Prepping for Spring: Your Home

Spring is almost here!  The outdoors is already calling us to come and have loads of fun.  It’s important to be ready.

We previously posted some tips about getting your vehicles ready for Spring:

Now that your vehicles are ready for the season you should turn your attention to your house. Your living spaces are primed for spring cleaning, so follow these tips and get your home looking its best so you can enjoy the better weather even more.

Clean Your Gutters

Over the fall and winter, leaves and other debris collected in your gutters, and they are ready to be emptied. If you live in an area that gets a lot of Spring showers, then it’s crucial that you keep your gutters clear so that they can work properly. Now that the sun is out, you can take care of it in a day and be ready for the next rainfall.

Change Your Filters

Chances are that you have several appliances that use filters. A range hood, a built-in water dispenser for your fridge – all of them need to be changed regularly. Don’t forget your HVAC system. Springtime should serve as a reminder to get you to inspect and replace any filters that are looking worse for wear. Having this be a seasonal thing will ensure that you don’t forget about them.

Wash the Windows

Now that the sun is coming out and the weather is nice, you will want to let in as much light as possible. If your windows are still covered in Winter gunk and dirt, now is the time to make them spotless. Just be on the lookout for birds who may not realize that there’s glass in the way.

Take Care of the Lawn

You’ve been able to use the weather as an excuse to avoid mowing and raking leaves, but now you can’t keep avoiding it. When Spring arrives, it’s time to pull the lawnmower out and start trimming your grass.

In addition to the lawn, you should be checking all of your shrubs and plants to see how they fared over the Winter months. If they need treatment or pruning, you should take care of that now so that they can bloom well in the Summer.

Check Your Home Exterior

Take a few minutes to walk around your home and check for any damage, wear or other damage.  Make a note of all items that need to be done and schedule a day that you will complete the tasks.  This will ensure your house stays in top shape.

Make Sure Your Homeowner’s Insurance is Adequate.

Keeping your property in pristine condition is the whole point of Spring cleaning, but you still want to keep them insured adequately just in case.  If you did your annual insurance review back in January, you already know for sure that your home is covered.  If not, contact Bob Johnson Insurance (865-922-3111 or 800-624-3339)to schedule your insurance review.  Our agents can help you understand your options and make sure that you have the coverage you need and want.

 

Spring Break Tips: Auto Coverage When Borrowing a Friend’s Car

Spring Break Tips: Auto Coverage When Borrowing a Friend’s Car

When you’re driving your own car, you know that you have auto insurance coverage in case of an accident or collision. However, what happens if you’re borrowing a car from a friend?  Also, what if you loan your vehicle to someone else? 

At the time, most people don’t even think about their insurance policy. Nevertheless, it will make a huge difference if something does happen, and you’re not the one behind the wheel. To help you have peace of mind, we at Bob Johnson Insurance want to shed some light on this issue. 

The Vehicle is Insured, Not Necessarily the Person

For the most part, the coverage you have is specific to your car, not the person driving it. Therefore, if your friend is involved in an accident and is not injured, your policy should protect both of you. While the insurance company will want to verify that you gave permission beforehand, there shouldn’t be any issues. 

That being said, if you don’t have sufficient coverage for the accident, then the insurance of the person borrowing the car may come into effect. Even though they weren’t driving their own vehicle, their policy may cover any gaps in your insurance. 

Secondary Borrowing

Please keep in mind that most insurance companies typically only permit you to loan your vehicle to one person at a time. If the person borrowing your car lends it to someone else without your knowledge, your coverage may become null and void. Therefore, you want to be sure you trust the person borrowing your car. 

Denial of Coverage

Other instances in which a policy may not pay out include if the borrower of a vehicle engages in criminal or negligent activity with the car. Also, if the insurance company believes that he or she was trying to commit fraud, the plan may not cover any damages. 

Long-Term Borrowing

If you have a friend who borrows your car regularly (or if you are that friend), it’s usually a good idea to get him or her added to your policy. This way, other circumstances (such as personal injury) can be covered, which will give both of you peace of mind. 


Overall, as long as the situation is considered “normal,” there shouldn’t be any issues with a friend borrowing your car (or vice versa). However, if you’re still not sure, feel free to contact your agent at Bob Johnson Insurance for further details. 

Spring Break Tips: Do You Need Rental Car Insurance?

Spring Break Tips: Do You Need Rental Car Insurance?

If you’ve ever rented a car before, then you know that one of the questions you’ll get asked is if you want insurance. For many people, this may seem like an unnecessary expense, but is that really the case? 

While there may be some situations when rental car insurance might be superfluous, it’s usually a good investment. Let’s go over some considerations you should think about before you automatically decline the extra fees. 

Understand Your Personal Auto Insurance

One of the primary reasons you won’t want to get insurance from the rental company is if you already have coverage. In some cases, your policy may include rental cars, which means that you’ll be paying twice for the same thing. However, you’ll want to speak to your agent to be sure that you’re getting the right protection for your trip. 

For example, some rental companies may charge additional fees if the car is damaged, so you want to make sure that you’re covered for those as well. 

Protection for Personal Items

Chances are that you’re bringing stuff along for the ride, which may include valuables like mobile devices and luggage. Are your items already protected by your homeowner’s or renter’s insurance policy? If not, then you probably want to get covered by the rental company in case of loss or theft. 

Credit Card Protection

Did you know that your credit card company may be able to cover some of the repair costs of an accident? You’ll want to call them to see what situations they’ll protect against. In some cases, you may not need additional insurance because your credit card provider will handle the bulk of any expenses. Typically, though, they will usually reimburse you for your deductible, as well as handle any property damage, but not personal injury costs. 

Other Circumstances

If your car rental is not “normal,” then you may want to get some additional coverage. Some examples of unique situations may be if you rent an exotic car, or if you’re in another country. In these situations, you want to see if your current insurance will protect you. If not, then it’s worth the extra per-day expense. Also consider things like business trips, which may be covered by your company’s insurance plan. 

What Insurance Options are Available?

Finally, when considering whether to buy insurance from the rental company, you will want to see which options they have. Some examples include-

Loss Damage Waiver – covers damage to the car, as well as theft. It can also include expenses related to loss of use. 

Liability Protection – coverage in case you are sued by someone involved in an accident. 

Personal Accident Insurance – you and your passengers are protected, including any medical bills related to your collision. 

Personal Effects Coverage – if your stuff is lost, stolen, or damaged in the vehicle, you may be reimbursed. 

Overall, you want to take the time to figure these things out before making a final decision. Ideally, you’ll contact Bob Johnson Insurance before your trip so that you can see what type of coverage you have. This way, you’ll be ready to answer the rental clerk immediately and save money.

Insurance Tips for Adults Just Starting Out

Insurance Tips for Adults Just Starting Out

You keep your car filled up with gas so you don’t get stranded on the side of the road. You ensure your phone is charged so your loved ones can reach you. But, what kind of safety measures do you have in place for more extreme scenarios?

What if you lost everything you owned in a fire at your house or your apartment? What if your car were stolen? These situations are scary, but your insurance can help you through them, and much more, so long as you have the right coverage in place.

So, what’s right for you? Whether you’re starting out on your own or starting a family, these tips can help you begin to understand the level of insurance you may need.

Consider What You Own – And What It’s All Worth

Could you imagine having to replace all of your personal belongings at once? What about having to do so from memory and on your own dime? It would be both a difficult and a costly task. There are a couple of things you can do to be prepared.

First, make an inventory of your belongings and their value so that you know what is lost if they are lost in a fire or other emergency.  (The free Safeco Home Inventory app can help.) Want to know more about how to do one?  Check out Why You Need a Home Inventory.

Second, be sure you have enough insurance coverage regardless of whether you rent or own a home. It’s known as “personal property coverage,” and you want enough of it to replace all of your belongings if it were to come to that.  Checking your coverage is easy by doing an insurance review.  Check out Doing an Insurance Review: Why You Need It and What to Do.

Take Your Lifestyle Into Account

Drive an expensive car? Repairs are likely costly, so be sure to carry full coverage. Own a home with a lot of custom features? Be sure your homeowners policy takes them into account. The way you live can help you save, too. For example, if you take public transportation to and from work even though you own a car, you may pay less for your insurance.

Talk to Your Independent Agent for Ease, Choice and Advice

At Bob Johnson Insurance, we care about you and helping you protect the ones you love as well as the things that you need.  As an independent agency, we are able to offer a choice of carriers and options, plus personalized advice to help make sense of it all. And, we make it easy by doing the research and the work for you.

Remember, we’re here to help. Contact us today at 865-922-3111 with your insurance questions and needs.

Tying the Knot? Tie up Loose Ends With Wedding Insurance

Tying the Knot? Tie up Loose Ends With Wedding Insurance

Getting married is a big step that you’re no doubt commemorating with a big celebration. And, that often comes with a (fairly) big price tag. So, have you considered insuring the whole to-do?

As with other sizable investments, you can insure big events, such as your wedding. But, that’s not the only way insurance can play a role in your big day and the events that follow. Here are four tips for insuring your wedding, rings and more:

Big day, big investment – protect it

Of course you want your big day to go off without a hitch. But, you also want to prepare for those pesky “what ifs.” What if the caterer backs out? What if the bride’s dress gets lost in her checked baggage? What if your venue goes out of business?

Event insurance typically covers unexpected issues with the site, weather, vendors and illness or injury, so you aren’t stuck with the tab. For example, if you need to find a new caterer the day before the wedding, your policy may help with the costs. 

Say ‘I do’ to covering your rings.

Regardless of the monetary value of your engagement and wedding rings, it’s important to protect your investment — preferably right after you purchase them. We can help. Call us from the jewelry store if you like, and we’ll schedule your new bling on your renters insurance, condo insurance or homeowners insurance. 

Cover your bases by covering your gifts.

While you’re dancing the night away, you don’t want someone walking away with your gifts. But, unfortunately, it happens. You may want to consider a policy to protect your gifts. And, of course, you’ll want to include them as part of your home inventory (see Why You Need a Home Inventory) and personal property coverage. Some items, such as collectibles and china, may need scheduled coverage, just like your rings. 

Start your honeymoon right. 

If your honeymoon costs as much as a car, it may make sense to get travel insurance. Policies can include coverage for trip cancellation or delay, and even medical insurance. Frommers.com says it should cost no more than 8 percent of your trip price. 

Whether your wedding is a small family affair or the biggest event of the year, you deserve to have a stress-free day. Click here and let us help you select the insurance coverage you want for your wedding and everything that goes along with it. So, when the big day arrives, all you have to worry about is having a great time!

Why You Need a Home Inventory List for Insurance, and How to Make One

Why You Need a Home Inventory List

When you purchase and furnish your home, you probably don’t think about what might happen to those items if disaster strikes. Like almost any homeowner, you pay your insurance premiums and just assume that in the event of theft, fire or other loss, you will be reimbursed the expense of those possessions. 

In reality, many homeowners are surprised and saddened when disaster does strike, and their insurance requests documentation of every item in their home. They find themselves trying to make a list of what was lost while attempting to remember how much it cost and where they purchased it. Inevitably, items are forgotten or insurance denies certain claims due to lack of documentation. 

Every homeowner can avoid this by keeping a home inventory list. Home inventory lists help owners easily find and document their items to insurance companies in the event of the need to make a claim. 

Creating and Inventory List

If the idea of creating a list of everything you own is daunting, the process is really straightforward. Read on to find out how you can easily make your own home inventory list:

  • It’s easiest to start when you first purchase your home. If this isn’t possible, pick a room that has the most valuable possessions and start there, working your way to the least valuable rooms. Don’t forget storage and closets.
  • Include basic information about every item. This includes where and when you purchased it, a make or model number, and the amount you paid. 
  • Sets purchased together do not need to be listed separately. For example, instead of listing “Bed (price) Dresser (price)”, you can simply write “Bedroom set: Bed, Dresser, Mirror (price)”
  • Clothing can be counted as a group. An example of this would be : “Jackets (brand and Price) 3”, and so on. Keep in mind this only applies to items of the same brand or approximate value.
  • When you make new purchases, try to scan the receipts as you enter the item to your inventory. If you don’t want to print a paper copy of your home inventory list, you can make the document shareable with a trusted friend, attorney or family member so that you may be able to retrieve it in the event that your computer is stolen or damaged.
  • When you’re done, make a cover sheet that lists the rooms and their page number for easy reference. 

If you would like an example of a home inventory sheet, you can see one here.

As a special note, most homeowners insurance has a limit on the amount of money that will be reimbursed. If you own expensive items such as jewelry, furs, designer purses, heirlooms, art or other luxury items, be sure to discuss the possibility of an additional rider to your policy to help insure these items.

Don’t be intimidated by the thought of creating your home inventory list. With a little time, you’ll have the extra reassurance you need to feel secure that your insurance coverage is adequate and your possessions are counted. 

Of course, we at Bob Johnson Insurance are here to help. If you have any questions, give us a call at 865-922-3111 or click here to contact us.

Protect Your Boat This Winter

Protect Your Boat This Winter

As the weather cools down in Knoxville and the surrounding areas, the opportunities to take your boat out on the water will be few and far between if at all. If you haven’t already, you’ll want to make sure that you prepare it for the winter season the right way so that it will still be in excellent shape next year. 

There are two ways to ensure that your boat is well protected. Winterize your boat and check on the type of insurance you have. We at Bob Johnson Insurance are here to help you get the coverage you need so that your craft is always ready for anything. 

What Kind of Insurance Do You Need?

Typically speaking, small boats that don’t have a lot of power can be covered by your current homeowner’s or renter’s insurance policy. However, larger and faster crafts must have their own plan, so be sure to check with us to ensure that you have the right coverage. 

During the winter months, you may think that insurance won’t be necessary. After all, the boat’s out of the water, so what’s the worst that could happen? Well, that depends. The fact is that your ship can still get damaged, vandalized, or stolen when it’s not in the water. Therefore, having watercraft insurance all year long is always a good idea. 

Also, considering that Knoxville, TN doesn’t have the harshest of winters, you may be able to enjoy some decent time on the water during the offseason, which is where full coverage will come in handy. 

Optional Boat Insurance Options

Although protecting your craft itself is crucial, you have to take a more comprehensive approach when drafting the right insurance policy. These options are good to consider regardless of the season.

  • If your boat is getting old, you may be better off with a cash-value policy instead of an agreed value one. 
  • Consider any equipment that you may have on the boat. Do you keep fishing gear stored on there during the off-season? What about any electronics, like fish finders?
  • Not everyone who has a boat is insured, so it’s usually a good idea to get uninsured boater coverage and possibly umbrella protection, which helps reduce your liability if you’re ever involved in a collision or accident on the water. 

When talking with your insurance agent, keep in mind that there may be ways to get discounts on your policy. For example, taking a boating safety course can help reduce your premiums, so ask what options are available. In addition, your agent can advise you of other insurance options that you might want to know about

Winterizing Your Boat

While getting the right insurance coverage is essential, it’s not the only thing you should be doing to get your boat ready for the season. Winterizing your craft is also crucial so that it can survive the colder weather without any problems. Here are some tips to get started. 

Flush the Engine – Since the motor won’t be used during the winter, you want to clean it out and drain fuel from the carburetor. Doing this will help prevent buildup and ensure that everything stays pristine. Also, be sure to lubricate systems like your pistons and cylinders. 

Stern Drive – Keeping your boat clean and free of any plant life or barnacles will help keep the stern in good condition over the winter. Also, drain the gear case and clean it thoroughly. 

Fuel – Keeping your fuel tanks full for the season will avoid condensation. Be sure to add fuel stabilizers though to ensure that it stays fresh until Spring. 

Fresh Water System – As the temperature drops, the water in your boat can freeze and cause damage. To prevent this, flush the system and fill it with non-toxic antifreeze. 

Interior – Storing some items on your craft during winter can be convenient, but don’t store anything too valuable, especially if you don’t check the inside very often. 

Boat Cover – Using a cover to protect your boat from harmful UV rays and other winter weather will ensure that it’s ready to go next season. 

Keeping your boat in excellent condition this winter is much easier than it looks. By being prepared ahead of time, you can make this process much more comfortable, thus guaranteeing you won’t experience any problems when you back into the water. 

If you have any questions about boater’s insurance, be sure to give Bob Johnson Insurance a call at 800-624-3339 or click here to contact us.

Tips for Selecting the Right Independent Insurance Agent

Ben Johnson of Bob Johnson Insurance in TN

We previously discussed the benefits of an independent insurance agent.  So how do you choose the right agent for you?

Understand the Difference between Independent Agents, and “Captive” Agents.

Captive agents work with one specific insurance company.  As part of their business agreement with that company, they can offer only that company’s insurance products. They may also be required to sell other products from that company, such as annuities and investment plans.

Independent agents and brokers can offer products from many insurance companies. This helps them better serve your interests, as they can review multiple options to find a policy and rate that’s right for you. Insurance rates vary from company to company. Independent agents can put together a customized insurance plan. If one company is competitive one year but not the next, the independent agent can quote other carriers.

Tips for Finding the Right Agent

  • Ask for referrals from friends, family, colleagues and people you trust.
  • Consider location.  Does an agent have an office in your community?  Is the agent/agency involved in the community?
  • Check out their web site.  Read the history and staff information.  Does the site provide adequate insurance information and make it easy to get a quote?
  • Interview the agent.  Ask about credentials and certifications. The meeting or phone call should help you get an idea of their personality and feel respect for their knowledge and integrity.

Knowledge and Trust are Primary

Although knowledge and trust are built over time, look for signs of how the agent does business.  Are they reputable?  Does the agent answer all your questions with adequate information?  Is the agent primarily focused on meeting your insurance needs by providing you with relevant options?

Give Bob Johnson Insurance a Call

We would be glad to have the opportunity to earn your business.  Give us a call toll free at 800-624-3339 or click here to contact us.

Insurance Tips Every College Student Should Know — Tip #5: General Tips for College Students

Insurance Tips for College Students

In these two weeks, we have been discussing insurance tips that every college student should know.  Today, we want to provide you, as the college student, some tips to help you.

It CAN Happen to You

Many times young adult individuals do not think that something like the topics in this series can happen to them. Whether it be an incident with your car or your personal property, you NEED to understand that situations requiring insurance can happen to anyone.  It’s important to protect yourself as well as your property.

Most of your stuff in your dorm room should be covered under your parents’ homeowners or renters.

When you live in a dorm on campus, most of your personal possessions are covered under your parents’ coverage. However, you should check on the limits to the coverage in the case of expensive things such as computers or other electronics. There may be limits to this coverage and a special personal property endorsement may be needed.

Get renters insurance when living off-campus.

As mentioned in previous posts, make sure you get renters insurance when you live off campus. In addition to protecting your belongings, it can also protect you from liability in case someone gets injured there as well.

Don’t take valuables to school.

There are some valuables that you may want to leave at home when you go off to college. While laptops may be needed, your expensive jewelry isn’t. Leave those kinds of things at home where they are safer.

Keep your things safe.

It’s important to make sure to safeguard your items from theft. Do not leave your things unattended on campus and make sure that you always lock your dorm room door. You don’t know who may wander into your room otherwise. 50 percent of all on-campus crimes are burglaries, according to the Insurance Information Institute. The primary areas where they occur are the dining hall, the library and other public places.

The distance from your parents’ home can matter.

Make sure to double check your auto insurance, especially when you attend a college that’s located out of state.

Safeguard any gaps in coverage.

We talk a lot here about reviewing your coverage.  If you are covered under your parents’ insurance, make sure they contact their agent to check to see if there are any gaps in coverage when you go to college.  Otherwise, make sure to contact your insurance agent to find out for yourself. You don’t want to take the risk that something could happen during one of these gaps and be left without insurance. That is not the way to begin your awesome college adventure!

Bob Johnson Insurance is Ready to Help

We can help you make sure that there won’t be any gaps in coverage and that you have the right amount of insurance here in Tennessee for your college experience.  It only takes a few minutes on the phone.  Give us a call at 865-922-3111.

Insurance Tips Every College Student Should Know — Tip #4: Renter’s Insurance Tips

Insurance Tips for College Students

In these two weeks, we are discussing insurance tips that every college student should know.  When we discussed personal property a few days ago, we talked about the possible need for renter’s insurance.  If you need it, here is some information to help.

There are two kinds of renters insurance policies.

You can choose from actual cash value or replacement lost when you’re looking into renters insurance policies. If you get actual cash value, it pays for what it will cost to replace your possessions minus a deduction for depreciation. If you get replacement cost, it will pay to buy a replacement item. The replacement cost policies are more expensive, but it makes sense because they also offer more protection.

Be on the lookout for discounts.

When it comes to insurance, there are ways to get discounts and the most for your money. Often times, if you purchase more than one type of insurance with the same company, you can get a discount. Check with your insurance agent now to find out what kind of deals they may have when you add additional coverage.

Consider a higher deductible.

While it doesn’t sound ideal, you may want to investigate the benefit of choosing a higher deductible. By doing this, you will be able to have a lower premium.

Choose your own insurance company.

There are more and more landlords that require their tenants to have renters insurance as a condition of the lease. They may even go as so far as to suggest an insurance company for you. Keep in mind that just because they suggest someone, doesn’t mean that you’re required to go with that company.

Because Bob Johnson Insurance is an independent agent, we can help you find the best insurance company for you. We can show you what is offered by multiple companies and provide the information that allows you to choose the right balance between price and coverage for your specific situation.

Questions for Your Insurance Review

  1. Explain the types of renter’s insurance that is available.
  2. How much coverage do I need?
  3. Are any discounts available?

How Long Will It Take to Get Answers to My Insurance Questions?

You should be able to get most (if not all) of your information with a phone call or two.  At Bob Johnson Insurance, we are always ready to provide the answers to your questions.  Give us a call at 865-922-3111.