spencer insurance Archives - Spencer Insurance Agency, Inc

RV Insurance, Weather and Driving Conditions

RVing is becoming one of the most popular ways to travel. A successful and safe RV trip takes preparation and planning to make it a good experience. Whether you are new to RVing or not, these tips can help ensure that your trip will be a smooth experience.  As your insurance agent, we urge you to follow and  read through these tips for insurance coverage, adapting to weather conditons, and driving your RV.

 

Learn How to Drive the RV You Plan to Use

If you are vacationing in an RV for the first time, practice driving first. If you don’t own your RV, then rent an RV for a day before your trip and take it driving! Keeping the RV between the lines, accelerating, braking, using only mirrors to see what’s behind you, and passing vehicles top the list of maneuvers that you will need to know while on the open road. RV’s handle very differently from a car, SUV, or pickup. Practice backing your RV up so that you can back into a campsite. If you have a passenger, it a good idea to have a spotter to help guide you.  Many accidents and claims happen due to hitting tree limbs, picnic tables or other items that were in the driver’s blind spot.

RV Insurance and Road Service

Knowing your insurance coverages is important. Be sure to research road services that specialize in RVs. Only a few road service companies will tow the trailer, too.

  • What  does your RV insurance cover?
  • Does your motorhome policy cover your towed vehicle?
  • Do you need separate RV insurance for road service coverage?

Check Road Conditions, Construction, and Closures

Save time and frustration by checking road conditions, closures, and construction. The US DOT Federal Highway Administration website shows a map of the states. Click on the state you will be traveling in and choose a link that shows current road conditions on the following link National Traffic and Road Closure Information | Federal Highway Administration (dot.gov).

 

You will also need to be mindful of overpasses, bridge and tunnel height restrictions.

 

Weather

Knowing the weather forecast can help avoid problems. Rain, snow, ice, hail, wind– you might encounter all of these in one day! Below are just a few weather sites that give weather for all states.

Motorhomes are your second home (on wheels!) and you need to have proper insurance coverage. The last thing you want to worry about is being financially liable for causing an accident and not having proper RV insurance. Most states only require minimal liability insurance that protects others if you’re at fault.

 

Spencer Insurance Agency, Inc. is an independent insurance agent located in Jenkintown, PA. We can provide coverage from many insurance carriers so you receive the RV insurance for your budget and needs! You can reach us at (215) 885-2200 or online at https://spencerinsurance.com/.

 

 

Source: https://www.tripsavvy.com/safetip-tips-for-planning-rv-trip-500779 and https://www.coverage.com/insurance/auto/rv-insurance/

Make your Beach Day SAFE!

Ahh –  The beach!  We love the water, the sand, the sun and the family time to unwind and have FUN!

Staying safe at the beach is very important. Weather and water conditions can change rapidly.  In the blink of an eye someone could be caught in a rip-current.

Be sure to:

  • Follow all beach rules and regulations.
  • Swim only in areas where there are lifeguards.
  • Avoid drinking or the overconsumption of alcohol, especially if you’re swimming or boating.
  • Keep an eye on your children at all times.
  • Safely secure all umbrellas in place to prevent injury to yourself or others.

At the beach, it’s important to find and follow posted signs and flags. This is for your safety. And as your insurance agent, we strongly encourage you to do so!

There may be lifeguards or other beach patrol officers on duty. They may make announcements over a loudspeaker, or you can ask them about beach conditions.

Follow their guidance and instructions. This applies to when you’re on the sand or in the water. They are there to help keep your family safe and ensure everyone has a good time.

You can typically find beach rules posted at the entrance or near the lifeguard stand or tower. The following are rules that you may see posted:

  • Look for flags set up on the beach
  • Know where lifeguard stations are
  • Look for signs and postings near the entrance or lifeguard tower
  • Talk with lifeguards for tips and information about the beach and water conditions

Everyone in your party should be a strong swimmer. They should also have experience swimming in the ocean or other large body of water before entering the water.

Beach safety swimming courses may be available at your local Red Cross chapter or YMCA.

When you enter the water, always go in feet first. Avoid diving. Don’t dive off of cliffs, bridges, or other high surfaces.

Swimming in the ocean or a large body of water is different than swimming in a pool or most small lakes. You’ll need to watch out for:

  • tides and undercurrents
  • unexpected changes
  • water depths at drop-offs
  • rocks, debris, and other hazards and obstacles
  • whether there’s local marine life that can sting or bite
  • boats, ships, and other watercraft that may be in the water at the same time
  • bad weather in the area, such as lightning or thunderstorms
  • tsunami warnings

Please watch these Beach Safety Tips from the American Red Cross!

Whether you live close or far from the beach, swimming in the ocean is almost certainly part of most families’ summer plans. While some prefer to stay in the sand, many of those visiting the beach plan on going for a swim in the salty waves. The ocean can be a great time filled with laughter and fun if you follow the proper safety guidelines. Engaging in unsafe or reckless behavior could put you or a family member in a potentially disastrous situation.

If you decide to purchase a home at the beach, we can insure it. If you decide to take a trip to the beach, we can insure your trip. Have a great, fun, summer! You can reach us at (215) 885-2200, online at https://spencerinsurance.com/, or on our social media channels.

 

Source: https://www.healthline.com/health-news/going-to-beach-pool-what-to-know-covid19-risk and https://www.guard.com/blog/2019/07/17/beach-safety/

Hiring a Contractor for Home Updates

If you own a home, then chances are at some point you will need to hire someone to do repair work on your home.  At Spencer Insurance Agency, Inc. we know that hiring a contractor or handyman to perform work on your home often comes with risks. Below are nine things for you to consider before you hire a contractor.

  1. Get recommendations.  Ask your friends, family and neighbors if they have recently used a contractor, handyman, plumber, heating/air company, or an electrician and, if so, would they use that person or company again.  Ask your friends and family whether their project was completed on time and within their budget.  Find out whether the contractor’s estimates were accurate.
  2. Consult the internet.  Internet reviews from satisfied, or unsatisfied, customers can tell you a great deal about a potential contractor.  Review several websites that rate contractors and see what others have said about contractors you are considering.  Also, check with the Better Business Bureau to see if any complaints have been lodged against potential contractors.
  3. Ask for references.  Request the names and phone numbers of some recent clients for whom your contractor has completed a similar job.  Ask the references if they were happy with the finished product.  Ask whether anything has come up since the job was completed and if the contractor addressed the issue.  Find out whether the final cost was reflective of the contractor’s estimate and whether the job was completed on time.
  4. Find out if your contractor is licensed and insured.  You want the contractor to be insured and to show you proof of insurance. If they aren’t insured, refer them to us for an insurance package!
  5. Get Multiple Estimates.  Get two to four estimates from different contractors.  Remember the old adage; you get what you pay for.  This doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to hire the most expensive contractor, but if one estimate is significantly less than all of the other estimates, that is a red flag.  That contractor may plan to use less quality materials or cut corners.  The contractor may have also intentionally underbid the job in an attempt to obtain your business, only to increase the price later.
  6. Get it in writing.  Never pay a contractor before you have a written contract outlining everything the contractor is going to do to your home.  The more specifically the work is identified, the better.  The contract should also specify the cost of all materials that will be used and provide start and completion dates.  Find out whether the contract price is an estimate, which may change during the course of the project, or a total cost for completion.  If the contract price is an estimate, then make sure the contract specifies that the job cannot exceed a specific amount.  Additionally, specify in the contract that no changes can be made, except in writing.  Make sure the contractor is providing a warranty on labor and materials and that it is spelled out in your contract, including: who you need to contact to make a claim under the warranty; any limit on the amount of the warranty; and the length of the warranty.  The contract should also spell out all of the contractor’s duties.  For example, if you are having flooring replaced, then the contract must specify whether the contractor will be moving furniture and putting it back once the job is complete.  You will also want to specify whether the contractor is responsible for clean-up and disposal of all construction materials at the conclusion of the project.
  7. Set a payment schedule in the contract.  You never want to pay a contractor more than 50% up front.  Depending on the size of the job, your initial payment is ideally going to be no more than roughly 30% of the total cost of the project.  The contract should specify that each subsequent payment is only due after certain phases of the project have been completed and set out a time frame for each such phase to be completed.  If a bank will be providing a construction loan, make sure you have the right to approve each disbursement.  If the time comes for your next payment, or your contractor demands a subsequent payment from you, but the previous phase has not been completed, then you have the right to refuse payment until the contractor completes the phase for which you have already paid.  Always pay your contractor in a way that is traceable, i.e. with a check, credit card, or debit card.  Do not make the final payment to your contractor until you have verified that all work has been completed and is acceptable.
  8. Extras.  Be aware that when you ask for upgrades or additional work, you are going to have to pay for that additional work.  Often, once a project gets started, it is tempting to ask for upgraded materials or some extra work to be done.  If your contractor agrees, then you should find out how much the extra work or material is going to cost and get it in writing before the work is done.
  9. Maintain good records.  Keep a copy of your contract, all payments you have made, any additions or edits to the contract, and all correspondence with your contractor.  Even if you have had a conversation in person or over the phone, make sure you document that conversation with an email or letter to you.

Hiring the right contractor will ensure that your project is completed successfully, as well as on time and on budget. All-together, this process can seem daunting. However, the time you spend searching and the detail you put into your contract will be reflected in the final product. It would be a headache to work with someone you can’t rely on. You could find yourself with an unfinished remodel or a maxed-out budget. Allow yourself the time to do your research and ask the necessary questions.

We insure many local contractors, and we would be happy to refer you to them. Just let us know what you are looking for and we can provide the reference. Once you have the updates complete, please let us know so we can update your insurance as well.  You can reach us at (215) 885-2200 or online at https://spencerinsurance.com/.

 

Source: https://hutchenslawfirm.com/blog/civil-law/smart-homeowners-9-tips-you-hire-contractor and https://seacoastconstruction.net/7-tips-for-hiring-a-reliable-general-contractor/ and https://www.thespruce.com/tips-for-hiring-a-contractor-4156976

Grilling Tips for Safety

 

As the weather warms and summer returns, it’s time to GRILL!   There are risks that come along with grilling, regardless of which type of grill you are using. Every year, 7,000 Americans are injured while using  barbecue grills. It’s usually a case of good products used incorrectly. You can prevent grilling accidents and insurance claims by ‘brushing up’ on these tips.

  1. Only use your grill outside and keep it at least 10 feet away from your house.Farther is even better. This includes portions attached to your house like carports, garages and porches. Grills should not be used underneath wooden overhangs, as the fire could flare up into the structure above. This applies to both charcoal and gas grills. Keeping a 3-foot safe zone around your grill will also keep kids and pets safe.
  2. Clean your grill regularly and after each use to remove grease that can start a fire.If you allow grease and fat to build up on your grill, they will provide more fuel for a fire. Grease is a major source of flare-ups.
  3. Check for gas leaks.You can check for gas leaks by making a solution of half liquid dish soap and half water and rubbing it on the hoses and connections. Then, turn the gas on (with the grill lid open.) If the soap forms large bubbles, that’s a sign that the hoses have tiny holes or that the connections are not tight enough. Only light your gas grill with the lid OPEN!
  4. Keep decorations away from your grill.Decorations like hanging baskets, pillows and umbrellas look pretty AND provide fuel for a fire. To make matters worse, today’s decor is mostly made of artificial fibers that burn fast and hot, making this tip even more important.
  5. Keep a spray bottle of water handy.If you have a minor flare-up, you can spray it with the water to instantly calm it. The bonus of this tip is that water won’t harm your food, so dinner won’t be ruined!
  6. Keep a fire extinguisher within a couple steps of your grill.And, KNOW HOW TO USE IT. If you are unsure how to use the extinguisher, don’t waste time fiddling with it before calling 911. Firefighters say many fire deaths occur when people try to fight a fire themselves instead of calling for expert help and letting the fire department do its job.
  7. Keep an eye on your grill, fire pit or patio torches. Don’t walk away from them when they are lit.

Keep in mind that when you grill, you are playing with fire. Thousands of residents each year learn this the hard way, suffering damage to their homes or even serious injuries in grilling accidents. The National Fire Prevention Association says an average of 8,800 home fires are caused by grilling each year. There’s good news, though: You can prevent grilling accidents by taking these simple precautions. The grilling safety tips above can help ensure you cook only your burgers — and not your house — the next time you fire up the grill.   At Spencer Insurance Agency, Inc. we love grilling and hearing about the fond memories that are created spending family time together.  We are happy to be your local independent agent and take pride in your insurance coverage. You can reach us at (215) 885-2200 or online at https://spencerinsurance.com/.

Source: https://www.usfa.fema.gov/downloads/pdf/publications/grilling_fire_safety_flyer.pdf and https://abcnews.go.com/Business/ten-tips-safe-summer-barbecues-learn-dos-donts/story?id=13918382 and https://www.lawleyinsurance.com/personal/12-grilling-safety-tips-now-that-summer-is-upon-us/

Vacant Property Insurance 101

If your home is left unoccupied for weeks or months at a time, your standard homeowners insurance policy might not provide coverage in the event of a claim. Any damages or losses that occur would have to be paid out of pocket unless you have vacant property insurance.

Unoccupied and vacant homes present a greater insurance risk than an occupied home. The emergency response time is slower and there is an increased probability of a break-in occurring. This increased risk has resulted in the exclusion of these properties in a standard homeowners insurance policy. If you own an empty or vacant house, you should purchase vacant property insurance to protect yourself and your home.

Generally speaking, if your home is left unattended for 30 days or more, you’ll want to purchase vacant property insurance. Before leaving your home vacant for an extended period, you should contact your insurance agent and discuss how your insurance carrier defines vacancy. Below are some scenarios where a homeowner might find the need for vacant property insurance.

  • You own a vacant home that you only visit a few times per year.
  • You’ve purchased a home but won’t be moving in for several weeks.
  • You’re constantly traveling for weeks at a time.
  • You’re remodeling your home and won’t be living there during renovations.
  • You’re renting out your home and you’re in between tenants.

Whatever the reason you need vacant property insurance, (agency name) is here to help! If you have any questions or concerns about whether your home should have vacant property insurance, please give us a call at 215-885-2200 or visit us online and one of our experienced representatives will be happy to help you!

Source: https://www.valuepenguin.com/unoccupied-and-vacant-home-insurance

SAFE DRIVING MEANS SAVING MONEY

Do you want to save money on your auto insurance by driving safely? Most companies are using car telematic programs to do so.

Car telematic programs are wireless devices that communicate with each other. In the world of auto insurance, this means that insurers collect data by using a cell phone app or a small in-car tracing device. Yes, that might sound intimidating but there are many reasons how these devices could be useful to you.

Lower Rates. Do you want to pay less for car insurance? Your car insurance should be based on how you drive, not the age of the driver. Careful drivers can be rewarded for their good driving habits. Whether it is a lower deductible or premium, you will see exactly how your driving affects you.

Misuse. Trying to save your family vehicle for as long as possible? Telemetric information can help discourage the misuse of your vehicle so it will have a longer life in the family. Some devices will let you know when you are braking or accelerating too hard, which could decrease the life of your vehicle.

Teen Drivers. Having a teen driver out on the roads for the first time can be scary. Telemetric tracing devices allow you to see if your teen is driving safely. Are you scared of them being reckless with the family vehicle? You are able to gather information such as braking or accelerating too quickly, for a teaching moment that could one day save their life.

There are many carriers that use this technology today. Each carrier has their unique device or app that allow you to personalize your rates based on how you drive. You can start saving by calling Spencer Insurance Agency at 215-885-2200 or visit our website.

 

Sources:

https://www.brickhousesecurity.com/gps-trackers/apps-vs-devices/

https://www.compare.com/auto-insurance/resources/how-insurance-telematics-work

https://twocents.lifehacker.com/should-you-let-your-insurance-company-track-your-drivin-1845201248

 

Whole Life Insurance VS. Term Life Insurance

Shopping for life insurance may not be as fun as reading a good novel, but it is something everyone should do – sooner rather than later. There are two popular types of life insurance: term life insurance and whole life insurance. While the death benefits from both can be similar, there are a few key differences between them.

Family Cooking Kitchen Food Togetherness Concept

Term life insurance is perhaps the easiest to understand. This straightforward insurance is purchased for the simple promise of a death benefit for your beneficiary should you pass away while it’s in force. Term life insurance only lasts for a certain period of time, whether it is 10, 20 or 30 years. After the term is up, the policy expires. One benefit of term life insurance is it tends to be the most affordable option. If all you seek from a life insurance policy is the ability to protect your loved ones when you die, term life insurance is likely the best fit for you. Basic protection is better than no protection at all.

Whole life insurance is a form of permanent life insurance. Meaning that if you keep making your premium payments, it will never expire. Whole life insurance also provides some “cash value”, which can be a source of funds for future needs. Your premiums are split in two ways. One part of your payment goes to the insurance component, while the other part helps build your cash value, which will grow over time. At a later date you can borrow or withdrawal from your cash value amount for things such as your child’s college tuition or repairs to your home. However, should you withdrawal or borrow from your policy, your death benefits will go down by a corresponding amount if you don’t pay it back.

So which option is better for your family? Life insurance can be confusing. What’s right for one family, may not be right for yours. Spencer Insurance Agency, Inc. will be happy to help you with any questions you may have and provide you with a free quote. You can give us a call at (215) 885-2200 or visit us online at https://spencerinsurance.com/ to get in touch with one of our experienced representatives.

Source: https://www.investopedia.com/term-life-vs-whole-life-5075430

Spring Home Maintenance

Spring is here! After a long dark and cold winter, the bright sun and warm winds of the spring are a breath of fresh air! The only downside? All that sunlight helps you see your leaf-filled gutters, cracked

sidewalks, and dead plants in the flower beds. Get your home in shape for spring with this checklist!

  1. Examine Roof Shingles: Examine the roof to see if any shingles were lost or damaged under the

    Child and small grey horse with saddle in the field at spring.

    winter snow and ice.

  2. Check the Gutters: Loose or leaky gutters can cause improper drainage, which can lead to water in your basement or crawlspace during the spring rain.
  3. Inspect the Concrete: Inspect concrete slabs for signs of cracks or movement. Fill cracks with concrete crack filler or silicone caulk, power-wash, and then seal the concrete.
  4. Remove Firewood: Firewood stored near the home for winter should be moved at least 18 inches off the ground and at least 2 feet from the structure.
  5. Check Outside Faucets: Check outside faucets for freeze damage. While you’re at it, check your garden hose for dry rot.
  6. Repair Window Screens: You will want to open the windows to let the fresh air in. Ensure small holes and tears are repaired so bugs don’t get in.

This is just a short list of items you can do to prepare your home for the spring. Winter was nice and cozy

Mutter und tochter auf einer wiese mother with daughter on a meadow

but Spencer Insurance Agency, Inc. is ready for the spring sunshine! While you are preparing your home for the spring, it is a great time to review your homeowners insurance! Give Spencer Insurance Agency a call at (215) 885-2200 or visit us online at https://spencerinsurance.com to speak with a representative.

Source: https://www.hgtv.com/lifestyle/clean-and-organize/10-home-maintenance-tips-for-spring-pictures

Buying Auto Insurance When You Don’t Drive

If you don’t have a driver’s license, then you don’t need auto insurance. Seems reasonable – you wouldn’t buy a flight out of the country without your passport. However, you can buy insurance without a license, so the option exists. It must exist for some reason, right?

There are a couple reasons and they are actually more common than you might think. There are multiple scenarios where buying auto insurance as a non-driver is just as important as buying auto insurance when you drive every day.

Underage drivers are one common scenario where you may want to invest in insurance. Many states do not allow minors to enter into a contract. Insurance falls under the umbrella of “a contract.” However, many people under the age of 18 drive. For many people, this is not an issue since they just add their kids to their policy. Adults who don’t drive, but have children who do can effectively do the same thing. You may not drive, but buying an auto insurance policy will allow you to put your underage driver on your policy plus, there are ways for students to get discounts.

Another common scenario – especially for older individuals – is if you have a personal chauffeur. We’re not talking about some guy who drives you around in a limo or a Bentley, but someone who drives around senior citizens who can’t drive anymore, but still need to get from point A to point B. These seniors may not have licenses, but they still need to purchase insurance for their car and driver. Many insurance companies charge seniors more because they are seen as higher risk drivers, but for a senior who does not have a license, this is not a problem. They won’t be driving the car, so age doesn’t matter when writing up the policy. This works the same for those who have health issues that need a caregiver to drive them around.

Perhaps you are working on getting a license. Regardless of whether you have a license or a permit, you need insurance on your car. Adults with permits can get insurance on their car just as any license driver would be able to.

Finally, another scenario that comes up is for those who own a classic car. Classic car insurance exists and will cover that car in the same way that other specialty insurance policies cover boats and ATV’s. However, if you are tempted to have someone drive you around in your beauty of a car, you will want auto insurance there to protect your investment.

However, this doesn’t answer the question of how you get a policy without a driver’s license number. The workaround is pretty simple. If you are not driving, then you must have someone else who is and they have a driver’s license. If you list them as the primary driver, then you can get the policy using their license number.

Anyone with a license can be named your primary driver. It could be your spouse, your son or daughter, or even your friend. The license number corresponds to a driving record which is why you have to have a number. The agent needs to know how much of a risk they are taking by insuring a driver. You may also need to put yourself down as an excluded driver – your name is on the policy as someone who will not be covered when driving. Seeing as you don’t have a license, this shouldn’t be an issue. It is used to reinforce the message that you can’t drive without a license.

In any case, Spencer Insurance Agency can help you get the policy that meets your specific needs. Schedule an appointment today to learn about all of your options and find out which policy will work best for you. Give us a call at (215) 885-2200 or visit us online at https://spencerinsurance.com/.

Life Insurance Myths and Facts

Thinking about your death isn’t the most enjoyable part of your life. However, ensuring your family’s future is protected when you’re gone is very important! Life insurance can help your family pay for funeral expenses, pay off any debt you left behind, and much more.

So why do people avoid buying life insurance before it’s too late? Easy! There are many myths and misconceptions about life insurance and we’re here to debunk those myths!

Myth 1: Life insurance is expensive. FALSE! Life insurance can cost less than your daily cup of coffee. On average, millennials overestimate the cost of life insurance by 213%! For a young and healthy adult, the average cost of a $250,000 life insurance policy is around $160 annually.

Myth 2: The choices are overwhelming. FALSE! While there are many different varieties of life insurance, the best choice for most people is a term life insurance policy. You should always consult your insurance agent about your options and they will help you choose the best policy.

Myth 3: I’m young and healthy. I don’t need life insurance. FALSE! The younger and healthier you are the cheaper your life insurance policy will be. You are never too young, or too healthy, for life insurance!

Myth 4: Stay-at-home parents don’t need life insurance. FALSE! If you’re a stay-at-home parent and you pass away, who will take care of the children? Your elderly parents? Your pets? Your surviving spouse will need to continue working and may need to hire help. Life insurance could help him or her pay for these costs.

Myth 5: Life insurance through an employer is sufficient. FALSE! While group life insurance is a great benefit, the payout is typically low and may not support a young family. What happens if you lose your job? A workplace policy doesn’t follow you. Having a personal policy is the safest and best option.

Family always comes first. Their future depends on you! Protect your family and loved ones today by calling Spencer Insurance Agency at (215) 885-2200 or visit us online at https://spencerinsurance.com/.

 

Source: https://www.nerdwallet.com/blog/insurance/9-myths-life-insurance/