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!

When it comes to property insurance, you’ve got a lot of choices to make.

One of the most important choices you may have to make that very few insurance buyers understand: actual cash value and replacement cost.

Here, I’ll explain the difference between replacement cost and actual cash value.

Replacement Cost means the cost to replace the property on the same premises with other property of comparable material and quality used for the same purpose.

Actual Cash Value is the cost to replace with new property of like kind and quality, less depreciation.

So What’s the Difference?

Both valuations are based on the cost today to replace the damaged property with the new property.  The only difference between replacement cost and actual cash value is a deduction for depreciation.

Your dwelling and most of its contents – such as your roof, laptop, and furniture – may lose value over time due to factors such as age and wear and tear. This loss in value is commonly known as depreciation.

So Which is Best for You?

For the majority of homeowners, a replacement cost policy will be best. You want to know for sure that you could rebuild your home should the worst happen. 

We’re here to help. Talk to us today about your home and how you may want to insure it.

On a bike, it’s easy to feel free. Invincible, even. But many auto or truck drivers don’t turn to take that extra look. They don’t watch out for anything smaller than their own vehicle. They look for big things.

That’s how Dave got hit. Got swept right out of his lane by a pickup truck, whose driver was too preoccupied texting while passing another car. Luckily, Dave survived… barely. His leg didn’t. The guy who hit him didn’t have insurance. Dave did. And his insurance helped take care of the medical bills, physical therapy, and the months he was without a paycheck.

Dave’s accident taught you a lesson. You’ve vowed to become more cycle-smart and get your stuff in order before you take off again. Get motorcycle insurance.

As you shop for your Motorcycle Insurance policy, keep in mind that cheaper isn’t always better when it comes to insurance.  And you want a policy that protects you when you need it. Cheap coverage usually provides you only with low liability limits, and, what’s worse, with the most important coverage completely missing:

Here at Joyce, Jackman & Bell Insurors, we have reviewed countless policies that did not include Uninsured & Underinsured Motorist (UM/UIM) coverage. Yet, this is probably the single most important part of a motorcycle policy. UM/UIM is the coverage that paid for Dave in the example above. Without it, he would have gotten nothing.

Not having UM/UIM coverage can hurt you quite badly. Here’s why:

As a biker, your risk of being at-fault in an accident is comparatively low. But, your risk of getting hit is relatively high. That’s where your UM/UIM coverage applies.

Your Uninsured & Underinsured Motorists coverage kicks in if you are hit by a driver who doesn’t have the insurance or resources to pay for your injuries, medical payments, loss of wages, and damage to your bike. If the person who hit you doesn’t have the money to pay for the damages they caused you, your own insurance will protect you. But only if you have the right insurance. This is what your UM/UIM coverage does for you.

You cannot buy stand-alone UM/UIM coverage. Uninsured & Underinsured Motorists coverage can only be obtained in combination with liability coverage, and it can only be purchased up to the limits of your liability coverage. You cannot carry low liability limits, but high UM/UIM limits.

Now, don’t get us wrong: We are not saying that liability coverage is not necessary for bikers. Actually, it is very important to have adequate liability limits to protect yourself and your assets if you are at fault in an accident and cause damage to another party.

To sum it all up: You want Motorcycle Insurance so you can protect yourself! Whether that is a liability lawsuit or an irresponsible driver who hit you.

Motorcycle Insurance will help protect you, your bike, as well as your assets in case you ever find yourself in a liability lawsuit. Joyce, Jackman & Bell Insurors can help you protect almost any type of motorcycle, whether it’s a Dirt Bike or a Street Cruiser, a Vintage bike, or a customized high-performance machine.

As a business owner, we know you have concerns about running your business in the wake of COVID-19. We encourage you to follow CDC guidelines for protecting your business and the health and safety of your employees.

Plan, Prepare and Respond to Coronavirus Disease 2019

The CDC interim guidance may help prevent workplace exposure to acute respiratory illnesses, including COVID-19, in non-healthcare settings. The guidance also provides planning considerations if there are more widespread, community outbreaks of COVID-19.

  • Actively encourage sick employees to stay home.
  • Separate sick employees who do come to work or become sick during the day.
  • Emphasize staying home when sick, respiratory etiquette and hand hygiene by all employees.
  • Perform routine environmental cleaning.
  • Advise employees before traveling to check themselves for symptoms of acute respiratory illness before starting travel and notify their supervisor and stay home if they are sick.
  • Employees who are well but who have a sick family member at home with COVID-19 should notify their supervisor and refer to CDC guidance for how to conduct a risk assessment of their potential exposure.

Read more on the CDC guidance here. Continue reading →

Valentine’s Day is upon us. Are you going to give her those diamond earrings she’s been dreaming about? Is he receiving a Rolex? It’s a perfect time to post about homeowners insurance and your valuable items. High-value items are insured under your homeowners policy as part of the personal property coverage, BUT only to certain limits. Maybe $1000 or $1500.

Jewelry is by far the most common high-value item to be insured. Did you know you can insure all your expensive items such as furs, silverware, coins, and fine art with a Valuable Items endorsement or an Inland Marine policy?

Coverage for valuable items is available at a surprisingly low cost. And if you have a loss, it’s not subject to the homeowner deductible.

I’d also like to add that if you and your significant other don’t live together, the insurance question can become a little more complicated. As long as the item is still in your possession, you can insure it on your homeowners or renters policy. But as soon as you give it to your loved one – it becomes theirs and must be insured on their homeowners or renters policy. When in doubt, call your agent.

I’m pretty confident that if you asked anyone who has ever owned a rental property you would get an overwhelming response that it’s not as lucrative or easy as they thought it would be. In fact, owning a rental property can be a major pain, and end up costing you a ton of money!

I certainly don’t mean to be a “Debbie Downer”, and I know that if it’s done right it can be lucrative, but from an insurance agent’s perspective, I don’t see a lot of people doing it right.

So you’re probably thinking, “Well Chris, you are an insurance agent. What do you know about real estate or rental properties? Why should I take advice from you?”

I’m not a real estate agent, and I don’t own a rental property. However, several of my friends/family/clients/co-workers own rentals, and because I insure a bunch of their properties, I’ve had a first hand account of the process, and I’ve learned what to do, and what not to do.

Continue reading →