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    Q&A with Kelly-Homeowners and Rental Insurance

    Posted: March 15, 2019

    Insurance is difficult to understand, whether it’s the confusing descriptions, understanding coverage, or the different types of plans offered. Because of how complicated insurance can be, many people are reluctant to buy it, fearing they’ll make the wrong choice.  As an independent agent, I can help navigate you and your family through all of the confusing information presented in plans.


    Homeowner’s and Rental insurance policies, for instance,  can be difficult to understand. But have no fear, I have compiled some of the commonly asked questions and answers about Homeowners and Rental insurance.

    Homeowners Insurance Q&A

    Q: What are some practical things I can do to lower the cost of my home insurance?
    A: Look for any discounts that you may qualify for. For example, many insurers will offer a discount when you place both your car and homeowners insurance with them. Other times, insurers offer discounts if there are deadbolt exterior locks on all your doors, or if your home has a security system. I can also help you find out bout any discounts that you may qualify for.

    Another easy way to lower the cost of your homeowners insurance is to raise your deductible. Increasing your deductible from $250 to $500 will lower your premium, sometimes by as much as five or ten percent.

    Q: What does homeowners insurance cover?
    A
    : The typical homeowners policy has two main sections: Section I covers the property of the insured and Section II provides personal liability coverage for the insured. Usually, homeowners insurance is required by the lender to obtain a mortgage.

    Q: What is the difference between “actual cash value” and “replacement cost”? 
    A: Covered losses under a homeowners policy can be paid on either an actual cash value basis or on a replacement cost basis. When “actual cash value” is used, the policy owner is entitled to the depreciated value of the damaged property. Under the “replacement cost” coverage, the policy owner is reimbursed on an amount necessary to replace the article with one of similar type and quality at current prices.


    Q: What factors should I consider when purchasing homeowners insurance? 
    A: Determine the amount and type of insurance you will need. The coverage limit of your house should equal 100% of its replacement cost. If your policy limit is less than 80% of the replacement cost of your home, any payment from will be less than the full cost to replace your home – you’ll have to pay the rest out of your own pocket. Also, decide if the personal property and personal liability limits are adequate for your needs.

    Decide which, if any, additional endorsements you want to add to your policy. For example, do you want the personal property replacement cost endorsement, sump pump or sewer back up endorsement, or a jewelry endorsement?

    I will be able to help you determine if there are any gaps in coverage that you might not have been aware of, explain the details of the policy’s exclusions and limitations, as well as recommend an insurance company that will live up to your expectations.

    Q: What are the policy limits (i.e., coverage limits) in the standard homeowners policy.
    A: Note: this answer is based on the Insurance Services Office’s HO-3 policy. The home and other structures on the premises are protected on an “all risks” basis up to the policy limits. “All risks” means that unless the policy specifically excludes the manner in which your home is damaged or destroyed, there is coverage. The policy limit for the home is set by the policy owner at the time the insurance is purchased. The policy limit for the other structure is usually equal to 10% of the policy limit for the home.

    Losses to your personal property are covered on a “named perils” basis. “Named perils” means that you have coverage only when your property is damaged or destroyed in the manner specifically described in the policy. The policy limit on the coverage is equal to 50% of the policy limit on the home. Limits for the coverage of additional expenses that the policy owner may incur, when the residence cannot be used because of an insured loss, is equal to 20% of the policy limit on the home. Find out more about coverage options


    Q
    : Where and when is my personal property covered?  
    A
    : Personal property (except property that is specifically excluded) is covered anywhere in the world. For example, suppose that while traveling, you purchase a dresser and you want to ship it home. Your homeowners policy would provide coverage for the “named perils” while the dresser is in transit – even though the dresser has never been in your home before.

    Renters Insurance Q&A


    Q: Why would I want to buy renters insurance? 
    A: A standard renters insurance policy protects your personal property in many cases of theft or damage, and may pay for temporary living expenses if your rental is damaged. It can also shield you from personal liability. Anyone who leases a house or apartment should consider this type of coverage


    Q: How does a renters insurance policy protect my personal property?
    A: A renters insurance policy provides named perils coverage. This means that the policy only pays when your property is damaged or destroyed by any of the ways specifically described in the policy. These usually include:

    • Fire or lightning
    • Windstorm or hail
    • Explosions
    • Riots
    • Aircraft
    • Vehicles
    • Smoke
    • Vandalism or malicious mischief
    • Theft
    • Falling objects
    • Weight of ice, snow, or sleet
    • Accidental discharge or overflow of water or steam
    • Freezing
    • Sudden and accidental damage from artificially generated electrical current
    • Volcanic eruptions (but this doesn’t include earthquake or tremors)

    Renters insurance coverage applies to your personal property no matter where you are in the world. This means you’re covered when you are on vacation as well as at home. 


    Q: Why do some apartment complexes require tenants to have renters insurance?  
    A: Owners of apartment complexes buy insurance policies for their liability in order to cover their buildings and personal property. However, these policies do not cover any of the tenant’s property or liability. By requiring their tenants to have renters insurance, the apartment owner is assured that the tenants will not mistakenly believe the apartment complex owner’s policy will provide coverage for a tenant’s property or personal liability. Although this type of requirement benefits the apartment complex owner, there are benefits for the renter as well.


    Q: What if I share my apartment with a roommate? Do we both need to have renters insurance?
    A: Standard renter’s policies cover only you and relatives that live with you. If your roommate is not a relative, each of you will need your own renter’s insurance policy to cover your own property and to provide you liability coverage for your own actions.

    Have questions about Homeowners or Rental Insurance?
    Contact me at 708-444-0050 or click below.

    Protect the Ones You Love with Life Insurance

    Posted: February 17, 2019

    Looking for a new way to say “I love you” this Valentine’s Day?  It’s called “love insurance.” We buy it to protect the ones we love.  Sometimes the best gift can’t be seen. Show your love by giving something that is Meaningful, Memorable and Enduring

    You may ask what does Life Insurance have to do with love. They are closely linked to each other.  You buy life insurance when you truly love the person you bought it for?  You may not be around to see or experience the benefits your life insurance purchase has provided to your loved ones. It is the ultimate act of enduring love, lets loved ones know that you care so much that you’ve made plans to provide for their well-being even after you’re gone.

    Don’t wait until it is too late!  Life Insurance does not cost a lot and it is easy and fast to set up a policy. Aren’t your loved ones worth it?

    #InsureYourLove now. 

    Contact Kelly at 708-444-0050 or fill out sign up form to get a free consultation to see how you can protect the ones you love with Life Insurance.

    2019 Open Enrollment. Important Details You Need to Know.

    Posted: November 26, 2018

     

    During this time, individual policy holders can enroll in a health plan or make changes to their existing plan. *If you obtain health insurance from your employer, you are likely to have a different Open Enrollment period.*

     

    What to Expect in 2019

     

    • The penalty has been removed! This means you will no longer receive a penalty for not having coverage or for obtaining a plan that does not provide the 8 coverages required by the  Affordable Care Act.
    • Short term medical plans will now offer coverage for the full year. These plans do not provide coverage for pre-existing conditions, maternity, or wellness visits. However, these plans are a fraction of the cost of plans offered through the Marketplace and they all have a PPO network.
    • BCBS will continue to offer virtual visits for PPO plans only.  Policy holders can call or chat online with a nurse practitioner to obtain a diagnosis and prescription for medication.
    • Group plans are still an option for small employers. Blue Cross Blue Shield does offer relaxed guidelines during this time to allow for a 1-person group. The employer must have at least 2 full time employees that are not husband and wife.

    How to Avoid Rate Increases

     

    • Be prepared to discuss your household, estimated adjusted gross income for 2019.  This will be used to determine if you qualify for assistance.
    • Those without pre-existing conditions should consider a short term medical plan.  The premium is much lower and all plans offer a PPO network.  Wellness visits are not included with these plans.
    • If you are going to opt to self-insure, protect yourself with an accident or critical illness plan.  The plan works separate from health insurance and pays you based on a diagnosis of a critical illness (cancer, heart attack, or stroke) and in the event of an accident (slip, fall, and break an ankle) the plan will pay you a certain dollar amount.  The purpose is to use the funds to pay towards the unexpected hospital or urgent care visit.
    • Review ALL of your insurance policies. I specialize in personal lines insurance, which includes auto, home, and Medicare. As a broker, I have access to multiple carriers which allows me the opportunity to find the best plan based on your needs.  I’ve saved people thousands by reviewing rates with multiple carriers.

    NOTE:  This is an extremely busy time for me.  I suggest scheduling early as my schedule will fill up.  Call 708 444-0050 or email, kelly@kellyburkeinsurance.comfor an appointment.  Please include your availability (i.e. mornings, afternoons, or evenings) and the type of appointment you are requesting (face to face or conference call).

    Breast Cancer Awareness Month- Dana’s Story

    Posted: October 22, 2018

    Breast Cancer Awareness Month

    October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. This is a worldwide annual campaign to help increase awareness and raise funds for research, prevention, treatments and cures for the disease. This month also emphasizes the importance of early screening and offers information and support to those affected by breast cancer. The good news is that most women can survive breast cancer if it’s found and treated early.

     

    According to the National Breast Cancer Institute….

     

    • Breast cancer is the most common kind of cancer in women after skin cancer.
    • About 1 in 8 women born today in the United States will get breast cancer at some point.
    • Men can also develop breast cancer, making up slightly less than one percent of those diagnosed each year.
    • In 2017, it’s estimated that about 30% of newly diagnosed cancers in women will be breast cancers.
    • As of January 2018, there are more than 3.1 million women with a history of breast cancer in the U.S.
    • About 5% to 10% of breast cancers are thought to be hereditary, caused by abnormal genes passed from parent to child.
    • As with many other diseases, your risk of breast cancer goes up as you get older. About two out of three invasive breast cancers are found in women 55 or older.

    Dana’s Story

     

     

    1 in 8 women, you really do not realize how many people this will and does affect, and how close this will hit home.  One of our own…Dana handles all of the social media marketing and newsletter production for my agency.  She’s been an asset to the agency for 2 years and we were shocked when she told us the news.  This is her story.

     

    You never think you will be the one to hear the words, “You have breast cancer”.   Like many females, we look at our calendar and realize it has been a year since our last mammogram. We sigh because we know it must be done, so we make the dreaded call to schedule our    ta-tas getting squished like pancakes.  For the past few years, I had to get ultrasounds after my mammograms because I am one of the fortunate souls who has cysts.  To me, it was always just routine, and I never thought anything of it. But unfortunately, this last time, they found an abnormal lump.   Even though my mother passed away from colon cancer and my grandfather from skin cancer, I never thought I would get cancer.

     

    I had the biopsy, and according to the doctor, I was lucky. It was the early stages of breast cancer (ductal carcinoma in situ). All I needed was a lumpectomy, and I would be fine. Easy Peasy Lemon Squeezy. My biggest concern was getting my surgery fast enough so I could go on my vacation. Then, the floor dropped out from under me.   The cancer had spread to my lymph nodes, and they found another tumor. Now, the whole game plan had changed.   Six months of chemo, double mastectomy, and radiation.

     

    All of these thoughts went racing through my head, as a single mom and self-employed, how was I going to do this? How was I going to take care of my 15-year-old daughter Alex?, How was I going to pay my bills, and how was I going to take care of myself?   After my little pity party, I told myself, I can do this. Life does not always go according to plan. This is just another hiccup, and I will get through this like other obstacles I have faced.   I always live life to the fullest and having cancer will not keep me down. I believe that having a positive attitude and holding your head up high helps. Yes, I have my bad days, but I always pull myself together.

     

    The greatest gift in all this craziness is the huge amount of support and help from amazing friends, family, neighbors, etc. The Cancer Support Center in Mokena has also been my saving grace. The love and incredible support I received from everyone around me inspires me to stay strong and confront this cancer threat head on. “No One Fights Alone.”

     

    I just celebrated my last day of Chemo, but I still have a long road ahead of me with surgery, radiation and then reconstruction. Even though I am not finished with my journey, I am hopeful and I am ready to continue this fight. It is so important to remember to get your mammograms and do self-checks.

     

    Most important, stay positive and keep faith.

    Have a College Bound Student? Here’s What’s Covered

    Posted: August 22, 2018

    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.

     

    HOMEOWNERS

     

    • 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.

    AUTO

     

    • 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 kelly@kellyburkeinsurance.com. I can walk you through the steps to ensure you have the right coverage. I am here to help!

     

    Questions
    Questions

    Feel free to email or call me with any questions or comments about my services or if you have any insurance related inquires.

    Contact
    Contact

    Phone: 708.444.0050
    Email: kelly@kellyburkeinsurance.com

    Availability
    Availability

    Monday - Friday: 10am - 5pm
    Evening and weekends
    available upon request