College is expensive enough without the added cost of unexpected accidents or theft not covered by your insurance policy. If you have a student heading away to school, below are a few tips to help you get the most out of your coverage.
- Personal Property: Most homeowners policies will cover personal property for up to 10% of your total policy while your child is residing at school (a $100,000 policy equals $10,000 in coverage). Not all types of damage are covered, so read your policy carefully. Some items such as jewelry or expensive electronics require special coverage. Renters insurance is strongly recommended.
- Liability Coverage: General damage to a dorm room or apartment is not usually covered. If you are listed on the lease with your college bound child, you can extend liability coverage to cover the apartment as well. The cost is less than $50/year and meets the insurance requirements for the apartment complex.
- Documentation: Creating an inventory of the items your child is taking to school is a good idea. Use photographs and keep receipts.
- Car Stays Home: Keep your child listed on your auto policy if they will still drive your car while at home on school breaks.
- Car at School: Make sure to notify us if your child will be taking a car away to school. In most cases, if the car is registered to you and listed on your policy, it will be covered. If your child is more than 100 miles away from home and does not have a vehicle at school, be sure to inform your insurance carrier asap as this will result in an added discount to your insurance policy.
- Driving a Friend’s Car: Students are generally covered if they are listed on their parent’s policy and are not regularly using the vehicle. The coverage would be secondary. The insurance for the friend’s vehicle would be the primary coverage. Insurance follows the vehicle, if you allow a friend, family member to borrow your vehicle, they will be covered under your policy.
- Discounts: A full-time student meeting certain academic requirements can qualify for a good student discount. The good student discount applies to full time students with a 3.0+ GPA. Distant student discounts may also be available. Drivers under 21 who have completed driver’s education may also get a discount.
Before your child leaves for school, contact me at 708-444-0050 or email@example.com. I can walk you through the steps to ensure you have the right coverage. I am here to help!
Hot Day Behind the Wheel? Here’s How to Beat the Heat
The forecast in the Southwest Suburbs: Hot and getting hotter. And, that can make for troublesome travel. When the temperature increases, decrease your risk on – and off – the road with these safety tips:
1. Check those tires. You’re already checking your tire pressure every month, right? Even if you are (most of us don’t), keep a closer eye on them during the warm months. Heat can increase tire pressure rapidly.
2. Keep cool under the hood and inside your car. If you don’t remember the last time you had your engine coolant checked and flushed (mechanics recommend flushing and refilling every two years), now is probably a good time – before you hit the road. Give your air conditioning a test run, too. If it’s not cooling you down, get it serviced.
3. Act quickly if your car starts to overheat. When your car’s temperature moves above the halfway mark on the dashboard, try turning off your air conditioning and turning on your heat to give your engine a break. Pull over if it’s safe to do so, and give your engine even more of a break. Call for roadside assistance if there’s steam or smoke, and get away from the car if it’s smoke. More of a do-it-yourselfer? Be careful opening the hood of an overheated car, and don’t add coolant or water until the car cools down.
4. See to the comfort – and safety – of your passengers. Within just 10 minutes of parking your car on a 90-degree day, the interior temperature can hit 110 degrees. Don’t leave kids or pets in a parked car, even for just a few minutes, and bring plenty of water for the trip. The back seats and cargo areas of many cars don’t get as much air as the fronts seats, so make sure your kids, both human and furry, stay hydrated.
5. Proceed with caution in an electric car. High temperatures (and cold ones, too) can reduce the charge of your battery, sometimes by as much as 40 percent. You’ll want to take that into account when planning a trip.
Different seasons bring different car maintenance needs in the Southwest Suburbs. Follow these tips to help make sure you and your car both stay cool in the heat.
The month of May we celebrate Moms. Give Mom the greatest gift of all. It does not have to be a traditional one like flowers. A life insurance policy can be a unique and meaningful present, and helpful in ensuring that your family will be financially protected. I suggest that you consider buying life insurance for anyone who brings exceptional value to your family.
Who may need Life Insurance?
Working Moms: The impact of working mothers has changed dramatically over the past few decades, with 40% of mothers as the primary or sole earners. 70% of moms are in the work force, with 75% of them working full-time. Unfortunately, if something happens to mom, this could cause extreme financial strain to family.
Stay-At-Home Moms: A stay-at-home mom works many jobs. She’s a nurse, chauffeur, chef, teacher, playmate, housekeeper, laundry attendant, accountant and babysitter. Although she doesn’t receive a paycheck, according to Salary.com, a stay at home mom would earn $143,1002 a year for all of the jobs she performs. She is the perfect candidate for Life Insurance. If something were to happen to her, there is the financial burden of paying for childcare, housecleaning, etc.
Single Moms: Single moms face many challenges. She parents alone, sometimes without the other parent’s support, and is responsible for all financial, material, and emotional needs. Many single moms rely on a sole income to support themselves and their children. Regrettably single parents are one the largest sectors to not own life insurance. This is unfortunate, because they are the ones that need life insurance the most. According to a LIMRA study, 55% of single-mother households said their families would be in immediate financial trouble if the primary wage earner died, compared with 35% of all U.S. households.
Grandmas: Many families rely on Grandma to help with childcare. If Grandma is watching your children while you and your spouse work, she is providing a value to the family that is financially significant. If something should happen to her, they would have to end up paying for child care, which is very expensive and could be put in a financial strain. Show her she’s a valued part of your family, and discuss a life insurance policy for her.
Dads: Give your wife the gift of buying yourself a life insurance policy. When you’re a father, life insurance is one of many important ways to help provide for your family and show how you love them. Use this holiday to show your wife that you want to help ensure her future, and the future of your kids, from the uncertain.
How can Life Insurance help?
Final Costs: When a death occurs, families may be overwhelmed by medical bills and funeral costs. With the help of life insurance, these costs may be covered allowing a grieving family to focus on what matters.
Your Children’s Futures: If you or spouse pass away, it is common to think about the immediate financial needs such as paying bills. Keeping your home and buying groceries might take precedent over continuing to fund a college account for your children. With the help of life insurance, you may be able to maintain the financial picture that you and your spouse had originally planned.
Give Mom the greatest gift of all. Life Insurance. Purchasing life insurance can be an important step to helping to secure the future of your family. If you’re interested in learning more about life insurance, please contact me to discuss your options at 708-444-0050 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Although it may not feel like it outside, March 21 was the first day of Spring.
Spring is considered a time for new beginnings, cleaning and organization around the house.
If you’re ready to tackle that monumental chore, here are some great Spring Cleaning Tips:
Take it one room at a time. Deciding to clean or organize your entire home can quickly get overwhelming. If you focus on just one area or room, then move to another only when you’re finished, you’ll likely work more efficiently.
Follow the six-month rule. Generally, if you haven’t used something in six months (with the exception of seasonal items), it’s a good idea to consider throwing it away or donating it.
Don’t forget the kitchen. Just like other rooms, your kitchen likely has things that haven’t been used in some time — and this includes food in the refrigerator or freezer. Give those appliances a thorough cleaning and get rid of anything you won’t be eating.
Set yourself up for success. Paper clutter is something we all could probably cut back on pretty easily. Setting up a few recycling bins throughout the house gives you a convenient alternative to just setting that old magazine or paperwork down somewhere and watching the pile grow.
Make some money! Of course, the spring cleaning garage sale is a tradition for many homeowners, and can be a great way to bring in some extra income. Talk about a win-win situation — you get rid of stuff you don’t need, and someone pays you for it!
Stay safe. When you’re cleaning or maintaining your home, be mindful of the physical risks involved. Lift with your leg muscles, not your back. Avoid prolonged repetitive motions. Use ladders, lawnmowers and other dangerous tools with caution.
Contact Us! For further questions and assistance, please contact Kelly Burke Insurance at 708-444-0050 or email@example.com
Homeowner’s insurance gives you peace of mind that your personal belongings and property are protected in the event of damage and loss, and is also meant to prepare for those unforeseen accidents and emergencies. It is extremely beneficial to have homeowners insurance to replace personal property and/or defend against a liability suit. For example, if a tree falls on your roof, a fire destroys your kitchen, or a friend injurers himself/herself slipping on your rug, the insurance policy pays for your loss when you file a claim.
How Does Homeowner’s Insurance Work?
Your home insurance can help pay for many costly problems including:
• Damage to the building you live in or to other structures (such as sheds or garages) on your property.
• Improvements you have made, such as appliances or fixtures, that are considered part of your residence.
• Fire or lightning
• Power outage.This benefit is often limited to your personal property coverage amount and may be even lower for items such as spoiled food.
• Wind or hail. Wind and hail are among the most common and costly insurance claims.
• Theft. Your tangible personal property is covered by hour home insurance (liability), but there are limits on reimbursement for money, bank notes, gold, silver and other items.
• Dwelling coverage is based on replacement cost of the home NOT market value. Replacement cost includes the cost to demolish and remove the existing structure.
Be sure you have enough homeowners insurance to rebuild a house of similar quality and/or replace your belongings in the event of a serious disaster. There are different Homeowners Insurance Coverage options.
Common Personal Property Coverage Levels:
• Actual cash value: Replaces possessions at their current value, deducting depreciation for items you have owned for a long time, up to your policy limit.
• Replacement cost: Covers the current cost of replacing your possessions, without any depreciation deduction, up to your policy limit.
• Guaranteed replacement cost: Covers the current cost of replacing your possessions, without any depreciation deduction, up to about 20 percent above your policy limit.
Generally, personal property is covered between 40 and 75 percent of your structure’s rebuilding value.
Home Insurance Add-Ons
Beyond standard homeowner’s coverage, you may consider buying separate insurance for the following:
• Flood insurance is a separate policy that protects against flooding. Most people in Illinois only carry flood insurance if/when the mortgage company requires it.
• Sump Pump/Sewer Back Up coverage protects against water damage due to sump pump failure or sewer back up due to excessive rains. Often, the coverage is a separate rider added to your policy.
• Valuable articles coverage provides additional coverage for your “valuable possessions” such as jewelry, art work, collector items (stamps, coins, guns, etc.). The added coverage allows coverage of the item, such as a ring with no deductible. An appraisal may be required for items over $10,000 value. I highly recommend keeping a receipt or having an appraisal done and kept outside of the home.
Renters and Landlords
Today’s renters may find that they are required to buy renters insurance as a matter of course, and it’s not a bad idea to protect your personal property even if you aren’t responsible for the structure of your dwelling.
• Renters Insurance covers personal possessions and liability. This includes losses due to fire, theft, etc.
• If you are a landlord, require your tenants to carry rental insurance. In doing so, this can protect you (the Landlord) from having to file a claim against your own policy. If the tenant has coverage, the claim will first go through their coverage. A perfect example is dog bite claims. If the renter has insurance the claim will be paid by their insurance company. If they do not, the claim will be paid by the Landlord.
There are so many different factors to consider for a Homeowners Insurance policy and what is best for you, your family and your assets. Contact me to learn more about how to save on your home insurance, list of discounts worth pursuing, including bundling your home and auto insurance.
Tips to Protecting Your Home and Your Possessions
Having an up-to-date home inventory of your valuables will help get your claim settled faster. You can do it the old-fashioned way, with a pen and paper and make a list of all items, or there are now mobile apps that are available that can easily help you create and store records of all of your belongings.
Some inexpensive recommendations are Nest Egg for iOS or Sortly for Android, iOS and web). Some apps also allow you to store images of purchase receipts to record the original value of the item.