How to Lower Your Risk for Summer Insurance Claims

Insurance Agent Little Rock, ARWith summer in full swing and some modified socially distant outdoor fun happening, we thought it would be a great time to discuss some common insurance claims that can occur during the summer months and how to protect yourself.

Home Break In

While many families are choosing to stay home this summer versus traveling, some individuals may still travel. If you plan to travel this summer, it is important to know a few things when it comes to keeping your home safe from burglary and theft while you are gone.

Technology – many people have invested in home security devices. This can be great to alert you of any motion detected at your home. These devices are inexpensive and easy for do-it-yourselfers to install themselves. From wireless security cameras to video recording doorbells, you have many choices in the home video surveillance category that did not exist a few years ago.

If you do not have a home security device, you could look to setup some lights on timers. This very inexpensive tool can act like you are home by leaving a light on in a specific room in your home. You can set a timer so the light is on during normal hours in the evening where you normally would be up. Use LED bulbs in your lamps to be efficient.

Friends/Family/Neighbors – If you have a good relationship with your neighbors, consider asking them to keep a watch on your home while you are away. It is always good to notify your close neighbors you know and trust that you’ll be gone so they can keep an eye out for strange activity around your property.  You can also ask a family member or friend to swing by your place for extended trips.

Avoid Posting Social Media While Away – We know many people want to post their vacation photos each day on their social media accounts. However, posting while you are gone does allow people to know you are not home giving potential burglars an easy opportunity to get to your stuff.

BBQ

With COVID-19 motivating more people to stay home this summer, you may find yourself doing a lot more barbecuing. Review these tips below to ensure you are not putting yourself at risk.

  • Keep your grill at least 10 feet from your home.
  • Keep your grill clean to avoid a grease fire. It’s best to clean it before or after every use.
  • Smell for gas when you are barbecuing. The smell of gas could indicate a leak in your hose or connections.

Boating or Other Vehicle Accidents

The best advice we can give to avoid accidents to keep yourself distraction free while driving your boat, ATV or other vehicle. As a matter of fact, be a defensive driver. Not only should you be alert of your driving but the vehicles near you.

Chipped/Broken Windshields

More people may be on the road during the summer months and that can increase rock chips on your vehicle. Unfortunately, there is nothing you can do to avoid a rock chip, but there are some things to keep in mind to lower your risk of getting one. Keep your distance between the vehicles in front of you is our best advice. Tailgating increases your chances of a rock flying up and cracking your windshield. Also, be aware of the semi-trucks on the road as these large vehicles tend to kick up more road debris than the average vehicle.

Regardless of your plans this summer we hope you enjoy the summer season! If you have questions about your property insurance or would like more information about having an extra layer of insurance protection with an umbrella insurance policy, reach out to our agents. We are here to help.

Is Earthquake Insurance Required? Learn About The Coverage.

Earthquake Insurance Little Rock, ARWe have all heard of earthquake insurance, but is it required to purchase if you own a home, condo or investment property? The answer is no. However, it is important to keep in mind that your standard home, condo or investment property insurance policy would not be cover you in the event your home was damaged from an earthquake. You would need a specialized insurance policy for earthquake coverage.

Well, what does my home insurance cover then?

Your home insurance policy covers you for many things! In the event your home is damaged from a fire, your policy provides coverage to fix the damage and can replace your personal belongings that were damaged.

If your home is damaged from wind, hail or lightning, you also have coverage.

Your home insurance policy also provides personal liability protection. This gives you coverage for scenarios like someone getting injured on your property or if your dog bites a neighbor. Your home insurance can cover the medical payments for the individual injured too.

Lastly, your home insurance can pay for expenses related to your home not being livable due to the damage. Therefore, the cost of a hotel, food and other living expenses you collect while your home is being repaired can be covered.

How much is earthquake insurance?

Like any insurance policy, it depends on many factors such as where you live, how old your home is, what type of home you own, etc. Talk to one of our agents about getting a free earthquake insurance quote. We can go over your options based on different coverages, then you can decide what policy may suit you best. This is always the best way to determine what earthquake insurance will cost since it is specific to the property being insured.

Know Your Disaster Plan

If an earthquake hits, do you know the safest spots in your home? For an earthquake specifically, where can you drop and cover in each room? Does everyone in your household also know where this is?

Other things that are important to know is how to shut off your utilities such as your gas, water or electricity. It may be important for every household member to know this information. Lastly, it’s important to always have a few emergency staples. Simple items like a fire extinguisher, flashlight, canned food, gloves, a blanket and water can all come in handy in the event a disaster hits.

While you can’t predict when an earthquake will strike, you can be prepared with an earthquake insurance policy as well as a home disaster plan. For an earthquake insurance quote, contact one of our agents.

I Am Moving, But Want To Keep My Current Home As An Investment Property

Insurance for Investment Property in ArkansasThe process of going from being a homeowner to a real estate investment/landlord is an exciting time. Not only are you working towards creating an extra revenue stream for your income, but you’re investing in what has historically been one of the best places – real estate!

When it comes to investing in real estate and being a landlord there is a lot to know and a lot to consider for liability purposes. In this article, we’ll discuss the ways to close the gaps with your insurance on your investment property.

Get a landlord insurance policy

Landlord insurance will insure your Dwelling/rental property as well as offer additional coverage for items stored at the property such as:

  • Additional buildings on premise such as sheds or garages
  • Equipment like tools, washing machines or other appliances used by tenant

In addition to property damage, landlords or rental property owners may also face legal ramifications for events that take place on the property they own. Having additional coverage for Legal Defense may help pay for legal fees from lawsuits like:

  • Libel or slander
  • Accidental Damage
  • Wrongful eviction

Get an umbrella policy, or consider increasing your liability limit on your umbrella policy

Being a landlord comes with an increased liability exposure. You can protect yourself with above and beyond insurance coverage in the form of an umbrella insurance policy to increase your liability limits that you purchase.

Think your liability limits are enough? Take this recent claim settlement:

A renter had notified the landlord that the boiler in the rental property was acting up and the landlord didn’t act quickly enough. Shortly after that call, a toddler severely scalded themselves and required months of painful skin grafts and therapy. The attorney settled with the landlord for the policy limits of $3 million.

Eliminate dangers around the property to limit your exposure

When you’d looking to eliminate liability exposures around a property, check some of these items:

  • Stair railings – check for loose or rotten railings inside and outside of the home
  • Trip hazards – walk the property and eliminate any large edges where someone could fall or trip
  • Swimming pools – if your property has a swimming pool, these pose major dangers to children. Be sure there is a fence with a self-closing gate that locks behind the person entering to stop curious neighborhood children or unattended children from entering the pool.

Owning investment property can be very rewarding, but do be aware of the additional risks there are. Fully eliminating your liability exposures is not ever a possibility, but mitigating your risk is. This is where we can help you come up with a comprehensive insurance package that protects you and your rental property. We would recommend scheduling a time to speak with one of our licensed agents to find you the right coverage and company for your rental property.

National Insurance Awareness Day – June 28th

Best Insurance Agency Little Rock, ARConsider Sunday, June 28th a day to think about your current insurance policy. While this can be a good time to do annually at your renewal, you may have been thinking about your policy again since COVID-19 hit.

Reach out to your agent.

We can do an in depth review of your current insurance policy based off of your current situation. We can look for any gaps in coverage and explain in detail your limits and what it means.

  • Other things to think of – have you done any home remodeling or have items in your house appreciated? If so, make sure to let us know so your policy is up to date.
  • Will you be making any big changes that may affect the amount of insurance coverage you need?
  • Are you considering other insurance policies?
  • Are you car or home shopping?

Are you a business owner?

Has your business made any changes with added or removed staff, services, products, etc.? Have you moved your business to an at-home business? If so, reach out to us regarding an endorsement so you are covered. Out agents can review your business insurance policy. There are many ways to ensure your business is covered whether it’s through a business owner’s insurance policy, workers comp, cyber liability, general liability and many more options.

Safety measures for your business

Let June 28th be a reminder of all the safety measures your staff should be practicing while at work. This is something your team should do at least once a year. Have can you lower your risk for an injury at work?

Insurance gives you a great sense of security. Whether it’s protecting your assets or your loved ones, let us help you ensure you have the best coverage.

Why working with an Independent Insurance agent matter

Independent Insurance Agents represent multiple top-rated insurance companies. This gives you more choice in coverage, pricing, payment options and discounts when shopping for all of your insurance needs. Not only do independent agents represent better choices, coverage and pricing, they are also a part of your local community which means they understand the unique risks, challenges and companies who have the best pricing in your area.

When you’re looking for insurance for your car, home, business or other product, know that picking an independent insurance agent is the right choice. You’ll get comparative quotes so you can decide which company fits your insurance needs best.

What Should I Know About Dog Bite Insurance Claims?

Insurance Agent Little Rock, ARAccording to the Insurance Information Institute, homeowner insures paid over $796.8 million as a result of 17,802 dog bite claims in 2019. We would like to briefly go over what happens if your dog were to bite someone and of course, how to prevent a dog bite claim.

What Would Happen If My Dog Bit Someone?

Homeowners’ or renter’s insurance policy includes liability coverage which will likely cover you for the damages. Keep in mind, some insurance carriers do not offer liability coverage for specific dog breeds. They also may offer some, but limit the amount of coverage available. Talk to your agent about what breeds may not be covered. If you are not covered, you would have to pay out of pocket for the damages caused by your dog. If your insurance provides coverage it is likely your insurance premium will increase at renewal or you could even be dropped from your insurance carrier.

How to Lower Your Risk for a Dog Bite Claim

Don’t ever assume your dog won’t bite someone.

You can have the sweetest dog on the planet, but you still can’t make the assumption that your dog won’t bite. Watching your dog’s behavior around strangers or even family and friends is crucial. Never leave your dog alone with children who might cause the dog to nip if harassed or injured.

If you adopt a pet, do your research

What should you know about your breed’s common behavior? Ask several questions with the adoption agency. Have they noticed specific behaviors you should be aware of? Understanding what triggers your dog’s aggression or what makes them uncomfortable can save you from a dog bite claim down the road.

Know The Signs Your Dog May Be Uncomfortable, Anxious or Aggressive

Dog bites are common in these scenarios. Dogs may react to such things as taking away their food or a toy or even touching them while eating.

  1. Aggressive
  • Stiff tail, intense stare, growling, hair up on back.
  1. Uncomfortable/anxious
  • Pulled back ears, tucked tail, no eye contact, lowered head or body

Get some training

Whether you are a dog owner or someone who doesn’t own a dog, being around a dog with good behavior is ideal. Obedience training can benefit any dog.

Socialize Your Dog

When your dog is around other dogs and people, it can help them work through any anxieties they may feel.

Be Extra Aware Around Children

This goes back to our number one answer, don’t assume your dog will never bite. If your dog is around children they aren’t familiar with, watch for signs of your dog being uncomfortable.

Get Your Pet Spayed or Neutered

This can help with a dog’s aggression.

Being a dog owner can bring so much happiness into your life. Use these tips to worry less about your dog biting a loved one or a stranger. For questions about your home or renters insurance policy and what coverages are available for dogs, contact us! We can go over your current policy or even find you a different insurance carrier who may be a more ideal fit for pet ownership.

Everything You Should Know About Motorcycle Insurance

Motorcycle Insurance Little Rock, ARSpring is here, which means motorcycle season has arrived. Whether you enjoy going on long road trips or simply just like taking your motorcycle for a ride around your town, it’s important you have the right insurance coverage in the event you have to file a claim.

What You Should Know About Your Insurance & How Your Rate Can Be Calculated

Where You Live Matters

If you can ride your motorcycle year round, there is a chance you may pay more than an individual who can only ride during warmer months. Why? With your shortened window for riding, individuals who have a “motorcycle season” lower their risk for an accident.

Your Experience & Age Matter

This shouldn’t be too shocking to read. If you are an experienced motorcycle rider, you may have a lower rate vs. someone who just bought their first motorcycle. Your age factors in with your experience. Like car insurance, young drivers usually pay higher rates. However, if you are 50 years old and have no experience, you may pay more for insurance compared to a 30 year old who has 10 years of experience.

Your Riding History Matters

Just like car insurance, your riding history matters. Accidents, claims and tickets all play a role in your motorcycle insurance rate.

What Type of Bike You Own Matters

High performance bikes may be more to insure. If your bike has a big engine, that too can cost more to insure.

What Type of Motorcycle Insurance Coverage Should I Have?

Talk to one of our licensed agents about this. We can explain all coverage options. Some of these coverages are mandatory, but others are optional.  Here are a few to consider below.

Comprehensive insurance – covers you in the event your bike is damaged due to vandalism, falling trees/debris, storms, hitting an animal, theft, windshield damage, etc.

Liability – this covers you if you are responsible for causing damage or injuring someone else.

Collision – covers your motorcycle if you collide with a vehicle or object regardless if you are at fault or not.

Uninsured/underinsured motorist property damage – if your bike is damaged by someone who isn’t carrying insurance or is underinsured. This coverage provides coverage up to your policy limits. Bonus – it can cover your injuries too.

Have custom parts for your bike? Get it covered. Some carriers automatically include some coverage in a policy, but not all.  Talk to your agent about this.

How Can I Save Money On My Motorcycle Insurance Coverage?

  • Establish good credit
  • Bundle your insurance policy with other policies such as your car or home insurance
  • If you’re a member of the Harley-Davidson Owners Group (applies in 42 states)
  • Some insurance carriers give a discount for having a motorcycle endorsement
  • Take a motorcycle safety course (this is great for all riders! Experienced or beginner)

Almost every state in the United States requires some form of motorcycle insurance. Contact our office for a motorcycle insurance quote! We will help you determine what coverage options fit your lifestyle the best.

How to Avoid Insurance Claims & Liabilities From Hiring Contractors

Contractor Insurance Policy Little Rock, ARIf you’re an experienced home remodeler, you’ve probably come across contractors who are willing to offer better pricing for cash deals or who are reluctant to provide you with a service contract. Did you know that you can be held liable for hiring a contractor who does not carry the right insurance and causes damages or injuries to another person or even one of their own workers? Saving a few dollars on your remodel can end up costing you thousands so follow these tips to avoid an insurance disaster.

  1. Look for obvious red flags: Getting multiple quotes for the job is a great idea, but did you find a contractor who will do the work for ½ as much as the next guy? How is this possible? When you’re inviting a contractor to your home, be sure to ask them for credentials before they come over to give you a bid. Following these steps can save you from theft, liability and even money.
  2. Ask for references: If you found a great contractor and you like him/her, ask them if they have a website or if there is someone who has had work done by them recently that you can talk to. If a contractor is proud of the work they do, they should have several references for you to call. It is okay to ask for reference and most people expect it. Most small businesses survive off of word-of-mouth advertising, so don’t be shy.
  3. Utilize the internet to look up their license: Contractors are required to have a license to perform work. You can utilize your states resources to find these contractors. An internet search will provide you with some quick references. You can even make your job quicker by asking them to provide you with a copy of their license or number.
  4. Active License, Insurance & Bond: Ask the contractor for a copy of their license as well as documentation of their insurance and bond. Note: Check the dates on the license as well as the insurance to ensure they’re currently in force or active.
  5. Get specific: Not only is it important to protect your insurance from a scam, but ensure your pocketbook doesn’t get taken for a ride too. Ask questions like, “Is this an estimate or a final bid?” “Does this estimate include parts and labor?” “Can I see where you’re buying the products beforehand?” The more questions you ask, the better you will feel and the more the contractor will understand that you’re educated on this process.

Let’s take a closer look at what some of these products do:

  1. License: A license to do business means that contractor has met local guidelines and qualification standards to work in their field. Hiring an unlicensed contractor can result in shoddy work or dangerous results such as with an electrician.
  2. Insurance: Contractors need two types of insurance really.
    1. General Liability Insurance: This will protect you from damages that the contractor causes such as a ladder falling through a window, causing a fire or overspray onto a neighboring house during some painting.
    2. Workers Compensation Insurance: This insurance will protect the contractor if one of his employees is injured on the job while on your property. If the contractor does not carry workers compensation insurance, your homeowners insurance policy might be asked to pay that workers claim.
  3. Bonds: A bond acts as a guarantee that the contractor will perform the work they’ve been asked to do. For instance, say your pay a contractor to do a job and he never gets the permits or doesn’t pay a subcontractor – collecting from his bond can help cover these costs.

Hiring a contractor this way can be a great option to bringing some new changes to your home. It is possible to really save money on these services, but just using some simple, quick research and asking the right questions can save you a bundle as well as a headache.

When Is The Best Time To Do an Insurance Review With My Agent?

Best Insurance Agency Little Rock, ARWorking with a local, independent insurance agency has many perks versus trying to figure out your insurance policy by yourself & purchasing it online. Not only do independent insurance agencies represent the top insurance carriers, but we can also act as your adviser. So, when should you take advantage of our expertise and do an insurance policy review?

Annual Review

Whether it’s your auto or home insurance policy, your insurance policies get renewed on the same month every year. This is probably the best time to reach out to your insurance agent regarding an insurance review. Did you premium go up? If so, reach out to us. We can re-quote you, often quoting several carriers at once. Then, we can shop to find you the best rate at similar coverage. Rates have been trending up, so it is possible your current carrier is still the best one.

At the Start of a New Season

This works best for all those individuals who own a boat, RV, ATV, motorcycle, etc. In many cases, individuals use their toys during the season and not year round. If this is the case for you, it might be best to ask your agent for an insurance review before you bring your boat, RV or ATV out to use for the season. A quick email or phone call is all it takes.

If You Have Multiple Insurance Policies

Did you know you can earn a nice discount by bundling your policies together? If you are a new college grad, you may be looking for renters insurance. Ask us if you can save money by bundling your renters and auto insurance together. Or, if you are looking to purchase an umbrella insurance policy to protect your assets, we may be able to score you a discount by bundling it with your auto or home insurance.

Updating Your Home

If you recently completed some major remodeling to your home, reach out to your insurance agent. We will want to ensure you have enough insurance coverage for all the changes you made such as custom cabinetry or new hardwood floors.

Life Changes

Whether you are working from home now and are driving less, recently got married or now have a teen driver in the house, we appreciate when you reach out to us! Not only can we look for discounts, but we can update your insurance policy to avoid any gaps in coverage.

We hope these examples encourage you to ask for an insurance review. As you insurance agent, we want to make sure you understand your current coverage and are getting the best coverage for your unique situation. We are here to help! Ask for insurance review today.

How to Effectively Work From Home

Tips for working at home in Little Rock, AR 2020 has been the year where many more individuals experience working from home instead of driving into work. For some, this may feel luxurious, while other individuals may feel lost and unsure how they can be productive at home. We are looking to help the latter group! Working from home can be effective and relaxing when done correctly. Follow these simple tips to be successful.

Have a Dedicated Work Space

This is crucial. Just like you have a dedicated work space in your office, you want the same thing when working from home. Some individuals may have the luxury of having a separate bedroom or other unused space they can transform. Others may not. If you do not have an extra room, we suggest setting up your space in a clean, organized matter. Use one seat at your kitchen table that can mimic a cubicle. Keep your space organized and make it appear to be your dedicated work space. Or, rearrange your living room to have a small workspace.

Create a Routine

Some individuals may find it is best to follow their exact routine as if they were going into the office to work. Set an alarm, shower, eat breakfast, start working by 8 am. You can mimic your exact work schedule or you can create a new routine. Regardless, you should have a routine! If you are looking for a new routine, consider constructing a to-do list at the beginning of each day. Do you have any conference calls? What needs to get completed today and by what time? When you know this information, you can lay out your day in an organized manner. Be sure to include a work break as suggested next. Working from home has perks, but if you’re constantly doing other things because you can, this will hurt your work productivity.

Take a Break

Just like you would take a lunch break while working in the office, take a break when you are at home. We would not recommend tackling your household to-do list during this time, but perhaps taking a break to do a 20 minute walk, sit down and have a meal or anything else that gives you a break from your work duties.

Want to Start Working From Home Full Time?

If you run your own business, consider creating a dedicated work space in your home. Whether it is converting a room into an office or building a detached office outside your home. It should feel like work and is only used for work. Best of all, you may be able to deduct the dedicated space from your taxes. Talk to you accountant about this. If you find you will be working from home permanently and are a small business owner, contact us regarding your insurance policy.

We hope these tips are helpful. If you have any questions regarding your insurance policy, reach out to our agency. We can provide a free quote or complete an insurance review.

Checklist for Spring Cleaning Your Home and Car in a Weekend

Spring Cleaning Checklist Little Rock, ARHaving a clean home or a clean car is a great feeling. While it can be a pain to get started mentally, it’s always worth it once it’s complete. Here is a quick checklist to help you when it comes to spring cleaning your vehicle and your home. Consider committing a few hours to your car and your home over a weekend. With a solid to-do list, you may find it takes less time than you think.

Five Things to Do For Your Car –

  • Check the conditions on your tires. Any visible sidewall damage or bulging?
  • Wipe down all windows on the inside. While you’re at it, wipe down your dash with a vinyl cleaner. Not only will it be nice to wipe away any dust or grime, but it can help protect against the sun’s UV rays.
  • Check for the last maintenance visit. How long has it been since your last oil change?
  • Check your wiper blades. Are they cracked or do they leave streaks?
  • Give your car a wash, possible wax and vacuum the interior! If you have the supplies at home, great! If not, drive down to your local car wash to tidy up the interior and exterior of your vehicle. Doing so will help maintain the value of your vehicle.

Five things to do for your home –

  • Dust

Make a checklist of all the areas in your house where dust can collect. We typically look to dust televisions, window sills, baseboards, blinds, picture frames, night stands, the top of cabinets or ceiling fans or bed frames.

  • Organize

Go through your cupboards and closets. Consider donating any clothing you haven’t worn in over a year. Organize your cupboards like your food pantry, junk drawers or storage closets.

  • Change smoke detector batteries

This chore takes less than 5 minutes to complete. If you have a carbon monoxide detector, check the batteries there too.

  • Disinfect

This may take a little more time. It’s always good to wipe out your refrigerator a few times a year. You can disinfect areas like your shower, tub, toilet or wash your shower curtains. Also, disinfect your TV remote, door knobs, computer mouse or drawer handles.

  • Donate

It feels good to get rid of things! Whether it’s going through your closet to donate clothing or going through your garage, getting rid of things can make your life feel organized.

We hope this short checklist to spring cleaning your home or car is helpful. If have questions about your car insurance or other vehicle insurance, contact us! We can also do a policy review for your home or condo insurance. Take advantage of working with a local independent insurance agency to ensure you have the right insurance coverage for your needs.