Is Landlord Insurance Needed if You Rent Out Your Home?

So you’ve decided to rent out your home. Perhaps you’re moving to a bigger place or taking an extended trip. Whatever the reason for your decision, should you get landlord insurance?

What is landlord insurance?

Sure, homeowners insurance will cover you if your house burns down or if there’s a break-in, but it might not cover you for damage incurred while renting your home to someone else. Landlord insurance covers exactly that, including the house itself, sheds or other structures and the owner’s possessions, but not the tenant’s possessions. It also covers lost rental income if the house is damaged and uninhabitable, and, in the case of a lawsuit or injury, there is some liability protection for the owner. There are also specific policies, such as a dwelling fire policy or special perils policy, that cover you in the event of fire, storms or ice damage.

What’s the risk in renting out your home?

Homeowners insurance covers an owner-occupied single-family residence. If this doesn’t sound like your current situation, you’re probably not covered. The reason is it’s a much higher risk for the insurance company. Insurance companies experience more claims on tenant-occupied property as opposed to owner occupied. Your risk also rises as you are now responsible for any damage done to the property by a third party.

Will I pay more?

Yes, expect to pay 15-20% more than your current homeowners policy. This cost is even higher if you’re only renting out your property short-term. However, the risks are higher, so the cost becomes worth it.

If you’re about to start renting out your home and still not sure if you need landlord insurance, call or email us. We can walk you through the process and find the best policy for you and your specific circumstances.

Protect Your Home with These 6 Wildfire Prevention Tips

A spark is all it takes for your home to go up in flames and all your belongings with it. A wooden deck or porch can make it even more likely, especially during those summer months. How can you make your home less likely to catch fire? Here are some wildfire protection tips.

Check your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors

Do this often, and make sure they work. It can be the difference between life and death.

Get fire extinguishers

And make sure you check them regularly.

Clear the yard of debris

Fallen leaves, dead wood, or parts from a broken jungle gym are all kindling to a fire already raging. If a fire threat is imminent, move the outside furniture somewhere where it can’t ignite, and make sure you remember to move the welcome mat, too.

Remove tree branches lower than six feet

Don’t plant bushes directly beneath trees. This is literally adding fuel for the fire to reach higher.

Use non-flammable fencing

It’s worth investing in a fire-retardant fence if you live in a fire threat area.

Make sure your insurance policy is up to date

Even if you take all the necessary precautions, a fire can still do a lot of damage to your home. Make sure your insurance policies are up to date and include damage from fire.

If you live in a fire hazard area and are wondering if your insurance acknowledges this, get in touch. We will be happy to talk to you about your policy.

Do Your Loved Ones Know about Your Life Insurance?

The purpose of life insurance is to provide for your loved ones after you have passed on, but for that to happen, your loved ones need to know about the insurance.

It seems obvious, but some people do not communicate about their policies to their loved ones: what companies their insurance policies are with, what those policies cover and who to contact in case of an untimely death. And if your beneficiaries do not know a policy exists, they cannot obtain the money you intend them to have.

The problem is so significant some states have looked into measures to prevent life insurance from being forgotten. For example, some states may require life insurance companies to pay the beneficiaries of policies that are no longer active if they are dated after a certain year.

But not all states have such requirements, and life insurance companies, while they try to contact your beneficiaries, do not take extreme measures (such as hiring private investigators) to track down your beneficiaries if they cannot easily find them.

Imagine if your beneficiaries found themselves in this situation. Perhaps they moved to another state, or perhaps they changed phone numbers, and after your death, they could not be found. The money you intended them to have (money that could make a big difference in their lives, whatever the sum) could not get to them. Your efforts in buying life insurance would have proven fruitless.

So talk to your loved ones today. Let them know you have life insurance and that they are the beneficiaries and what to do in the event of your death. They should know the name of the insurance company, the amount of the policy and ideally even the policy number.

If you decide you need life insurance, talk to us. Call or email us and we can discuss your options.

Group Health Benefits for Your 1099 Contractors

As many of us struggle to find the right people to add to our professional teams, benefits continue to be at the top of the list for prospects. Health insurance is a key benefit that everyone is searching for. Can you extend these benefits to your 1099 contractors?

What is the difference between 1099 contractors and W-2 employees? A 1099 contractor is defined by the IRS as self-employed. Many states do not require businesses to offer health insurance to non-employees. With a W-2 employee, the employer has more control over the scheduling and work output of their employees. W-2 employees also have their wages and taxes paid communicated to Social Security by their employer.

Why should I offer 1099 contractors health benefits? Most employers contribute to their employees’ healthcare premiums as a benefit. A 1099 contractor may not want to claim this benefit, since it is considered taxable income. An advantage of offering benefits and contributing to the benefits you offer may allow your business to qualify for coverage. This may also reduce the healthcare premium of your existing plan due to the increase in the number of eligible participants. Offering benefits can make for a happier and healthier workforce.

What do I need to qualify for a group plan? A small group has between two and 50 employees, including the owners. You will need to prove you are a legitimate business. This is easily accomplished by having a business license or articles of incorporation. When considering how many individuals will be affected, it is important to know that when you offer insurance, you need to offer it to everyone you determine to be qualified. If working 30 hours a week qualifies someone, then anyone who works 30 hours a week needs to be offered coverage.

We are a phone call away when reviewing your 1099 contractors and have questions about adding them to your group health benefits.

Did You Know These 4 Facts about Medicare?

Do you receive calls or sales material because you are turning 65 soon? Are your friends trying to educate you on Medicare, but everyone tells you something different? Here are four things you should know about Medicare.

There are two parts of Medicare. Part A is hospital insurance. Part B is medical insurance. When you have Part A and Part B, you are considered enrolled in Original Medicare.

Medicare is free. Typically, you do not pay a monthly premium for Part A, based on contributions you or your spouse made to Medicare while working. However, there is a cost for Part B. Most people will pay the minimum monthly amount of $170.10 for 2022. Some will pay more, and this is referred to as an Income Related Monthly Adjustment Amount (IRMMA).

What are my Medicare options? You have several choices. You may retain your original Medicare and add Part D drug coverage and/or also add a supplemental medigap policy. Your other option is to select a Part C Medicare Advantage plan, which bundles your Part A, Part B and, in most cases, Part D, too.

What if I am still working? If you are continuing to work beyond age 65, you are not required to enroll in Medicare during your initial enrollment period of seven months. When you are ready to retire and lose active employment group coverage, you will have a special enrollment period to enroll in Medicare at that time.

We are here to help you navigate the ins and outs of Medicare. Call or email us today and we can find what is best for you.

Business Income Insurance and Why You Need It

Business income insurance, which is also known as business interruption insurance, is a type of coverage that replaces the income you lose if your company is unable to operate as usual.

What does a business income policy cover?

This type of insurance covers lost income while you are recovering from a covered loss, such as a fire or theft. For example, it might be used to cover mortgage or rent, supplies, payroll, loan payments or tax payments during a restoration period, which is the period when your business is shut down due to physical damages. Covering your lost income until you can reopen again can help you continue to pay your operating expenses.

Business income insurance exclusions

Business income insurance doesn’t cover damages to physical property; it pays for your loss of income when you are repairing or replacing damaged property. That’s a fine distinction, but it’s important. You will need another type of coverage to pay for the damaged property itself.

Additionally, business income insurance may not cover income losses incurred during certain extreme events or “acts of God,” such as pandemics. That might not have concerned you several years ago, but we all know why it should now.

Who needs business income insurance?

Business income insurance is important in a number of circumstances. Almost all businesses (except those that are home based) pay rent or mortgages. If you’re a manufacturer, you likely have rental payments for heavy equipment, such as forklifts. If you’re a retail clothing company, you likely have inventory. If you’re a software company, you may rely on computers, servers and cloud storage. And in all cases, you may have employees who need to be paid.

How does business income insurance work?

To ensure your coverage is comprehensive, most insurers offer a broad range of insurance options and so-called extensions or riders, which are intended for those with unusual circumstances.

How unusual? Say your storefront is the site of a serious crime and authorities shut it down while they investigate. A “civil authority” extension or rider might provide you with lost income during the time you are not allowed to access your business.

You might also be able to obtain a rider that will let you continue operations when employees are unexpectedly absent—not because of run-of-the-mill accidents or illnesses but due to extreme circumstances.

Or if you rely on cloud-based storage to maintain data or transfer important files to vendors, clients and employees, a special type of coverage can reimburse you for income due to an unexpected outage of your cloud service.

You can even get coverage that helps cover lost income and additional expenses that result from an interruption in utility services, including power, communications, and water services.

How can you get business income insurance coverage?

Business income coverage may be included in another type of policy, or you can purchase it on its own. You can also add a variety of optional coverages, as detailed above. But the best way to find the right coverage is to discuss your specific needs with us so you can get coverage tailored to your circumstances. To get started, please call or email us today.

The Basics of Business Owner Insurance Policies

A business owner’s policy (BOP) combines two types of insurance (property and general liability) into one policy, helping you efficiently manage claims resulting from disasters, theft, fires, bodily injury and more.

Who needs a BOP?

A BOP can help your business if you have a physical location, regardless of the type (a home, a rented or owned office, a storefront or even a garage), because those locations are subject to damage.

A BOP can also help your business if you have assets that could get stolen or damaged. These can include physical assets, such as equipment, furniture and inventory. But they can also include digital assets. If someone steals or loses customer data, for example, a BOP can help pay expenses involved in notifying clients.

You could also benefit from a BOP if there is any chance that you could be sued. Say a customer slips and falls in your retail storefront or office. Without the proper coverage, you could face significant medical expenses.

Why consider a BOP?

A BOP is more affordable than buying separate business property and liability policies. You can also tailor a BOP to help meet your business’s specialized needs by adding optional coverages, such as data breaches and business income loss. A BOP policy can also be customized to certain industries.

How can you get a BOP?

Proper insurance coverage is an important part of being prepared. Call or email us today to review your policies and determine if a BOP is a good fit for you.

Who Is Responsible for Damage on the Property Line?

There has just been a storm, and a tree fell right on the property line you share with your neighbor. Who pays? That depends on numerous factors. Most homeowners insurance policies will cover hauling away debris if the mess is associated with damage.

What happens first?

The first thing to do is call your insurance provider. The likelihood is they will be able to help you make the right decision without worrying too much about it. In most cases, the insurance provider will pay to restore your property and will then decide whether to get reimbursed by the other side.

Is my neighbor in the wrong?

If a tree on your neighbor’s side of your border falls on the property line, they are responsible if you can prove your neighbor was aware the tree was a hazard and refused to fix the problem. If your neighbor was indeed negligent, your insurance provider will look at reimbursement from their side.

What to do if your tree falls

It’s always a good idea to regularly maintain your trees, including regular trimming and assessing the health and sturdiness of the foliage. But if the worst were to happen and your tree falls in your neighbor’s yard, do nothing until their insurance company contacts you. If you pay someone to maintain your trees, always keep the receipts.

Before the tree falls

If you are worried about a neighbor’s tree that looks like it’s seen better days, write a letter to them outlining your concerns. The letter should include a description of the issue, photographs and a request for action. Keep a copy of the letter so that there is a paper trail if the worst were to happen.

If you’re unsure about whether your insurance covers falling foliage, get in touch. We’ll be happy to walk you through your policy.

The Ins and Outs of Umbrella Insurance

Umbrella insurance is not about covering you if you get wet. It’s a useful policy that can protect you and your home against all types of claims when homeowners insurance fails. It could protect you in the case of a lawsuit if a neighbor trips over a loose pavestone or you slip in the bathtub. Here’s a breakdown of what umbrella insurance is and if you need it.

What does umbrella insurance cover?

Umbrella insurance is there for when homeowners liability insurance can’t protect you. It offers the advantage of extending liability on your homeowners and auto policies. Umbrella insurance can cover things such as personal injury or property damage caused by you, your family or hazards on your property and personal liability for occurrences that happen off your property, such as protection against slander, libel or false arrest.

What does umbrella insurance not cover?

It’s important to note umbrella insurance isn’t a magic policy that protects you from everything. It can’t help with liability for vehicles such as jet skis or boats, damage by others to your own property or damages intended by the insured, or business activities.

Do you need umbrella insurance?

Most homeowners insurance comes with liability protection, but it’s usually capped. The best thing to do is take stock of your belongings and lifestyle and decide if you’ll need an extra policy. If you have more possessions, you may need to take out an extra policy.

Unsure whether you need umbrella policy? Call or email us today and we’ll help you decide.

Why You Should Supplement Employer-Sponsored Life Insurance

Many of us receive our life insurance through our employers, and for good reason. Buying life insurance this way is often cheaper than buying it on the open market (and is sometimes free). But there may be reasons to buy life insurance on the open market. Here are three.

Your employer may not offer enough life insurance.  If your death hurts your loved ones financially as well as emotionally, we recommend you obtain coverage. How much? Five to 10 times your annual salary is a good guide. And be sure you include any “extra” income in your calculations, such as bonuses and freelance work.

Your coverage could disappear. When you get a new employer, you typically lose your life insurance coverage as well. Your new job, if you have one, may or may not offer coverage. This lack of portability is particularly problematic as we age and we’re less likely to be healthy enough to qualify for an individual life insurance policy at an affordable price.

You don’t get to choose the insurance provider.  It’s possible that the insurance carrier your company has chosen is rated lower than you’d like and the insurance you paid for won’t be there when you need it. Your carrier’s AM Best rating will tell you whether the company is financially stable or not.

While it’s certainly wise to take advantage of free or inexpensive life insurance offered by your employer, you may want to supplement that insurance with insurance from other sources. Just be sure you purchase enough supplemental insurance to ensure that you’re covered if the worst happens and you lose your employer-sponsored insurance at a bad time, such as when your health is declining.

We can help you navigate your life insurance options and choose what is right for you given your individual financial circumstances and goals. Call or email us today.

Is It Worth It to Get Travel Insurance?

Are you looking at traveling this summer? When you begin to look at all the options and opportunities, is travel insurance something you need? Let us dive into some reasons why it might be worth including in your travel budget.

What is travel insurance? It is a very popular way to protect the investment you made in your travel plans. Imagine your trip is just around the corner, an emergency occurs, and your plans need to change or get cancelled. With travel insurance, you have support for making these changes or assistance in filing claims for reimbursement.

Are there benefits of having travel insurance? You have arrived at your destination but your luggage did not. Now what? Travel insurance can help here. You are not feeling well and have healthcare needs. Travel insurance can provide you with emergency healthcare services, which may include evacuation. When needs arise, there is customer service assistance 24 hours a day.

When should I purchase travel insurance? You have spent time researching your perfect travel destination. Your itinerary is in place and your confirmations have been received. You envision yourself sitting in the sun with a good book, but wait. We have learned from experience that plans can change in an instant. Now is the time to protect your investment by considering adding travel insurance.

Where do I go to purchase travel insurance? Do you have an insurance professional who educates you on your personal or business insurance needs? They are a good place to start. Otherwise, a travel professional may be able to review options while booking your travel. Some credit card providers also include some level of travel coverage.

If you are traveling, call or email us today. We can go over travel insurance options and information with you and help you make a decision that works best for you.

Do You Need Short-Term Health Insurance Options?

Are you between jobs or considering temporary medical coverage? When outside of enrollment periods, are you concerned about emergency coverage for those unexpected needs? Let’s look at the options available so you can make the best decision for your unique situation.

What is short-term insurance? Short-term insurance is a type of health plan. Many select these flexible policies when seeking coverage for a specific period of time. These policies can range from 30 days to 12 months.

How does a short-term policy differ from a long-term policy? You can change short-term policies as your needs change. They are approved quickly and can go into effect the day after you apply. If you have preexisting conditions, you may not be eligible for this type of coverage, though. A long-term policy normally means you are ensuring the life needs of the person. Concerns with specific network providers and keeping those relationships is very important.

Do I need to review benefits on short-term policies? It is always wise to review the benefits to ensure you know how to best utilize your plan. Short-term coverage may not offer all the benefits you are used to. Preventive visits are seldom covered, and maternity benefit needs may be a reason to be denied coverage.

If you are curious to know whether this could be an option for you to consider, call or email us today. We are always here to help you and determine what is best for your personal circumstances.

Protect Your Business with These 5 Insurance Tips

It’s always important to be prepared for what’s ahead. And for business owners, the following five tips related to insurance may be good ideas to consider.

1. Be sure you’re using the right insurance company for your needs. Businesses outgrow insurance companies. Those that are good for a startup business may not be good for a business with greater income and assets.

2. Be sure you have the right business interruption insurance. Be sure to consider the types of events that could interrupt your ability to operate, and confirm those events are included in your policy. As many business owners learned in 2020, pandemics are generally excluded from business interruption coverage.

3. Be sure you have general liability insurance. This type of coverage protects you from claims against you, your business or your employees. You may also need special coverages such as cyber liability insurance.

4. Be sure you have workers’ compensation insurance. Workers’ compensation insurance protects workers when they’re injured on the job, but your needs can vary. For example, if you have a mobile workforce, adequate coverage independent of location is critical.

5. Be sure you have commercial auto insurance if you need it. Depending on your business, you may or may not need commercial auto coverage. For example, contractors and realtors who drive regularly for work should have commercial auto insurance.

Proper insurance coverage is an important part of being prepared. Call or email us today to schedule some time with us to review your policies and make sure you have the right coverage.

The Ins and Outs of Errors and Omissions Insurance

Errors and omissions (E&O) insurance is a type of professional liability insurance. With an E&O policy, your business is protected against claims of mistakes and negligence. Do you need E&O insurance?

What is E&O insurance?

E&O insurance protects your company if someone alleges that you made a critical mistake. It may cover errors or oversights in your work, failure to deliver a service or meet a deadline, failure to meet a certain standard of care, or breach of contract.

What does E&O insurance cover?

If someone files a lawsuit against your business, E&O insurance will cover attorney fees (whether or not you are deemed at fault), settlements or judgments owed if you are found at fault, and expenses. Some E&O policies only cover work done in the United States; some cover work done internationally.

What doesn’t E&O insurance cover?

E&O insurance may not cover purposeful wrongdoing and illegal acts. It also doesn’t cover things that are covered by other types of insurance, such as bodily injury (which general liability insurance typically covers), data leaks (which cyber liability insurance typically covers), employee injuries (which workers’ compensation insurance typically covers), and employee discrimination and harassment (which employment practices liability insurance typically covers).

What else do I need to know about E&O coverage?

E&O policies are generally “claims-made policies.” That means coverage must be in place at the time a claim is made in order for the insurer to cover it. So, if your coverage lapses, you will no longer be protected. However, you can ask that E&O policies be retroactive to a specific date defined in the policy, meaning they will cover claims dating back to that point but not before.

Who needs E&O insurance?

Some professionals are required to carry E&O insurance by law or licensing boards. Clients may also decline to work with you if you don’t provide a certificate of E&O insurance. Regardless, if you provide professional services for a fee, you should have E&O insurance. For example, you might need this kind of insurance if you work in architecture, accounting, financial services, insurance, IT, marketing communications, consulting or real estate.

How can you get E&O insurance?

E&O insurance is a common type of coverage. All major commercial insurers offer it. Some insurers will allow you to add E&O insurance to a business owner’s policy, which includes general liability and commercial property insurance. This can help you save money. However, if you operate a home-based business, don’t expect to get E&O insurance under your homeowners’ coverage; you will need a separate policy.

How much does E&O insurance cost?

The cost of E&O insurance varies depending on several things, including whether you’re in a high-risk industry, whether you have a history of liability claims being made against your business, where you do business, how many employees you have and how much coverage you need.

Obtaining E&O insurance can be confusing, so call or email us today and we can help you better understand E&O insurance terms and coverage.

Coverage Add-Ons to Consider for Your Property Insurance Policy

Commercial property insurance is a type of broad coverage that reimburses you for losses and damages to business property (such as fire or flood damage to your office). If it doesn’t meet your unique needs, however, you can purchase additional coverage. Here are a few policies you might want to consider.

Glass insurance may sound overly specific, but it covers a common threat: broken windows. Windows are expensive, and if they’re broken in a robbery or accident, it’s likely your responsibility to foot the bill.

Debris removal insurance is another category that may sound overly specific, but if a fire burns your office building down, you’ll have to remove the remains of the old building before rebuilding. Your property insurance policy will likely only cover rebuilding, not removing the remnants.

Mechanical or equipment breakdown insurance covers the cost of accidental breakdowns of machinery, such as boiler malfunctions or fire damage to computers.

Business interruption insurance covers the expenses incurred (including lost income) when closing your business after an accident of some sort. If a flood (more of a concern with climate change) forces you to stop working for a month, for example, this kind of coverage would reimburse you for salaries, rents and such.

Ordinance insurance covers the costs associated with having to rebuild to code when your building has been partially destroyed. Property insurance will usually cover only the replacement value of the existing building but not the upgrade, even if it’s legally required.

There are many other commercial policy add-ons. Call or email us today and we can go through the options.

Tips for Maximizing Your Health Care Benefits

There is no better time than now to look at your healthcare benefits and see how you can better utilize your plan. If this is your year to focus on healthy habits, here are four key areas to review to make the most of your plan.

Review your summary of benefits. Each health insurance policy has a summary of the benefits, which is an overview of your benefits. Make sure you obtain a copy so you are aware of any deductibles, copays or coinsurance responsibilities when using your plan.

Use in-network providers. Whenever possible, use providers who are in network and accept your policy. This will reduce your cost of services. If your policy is an HMO, the network of providers is based on the primary care doctor you selected.

Keep current with preventive care. Every policy has preventive care. These no-cost benefits include routine vaccinations, well-care visits, and many other screenings. Be sure to schedule these critical appointments annually.

Elective procedures. Many of us put elective procedures on the back burner. If this is your year to get that nagging knee surgery done, be sure to review your policy. Does your plan have a deductible before your coinsurance responsibility? Every plan’s out-of-pocket maximum resets at the beginning of the year, so this information may assist you in determining the time frame you select when scheduling this procedure.

When assistance is needed to help you with those healthy habits, call or email us so we can help you get the most out of your healthcare benefits.

When Is the Best Time to Buy Term Life Insurance?

Life insurance doesn’t have to last for life. Some policies last for a shorter period, and they can be very useful for individuals whose needs are not lifelong.

Life insurance that lasts for life is called whole life insurance. Whole life policies stay in effect for as long as you pay the premiums.

Term life insurance policies, on the other hand, stay in effect for a limited period (called a term). For example, if you select a 10-year term, the insurance company will pay a death benefit if you die anytime during the next 10 years.

Why choose term life insurance over whole life insurance? The primary reason is cost. Because a specified term is less risky to an insurer than a lifetime, term life insurance is usually cheaper than whole life insurance.

You might consider term life insurance instead of whole life insurance if you are certain your dependents will not rely on you financially for the remainder of your life. Let’s say you have coverage for your children who will graduate from college and get jobs in five years. In that case, a five-year term policy might make sense (perhaps 10 if you want a cushion to allow your children to get a solid footing in the workforce).

One warning: Term life insurance may present reinsurability problems. Say you have a heart attack during the term of your policy. When the term expires, if you want to continue holding life insurance, you’ll have to reapply for a new policy. Your health condition may make that difficult and expensive (although some policies offer a feature called guaranteed reinsurability to address this problem, so always look into that when purchasing term life insurance).

Call or email us, and we can help you determine what the right fit for you is.

Have You Done Your Homeowners Insurance Annual Checkup?

It’s spring, which means it’s time for your annual checkup. We’re talking homeowners insurance checkups, something to be completed once a year that could leave your policy healthier and you much happier. Homeowners insurance is a necessity. It protects your home and its contents from more than just a potential accident but a liability as well. Checkups are essential, as they assess whether your policy is working for you and that your premium isn’t costing more than it should. So how do you do one?

Make sure you know what coverage you have

Replacement cost is the most common form of contents insurance, which covers what it would take to rebuild and restore should something happen to your home. You can also extend this to give your replacement cost an added boost, most likely up to 20% extra, based on your losses. This covers unexpected expenses or a rise in cost for replacement.

Make sure you know what coverage you need

Once you’re clear on what policy you have, you need to figure out what you’d require. If your house value has increased and it would cost you more to rebuild it, you need to factor this into your policy. Don’t scrimp on your insurance.

Lowering your premiums

The higher your deductible, the amount you pay before coverage kicks in, the lower your premium. Insurance claims are for big problems, not minor inconveniences. Most homeowners will be able to fix a broken window, for example. A high deductible sounds tempting, but if you’re a first-time buyer without a stable income, it’s not worth it. Start low and build.

If the idea of a checkup is making your head spin, call or email us. We can review your policies and help determine what is best for you and your circumstances.

3 Tips for Preventing a Home Burglary

No matter how secure your insurance policy is, a home burglary is something we all hope we never have to go through. Even the idea of strangers rummaging through priceless possessions is enough to send a shiver down the spine. Here are a few tips you can use to prevent a break-in.

Hide your trash

Especially after birthdays or the holidays, don’t leave your expensive boxes, bags or even receipts out in plain sight. That’s basically an advertisement for would-be opportunists to pinpoint your home as a place with items of value. Keep your trash in a secure place until pickup day.

Get steel exterior doors

While wooden doors are much more charming, steel doors are much harder to kick in, especially if the owner isn’t in. Add deadbolts, too, for extra security. The perfect investment for peace of mind.

Don’t post on social media when on vacation

Sometimes we forget that our social media isn’t just visible to our friends or family. Some burglars are trained to scour the web for homeowners on trips who may have just left all their stuff completely unguarded. Set your profile to private or limit the amount you post. You never know who could be watching.

Even with all the precautions, you can’t always stop the worst from happening. Make sure your contents insurance policy is up to date and covers a break-in. If you’re not sure, call or email us. We are always here to help.

How to Get the “Steal Me” Sticker off Your Car

No one wants to attract the attention of thieves. Yet the actions of many vehicle owners practically beg thieves to take a crack at their cars. What are you doing that might tempt thieves? And just as important, what are you doing to deter them? Vehicle owners can easily reduce the risk of car theft and resulting insurance claims with a few simple steps. To properly protect your asset, consider the following list of dos and don’ts.


Lock your vehicle at all times, even when you’re in it. When choosing their prey, car thieves look for the easiest mark. It doesn’t get much easier than an open car. If necessary, take a longer route to avoid high-crime areas. It’s worth the extra few minutes to protect yourself and your car.

Park in well-lit areas. This removes the dark and shadowy atmosphere that thieves prefer for their work.

Install an anti-theft system. Good options include steering wheel locks, ignition cut-off systems, alarms, and police-signaling systems. Check with us to see which systems might make you eligible for a discount on your premium.


Leave your keys in your car, and never leave it running unattended. This seems obvious, but many car owners are guilty of this one.

Leave valuables visible in your vehicle. Nothing says “Smash my window for some quick cash” like a purse, electronic device, or other potential prize sitting out in plain view.

Leave ownership information in your car. If a thief steals your vehicle, you don’t want him or her to also have “proof” that they own it.

Call or email us with any questions you may have about protecting your vehicle. We can also look over your auto insurance policy and make sure you have the coverage you need.