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 firstname.lastname@example.org. 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.
You’ve probably been at the rental-car counter, listening to the representative ask if you want to purchase the company’s insurance. And the thoughts start racing through your head. “Is this a rip-off? Doesn’t my regular auto policy cover me? What about my credit card? Why didn’t I figure this out before I left on my trip?”
At Kelly Burke Insurance, I am here to help. And while not every situation is the same, I’ve got some general tips that will help you make an informed decision the next time you’re standing at that counter.
1. Know your personal auto policy.
Because insurance policies vary, it’s a good idea to give us a call — before you rent a car — to make sure you have the coverage you need. In many instances, your personal auto policy will provide coverage for a rental car — but that coverage may be limited to the value of the car you own, rather than the one you’re renting. Of course, if you don’t have a personal auto policy, you’ll need to purchase coverage from the rental company.
And keep in mind that in the event of an accident, many rental companies will charge fees beyond repair costs. They may assess a loss-of-use fee for each day the car is unusable, as well as charge you because the value of the car has decreased. Not all insurance policies cover these fees.
2. Also know your homeowners or renters policy.
If you’re traveling with expensive electronics or other valuable items, you probably want to consider what coverage you’ll have in the event they are stolen. Your personal auto policy and/or credit card coverage likely won’t provide protection for this scenario.
3. Check your credit card protection.
Most credit cards will also provide some coverage, but often payment is limited to reimbursement of your personal auto policy deductible (after that policy pays for repairs). Generally, loss-of-use and other fees are not covered, but it’s important to check with your credit-card provider to determine their policies. And while some cards may offer additional protection for a fee, usually coverage is limited to damage to the car, not liability for any injuries to others. Remember, to receive any sort of benefit from your card, you must use that card to pay for your entire car rental.
4. Consider any unique circumstances.
Are you renting a car in a foreign country, or for more than a week? You’ll definitely want to get confirmation of coverage from both your insurance carrier and credit card company because different rules might apply. Also, no matter where you are, vehicles such as trucks, RVs or exotic sports cars often aren’t covered under standard agreements. And if you’re using a car for business purposes, your personal coverage might not apply. Finally, if multiple people will be driving the car during your trip, make sure your coverages will apply to them.
According to the Insurance Information Institute, rental companies offer four main types of coverage.
A Loss Damage Waiver (LDW) relieves you of responsibility if your rental car is damaged or stolen. This may also provide coverage for loss of use.
Liability Protection provides protection from lawsuits if you are sued after an accident.
Personal Accident Insurance covers you and passengers for medical bills after an accident. You may not need this if you have adequate health and auto coverage.
Personal Effects Coverage protects you if items are stolen from your car. You generally are covered for this under your homeowners or renters policy, but keep in mind that the loss must exceed your deductible for you to receive payment. If you have a high deductible, it may make sense to purchase this coverage from the rental company.
When you go on vacation, you don’t want to stress out about insurance. So give me a call at 708-444-0050 before you leave. Then, when you head over to the rental-car counter, you can stop worrying about your coverage — and start enjoying your trip!
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 email@example.com
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 firstname.lastname@example.org