Looking For A Better Auto or Home Insurance Premium? Call An Independent Insurance Agent

When shopping for home or auto insurance, you have an abundance of choices. You can call the number on TV or shop with a local big-named brand, but then you only get one choice. Independent insurance agents offer insurance from many insurance companies, not one like most others you see on television. The benefits of shopping with a local agent are numerous. Not only will you get to compare pricing, but additional benefits include:

What’s Your Time Worth?

When you call an independent insurance agency, you’re presented with multiple insurance quotes at once from multiple companies. Independent agents will often make a recommendation for protection levels and companies that best fit your needs, but ultimately, the choice is yours.

Professional, unbiased consultations

As an independent agent, we offer clients unbiased advice. After all, we work for you, not a specific insurance company. So, when you get a quote or policy from us, we take care to ensure you’re matched with the carrier with the best options for your specific needs.

Who doesn’t love a discount?

Our agents are discount detectives. We can look at your situation and coverage request and match you with a company that offers you the most discounts along the way. Some of these include safe driver, claims free, home & auto bundles, teen drivers, paid in full, and more! There are so many discounts available.

Local Relationship

As a local agent, we appreciate our connection to the community and being able to speak to our local client base over the phone or in the office. Our agents work and live in your community, so we care about your care and coverage.

Adaptability

This might be the biggest benefit of all. Everyone throughout their lives will need to change their insurance coverage for a reason or another. Perhaps you got married, purchased a home, had a child, invested in a rental property or you want an umbrella policy to increase your coverage. When you work with an independent insurance agency, you don’t have to change agents. We can find you a new company with the coverage and pricing you want for your new lifestyle.

If you need an insurance policy for your auto, home, boat, RV, or even business, call us. We can help you find affordable coverage for your situation. Get a free insurance quote today.

IoT Devices & Sensors for Homeowners Insurance

If you’re a homeowner, then you’re aware that it can be complicated to make sure your home is protected. If you’ve ever worried about your home being secure and free from damage, then you should consider purchasing technology that could provide you with peace of mind. Not only do the right devices and sensors provide you with a level of security, but they also can have positive impacts on your homeowners insurance.

Taking advantage of technology

The IoT (Internet of Things) market is one that has seen exponential growth within the past couple of years. Within the network of connected devices comes multiple benefits, both for homeowners and insurers. Making sure that your home is protected should be a mutual goal and it’s one that is made easier when your house is equipped with the right technology.

Did you know that there are multiple different types of sensors available to protect your home and help monitor to avert damage? Finding the right sensors could prevent damage to your home, as you can fix the problem before it becomes an even bigger issue. Being able to prevent damage is one of the most valuable benefits that IoT devices and sensors provide, as both homeowners and insurers have a vested interest.

What sensors should you consider?

Which sensors are right for you depends on the level of protection that you want to implement in your home. Many people have devices to protect and alert if a burglary takes place, but there are many other options that you can add as well including smart devices and garage doors.

Water sensors can alert if there is a leak in your water supply, potentially saving you thousands of dollars in water damage as well as identify a smaller leak before it becomes a big one.

Humidity sensors are similar and can alert you if your house’s integrity is at risk. Implementing smart devices is one of the best ways to take advantage of innovative technology, harnessing its power to protect your home and lower your insurance premiums.

Why purchase additional devices?

One of the biggest reasons why many choose to implement more devices into their home is because of the insurance benefits that they can have. Not only can more technology provide you with peace of mind and assurance, but it could potentially lower your premiums. Because problems can be identified and solved before they multiply, insurance companies also have something to gain when you install the right devices.

Technology also allows for insurance claims to be completed easily. Because technology can be relied on to gain an accurate picture of a home’s state, claims can be settled quicker than normal. Not needing to rely on human assessments streamlines the process and leads to less disputed claims.

Taking the next steps

If you’re ready to learn more about smart insurance and what it could mean for your home, let us know. We’re experts in the field and work with our customers to help them find the right insurance solutions for their individual situations. Make an appointment with us today to learn more about the many benefits of installing devices and sensors in your home.

Preparing Your Home for Winter

Preparing your home for winter in Sparks, NV

Preparing your home for winter in Sparks, NVIf you’re a homeowner who lives in a colder climate, then you understand the importance of preparing for the winter. There are so many factors that can occur when the colder weather sets in and it’s important that you’re ready for various scenarios. Let’s go over some of the things that you can do to protect your home.

Have homeowners insurance

Purchasing insurance is one of the best ways to protect your house. Making sure that you have the right policy is important, so that it takes into account any seasonal concerns you may have.

Clear your gutters

Especially if your winters tend to be filled with lots of rain, it’s important that your gutters are clear. Water buildup can lead to roof leakage or pipes breaking, so it’s essential that any rain has a clear path away from your house.

Clean your chimney

Who doesn’t love a cozy fire after a long day of playing in the snow? If you’re planning on using your fireplace this season, it’s important that regular maintenance has been kept up on it. Not cleaning out your chimney could be dangerous, so it’s important that you make sure this is checked off your to-do list.

Maintain wood exteriors

If you have a wood exterior on your home, then it’s important to make sure that it’s sealed from the elements. This will help you make sure that your heating bill is as low as possible, as well as maintaining the integrity of your house.

Are your windows insulated?

If your heating bill is higher than you think it should be, consider the insulation around your windows. Many people don’t consider that windows are an excellent way for heat to escape and cold air to enter your home. Make sure that you’re protected from the harsh wind by insulating your windows.

Weather strips are a great way to make sure that your windows and doors are prepared for harsh winters. They’re relatively inexpensive and could end up saving you money in the future.

Take a look at your yard

There are lots of things inside that need your attention, but don’t forget to consider possible dangers in your yard. Trimming any tree branches around your house is a great way to prepare for winter storms and make sure that your house is as safe as possible.

Check your heater

If winter means cold weather where you live, then make an appointment to have a professional come take a look at your heating system. While they’re there, have them peek at your cooling system as well and make sure that everything’s in check. It’s best to have your systems checked sooner rather than later, so that you know you can use them as soon as you need to.

Have any questions?

We’re experts when it comes to protecting houses, so we know what it takes to prepare for the winter. Feel free to give us a call or send us a message if you have questions about home insurance. We can provide you with more specifics.

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.