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

Be Prepared for Severe Winter Weather

Winter weather can be lovely. Snow covered hills and icy ponds make for picturesque views. But sometimes, the cold can bring major problems for homeowners. Snow and ice can quickly go from beautiful to dangerous very quickly and you should be prepared for these types of incidents. Especially if you live in an area with severe winter weather, make sure you’re ready for any and all eventualities with these tips from ABCO Insurance Agency, Inc.

Your Heating System

The first thing you need to do to prepare for the cold of winter is to make sure your heating system is working properly. Have a trained technician take a look at your heating system to make sure it’s working properly and not leaking carbon monoxide or other dangerous gases. If your house isn’t properly heated, you may wind up with frozen and broken pipes.

Clear the Way

You’ll also want to make sure that you have the right equipment to shovel yourself out of your house and clear the sidewalk. When the snow starts to fall, you need to be sure that you can get yourself out of the house. You also need to make sure that your sidewalk or walkway is cleared. A decent snow shovel and some rock salt will do the trick.

Watch the Trees

Get rid of any dead trees or branches that hang over your home. This is really important to protecting your home during the winter. Ice and snow can be heavy and can bring down trees and branches that may fall on your house. By removing these trees and branches you don’t have to worry.

Have a Great Insurance Policy

Most importantly, make sure that you are prepared for winter disasters with homeowner’s insurance. A good policy will protect you from a number of possible winter problems. If your pipes freeze and break and you’re not at fault, your policy can cover this. And if a tree, heavy with snow, falls on your home, your policy can cover this. Even in the of heavy snow causing structural damage or a roof collapse, your policy may cover this. You may even be covered for liability in the event of a slip and fall or another incident.

If you’re unsure about what your policy covers, or you want to make sure you’re covered for winter weather, contact our team today!

Pen, Calculator, Signed Document

What Types of Insurance You Should Invest In

There are some things you need to insure. The law literally requires some types of insurance. Other things are just obviously smart to insure. For example, having health insurance or dental insurance makes more sense than living without it. But when it comes to what kind of insurance you should invest in, things may get more confusing. Here is a quick guide to what types of insurance policies you should be investing in:

Homeowner’s Insurance

If you own a house, homeowner’s insurance is a must. Homeowner’s insurance makes sure that in the event of a disaster, accident, or theft, you’re not going to wind up totally bankrupt. Homeowner’s insurance covers replacement costs, the structure of the house, liability in the event of an accident, living expenses in case of a disaster, and your personal possessions, but only up to a set limit.

If your home is in a flood zone, you should also invest in flood insurance. Flood insurance is separate from your homeowner’s insurance. Flood insurance, like homeowner’s insurance covers the costs for rebuilding your home and replacing some of your possessions.

You may also want to consider buying separate insurance coverage for your more valuable items. If you own jewelry or other expensive items, it makes sense to insure these items with valuable item or floater policies.

Auto Insurance

You need to have auto insurance if you drive a vehicle. This coverage needs to include, at least, some kind of liability insurance, which protects other drivers in the event of an accident.

Renter’s Insurance

Renter’s insurance is similar to homeowner’s insurance. This type of insurance covers costs for replacing your personal possessions in the event of a fire, burglary, or other incident in the property you rent. This can also cover the costs of living expenses if you need to find somewhere else to live if the property you rent is damaged in an emergency.

Life Insurance

Life insurance is a good idea and it’s not just for older people. Life insurance protects your family in the event of your death. It makes sure there is money to cover funeral expenses and to keep anyone you supported on their feet.

Contact Us

If you have questions about these or other types of insurance, contact our team today!

A Car Emergency Kit Is a Must

Be Prepared for Winter Driving

You need to be sure your vehicle is prepared for winter. The hazards on the road often become even more dangerous in the winter with ice and snow and mud. Here are a few of the things you need to do to get your vehicle ready for the winter and make sure you stay safe this season.


First, you need to check that your tires can handle the weather. Check the tread and the air pressure in your tires. You’ll want maximum traction in winter driving conditions. If you live in an area with particularly severe winters, you may want to invest in tires made specifically for winter driving. These tires usually have a chunkier tread, made to grip better to the road.


Next, make sure that you understand how to drive in bad winter conditions. You’ll want to increase following distance, slow down, and accelerate and decelerate more slowly. If you find yourself needing to brake hard, make sure you understand the way your brakes work. Antilock brakes should be applied with steady, even pressure. Non-antilock brakes need to be pumped for the same effect as antilock brakes.

Also, make sure you don’t panic if you find yourself in a skid. Any rash or quick actions can lead to a total loss of control, so gently ease of the accelerator and do not hit the accelerator or brakes until you have traction again. Guide the car with gentle movements until you regain control.

Insurance Coverage

The most important thing you need to be prepared for winter driving is the right auto insurance. If you don’t have auto insurance, it’s important you look for a plan immediately. First off, it’s illegal in all fifty states to drive without insurance. It also makes you liable to pay heavily in the event of an accident, which is a much greater risk on slick, winter roads. If you live in an area where winters are particularly harsh you may want to opt for more coverage. The right insurance plan can make a problematic winter accident a little less troublesome.

If you need auto insurance or want to discuss your current insurance plan and rates, contact our team now and make sure you don’t have to worry this winter season!

Umbrella Insurance

Insurance Considerations for Retirement

Almost everyone plans to retire. Save some money, invest wisely, get the kids out of the house, and enjoy your golden year in peace and prosperity. But we all know that things might not be as peaceful or prosperous as we hope. So, if you’re planning to retire soon or in the future, here are some questions you should consider as you begin to plan your retirement.

Business, Home and Real Estate

One of the first things to ask yourself as you prepare for retirement is whether your investments are secure. This includes your financial investments like stocks and bonds, but you should also consider the other things you’ve invested in, such as your house, business, real estate holdings. Your nest egg may be tied directly to income you get from a business you invested in or real estate you’re leasing. Maybe you’re planning on selling your home and moving to a smaller, cozy spot with your partner. Either way, you’ll want to make sure that these ventures are secure. That means you won’t have to worry if something goes wrong. Make sure you can plan for the future by investing in insurance.


If you are planning on selling your home when you retire, you might want to consider renting an apartment, condo or home, leaving any repairs or upkeep to a landlord. Renter’s insurance can protect you and your possessions if you’re planning on renting.

Life Insurance

Another thing to consider as you get to retirement age is life insurance. If you don’t already have a policy, it’s not impossible to find one. Depending on what you’ve already set aside, a life insurance policy can help keep a spouse on their feet after your passing. It can also help absorb the cost of funeral expenses and taxes that may be incurred. Maybe you’re realizing that your retirement savings just aren’t enough to provide for your loved ones after your death. A life insurance policy will ensure that the savings you have will not be drained by your death.


If you have questions, ABCO has answers. If you’re planning to retire and are curious about what insurance coverage may help protect your golden years, contact our team today!

1950's Woman Driving A Car

Effective Ways to Save Big on Car Insurance

Saving on car insurance sounds like a scam considering the increasing premiums on good coverage, but simple tips can lead to saving big on your insurance policy and it doesn’t require switching to a red flag raising small insurance company. While it may seem like a piece of paper that is required to spend more money on your commute, car insurance serves an important role in car ownership and maintenance. However, with some easy tips, you can get similar coverage with less money out of your wallet.

Deductibles Adjustment

Many who buy an insurance policy don’t look far enough into their deductibles. When you don’t have a car accident, you don’t often worry about your deductible. However, when the time comes, the amount you have to pay out of pocket comes down to the deductible you chose. Some insurance companies offer a diminishing deductible. This means the longer you go without having a claim, the lower your deductible becomes. If you are a safe driver, it’s worth talking to your adjuster about the option.

Choose the Right Car

Grandmom’s old sedan may not have been the most attractive car on the road but it had a much lower insurance premium compared to the CEO’s sports car you found yourself ogling. Insurance rates are based on a lot of factors such as driving record, the location you will be driving and your age. However, the type of car you insure also has bearing on your premium. Some cars are cheaper to insure because they are either deemed safer or the repairs would not be as costly. Driving a Mercedes Benz compared to a Honda is much more expensive for this reason.

Check Your Rate

Just as your physical body and your vehicle need checkups, as do your insurance policies. There may be ways you could be saving now that you are a more experienced driver or now that your marital status has changed. Further, if you now attend a university and have gotten on the dean’s list, there could be a major potential for discounts. Be sure to regularly check your rate to ensure you aren’t missing a big opportunity.

Contact an ABCO agent today if you are considering a new policy. Whether you are a brand new driver or have just purchased a home and are considering bundling your insurance, we can help find a policy to fit your needs.

technology insurance

What Insurance Does a Technology Company Need?

environmental loss coverage

Mistakes Policyholders Make in Environmental Loss Coverage

environmental loss coverage

Those buying commercial insurance are looking for the best deal, but often what seems like a great deal can lead to bigger costs down the line. Specifically, coverage for pollution and contamination risk are often severely underestimated, leaving a duration of environmental loss exposure that could have been avoided. Further, there has historically been an underestimation of the effects pollution and contamination exclusions have on property and liability policies.

There is also an overestimate, in most cases, of the amount and reliability of coverage that is attributed to exceptions related to pollution exclusions with the added issue of a lack of adjustment in insurance specifications in procuring contracts. If adjusted properly, such policies could reflect gaps that have accrued over years due to pollution and contamination exclusions. It is estimated that 95% of commercial insurance policyholders are uninsured or severely underinsured in relation to pollution and contamination over the past decades despite an oversupply of environmental insurance.

Ensuring Proper Coverage

While agents are here to help policyholders get the right coverage, there are some steps a policyholder can take to ensure they are getting the best policy for their needs.

  • Liability coverage should be adequate and consistent with the limits in your other liability coverages.
  • Assess your exposure to flood and earthquake incidents and consider which coverage will best benefit your policy. For instance, those with flood exposure can save a lot in the long run by having adequate coverage limits that will be high enough for interior structural insurance obligation.
  • Sewer backup coverage can be a valuable coverage addition as it helps cover damage to the units along with pump failure and other general losses that quickly add up.
  • Special perils can also be added to a policy for better coverage. This includes things such as roof leaks and paint spills. Depending on your business, specific coverage can help with risk exposure.
  • Get an accurate estimate of the cost to replace all structural items and give the list of total values to your insurance agent. They can better help with your coverage needs when they have a fuller picture of what you need covered.

If you are unsure of what insurance you need for your business, contact an ABCO agent today.

What Small Business Owners Should Know About Contractor Liability Insurance

contractor liability insurance

As a small business, there is a large array of different employment types you will come across. From full-time employees to contractors and vendors, it can be difficult to navigate to whom you owe certain liabilities. In fact, for many small businesses, independent contractors are a necessary and important piece of getting off the ground. First-time owners are likely unaware of what insurance they need to have and what insurance they should expect their contractors to have on their own.

Insurance to Require for Independent Contractors

When an independent contractor makes a mistake, it could cost the business owner a lot of money. This is particularly true for technology-based technology as a third-party installer could make vital mistakes in networking that your company could be liable for. Insured contractors have the opportunity to recover some of the damages through a lawsuit. However, uninsured contractors leave little room to do so. Two important coverages for this purpose include:

  • Professional Liability Insurance. Also known as Errors and Omissions Insurance, this coverage includes mistakes and oversights that could be made by a contractor when they are performing a professional service, such as the networking example.
  • General Liability Insurance. Accidents, especially those involving property damage, are covered by this general insurance. This would also cover one of your own employees sustaining a physical injury caused by the contractor or their work. Often, this will also include Product Liability for physical products created or installed by the contractor that inflicts bodily harm.

Checking Contractors’ Insurance Policies

Like any small business, a contract is likely to have their own insurance to cover when things go wrong. Because of this, those hiring a contractor shouldn’t feel awkward asking for proof of the insurance. Even further, they are likely used to such a request. Simply tell the contractor your insurance requires proof and they can send a Certificate of Liability, which is easily downloaded as a PDF file. For the extra cautious, the insurance carrier can be called to confirm the insurance policy using the policy number on the certificate.

Should I Cover Contractors in my own Small Business Insurance?

Contractors should have their own insurance, but it can pay to be prudent. Your own insurance will give the ability to add subcontractors or additional insureds. If you are hiring extra helpers for a service you are providing, it is both smart and potentially required for you to do so.

Need help figuring out your insurance policy, or looking for a better small business insurance policy to cover contractor liability? Contact us today to talk to an ABCO agent.

The Importance of Flood Insurance and Why People Don’t Buy It

importance of flood insurance

After Hurricane Katrina, homes with flood insurance were 37 percent more likely to be rebuilt, yet many homeowners still don’t have flood insurance. It has been proven that flood damage has been increasing, likely due more homes being built in climates more susceptible to the increased downpours, stronger hurricanes and rising seas associated with the rising climate temperatures.

In spite of this, flood insurance policies are actually dropping off. According to the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), which is the main source of flood coverage nationally, flood coverage has been steadily dropping since 2011. This could be due to the pricing of policies, but is leaving many without necessary coverage that could lead to lessened financial burden in the event of a flood. In fact, early on for NFIP, Congress made flood insurance mandatory for homes located in flood-prone areas as mapped out by FEMA. This was to better protect homes that were likely to flood and cause less strain on national resources.

The fact of the matter is, most people underestimate the risk of natural disasters happening to them personally. This paired with a lack of requirement for the insurance, many feel the expense is not worth it or they will never use it, not realizing its application for the long-term savings and considerations for themselves and their families.

Having flood insurance is vital for homeowners, but there are three considerations prior to purchasing the important disaster coverage.

Policies Take 30 Days to go into Effect

It is important to purchase flood insurance as soon as possible. This is because it takes 30 full days to go into effect, meaning purchasing around flood season could be too late. Of course, buying any insurance sooner is better than later, but most policies go into immediate effect making flood insurance an important consideration.

Floods are Common and Costly

On average, flood insurance only costs around $700 each year. However, the average claim is around $30,000 due to the sheer cost of flood damages. This is not only a consideration for those in FEMA designated flood zones, as around 20 percent of claims come from outside the map.

Typical Homeowners Insurance Doesn’t Cover Flood Damages

Unless you specifically ask for it, it’s unlikely your homeowners insurance policy covers flooding. This is due to the amount of damages that come with floods. Be sure to always review these types of insurance policies to discern what you have or don’t have in terms of coverage.

Looking for a quote? Contact us today to discuss the coverage you need with one of our agents.

construction insurance workers

Construction Insurance 101: Beginner’s Tips

construction insurance workersIf you’re a contractor, construction insurance is an absolute must. However, not all insurance is equal and for most contractors, insurance policies are something you only think about when renewal comes around each year. At that time, many contractors will simply stick with what they have. While a policy may have worked for one year, the needs for insurance may change as a business grows and shifts. Without a prudent insurance broker, you may be missing out on important insurance that could save a ton of money by limiting your exposure.

Of course, contractors are not in the business of insurance. This leads to a lot of confusion that could be saved with a few simple tips that keep proper insurance as a lessened burden.

Get the Right Broker

Having the right insurance broker on your side can lead to much better deals. By working with the right person, you can stay up to date on the latest coverages and get the best deal for the size of your business without exhaustive research. When you don’t have the right broker, you risk losing out on better coverage, getting policies for a worse price, or not getting a new coverage that could have protected you before an incident occurred. The right broker can also help you fill out paperwork properly and help to lower your costs at each stage of your business.

Pay Per Worker

Workers’ Compensation insurance is calculated by classification of worker. Unless each of your employees makes the same amount of money and works the same hours, you could be losing a lot of money by bundling them into the same classification. For instance, a worker that makes $30 an hour should cost less to insure than workers that make $25 an hour. In fact, if a worker makes $25, it would cost less to pay them more each hour than the extra cost of insurance. Most employers would rather give their workers more money than spending it on a bad insurance policy.

Safety Training

Having the right safety training can help lower your insurance premiums. Contractors are legally required to have safety meetings every 10 working days. By showing you have properly given instruction for each potential hazard, such as how to use a harness, you’ll be better positioned to prove the employee had the right training prior to the incident. This can help against being sued by discontented employees.

At ABCO, we understand the insurance a contractor needs and can give many options in the right coverage. Contact us today to find out how we can help your business succeed.