3 places of liability for homeowners (and how to manage them)

Homeowners need to be aware of some areas that create liability risk for them. We live in a world that loves lawsuits, after all, and it’s important that you’re aware of those things so you can take steps to reduce the risk of someone getting hurt on your property. Of course, helping others avoid pain and injury is the top priority, but you can also save yourself a lot of grief (and money) by reducing liability at your house.

Look out for these potential sources of risk.

1. Trampolines and pools.

The things that can provide endless summer entertainment for the kids can also present a pretty big risk – specifically, we’re talking about trampolines and swimming pools. These are known as “attractive nuisances” because they draw people to them. Small kids can be especially susceptible, as they aren’t super aware of the potential dangers posed by these seemingly fun things. And the thing is, if a child were to sneak their way to your pool or trampoline and get hurt, you could be responsible. (And yes, you could be liable even if you weren’t aware that the child was on your property.)

This is why insurance companies aren’t too enthusiastic about insuring homes with “attractive nuisances”. However, some insurance companies will extend liability coverage for your pool. If you have a trampoline, you will likely need to have a sturdy safety net around the trampoline so no one accidentally falls off. Just be aware of that.

2. Your driveway, steps, and walkway.

Okay, so your driveway might not seem as treacherous or dangerous as a trampoline or pool. But trips and falls do happen (we’ve all faceplanted at one point or another). If there are cracks in the pavement on your driveway or if you have an uneven step, someone could take a fall. And humans aren’t indestructible, so something as simple as a fall could cause major damage.

3. Dogs.

Dogs are great, let’s make no mistake about that. But they can increase your liability risk. Insurance companies tend to get concerned about the potential for a dog bite claim. They worry about certain breeds more than others. Truly it’s nothing personal about your dog. It’s about risk.

Lower your risk.

Let’s take a look at each of these sources of liability and go over ways you can manage your risk.

The pool.

  • Have a safety fence.
  • Make sure to supervise people.
  • Keep life-saving equipment on-hand.
  • No running/roughhousing.
  • Take CPR and lifeguarding classes.
  • Have rules posted clearly at your pool.
  • Get your kids in swimming lessons taught by a certified teacher.
  • When the pool isn’t in use, cover it.
  • Be careful if you’re hosting a party. If there’s alcohol, make sure you have designated “supervisors”

The trampoline.

  • Supervise all trampoline-goers.
  • Only let one person jump at a time.
  • Remove the ladder when the trampoline isn’t being used.
  • Don’t allow flips.
  • Make sure springs, hooks, etc. are covered with safety padding.
  • Don’t forget the safety netting.
  • Place the trampoline on stable ground.

The driveway.

Maintaining your driveway and sidewalk is a necessary task. You need to make sure there are no holes or cracks that present a tripping hazard. Your front steps should be even so they don’t present a trip trap. If someone falls on brick, stone, or concrete, they’ll probably not be unscathed.

The dog.

You need to pay attention to your dog. Make sure your dog is exposed to various environments with people and dogs when they’re young so they get properly socialized. Also, be sure to train your dog to have positive, non-aggressive behavior. Make sure they walk well on the leash and make sure they know to listen to you. Spaying and neutering can help make a dog less prone to wandering, and it can help curb aggression towards both humans and other dogs.

Do you want higher limits of liability insurance?

Homeowners with a pool, trampoline, or dog may want to think about getting higher limits of liability coverage. It can’t hurt to find out how your rate would change if you added liability coverage. It might not drive up your premium by that much. You can also think about getting an umbrella policy, which sits on top of your underlying liability policy and gives coverage that extends above and beyond the coverage on your underlying policy.

Homeowners have to be aware of their risk of liability and they need to know how to reduce that risk, but it’s also important to have the right home insurance policy to both protect your home and cover your liability. Get in touch with our team to get started with home insurance quotes. You can get started with home insurance quotes by filling out our online form, giving us a call, or messaging us on LiveChat.

How to get Atlanta Nationwide renters insurance

Atlanta Nationwide renters insurance

Atlanta Nationwide renters insurance

There are a lot of perks to having an apartment and setting up your own space without having to buy a house. But along with the never-ending list of moving tasks or apartment tasks, there’s one thing you might not be looking forward to, and that’s renters’ insurance. Maybe you’ve decided that you want to get a quote for Nationwide Atlanta renters insurance. One problem, though – you’d prefer to get some help with that. Not a problem – here’s how our team can help you get your Nationwide renters insurance in Atlanta.

How to get Atlanta renters insurance from Nationwide.

You don’t have to feel like you’re completely on your own when you’re getting renters insurance in Atlanta, Marietta, Decatur, Sandy Springs, or Brookhaven (or whatever neighborhood or suburb of Atlanta you call home). In fact, our team will do the work for you – we just need some information from you. Anyways, this is how we get renters insurance quotes and how we make insurance easy.

1. You reach out to our team.

First things first – you have to let us know that you need to get an Atlanta renters insurance quote from Nationwide. That’s what gets the whole process started. And we like to keep things nice and convenient, so we’ve got a few different ways you can talk to us. (We don’t want you to feel like you’re jumping through inconvenient hoops to get insurance quotes.)

Phone. You might prefer talking on the phone to get your quote started. A quick phone call to let us know you’re on the hunt for insurance and we’ll connect you with an agent who can help with your insurance needs.

Online form. You can also fill out our online form to get started with your quote. This lets us get some of the necessary details we need to get you a quote for Nationwide renters insurance in Atlanta so we can jump right to the task at hand.

LiveChat. You can also use our LiveChat messenger to talk to an agent about getting Nationwide renters insurance. We don’t mind hopping in a chat if that’s easiest for you.

Email/Text. If none of the above options seem like the best thing for you, no problem. Just let us know that you’d like to email or text instead and we’re happy to do that. You might be on the move, and you can’t slow down to talk on the phone – and that’s fine.

2. Talk to one of our agents.

We’ll connect you with one of our amazing insurance agents, who will need you to answer a few quick questions. (We need some information to get your quote.) Anyways, kick back and enjoy your interview! Your agent wants to get to know you so they can best assist with your insurance. And then you’re one step closer to getting your quote for Nationwide renters insurance in Atlanta.

3. We get that Nationwide Atlanta renters insurance quote for you.

The next part of the process is us retrieving that renters insurance quote for you. We’ll sort everything out on our end and come back to you with your Atlanta Nationwide renters insurance quote. We also do our best to be snappy about it, so we won’t drag our feet and keep you waiting.

4. We’ll give you the quote and answer questions.

We’re not just going to throw a number and some paperwork at you and then leave you to sort through it and figure out what it means. We’ll take the time to go over your quote with you, answering any questions you have about it. (And don’t hold back with your questions – send them all our way! We want you to feel confident in how your coverage protects you.) So, don’t hesitate to ask about things you need clarification on.

5. We’ll be around.

We’re not going to disappear and be unreachable after you get your insurance. If you have any questions or issues that come up afterwards, we’ll be here to help. Don’t hesitate to call, email, or message if you need anything – that’s what we’re here for. You’re not on your own to deal with insurance matters.

So that’s what going into the process of getting a Nationwide renters insurance quote in Atlanta. Whatever Atlanta suburb is your home (Woodstock, Kennesaw, Marietta, Dunwoody, Smyrna, you name it) we’d be happy to help you get your renters insurance from Nationwide.

Trampoline safety for homeowners

Trampoline safety

Trampoline safety

Kids love trampolines – the joy of bouncing up and down over and over is just unbeatable. There’s a lot of smiles and laughter involved, and many kids simply consider “trampoline” to be a synonym for “fun”. But, unfortunately, like a lot of things that are fun, trampolines come with a significant amount of risk. Whether your kids are begging you to get one for the backyard or you’ve already got one at your house, it’s important that you understand why trampolines are such a risk – and how to make safety key.

Read moreTrampoline safety for homeowners

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.

Using your credit card instead of your debit card.

Shopping online with your credit card instead of your debit card, especially for large purchases, can be a more secure way to protect your information. This is because any hackers won’t be able to gain access to your real cash. Plus, in most cases, it’s easier to get your credit card balance back than it is to get your cash back into a debit account.

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!

How to get Progressive home insurance in Atlanta

Progressive home insurance in Atlanta

Progressive home insurance in Atlanta

You need to get home insurance to protect your house. So, you’re curious about Progressive home insurance in Atlanta – you’ll admit it, the clever commercials with the funny Flo got to you. So, you want to get a quote for Progressive home insurance, but you don’t want to go it alone. That’s where our team can help. We can help you get an Atlanta Progressive home insurance quote. Here’s how it works.

Read moreHow to get Progressive home insurance in Atlanta

How to get Nationwide home insurance in Atlanta

Get a quote for Nationwide home insurance

Get a quote for Nationwide home insurance

Your Atlanta home is probably your most valuable asset. And there’s probably a worry in the back of your mind as a homeowner – how would I recover financially if something happened to the house so I can provide for my family? The answer you give yourself might be home insurance – specifically Nationwide home insurance. (It’s okay to admit that the catchy “Nationwide is on your side” jingle got to you.) How do you get Nationwide home insurance in Atlanta? With the help of our team, it’s easy.

You want to get an Atlanta Nationwide home insurance quote, but how do you make that happen?

Whether you’re in Lawrenceville, Decatur, Alpharetta, Kennesaw, Duluth, or any of the other Atlanta suburbs, we can help you with your Nationwide home insurance. Here’s how the quoting process works:

1. Reach out to our team.

Our agency can help you get a quote for Nationwide homeowners insurance – all you have to do is let us know that you need one. We like to keep insurance simple and convenient, so we have different methods of contact.

You can…

Call us. You can give us a call to let us know that you’re interested in Nationwide Atlanta home insurance. We’re happy to talk over the phone if that’s best for you.

Use our online form. You can also use our online form to reach out to our team. (This allows us to gather some of the information we need from you quickly so that we’re ready to hit the ground running.)

LiveChat. If you’re the messaging sort, you can send us a message through LiveChat. One of our agents can chat with you to assist you with your insurance.

Email/Text. If email or text is the most convenient way for you to talk with us about Nationwide home insurance in the Atlanta area just let us know. We’re pretty tech-savvy, so we’re fine with email and text!

We know you’ve got a busy schedule, so choose whatever method of contact is easiest for you.

2. Chat with one of our agents.

One of our agents will have a few questions for you – they just need to gather the necessary information to secure your Atlanta home insurance quote from Nationwide. They’ll take the time to get to know you and your situation so that they can provide the best insurance assistance. Anyways, our agent will have a brief conversation (by phone, text, or email – whatever works!) to get the details they need.

3. We get your quote for Nationwide home insurance in Atlanta.

Then it’s quote time! We’ll take the information you kindly provided to us and get that Atlanta-area Nationwide quote. We’ll put everything together and come back with a number.

4. We’ll go over the quote with you.

We know that insurance can feel overwhelming, so we’ll go over the quote with you and answer any questions you have. We want you to feel like you truly have peace of mind, so hit us with your toughest questions, big or small. This is your insurance policy, so you should feel good about it.

5. We’re here to help.

Once you’ve got your policy, we’re not going to mysteriously vanish. We’ll be here to assist with any questions that may come up later, and we’ll be here to help address any changes that might need to be made. Insurance isn’t something you have to handle alone.

So, that’s the general idea of how you can get an Atlanta home insurance quote from Nationwide! Our team would be delighted to assist you with your insurance needs, no matter which of the Atlanta suburbs (Dunwoody, Sandy Springs, Smyrna, Marietta, Chamblee, East Point, and more) is home sweet home. Give us a call, message us, or use our quote form and you’ll be on your way.

What happens if a guest causes damage to your home?

What if a guest causes damage

What if a guest causes damage

So, having your own place is great. There’s a sense of pride in owning a home, and maybe you like having people over and welcoming them into your house. (Who doesn’t like showing off a little?) You might have friends over, or maybe you like hosting your extended family. Perhaps you like having house parties to celebrate holidays and such. Having people over is great, but sometimes accidents happen. A guest could accidentally cause damage to your house, and then what would happen?

Ideally, the situation would unfold like this:

Guest: I’m so sorry, I accidentally broke your house.

You: Hey, it was an accident! It’s okay.

Guest: I’ll pay for all the repairs, no worries! I want to make things right.

You: That’s great – I really appreciate it.

That would probably be the easiest possibility, if your guest takes responsibility and sets things right by coughing up the money for repairs. But things aren’t always that simple, and you might find yourself with a question – does home insurance cover damage from guests? We’ll explore this question and go over some considerations.

Does home insurance cover a guest causing damage?

The answer to the question is, generally, yes. So you could go through your home insurance. But the real question is whether this is the wisest course of action. You have to put some thought into it.

Here’s why:

The thing is that your guest is technically responsible for taking care of the damage they cause. They’re the one who’s supposed to cover the costs of the repair. They’re liable, and if they don’t agree to pay, you could have a case to take legal action. They are legally responsible for covering the costs you add up because of the damage. Of course, it’s hard to handle these situations if it’s a friend or family member who’s the one who caused the damage. You might recoil from the thought, but you’re not necessarily overstepping in requesting that your guest pay for the damage they caused.

(To complicate matters even more, you might be risking higher premiums if you use your home insurance – another reason that you might hesitate to file the claim through your home insurance.)

At any rate, it’s not an easy situation to deal with, we admit. All you can do is handle the situation as best you can.

Make sure to check your policy.

Of course, you really need to read your home insurance policy to see what’s covered and what’s not. Are there any exclusions that you need to know about? Does the policy only protect against guest-related damage to the structure of the dwelling (meaning the floor and walls)? And does the coverage only take care of accidental problems? So, that’s something to think about if you ever need to use your insurance. To put it simply, read your insurance policy carefully and ask questions when questions are needed.

When are you liable?

If a guest gets hurt on your property as a result of something dangerous that they weren’t given notice about, you could be liable for their injuries. So, just something to keep in mind! Be sure to check your homeowners insurance policy’s liability insurance. It can protect you from liability-related losses.

Anyways, let’s wrap up with a quick recap. Your home insurance could help you cover damage caused by your guests, but you may not want to use your insurance because it could lead to higher insurance rates. The guest is legally responsible for paying for the damage, too, so there’s that. If you’re inviting a particularly accident-prone friend to your house and you’re worried, check your home insurance policy and read it carefully.

Speaking of Atlanta home insurance, we can help you get the coverage you need to protect your house – our team is good at that! Get started with your insurance quotes by filling out our online form or giving us a call. You can also LiveChat with us to get started with some quotes.

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!

Thanksgiving turkey deep fryer safety

Remember turkey fryer safety!

Remember turkey fryer safety!

Thanksgiving is almost here, and that means you’re probably looking forward to a home-cooked meal, featuring a turkey, of course. The turkey is the cornerstone of the Thanksgiving meal. Maybe you’re planning on deep-frying a bird for your dinner. The thing is that that Thanksgiving is already a huge day for house fires. And deep-frying a turkey substantially increases your risk for house fires. So, maybe there’s a better idea…but if you’re absolutely set on having a deep-fried turkey, here are a few tips.

Read moreThanksgiving turkey deep fryer safety

Does car insurance cover your belongings if they’re stolen from your car?

What if your belongings are stolen from your car

What if your belongings are stolen from your car

If you drive around a lot and tend to keep your life in your car, you might keep a lot of your stuff in your vehicle. And since you keep a lot of treasured possessions in your car, you might be wondering if your car insurance would protect your stuff. What if your car is broken into and your belongings are stolen? You’d want to be able to replace your possessions. Well, you may be a little surprised at the answer, but we’ll explain what you need to know about insurance for this unfortunate situation.

What happens if your stuff gets stolen out of your car?

So – would your car insurance cover your belongings if they’re stolen out of the vehicle?

The response to that completely reasonable question is no. Your car insurance would most likely not cover your stolen belongings. If you have comprehensive coverage, it may cover the car itself if it’s stolen…but no, car insurance won’t cover your stuff if your window gets smashed and someone swipes your belongings.

But wait – listen to the rest of the answer to the question.

Your car insurance won’t cover it, but don’t despair. The bright side is that your home insurance or renters insurance might. The thing is that these policies typically come with personal property coverage that protects, well, your personal property. The nice thing about this coverage is that it typically follows your belongings, whether they’re tucked away neatly in your home or tossed across the backseat of your car.

To recap – does car insurance cover the items stolen from your car? No. Are these items covered? Quite possibly yes, but by your home insurance or renters insurance. See, you just have to know which insurance company/policy to ask for money.

Don’t forget your deductible.

The catch is that your home insurance or renters insurance comes with something called a deductible. Your deductible is the amount you agree to pay if you have a claim. For example, you might have a $500 deductible. If you have a covered $2,500 claim, you’d pay $500 and your insurance would pay $2,000. However, if you experience a car break-in and your stuff is stolen, you might not meet your deductible amount…which means your insurance may not be terribly helpful. You really have to consider the amount that the claim would be as it compares to your deductible.

What does car insurance cover?

So, this might leave you wondering about what exactly your car insurance will do for you in this situation. Shouldn’t it do something to help you? Well, yes, it can. If you have comprehensive coverage, your car insurance could help you cover the costs of repairing the broken window if it was smashed. (Comprehensive coverage is the one that can help you repair your car if it’s damaged by a covered loss such as fire, vandalism, theft, falling objects, and so on – basically, damage not caused by an accident.) And like we said, if the car itself is stolen, your comprehensive coverage could also help you cover that.

(If you only have liability coverage for your car, however, it isn’t going to help much in this situation. You’d be out of luck. You’d need to have comprehensive coverage.)

There is that little catch called your deductible once again, though. You have to consider the amount of your deductible and the cost of the damage to evaluate whether it’s worth filing an insurance claim.

Anyways, it’s super frustrating to have your car broken into, and it might leave you feeling shaken. But if necessary, you could go through your home insurance or renters insurance to replace your belongings, and you could go through your comprehensive coverage to repair the window if it was broken.

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