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Homeowner’s Holidays

Mule Deer in SnowThe holidays are supposed to be the happiest time of the year.  Unfortunately, for many homeowner’s, their happy time can easily turn into the most stressful time of the year. The number of home accidents and thefts increase drastically in November and December, and many insurance companies have reported that there are at least double to triple the amount of homeowner’s insurance claims during these months.

One of the main reasons for the spike in homeowner’s insurance claims is fire. Fire claims increase around 15% during the holidays.  Fire departments have named candles to be the number 1 reason while these deadly disasters are started.  Christmas trees also cause a huge fire hazard, especially if they’re not cared for correctly. It is extremely important to make sure your tree is watered regularly and that your christmas tree lights aren’t left on for many hours at a time.

Carving Turkey DinnerCooking large family meals is also a main contributor for fire related claims. Many people try out new (and dangerous) cooking techniques, or are distracted with the rest of the holiday preparations when food items in the oven or stove catch fire and spread fast. It is important to realize how much your risk for home fires increases during this time of year, and take extra caution when decorating, cooking and preparing for the upcoming holidays.

Unfortunately, theft claims increase by at least 7% during the holiday season as well.  Many thieves find that they can get away stealing more valuables during this time of year because there are simply more things to steal.  Make sure you keep gifts out of sight and close curtains near the christmas tree or living room when you leave to deter any unwanted guests. Make sure you lock your doors and windows, and if possible, install a security alarm system or motion detector lights around the perimeter of your home.

As you can see, the holidays can bring on more stress than you thought possible. If you are prepared, however, you can rest assure that your family, friends and home will be safe.  As always, look over your homeowner’s insurance policy before the holidays start up to make sure you’d be covered if one of these unforeseen disasters were to take place.

Winter – Safe Driving Essentials

Well, winter is here, and it may be a little earlier than we expected, but we’ve got to deal with the harsh weather and prepare for the worst. Winter can be a very dangerous time of year, especially for drivers.  As always, using common sense and defensive driving techniques can help you avoid collisions and keep you safe. Here are some other tips for surviving driving in the winter:

Take your car in for a check up. Have a mechanic check your battery, brakes, and fluid levels. This will help you survive in case you get stranded, need to stop on a dime, and keep your car running in optimal condition. A quick check up be the difference between freezing to death and surviving a winter storm.

Keep you gas tank full. Try not to let your gas tank go below half a tank.  This can help your engine parts from freezing and also help you stay warm if your car gets stranded during a storm.

Look into getting all weather tires.  If you can, install snow tires or all-weather tires to make sure your car gets a good grip on the road.

Be prepared. Keep an emergency kit in your car somewhere (usually the trunk).  It is surprising how many people do not have emergency supplies in their vehicles. Store blankets, extra clothes, first aid kit, flashlight, matches (preferably waterproof), jumper cables, chains, extra food (non perishable) and a tool kit.

Drive safely. This may seem like a no brainer, but many people think they are above bad weather driving and drive too fast and recklessly. Always drive a little slower than you think and allow plenty of space between you and the driver ahead of you for stopping. Don’t slam on your breaks if it’s icy out (pump them), and always keep an eye out for pedestrians.

Review your insurance policy. Go over your car insurance policy and make sure you’re covered. If an accident were to happen because of bad weather, you want to make sure you’ve got adequate coverage and an insurance company that will take care of you quickly during these busy times.

As always, use your best judgement and don’t go outside if you’re not comfortable. Stay inside if you can, and always keep safety in mind.

About Contractors Insurance

Contractors Insurance (aka “Construction Insurance”) is a type of insurance that helps protect contractors in the case of an accident on the job site. Contractors Insurance usually has three sections, one to cover you (the contractor), one to cover the person or entity that you are contracted to, and one to cover the members of the public if something were to happen.

General Contractor Liability Insurance can be called many different names.  Here are some common types of coverage names you might hear:

  • General Contractor Insurance
  • Subcontractor Insurance
  • Electrical Contractor Insurance
  • Handyman Insurance

Every contractor needs general contractor liability insurance for their business and their livelihood. There are, however, additional insurance services that can greatly benefit a contractor. Whether or not a contractor might need these supplemental insurance services depends on the type of business, how large the job is and if the job is in a particular risky category.

Here are some supplemental policies that many contractors may need to look into:

  • Surety Bonds
  • Commercial Auto Insurance
  • Workers Compensation

As you can see, Contractors Insurance has a lot of moving parts to it. It is an essential tool for any contractor working today.  Call today for a free contractors insurance quote!

Winter Home Owners Insurance

winter-scene-clipartAs the months come to the end of the year, so does the nasty winter weather.  Winter brings the most extreme weather your home may face all year and can cause thousands of dollars worth of damage. Depending on what type of homeowner’s insurance policy you have, your home may be covered for damages caused by winter storms.

Most of the basic homeowner’s insurance policies have coverage for winter storm damage that comes because of snow, wind, ice, freezing rain and low temperatures. It’s a good idea to go over your policy to make sure your home will be covered if a storm or freezing temperatures were to hit your area.  Keep in mind that many home owner’s insurance policies don’t cover flood damage by themselves and a separate insurance policy will need to be taken out for this coverage. Damage caused by melting snow or downpours may not be covered on your existing basic policy.

There are some things you can do to help prevent damage to your home during the winter:

  • Clean off your roof and gutters and clear out any debris and piled up pine needles to make sure water can safely and swiftly drain properly.
  • Repair any shingles or weak spots on your roof to make sure they don’t worsen during the winter.
  • Insulate your windows and doors better by recaulking around them.
  • Insulate pipes that are in areas that are prone to freezing
  • Clean out your air filters and clean your home’s heating system to make sure it’s running properly.

Talk to an experienced insurance agent today to get a homeowner’s insurance policy that will protect your home, family and valuables this winter.

Teen Car Insurance

Car insurance rates for teenagers can be a startling misfortune for their parents. There are, however, ways you can help reduce the car insurance premium for your teenager. Car insurance premiums for teenagers are typically at least double the amount that a typical adult would pay. Younger, less experienced drivers are more likely to be at fault for an accident, and car insurance companies know they are taking on a bigger risk by insuring these drivers.

If you want to make sure you are getting the best car insurance rate for your teenager, you should shop around different companies and also keep in mind these tips:

Send in a report card. Many insurance companies will offer “good student discounts” for drivers currently enrolled in High School or College. Keep those report cards (if they’ve got good grades :) ) and send them in to your insurance agent to be sure you get the best car insurance rates.

Drive Safely. It’s important for every parent to sit down and talk to their teen about safe driving. Texting and driving has become such a problem and is the culprit for countless accidents and even deaths. If your teenager keeps a clean driving record (no tickets or accidents – whether at fault or not) your premium should stay down at the lower level of the rate tier.

Drive a Modest Car. Every teenager wants the coolest car at school. If you want to save money on car insurance, it isn’t wise to buy a brand new vehicle for a teenager. An older car (one that is cheap to fix if damaged) will typically be cheaper than newer cars with more features to fix.

Follow these tips when looking for insurance for your family and hopefully you can save some money to use for your teenagers college! Call a Vern Fonk Insurance agent today to find out how you can save 40% or more on car insurance.