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Kids moved back in? Added a roommate? Time for an insurance checkup

11968688_SDo you have more people living in your home these days? Over the last several years, many people have added roommates to help pay the bills or had their adult children move back home.  If other people have moved into your home, you may need to make some changes in your insurance coverage. Here are the policies that will be most affected:

Auto insurance. If you lend your car to someone else and they get into an accident, your insurance will cover it. However, as the policyholder, that accident will go on your insurance record. Be cautious about who you lend your vehicle to and make sure your insurance company knows about any regular drivers of your vehicles.

Homeowner’s insurance. You’ll want to let your insurance company know if you are renting out your home – or a portion of your home – to someone else. That way, you’re  adequately covered in the event your renter is injured on your property. Standard homeowner’s policies do not cover rental activities.

Renter’s insurance. If you’re renting a property with someone else who you aren’t married to, check with your insurance company to see if one policy will cover both of your belongings, or if you should get separate policies to cover your belongings in the event of theft or other losses.

For more information about your insurance options, check out this story.

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What drives the cost of auto insurance?

17421570_SYou may have heard that red cars cost more to insure. Or that white cars cost less. In reality, the color of your car has no effect on what you pay for auto insurance. Surprised? There are plenty of other myths about what drives the cost of auto insurance. So what really matters to insurance companies? Check out this list of factors that do matter to insurance companies as they determine the cost of your auto insurance policy:

  • Your driving record. Drivers with previous violations or accidents are considered to be higher risk and may pay more than those with no violations or accidents on their record.
  • Your gender and age. Generally, men have more accidents than women. Also, certain age groups, such as young adults under the age of 25, have more claims.
  • Your marital status. As a group, married people show lower rates of claims than single drivers.
  • Vehicle use. Higher annual mileage results in higher exposure to risk and possibly, higher premiums.
  • Make and model of your vehicle. Car shopping? Call your insurance agent before you buy. Some cars definitely cost more to insure than others!
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An affordable way to protect you and your belongings

19203359_SA new survey by Nationwide Insurance shows that well over half of young adults do not have renters insurance, which could be financially devastating in the event of theft, fire or on-site accident. Why do so few people in their 20s and 30s purchase this important coverage? In the survey, renters reveal why:

They think it’s too expensive. This is a huge myth about renters insurance. It’s actually affordable! The average renters insurance policy is less than $200 annually. That works out to less than $20 per month — less than the cost of dinner and a movie!

They don’t think they need to have it. More than 40 percent of those without renters insurance don’t think they need it. Yet nearly 70 percent of renters in the survey said it would cost more than $5,000 to replace their belongings in the event of theft, fire or other disaster. Many college students don’t think they need renters insurance, but in reality, if they live off-campus, they probably do.

They don’t understand how it could protect them AND their belongings. In the survey, 40 percent of renters said they didn’t know that renters insurance may cover their stolen property. About 30 percent didn’t know that party mishaps and accidents involving guests are covered by renters insurance. That liability insurance is an important area of coverage that renters shouldn’t be without.

Questions? We’re happy to help!

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Remodeling? Time to call your insurance company

19685244_SAre you planning on doing some home remodeling? You’re not alone. Many Americans this year are planning a variety of interior and exterior improvement projects, from minor cosmetic changes to major overhauls. Whether you’re getting that new kitchen you’ve always wanted or investing in a new roof, making a call to your insurance company before work begins is always a good idea. Here’s why:

You want to make sure you’re covered during construction. Whether you’re doing the work yourself or having someone else do it, chances are you’ll be temporarily storing some expensive materials such as tile, wood flooring and granite, along with equipment. Your insurance company can help you determine whether you’re adequately insured while work is being done. You’ll want to make sure, of course, that any contractors who work in your home are adequately bonded and insured.

You want to make sure you have the right coverage after your project is completed. If the cost to rebuild your home has changed substantially after remodeling, you’ll want to adjust your coverage. If you added a feature such as a swimming pool or hot tub, you may want to increase your liability coverage or consider purchasing an umbrella policy. Depending on the upgrades, you may even be eligible for a discount.

Remember, it’s always a good idea to keep all receipts and contracts and take photos or video of the work being done and what your home looks like after it’s finished. Questions? Give us a call. We are glad to help.

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When was the last time you ordered a credit report?

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When was the last time you ordered a credit report? That long ago? Enough said. You can go to annualcreditreport.com and order one for free. You can even view it online and print it out within minutes!

Generally, the better your credit, the less you’ll pay to borrow money to purchase a house or car. Better credit also could be your ticket to a lower rate on your credit card. But did you know that the quality of your credit also can play a role in what you’ll pay for some types of insurance? Read more here about how your credit report plays a role in your ‘insurance score,’ which is used, among other factors such as your driving record, to help determine what you pay for auto insurance.

Experts recommend that you order your credit report at least once each year. Each of the nationwide credit reporting companies — Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion — is required to furnish you with a free copy of your credit report once every 12 months. To order, visit annualcreditreport.com, or call 1-877-322-8228. You may order reports from each of the three credit reporting companies on the same day, or you can space out your requests throughout the year. One option, for example, would be to order your credit report from a different bureau every four months.

Once you have your credit report in hand, you’ll want to comb through your report for any errors. Studies show many consumers have some type of error! Here’s a great guide from the Federal Trade Commission designed to help you get any errors fixed and avoid any credit repair scams.

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