homeowner’s insurance - Spencer Insurance Agency, Inc

Want to avoid Claims . . .

Fall Auto and Home Maintenance - Abington, Glenside, Jenkintown Homeowners Insurance company Spencer Insurance

The start of fall was more like summer.  Hopefully, the crisp and cool fall days will be upon us soon.

Spencer Insurance Agency helps protects you should you have a claim.  But more importantly Spencer Insurance Agency wants to help you avoid claims.  Even with the best coverage claims are a nuisance.

With that in mind we have posted to our website our “Fall Section.”  This section provides many tips on how to prepare your home as fall and winter arrive to prevent claims. This section also has car safety tips and a list of items you should have in your car emergency kit.

So check it out now so you are ready for the winter months.  A little preparation now can go a long way in helping you to avoid future claims.  If you have any questions about your insurance coverage contact us at 215-885-2200.

Do you have a drone?

Did you get a drone for Christmas?  I imagine they are a lot of fun.

I know the first thing you did when you purchased the drone was to call your insurance agent to see if you have property or liability coverage for your drone, right?  Well, the funny thing is that I have not received one call from a client asking if their new drone is covered.  I imagine at least one of my clients owns a drone.

The big question: “Is my drone covered under my homeowner’s insurance coverage?”  And the answer is “Maybe.”  What if you crash the drone into a person and hurt them? What happens if you crash your drone into a car and cause an accident?  If your drone is used for recreational purposes only, then you may have some coverage.  It depends on the language in your policy.  Different companies have different language.  Some limit the size of the drone to under 10 pounds.  Others companies’ policies state “we do cover model airplanes not used or designed for transporting cargo or persons.”

Did you know that all drones over .55 pounds (yes, that is only half a pound) need to be registered with the FAA (the Federal Aviation Administration)?  If you operate an unregistered drone you are subject to fines.  You may also lose your liability coverage since you are operating the drone illegally. Go to the FAA website (https://www.faa.gov/uas/getting_started/) and make sure you know what is required.

The best thing to do is call us at 215-885-2200 and discuss your drone with us.

Why does my homeowner’s insurance premium increase every year?

We hear this question from clients so I thought some of you are probably not asking us this question but are thinking about it.  So let me answer the question.

There are many factors that will affect your homeowner’s insurance premium including making a claim and increases in replacement value coverage on your home. Weather related catastrophic losses also affect your rates even if you do not make a claim.   Also, each year the insurance company will increase your dwelling coverage to keep pace with inflation.  So you may see a 2%, 3%, or 5% increase depending on the cost of living increases for building materials in your area.  All of us know it will take more money to replace our home today than it did 20 years ago.

But these factors are not why homeowner’s insurance premiums can vary from carrier to carrier.  That is why I always ask our clients to send me a copy of any quotes they receive for a lower premium than they are paying now so I can make sure they are not losing any valuable coverage.

Think about the last time you bought a new car.  I just recently purchase a Toyota Camry.  I could have just gotten the base model but I wanted the hybrid.  I also wanted some safety features.  The one I really like is that my headlights turn when I am making a turn.  Pretty cool.  I also chose some other features that cost me extra money (a navigation system and Apple Car play for example).  I could have just gotten the basic model for less money and that would have been okay, but I wanted more features so I knew I would be paying more. So I paid the extra money and got the car I wanted.  Homeowner’s Insurance is very similar.

What I see when clients send me their quotes is that they are being quoted a basic homeowner’s policy.  Of course the premium is less because they no longer have the coverages we discussed that were important to them. If they want a basic homeowner’s policy I will sell them one IF that is all the coverage they want. But I will make sure they will know what coverage is now missing. Just like my Camry if you want more features you should expect to pay more.

As you know Spencer Insurance Agency represents several quality homeowner’s insurance companies. It seems that all our companies are coming out with new versions of their homeowner’s policy and/or new coverages. Should you switch?  Should you update to the new version? Should you add additional coverages that were not offered before?  One thing I know for sure is that you SHOULD talk to us about your policy.  Our agency tries our best to be as proactive as possible and reach out to our clients if we feel you should make changes. In a perfect world we would talk to all our clients about these updates but we are not perfect and this is not a perfect world.  We can’t get to everyone right away so feel free to call us at any time for a review.

Here are some new coverages being offered by our companies just recently:

  • Service line coverage – Now you can get the coverage you may be paying your water company for to replace a broken pipe from your house to the curb.
  • Mechanical Breakdown – Coverage for appliances, heating/air conditioning systems when they break down
  • Loss forgiveness/decreasing deductible
  • Hidden seepage coverage
  • Roof and siding matching in event of claim

Of course if you add some coverage you will be paying more premium.  You have to decide if it is worth the additional cost to have the coverage.  Just like my Camry I will pay more if I add more features/coverage. Price is important but remember the “True Cost of Insurance” includes the cost you pay out of pocket when you don’t have the proper coverage. If you want a basic homeowner’s insurance policy great, you can have it.  But if you want some better coverage you should expect to pay additional premium.  It is very hard from the policy pages to know all the coverages that are included or missing.  Let us help you.  If we can’t determine whether the quote you received or policy you have with have another agent has a certain coverage , we will tell you what to ask the other agent to make sure you do have that coverage.  Call us today for a review of any policy.

As the holidays decorating season approaches, some safety tips. . .

 

Candles, fires (indoors in your fireplace and outdoors in your fire pit), strands of lights and Christmas Trees can make your home look beautiful for the holiday season. Be extra careful during this time of year. Remember most home fires occur during the winter months so we want to share some safety tips.

  • If you use a live Christmas tree make sure it is properly watered. Check out this video which shows dramatically the fire danger for a dry tree and one that is properly watered.
  • FEMA Video sharing winter fire prevention tips.
  • Check out the Spencer Insurance Winter Tips for some tips for:
    • Driving in winter conditions
    • Preparing an emergency kit for car and home
    • Preparing your teen driver to drive in winter conditions
    • Taking time during the winter when you are inside more to review your finances

The severity of our winters change each year.  Even the Farmer’s Almanac can’t get it right all the time.  So take some time now to prepare so you are ready for that blizzard or ice storm.  Hope I didn’t jinx us.

Contact us with any questions or if you would like a review of your insurance.

Have a wonderful winter.

Turn the clocks back and check your smoke detectors and fire extinguishers.

         

This Saturday night we welcome the extra hour sleep as we turn the clocks back one hour.

But don’t forget the more important task when turning clocks back:  Check your smoke detectors and fire extinguishers.

If you have smoke detectors that have removable batteries then change those batteries.  Many of the smoke detectors today have a battery life of 10 years and then you need to throw it out and get a new one. So check the date on the smoke detector to see how old it is.  Don’t wait!  If it is 10 years old replace it.

While you are at it, check your fire extinguishers to make sure they still have a full charge.  If not replace them or have them serviced.

Spend a little time checking.  After all you did get an extra hour of sleep.  It could save your life.

 

 

Fall is here and so are the Spencer Agency’s fall safety tips!

Fall Auto and Home Maintenance - Abington, Glenside, Jenkintown Homeowners Insurance company Spencer Insurance

 

As summer comes to a close I ask “will we get rid of this rain and humidity.”  I am looking forward to some crisp fall days and seeing the beautiful change of the color of the trees.

But it would not be fall without Spencer’s fall safety tips.   Check these tips out so you can prevent future claims. This fall section has tips on how to prepare your car and home for fall and winter.  It also has some teen driver tips for parents of teen drivers.

       

Lastly, September is Life insurance awareness month so I have some tips on how to protect your family with life insurance.  Tips on what you need to do with your life insurance if you are getting married or divorced. Rachel will tell you why you should not delay purchasing life insurance.

As always just contact us if you have any questions or concerns.  “Your protection and peace of mind is our only business.”

Important: We may not be on a direct path of Hurricane Florence but you should still prepare!

 

Hurricanes are very unpredictable and the predicted paths can change, but this does not mean we should not prepare for the worse. Fortunately it looks like our area is going to be spared from the brunt of the storm but a big impact of this storm is the potential for up to 30 inches of rain for the south. Hopefully things change and the storm is not as potent as it is predicted. This is hurricane season and there are two more storms following Florence and many times these storms reach us as tropical storms with a lot of rain and wind.

This summer has been one of the wettest on record for our area. The ground is saturated which means even a small amount of additional rain becomes a problem. Make sure you make preparations now:

• Inspect your roof, flashing and siding. Replace your roof or flashing if it is old and worn.
• Prepare your basement before flooding occurs. Raise items stored in the basement, make sure your sump pump has a battery backup, and think twice before making your basement a living area.
• Landscape your home to help absorb water and keep water away from your home.
• Check your gutters and downspouts to make sure they are not clogged.
• If you have a storm drain on the street near your home make sure it is clear of debris so the water can flow into the storm drain. Rake up leaves and other debris that may be clogging the storm drain.
• When you have a loss make sure you correct the problem that caused the loss so it does not happen to you again.

Most of us are in preferred flood zones but you should still consider the purchase of flood insurance. Rates are less expensive in preferred flood areas. That small dried up creek can rise quickly causing water to run through your property. Buying flood insurance now won’t help you with Florence as there is a 30 day waiting period but there are more storms in the future. You hear it all the time after an area floods “I have been living her for over 50 years and my home never had flooding before.” Don’t be the one that will say this to the reporter.

Keep in mind that when our area receives a storm watch or warning most of our insurance carriers will put a moratorium on our binding authority which means we may not be able to offer you insurance. Some tips:

• If you are making settlement on a home during a potential storm make sure the policy is issued now or delay settlement if possible until after the storm.
• If you are planning on picking up a new car I would suggest you wait until after the storm so your new car does not flood or get damaged by a tree reducing its value. Wait to take possession of the new car until after the storm leaves the area.
• Be aware of where you park your car during a storm to avoid flood and trees.
• Put your valuables on a separate inland marine policy. Many of these policies cover flood damage.
• Make sure you have enough water back-up coverage on your homeowner’s policy.

Even if you have the proper coverage claims are still a hassle. You still need to clean up and fix what is broken. So take some time to prepare and avoid possible claims. As always our staff at Spencer Insurance Agency is here to assist you with any claims you do have. Call us at 215-885-2200 to report a claim, review coverage or purchase flood insurance. Our website is also available 24 hours a day and has phone numbers for all our companies to report claims directly. Expect some delays as the volume of claim calls increases dramatically when a hurricane hits the United States.

Let’s hope for the best but prepare for the worse!

Happy Labor Day! Are you looking forward to the first day of school? Send us your pictures!

Happy Labor Day!  I hope you enjoy the weekend!

Labor Day means it is time to go back to school.  Many of us remember or are experiencing our child’s first day of school.  Excitement, Anxiousness, happiness, sadness are just a few things parents experience not to mention the kids.  I think many times the first day of school is harder on the parents.

 

This is a picture of my oldest and youngest on one of their first days of school.  Send us your pictures of your child’s first day at school.  Send us the old and the new!  Love to see the older pictures too.  Post them on our Facebook page or email them to us.  We would love to share them in our next newsletter.

Be careful driving as the school zones will be active again.  Also, remind your teen drivers to be careful. Don’t forget we have a website for the parents of teen drivers.

Good luck this school year.  Don’t forget to send us the pictures.

 

 

P.S. Spencer insurance will close at 3PM on Friday September 1st and reopen Tuesday September 5th.

Car insurance rates are rising. Want to know why?

Car insurance rates continue to climb in Bucks and Montgomery counties just like the rest of the state.  There are many reasons why rates are rising:

  • Increased cost of repairs due to safety technology in cars today. They make cars safer but repairs more costly.
  • Gas prices are low so people are driving more miles.
  • More cars on the roads

But the most concerning reason auto insurance rates are rising is distracted driving and distracted walking.

Although distracted driving can be looking at your GPS or navigation system, eating or drinking coffee, changing the radio station; the most concerning distracted driving activity is texting while driving.

I saw a statistic that said when on the interstate traveling 60 MPH the average text would involve looking away from the road for the length of a football field.

Don’t think Bluetooth devices are the answer.  Although better than hand held they still distract the driver.

 

No text or phone call is worth your life.  If you need to take a call or make a call pull over to a parking area then make the call.  We all hear and see stories of accidents while texting that are life changing for a family.  The loss of a parent or child is devastating. Don’t let it happen to you!

I also mention distracted walking.  We are seeing more and more claims where people are texting or looking at their phone while walking.  They walk right into an intersection while texting and don’t look up.  The result is more accidents involving pedestrians on their phones.

I hope this article will help just a few people put down the phone when driving and walking.  I don’t want to see anymore claims involving pedestrian hit by cars while the walker or driver was texting.

I also want to make a plea to parents.  Remember your kids are watching your driving habits.  If you are texting while driving you not only put your life and other lives at risk but you are setting a terrible example for your kids.

I understand phones are important for all of us. But when did our lives become so complicated that we needed to be available to answer the phone or text immediately?  I for one do not want people thinking I am available 24/7.  I value my life and yours too much.

Spread the word as distracted driving is becoming an epidemic and as serious as drunk driving.

Separating or recently divorced? Check in with us!

 

If you or someone you know is recently separated or divorced you should check in with us. The sooner the better.

We recently had a client in Glenside that had car insurance on a policy with her husband.  They were recently separated and the wife moved into an apartment. What she did not understand is this would have huge impact on her car insurance and homeowner’s insurance.

Privacy laws sometimes make it difficult for us to talk to her about her husband.  However, we could quote and issue a car insurance policy on just her car.  We also suggested a renter’s insurance policy for her since she moved out of the home.  The husband would continue with the current policy so his car would also have coverage.

You also need to think about your life insurance policy.  Who should be the beneficiary?  If you have children then it is important to make sure there is a change to the beneficiary to reflect the separation or divorce. You should also discuss with the divorce lawyer your life insurance policies as you want to make sure they continue for the benefit of the children.

It is important to make sure the divorce attorney helps you in these areas but you may need to see a lawyer specializing in estate law.  You will need to update your will, power of attorney and living will.  If you need a referral to an estate attorney contact us.

There are many things related to insurance that you need to consider when getting a separation or divorce.  For more details check out our website article “Getting a divorce or separation.”

As always we are available to review your auto, home and life insurance policies.  We are professionals and our goal is to make sure both spouses have the proper protection in the event of a divorce or separation.  We do not take sides, we just assist both of you.

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