Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Why It's Important to Schedule an Annual Insurance Review

The start of a New Year is almost here!  And that means it’s time to get organized. You’re probably already planning to clean out your closets and organize the garage…but what about your insurance?

We urge our clients to take a few minutes each year to meet with one of our agents and review their current policies. Why? Because things change! 

Here are a few times when you might need to update your insurance policy:

You Got – or are Getting – Married – A new household means lots of insurance updates!  You probably need to combine your insurance as well as make sure both of you are included on all of the policies.  You may qualify for additional discounts, like multi-policy or multi-car.

You Had a Baby – While a new baby won’t change your basic policies, it probably means it’s time to discuss life insurance.  We can give you a quick quote and look at the right coverage for your growing family – or even just update the beneficiary information on your current policy.

You Have a Teen Driver – If you know that you’ll have a son or daughter learning to drive this year, now is a great time to review your policy and discuss ways to keep it affordable.  We can help you plan for what it will cost to add your teen, as well as discuss options for best rates on new vehicles. If they take and pass a certified driver training course, they can save money on their insurance costs. In addition, impress upon them that if they can maintain good grades in school, this can save even more money on the cost of their auto insurance.

Your Net Worth Has Increased – As your income and net worth increases, you may need to purchase additional liability coverage in order to protect your assets.  Reviewing this information each year can protect your personal and business finances.

You can schedule a time to come in the office by visiting, or simply to meet by phone.  We’ll take a look at your policies, discuss your coverage, and check for discounts or gaps in your coverage.   

Call SAV-ON today at 888-867-2866 to schedule your annual review!

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

What is Mortgage Protection Insurance?

Have you ever heard of mortgage protection insurance and wondered what it was?  Well today we’ll tell you all about it!

Mortgage Protection is a type of life insurance policy designed to pay off the mortgage in the event of the breadwinner’s death.

For many people, a mortgage is their single largest debt and it can be stressful to think about that expense if something were to happen to their spouse. 

When we quote life insurance protection for a mortgage, we look at how much you owe on the mortgage and how many years remain on the debt.  For example, if you had a 30-year mortgage for $250,000, then you’d want a policy that paid that amount out for 30 years.

If you or your spouse were to die (or it can be placed on only one person if you have a single income home), then you would receive a check for $250,000 and could use it to pay off the mortgage immediately.  If you had paid down the balance over the years, then any extra remaining could be used however you like.

There are some specific mortgage protection policies that go down in value over time as the mortgage balance decreases and that could be an option as well.

The key is to work closely with your agent who can explain the key differences and find the product that best protects YOUR family.  We can help!  Give us a call today to discuss life insurance for your mortgage and family today. 

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Fall Home Maintenance - Things to Do Before the Weather Turns Bad

As the warm summer days begin to give way to the chllly, wet fall weather, it’s time to think about home maintenance again!  Keeping your home and vehicles in great shape makes them last longer, look great, and can prevent accidents and claims in the future.

Here are a few things you can do this fall to keep everything in tip-top shape! 

- Gather firewood – If you plan to build fires in the winter, then now is the time to start gathering up that firewood.  You’ll be glad you did when you’re nice and warm in front of the fireplace! 

- Close or install storm windows. Make sure they are sealed well to keep the cold from seeping in (and the heat from escaping).

- Store outdoor furniture and cushions.  They’ll last longer if you protect them during seasons they aren’t being used.  Plus, it will keep pesky squirrels and birds out of your outdoor cushions! 

- Have furnace professionally inspected now! The furnace has been idle most of the summer, so when it has to start working frequently now that it's getting cold, that's when the trouble could start.

- Test smoke and carbon monoxide detectors when you set clocks back in the fall!  Change the batteries, too.

- Clean gutters and downspouts.  This can protect the exterior of your home as well as your roof! Leaves and needles may have accumulated during the summer, and when the rains hit, it can cause downspouts to backup and spill water down your siding and weaken your home's foundation.
- Rake leaves and shred to use as mulch. Wet leaves on sidewalks and driveways can cause falls.

- Check windows and doors for weather-tightness and install weather stripping where needed.

- Clean the oven & stove drip pans.

- Have problem trees trimmed. Winter can bring cold windstorms or even ice storms. A old or overgrown tree can be a danger to fall in this inclement weather and cause extensive property damage!

- Winterize outside faucets, put away hoses and store indoors, coiled and flat. Also, wrap your outside spigots with insulation to keep them from freezing and snapping in cold weather.

Regular maintenance of your home (and vehicles) helps prevent BIG issues later!  What other items do you like to take care of in the fall?  Leave a comment and let us know. 

Thursday, September 8, 2016

What's the Difference Between Home and Fire Insurance?

Many times, someone will decide to purchase a new home, but keep the old home as an investment property and rent it out.  This can be a great investment strategy but there are a few things you need to know about your insurance before you make the change.

A Fire or Landlord Policy

First things first: You’ll need to update to a new insurance policy.  Your homeowners policy only covers a property that is owner occupied.  These policies are designed to package several different coverages together, including the structure itself, the contents inside the home, and provide liability coverage to the homeowner.

If the property is going to be vacant or occupied by a renter, then a different policy is needed. These are sometimes called Fire policies or Landlord policies. These policies cover the house only and do not provide coverage for the contents inside. You’ll need to discuss with one of our agents what kind of liability coverage is included and if you’ll need to purchase additional liability coverage to protect your assets.

Be aware that If you rent out your home and neglect to switch your coverage to the correct policy, any claims could be denied!  It’s very important that the property be insured correctly and you’ll want to start by meeting with your SAV-ON Insurance agent to review the different options.

Renters Insurance

The next thing to consider is renters Insurance.  Many landlords require their tenants to purchase renter’s coverage. This is a very good idea. Renters Insurance covers ONLY the contents inside the home, which is great for the renters.  However, it also provides liability coverage for the renters.  How does this help you? 

Let’s say that your renter leaves the stove on and burns down the house.  You could receive compensation for their negligence through the liability portion of their renters Insurance.  It’s also a good protection if you allow pets.  If the tenant’s dog bites a visitor, their coverage would kick in to cover it, avoiding potential liability issues for you.

Personal Liability Coverage

The last thing you’ll want to look at is your own personal liability coverage.  You’ll want to make sure that you are carrying the maximum amount of liability coverage on your auto and home insurance, since your risk for being sued increases.  You may also need to look at an umbrella liability policy for additional coverage.

This may sound complicated, but we can make it very quick and easy!  Schedule an appointment with SAV-ON Insurance Agencies today and we’ll look at all of your needs as a new landlord. Call us at 888-867-2866.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Back to School Tips

It’s August and back to school season is just around the corner.  Are you prepared?  Here are a few tips to get you and your family ready “insurance” wise!

Talk About Safety! 

Do you have young children who will be walking or riding their bike to school?  Take time to talk about safety and do a “dry run” of the school route. 

Have your children practice following the sidewalks, understanding the traffic lights, stranger safety, and what to do in case of an emergency. 

Don’t forget to buy new helmets or other safety gear so that it’s the right fit for the new school year.  There are some great video resources on bike safety for a variety of ages available here:

Cell Phone Safety

If your children are a little older, then you have another safety discussion!  Talk about the rules for using cell phones while driving, especially in regards to texting.  In 2012, driver distraction was the cause of 18% of fatal accidents.  Some studies have shown that texting increases the risk of a crash 23 times over driving while not distracted! 

Set up clear consequences for distracted driving and be clear with your teens about the dangers.  If you need ideas, here is a sample contract to create between you and your teen driver that you can adjust as needed - 

Get Good Grades

Depending on your policy, you may be eligible for discounts when your teenage driver has good grades!  Encourage them to keep their grades high for many reasons, with better insurance rates being one of them.  This is especially motivating for teens that have to pay for their own insurance!

There are also some discounts available for drivers ed and additional drivers training courses.  Give us a call to discuss what is available on your particular policy.   

College Kids Count, Too!

While you’ll want to remind your college age kids about not driving distracted, there are a few other things to consider for them, too.

Depending on your homeowners insurance, you may or may not need additional coverage for your college student’s belongings while away at school.

Those laptops, textbooks, clothes, and electronics can add up fast!  While Homeowners insurance does provide coverage for property off premises, it may not be enough (or may have a high deductible). 

We can review your current policy and look at options for covering your student’s belongings through your homeowners or a new renters insurance policy.

If you have questions about your college student's or teen driver’s insurance, give us a call at 888-867-2866.  And enjoy going back to school!

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

What Factors Can Cause Rate Increases?

Worried about your insurance rates going up?  Here are some things you can do to prevent a rate increase! 

There are a lot of factors that go into determining your insurance rate.  And, at times, your rate may go up (or down!)

Let’s look at what can cause changes:

You buy a new vehicle.  If you purchase a new vehicle, there is a good chance your insurance rates will change somewhat.  If the vehicle is newer, more expensive, or if you have a lienholder and require full coverage, your rate may increase.

Why do some vehicles have higher rates than others?  Simply because some cost more to fix.  If a vehicle has expensive tires or other fancy upgrades, it's more expensive to replace these items. All of these things play into the rate on that particular car.

You change your household.  Any household changes may change your rate.  Getting married might lower your rate, but adding a teenage driver will probably increase it!  Rates are determined by the age and driving history of each person in the household.  That doesn’t mean you’ll see huge swings in price, but just keep it in mind when making changes.

You move.  Rates are also calculated based on the zip code where you drive the most.  If you move from a high-traffic city, where there tend to be more collisions, to a much less populated rural area, your rate will go down (and vice versa).

You get a ticket.  Unfortunately, getting a moving violation ticket can raise your rates.  Whether it's speeding, negligent or reckless driving, or other dangerous practices, it shows that you’re at a higher risk of having an accident and causing a claim. Obeying all traffic laws and keeping your driving history clean will save you money! 

You lose a discount.  Most policies have several discounts included and if those discounts expire, your rate may increase.  If you’re receiving a discount for being accident-free for several years and then have an accident, the loss of the discount will increase your rate.

If you have your auto and home insurance with the same carrier for a multi-policy discount, then move one to another insurance company, your rates will go up.

Maybe you were receiving a discount for having your policy on monthly draft and then decided to just send in a check.  You might see a slight increase here too. 

The best way to keep your rate low?  Work with us!  As a local insurance agency, we’ll review your coverage, discuss your discounts, look at potential risks for rate increases, and help keep you protected.  Call SAV-ON today at 888-867-2866 for a quote!  

Friday, July 8, 2016

Liability Insurance: How Much is Enough?

What is liability insurance? Liability insurance is what protects you when you cause damage to another person.  If you hit someone else’s car, your liability insurance pays to fix it.  If someone is injured in an accident that you caused, then liability insurance pays for their medical bills.

But how do you know the amount of coverage you need?  And what happens if you don’t have enough?  Here’s what you need to know:

There is a minimal amount of liability coverage that is required by the state in order to drive a vehicle.  But here’s the thing to keep in mind:  If you cause damage that exceeds that amount of liability coverage you have, then you’ll be responsible for the difference.   And if you can’t pay it, there could be a lawsuit in your future.

If you own your home or have additional assets, then you need more than the minimum amount of liability coverage. 

Here are some other risk factors:

Rental Property: If you own rental property, you need extra liability coverage.  If someone is injured on your property, then you could be held responsible.  Even a small dog bite could cause a problem if you’re not insured properly.

Teen or College Drivers:  If you have young drivers, you’ll want to have additional liability coverage, even if they are not on your auto policy right now.  Your college student may have their own coverage and live away from home, but if you’re still responsible for them and financially support them, you could be responsible for accidents that they cause.

Watercraft:  If you own a boat, jet ski, or other watercraft, then you’ll want more liability coverage.  Boat expenses and injuries can add up quickly and you’ll want to have plenty of protection in place.  

Umbrella Insurance: Additional coverage when needed

Another way to help ensure that you are covered, no matter what befalls you, is to purchase umbrella insurance. This is in addition to your other policies, and will cover you and your assets if your other coverages aren't adequate enough for the damages that were caused. These policies are relatively inexpensive, but can keep you from real financial hardship.

If, for example, you were liable for injuries to someone in an auto accident, and your liability coverage was not enough to cover the repairs and hospitalization costs, your umbrella insurance would kick in and cover you up to the maximum amount on that policy, above and beyond the limits of your auto insurance policy.

Likewise, if someone injured themselves on your property, and your homeowners limits were inadequate to cover the costs, that same umbrella policy would cover the damages that exceeded the homeowners policy, up to the limits of your umbrella coverage.

The best way to determine the amount of liability coverage you need?  Work with one of our local agents, who can identify all of your risk factors and explain each coverage fully.  You can’t get that from an automated call or form!  Call SAV-ON today at 888-867-2866 to review your policy and get a quote.