I love Thanksgiving! It’s probably my favorite Holiday because it is so much about family without all the pressure of Christmas gift selections. I remember getting up early and helping prepare Thanksgiving dinner for the family while watching the Macy’s parade. Thanksgiving is a time for visiting family, sharing meals, and enjoying loved ones, but it’s also a prime time for cooking fires, traffic accidents, and other safety problems. With Turkey Day mere days away, let’s talk about things to consider for cooking, traveling, and taking care of the fur babies. Continue reading →
If I asked the average person on the street what liability limit they carry on their homeowners policy, I would bet 95% could not tell me. Liability is such important coverage, but the non-insurance person generally doesn’t see the significance of this coverage. Unfortunately, many individuals do not see the importance until something bad happens. And once something bad happens, it is too late. Liability means you are responsible for damage that has been done or damage that you have been accused of doing to another person. You don’t have to be guilty of this negligence to be sued by a person. If you are accused, who is going to defend you? Continue reading →
I probably should have written this in May when it could have been helpful for your summer vacation, but better late than never. Traveling is a lot of fun. You don’t want a claim to ruin your vacation, so you need to make good decisions when you travel. One major concern when you fly to your destination is you don’t have your personal vehicle with you, so you need a rental car. A rental car of course, means rental car insurance. Do you have it already or should you purchase it? Well, it depends…
If you are renting a car, be prepared. Don’t wait until you are at the rental desk to ask questions. No one definitive answer about rental car insurance is right for everyone. It all depends on the type of personal auto insurance you have, possible credit card coverage (be careful) and the laws of the state in which you are renting the vehicle. Can you begin to see the many variables and possible problems impacting rental car coverage? Continue reading →
What’s the #1 natural disaster in the US? Any guesses? I bet if I polled ten people, eight out of ten would answer incorrectly. This disaster isn’t usually on the radar of the average insurance client. I see coverage for it purchased only if a mortgage company requires it. I and my agents at Beacon Insurance Advisers always ask about this insurance coverage. We provide information about this natural disaster in every new business appointment, but very few clients choose to purchase this insurance unless required by the mortgage company. Have you guessed it yet? FLOOD! Floods are the most common and devastating natural disaster in the US; yet, too many clients ignore this biggest disaster. Flood damage occurs when a big quantity of water flows over land, seeping into your home through doors and windows. Continue reading →
Fall always seems to be a hectic time of year. Summer vacations are over, the kids are back in school, and some parents are sending their young adults off to new adventures at college. Sending your young adult off to college involves a mountain of options to consider.
The college years can be a scary time for parents, and we probably don’t know half of what our young adults face today. Several challenges and hurdles stand between you and making sure you and your college-aged children are properly protected. I hear so many claim stories about liability limits being paid from a parent’s policy because of the foolish actions of a young adult. I know, I know, it won’t happen to you, but let’s be prepared if it does.
When attorneys line up to sue, they sue everyone in the area. If your child is in wrong place at the wrong time, it could cost you your life’s savings. What happens if a fire is accidentally started in an apartment complex and someone is injured? How much insurance would it take to protect your assets? Accidents and bad decisions happen all the time. I want you to consider several factors when choosing a policy for your young adult dependents. Continue reading →
I remember around 1992 when Roane State announced the school was adopting a new technology tool to make communicating with other staff members easier and more convenient. This new tool was email. Fortunately for me, I had a terrific boss, Judy Tyl, who was far more patient with me than I deserved. Any way….I complained to her about how email would make things so much more impersonal. Growing up in a small community, (one caution light and one school with grades 1-12 on the same campus) I was a people kind of person. I wanted to be able to look people in the eye when having a discussion with them or at least hear the tone in their voice over the phone. Back then I had no idea what email would create and what a technology prisoner I would become. Continue reading →
I must say, transitioning from the education (teaching/coaching) world to the insurance world in 1997 (yes again, I am old!) was an amazing wake up call for me. I immediately experienced the distrust that came with the insurance industry. As my step-dad said directly to my face, “that’s one rung up from a used car salesman.” From September 1997 to current day, I’ve worked hard to change the negative perception of (and in some cases the reality of) bad insurance salespeople. Unfortunately, many in our industry (as in all industries) are not true professionals. These unprofessional order-takers will write any type of policy to get a payday without realizing or caring about the financial devastation to their clients from this malpractice. I see this happen frequently at call centers where customer service representatives are “bonused” if they sell any type of policy. Can you imagine someone putting a client’s lifestyle in danger because of an extra $25 a month? Continue reading →
I read an article yesterday (trying to stay up-to-date) in Insurance Journal, quoting a study that found “representation by a local agent has increased in importance the most over the past 5 years (45%) compared to other touch points related to insurance.” As many as 38% of shoppers based their decisions on agent recommendations. This tells me that over a third of the population understands the importance of professional advice. Where are you? Let me give you 5 reasons the other 62% of the population should know the importance of a local agent.
#1 Buying Local
Agents are local representatives in your local community. Being involved in the community is important, and many agents sponsor events and charities. This giving back helps on multiple levels. I see agents serving on boards of charitable organizations. This takes time and resources to help the less fortunate. Also, agencies employ several local representatives contributing to the success of the community. Giving jobs to young professionals is a big plus of agencies. All these factors are a win/win for the agent and the community. Continue reading →
Auto insurance varies from state to state. When you move to a new state, you need to convert your auto insurance to comply with your new state’s rules. We frequently deal with clients who have moved to Knoxville but have been extremely slow to update their driver’s license, car registration, and auto insurance. These clients rent a home or an apartment here, yet keep an out of state vehicle registration, driver’s license, and insurance. Mostly they tend to delay these changes until they are ready to purchase a home. Once they start the home purchase process, they look at moving their auto insurance, and frankly, this is too late. I recently insured a client (both home and auto) who still had auto insurance in Texas, but he had been living in Tennessee for 2 years! This is NOT a good idea. He had taken on a load of liability that he probably wasn’t even aware of. He was very fortunate he was not involved in an accident. Continue reading →
It’s summer! Like many of you, we here at Beacon Insurance Advisers like to hit the road and enjoy some vacation time with our family and friends, but we also need to stay connected to the office while we are away. Voila—the smartphone! Smartphones have become an essential part of our lives. They give us instant access to maps, flight details, hotel reservations, restaurant reviews, a camera, and dozens of handy travel apps while also providing us with email, internet access, and needed office tools. While smartphones offer great convenience, a few travel tips can make for a more safe and enjoyable time away.
Traveling with your device requires more than just simply slipping it in your pocket as you leave for vacation. What happens if your phone is lost or stolen? What if you forget to pack your charger? And, maybe most importantly, how do you use your phone without annoying those around you?
With peak summer travel season in session, these tips can help:
1. Power up: A smartphone is only a great travel tool if it has power, so plug in and charge your phone overnight while you sleep. If you forget your charger, check with your hotel — they may provide charging accessories. Does your battery always run low? Check your settings to see if a particular app is using up more power than others. I recently changed my notification settings and improved the battery life on my phone about 25%. Keeping your apps and your operating system updated can also decrease battery drain. Get a power bank or add-on battery, so you can charge without an outlet. I spent about $20 on a 15000 mAh power bank from Amazon several years ago. Fully charged, it provided extra power for two phones for a week while I was vacationing recently. Be sure your power bank is matched to your phone and your power needs.
2. Lock it: A simple passcode can make a big difference when it comes to protecting the personal data on your phone. And, consider activating the “Find My Phone” feature available for most smartphones. This software can help you locate your phone using GPS if it is lost or stolen. Most smartphones also allow you to control and/or wipe data from your phone remotely. And, while we’re discussing data security, this is a great time to remind you to back up your phone. When is the last time you did that? A regular backup schedule ensures your pictures, videos, and other information can be easily recovered if your phone is lost, stolen, or damaged.
If your phone is one of the millions stolen every year, don’t panic. First, try to locate and lock your phone remotely. If it contains crucial or sensitive data, consider wiping your phone to protect that information. Then, contact the police, your wireless provider, and your financial institutions if you use your phone for banking, paying bills, etc. If your phone is insured, contact your insurance provider too.
3. Be mindful of others: If you must take a call while you are traveling, finish it before you board the plane or sit down at the table. Set your ringer to silent or vibrate. And, when you’re in a crowded space, text instead of talking. Others in the vicinity will thank you.
Finally, remember to enjoy your surroundings. You are on vacation after all. Put your phone away and connect with those around you. Maybe later tonight you can post that picture on social media showing how much fun you had…