Buyer Beware of Online Insurance Shopping

There is no disputing that the internet has changed our lives in the past 15-20 years. It has altered how we live, shop, and interact with each other. Companies such as Facebook, Amazon, Google, and Apple have become household names. But technology has also brought the expectation that everything should be quick and easy. To meet this demand, some technology companies have tried their hand in the insurance space which can be problematic for the consumer.

While being able to access a quote online is a convenient and viable option for the consumer, there is a very dangerous reality that the consumer may end up with serious deficiencies in coverages if they only view the price when quoting online. The fact is not all quotes or policies are alike; some quotes offer higher limits, more “enhanced” coverages, coverage exclusions, and different deductibles. Unfortunately, most consumers do not realize these differences or deficiencies until a loss occurs.

Seeking a trusted independent insurance agent is the best option to avoid coverage gaps or deficiencies. Independent insurance agents are licensed professionals who can find the right coverage for the individual needs of a client, and at a fair price. Independent agents represent several different insurance companies so they can present the best options for the client. Insurance is an essential product in our everyday lives that can provide the invaluable piece of mind knowing your assets are protected. But buying insurance online to seek the best price, may leave you exposed to uncovered loss exposures you were not aware of. As the old saying goes, “the devil is in the details.” It may be prudent, but it’s important to take your time when quoting online so coverages can be compared and reviewed more closely. Your assets are more valuable than a few quick minutes of your time.

Copyright © 2019 Central Mutual Insurance Company. All rights reserved.

6 Tips for Preventing Water Damage from Appliances

Did you know that washing machines are one of the main sources of water damage to homes?  Others that top the list include hot water heaters and dishwashers. Fortunately, there are a few easy and inexpensive steps you can take help to prevent these types of losses:

  1. Check for leaks:  Thoroughly check the area around appliances for any signs of leaking every four months.
  2. Check supply hoses: Check the supply hoses regularly to ensure a tight connection, and no breaks or tears. It’s a good idea to replace supply hoses for washing machines and dishwashers every five years even if there are no signs of wear. Sometimes, wear only shows on the inside. Reinforced, steel braided hoses are recommended.
  3. Read the manual: Always refer to your manufacturer’s guidelines for types of soap and load recommendations for the washing machine and dishwasher. Most new washing machines require HE detergents.
  4. Flush your water heater: It is recommended to flush your water heater once per year to ensure you have fresh water and to remove sediment.
  5. Don’t leave running appliances unattended. Try to only operate washing machines and dishwashers when someone is at home.
  6. Replace hot water heater as needed. It’s recommended to replace the hot water heater when it is nearing the end of its life expectancy, even if there aren’t any problems. As the water heater ages, the risk of a slow leak or sudden burst increases.
  7. Leak detection systems are a great tool to monitor your appliances, and even automatically shut off water in the event of a detected leak.  While there are expenses with a leak detection system, it might just score you a discount on your homeowners policy! Leak detection systems can be added to individual appliances or an entire house.

    Of course, not all losses can be prevented, but following these tips should lower your chances of a loss. In the event of a water leak, it is important to know where your water shut-off valve is located so that water can quickly be turned off to minimize damage.

[Original Article]

New Valuables? You Might Have New Risks

personal insuranceAfter the holiday season, many like to start the New Year by organizing new gifts and purchases and cleaning out the closets. As each year goes by and your needs continue to change, it’s easy to forget to update your insurance policy in the process. There is no better time than now to make sure both your new, as well as old belongings, are insured properly on your homeowners policy.

It might surprise you to know that an unendorsed homeowner policy has limits of coverage for theft of certain types of personal items such as jewelry, watches, furs, and firearms. Coverage for items like coins and stamps can be limited to a special limit of coverage no matter what the cause of damage is.

A common limit for theft of jewelry, watches, furs, precious and semi-precious stones on a homeowners policy is $1,500. Not to mention, your policy deductible would apply to this type of loss. If you misplace those items opposed to a loss by theft, you may not be covered at all under your normal insurance coverage. [READ MORE]

Carbon Monoxide Poisoning: How to Prevent the Silent Killer

According to the National Safety Council, more than 400 Americans die from unintentional carbon monoxide poisoning each year.  Carbon monoxide is called the silent killer because it’s odorless, colorless, tasteless, and can easily go undetected. When the cold temperatures start to hit, what’s the first thing we do? We turn on our furnaces to heat our home and tightly seal our windows. If your furnace is emitting poisonous gases, you are trapping them in your house. Here are a few things you do to help prevent this silent and deadly killer.

First, it’s important to have your furnace inspected and serviced annually. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) suggests we install battery-operated carbon monoxide detectors near every area in the home used for sleeping and be checked regularly to be sure they are working correctly [2].

The CDC shares additional ways to prevent carbon monoxide exposure [Read More]

Don’t Let Cyber Criminals Outsmart Your Smart Technology

cyber securityFor a number of years, businesses have had the option to purchase cyber liability insurance. This type of coverage protects them against threats like malware attacks, cyber extortion, online fraud, and data breaches. In fact, this coverage continues to be one of the most discussed areas of commercial insurance, as business owners realize no matter the size of their business – or the type of business they operate – all business are vulnerable to cyber attacks.

But what about individuals and families? [READ MORE]

Renting? Don’t Assume the Landlord Has You Covered

renters insurance

Whether you are a returning college student, a proud college graduate who just received your first job offer, or simply starting fresh in a new city, if you are renting an apartment or even a house, don’t overlook the importance of renters insurance.

The Insurance Information Institute found “only 41% of renters actually have renters insurance.” [3] Many choose to not purchase renters insurance because they believe they are covered under the landlords’ insurance, it won’t actually provide coverage they need, or that it is too expensive. The landlords’ insurance policy will cover damage to the dwelling but not the tenants’ personal property in the event of a loss. Renters insurance offers many benefits including coverage for theft, fire, water damage, vandalism, and more. The landlords’ insurance policy will cover damage to the dwelling but not the tenants’ personal property inside in the event of a loss. Compared to the price of homeowners insurance, renters insurance is very reasonably priced. In fact, the “average renter’s insurance policy only costs around $187 a year.” [READ MORE]

liability insuranceWhen discussing and rating homeowner insurance policies, personal liability coverage is often an afterthought. Insurance companies and insurance agents don’t always take the time to explain what it is and what it covers. Don’t fall into the trap of thinking personal liability coverage isn’t important. It most certainly is!

For starters, let’s look at the types of claims that are potentially covered by this part of the homeowner insurance policy: bodily injury claims and property damage liability claims. It is quite common to see personal injury coverage added to personal liability coverage via endorsement, as well. For the sake of discussion, we will include personal injury coverage with the other liability coverages we mention.

So, what exactly does this cover? [READ MORE]

Do Not Disturb: The Dangers of Distracted Driving

distracted drivingNine. A relatively small number until you put it into context. Every day, nine lives are lost due to distracted driving.  Driving is something that many of us do each day without putting in much thought or energy, almost like being on autopilot. Instead of using driving as a time to unwind, focusing on the road and getting to our destination safely, we are now consumed by distractions. Fortunately, you have the power to turn those distractions off…but will you?

According to TeenSafe, “there are 3,287 deaths each day due to fatal car crashes. On average, nine of these daily fatalities are related to distracted driving.” [1] That’s nine lives that could have been saved from distractions that are completely and unarguably avoidable. Every time you get behind the wheel you are taking a risk but it’s a risk over which you have some control. [READ MORE]