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As we get closer to the time of celebration and being grateful, it’s a good time to think about all you are thankful for. One thing that may not always come to mind is your independent insurance agent! When looking into getting your own set of insurance policies, no one else is going to have your back like your local agent. This Thanksgiving season, here are five reasons to be thankful for your local independent insurance agent.


Finding The Best Policy For You

Your insurance agent is always looking out for what is best for you and your circumstances. They are focused on providing the right policy that will match your specific needs – no ifs, ands, or buts about it.


Explaining Everything You Need to Know

Your agent is there to explain everything so you fully understand exactly what you are getting with your policy. In addition, they are happy to explain all the risks and evaluate all options when it comes to insurance! They are focusing on more than what specific insurance carriers provide to help you identify potential areas of exposure.


Bundle Your Personal Policy

One of the best things your agent does for you is building a personal insurance bundle that is specially catered to you! They are able to bundle multiple policies from various carriers in order to cover all of your needs in one package and cover your needs all year-round. 


Community Focused

Your local agent is also a member of your community! They are committed to your success and the success of others throughout the community! They are also great at connecting people throughout the community and creating everlasting networking opportunities for you.


Knowledge Beyond Insurance

Your agent will often provide more knowledge than that of their insurance expertise. As they have worked with many individuals and businesses throughout the years, they are covered in many different types of situations that all require different sets of coverages. This can be beneficial if you are experiencing a situation where you need coverage but aren’t sure what policy is best suited. 


Give your local agent a call and let them know you are thankful to have them in your life!

If you own a business, you may be familiar with the term Business Owner’s Policy, otherwise known as a BOP. This policy combines business property and business liability insurance into one business insurance policy. The intention of a BOP is to help cover your business from claims resulting from things like fire, theft, or any other covered disasters. Additionally, this policy can cover claims that could arise from your business’s operation. Claims such as bodily injury, personal injury, advertising injury, or general property damage.


Requirements to Qualify for a BOP


Not all businesses are eligible for a business owner’s policy. Of course, as with most things, different insurance providers will have a varying set of requirements the business owner must pass in order to achieve eligibility. These requirements can range from the business location, the size of the location, revenue, and class of business. Did you know that most insurance providers only cover businesses that handle all business on-premises? 


Who Needs a Business Owner’s Policy?


These are the business types that are typically eligible for BOPs: retail stores, apartment buildings, small restaurants, and office-based businesses. If you fit into any of these three options, you should look into getting a Business Owner’s Policy:


  • Your business has a physical location.
  • There’s a possibility of you getting sued. 
  • You have assets that could get stolen or damaged. 


What is Included in a BOP?


Business owner’s insurance usually includes:


  • Commercial Property Insurance 
  • General Liability Insurance
  • Business Income Insurance


What Else Do You Need?


It’s important to remember that business owner’s packages do not cover professional liability, auto insurance, worker’s compensation, or health and disability insurance. Once you’ve begun looking into insurance you will need to purchase separate insurance policies to cover professional services, vehicles, and your employees.


Interested in adding a business owner’s policy to your coverages? Reach out to your local agent to learn more.

Umbrella insurance, usually referred to as excess liability insurance, is a form of personal liability insurance that covers claims in excess of regular homeowners, auto, or watercraft policy coverage. An umbrella insurance policy is put in place to help the policyholder pay what they owe. To put it in simple terms, if a dollar limit of the original policy has been used the umbrella insurance is used as a fail-safe so the policyholder will not have to dip into their savings fund to pay the outstanding balance. 


Costs and Premiums 

Like many insurance policies, the cost of an umbrella insurance policy will depend on how much coverage you are purchasing, the state where you reside (insurance rates tend to vary by the state), and the risk of insuring you will cost the insurance company covering you. Depending on the number of cars, homes, and family members needing coverage will decide the cost of the policy. The more you have of each, the more expensive the policy will be. Among other types of insurance, umbrella insurance is considered to be quite cheap in comparison with how much the policy actually covers. 

There are always premiums involved with insurance. If you have purchased an auto, home, or watercraft insurance policy through the same carrier it may be a little less expensive to add an umbrella policy through that same carrier. Of course, depending on the policy provider, the policyholder who is wishing to add an umbrella insurance policy will be required to have a base insurance coverage of $150,000 to $250,000 for auto insurance and $250,000 to $300,000 for homeowners insurance.


What Isn’t Covered?

The best part about umbrella insurance policies is that they are focused on providing broad coverages. Any incident that the policy does not specifically exclude is covered. Remember that there is no insurance policy that covers everything! Below is a list of things that may not be covered by an umbrella policy:


  • Damage of your own property. This is a form of liability policy, so it will only cover if you do damage to someone else’s property. 
  • Any damage caused on purpose by you or a covered member of the policy. 
  • A liability incurred in business or professional activities. Business liability insurance is needed to cover these types of incidents.
  • The liability you agreed to assume under a contract you signed.
  • Liability related to war or armed conflicts. 


Wanting to learn more about umbrella insurance and maybe add it to your coverages? Reach out to your local agent for more information. 

The first question that you may be asking yourself is, “When will I ever have a vacant property?” It’s surprising how common owning a vacant property is. There are four common scenarios where you may have possession of a vacant property:

  • You own rental properties and are between tenants
  • You’ve moved for a new job but your house is unsold
  • A property is undergoing renovations
  • As executor, you are selling a house to close an estate


Depending on the length of the property’s vacancy, the type of policy you are required to have will change. 


Longer Vacancies Require Special Policies

Longer vacancies (usually a year and beyond) require you to purchase a special policy. This policy is traditionally known as peril protection. Peril protection covers the causes of loss listed by name in the policy documents (fire, lightning, wind, hail, explosion, and others). The upside is that this policy covers all the essentials but it doesn’t cover everything. If you have a total or partial loss, having Actual Cash Value (ACV) loss settlement coverage will settle the actual cash value of the loss reported. This ACV will take depreciation into account when settling the claim. 


Policy Terms Available

  • 3 months
  • 6 months
  • 12 months


Eligible Home Types 

  • The home must reflect proper maintenance
  • Up to four-family construction
  • Valued up to $500,000 (most states > $1M in a few)
  • Renovations in the process are accepted without surcharge


Vacant Properties Are at a Higher Risk

Did you know that vacant properties represent a higher risk to insurance companies versus a property that is occupied all the time? The reason for this is the lack of an eye on the property increases the chance of damages, vandalism, or other mischief that could occur. In addition to this, the lack of regular maintenance on the property increases the chance of water and fire damages. If you are needing vacant property insurance to cover an older building that wasn’t maintained properly can increase your risk profile and premiums. 


Need to add vacant property insurance to your coverages? Reach out to your local agent for more information.

We are living in an almost fully digital world and it’s becoming more of a challenge to protect yourself online. In order to protect your personal data against the growing identity thieves, it’s important to take steps to minimize your odds of being victimized. The overall goal with these steps is to build as many effective obstacles and tripwires are possible with your personal data. This type of strategy is bound to frustrate and discourage identity thieves that are attempting to access your information. This will lead them to either give up entirely or look for another target whose data is easier to obtain. 


Steps to Protect Yourself


  • Set-Up Passwords
    • Passwords are needed to protect your data. Not having a password on your computer or smartphone – and on all financial accounts, too – is akin to leaving your home with the door wide open.
  • Mix Up Your Passwords
    • Mix up your passwords in order to keep intruders from getting into additional accounts of yours that use the same passwords. Don’t include your name or your birthday in any passwords.
  • Stay Away From Shady Websites and Links
    • If you suspect a link isn’t legitimate, don’t click on it, and never type in your username or password on an unfamiliar login screen.
  • Never Give Out Personal Information
    • No legitimate organization (such as the IRS) will call and ask you for personal information—like a bank or credit card PIN number or Social Security number.
  • Establish Fraud Alerts if Needed
    • With fraud alerts, financial services, or data security companies normally text or place a phone call to consumers if there is a suspected security breach or if spending on a card or account doesn’t match up with your habits or recent location.
  • Limit Your Exposure
    • Limit the number of credit cards you carry in your wallet, so if it’s stolen you can minimize the impact.




It’s important to never take the security of your personal data for granted. Identity thieves are always out there and ready to strike whenever the opportunity presents itself. They will always aim for those who are labeled as unprepared and most vulnerable because this is where they see gold. Ultimately, it is up to the user to stop identity theft from occurring. 


Want to add identity theft insurance to your coverages? Reach out to your local agent to find out more. 

Home inspections are a visual assessment of a home’s physical structure and mechanical systems. This includes the roof, ceiling, walls, floors, windows, and doors. The home inspector has a list of items to go through while checking the home. They will typically check if major appliances remain functional, check the heating and air-conditioning system, look over the plumbing and electrical system throughout the home, and look around the attic and basement areas if the home has them. 


The overall goal of the home inspection is to uncover any underlying issues that may not be presentable to the naked eye. Inspectors will not tell you if you are getting a good deal or offer an opinion in regard to the sale price of the home. 


Exterior Inspection May Include:


  • Chimney
  • Roof
  • Gutters
  • Exterior Surfaces (brick, vinyl, etc.)
  • Windows and Doors
  • Foundation
  • Property


Interior Inspection May Include:


  • Attic
  • Bedrooms, Living Rooms, and Dining Room
  • Bathrooms
  • Kitchens
  • Ceilings, Floors, and Walls
  • Fireplace
  • Basement/Foundation


The Report


The home inspector will provide an extensive report back to you. These types of reports will contain checklists, summaries, photographs, and notes. There may be an estimate of the remaining life span of major systems and equipment throughout the home, as well as the roof, structure, paint, and finishes. The information listed will include recommendations on repair and replacements for the home. Keep in mind that a home inspection is not a pass-fail exam.


Looking to invest in home insurance? Reach out to your local agent for more information!

The first step in planning your retirement is thinking about retirement goals and how long you have to meet those goals. Next on the list is to look at the different types of retirement accounts that are available for you to help accumulate the money needed to fund your future. As this money is saved, you will need to invest in it to see it grow. Unfortunately, there is a surprise that no one likes: taxes. If you’ve received tax deductions over the years for the money you’ve contributed to your retirement accounts, a significant tax bill awaits when you start withdrawing those savings. 


Timing Your Retirement


The best way to time out your retirement is to break it up into different components. A multi-stage retirement plan must integrate various time horizons, along with the corresponding liquidity needs, to determine the optimal allocation strategy. As a general note, rebalancing your portfolio over time as your time horizon changes will be beneficial. As an example we could say that a parent is wanting to retire in two years, pay for their child’s tuition when they turn 18, and move to Florida. Looking at this scenario to form a retirement plan – the best strategy would be broken up into three separate periods. Two years until retirement (contributions are actively being made to the plan), saving and paying for tuition fees, and the move to Florida (regular withdrawals to cover the living expenses). 


After-Tax Rate of Investment Returns


Everything is always dependent on the type of retirement account you are holding. Investment returns are typically taxed, but this could be different depending on the retirement account held. The actual rate of return must be calculated on an after-tax basis. Determining the tax status when you begin to withdraw funds is a crucial component of the retirement-planning process. 


Estate Planning


Another key step in creating a well-rounded retirement plan is estate planning. Each aspect of a well-rounded retirement plan requires expertise from multiple sources, such as lawyers and accountants, in that specific field. Life insurance is also an important part of an estate plan and the retirement-planning process. Ensuring that you have both life insurance and a proper estate plan protects your assets from being distributed properly. A carefully outlined plan will aid in avoiding an expensive and often lengthy probate process. 


Need to know more about making your retirement plan? Reach out to your local agent today to learn more. 

With the cooler months slowly setting in, parts of the country are going to start seeing the first traces of snow, sleet, freezing rain, and ice forming over the roads. This can create added challenges to our daily lives, the most important being safe car operation. You can increase your driving safety during these months by doing a few simple things. We have listed a few of these strategies below so you can keep yourself and your family safe when winter weather becomes a problem. 


All in One: Service at an Auto Shop


Before any harsh winter conditions startup, it’s important to have your vehicle serviced to be fully prepared for what the weather can bring. Below is a list of important items to have properly serviced to help your vehicle run at its full capacity. 


  • Battery – Battery power decreases as the temperature drops, meaning that it takes more power to start your car in the winter.
  • Cooling system – It is recommended to maintain a ratio between 50/50 and 70/30 of antifreeze to water. 
  • Brakes – Cold weather doesn’t necessarily hurt your brakes, but a thorough inspection can ensure the best performance when driving in winter conditions.
  • Belts, hoses, spark plugs, wires, and cables – These can go bad at any time of year, but if they go bad during the winter you could be stranded in a very cold place for a very long time.


Winter Tires 


The climate of your city can affect your need for winter tires. If you live in an area that does not experience harsh winters, keeping or investing in all-season tires will help you just fine! If you do live somewhere that experiences harsh winters often, it is in your best interest to invest in winter tires to handle all the terrain challenges that come with the new weather wave. In addition to the snow, sleet, and freezing rain, when the temperature is consistently hovering around or below freezing the rubber compounds in non-winter tires will harden, which decreases the tire’s ability to grip the road. This is why winter tires are so beneficial to those who live in areas that are heavily affected by winter weather. Winter tires use special compounds engineered to resist hardening in cold temperatures, which provide better traction in ice, snow, slush, and even dry pavement. 


Pack a Winter Safety Kit


It is important to also have a “winter safety kit” in your vehicle at all times during the winter. If something goes astray or you experience an issue, having these items could help you in a pinch. 


  • First aid kit
  • Pack of matches
  • Flares
  • Flashlight 
  • Batteries
  • Ice scraper
  • Warm clothing (jacket, boots, socks, and hat)
  • Non-perishable food and drinks
  • Jumper cables
  • Bag of sand
  • Shovel
  • Cellphone
  • Car tool kit
  • Extra antifreeze


If you are interested in learning more about insuring your vehicle, reach out to your local agent today.

As Halloween approaches, people everywhere are beginning to decorate their houses and front yards as haunted mansions and deserted graveyards. While it is easy to go all out (because who doesn’t love spooky Halloween decorations?), it is important to consider potential safety threats that exist when using significant amounts of electricity to power your decorations. Consider these 5 safety tips as you decorate for this Halloween.

Do Not Exceed Electricity Limitations

It is important to be aware of how much electricity your decorations are using in total and compare that to your home’s circuit breaker limitations. If you overload your home’s electricity, you could cause a power outage or worse, a power surge that could permanently damage your home’s appliances.

Use LED Lights Whenever Possible

While other types of bulbs are not always inherently dangerous, LED light bulbs present the lowest risk of fires because they produce very little heat. Not only this, but LED lights draw power more efficiently than other bulbs and are far less likely to overload an outlet because of that. Furthermore, they are more suitable for outdoor use and last significantly longer than their counterparts.

Only Use Outdoor Decorations Outside

While this might seem obvious, you might be surprised to find that a particular decoration is not recommended for outdoor use. The reason behind this is that an electronic component of a decoration could become damaged by water or wildlife. In the worst-case scenario, this could cause an electrical fire. Before you use any electronic decoration outside, always check the warning labels.

“Child-Proof” Interior Decorations

If you have children, expect that they will try to play with any decoration you have on the inside of your home. Toddlers present a great risk of electrocution because of their tendency to chew on things. Do not leave electrical decorations in places that your child could reach them in order to prevent harm to them. This same principle goes for pets such as dogs or cats.

Make Sure You’re Covered

Even with all of these precautions taken, a disaster can happen in a matter of seconds with unknown causes. It is important that you are protected financially in the event of an electrical fire destroying your home or a power surge ruining your appliances. With Homeowners Insurance, the burden of repair costs on your home in the event of a disaster is lifted. Even if you lose your home, with the right homeowners insurance plan, you rest knowing that you’ll be taken care of. 

So as you plan for the upcoming holiday, consider these five tips to keep you and your loved ones safe during “Spooky Season.”

Many American families consume sugary drinks like soda, energy drinks, sweetened coffee, or fruit juice on a daily basis but do not fully realize the effects these beverages have on their health. In addition to contributing to weight gain, type 2 diabetes, and increasing the risk of heart disease, drinking sugary drinks also has detrimental consequences for your dental health. 

What Makes Sugary Drinks So Harmful? 

Beverages like soda—considered the most harmful of sugary drinks—include acids such as phosphoric acid, carbonic acid, and citric acid among their top ingredients. Your mouth naturally contains harmful bacteria that interact with the sugars you consume and produce acid as a result. This acid is harmful to your teeth on its own, but once you add to that the acids found in sugary drinks, the result is an even greater risk of dental damage like enamel erosion and cavities. 

You might think diet or sugar-free drinks are a better choice since they contain little to no sugar. However acid is the key factor here, and diet drinks are still high in acids that can have damaging effects on your teeth.

It’s not just soft drinks that are harmful to teeth. Beverages with high sugar content such as fruit juice or sports drinks still interact with the mouth’s bacteria to produce damaging acids. This means that even if they don’t drink soda, your children can still be at risk for dental damage caused by acid. 

What Can Happen to Your Teeth?

Many people are aware of the negative health effects of regularly drinking sugary beverages, but even casual consumption of these drinks can cause lasting damage to your teeth. Two of the most common dental issues that arise from this habit are enamel erosion and cavities. 

Enamel Erosion

Tooth enamel is the hardest substance in the human body, but it can still be damaged. Remember those acids we just talked about? Here’s where they come into play. Both the acid created by your mouth’s bacteria and the acid found in sugar-filled drinks erode the enamel on your teeth. Enamel is the protective layer on the outside of your teeth, so the loss of it leads them to become weaker, thinner, and more susceptible to tooth decay. Some symptoms of enamel erosion include sensitivity to hot or cold foods and discoloration on the teeth. Once it is damaged, tooth enamel cannot be restored.


As the enamel erodes it can expose the inner layer of the teeth, called dentin. While this exposure is painful on its own, it also leads to the creation of cavities. Cavities are often difficult to detect in their early stages but once they progress, signs include pain or sensitivity, dark stains, and even holes in the teeth. 

Dental Insurance Offers Protection

If you are concerned that your consumption of sugary drinks has caused conditions like enamel erosion or tooth decay, you need to visit your dentist immediately before the problem progresses – and put down the soda! With great dental insurance, you don’t have to worry about the effect that going to the dentist will have on your bank account. Many people’s employers offer dental coverage, but if yours does not, a private plan is an excellent option. Reach out to your agent today to learn more.