BRR! The winter winds have been a ‘blowing—how is your home holding up? If you didn’t take the time to take precautions before winter started it’s not too late to take action now.
As a Nor’easter blows through the East Coast, whether you are there or elsewhere in the country, here are some tips to protect your home and family through whatever Mother Nature decides to throw at us.
Prepare For Lost Power: Stock up on flashlights and batteries. Battery operated camping lanterns are handy to have around as are LED lights. Know where they are located so if you’re caught off guard by a sudden power loss, you’re not stumbling around in the dark. Keeping a flashlight in each room is a good idea to keep from getting injured if you’re plunged into sudden darkness.
Practice Candle Safety—use candle lanterns and other candle holders where the flame is contained. Tealights in plastic cups are the safest form of candles because of their shorter burn time. Candles that burn down the center where the flame can be hidden and forgotten should be avoided. Always be sure that no flammable materials are too close to your candles.
Practice Space Heater and Generator Safety—gas heaters and gas operated generators shouldn’t be operated inside the home or garage where carbon monoxide can build up. Electric space heaters should be monitored, turned off when not home and kept away from flammable materials.
Cover Windows and Doors—leading to exterior or unheated porches. Cover them with plastic film from the inside to protect from the cold north winds blowing and save on your heating expenses.
During Severe Freezing Temperatures—allow faucets to drip just a little to keep your pipes from bursting.
Watch Out For—those pretty icicles hanging from your gutters! If icicles are forming on your home those are areas where heat is escaping. Plus they can be a danger—carefully remove them so you don’t damage the gutters or yourself before they become deadly frozen weapons waiting for a victim—like the UPS guy!
Change Furnace Filters Frequently—to keep the air circulating in your home healthier and avoid problems with your furnace’s efficiency.
Keep Salt or Ice Melt on Hand and Handy—often shoveling or snow blowing your drive and walk isn’t enough to make them safe. Similar to ‘black ice’, concrete and stone surfaces can leave glazed patches that can prove treacherous if not treated.
Taking these precautions now, even though we’re nearly midway through winter, will still result in cost savings and avoid potential problems.
And, of course if you have questions about your homeowners insurance policy. We at Mahar Insurance are always here to serve you.
So, now tell us are there any Winter Safety Tips we missed?
Auto insurance protects you against financial loss if you have an accident. It is a contract between you and the insurance company. You agree to pay the premium and the insurance company agrees to pay your losses as defined in your policy. Auto insurance provides property, liability and medical coverage:
Property coverage pays for damage to or theft of your car.
Liability coverage pays for your legal responsibility to others for bodily injury or property damage.
Medical coverage pays for the cost of treating injuries, rehabilitation and sometimes lost wages and funeral expenses.
An auto insurance policy is comprised of six different kinds of coverage. Most states require you to buy some, but not all, of these coverages. If you’re financing a car, your lender may also have requirements. Most auto policies are for six months to a year. Your insurance company should notify you by mail when it’s time to renew the policy and to pay your premium.
What is RV Insurance?
Unfortunately, as of this writing, the Insurance Information Institute does not offer a definition of RV insurance.
Therefore, will clarify …
Recreational vehicles, or RVs, include a vast array of motorhomes, from camper vans to bus conversions, organized by classes:
Class A – This class includes models such as the luxury coach, converted bus and motor coach. These vehicles can be up to 75 feet long.
Class B – This is the smallest class of recreational vehicles. These vehicles do not have a cab-over, and can also include cargo van type designs, travel trailers and camper vans.
Class C – This group includes vehicles that use a standard cargo van as the driving portion of the RV and the camper portion extends over the cab area. This class covers fifth wheel vehicles.
Your RV insurance will depend on the class of your vehicle, and how much you intend on using it, whether or not it is live in it full time, part-time, or simply used for business or personal cargo.
How Does Specialized RV Coverage Compare to “Ordinary” Car Coverage?
As you can clear see for the definition of both auto insurance and RV Insurance, most brand name auto insurance agents wish to fit your your recreational vehicle, fifth wheel, or cargo trailer into the same group as a big car, or truck, but the vehicle insurance plan you need should by specialized to cover your recreational vehicle.
Again, as an insurance brokerage agency, Mahar Insurance is able to offer several brands of insurance, so that your RV insurance protection is designed to specifically address your needs.
What RV Insurance Should Cover.
Your RV insurance policy covers should protect you for similar risks that auto insurance does.
For a detailed definition of each of these term, read this.
In addition to this basic coverages, your RV Insurance should include extra protection for your personal on board belongings, equipment and attached accessories such as awnings, UltraHeat tank heaters and satellite dishes.
Depending on the insurance company you choose, your additional coverage options may include:
Total loss replacement coverage
Campsite and vacation coverage
Towing and roadside coverage
Full-timer coverage if your RV is your full time residence
Uninsured and underinsured motorists coverage
The cost of RV insurance cost versus auto insurance
There are many similarities between the factors that determine the final overall cost of auto insurance and RV insurance.
Each will greatly vary, depending on a few key things, mainly:
Similar things that determine cost of auto and RV insurance policies.
Similar to auto insurance, the amount of time, and purpose for which you use your RV will impact the overall cost of your RV insurance.
Again, similar to auto insurance your personal driving history, record of past claims, and accident archive will determine your qualification for discounts, which impact the overall cost of your RV insurance.
As with auto insurance, the limits you set on your RV insurance policy, as well as, the deductible amounts you select have a main role in determining your final payment cost.
For instances, with either auot or RV insurance your overall costs will be lower if you choose a higher deductible. That said, we are hedging your bets on not needing to file a claim, because when and/or if you ever do you will be required to pay higher costs out of pocket.
The finally similarity, is that you can add coverage for additional riders or added coverage to provide roadside assistance coverage, for example.
With RV insurance you can also add coverage protection for personal belongings.
As a point of reference, a Class A recreational vehicle typically will cost around $2,000 dollar a year or more to than your auto insurance policy, while a Class B may fall somewhere in between $1,000 to $2,000 dollars extra.
One major difference between the cost of auto and RV insurance policies.
There is of course, one major factor that comes into play with the overall cost of your RV insurance, which is not a relevant point in determining the cost of auto insurance
What types of recreational vehicle is being covered; Class A, B or C model.
Among these options, Class A is the most expensive type coverage followed by Class C recreational vehicles.
Typically, a Class B recreational vehicle is going to be the least costly to insure.
In comparison, car do not have classes of this nature, and as a result, if you insure your RV with auto insurance you will not benefit for the extra coverage protections that RV insurance provides.
Please, do not wait until you need to file a claim to discover your auto insurance does not fully protect your RV.
It would seem that the recent event that lead to Hollywood Presbyterian Medical Center paying a $17,000 ransom in bitcoin to a hacker who seized control of the hospital’s computer systems is a signal that the day is upon us.
Another red-flag, is activity from the cyber-hackers like the ones who sent an e-mail to Sony Pictures’ executives saying they would do great damage to the company if they weren’t paid off, and then 3 days later acted on that promise.
These crime are perpetrated by using Ransomware, which as a recent Forbes article it confirms,
Across the world, hackers are taking control of networks, locking away files [using software] and demanding sizeable ransoms to return data to the rightful owner.
While larger companies are investing more in cyber security to ward off attacks, they know they won’t be able to spend their way to absolute security.
For example, consider the fact that a team of more than 1,000 IT staffers with an security budget of $250 million wasn’t enough to save JPMorgan Chase from getting hacked in 2014.
And, as the chart below illustrates the average cost of data breaches is increasing steadily year after year.
Because of the increased fear of loss and cost related to post-data breach impacts such as; tarnishing of brand reputation, litigation, and lower earning reports.
Many company are turning to Cyber Insurance as a risk of cost mitigation tool, not a hack prevention effort.
Because of the grandiose nature of the companies and randoms that make the news, it is easy to fall into the trap of believing the;
MYTH : Cyber Insurance is only needed by larger corporations, and tech companies.
The reality is that nearly every type organization of organization that uses technology to do business — regardless of size — faces cyber risk.
Sadly, small business owners tend to think that since a data breach addendum can be added to their typical business liability insurance they will be covered if hacked.
What these small business fail to realize is that as technology becomes more complex and sophisticated they do not only face new types of threats, but also unprecedented situations an insurance addendum is not capable of offering coverage.
On the other hand, if you’re going to trade or sell within the first five years, the rate of depreciation can have a major impact on your wallet.”
Therefore, not only selecting a make and model of a vehicle with low annual total cost and high resale value, but also picking a certain time to trade in your current vehicle could save you from breaking the bank.
So, what should I do when I am ready to shop for a car? Research, research, research!
Research different makes and models of vehicles, both new and used, depending on your driving situation.
Always stay up-to-date on the resale values of your own car as well as the vehicle you are looking to make as your next investment.
Also, read up on how Safeco Auto Insurance can help you with your investment, offering an online quote to meet your automotive needs.
Safeco has been delivering new and better ways to protect cars and drivers with auto insurance for over 85 years.
Safeco offers auto insurance discounts for safe driving, low mileage, having multiple drivers, and more.
What’s more, every Safeco Auto Insurance policy offers :
Roadside Assistance and will help you change a flat tire, deliver gas, oil, or other fluids like radiator and brake fluid, jump start your battery, and send out a locksmith if locked out of your vehicle.
Had an accident?
Every Safeco policy qualifies for accident forgiveness after a set number of years of accident and violation-free driving.
If your car is declared a total loss because of an accident or theft, Loan and Lease Coverage pays a possible difference between how much is left on the loan or lease and the depreciated street value of your car.
Also, if you are the original owner of a car that is less than one year old that has been totaled or stolen, Safeco will also pay you the value of a comparable new car, so depreciation is not an issue.
Whether you choose your ride to be a new or used sedan, minivan, SUV, pickup truck, or any vehicle in between, in Michigan Mahar Insurance Agency is your local Safeco independent agent and can provide personalized coverage that is just right for you.
As a homeowner, one of the most important aspects of your home isn’t something you use daily. And it isn’t something flashy you show off to friends. It’s your homeowners insurance policy, and it protects you in more ways than you may think, helping you rebuild your home or repair damage that results from a covered loss.
But, that’s not all. It can also help cover the costs of a lawsuit, help you pay for somewhere else to live when your home is uninhabitable and much more.
Home insurance is typically very comprehensive, but all policies have exclusions and coverage limits. It’s vital to know what those are so you know what’s covered and what’s not. Fire damage? Typically covered. Flood damage? Typically not.
With this guide, you can begin to understand what a typical home insurance policy covers. Just keep in mind that coverages vary from carrier to carrier, region to region and even policy to policy. Only your individual home policy can tell you the coverages you have and those you don’t. For an even better understanding of your home policy coverages, review them with your local insurance agent.
What Home Insurance Covers
The typical homeowners insurance policy has six type of coverages. They are commonly known as:
Coverage A: Dwelling, for damage to your house that occurs due to covered losses, such as a fire. Following a covered loss, dwelling coverage helps you repair or rebuild your home, including the structures, such as a garage or a deck, attached to it.
Coverage B: Other Structures, for damage to other buildings or structures on your property that result from a covered loss, such as a tornado. This may include a detached garage, a barn or a fence.
Coverage C: Personal Property, for damage to or loss, including theft, of your personal belongings and possessions, such as jewelry, furniture, guns and other valuables. If you experience a covered loss, this coverage will help you replace items up to the defined dollar limit in your policy. In certain instances, your belongings may be worth more than the typical home insurance policy covers. In this case, you may be able to purchase additional coverage through a process known as “scheduling valuables.” To help expedite a personal property claim, it helps to keep an updated home inventory of your belongings.
Coverage D: Additional Living Expenses, for costs incurred, up to your set policy limit, due to “loss of use” of your home, meaning your home has been damaged to the extent that you cannot live in it and you need to live elsewhere. This coverage helps you handle the costs of your temporary housing and related expenses.
Coverage E: Personal Liability, for damage to other people’s property for which you are responsible. This coverage may also help you handle legal costs and liability judgments resulting from a lawsuit, up to the defined dollar amounts outlined in your policy.
Coverage F: Medical Payments to Others, for bodily injuries to other people, such as a houseguest, that occur in your home or on your property. Like personal liability coverage, this coverage helps with the costs of a lawsuit or legal decision, up to your defined policy limits.
Remember that, despite having all of these different types of coverages, you’re only covered up to the dollar amounts that you select and only for covered losses, as outlined in your policy. Typically, you can change these policy limits at any time if you’d like to purchase more coverage. This is a good idea if, for example, you’ve recently added on to your home, acquired some pricey personal belongings or made other updates to your property. If needed, you can also reduce your coverage, though always ensure you are adequately protected.
What Home Insurance Doesn’t Cover
It’s just as important to know what your homeowners insurance doesn’t cover as it is to know what your home policy does cover. For starters, your policy does not cover any damage or repairs costing less than your deductible. It also does not cover any costs that exceed the coverage limits outlined in your policy. You are solely responsible for excess costs, unless you have an umbrella policy to provide additional liability coverage for a covered loss.
More than likely, your policy also does not cover routine maintenance and repairs, as well as damage due to animals, termites, floods, earthquakes, sinkholes, sewer backups and other incidents. These are often considered non-covered losses. If you experience a non-covered loss, as outlined by your policy, you will be responsible for the costs.
What Home Insurance May Cover
Outside of the typical home insurance coverages, optional or separate coverage may be available from your carrier or from a different carrier. For example, you may be able to purchase earthquake or flood coverage separate from your homeowners policy.
Other coverages are optional add-ons to your existing homeowners insurance. These can include identity protection and equipment breakdown coverage, which covers the cost to repair or replace a range of appliances and other equipment, such as pool equipment, in your home. If this sounds similar to an extended appliance warranty, it is. The difference is that you can insure an array of appliances at once through this optional coverage rather than purchasing a separate warranty for each one.
This guide is a starting point for understanding your home insurance policy. Your own policy may vary greatly from the descriptions above depending on the state where you live, your carrier and the coverages you have selected. So take a close look at your policy by reviewing your documents or viewing your coverages online. Or, even better, sit down with a local insurance agent who can explain your coverages in detail, as well as discuss whether your policy provides adequate protection for your home, property and belongings.
If you do not currently have a personal insurance agent, you can locate an independent agent who sells Safeco Insurance as well as other carriers through our Find an Agent search.
Shopping for home insurance?
Get a free homeowners insurance quote from Safeco online. Then review your quote with a local agent to ensure you purchase adequate coverage.
It’s pool time and that means hours of endless fun.
Before you open your pool, there are some things you need to know.
Having your own pool is a luxury that most people want.
However, taking care of a personal pool is a big deal. Whether you’re opening your pool for the 15th time or are looking to add a pool to your property, here are some things you need to know.
#1. Make sure you have proper coverage
When it comes to having a pool on your property, you need to ensure you have proper coverage.
A pool on your property opens you up for medical bills, property damage, and other risks.
You need to talk to your insurance provider about the type of insurance you need to help cover you, when you need it most.
#2. Safety is always number one
Even though you’re just looking at the pool as a fun adventure, there is always a safety risk.
Make sure you have safety on your mind all the time when you own a pool.
Before you even open your pool this summer, have you taken all proper safety measures?
Check with your town’s rules for owning a pool.
They may require a gate be around the pool for safety reasons.
An alarm is usually necessary as well, to ensure pets and children remain safe.
#3. Don’t be afraid to accessorize your pool
When you’re adding up how much your home is worth, don’t forget the pool accessories.
Items like deck/patio/pool related items are all worth money and therefore make sure they are covered in your insurance.
If anything were to happen, you’d want to make sure your personal property is taken care of financially, especially your pool.
Taking these precautions before you open up your pool this year is important.
Working with an insurance agent that knows that they are doing will help you out tremendously.
Now, it’s important to know what coverage you have. You can always add coverage now and be covered for later.
There is no going back when you don’t have proper coverage.
#4. Mahar Insurance Agency of Dowagiac, Michigan is here to help.
If you would like a review of your current policy let us know.
We are an insurance brokerage firm, which means we have no loyalties to State Farm, Allstate, Geico, Safeco, Progressive, Nationwide, or any other insurance company.
Instead, our loyalty is to you.
So, before opening your pool in Michigan this year, call Mahar Insurance Agency.
If you are a renter living in Michigan, odds are that even before winter officially arrived, it most likely took only a few chilly nights to get you to reach for your thermostat, or space heater.
No matter when you decide to put your home heating system back in action, be mindful that heating equipment ranks second only to cooking among the leading causes of house fires.
The good news is that you can help keep the heat flowing safely — and economically — by following a few simple tips.
Heating Safety for Michigan Tenants being with a professional inspection.
When it comes to judging the condition of a heating system, a professional heating and cooling company will have the knowledge and experience to identify problems that the typical Michigan renter, or landlord could easily miss.
While most property management companies Annual safety inspections and service are recommended for systems using central heat (including heat pumps and furnaces) or direct heat (including fireplaces and wood-burning stoves). If you have a wood-burning stove or fireplace, get your chimney inspected and cleaned. Make sure any safety inspector or chimney sweep you hire is licensed and certified.
A heating system in good working order will operate safely and efficiently, which can help lower your energy costs.
DIY inspection tips for portable heaters
With portable heating units, you can look for a commercial electrical provider or local hardware shop that provides inspections and service or save a little money by doing some maintenance yourself. Inspection tips for space heaters include:
Kerosene heaters — Look for and replace old or dirty wicks, put in fresh batteries and drain old fuel before refilling the tank
Electric heaters — Check for frayed or loose power cords and wipe dust and dirt off the exterior
In addition, don’t forget to inspect the spot where you plan to put your space heater. Make sure to place it away from foot traffic and flammable materials such as furniture and rugs.
If you’re buying a space heater to use this winter, remember to look for a model with overheat protection, a tip-over safety switch and other safety features. A certification label from an independent product testing company such as UL (Underwriters Laboratories) or ETL (Intertek) is also a good sign.
Consider some supporting safety equipment
As you take steps to keep a furnace or fireplace operating safely, you should remember that other home devices can come into play in helping to reduce risk.
The most obvious is a smoke detector or heat sensor, but the list of potential heating-related hazards doesn’t stop at fire. Faulty heating equipment can lead to a potentially hazardous buildup of carbon monoxide inside your home, which makes a CO detector a wise investment. Carbon monoxide sensors are designed to alert you to dangerous levels of this colorless, odorless toxic gas.
Just like a smoke detector, a carbon monoxide detector requires fresh batteries and regular testing to operate most effectively.
Use the right kind of firewood
With any wood-burning heating system, the material that fuels the fire makes a huge difference in safety and efficiency.
Experts recommend burning dry and well-seasoned wood whenever possible and avoiding wet or green wood that can cause excessive smoke or rapid buildup of the flammable chemical creosote. Proper storage, in a woodshed or under a tarp, helps ensure that wood stays dry.
Also, homeowners are discouraged from using “scrap wood,” such as leftover construction materials since painted or treated wood releases toxic compounds when burned.
Stay safe as well as warm this winter
When you prepare your home heating system ahead of time, you can ease the chill without leaving anything to chance.
A company named 21 habit has a cool online monitoring program, which allows you to set a 21 day goal at $1 per day. Each day you check in you get a dollar back. Since Earth Day is around the corner, we at Mahar Insurance thought it would be a good idea to focus our 21 day goal on the 3 R’s; Reduce, reuse, recycle.
What exactly does this mean?
Most likely, you’ve heard that catchy phrase connected with information about saving natural resources and even saving your family money. But how many of us really make reducing, reusing and recycling a part of our everyday life?
Last year Safeco Insurance celebrated 15 years of supporting Safeco Field. As an insurance agency partner of Safeco, we at Mahar Insurance, are happy to say that we are trying to do our part to protect our environment and use our resources wisely, as well. And we’re hoping you’ll take the time – if you’re not already – to make reduce, reuse and recycle part of your daily routine. Depending on where you’re starting from, it may take a change in mindset, or maybe just a little more dedication.
We have found the using the fun tool to 21 Habit can make reduce, reuse and recycle a part of our natural daily routine and fun while developing the new behaviors.
• Look for products that use less packaging. Companies use less raw material when they use less packaging, reducing waste and cost. This means that you can save money while helping to protect the environment. A great example (though it sounds at odds with “reduce”) is buying items in bulk.
• Avoid disposable items. Take your own travel mug to the coffee shop, for instance, or bring real silverware to work for lunches, instead of using plastic.
• Let technology help. New compact fluorescent light bulbs use far less energy than standard bulbs, and low-flow shower heads, coupled with aerators, can reduce your water use without you even noticing.
• Invest in maintenance. When properly maintained, many items, such as appliances and clothing, won’t need to be replaced as frequently.
• Don’t buy limited-use items. If you need something that you won’t use more than once or twice, such as a power tool, see if you can borrow or rent instead of buying.
• Donate! When you’re done with an item, if it’s in good shape, consider donating it to a charitable organization that will sell it or continue using it. You just might get a mcc4tax deduction, too! And don’t forget, you can always buy used items as well.
Recycling isn’t just about putting your cans, bottles and newspapers into a bin, although that plays a big part. Here are some other things to consider.
• Electronic waste: TVs, computers, cell phones and other electronics should not go into landfills. Many companies offer options now for proper disposal at little to no cost. Even printer ink cartridges can be recycled.
• Food waste: In many communities, food scraps and waste are collected along with yard waste and used for composting.
• Restaurants and grocery stores: Some establishments are beginning to offer separate bins for recyclable materials and food waste. Be sure to use these when available, and if your favorite place doesn’t offer this option, ask about it!
Though your actions may seem small, they do make a difference in the surrounding Dowagiac, Michigan community — and the world. And when they’re combined with the efforts of millions of others, the impact is even bigger than you can imagine!
In fact, one small and easy step could be going paperless. Contact us to and request paperless invoicing, and email updates versus paper hard copies.
We are in this together. At Mahar Insurance, we can work with you to make sure you’ve got the coverage you need, while at the same time using all possible credits and discounts to make that coverage affordable.
Just give us a call at (269) 782-8646 or send us a note at:
Mahar Insurance 210 W. Division Street, PO Box 388 Dowagiac, MI 49047.
We want to help you meet your goals, and make sure what’s important to you is protected!
During this time of year most people living in Southern Michigan have two thoughts in mind …
1) What am I going to do for Valentine’s Day this year?
2) How much more snow will we get before Summer?
Ironically, the answer to both are strangely tied to insurance.
“How?”, you wonder.
Well, lets start with the first thought.
Does Your Insurance Show You The Love
My response is a bit “extreme” with plenty of pun intended.
In 1990, Extreme debuted a saying called “Sayin I Love You“.
Today, the song is greatly considered one of the greatest monster ballads of all time.
Part of the lyrics include the following phrase:
“… if you only knew, how easy it would be to show me how you feel. More than words is all you have to do to make it real,
Then, you wouldn’t have to say that you love me. Cause I’d already know.”
When you provide protection for the ones you love, and the properties you share with them — you show that you love them without the words.
A security system says, “I value our safety” and “I choose to protect our home and valuables”.
Full coverage on a vehicle from a quality insurance provider says, “your life matters to me” and “the vehicle we drive is an asset to your lifestyle”.
Now, listen up guys… listen closely.
You still need to do special things like:
buy flowers and chocolates,
surprise her with a day at the spa,
set special time aside, etc.
Likewise, your insurance provider needs to do more than just provide protection.
How to know to your insurance provider is showing you love everyday?
In case you have not noticed, I have used the term “insurance provider“, not “insurance company“.
Here’s my reasoning.
An insurance company is designed to sell you their insurance regardless of what is best for you.
For example, you’ll never see a State Farm Insurance commercial suggesting American Modern Insurance is the best options for classic cars.
And, it is highly unlikely — a green gecko is going to inform you that in 15 minutes of less Foremost Insurance is more cost-effective than Geico for your RV Insurance.
On the other hand, an insurance brokerage, such as Mahar Insurance Agency represents various “insurance providers”, and is able to guide you towards working with the “insurance company(ies) that best fit your needs.
For example, if you have never had an accident, and you have owned your home for more than 1 year they might suggest “Liberty Mutual“, because they offer both an multi-line discount and accident forgiveness.
Now, that is showing you the love.
Moving on, let’s address the “snow issue” before Summer.
Even Insurance Can’t Stop The Snow
While we can not predict the weather, much less prevent it from happening.
We can ensure you and the people you love of one thing.
We are allows their for you.
No shenanigans, excuses, or other.
Here are some real life crazy examples of protection from snow and ice:
A patch of ice caused a father and son to flip their toy hauler. Fortunately, they were not hurt, but, their snowmobile got trashed. Progressive Insurance has a full replacement check in their hands within 2 weeks.