Designing for Elderly
Baby Boomers in Control
MyShake can be downloaded for free from Google's Play store, and an
iPhone app is also planned. (Photo: MyShake.Berkeley.edu)
Question: Does my insurance cover my car if I had damage from hitting a pothole!?
At Benton White Insurance, we are always ready to help with information like this either from this blog or when you contact us by email or phone call. Education is important and knowing these types of answers in advance might save you hundreds or even thousands of dollars in deductible or other claim expenses. EMAIL us at info@BentonWhite.com or call any of our staff at 615.377.1212 We're here to help!
Some put it off and in the end - their family LOSES! Some are proactive NOW and everyone WINS!
When I began my insurance career as a life insurance producer, I found out quite early what an important role life insurance plays in the life of a family after a love one passes away. It's truly astounding what life insurance can do to help a family grieving the loss of the loved one. It never replaces that person but surely takes a layer of pain away during that devastating time. This past year, I have represented my companies who paid several of my insured's beneficiaries hundreds of thousands of dollars in life insurance benefits. This is just a small amount of the millions of dollars of life insurance coverage that I have written on customers - of all ages through these many years.
Here is a creative 2 minute presentation that displays LOSING OR WINNING by having life insurance.
If we can help, we are ready. Just contact any of our staff at info@BentonWhite.com or call us at 615.377.1212. You too can spend a few pennies on a dollar and provide security for your loved ones at time of death.
Here's a quick and simple video that breaks down the need for life insurance and what it can do:
We've written millions of dollars of coverage over the years! Our premiums are extremely competitive and most always save you money from either other company or online shopping for coverage. I have 15 companies to choose from and we can find the right match for you. Simply contact our staff at info@BentonWhite.com or call us at 615.377.1212. It's not a matter of IF you die - but WHEN you die. Let us help you be ready to help your loved ones when you do!
- Wipe water from wood furniture
- Remove upholstery cushions
- Block or stack furniture away from the water in a dry place if possible
- Remove area rugs quickly!
- Remove newspapers, books, shoes, etc.
- Remove valuable artwork and sensitive materials to a dry place.
- Keep furniture skirting and draperies from contacting wet carpeting or floors.
- DO NOT use your household vacuum
- DO NOT use electrical appliances
- DO NOT turn on wet ceiling fixtures
- TURN OFF Circuit Breakers for the wet areas but only do this if access to your Power Distribution Panel is safe!
- It is your responsibility as a policyholder to mitigate (make something less harmful or severe by taking action) the damage.
- Many insurance policies word it this way: "The insured is responsible to take reasonable and prudent steps needed for protecting the structure and contents ..."
- And as we wrote last week - "Where Do YOU Shut Off YOUR Water?", make SURE you immediately STOP the source of the incoming water or moisture.
1. Have an emergency cushion.
- It's your first layer of defense: You have to create some sort of emergency fund. It can bail you out in a jam: Whether you need new glasses that aren't covered by a vision plan or a car repair to help get you back and forth from work, an emergency fund can save the day in crucial areas. Use your tax refund: The average U.S. tax refund is about $3,000, so that is a good place to start an emergency fund by depositing that money in a separate savings account.
2. Get insurance.
- Health insurance
- Health insurance is a must have and also is required by the government (the penalty for not having health insurance in 2016 is 2.5 percent of your income, or $625 per adult and $347.50 per child, up to a max per family of $2,085).
- Health problems can lead to bankruptcy: Medical issues are the biggest source of bankruptcy in the U.S. every year, so having a health plan is crucial to staying afloat financially in case of an unexpected hospitalization or other health emergency.
- Open enrollment deadline is Jan. 31: If you are not covered, the open enrollment deadline at HealthCare.gov is at the end of this month, and eight out of 10 people who sign up for coverage sign up for financial aid to lower the cost of monthly premiums. With financial assistance, seven out of 10 people find plans with premiums less than $75 a month.
- Life insurance
- If you have dependents: You need life insurance if you have a spouse, children or older parents who depend on your income, but many don't have it. Thirty-seven percent of parents with children under 18 have no life insurance, and another 20 percent have no more than $100,000 in coverage, mainly due to the cost.
- 20-year policy: You generally want a 20-year level term policy that pays if you die but doesn't have any other investment bells and whistles attached.
- Use an insurance calculator: It costs about $350 a year for a 35-year-old non-smoker to buy $250,000 in life insurance. Chatzky has a free life insurance calculator on her website that can help you figure out what it will cost for your plan. 8x your income: As a rule of thumb, you should have insurance totaling eight times your current income.
- Consider other coverage.
- If you can't replace, insure: As a general rule, if you can't afford to replace something, get some insurance for it. If you can afford to replace it, don't insure it.
- Disability insurance: This belongs on your list if you couldn't afford to replace your income with savings in case your were injured or had a long-term illness.
- Renters insurance: If you could not afford to replace your possessions in case of a fire or theft, you should have this type of insurance, which is not expensive.
3. Have estate plans.
- Have a will: More than half of all Americans don't have wills, including 51 percent of Americans ages 55 to 64, according to RocketLawyer. If you're a parent, a will is a must because it's the only document that allows you to name guardians for minor children, so if you don't have one, the state will decide what happens to your children if you die.
- Use online resources: Resources like Willmaker, which is $55 through Nolo.com, or LegalZoom, where wills start at $69, allow you to create one online. These work as long as your financial life is not complicated or you're not looking to cut someone out of your will, which requires a lawyer. Make sure to have it properly witnessed when you sign it.
- Hire help: You can hire an estate planning attorney, which usually starts at about $500. While writing your will, make sure to get three other documents to protect your family - a durable power of attorney for finances and healthcare in case someone has to make medical or financial decisions because you're incapacitated, and a living will that tells a hospital what you want for life support.
- Review every three years: A good rule of thumb is to review the insurance and estate plan every three years to be sure nothing has changed.
Often times, when you think about water damaging your home, you might conjure up an image of a hurricane, torrential rain or other natural catastrophe. The unfortunate reality is that damage that is caused when ordinary household appliances fail can be just as destructive as an extreme weather event. Also, with these cold temperatures, you have to be ready for the possibility of frozen pipes bursting and causing damage.
According to the Insurance Industry Institute, water damage accounts for billions of dollars in losses to homeowners and renters each year. It is also responsible for about 25 percent of all property insurance claims. Insurance company claim data suggests that water is ten times more likely to damage your home than fire.
Fortunately, there are steps that you can take to help prevent water damage from appliances, and protect your home. It is helpful to understand some of the common causes of water damage, which include leaky baseboard heating, air conditioning condensation drains, and failed water heaters, washing machine hoses and plumbing.
These household appliances do not always offer warning signs until the damage has already occurred. That is why it is important to check them regularly. The simple steps below can help you protect your home from the most common causes of water damage:
- First, know where the main water supply is located in case of emergency.
- If you will be away from home for an extended period, shut off the water supply and drain the pipes. During the heating season, if your home is heated by an older steam heating system, consult with your heating professional to determine if it is safe to turn off the water supply for your particular heating system. Also, if your home is protected by a fire sprinkler system, do not turn off the water to this system, and maintain sufficient heat to prevent a freeze-up.
- Consider having your air conditioning system inspected regularly by a professional. Check the drain lines annually and clean them if they are clogged.
- Inspect water heaters, showers, tubs, toilets, sinks and dishwashers annually, and have them repaired if there are any signs of leaks or corrosion. When possible, install water heaters in areas with floor drains to minimize damage if leaks should occur.
- Check caulking around showers, bathtubs, sinks and toilet bases, and make repairs as needed.
- If your refrigerator has an ice machine or water dispenser, the hose between the wall and the refrigerator should be made of braided copper, which has greater cracking and corrosion resistance.
- Check pipes for cracks and leaks. Have pipe damage fixed immediately to prevent more costly repairs in the future.
- Check appliance hoses and plumbing fittings for breakage, crimping or bending.
Hopefully, these tips will help us all be more aware and motivated to be on the offense for water drainage/leaks instead of being completely caught off guard and having a major water disaster where you live. If we can help or offer any insurance for you, your family, or friends, we're ready to earn it. Please contact any of our staff at 615.377.1212 or EMAIL us at info@BentonWhite.com ... Let's keep it dry in our homes!
Meteorologists are calling for extremely cold weather in Middle Tennessee tonight & for the next couple of days. We hope these tips below will help to increase your chances of avoiding frozen pipes during this extreme cold weather!
Tip #1 - Run Water! In extremely cold temperatures, keep a small stream of both hot and cold water flowing at a faucet at each end of your home. Flowing water does not freeze. The stream does not need to be full flow, just about the size of the graphite in a standard #2 pencil.
Tip #2 - Close everything up. Close the vents and doors to your crawlspace. If the pipes beneath your home are exposed to wind, it is far more likely that they will freeze. Also, if you have a water heater or other water piping in your garage be sure that your garage door is closed.
Tip #3 - Keep everything heated. If you have sinks on an exterior wall, open your cabinet doors. If you only keep parts of your home heated in the winter, in extremely cold weather, be sure to turn the heat on to all parts of your home.
Tip #4 - Remove your garden hoses. Do you still have garden hoses attached to your outside hydrants? If so, remove them. Many hydrants are designed to let water, inside the hydrant, drain. If your hoses are still attached, the water has nowhere to drain and can freeze and bust the hydrant.
We see many claims each year from PIPES BURSTING and causing damage to ceilings, walls, floors and anything else the water overflow comes in contact with. You have a better chance of frozen pipes not occuring if you heed the advice above. We have already started doing these procedures in our home to hopefully prevent a large plumbing bill and insurance claim from these subfreezing temperatures this week. Of course, if you are not successful in preventing frozen pipes, we're here and ready to help with your claim! Just call any staff member at 615.377.1212 or EMAIL us at info@BentonWhite.com. You could also refer to our blog post this week "It's Back! Rain, Slush, Ice, Snow!" that gives you complete information on how to you can reach us if you have that unfortunate claim during this harsh winter weather.
Stay safe and warm and we're ready if you need us ... and good luck with those pipes!
- WINTER WEATHER ADVISORY REMAINS IN EFFECT FROM 3 AM TO 6 PM CST WEDNESDAY...
- MAIN IMPACT AREA... 1 TO 3 INCHES OF SNOW AS WELL AS UP TO ONE TENTH OF AN INCH OF ICE FOR AREAS ALONG AND NORTH OF I-40 AND THE CUMBERLAND PLATEAU. PREPARE FOR MAJOR TRAVEL IMPACTS.
- OTHER IMPACT AREAS... UP TO INCH OF SNOW AND A TENTH OF AN INCH OF ICE FOR THE REST OF MIDDLE TENNESSEE. MODERATE TRAVEL IMPACTS ARE EXPECTED.
More often than you would think. we get calls from customers asking: "I just got hit from behind by someone! What should I do?" That's not surprising because insurance is first of all, complicated for most of us but especially questions do arise when you are not at fault and you expect the other party to be completely responsible for damages and any possible injuries you might face. Even one of our staff had a rear-end collision over the holidays from someone who accelerated by anticipation instead of actually seeing the car in front (our staffer) move forward. Hopefully, this will help if you are in one of these situations in the future.
- TAKE PICTURES! TAKE PICTURES! TAKE PICTURES! Did we get the message across? With most everyone carrying mobile phones. it's simple to take a picture of the damage - both to your vehicle and the other vehicle AT THE SCENE - not later! EVEN if either party states NO DAMAGE, always TAKE THE PICTURE! We have seen cases when both parties left the scene and later, the at fault party decided they found some damage that they didn't notice at the scene or vice versa. Your picture can save you from a 'he said - she said' event!
- Should I get insurance information from the other party? YES! It is important that you exchange car insurance information with the person who rear ended you. This is the case even if you don't notice any immediate damage to your vehicle. Don't allow the other person in the accident to convince you that you don't need to file a report with the insurance company, even if they offer to pay cash for your damage. The reason you must exchange car insurance information is that there is always the possibility that you could have an injury that doesn't present itself right away. In addition, there may be more damage to your vehicle than is immediately noticeable and you don't want to have to foot the bill for that.
- Do I need to call the police if I am rear ended in my car? The laws vary in each state, but in most cases there are allowances for not calling the police. The general rule is that you don't have to call the police if there are no injuries and there appears to be no damage over a specified amount of money (deductible). The problem is there is no guarantee that the damage that has occurred won't be higher than what you imagine. You might think that a damaged bumper and scratched paint is a $300 problem when, in truth, it could very well be a $1200 problem depending on the type of car and the availability of parts and paint. And truthfully, I can't remember when we have had any claim under $1000 in recent times. Your insurance company always wants you to call the police after an accident. This helps to corroborate that the accident was not your fault and also provides an additional witness at the scene. If the cost of the damage is higher than initially thought, not having a police report could slow down the claims process, as the adjuster will need to investigate and ensure that no further damage occurred after the accident. Furthermore, the adjuster could determine that you aren't eligible for a payout at all.
- Do I need to get witness statements to prove the other car rear ended me? The truth is that in most cases a car being rear ended is a cut-and-dry case for the police. Your car is hit from behind and there is no denying what has happened. Even if the other driver claims that you stopped short and caused the accident, you will be found not at fault.
- What if the at-fault driver refuses to share their insurance information? If the at-fault driver doesn't want to provide their insurance information and insists on paying outright for the accident, then you must call the police and let them handle it for you. While it isn't illegal to simply accept payment for an accident, once you do this, you have no recourse if there are other problems in the future. If you do call the police for a minor accident, you can expect that there is going to be a wait time, especially if the accident occurs during high traffic times where many accidents occur.
- What if the at fault driver is angered at my thorough actions and leaves? You should simply write down their license plate number, the make and model of the car, and any descriptive information that you can remember, and provide it to the police. If the other driver leaves and the police cannot find them based on the information that you have provided, then your insurance company may pay for the damages to your vehicle if you carry the right kind of insurance. In this case, collision coverage would be necessary to pay for damages to your car.
- Make sure space heaters don't have anything stored or stacked in front of space heaters.
- Keep anything that could catch fire at least three feet away from any heat source.
- Turn off space heaters when leaving a room or going to bed.
- Chimneys should be cleaned and inspected yearly.
- Central heat and air-conditioning units should be maintained and serviced.
- Use extreme care when using outside heating equipment.
- Never use an oven to heat a home.
- Make sure smoke alarms work by testing them every month.
- Accident Forgiveness: This coverage guarantees the first at-fault accident will not be surcharged, depending on the dollar amount paid on the claim and the number of years the insurance has been with that company. In other words, have extended tenure (usually 3 years) with a company and they'll not jack up your rates if you have an at fault accident if you've been with that company long enough to earn it. In some cases, you can pay an extra fee up front and have that available immediately at policy inception. We all can have accident forgiveness.
- Total Loss to a New Vehicle: There is a clause in some of our policies that automatically rolls this coverage into each Personal Auto policy. It provides new car replacement if:
- Insured purchased the new car
- It is determined it is a total loss that cannot be repaired, and
- The loss occurs within:
- 360 days of the purchase date and has less than 30K miles
- 90 days of the purchase date regardless of mileage.
- Definitions vary from company to company but the general idea is there.... Get this coverage and have a totaled car replaced within the terms specified in the policy. We have policies that INCLUDE for no fee or some small fee.
- Towing Coverage: Towing assistance is available when the insured needs it. Road trouble service coverage provides nationwide assistance 24/7/365 days per year. This covers a flat tire, minor mechanical repair, emergency fluid service, dead battery, lock out service & towing.
- Pet Medical Coverage: This coverage option is provided in the event a policyholder's cat or dog is injured or killed when a vehicle they are riding is involved in an accident. If Collision coverage applies to at least one automobile, this coverage will provide up to $750 per animal and $1500 per loss. Some of my companies furnish this coverage for no additional fee.
- Go Paperless & SAVE: For those insureds who are environmentally-friendly, they can go PAPERLESS. The insured will save money on postage and receive - with some of our companies - a discounted premium as a result.
- Discounts: There are other discounts available for specific situations. For example, more than one vehicle on the policy gets a MULTI-CAR discount. Insuring your home or property with us yields a MULTI-POLICY discount. Having an anti-theft device on your vehicle can save you money. Plus, with some of our companies, if you pay the full term premium at once, you get a PAID-IN-FULL discount (fairly substantial) ....
Today - our #1 Christmas video this holiday season. Grab some tissues and enjoy what we think is an important part of Christmas.
Tomorrow, a personal family greeting on Christmas Eve. We hope you'll check back here on the blog for that! In the meantime, we wish for you and your family, a very Merry Christmas and the best to you in 2016. Thanks for letting us serve you with insurance. As we always say, "we appreciate your business!"
We continue our video countdown for Christmas. We hope you enjoy these selections and trust that each make your Christmas a little more enjoyable and more meaningful.
We wish for you and your family, a very Merry Christmas and the best to you in 2016. Thanks for letting us serve you with insurance. As we always say, "we appreciate your business!"
We wish for you and your family, a very Merry Christmas and the best to you in 2016. Thanks for letting us serve you with insurance. As we always say, "we appreciate your business!
We have been writing insurance policies with TRAVELERS Insurance Company for several years now. They’re one of our premier companies who we quote daily to our prospects & insureds who want competitive pricing and enhanced coverage’s. I attended a regional meeting a few days ago where we learned many front-edge initiatives that Travelers will be implementing over the next 12 to 24 months. They are innovative and consumer favorable on many levels. These A+ rated Top 10 carriers are ramping...
Boating season is literally upon us. Whether you fish, ski, or just take the boat out to relax, you HAVE to ask the question - "Am I covered for what might happen out on the water!?" What we find is that many boat owners just purchase a policy by making sure the price is affordable, and they sometimes miss the small print about what IS and what IS NOT covered. We write insurance on boats and have several policies in force for happy customers. But as I've mentioned, we always want to make sure...
03/01/2018Introducing Our New Texting Service!
At Benton White Insurance we are always trying to make our service as streamlined and as simple for our wonderful customers! We want you to be able to contact us and get answers to your questions as quickly and easily as you can. That is why we are introducing TEXTING as an option to those who would like to use it! Question about billing? Text or Call us! Claim question or confusion? Text or Call us! Want to make a policy change? Text or Call us! Got an insurance question? ...