240-644-6000
Servicing DC, MD & VA

Does Your Car Attract Thieves?

June 1st, 2018 | No Comments | Posted in Hedda's Hints

Life Events Affect Your Insurance

April 5th, 2018 | No Comments | Posted in Hedda's Hints

Life Events that Affect Your Insurance Needs

As we age and reach different milestones in our lives, our insurance needs change. In order to ensure adequate coverage, contact your insurance broker if you’re affected by any of the following life events:

  • New home ownership— Purchasing a new home is a big investment—one that you will want to protect. After purchasing a home, ensure that you have homeowners insurance to protect against things like fire, weather damage, theft, vandalism and accidental damage. This advice also holds true if you are buying a new condo or vacation home.
     
  • Home renovations—Once you own a home, you may want to make updates to create a better living space. Be sure to report major home improvements to your insurance company to protect any increased value to your home.
     
  • New children—Having or adopting children is not only a huge life change, but it’s also a major financial commitment. As such, it’s important to purchase the right policy to secure your child’s future. Add your child as a beneficiary on any life insurance policies, and make sure your coverage is sufficient.
     
  • Teenage drivers— Teen drivers often carry the highest risk of auto accidents. While you want your teen driver to remain safe on the road, costly accidents can happen without warning. Consider adding your teen driver to your auto policy, as it is generally cheaper than purchasing a separate policy.
     
  • Retirement—When you retire, you may change residences. If you have more than one home, this is a good time to let your insurance provider know where you plan to spend your time.
     
  • Valuable purchases—A standard homeowners policy has limited coverage for highly valuable items. Supplement purchases and gifts that exceed the policy’s limits with a floater—a separate policy that provides additional insurance.
     
  • Marriage—When your marital status changes, so do your insurance needs. Marriage typically leads to the combination of households, vehicles and other property, so it is critical to update your insurance policies accordingly. What’s more, life insurance is vital to married couples as it can ease the financial burden in the event of an untimely death of a partner. Ask about discounts on car insurance for married policyholders.
     
  • Purchasing or selling a business—If you’re an entrepreneur, there will likely come a time when you will either buy or sell your business. During these times of major change, the proper coverage is crucial.

Insurance is critical for nearly every stage of life. Seeking coverage should be an active process, and individuals shouldn’t assume their insurance needs remain steady over time. Consider contacting your broker today to better understand your insurance and future needs.

Insuring Your College Student

September 7th, 2017 | No Comments | Posted in Hedda's Hints

Sending a child off to college is a significant milestone that represents the culmination of years of planning and hard work. As you prepare for the start of the semester, you should consider how your insurance needs may change with your son or daughter away at school.

Protecting Your Student’s Belongings

Many homeowners policies consider a dorm room as an extension of your home, so items your child keeps there may be covered to some extent. However, if your child has expensive electronic equipment or furniture, you may want to consider purchasing additional coverage.

If your child lives off campus, his or her possessions may not be covered by your homeowners policy. In that case, you may want to consider renter’s insurance, which costs as little as $15 per month. Renter’s insurance will cover possessions in your child’s off-campus apartment or house as well as provide liability coverage if anyone is injured in the residence.

Keeping Your Child Healthy While on Campus

Many students can stay on their parents’ health plans if they are full-time students. However, restrictions vary greatly by state, and coverage could be even more complicated if your child is attending an out-of-state school.

If you find your child doesn’t have coverage under your plan, you have a few options. Most colleges have their own health plans, but some policies have high deductibles and low coverage maximums. A few don’t offer any coverage for conditions present before entering the school, so be sure to examine plans carefully. Otherwise, you may want to consider an individual policy for your child.

Changing Auto Coverage

If your child moves more than 100 miles away from your home to attend school and doesn’t keep a vehicle there, your auto insurance premiums could decrease by as much as 30 percent. Call us today at 240-644-6000, and see if you can save money while still maintaining coverage for your child when he or she is at home.

Insurance Questions to Ask

Here are some important questions to ask when your child goes to college:

  • Will my child’s belongings be covered if he or she lives in off-campus housing?
  • Do I have to change my auto policy if my child brings the car to school?
  • If my child is an athlete, will he or she be covered under my family health plan if he or she is injured during a practice or game?

Count on Us
If you are sending a child off the college and haven’t looked at adjusting your coverage, contact us today to learn more. You could save money on your policies and protect your child from expensive incidents while away from home.

Remodel: Do you have coverage?

March 7th, 2017 | No Comments | Posted in Hedda's Hints

You’ve hired a reputable builder, collected paint swatches and selected the siding and now you’re finally ready to start that long-awaited remodeling project. CONTACT US TODAY: Tel: 240-644-6000

What Protection Does it Offer?

Whether your addition budget is large or small, you are adding both the value of your home and your exposure to risk. To ensure that your project goes smoothly and that you have the coverage you need, here’s what you need to know.

Working with General Contractors

The best way to minimize your renovation risk is to hire a reputable general contractor for the job. As part of the biding process, ask the general contractor to provide a Certificate of Insurance and/or copies of the policies. Specifically, check for coverage for the following:

  • Workers’ Compensation: Verify that he or she has workers’ compensation coverage in the event that an employee or subcontractor gets hurt on the job.
  • General Liability: Ask if the contractor has liability insurance, which covers losses due to negligence and errors or omission, which results in property damage. Also ask that you are added as an “additional insured.”
  • Builders Risk: This policy is designed to cover damage to your home and materials, including those not installed yet. We can help you verify whether you should require this from your contractor, based on your renovation project.

Advice for Do-It-Yourselfers

If you decide to do it alone and manage a renovation yourself, you assume all the risks. A review of your homeowners coverage for liability and property is prudent, as you are assuming more risks and exposures than contemplated by homeowners insurance.
Hiring subcontractors who can provide you with a “Certificate of Insurance” or copies of their policies showing their general liability and workers’ compensation coverage is mandatory for your legal protection. Otherwise, you could be subject to workers’ compensation laws, should they become injured while working on your home. If a friend or relative helps out as a favor and gets injured, your homeowners insurance typically covers the cost of their injuries, up to your policy limits. For an extra layer of protection, it’s a good idea to also carry umbrella liability coverage, which kicks in to provide liability coverage above your homeowners limits.

Independent Insurance Agent?

February 7th, 2017 | No Comments | Posted in Hedda's Hints

Why an Independent Insurance Agent?

shutterstock_398389663When shopping for insurance, most people are unaware that there are different kinds of agents they can work with. Choosing the right one can make a big difference in securing the best combination of price and value.

With a captive insurance agent, you only get the guidance of one company that sells one brand of insurance. With an independent insurance agent, you might get up to eight choices.

This is because an independent insurance agent represents multiple brands, and can compare coverage and prices to find the best possible value for your individual circumstances. Independent agents are usually vested members of your community who are committed to doing business face-to-face and being your advocate in times of need.

They also:

  • Work for you when you have a claim.
  • Are not beholden to any one company. This means you don’t have to change agencies as your insurance and service needs change.
  • Are your consultants, working with you as you determine your needs.
  • Are value-hunters who look after your pocketbook in finding the best combination of price, coverage, and service.
  • Offer one-stop shopping for a full range of products, including home, renters, auto, business, life, health, and retirement plans.
  • Can periodically review your coverage to keep up with your changing insurance needs.
  • Are committed to customer satisfaction-it’s the key to their livelihood
  • Treat you like a person, not a number.
  • Are licensed professionals with strong customer and community ties.

Making Resolutions Last All Year

January 6th, 2017 | No Comments | Posted in Hedda's Hints

making_resolutions_last_for_the_entire_year-1Making Resolutions Last for the Entire Year

The new year usually comes along with new resolutions—spending less, being more active and so on. However, keeping a new resolution a few months down the road can take some serious dedication. Here are a few tips to ensure that your resolutions will last all the way until 2018:

  • Don’t set a goal for the whole year. Although it can be tempting to set a numerical-based resolution for the entire year—such as losing a certain amount of weight or saving a certain amount of money—it can be just as easy to push these goals off until it’s too late. Instead, try to focus on what you can do on a regular basis.
  • Be specific. Generic goals can be much easier to ignore. While a goal like “exercising more” may seem like a good idea, it’s easier to follow through if you’re specific. Make a schedule for when, where and how you’ll accomplish a specific goal.
  • Only do one step at a time. Resolutions are meant to last for the entire year, not just for a week or a month. Don’t try to overexert yourself early in the year by doing too much too quickly—instead be sure to stay consistent and take your resolutions one step at a time.
  • Find a partner. Doing resolutions with a friend or family member can help you stick to your schedule. Plus, a little friendly competition can help you stay motivated!
  • Know when to take a break. Although it’s important to stay regular with your resolutions, remember that it’s OK to take a break every now and then. That way, you’ll be able to come back to your goals with a relaxed and refreshed mindset.

HOME

Using Space Heaters Safely

Although space heaters are a great way to warm your home during the cold winter months, they can also present serious home fire hazards. According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), space heaters are involved in 79 percent of fatal home heating fires.

To ensure that your home is both safe and warm this winter, keep these space heater safety tips in mind:

  • Only purchase space heaters that have a mark from a reputable certification agency, such as Underwriters Laboratories (UL).
  • Check for safety features when you’re purchasing a heater—such as an automatic shutoff and heating element guards.
  • Check your space heater’s cords before you use it to ensure that it doesn’t cause an electrical fire.
  • Never use space heaters to warm bedding, or place them near any flammable materials.
  • Turn off space heaters whenever you leave the room or go to sleep.
  • Pay extra attention to children and pets when they’re around space heaters.
  • Don’t place heaters in congested or high-traffic areas of your home. Additionally, make sure that cords don’t present a tripping hazard.

AUTO

What to Look for When Buying a Used Vehicle

Buying a used vehicle can be a great and inexpensive way to get on the road. However, you need to be extra careful when buying a used vehicle to ensure that it’s safe and in good condition.

Here are some things you should always check before you buy a used vehicle:

  • Look for any wear or scratches around the vehicle’s dashboard. This could be a sign that the odometer has been tampered with.
  • View the vehicle from all angles—including from the ground—to check for wear and tear.
  • Check for a damp or moldy smell in the vehicle’s interior. This could be a sign of water damage.
  • Take the vehicle on a test drive to see how well it performs. Also, pay attention to any clanking or grinding noises that could indicate damage.
  • Ask a salesperson to see under the vehicle’s front hood. Additionally, you should ask if the vehicle has a printed history report, so you can see if it’s been in any accidents or had serious maintenance done.

Standard Homeowners Policies

December 9th, 2016 | No Comments | Posted in Hedda's Hints

Holes in Standard Homeowners Policies

Sewage Backup

shutterstock_350130326Sewage backup in one of the several hazards that people widely assume is covered by their homeowners insurance. Standard policies do not cover damage from sewage and water backups. To get this protection, you need to buy special coverage.

Check with your agent to see if you have this coverage. If you don’t you should consider adding a rider for approx. $50 a year that would pays up to $10,000 for sewage backup damage. It will also cover damage from sump pump malfunction.

Flooding

Most people who live near a river or coastline know that homeowners insurance does not cover flooding, and they purchase flood insurance through the National Flood Insurance Program. But Flooding can be a problem even if you don’t live near water.

Consider adding Flood Insurance. It is sold at government set prices, depending on your proximity to a flood zone. For more information on the cost of flood insurance and how to buy it, see the NFIP’s Web Site (www.fema.gov/nfip), or call 888-225-5356.

Home Office

If you have a home office, don’t assume that your equipment is protected by the personal possession coverage in your homeowners policy. Homeowners and renters policies typically cap the coverage for business personal property at $2,500. The coverage drops even more if you take any of the property out of the house. It only pays $250 if your laptop is stolen on a business trip.

Also, a typical policy provides no liability coverage for business related claims.  For instance if your delivery person slips on you front stoop while delivering a business package and ends up suing, your homeowners may leave you high and dry.

Consider adding a rider for approx $200 a year that would set the business personal property and liability coverage to the same amounts as stated in your homeowners policy.

Large Deductible Discount

November 7th, 2016 | No Comments | Posted in Hedda's Hints

We recommend a large Homeowner’s policy deductible. You should save your policy for large losses that create a financial hardship. A pattern of small claims could land you with a sub-standard insurance company where you could pay an outrageous premium. Your policy is not a maintenance contract.   Protect your home’s future insurability.

Consider increasing your deductible to at least $1,000. The discount can be substantial. See How Much You Can Save!

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Large Deductible Discount

October 5th, 2016 | No Comments | Posted in Hedda's Hints

We recommend a large Homeowner’s policy deductible. You should save your policy for large losses that create a financial hardship. A pattern of small claims could land you with a sub-standard insurance company where you could pay an outrageous premium. Your policy is not a maintenance contract.   Protect your home’s future insurability.

Consider increasing your deductible to at least $1,000. The discount can be substantial. See How Much You Can Save!

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