Insurance For Contractors & Builder

Fifty-three percent of contractors report that professional positions – project supervisors, estimators and engineers – are difficult to fill1.

Timelines, change orders and contract administration add to your concerns.

The need for a knowledgeable, specialized insurer is paramount to your success.

Mahar Insurance is one of Michigan’s leading construction insurance brokerage firms.

Insurance for Your Construction Business

After years of experience working with construction companies, from the local general contractor to national entities, we know that protecting your business from risk requires a deep understanding of the industry.

No matter the size, your business can benefit from our experience in addressing key areas of risk and the solutions to keep your workplace safe, including construction ergonomics; crane, scaffold, and excavation safety; and more.

We work with a variety of Insurance Providers servicing:

  • General building contractors*
  • Heavy construction contractors
  • Specialty trade contractors

Construction Insurance

We offer customized construction insurance including general liability, workers’ compensation, commercial auto insurance and much more. Certain coverages for contractors are available by themselves, but we also offer full BOPs with a wide variety of options.

Who needs construction insurance?

Any business that works in a construction trade, such as building construction, heavy construction or home improvement, needs to carry construction insurance to protect them from risk. We offer many types of construction insurance including:

  • Security Company Insurance
  • Home Builder Insurance
  • Developer Insurance
  • Renovation Insurance
  • Welding Insurance
  • And more…

Laws may vary by state, so make sure you’re familiar with the local rules and regulations where you work.

General liability insurance

General liability insurance, or GL, is a fundamental part of construction insurance. It could provide protection against lawsuits and other financial liabilities that result from things like accidents or other mishaps.

Here’s a list of a few companies Mahar Insurance partners with to bring you great insurance options.

Travelers who specializes in offering:

Risk Control, Underwriting and Claim professionals, dedicated to your industry, are skilled in helping you better manage complex indemnity, additional insured and contractual exposures.

Traveler’s does this via its …

INDUSTRYEdge® for General Contractors insurance product.

General contractors have unique risks.

Travelers INDUSTRYEdge offers products and insights to help our customers stay ahead of risk by preparing for it and ultimately helping to reduce loss costs and keep projects running smoothly.

Travelers’ broad, tailored coverages and enhancements are based on deep knowledge and experience in the construction industry, and specifically designed to meet the needs of our customers.

Liberty Mutual whose risk control consultants and property risk engineers also work to help lower your total cost of risk.

Liberty Mutual specialization spans beyond risk control.

They have dedicated industry underwriters for larger, more complex risks who focus exclusively on construction.

In addition, their legal personnel are experts in construction defect and accident liability, and our specialized claims units excel at handling complex and catastrophic construction claims.

Business-Specific Coverages

In addition to offering core coverages such as commercial auto and workers compensation, Mahar Insurance leverages Liberty Mutual to also offer coverages tailored for your construction business, including:

  • Inland marine insurance (builder’s risk, contractor’s equipment, installation floater)
  • Owners and contractors protective liability (OCP)
  • Project-specific coverages (e.g., wrap-ups, joint ventures)
  • Railroad protective liability

Progressive Insurance Company

GL is often bundled with a variety of other coverages in a Business Owners Policy, or BOP. However, you might be eligible to get construction insurance with general liability coverage through the Progressive Advantage® Business Program without getting a full BOP. Check eligibility.

Business owners insurance

Business Owners Insurance (BOP) could provide various protections for construction businesses including general liability insurance, and loss of income coverage. Find out if you’re eligible to include BOP – through the Progressive Advantage Business Program – as a part of your construction insurance plan. Check eligibility.

Workers’ compensation insurance

Workers’ compensation insurance through the Progressive Advantage Business Program could help cover the medical costs and a portion of lost wages for an employee who becomes ill or injured during work.

Discover if you’re eligible to include workers’ compensation coverage to your construction insurance package. Check eligibility.

Construction insurance for vehicles

We provide many types of construction vehicle insurance including:

  • Cement Mixer Insurance
  • Pump Truck Insurance
  • Bucket Truck Insurance
  • Straight Truck Insurance

We also offer an extensive line of trailer insurance for whatever you’re hauling.

View all the types of commercial trailers we insure.

Learn more common types of commercial vehicles we insure and browse commercial auto insurance information organized by vehicle type.

Speak to a construction insurance expert.

 

 

 

Holding Your Phone To Talk Is Considered Distracted Driving in Michigan

Although there’s still lots to do in terms of bringing an end to hand-held cell phone use while driving in Michigan, the state does have a texting while driving ban which prohibits reading, typing or sending text messages using a wireless two-way communication device in a person’s hand or lap while driving a car.

Here’s the statute.

Distracted Driving

Distracted Driving in Michigan statisticsDriver inattention is the leading factor in most crashes and near-crashes, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

What is it?
Distracted driving is any non-driving activity a person engages in that has the potential to distract him or her from the primary task of driving and increase the risk of crashing.

Michigan law prohibits texting while driving, for a first offense, motorists are fined $100.

Subsequent offenses cost $200.

There are three main types of distracted driving in Michigan:

  • Visual – taking your eyes off the road
  • Manual – taking your hands off the wheel
  • Cognitive – taking your mind off of what you’re doing

Distracted Driving in Michigan activities include:

  • Using a cell phone and/or texting
  • Eating and drinking
  • Talking to passengers
  • Grooming
  • Reading, including maps
  • Using a PDA or navigation system
  • Watching a video
  • Changing the radio station, CD, or MP3 player.

Focus on the task at hand – driving:

  • Get familiar with vehicle features and equipment before pulling out into traffic.
  • Preset radio stations, MP3 devices, and climate control.
  • Secure items that may move around when the car is in motion. Do not reach down or behind the seat to pick up items.
  • Do not text, access the Internet, watch videos, play video games, search MP3 devices, or use any other distracting technology while driving.
  • Avoid smoking, eating, drinking, and reading while driving.
  • Pull safely off the road and out of traffic to deal with children.
  • Do personal grooming at home-not in the vehicle.
  • Review maps and driving directions before hitting the road.
  • Monitor traffic conditions before engaging in activities that could divert attention away from driving.
  • Ask a passenger to help with activities that may be distracting.
  • If driving long distances, schedule regular stops, every 100 miles or two hours.
  • Travel at times when you are normally awake and stay overnight rather than driving straight through.
  • Avoid alcohol and medications that may make you drowsy.

Courses To Help Professionals and Driver  Learn About Distracted Driving in Michigan

This course, offered by Gerber Collision and Auto, is designed to help you understand the scope of the problem distracted driving has become.

It is driving up the number of claims you are processing but worse, it is creating fatalities which leave families devastated forever.

We intend to provide you an education that will benefit you and your policyholder.

Today’s vehicles are complex and it is important that the collision repair shop, insurance company, insurance adjuster, insurance agent and customer are communicating in tandem.

It is also imperative that as professionals, we communicate important driving tips that may prevent harm to your insured’s.

This is an open forum, hopefully we can learn a lot from each other.

Distracted Driving in Michigan Impacts Insurance Costs

General Facts About Distracted Driving 

  • The proportion of fatalities reportedly associated with driver distraction increased from 10 percent in 2005 to 16 percent in 2009.
  • The portion of drivers reportedly distracted at the time of the fatal crashes increased from 7 percent in 2005 to 11 percent in 2009.
  • In 2009, 5,474 people were killed in U.S. roadways and an estimated additional 448,000 were injured in motor vehicle crashes that were reported to have involved distracted driving. (FARS and GES)
  • 20 percent of injury crashes in 2009 involved reports of distracted driving. (NHTSA).
  • Of those killed in distracted-driving-related crashes, 995 involved reports of a cell phone as a distraction (18% of fatalities in distraction-related crashes). (NHTSA)
  • The age group with the greatest proportion of distracted drivers was the under-20 age group – 16 percent of all drivers younger than 20 involved in fatal crashes were reported to have been distracted while driving. (NHTSA)
  • Drivers who use hand-held devices are four times as likely to get into crashes serious enough to injure themselves. (Source: Insurance Institute for Highway Safety)
  • Using a cell phone use while driving, whether it’s hand-held or hands-free, delays a driver’s reactions as much as having a blood alcohol concentration at the legal limit of .08 percent. (Source: University of Utah)

Fuel Pump Safety Tips : Keep You and Your Car Safe at the Gas Pump

In this day and age, filling up your gas tank is a mundane event that you do without thinking.

It’s like going down a familiar stretch of road and then wondering how you got from your starting point to where you are.

When we get too familiar with our surroundings, we sometimes forget to be cautious. However, when filling up our car with gasoline, it is always important to remember to be cautious.

The main danger in getting gasoline is not the gas itself, but the flammable vapors that can be triggered by even a static spark.

Here are some ways to keep you and your car safe at the gas pump:

Turn off your Car

I was always taught from a young age to turn off my car while refueling it. Although this is a pretty known fact, many people still ignore the precaution. When your car is running, it is continuously making sparks light the fuel to run your engine. Do you really want those sparks to be working while your pumping gas into it? Stay safe and turn your car off when you are refueling.

Refrain from Smoking

It seems strange that in a place so easy to start on fire sells cigarettes and lighters, but just because you can buy them there doesn’t mean you should light them up. Stay away from smoking or striking a light while pumping gas period. The number one reason stations catch ablaze is cigarettes.

Don’t Top off Your Gas

Henschen Oil recommends that when the gas pump reads $20.87, you may be tempted to add a little more gas to get to $21.00, but it’s important not to do this. Topping off your gas can cause spills that can easily be ignited by static sparks, cigarettes, or other lit sources.

Use Correct Gas Containers

If you need gas at home for your lawn mower or weed eater, don’t just grab any old container. Use an approved gas container. Gas containers are specifically designed to hold gas safely. Because static can cause a fire to start, touch the gas pump to the container before you begin pumping to ensure the container isn’t going to cause a static reaction.

Stay out of Your Car

This is one that isn’t regularly taught, but getting in and out of your car can cause static electricity. This static can result in you igniting the fuel being pumped. If you have to get back into your car, make sure to touch the outside of your vehicle before touching the fuel pump to prevent ignition.

Flee a Fire Quickly

Most people think to put a fire out if they see one, but don’t! A fueling station is likely to blow up shortly after first signs of a fire. If you see a fire, scream fire, hop in your car, and get out of there as quickly as possible. You never want to stay in the vicinity of a fire and a fueling station.

Getting gas is something we just don’t think about, but keeping these safety tips in mind can help prevent accidents from occurring.

Be Prepared

Unfortunately accident and incidents occur. Hopefully when the do your vehicle is safely insured.

If you would like to discuss your vehicle insurance policy, or shop around for a few quote.

Call Mahar Insurance Agency at (269) 782-8646.

We offer a variety of brands and multi-line discount opitions to help keep you and your car safe at the gas pump and everywhere else.

 

6 Times To Consider A Change To Your Michigan Insurance Policy

Change Is Certain.

Wow! What a year it has been?

It all goes so fast.

And, as is goes by it changes.

We all find ourselves it different stages in life, and as a result — we are undergoing changes as well.

There is a saying “that the only things that is certain in life are death and taxes”, but I would argue change is also certain.

In fact, it is so certain we plan for it.

And, we build systems of protection to minimize the risks associated with it.

As your leading Southern Michigan Insurance brokerage agency, we offer many  types of insurance from several outstanding insurance providers to help you navigate these changes.

We Get Busy and Forget.

The demands of life unfortunately often lead to busyness and distraction.

When that happens, we neglect reviewing and updating important documents.

One such document are the insurance policy (ies) which protect us.

To help you better identify which transitions in life could require a change in your insurance here are 6 changes to consider.

6 Reasons To Considering A Change / Update of Your Insurance

The Mahar Insurance Agency can help change / update your Michigan insurance polies(ies) for these six common transitions:

#1 Living away from home for college

Homeowners insurance policies will typically offer full-time students under the age of 24 coverage.

However, not every insurance provider offers Michigan policy holders such a benefit.

Mahar Insurance transition expert are available to help make sure your college student is covered.

Also, part-time students, or students older than 24 might need to take out renters insurance to protect their assets.

In selecting an apartment over a dorm room your separate will most likely need a separate renter’s insurance policy.

Student’s and Vehicles

Typically your student does not need a separate policy if they are driving a family members vehicle to college.

Students whom are co-owners of a vehicle, or have their own vehicles are required to have separate auto insurance policies from their parents.

#2 You are a first-time renter

There are a lot of things that go into renting your first place.

Francee Foster, a Southern Michigan Realtor offers some good suggestions for first-time renters on her blog.

One quote specifically addresses renters insurance. She writes,

So many people miss out on the benefit of renter’s insurance. They try and cut corners, but sometimes it ends up not being a good thing (okay, all of the time). Renter’s insurance really is not a huge expense at all, but can be a big life saver when it comes to making sure you are NOT without a home and belongings later down the road.

 

In addition to protecting your belongings, a good renters insurance policy also provides worldwide liability protection against situations like breaking a window or running into someone while skateboarding.

The medical bills of someone who accidentally gets hurt in your apartment would likely be covered.

Your renters insurance policy often covers additional expenses like having a place to stay in the event your apartment building burns down due to an electrical fire.

#3 Wedding Bells

Life Insurance as protection and investment

If this is your first time getting married, you will most definitely want to look into life insurance.

Life insurance built the right way can be the most affordable way to help ensure that you and your spouse are able to survive should something disastrous should happen.

Auto Insurance discounts

If you each had separate cars prior to marriage, you can now benefit from multi-vehicle discounts offered by many auto insurance policy carriers.

Protect the diamond

We strongly suggest additional coverage options to protect your wedding and engagement rings from thief and lose.

#4 Did somebody say “baby”?

You might have all the baby accessories and gadgets from the baby shower, but, something you most likely need to adjust is your life insurance policy, and listed beneficiaries.

Some homeowner insurance policies also include special coverage options for stay-at-home moms.

#5 Tired of cold Michigan winters

If you decide to become a snowbird, as long as you are renting another place down south, and you live in your permanent home for more than 6 months in a calendar year, then no change is needed other than a consideration of renter’s insurance.

If you buy a second home down south, that would be a game-changer, but, nothing that Mahar Insurance cannot help you handle.

#6 Transition to assisted-living

With change, comes age.

When you or a loved one enters into an assisted living facility renter’s insurance is strongly recommended.

CONCLUSION: 6 Times To Consider A Change To Your Michigan Insurance Policy

Life has its ups and down.

Life undoubtedly changes.

With does changes your Michigan insurance policies should at a minimum be review to ensure they fit your current life needs.

That said, there is one thing that does not have to change.

So long as Mahar Insurance Agency is in existence you’ll be able to rely on our insurance brokers to help you navigate change and protect the ones you love every step of the way.

Contact us today!

Insure Your Pet (s) Are Protected

When it comes to pets they are part of the family.

This is why having a plan in place for protection of your pet, in the event of a disaster, is so important.

If you live in an area where toranados can hit you have a plan for evaluating to a safe area.

You should have your pets included in this plan.

Important tips to insure your pet’s safety:

#1. Have your pet ID and make sure it is current!

Having a microchip placed by your veterinarian is an important step to keeping your pet safe.

This way if your pet is lost among the shuffle of an emergency the microchip will give the information about your pet’s veterinarian.

Then they can insure your pet(s) will get back to you.

Be sure to keep your information current with your veterinary office.

If a microchip is not feasible be sure to have current owner information on your pet’s tag on a secure collar.

#2. Insure your pet has prepared emergency kit.

After hurricanes in the past have taken the lives of so many pets, the Humane Society has put together a list to include in your pet emergency kit.

An emergency pet kit can be a valuable tool in a needed situation.

#3. Include your pets in your emergency escape plan.

It is very important to have a plan in place in the event of an emergency.

Don’t forget to include your pets in this vital plan.

Have the phone number to places where you can take your pet if they need medical care.

Be sure that any place you plan to go to in an emergency will allow your pets to go with you.

#4. Put stickers on your windows at home.

Putting stickers on your windows, is an important thing you can do that can help save your pets life in an emergency.

This lets emergency rescue personnel know there are pets in the home.

There might be a time that you have to escape and leave your pets in your home.

No one wants to think of escaping and leaving your pet but if your life is in danger you may have no choice.

The stickers will help the rescue workers know what homes have pets.

The ASPCA website has free “pet inside” stickers for you to order.

Knowing what to do in case of an emergency is an important of insuring your pet is safe.

It can literally be life-saving in a dire situation.

#5. Ask your Mahar Insurance Agent about ways to add pets to your insurance policy.

Including your pets in your plan and knowing what to expect will help ensure you, your family’s and your pets safety.

How to Improve Home Safety on a Budget

Everyone wants a safer home, but as you may already know, safety can be expensive.

In order to make sure your home is safe, there are some things you need to do.

5 Ways To Home Safety on a Budget

You do not have to spend your entire life savings in order to make your home completely safe.

Check out these tips on how you can improve your home’s safety, while on a budget.

  • Fix your home

One of the biggest safety issues in a home today is the fact that people do not keep up with.

When something breaks around your home, fix it.

The simplest things can pose the biggest safety risks for your family.

Make sure your garage door is fixed properly, windows latch, and that doors latch.

These things, while basic, can help improve the safety of your home.

Not to mention, all are pretty inexpensive fixes.

improve-home-safety-with-a-window-remodel-contractor home safety on a budget

  • Safety proof those windows

You might think there isn’t much you can do to help keep your windows safe, but there are.

If you have ever heard of security film, this is something that is budget friendly, but could save your life.

The security film keeps your windows from getting scratched up and even from potential bullets.

You can also put up some sort of decorative film to prevent potential criminals from looking inside of your home.

  • Light up your home

One of the cheapest ways you can make your home safer, on a budget, is by lighting up your home.

The brighter, the better.

When it comes to thieves, it is easier to get away with things when it is dark outside.

Make sure you light up your home with motion sensor lights wherever possible.

Lights are inexpensive and can help you stay on target with your budget.

kemp-electric-check-your-smoke-detectors-often home safety on a budget

  • Smoke alerts

Kemp Electric, an electrical contractor in Nappanee, smoke alerts can also be an inexpensive way to keep your home safe.

It can be hard to remember that things like fire and smoke can be a safety hazard to our homes.

 

  • Upgrade one thing at a time

Your home can never be safe enough, there are always things you can do to make it even safer.

If you do not have a ton of money to put into your home’s safety, then do one thing at time.

This month, you might want to upgrade your doors.

Doors are really what keep your family super safe.

A simple fix to help ensure your door is even safe is to use longer screws instead of the traditional short screws.

You can also purchase a door that is safety proof.

Also, consider hiring a remodeling expert over a large construction company to help you save time and money.

Final Thoughts

There you have it, 5 ways to improve your home safety on a budget.

We would love to hear your thoughts too.

Please use the comment section below to do so.

Rental Property Fire Insurance Under Review in Michigan

Imagine your rental house catching on fire, but your insurance denies the claim. This exact incident happened on the Williams rental property. The homeowner submitted a claim to her insurance company (Auto-Owners Insurance Company).

Claim Denied

No one expects their claim to be denied, but that is exactly what happened. Williams’ claim was denied because her policy didn’t cover “losses caused by explosions.” This particular explosion apparently happened outside of the property.

Rented Didn’t Have Proper Insurance

Come to find out, Williams’ also went on to file a lawsuit against the insurance agent (Jervis-Fehtke). Williams states that Jervis didn’t give her the type of home insurance that she requested. Williams went to court and testified that she asked her insurance agent to give her full coverage insurance on her home.

Rental Property Fire Insurance Over Review in Michigan

Three Types of Insurances Available

When it comes down to home insurance there are 3 types available.

Williams had the basic homeowner’s insurance policy on her own when the fire happened.

  1. homeowners
  2. replacement cost
  3. “dwelling fire” policy

Here is what came to be after Williams and Jervis went head to head in court.

  • The court actually ruled that Williams never had a firm foundation for the proper documents for her argument in court, they just ruled it as hearsay.
  • The Court also ruled that the evidence brought forth by the insurance company was also not relevant.
  • The verdict was also eventually in favor of Jervis: basically, Williams was not able to prove neglect on the account of Jervis.

Rental Property Fire Insurance Lessons to Be Learned:

There are several lessons to be learned in this court case.

#1. Know what your homeowner’s policy covers. Read every single piece of paper you get from your insurance agent. Accidents and disasters happen when you least expect it, so make sure you understand your policy in-depth.

#2. Communication is important. Obviously, Williams never fully communicated with her insurance agent. It’s vital that you tell your insurance agent exactly what you want/need for your home.

#3. Stay organized. It’s clear that a lot of evidence, in this case, was thrown out because Williams and Jervis didn’t have their “ducks in a row.” Stay organized, so if a disaster does happen, you are properly prepared.

BONUS: Recognize the dangers of hiring an unlicensed electrician, especially when dealing with rental property.

Remember, Mahar Insurance Agency is always here to help!

 

Why Your MI Home is Insured for More Than You Can Sell It

 Why Your MI Home is Insured for More Than You Can Sell It: Understanding the Insurance to Home Value

When you buy a new home and you get new insurance, you may wonder why your house has so much more “value”, or insurance coverage than you paid for the home.

You may need to understand that is what is would cost to rebuild your home if something were to happen to it.

So, in reality, while your home can’t sell for that much, it would cost that much to replace it.

There are also many factors to consider when it comes to how an insurance company, like Safeco Insurance, comes up with the reconstruction value of a home.

Here is how you can figure out your insurance to home value.

Calculating your homes square footage - Mahar Insurance

  • Square Footage of the Home

Your home is insured for more than you can sell it for and that’s determined by the square footage.

The size of your home can have a lot to do with how much its reconstruction value is.

Here’s a blog post, that explains the steps to calculating your home square footage.

Cost of building materials impact on insurance to home value- Mahar Insurance

  • Materials the Home is Made of

This may seem weird, but your home is insured for more than you can sell it for because of the cost of materials.

When it comes to replacing the interior and exterior of the home from scratch, this can add up quite quickly.

Think about this too, rebuilding is way different than buying.

So, the cost of labor and materials needs to be added into the value of the reconstruction of your home.

Cost of replacing personal belongings

  • Personal Belongings in the Home

One of the biggest reasons that your home is insured for more than you can sell it for is because of your personal belongings.

It will cost quite a bit to replace every single thing in your home and the insurance company knows that.

It’s better to be safe than sorry in this instance.

This is a big part of the insurance to home value.

The coverage of insurance on your home is super important.

If something were to happen to your home, you would want to make sure it was completely rebuilt to your standards.

Which is why insurance companies are so thorough when it comes to doing an insurance quote on your home.

Of course, if you still think of Michigan insurance to home value is to higher, Mahar Insurance agency would love to review your homeowners policy, and provide you with a competitive quote.

Here are some things to keep in mind when an insurance agent is looking at your home to give you a quote:

  • Accuracy

Like mentioned before, accuracy is super important.

Without an accurate estimate, your home insurance could be in vain.

  • Understand the value of good insurance

When it comes to choosing a home insurance, keep in mind that you only have one chance to get it right.

Mahar Michigan insurance to home value

To sum things up, it’s important to know WHY your home is insured for more than you can sell it for.

It is a little thing called, “insurance to home value”

Also, when choosing an insurance agent/company, keep accuracy and value in mind.

In doing so, we ask you keep Mahar Insurance for a competitive quote.

Would you add anything to this list?

Let us know if you finally understand what the insurance to home value is and how it works.

How To Lower your Michigan Insurance Rates When They Rise

best michigan insurance rates

Does anybody know what is going on with Michigan auto insurance rates?

Within the last two month, depending on the day of the week and who you asked, Michigan insurance rates are either going up $40, down $10, and up $36 on July 1, 2017, when Michigan Governor’s Rick Synders 2017 Budget is approved.

The confusion centers around nearly 100 auto insurers in Michigan who last year claimed a previously unavailable tax credit that is expected to cost the state $80 million in annual revenue.

According to the Detroit Free Press, an estimated 2 million Michigan’s insured drivers — are going to see a $40 per year increase on their auto insurance premiums if a tax credit that benefits the auto insurance industry is repealed.

News of the insurance credit surfaced in January 2016 during a state revenue estimating conference.

The drop in state revenue was a factor in the 2017 fiscal-year budget which Governor Rick Snyder presented in mid-February.

However, the Detroit News has reported a surplus should actually reduce the bill by $36 per year.

MCCA Executive Director Gloria Feeland said,

Motorists are getting a reduction because the fund’s stock market investments have been more profitable than expected and because more than $29 of the current assessment has helped reduce a predicted deficit.

Initially news of Governor Snyder’s plans to repeal the insurance tax was view with pessimism by the Michigan Chamber of Commerce.

Stop the Michigan car insurance tax - Michigan Insurance Rates

Michigan chamber Insurance Tax Repeal

 

 

Anderson Economic Group - Michigan Insurance Footprint Report - Michigan Insurance RatesThe Chamber also made reference to the Michigan Insurance Economic Footprint Report published in February by the research and consulting firm known as the Anderson Economic Group.

A copied  of the study can be found here.

According to the Michigan Insurance Coalition, since 2013, auto insurance companies have used this credit to reduce premiums to law abiding drivers.

“The tax credit allows the cost of uninsured motorists to be spread to everyone, not just to auto insurance consumers who are operating their vehicles lawfully and properly,” said Pete Kuhnmuench, Executive Director, Insurance Institute of Michigan.

Then, the Claims Journal recently announced,

The annual auto insurance fee that Michigan drivers pay toward caring for people catastrophically injured in crashes is rising to $160, a $10 increase. The assessment increased by $10.00 because assets set aside to pay existing claims produced returns less than anticipated.

The Michigan Catastrophic Claims Association announced Tuesday the new per-car assessment for the 12 months starting July 1.

 

This news has left blog author Steven Gursten asking one asking:

Are auto insurance companies having their cake and eating it too with MI Assigned Claims Plan assessments?

Michigan Auto Law

Insurance Journal also reported that, Michigan is the only state that requires drivers to buy unlimited medical benefits.

Regardless of what happens they are several things all Michigan drivers can do to save money on auto insurance.

Here are 4 easy ways to reduce your Michigan Insurance Rates

1. Buy insurance from a brokerage agency.

Franchised insurance agencies like State Farm, Allstate, and Nationwide and the others all have pluses and minuses, however, their biggest down flaw is that they only offer you one answer.

On the other hand, an insurance brokerage agency can offer you many options from various brands.

2. When you can, take advantage of multi- line discounts.

When you include a house, or other type of asset to your insurance policy you actually reduce the long-term risk the insurance company faces.

Thus, the Michigan insurance underwriter is willing to extend a deeper insurance rate discount.

3. If you are married, stay that way.

Studies show that married couples in Michigan save 23% more than single people.

4. Remove children over 20 from your policy.

Aside from the fact that it will teach your children to be responsible and independent…

… a child between the age of 20 – 35 will increase your Michigan insurance rates by 17% on average.

If you would like a free comparison quote from an independent insurance brokerage firm, contact Mahar Insurance today!

Countless Ways Michigan Homeowners Can Save in 2016

The beginning of a new year singles the opportunity to get a mulligan on life, if you will.

People love making resolutions: sadly most personal goals are never reached.

Why?

Because, people always tend to think and talk about setting personal goals prior to the new year, but rarely do they act on it.

Life gets to busy to exercise.

Eating healthy is not convenient in a fast food world.

And, the list goes on and on.

Fortunately, if your goals are financial in nature you can leverage your home to your advantage.

Whether you are looking to pay off some debt, build up your savings account, better manage your daily spending, or prepare for your retirement.

These are good monetary goals to have, but, do you have a plan to achieve them?

If you have not developed a plan here are some ideas, as there is still plenty of time to figure things out in 2016.

Smart Way’s Homeowners Insure Their Future

If you’re a homeowner or intend to become one this year, your house is one of the greatest leverage tools you have to help you achieve the financial goals you have for yourself. We have put together the best information we could find to help you out this year.

Tip #1: Get Ready For Taxes

The first thing a homeowner should be preparing as the calendar turns over into a new year are taxes:

While taxes can be a bit of a burden, by getting started with some early prep work, you can save yourself time and minimize the stress of looking for documents that are hiding right in front of you as the tax deadline approaches.

Image Credit: Comfort Mortgage
Image Credit: Compass Mortgage

According to David Crowell, co-Owner of Vectar Onsite CPA’s:

“You want to keep all your file together. I recommend creating a folder with as many of the following items you have available. By doing so, tax time will be a less stressful experience”.

Some things to get started on easily include:

  • 1098 statement – showing mortgage interest paid:
    This statement will most likely not be available until February’s deadline, but you can log in to your mortgage provider’s website to get a good idea where to find it once it is available.
  • Property tax records:
    These records include any documentation you have proving taxes have been paid on land and/or property you own, which is not used for business purposes.
  • Insurance records:
    Hopefully, you did not experience any major property damaged during 2015, however, if you did you will want to make sure you have a complete ledger that shows the value of your personal property before and after the casualty, as well as, information related to the amount of money submitted to your insurance as a claimed that was applied towards remedying the loss.
  • Receipts for home office expenses:
    If you work from home, you can deduct a portion of your mortgage payment, internet bill, electrical bill, office item purchases, etc. However, do not try to double dip.

For example, if the office items you purchased were reimbursed to you by the business, you cannot count it again separately. Mr Crowell recommends you prepare an organized Excel spreadsheet and gather all of your receipts to make the deduction process easy at tax time.

  • Know your credit eligibility:
    There are improvements you made to your home that also support government incentives, as a result you might have extra money coming back to you.

For example, according to Compass Mortgage – “For the last several years, homeowners who purchased their residence in 2007 or later have been enjoying the deduction of private mortgage insurance premiums. That tax deduction was set to expire in 2014, but thanks to last-minute changes by Congress and the president with the Tax Increase Prevention Act, the private mortgage insurance deduction has been retroactively extended for 2015 and will continue for 2016″. You can learn more about the PMI Credit extension here.

Another example is the Michigan Home Heating Credit, here is a checklist to see if you qualify. On the latter note, let us move on to the next advantage homeowners have.

Tip #2: Save Money On Home Energy Cost

If you are a Michigan homeowner, odds are you are tired of giving over 15% of your after-tax dollars to the utility company.

While gasoline prices at the pump have declined substantially in recent months, home utility cost in Michigan appear to be on the raise.

According to the Department of Energy, the price of residential electricity in Michigan is 42% above its level in 2005 measured in real, inflation-adjusted terms. Even more shocking is that the price of residential electricity has increased by 73% since 2005 in current prices.

Michigan Home Energy CostA report by the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity states:

Michigan households with pre-tax annual incomes below $50,000, representing 52% of Michigan’s population, spend an estimated average of 17% of their after-tax income on residential and transportation energy.

Electricity cost impact on Michigan

As a homeowner, you have little control over prices, but you can control your spending on energy. Here are some ideas on how to do this today.

Plug Those Duct Holes

Brent Zebell, co-owner of Five Diamonds Heating and Cooling suggests, “you want to manage your energy loss. And, your ducts are one of the biggest culprits.”

In a recent HouseLogic’s article, John Riha the executive editor of Better Homes and Gardens magazine agreed stating,

“a good place to start is your HVAC ductwork. Ducts are notorious energy-wasters, leaking your heating and cooling air through holes and loose connections.”

A simple whole house duct cleaning can improve the flow of cool and warm air, reveal damaged, loose, or missing ductwork, and ultimately save you money.

Ductless energy for Michigan homeowners

Mr. Zebell also recommended going “ductless” as there are many incentives within the Michiana region to do so.

Alternative Energy Answers

Another, solutions is to consider residential wind and solar technology. \

According to Betsy Salyer, Office Manager at Solar Energy Systems, LLc, “Solar panels typically last around 40 years, one quality panel averages $1000, and most homes require 4 – 10 panels just to get started.”

While the initial cost of a whole house solar system might seems daunting to many homeowners, the long-term savings and the short-term credits typically allows the homeowner to have 27 years of very little to zero utility cost, because as Ms. Salyer explains — “the energy cost savings of Solar in the Michiana region results in 13 years of breakeven pay-back”.

Of course, you want to check with our home insurance agency to see how the could impact of insurance premium.

LED bulbs last a phenomenal 20,000 to 50,000 hours between changes, or about 18 to 46 years when used for 3 hours each day. Although the initial cost is high (about $40 per bulb), LED bulbs pay for themselves in energy savings in about 10 years.

Tip #5 – Actively read about ways to improve your home value, safety, and aesthetics

Amanda Gray recently wrote an article on Kathy Papola’s Fine Home Network, highlighting 5 must read homeowners blogs.

Tips#4 – Double check your insurance policy and coverages

Policies are usually issued on an annual basis, so check the status of your homeowners insurance and make sure you’re set up for coverage in 2016. The end of the year is also great time to test the batteries in all your smoke alarms and carbon dioxide detectors and replace any that are dead.