Spencer Insurance Agency Inc. - Spencer Insurance Agency, Inc

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.

Join Spencer Insurance on the NAMIWalks

Join Spencer Insurance on the NAMIWalks . . .

Spencer Insurance will once again support team “Take it in Stride” for the 2019 NAMIWalks. As the NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness) website states “Every journey begins with that first step. Through NAMIWalks Greater Philadelphia’s public, active display of support for people impacted by mental illness, we are changing our community and ensuring that help and hope are available for those in need.  The walk is a great day to promote mental health awareness and celebrate recovery!”

Many of us with loved ones who suffer through mental illness know about Nami’s commitment to educate and support.  We want to give back to NAMI for all the support services they have provided our family by our participation in the walk.

Spencer Insurance Agency will provide a “Take it in Stride” team T-Shirts to all walkers.

Go to our team page to sign up to walk with our team or if you can’t make the walk but would like to support our team go to my fundraising page. We appreciate anything you can do to make the walk a success.

Here are the details:

Saturday, May 4, 2019

Montgomery County Community College

Registration Opens: 8am | Walk Begins: 10am

 

Hope to see you there!!!

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.

Did you return the Annual Review Checklist?

To quote Heraclitus “The Only Thing That is Constant is Change.”

Things change in your life every year. That is why Spencer Insurance sends an Annual Review Checklist to our clients once per year.  You should have received one in the mail recently.

Spencer Insurance Agency makes coverage recommendations based on your lifestyle. Life changes and we need to know about
these changes to make sure your insurance is up to date. Our goal is to provide you with the proper coverage at a competitive price.
We understand that price is important to you however the “True Cost of Insurance” includes the out of pocket costs you incur when you do not have the proper protection.

We suggest you complete and return the Annual Review Checklist to us at your earliest convenience. Feel free to call us to discuss the checklist.

Don’t be caught short with coverage come claim time.  Contact us now!

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.

 

 

What is the #1 threat to your retirement savings?

 

Even if you are in your thirties or forties you need to pay attention to this article.  Your future retirement assets are at risk too.

You insure your homes yet there is only a 1 in 300 chance of a house fire. You insure your cars and yet there is only a 1 in 30 chance that you will have an auto accident. There is a 4 in 10 chance you will need long term care yet very few people insure their retirement assets to protect those assets from long term care expenses. Yes, long term care expenses are the #1 treat to your retirement assets.

According to “Genworth’s cost of care survey”  for 2017, here are the average annual cost in Pennsylvania:

  • Homemaker services (care in the home) $50,336
  • Adult Day Care $16,120
  • Assisted Living Facility $41,400
  • Semi Private Nursing home room $111,325

What is long term care?  Long term care is help needed to assist with the activities of daily life such as bathing, dressing, eating, using a toilet, continence or transferring from a bed to a chair. You may need this care in the home or in a facility.  How long would your retirement assets last if one or both of you needed long term care?

Here are some solutions:

  • Pay out of pocket. Even if you can afford to do this I can show you a better way
  • Medicare – Medicare only covers skilled care after being in the hospital for 3 days. So if you just need custodial care or are not getting better Medicare will not help you. Even if you do receive Medicare benefits for long term care they only last for 100 days. (20 of those days at $0 copay and 80 of those days with a copay of $167.50.)
  • Medicaid – Many with minimal assets will need to use Medicaid.
  • Private Insurance. Long term care insurance has changed dramatically.

Up to a few years ago if you purchased long term care insurance you received a policy similar to a disability policy and you had a certain monthly benefit for a certain number of years. The problem with these policies were that the price was not fixed and most policies saw many increases in premiums.  In addition, if you never needed to use the policy and passed away your heirs received nothing. Many insurance companies have gotten out of this market.

Did you know that today you can use life insurance benefits to pay for your long term care?  You purchase a permanent life insurance contract that includes a long term care insurance rider. If you qualify for long term care benefits (same qualification as the old policies) you can start taking up to 4% of your life insurance benefit monthly to help you pay for long term care expenses. That means if you have a $250,000 life insurance policy you may be able to take up to $10,000 a month to pay for your long term care. When you use all of the $250,000 death benefit then the policy ends.  Best of all if you never need long term care and pass away then your heirs would receive the $250,000 death benefit.

So why should you care if you are in your thirties or forties?  Since this is life insurance the younger and healthier you are the lower the cost. You can have plans that will be paid up by the time you retire.

As always Spencer Insurance Agency wants you to understand your options. Check out our website for more information about long term care insurance. Contact us today to set up a time to talk about long term care expenses and long term care insurance. Decide for yourself how much of your retirement assets will be protected against long term care expenses.  Spread the word to your friends and family because few people know about this option.

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!

We remember. . .

Today we remember that solemn day.  We take a moment to stop and reflect.  We pray for all those who died that day.  We pray for all who are put in harm’s way. Thank you!

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