I came across a great article on how insurance carriers value your vehicle after a total loss.  It’s a question we here at Joyce, Jackman & Bell Insurors get asked a lot. So, I wanted to share this article with you. It explains what happens when you file a claim on your auto insurance—the process of assessing the damage, valuing your vehicle, and how they determine if it’s totaled.

When your vehicle is totaled in an auto accident, your insurance company pays you for the totaled car value—or, more accurately, it pays you for what it claims the value to be. You can put this money toward the amount you still owe on the totaled car—if you still have a car loan—or you can use it to purchase a new vehicle. Read more… How Car Insurance Companies Value Cars


It’s finally the season when everything springs into action again and this includes you!

Spring is the perfect time of year to get your house in shape. So let’s get at it!

Prepare your home for the April showers and the impending summer weather with these tips:

  1. Examine your roof shingles for lost or damaged shingles. Cracked, buckled, or loose shingles should be replaced. Shingles that are missing granules need to be replaced.
  2. Flashing around plumbing vents, skylights and chimneys need to be checked and repaired by a qualified roofer.
  3. Probe the Wood Trim – Use a screwdriver to probe the wood trim around windows, doors, railings, and decks.
  4. Check the Gutters – Check for loose or leaky gutters. Improper drainage can lead to water in the basement or crawl space. Make sure downspouts drain away from the foundation and are clear and free of debris.
  5. Use Compacted Soil – Low areas in the yard or next to the foundation should be filled with compacted soil. Spring rains can cause yard flooding, which can lead to foundation flooding and damage.
  6. Examine the Chimney – Examine the exterior of the chimney for signs of damage. Have the flue cleaned and inspected by a certified chimney sweep.
  7. Inspect the Concrete – Inspect concrete slabs for signs of cracks or movement. All exterior slabs except pool decks should drain away from the home’s foundation. Fill cracks with a concrete crack filler or silicone caulk.
  8. Move Firewood – Remove firewood stored near the home. Store firewood at least 18 inches off the ground & at least 2 feet from the structure.
  9. Check Outside Faucets – Check outside hose faucets for freeze damage. Turn the water on and place your thumb or finger over the opening. If you can stop the flow of water, it is likely the pipe inside the home is damaged and will need to be replaced.
  10. Service the AC Unit – Have a qualified heating and cooling contractor clean and service the outside unit of the air conditioning system. Clean coils operate more efficiently, and an annual service call will keep the system working at peak performance levels. Change interior filters on a regular basis.

As a homeowner, there are always things to be done around the house.

Consider making a checklist to get organized. Spread your tasks over the weekends to more easily get them done.

Happy Spring!

Tips by HGTV

One of the biggest snow removal tasks is shoveling. In big storms you may find yourself removing snow from the same spot more than once — and that’s okay, as long as you’re doing it safely.

  • Push rather than lift. Pushing the snow with the shovel instead of lifting can help reduce the strain on your body. When lifting snow, bend your knees and use your legs when possible.
  • Lighten your load. Consider using a lighter-weight plastic shovel instead of a metal one to help decrease the weight being lifted.
  • Consider multiple trips. Consider shoveling periodically throughout the storm to avoid having to move large amounts of snow at once.
  • Keep up with the snowfall. Try to shovel snow shortly after it falls, when it is lighter and fluffier. The longer snow stays on the ground, the wetter it can become. Wet snow is heavier and harder to move.
  • Wear layers. Dress in layers and remove them as you get warm to help maintain a comfortable body temperature.
  • Stay hydrated. Drink plenty of water to stay hydrated while shoveling.


For more helpful winter safety tips, go to Travelers Insurance.

I have, and I guess, around this time, most of us wonder what the New Year has in store for us.

We live in more uncertain times than ever, whether we’re talking about our job, our health, our family, or our property.

One of the ways you and many other people choose to minimize the effects of those things we can’t predict is through insurance. I have known clients for whom it has literally been a financial lifesaver.

Now you may be comfortable with your present level of protection. It may be perfectly adequate. But the year-end is possibly the best time to take stock of your coverages against the changes that are constantly happening in your life.

It can be easy to forget one of the most important things to consider as our lives, property, and possessions continue to change. Your insurance coverage should change and grow with you whenever these life events happen.

Take the time to review your current insurance policies to get the New Year started right.

In the meantime, on behalf of the entire here at JJB Insurors, I offer our sincere best wishes to you for this Holiday Season.

Happy Fall, Y’all!

Fall has arrived! It’s time to prepare your home to withstand winter’s frosty bite! Here are just a few tips for your home this fall.
• Clean your gutters.
• Check your smoke detectors and your carbon monoxide detectors.
• Have your chimney cleaned and inspected.
• Have your heating equipment checked.
• Trim the trees.

Want more tips? Watch our Fall Home Maintenance video!

Slips, Trips and Falls

Did you know that the 3rd leading cause of unintentional injury-related death is falls?

According to nsc.org, in 2015, nearly 33,381 people died in falls at home and at work – and for working adults, depending on the industry, falls can be the leading cause of death. Construction workers are most at risk for fatal falls from heights – more than seven times the rate of other industries. But falls can happen anywhere, even at a desk job.

Prevent falls in the work-place

The potential for slips, trips & falls can be widespread. Recognizing potential hazards at your worksite is important. Travelers Insurance has outlined some hazards associated with slips, trips & falls:

  • Slippery surfaces such as polished stone
  • Holes or broken surfaces
  • Uneven walkways
  • Poorly marked or lit walkways
  • Wet surfaces due to poor drainage
  • Slippery conditions due to water, ice, or mud during bad weather

Routine inspection and maintenance should be a regular part of your safety program to help prevent falls for both your visitors and employees.

If it is absolutely necessary to work from height, then it’s important to plan ahead.  Assess your risk and use the right equipment when working with a ladder, scaffolding, or on a roof.

  • Make sure the employee is properly trained on the equipment.
  • Make sure you have level ground to set up the equipment.
  • Scan the work area for potential hazards before starting the job.

Read more tips here
Continue reading →

Create a Home Inventory

Why should I create a home inventory?

After a major event such as a fire or a burglary resulting in loss of property, your stress level can skyrocket. It is sure to be one of the most taxing times in your life. Now, imagine having to recall every piece of personal property you may have lost. How can you be sure you’ve listed every important piece of property on your insurance claim?

A home inventory is an excellent way to expedite the insurance claims process after theft, damage, or loss. Moreover, a home inventory list can help make Home Insurance and Renters Insurance coverage decisions  The first step is to decide on what type of inventory would be easiest for you to create. A home inventory can be as simple as a list of all your possessions or a visual record for each item

What Should I include in my home inventory?

1. Record every valuable, which could include art, jewelry, firearms, electronics, sports equipment, heirloom pieces, and other collectibles.
2. Include the items in your basement, attic, garage, and any detached structures, such as tool sheds.

How do I conduct my home inventory?

A written inventory: A comprehensive home inventory list catalogs your belongings. You can create your own list using a spreadsheet or fill out a home inventory checklist that’s ready to go.

Video:  As you walk through your home recording each item, you can describe details, zoom in on jewelry settings, and serial numbers. You can video any appraisals you may have for certain items.  And if you upload it to the cloud, it will be automatically saved with a date and time, which can be important for recordkeeping.

Take Pictures:  The picture should focus on the item itself, along with any important details, such as a close-up of the setting on a piece of jewelry.

Inventory Apps: Do you have a smartphone? There are apps that can be downloaded to your phone, some of which are free. These mobile apps allow you to record a photograph of the item along with the description, value, and purchase date.

A Final Tip!

Don’t let your home inventory become part of a property loss. Whichever inventory method you choose, it’s important to keep a copy in a fireproof safe, safety deposit box or digitally in the cloud. You can even email your inventory to your insurance agent.  Moreover, your agent can advise if you would need extra home or renters coverage or to add a Personal Articles Insurance policy.


Photo by chuttersnap on Unsplash

While most people know that life insurance will pay a sum of money to their beneficiaries if they pass away, they may not be able to explain the differences and benefits of Term Life Insurance vs. Whole Life Insurance.

But if you want to protect your family’s financial future, it’s important to know the basics of these two options.

Term life insurance is typically the most affordable way to give you peace of mind knowing that your loved ones will be cared for even after you’re gone. It is most often available in coverage terms of 10 years, 15 years, 20 years, and 30 years. There’s no cash value component to the policy.  Term Life is designed to give your beneficiaries a payout if you pass away during the term.

With Term Life Insurance, you’re only paying for the years where the need is greatest such as when your kids are younger or in college, and it is usually the most affordable type of insurance. When a term life policy comes to the end of its term you either have to buy another policy possibly at a higher cost or go without life insurance.

Whole Life insurance is the simplest form of permanent life insurance. It provides coverage that lasts your entire life as long.  Benefits include:

  1. A life-long life insurance policy;
  2. Fixed premium payments;
  3. A guaranteed fixed rate of interest on the cash value;
  4. Tax-deferred cash value accumulation; and
  5. The longer you hold the policy, the more cash value the policy builds. You can borrow against the available cash value if a need arises.

Whole Life Insurance is good for people looking for life-long insurance options with predictable premiums, and guaranteed cash value over time.

When teens begin to drive, the sobering statistics start to pile up.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the National Safety Council:

  • Car crashes are the leading cause of death for U.S. teens ages 14 through 18.
  • A teen’s crash risk is three times that of more experienced drivers.
  • Being in a car with three or more teen passengers quadruples a teen driver’s crash risk.
  • More than half of teens killed in crashes were not wearing a seat belt.

You can help your young driver make better decisions behind the wheel.

Start by setting a good example yourself.

  • Buckle up
  • Put down the phone
  • Slow down
  • Don’t drink & drive.

Set time aside to have a serious discussion about the following issues, all of which have a large impact on the safety of teen drivers:

  1. Speed: According to the Governors Highway Safety Association, speeding continues to grow as a factor in fatal crashes involving teen drivers. Thirty-three percent of such accidents in 2011 involved excessive speed. While a lot of emphasis is rightfully placed on the risks of driving under the influence or while distracted, the danger of speeding is just as important.
  2. Alcohol: If drivers are under 21, driving with any amount of alcohol in their system is illegal. It’s as simple as that. And not only does the risk of a serious crash increase once alcohol is involved, but jail time is also a possibility as well.
  3. Seat belts: Teens don’t use their seat belts as frequently as adults. Set a good example and always have yours on. Seat belts are the simplest way to protect themselves in a crash.  Let teens know that buckling up is mandatory.
  4. Phones: Distracted driving is dangerous driving, especially for an inexperienced teen. That means no calls or texting when behind the wheel — no exceptions. Again, it pays to set a good example when you’re driving with your teen in the car.
  5. Passengers: The risk of a fatal crash goes up as the number of passengers in a teen driver’s car increases. In the state of Pennsylvania, new teen drivers may not drive with more than 1 unrelated passenger under age 18 unless accompanied by a parent or guardian.

Any driver needs to have a good grasp of the laws and rules of the road.

It’s important to have regular conversations about safe driving with teens because they don’t have much experience. How teens drive doesn’t just depend on them. It depends on you, too!