Protect Yourself While Using Public Wi-Fi

Safety suggestions for connecting to public W-Fi networks.student on phone

While you might not think twice about connecting to the Wi-Fi at your local café, it’s important to remember that using public Wi-Fi networks are can be risky.  To ensure that you protect yourself, make sure you employ these public Wi-Fi safety tips.

  • Moderate Your Actions While on Public Wi-Fi

When you are using public Wi-Fi networks, scrolling through social media and watching YouTube videos is pretty harmless.  However, you should avoid activities that require you to insert payment information, access password-protected accounts, or deal with your sensitive data.  These online activities should be saved for when you are at home and can use your own private, protected network.

  • Use Secure Connections

Another way to stay safe while on public Wi-Fi networks is by only browsing sites that have an “https” URL.  Https sites are encrypted while the normal http ones are not.  In other words, https sites offer an extra layer of security that protects your data and keeps you hidden from hackers and online criminals.

  • Activate Two-Factor Authentication

Many websites now offer users the option to take extra security steps to prove their identity before accessing the site or the user’s personal account.  For instance, before accessing your Facebook account, the site will ask for your password before emailing or texting you an additional code that you need to enter before allowing you to log in.  While activating this extra step takes more time, the extra security is worth it in the end.

These are some of the things that you should do to protect yourself while using public Wi-Fi networks.  Are you looking for another way to protect yourself?  Then make sure you have the right personal insurance in place.  For assistance with all your coverage needs, contact the experts at Miller Carlisle Insurance Services today.

Can Owning a Home Help You Save on Auto Coverage?

Does owning a home help everyone save on auto insurance?hands holding a toy home and a mini piggy bank

You may have heard people say that homeownership unlocks special discounts on your auto insurance.  But how much truth is in this statement?  While some homeowners can access savings on their car coverage, others cannot.  Here’s why.

  • Bundling Home and Auto Insurance

One reason auto insurance is cheaper for some homeowners is that that they secure an auto policy from the same insurance company that they insure their home with.  This allows them to bundle these two policies, which automatically unlocks savings.  However, if a homeowner chooses to insure their car through a different insurance company, then they obviously do not have the option to bundle.  Sadly, these homeowners will not be able to access this auto insurance discount.

  • Improved Credit Score

Some homeowners may also get access to lower auto insurance rates because they have a higher credit score than non-homeowners.  Typically, homeowners have better credit scores and more stable finances than individuals that do not own a home.  This is particularly true for homeowners who have successfully paid off their mortgage.  Because auto insurers consider your credit score when determining your auto insurance premiums, the better your credit, the lower your car insurance rates will be.  However, homeowners who miss mortgage payments or who are struggling financially may not have strong credit.  These homeowners will not be able to access lower auto insurance rates.

This is why some homeowners save on their auto insurance while others do not.  Do you have more questions about your home or auto insurance?  If so, then contact the experts at Miller Carlisle Insurance Services.  We are ready to assist you with all your coverage needs today.

Protecting Your Pets This Summer

Keeping your furry friends safe this summer.dog sticking head out the window

Now that summer weather is here, you are probably excited to go out and enjoy the warm weather with your pets.  However, it’s important to remember that summer poses certain risks to your four-legged friends.  Here are some of the safety suggestions that you should keep in mind to protect your pets this season.

Know the Signs of Overheating

Cats and dogs can get overheated if they are exposed to direct sunlight or are running around in high temperatures for extended periods of time.  If your pets are playing outside, it’s important that you keep an eye out for potential signs of heat exhaustion.  Your cat’s temperature should be between 100.4° to 102.5°, while your dog should range between 100° and 103°.  Early signs of overheating include the following:

  • Heavy panting
  • Dry or bright red gums
  • Thick drool
  • Diarrhea
  • Wobbly legs

If you notice any of these signs, bring your pet inside or move them to the shade.  Offer them a drink and lay a damp towel over their body to bring their temperature down.  Avoid putting your pet in cool water as this could put them into shock.

Never Leave Your Pet in the Car

If you are taking your pet with you as you run errands, it’s vital that you do not leave them alone in an unventilated car.  As a car can heat up to over 100° in a matter of minutes, you should not leave them even for a short amount of time.  Even if you leave your car running with the air turned on, there’s no telling what might happen.  Your battery could die, leaving your poor pet to suffer and potentially die.  So, either plan of taking your pet with you everywhere or leave them at home.

Apply Sunscreen

While surprising, it’s true that pets can get a sunburn.  This is especially common with breeds that have short, or light-colored hair.  If you are planning to spend the day out with your pet, then make sure that you protect them with sunscreens that are specially formulated for pets.  Reapply every 3-4 hours (more frequently if your pet gets wet) and focus the sunscreen in less furry spots like their stomachs, ears, and nose.

Here are some of the summer pet safety tips that you should keep in mind.  Want another way to protect your pets and other loved ones?  Then secure the right personal insurance coverages.  For assistance with all your coverage needs, contact the experts at Miller Carlisle Insurance Services today.

Who Do You Need to Include on Your Auto Insurance Policy?

Do all my family members need to be on my car insurance?backseat shot of someone driving

When you are applying for auto insurance, your insurer will ask you to list all licensed drivers in your household.  But do you have to list everyone, or can you omit some family members from your coverage?  Here’s what you need to know.

  • Who should be listed?

Generally, anyone living under your roof should be listed on your auto insurance policy.  While these people might not drive your car regularly, they might have to depending on the circumstances.  So, all licensed drivers, including teens, elderly adults, roommates, and significant others, should be listed on your insurance policy.

  • Does adding driver affect my premiums?

Adding a new driver to your auto insurance policy may cause your premiums to increase.  For instance, newly licensed drivers are considered risky to insure.  Subsequently, adding this driver to your policy will increase your rates.  Additionally, adding someone with a history of bad or irresponsible driving can also cause your insurance rates to increase.  If you are worried about this rate increase, then you do have an option.  You can choose to list the high-risk driver as an excluded driver.  This means that the individual is not permitted to drive your car under any circumstances.  If the excluded driver does get into an accident while operating your vehicle, then your insurance provider will refuse coverage for the event.

  • I there anyone in my household I don’t have to add?

You do not have to list children on your auto policy.  However, once your child receives their drivers license, they will need to be officially listed.  Some insurance companies will even ask you to list unlicensed drivers on your policy if they are adults.  Speak to your insurance provider to find out the details of your coverage requirements.

This is what you need to know about listing additional drivers on your auto insurance policy.  Do you need more help with your car coverage?  If so, then contact the team at Miller Carlisle Insurance Services.  Our dedicated team is eager to assist you with all your auto insurance needs.

What Does it Mean to Have a Clean Driving Record?

Do you have a clean driving record?person driving

When you go to secure auto insurance, the insurance provider will look at your driving record to determine your rates.  Typically, the cleaner your record, the lower your rates will be.  But what exactly constitutes a clean driving record and how can you achieve one?  Here’s what you need to know.

 What does a clean driving record look like?

Generally, insurers consider a clean driving record one that is free of any accidents, moving violations, or points.  However, it’s important to know that some insurers will have different definitions.  For instance, some insurers might argue that you have a clean driving record if you have no claims history.  Other insurers might be willing to overlook small moving violations, particularly if you only have a one or two.

How far back does a driving record go?

Typically, driving records show every violation that you have received over the past seven to ten years.  Smaller violations, such as speeding tickets, will disappear from your record after five to seven years.  More serious violations, such as a hit and run or DUI, often remain on your record for the full ten years.

Can I remove “points” from my record?

Points are added to your driving record by your state’s DMV as a penalty for committing traffic violations.  If you amass too many points in a given time period, then you risk having your license revoked.  When insurance providers look at your driving record, they will be able to see the points you have accumulated.  Fortunately, there are ways to remove these points from your record.  For instance, many states will allow you to enroll in a defensive driving course to remove points from your record.  Other states will remove points after paying a fine.

This is what you need to know about having a clean driving record.  Do you have more questions about your driving record or your auto coverage?  If so, then contact the experts at Miller Carlisle Insurance Services.  We are ready to assist you with all your car coverage needs today.

Suggestions for Filing Your Home Insurance Claim

Make your claim process proceed more smoothly.insurance claim forms covered in coins

For many homeowners, experiencing property damage is a nightmare situation.  When you think about the insurance claims process, the situation seems even worse.  Fortunately, there are some steps that you can take to ensure that your claim proceeds smoothly and efficiently.  Here’s what you can do to improve the homeowners insurance claims process.

  • Report the Claim Promptly

Most homeowners insurance policies include a clause that requires you to report claims “promptly.”  Generally, this means reporting a claim within 24-hours.  Please keep in mind that for claims related to a break-in or theft, you need to contact the police and file a report before attempting to make a home insurance claim.  When you file these types of claims, you will need to provide information on the officer you spoke to as well as your case number.

  • Take Pictures of the Damage

Before you contact your insurer, you need to take pictures of the damage.  This is a great way to document the damage and can help your claims adjuster determine just how extensive repairs or remediation efforts will be.  Having pictures ready will help your claim proceed much more easily.

  • Provide a List of Stolen or Damaged Property

To ensure that you are receiving adequate compensation, you will need to provide a list of all the personal possessions that were stolen or damaged during a claim event.  While this isn’t a big deal if only one or two items were affected, this can be a daunting task is your home was completely destroyed.  This is why it’s important to create and update your home inventory.  A home inventory is a comprehensive list of all the things that you own, how much they cost, where you go them, and so on.  Having this document ready will help you in the event that you need to file an extensive personal property insurance claim.  Work on this document now to ensure that you are ready if disaster strikes.

Taking these steps will help you simplify the homeowners insurance claim process.  Do you have additional questions regarding your home coverage?  If so, then contact the experts at Miller Carlisle Insurance Services for assistance today.

How Life Insurance Serves You in Different Situations

Life insurance can do more than you think.family walking in grass

While most people only think about getting life insurance when they start a family, there are many contexts in which it pays to have this coverage.  Here are some of the different situations in which having life insurance coverage will benefit you.

  • When You’re Young and Single

Many people do not consider life insurance when they are young and single.  However, securing this coverage early in life has some definite benefits.  For instance, securing life insurance coverage will ensure that your parents or other loved ones are not forced to pay off your debts, such as student loans or credit card debt.  Additionally, your life insurance can also cover the cost of your funeral and burial, so your family does not need to worry about this considerable expense.

  • When You Get Married

When you get married, you now have a partner who is depending on your salary.  Even if you are both working, many couples need two incomes to make ends meet.  This is why you should consider securing life insurance.  Getting this coverage will ensure that your spouse has coverage for your lost income and well as coverage for your debts and final costs.

  • When You Buy a Home

When you buy a home, you will be saddled with a mortgage.  If you were to die unexpectedly, then your family might not be able to keep up with your regular mortgage payments.  As a result, they could risk losing their home.  Fortunately, you can secure life insurance coverage to take care of recurring financial responsibilities, such as your home mortgage.

  • When Your Employer Offers Your Life Insurance

If your employer offers you life insurance benefits, you should also secure a personal life insurance policy to supplement this employer-offered coverage.  Taking this step will ensure that you do not lose your life insurance coverage if you switch jobs or lose your position.  Rather than leaving your life insurance coverage in limbo, make sure you secure a policy separate from your employer.

  • When You Own a Business

If you own your own business or own a business along with a partner, then you have a whole company and team of employees relying on you.  This is why you should consider securing a separate life insurance policy to take care of your business-related financial obligations.

These are some of the different situations in which it pays to have life insurance.  Do you have more questions about your life insurance coverage?  If so, then contact the experts at Miller Carlisle Insurance Services.  We are ready to assist you with all your coverage needs today.

What Happens During a Life Insurance Medical Exam?

What you need to know about life insurance medical exams.person having their blood pressure being taken

When you go through the process of applying for life insurance, the insurance provider may ask you to complete a medical examination.  Many people are nervous about this exam because they are not sure what to expect.  To alleviate your fears, here are some of the important things to know about life insurance medical exams.

Exam Procedures

Life insurance medical exams are usually divided into two portions, a verbal questionnaire administered by a medical professional and a testing section.  During the questionnaire, you will be asked about your existing medical conditions, your family’s medical history, current medications that you are taking, and other health-related things.  During the second part of the exam, various samples will be collected for testing.  For instance, you will provide a urine and blood sample so the medical professional can screen for conditions such as high cholesterol, diabetes, and so on.  Common procedures and tests include the following:

  • Measurement of your weight and height
  • Measurement of your blood pressure and pulse
  • Blood work (to check things such as cholesterol, glucose, protein, and HIV)
  • Urinalysis (to check things such as HIV, protein, glucose, creatinine, and cocaine)

Exam Location

Despite what you might think, you do not actually have to go to a hospital or medical center for your medical exam.  Oftentimes, examinations are done in your own home.  The medical professional administering the questionnaire and the tests will travel to you.

Exam Duration

The questionnaire portion of the exam takes the longest, usually around 20 minutes.  Depending on your medical conditions and family history, this portion of the exam can take longer because the medical professional might have follow-up questions.  The sample-collection part of the exam only takes a few minutes.

This is what you need to know about your life insurance medical examination.  Do you need help securing the right life insurance to meet your needs?  If so, then contact the experts at Miller Carlisle Insurance Services.  We are ready to get you the coverage that you need today.

What to Know About Insuring Rental Cars

What’s the best way to secure auto insurance coverage for rental cars?man holding toy car and car keys

As a responsible driver, securing comprehensive coverage for your rental car is a matter of great importance.  While you might be tempted to bite the bullet and secure coverage through the car rental company, this may not be necessary.  Your personal auto policy might already provide some of the coverages that you need.  Here’s what you need to know about securing coverage for rental cars.

Personal Insurance and Rental Car Coverage

Whether or not you need to secure coverage through the car rental company depends on the specifics of your personal auto policy.  In many cases, car insurance policies will extend coverage to rental vehicles.  For instance, if your personal policy includes comprehensive and liability insurance, then this coverage will likely apply to rental cars as well.

However, keep in mind that the value of the rental car will impact your coverage.  If you are planning on renting a luxury vehicle or a car that’s worth more than your personal vehicle, then your existing insurance will not be adequate.  In this case, you should supplement your existing coverage with the insurance offered by the rental company.

Rental Company Insurance Offerings

Typically, car rental companies offer four main types of coverage: liability, personal accident insurance, Collision Damage Waiver (CDW)/Loss Damage Waiver, and personal effects coverage.

  • Liability– Covers the cost of third-party injuries or property damage that you may be responsible for. As your personal auto policy already offers liability insurance, you probably do not need to secure this coverage from your car rental company.
  • Personal accident insurance– Covers your medical expenses should you be injured in an accident. If you have personal injury protection or medical payments on your existing auto policy, then you do not need to secure this coverage from your car rental company.
  • Collision Damage Waiver (CDW)/Loss Damage Waiver– Rather than an insurance product, this waiver transfers financial responsibility from you to the car rental company in the event that the rental car is damaged or stolen. If you are renting a car, then it’s recommended to secure this waiver.
  • Personal effects coverage– Covers the personal items that are stolen out of your rental car. Before you secure this coverage from your car rental company, review your homeowners, renters, or condo insurance policy.  In some cases, these policies will offer coverage for items stolen out of your rental car.

This is what you should know about insuring rental cars.  Do you have further questions regarding your car coverage?  If so, then contact the experts at Miller Carlisle Insurance Services.  We are ready to assist you with all your auto insurance needs today.

Swimming Pools and Home Insurance

How building a pool will affect your homeowners insurance.child swimming in pool

While you might love the idea of having a personal pool in your yard, it’s important to consider this decision carefully.  One of the things that you need to take into account is how installing a pool will affect your home insurance risks and rates.  Here are some of the insurance considerations that you should make.

  • Personal Liability Considerations

If you have a pool on your property, you will automatically be responsible for the wellbeing of anybody who uses it, regardless of whether you have given them permission or not.  As thousands of pool-related injuries and deaths occur every year, it’s important to understand that having a pool on your property increases your personal liability risks significantly.

Because swimming pools increase the homeowners personal liability risks, standard coverage limits might not be adequate.  While a standard home insurance policy might offer $100,000 in personal liability coverage, a homeowner with a pool is recommended to purchase up to $500,000 in coverage.  In some cases, homeowners will need to secure an umbrella policy to get even more coverage.  Because higher coverage limits translate into higher insurance costs, it’s important to speak to your insurer to see how installing a pool will increase your premiums.

  • Property Damage Considerations

When you have a pool on your property, your home policy will cover the damages that it sustains.  However, your coverage will differ depending on what your insurer classifies your pool as.  For instance, your insurer might include your pool in the replacement cost value of your policy.  As the average in-ground pool costs $20,000 or more to install, it will increase the value of your home.  This means that you will have to increase your replacement cost value, leading to an increase in your home insurance costs.

Your insurer might also consider your pool as an external structure.  In this case, your pool would have to be declared and listed in your policy.  Most home policies cover external structures up to 10% of the overall policy replacement cost value.  This means that, if the replacement cost of your home is $100,000, then your policy would cover up to $10,000 of damage to external structures such as your pool.  As this will not be enough to cover the full value of your home’s pool, you may need to purchase additional external structures coverage.

Consider how a pool will affect your homeowners insurance before building one in your yard.  Do you have questions about your home coverage?  If so, then contact the experts at Miller Carlisle Insurance Services.  We are ready to assist you with all your coverage needs today.