that’s not to say that you shouldn’t use your insurance when you need it – that’s what it’s there for, after all.

Do you want to save money on home insurance in Atlanta? We can help. Our agents are experts at helping homeowners shop for their rates and get the coverage that they need at a great price. All you have to do to get Atlanta insurance quotes is fill out our online form or give us a call today.

Source:

http://www.bankrate.com/finance/insurance/claims-that-boost-your-insurance-rates-1.aspx

https://www.houselogic.com/finances-taxes/home-insurance/can-one-home-insurance-claim-bump-your-annual-premium/

http://money.cnn.com/2014/10/19/real_estate/homeowners-insurance-claims/index.html

Will home insurance cover a new roof?

Home insurance may cover a new roof if your was damaged by a sudden or accidental loss.

Home insurance may cover a new roof if your was damaged by a sudden or accidental loss.

There’s a problem: the floor of your Atlanta home has a huge puddle on it. Just as you’re about to yell at the kids for making a mess – drip. A drop falls right on your forehead. It’s the middle of one of the summer storms that Georgia is notorious for, and the roof is leaking. There is water inside the house and you’ve got one question (okay, maybe three.) Does Georgia home insurance cover a roof leak? Will home insurance cover a new roof? And how can you tell if you have a roof leak? A leak isn’t the only explanation for the water stains on your ceiling. So, here we go – let’s talk about home insurance, leaking roofs, and when a new roof might be covered.

Does home insurance cover a roof leak?

Well…It really depends on your policy. Some home insurance will cover a new roof if yours is damaged by vandalism, fire, or hail. It’s very important for you to read through your policy or reach out to your agent to find out how your particular insurance company handles roof-related claims.

What we can tell you is that a loss caused by something sudden and accidental will probably be covered, meaning that your insurance company will pay to repair or replace the roof. So, if you have a hail storm (hey, they happen even in Georgia) and your roof is damaged, you’d probably be good because that’s a sudden, accidental loss that you couldn’t prevent (unless you have superhero-like powers over the weather.)

Now, there’s one thing to note: you really have to find out how your company will handle the roof repairs or replacement. This depends on whether your roof is insured for its Actual Cash Value (ACV) or its replacement cost value. ACV takes depreciation into account and reimburses you for the value of the roof at the time of the loss. RCV doesn’t look at depreciation and allows you to replace your roof at today’s prices.

So, if a tree falls on your house or a bad storm puts a beating on your poor roof, you’re probably covered.

However:

If your roof has a leak because it has not been properly maintained, it has outlived its life expectancy, or it has been neglected…that’s a different story. Your roof leak claim will probably not be covered. The purpose of insurance is to protect the homeowner against unforeseeable losses that are out of their control, and a lack of maintenance and upkeep doesn’t fit the bill.

So. Be sure to take care of your roof and maintain it properly. Have it inspected regularly by a trustworthy roofing professional. Your roof affects your home insurance, after all.

If your roof is leaking because of a lack of maintenance or upkeep, a new roof probably won't be covered.

How to tell if your roof is leaking.

A leaky roof may not be the only possible culprit for water winding up inside your home. You could have condensation dripping in the attic. (How does this happen? When it’s cold in the winter, the warm air that naturally rises causes condensation. The condensation freezes. Then, when it warms up, the frozen condensation melts and drips.) You may have a problem with a pipe. However, there are several signs that your roof is leaking.

1. There’s algae or mold on your roof.

Dark splotches on your roof could mean algae or mold. It could be problematic or it might not. Just because there’s mold doesn’t mean the lifespan of your shingles is shortened, but it could be a sign that something’s wrong.

2. You’re seeing granules in the downspout or gutter.

You know those little specks on your shingles? Those are granules. If you start seeing a significant amount of them in your gutters or downspouts, it might be time for a new roof. Those granules have a very important job. They prevent your shingles from getting roasted by the sun’s rays – your roof is basking in the sun all day, and Georgia certainly gets plenty of strong sunshine. If the granules have started coming off, it’s possible that the shingles could become (or already are) very fragile.

(But if you’ve just gotten a new asphalt shingle roof, it’s normal to notice some granules. Those are probably just extra ones coming off.)

3. Some shingles are missing.

Well, if you’re missing some shingles on your roof and you’re getting water in the house…yeah, you’re probably looking at a roof leak.

4. You have water spots or stains on the ceiling.

If you’ve noticed dark or discolored spots that are ominously growing larger on your ceilings, you could have a leak somewhere. Likewise if there are drip marks streaking down the wall or if your walls are mysteriously bubbling. Do the spots darken or get worse after a hard rain? That could mean that you’ve got a leaking roof on your hands.

5. There are shingles that are curled at the edges or shingles that have buckled.

Water can slip underneath your shingles if there are gaps caused by the edges of the shingles curling in or the middle of the shingle buckling and becoming raised. And that water could cause your roof to leak.

6. There’s damp or moldy insulation in the attic.

Do some investigative work in your attic. If there’s damp or moldy insulation, that’s an indicator that water is seeping in somehow.

7. The flashing on your roof is damaged.

Flashing is the material that covers the joints between the roof and wall. It’s supposed to keep water out. But if it’s all dried out or cracked, it’s probably not being very effective at keeping water out.

8. Your roof is rotting.

Who would have thought that a roof could rot? But it can, particularly if it’s made out of an organic-based material.

There are several signs that you could need a new roof.

Anyways, that’s what you should know about home insurance and leaks. If the leak is caused by damage that’s sudden or accidental, you’re probably covered for a new roof. If the leak is caused by a lack of maintenance, you’re probably not covered. Be sure to have a trustworthy, professional roofing company in mind to do roof inspections. Read through your policy very carefully to see how your roof is covered.

Do you want to save money on your Atlanta home insurance? We can help with that. Our team of insurance experts can help you shop your rates so you can compare coverages and pricing. Get started with your quotes by filling out our online form or giving us a call today.

Does my roof affect my Atlanta home insurance rates?

Your roof can make a difference to your home insurance rates.

Your roof can make a difference to your home insurance rates.

As long as your roof isn’t leaking and turning your home into a swimming pool, you might not give too much thought to it. It protects you from those pop-up Atlanta summer storms, the cold in the winter, and the stifling Georgia summer heat. While the roof on your house may not always be at the forefront of your mind, your home insurance company definitely gives it a lot of thought. Why? We’ll explain. We’ll also explain how your roof affects your home insurance rates, discuss roof-related home insurance discounts, and talk about how you can insure your roof.

Question 1: Does my roof affect my home insurance rates?

Roofs do indeed have an effect on the cost of home insurance. Its material and age can impact your premium – it’s your house’s first line of defense during storms. It takes the brunt of the beating, and its job is to protect your home. The stronger it is, the better it can do that. And your insurance company probably has an interest in any factor that can protect your house and minimize damage to your house.

First, let’s talk about the roofing material. Roofs can be made of many different materials. Your roof could be made of asphalt shingles, or maybe it’s made of clay tile. Then there’s concrete tile, wood, slate, metal…There are a lot of possibilities. The point is that certain roofing materials hold up better against wind and hail damage (which insurance companies like.) Some materials are resistant to rotting or insect damage, and some are fire-resistant.

Okay, now on to your roof’s age, which can also affect your home insurance. Newer roofs have weathered fewer storms and sustained less damage than older ones. An older roof has most likely been worn down from the weather, and it may not protect your home as effectively as a newer one would. So, not that the insurance company means to insult your roof by calling it old, but they might be leery of providing coverage for houses with roofs over a certain age. Or they might ask you to get a roof inspection. Now, different roofing materials have different lifespans – some last longer than others. Asphalt shingle, for example, lasts about twenty years (and is the most common roofing material.)

The material your roof is made out of can make a difference to your home insurance rates.

Question 2: Can I get a home insurance discount because of my roof?

There are many potential home insurance discounts you could qualify for, and some of them are related to roofing. Of course, each of the Georgia insurance companies offers different discounts for different amounts, so you’d have to check with your specific company. However, the following are some possible discounts to look into…

New roof discount:

If you just got a brand-new roof, let your insurance company know. They might throw a discount your way because it’s going to protect your home from storm damage – and it’s still tough and able to hold up against the weather.

Pro tip: If you know you need a new roof, reach out to your insurance agent first to check if there are any requirements it has to meet to qualify you for a discount.

Impact-resistant or metal roof:

Certain materials are less likely to be damaged by wind or hail damage – they’re a little tougher. Because of the lower chance of damage, some insurance companies offer a discount for impact-resistant roofs.

To determine just how impact-resistant roofs are, The Underwriters Laboratories (which is a consumer product testing agency) made a system to rate the sturdiness of different materials. Class One is the least impact-resistant and Class 4 is the most impact-resistant. Your roof will probably have to have a high rating for impact resistance to qualify for a discount.

Fire-resistant roof:

Insurance companies really don’t like fire. If you have a fire-resistant roof, your home could experience less damage if you ever have a fire. That’s why some insurance companies might offer a discount for it, although it’s a little less common than a discount for impact-resistant roofs. Still, it could be worth reaching out to your agent if your roof happens to have fire-resisting superpowers.

These are just a few roof-related discounts that could be available to you. Do some research on discounts offered by your insurance company to see what opportunities they have to save money on your Georgia home insurance rates.

Question 3: How can I insure my roof?

You have a couple of options here. You can insure it for its replacement cost value (RCV) or actual cash value (ACV.) What’s the difference? We’ll explain.

Actual cash value: With ACV coverage, your insurance company would subtract the cost of depreciation and your deductible from what they’ll pay to repair or replace your roof. Since a roof’s value depreciates over time, you could end up paying a large portion of the bill. But premiums for this type of coverage are often lower than replacement cost coverage.

Replacement cost value: With replacement cost value, your insurance company will cover the costs of repairing or replacing your roof, but they won’t subtract the cost of depreciation. Only your deductible will be subtracted from what the insurance company will pay. However, many insurance companies are moving away from RCV and instead will only insure roofs for their ACV. Whether or not you’ll be able to get RCV coverage depends on your house and your insurance company.

So, that’s the deal with roofs and home insurance. The age and material of your roof matter to your insurance because roofs function a little like armor and protect the houses they’re attached to. Roofs are more than just glorified umbrellas.

Getting a new roof can help you get a home insurance discount.

Wondering how you can save money on your home insurance? Our team of insurance agents can help you shop your rates and save. Getting multiple quotes will allow you to compare coverages and pricing. And all you have to do to get in touch with us is fill out our quote form or give us a call today.

Source:

https://www.bankrate.com/finance/insurance/roof-home-insurance.aspx

https://www.bankrate.com/finance/insurance/roof-insurance-acv-vs-replacement-cost.aspx

https://www.schulteroofing.com/latest-news/top-5-insurance-discounts-roofing

How to avoid poison ivy (and how to treat poison ivy) in Atlanta

Avoid poison ivy - it has three leaves and grows in a vine in Georgia.

Avoid poison ivy - it has three leaves and grows in a vine in Georgia.

Now that summer is here, chances are you and the kids will be spending more time outside – going on a road trip, maybe swimming and hanging out at the pool. And outside is great, especially in a place like Atlanta where there are plenty of trees and woods to explore. But Mother Nature has a few interesting tricks up her sleeve – tricks that you need to be aware of and steer clear of. One of those is poison ivy (well, and poison oak and poison sumac.) Wondering how you can avoid the frustration and itchy torment that is poison ivy? We’ll go over how to identify poison ivy, what to do if you accidentally have a run-in with it, and how you can avoid poison ivy.

How to identify poison ivy.

If you're spending time outside, look out for poison ivy.There’s an old and oft-repeated adage that is very helpful: if it has three leaves, let it be. That’s because poison ivy has three leaves with three leaflets each. In the South, it tends to grow as a vine (as it does in the Midwest and East.) In the North, West, and Great Lakes region it grows as a low shrub. In the spring it grows yellow-green flowers. It might also have green berries that go off-white in the fall. Basically, a good rule of thumb is that if it’s green and has three leaves, just steer clear.

How do you get poison ivy?

Poison ivy, poison oak, and sumac all give off an oil called urushiol. The oil is what people are allergic to and what causes the itchy rash. Any contact with urushiol can lead to a poison ivy rash, even if you haven’t directly touched the plant (although, of course, that is one way to get it.) Even if you have indirect contact with the oil you can get a rash – the oil can coat itself on objects, such as gardening tools, sports equipment, and even your pet’s fur. And lastly, you can get poison ivy through the air if you burn it because the particles will fly in your face. Yeah, don’t burn poison ivy. Ever.

What are the symptoms of poison ivy?

There are several signs and symptoms that point to poison ivy:

  • Itchiness
  • Redness
  • Hives
  • Swelling
  • Blisters
  • Crusty skin from where blisters have opened

The tricky thing about poison ivy is that it may take hours, days, or even a week for the rash to appear. Or it could happen very quickly. So, you might have to think back a while to see if you could have come into contact with poison ivy.

How do you treat poison ivy?

If you are 100% sure that you have poison ivy and you don’t have any serious complications or allergic reactions, you can probably treat it at home. Here are some things you can do to treat it yourself, but we’ll also go over when you need to seek medical attention from a professional.

  • Rinse the area with lukewarm soapy water. You need to rinse the oil off your skin to prevent other areas of your body from coming into contact with it.
  • Wash your clothes.
  • Rinse or wash everything that came into contact with the poison ivy (sports equipment, pets, golf clubs, etc.)
  • Do not scratch. We know it’s so hard not to, but scratching can lead to infection.
  • Don’t mess with the blisters, even if they open. The layer of skin on top can protect the wound underneath it.
  • Take short, lukewarm baths with a colloidal oatmeal preparation that you can get at the store. (Or you can add 1 cup of baking soda to your bath as you’re running the water.)
  • Think about using calamine lotion or hydrocortisone.
  • Use a cool cloth compress to relieve itching. Wet a clean towel or cloth with cold water, wring the water out, and rest it over the area.

If you start noticing the following symptoms and signs, you should seek professional medical attention:

  • Difficulty breathing or swallowing.
  • The rash is all over the body.
  • An excessive amount of rashes or blisters.
  • Swelling, especially over the eyes.
  • The rash is located on the face or the groin.
  • The itch won’t ease no matter what you do.

How to avoid and prevent poison ivy rash.

It’s important to take care to avoid poison ivy, which is not a pleasant experience. Here are some tips to help you spare yourself from the itching.

  • Know what it looks like.
    • Three leaves.
    • Yellowish green flowers in the spring.
    • May have green berries that go off-white in fall.
    • Grows as a vine in the South.
  • Do not touch anything that has come in contact with poison ivy. Remember, the oil can stick around on any object.
  • Be extremely careful when removing it from your yard.
    • Use plastic bags to pull each plant and replace the bag with each new plant.
    • Use white vinegar to destroy any remaining shoots or seedlings.
    • Cover your skin and wear long-sleeved shirts and pants. You can even use heavy shopping bags or plastic bags for extra protection for your arms and legs.
    • Rinse your skin and wash clothes ASAP.
  • Never, ever burn poison ivy.

So, that’s a quick crash course in poison ivy. Don’t hesitate to seek help from a medical professional if you feel that the situation is beyond your powers of treatment. But first and foremost, do your best to avoid poison ivy and, if you have to remove any, take special care to protect your skin. Georgia is a great climate for plants and trees and whatnot, some of which are beautiful and lovely…and some of which are not.

Are you looking for home insurance in the Atlanta area? We would be happy to help. Our team of insurance agents can help you get multiple quotes for your home insurance so you can compare rates and save money. We’ll shop your rates with many different Georgia insurance companies. All you have to do to get in touch with us is fill out our quote form or give us a call today.

Source:

https://www.aad.org/public/diseases/itchy-skin/poison-ivy-oak-and-sumac#tips

What to do if your identity is stolen in Atlanta

If you're the victim of identity theft, you need to act quickly to minimize the damage.

If you're the victim of identity theft, you need to act quickly to minimize the damage.

Have you ever known someone who has been the victim of identity theft or credit card fraud? It can be a highly frustrating experience, and it can take a long time to get the situation resolved. All that aside, it can be difficult to know where to start when it comes to what to do if your identity is stolen. Being the victim of identity theft or credit card fraud is not fun, but here are a few things you can do to start to set things right.

Read more

How to protect your identity and prevent identity theft in Atlanta

Protect your personal information and prevent identity theft.

Take steps to protect your identity and prevent identity theft.Identity theft is a scary thing. The havoc that one crafty hacker or scammer can wreak is not to be underestimated. You’ve probably known someone who’s had their identity stolen, or perhaps you’ve even been the victim yourself. It can be such a headache. But we’ve got some tips to help you prevent identity theft and protect your personal information.

1. Be on the alert for identity theft.

There are a few signs that you should be aware of that could signify someone has stolen your identity. If this is the case, it’s best to handle the situation as quickly as possible, which means being aware of the problem in the first place.

Look out for the following:

  • Not getting your bills on time
  • Receiving credit cards you didn’t apply for
  • Having a poor credit score that is unexpected or unexplainable
  • Debt collectors asking (none-too-politely) for money
  • Accounts you didn’t sign for
  • Debts that you can’t explain

2. Be wise to phishing scams.

Phishing is when a hacker or scammer pretends to be a reputable institution, such as your bank, so that you’ll give them your personal information. They impersonate someone you trust, ask for your information, and voila – your identity is gone. Whoops. (If you’re wondering, an example of phishing is the Google Docs scam that went around a while back and tricked a lot of people.)

Be aware of any suspicious emails, or emails asking you to “verify your account information” or password. Reputable organizations wouldn’t reach out like that to sort out a problem with your account. Basically, be skeptical when going through emails. If you doubt that it’s a real email, it probably is not.

A general rule of thumb is not to give out personal information unless you were the one to reach out to a business or organization.

3. Step up your password game.

Make your passwords difficult to guess. They need to be strong so that no one can easily crack them. So, you might not want to choose something like “password” or 123456 to serve as your password.

Instead, choose a password that’s at least 8 characters long, has a mix of letters and numbers, and includes symbols (like !@#$&.) That’ll give a hacker a bit more trouble if they’re trying to break into your account.

Also, use a different password for every account. Yes, it’s tempting to use the same one for everything because it’s easier to remember, but that means that a sneaky hacker has a key to all of your accounts and not just one of them if they crack your password.

4. Don’t fall for pop-ups or spam emails.

Don’t click links in pop-up messages online or in spam emails. Those could give a hacker access to your computer and cause an identity theft situation. Not good.

Pro tip: When in doubt, don’t click.

5. Be smart on social media.

It’s important that you don’t overshare on social media. Of course, social media is great and has its perks. But the problem is that identity thieves can use the personal information you post against you. For instance, they can use it to create a scam designed just for you (which is called spear phishing) by impersonating a friend or family member using details you’ve posted to social media.

So, don’t be your own downfall by posting too much information online. Yes, there is such a thing as too much sharing.

Pro tip: Be especially cautious on social media when you’re on vacation. If you post about your plans, a tech-savvy burglar could find out and realize that your home will be unprotected.

6. Keep an eye on your credit card bills and bank statements.

It’s important that you open your credit card bills and bank statements ASAP. Okay, it’s probably not something you particularly want to do and you might do it with one eye closed and the letter held as far away from you as possible, but you need to check that all the charges and numbers look right. Everything should check out. If it doesn’t, you need to handle the situation as quickly as possible.

Also, if your credit card bill is late, call and ask about it immediately. Chances are the people wanting money aren’t going to dilly-dally about asking for it. If the bill doesn’t show up when it’s supposed to, someone could have changed the address to conceal their wrongdoing – a.k.a. fraudulent charges.

7. Be careful when you’re shopping online.

Shopping online is great…except if your identity gets stolen.

When you’re shopping online, be sure to check that the URL of the website you’re on begins with https:// and has a padlock icon next to it. This means that the site is secure and that your personal information (like your credit card number) is being encrypted, or protected from hackers.

You might also want to look at the website’s privacy policy to check how your personal information will be used and how it is protected.

8. Cancel pre-screened credit card offers.

We’ve probably all gotten those thick envelopes containing a pre-screened or approved credit offer. But if a thief were to steal your mail, they could cause a lot of trouble with one of those. It’s best just to opt out of pre-screened credit card offers. And you should remove your name from credit bureau lists.

9. Keep your Social Security Number safe.

You definitely don’t want anyone to get ahold of your Social Security Number (SSN.) So, you need to keep it safe. Don’t carry around your SSN card in your purse or wallet, and don’t carry anything with your Social Security Number written on it. Be careful whenever any institution asks for your SSN – ask why they want it, what it will be used for, and whether it’s truly necessary for you to provide it. Take a moment to really consider if the people asking should have it.

10. Shred any documents with personal information.

Buy yourself an early birthday present and get a paper shredder. Shred any documents that you don’t need to keep if they have personal information on it. For example, ATM receipts should be shredded. It’s kind of fun to watch the paper get turned into teeny tiny pieces, actually.

11. Check your credit report.

You can request a free – that’s right, free! – copy of your credit report from each of the three credit-reporting bureaus every year (meaning Equifax, Experion, and TransUnion.) If there are any strange charges or unexplainable numbers, you need to raise the alarm. It’s important to monitor your credit report – your credit score and your home insurance rates are related.

12. Ask a lot of questions.

Whenever you have to give personal information, be sure to ask a lot of questions before just handing it over. Ask why they need it. Ask how it will be used. Ask how it will be protected and if it will be shared. These are all things you need to know about. It may seem a little paranoid, but you can’t be too careful. Just be polite about it and explain that you’re asking because you’re worried about identity theft.

Having your identity stolen can turn into a real mess, which is why everyone considers the possibility with a certain amount of dread. Take care to protect your identity with the above tips. The best strategy when it comes to identity theft is to prevent it from happening in the first place.

Are you looking for home insurance? Do you want to save money on your home insurance? We would be happy to help you get multiple quotes for your insurance so you can compare rates and save money. All you have to do to get started with Atlanta home insurance quotes is fill out our online quote form or give us a call today.

Source:

https://oag.ca.gov/idtheft/facts/top-ten

14 steps to secure your Atlanta home and prevent burglary while you’re on vacation

It's important to keep your home safe while you're on vacation.

It's important to keep your home safe while you're on vacation.If you’re planning a family vacation this summer, you’re probably looking forward to getting out of town for a little while. But in all the excitement, don’t forget to take some steps to secure your house before you leave. When you’re not there to keep an eye on things, your home can be susceptible to burglary. That’s why you need to outsmart the burglars and amp up the security around your house. The following tips can help you get your home ready for your vacation and prevent a burglary.

14 tips for home safety while you’re on vacation

1. Consider getting a home security system.

Monitored home security systems can help deter burglars from attempting to break into your house. They can also alert the police to a burglary and send them to your house quickly. If you don’t already have a security system, you may want to consider having one installed. And if you do have one, check that everything’s working properly before you head out on your trip.

The benefits of a home security system don’t stop at the added protection for your home. A home security system can help you save money on your home insurance because many insurance companies offer a discount if you have one. So, you can protect your home and save money on your insurance at the same time – it’s a win-win.

2. Know where all your keys are (and don’t hide a key outside.)

It’s important to know where each key to the house is so that none of them get misplaced or lost. Keep track of all keys.

Also, don’t leave a key hidden outside. Burglars know the best hiding places for house keys. Under the mat? Yep. In the potted plant? Yep. On the eaves? Yep. The burglars think that same way you do. So, if you think you’re outsmarting them…you might just be outsmarting yourself.

3. Lock everything.

Okay, we know this one’s a little “no duh.” But it’s still very important to double check that all windows and doors are securely locked before you leave for your trip. Don’t forget to do one last check that your home is locked up tight. Otherwise, you may as well yell, “Come on in, burglars!”

4. Do what you can to make sure your home looks occupied.

If your house looks dark and empty for a long period of time, it won’t take long for a burglar to figure out you’re not home. And they’re also looking for an easy target, which your home could be if you’re not home. To a burglar, they see a home that they can break into and skedaddle from with no one the wiser, perhaps for quite a while – long enough to make a clean getaway.

One way to make your home look lived-in is to get timers for your lights. The timers can turn the lights on and off at specific times so that it appears that someone’s moving around in the house. It makes it look like someone’s home, so your house becomes less of an easy mark.

5. Get someone to tend to your lawn.

An overgrown, slightly shaggy lawn can be a dead giveaway that no one’s home. Ask a neighbor or friend to mow your lawn and tend to any other landscaping tasks. It may seem like a small detail, but why not? It’s better to play it safe.

6. Ask a neighbor to keep an eye out for any flyers, packages, and so on.

Ask a trusted neighbor to look out for anything suspicious around your home. Advertisements stuck to the mailbox or flyers handing from the doorknob can indicate that there’s no one home to throw them away. You can stop your paper and your mail, but sometimes people come and leave annoying ads on the mailbox or on the driveway. It’s not a bad idea to have someone looking out for your place.

7. Put a hold on your mail.

You may want to stop your mail while you’re away so that it’s not piling up and doesn’t turn into Mount Mail outside your house. Or if you’ve got someone coming over to check on your house or feed the cat, you can ask them to bring the mail in every day.

8. Stop your newspapers.

Hmm…a pile of newspapers outside your house, dotting the driveway…That house looks like a good one to rob.

Newspapers piling up can be another sign that you’re not home. Either stop your newspaper or have your pet-sitter/house-sitter pick them up and bring them inside.

9. Move your valuables out of sight.

If you can, it’s not a bad plan to move your valuables so they’re out of sight. May as well not leave your expensive electronics in plain sight where potential burglars would be tempted. If you have jewelry and such, you might want to consider getting a hidden safe to keep those things super secure.

10. Be smart when you’re talking about your vacation plans.

It’s not the best plan to go broadcasting your vacation plans and blabbing about when you’re not going to be in town. You never know who could be listening to your conversation. Only tell people who need to know about the details of your travels and be discreet when you do. Tell your kids to be careful about it, too.

And another thing:

Don’t talk about your travel plans on social media, and try to refrain from posting pictures while you’re on your trip. It’s best to not inform the whole world where you are. Wait until you’re back to post your vacation pictures.

11. Consider getting outdoor automatic lights.

Light can be a major deterrent to burglars. You can think about getting exterior lights that run on timers so that they’ll come on every night and flood your yard with light.

12. Get a neighbor to pull your trashcan to the curb on trash pickup day.

Ask a neighbor to take your trashcan and recycling to the curb for pickup day and then put them away. That will help it look like you’re home. And then the trash won’t get too stinky either.

13. Unplug your electronics.

You can save money on your electrical bill by unplugging any electronics that aren’t necessary while you’re away (the fridge, of course, will have to stay on unless you want to come home to spoiled food.) This will also help you prevent an electrical fire while you’re away.

14. Consider getting a pet-sitter or house-sitter to stay at your house while you’re gone.

Asking someone that you trust to stay at your house can help you keep your house safe. Besides, if you have pets, you’ll need someone to check on them anyway. They’ll be able to keep an eye on your home – and check that no pipes have burst, no fires have started, and no disasters have happened. They can also get the mail, pick up the papers, take out the trash, and so on. And if you have cats or dogs, you’ll feel better knowing they have someone to keep them company and look after them.

Going on vacation is great, but you have to take steps to protect your home if you’re going on a road trip or traveling somewhere. Before you leave, take some time to ensure that everything is shipshape at home.

Another way to protect your home is to get home insurance. Our team can help you get Atlanta home insurance quotes from some of the top carriers in the country. We’ll help you get the best coverage at the best rate so you can get the insurance that’s right for you and save money. To get in touch with our team, all you have to do is fill out our online form or give us a call.

8 tips to stay safe with social media when you’re on vacation

When you're on vacation, it's important to be smart with social media.

When you're on vacation, it's important to be smart with social media.

When you’re super excited about a trip or vacation, it’s really easy to get carried away when it comes to posting on social media. But whether your preferred platform is Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram, it’s important that you take proper precautions when it comes to your social media habits. If you’re not careful online, you could make your home a target for burglary. Believe it or not, burglars use social media to figure out which houses to burgle. When you post about being away from this date to that date, you’re telling the world that your house will be empty and unprotected. However, with these tips, you can help prevent a home burglary while you’re on vacation.

1. Don’t post about your travel plans.

If you put your travel dates, flight info, or vacation plans online, you’re opening yourself up to a world of trouble.

A tech-savvy burglar trolling Facebook could easily realize that you’re not going to be home, as we said, and what better time to strike than when no one’s home and they can take their time? They can break in, steal your stuff, and be gone before anyone’s the wiser. And they’ll have lots of time to make their getaway since no one’s going to be home to alert the police for a while.

Don’t announce your travel plans to the world. You don’t want to give a thief an invitation to your home.

2. Disable location services on your phone.

Location services on your phone often runs in the background unless you turn it off. Go to your settings and disable your location services so no one can figure out where you are. Usually, it’s as simple as hitting a button.

3. Tighten up your tagging settings.

Change your social media settings so that posts that people tag you in won’t automatically pop up on your page. Your traveling companions might tag you in a photo, and this is another way that thieves can figure out that you’re not home. Unfortunately, burglars are pretty clever. Take some time to check out your social media settings and make sure that posts you’re tagged in won’t appear on your page.

While you’re playing around with your settings, amp up your privacy and make it so that the entire world can’t look at your page. It’s better to be safe than sorry.

4. Don’t check-in at various locations.

You might have the option to “Check-In” on social media when you’re at certain locations. Resist the urge to check-in, as tempting as it might be. Checking-in can also be a dead giveaway if you’re not at home, as you’re essentially telling everyone, “Look at me, in this city that I don’t live in at this place that I’m on vacation in!” Whether you’re going on a road trip or flying, don’t holler about your whereabouts online.

If you're on social media, be careful and don't post your whereabouts.

5. Take a break from social media while you’re on vacation.

Just take a break from your social media accounts while you’re vacationing. Vacation is time for relaxing, experiencing new places, and spending time with family or friends. Don’t let the time fly by as you’re too busy looking at your phone to take in your surroundings or enjoy your time with your traveling companions. Yes, you might fear the unpleasant symptoms of social media withdrawal, but you will survive. You are strong. You can put the phone aside for your trip and simply live in the moment, absorbing all there is to see and relaxing.

6. Post about your trip after you’re back.

If you must take to social media to chronicle your escapades, wait until you’re home. This will give you the opportunity to go through all your pictures and choose your favorite ones to share, anyways, and that way you’re not bombarding people with photo and post overload.

If you want, you can even consider using a scheduling software to create posts and set them to post at a later time – after you’ve returned. There are multiple platforms you can use to schedule and manage your posts. That way you can write or compose your post while the experience is still fresh, but your post won’t go live until you’re home.

7. Be aware of how secure the Wi-Fi connection you’re using is.

When you’re traveling, the available Wi-Fi might not be the most secure. Consider how secure the network you’re using is and let that guide the actions you take online.

8. Go over social media safety with your whole family.

Make sure that everyone’s on the same page when it comes to being smart with social media when you’re on vacation. Ask your teenagers to wait to post pictures and so on until you’ve returned from vacation and make sure they understand the importance of not posting details about your family’s travel plans online. Teenagers often seem glued to their phones, so make sure that they’re aware of what not to post while on vacation.

Don't post about your travel plans on social media.

Vacation is meant to be a relaxing, stress-free time for you and your family or friends. Be social media savvy this summer and don’t give away your whereabouts, as cool or envy-inducing those whereabouts might be. Traveling is great and of course, you want to capture the memories with photos. Just be careful on social media and don’t broadcast your location to everyone. Focus on being in the moment instead of flooding the Internet with pictures and posts about your vacation.

Want to save money on home insurance? We would be happy to help you shop your rates and get multiple quotes for your Atlanta homeowners insurance. All you have to do to get in touch with our insurance experts is fill out our online form or give us a call today.