Safety Tips for This Holiday Season

Holiday Safety Tips Heuer Insurance in Sparks, Nevada

Holiday Safety Tips Heuer Insurance in Sparks, NevadaWith the holidays just around the corner, it is a great time to review holiday safety items around the household. Especially if you plan on a lighting display.

When it comes to holiday décor, some families go all out. Regardless of your level of displays, it is important to keep some things in mind for safety.

If you’re like many families displaying lights on the outside of your house during the holidays brings a lot of joy and festiveness to your home.

Holiday Light Safety

  1. Keep your extension cords tucked away and off walkways.
  2. Extension cords create a trip hazard when running across walkways and other areas where deliveries or guests need to walk. When possible, keep them away from sidewalks and tucked away.
  3. Use exterior extension cords & lights.
  4. Extension cords, as well as lights, come in interior and exterior grades. Be sure if you’re running lights outside to use an extension cord rated for outdoor use.
  5. Check for frayed wires.

Over time the wires on your lights may become frayed. Before you hang them up, carefully inspect your wires for frayed ends. If you find any, don’t risk it. Repair them or replace them before you hang them up.

Ladder Safety

Each year thousands of people are injured hanging lights on their homes from ladders. OSHA publishes safety precautions that are not only good for businesses to follow but for individuals to follow as well. Some of these safety tips include:

  1. Select the right ladder for the weight of the job.
  2. Every ladder has a weight limit. Look at the side of your ladder to determine if it can support enough weight for the job.
  3. Never utilize the top 3 feet of the ladder. This can cause instability if you go above that point.
  4. Inspect the ladder before use for damage.
  5. Never go down a ladder backwards.
  6. Ensure your ladder is on flat ground and stable before climbing.
  7. Never lean to the side on a ladder, this can cause instability.
  8. Use common sense when using ladders to ensure safety. If something feels unsafe to you when you’re on the ladder, it probably is.

We hope that you and your families have a safe and happy holiday season this year.

If you have questions about your home insurance policy, contact our agency today.

What To Expect When You File An Auto Insurance Claim

Auto Insurance Claim Expectations Heuer Insurance in Sparks, Nevada

Auto Insurance Claim Expectations Heuer Insurance in Sparks, NevadaA Call for Facts of Loss

When you’re involved in a car accident the first thing that happens after you report your claim is you receive a call from the insurance adjuster. An insurance adjuster looks at your coverages, listens to your statement about what happened (Facts of Loss), and then determines fault. This adjuster will also guide you through the remaining process to get your vehicle back to pre-loss condition. If it is found that another party is at-fault, you may elect to go through them for your repairs. If you use your insurance, you may have to pay your deductible up-front which your insurance company will attempt to a close up of a damaged car headlight & to subrogate back for you.

Choices for Repairing Your Vehicle

When you need to get your vehicle repaired, the choice is up to you on who fixes your vehicle. Typically, the insurance carrier will work with a network of body shops in your area and can recommend one or two. Regardless of who you choose, the insurance adjuster or estimator will work with the body shop on your behalf to ensure your car is repaired.

Vehicle Parts

Oftentimes, insureds are surprised to hear that the insurance company authorized the usage of aftermarket (commonly referred to as Like-Kind-Quality or LKQ) parts on their vehicle. If your vehicle is new, it is unlikely this will occur, but if your car is more than a couple of years old, there will likely be many parts like bumper covers and fenders that are available for your vehicle that may be used when your vehicle is repaired. Most of the time, you will not have an option to choose, but if you see it on your estimate, you could likely opt to pay the difference yourself. Most insurance contracts say in the policy language they may use aftermarket parts.

Rental Coverage

When your vehicle is in the shop, you’ll likely be without it for at least a few days. If you need a rental car during this time, you’ll have to check your policy to see if you have one available. If you’re going through the at-fault party’s insurance company, they will provide you with a rental vehicle for basic transportation. If you have unique circumstances like an ADA vehicle or a truck or van that you have to use for work, be sure to let them know you have circumstances that require a similar temporary replacement.

Deductibles

If you are at fault for your accident, you’ll have to pay a collision deductible. The amount is unique to your insurance policy and typically is between $100 and $2500. If you’re not at fault and going through the at-fault party’s insurance company, there will be no deductible applied to your claim.

We hope you never have to experience an auto insurance claim but in the event you do, we’re here to help. If you’d like to discuss your auto insurance coverages prior to being in an accident, please schedule a time or call our office to review your existing coverage.

Buying Car Insurance for Your Teen

If your teen just got their driver’s license, then you understand the importance of making sure they have the right insurance. Keeping them as safe as possible includes making sure that they’re insured in the event of an accident, so let’s talk about what you need to know.

New drivers

Being a new driver is scary and being their parent can be even scarier. If you’re looking for tips and tools you can use to find the right car insurance for your teen, then you’ve come to the right place.

Those 20 and younger are the biggest group of distracted drivers and making sure that they’re insured should be a top priority. Not only is car insurance important for being on the road, but it could end up saving you thousands of dollars. Don’t wait to explore your insurance options.

Finding the right car insurance

When it comes to teen drivers, it can be difficult to find insurance. Many companies look at lack of experience and young age as reasons why teens aren’t the best people to insure. However, this doesn’t mean that it’s impossible to find the right car insurance policy. If you do the right research, you can end up with the right policy at the right price.

When it comes to saving money, it’s usually best for parents to add their children to the family policy. While creating a separate policy is an option, it’s usually a more expensive route. Car insurance can cost thousands of dollars each year, so it’s important that you keep realistic pricing standards in mind while you’re shopping around.

Purchasing car insurance

When it comes to car insurance for your teen, doing research is important. Learning about different policy options and what they include will give you a bigger picture of what’s on the market, as well as what will fit your budget.

If you’re curious about the options, make an appointment with our office. As a local independent insurance agency, we’ll be able to provide you with accurate quotes and provide unique advice for your situation. How much insurance costs can be heavily dependent on location, so we will walk you through all of your options. Speaking with one of our insurance agents is one of the best ways to find out more about policy options, so don’t be afraid to call us.

Teen specifics

While it can be difficult to find car insurance for teens, there are a few things that can make the process easier.

Some companies reward good grades and will offer a discount when a transcript is presented. If you think that your child may qualify, ask your insurance agency if they offer this incentive. Age is another thing that can impact price. Insuring those that are older is typically cheaper, so remember that while you’re looking at policy prices.

The right policy for your teen

From buying them a car to finding the right insurance, having a teen driver is expensive. If you’re looking for ways to reduce costs and get the best deal possible, give us a call. We can make an appointment to discuss your options and find the right policy for your new driver.

It’s Cyber Awareness Month – Are You Following Good Practices?

October is Cyber Security Awareness Month. Since the pandemic, more individuals are using digital accounts for purchasing through the internet. This can leave you vulnerable & increase your risk for a cyber-attack.

The majority of cyber-attacks begin with phishing emails. Knowing how to spot a phishing email is critical for protecting yourself from a cyber-attack.

Phishing emails are designed to make you click on links. They will often come from companies you use regularly such as Amazon, Apple, Netflix, or other well-known companies. They will often use their logo to make it appear it is coming from the company itself.

What steps do you need to take to determine if it is a scam?

Hover over the domain or email address in your inbox. This quickly gives you the answer you are looking for. If the email address is long or doesn’t look correct, it is a phishing email. If you are unsure if this is a phishing email, contact the company directly.

How to identify a phishing email

Best Practices for Internet Use:

  • Never click on links in emails. If you are concerned, go directly to the company’s website and login if this is possible.
  • If an email is asking you to verify your login, payment information, or any other personal data, this should be a red flag. Do not provide the info. If you are concerned, reach out to the company directly.
  • Don’t download attachments from emails.
  • Always choose a strong password. This should be up to 15 characters long with a variety of letters, numbers, or symbols. You can even use a phrase.
  • Change your password regularly. While this can be annoying, it is best practice.
  • Don’t repeat your password for multiple accounts.
  • If you share a computer with others, use individual accounts for logging in. Always log out of your account when you leave the computer.
  • Have a firewall installed on your computer.
  • If you are asked to save your password on your computer, don’t save it. This can leave you vulnerable.
  • If you have the option for two-step authentication, always choose it.
  • Always update the software on your tablet & phone.
  • Be aware of public wifi. This can leave you vulnerable to a cyber-attack.

How Could You Determine If You Have Been Hacked?

Whether it is your email, social media account, or bank account, if you see something that looks off, change your password immediately. We also recommend running an anti-virus or malware software on your computer too.

Follow these tips to help lower your risk for a cyber-attack. If you have questions about your insurance, contact our agency.

Auto Insurance, Renters Insurance & Discounts for Your College Student

Leaving for college is an exciting time for your child. Whether your child is moving out of state, moving out of your home or even living with you at home, college is a new chapter in his or her life. Being your agent, there are a few common questions we get asked about insurance.

Does My Child Need Renters Insurance at College?

It’s best we review your current home insurance policy as it may offer some coverage for your child’s belongings while away. Simply give us a quick call and we can do a review. If your child is living off campus, you may want to consider purchasing a renters insurance policy in his or her name. This can be as little as $30/month. As a bonus, this can provide liability coverage too.

My Child Will Not Be Taking a Car to School, Can I Take Them Off My Auto Insurance Policy?

Talk to your agent about this first before canceling. If your child plans to drive a vehicle when he or she returns home or if your child ever drives a friend’s car at school, it is best to keep your child on your policy.

Car Insurance Discounts For Your Child

A few car insurance discounts exist with insurance carriers. It’s important to discuss discount options with one of our agents.

Good Grade Discount – if your child gets good grades, talk to your agent to see if he or she can qualify for a good grade discount.

Multi-policy Discount – if your child has both an auto and renters insurance policy, he or she can earn a discount for bundling the policies together.

Resident discount – if your child is attending college over 100 miles away, but isn’t taking his or her vehicle, your child may qualify for a resident discount. Since the car will be parked at your home and is insured in your name, some insurance carriers will give you a discount since the car will not be used as often.

My Child Is Taking A Car To College. What Should I Know About Auto Insurance?

Reach out to your agent to update the garage address to keep the auto insurance policy up-to-date.

Should My Child Purchase His or Her Own Auto Insurance Policy?

If your child has moved out of the house permanently, it might be time to purchase a separate policy. We can explain their coverage options and shop all of our insurance carriers.

September is National Preparedness Month – Here is How It Relates to Your Insurance

FEMA, Ready.gov and Listo.gov are big voices in reminding Americans that September is National Preparedness Month. Ready.gov is a great resource for teaching you how to prepare for a natural disaster.

What do they consider a disaster? Wildfires, flooding, thunderstorms & lightning, hurricanes, earthquakes, tornadoes, landslides, severe weather, droughts and more. No matter where you live in the United States, you can be vulnerable to one or many natural disasters.

Ready.gov breaks down National Preparedness Month in four steps below.

Step 1 – Make a Plan

Step 2 – Build a Kit

Step 3 – Low-Cost, No Cost-Preparedness

Step 4 – Teach Youth about Preparedness

Every step is important in the event of a natural disaster and we encourage you to use this month to read through their information. You can read more here. Knowing information such as a shelter plan, evacuation route, communication plan or even having an emergency kit can be life-saving.

Proper Insurance & Natural Disasters

Having the right insurance coverage is essential if a natural disaster strikes. Many people assume that by purchasing home insurance, you are covered for anything and everything. This isn’t the case. By not having proper insurance coverage, countless people have been financially ruined.

First step with insurance, talk to your agent

Not only should you use this time with your agent to understand your current coverage, but talk about your risks. Should you purchase flood or earthquake insurance? If you were to experience an insurance claim, do you know how you will be compensated to repair or replace what has been damaged?

After talking with your agent, work on Step 2.

Step two includes creating your home inventory list, safely storing important documents and knowing exactly what to do if you experience a claim.

  1. Do you currently have a home inventory list? This is a list of your most important belongings. A home inventory list can be as simple as taking photos of every room in your house. Some individuals have an itemized list on a spreadsheet too. In the event you have an insurance claim, you can quickly reference your items in the event they need to be repaired or replaced.
  2. If you have an insurance claim, be sure to take pictures and videos of your damage. You will work with a claims adjuster so be sure to be timely with your response and save all receipts from purchases you have made regarding your claim. Examples – hotel receipts, meal receipts or other important items.
  3. Are your records safe? Records such as insurance documents, birth certificates, social security cards, marriage or divorce license, passport, pet ID tags, immunization records, medication lists, lease or rental agreement or mortgage or real estate deeds of trusts should all be safely stored in a water or fire proof box.

If you have questions about your current insurance coverage and would like to talk to a professional insurance agent, call us! We are experts in the insurance industry and can do a comprehensive review of your current coverage.

Four Tips For Future or Current Landlords

Whether you are looking to buy an investment property or are looking change your existing home into a rental property, there are some things you should know about becoming a landlord. Most people choose to become a landlord for the financial investment. By following these tips below, you can make being a landlord easier and more enjoyable for you all while improving your tenant’s happiness and rental contract longevity.

Provide a well maintained property

If you are looking to purchase a home as a rental property, you must consider the cost of improvements you will need to make to the property in order to make it rentable. While someone may rent the property in its existing condition, a home that is in good repair will help you maximize the rent you are able to collect along with ensuring the home itself does not develop additional issues from lack of maintenance.

Things to look for & questions to ask yourself:

  • Is the caulking around windows, doors and siding maintained?
  • Are your gutters cleaned and free from debris?
  • Who is maintaining the yard?
  • If you have a fence, is it in good condition?

When you are shopping for a rental property, ask yourself these questions:

  • Will the home need an updated exterior paint job?
  • What is the current condition of the roof?
  • What is the condition of the crawlspace?
  • How old are the appliances?
  • Does the home have updated electrical?
  • What could I update to make the home look its best?
    1. Typically a fresh coat of paint in the interior can make a home look more up-to-date.
    2. Add backsplash, tile or Beadboard wall paneling.
    3. Add crown modeling in the living room, kitchen or bedrooms.
    4. Add more lighting in the home.
    5. If the kitchen or bathroom is really dated, consider updating it with new appliances, vanity, cabinets or tile. You can also consider replacing the shower or bathtub.

The best part of buying an investment property is you don’t have to necessarily “flip” it to get it on the renting market. A few upgrades mentioned above can make a home nice without breaking the bank.

Eliminate Safety hazards

Want to avoid headaches, lawsuits or home insurance claims? Be sure to focus on eliminating any safety hazard from your property. From a liability standpoint, you will want to be sure that the property is void of any safety hazards such as loose railings, uneven walkways, cracked decking or faulty stairs. A well-maintained property will help you maximize your property’s profitability and keep your tenants safe.

Quickly address issues

When problems arise, and they will, it is important to quickly address them with your tenant. Some landlords choose to have rental management companies intervene, while others either do the repairs themselves, or ask the tenant to get it repaired and take it off the next month’s rent. If the issues is a safety concern, do not ignore it. If you are made aware of a safety issue and ignore it, you may be liable if something happens. Whatever your agreement is with your tenant, be sure to address repairs quickly. This may help mitigate additional damage from occurring.

Be available to your tenants

Being available to your tenants can help you develop longstanding renters who stay at your property for years. Since one of the largest risks of being a landlord is having a vacant property, the longer your renters stay, the more revenue your property can generate. By being a good landlord and available to them easily they will know you care about them and the property they are renting.

Being a landlord comes with risks, but also huge financial rewards. Following the suggestions above you can create long-standing renters who not only take care of your property, but help you build financial wealth along the way.

If you have questions about landlord insurance, call our agency. We can discuss all of your insurance coverage options when it comes to being a landlord. Call or email us for a free quote.

Six Great Upgrades To Your Home & Why You Should Alert Your Agent

Many homeowners upgraded their homes in the last 18 months. Whether it was bringing a furry friend into your home, updating a kitchen or bathroom or adding additions like a swimming pool, trampoline or detached structures, these upgrades make living in your home more enjoyable. If you completed any of the following updates or additions to your home, contact us!

Kitchen or Bathrooms

If you have made significant upgrades to your kitchen, bathroom or other rooms in your house, you’ll want to share this with your insurance agent. Your current home insurance is based on the value of your home. When you make significant updates to your home, your home value will increase. In the event you have a home insurance claim, you want your home insurance to cover any losses. If you made significant updates to your home but failed to tell your insurance agent and experienced a home insurance claim, you may not be covered for what your home is actually worth.

Detached Structures

Similar to upgrading your kitchen, bathroom or adding square footage to your home, it impacts your home insurance policy. If you added a detached structure to your property, relay this information to your agent so we can update your home insurance policy.

Swimming Pool

Swimming pools do increase your liability and it is important your pool has all the safety precautions in place. Does your swimming pool have proper barriers or fencing around the pool? Most insurance carriers require a fence of at least four feet to be present around your pool. Do you have floatation devices for young children? Lastly, be sure to regularly inspect items used in or around your pool. For example, slides, diving boards or floatation devices.

Trampoline

Be sure to read your current home insurance policy before purchasing a trampoline. Home insurance coverage for trampolines vary both by state and insurance carrier with some not wanting to insure them at all. Talk to your insurance agent about coverage options if you are considering buying a trampoline.

Dog

A furry friend can be the perfect companion and a great addition to your home. It is important to tell your agent if you have a new dog in your home. Many insurance carriers do consider certain breeds higher risk and as a result, your home insurance policy premium may increase. Breeds such as Pit Bulls, Rottweilers, German Shepherds, Huskies, Doberman Pinschers, Akitas or Great Danes may not be insurable by all carriers. While we never want to assume your dog will ever injury someone, it is important to always be properly covered. If you do not report owning a dog to your insurance carrier and you have a claim against your dog, you risk not being covered.

Contact our agency if you have made any of the following changes to your home life. We will be sure to inform your insurance carrier to ensure your home insurance policy is up-to-date and you are properly covered.

Do You Have a Personal Insurance Agent?

When it comes to buying insurance, you can purchase it online yourself through a well-known insurance carrier, a captive agent or you can buy it through a local insurance agency. When you buy it online yourself, you may find it can be more challenging to manage your insurance policy. When you have to call an 800 number to ask a question about your policy or make a claim, sometimes you may feel like you aren’t receiving a personal touch.

As a local insurance agency, we want to share the benefits of having a personal insurance agent when it comes to purchasing insurance.

Do you have a professional insurance agent you trust?

Just like having a doctor or dentist, we want to be a professional you can trust when it comes to buying insurance. Insurance can be tricky and difficult to understand. We are here to explain the differences in insurance coverage to ensure you have the right coverage for your specific needs.

Have a quick insurance question? Email or call your agent directly.

We love answering all your insurance questions. We get questions all the time from our customers.

  • Do I need to buy rental car insurance for my upcoming vacation or will my personal auto insurance cover me?
  • I am renting a U-haul, do I need to buy their coverage?
  • Do I have any gaps in my insurance coverage?
  • I just purchased a boat, does my homeowner’s insurance cover me or do I need additional insurance coverage?
  • Should I purchase flood or earthquake insurance?
  • Should I increase my limits on my umbrella insurance? I just purchased my first investment property.
  • Should I have life insurance at my age? What are the benefits?

Questions like the ones listed above are easily answered from our agents! We are here to answer all your questions. With a simple email or call, you can get an answer from your insurance agent directly.

My insurance premium increased significantly and I haven’t turned in any claims. Help!

If you purchase insurance from a well-known insurance company directly, it may be hard to find a better rate at renewal without having to sacrifice insurance coverage. Luckily, local, independent insurance agents represent several companies instead of just one. If you find your insurance premium is too high for your budget, reach out to your agent at renewal. We can shop similar coverage with a different insurance carrier. You might be surprised to find several quotes to choose from!

If you don’t have a personal insurance agent, reach out to our agency. We’d love to review your current insurance coverage, answer your questions or simply be the personal, professional agent you need in your life. Our agency can help you with all your auto, home, business or life insurance needs.

Looking for an Auto Insurance Discount? Consider Telematics.

Many insurance carriers offer telematics for an auto insurance discount. If you are seeking out additional auto insurance discounts to lower your monthly or annual premium, talk to your insurance agent to see if your carrier offers telematics. Many carriers do!

How does telematics work?

A telematics device monitors how you drive a vehicle. Your insurance carrier mails you a vehicle tracking device, you insert it into your vehicle’s onboard diagnostic port under your dash and then it monitors how you drive for an extended amount of time. Once it is setup, it runs all on its own until it is time for you to return it back to your insurance carrier.

The telematics device determines how safe of a driver you are based on measuring your speed, how hard you brake when stopping your vehicle and how many miles you drive. It also looks into what time of day you drive. It is important to note that not all insurance carriers follow the same guidelines or look at the same data.

Curious to see how safe you drive? Talk to your insurance agent to see if your carrier provides a driving report. The telematics device can show a detailed report of your driving habits that can help you become more aware of your driving behaviors. By reviewing this information, it can help you become aware of your current driving habits and if you are currently considered a safe driver.

Once you have completed the timeframe of using the telematics device, you’ll mail it back to your insurance carrier and they will review it.

If my insurance carrier offer telematics, should I do it?

It’s up to you! Not only do you receive a discount for participating, but your insurance carrier may continue to provide discounts in the future for being a safe driver. Some carriers also give you a discount every 6-12 months for being claims-free. This could be rewarded with a mailed check or a discount at renewal.

Talk to your agent about telematics or receive a free auto insurance policy review.

As your insurance agent, we want to ensure you have the best auto insurance coverage for your needs. If you are unhappy with your current premium rate, we can shop our carriers for additional discounts like telematics or simply quote you with other carriers. Don’t hesitate to reach out to us.