What You Need To Know Before You Lower Your Auto Insurance Limits

Auto Insurance Limits

Auto Insurance Limits

The cost of living can be pretty expensive. Everyone is looking for ways to cut costs and lower expenses. Auto insurance premiums are one expense many would like to lower. While you may be tempted to lower your auto insurance limits make sure to weight out all the risks. 

Determining Which Coverage You Need

An auto insurance policy is designed to provide you with a level of protection in the event you are involved in an accident. This includes protection against property, liability and medical costs. Understanding the different parts of coverage is important when selecting your auto insurance limits. 

  • Property coverage pays for damage to or theft of your car.
  • Liability coverage pays for your legal responsibility to others for bodily injury or property damage. 
  • Medical coverage pays for the cost of treating injuries, rehabilitation and sometimes lost wages and funeral expenses. 
  • Underinsured motorists coverage pays for property damage and bodily injury caused by another driver whose coverage is insufficient to cover damages suffered.  

Selecting the correct liability limits is fundamental. On your auto insurance policy you will see your limits listed something like this – 100/300/50. In this example 100/300/50 means you are covered for up to $100,000 in bodily injury coverage per person, $300,000 in bodily injury coverage per accident and $50,000 in property damage per accident.

Many states have minimum liability limit requirements. You may be tempted to reduce your liability limits to the minimum legal level. Or even dropping underinsured motorists coverage. While it may reduce your premium, it could also subject you to substantial risks. 

Collision Coverage – Know The Value Of Your Car

Your policy will not pay for repairs that exceed the value of your vehicle. For this reason, if you are driving a vehicle that isn’t worth more than a few thousand dollars, it may not make sense to purchase collision coverage. Your agent can help you determine if collision insurance makes sense for you. 

Top Ways To Save On Your Auto Premiums

  • Consider raising your deductible.
  • Keep up your good driving record.
  • Drive less to qualify for a low-mileage discount.
  • Drive a car with safety features such as anti-lock brakes and airbags.
  • Install an anti-theft device.
  • Ask about our multi-policy discount. 

We’re here to help. Accidents happen to cautious drivers too. Having adequate auto insurance limits can save you from serious financial burden should you be involved in an accident. We can help you determine which auto insurance coverage is needed and what limits to purchase. 

Everything You Need To Know About Blood Donation For National Blood Donor Month

National Blood Donor Month

National Blood Donor MonthDid you know January is National Blood Donor Month? It was declared in 1970 by President Richard Nixon to pay tribute to voluntary blood donors and increase donations by others. Each year the Red Cross holds numerous blood drives to collect donations for those in need. This year they are holding a local event on January 7th to “Celebrate National Blood Donor month by giving blood”. You can find the details by Clicking Here

About Blood Donation

Blood is needed for many reasons, including during emergencies and for people with cancer, blood disorders, sickle cell anemia and other illnesses. However, blood can only come from a volunteer donor—meaning donating blood can be the difference between life and death.

Who can donate?

In general, to donate blood, you must be healthy, at least 17 years old, weigh at least 110 pounds and not have donated blood in the past 56 days. Depending on state law, 16 year olds may be able to donate with parental consent.

Women who are pregnant are not allowed to donate. If you recently traveled outside of the United States, you will be asked a series of questions to determine eligibility.

Is donating blood safe?

Absolutely. The needles and bags used to collect the blood are sterile, only used once and then discarded.

Can I donate if I’ve been turned down before?

Yes, you should try to donate again. Most reasons for donors being turned down are only temporary (for example, due to recent travel outside of the United States or a recent immunization).

Should I give blood now or wait until I am called?

If you want to donate, don’t wait. Eligible donors are encouraged to donate as often as possible. To schedule an appointment, call 1-800-RED-CROSS.

How long does it take to donate?

Donating blood takes about an hour and 15 minutes. The process starts with registration, a health history and a mini-physical. Then, if eligible, you move on to the actual donation, which usually only takes about eight to 10 minutes. The final step is enjoying refreshments while your body adjusts to the slight decrease in fluid volume.

How much blood is taken—will it make me weak?

You will only lose approximately one pint of blood. The vast majority of donors do not feel any different after their donation. A small percentage of people feel lightheaded, dizzy or have an upset stomach after donating blood. Your body will replace the lost fluid within 24 hours.

Can I direct my blood donation to the military?

Yes, you can. The American Red Cross has created a network that will help direct your blood donation to the areas of the country—or world—where it is needed the most.

How can I ensure a pleasant donation experience?

To ensure a positive experience, try the following tips:

  • Get a good night’s sleep before donating.
  • Eat a good breakfast or lunch before you donate.
  • Make sure you have adequate iron levels by eating iron-rich foods such as clams, spinach, beef and poultry.
  • Wear a shirt with short sleeves or sleeves that can easily be pushed over the elbow.
  • Drink plenty of fluids beforehand, but avoid caffeine.

After donating blood, take the following precautions:

  • Make sure to eat and drink something at the facility and continue drinking non-alcoholic fluids over the next 24 to 48 hours to rehydrate.
  • Avoid heavy lifting or strenuous exercise for the remainder of the day.
  • Eat well and consider adding iron-rich foods to your diet to replace iron lost during your blood donation.

By donating a pint of blood, you can help up to three people in need. Use the tips above to ensure a positive blood donation experience.

Identity Theft and What You Need To Know

Identity Theft

Identity Theft

Matt and Lisa have the perfect date night planned. Dinner, theater, then desert. However, that perfect date night quickly turns into a disaster when Matt goes to pay for the dinner. Both his debit card and credit card are declined. With the mood for the night now ruined, they return home and start making phone calls to find out what is going on. They quickly determine that the checking account has been drained and the credit card is maxed out and all the purchases were made several states away. Matt has been an unfortunate victim of identity theft.

What is identity theft?

Identity theft occurs when personal information such as Social Security numbers, bank account information or credit card numbers are obtained without permission. Once thieves have this information, they can use existing credit cards or open new ones, make purchases in the victims name, write bad checks, even take out loans. If the theft is not recognized immediately, a victims credit score could be tarnished without them realizing it. The FTC estimates that 17.6 million Americans have their identities stolen annually.

How can thieves steal your identity?

There are a number of ways that thieves can still your identity but the most common means are:

  • Dumpster Diving – thieves rummage through your trash looking of bills or other papers with personal information.
  • Skimming – Thieves steal credit and/or debit card numbers by using a special storage device when processing your card.
  • Phishing – Thieves pretend to be financial institutions and send spam e-mails and pop-up messages to your computer to get you to reveal personal information.
  • Changing your address – Thieves divert your billing statements to another location
  • Stealing (the old-fashioned way) – Thieves take your purse or wallet, bank or credit card statements, pre-approved credit offers and tax information from your mailbox.
  • Pretexting – Thieves use false pretenses to obtain your personal information from financial institutions, and use that information to make changes.

Signs of identity theft.

Stay alert for any of the following signs of identity theft:

  • Accounts you did not open and debits on your account that you cannot explain.
  • Fraudulent or inaccurate information on your credit report.
  • Failing to receive bills in the mail.
  • Receiving credit cards in the mail that you did not apply for.
  • Being denied credit or being offered less favorable credit terms, such as a higher interest rate, for no apparent reason.
  • Receiving calls and letters from debt collectors about merchandise/services that you did not purchase.

Do I need Identity theft insurance coverage?

While identity theft insurance does not protect against actual monetary theft, it does cover the cost victims will incur while they are recovering their identity. The coverage may include:

  • Phone call and photocopying charges
  • Postage fees for mailing documents
  • Salary loss due to uncompensated time away from work while repairing one’s identity
  • Legal fees
  • Access to a fraud specialist who can assist in restoring good credit and protecting one’s identity again
  • Help with preparing documents, filing police reports and creating a fraud victim affidavit.

Since victims may spend a considerable amount of time recovering from identity theft, these services can make the situation a little less stressful. Both on the mind and your wallet.

In addition to identity theft insurance you should also make sure to protect your social security number, take caution when throwing documents in the trash, exercise caution on the internet, select intricate passwords , verify sources before giving out any personal information and check your credit report on an annual basis. Life is stressful enough, the last thing you want is the additional stress of identity theft. By taking extra precautions and purchasing identity theft insurance you can have some extra peace of mind that your identity is safe.

Interested in purchasing identity theft coverage? Information can be found by clicking here.

A Rinehart Insurance White Elephant Gift Exchange

White Elephant

Rinehart Insurance White Elephant 2018Have you ever been to a Christmas party where they do a white elephant gift exchange? Here at Rinehart Insurance it’s an annual tradition. We require the gift to be homemade for an added bit of fun! 

What are the rules?

We found the official rules at White Elephant Rules website. – Click here to visit the site

  1. Each person brings one wrapped gift to put under the tree.
  2. Everyone draws a number, this determines what order they will go in.
  3. Gather around the tree where you can see all the gifts.
  4. Player one picks a gift and opens it.
  5. Player two can pick a gift from under the tree, or steal an already opened gift. Anyone with their gift stolen, can open a new gift or steal someone else’s gift. 
    1. A present can only be stolen once per turn, which means players who have a gift stolen from them have to wait to get it back.
    2. After three steals, the gift is “frozen” and can no longer be stolen. Whoever has it, gets to keep it 🙂 
  6. After all players have a turn, the first player gets a chance to swap the gift they are holding for any other open gift. (except for the gifts that are “frozen”). 
  7. The End! 

A white elephant gift exchange is a great addition to your Christmas party. We hope these rules will help you have loads of fun and laughter. 

Check out the fun from our 2018 White Elephant Gift Exchange

Rinehart Insurance White Elephant 2018Rinehart Insurance White Elephant 2018Rinehart Insurance White Elephant 2018Rinehart Insurance White Elephant 2018
Rinehart Insurance White Elephant 2018Rinehart Insurance White Elephant 2018Rinehart Insurance White Elephant 2018Rinehart Insurance White Elephant 2018

 

How To Prevent Fires When Using Space Heaters

space heater

space heater“The weather outside if frightful, but the fire is so delightful”…well not all of us have a fire place, but a space heater will make due. Supplemental heating, such as space heaters, is the leading cause of house fires from December through February. They are the second leading cause of home fires year-round. 

How Can You Keep Your Home Warm And Safe?

To help avoid a home fire, and a homeowners insurance claim, keep these safety tips in mind this winter:

  • Do not use space heaters to warm bedding, cook food, thaw pipes or dry clothing. These tasks can present major fire and burn risks.
  • Only use space heaters with the Underwriters Laboratories (UL) safety mark. The UL signifies that the produce was tested for potential safety hazards. Also, purchase units that have automatic shut-off features and heading element guards.
  • Purchase units with automatic shut-off features and heating element guards.
  • Keep sources of fire at least 3 feed away from heater, including drapery, clothing or bedding.
  • Turn off space heater when leaving the room to prevent burn injuries.
  • Periodically check for frayed insulation, broken wires and overheating. Have your space heater serviced immediately if you notice any of these problems.
  • Use only fuel recommended by the manufactures for liquid-fueled space heaters.
  • Avoid using extension cords with space heaters. If you must do so, make sure that the cord is the right gauge size and type for the heater.
  • Avoid placing space heaters in high-traffic areas of your home. Units with long cords can present a tripping hazard. 

Following the above safety precautions can help you have a warm, safe winter. After all, you families comfort and safety are surely a top priority. 

At Rinehart Insurance we do more than help you prevent claims. Call us today to discuss all of your insurance needs.

Most Important Tips For When You Rent Out Your Home

rent out your home

rent out your homeYou’ve made the decision to rent out your home. Whether it’s because you will be gone for an extended period of time or you have bought a new one, this is a big decision. But just because you no longer live there, doesn’t mean you no longer need insurance on the property.

Points to remember when you rent out your home

  • Ask for references from potential renters, especially those that will stay for a while.
  • Draw up a rental agreement that defines the terms of the rental, including restrictions, liabilities and occupancy guidelines.
  • Request a security deposit that is to be refunded if there is no damage to your home.
  • Advise your agent that you plan to rent out your home and ask about how this may affect your current coverage.
  • Consider hiring a property manager to look out for your home if you are renting for a long period of time.
  • Set aside a secure place in your home to store personal items, such as clothing and valuables.
  • Take pictures of all areas of your home before the rental takes place in case damage occurs while you are away.
  • Have your mail forwarded or held until you return.
  • Provide your contact information to both the renters and your neighbors in case of an emergency.

Renters Insurance

When a renter purchases renters insurance that only covers their personal belongings. You, the property owner, still need to cover the property. Liability coverage is also available for you to purchase you in the event someone would get injured.

When you decide to rent out your home, your #1 priority is protecting yourself. Do you need help making sure your coverage is enough? Give us a call today

4 Tips You Need To Know When You Do Winter Vehicle Storage

Vehicle Storage

Vehicle StorageWhen winter comes and brings the snow and cold with it, it’s time to think about vehicle storage. You should store your recreational vehicle – or any vehicles that won’t be in use – to avoid damage from the harsh weather and roads and to ensure it’s in good working condition for spring.

Use these tips if you plan on vehicle storage this winter:

  1. Clean your car—Thoroughly cleaning your vehicle inside and out not only makes it look nicer, but also prevents dirt and acidic materials from eating away at your car and causing it to rust.
  2. Change the fluids—Having clean oil, fuel stabilizer and brake fluid, and a full tank of gas will help protect your car while it’s in storage and will help it run smoother when spring comes.
  3. Protect your car—The best way to prevent the winter elements from damaging your vehicle is to keep it covered, whether it’s in your garage, a local storage facility or at a family member’s home. If you plan on keeping your vehicle outdoors, consider using a weatherproof car cover.
  4. Check tires and brakes—Inflate your vehicle’s tires to their maximum air pressure, so they can slowly deflate as the temperature drops. Also, don’t engage your parking brake as it may become frozen. Instead, use chocks (wedges placed under car tires) to ensure your vehicle doesn’t roll away.

Start it Up

Even in storage, it’s wise to start your vehicle periodically for 10-15 minutes to get the proper oils and coolants running through it. If your vehicle has a cover on it, remove it and roll down the windows before running. If your vehicle is stored in the garage, ensure that the garage door is open and the windows are down for proper ventilation before starting your car.

Thanksgiving Turkey Preparation Safety Tips You Need To Know

Thanksgiving

ThanksgivingThanksgiving will be here before we know it and chances are you’re already planning your menu. Everyone loves the green bean casserole, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, pumpkin pie, and lets not forget the main star…the turkey! But there are a few thinks to keep in mind when preparing your turkey this Thanksgiving.
  • Thawing – There are three safe ways to thaw food: in the refrigerator, and in a microwave oven.
  • Preparation – After preparing the turkey, thoroughly wash your hands and disinfect utensils or surfaces to avoid bacteria from the turkey spreading to other foods.
  • Stuffing – The safest way to prepare stuffing is to cook it outside the turkey in a casserole dish. However, if you prefer to cook the stuffing in the turkey, do so just before cooking, and use a food thermometer. Make sure the center of the stuffing reaches a save minimum internal temperate of 165 degrees F.
  • Cooking – Be sure the turkey is completely thawed, and set the oven a minimum temperate of 325 degrees F. Make sure the stuffing, breast, thigh, and wing joint reach a safe minimum temperature of 165 degrees F.
  • Rest –  When finished, let the turkey stand 20 minutes before removing all stuffing from the cavity and carving the meat.
As long as you follow the above steps you will have a safe and delicious turkey! If you cook your turkey other ways such as smoker or deep fryer ensure you follow proper instructions for each device and keep a safe distance from your home or other structures. No one needs a homeowners insurance claim during the holidays.

Do I Have To Pay If A Tree Falls On My House?

tree falls

tree fallsEvery year, storms are responsible for knocking over or breaking off limbs of numerous trees. Unfortunately, sometimes, a limb or tree falls on our house or other property. Cleaning up the damage from a storm can be a difficult task, both physically and emotionally. And things can become especially tense when you discover that it’s your neighbor’s tree that damaged your house.

To make matters worse, many homeowners are surprised to discover that if a neighbor’s tree falls on their house, it’s usually their own homeowners policy—not their neighbor’s—that will cover the cost of the damages. What follows are general guidelines for who pays what in various situations. However, you should also check your homeowners policy for coverages and exclusions. (Click here to learn more about homeowners insurance policies)

Your Property, Your Policy

Generally speaking, if your property is damaged, you are responsible for the damages. It doesn’t matter if the tree or limb came from your property, your neighbor’s property or even municipal property. Keep in mind that a windstorm isn’t anyone’s fault; it’s an act of nature. If a tree does damage your property during a windstorm, your policy will cover the damages. After all, that’s why you purchased a homeowners policy. To protect yourself against unforeseen losses like a tree damaging your house.

Their Property, Their Policy

It might seem unfair that if it’s your neighbor’s tree that damages your home, you should have to pay. Fortunately for you, that standard applies both ways. If a storm rolls through and your tree falls and damages your neighbor’s house, his or her insurance is going to cover the damages.

Negligence and Liability

So far, these scenarios have been fairly straightforward. But what happens when it wasn’t a storm that made the tree fall? Instead, your neighbor’s tree was hollowed out from years of disease, and he’d neglected to do anything about it. In fact, it was so diseased that you expressed your concern to your neighbor that it might topple over and damage your property. Unfortunately, one day, that’s exactly what happens. What then?

Your insurance carrier is still going to be the one paying your claim. However, if you can prove your neighbor knew that the tree was diseased and that he or she neglected to fix it your insurance carrier would probably attempt to collect from your neighbor’s insurance. If your carrier is successful, you could be reimbursed for your deductible.

Remember, though, this rule also applies the other way. If you have diseased or damaged trees on your property and they damage your neighbor’s house, he or she can try to prove your negligence. Your property is your responsibility. So it’s best to inspect your trees every year for signs of disease or damage. If you’re not sure what you’re looking for, consider having a professional arborist examine your trees.

Other Structures

If the tree doesn’t damage your house but instead damages your fence, are you still covered? Generally, you are. Most homeowners policies distinguish between two different kinds of structures on your property. The “dwelling” refers to your house and any attached structures (like an attached garage), as well as any fixtures attached to the house. “Other structures,” including detached garages, sheds, fences or gazebos, are also insured, but typically only for 10 percent of the coverage on your dwelling.

Vehicles

If, in the aftermath of a storm, you discover that a tree has fallen on your car, your homeowners policy doesn’t apply. Instead, you’ll be looking at your auto policy. If you have comprehensive coverage on your vehicle, your auto insurance carrier will pay for the damages, after you pay your deductible. The same rule would apply to a guest’s car. Hopefully, he or she took out comprehensive coverage, too.(Click here to learn about auto insurance)

Removal and Cleanup

What if the tree fell but didn’t hit anything? Would you be covered for removal costs? If the fallen tree blocks a path to your front door or driveway, then many homeowners policies would pay for removal. Generally, the maximum coverage is around $500. If the tree simply falls in the middle of your yard, your policy likely wouldn’t cover it. Unless the fallen tree damaged insured property, there is no loss to file a claim for.

Replacement

Replacing the trees themselves can be more complicated. Trees that have fallen due to wind damage may or may not be covered, so it’s best to check with your broker. Most policies offer limited coverage for trees that have fallen due to fire, lightning, explosion, theft, vandalism, malicious mischief or aircraft. Amounts and exclusions will vary. It’s important to read your policy and check with your broker if you have any questions.

Making Sure You’re Covered

Hopefully, your trees grow and endure. In the event that they fall, it’s important to know that you’re covered. Contact our office today to make sure that you have sufficient coverage for whatever might blow your way.

Should I Bundle My Insurance Policies Or Not?

bundle

bundleIf you’ve ever shopped around for insurance, you’ve likely been asked if you want to bundle your policies. In other words, combine your home or renters, auto and life insurance policies with the same carrier. Although you have the option to shop around individually for each policy, it almost always makes sense to have the same carrier cover as many of your policies as possible.

Click here to learn more about personal insurance options

Benefits of Bundling

  • The discount—Most policyholders bundle their policies because of the promise of a discount. The amount varies by provider but can generally range between 5-25 percent.
  • The option of a single deductible—With bundled policies, your deductible may be cheaper in the event of a claim that affects multiple policies. For example, if your home and auto policies are with two separate carriers, and a hailstorm damages your home and your car, you’re responsible for paying both your home and auto deductibles before receiving payment. But if you bundle your policies, your provider may offer you the option to pay only the higher of the two deductibles.
  • Less chance of being dropped—If you’ve made claims or gotten tickets, having your policies bundled with one provider can decrease the chance of them dropping you.

When It Doesn’t Pay to Bundle

It isn’t always better to bundle your policies with one insurance carrier. Here’s when it may be better to split them up:

  • If you have tickets or past claims that make your auto insurance expensive – In this case, it may be cheaper overall to buy each policy from separate providers.
  • When premiums increase—Bundling discourages people from price shopping, which makes it easier for providers to increase their rates. Most assume that you won’t go through the effort of shopping around when your policies renew.
  • If policies aren’t technically bundled—Some carriers may insure you with an affiliated company. Although you may get a discount with that company, you’ll lose the convenience of paying your premium with one familiar provider.

A Few Tips to Consider

Although discounts are the main reason people bundle their insurance policies, never assume that bundling is the cheapest option. Your needs and circumstances will dictate whether you should combine your policies with one carrier. Consider the following tips:

  • Shop for new coverage when your policies renew. Ask for the price of the individual premiums as well as the price of the bundled premium. Then you can decide whether it is worth it. Just make sure you compare the same coverage when shopping for quotes from each carrier.
  • Ask if the provider uses a third-party insurance company. Remember that you may save money but lose the convenience of dealing with one provider and a combined bill.
  • Ask an independent insurance agent to get prices from multiple companies so you don’t have to do the legwork. An agent that is loyal to a particular carrier may be able to offer discounts that you can’t get alone.

With multiple factors contributing to the price of your insurance premiums, it is important to shop around in order to get the best rate for your insurance needs. Feel free to contact us to determine if bundling is right for you and help you take advantage of all available discounts.