Renters Insurance: Tips For College Students Going Back To School

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It is almost that time of year: back to school for college students.  Between thoughts of classes, social gatherings, and friends old and new, you probably aren’t spending much time thinking about renters insurance.  After all, it is no fun thinking about a stressful event such as a theft or a fire.  That being said, renter’s insurance can help ease your stress by covering you for whatever comes your way in the coming school year.  Here are 5 valuable tips for renters going back to school.

  1. If You Live In Campus Housing, You May Not Need Renters Insurance – It is important to check with your insurance agent, but sometimes your belongings can be covered under your parent’s homeowner’s policy if you are living in campus housing. There may be a cap on the amount that your insurance provider will pay out for items lost or damaged outside of their home, so you may want to consider getting an extension on very valuable items such as electronics, jewelry, musical instruments, etc.  If you are living in an off campus rental, you will need renters insurance to cover your belongings.
  2. You Are Best Off Getting Your Own Individual Renters Insurance Policy Even If You Are Sharing Housing With Roommates – It might be tempting to try to save money by sharing a renter’s policy with your roommates, but doing so could lead to trouble. After all, your belongings may be more valuable than your roommate’s, but splitting a lump sum pay out could be tricky when it comes to who gets what.  Covering yourself with the policy that is right for you is the best way to ensure that your items are completely covered in any event.
  3. Make A List Of All Of Your Possessions That You Want To Cover With Your Policy – The best way to both choose coverage, and to receive a proper payout for your items is to have an accurate list of what you are covering. Consider all of your belongings including electronics, furniture, clothing, jewelry, accessories, collectibles, recreational items, and more.  The value will add up!  Keep this list somewhere safe so that it is easily accessible in the event of a loss such as a fireproof box or a safe deposit box.  It will help you remember all of the items you need to replace in the event that something happens to them and will make the process go much more smoothly.
  4. Consider Extensions On Particularly Valuable Objects – Your insurance may not cover the full value of an expensive piece of jewelry or an expensive electronic.  With this in mind, it may be worth getting an extension on your policy to cover these items.  Without an extension, you could be making up the difference when you go to purchase a new item to replace what you lost.
  5. Choose Between An Actual Cash Value Policy Or A Replacement Value Policy – There are two types of policies to choose from, and they range in price. With an Actual Cash Value Policy, you will receive the current value of your object considering depreciation over time.  This policy is usually cheaper, but it means that if you have a 3 year old laptop that cost you $5,000 new, you will not receive $5,000 to purchase a new one.  Rather, you would receive the cash value of a 3 year old laptop, which will be less.  A Replacement Value Policy will pay for the cost of replacing a lost or stolen object.  This means that if your 3 year old laptop got stolen, you would get the money to buy a brand new laptop to replace it.  The policy is more expensive, but it ensures that you are able to buy a full replacement of the items you lose.

A renter’s insurance policy covers more than just the loss of your possessions.  It also covers personal liability issues if someone should get injured on your property as well as property damage.  If you are bringing important valuables with you to school, make sure you are covered for whatever the next semester brings.

Contact ABCO Insurance Agency today for help with your renter’s insurance policy.  We offer competitive rates to help you get the best coverage at a great price.  Call us today!

What Types Of Coverage Does Construction Insurance Offer Me?

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Construction sites are dangerous, which is why it is imperative to have adequate insurance coverage for your project.  Of course, construction insurance policies are not the same as other business policies, and therefore cover different needs.  Not sure what types of insurance you need for your contracting or construction company.  Here is a list of important policies to consider:

Commercial General Liability Policy (CGL) – This policy offers coverage for bodily injury and property damage caused on a construction site.  The specifics of these terms are defined in the policy.  An important note is that this policy will not cover the cost to repair defective work.  It is for use with on site accidents related to your construction project.

Umbrella Liability Coverage – For larger contractors, this policy can supplement your CGL to offer you extended coverage.  CGL policies have maximum policy limits, which is where umbrella liability can kick in to provide more coverage.  Your insurance agent can help you decide if this policy is necessary for your business.

Builder’s Risk Policy – This policy protects the names of the insured from certain named perils while a building is being constructed.  Many contracts require the owner or general contractor to get a builder’s risk policy for a project.  There are often exclusions such as flood, weather damage, or employee theft with this policy.

Professional Liability Coverage – This coverage is becoming more and more popular with contractors.  These policies cover businesses that offer services from error and malpractice issues.  Typically this insurance is covered by the designer of a project, however with a designer-builder it is becoming necessary.  The CGL does not offer professional liability coverage.

Contractor’s Pollution Coverage – This coverage will cover a contractor if they ever receive a claim of bodily damage or property damage due to a pollution incident during a contractor covered operation.  If your work includes potential pollutants, this is an important coverage to add to your policy.

Contractors and construction companies need the proper insurance.  ABCO Insurance Agency can get you quotes from multiple insurance companies to save you time and money.  Contact ABCO today for more information.

What Kind Of Insurance Is Best If I am Opening A Small Storefront?

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When it comes to insuring your business, it is important to have the right coverage.  After all, you could get stuck paying a hefty price if you suffer a loss without the proper insurance.  Not all businesses are the same and can require different types of insurance coverage.  If you are opening a storefront, you should consider carrying the following coverage:

General Liability Insurance – This insurance covers you for legal hassles that may come your way.  This includes claims of negligence, accidents, and injuries caused to employees and patrons.  Almost all small businesses carry general liability insurance as part of their coverage.  You don’t want to be caught in an expensive lawsuit without it.

Product Liability Insurance – As a small storefront, you may sell retail products or potentially even manufacture, distribute, or wholesale products in your space.  If this is the case, you need product liability insurance.  It will cover you should your product ever be defective or cause someone bodily harm.  All storefronts should be covered with product liability.

Professional Liability Insurance – Any business providing a service should cover themselves with professional liability insurance.  This insurance covers you in cases of negligence, malpractice, or errors when serving your customers.  Service based businesses including doctors, lawyers, mechanics, plumbers, and other service based businesses should definitely carry this insurance coverage.

Commercial Property Insurance – Beyond needing coverage for errors or negligence caused by your business, you also need coverage for damage done to your business.  This includes fire, water, and wind damage as well as vandalism and civil disobedience.  You can get this insurance in either an all-risk policy (which covers a range of issues) or peril specific policies (where you choose the perils you are specifically concerned with).  It is important to cover your business with commercial property insurance should the unthinkable happen.  Beyond covering the damage to your building, it can also cover lost wages if you are displaced or stolen objects in the case of theft.

Having the right coverage is imperative for your storefront.  ABCO Insurance Agency can help get you the right coverage at the best price.  Contact us today to learn more about our business insurance coverage options.  We will help you compare rates to save you money.

What To Do If You Have An Accident On A Road Trip

So your road trip has turned into a bit more of an adventure than you expected: you’ve had an accident.  What can you do?  Can your insurance company help you?  Is your coverage the same out of state as it is in the state you live in?  Relax and take a deep breath.  Chances are that you are covered.

It is important to check with your specific auto insurance policy before you hit the road.  While most policies cover all accidents within the continental United States, you should always make sure that your policy is among them.  If it is, you are covered no matter where your accident occurs so long as it is within the US.

Your policy will cover you the same no matter where your accident occurs, and the course of action you take if you have an accident is the same.  Call your insurance company right away to report your claim.  They will guide you through your best course of action to ensure that you are properly covered for your accident.

Need a tow truck?  Maybe an auto body shop?  Not sure how you will get your busted car home?  Your insurance company can help you get help and get yourself home.  That is why we are here.  We can help you arrange for the proper help to ensure that the rest of your trip runs smoothly.

If you need auto insurance before your next road trip, ABCO Insurance Agency can help.  With three convenient locations in South Jersey, we have an experienced staff that is ready to help you find the perfect policy.  Call today for more information.  We’ll keep you safe on the road for all of your road trip adventures.

Do I Need Special Insurance On A Vacation Rental Property?

If you own a property in a desirable vacation destination, chances are that you have considered renting your home during the time that you are not there.  After all, the money that can come from renting your vacation home can help offset the cost of maintaining your home as well as potentially help you profit off of your property.  Of course, with renting a property to others comes the risk of damage to your home or liability issues.  Because of this it is important to make sure that you have the proper coverage for your property.  Your Homeowner’s Policy will most likely not cover renting your property to strangers.

Renting a vacation home is not the same as a full time income property that someone would most likely be renting for months or even years at a time.  You are renting to a variety of people for days or maybe weeks at a time, and only during the time that you are not living on the property yourself.  Because of this you need to talk to your insurer about your best insurance options.

In some cases, an addendum may be added to your homeowner’s policy.  The availability of this coverage depends on your insurance provider and how frequently you rent out your property.  If you have a regular rotation of guests for the better part of the year, this may not be available to you due to higher risk and liability.

Many insurance companies may steer you towards a business policy and specifically one that is more of a hotel type policy.  This will cover you for damages, but it may not cover you for personal liability or theft from your home.

The bottom line is that when you open your home up to others, you must make sure that you have the best coverage available to cover you for damages to your property and liability if a guest is injured or their property is damaged.  Your insurance provider will be able to help you make important decisions on the best policy or policies for your vacation home.

Before you rent your vacation home out to others, make sure you have the right insurance coverage.  The experts at ABCO Insurance Agency can help.  Call us today for more information on vacation rental coverage!

This Winter, Use Space Heaters Sparingly. They Are Responsible For An Overwhelming Number Of Home Fires

It is natural to crave a little extra heat on cold winter days, and space heaters are a great way to cozy up a drafty room.  While they may seem like an inexpensive solution to your heating problems, it is important to be aware that they cause more winter fires than anything else. With this danger it is important to take precautions to ensure that your home stays safe this winter.

Consider Other Safer Methods Of Heating Your Home – If you can, it is better to heat your home in a safer way.  If your HVAC system seems to not be doing the trick, it may be time to have it cleaned.  You can also consider better insulation to keep the heat inside in the winter.  These are safer methods of heating your home, and they will benefit the energy efficiency of your house as well.

Use Space Heaters Sparingly – If you feel that a space heater is necessary, use it sparingly.  Do not leave your space heater unattended at any time.  Turn it off when you are away from the room.  It is best, if you use a space heater, to purchase one with safety features that help prevent fire hazards, but even with these you should remain vigilant.  If you smell smoke, it is time to turn off the space heater and once it is cooled down, to properly dispose of it.

Avoid Putting Space Heaters In Dangerous Places – It should be common sense, but sometimes we can lose sight of safety when we are looking for a spot to plug in the space heater.  Keep you space heater away from an area where an animal may knock it over or move it to an unsafe position.  Don’t put a space heater near fabrics or curtains as they could become a major fire hazard.  Keep space heaters away from water since moisture could short the heater and cause a fire.

By taking the proper precautions you can live safer with a space heater.  Consider safer heating options as no space heater is completely safe.  At ABCO Insurance Agency we want you to enjoy your home safely for many years to come.  Contact us today if you are in need of a competitive homeowners insurance quote.

Have You Checked Your Tires This Winter? Bad Tires Can Make Bad Driving Conditions Even Worse!

Thankfully, the winter in NJ has been fairly mild this year, but that doesn’t mean that we can’t get hit with a major storm before the end of it.  And even if this winter remains mild, our advice rings true for all winters to follow: make sure your tires are in good shape before heading out on winter roads.

It is dangerous enough to drive on slippery winter roads, but it is even worse on old tires.  When your tire tread wears down, it loses traction on the roads. This is very dangerous, and if tires aren’t rotated and replaced at appropriate times can lead to an accident.

If the weather is bad, it is best to stay off the roads if at all possible.  That is the best way to stay safe from the dangers of bad weather driving.  If, however, you have no choice but to go out on the roads, it is imperative that you take proper measures to stay safe.

Take care of your tires by having them rotated at appropriate intervals.  It will help keep them rolling longer.  When it is time to switch to new tires, it is best to listen to your car service center and have them replaced.  Always take the time to have your tires checked before or during the winter to ensure that they are road ready for whatever comes your way.

ABCO Insurance Agency wants you to stay safe on the winter roads.  We offer competitive insurance rates on auto insurance and more.  Call us today for more information and stay safe on the roads this winter!

Freezing Cold Can Lead To Freezing Pipes, And Freezing Pipes Can Lead To A Basement Flood! Tips On Keeping Your Pipes From Freezing This Winter.

Did you flush out your outdoor spigots or sprinkler systems before the cold hit?  If not, it may be time to take advantage of a warmer winter day to do so.  If you don’t, water can freeze in your pipes.  When water freezes it can expand inside the pipe causing the pipe to rupture.  When that happens, you can have a real mess on your hands.

What Can Happen If A Pipe Bursts On My Property?

Depending on where that pipe is located, you can have a pretty big mess on your hands.  A pipe far out on your property in a sprinkler system, for example, will leak into the yard and cause a mess.  Fixing that pipe with require digging up the ruptured pipe and replacing it with a new one.  This is expensive and dirty work, but it most likely will not affect the integrity of your home.  What home owners need to be very aware of is spigots and garage plumbing.  When those pipes rupture, you can have a serious flooding problem.

What Area Of The Home Will Be Most Affected By This Type Of Rupture

Most likely it will affect your foundation and your basement.  It could lead to serious flooding in your basement if not caught quickly.  Depending on the regularity of water flow in the ruptured pipe, you could have a serious flooding problem on your hands.  This will most likely become an insurance claim, and will most likely require quite a bit of clean up.

What Are Some Other Side Effects Of Flooding

Beyond the water issue, you may lose objects being stored in your basement.  It is important to consider using plastic tubs, palettes, and shelving in your basement to help alleviate these issues should you have a flood.

Another unfortunate side effect could be dangerous mold.  If you have drywall in a finished basement you can become very susceptible to mold damage, including deadly black mold.  Therefore, it is imperative to have water issues repaired as soon as you possibly can.  Not only can the integrity of your home be compromised by water damage, but your family’s health can be compromised as well.

So make sure your pipes are ready for winter and make sure that you have excellent home insurance.  ABCO Insurance Agency proudly serves NJ and has three South Jersey locations.  We can help you get a great rate on quality home insurance.  Call us today for more!

Learn more about Home Insurance and Flood Insurance HERE.

How to Help Prepare for a Snow Storm in South Jersey

With a Blizzard on the horizon, it’s time to take some time now to gather the supplies you will need to ride out the storm at home, or to safely venture outside if you must. Once you have taken the appropriate precautions, you can focus on enjoying the winter wonderland outside your window.

Check Your Supplies

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  • Make sure you have a snow shovel and ice melt to keep walkways clear and safe.
  • Check that you have sufficient heating fuel for your home and fuel for your generator, if you have one.
  • If you will be using a fireplace or wood-burning stove, you should have a good supply of dry, seasoned wood.
  • Have warm clothing and blankets on hand, and stock non-perishable food items and necessary medications to last you and your family for several days.

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