How to Avoid Distracted Driving

Driving while distracted is a major contributor to automobile accidents in the United States. There are simple ways to cut down on distractions while driving. Safety for yourself, your passengers, and other drivers on the road should be your number one priority. Here are some tips to avoid distractions while on the road.

 

Keep Your Phone Away from Sight

Cellphones are a major factor in losing concentration while driving. It is why many states have banned cell phone use while driving. In New Jersey, it is against the law to use your phone while driving, and hands-free devices are required. While driving, you should always put safety first, so consider keeping your phone out of reach and out of sight. Placing your phone in a purse or the glove box can take away all temptation to check. Most smartphones have driving modes or settings that will turn off all notifications and disable texting so you can focus on the road.

Avoid Complicated Radio Functions

Trying to program channels or adjust audio settings can be completely disorienting while driving. Make it a habit to set up your music or listening material as soon as you get in your car. Keying up a playlist or a podcast, so it is all ready to go before you even leave your driveway, is a smart way to stay safe while being able to enjoy your music or news.

Teach Your Kids Passenger Safety

Be sure to educate your kids and young passengers on the importance of safety while driving. Explaining that loud noises, throwing toys, yelling, or fighting in the car can be very distracting and dangerous to the driver. Kids will be kids, but if they understand beforehand, you may be able to cut down on at least a little bit of mayhem.

 

Avoiding distracted driving is an important part of staying safe while on the road. Happy driving!

Spring Home Maintenance Suggestions

Spring cleaning time is here! The warm weather and fresh flowers bring an urge to refresh everything in your home. So now is the perfect time to get ahead on those home maintenance projects that couldn’t get done in the winter. Here are some spring home maintenance suggestions to get you through the next couple of months.

 

Clean Your Gutters

Winter storms bring a lot of gunk and debris that end up in your gutters. Any leaves leftover from the fall that are still caught in your gutters could clog in your entire system. Clogged gutters cause damage to any wood trim and can create rot or weak areas of your home where critters could get in.

Test Your Sprinkler System

If you have sprinklers or an irrigation system, Spring is the perfect time to test it. Make sure your sprinklers haven’t sustained any damage over the cold months. Check to see if your sprinklers are pointing in the right direction and heads are working properly.

Check for Cracks on Your Driveway

Cold temps, snow, and ice can all cause cracks and other damage to your driveway, walkways, and sidewalks. Driveway repair companies almost always offer specials in the Spring, so consider hiring a professional.

Check Window and Door Seals

The winter can wreak havoc on the seals around your windows and doors. The lack of a proper seal can result in much higher energy bills by your AC working extra hard. Water could also leak through and cause damage to your windows, doors, and walls.

 

Spring is the perfect time to check off those home maintenance projects, so your house is ready for spring and summer. While you are at it, give us a call to make sure your homeowner’s insurance policy is up to date.

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!