With the Holidays coming up, online retailers and shopping will be flooded. But online shopping is not limited to Black Friday, Cyber Monday or the holiday rush it is now year round. No matter when you are shopping be cautious for any scams or fake sites that are after your money.
Here are some ways you can reduce risk when shopping online.
- Make sure you are purchasing on a secure website. Look at the top of your browser and make sure there is a “lock” icon and that the url includes an “s”(https). You can also right click on the page, click “properties”to see if the URL is encrypted.
- Use a credit card and not a debit card you can dispute charges by credit.
- Use your PayPal account if you have it as this is a safe way to not have to enter payment information.
- Save the confirmation information of a purchase.
- Check your online statements to make sure it is charges correctly or there are no suspicious charges from the site. Do this before your credit card statement comes so as to catch it quickly.
- Keep purchase documentation (confirmation page, number or email) however it is verified to you.
- Go directly to the retailers website and by links in email.
- Avoid entering personal information requested by email.
- Use an antivirus protection on your computer.
- Use strong passwords, that are unique even if it means going and changing all of your passworsd to prevent hacking of all of your important accounts.
Want to know why insurance premiums increase? That is not a simple question. There are many contributing factors that go into this and this topic particularly demonstrates clearly the value of having an agent. Both yourself and your agent can discuss some of these factors and determine if the increase constitutes shopping and going to the market for a new policy at a market competitive premium.
Premiums increase even on claims free policies and here are some of the reasons:
- Number of claims in the industry: Increased number of claims=increased premium. This includes fraudulent claims
- The economy with the levels of protection and risk involved
- Weather related events and climate change
- High number of losses and claims in your zip code can make premiums increase even if you have not had a claims
- Increased cost of claims in an industry that make claims handling more expensive
These are some of many reasons in a complex industry. If you have questions or want to discuss your premiums give you agent a call. If you do not have an agent, let us know and we will be happy to help.
Photo Credit: Luc Viatour / https://Lucnix.be
Did you know Monday will be the first coast to coast total solar eclipse since 1918? The Eclipse will track through the following states: Oregon, Montana, Idaho, Wyoming, Nebraska, Iowa, Missouri, Kansas, Kentucky, Illinois, Georgia, Tennessee, North and South Carolina. You can check charts for your area but the first show will be n Oregon at 9:05am PDT and will end in South Carolina at 2:48pm EDT. The lunar shadow is expected to leave the U.S. around 4:09pm EDT. Here is a projection of when Atlanta should view the eclipse.
When you are in the path of totality, what will it look like? The sun will be blocked around 2 minutes. the sun’s hidden solar corona will become visible and create what looks to be diamond rings of light.
Now for safety and some things to keep in mind as we anxiously await this event that NASA describes as one of nature’s most awesome sights….
Observing the sun can be dangerous if you do not practice proper precautions. Because of the UV radiation and unsafe exposure to it can cause damage ranging from aging of eye layers, cataracts, development of “eclipse blindness” or retinal burns.
It is never safe to look directly at the sun in a partial eclipse nor the partial phases of a total solar eclipse without the proper equipment and safety measures.
What are safe practices for viewing?
- Simple Card Projector- You can find diy’s for this simple trick involving Two pieces of cardstock and a pin to make a tiny hole in one of the sheets of cardstock. In this technique always keep your back away from the sun using the pinhole projection. Do not look through pinhole
- Do not look directly at the sun without protective eye gear, even sunglasses cannot protect your eyes. Eye gear needs to be glasses with solar filters, inspect to make sure there are no tears, scratches or damage. If so you will need to discard that pair.
- If you don’t want to risk any of those methods, NASA will be broadcasting a live stream of the solar eclipse as it passes through the United States. The live stream will run from 2-3 pm Monday and it is free to watch. You can watch the stream HERE.
Stay Safe and enjoy the event!
While the auto policy is very comprehensive there are a few scenarios that could cause a claim denial.
- Filing a fraudulent claim
- Filing a claim under coverage you do not have(For example: If you hit a deer you would need comprehensive coverage, if that is not on the policy, it would create a claim denial)
- Increasing the value on your vehicle via upgrades without telling your insurance company may mean that the vehicle damages will not be covered at full value
- Filing a claim for a loss not included on your policy, such as business use
- Not paying your premium and letting your insurance lapse
We tend to think about our home safety when we are leaving for vacation and who will get our mail. But what about your safety as you travel?
Here are some key things to keep in mind while you are traveling to stay safe:
- Do not wear flashing and expensive things to make you stand out, thieves can recognize a Rolex and you risk being a target
- Limit the information provided to customs with general terms like business or consulting rather than executive titles that may sound worth a ransom
- Use your business rather than home address while traveling overseas and only use home address when returning to the states
- If you are pre-arranging a driver, do not provide your full name to indicate you are American. It is suggested to use a generic last name in that country or initials
- While large hotels may have better security, they are more likely to be a terrorist target than a small boutique hotel
- Once in the hotel review the escape route, check for working phones in case of an emergency
- Make sure you are vaccinated properly for the country you are visiting
- Make an electronic copy of important documents and email them to yourself should it be lost or damaged
- Do not carry everything together, spread it across bags or on your person so if your wallet is stolen you do not lose everything
Did you know that according to the U.S. Vehicle Transportation Department vehicle safety recalls hit an all time high in 2016 at 53.2 million? While driving safely and keeping up with maintenance are very important another very important vehicle safety step is making sure your vehicle is not subject to any recalls. While manufacturers do reach out by mail, could your address have changed since you got your vehicle?
Like seen with the Takata airbag massive recalls it could be a danger to you as the car owner and others on the road if the safety recalls are not addressed.
How do you check and see if your vehicle is subject to a safety recall, you ask? Good question.
You can go into this site, enter your VIN, click “Check Recall Status and the information will come up. You can also be directed to a dealer to fix the problem if need be to have the repair scheduled as soon as possible.
This site can also be used to find this information for business fleet owners.
It is summer and school it out. While the warm weather brings on the possibility for so many fun outdoor activities, one that is on most parents list is taking the kids to the playground. What mom doesn’t like watching their kids run around playing on the playground? Watching the kids on the monkey bars, swings and slides bring up all of those fond childhood memories. While we certainly want our children to share these fun activities it is best when combined with safety.
Here are a few tips to keep in mind around the playground.
- The Right Fit– Make sure your child’s clothing is not extra loose as this can cause it to catch on playground equipment, this is also true of clothes with drawstrings. Get rid of any accessories such as purses, necklaces or related items that kids may have brought with them. Also, helmets while a great idea for bikes are not safe on the playground.
- Manage Activities– Keep an eye out to make sure your child is on the age appropriate playground equipment. Smaller kids may not be able to use all of the equipment available such as climbing walls or possibly even the monkey bars.
- Ouch, that’s hot! Make sure to feel any surface that your child may sit on with your hand to make sure it is not too hot and your child is not at risk for burning their legs.
- Safe Space-Make sure surfaces are made of rubber matting, ground rubber, mulch or some other agent that will soften the blow should a fall take place. Play grounds with shock-absorbing surfaces act as a cushion protecting against injury in case of a fall.
- Parenting basics- Teach your child and watch to make sure other children are not pushing or crowding while on the playground as this adds danger.
The short answer is yes. In Georgia, the auto insurance coverage follows the car and not the driver. If you loan a friend your car, you are loaning them your auto insurance policy. If you give permission to a friend to drive to the store and an accident occurs, the coverage for the vehicle will respond, not the drivers own independent auto policy. The auto policy of the vehicle will be primary, the friends/driver’s insurance may kick in if the accident exceeds vehicle policy limits, however, the coverage for that vehicle will be primary.
Keep in mind if your car is damaged and the driver was as fault, you will need to make a claim and the deductible will apply when repairs are made.
Insurance companies do require that all drivers in the household be listed on the policy. Drivers who live in the same house need to be disclosed, otherwise following a claim the insurance company could cancel the coverage at renewal for misrepresentation.
Talk to your agent to make sure you understand your policy type as in some occasions policies can limit coverages to drivers not on the policy.
Summer puts us outside a lot for around the house activities. Yard work, hosting barbecues , going to the pool, or watching the kids play are just some of the things that cause us to step out of the front door or garage during the summer. Summertime is fun, just make sure to think about the doors, windows, and garage door safety. Even just the garage is a huge target. It can be easy for a criminal to sneak into an open garage to steal tools and other valuables. It also creates an opportunity to get into the home, grab some items quickly and then run out again without being noticed.
Criminals can tag team as well. One can distract a homeowner at the door while the other get can get into the garage or back yard to quickly get whatever they can grab.
Just think of areas to secure when you go out this summer to keep your house safe while you are out enjoying the weather and summer activities. Teach your family to be smart about the house and property to ensure a fun and safe summer for all.
Are you renting a home while on vacation this summer? There are some things you may want to check coverage on before you go. Getting a beach home or mountain cabin can be a very convenient way to accommodate the family for vacation. Thinking about liability can be the last thing on your mind as you gear for relaxation. Before you fully go into that mode think quickly about liability for any damages to the property and also about your personal property with you on the trip.
Most homeowners policies have provisions within in them that apply for this event, personal property coverage and liability. Before you go check your policy to see how it would respond in some cases you may need to purchase additional coverages.
Personal property coverage extends to losses of personal belongings while in the scope of travel. This is provided up the the limit on the policy, normally this limit is not high unless you have specifically raised this limit to account for valuables in the home. You can check with you agent to make sure this limit accurately represents both what you have at home and personal belongings you travel with.
Liability coverage covers events that result in property damage, bodily or personal injury. This included events that could occur at the rental resulting in property damage. Accidents happen, it is best to know ahead of time how your policy will respond. Be aware, that most homeowner’s properties exclude property rented to an insured. Some policies offer a $1,000 per occurrence for damage to property of others(furniture,appliances etc..) If your policy excludes these coverages, there are other options. Check with your agent for some of these options. Also check with the vacation rental property management company to see if this insurance coverage can be purchased through them.
It is important to note that if you have a personal umbrella policy, most policies will provide property damage coverage to rental properties. If you have an Umbrella policy it may not be necessary to purchase additional coverage. Before you leave for your getaway, contact your agent to discuss you coverages and options for additional coverages for this trip.
Photo Credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/dalelafollette/