Insurance News http://www.wetzel1.com/blog en Copyright 2021 Wetzel Insurance Agency, Inc. Fri, 01 Oct 2021 14:56:05 GMT Insurance News How to Decide If Solar Panels Are Right for Your Home http://www.wetzel1.com/blog/2021/10/how-to-decide-if-solar-panels-are-right-for-your-home Fri, 01 Oct 2021 14:56:05 GMT http://www.wetzel1.com/blog/p/62011 Home Improvement Homeowner Insurance Efficiency <figure class="article_figure"><img src="/images/sc/wmaP3Tl80ww.v1633098514.jpg" alt="Solar panels" width="750" height="430"/><figcaption><svg aria-hidden="true" focusable="false" role="img" xmlns="http://www.w3.org/2000/svg" viewBox="0 0 512 512" width="16" height="16"><path fill="currentColor" d="M512 144v288c0 26.5-21.5 48-48 48H48c-26.5 0-48-21.5-48-48V144c0-26.5 21.5-48 48-48h88l12.3-32.9c7-18.7 24.9-31.1 44.9-31.1h125.5c20 0 37.9 12.4 44.9 31.1L376 96h88c26.5 0 48 21.5 48 48zM376 288c0-66.2-53.8-120-120-120s-120 53.8-120 120 53.8 120 120 120 120-53.8 120-120zm-32 0c0 48.5-39.5 88-88 88s-88-39.5-88-88 39.5-88 88-88 88 39.5 88 88z"></path></svg><a href="https://unsplash.com/photos/wmaP3Tl80ww" target="_blank" rel="noopener"><span>Solar panels</span></a> by <a href="https://unsplash.com/@wmmead" target="_blank" rel="noopener"><span>Bill Mead</span></a></figcaption></figure> <p> Solar panels can provide clean electricity for your home, helping you to save money on energy costs while also doing your part to help the environment. However, not all homes are suited to solar energy. Here's what you need to know to determine whether solar panels make sense for your home. </p> <p> <strong>Can you afford solar panels?</strong> </p> <p> Gone are the days when you had to shell out thousands or even tens of thousands of dollars upfront to buy solar panels. You'll have a lot of other options available to you these days, including taking out a personal loan, financing the project through the solar panel company, and leasing the panels from the company. Depending on where you live, you may even be eligible for state or federal subsidies or rebates to encourage you to go solar. </p> <p> Take the time to request quotes from several solar companies, and be sure to research the many options in your jurisdiction. This way, you'll have all the information you'll need to work out which option makes the most sense for your budget. You'll likely be pleasantly surprised that solar panels are much more affordable than you might think. </p> <p> <strong>Do you get plenty of sunshine?</strong> </p> <p> Of course, you'll need to have plenty of sun on your roof throughout the day to make solar panels worthwhile, or enough space on your property for a ground-mounted system. If you have a large tree that shades the bulk of your property, or if you live in an area where the weather is often cloudy, solar panels may not be cost-effective for you. Think about the layout of your roof and the typical weather where you live to determine whether you'll get enough sunshine to produce the necessary electricity to reduce or your electric bill enough to make the project worthwhile. </p> <p> <strong>Are there any local or HOA requirements?</strong> </p> <p> Some jurisdictions have regulations regarding solar panels, so you'll want to ensure you are complying with any laws in your area. If your home is in a community with a homeowner association (HOA), you may also have to comply with their rules and bylaws. Be sure to do your research in advance and request approval so you don't end up getting fined for not following the rules. </p> <p> <strong>Get Started with Solar Today</strong> </p> <p> You'll never know how much you could save with solar panels until you start looking into it, so start your research today. You could save a lot of money on your electric bills while also potentially adding value to your property and preserving the environment, so it is in your best interest to at least check out the possibilities. </p> <p> <a href="http://www.wetzel1.com/blog/2021/10/how-to-decide-if-solar-panels-are-right-for-your-home">Read the full article at www.wetzel1.com</a> </p> How Independent Agents Are Different from Captive Agents http://www.wetzel1.com/blog/2021/09/how-independent-agents-are-different-from-captive-agents Fri, 03 Sep 2021 14:52:26 GMT http://www.wetzel1.com/blog/p/61492 Independent Insurance Agent <figure class="article_figure"><img src="/images/sc/70977393.v1630627770.jpg" alt="Client Meeting" width="750" height="430"/><figcaption><svg aria-hidden="true" focusable="false" role="img" xmlns="http://www.w3.org/2000/svg" viewBox="0 0 512 512" width="16" height="16"><path fill="currentColor" d="M512 144v288c0 26.5-21.5 48-48 48H48c-26.5 0-48-21.5-48-48V144c0-26.5 21.5-48 48-48h88l12.3-32.9c7-18.7 24.9-31.1 44.9-31.1h125.5c20 0 37.9 12.4 44.9 31.1L376 96h88c26.5 0 48 21.5 48 48zM376 288c0-66.2-53.8-120-120-120s-120 53.8-120 120 53.8 120 120 120 120-53.8 120-120zm-32 0c0 48.5-39.5 88-88 88s-88-39.5-88-88 39.5-88 88-88 88 39.5 88 88z"></path></svg><a href="https://depositphotos.com/70977393/stock-photo-adviser-giving-handshake.html" target="_blank" rel="noopener"><span>Client Meeting</span></a> by <a href="https://depositphotos.com/portfolio-1075946.html" target="_blank" rel="noopener"><span>Goodluz</span></a></figcaption></figure> <p> When it comes to buying insurance, you have two primary options available to you: <strong>independent agents</strong> like us, and <strong>captive agents</strong>. While both can provide insurance services, these two types of insurance agents are not the same, and it's important to understand the differences. </p> <ul> <li> <p> <strong>Captive Insurance Agents</strong> </p> <p> A captive agent works for a single insurance company, either as an employee of that company or as an independent contractor. This means that a captive insurance agent will be limited to the specific insurance products offered by that particular company, so they won't be able to help you if you need a type of insurance they don't offer, or shop around to find the best deals on the market. </p> <p> The insurance company may also push certain products, so there is no guarantee that you are truly getting what is best for you, and not just what is best for the company. </p> </li> <li> <p> <strong>Independent Insurance Agents</strong> </p> <p> An independent agent is not controlled by any one insurance company, and instead works with multiple insurers. This means independent agents have access to all of the insurance products and services offered by all of the companies they represent. </p> <p> As a result, it's often the case that an independent agent will be able to help you with all of the products you need, even if those products come from multiple insurance companies. </p> </li> </ul> <p> As an independent insurance agency, we are not bound to a single company and can assist you with insurance products from multiple providers. This enables us to shop around to get you the best possible rates for you. We offer a <a href="/insurance-products">wide range of insurance products</a>, and we can help tailor a plan that fits your specific needs and budget. </p> <p> We also take customer service very seriously. If you need to file a claim, we’ll walk with you and work on your behalf throughout the process. We’re available for questions, and we can even regularly review your policy to ensure it is still the best possible fit for you. </p> <p> To see how an independent insurance agent can help you, or to find out how much you might save by switching, <a href="/contact">get in touch with us</a> today. </p> <p> <a href="http://www.wetzel1.com/blog/2021/09/how-independent-agents-are-different-from-captive-agents">Read the full article at www.wetzel1.com</a> </p> Benefits of Using a Dash Cam http://www.wetzel1.com/blog/2021/08/benefits-of-using-a-dash-cam Fri, 06 Aug 2021 20:51:57 GMT http://www.wetzel1.com/blog/p/60918 Safety Auto Insurance <figure class="article_figure"><img src="/images/sc/209724180.v1633099084.jpg" alt="Dash cam" width="750" height="430"/><figcaption><svg aria-hidden="true" focusable="false" role="img" xmlns="http://www.w3.org/2000/svg" viewBox="0 0 512 512" width="16" height="16"><path fill="currentColor" d="M512 144v288c0 26.5-21.5 48-48 48H48c-26.5 0-48-21.5-48-48V144c0-26.5 21.5-48 48-48h88l12.3-32.9c7-18.7 24.9-31.1 44.9-31.1h125.5c20 0 37.9 12.4 44.9 31.1L376 96h88c26.5 0 48 21.5 48 48zM376 288c0-66.2-53.8-120-120-120s-120 53.8-120 120 53.8 120 120 120 120-53.8 120-120zm-32 0c0 48.5-39.5 88-88 88s-88-39.5-88-88 39.5-88 88-88 88 39.5 88 88z"></path></svg><a href="https://depositphotos.com/209724180" target="_blank" rel="noopener"><span>Dash cam</span></a> by <a href="https://depositphotos.com/portfolio-1316534.html" target="_blank" rel="noopener"><span>Proxima Studio / Depositphotos.com</span></a></figcaption></figure> <p> More and more people these days are choosing to add dash cams to their vehicles, and for good reason. These small cameras can be highly useful to you, especially in the event that you get a traffic ticket or are involved in a crash or other incident on the road. Here's how a dash cam can benefit you. </p> <p> <strong>Document What Happened in a Crash</strong> </p> <p> Car crashes can be incredibly traumatizing, and this can greatly impact your memory of the event. Not only that, but you and the other driver are likely to differ in your accounts of what happened. With a dash cam, you'll have the footage to prove exactly what happened leading up to and during the incident. </p> <p> You can then provide this information to law enforcement and your insurance company to ensure everything proceeds as it should. If the other driver was at fault, this would also maximize your chances of getting a fair settlement from their insurance company. Some drivers may omit information to avoid fault, and your dash cam footage can fill in the gaps to provide a more complete story. </p> <p> <strong>Avoid Traffic Tickets</strong> </p> <p> Police officers are human just like the rest of us, and that means that they can make mistakes too. If you have received a ticket and don't believe you actually committed the offense they said you did, dash cam footage can help to get the charges dismissed. Of course, it won't help if you actually were in the wrong, but it can minimize the risk of officer error. </p> <p> <strong>Find Out How You Got That Door Ding</strong> </p> <p> Some dash cams are always on, even when you're not in your car, and can detect when something bumps into your car. When that happens, they store video from a minute or two before until a minute or two after the bump so you can see what happened, possibly even catching the license plate of the car that was responsible for causing the damage. </p> <p> <strong>Share Your Adventures</strong> </p> <p> If you enjoy off-roading or track racing in your vehicle, a dash cam is the perfect way to document your activities. You can then share the videos later with your friends. Just remember to keep your attention on driving, and put the dash cam out of your mind until it's time to retrieve the video later. </p> <p> <strong>Equip Your Vehicle with a Dash Cam to See All the Benefits</strong> </p> <p> We're sure you can come up with many other benefits besides these once you get started with your own dash cam. These devices are affordable and easy to set up, so just about anyone can add a dash cam to their vehicle. Dash cams are available from several manufacturers and with many different options to fit your needs and your budget. </p> <p> <a href="http://www.wetzel1.com/blog/2021/08/benefits-of-using-a-dash-cam">Read the full article at www.wetzel1.com</a> </p> Swimming Safety: 10 Tips for Summer http://www.wetzel1.com/blog/2021/07/swimming-safety-10-tips-for-summer Fri, 02 Jul 2021 15:31:55 GMT http://www.wetzel1.com/blog/p/60343 Safety <figure class="article_figure"><img src="/images/sc/6317278918_19aef09457_k.v1633100466.jpg" alt="Jump" width="750" height="430"/><figcaption><svg aria-hidden="true" focusable="false" role="img" xmlns="http://www.w3.org/2000/svg" viewBox="0 0 512 512" width="16" height="16"><path fill="currentColor" d="M512 144v288c0 26.5-21.5 48-48 48H48c-26.5 0-48-21.5-48-48V144c0-26.5 21.5-48 48-48h88l12.3-32.9c7-18.7 24.9-31.1 44.9-31.1h125.5c20 0 37.9 12.4 44.9 31.1L376 96h88c26.5 0 48 21.5 48 48zM376 288c0-66.2-53.8-120-120-120s-120 53.8-120 120 53.8 120 120 120 120-53.8 120-120zm-32 0c0 48.5-39.5 88-88 88s-88-39.5-88-88 39.5-88 88-88 88 39.5 88 88z"></path></svg><a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/criminalintent/6317278918/" target="_blank" rel="noopener"><span>Jump</span></a> by <a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/criminalintent/" target="_blank" rel="noopener"><span>Lars Plougmann</span></a> / <a href="https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/" title="Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0" target="_blank" rel="noopener"><span>CC BY-SA 2.0</span></a></figcaption></figure> <p>Summer is here and people are flocking to the water — whether it’s the beach, a lake, a river or a backyard pool. But, wherever there’s water, there’s also danger.</p> <p>According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 10 people drown every day — and two of those are children 14 or younger. Even seasoned swimmers can find themselves in dangerous situations, so brush up on these basic safety tips before your first—or next—swim:</p> <p><strong>Swimming Safety Tips</strong></p> <ol> <li><p>Consider the swimming level of everyone in your party before selecting a place to swim. Just because swimmers are comfortable in a pool doesn’t mean they can handle swimming in the ocean.</p></li> <li><p>Swim in designated areas with a lifeguard present, and follow any posted warnings or instructions. However, don’t rely on the lifeguard alone. Never leave young children or other inexperienced swimmers unattended or in the care of another child.</p></li> <li><p>Teach children to ask permission before going near the water. If a child is missing, always check the water first.</p></li> <li><p>Young children should wear swim diapers and Coast Guard-approved life jackets. Even still, maintain constant supervision.</p></li> <li><p>Avoid alcohol or drug use during water activities.</p></li> <li><p>Know CPR and other life-saving measures.</p></li> <li><p>Don’t dive into unfamiliar water. You never know what might be below the surface.</p></li> <li><p>In open bodies of water, watch for dangers that just aren’t present in pools. These can include plants and animals, as well as riptides, currents, waves and rapids. If you see someone in danger, reach out to them with a pole or tree branch – anything that extends your reach – or throw them a floating object while someone else alerts the lifeguard. Wading in yourself could put you in just as much danger, so leave the water rescues to the professionals.</p></li> <li><p>Don’t swallow the water, no matter where you’re swimming. It could cause illness.</p></li> <li><p>Check the weather and be aware of changing and potentially dangerous conditions.</p></li> </ol> <p>If you happen to have a pool on your property (lucky you), you have even more responsibilities. Your pool should be completely surrounded by a locking fence, at least 4 feet tall, and all pools and spas should have compliant drain covers. Keep life-saving equipment, such as life rings and poles, within easy reach. If you have a small kiddie or wading pool, be sure to empty it after each use. A baby can drown in just 1 inch of water.</p> <p>Summer fun in and around the water is for people of all ages — just keep in mind that some people need more supervision than others, and everyone needs to keep safety in mind at all times. Happy splashing!</p> <p class="article_credit"><a title="Swimming Safety: 10 Tips for Summer" href="https://www.safeco.com/blog-detail/swimming-safety-tips-/1240030871682">Reposted with permission from the original author, Safeco Insurance.</a></p> <p> <a href="http://www.wetzel1.com/blog/2021/07/swimming-safety-10-tips-for-summer">Read the full article at www.wetzel1.com</a> </p> Why You May Need Personal Offense Coverage http://www.wetzel1.com/blog/2021/06/why-you-may-need-personal-offense-coverage Fri, 04 Jun 2021 17:44:29 GMT http://www.wetzel1.com/blog/p/59853 Personal Insurance <figure class="article_figure"><img src="/images/sc/1851415.v1622732403.jpg" alt="White Smartphone" width="750" height="430"/><figcaption><svg aria-hidden="true" focusable="false" role="img" xmlns="http://www.w3.org/2000/svg" viewBox="0 0 512 512" width="16" height="16"><path fill="currentColor" d="M512 144v288c0 26.5-21.5 48-48 48H48c-26.5 0-48-21.5-48-48V144c0-26.5 21.5-48 48-48h88l12.3-32.9c7-18.7 24.9-31.1 44.9-31.1h125.5c20 0 37.9 12.4 44.9 31.1L376 96h88c26.5 0 48 21.5 48 48zM376 288c0-66.2-53.8-120-120-120s-120 53.8-120 120 53.8 120 120 120 120-53.8 120-120zm-32 0c0 48.5-39.5 88-88 88s-88-39.5-88-88 39.5-88 88-88 88 39.5 88 88z"></path></svg><a href="https://www.pexels.com/photo/white-smartphone-1851415/" target="_blank" rel="noopener"><span>White Smartphone</span></a> by <a href="https://www.pexels.com/@cristian-dina-924373" target="_blank" rel="noopener"><span>Cristian Dina</span></a></figcaption></figure> <p>In today’s digital world, slander and libel lawsuits are more common than you may think. Comments made in haste or anger on social media can have lasting and far-reaching effects on a person’s reputation or character, so it’s easier than ever to libel, slander, or invade a person’s privacy. Even if you apologize, you can still be sued. Due to the wide reach of social media, claim damages can be substantial, not to mention the cost of hiring an attorney and other legal fees you would incur.</p> <p>What’s more, posts or other online comments made by a minor can also be subject to a lawsuit. So if you have teens or other children who use social media, you may be at risk for something they say or write online. Consider the following scenario.</p> <p>Your son was crushed after being cut from the football team, so he retaliated by writing some false and unflattering comments on social media about the head coach. These comments quickly spread through the school and the community at large. The coach then sued the boy’s parents for harming his professional reputation, a claim that could cost them thousands of dollars in legal fees and damages.</p> <p>Or imagine this:</p> <p>You write a scathing online review of a restaurant where you had a poor experience. Though you had some legitimate gripes, you went too far by claiming they served you outdated, potentially rotten meat without offering evidence to support the accusation. In return, the restaurant filed a lawsuit against you, and you’re forced to defend yourself.</p> <p>Personal offense coverage can provide protection against such situations. Plus, it’s affordable.</p> <p><strong><span class="_4yxo">What Personal Offense Insurance Covers</span></strong></p> <p>While personal offense coverage is included with some policies, it is optional for most coverage levels.</p> <p>This coverage offers you broad protection against a variety of lawsuits and damages related to a such offenses as:</p> <ul> <li>False arrest, detention, or imprisonment</li> <li>Malicious prosecution</li> <li>Libel, slander, or defamation of character</li> <li>Invasion of privacy</li> <li>Wrongful eviction or entry</li> </ul> <p>To assess your risk and to learn more about this valuable yet often overlooked coverage option, give us a call today.</p> <p class="article_credit"><a title="Why You Need Personal Offense Coverage" href="https://www.facebook.com/notes/safeco-insurance/why-you-need-personal-offense-coverage/10156340540866254/">Reposted with permission from the original author, Safeco Insurance.</a></p> <p> <a href="http://www.wetzel1.com/blog/2021/06/why-you-may-need-personal-offense-coverage">Read the full article at www.wetzel1.com</a> </p> Inexpensive Fixes for a Safer Home http://www.wetzel1.com/blog/2021/05/inexpensive-fixes-for-a-safer-home Fri, 07 May 2021 15:13:32 GMT http://www.wetzel1.com/blog/p/59393 Homeowner Insurance <figure class="article_figure"><img src="/images/sc/kj-styles-eQ-8iUrb07g-unsplash.v1633100536.jpg" alt="Paint" width="750" height="430"/><figcaption><svg aria-hidden="true" focusable="false" role="img" xmlns="http://www.w3.org/2000/svg" viewBox="0 0 512 512" width="16" height="16"><path fill="currentColor" d="M512 144v288c0 26.5-21.5 48-48 48H48c-26.5 0-48-21.5-48-48V144c0-26.5 21.5-48 48-48h88l12.3-32.9c7-18.7 24.9-31.1 44.9-31.1h125.5c20 0 37.9 12.4 44.9 31.1L376 96h88c26.5 0 48 21.5 48 48zM376 288c0-66.2-53.8-120-120-120s-120 53.8-120 120 53.8 120 120 120 120-53.8 120-120zm-32 0c0 48.5-39.5 88-88 88s-88-39.5-88-88 39.5-88 88-88 88 39.5 88 88z"></path></svg><a href="https://unsplash.com/photos/eQ-8iUrb07g" target="_blank" rel="noopener"><span>Paint</span></a> by <a href="https://unsplash.com/@karlsolano" target="_blank" rel="noopener"><span>KJ Styles</span></a></figcaption></figure> <p>Home improvement: It’s a never-ending process for many people, and for those of us who aren’t necessarily handy, it can be a hassle, too.</p> <p>But there are plenty of simple maintenance tasks and other improvements you can handle to make your home safer &#8211; whether you’re handy or not. And you won’t have to break out the power tools (or any tools at all in some instances) or worry about getting in over your head.</p> <p><strong>Water Works</strong><br /> You need running water in your home &#8211; but not water running in your home, if you know what we mean. Even minor leaks can cause major problems, from higher water bills to damage requiring costly repairs (maybe even the kind you can’t tackle yourself). Here are some easy ways to make sure your water stays where it should:</p> <ul> <li><p><strong>Check your appliances.</strong> They’re the most common source of water leaks in homes, so it’s worth taking a look at least once a year to check for problems. And the hoses that come with your washer and dishwasher can mean big trouble &#8211; they break down over time. Look for kinks and cracks, and replace if needed. Consider using reinforced hoses, too; those with steel braiding or mesh won’t hold up forever, but they’re stronger than rubber or plastic.</p></li> <li><p><strong>Watch the pressure.</strong> Water pressure that is set too high can cause pipes, hoses and water lines to leak or burst. Inexpensive gauges are available at home-improvement stores to test your pressure.</p></li> <li><p><strong>Consider installing water sensors.</strong> These can alert you to a leak or other problem soon after it occurs &#8211; some can even send messages to your smartphone.</p></li> </ul> <p><strong>Keep Your Family (and Your Guests) On Their Feet</strong><br /> Millions of Americans are injured in falls each year. According to the <a href="https://injuryfacts.nsc.org/home-and-community/safety-topics/older-adult-falls/">Centers for Disease Control and Prevention</a> (CDC), more than one in four older adults report a fall each year. Look around your home. Should you make some of these fixes?</p> <ul> <li><p><strong>Reduce clutter.</strong> Everything from small pieces of furniture to area rugs can pose a hazard, so make sure they’re in appropriate places and out of the way if possible.</p></li> <li><p><strong>Add stability to stairs.</strong> Make sure stairways have sturdy rails, and maybe even non-slip strips, particularly outdoors.</p></li> <li><p><strong>Let there be light.</strong> It’s hard to walk safely when you can’t see obstacles or potential trouble spots. Make sure your home is well-lit, and don’t forget night lights, too.</p></li> </ul> <p><strong>Give Everyone Some Air</strong><br /> Pollution isn’t just an outside thing &#8211; the air in your home can be unhealthy, too. But helping people breathe a little easier isn’t hard when you follow these steps:</p> <ul> <li><p><strong>Test the air (and your detectors).</strong> Make sure you have working carbon-monoxide and smoke detectors and test them regularly. Also, consider testing your home for radon, a naturally occurring radioactive gas that can be dangerous over time.</p></li> <li><p><strong>Check your filters and ducts.</strong> Keeping your furnace filter and air ducts clean will keep your air cleaner as well. And consider adding some of nature’s air filters: plants.</p></li> <li><p><strong>Keep your home clean.</strong> Dust doesn’t just build up on the furniture &#8211; it ends up in the air as well. Regular cleaning means cleaner air (just be sure to use safe products).</p></li> </ul> <p>Home improvement doesn’t have to mean a kitchen remodel or finishing the basement. Making your home safer, in fact, just might be the best improvement of all.</p> <p class="article_credit"><a title="Inexpensive Fixes for a Safer Home" href="https://www.safeco.com/blog/inexpensive-home-safety-fixes">Reposted with permission from the original author, Safeco Insurance.</a></p> <p> <a href="http://www.wetzel1.com/blog/2021/05/inexpensive-fixes-for-a-safer-home">Read the full article at www.wetzel1.com</a> </p> Why a basic Homeowners policy isn’t always enough http://www.wetzel1.com/blog/2021/04/why-a-basic-homeowners-policy-isn-t-always-enough Fri, 02 Apr 2021 17:03:47 GMT http://www.wetzel1.com/blog/p/58865 Homeowner Insurance <figure class="article_figure"><img src="/images/sc/2422497911_47f2c31861.v1617322956.jpg" alt="House" width="750" height="430"/><figcaption><svg aria-hidden="true" focusable="false" role="img" xmlns="http://www.w3.org/2000/svg" viewBox="0 0 512 512" width="16" height="16"><path fill="currentColor" d="M512 144v288c0 26.5-21.5 48-48 48H48c-26.5 0-48-21.5-48-48V144c0-26.5 21.5-48 48-48h88l12.3-32.9c7-18.7 24.9-31.1 44.9-31.1h125.5c20 0 37.9 12.4 44.9 31.1L376 96h88c26.5 0 48 21.5 48 48zM376 288c0-66.2-53.8-120-120-120s-120 53.8-120 120 53.8 120 120 120 120-53.8 120-120zm-32 0c0 48.5-39.5 88-88 88s-88-39.5-88-88 39.5-88 88-88 88 39.5 88 88z"></path></svg><a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/18702768@N04/2422497911" target="_blank" rel="noopener"><span>House</span></a> by <a href="https://www.flickr.com/people/18702768@N04/" target="_blank" rel="noopener"><span>David Sawyer</span></a> / <a href="https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/" title="Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0" target="_blank" rel="noopener"><span>CC BY-SA 2.0</span></a></figcaption></figure> <p>Sometimes a basic homeowners policy just isn’t enough. So as your career advances and your income increases, it’s important to keep your insurance protection up to date. This helps you avoid expensive gaps in coverage and prevents you from paying too much out of pocket in case of a claim. To be properly protected, you need a homeowners policy that grows with you.</p> <p>That’s why we offer multiple homeowners policy options, including packages specifically for customers who need higher levels of protection. You may benefit from additional coverage if any of the following apply to you:</p> <ul> <li>The cost to completely rebuild your home is between $500,000 and $3 million.</li> <li>You have a custom-built home.</li> <li>Your home has marble countertops, custom cabinetry, high-end appliances or electronics, valuable collections of various kinds, or similar amenities.</li> <li>You have substantial financial assets to protect.</li> <li>You have additional or unique risk exposure.</li> </ul> <p>Our options give you the flexibility to easily add affordable comprehensive coverage to your policy without confusing endorsements or other complications. These valuable options include:</p> <ul> <li><p><strong>Extended dwelling coverage.</strong> Full reconstruction costs are often different than market value, so your current homeowners policy may not accurately reflect the true costs of rebuilding your home. Extended dwelling coverage helps you rebuild if construction or permitting costs change and add up to more than your current policy limits. It may also pay for debris removal, contractor costs, construction fees and permits, architect&#8217;s fees, and other expenses.</p></li> <li><p><strong>Building ordinance or law coverage.</strong> If your home needs to be rebuilt or repaired due to a covered loss, you’ll have to build according to current building codes. And since codes change, this could mean higher costs than expected to rebuild. Building ordinance policy, or law coverage, exists for just such scenarios — and it could save you thousands.</p></li> <li><p><strong>Replacement cost up-front coverage.</strong> This loss settlement option allows you to choose not to rebuild at the original location following a covered total loss. In this case, you’ll get a payout to apply to the purchase or construction of a new home in a new location.</p></li> <li><p><strong>Personal property replacement cost coverage.</strong> This helps cover the costs of replacing personal property, such as electronics, art, jewelry, and furniture, with no deduction for depreciation. So you’ll get the amount needed to buy an identical or comparable item rather than settling for something of lesser value.</p></li> <li><p><strong>Personal offense coverage.</strong> This offers you broad protection against a variety of lawsuits and damages related to libel, slander, defamation of character, invasion of privacy, and other offenses. This may include comments made on social media by either you or your children.</p></li> </ul> <p>Is your <span class="linkText">homeowners policy</span> up to date? If you’re unsure or if you’ve outgrown your current coverage, contact us to discuss your situation and get the protection you truly need.</p> <p class="article_credit"><a title="Why a basic Homeowners policy isn’t always enough" href="https://www.safeco.com/blog/basic-homeowners">Reposted with permission from the original author, Safeco Insurance.</a></p> <p> <a href="http://www.wetzel1.com/blog/2021/04/why-a-basic-homeowners-policy-isn-t-always-enough">Read the full article at www.wetzel1.com</a> </p> 10 Tips to Help Prevent Identity Theft http://www.wetzel1.com/blog/2021/03/10-tips-to-help-prevent-identity-theft Fri, 05 Mar 2021 16:11:28 GMT http://www.wetzel1.com/blog/p/58395 <figure class="article_figure"><img src="/images/sc/49953605211_221a53de67.v1614351255.jpg" alt="Shopping online" width="750" height="422"/><figcaption><svg aria-hidden="true" focusable="false" role="img" xmlns="http://www.w3.org/2000/svg" viewBox="0 0 512 512" width="16" height="16"><path fill="currentColor" d="M512 144v288c0 26.5-21.5 48-48 48H48c-26.5 0-48-21.5-48-48V144c0-26.5 21.5-48 48-48h88l12.3-32.9c7-18.7 24.9-31.1 44.9-31.1h125.5c20 0 37.9 12.4 44.9 31.1L376 96h88c26.5 0 48 21.5 48 48zM376 288c0-66.2-53.8-120-120-120s-120 53.8-120 120 53.8 120 120 120 120-53.8 120-120zm-32 0c0 48.5-39.5 88-88 88s-88-39.5-88-88 39.5-88 88-88 88 39.5 88 88z"></path></svg><a href="https://flic.kr/p/2j7ehtn" target="_blank" rel="noopener"><span>Shopping online</span></a> by <a href="https://www.flickr.com/people/nenadstojkovic/" target="_blank" rel="noopener"><span>Nenad Stojkovic</span></a> / <a href="https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/" title="Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0" target="_blank" rel="noopener"><span>CC BY 2.0</span></a></figcaption></figure> <p>Shopping online. Visiting the doctor. Buying gas. In nearly all of the things we do from day to day, there’s the risk of identity theft.</p> <p>You could unknowingly give your information to a fraudster thinking you’re shopping at a legitimate site. Your doctor’s office could experience a data breach. Or you could come across a tampered credit card reader at the gas pump.</p> <p>The risks your identity faces go on and on. So what can you do to stop it? Unfortunately, virtually no one today can completely negate the risk of identity theft. But we can all take some important steps to help prevent it.</p> <p>Here are 10 sensible habits to adopt that will help you protect your identity:</p> <ol> <li><p><strong>Limit what you carry in your wallet, and know what’s there in case it goes missing.</strong> First things first, don’t carry your Social Security card on a regular basis. Instead, keep it in a locked safe at home. Have a form of identification or some other card with your Social Security number (SSN) on it? Carry a photocopy of it instead of the real thing, and cut out or otherwise render your SSN unreadable. As for credit cards, only carry the ones you need. Finally, make photocopies of the front and back of the cards you always keep in your wallet and store them in your home safe. If one (or all of them) goes missing, you won’t have to search high and low for the card issuer’s contact information.</p></li> <li><p><strong>Keep your computers, software and other electronics secure and up to date.</strong> This means using strong passwords or enabling passcodes – remember not to write them down. It also means installing firewall, as well as spyware and virus protection. Keep everything up to date (and backed up) for the latest security enhancements. For your portable devices, consider installing software to remotely wipe your data or locate the device if it’s ever lost or stolen.</p></li> <li><p><strong>Don’t over share.</strong> Does every entity that asks for your (or your child&#8217;s) SSN really need it? Take a moment to think instead of automatically jotting it down. At the very least, maybe only the last four digits will do. In addition, be careful what you share online. Posting your full address, phone number, license plate number or your birth date online, even if it’s in a photo, may help others piece together a full picture of your identity.</p></li> <li><p><strong>Check your credit reports throughout the year.</strong> You’re entitled to a free credit report from each of the three credit bureaus once a year. And since the information on each report is oftentimes largely the same, you can stagger your requests and receive a different report once every four months. Once you receive your report, check it for accounts and other activity you don’t recognize. Even a credit check from a company you haven’t done business with could be an attempt at identity theft. To order your free credit reports, call 1-877-322-8228 or visit <a href="https://www.annualcreditreport.com/">www.annualcreditreport.com</a>.</p></li> <li><p><strong>Keep an eye on your accounts.</strong> Your account statements can alert you to identity theft sooner than your credit report, in most cases. Check regularly for unauthorized charges or withdrawals and other illicit activity, such as address changes or additional cards you didn’t request.</p></li> <li><p><strong>Watch your surroundings.</strong> Whether you’re using the ATM or a portable device, you want to be sure others nearby aren’t watching as you type in your PIN or password. And just because you don’t see anyone nearby doesn’t mean they’re not there. If you’re using a shared or public WiFi, everyone else on the same network may see the data, including passwords or account numbers, you submit. Be sure to conduct sensitive transactions on secure networks.</p></li> <li><p><strong>Reduce your mail.</strong> Start by opting out of pre-approved credit card offers by calling 1-888-5OPT-OUT and following the prompts. This should stay in effect for five years and help curb the risk of someone else obtaining a new credit card in your name. Next, sign up for paperless billing with your financial and service providers and/or schedule automatic payments through your bank. The less mail containing personal and account details that comes to your home, the less likely it is to fall into the wrong hands.</p></li> <li><p><strong>Be skeptical when someone asks for your information.</strong> Scam artists don’t always have to steal your information. Sometimes they convince you to give it up willingly by telling you via a phone call, email, snail mail or text that you won a prize or need to verify your account. To claim the prize or account, you’ll, of course, need to supply some sensitive information. Requests like these are almost always inauthentic – what’s known as a “phishing” scam. So stay on guard and contact the entity through a known, verified method to inquire about the matter, rather than providing personal details on the spot.</p></li> <li><p><strong>Mind your garbage.</strong> If you’re throwing out account statements or other documents with personal information, you’re making it easy for dumpster divers to learn a little, perhaps a lot, about you. They may even learn enough to take over one of your accounts. So shred your sensitive documents and then recycle them – don’t just throw them out in the garbage.</p></li> <li><p><strong>Tidy up at home.</strong> Tax returns, credit cards you use infrequently, checkbooks, passports, birth certificates — these and other important documents should all be stored under lock and key. Whether it’s in a home safe or a locking desk or file cabinet is up to you. And don’t leave the code or key in an easily discoverable place.</p></li> </ol> <p>Despite your best efforts, you may still discover that your identity has been stolen. If so, take immediate action to:</p> <ul> <li><p>Fill out the Federal Trade Commission&#8217;s <a href="https://www.ftc.gov/bcp/edu/resources/forms/affidavit.pdf">Identity Theft Affidavit</a>.</p></li> <li><p>Take your affidavit to the police and file a report. Be sure to get a copy for your records. It will come in handy if you need to close fraudulent accounts, straighten out your credit report and more.</p></li> <li><p>Call your financial providers to request new account numbers and, if needed, cards.<br> Contact one of the three credit bureaus to place a fraud alert, which will encourage creditors to contact you before opening new lines of credit, on your credit report. The bureau you contact will share it with the other two.<br> <a href="https://www.experian.com/">Experian</a>: 1-888-397-3742<br> <a href="https://www.equifax.com/">Equifax</a>: 1-800-525-6285<br> <a href="https://www.transunion.com/">Transunion</a>: 1-800-680-7289</p></li> </ul> <p>And, if you’re involved in a data breach and offered free credit monitoring, be sure to take advantage of it.</p> <p>In today’s world of hyper connectivity and speed, it’s easy for your information to end up in the wrong hands. But, by being cautious with how you use and share your information, and checking for misuse, you can help keep your identity secure.</p> <p class="article_credit"><a title="10 Tips to Help Prevent Identity Theft" href="https://www.safeco.com/blog-detail/preventing-identity-theft/1240029938619">Reposted with permission from the original author, Safeco Insurance.</a></p> <p> <a href="http://www.wetzel1.com/blog/2021/03/10-tips-to-help-prevent-identity-theft">Read the full article at www.wetzel1.com</a> </p> Own a home? Here are two policy options you should know about http://www.wetzel1.com/blog/2021/02/own-a-home-here-are-two-policy-options-you-should-know-about Fri, 05 Feb 2021 16:52:27 GMT http://www.wetzel1.com/blog/p/57808 Homeowner Insurance <figure class="article_figure"><img src="/images/sc/5188606619_638db74793.v1611870184.jpg" alt="House" width="750" height="366"/><figcaption><svg aria-hidden="true" focusable="false" role="img" xmlns="http://www.w3.org/2000/svg" viewBox="0 0 512 512" width="16" height="16"><path fill="currentColor" d="M512 144v288c0 26.5-21.5 48-48 48H48c-26.5 0-48-21.5-48-48V144c0-26.5 21.5-48 48-48h88l12.3-32.9c7-18.7 24.9-31.1 44.9-31.1h125.5c20 0 37.9 12.4 44.9 31.1L376 96h88c26.5 0 48 21.5 48 48zM376 288c0-66.2-53.8-120-120-120s-120 53.8-120 120 53.8 120 120 120 120-53.8 120-120zm-32 0c0 48.5-39.5 88-88 88s-88-39.5-88-88 39.5-88 88-88 88 39.5 88 88z"></path></svg><a href="https://flic.kr/p/8UuXYP" target="_blank" rel="noopener"><span>House</span></a> by <a href="https://www.flickr.com/people/18702768@N04/" target="_blank" rel="noopener"><span>David Sawyer</span></a> / <a href="https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/" title="Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0" target="_blank" rel="noopener"><span>CC BY-SA 2.0</span></a></figcaption></figure> <p>If you have a homeowners policy, you probably expect it to cover all the costs of rebuilding your house in case it’s damaged or destroyed by a covered hazard. But are you certain you have enough coverage? Read about two common situations you may be unaware of &mdash; and the affordable options that can help put your mind at ease.</p> <p><strong>Extended dwelling coverage</strong></p> <p>Since reconstruction costs are different from market value, your current homeowners policy may not accurately reflect the true costs of rebuilding your home. Extended dwelling coverage helps you rebuild if construction costs change and add up to more than your current policy limits.</p> <p>To illustrate this concept, consider this real-life scenario. Your home is currently insured for 100% of its replacement cost, with the cost based on the value of your house when the policy was originally written. However, a wildfire sweeps through your area destroying your home along with hundreds of others nearby.</p> <p>Due to the high demand caused by the natural disaster, construction materials and labor costs increase 20% in your area. So your $200,000 home will now cost $240,000 to rebuild. If you had 20% extended dwelling coverage, you’d get the $240,000. Without it, you get $200,000 and will have to make up the difference out of pocket or settle for less house than you originally had.</p> <p><strong>Building ordinance or law coverage</strong></p> <p>If your home is damaged by a covered loss and needs to be rebuilt or repaired, you are required to build according to current building codes. And since codes have grown more rigorous over the past 20 years, this could mean much higher costs to rebuild than you anticipate. That’s where a building ordinance policy, or law coverage, comes into effect &mdash; and it could save you thousands of dollars.</p> <p>Again, let’s take the example from above and assume you have a $200,000 homeowners policy. With a 10% building ordinance policy, you would get an extra $20,000 to apply to the new building code requirements you must meet. Without this policy option, you’ll have to pay the difference to bring your house up to code.</p> <p>Extended dwelling and building ordinance policies offer valuable protection from gaps in coverage in case of an unforeseen covered event, and all for an affordable annual premium. To better understanding your risks, and to protect yourself from a loss that may exceed your policy limits, give us a call today.</p> <p class="article_credit"><a title="Own a home? Here are two policy options you should know about" href="https://www.safeco.com/blog/two-home-policy-options">Reposted with permission from the original author, Safeco Insurance.</a></p> <p> <a href="http://www.wetzel1.com/blog/2021/02/own-a-home-here-are-two-policy-options-you-should-know-about">Read the full article at www.wetzel1.com</a> </p> Porch Safety: Should You Leave the Lights On? http://www.wetzel1.com/blog/2021/01/porch-safety-should-you-leave-the-lights-on Fri, 08 Jan 2021 16:53:49 GMT http://www.wetzel1.com/blog/p/57290 Safety <p>It seems like a no-brainer to leave the lights on outside your home to deter burglars while you’re away (or even while you’re asleep). But does that really work? Or is it just a waste of electricity — particularly this time of year, when the days are short?</p> <p>Those answers can differ depending on a number of factors. However, one thing is clear: With more than 1.1 million residential burglaries in the U.S. in 2019, according to the FBI’s Crime in the United States report, it takes more than flipping a switch to prevent property crime.</p> <p>So, if you are relying on lights as part of your home security routine, be sure to put some thought into how you’re using them. Here are recommendations about when to light things up — and some instances where it may be better to go dark. Contact your local law enforcement if you’re curious about recommendations specific to your area.</p> <p><strong>When to Keep Your Lights On</strong><br /> There are plenty of instances where it makes sense to leave your porch light on:</p> <ul> <li><p><strong>When you’re home (and awake).</strong> This doesn’t simply alert people to the fact that someone is home; it allows you to see anyone approaching or prowling around outside. Having a variety of interior lights on, of course, also shows that the home is occupied and not the best target.</p></li> <li><p><strong>When you go out at night.</strong> You’ll be able to get to the door easier and unlock it more quickly when you get home — which is nice, but also important if someone happens to be lurking nearby.</p></li> <li><p><strong>If possible, combine a porch light with other lights.</strong> If you have lighting in your back yard, for example, or by the garage, use those in conjunction with the one by your front door and interior lights. This can add to the appearance that someone is home.</p></li> </ul> <p><strong>When to Keep Your Lights Off</strong><br /> Despite what many people think, having your lights on all the time isn’t helpful. In fact, it may actually attract burglars. Here’s when you should think about leaving them off:</p> <ul> <li><p><strong>When it’s light out.</strong> Exterior lights left on all day can give the impression that nobody is home. After all, wouldn’t someone turn them off during the daytime?</p></li> <li><p><strong>When you’re on vacation.</strong> The same principle applies here — if a burglar notices lights on for several days at a time, that’s a pretty clear sign that you’re gone.</p></li> <li><p><strong>When you go to sleep.</strong> This seems counterintuitive, but most residential crime happens during daylight hours, according to SecurAmerica, a firm providing security personnel for businesses, schools and residential communities. So, that porch light at 3 a.m. might not make much of a difference.</p></li> <li><p><strong>If you live in a rural area.</strong> In this instance, lights might help burglars more than deter them by providing light to help them see. And, unlike in an urban area, there are few people around to spot them milling about suspiciously in the glow of that porch light.</p></li> </ul> <p><strong>An Even Better Option: Automate Your Lights</strong><br /> The goal of lighting, at least from a security standpoint, is to make burglars think someone is home. The most effective way to do that is through lights, both inside and out, that turn on and off at varying times. You can accomplish this through systems that automatically turn lights on after sundown, or even new options that allow you to control lights from your mobile device.</p> <p>And, don’t forget motion-sensing lights. They’re affordable, and they can startle burglars and even impair their vision in the moments after they illuminate.</p> <p><strong>Other Things to Consider</strong><br /> However you use your lights, it might not matter if you don’t take other security measures. For example, are your trees and shrubs trimmed, or do they instead provide cover for someone casing your home? Do you have a good relationship with your neighbors? Will they notice if someone suspicious is outside? Do they even know when you’re going out of town?</p> <p>Remember, turning on your lights may only be truly effective as part of an overall strategy to keep your home secure.</p> <p class="article_credit"><a title="Porch Safety: Should You Leave the Lights On?" href="http://www.safeco.com/blog-detail/using-outdoor-lighting-for-security/1240031369270">Reposted with permission from the original author, Safeco Insurance.</a></p> <p> <a href="http://www.wetzel1.com/blog/2021/01/porch-safety-should-you-leave-the-lights-on">Read the full article at www.wetzel1.com</a> </p>