Things You Should Know About Flood Insurance

You may think you only need flood insurance if you live in an area by the water. You don’t have to live on or by the shore to be in a flood zone. In fact, flood zones are everywhere, including landlocked subdivisions. An estimated 41 million Americans live in flood zones all across the country. Therefore, it is essential to be prepared before a flood with the proper amount of insurance. Here are the things you should know about flood insurance before talking to your agent.

 

Binding Suspension

Purchasing flood insurance usually comes with strict rules. This is so there isn’t a rush of policy purchases in the middle of the storm. When shopping for flood insurance, you’ll be told of your agency’s “binding suspension rule”. A binding suspension rule exists for most flood insurance policies. They are usually worded something like this:

No application for new coverage or endorsement for increased coverage may be bound, written or issued, or monies received, regardless of effective date, when a tropical depression, tropical storm, hurricane watch, or hurricane warning has been issued by the National Weather Service.”

All this fancy wording means is that you can’t increase your coverage when a tropical storm or hurricane is known to be on its way. For this reason, it’s critical to get adequate coverage before unexpected weather hits.

Waiting Periods

When you purchase flood insurance there is a 30-day waiting period before any damage is covered. Once this waiting period is complete your policy “starts”.

 

Whether you live in a flood zone or near one, it’s time to purchase flood insurance. And it is best to do it now instead of waiting for the next storm. If you’re unsure what you need, our experienced agents can help you out and walk you through the process. Give us a call today to get your policy in place.

Your Homeowners Insurance

The year 2020 has caused many of us to transform our homes into offices, schools and more.   Since you and your family are spending more time online, you should consider carrying cyber liability coverage to protect your personal or business information.

Many of us took advantage of being home to improve or modify our homes to accommodate our new circumstances.  Do you need to update your homeowners coverages?  Did you turn a garage or basement into an office or schoolroom?  Did you put an addition on your home?  Did you remodel a kitchen or bathroom?  Did you add a pool?  Did the value of your home increase because of these or because home values in your area increased?

With all the home remodeling going on and the national catastrophes, the cost of labor and materials has increased.  That means that in case of a loss it will cost more to repair the damage so make sure your policy has replacement cost coverage.

If you serve on any boards as a volunteer or paid member, make sure that organization carries a Directors & Officers insurance policy.

These are some of the things you should discuss with your insurance agent to make sure you have the right coverages for your protection.  Call the Leigh Agency today and let us help you have peace of mind.

Insuring Jewelry and Other Valuables

Whether you have an impressive jewelry collection or just have one or two valuable pieces you want to make sure they are protected in case of the unexpected. Some jewelry might be covered under your homeowners’ policy. But if you own a particularly valuable piece of jewelry, or one that carries very sentimental value, your coverage may be lacking. Here is a little information on insuring your jewelry and other valuables.

 

Inventory

You or your insurance company will have no idea what the value of all your jewelry is until you do a thorough inventory and appraisal check. This takes a little homework on your part. You will need to make a list of all the items you are insuring and their current market value. You would need this information anyway while making a claim or filling out a police report in the event of theft. An easy and efficient way to do this is to create a list with each piece of jewelry listed and its corresponding monetary value. You should include photos of the items as well.  Physical photographs should be kept separately, along with receipts and any certificates of stone quality. It is also recommended that you should store a paper copy of your list or spreadsheet with these records.

Appraisal

What if you do not know the value of your jewelry? That is where a professional appraisal would come in. Some jewelry stores provide free appraisals for current or past customers, so be sure to keep that in mind. Keep all records of your professional appraisals with your existing records.

Check Your Policies

Contact the Leigh Agency and ask about your existing homeowners or renters insurance policy. You may have existing blanket coverage for your jewelry or specific coverage on certain pieces. Ask us about additional riders to cover specific high-cost items.

 

At Leigh Agency, we can help you find the perfect coverage for your jewelry or valuables. We also work with an insurance company who specializes only in jewelry coverage. Give us a call with any questions today!

When a Renter Should Call Their Landlord or Insurance Company

When you rent an apartment or a home, it is essential to purchase renter’s insurance. If something happens to the property itself, that is the landlord’s responsibility. However, if something happens to your personal belongings inside the building, your landlord is usually not liable. Here are some examples of when you should contact either your landlord or your insurance company.

 

Pipe Burst or Flooding

If a pipe bursts in your apartment or there is any sort of flooding, you should contact your landlord right away. Then, it is time to assess the damage and contact your insurance company. If any of your personal belongings like furniture, electronics, or valuables are damaged – they should be covered under your renter’s insurance policy.

Theft or Break-In

If there is a break-in at your home, call 911 right away. After that, your landlord should be contacted. After the authorities have made sure it is safe for you to return and you have made all the necessary reports to the police, contact your insurance company. They will want to know what items were stolen and will need copies of all related police reports.

Fire

You should always call 911 at the first sign of a fire in your home. After that, your landlord should be contacted next. If the fire department deems your property safe to re-enter, then you can assess the damages and contact your insurance company.

 

It is important to remember that rental insurance will not cover security deposits. If your landlord decides to keep a portion of or all your deposit for any damage incurred to his property, that is separate from your policy. It is also important to understand your policy and what is and is not covered. Be sure to ask your insurance agent if you have any questions!

Insurance Tips to Keep in Mind if Your Business is Going Virtual

2020 drastically changed the way we all do business. Businesses all over are embracing remote work and even plan to keep the new practices in the coming year. But now that your business is going virtual, do you need the same insurance? Do you need more or less? Here are some insurance tips to keep in mind if your business is going virtual.

 

Why do online businesses need insurance?

Before we get started with the tips, it is essential to understand why you need insurance. This includes any business primarily operating online. Doing business virtually is not just about operating your website. You are also using email, social media, and other online platforms that all come with their own risks. Hacking, fraud, and lawsuits are all possibilities – so keeping your business protected with the proper insurance coverage is essential.

Data Breach and Cyber Liability

Operating virtually means you probably have large amounts of sensitive and confidential customer information stored in your servers or online portals. Data breach insurance can keep you covered if there is some sort of cyber-attack on your stored data. The policies can potentially cover the costs of notifying your customers, offering credit monitoring, and restoring your business’s reputation.

Consider a Business Owner’s Policy

Many online business owners prefer a business owner’s policy because it combines several different coverages into one. These are the policies that can be included and what they cover:

  • General Liability – This policy will cover claims of bodily injury or property damage.
  • Commercial Property Insurance – This policy will help protect any owned or rented physical location, equipment, or tool your business uses.
  • Business Income Insurance – This will help cover any lost income if you experience a loss or property damage.

 

Transitioning to operating a business virtually can be a bit tricky. Feel free to reach out to us with any insurance-related questions!

What Is and Isn’t Covered in a Homeowner’s Insurance Policy

Homeowner’s insurance helps provide financial coverage for your home and personal belongings. It consists of different coverages that help you pay for repairs on your home or the replacement of belongings in the event of losses. It also may cover costs if you accidentally damage someone else’s property. Let us take a closer look at what is and is not covered in a homeowner’s insurance policy.

 

Your Home

Your homeowner’s insurance policy will cover the physical building of your home. This includes your dwelling’s foundation, walls, and roof. It may also include structures that are attached to your home like a deck, balcony, or garage. You will have to ask your insurance company for specifics on your dwelling policy.

Personal Property

Most homeowner’s policies cover personal property as well as the home itself. This would include electronics, furniture, or valuables. Different policies have different levels of coverage, so it is important to understand what personal property is included and excluded in your policy.

Liability Protection

A typical homeowner’s insurance policy includes liability coverage. Liability insurance can potentially cover you if a non-household member is injured on your property. For example, if a visitor trips over a broken step or slips on your driveway and gets hurt, this could be covered under your liability policy. Your policy might cover legal or medical costs. You could even increase your liability coverage by adding a personal umbrella policy. Be sure to ask your agent about all your options.

 

It is important to find a homeowner’s insurance policy that works for you and your home. We can work with you directly to customize your policy to fit your specific needs. Be sure you are aware of what your policy does and does not cover, so there are no major surprises when you call to file a claim. Do not hesitate to ask us any of your insurance-related questions!

How to Properly Care For Your Motorcycle in the Winter

Just because you are not riding your motorcycle much in the colder weather, does not mean you can just park it in the garage and ignore it. It requires yearlong care if you want it to be in tip-top shape when you are ready to ride. Here are some tips on how to properly care for your motorcycle in the winter.

 

Thorough Cleaning

One of the first things you should do is clean your motorcycle thoroughly. Especially if it is going to be idle for a long winter, make sure you do not have any dirt or grime that could corrode parts of the motorcycle while it is not being used.

Maintain Your Battery

Cold weather is extremely harsh on batteries, especially if you are not riding at all. Check the terminals often and clean them when needed. If you can open the battery, make sure the electrolyte is topped off. Also, keep it charging anytime you are not using the motorcycle.

Keep an Eye on Your Fuel

Gas contains ethanol, which absorbs moisture from the surrounding air. During the spring and summer, this is not an issue. However, in the winter as your motorcycle is sitting in the garage, it can accumulate quite a bit of water that settles into the tank and fuel system. Fuel can also degrade over time, leaving deposits in different components in your engine. Look into different kinds of gas preservatives and drop a few ounces into your tank.

Keep up With Oil Changes

Even though you are not riding often, you should still be changing your oil regularly. Since your engine is not running as much as the warmer months, gunk and oil byproducts can build up. You should increase your oil changes in the winter to prevent this.

 

Remember, have fun and be safe, but do not forget to take extra care of your motorcycle this winter!

Why Every Business Should Carry Liability Insurance

If you own a business, then you know the amount of responsibility and risk of running a successful operation. Part of these responsibilities is carrying an adequate amount of insurance. It can be overwhelming to decide what kind of coverage is best for your business. Let us take a look at why you should have liability insurance, and how much.

 

What is General Liability (GL) insurance?

General Liability insurance, also called small business liability or commercial liability insurance, protects your business against others’ claims. Those claims could include bodily injury, damage to property, or personal injury. For example, if someone comes to your business, slips, and breaks their ankle – then a general liability policy could cover their medical bills. As an additional example, if someone else’s property is damaged and your business is found to be responsible, then the costs to fix or replace the damaged property could be covered. These are just a couple of examples. However, general liability covers you for much more that what is covered above. Contact us to learn more ways a GL policy would protect your specific business.

Why does my business need GL insurance?

Even if you are a small business owner, the costs associated with the instances mentioned above could be astronomical. The financial burden could theoretically be so high that it could put you out of business or deliver such a financial blow that you will be spending years recovering. General liability insurance would save you from that scenario, even if the unexpected were to happen. Even if you have the type of business where instances like that would not happen, you would be surprised what you could still be found liable for.

Get the Right Kind of General Liability Insurance for Your Business

There is no one size fits all package when it comes to liability insurance for your business. So, it’s critical that you sit down with your agent and work out the best coverage for your needs. Make sure you understand just what is covered, and for how much.

 

Every business should carry liability insurance. If you do not have a GL policy, or are not sure if your current one is adequate, then we can help!

How to Avoid a Liability Claim on Your Property in the Winter

Now that we are into colder temperatures and icy weather, it is a great time to make sure your property is ready. It is important to maintain your property during the winter months to keep your family safe and avoid others hurting themselves. There are so many claims made in the wintertime. Property damage, injury due to falls, and countless others are very common. Here are some ways to avoid a liability claim on your property in the winter.

 

Prevent Ice

Ice is the biggest thing to focus on to avoid winter liability claims. Do all you can to prevent ice on and around your property. Someone slipping on ice and hurting themselves, or being hit by falling ice from your roof, could cost you big time in liability claims. First, you should cover all the obvious possible culprits. Be sure to salt and shovel your driveway and walkways anytime there is a snowfall. Always keep your front porch and steps de-iced and dry. Also, consider adding handrails to any stairs on your property.

Check Your Trees

Liability claims are often filed after winter storms. To avoid causing damage to your neighbor’s property, always keep branches and limbs trimmed. Inspect any trees that are close to your property line for any rot or other issues. A fallen tree can inflict a large amount of damage, so it is best to spend the money now to remove or trim the tree, instead of later when it falls on a house or garage.

Be Aware of Your Coverage

Do you know what would be covered if you have something happen on your property this winter? It is critical to know what you are covered for and how much. Your insurance agent can assess your current risk and help pick the best coverage for your needs.

 

Not sure if you have enough liability coverage? We can help you sort through it and make sure you are prepared this winter. Give us a call!

The End of the Year is a Good Time to Review Your Insurance Policies

You get your teeth cleaned and checked once a year. You get a physical from your doctor once a year. You take your car in for an inspection once a year. And you probably talk to your financial planner once a year. So why wouldn’t you review your insurance policies once a year? Each year’s end is a perfect time to review all your policies to make sure they are still fitting your current needs. Read on to learn more and what to consider for each policy.

 

Home Insurance

When reevaluating your home insurance policy, think about any new purchases or gifts you have acquired over the year. Add all new valuables under your existing policy. If you updated your home at all, for example – renovated your kitchen, this will need to be considered in a new policy. Also, adding things like pools, hot tubs, trampolines, or even adopting a particular dog breed will require higher liability coverage.

Car Insurance

If you have purchased a new car, or paid off an existing one, you will need to update your auto insurance policy. Once you have paid off a vehicle, you may consider dropping your comprehensive or collision coverage or even raising your deductible.

Small Business Insurance

If you are a business owner, this is crucial every year. However, it is even more imperative if you consider how many businesses made major changes to navigate all the challenges presented this year. Make sure your coverage is adequate for your business going into next year after all of the adjustments you may have made this year.

 

The end of the year is a perfect time to review all your insurance policies to make sure they are still fitting your current needs. Once you have done that, you can start the new year with a little peace of mind.