6 Examples where Umbrella Insurance is needed

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Think any of these apply? You may need to consider adding an Umbrella.

  1. Have kids or teenagers living with you?
    • What if your teenage has an auto accident involving multiple vehicles. If property damage and injuries go beyond your underlying auto limits. The Umbrella would kick in.
    • What if your child threw a baseball through a neighbor’s window and damage a valuable on the window seal.
  2. Pets
    • Dogs bites. If your dog gets loose and bites an individual not only could that create medical bills but also lost wages if they have to take any time off work. This would be somewhere where an Umbrella could come into play.
  3. Social Media
    • Active on online blogs, Facebook or any of the other social media platforms? You could be open to suits for Libel or slander. For example, if you reviewed a restaurant on your blog that they felt was a misrepresentation.
  4. Entertain Guests
    • Some examples could be swimming pools and trampolines. This includes potential for medical and liability claims.
  5. Passenger Injuries
    • If a passenger is injured in a car accident where you are the driver. The umbrella can chip in with any mounting medical costs over the personal auto bodily injury limits.
  6. Landlords
    • If you own properties it can open you up to potential risk. Any lawsuits regarding the maintenance would fall under this category.

Fire Prevention Week: What should you know?

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Since is Fire Prevention Week. Here are some notes and tips on common causes and ways to prevent this event.

  • Smoke Alarms
    • Change them every 10 years
    • Change the batteries twice a year(Doing this when the time changes can help you remember)
    • This decreases chances on anyone dying in a house fire by 50 percent
    • Smoke alarms need to be on all floors of the home or building
  • Avoid Likely Causes
    • Plugging too many cords into outlets are a few
    • Blow out candles before leaving the house
    • Leave Matches out of reach of children
    • Leave space heaters at least 3 feet from anything flammable
    • Have fire place screens set up
    • Keep any cooking utensils and towels away from the flame on the stove
    • Make sure there is a fire extinguisher in the house and you know how to use it
  • Other Notes:
    • Have an Escape plan you have practiced with your children
    • In the event of a fire, leave immediately, Do not go back in
    • If you live in an apartment, pull the alarm
    • If you are stuck, cover areas where smoke might come in and call 911. Leave a signal at the window to let the fire department know where you are at

Photo Credit: https://goo.gl/YZyGtO

 

Be in the know about Flood Insurance

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Most people look to see if they are in a flood zone and if not they do not think they need flood insurance. Most are in some kind of flood zone, some are just more severe than others. As a home owner this may mean you should consider this coverage, just because the area has not flooded recently does not mean it is not susceptible.

Here are some things to keep in mind about flood insurance.

  • It is not included in your homeowner’s policy. It is a separate policy. Keep in mind your homeowner’s policy does not offer any coverage for flood. Your agent can get flood insurance for your home through the National Flood Insurance Program.
  • What you buy is what you get. Make sure to discuss with your agent if you want it to include things like dwelling and contents coverage.
  • Where you live, determines the cost. The flood zones effect premiums. The higher the risk, the higher the premium. Also keep in mind you do not only need flood insurance in coastal areas. Many floods that occur each year are not in coastal regions.
  • Lenders may require flood insurance if you live in certain zones. If you own your house or are paying cash this coverage will be up to you. So make sure you discuss this with your agent to make sure you have the coverage needed for the area that you live in.

The National Flood Insurance Program does keep the flood zones maps up to date. If you want to check your address to see if it is in a flood zone or that if you already have flood insurance, that it is being insured at the right level, this may be helpful to you. Here is the link.

Remember that your agent is a good source for any questions about Flood Insurance.

Part 2: 10 Least Ticketed cars on the Road by Model

There are a lot of factors that go into choosing the car you may want to drive: mileage, repair costs, aesthetics, performance and that is just to name a few. How about how likely it is to be ticketed?

Once again Your Mechanic looked at data from insurance.com to determine if there is a correlation between car model and likelihood to be ticketed. There were two components, the first was drivers. They looked to see which drivers were typically getting more tickets based on models, luxury cars, midsize, SUV, sports cars etc… Also by habit, including how many moving violations and the associated vehicles with these.

Here is the list of 10 least ticketed cars by both the percent of vehicle owners as well as by the model. Data from Your Mechanic.

10. Land Rover, Range Rover 10.9%

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9. BMW 320I, 9.9%

8. Audi A3 2 Series, 9.2%

7. GMC Savana, 8.8%

6. Cadillac Escalade, 8.1%

5. Chevrolet Express, 7.7%

4. Cadillac ATS, 6.2%

3. Acura ILX, 5.6%

2. Lexus IS350, 3.4%

1.Buick Encore, 3.2%

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FYI- Here’s the 10 most ticketed cars by model according to a study from “Your Mechanic”

This is a study from data analysts at Your Mechanic. If you have read this blog long, you know there are certain factors that contribute to insurance premiums on your personal auto. One factor you may not have thought about lately is the number of moving violations that may be on your driving record and associated with a certain vehicle.

According to some studies from insurance.com speeders can tend to prefer certain car models. The study that came up with this list expanded on this looking at models such as trucks, compacts, SUV’s , luxury, compact etc… and used this to get some data on what drivers are likely to be ticketed and vehicle types.

Traffic violations can differ from state to state. The most common from which they derived the list was running red lights, driving without headlights, illegal turns, illegal parking, running a stop sign and speeding. Having said all of the above, here is the list from My Mechanic of the 10 most ticketed vehicles by model and percent of car owners.

10. Toyota Tacoma,30.1%

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9. Acura 3.0S/CL,30.1%

8. Dodge Stratus SXT, 30.2%

7. Volkswagen GTI, 30.3%

6. Mazda 3S, 30.3%

5. Chevrolet Monte Carlo LS/LT, 30.8%

4. Volkswagen Jetta GL, 31.4%

3. Dodge Charger, 32.1%

2. Nissan 350Z, 32.5%

1. Lexus ES300,33.4%

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Some Tips for Small Business Owners to save on A/C bills

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Summer  heat and humidity require many hours of the air conditioning system running as well as the dollar signs. This high-cost form of energy draining can be a big operating expense of small businesses in the summer. Here are some seasonal tips and maintenance suggestions to reduce energy costs and prevent any problems with the systems themselves. These maintenance tips can be performed on your own and some by a qualified technician service on an annual basis.

  • Make sure areas surrounding the A/C units are clear of any debris
  • Use a programmable thermostat set at higher temperatures during off hours
  • Draw shades and blinds to minimize hot sunlight coming into the room
  • Use ceiling fans where possible to reduce the need for A/C
  • Use efficient lighting systems that are energy efficient
  • Have a professional technician come out each year to check for efficiency
    • Electrical connections
    • Signs of corrosion or damage
    • Compressor and condenser are in proper working oil and function
    • Clean and check for proper refrigerant levels

Here are a few ideas we hope you find helpful with August just kicking off and the heat that comes this month!

Photo Credit: Plano Air Conditioning Repair Company and link to www.sammsheatingandair.com/

If a Neighbor’s Tree Falls into your Yard causing Property Damage, Who is Responsible? Q and A

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Question: If a tree in a neighbor’s yard falls and damages a fence, a car, your roof…is it their responsibility to cover the damage?

Answer: Long story, short. No. It is not their fault that the tree fell. In most cases the tree was there before the fence was put up. It is understandable that trees get larger over time and the fence may have not been close. However, trees tend of fall over when the wind blows of it is heavy with ice and can fall into your yard.

If the tree is healthy and there would be no danger of it falling other than outside sources(i.e. weather or other circumstances out of the norm) in most cases there would be no negligence on the part of the neighbor if the tree does fall.

While the above is the most common scenario. If you are in a situation where you note that there is a diseased, dying or dead tree that poses a danger and the owner is aware, there could be liability. However, you would mostly likely need prior documentation. Send a certified letter that there is a diseased or dead tree that could potentially fall and damage your property or injure someone. Send a certified letter and keep a copy and the mail receipt. You can also document with photos. Liability is often denied if the tree is near the back of the lot and the owner says they were unaware. That is why the above documentation would be needed and would be the difference between you covering the damages or your neighbor(or his insurance company)taking care of the damages.

Most neighbors want to be, well, neighborly, and would address any potential dangers or hazard in conversation. But you may want o follow up a with a friendly written request to remove the tree.

Photo attributed to: This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic license.

Important Tips for Credit Card Fraud Prevention

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Credit card fraud can be an easy form of identity theft for getting such information as credit card number, name and address. This can be the recipe of identity theft.

Here are some ways to prevent this since we all have credit cards and consequently the exposure to potential identity fraud.

  • Check credit card statements carefully for fraudulent charges
  • Destroy all unwanted credit card offers. You can also request that credit bureaus not sell your name to credit card companies by calling 888-567-8688
  • Keep track of credit card receipts. Some can have your credit card number printed on them. Which can be an easy target.
  • Activate new cards upon receiving them and shred or cut up expired cards before discarding them.
  • Shred sensitive documents
  • Review your credit report annually

These simple steps could help you avoid being a victim of  credit card fraud.

 

A personal Reflection for Memorial Day from Lynn Mathis

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Memorial Day

When I think of Memorial Day I can’t help but recall an experience had several years ago when I accompanied our church youth group as a chaperone for a mission trip to Bluefield, West Virginia.  One of the “jobs” assigned to  my group was at an abandoned cemetery. Three years earlier a small group of men decided to reclaim and restore the cemetery. We saw pictures of the before …which was an aerial view of a mass of green vegetation, with no indication of a road much less any graves. After volunteers working just about each weekend since, the cemetery was in an amazingly different shape. Prior volunteers had hauled away tons of debris… the park had become a local dumping ground. One gentleman explained as they would clear a path to a reclaimed grave, countless times the next time they came, the newly reclaimed grave would have flowers, placed from a loved one who had not been able to get close to the site for years.

My task was to clean  tombstones. I had a well used brush with a bucket of bleach and water. The tombstones I had the best success with were those placed to mark the graves of veterans.  The stones were simple, straight and I think the type of marble used cleaned up better than most of the other stones. But I also wonder if they did not clean up better because I put more effort, more elbow grease into those stones. As I scrubbed I thought of the serviceman whose grave was marked. I expressed my thanks as best I could, by cleaning his stone.  This remains one of the most humbling experiences I have ever had and a memory that comes to mind when we take time as a country to remember those people who have served our country so I can enjoy my freedom today. I have no way of knowing if these men lost their life while serving our country, but I know they were willing to if necessary.

Williams Turner &Mathis will be closed for Memorial Day. We hope you will have a safe and happy holiday, and take a few minutes to reflect on who this holiday was set aside to honor. God Bless America.

Lynn Mathis

Is Your Golf Cart Covered?

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Golf Carts are for the gold course, right? Well…yes but they are increasingly being used as more.

They are used to travel within the neighborhood or neighboring properties. They are often used in gated waterfront vacation homes, traveling within a retirement community, or just rolling around your community. While they are not normally speedy vehicles, they’re still moving which means they can cause damage or injury. Should either of these events occur the car owner needs to have the proper insurance coverage.

Good news. Homeowners policies do take on some of the liability associated with golf carts. However, these conditions are specific and somewhat limited. Here are some scenarios in which the car would be covered under a homeowners policy:

  • While the user is playing golf on the golf course, as well a leisure activities on the golf course
  • They cover the car while crossing public roads to get from one side of the course to the other
  • It covers the cart inside a private residential community and if the community has authority over any of the roads the carts would be permitted on these as well(for example: if a vacation home is in a community where they have designate certain cart paths on the road to cross to get to the beach)
  • They are also covered at your residence

There is a recent local example of this. Avondale Estates has ‘okayed’ the use of golf carts or low speed vehicles (even unlicensed)on the streets within the city. If your cart is insured under your homeowner’s policy, liability coverage most likely does not apply when taking the golf cart into the streets. Make sure before you take those carts into the street it is covered.

So what if you are using your golf cart in a scenario other than the ones listed above? What should you do and what coverages are available?

  • First of all, speak to your agent. Find out what coverages you have an if they are enough. They will also have options with their carriers for potential coverages to make sure your car has proper and adequate coverages
  • Endorsements can be added to your homeowner’s policy, this is meant for carts with 4 passengers or less and for carts going under 25mph.  Endorsements can cover a wide range of causes such as fire, theft, vandalism, collision etc…and is subject to a deductible
  • Auto- you can endorse or some carriers will write a specific policy for the golf cart. These can be used for cars that can be used in roadways and the same coverages can be applied to carts with this policy as with your auto policy

If you have a golf cart be sure to read over these scenarios and ask your agent if you are not sure if your cart is covered.