Protect your Home from Common House Disasters

Most homeowners understand that as the quality of your home improves, as does your home’s value. If there are random water leaks or cracks in the walls and foundation, your home will depreciate far faster than it will appreciate. On top of losing value, you are also opening your home up to extensive damage – whether it’s a flooded basement or a fallen roof  – the repair costs are always far more extensive than if you had just dealt with it in the beginning.

To avoid catastrophe, there are many very simple maintenance fixes even the most ill-prepared homeowner can take advantage of.

Check everything water

  • Water leaks are one of the most common causes of home damage. Check your appliances, even if they were installed yesterday, and make sure the pipe connections are all secure and there aren’t any broken or leaking pipes.
  • Avoid bursting pipes by ensuring your water pressure is set to the proper setting. If the pressure rises too high, water pipes and lines are likely to burst and cause extensive flooding and costly repairs.

Protect against fire

  • Some of the most common causes of fire are incredibly easy to prevent. Leaving any cooking appliances unattended for an extended period of time is the most common cause of house fires.
  • Faulty electrical equipment is also another likely culprit of house fires. Have an electrician comb through your home at least once a year to keep all of your electrical needs updated.
  • Just like unattended cooking appliances, candles left alone with an open flame are also likely to start fires. Be wary of flammable objects near a candle’s open flame, and never leave a candle unattended, especially with children around.

Check air quality

  • Running regular air quality tests in your home is imperative to maintaining clean and healthy living quarters. Despite kits’ rather hefty costs, what they are checking for and preventing is well worth the money.
  • Check all your air filters and air ducts on a regular basis, as well. It is possible for mold to begin growing in these areas, ultimately spreading throughout the rooms and destroying the structural integrity of the house.

Protecting your house and its value is crucial to ensuring your family’s and guest’s safety. If you ever have any questions or would like to schedule an appointment with us at Brazelton Insurance, be sure to contact us right away.

Protect Your Assets with Insurance

 For many of us, our possessions are a large part of who we are. However, all the assets you have worked long hours at work for can be lost in as short of a time span as a month if you are involved in a lawsuit, file for bankruptcy, or have otherwise placed your belongings in a precarious situation. To avoid devastation and losing your assets, there are several steps you can take to fully protect yourself.

  • Corporate Veils: If you own a business, it is important to ensure that your business has the correct insurance and knows how to use a corporate veil. A corporate veil, in brief, allows for businesses to be addressed as sole entities and therefore protects the owners and shareholders and all of their personal possessions if the business were to go under.
  • Retirement Accounts: One of the most effective ways to protect not only your wealth but also your possessions is through the use of retirement accounts. Both traditional and Roth IRA accounts can prove to be vital in protecting you when used properly.
  • Be Prepared: As is true in nearly all cases, a great way to protect yourself and your possessions from lawsuits is by being prepared for the worst possible case. It is always important to ensure you have a lawyer and law firm and insurance agency you can trust to provide the proper assertive legal and financial assistance.
  • Insurance: Of course one of the best ways to protect yourself from litigious people and companies is by taking out an insurance policy. It is important you invest in strong and secure insurance policies to fully protect you and your personal possessions.

The safety of your assets is important not only to you, but also to us. If you are looking to protect your personal or business possessions, feel free to contact us at Brazelton Insurance Group to ensure you are in safe hands.

 

What’s the True Value of Life Insurance?

No one enjoys thinking about the idea of death; it’s nearly impossible to imagine what not being here is like, which makes the event even more horrifying. However, putting all the bad thoughts behind us, you must begin to think about your loved ones’ well-being in the event of your passing.

Your life is invaluable, a statement whose meaning intensifies as you come closer and closer to your friends and family. Despite the inability to put a true value on your life, you can begin to invest into your physical worth by purchasing a life insurance policy that properly suits all your needs. If you are wondering what measures and thinking should go into selecting a life insurance policy, view this article as well.

It is important to note that there are multiple types of life insurance plans, ranging from individualized options all the way to variations for business partners to protect the investors from financial loss and liabilities upon the passing of an important business partner. When deciding upon an amount, you must consider the following few points:

  • How much do you spend in a week? a month? a year?
  • What is your current and projected salary in 10 years?
  • How much do you have in savings?
  • Inflation will play a huge role in your premiums and total amount, so be sure to calculate it wisely. $100,000 was worth a lot more back in 1985 than it is now, so plan for the future standards of living.

In general, it is important to note that when you pass, you leave behind a legacy. What comes with that legacy in financial terms may not leave your loved ones in the most favorable position, so plan carefully and be methodical with your calculations when deciding upon your life insurance policy. If you ever have any questions or would like to schedule a meeting with one of our associates, please contact us to get all your questions answered.

How Refinancing your Home Affects Home Insurance

For most homeowners, it makes sense to refinance your house when you have enough equity in it, allowing for you to get the best deal you can for your monthly mortgage. Just as one would imagine, refinancing your house is a much larger deal than many may assume; you need to get an agent to look over every aspect of your house, scrutinizing the most minute of details and code infractions.

This process takes a rather long time, on average about 45 days for the entire process to be completed. After your house has been refinanced, it is crucial you contact your insurance agency to get an updated policy to fully cover your house and its possessions inside. Once you refinance, your insurance and payments will typically change in the following ways:

  • Your insurance policy payments will drop in price. When your house is up to code, your liability drops significantly, which will easily save you thousands of dollars per year.
  • When your house is refinanced, it is not uncommon for your loan payments to drop as well as your insurance. Most everyone is looking for the lowest interest rates they can get, and with an updated home value your interest rates could drop as much as 1%-2%.
  • If your insurance policy doesn’t change, refinancing your home also poses a great time to begin shopping around for a new insurance policy with lower rates, premiums, and principal payments.

Here at Brazelton Insurance Group, we do all we can to provide the best insurance policies for you. If you are looking to get out of your current plan, feel free to contact us at any time to get a quote.

How to Avoid Outrageous Hospital Bills

The American health system is notoriously evil; hospitals grossly overcharge their patients thousands of dollars and many physicians charge rates two to three times the average for a common physical checkup. In today’s modern society, it is imperative you fully look over your hospital bill to avoid being taken advantage of and save hundreds, even thousands, of dollars per visit.

The past several years, news agencies have been investigating hospitals and how their billing system works, ultimately discovering horrible, deliberate overcharges. Depending upon your insurance coverage, you may have to pay as little as 5% or as high as 75% of your hospital bill, but either way, you should review the bill and do your research. To ensure you are not being taken advantage of, you should compare hospitals around you and review your insurance coverage.

Compare Hospitals

Just like you can do comparison shopping between supermarkets, you can do comparison shopping for hospitals. Obviously, you will likely not have time to do this when you have a child with a broken leg or severe fever, so you must plan ahead. The next time you have a moment free, look at the hospitals in close proximity to you and compare their rates, services, and professionals on staff. Just like a typical corporation, hospitals have help and call centers, so call the non-emergency number and ask for the estimated cost of a procedure at all potential hospitals. Once you have this information, carefully review the statements you received and begin to draw up the pros and cons of each care center.

Check Insurance Coverage

In addition to comparison shopping, pitting the hospitals against one another, you should review your insurance type and coverage to ensure the hospital you have selected is covered. For all insurance coverages, there will be a list of hospitals that are covered, potentially saving you thousands and relieving you from the insane hospital bills to pay on your own.

It is important to note that you have insurance for a reason: so use it when you need to. An emergency is an emergency no matter how you spin it, and you and your family’s health should outweigh any costs you may face later. If you have any questions or would like to get in touch with one of you agents at Brazelton Insurance Group, feel free to contact us at any time.

Protect Your Employees With These Helpful Commercial Transportation Tips

When it comes to your commercial transportation insurance, there are many things a business owner should consider, even after their policy is in place, in order to protect their assets and employees.

The following helpful suggestions may not only help you to reduce accidents, but also keep your commercial insurance premiums lower, ultimately saving you time and money:

  • Use your commercial vehicles for work-related travel only.
  • Be sure to avoid texting and talking on cell phones, establishing another way to communicate and avoiding phone use while driving.
  • Require that all of your employees wear their seat belts.
  • Ensure that you have a zero tolerance policy, in which employees may not consume alcoholic beverages or take drugs while operating, or before operating any company vehicles.
  • Ensure all company vehicles are safe and secure at all times with an alarm system, which may help to lower your insurance rates.
  • Allow plenty of travel time between jobs or appointments.
  • Perform thorough check of all employees’ driving records.
  • Provide proper safety trainings and practices to all employees that will be driving company vehicles.
  • Ensure individuals operating specialized equipment are properly trained and licensed or certified.
  • Ensure your vehicles are well maintained and insured.

Speak with your commercial transportation insurance agent at Brazelton Insurance Group for more information and help with any of your insurance needs today.

What To Do When Your House Is Under Water…Literally

Whether you have a broken pipe, were hard hit by a storm, or live by a flooded river, water can literally put your house under water. If you fall a victim to any of these unfortunate circumstances, it is important to remember the following steps:

1. Always ensure your safety first. You may be tempted to salvage your belongings, however, water, especially lots of water, can create hazardous conditions for you and your family. From a weakened structure, to damage to gas or electric lines, your home can become an extremely dangerous area, especially when walking on cracked floors or wading through standing water near electrical shorts.

2. Document your damage. Take photos and/or videos of the damage to your home and belongings before draining any of the water, removing your items, or making any repairs, especially since this will help to have an accurate depiction of the extent of the damage for insurance purposes.

3. Contact your insurance agent. Notify your insurance agent immediately. Some flood damage is not covered by typical homeowners insurance policies, so it is important to communicate with your provider in order to discover what, if any, coverage is available. Your agent can also help to advise you if you need to wait for an adjuster to inspect your property before making any repairs. Also, be sure to document the process with pictures and receipts.

Your insurance company can help to provide you with the contact information for the Federal Emergency Management Agency, which will be a great resource of information if your flood is part of a wider problem. Should your area be declared an official “disaster area” by the government, you may be eligible to receive additional financial assistance as well.

For more information, contact Brazelton Insurance Group today!

Understanding If Medigap Is Right For You

When it comes to understanding Medigap and if it’s right for you and your insurance needs, there are often many things to consider, including the following:

Understanding Medigap

Medigap, also referred to as Medicare Supplemental Insurance, is available to seniors who meet certain criteria, picking up where Medicare leaves off.

Who Is Eligible?

If you are on Medicare Part A and Medicare Part B, you may be eligible for a Medigap plan. If you have a Medicare Advantage plan, also known as Medicare Part C, then you are not eligible for Medigap.

What Does Medigap Cover?

Most Medigap policies provide Medicare co-payments and hospital coinsurance payments. However, they do not cover hearing aids, dental, or vision care, and most plans do not cover prescriptions.

It is important to note that individuals with pre-existing health conditions may have a six-month waiting period, but there are exceptions that they may qualify for.

How Much Does Medigap Cost?

Medigap plans usually cost more than Medicare Advantage plans. It’s important to note that if you require a higher level of medical care, Medigap may be best for you. If you have high prescription costs, then a Medicare Advantage plan may be a better choice for your needs.

The Medigap supplementary plan charges a monthly fee, all based on where you live and your age. You pay this fee to the insurer underwriting the plan. Once enrolled, the law guarantees renewal, just as long as you are paying your premiums on time.

When Can I Enroll?

Open enrollment occurs for six months from the first day of your 65th birthday, or within six months of signing up for Part B Medicare. If you are outside this period, you may be declined coverage, or will be required to pay higher rates.

Medigap can be confusing. Be sure to speak with your insurance agent in order to help determine if Medigap is right for you. Contact Brazelton Insurance Group for more information today!

What You Need To Consider Before Purchasing Life Insurance

Life insurance can be complicated. In order to help you better understand, here are several things you need to consider before purchasing your ideal life insurance policy:

What is the purpose of your life insurance policy? Perhaps you have dependents, such as kids or a spouse, that will still rely upon you and your financial income upon your passing. Or you have substantial debt that you do not want to leave a financial burden on your loved ones to care for. By determining the purpose of your insurance policy can help you to better understand what type of policy may be best suited for you and your needs.

Who is your beneficiary? Regardless of the type of policy that you choose, you will need to select a beneficiary who will receive the proceeds of your life insurance policy upon your passing, typically being a spouse, then your children. However, it can be more complicated, especially when you do not want to leave your money to minor children, in which case you may need to set up a trust for them.

Understand the taxes. While life insurance proceeds are free from federal income taxes, they can be counted as part of your estate and may be subject to estate tax. If you have a large policy, you may want to consider a trust that can keep the proceeds out of your estate.

Talk with your loved ones. Discussing your life insurance policy with your loved ones can be difficult, but can be an important conversation to have, especially when their livelihood may depend on it, also helping you to determine the specific needs of your life insurance policy.

Speak with an insurance agent. Nobody understands life insurance better than your insurance agent. If you need help determining what type of policy is best for you, then consult with your agent before you make any decisions.

Brazelton Insurance Group is an independent insurance agency that specializes in commercial, personal, life and health insurance. For more information and to see how we can help you with your insurance needs, contact us today!

 

Homeowner’s Insurance Tips: Checking Your Home’s Maintenance Needs

Ensuring your home’s maintenance needs are addressed is the best way to help prevent major liability insurance claims from happening to you. By checking the following key maintenance items around your home annually, you can help to protect you from a variety of homeowners insurance claims:

Prevent Liability Issues

From inspecting your driveway, walkways, and other paved surfaces, to broken fences or gates, it is important to ensure these items on your property  are safe, repairing any broken, cracked, or uneven areas, preventing accidents from occurring on your property.

It is especially important to check your property after the long and harsh winter season since this weather may have taken a toll on your home’s exterior. Also, if you have a pool, proper maintenance is especially important in order to help keep your kids, as well as anyone else’s children away from the potential dangers that pools can harbor.

Prevent Fire Hazards

It is a good idea to ensure you are preventing fire hazard from occurring to your home by changing the batteries in all your smoke detectors, ensuring they are in proper functioning order, as well as clean your dryer’s lint hose once each year to prevent dryer fires.

Check For Moisture Damage

While moisture damage can happen at anytime, it is important to ensure you are performing regular checks of your water heater, looking for corrosion or leaks, as well as checking the seams and caulking on doors and windows, which can crack over time, allowing moisture to enter your home, causing damage to your home’s structure.

Spring is also the best time to clean out your gutters, clearing any debris that was left by winter storms. This is especially important because your gutter and downspout system protects your home from water damage by directing water away from your roof and foundation.

Deter Unwanted Guests

Overgrown trees and bushes can block windows and create unsafe areas around the perimeter of your home, which may attract unwanted guests. Simply by trimming back your landscaping and ensuring your outdoor lighting is in working order can help to ensure your home is secure and well lit, discouraging unwelcome visitors.

For help ensuring your homeowner’s insurance policy meets your needs, contact Brazelton Insurance Group for more information today!