Preparing Your Home for Winter

Preparing for Winter

Since your house may get covered in snow and ice, you want to be sure that the severe weather isn’t going to breach the inside, nor leave behind lasting damage that will have to be repaired. Although you can’t prevent any and all kinds of problems from occurring, you can avoid many common issues that plague homeowners this time of year.

When it comes to protecting your home from the harsh winter weather, your primary goal is to make sure that the cold stays outside where it belongs. Also, you want to keep an eye on parts of your home that are exposed to the elements, including the roof, windows, and gutters.

Keep in mind that this list is not comprehensive, but it should give you an idea of what to think about to get your home ready this winter.

Clean Your Gutters

If leaves and water are sitting in your gutters during the cold season, they could freeze over and cause damage to the gutter itself. In addition, if they get too heavy from an abundance of ice and snow, they could buckle and damage your roof in the process.

Overall, you want to keep them as clear as possible so that when the snows arrive, they aren’t adding to a bunch of gunk that is already there. One thing to remember is that it’s best to wait until there are no more leaves dropping so that you only have to do this once.

Repair Cracks

As water freezes inside these cracks, the ice will expand, widening and deepening the damage. Over time, a little break can turn into a fault line, which can put your home at risk. Ideally, you will work on cracks on both the pavement surrounding your home as well as any masonry that is on the outside (i.e., the chimney).

If your foundation is starting to crack, it’s imperative that you patch it up ASAP. If you let it go too long, then it could spell disaster for your house and lead to significant damage.

Inspect Your Heating System

Depending on where you live, you likely don’t have to use your heater until the weather gets colder. This means that it sits unused for months on end, which can lead to inefficient operation when the time comes.

As such, you want to get all of your machinery inspected before the temperatures drop so that you can improve your energy and heating bills and ensure that it won’t break down when it counts the most.

Reverse Ceiling Fans

This is a minor step, but it can have significant effects. By reversing the flow of the fan blades, you’re moving hot air up and around the home more efficiently, which can help you save some money on heating bills. Also, it enables you to use them all year long since you don’t have to worry about the fan cooling you down when it’s already freezing outside.

Clean Your Chimney

Unless you have a gas fireplace, chances are that your chimney needs some cleaning before you start putting wood inside. Many house fires are started from flammable material that wasn’t removed, so don’t put yourself at risk. If necessary, hire a professional to inspect and clean the inside thoroughly.


Preparing For Winter Series

Preparing for Winter Series

Preparing for Winter

As we’ve seen in years past, winters are getting more brutal and harder to recover from if you’re not prepared. In some areas, buckets of snow and ice can fall in a seemingly endless barrage until you’re covered and potentially snowed in.

This kind of weather can wreak havoc on your home and your car, which is why it’s so crucial that you prepare your properties ahead of time. Don’t wait until the first snow falls to update vital elements of your home or automobile as that will be too late.

In this series, we provide you with some how-to tips to keep your items safe and secure this winter, as well as look at how you can avoid costly insurance claims. This time of year can be one of the busiest for insurance agents.  These tips may help you avoid being part of that that statistic.

Make sure that you are well-covered.  If you haven’t done an annual insurance review yet, the beginning of the year is a great time.  It’s easy.  Just give us a call at 865-922-3111 or click here to use our contact form.

Questions to Ask at an Insurance Review

Ben Johnson of Bob Johnson Insurance in TN

When you sit down with your agent to complete your insurance review, the particular details will vary based on your needs and your coverage.  The  questions below will provide you with some essential information that you need to know.

Home Insurance Questions

  • Does my policy cover rebuilding my home today?
  • How do renovations affect my policy?
  • Am I insured for replacement costs or actual cash value?
  • Am I covered for landscaping or major appliances?
  • Do I need extended coverage for belongings?
  • Do I qualify for any discounts?
  • What am I NOT covered against?

Vehicle Insurance Questions

Life Insurance Questions

  • Why are the difference between term life insurance or permanent life insurance, and which one is better for me?
  • How much life insurance should I buy?
  • Should I keep my current permanent life insurance policy?
  • Should I buy life insurance or just invest and save?

Bottom Line

Reviewing your insurance is a necessary step to making sure that you have the coverage you need and that you’re not overpaying for services that are unnecessary. If you haven’t done this since you initially signed up for your policy, now is the perfect time to call your agent and set up a meeting.

Let BJI Help

If you are a BJI customer, give us a call or fill out our contact form to schedule a review of your policies. It doesn’t take long and can help you have the peace of mind knowing that your coverage is sufficient, and it might even save you a little money.

If you are not a BJI customer, we can help you as well.  Because we are an independent agency, we can compare your current policies with the rates of multiple insurance companies so that you get the best rate for the coverage that you want.  Give us a call or fill out our contact form to schedule a review of your policies.

 

Previous:  How to Do an Annual Insurance Review

How to Do Your Annual Insurance Review

Ben Johnson of Bob Johnson Insurance in TN

Doing an annual review of your policies could be as simple as sitting down with your agent and going over your policies. However, a little preparation can go a long way.  It’s always a good idea to do a review on your own time so that you can manage your coverage and come up with a list of questions to ask during your one-on-one with an agent.

Here is a step-by-step guide of what to do to review all of your insurance policies.

Step One: Organize Your Policies

Even if you have all of your insurance from a single provider, it’s necessary to compile each policy in a separate category. The critical items to pay attention to are:

  • Policy Number
  • Date Issued
  • Premium Payments
  • Who is Covered
  • Beneficiaries (if Applicable)
  • Policy Type

We recommend that you create a summary of each policy so that you can have it for easy reference.

Step Two: Read Through Your Policies

Although you will do an in-depth review with your agent, it’s best to get an understanding of what to expect so that your interaction is more streamlined. If your agent has to explain everything to you from scratch, the whole process will take a lot longer.

When reading through each policy, mark any areas where you have questions. Use colored sticky notes (instead of a highlighting pen) so that you can stay organized during your meeting.

Step Three: Make Copies

It never hurts to have extra copies of your policies. One should be on file, and another is what you’re going to take with you. Having a duplicate means that you can make notes and write on the margins without affecting anything.

Step Four: Arrange a Meeting With Your Agent

Once you have a summary sheet and a list of questions regarding your policies, then it’s time to make an appointment. To help you stay organized during the meeting, you should write all of your queries down in a list.

 

Let BJI Help

If you are a BJI customer, give us a call or fill out our contact form to schedule a review of your policies. It doesn’t take long and can help you have the peace of mind knowing that your coverage is sufficient, and it might even save you a little money.

If you are not a BJI customer, we can help you as well.  Because we are an independent agency, we can compare your current policies with the rates of multiple insurance companies so that you get the best rate for the coverage that you want.  Give us a call or fill out our contact form to schedule a review of your policies.

 

Previous: Why You Need to Review Your Insurance Annually

Next:  Questions to Ask at an Insurance Review

Why You Need to Review Your Insurance Annually

Ben Johnson of Bob Johnson Insurance in TN

For most of us, insurance is a necessary part of life. Whether it’s protecting our homes, our cars, or ourselves, having the right insurance can ensure that you aren’t put in a precarious position when something happens.

However, is your current insurance policy providing you with the best coverage? When was the last time you checked on it to see what is covered and what isn’t? According to experts, you should be conducting an insurance review every year, which most of us don’t do.

As such, today we’re going to be discussing the benefits of doing an insurance review, what it entails and what to pay attention to the most. Don’t wait until something happens to find out if you’re fully covered or not.

What is an Insurance Policy Review?

Simply put, this is when you sit down with your insurance agent and go over the specific details outlined in your policy. It’s best to do this with all of your insurance so that you can catch any gaps in coverage and solve that issue immediately.

The goal of an insurance review is to make sure that the policy you have is the one that’s going to provide you with the best protection. For example, if you have a homeowner’s policy for your house that hasn’t been updated in ten years, you could have a significant gap in coverage.

Fortunately, your insurance agent(s) will be more than happy to sit down with you and discuss your changing needs and see how you can adjust your policy to reflect any recent updates. This process is relatively quick and painless, and it can save you a lot of time, money, and headaches in the future.

Benefits of Reviewing Your Insurance Policy

Chances are that you haven’t thought about reviewing your policy since you started it. However, if there have been any significant changes in your life since then (i.e., marriage, divorce, family changes, income level, home improvements, etc.), it’s imperative that you look at your insurance to see if there is anything that needs to be updated.

Here are a few reasons why doing an annual insurance review is right for you and your family.

Fill in Gaps

This problem is most common with homeowner’s insurance since the market can appreciate in value over time. For example, if your house was worth $350K when you bought it and now it’s worth $500K, your policy needs to reflect that. If your payout is still based on the first figure, that’s a huge discrepancy that will come out of your pocket.

Combine Coverage

You may have signed up with several different insurance companies, which means that you have various agents looking over and securing your policies. However, it is usually beneficial to combine services with one insurance company so that you can either save money or get more comprehensive benefits. In addition, an independent agency such as Bob Johnson Insurance can let you compare the savings between multiple insurance companies instead of just one.

Reduce Rates

Although it’s more likely that your policy will have to be updated to reflect a higher payout (which may mean higher premiums), a review may enable you to save more money in the long term. Car insurance especially can be reduced if you’ve gone years without an accident or moving violation. Doing an annual review can help you make the most of your monthly payments.

Add Insurance

Do you know what you’re covered for right now? Does that account for everything that could happen? For example, does your policy cover everything from fire to floods? If not, then now is the time to add it. Even if you’re not sure what could happen to your property (or yourself) in the future, it’s better to be safe than sorry.

Which Policies Should be Reviewed and Why?

When doing an annual insurance review, it’s best to look at any and all policies that you have. These can include life, homeowner’s, renter’s, and auto insurance, among others. It’s best to look at and take care of everything all at once so that no surprises are lurking in your coverage.

Even if you think that everything should be the same, it’s better to do a full review of all of your policies, just in case. You never know what other services you can qualify for that can improve your coverage and your monthly payments.

How Often You Should Review Your Policies

There is no “right” answer here, but there are some guidelines that you should follow to be safe. Based on expert recommendations, this is when you should review each kind of policy (beyond an annual checkup).

  • Health Insurance: if you are diagnosed with a chronic illness, or if you’re expecting to need more coverage, such as you’re planning on a pregnancy.
  • Life Insurance: marriage or divorce is a perfect time to review and update your policy. Also, income changes can affect your policy needs, so do a review if your salary varies significantly.
  • Homeowner’s Insurance: if you do any renovating or remodeling you should update your insurance to reflect that.
  • Auto Insurance: anytime you are involved in an accident you should do a review to see how it will affect your rates and your coverage.

Let BJI Help

If you are a BJI customer, give us a call or fill out our contact form to schedule a review of your policies. It doesn’t take long and can help you have the peace of mind knowing that your coverage is sufficient, and it might even save you a little money.

If you are not a BJI customer, we can help you as well.  Because we are an independent agency, we can compare your current policies with the rates of multiple insurance companies so that you get the best rate for the coverage that you want.  Give us a call or fill out our contact form to schedule a review of your policies.

Next:  How to Do an Annual Insurance Review

A Quick Insurance Review can Save Money for You

Ben Johnson of Bob Johnson Insurance in TN

Everyone should do an insurance review at least once per year.  It’s not complicated.  An insurance review is when you sit down with your insurance agent and go over the specific details outlined in your policy.  The goal is to consider any changes you have made over the last year and make sure that your insurance coverage still the correct amount. You may also find some discounts or lower rates that you previously did not know were available.

Here’s what you need to know:

Ready to schedule your insurance review?  Call us at 865-922-3111 or click here to use our contact form.