Summer Can Be Risky for Everyone

download (1)Summertime means more of us are heading to the pool, lake, ocean, or river to relax and have fun.  Unfortunately, these activities can lead to accidents and injury.  Summer also brings increases in heat related illness and teen driving accidents, according to PC260.com.

It is also important to have a personal insurance review to make sure all your summer activities are covered.  For example, if you have purchased a boat, you may need a separate watercraft policy.  In addition, if you have installed a pool you will need to add that risk to your homeowner’s policy.  We want you to have an enjoyable and safe summer, so here are some reminders about summertime safety.

Some of the Top Summer Risks

River water can be very cold, especially as the early snowmelt flows downriver.  Even if it is 100 degrees outside, the river water temperatures can be very cold.

If you are planning foreign travel, remember to check travel advisories.  Also, be sure you have all your medical issues managed correctly.  Check with your health insurer, as many will not provide coverage in foreign countries.

Don’t forget your pets. Summer heat can affect your pets, so make sure they are not left in vehicles or in homes during long heat waves.

When you are on the water, do not mix drinking and water craft driving.  Verify that you have life vests for everyone and keep life vests on all children all the time.

Heat stress is one of the most common illnesses during summertime.  The risk of getting skin cancer is much higher among people who sunbathe, and especially those who have experienced multiple sunburns.

Barbecues and fire related risks increase during the summer.  Always keep children away for open fires, and keep barbecues away from buildings.

When riding your bike we recommend you always use a helmet.

July 4th Safety Tips

holiday-1489991_640Fireworks during the Fourth of July are as American as apple-pie, but did you know that two out of five fires reported on that day are started by fireworks, more than for any other cause? So you think it cannot happen to you? Here are a few facts:

In 2013 over 9,000 people went to the emergency room as a result of fireworks related injuries. There was an estimated 15,500 reported fires started by fireworks. These fires resulted in an estimated eight reported deaths, and $36 million in direct property damage. This is why it is a good idea to have a free home insurance review and quote, call us today!

Injuries by Fireworks Type (US department of Health & Safety)

  • 17%: Sparklers
  • 14%: Reloadable Shells
  • 13%: Firecrackers
  • 7%: Roman Candles
  • 6%: Bottle Rockets
  • 6%: Novelties
  • 2%: Multiple Tubes
  • 1%: Fountains

Fireworks Safety Tips

  • Buy fireworks only from licensed vendors
  • Never combine fireworks
  • Obey all local laws
  • Never have any portion of your body directly over a firework while lighting
  • Follow directions
  • Never relight a firework
  • Don’t smoke or drink while lighting fireworks
  • Soak used fireworks in water before placing in trash
  • Make sure there is parental supervision
  • Never experiment with homemade fireworks
  • Use fireworks outdoors, in a safe area away from dry grass and buildings
  • Keep a fire extinguisher, bucket of water, wet towels and a garden hose nearby
  • Light one firework at a time – then move back quickly!
  • Never shoot fireworks from metal or glass containers
  • Never carry fireworks in your pocket
  • Never point or throw fireworks at people or animals
  • Clean up all used fireworks including debris

“Fireworks and celebrations go together, especially during the Fourth of July and year end celebrations. Remember, fireworks can be dangerous, causing serious burn and eye injuries. You can help us prevent fireworks-related injuries and deaths” Consumer Products Safety Commission.

Car Thieves Can Be Stopped!

porsche-337030_640How important it is to have the correct auto insurance?  Well, read the following statistics.   A vehicle is stolen every 55 seconds in the United States. According to the National Highway Safety Administration, over 80% of all comprehensive claims involve auto theft.  Only about 60% of stolen vehicles are recovered. 40-50% of vehicle theft is due to driver error. The top two months for vehicle thefts are July and August. Half of the insurance companies who offer auto insurance offer discounts for alarms or anti-theft devices.

Insuring your auto with the right coverage is important. We understand that it is important to find the right combination of coverage, price and service.

How to reduce the chances of an auto theft:

  • Take your keys with you. Don’t leave them in or on your vehicle.
  • Close and lock all windows and doors when you park.
  • Don’t assume no one would want to steal your car.
  • Park in well lit areas or in a garage, if possible.
  • Never leave valuables in your vehicle, and especially in sight.
  • Consider investing in extra security.

The best way to prevent the theft of belongings from your auto is to always keep valuables in your trunk or with you  Never leave cell phones, briefcases, suitcases, or small electronic devices (smart phones, tablets, GPS, etc.) in your car in plain view. During the holiday season especially, or any time you’re shopping, place packages in the trunk, not on the passenger seats or floors. Always keep windows all the way up. And never leave your pet or child in a vehicle unattended

Insurable Risks Derived From Growing Businesses

money-1012598_640A business insurance review

Recently, small business owners were surveyed to help identify some of the top risks they faced when growing their businesses1.  Many small business owners are unaware of the new, and increased, risks that come with growth.  For example, many business owners erroneously think that a claim is not covered, so they fail to file the claim.  A leading commercial insurer has identified the top five most costly business insurance claims.

Leading losses for small businesses and the average claim cost

  • Reputational harm: $50,000
  • Vehicle accident: $45,000
  • Fire damage: $35,000
  • Product liability: $35,000
  • Customer injury or property damage: $30,000

New and growing risks faced by expanding businesses

As your business grows, your risks change.  It is beneficial for business owners to have an understanding of how risks change because of growth.

  • Contract disputes increase. Growing businesses often develop relationships without written agreements, resulting in disputes.
  • Increased employee litigation. When businesses hire new people, often they overlook proper hiring practices. This often leads to litigation.  Make sure your business has an employment practices liability policy.
  • Increase in worker injuries. A greater workload leads to increased hours and the possibility of employee injury.  Your workers’ compensation policy will cover work related injuries.
  • Building damage. Often, growing businesses fail to pay attention to building maintenance, which can lead to all kinds of damage. Read your property policy to make sure you do not void your coverage through lack of attention to safety issues.

 

1Source for article: PC360.com

Your Homeowner’s Insurance

houses-691586_1280Texas Homeowner’s Insurance Update

Many people are foregoing a new home for an upgrade on their existing one.  Have you attempted to hire a contractor lately?  It is next to impossible.  As you consider any home improvement, you will need to adjust your homeowner’s insurance.  A new coat of paint will not increase your replacement value, but a new bathroom or kitchen remodel will.

Some risks may be covered under your homeowner’s insurance, but many are not. For example, if you hire a roofer to replace your roof and one of the installers falls, your homeowner’s insurance will not cover the injury. You will need to make sure that the roofer has workers’ compensation coverage.  If you hire a friend to help you with your renovation project, your homeowner’s insurance may not cover their medical bills in the event of an accident. If your friend causes damage to your home, he or she could be liable for the damage.

Here are a few tips to keep you protected

  • If you “do it yourself”, remember your homeowner’s insurance will not cover your medical bills.
  • When hiring a contractor, make sure they have liability and workers’ compensation insurance.
  • Check references. Or even better, ask friends for a referral.
  • If your home is going to be vacant, you will need to notify your agent.
  • Never pay 100% up front.
  • Ask the contractors for their bank contacts and list of sub-contractors. Then, verify the contractor’s line of credit with the bank.
  • Any work done on a roof must be done per OSHA standards.
  • Make sure all work is done to your satisfaction before you write that final check.

Locally owned and operated, Nichols Insurance Services has delivered quality insurance solutions to individuals and businesses throughout North Texas for over 20 years. We specialize in Home, Auto, Business and Farm insurance coverage. With access to multiple insurance companies, our team of experienced insurance professionals is committed to helping you find a policy that custom fits your needs. We focus on providing personalized attention and quality customer service to create an experience that’s difficult to find in today’s market. At Nichols Insurance Services, we’ll work with you to ensure you get the most comprehensive coverage at the most competitive price year after year after year.

Home Inventory Documentation Now Has an Application (App)

insurance-1987848_640 (1)A Home Insurance Update

Developing a home inventory is recommended by all insurers. A home inventory is the best way to account for all your personal property. Most people under-estimate the value of their personal property after a loss. Your homeowner’s insurance is designed to provide replacement cost (if purchased) in the event of a loss, so knowing the full value of your property puts you at an advantage.

The KnowYourStuff app is the official home inventory application (app) of the Insurance Information Institute.  A home inventory can save time, money, and peace of mind, and can help you get the most value from your insurance in the event of a fire or other loss.  This app also helps you understand the value of your personal property.  “Need to see your stuff at a glance?  The user-friendly dashboard has charts, tables, and graphs that show total value of your belongings by property, room, and collection.” (knowyourstuff.org).

Your homeowner’s insurance is an important financial tool to help you manage your assets.  Why not make sure you take full advantage of your coverage by having a comprehensive list of your personal property and an up to date replacement value.

Homeowner’s Insurance

insurance

Things That Will Impact Your Homeowner’s Insurance

If you own a home or rent, you need the right kind of homeowner’s insurance.  Homeowner’s insurance is needed to protect yourself, your family, and your property from loss and/or damage.  We can provide you with many homeowner’s or renting insurance options.  Let us do the shopping for you.

Do not place your homeowner’s insurance at risk!

  • Pay your insurance premiums on time. A poor payment history of constant late payments may encourage the insurance company to cancel your coverage.
  • Do not file an excessive number of claims. No doubt, you buy insurance to pay for covered claims or losses.  However, if you nickel and dime the insurance company, they may be apt to not renew your coverage, or offer a policy with a higher deductible or at a much higher premium.
  • Having a high risk is costly. If you own a pool, have an old home where the wiring or roof has been neglected, or own certain breeds of dogs, you may not get the most competitive rates.
  • Criminal activity. If you have been convicted of certain crimes, your insurer may not offer a renewal.  These activities might include assault, drug convictions, or fraud.
  • Be completely honest on your application. If it is found that the information on the application is dishonest or intentionally incorrect, you may be subject to a non-renewal.

Locally owned and operated, Nichols Insurance Services has delivered quality insurance solutions to individuals and businesses throughout North Texas for over 20 years. We specialize in Home, Auto, Business and Farm insurance coverage. With access to multiple insurance companies, our team of experienced insurance professionals is committed to helping you find a policy that custom fits your needs. We focus on providing personalized attention and quality customer service to create an experience that’s difficult to find in today’s market. At Nichols Insurance Services, we’ll work with you to ensure you get the most comprehensive coverage at the most competitive price year after year after year.