Why $1 Million in Umbrella Insurance Coverage is Not Enough for Many Businesses

Umbrella Insurance

As a business owner, you know the importance of insurance coverage to protect your assets.

You have general liability, and you might even have an umbrella policy. However, the amounts of your coverage could significantly impact how your company recovers. Homeowners are encouraged to have a minimum of $1 million in umbrella insurance, but this may not be enough for a small-business owner.

When your company lacks proper insurance coverage, you may be forced to pay the judgment from business assets and possibly future earnings. In this case, it is unlikely your company would survive the storm.

Why Umbrella Insurance is Necessary for Every Company

Even if you have general liability coverage, you may face a settlement or repair that exceeds your liability coverage limits. Without umbrella coverage, also known as excess liability insurance, you would have to pay the expenses out-of-pocket.

For a small premium, you can protect your company, employees and business assets. Your umbrella insurance policy adds a layer of protection along with the numerous other policies you could hold, such as employer’s liability, general liability and more.

Also, the SBA recommends getting umbrella insurance, as most contracts will require a company to have general liability as well as umbrella insurance before doing work on their behalf.

Personal Injury Settlements Exceed Most Policy Limits

Forbes points out that 13 percent of personal injury liability lawsuits and settlements exceed $1 million. Also, this does not account for the lawyer’s fees that you would have on your end to defend your company, costs of repair inside your building, or having to shut down and miss sales opportunities during a lawsuit or investigation.

With a higher umbrella policy, you could cover these costs as well as the chance of a higher settlement.

Forbes also recommends having coverage that is equal to your small business net worth as a minimum. If you have limited coverage, you could be forced to liquidate your company to pay for the judgment, so having coverage that equates to your present value of income is also important.

Umbrella Insurance Coverage is Not as Expensive as You Think

Considering the protections and coverage that comes with umbrella insurance, the cost is more than reasonable.

An umbrella policy averages $150 to $300 per year for a $1 million limit, says the Insurance Information Institute. The more you add to your policy, the higher the policy costs increase. For example, the next million you add to a $1 million policy will most likely cost about $75 per year in extra premiums, while each million after that is just $50 per year.

When deciding how much umbrella insurance your small business needs, consider your existing policy limits, and risks your business carries. Then, speak with an insurance agent to have your business insurance needs assessed based on your net worth, company assets and potential liabilities.

Does Your Home Have Any of These 9 Dangerous Electrical Outlets?

Dangerous Electrical Outlet - Electrical FireElectrical fires can be severe.

In fact, home electrical fires account for 51,000 fires per year and more than 500 deaths, says the Electrical Safety Foundation International.

Approximately 5,300 fires are caused by electrical receptacles, and most of these fires are easily prevented with routine maintenance and knowing the warning signs of a faulty outlet in your home.

If you are like most homeowners, you do not think much about your wall outlets. You know how to plug in items correctly, and you are careful not to overload them, but what about the dangers lurking behind that plastic plate?

The National Fire Protection Association contributes 2,590 home fires per year to faulty outlets, and homeowner’s insurance pays the tab of $94 million in property damage per year.

As a homeowner, you need to be proactive and ensure your home does not have dangerous outlets. This includes ensuring they are in the right place and safe, working condition.

Warning Signs of a Potential Outlet Hazard

  1. Your Outlet is Next to the Shower or Bathtub

An electrical outlet should always be as far from a water source as possible. Therefore, you should have a minimum of 3 feet between your outlets in the bathroom and your bathtubs and showers. While a GFCI receptacle improves the situation and may be safe enough to leave it, it is best to contact an electrician and have the outlet moved; the cost is much less than the cost of losing your home in a house fire.

  1. Outlet is Next to the Wash Basin

An outlet can be located off to the side of a sink or wash basin, but it cannot be directly over it. Otherwise, you may have a cord that rests inside the wash basin, which could potentially rest in pooling water and lead to a short or fire.

  1. Overloading the Outlet or Power strip

Outlets, even with multiple plug options, are not capable of handling massive loads. Power strips extend a number of items a single outlet can handle, but they too have a capacity. When you plug multiple high-voltage items into a single outlet or power strip, you run a high risk of overloading that circuit.

Also, adapters plugged into a power strip to allow additional plug-in space increases the risk even further.

Always select a model that has a circuit breaker attached when purchasing power strips. If that power strip becomes overloaded, the circuit will trip, and you can avoid a fire and costly claim submitted to homeowner’s insurance later.

  1. Unprotected Outlets

Young children are fascinated and often drawn to outlets.

If they were to place a finger over that strip, they might be shocked or burned. Also, if a child were to insert a metal object into that outlet, they could cause severe electrical shock but also cause a fire.

Child safety wall plates are the best solution, but if you do not want to replace the outlets in your home, you can install plastic outlet covers.

  1. Cracked Outlet Covers

Sometimes it is not the outlet or the wiring behind the outlet; instead, it is the outlet cover.

Cracks and missing pieces on the outlet cover allow dust and debris to accumulate next to the electrical wires. This in turn could lead to a devastating fire; especially if there is a short in the outlet.

  1. Loose Outlets

Have you ever plugged something in only for the cord to quickly fall back out?

Over time, the blades inside an electrical outlet become loose. While it is a nuisance to you, loose blades are also an extreme fire hazard. These free blades cause extra heat to generate, which may lead to a fire.

If you notice your outlets are no longer keeping plugs in, replace them.

  1. Forcing a Plug into an Outlet

Older homes may have oddly shaped outlets that do not accommodate all types of plugs.

While you may think you could jam in that appliance, these outdated electrical outlets must be replaced first. Forcing the plug into where it doesn’t fit can cause permanent damage, but also cause an electrical fire.

  1. Outlets that Work, then Don’t Work

Sometimes an outlet works fine, but other days it is not functioning. This could be an indication that there is a problem with the outlet or the wiring to the outlet. Do not attempt to fix this yourself; instead, contact a qualified electrician to diagnose which component is faulty.

  1. GFCI Outlets No Longer Grounded

Modern homes come with GFCI outlets pre-installed. These often have indicator lights on the outside of the outlet, letting you know if the outlet is safely grounded.

The Bottom Line: Knowing the Warning Signs Could Save Your Home and Your Life

While your homeowner’s insurance policy covers fire damage and the unexpected, it will not replace the memories and items you have collected over the years. You can protect your home and your loved ones just by monitoring your outlet usage and looking out for the warning signs that you have a potential outlet hazard.

By being a proactive homeowner, you can lessen the chances you will have a household fire in the future and give yourself peace of mind.

Make Sure Your Homeowner’s Insurance Policy is Up-to-Date

While you are going around the house checking outlets and looking for potential hazards, do not forget to check your homeowner’s insurance policy annually to see if you have the right amount of coverage for your home’s value as well as your possessions.

Get quotes on new homeowner’s insurance policies by contacting ABCO Insurance Agency today at 888-400-2226 or contact us online.

Clear Those Winter Hazards Quickly to Avoid a Premises Liability Issue Later

Winter hazard - icy sidewalkWinter can make life complicated.

From the longer commute times to work to poor weather conditions, and of course, the snow and ice.

As a homeowner, you are required by law to remove that snow and ice from your sidewalks. While you can let it pile on the driveway, your sidewalks and entries to your home must be cleared and safe for visitors, delivery personnel and more.

Premises liability addresses a property owner’s responsibility to offer visitors a safe place. The most common type of premises liability cases in the winter are slip and fall.

Slip and fall cases are incredibly complicated, especially because the issue of who clears the snow and when it should be cleared creates numerous legal questions.

Who is Responsible for Clearing Snow and Ice?

As a homeowner, you are responsible for all snow and ice removal on your property. This typically includes sidewalks, walkways and driveways. Any areas where people must walk on your property must be cleared to prevent slips and falls.

If someone was injured, you could be legally responsible for their injuries and the financial burden of those injuries.

Somethings to Consider about Snow and Ice Removal

Say a mailman was walking up to your door to deliver a package. If he or she were to fall on the ice you failed to salt, you could be responsible for all their injuries.

With your homeowner’s insurance policy, your policy might cover some of the costs if that person is injured, but only to the maximum value of your policy.

If the medical costs are higher than your policy limits, you could be personally liable for the remaining costs.

Snow and Ice Must be Cleared in a Reasonable Amount of Time

Under most premises liability laws, it is required that you remove snow and ice within a reasonable amount of time. What is “reasonable,” however, is not always defined by law. Therefore, it was difficult to decide what a reasonable timeframe was.

Naturally, if the snowstorm just hit and someone fell within a few minutes, that is not a reasonable amount of time. However, having snow that sits on your walkway for three days is more than reasonable.

Tips for Avoiding Premises Liability

Homeowners can do things to prevent a premises liability claim against their home in the future, most of which is common sense or just acting quickly.

As a homeowner, you can respond quickly by clearing your sidewalk as soon as possible, especially if you live in an area that receives snow and plenty of foot traffic. Also, do not forget that small children will be walking on your sidewalk to go to school in the morning. So, it is in your best interest to remove that snow before school hours.

Before the snow and ice arrive, have salt treatments on hand. Some homeowners put a bucket of salt on their porch so that they can sprinkle it every time it looks icy.

Act When Out of Town Too

If you are out of town, you are still responsible for clearing snow and ice from your property; after all, the world will not stop using your sidewalks just because you are out of town. Therefore, it is your responsibility to make arrangements with a company or friend to clear your sidewalks and salt the icy walkways while you are on vacation.

Keep on Top of Snow Removal

Snow is easiest to remove when it is in light layers. The more you allow to accumulate, the harder it will be to remove. A snow blower does better on larger volumes of snow.

So, if you do not own a snow blower, go shovel as the light layers of snow first appear so that it is easier to lift and keep from your driveway and sidewalks.

Do Not Forget About Icicles – a Premises Liability Issue

You may be diligent about removing snow and ice from walkways and your drive, but what about icicles?

If an icicle were to break off, it could severely injure someone, and you would be just as responsible for that injury.

Check your gutters and downspouts to ensure they are draining properly. When water pools inside of them, it will eventually freeze and form icicles. Also, if your downspout is not draining properly, it may leave icy patches on the sidewalk or walkways below.

If there are any icicles present, it is in your best interest to place cones around that area so that no one walks underneath them and puts themselves at risk. By placing cones or tying off the area, you are being proactive and preventing injuries.

Look for Other Tripping Hazards That Could Spark a Premises Liability Lawsuit

While snow and ice are your most common winter hazards that can cause a dangerous slip and fall, you still must look for other dangers.

Uneven sidewalks can lead to trips and falls; therefore, have them repaired or put warning signs so that people walking on them know there is rough pavement.

Also, keep all driveways and walkways to your home well lit. If someone were to fall because it was too dark in front of your home, you are just as responsible as if they slipped on ice. To save on electricity, you can use motion sensing lights to click on when someone walks up to the house and turn off after a few minutes.

Verify You Have the Coverage

Not all homeowner’s insurance policies cover premises liability issues. Therefore, now is the time to review your policy and make sure you are protected. Whatever insurance cannot cover will become your personal responsibility, so ensure you have adequate coverage.

Contact ABCO Insurance Agency to explore your options for homeowner’s liability coverage by calling 888-400-2226 or contact us online.

Buy a Roof Rake to Protect Your Roof from Excess Weight in Winter

A Roof Rake Can Help Prevent a Costly Homeowner's Insurance Claim

It can be easy to take a good roof for granted, especially if it has never experienced a problem before. Your roof may be performing its intended function of keeping moisture and the elements from dropping in on your home, but certain seasonal conditions can put your roof at greater risk.

We all know that roof maintenance isn’t the most exciting task. In fact, it’s something that many homeowners elect to put off until a problem arises. But a bit of preventive maintenance can help you stop a lot of these problems from occurring in the first place.

Does your homeowner’s insurance cover you if the weight of a heavy, unexpected snow damages your roof? And even if it does, do you really want to deal with this type of inconvenience? Sometimes something as simple as a roof rake can be enough to protect you from this issue during the winter season.

How Much Snow Can a Roof Handle?

Admittedly, the thought of a roof becoming damaged is enough to make any homeowner feel stressed. Even minor damage can be catastrophic to the inhabitants and property inside a home. And while every roof is at risk for this type of problem if the weight of the snow gets too heavy, each roof is different. Some can handle more weight, but it is best not to take chances.

Even if your homeowner’s insurance covers damage to your roof, no one wants to deal with this type of problem. We all know how frustrating even a small leak can be – imagine sustaining major damage to an entire roof! The good news is that the excess weight on your roof can be cleared off using the right equipment. A roof rake makes sure you aren’t risking roof damage when the winter snow begins to pile up.

Why You Shouldn’t Risk It

Let’s say you live in an area where the winter weather isn’t too bad usually. Unless your area has never seen a freak snowstorm come in, it is better to be cautious and invest in a roof rake. Doing so gives you the tool you need should this type of problem arise. And if the item doesn’t end up finding use during the winter season, it can be easily stored away.

How to Gauge Your Roof’s Tolerance

If you want to know exactly how long you should wait before breaking out the roof rake, you should use the size of your roof as a guiding factor. Any more than 20 pounds of snow per square foot could cause damage to your roof, especially if it is older or not built to hold up to the winter weather.

Double-Checking Your Roof’s Weight Limit

If you aren’t sure about how much snow your roof can safely handle, you may want to check with building authorities or architectural experts to get an analysis. This is a part of the process for acquiring homeowner’s insurance in some cases, so this can be a good opportunity to find out how much weight is too much.

What to Know About Snow Accumulation

When snow accumulates on your roof, you may begin to take notice – especially if you’re worried about the weight of the snow posing a threat to your roof’s well-being. The solidity of a roof depends on its ability to balance weight properly, but sometimes a large snowfall that stacks up quickly thanks to cold temperatures can be too much for a roof to handle.

When a roof is built in such a way that it is noticeably slanted, snow and ice can run off as the temperature warms up. But even in this case, a heavy buildup can damage certain areas of the roof quickly. A roof rake can make it easy for you to handle buildup and stop it before things get too bad.

How Easy is it to Break Up Snowfall?

If a large amount of snow has fallen quickly on your roof, you may be able to break it up with a roof rake. Sometimes the way snow falls means that it can pack together quickly, so working on part of it can mean you disrupt the entire accumulation. This can help accelerate the melting process provided the climate is warm enough.

How Ice Complicates Matters

A layer of ice is much harder to get rid of than a pile of snow, so keeping an eye on the temperature can help you make sure you have as much time as possible to prevent ice from forming on your roof. Keeping the snow off improves your changes of avoiding the freezing temperatures which can make snow temporarily difficult to remove.

When Snow Removal is Necessary

Breaking out the roof rake and tending to your home’s roof can be a very involved task, and most people would rather avoid it unless it is absolutely necessary. But in some cases, there are no alternatives to treating your roof if you want to avoid damages.

Whether you’re dealing with fresh snow, packed snow, ice, or any combination of the three, every second you wait is another second that your roof has to sustain a large amount of weight it may not be designed to handle. Even a robust roof designed for winter weather isn’t impervious to damages when conditions get bad enough, so investing in a roof rake can be a wise move for any person.

How Long Does It Take to Clear Your Roof?

The time it takes to clear your roof can vary depending on a number of factors. But one thing is certain – letting snow sit on top of your roof for long periods of time can have negative consequences. Most people would rather exert the effort to clear their roof off periodically during a snow storm using a roof rake if their other option was shelling out for costly repairs. A bit of simple maintenance with this type of tool can go a long way in protecting your roof in winter weather.

Make Your Own Roadside Emergency Kit for Winter Driving

A Car Emergency Kit Is a MustRegardless of how safely you drive, what type of auto insurance you have, or how tame the winter weather is where you reside, the thought of a winter driving accident is always scary. These types of incidents can cause you stress, financial problems and even personal injuries.

Is it possible to avoid winter accidents on the road? Of course – but it is always good to be prepared for whatever the season may throw at you. This brings up another interesting question: what is the best way to be prepared?

Being prepared is often about having the right tool for the situation. And since the winter weather can throw many obstacles at you during a drive, having enough tools and supplies on hand can mean the difference between handling your issue with minimal stress and being caught off-guard by a winter driving accident.

Why Should You Get Prepared?

If you have auto insurance, you may think that any damages you could sustain during a winter accident would be covered. But these types of accidents can cause you a lot more than financial trouble in the conventional sense. They can cause you to be late getting to your destination, or even put you in harm’s way regardless of whether or not another vehicle is involved in the accident.

Creating a winter driving kit with the right supplies prepares you for any emergency. Whether your vehicle is partially buried in the snow during a serious storm that hits without warning or you find yourself stranded due to road conditions worsening in a hurry, having an emergency kit can make the situation a bit easier to manage.

What Should Go into Your Emergency Kit?

A roadside emergency kit is designed to give you the tools and supplies needed when disaster strikes during the winter season. Drivers may find themselves stranded on the side of the highway, and it’s never good to be unprepared when this type of situation occurs. Your auto insurance provider, local safety authorities, or other appropriate parties may be able to provide additional information about what should go into an emergency kit, but the general consensus is that certain items take priority.

Where Should You Store Your Kit?

When making a roadside emergency kit for your car in the winter, you have to use the space you have available. This means if your vehicle will allow for it, place the kit in the trunk or cab. Smaller vehicles will obviously have to utilize smaller kits, so it is a good idea to prioritize and know which items are the most important and could be of the most use in an emergency.

The Basics: Guarding Against the Cold

You may think that the first things that should take priority in your emergency winter kit would be items to combat the snow and ice which could trap you alongside the road. But if the weather has gotten that bad, your best bet may be to have items available that can help you handle the real biggest threat – the cold.

While you should have items on hand to deal with the snow and ice winter brings (if your size constraints will allow for it), items to keep you warm and well-nourished rank at the top of the list. No roadside emergency kit should be without these tools, as they can keep you safe in a dangerous situation.

Additional Clothes, Gloves and Hats

Sometimes when you get stranded due to a winter emergency, you may realize that the cold is much more difficult to handle when you’re stationary. This is why it is a good idea to have extra clothes on hand. A second pair of gloves or an additional hat can be very valuable, especially if you’re outside your car at any point. Even a blanket or two is a good addition to a winter emergency kit.

Keeping Yourself Healthy During an Emergency

Warm clothes can help you stay safe during a winter emergency, but getting stuck by the road can put you in a very tough spot. You may be away from food, water, and any medicines you need for quite some time until the emergency can be resolved. This is why it is a good idea to have these items in your winter emergency kit.

The Tools to Handle the Elements

Whether it’s snow, ice, or a mixture of the two that causes you problems in the winter, you should have the tools in your emergency kit to handle it. Bring along a scraper and a small hand-broom to help clear your windshield. You can also find collapsible shovels which can be great for digging out behind your tires and allowing you to get that bit of traction needed to escape a tough situation.

Another great way to handle the elements is to have help – be sure to bring along road flares, emergency reflectors (these are usually suggested by auto insurance companies), and a cellphone charger that can plug into your vehicle’s cigarette lighter.

Don’t Forget the Basics

While it can be easy to brainstorm all the items you’d want to have in your roadside emergency kit for winter, don’t forget the basics. A flashlight with extra batteries, a first-aid kit, jumper cables, and other items commonly found in emergency kits for year-round situations can also benefit you in the winter.

Better Safe Than Sorry

Sometimes a bit of road salt can be all you need to make it down that snowy slope safely. Keeping a small container in your emergency kit can come in handy in certain situations. Likewise, you don’t want to flag down help only to find they don’t have a strap to tow you with – store your own if space allows for it.

Preparing for Winter the Right Way

Winter can be a tough time for drivers, but having a winter roadside emergency kit in your car allows you to be prepared for whatever the season could throw at you.

Get the Facts from ABCO: Flood Insurance 101

ABCO can help with Flood Insurance

No matter where you are in the world, natural disasters are bound to happen. One common and highly destructive natural phenomenon is flooding. In some areas, flooding may be an annual event. In other places, it can be a once in a lifetime incident. Extreme flooding is something that is out of human control, but there are ways to protect yourself, your loved ones and your belongings. Most people don’t have all the facts about flood insurance – or even know where to find them. Truth be told, there are things you might not know about your insurance that will be critical to know if the floods gates do indeed open.

Homeowner’s Insurance

This may come as a surprise, but a basic homeowner’s insurance policy does not, in fact, protect you from flooding as a part of your coverage. You need to seek out flood insurance and determine your premium payments based on factors like how much coverage you need, your deductible, your age, your level of risk, the elevation of your home, and even the type of home you own – just to name a few. Flood insurance is completely supplemental and most people are confused by where they can find flood insurance and why it might be helpful to have. ABCO Insurance Agency is a great place to learn about and fully understand your flood insurance needs.

Flood Insurance Facts: Did You Know?

Coverage basics are present in most insurance policies but flood insurance has specific coverage details. That means it’s critical to understand clearly what is and is not covered under that policy. Thankfully, flood insurance policies cover most of the physical damage that may happen to your property and possessions because of a flood. Here are just a few examples of what is – and isn’t – covered under typical flood insurance.

  • Coverage: To start, you have coverage with flood insurance for all electrical and plumbing systems. Though these may be, in full or in part, outside the house, they are still covered as building property. There is also coverage for certain built-in appliances such as refrigerators, stoves and dishwashers. They also cover some permanently installed furniture items. These would include portable dishwashers, bookcases and microwaves.
  • No Coverage: There is not coverage through your flood insurance for any outside furniture or appliances. This could be decks or patios, fences, pools or hot tubs. These items are not covered by your insurance in the event of a flood even though these items are still your property. To cover some of these items, you would need to seek out special types of insurance to protect them. There is also no coverage for water damage that may have been preventable.

What’s the Best Coverage for Me?

To start determining which coverage is the best for you, you must first determine whether you are covering a residential property (such as your home) or a commercial building (such as a business). Residential coverage policies are different from commercial coverage policies, and both types have distinct, important factors to consider. With residential coverage, you can be protected if you are a homeowner, renter, condo owner or renter, or other cases of commercial building rentals. With commercial policies, you can get coverage for the building plus the contents inside that building, or just the contents of the building alone.

After determining which type of coverage you need, you will also need to check into your risk map. This map will help give home and business owners an idea about the risk or probability of flooding might be in their area. Often, homes or commercial businesses are regulated by law to have flood insurance if they are deemed close to or inside a high-risk flood area. However, the government required coverage may not be enough to cover all your needs. Lower areas of risk might not have these federal requirements, but floods don’t always follow the same map and could happen at any time and in any place. Using the map as a guide for where the risk areas are will help buyers understand the pattern of a flood, and help determine if flood insurance is necessary.

Knowing which coverage you need and where you’re located on the risk map will give you a much clearer picture about the coverage you’ll require for your property. The rates for each type of coverage and areas are also dependent on such factors as date of construction and type of home you own or rent, the elevation of your residential or commercial building, and many other details. If you do need flood insurance, there are professionals to assist you in finding a plan with the most coverage for a price you can afford.

Knowledge Is Being Prepared

After you have acknowledged flood insurance is a good investment no matter where you live, the next step is to contact a professional – like those from ABCO Insurance – to help ensure you are receiving the coverage you need and deserve. Taking a closer look at your own home or commercial property and analyzing the risk map will also outline what level of coverage you might need. Even though you might not be in a direct risk zone or have never needed flood insurance in the past, there is never a wrong time to protect your spaces and your belongings.

From there, deciding on premiums, deductibles, and coverage are the final steps. Before disaster strikes in your area make sure you have the plans in place to protect the things you love and care about. Each flood insurance policy will be different and unique to your needs, but determining your risks and your options about what you can do to insure your home, property, or business is a great first step. ABCO Insurance Company is trained and educated on flood insurance and is there to help you learn, understand, and pay for such an important part of keeping your belongings protected.

To Grab the Best Deal: For Auto Insurance, Always Shop Around

Vehicle Insurance Accident Damage Protection Concept

These days, the most common way to get car insurance is to use an easy and convenient method, such as a direct quote online, or with a price comparison tool. Rarely do people go through an agent anymore – this might be because, with all the tools available to consumers, it simply isn’t necessary any more.

That said, when shopping online for auto insurance, there are a few things you should keep in mind in order to get the best deal. The main point to remember, however, is to do your due diligence to get the best price.

Car Insurance: Reasons Why Shopping Around is the Best Plan

It Saves You Money

When insurance companies need to compete for your business, you save. When their prices are stacked up against each other, the best deal will shine like a newly polished gem. Companies will want to edge each other out to look the best for the customer – you!

Put simply, shopping around reinforces the competition in the market. It also reassures you that you’re getting the best deal, because you’ll be aware of price changes and competitor rates.

It Gives You an Understanding of the Insurance Marketplace

Even if you’re new to shopping for car insurance, the act of shopping around will quickly give you a quick course on the ins and outs of the process.

Among other things, you’ll learn about types of insurance, deductibles, premiums, pricing, policy options and limits. You’ll get comfortable with these terms and the lingo, so that the next time you shop, you’ll be even more savvy about scoring the best deal with the coverage you need.

It Lets You Move Through the Process at Your Own Pace

Shopping around for insurance online is perhaps the most low-stress way to find the best, most affordable coverage.

Firstly, no one is trying to sell you anything directly, which means you won’t face pressure and the stress of quick decision-making. Secondly, you get to go at your own pace. You can look through your policy options as carefully as you want, and even put the process on hold and come back to it later.

All of these things might mean you’ll make a wiser, more well-informed decision. Plus, if you do find that you need help, you can still call up an agent.

Tips for Shopping Around for Auto Insurance

Keep Your Personal Information Handy

You may know some information off the top of your head, such as the make and model of your vehicle, your address, date of birth or your Social Security number, but you will need additional information when shopping for car insurance that you will want to keep at hand.

Examples include your auto insurance history, the year of your vehicle, your license status, and the personal information of any other drivers you want to be included on the insurance policy. Keeping this information readily available will speed up the process, especially when you need to enter it into a price comparison tool.

Understand the Different Types of Coverage

If you don’t understand the type of auto insurance coverage you’re getting, you may be spending more money than necessary. Read up on the various types of coverage and decide which are essential and which are not.

Basic types of car insurance coverage include the following:

  • Comprehensive coverage: This type covers you in any situation unrelated to a traffic accident. Weather, natural disasters, vandalism and more all qualify.
  • Collision coverage: Get collision insurance in order to cover your own damages in a car accident.
  • Uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage: In an accident situation where the other driver doesn’t have adequate car insurance (or any motor insurance at all), this type of coverage protects you.
  • Personal injury protection (PIP): Regardless of who’s at fault in a traffic accident, PIP pays for lost wages, medical expenses, and other costs associated with the incident.

Don’t Settle

You should never settle for the first quote you get when it comes to car insurance. This is because the industry is competitive – providers don’t keep their prices at the same rate from year to year in order to stay relevant in the market.

This means you need to look around at different prices and quotes and compare and contrast what they offer. The best deal for you may require a bit of digging in order to find it.

Keep Credit in Check

When shopping around for insurance, don’t forget to look at your credit and check the state of your score. Make sure there are no errors in reporting, and give yourself plenty of time to get errors corrected in case you do find some – it can take as long as two months for these to be investigated and fixed.

Also – and this may be a no-brainer – it helps if your credit is at least in the “good” range. Anything less, and you will not get the best deal.

Use an Auto Insurance Price Comparison Tool

Shopping for insurance can be a lot easier if you use a comparison tool. These tools let you enter your basic information and then present a variety of auto insurance quotes from different companies, side-by-side. This lets you quickly see who’s offering the best prices without having to click through a maze of websites.

A comparison tool also lets you test how adding various policy options changes your quote. You can play with your options and the price to your heart’s content without having to commit to anything. This is incredibly useful for finding the best balance between price and options.

A great place to get quote comparisons and find the best deal for your insurance is at ABCO Insurance. With us, you get a comparison of 25 different insurance companies, so you’re sure to find the best quote that fits your needs at the right price. When it comes to car insurance, we give you options, not to mention the power of choice.

How Life Insurance Will Benefit Your Loved Ones

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While it is never fun to think of a time when you will no longer be present among your loved ones, it is important to always consider the future and how you can ease the burden of your loss on your family.  This is where life insurance can come in.  Life insurance can benefit your family and loved ones in many more ways than one.  If you have never considered the benefits, consider the following:

Paying For Final Expenses – Final Expenses include funeral costs, cremation costs, estate administration costs, medical bills, other bills and expenses, and more.  You don’t want to burden your family with mounting expenses while they are grieving your loss, and life insurance can ensure that all of your final expenses are covered.

Paying Estate Taxes – The heirs to your estate may be hit with an estate tax upon receiving it.  With the help of your insurance provider or a financial professional you can see if your estate can be used to pay these taxes on their behalf to ease their burden.

Paying Off Debt – Credit card bills and mortgage bills don’t stop just because you can no longer physically pay them.  Thankfully, though, with a good life insurance policy your debts can be cleared so that your family will not be burdened with them.

Replacing Lost Income – If you were still providing an income for your family, the loss of that income can be very stressful or even devastating.  The right life insurance policy can replace that income to ensure that your family can continue to pay monthly expenses or can even use that money towards your children’s education and more.

Inheritance – Beyond helping to pay off debts and lost income, your life insurance policy can also be used to provide an inheritance for your heirs.

A strong life insurance policy can give you the peace of mind that you’re your heirs and loved ones will be well taken care of upon your death.  If you want to learn more about life insurance policies, call ABCO Insurance Agency today.  Our helpful and knowledgeable staff can help you find the right policy for you.

With Hurricane Season Under Way, What Insurance Is Best In NJ?

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When you live in a coastal state such as New Jersey, it is important to understand how your insurance policy can protect you in the event of a hurricane.  After all, we have seen the devastation that hurricanes can cause to our coastline and beyond.  With this in mind, are you properly covered in the event of a hurricane?  Consider the following to ensure that you are adequately covered:

Homeowners Insurance Should Cover Hurricane Damage – The good news is that your Homeowner’s policy already covers hurricane related damages.  However, does your particular coverage cover everything you would need if your home we destroyed or left uninhabitable?  If you live in a particularly hurricane prone area it may be worth considering an Extended Replacement Policy, Guaranteed Replacement Cost Policy, Inflation Guard, or Ordinance and Law Coverage.  These policy extensions can ensure that your home is fully covered in the event of a natural disaster.

Don’t Forget To Cover The Stuff Inside Your House, Too – While most homeowner’s policies cover the structure of your home, does yours adequately cover your material belongings?  In the event of severe hurricane damage you can lose furnishings, appliances, electronics, jewelry, collectibles, just to name a few.  These items can be really expensive to replace if you don’t have the right coverage.  Two coverage options exist: Replacement Cost Value and Actual Cash Value.  With replacement cost value, you replace your object at its current value while as actual cash value pays for the depreciated value of your object as it ages.

Are You Covered If You Have To Live In A Hotel While Your Home Is Fixed? – Additional Living Expenses coverage will help cover you if you have to take temporary shelter away from your home while it receives repairs.  Without this coverage, you will be stuck paying out of pocket for these expenses.

Flood Insurance Is Separate From Hurricane and Wind Coverage – If you live near a body of water and your home gets hit with a hurricane, you could see flood damages to your home.  Your regular homeowner’s policy will not cover flood damages, however.  In many flood prone areas you are required to carry flood insurance by law.  However, if you feel that your home could suffer flood damage and you are not required to have coverage, you should talk to your insurance provider about adding this coverage to your policy.

If you aren’t sure what your current insurance policy covers, it is important to review it or to talk to your insurance provider today.  At ABCO we can help you get competitive rates on all of your home insurance needs.  Call us for more information or fill out one of our convenient contact forms online.  We want you to be covered for any emergency that may come your way.

Flood Insurance For The Shore: Facts You Should Know

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If you are lucky enough to own real estate at the Jersey Shore, you want to protect that property from all natural disasters that could come its way.  After all, as beautiful as the coastline is the majority of the year, a strong storm or hurricane can turn it into a very scary place.  Even a small amount of damage can cost thousands of dollars to fix.  It is important to understand flood insurance for your property.  Here are a few important facts you should know:

  1. Homeowner’s Insurance Does Not Cover Flood Damage – Flood insurance is an extension on your homeowner’s policy. If your home is damaged by a flood and you do not have flood insurance, you will not be covered.  Because of this, it is important to find out how high the flood risk is near your home.   Even in low flood potential areas, flooding can occur.  If you live at the Jersey Shore, you almost certainly live in a flood prone area.
  2. You May Be Required To Carry Flood Insurance By Your Mortgage Lender – In high flood risk areas, homeowners may be required to carry flood insurance. Chances are that you are required to have flood insurance on your Jersey Shore property.  This is important to help protect your investment to ensure that your home is covered in case of flooding.
  3. A Few Inches Of Water Can Cost Thousands In Damage – It doesn’t take much to cause thousands of dollars in damage to a home. A few inches of water can do the trick.  A small amount of water can ruin drywall and plaster walls, wood and carpet flooring, cause electrical damage, ruin all cloth and paper goods in its path, ruin furniture, cause deadly mold to grow, and more.  If you live in a highly flood prone area, it is important to consider where you place certain objects in the home that could get damaged by flood waters.  Flood insurance is essential to guarantee that you get reimbursement in the event of a flood.
  4. In High Risk Areas, Your Home Is More Likely To Be Damaged By Flood Than By Fire – That’s right, you are more likely to have a flood than a fire if you live in flood prone areas. This is why flood insurance is often required in these areas.
  5. There Are Two Types Of Policy, Actual Cash Value (ACV) and Replacement Cost Value (RCV) – You have choices when it comes to your Flood insurance policy. An Actual Cash Value policy with cover the actual cash value of your property and belongings.  This will be based on the appraised value of your home.  Therefore, if your shore property is a low value fixer upper, you will only receive the cash value of the existing property in the event of a serious flood.  However, the Replacement Cost Value will consider the cost of replacing your property with newer structures and materials.  The RCV policy is usually more expensive than the ACV policy.  Your insurance provider can help you decide which policy is best for you.

ABCO Insurance Agency has a convenient location right in Egg Harbor Township, and can offer you competitive rates on your Flood Insurance Policy at the Jersey Shore.  Call us today to speak to one of our friendly associates!