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.

Connecting With Your Family by Disconnecting From the Superficial

Technology gives us tremendous power to get things done. It serves many purposes, but not all! When you start relying on it for emotional needs, you are letting it overpower you. It’s time to disconnect to connect with your family.

The Problem of Immediate Satisfaction

You’d be wondering, what is the meaning of disconnect to connect? Relationships are built over time with a great deal of effort. But instead of genuine bonding, social media focuses on immediate satisfaction and superficial happiness.

The joy of quick responses on a picture or post can be misleading. You feel you’re getting all the attention, and there’s always someone to talk to. This creates a false belief that you don’t need to spend time with people to share feelings. It can be done at the click of a button.

However, the moment you need some company, this false belief breaks off. Relying on immediate satisfaction through social media can harm your communication skills. You feel awkward around people and during face-to-face conversations, and loneliness kicks in.

Disconnect to Reconnect With Your Family

Now that you’ve seen why you need to disconnect from social media, you may have this question – how do I reconnect with my family? Well, it’s simpler than you imagine.

Ways to Connect With Your Family

  • Respect family time: If you’re having dinner with them, keep your phone away!
  • Mind your surroundings: Don’t keep using your phone when you’re around people and try to start a conversation.
  • Limit your use: Disciplining yourself is an effective way of rewiring your brain and getting it used to the natural way of socializing.
  • Analyze your habits: Analyze your daily habits and identify all the unnecessary time spent on devices.
  • Choose offline games: Love games? Try planning group activities with board games or card games.

Getting personal is the only way to build relationships. Are you looking for customized insurance policies covering all your personal needs? Contact the experts at Miller Carlisle Insurance Services. Our dedicated team is eager to assist you with all your coverage needs today.

What Differentiates Personal and Commercial Auto Insurance?

Understanding commercial auto insurance.company van

If your company owns vehicles or requires employees to drive on the job, then you need to protect your business with the right commercial auto insurance.  But what is this coverage, and what makes it different than personal car insurance policies?  Here’s what you need to know.

Personal vs. Commercial Auto

When you compare personal and commercial auto policies, you’ll notice that both types of insurance offer similar forms of coverage.  For instance, both personal and commercial auto policies will offer coverages such as collision, comprehensive, bodily injury liability, property damage liability, medical payments, and so on.  The main difference between these two types of insurance is the amount of coverage that they offer.  Because businesses face higher liability risks and have more assets to protect than individuals, commercial auto policies offer higher coverage limits and are designed to cover more complex legal issues than personal policies are.  Additionally, because businesses can use standard cars, vans, and even delivery trucks, commercial auto policies are designed to cover a wider array of vehicles than personal car insurance.

What Does Commercial Auto Insurance Cover?

Commercial auto insurance is designed to cover accidents that occur when you or your employees are using a vehicle for business purposes.  While this coverage obviously encompasses company-owned vehicles, it can also extend to your employee’s personal vehicles that they are using for business-related purposes.

Who Needs Commercial Auto Insurance?

Any business that routinely uses vehicles to carry out operations needs commercial auto insurance.  This includes businesses that handle the following:

  • Transporting goods or equipment
  • Delivering goods or services
  • Driving around clients or employees
  • Renting out company vehicles for client use
  • Hauling work-related loads
  • Towing trailers used for business purposes

Securing the Right Commercial Auto Insurance

Because heavy vans and trucks will cause more damage than standard vehicles in an accident, these types of vehicles face higher liability risks.  If your business owns vehicles that weigh more than five tons or haul more than one-ton loads, you require special commercial insurance coverage.  Vehicles that fall into this category include minibuses, cement mixers, semi-trucks, and tow-trucks.

This is what makes commercial auto insurance different than personal policies.  Do you have additional questions about your business’s insurance?  If so, then contact the experts at Miller Carlisle Insurance Services.  We are ready to assist you with all your commercial coverage needs today.

Business Insurance for Start-Ups

What new business owners need to know about commercial coverage.business team at work

If you are getting ready to launch your business, then you are probably excited to see everything that you have worked towards come to life.  Naturally, the last thing that you want is for a damage event or liability issue to hurt your company before it even has a chance to accomplish anything.  This is why it’s so important to protect your company with the right commercial coverage.  Not sure where you should begin with business insurance?  Then here are some of the things that you should know.

Why You Need Coverage

First, it’s important to understand why you need to secure insurance for your business.  In the simplest terms, business insurance is designed to protect both your commercial and personal assets.  Your commercial coverage offers financial protection in the event that your business sustains damage or is on the receiving end of a liability claim.  Your coverage can help you pay for repair costs, compensation expenses, legal fees, and so on.  Without the right commercial insurance in place, you would have to cover the full cost of business damages and liability issues out of your own pocket.  This, in turn, could compromise your business’s revenue and even your personal savings.  This is why it’s so important to have the financial protection that only commercial insurance can offer.

When Should I Secure Coverage?

Business owners should secure commercial coverage as soon as they launch their companies.  This is because your company opens itself up for risk as soon as it opens its doors.  You should secure commercial coverage even if you are operating out of your own home.  This is because your homeowners insurance will not provide coverage for business-related inventory, equipment, supplies, or liability events.  The only way to protect your fledgeling business is with the right commercial coverage.

Which Policies Do I Need?

With all the coverage options out there, it can be difficult to determine which policies are right for you.  Some of the most basic and essential forms of commercial coverage include the following:

  • Commercial property
  • General liability
  • Professional liability
  • Product liability
  • Cyber liability
  • Commercial auto
  • Business interruption

This is what startup companies need to know about commercial insurance.  Do you have additional questions about your business insurance?  If so, then contact the experts at Miller Carlisle Insurance Services.  We are ready to get you the coverage that you need today.

Situations Where You Should Review Your Life Insurance

When you need to update your life insurance coverage.parent holding baby's hand

Just because you secured life insurance doesn’t mean that your work is done.  For your policy to offer maximum protection, you need to continually review and update your coverage.  But which life events indicate that it’s time for a policy update?  Here’s when you should review your life insurance.

  • You Have a Baby on the Way

If you are welcoming a new addition to your family in the near future, then you need to update your life insurance policy to address this change.  In addition to adding your child as a beneficiary, you should also increase your coverage to help your spouse pay for child-rearing costs and future educational expenses should you die unexpectedly.

  • You Buy a New Home

If you have finally taken the huge step of purchasing a home, your financial obligations will increase.  This is because you now have to keep up with regular mortgage payments in order to keep ownership of the home.  Once you close on the home, you need to increase your life insurance coverage to ensure that your benefit is enough to help your spouse keep up with mortgage payments or pay off your mortgage completely.

  • You Want to Start Your Own Business

If you want to launch your own business, then you may need to secure business loans to finance your company.  If your spouse or business partner cosigns on these loans with you, then they would carry the burden of paying these loans back if you were to die.  This is why you should be sure to update your life insurance policy by increasing your coverage and adding your business partner as a beneficiary so they can use a portion of your death benefit to pay back these loans.

These are some of the situations in which you should review your life insurance coverage.  Do you have additional questions about your life insurance?  If so, then contact the experts at Miller Carlisle Insurance Services.  Our dedicated team is eager to assist you with all your coverage needs today.

What Homeowners Should Know About Fires

Fire damage and your home insurance.firefighters at work

As a homeowner, fires are one of the most common and costly risks that you face.  This is why it’s very important to understand what your home insurance will cover when it comes to fire damage.  Here’s what standard homeowners insurance policies will cover when it comes to fire damage to your property.

  • Coverage for Fire and Smoke Damage

Standard homeowners insurance policies will offer coverage for both fire and smoke damage to your home and belongings.  You have this coverage regardless of where a fire starts.  For instance, if your home sustains damage from a fire originating at a neighbor’s house, your insurance will still offer coverage for repairs.  Most home insurance policies also offer coverage for the damage caused by wildfires.  However, if you live in an area particularly prone to wildfires, then your policy may limit the amount of wildfire coverage that you have.  You may have to secure endorsements or supplemental insurance policies to get the comprehensive protection that you need.

  • Additional Living Expenses Coverage

If the fire damage that your home sustains is particularly extensive, it may not be safe to remain in the home.  In this case, you can access the additional living expenses (also known as loss of use) coverage included in your homeowners policy.  This coverage will help you pay for temporary housing, as well as essentials such as food, laundry services, parking, and so on while your home is being repaired.

  • When Are Fires Not Covered?

The only time your homeowners insurance will not offer coverage for fire damage is when you or anyone named on your policy caused the fire on purpose.  Intentional acts of damage are never covered by insurance.

This is what you need to know about your homeowners insurance and fire damage.  Do you have additional 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 home coverage needs today.

Can Kids Stay on Your Auto Insurance Forever?

What parents should know about insuring their kids on their auto insurance handing female driver car keyspolicies.

When your child got their driver’s license, you probably added them to your auto insurance policy because it was the easiest and most affordable way to get them covered.  However, now that they are growing up and setting off on their own, you may be wondering about your ability to keep them insured on your policy.  Here’s what you should know about parents’ keeping their kids on their auto policies.

  • Auto Insurance Residency Requirements

Where you live is the most important factor for auto insurance companies who cover multiple drivers on the same policy.  Usually, car insurers will allow parents and children to remain on the same policy as long as they all reside at the same address.  This means that many insurance companies will let children stay on their parents’ policy as long as they still live at home.

  • When Your Child Moves Out

Once your child officially moves out of your home, they are legally required to secure their own auto insurance policy.  Prior to their move, make sure they secure their own policy and inform your auto insurance provider so they can remove your child from your coverage.  Please note that attempting to keep your child on your policy by lying about their new address is an act of fraud.  Should the insurance company find out about this, then you risk being denied claims coverage and having the policy canceled altogether.  So, if you do not want to lose your coverage, be upfront about your child’s changing living situation.

  • Residency Exceptions

There are some exceptions to the residency rule.  For instance, if a child is leaving home to attend college, then they can still remain on your policy.  This is because your home is still probably your child’s primary residence.  The other exception to this rule is children of divorced parents.  If you and your spouse are divorced, then you can still list your child on your auto policy, even if they only live with you for a portion of the year.

This is what you need to know about keeping your child on your auto insurance policy.  Do you have additional questions about your car coverage?  If so, then contact the experts at Miller Carlisle Insurance Services.  We are ready to assist you with all your personal insurance needs today.

What You Should Think About When Buying Renters Coverage

Questions to ask yourself when buying renters insurance.renters moving into home

If you are living in a rented home or apartment, then you need renters insurance to secure personal property, personal liability, and loss of use coverage.  While renters insurance seems pretty straightforward, it’s important that you do not simply choose a policy on a whim.  Ask yourself these questions to ensure that you are choosing the right policy to fit your needs.

  • How Much Are My Belongings Worth?

As mentioned, renters insurance is designed to protect your belongings.  To ensure that your policy is offering the comprehensive coverage that you need, you need to determine the value of all your possessions.  While itemizing your possessions is tedious, taking this step is better than finding out that you do not have coverage for major loss events.

  • Do I Need Coverage for Valuables?

Like all insurance policies, renters insurance is subject to coverage limits.  This means that if you have particularly high-value items, such as fine jewelry, antiques, collectibles, electronics, and so on, then your policy might not offer enough coverage to protect these items.  To ensure that you aren’t leaving your high-value items vulnerable, consider adding coverage endorsements onto your renters policy to secure the supplemental protection you need.

  • What Are My Personal Liability Risks?

In addition to protecting your possessions, renters insurance also provides personal liability coverage.  Personal liability issues can arise when someone is injured while in your rental property, you or a member of your household accidentally causes losses or injuries to another party, or when a pet causes harm to another.  Because personal liability suits can be very costly, it’s important that you have enough coverage in place.  To secure an adequate amount of personal liability coverage, speak to a trusted agent so they can get a better understanding of your personal risks.

These are some of the questions that you should ask yourself when choosing a renters insurance policy.  Do you have additional questions about your renters coverage?  If so, then contact the experts at Miller Carlisle Insurance Services.  We are ready to assist you with all your coverage needs today.