Do I Need to Insure My Jewelry? We Explain Coverage Options!

Insurance coverage options for your jewelry in Okemos, MichiganJewelry is often one of the most valuable belongings in your home and, for this reason, it’s something you may want to consider insuring. Most pieces of jewelry can be fragile, easily lost, and they are among the first items stolen during burglaries. But most people still fail to insure expensive pieces of jewelry with high sentimental values.

Below is some general information to help you understand how much jewelry insurance can cost and the different ways that you can purchase insurance for some of your most precious belongings.

Homeowner Insurance

One common way to insure jewelry is on a homeowner’s insurance policy. Usually adding your jewelry to your home insurance will cost you extra. Homeowners insurance rates will vary based on the amount of coverage you choose for your home, the location, age, and condition of your home, and other factors like your marital status and even your credit score.

Most home policies don’t automatically cover your jewelry. You’ll need to ask for an endorsement to your policy to cover your jewelry. And, as jewelry is a high-value item and is often stolen or lost, you’ll see a separate amount of coverage for it on your policy.

The cost of jewelry insurance can vary but typically it’s between 1% – 5% of the total value of your jewelry collection.

The different home insurance coverage options

When it comes to comparing home insurance, there are many different options to choose from. Some of the most common options that you will want to consider when taking out a policy include:

  • HO-3 Insurance – This is the most popular type of insurance and, if you have a mortgage, you are often required to have at a minimum this level of coverage.

This type of policy will cover any damage to your home, apart from any exclusions in the policy, which might be events such as floods or earthquakes.

As for the coverage for your belongings, this policy is commonly referred to as a Named Peril policy. On an HO-3 policy, your belongings will only be covered for events listed in your policy. Also, you typically will only be reimbursed for the actual cash value of your belongings rather than the true replacement cost.

  • HO-5 Insurance – If you are looking for more holistic coverage, then this type of policy provides more extensive coverage than an HO-3 policy.

HO-5 insurance provides the same amount of protection for your home as an HO-3 policy. But for your belongings, HO-5 is commonly referred to as an Open Peril policy. This means that rather than only covering your belongings for perils that are named in the policy, your belongings will be covered for everything unless a peril is specifically excluded in the policy.

An HO-5 policy will also reimburse you for replacing your belongings if lost or stolen rather than only providing the actual cash value of your property.

The best way to get more information on jewelry insurance is to ask a licensed agent in our office. We can assist you with assessing your insurance needs and provide you with some quotes from several of the top insurance companies.

Get A Quote For Your Jewelry Insurance Today

Our licensed staff is ready to help you get multiple jewelry insurance quotes. Because we’re an independent insurance agent we can shop from multiple insurance companies to help you find the right coverage at the right price.

Winter Tires vs. All-Season Tires – Which Type of Tire Should You Have?

Choosing winter tires or all-season tires for your vehicle in Okemos, MichiganWinter driving brings a whole new element of risk to the road. Driver’s concentration and a car’s integrity are continuously put to the test in frigid weather. Making the decision to change your tires at the right time will keep you safe and will help you to avoid accidents in winter weather. If you live in a seasonal state, then most agree that it’s best to have two sets of tires for your vehicle: a set of all-season tires and a set of winter tires.

What are winter tires?

Winter tires are engineered to perform best on icy roads in sub-zero temperatures. The tread compound is specifically designed to allow for better traction when stopping. This tread gives the tires a better grip on icy roads.

In fact, on average, winter tires can reduce stopping distance by up to 25% on slippery roads – that can mean the difference between stopping well before the car in front of you and a rear-end collision.

What about all-season tires?

Some people, however, argue that all-season tires are just as capable and safe as winter tires considering their name and from experience. But all-season tires have two considerable compositional downfalls when it comes to driving in icy, snowy, or slippery conditions. 

In order to be more durable, all-season tires are designed using a harder and longer-wearing rubber compound than is used in winter tires. This specialized rubber stiffens as temperatures drop, which results in a loss of tire flexibility. The less flexible a tire is, the worse its grip on the road. Moreover, when compared to winter tires, they simply have less surface contact with the ground which results in decreased traction.

How do different sets of tires affect auto insurance policy rates?

Very few insurance companies offer a discount for winter tire use. So switching from all-season tires to winter tires won’t have a direct impact on your auto insurance premiums. However, winter tires have a better chance of keeping you from an accident in cold weather conditions. Avoiding accidents will help to keep your auto insurance rates low.

While winter tires won’t prevent all auto accidents, they certainly lower your driving risk and tend to perform better in snowy conditions than all-season tires. As a result, you can expect a safer winter driving experience which will ultimately result in lower insurance premiums for you in the long run.

If you have questions about auto insurance rates, please call one of our authorized insurance agents. We can assist you with assessing your insurance needs and provide you with some quotes from several of the top insurance companies.

Get A Quote For Your Auto Insurance Today

Our licensed staff is ready to help you get multiple auto insurance quotes. Because we’re an independent insurance agent we can shop from multiple insurance companies to help you find the right coverage at the right price.

Looking to get organized this year? We share some easy tips!

Tips for being more organized in 2021It’s the New Year and like many people this time of year, resolutions are being made. If you are looking to be tidier or organized in 2021, we have some tips for you!

Create your checklist

First off, what areas of your home need to be more organized? Do you finally want tackle your junk drawers? Organize your bathroom or closet? Or finally donate or dump items in your garage? Create your to-do checklist of the areas you want to tackle.

Start with one thing at a time

After reviewing your checklist, evaluate what you want to tackle first. If you have 10 or more areas you want to organize in your home, it is easy to feel overwhelmed. Therefore, it is best to begin with one project at a time. Perhaps starting with your quickest or easiest project might be the best start. Getting the quickest project done can give you momentum and motivation to tackle the next area on your list. If your list is long, break up your tasks over the course of several days or weeks.

Time Blocks

Time blocks can work great for keeping you on task. Dedicating a specific time to clean or organize can be very beneficial. When your time is up, you’ll feel productive and motivated for the next time block you set aside to clean or organize. EX: I am organizing from 3:00 PM to 5:00 PM. Starting with a time block allows you to get started on the project vs. feeling overwhelmed as if the project will take all day to complete and then continuing to put it off.

Give everything a home

While many areas of your home may already have a home such as your dishes cabinet, silverware and Tupperware, other drawers in your home may collect all sorts of items together in one area. Assess areas of your house that could be more organized and determine a home for each item. Even if your junk drawer stores many miscellaneous items, you can organize your drawer with bins.

10 minute power clean

It’s amazing what can happen when you set your mind to cleaning or organizing for 10 minutes. First off, how much can you get done in 10 minutes? You may find yourself moving fast just to see what you can accomplish in such a short time frame. On another positive note, when the timer goes off, you may just continue cleaning if you have more time. A 10 minute power clean may be all you need to jumpstart your motivation to get things done around the house.

If you live with others, give everyone a job

When you live with multiple people, it is easy for your house to become a disaster quick. When it is time to clean, give everyone a job duty and set your time block. It might even be helpful to give household members weekly chores that they are always in charge of. EX: taking out the garbage/recycle or un-loading the dishes.

Practice putting things away immediately

How easy is it for dishes to pile into the sink? Or for clothes to become your new carpet? When you practice putting things away immediately, it not only saves you time when it comes to deep cleaning your home, but it allows you to feel more tidy in the moment.

While we can’t clean or organize your home for you, we can help you find affordable home, renters or condo insurance. Contact our agency for a free quote or even a re-quote if you are shopping for new insurance. We will provide quotes from many of our carriers and show you a side by side comparison of options to choose from.

Five Things To Consider This Winter That Can Impact Your Insurance

Avoiding Frozen Pipes

How to lower your risk for an insurance claim in the winterWhen the temperatures drop in the winter, there is a possibility that your water pipes could freeze. Since water expands when it freezes, there is a chance that a pipe could burst, which could cause major damage to your home. To avoid this from happening, install frost-proof hose bibs, find and wrap exposed water pipes and keep garage doors closed.

Driving in the snow and ice

Auto accidents during the winter are often related to slick roads and driving in poor weather conditions. Whether you live in a climate that gets yearly snow and icy roads or you are traveling to a climate that does, every driver should have the knowledge for driving in these conditions.

A few things to consider:

  • If your vehicle starts to slide on the road, take your foot off the gas until you regain traction. While it can be natural to want to slam on your brakes, try not to do this.
  • Make sure your vehicle has plenty of windshield washer fluid. The last thing you want to do is run out of fluid on muddy, frozen roads and have it impact your visibility.
  • Always check weather conditions. If conditions are bad and you still have to make your trip, allow yourself extra time to get to your destination. This allows you to drive slower as well as give yourself more distance between other cards on the road.

Liability concerns regarding ice or tripping hazards in your driveway

With more people doing home delivery for groceries, gifts and other necessities during the pandemic it is important to keep your delivery area clear of hazards. Avoid being held liable for a slip and fall injury claim by keeping your driveway and stairs clear of hazards for your delivery drivers. Keep extension cords tucked safely away, make sure steps and driveways are free of ice and slippery surfaces are scrubbed clean. A huge thank you to delivery drivers everywhere.

Review your policy

Life changes, so should your insurance policy. If you need an agent to review your current insurance policy, reach out to us! There are many scenarios where an update to your insurance policy may be necessary. Items such as a kitchen remodels, a big-ticket purchase like jewelry, art, collectibles or antiques or if you are driving less to name a few. If you are shopping prices or want to change your coverage, reach out to us. We can shop all our insurance carriers and help you find a policy that suits your budget and coverage requirements. We will always explain your coverage options too.

Watching for rodents

Rodent damage isn’t always covered by your home insurance policy. Rodents are always looking for a warm place during the winter months and likely would prefer to enter your home if given the opportunity.

Here are a few tips:

  • Cover all holes and gaps in your crawlspace by checking your screens and access panels.
  • Never store food in your garage or crawlspace. Also leave your pet food in a safe place. It can be stored high on racks or in an airtight container.

If you suspect a rodent may be in your crawlspace, consider calling a professional to come out and look.

Things You Should Know About a Commercial Auto Insurance Policy

Commercial Auto Insurance Agent Okemos, MIWhen many people think of a commercial auto insurance policy, they may think of big vehicles such as semi-trucks, box trucks, garbage trucks, etc. However, there are many variations of vehicles that would qualify for a commercial auto insurance policy.

How to Determine If You Need a Commercial Auto Insurance Policy

If you are using your vehicle or your employer’s vehicle for business purposes, you need a commercial auto insurance policy or endorsement. For instance, many people are working in the gig economy in jobs such as delivering food with your own vehicle or doing rideshare. It is important you have the right insurance coverage. If you do get into an accident where you are making a food delivery and damage your vehicle or someone else’s property, your standard personal car insurance policy will likely not cover you. Contact our agents with any questions you may have.

Here is a quick reference to help you determine if you need a commercial auto insurance policy:

  1. Using your vehicle to carry business equipment
  2. Freight transportation
  3. Towing vehicles
  4. Delivering food or goods (Amazon drivers, food delivery drivers, newspaper delivery)
  5. Using your vehicle to chauffeur people (Uber or Lyft Drivers, taxi service)
  6. Transporting material

How Is A Commercial Auto Insurance Policy Different Than My Personal Auto Insurance?

Since your vehicle is being used for business purposes, there are different risks that need to be insured. Additionally, the rating system used by companies is entirely different than a personal auto policy.  Each commercial policy needs vary, so have a discussion with your agent to discuss your specific policy limits. For business owners with many vehicles to insure, business auto fleet policies are available. Additionally, consider adding a commercial umbrella policy above and beyond your standard commercial auto policy to protect your business from a catastrophic vehicle accident claim.

How Much Does Commercial Auto Insurance Cost?

Just like your personal auto insurance policy, a commercial auto insurance policy is rated on many factors. Here are a few common examples of what could determine your insurance rate.

  • Driving records
  • Driver age
  • Credit history
  • The size & type of your vehicle
  • The number of vehicles you are insuring
  • What you plan to transport

Not Sure What Kind of Coverage You Need for Your Business?

That is where we can help. Our agents can help determine what type of coverage will be the best fit for your specific needs. If you plan to use your vehicle for business and personal purposes, we can help you determine an appropriate type of policy. If you are only looking to cover your vehicle for business use, we can help find you the best rate. We will explain all of your options so you understand your policy. Get a free commercial auto insurance quote by calling or emailing us.

Do I Need To Maintain Insurance On My Boat, Motorcycle Or RV During Winter?

Why You Should Maintain Your Insurance Year Round For Your Boat, RV or Motorcycle in Okemos, MIIt is a sad time of year when we have to say goodbye to long warm summer nights and hello to more moderate weather and shorter days. But, the good news is pumpkin lattes are out again.

With fewer boat, motorcycle or road trips in the RV happening in the fall and winter months, many wonder if they need to maintain insurance on these vehicles when they aren’t being driven. There are many different scenarios that warrant keeping these vehicles insured year-round so let’s take a closer look at these.

Weather Related Damages: Weather is especially nasty in the winter months so keeping your boat protected from covered weather-related damages is important. Even when stored, lightning, wind and hail can occur.

Physical Damages: It seems strange that you may be subjected to a property claim when your vehicle is not being used. However, take this simple example: You have a house party and someone wants to sit on your bike. During which, they accidentally knock it over denting your custom painted tank and scratching the paint. Your home insurance will not cover this.

Theft & Vandalism: If someone decides to steal your boat, motorcycle or RV in the winter months, you need coverage to cover the loss. Thefts occur everywhere, so even if in a secured area, vandalism can occur. Unfortunately, thieves don’t mind bad weather.

Fire: If your boat, motorcycle or RV is stored in your home or garage and there is a fire, your home insurance will not pay for damages to your vehicle. Instead, you will need a comprehensive insurance policy to cover these damages.

Financing: If you finance your boat, motorcycle or RV, your lienholder will require you to maintain insurance to protect the investment.

Multi-policy discounts: If you insure your boat, motorcycle or RV with your home or auto insurance company, you may be eligible for multi-policy discounts. By removing your insurance on your vehicle, you will raise the cost of your other policies.

Owning a boat, motorcycle or RV is a great experience for most. Don’t turn the joy of boat, motorcycle or RV ownership into a nightmare by trying to cut your insurance costs in the off-season. Protect your vehicle year-round and enjoy greater discounts on your other insurance products by bundling them together. For a quote on your insurance, give us a call. We represent the best insurance companies and can quote you different coverages, rates and apply for special discounts.

Home or Lifestyle Changes During COVID-19 & How It Could Impact Your Insurance Policy

Home Insurance Agent Okemos, MIMany people have used the COVID-19 pandemic to assess their current living situation. Whether it is finally getting to those home improvement projects, getting out in your yard or garden. Others felt inspired to make some major renovations to their homes. If you fall into this category, clearly you are not the only one making changes as you stood in line outside The Home Depot, Lowes or your local home & garden department store.

If you have made some significant updates to your home this year, it’s important to relay this information to your insurance agent.

Review the scenarios below and reach out to us if you have made any of the following changes:

  • Updated your kitchen or bathroom
  • Added square footage to your home
  • Built a detached structure such as a shop, garage or office
  • Made energy efficient improvements such as solar panels on your roof

Why Do I Need to Share This Information With My Agent?

Any major update you make to your home can impact the current value of your home. If you ever have to experience a home insurance claim, your insurance carrier has an idea how much it will cost to replace what has been damaged. As your agent, we want to make sure your home has an accurate value for your home insurance policy so you can be reimbursed at the appropriate value.

Has COVID-19 caused long term changes to your lifestyle?

With some major companies extending a work from home approach into the fall season or even the remainder of the year, some people may consider finding a way to work from home permanently. If this applies to you, you may want to create a designated home office to work from. If you are a small business owner who now is looking to work permanently from home, be sure to let your agent know. Some changes to your home insurance policy may be necessary.

If You Plan To Drive Less, Reach Out To Your Agent

Some people who mainly used their car to commute to and from work, may be finding they are barely using their vehicle. Reach out to your insurance agent to see if can qualify for any auto insurance discounts. Some insurance carriers can provide a discount to individuals who drive less than 10,000 miles a year.

Auto Insurance Myths vs. Facts

Auto Insurance Quotes Okemos, MIWhen it comes to purchasing auto insurance there are many myths that exist. Let’s take a closer look at some of these myths and help you understand why they may not be true.

Auto Insurance Is More Expensive For Men

If you have two individuals of the same age who live in the same town, one male and the other female, it is not true that the male will pay more for his insurance. In fact, there are many variables that come into play when an insurance company determines premium. Some of those are:

  1. Garaging Zip Code
  2. Driving history
  3. Credit report
  4. Loss history
  5. Education level
  6. Type of vehicle
  7. And many more!

To find out what your premium might be, the only way is to get a quote. Compare companies and coverage options that you need by talking to an independent agent. We can compare many companies side by side.

Older Cars Cost Less To Insure

Not true. For instance, your personal injury protection will likely be less on a newer vehicle because it is equipped with more safety features to aid you in the event of an accident – meaning you’re more likely to be injured in an older vehicle without airbags for example. However, insurance costs for comprehensive and collision coverage do tend to go down the older a vehicle gets because it is simply worth less money.

If someone borrows your car, they are responsible for the insurance.

In most states, insurance follows the vehicle. It is called “permissive use.” If you give someone permission to drive your vehicle, you’re also essentially giving them permission to use your insurance. Now, be careful here because if someone is in your household and not listed on your insurance policy and has regular access and use to your vehicle, you may find yourself in a tricky claims situation because that person should be listed on your insurance policy.

I have an auto insurance policy so it will cover me when I’m delivering food or working for a rideshare company.

If your job requires you to deliver food using your own vehicle or you work part time as an Uber or Lyft driver, you need a special insurance policy. Typically an endorsement to your regular auto insurance, this provides coverage for you while you’re using your vehicle for work related purposes.

Your friend pays less for their insurance than you do so that means you’re paying too much.

Insurance is specific to the driver, their history, vehicle, garaging zip code, usage and so many other factors. There are hundreds of different scenarios that can be calculated to determine your auto insurance premiums. Just because your friend pays less for a similar car, does not mean you’re overpaying.

If you ever want to know if you’re paying too much or want to know all your options for auto insurance, call us! As an independent insurance agency, we have many choices for insurance. Oftentimes we can share with you the insurance premiums of up to 10 different insurance companies in the same time it takes to do a single quote. Trust us to find you the best rates and service for your specific situation. We can also help you dispel other myths that exist with insurance premiums.