Charlie's Blog | Spencer Insurance Agency, Inc

Do you know the importance of umbrella insurance?

Since February 11th was Umbrella Day, we want to take time to explain that umbrella insurance is not for umbrellas! Umbrella insurance provides extra liability coverage for you or your business. This helps protect you or your business from large claims or lawsuits that exceed the limits of the liability coverage offered by your home, auto, or business insurance policies.

Types of umbrella insurance coverage

There are two types of umbrella insurance coverage. Personal umbrella coverage will take care of claims that are out of reach for your basic homeowners or auto insurance policies. The other type is commercial umbrella insurance. Commercial umbrella coverage will help cover those claims that happen at your business, such as injury or property damage that is too costly for your basic business insurance coverage. Both commercial and personal umbrella insurance will cover bodily injury, injury to reputation, property damages, and court costs.

 

Who needs umbrella insurance?

There are many types of people who could use the extra coverage of an umbrella policy. If you make decent money or come from a family of money, you should have an umbrella policy. If your family has guests or children over to your property and you have things such as trampolines, pools, playgrounds, tree houses, or blow-up toys or bounce houses, you should have an umbrella insurance policy as well. If you are a landlord and rent out property, you should have an umbrella insurance policy too.

 

If you think you may need an umbrella insurance policy, take a minute and contact us to start a quote! We are here to help you understand the importance of protecting yourself.

 

National Heart Month

 

Knowing the facts about heart disease can help increase your chances of avoiding or overcoming heart disease. The first thing to know is that it can happen at any age. Heart disease occurs more often in younger adults than you may be aware. Higher rates of obesity and high blood pressure are putting more young adults at risk.

 

 

Risk Factors

There are 3 major risk factors that can lead to heart disease. First factor is high blood pressure. Millions of Americans have high blood pressure. High blood pressure doesn’t discriminate against age or sex. Of those millions of Americans with high blood pressure, only about half have it under control. The second factor is high blood cholesterol. Eating unhealthy foods and not getting enough physical activity can all contribute to unhealthy levels of blood cholesterol. The third risk factor is smoking. More than 37 million U.S. adults are current smokers. Smoking damages the blood vessels and can be a cause of heart disease.

There are a variety of other conditions that can contribute to getting heart disease. Obesity, diabetes, physical inactivity, and unhealthy eating habits are all risk factors that can lead to heart disease. More than 1 in 3 Americans have obesity. Nearly 1 in 10 people in the U.S. have diabetes.

 

Being Heart Healthy

You can do a number of things to become heart healthy. First, if you smoke, quit! Most communities have support for helping individuals quit smoking, and talking to your medical provider is a good place to start. If you have high blood pressure or high blood cholesterol, your health care provider can help you manage these conditions. Sometimes this requires medications, and those need to be controlled by your provider. Eating heart healthy can also help change a number of factors that can lead to heart disease. Eating a low fat, low sugar, low sodium diet can help fight some of the conditions that lead to heart disease. Getting at least 150 minutes of activity per week can keep you active enough to help prevent heart disease.

You only get one heart. Keep it healthy!

Source: https://www.cdc.gov/features/heartmonth/index.html

Renting Your Property on AirBnb

Renting Your Property on AirBnb

If you are trying to earn a little extra money for the New Year, the answer may be in your spare room! AirBnb can be a great way to utilize an empty home, or room, and generate some much needed income. AirBnb is an online marketplace that connects people who have a room for rent, with travelers who need a place to stay for vacation. Just ensure you have the proper insurance!

 

Most standard homeowners insurance policies don’t include short-term rentals and will NOT cover them. If you’re renting out your home on a regular basis to generate income, insurance companies generally view that as business activity. This will require you to purchase business

What if something happens to your property while it is being rented? While AirBnb does offer up to $1

million of its own coverage per rental, it may not cover everything. Plus making a claim can be complicated! With an increased number of states now regulating rentals, most property owners are now legally required to maintain business liability insurance if they rent out their home on a short-term basis.

Don’t rely on your homeowners insurance policy. Many homeowners make this mistake and regret it! Homeowners insurance is designed to cover you from property damage and liability based off of a specific set of circumstances. When you rent your home on a frequent, or non-frequent, basis the risk for property damage and liability issues increase significantly!

Don’t make the same mistakes as other homeowners! Spencer Insurance Agency can help advise you on what business insurance would be best for you. Contact us at (215) 885-2200 or on our website 

to speak with one of our licensed professionals.

Sources:

https://www.investopedia.com/articles/insurance/120816/does-your-homeowners-insurance-cover-airbnb.asp

Emergency Preparedness Winter Car Kit

Emergency Preparedness Winter Car Kit

Having the proper items in your car during the winter can be the difference between life and death during a critical situation. The items listed below can help provide comfort and save your life. Along with the following items, you’ll want to be sure you have a fully charged phone before hitting the road. This can also save your life should an emergency arise.

The Basic Supplies:

These are the essentials.

Remember that along with these basic supplies, you’ll need an adequate amount of gas. It’s important to check that your antifreeze is at the proper level as well.

  • Blankets – Even having one extra blanket can provide much-needed warmth and protection.
  • Extra clothes such as mittens, socks, hats, and jackets
  • Flashlight with extra batteries
  • Jumper cables
  • Bottled water
  • A proper first aid kit with all the supplies that come in it. If you use something in your kit, replace it as soon as you get a chance.
  • Windshield cleaner
  • A simple multi-tool such as a Swiss Army Knife or a Leatherman Tool
  • Road flares or warning triangles

 

Remember that along with these basic supplies, you’ll need an adequate amount of gas. It’s important to check that your antifreeze is at the proper level as well.

Extra Supplies:

If your area experiences extreme winter weather, it’s a good idea to keep these extra supplies on hand as well.

  • Non-clumping cat litter for gaining traction in the snow
  • A folding shovel
  • Sleeping bag
  • Small fire extinguisher (Class B or C for your car)
  • Tire changing essentials such as a jack and lug wrench
  • Paper maps
  • Compass
  • Snacks such as canned nuts or granola bars
  • Ice scraper
  • Tow strap or chain
  • Matches or lighter

 

You can pick from the many options on the market for emergency car kits, or you can take the above listed items and make your own based on your needs. Always remember to check these items and make sure they are still in working order every month. If something needs to be changed out, do so immediately, as you never know when you may need your emergency kit.

Need coverage? Have Questions?

Call Spencer Insurance Agency’s  licensed insurance professionals at 215-885-2200 or visit our website. 

Generator Safety Tips

Generator Safety Tips

Choosing the right generator is the first step in generator safety. Here are a few easy ways to figure out which size generator is best for you, provided by Red Cross.

  1. Add up the power requirements of the appliances and devices you will want to use.
  2. Add up the wattage of all the light bulbs you will want to use.
  3. Find the total amps you need by dividing watts by volts.
  4. Choose a generator that produces more amps than you need. Some devices draw up to 3 times as much power when starting up, and others lose efficiency over times.

 

Another thing to remember when using a generator is that there are many hazards associated with using it. These hazards include but are not limited to:

  1. Shocks and electrocution
  2. Carbon monoxide
  3. Fires
  4. Noise and vibration

To minimize these hazards, keep your generator dry, and do not use it in rain or wet conditions. Also, keep the generator outside in a well-ventilated area to avoid carbon monoxide poisoning. Carbon monoxide can kill you in as little as 5 minutes and without warning.

Just a few more tips: Before refueling your generator be sure to turn off the generator and let it cool down to avoid a fire hazard.  Store gas for your generator properly, not in your house, and in a ventilated building or under the cover of a car port or canopy. Avoid electrical hazards by keeping the generator dry and under a cover such as a car port or canopy, but only if it is at least 20 feet away from your house.

Call  Spencer Insurance Agency’s licensed insurance professionals at  215-885-2200 or visit our website.

Sources: https://www.redcross.org/get-help/how-to-prepare-for-emergencies/types-of-emergencies/power-outage/safe-generator-use.html and https://www.osha.gov/OshDoc/data_Hurricane_Facts/portable_generator_safety.pdf.

 

Every business needs these 3 things for winter!

Winter has hit our area. Does your business have the necessary equipment to survive the rest of the winter? With these 3 basic tools, your business and employees can remain safe through these long winter months!

 

Yellow Caution Sign: This bright yellow sign is a great warning for pedestrians or employees that something is wet or slippery, and they should use caution while crossing this area. Not only can you use this in the winter for icy sidewalks, you can also use it year around when there is a spill, or just a wet floor! You can pick up one of these caution signs at your local hardware store.

Snow Shovel: We will have snow this winter. How much, is the question. Your business should always have a snow shovel on hand. This way you can keep your entrance ways clear of snow for customers to visit your business easily. Use caution while shoveling! Always lift with your legs and take breaks often. There are many types of shovels, so choose the one that best suits you! https://www.amazon.com/s?k=snow+shovels&ref=nb_sb_noss_1

Rock Salt: Another necessity for business owners in the winter is rock salt. Rock salt can dissolve ice and snow on sidewalks and parking lots. Sprinkle this over your sidewalk or parking lot before, or after, snow or ice has fallen and watch it dissolve. You can purchase rock salt at most stores including: hardware stores, dollar stores, Walmart, and many more.

 

This is only a very basic list of the tools your business can use during the winter months to keep you, your employees, and your customers safe. We are the areas leader in business insurance policies and can advise on any type of industry. You can reach us at (215) 885-2200 or on our website spencerinsurance.com

Getting Your Life in Order

Many people believe that estate planning is only for the wealthy. Wealthy people have a lot of money, lots of land, and lots to divvy up to their heirs, so it makes sense that they need to plan out how and where their things will end up. However, everyone with any net worth needs to do basic estate planning to make sure that their possessions, no matter how large or small, are distributed according to their wishes. If you need a resolution for 2020, make it working on your estate to-do list.

The first (and arguably most important) document to put in order is your will. Wills ensure that your possessions are distributed in accordance with your wishes; therefore, the wording is of utmost importance. When looking over the wording of your will, be sure that all items are consistent with named beneficiaries. For example, if you’ve named your child as a beneficiary on a retirement account, you don’t want that same account on the will named to someone other than your child. This could result in a bitter will contest that will result in a lengthy legal battle.

The second document to draft is a durable power of attorney (POA). A POA is someone who acts on your behalf if you are incapable of doing so. A common example is someone who handles the distribution of assets upon your death. In many cases, spouses set up reciprocal POA’s, but POA can be given to anyone the person chooses.

When it comes to healthcare there is power of attorney for healthcare decisions as well. You can assign someone you trust to make healthcare decisions for you in case you’re incapacitated.

One other document to get started is a life insurance policy. The life insurance policy should be the first item on your to-do list and the one you need to start as soon as possible. Life insurance premiums only go up as you get older, so the sooner you start, the more money you can save. Life insurance policies are bought in an amount and when you die, the money on the policy will pass to your beneficiaries. There are multiple types of policies and different amounts to buy when it comes to life insurance. Use a professional agent to help you decide which amount and type makes sense for you.

There are many other financial documents to go over when estate planning, but hopefully this list gives you a good base to start from. When it comes to estate planning you may also need long-term care insurance, annuities, and many other items. When it comes to life insurance, Spencer Insurance Agency is just the place to get expert advice regarding life insurance policies, amount sot purchase, and what makes sense for you.

Be sure to give us a call at 215-885-2200 if you have any questions about life insurance. Your protection and peace of mind is our only business!

Winter Driving Tips

As the winter rolls on, driving in snow will become a common occurrence. An ounce of preparation will pay dividends when it comes to staying safe while driving in poor road conditions.

Get Your Car Serviced: It doesn’t matter what season we’re in, no one wants their car to break down. However, this is especially true in winter. Get your vehicle a check-up to make sure everything is running smooth.

Check for Recalls: Part of that check-up should be a check for recalls. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has a handy tool you can use to check if your vehicle has had any recalls issued. Critical issues can be fixed for free at your nearest dealer for free!

Know Your Car: Every car handles differently in snow. Take time to learn how your car reacts to poor weather conditions.

Clear off snow and ice from your vehicle: Turn on your defrosters and brush off the roof of your car while the defrosters work on your front and rear windshields. By the time you get to brushing off the windshield, the ice will be falling off!

Brakes: Allow for longer braking distance in the winter. The snow and ice, more than any other road condition, will require you to brake two or three times longer than usual. And as anyone who has ever driven in large amounts of snow can tell you, sometimes braking doesn’t help. In those situations, it would be best not to attempt driving at all.

One action at a time: Doing multiple driving actions like braking while turning will cause your car to slide in the winter. When planning on turning, brake first, and then turn. Completing one action before starting another will allow you to course correct if something goes wrong during one action.

No false moves: Any sudden actions can cause your car to be thrown off balance. Driving like you have a hot cup of coffee in your lap is the best way to describe how you need to drive in the winter.

How to correct a slide: If the back end of your car is starting to fishtail (sliding out left or right), turn your steering wheel in the direction of the slide. However, do not overcorrect, because that will cause your car to spin. Hitting the brakes will also make things worse.

Turn off traction control: When driving on a snowy hill, momentum is your friend! Traction control is great for maintaining stability, but will cut down on your momentum. Turning off the system on hills and turning it back on once on you’re on level ground can help during the winter months.

Be sure to give us a call at 215-885-2200 if you have any questions about auto insurance. Your protection and peace of mind is our only business!

Winter Maintenance Tips

 

Well, many of us got our first taste of snow this week. Home Maintenance never stops – even in the winter! While it may seem like the perfect time to not go outside, your home will need occasional maintenance. This maintenance will help save you money in the long run, especially if you get hammered with the worst winter has to offer. Bundle up, and head out to check the following items off your list!

Gutters and Drainage. Cleaning out the gutters can be the worst, but it is essential in any season with large amounts of precipitation. Your gutters can fill with ice in the winter which can lead to damage when the ice thaws and expands. This expansion will put a strain on your gutters.

Check Window Wells. Window wells are a great way to let some natural light into your basement. However, if not properly maintained can cause moisture to seep into your basement. Make sure the well is properly cleaned, and the window liner is sealed. This is especially important when expecting a large snowfall.

Clean your Dryer Vent. Dryers cause 15,00 fires a year and tend to get the most use in the winter. To reduce your fire risk, clean off your lint filter with every drying cycle. You can also clean the lint vent located on the back of most dryers. Once cleaning the dryer, let it run for about 15 minutes to flush all remaining lint from the machine.

Bleed your Radiators. If you have radiators, be sure to bleed them each winter. This is a simple process for anyone. Simply, turn on all your radiators to their max setting. Then turn them off and let them cool. Go to each radiator, turn it off, and open the bleed valve. Put a tray under the valve and let out the air. The tray will catch the water (this is normal). Then close the valve and repeat for all radiators.

Avoid Ice Dams. Ice dams build up on the edge of your roof in the winter. They prevent melting snow from draining. This melted snow can get under your shingles and into your home. Adding insulation and increasing ventilation will keep your whole roof the same temperature. You can also manually knock off these ice dams using a telescopic rake.

Prep before Blizzards. Winter can bring freezing rain, sleet, and blizzards. Any of these can cause a mess of issues. Make sure your generator is working. Keep a stash of lanterns and flashlights if you lose power. If you get poor cell phone reception, keep a battery powered radio around to keep up to date with news and weather. Put your heavy snow gear all in one place for ease of access when you have to shovel. After the storm passes, knock off any snow on tree limbs that could pose a threat to your home.

Use these tips to keep your home in tip-top condition. If anything else needs to be done in the winter, call a service professional to help you repair any items that might need immediate repair like pipes, windows, or doors. If you suffer any major damage during the winter, don’t forget your homeowner’s insurance policy was made just for these events.

Be sure to give us a call at 215-885-2200 if you have any questions about homeowners insurance. Your protection and peace of mind is our only business!

 

Is Long Term Care Insurance right for you?

 

In less than 10 years, all of the nearly 70 million baby boomers will have reached the age of 65. As this massive generation starts to reach an age where extended care is needed, how will families shoulder the cost. Long-term care insurance (LTCI) can be an integral part of any family’s plan no matter what route they decide to take with their older relatives.

 

LTCI is a policy that will reimburse policyholders a pre-selected amount for services to assist their loved ones with daily living activities. This insurance is essential because it can help lessen the financial burden caused by long term care – whether that means home-based care, a nursing home, an assisted living facility, or any variation of extended care.

 

LTCI is important because while some boomers may have invested wisely and have the disposable income to take care of themselves, there is no guarantee that something disastrous might not happen that would cause that income to dry u, leaving them with no backup plan. Investing in LTCI should be a part of any future planning especially considering that 60% of people over the age of 65 will require some form of long-term service.

 

Not only is LTCI helpful for those receiving the care, but family members can struggle to support their relatives if they choose to pay for long term care services themselves. These cost are expected to increase anywhere between 50-120% over the next 10 years. Talking to your loved ones about their long-term care goals and if they have considered LTCI should be a conversation that should start now even if they will not need long term care in the near future.

 

Contact us at Spencer Insurance Agency to see if LTCI is right for you.  Start the conversation now before you need the care.

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