Why Your Homeowners Insurance Policy Should Change along with Your Home

Even after purchasing a home and settling in well, your new home never really stays the same. Over time, a number of changes will be made, be it as a result of financial growth, marriage, or the presence of children. These changes can then increase the value of your home to twice what it used to be. It is important to change your homeowners’ insurance policy as more changes are made to your home. In the event of an emergency, accident, or any other unforeseen circumstance, this can protect you financially and serve as an incredible contingency plan as time goes on.

Home Insurance Policy

You might be wondering why an update to your homeowners’ insurance even matters. Here are some things to consider:

· There are certain improvements that could enhance the value of your home. For example, the addition of a mini quarter in the backyard of your home or the installation of a pool can enhance the value of your home, which is why you need an updated or different homeowners insurance policy.

·Also, the purchase of expensive items such as furniture, electronics, home appliances, and so on might require extra coverage insurance-wise. This is because they also need protection as much as the house itself in the event of any natural disasters.

·Just as the purchase of expensive things in the home needs more coverage, so do the valuables you possess. Valuables such as jewelry, family heirlooms, antiques, and expensive artwork are not always covered by the basic homeowners insurance policy, which is why a floater or rider will be needed as an addition to your policy for coverage.

· It is also important to be aware that you will be held legally responsible for the actions of whoever drinks in your home and is then involved in an accident. So, you have to be sure that your homeowners’ policy protects you against lawsuits or other damages in case you find yourself in such a situation. If your policy doesn’t offer this protection, it’s worth updating it.

·Certain items that could end up causing someone an injury in your home, such as a trampoline or swimming pool in your backyard, will need an excess liability or “umbrella” policy that is guaranteed to protect you in case someone gets injured by it.

·Most importantly, you should be aware of what your homeowners’ insurance policy covers and what it doesn’t. Most people believe, for example, that flood damages would be covered by a standard homeowners insurance policy in the event of a natural disaster. To avoid being caught off guard, review your policy and consider purchasing additional coverage.

As your home experiences more changes over time, these are some of the things to consider updating in your policy. For assistance with all your insurance needs and any questions you may have, contact the experts at Miller Carlisle Insurance Services in Carlisle, PA. We look forward to helping you with all your coverage needs.

All You Need to Know About a Home Inventory Checklist

Creating a home inventory checklist is the best way to ensure that all your possessions are fully covered in the event of a fire, flood, or natural disaster. Your home inventory checklist should include your most expensive possessions. Smart appliances, antiques, collectibles, electronics, and most of your personal possessions should all be included in the list. While you don’t have to include every item you own, you should try to include as many as you can to make sure you are adequately covered.

homeowners insurance
Home Inventory Checklist

Why Is Having a Home Inventory Checklist So Important?

When a disaster occurs, the last thing you want to worry about is trying to figure out where all your possessions are and if they are damaged or not. If you put together a home inventory checklist, you will know exactly what you have and what it will cost to replace those items. Your home inventory checklist is your guide to rebuilding your home and filling it with all the things you had before the loss. It also helps your insurance agent accurately estimate your loss and assist you in getting the items replaced.

What Is the Best Way to Create a Home Inventory Checklist?

There are two ways to create a home inventory checklist. The first way is to have a written list that contains all the intricate details of each of your possessions. This includes their purchase date, model, and serial number. The second way to create a home inventory checklist is to make a video of each item. Using a video camera, you can capture the accurate condition of the items and get a close-up picture of them.

What Do You Do with Your Checklist Once It Is Made?

Once you have completed your home inventory checklist, both written and video, you will have to put a copy of the list in a safe place. Most insurance agents recommend making multiple copies. You can store a copy in a safe place at home and put the second one in a safe deposit box or some other place outside your home. Finally, make sure your insurance agent has a copy of both the video and the written list. It’s also a good idea to create a digital copy that can be stored in the cloud. Digital copies are easy to store, retrieve, and share, and you do not have to worry about them being lost in a fire or other unfortunate disasters.

As a homeowner, creating a home inventory checklist should be your priority. In addition to creating a home inventory checklist, make sure that you have the right homeowners insurance coverage to meet your unique home insurance needs. For assistance with all your insurance needs and questions, contact the experts at Miller Carlisle Insurance Services in Carlisle, PA. We will help you get the right coverage you need. 

4 Things to Consider While Renewing Your Car Insurance

Renewing your car insurance doesn’t have to take a lot of your time. You can complete the task in just a few minutes if you have the information you need and are ready to get started. Keeping your car properly insured is the best way to protect yourself from financial loss. It only takes a few minutes of your time to save yourself a lot of money. Talk to your insurance agent if you have any questions.

Here are 4 things to consider while renewing your car insurance.

1. Compare Your Policy to Others

It’s always a good idea to compare your policy to what other carriers are offering. Ask your agent to provide information on policies from multiple carriers. Review your policy with your agent and find out what they can do to give you the best value for the best coverage. This way the agent can guide you to select the insurance coverage that suits your needs and budget.

2. Know When Your Current Policy Expires

Know what your policy contains and when it expires. If you plan on buying another policy from a different insurance company, you will need to know when your current policy is going to expire. You don’t want to have a lapse in your coverage. When you buy your new policy, make sure it is in place the day before or the day that your current policy is set to expire. You will want to let your current insurance company know that you have a new policy in place, so they don’t charge you to auto-renew your old one.

3. Review Your Coverage and Adjust If Needed

Before you buy a new policy, go over your old one thoroughly to make sure it is accurate and up to date. A recent marriage, graduation, divorce, or other life-changing events may have a direct impact on your policy. Take a few minutes to go over it carefully and make notes about any possible changes that will be needed when purchasing another policy.

4. Know Your Budget

Know your budget and how much you have a month to continue to spend on auto insurance. Keep in mind how much you are currently paying and use that as your starting point. If you’ve made a few adjustments, that may drop or raise your policy depending on what adjustments were made. Go over your policy carefully and be aware of any discounts you may be eligible for.

Steps to Renew Your Car Insurance Coverage

Policies can be renewed online, while cancellation requires a phone call to your insurance agent. Here’s how you can renew your car insurance coverage.

  1. Check when your renewal is due.
  2. Review your bill to check for a possible change in rates (maybe because of loyalty discount or claim-free discount).
  3. Ask your agent about new discounts.
  4. Compare customized quotes from other providers.
  5. Proceed with online renewal or sign up for a new policy.
  6. Cancel your old policy, in person or online, if need be.

It won’t take you long to renew your auto insurance policy if you go into the process fully prepared. For assistance with all your insurance needs and questions, contact the experts at Miller Carlisle Insurance Services in Carlisle, PA. We will help you get the right coverage you need.

Ways to Winterize Your Vehicle for a Smooth Drive

As the seasons change and it starts to get colder, it’s also the perfect time for you to make adjustments to your car maintenance in order to withstand the wear and tear of winter driving. When you winterize your car, you reduce the chances of having car troubles during the season.

Here is a look at multiple ways that you can winterize your vehicle to help ensure that you have a smooth driving experience during the winter.

  • Have Your Tires Checked
    Getting your tires checked should be at the top of your checklist. Your tires are the foundation of your vehicle. Check your tires every week to see if they are starting to lose tread or pressure. If your tires are worn, you should replace them immediately. All terrain tires are normally a good investment during the winter. Having a strong set of tires is especially important if you live in an area where it snows regularly and the roads are icy. Winter tires will grip the pavement, which decreases the chances of you being involved in an accident.
  • Make Sure That Your Car Has Antifreeze
    As you go through the process to winterize your vehicle, check your antifreeze. Every year, you should drain your car radiator and add new coolant. If you are not aware of your vehicle’s optimal coolant level, check your manual. Also, make sure that the tank fluid levels are appropriate. This will prevent your vehicle from having internal issues.
  • Make Sure That You Always Have Gas
    Try to keep at least a half tank of gas in your car at all times. Keeping gas in your car will prevent any excess moisture in the gas line from freezing. Also, keeping at least a half tank of gas in your car will decrease the likelihood that your car won’t start during the winter. This should give you peace of mind throughout the winter months.
  • Check Your Headlights
    Driving during the winter can be extremely dangerous when you aren’t aware of your surroundings at all times. Check your headlights to make sure that they are working properly. It’s very difficult to drive safely without functioning headlights. If your headlights are dirty, be sure to clean them, as it should only take a few minutes. If your headlights are really foggy or damaged, you may have to replace them in order to decrease your chances of being involved in an accident.
  • Inspect Your Windshield Wipers
    Inspecting your windshield wipers should also be on your checklist. In order to have maximum visibility while you are on the road, replace your windshield wipers if they are starting to erode. During the winter, excess sand and salt builds up on your windshield, which can seriously impact your driving ability. You may have to change your wiper blades to a more powerful model to break down the snow and ice. If necessary, replace the wiper fluid to a winter-based formula.
  • Check Your Car Battery
    During the winter, you may have the occasional issue starting your car. However, checking your car battery will prevent more serious problems from happening. Your battery cables should be secure. Check to see if there is any build-up around the battery. If your headlights are extra bright before you start your engine, that’s a sign that something is wrong and you need to have a mechanic take a look.
  • Change Your Oil and Brake Fluid
    Change your oil to winterize your car. Consider using a less thick water-based oil for better lubrication. Check your brake fluid to see if it needs to be replaced. Inspect your brake pads to see if they need to be replaced due to excess wear.
  • Wash Your Car
    Washing your car regularly will prevent salt and snow build-up on your car, which impairs your visibility as you are driving.
    Winter driving can be dangerous, but winterizing your car using the above tips can help keep you safe. For assistance with all your insurance needs and questions, contact the experts at Miller Carlisle Insurance Services in Carlisle, PA. We will help you get the right coverage you need.

Great Tips for Managing Online Customer Reviews

Word of mouth was a valuable asset for any business. However, much of this has moved to the digital domain in the form of online customer reviews. A consumer survey shows that online reviews influence 91% of customers between 18 to 34 years. Further, consumers require a business to have at least 40 online reviews before they believe its average star rating.

Clearly, businesses cannot ignore online reviews. Let’s check out some handy dos and don’ts for managing online customer reviews.

Do Track Your Reviews

You should track online customer reviews whenever and wherever they appear. Sign up on sites that will send you notifications, or do a quick search on your social media.

You can also employ agencies that assess reviews. These steps will help you know whether you have a positive or negative image in the marketplace.

Do Thank Positive Reviewers

If a customer takes the effort to appreciate your work online, you should express thanks with a short note of acknowledgment. Avoid answering such reviews with links to ads, or requests to join mailing lists. The reply should be heartfelt and simple.

You can also provide helpful news related to the comment, if any. This lets your customers know that your company is responsive.

Don’t Ignore Negative Reviews

Some reviews are best ignored, especially if they display clear bias. If you suspect fake online customer reviews, it’s best to report them. Understand the customer’s point of view and try to assess what could have caused a negative response.

Your reply should always be polite. Assure them that their concerns are being looked into. If possible, you can give them the steps towards a resolution. This will show customers that your business can be trusted and relied upon.

Managing online customer reviews is important for the success of your business. Want to learn more about business risks and how you can ensure a risk-free future for your business? Contact the experts at Miller Carlisle Insurance Services. Our dedicated team is eager to assist you with all your business insurance needs today.

My Car Is a Total Loss: What Do I Do?

If you get into a severe accident, your car may be damaged beyond repairs. When you raise a car insurance claim, the agent may inform you that your vehicle is a total loss. In this blog, we cover what you need to know about a total loss car insurance claim.

How Do Insurance Companies Identify a Total Loss?

When it comes to a car insurance claim for total loss, the first step is to identify if the vehicle can be repaired or should be declared a total loss.

This is based on three factors:

  • A comparison of the actual cash value (ACV) of the car against the cost of repairs
  • Whether the car can be repaired to meet the safety standards
  • Local and state regulations on deciding whether the damage equates to a total loss

What Happens Next?

You may be worried after knowing that your car is a total loss! However, here’s what you can do:

Pay Your Deductible

If someone else caused the accident, their insurance carrier would handle the total loss car insurance claim. However, if you are at fault, then you will have to pay the deductible.

Transfer Ownership

To facilitate the settlement of your car insurance claim for a total loss by your insurance carrier, you will have to transfer the ownership of your vehicle to them. However, do retain the insurance coverage on your car.

Get Paid

To settle your total loss car insurance claim, the insurer will pay you the ACV, minus any fees and deductibles. In case you own the car, the check will be in your name. Otherwise, it’ll be made out to the car purchase financing agency.

Buy a New Car

Now that you have no car, it is time to get behind a new set of wheels! You might ask: How do I get another car after a total loss? Simply cash in your insurer’s check to get a new vehicle and recover from the damages of your totaled car.

Once you get a new vehicle, don’t forget to secure complete auto insurance coverage. Do you have additional questions about your car coverage? Contact the experts at Miller Carlisle Insurance Services. Our dedicated team is eager to assist you with all your auto insurance needs today.

Home Security Technology: Stay Ahead of Threats

Do you end up tossing and turning at nights fearing a break-in? These fears get worse if you reside in an unsafe neighborhood. Securing your home from burglars is not an expensive thing now. In recent years, home security technology has become more affordable.

If you want home security to protect your home and your loved ones, here are some options:

Full-Service Systems

Several companies offer full-service home security systems with central monitoring. These services cover everything from video surveillance to smoke or carbon monoxide detection to remote access and even medical emergency.

These systems send out texts and notifications to alert you of any regular or suspicious activities. Given the popularity of IoT devices, these companies have also started securing your home with home automation.

Do-It-Yourself Approach

If you’re the DIY type, you can purchase a starter kit for basic home security. With a DIY approach, you can choose the features that you want and remove the unnecessary ones. As a result, you get a customized home security solution.

To have a complete home security system, you will need:

  • Smart cameras and motion sensors: Compact wireless cameras that are equipped with sensors can be paired with doorbells, lights, or recording devices to act whenever it detects motion.
  • Keyless entry systems: Rather than ditching your keys entirely, you can use a hybrid entry system that uses keys and codes to grant access to your home.
  • Home automation: Combining home security elements with automation devices can be powerful in keeping burglars away. The popularity of devices like Amazon Echo, Google Home, etc. has made it easier to have home automation.

Home security technology is not only a luxury but a necessity. Looking for another way to protect your home? Contact the experts at Miller Carlisle Insurance Services. Our dedicated team is eager to assist you with all your home coverage needs today.