Do Millennials Need Renters Insurance? Learn the Benefits.

Renters Insurance Collinsville, ILIf you are a millennial, there is a good chance you rent a home, apartment or condo. According to surveys, up to 70% of millennial renters do not have renters insurance. This is an alarming statistic. Whether you are a young professional or finishing up your college degree, every renter should have a renters insurance policy.

Simple reasons millennials choose not to buy renters insurance –

“I am secure enough from potential damages”

Is this true? If your apartment, condo or home was in a fire and you lost all your valuables, would you feel financially secure enough to replace everything?

“I don’t see the value in renters insurance?”

Instead of it being a value issue, some millennials may not fully understand what renters insurance actually covers. So, we thought it would be good to break down exactly how renters insurance works (see below).

Another common thought, “if my apartment, home or condo is damaged in a fire, flood, etc., my landlord covers the damages?”

Your landlord most likely would not be required to cover damages to any of your personal belongings.

What Renters Insurance Covers

Renters insurance covers your personal property: Items that you own from your furniture, clothing, computer, kitchen items and more.

Renters insurance provides you with liability coverage: Coverage limits vary, but if you someone were to injure themselves in your home, you would have protection. Other common examples include your dog bites your friend or a friend falls in your kitchen and breaks her wrist because you left water on the floor.

Renters insurance may cover the cost of temporary housing. If your home, apartment or condo has major damage that prevents you from being able to live there, renters insurance may cover the cost of a hotel room.

Did you also know that renters insurance is very affordable?

Renters insurance can be as cheap as $1/day. While most renters insurance policies provide $100,000 in liability coverage, you can increase this limit. Talk to your insurance agent about how a bump in liability coverage can provide additional protection at a very affordable price.

Speak with an agent in our office today!

Whether you are renting an apartment, condo or home, there are many benefits of having a renters insurance policy. Contact our agency with your questions! We represent the top insurance carriers and can quote you with all our carriers at once for renters insurance. We’ll explain your options and show you a side by side comparison of coverage options. Get your free quote over the phone or email.

What You Need to Know About Vacation Home Insurance

Vacation Home Insurance Collinsville, ILWhen it comes to insuring a vacation home, the insurance landscape can look slightly different from that of primary homes. While the risks are relatively similar, you’ll find that some added perils come with vacation homes. These risks vary with how you intend to use your second home.

Personal Use
If a vacation home is often left vacant for long periods, the chances of burglary, vandalism, and unnoticed damage may rise considerably. Moreover, the house’s location can expose it to further damages such as flooding, fires, or wind damage, which may not be attended to in due time considering the vacant status of the house. Insurance providers take all of this into consideration when determining your policy premium. You’ll likely be offered a comprehensive insurance policy in order to cover all risks adequately. Be sure to clarify whether you intend to keep the house vacant for extended periods or visit regularly. Vacant home insurance and vacation home insurance, while similar, are not the same.

Intentions of renting
If you’re considering renting your vacation home or allowing others to stay in it, your policy will look different. Aside from protecting your second home structure, it’s a good idea to ensure that you have enough personal liability coverage. An Umbrella insurance policy can cover any claims against you due to injury or damages that occurred on the property. Be sure to look into liability coverage, which covers any personal injuries sustained by someone while they’re on the property. This policy could also include medical payments coverage.

Moreover, rent-loss insurance could be a worthwhile investment considering that it covers any financial losses amassed during times when rent cannot be paid (damages, natural disaster, and much more.) It is also worth looking into a landlord policy, which can cover you for damages while even replacing lost income if the property is being rebuilt or repaired following a covered loss.

Do I really need to insure my vacation home?
While not strictly necessary, it’s highly recommended to get coverage for your secondary-home. Damages to a vacation home, whether first or second-party, can be financially crippling. Additionally, if your vacation home has a mortgage, your lender may require property insurance as a condition of borrowing.

How much will my insurance policy cost?
Depending on several factors such as the home’s age, condition, and location, the amount you’ll pay for a homeowners insurance policy can fluctuate. However, overall, expect to pay higher than with regular home insurance.

The best way to get more information on vacation home insurance is to ask a licensed agent in our office. We can assist you with assessing your insurance needs and provide you with some quotes from several of the top insurance companies.

Get A Quote For Your Insurance Today

Our licensed staff is ready to help you get multiple vacation home insurance quotes. Because we’re an independent insurance agent we can shop from multiple insurance companies to help you find the right coverage at the right price.

Tips & Tricks On How to Cook Healthy Meals On A Road Trip

How to cook healthy on a road tripDid you purchase a RV this past year or have you found you enjoy taking road trips? With the COVID-19 pandemic, many people invested in a RV, travel trailer or simply went camping more in order to safely travel & enjoy the beautiful outdoors. When you are taking a road trip, you do have to figure out how you plan to eat. Fast food and takeout from restaurants may be your first thought.

Have you ever considered that you can eat a great home-cooked meals on the road that doesn’t require much cooking at all? Of course, you can always make a grocery store run & cook just as you would cook a meal at home. But, this might mean buying all of the little things like spices, oils, etc.

In this blog, we share how to eat healthy on the road without having to spend too much time cooking. Plus, you might find you can get away with packing less.

Our basic cooking essentials – do you own the following items?

  • Portable Stove
  • Small Gas Barbeque
  • Pot, Pan or both
  • Water jug container (for cooking and cleaning pots/pans)
  • Soap/Sponge (for cleaning pots/pans)
  • Utensils and Paper Plates
  • Garbage Bag
  • Lighter
  • Propane Tank + an extra
  • A good cooler (if you are on a longer road trip, we love a cooler that can plug into your car!)
  • Ice Packs or Ice Bag

Having the following items above is a great start. They don’t take up too much space and provide you with everything you need to cook, eat & clean up afterwards.

Next, how can I prepare a delicious, healthy meal with minimal cooking?

Batch cook.

Batch cooking is simply preparing meals in your home before your trip. Choosing meals that freeze easy are key. Once you have cooked your meal at home, throw it into the freezer at least 24 hours before your trip. The day you are leaving for your trip, load it into your cooler frozen then layer on your ice packs to keep it cool. When it is time to cook, all you have to do is re-heat it using your portable stove or barbeque.

Some great food suggestions –

  • Frozen cooked burgers (turkey, beef or chicken)
  • Frozen Chili or other soup
  • Meat sauce / vegetable sauce
  • Frozen breakfast sausage links
  • Taco meat
  • Foil vegetables or entrees (prepare vegetables or entrees ahead of time & wrap in foil – simply place on your BBQ grill or unwrap and place into a pot or pan)
  • Frozen pizza slices

How to re-heat your meal? Either place your frozen burger on your barbeque or add your entrée into a pan or pot to re-heat on your portable stove. Within 10 minutes or so, you’ll have a tasty meal!

Other meals that don’t require much cooking –

  • Cold Sandwiches
  • Hot Dogs
  • Yogurt
  • Hard Boiled Eggs
  • Snack foods like rice cakes, chips, pretzels, trail mix
  • Anything that requires boiled water such as oatmeal or noodles
  • Prepared meals you enjoy eating cold (tuna salad, other cold salads and entrees)
  • Raw fruit and vegetables

We hope you found new tips that can help you eat healthy while traveling on the road. While we can’t prepare your meals for you, we can ensure you have the best coverage for your vehicle or RV. Whether you are shopping around for the best rate or are looking to purchase different RV coverage, we are here to help.

How to Determine The Right Insurance Carrier For You

How do I choose the right insurance company when there are so many to choose from?

How to find the right insurance carrier for you With such a large selection to choose from, it can be hard to know which insurance company is right for you. Many people revert to shopping based solely on price or they rely on recommendations from friends and family to evaluate which insurance company to go with. But your decision should be based on more than just cost or a recommendation from a loved one. Let’s take a look at how you can choose the right insurance company for your needs without having to spend hours of research.

Rankings

The results of consumer surveys are easy to find online and often offer more reliable information than individual online reviews. These surveys are generally in-depth inquiries into specific sectors of a market. Those responding to the survey will be asked several questions about their satisfaction with the insurance company and how much they pay for their various policies. You can even get insights on the best insurance company for specific issues such as claims satisfaction, availability of discounts, or customer service. Consumer survey results are available for many types of insurance including auto, home, health, and life.

Financial Stability

If an insurance company is weak financially, then there could be issues with paying incoming claims. That’s especially a concern if there’s a natural disaster and the company is hit with a large number of claims in a short amount of time. Financial stability ratings are available online and it’s worth doing some homework, especially if you’re considering going with a smaller or lesser known insurance provider.

Payment Plans

Different insurance companies take a different approach to payments. It’s best to look for a company that offers multiple payment plans. Some of the more flexible insurance companies offer discounts for automatic withdrawals or paying the premium in full. Likewise, beware of companies that charge excessive fees with each monthly payment as those costs can add up over time.

Buying Online vs Purchasing From an Independent Agent 

There are many big-name insurance companies that saturate the media with advertisements and commercials touting how much you can save in very little time. But these companies are not always the best option. While you may see and hear a lot less about independent agents, they offer some unbeatable benefits. These insurance professionals will take the time to understand your personal insurance needs and offer advice on which insurance companies are best for you. Independent agents have access to multiple insurance companies and they can effectively shop around for a policy that matches precisely what you’re looking for.

The best way to get more information on the best insurance company for you is to ask a licensed agent in our office. We can assist you with assessing your insurance needs and provide you with some quotes from several of the top insurance companies.

Call Us Today For A Free Consultation

Our licensed staff is ready to help you get multiple insurance quotes. Because we’re an independent insurance agent we can shop from multiple insurance companies to help you find the right coverage at the right price.

What type of insurance do I need for my boat?

Boat Insurance Agent Collinsville, ILWhen it comes to insuring your boat, it can be hard to know where to start. Most new boat owners start by wondering how much coverage will be provided by an existing home insurance policy.  But it’s often best to separate your boat insurance from your homeowner’s policy or any other policies that you might have. The majority of home insurance policies either offer very limited marine specific coverage or don’t cover boats at all.

If your home insurance does provide marine insurance, it’s important to ask what type of coverage is included.  Most home insurance policies that have some type of marine insurance included only offer coverage when operating the boat on inland waterways, small lakes, and rivers. Coverage rarely reaches to a coastal inlet or along the beach.  Additionally, the liability limits can be restrictive.  Oftentimes a home insurance policy won’t provide coverage for costs that you might be liable for such as salvage work, wreckage removal, and environmental damages.

What are the variables involved in most boat insurance policies?

There are many variables which insurance companies will consider when determining your boat insurance premiums.  Some of the most common of these variables include:

  • Length of the boat
  • Age of the boat
  • Overall value of the boat
  • Condition (Does it meet US Coast Guard Standards?)
  • Horsepower of the motor(s)
  • Where it will be kept and operated

What types of boat coverage are there?

There are two basic types of boat insurance —“agreed value” and “actual cash value.”  Applying deprecation at the time of a loss is what sets these policy types apart.

An “agreed value” policy insures the boat based on its value when the policy was initially written. While it can cost more upfront, there is no depreciation for a total loss of the boat.

“Actual cash value” policies cost less upfront but factor in depreciation. The policy will only pay the boat’s actual value at the time of loss. Over time, as your boat ages, your insurer will likely insist on an actual cash value policy—and your premiums will likely decrease over time as a result.

What coverages are often available on a stand-alone boat policy?

The availability of specialized coverages is the advantage of purchasing a stand-alone boat policy rather than relying on your home insurance.  Some of these coverages include:

  • Accessories Coverage: Coverage for a specific high-value piece of equipment on your boat, such as an expensive prop or navigation equipment.
  • Wreckage Removal: Covers the cost of removing and transporting your boat in the case of severe damage or sinking.
  • Towing: In the event that your boat breaks down, this coverage will reimburse you for the costs associated with getting back to shore.
  • Cruising Extension: You can get temporary, additional coverage for areas outside the USA such as Mexico or the Bahamas.

The best way to get more information on boat insurance is to ask a licensed agent in our office.  We can assist you with assessing your insurance needs and provide you with some quotes from several of the top insurance companies.

Get A Quote For Your Boat Insurance Today

Our licensed staff is ready to help you get multiple boat insurance quotes.  Because we’re an independent insurance agent we can shop from multiple insurance companies to help you find the right coverage at the right price.

April is Distracted Driving Awareness Month – Tips To Be A Safer Driver

Distracted Driving Awareness MonthAccording to National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 3,142 lives were lost from distracted driving accidents. This increased 10% from 2018.

What is considered distracted driving? Any time you cannot have 100% full attention to driving your vehicle is considered distracted driving. Behaviors can range from talking on the phone, texting, talking to a passenger in your vehicle, eating, brushing your hair, adjusting settings in your vehicle or playing with your vehicle’s GPS while driving your vehicle. Unfortunately, distracted driving is more common than it should be.

Take this month to practice safe driving by eliminating any of the previously mentioned behaviors while driving. This will not only make you a safer driver, but keeps other vehicles on the road safer too.

Cell Phone Use

Cell phone use can be one of the most dangerous behaviors while driving a vehicle. Sending a text message while driving can take your eyes off the road for several seconds. Talking on the phone also creates enough distraction while driving. Here are some things to consider practicing this month –

  • Keep your phone in the back seat when driving to avoid looking at it, texting or talking. You could also consider other areas of your car like your trunk or glove box. If the glove box is tempting, place farther away from you like the back seat or trunk.
  • There are options to put a do not disturb setting on your phone while driving. This can help eliminate the distraction.
  • Make phone calls or texts before or after driving your vehicle.
  • If you are riding with a passenger, let the passenger be in charge of your phone for calls or texts.

Be Aware of Other Distracted Driving Behaviors

Do you find yourself eating in the car often? Grooming? Frequently fiddling with your entertainment system? Reaching in the back seat dealing with children? If you are guilty of these behaviors, how can you work to eliminate them?

Be a Good Role Model

Especially if you are a parent to children, you should demonstrate how to be a safe driver. Children see what you do and can easily follow in your footsteps. Cell phone use can be one of the most dangerous behaviors so practice never using your cell phone while driving. If you do not have kids, keep others you love accountable. Not only demonstrate safe driving practices while you are behind the wheel, but call out any of their behaviors you feel are unsafe while in the passenger seat.

While our agents cannot teach out how to practice safe driving, we can shop to find you the best rate for your auto insurance. Call our office for a free auto insurance quote. We’ll shop our carriers and provide you with several quotes to choose from. We’ll explain your coverage options too.

Tips on Creating The Ultimate Road Trip

Creating the Ultimate Road TripDuring the pandemic, many individuals may not feel comfortable getting on an airplane. However, many still want to travel. Perhaps a road trip can be the answer. Road trips allow you to see what is between your home and destination, something that hopping on a plane doesn’t, but it is essential to have the best plan in place before you hit the road.

First off, where do you want to go?

This is the most important question. Start with your end destination. For example, say someone who lives in Washington State wants to travel to Death Valley National Park.

Start with your basic questions:

  • How much time can I spend on the road?
  • How long will it take to get to my end destination?
  • What are my route options?
  • What am I interested in seeing?
  • Is everything open that I am interested in seeing?
  • Do I want to rent a car or use my own car?

Once you answer those questions, you can begin your planning.

Grab the basics for your vehicle

It doesn’t matter if you are renting a car or using your own, it is good to have the basics in the car for your road trip.

  • Flashlight
  • Food and water
  • Owner’s manual
  • Spare tire & roadside kit
  • Cell phone charger
  • Blanket
  • Small trash bag

Adding comfort to your road trip

Comfort can come in many ways. From wearing comfortable clothes & shoes to having snacks. We will share below some items that can bring comfort to a long drive.

  • Good music playlist. Whether you create it on your phone or pack a bunch of CDs, music makes a comfortable drive. Not a music fan? What about an audio book?
  • Hand sanitizer and cleaning wipes. Obviously this is more important than ever with COVID-19, but having access to clean hands brings comfort.
  • Sometimes you will come across a vendor who only accepts cash. Sometimes there are tolls you have to pass that require cash. This is always good to have on hand.
  • Snacks – pack your favorites!
  • Sunglasses & sunscreen
  • First Aid Kit
  • Cooler – this allows you to bring a variety of food choices. Especially if you don’t want to eat out every meal, packing your own meals brings safety and routine to your diet.
  • Pillow
  • Camera & camera charger (unless you use your phone for photos!)

Another common question – if I am renting a car, do I need to purchase their insurance policy?

This choice is up to you. Your auto insurance coverage would cover anything on your rental car that is covered on your personal car. Comprehensive and collision insurance is a required coverage on rental cars. If your current auto insurance coverage does not have comprehensive and collision coverage, you will need to purchase that coverage. Also, consider roadside assistance if you plan to be in an area unfamiliar to you.

What else should I know about creating the best road trip?

This may sound silly, but keep your head up and enjoy the scenery. If you are sitting in the passenger seat, it is easy to scroll through your phone instead, but sometimes the gems along the route are better than the destination.

Also, it may be fun to keep a journal of all the details of your trip. Especially if you are a fan of scrapbooking your trips, you’ll remember all the little memories that may be easy to forget.

Lastly, do some research. If you are a foodie, research the best places to eat on your route. Whether it is a simple Google search or looking at Yelp, it is easy to find tasty food.

If you have any questions about your existing auto insurance or RV insurance coverage, please contact us before you hit the road. Safe travels and enjoy the open road.

Learn How Pay Per Mile Coverage is Calculated

Pay Per Mile Coverage Collinsville, ILThe auto insurance industry landscape is changing as more companies embrace emerging technology. No longer are auto insurance rates based solely on your age, marital status, where you live, or the number of violations that you have. Instead, some companies are also basing their rating structures on how you drive, when you drive, and even where you drive. These models are often called Usage Based Insurance (UBI) or Pay-Per-Mile Insurance (PPMI) programs. And the adoption rates of these new rating variables varies across insurance companies. Some base their rates almost entirely on these new metrics whereas others have been slower to shift from traditional rating structures. Details regarding the type of data collected and the methods of data collection for these new programs are below:

Type of Data Collected:

Most insurance companies collect a wide range of data for their UBI programs. Some of the most common of these variables include the following:

  • Hard Brakes/Hard Acceleration: Hard braking or fast accelerations are signs of aggressive driving which data suggests increases the likelihood of being involved in an accident. Maintaining assured clear distance with the cars ahead of you and accelerating smoothly are ways to ensure this variable doesn’t increase your premium.
  • When You’re Driving Data suggests that between midnight and 4am are the riskiest times to be on the road. So, if possible, avoid late night driving when participating in a UBI program.
  • How Much You’re Driving, The more you’re on the road, the higher the chances that you’ll be involved in an accident. Those with low annual miles tend to get the most favorable rates from UBI programs.

Data Collection Methods

You might be wondering how insurance companies even get access to your driving behavior data. There are two primary data collection methods:

  • Proprietary Apps – Some insurance companies have created their own proprietary app which customers download to their phones for purposes of recording driving behavior. The app uses the technology embedded in the phone to collect hard brakes, GPS, date/time, etc and then wirelessly sends that data to the insurance company.
  • Plug-In Devices –  Every car manufactured since 1996 has an On-Board Diagnostics (OBD) port which allows for real-time monitoring of the vehicle. Some insurance companies have created a device that a customer can plug into this port. The device then collects the vehicle information and wirelessly sends that data to the company.

The best way to determine whether a UBI program is best for you is to ask a licensed agent in our office. We can assist you with assessing your insurance needs and provide you with some quotes from several of the top insurance companies.

Get A Quote For Your Auto Insurance Today

Our licensed staff is ready to help you get multiple insurance quotes. Because we’re an independent insurance agent we can shop from multiple insurance companies to help you find the right coverage at the right price.

Do I Need To Maintain Insurance On My Boat, Motorcycle Or RV During Winter?

Why You Should Maintain Your Insurance Year Round For Your Boat, RV or Motorcycle in Collinsville & Edwardsville, ILIt is a sad time of year when we have to say goodbye to long warm summer nights and hello to more moderate weather and shorter days. But, the good news is pumpkin lattes are out again.

With fewer boat, motorcycle or road trips in the RV happening in the fall and winter months, many wonder if they need to maintain insurance on these vehicles when they aren’t being driven. There are many different scenarios that warrant keeping these vehicles insured year-round so let’s take a closer look at these.

Weather Related Damages: Weather is especially nasty in the winter months so keeping your boat protected from covered weather-related damages is important. Even when stored, lightning, wind and hail can occur.

Physical Damages: It seems strange that you may be subjected to a property claim when your vehicle is not being used. However, take this simple example: You have a house party and someone wants to sit on your bike. During which, they accidentally knock it over denting your custom painted tank and scratching the paint. Your home insurance will not cover this.

Theft & Vandalism: If someone decides to steal your boat, motorcycle or RV in the winter months, you need coverage to cover the loss. Thefts occur everywhere, so even if in a secured area, vandalism can occur. Unfortunately, thieves don’t mind bad weather.

Fire: If your boat, motorcycle or RV is stored in your home or garage and there is a fire, your home insurance will not pay for damages to your vehicle. Instead, you will need a comprehensive insurance policy to cover these damages.

Financing: If you finance your boat, motorcycle or RV, your lienholder will require you to maintain insurance to protect the investment.

Multi-policy discounts: If you insure your boat, motorcycle or RV with your home or auto insurance company, you may be eligible for multi-policy discounts. By removing your insurance on your vehicle, you will raise the cost of your other policies.

Owning a boat, motorcycle or RV is a great experience for most. Don’t turn the joy of boat, motorcycle or RV ownership into a nightmare by trying to cut your insurance costs in the off-season. Protect your vehicle year-round and enjoy greater discounts on your other insurance products by bundling them together. For a quote on your insurance, give us a call. We represent the best insurance companies and can quote you different coverages, rates and apply for special discounts.

Things You Should Know About a Commercial Auto Insurance Policy

Commercial Auto Insurance Agent Collinsville & Edwardsville, ILWhen many people think of a commercial auto insurance policy, they may think of big vehicles such as semi-trucks, box trucks, garbage trucks, etc. However, there are many variations of vehicles that would qualify for a commercial auto insurance policy.

How to Determine If You Need a Commercial Auto Insurance Policy

If you are using your vehicle or your employer’s vehicle for business purposes, you need a commercial auto insurance policy or endorsement. For instance, many people are working in the gig economy in jobs such as delivering food with your own vehicle or doing rideshare. It is important you have the right insurance coverage. If you do get into an accident where you are making a food delivery and damage your vehicle or someone else’s property, your standard personal car insurance policy will likely not cover you. Contact our agents with any questions you may have.

Here is a quick reference to help you determine if you need a commercial auto insurance policy:

  1. Using your vehicle to carry business equipment
  2. Freight transportation
  3. Towing vehicles
  4. Delivering food or goods (Amazon drivers, food delivery drivers, newspaper delivery)
  5. Using your vehicle to chauffeur people (Uber or Lyft Drivers, taxi service)
  6. Transporting material

How Is A Commercial Auto Insurance Policy Different Than My Personal Auto Insurance?

Since your vehicle is being used for business purposes, there are different risks that need to be insured. Additionally, the rating system used by companies is entirely different than a personal auto policy.  Each commercial policy needs vary, so have a discussion with your agent to discuss your specific policy limits. For business owners with many vehicles to insure, business auto fleet policies are available. Additionally, consider adding a commercial umbrella policy above and beyond your standard commercial auto policy to protect your business from a catastrophic vehicle accident claim.

How Much Does Commercial Auto Insurance Cost?

Just like your personal auto insurance policy, a commercial auto insurance policy is rated on many factors. Here are a few common examples of what could determine your insurance rate.

  • Driving records
  • Driver age
  • Credit history
  • The size & type of your vehicle
  • The number of vehicles you are insuring
  • What you plan to transport

Not Sure What Kind of Coverage You Need for Your Business?

That is where we can help. Our agents can help determine what type of coverage will be the best fit for your specific needs. If you plan to use your vehicle for business and personal purposes, we can help you determine an appropriate type of policy. If you are only looking to cover your vehicle for business use, we can help find you the best rate. We will explain all of your options so you understand your policy. Get a free commercial auto insurance quote by calling or emailing us.