How to do your part to reduce wildfires this summer

Wildfire Prevention Tips To Know and FollowIt is that time of year when we like to remind you of the importance of wildfire prevention. Preventing a wildfire requires a collective effort and best practices need to be utilized to lower our risk.

Did you know the majority of wildfires are caused by humans? According to Wildland Fire Management Information, humans cause 85% of wildland fires. That is an alarming number. If we could educate everyone in the United States on how to prevent fires, we could see a major improvement.

Most common scenarios where human fires start:

  • Campfires left unattended
  • Burning debris
  • Equipment use or malfunction
  • Arson
  • Not properly discarding cigarettes

Other scenarios where wildfires start:

  • Natural causes such as lightning

How You Can Lower the Chance of Starting a Wildfire

1.) Pay Attention to Your State’s Burn Bans.

If the weather is hot and dry, burn bans may automatically be put in place. Always respect these rules and never burn during these times. This includes campfires and burning debris in your backyard. They are in place for a reason.

2.) If It Is Safe to Burn, Be Sure You Know the Correct Protocols for Burning

If you plan to go camping this summer or burn debris in your backyard, it is important to review the correct protocols to avoid starting a fire. Even using your family car, lawn equipment or farm equipment can increase your risk. Review fire safety here. 

Fires should never be started near flammable materials. This includes grass, leaves, logs and brush. Learn how to build a proper campfire here.

Did you know wind can play a role in starting a fire? Even if there is not a burn ban in place, you should never burn debris or start a campfire if it is windy.

By leaving a fire unattended or simply not putting out the fire correctly, you can be liable for starting a fire. A simple reminder, “If it is too hot to touch, it is too hot to leave.” Whether you are camping in the backcountry or at a campground, a shovel and a bucket can be a few key items you can use that will ensure your fire is out when it is time to leave.

3.) Don’t drive your vehicle or use equipment over dry grass.

A simple spark from your vehicle’s exhaust can cause a fire. By performing regular maintenance on your car or equipment, this lowers your risk of shooting off sparks.

If weather conditions are fine and you plan to explore off-road, it never hurts to have a few safety items on hand in the event a fire starts. Items include a shovel, bucket or fire extinguisher.

We hope you have a great summer! If you have questions about your insurance policy, contact our agency. We are here to help address your concerns or answer questions.

An update on auto & home insurance rates in 2023

Inflation Continues to Impact Insurance Policy Premiums in 2023

An Update On Auto & Home Insurance Rates in 2023We all feel the impact of inflation. Whether it is at the gas station, grocery store and your insurance policies at renewal. Unfortunately, the insurance industry continues to be impacted as insurance carriers are forced to adjust their risk based on inflation and claims.

We know it is frustrating to see your premiums increase even though you may not have experienced any activity such as an insurance claim. Inflation is the main reason insurance premium rates continue to increase across the country.

Another strike against policyholders is the rise in insurance claims across the country. Not only are insurance carriers receiving more insurance claims than before, but it is also costing insurance carriers more with settling claims.

Anytime insurance carriers see an increase in claims and the cost to settle these claims, they will raise their premiums to all customers around the country. Some insurance carriers have even dropped offering specific policies in certain states which experience a high severity.

Summary on why your insurance policy went up even though you didn’t file a claim or receive a vehicle infraction:

  • Building materials for homes have increased (some materials are 20% to 50% higher now).
  • There are less skilled workers available to work. This means companies are now paying higher wages to those who are available to work.
  • Car parts and equipment are more expensive (some over 22% higher now).
  • It costs more to maintain and repair vehicles.
  • Used cars prices increased over 37% since 2020. New car prices have increased over 20%.
  • Medical bills for insurance claims have increased.
  • Most companies are now using underwriting holding periods by asking for proof of ownership, photos of interior and exterior of home, proof of when roofs, plumbing and HVAC systems were updated. I.e. Requiring receipts for the work, etc. This may delay or help insurance carriers avoid writing any new policies until their rate increases are approved, which may be 20% to 50% higher.
  • Some carriers are no longer offering insurance to high risk areas or on specific vehicles (wildfire areas, specific cars that are prone to theft, etc.) The insurance carriers who continue to offer insurance coverage have to take on additional risk, which makes insurance premiums more expensive.

If your insurance policy has increased significantly, reach out to us. We can re-quote you with other insurance carriers we represent to see if we can find you a more affordable policy. This is one of the best benefits of working with an independent insurance agency. We advocate for you!

Here are some ways we have helped customers save on their insurance premium. Each of our insurance carriers offer unique discounts so reach out to us to review your current policy.

  • Bundle your home and auto insurance policies together.
  • Install and maintain a burglar alarm system on your home and receive a protective device discount.
  • Discounts for your teenager – good student or distant student (for college students who attend school more than 100 miles away)
  • If you recently built a home or significantly renovated it, you may qualify for a discount.
  • If you have been accident-free for at least three years, you can be eligible for a discount.
  • Earn a claims-free check too! Eligible customers who remain claims free for 6 months can receive a check in the mail from some insurance carriers. Score another check if you remain claims-free for the rest of the year on your policy.

Bonus Coverages Offered

With the rise in insurance premiums, some insurance carriers have added additional coverage to their policies.

Water backup, service line and personal property replacement for claims are the three most common coverage upgrades.

Contact your agent if you have any questions regarding your current insurance policy. We are here to help.

Proper insurance coverage for your summer activities

Insurance for your summer activitiesSummer is near! With the start of a new season, you may be looking forward to the activities that are typically enjoyed during the summer season. Whether you plan to take road trips, use your dirt bike or ATV, swim at your home or spending time on your boat, you may wait all year to enjoy these activities to the max.

Before summer season officially kicks off, it may be a nice time to discuss your insurance coverage for the most common summer activities.

Road Trips

If you plan to rent a car, it is important to understand what your personal auto insurance covers and what it doesn’t cover. If you aren’t sure, speak with an agent in our office. If your personal auto insurance policy contains comprehensive and collision coverage you can typically transfer that coverage to a temporary replacement like a rental vehicle.

One coverage you would be missing is loss of use coverage. If you get into an accident in the rental car, the rental car agency can charge you for loss of use while their vehicle is being repaired. You can purchase coverage for this through the rental agency.

If you only carry a liability policy on your personal auto insurance policy, you may have to purchase additional coverage to simply rent the car from the rental agency. Collision and comprehensive coverage will cover damages to the rental vehicle and are required to rent a car. If your policy doesn’t contain these coverages, you’ll need to purchase them from the rental agency.

Dirt Bikes, ATV, Boats, Electric Bikes and More

Some people wait all year to use these summer toys. These vehicles should have their own insurance policy and we can help you find affordable coverage.

Protecting yourself with an insurance policy that is specific to the vehicle you’re driving is important as you cannot rely on your insurance coverage from your home insurance, renters insurance or auto insurance policy if you get into an accident or injure someone while operating one of these vehicles.

Other Summer Activities

If you like to host parties at your home, are throwing a large event this summer like a wedding or your kids like to have their friends over to swim, you should know these activities can increase your risk for a liability claim.

Talk to an agent in our office about special event insurance policies for things like baby showers, bah mitzvahs, birthday parties and weddings. This is also a great time to discuss our next topic: Umbrella Insurance.

Umbrella Insurance

Purchasing an umbrella insurance policy offers you above and beyond insurance protection on your vehicle and homeowners policies all at an affordable price. Accidents happen and the total damage can add up quickly, exhausting your limits on your vehicle or home insurance policy.

Umbrella insurance offers another layer of protection if this happens. Talk to us about your insurance options. There are countless scenarios where this coverage can save you hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Contact Our Agency for an Insurance Review

It’s our job to help ensure you have the best insurance coverage for your needs. Give us a call if it is time to review your auto, home, umbrella or specialty vehicle insurance.