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Choice and options are invaluable when protecting your valuables!

The consumer market today is all about choice and having options. Whatever we’re buying, we like to have the biggest selection to choose from– whether it’s a department store or a restaurant menu, we like choice! Why should it be any different with our insurance? After all, protecting our homes, future and family is far more important than picking out shoes or something to eat!

This brings me to today’s topic– captive agents versus independent agents. Insurance is a very personal matter– needs vary from individual to individual and family to family. Insurance companies are all different. Each company has a specific target niche they are very comfortable and competitive with. Many companies factor in the same rating variables, such as age of roof, vicinity of fire station/hydrant, claims history, age of home, and more, but they don’t all weigh each factor the same.

There is a company out there that has a great rate for you with great benefits and coverage.

Ask yourself these questions:

  1. Do you have an insurance agent?
  2. Does that agent represent several companies or just one?
  3. Are you sure the company you’re with now is the best one for you?
     –Just because your parents had them for years doesn’t mean they’ll be loyal or competitive!
  4. How often do you shop your insurance?
  5. Is it convenient for you to shop your insurance?

Wilkinson Insurance Agency is an independent agency representing several companies! We do our best to match you with a company that best fits your needs and offers the most value.
Because we have several tools at our disposal, you don’t need to make several phone calls and spend hours on the phone shopping for a better deal– we do it for you! This is much more convenient for you and saves you time and money too!

Are you interested in giving this independent agency a chance to serve you the right way?

Take 5 minutes and visit our secure quoting portal here  http://www. wi-insure.com/quotes  and let us go to work for you!

Father’s Day

Time to Honor Dad

 

With summer drawing near and the weather warming up, Indiana’s neighborhoods come alive with the sights and sounds of the season: lawnmowers, power tools and backyard barbecues, to name a few.

 

For many people, those things all bring to mind one specific person: Dad. And since Father’s Day is just around the corner, we at Wilkinson Insurance Agency thought we’d give you some gift ideas – and some fun history trivia, too!

 

The history of Father’s Day

Marked on the third Sunday of June in the United States (and in many other countries), Father’s Day was first celebrated in 1910 to complement Mother’s Day. According to Wikipedia, the day was created by Sonora Smart Dodd of Spokane, Wash., who wanted to honor her father, Civil War veteran William Jackson Smart.

 

Although Dodd originally suggested her father’s birthday in early June, she had not provided organizers with enough time to arrange the event – and the celebration was delayed until the third Sunday of the month.

 

Although Mother’s Day has been an official national holiday since 1914, Father’s Day had a tougher road. Congress refused to make the celebration official in the years immediately following Dodd’s first observance, fearing that the day would become commercialized. (Some would say those fears were well-founded; the creator of Mother’s Day later came to regret the commercialization of that holiday.)

 

It wasn’t until 1966 that Father’s Day received an official proclamation, thanks to President Lyndon B. Johnson. And six years later, President Richard Nixon signed a law making the day a national holiday.

 

Facts and figures (from government website USA.gov)

There are an estimated 70.1 million fathers across the nation

An estimated 1.7 million men are single fathers

Approximately 176,000 fathers are stay-at-home dads

 

What to get Dad?

Once you’re past the age of, say, 10, the “Old Spice and a tie” routine probably won’t cut it anymore when it comes to getting a gift for your father. Here are some better ideas from AskMen.com:

Grilling tools (this way, perhaps he’ll even cook for you on Father’s Day!)

Alcohol (to be enjoyed in moderation, of course)

Fishing gear

Golf clubs, balls or other sporting goods – or take him out for a round of golf

Books (particularly grilling cookbooks)

Gadgets (such as a GPS; after all, many dads don’t like asking for directions)

Landscaping services (so he can take a break from mowing the lawn)

 

Aside from ties and cheap cologne, you’ll probably want to avoid the most clichéd gifts, especially “World’s Best Dad” items (even if it’s true!) and socks.

 

As with all gifts, though, it’s the thought that counts. And we’re sure your dad will appreciate simply being appreciated. And if you’re a dad yourself – Happy Father’s Day! We hope you’ll enjoy your day.

Protecting your valuable possessions

Like most people, you probably own certain things you can’t bear the thought of losing. Items you cherish and are very hard or impossible to replace.

If you have a homeowner’s or even a renter’s insurance policy, you know they can be very helpful for covering the loss or damages to both your home and personal property. Some items, however, are only covered up to set limits as written in your policy. Nearly every company has “special limits” for certain types of items, although the limits vary from company to company.

Some common items might include:scheduled property Wilkinson Insurance

  • jewelry, watches and furs
  • antiques
  • musical instruments
  • art
  • collections
  • precious metals
  • silverware and china
  • autographed items
  • one-of-a-kind or rare items

So, look around your home and take an inventory of items that are precious and valuable to you and have a talk with your agent to discuss the best way to insure them. Adding a scheduled property endorsement, or rider, is usually the best way to insure items that fall under special limits.

Keep in mind you should consider updating your inventory list annually to avoid missing newly acquired items or continuing to insure items you no longer own.

Besides catalogging valuable items, you could also keep a more comprehensive record of things you own in case a disaster strikes and you’re left with nothing!

With smart phones being such a prominent fixture in our day-to-lives, check the app store on your phone for apps that can help you inventory items like this.  Safeco has one for the iPhone and iPad here: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/safeco-home-inventory/id1058995230?ls=1&mt=8

You can take photos and enter detailed descriptions which could come in very handy down the road.

What is umbrella insurance and what does it do?

Umbrellas or PCL’s (Personal Catastrophe Liability)

What is umbrella insurance? What exactly does it do? Glad you asked!

Most people are pretty familiar with the liability coverage on their auto insurance policy. If you cause damage to someone else with a motorized vehicle, you are at fault and considered liable for the damages. Your insurance company pays for the damage up to the limits afforded by your policy. Pretty simple.

Well, your homeowner’s policy or even a renter’s policy offers liability protection too! In fact, any situation that doesn’t involve an auto, boat or any motorized vehicle, would be covered under your homeowner’s policy. If your dog bites someone or you hit someone with a golf ball on the course, you can be sued for damages. Many people don’t realize their insurance covers liability, not just property.

But, what happens when the damages you cause exceed the limits you have on either policy? You are still liable for the damages after all. This leaves you at risk of losing your home, assets, and future wages. An umbrella is the answer!

Excess liability protection

An umbrella is simply extra liability protection– usually in amounts of $1 or $2 million. This is in ADDITION to your current limits. The name “umbrella” comes from the fact it offers protection in addition to your home and auto. So, if either underlying home or auto liability limits are exhausted, then the umbrella kicks in with an extra $1 or $2 million in protection!

Umbrellas are extremely affordable depending on the underlying risks, so they’re definitely worth checking out!

Hopefully you realize the importance of knowing what you have at risk and how to protect it!

We have created a risk calculator on our website for you to determine if you need an umbrella policy.

The risk calculator is on our Resources page here.

To discuss umbrellas in more depth or have questions about your current situation, please contact us and we’ll be happy to help!

So, my homeowner’s policy doesn’t cover flood… what protection do I have against water?

Is it flood or is it not?

One of the most confusing areas of a homeowner’s insurance policy has to do with covering water damage. Is it covered or excluded???

No traditional homeowner’s policy offers any protection for flood insurance yet there is protection for water damage but it depends on the cause.  Without over-simplifying it, if water is purposely brought into the home (ie. plumbing) then any resulting damage is typically covered. If a pipe freezes or your water heater leaks and damages your carpet, for example, most homeowner’s policies cover this.  It’s important to keep in mind, insurance usually covers the cost to repair the damages only.  Suppose your water heater tank leaks and ruins your kitchen floor.  Your policy will cover the cost to replace your kitchen floor, but not necessarily the cost of a brand new water heater.

Sump pump failure

A similar optional coverage for homeowner’s is called “water & sewer drain backup“.  There are some instances, say, if you have a finished basement below grade, you might be concerned with a drain clog or a failing sump pump leaving you exposed to water damage.  This coverage can be selected to protect your home against such a loss.

Other situations might involve an indirect cause.  Let’s say a tornado rips your roof off and rain gets in and causes damage. Since wind is usually considered a covered peril, then the resulting damage caused by rain would also be covered.

Now, let’s take a look at when water damage isn’t covered. If a nearby river or lake floods and water leaks into your yard and eventually into your home, that is considered a flood. Since most homeowner’s policies don’t cover flood, it must be purchased as a separate policy. The premiums vary depending on which flood zone your property falls in.

As always, you should check your own policy to see what exactly is covered and not covered. If you would like to review your current policy with us to make sure you are properly covered, call us or send us a message and we would be happy to schedule a time to go over everything with you.

I bet you never thought THIS could start a house fire!

Burning down the house!

Luckily, most of us have never experienced a house fire, but they happen and more often than you think. Numerous things can cause house fires but we want to warn you of a device almost every home has that can be dangerous…the laundry dryer!  Yes, dryer fires account for more than 15,000 home fires each year. This blog is focused on some of the steps you can take to prevent fires from occurring in your home.

First and foremost, always get into a habit of cleaning your lint trap. Dryer lint is extremely flammable and if care isn’t taken to clean the lint trap regularly, heat can cause the lint to ignite.

Secondly, make sure the exhaust hoses are free from kinks and there’s no build up of lint inside. Also, make sure you keep clear the area around your dryer.  Socks and other small articles of clothing can easily fall behind or under the dryer and be a possible hazard.

This video illustrates a possible scenario many people may not consider.  Oil or grease soaked aprons, clothes, or shoes, even after being washed can present a high fire risk. Make sure you wash anything that has come into contact with oil, grease, or gasoline multiple times and then hang them to dry!