What to Expect After a House Fire

An Insurance Guide to House Fires

Series: An Insurance Guide to House Fires

For many homeowners, one of the worst things that can happen is a fire in the home. Whether it’s a small flame or a destructive blaze, the damage can be both catastrophic and emotionally scarring. 

However, if you do experience a house fire, it’s imperative that you understand what options you have for recovery. Homeowner’s insurance is designed to protect you against this kind of damage, but it requires input from you to ensure that the process moves smoothly. 

If you live in the Knoxville, TN area, then contact Bob Johnson Insurance today to find out how we cover house fires. We provide excellent policies that will keep you and your family protected, no matter what happens. 

What to Expect After a House Fire

If your home goes up in flames, a lot of things are going to happen. The more you know what to expect, the better you can react to ensure that you are both safe and informed. Here’s an overview of what can happen after a house fire. 

Wait for the Fire to be Fully Extinguished

The fire department will be the ones handling the blaze, and it’s up to them to decide when the area is safe and the fire is out. Until they give the all clear, you should avoid getting close to the fire at all. 

Injury Assessment

Hopefully, no one will be hurt in the blaze, but that’s not always the case. If you or a family member are injured either by the fire itself or other circumstances (i.e., smoke inhalation), the paramedics will probably rush you to the emergency room to figure out the extent of the injury. 

Going Back Inside

Depending on how big and how destructive the fire was, you may be able to go back into your house or you may not. Again, it’s up to the fire department to determine how safe the property is, so don’t try going back in unless you have been instructed to do so. Otherwise, you could be putting yourself at unnecessary risk. 

Water and Smoke Damage

Just because part of your house was not engulfed in flames doesn’t mean that it wasn’t damaged. Water hoses and fire extinguishers are necessary for putting out the blaze which can leave lasting effects on parts of your property (as well as the stuff inside). In some case, you may have items that need replacing because they are waterlogged. 

Smoke can also require more extensive recovery. Because the ash can contain harmful chemicals, it will have to be cleaned to avoid inhalation. Again, even if the section was not touched by fire, you can still be facing a lot of damage from the smoke. 


Next: What You Should Do After a House Fire

An Insurance Guide to House Fires (series)

An Insurance Guide to House Fires

For many homeowners, one of the worst things that can happen is a fire in the home. Whether it’s a small flame or a destructive blaze, the damage can be both catastrophic and emotionally scarring. 

If you do experience a house fire, it’s imperative that you understand what options you have for recovery. Homeowner’s insurance is designed to protect you against this kind of damage, but it requires input from you to ensure that the process moves smoothly. 

Part 1: What to Expect After a House Fire

Part 2: What You Should Do After a House Fire

Part 3: What Do Insurance Companies Expect After a House Fire?

Part 4: What Should You Expect From Your Insurance Company After a House Fire?

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!

Save Money by Slowing Down

Save Money by Slowing Down

One issue that plagues most drivers is speed. Although we have speed limits everywhere you go, the vast majority of drivers exceed these limits, sometimes significantly. However, just because many people do it doesn’t mean that it’s the right thing to do. 

Today we want to cover some of the primary benefits of slowing down and how it can help keep you and your car safe. 

Speeding Statistics

Although cars are always becoming safer, they’re still massive machines of metal and glass that can kill a person with enough force. Unfortunately, there has been a recent uptick in traffic fatalities,(1) and according to the National Transportation Safety Board, speeding is a prevalent cause.(2) 

In fact, about 31% of all fatalities were caused by speeding, a figure that’s pretty close to drunk driving. This problem is so prevalent that about one in every six drivers on the road is pulled over for going too fast. Overall, about 41 million speeding tickets are issued every year in the US. 

Save Money by Slowing Down

Obviously, the dangers present in speeding are widespread, but most people believe that they can react in time to avoid a collision. However, if you think about the financial costs of speeding, you may feel differently next time you’re behind the wheel. Here’s how putting the pedal to the metal can cost you. 

Speeding Tickets

Depending on where you live, a ticket can be several hundred dollars. Remember, you have a one in six chance of being pulled over, so is it worth the risk? Just a couple of tickets in a year can set you back substantially. 

Insurance Rates

Insurance companies want to minimize their risk of paying a claim. While they can’t always monitor your driving habits, they can look at things like moving violations and speeding tickets. The more of these you have, the higher your rates will be. 

One thing that companies consider as well is how much you were going over the speed limit. For example, getting pulled over for going 40 in a 35 is not as bad as going 65 in the same zone. Higher speeds can mean bigger tickets, as well as more substantial penalties. 

Overall, going fast is not worth the risk. Not only are you putting yourself in danger, but you could be hurting your wallet too. Slow down, and you’ll avoid many of these risks. 


  1. 2015–2016 US Transportation Fatalities & 2016–2017 US Transportation Fatalities
  2. NTSB Aims to Reduce Speeding-Related Crashes

Avoid Deadly Distractions Behind the Wheel

Avoid Deadly Distractions Behind the Wheel

Many people have a limited definition of “distracted driving”: They think it only means texting behind the wheel.

There’s good reason for that, because texting requires visual, manual and cognitive attention – the same attention required for safe driving. But although texting is perhaps the most dangerous distraction, there are many others that can impact how you drive, whether you realize it or not. And they can be just as deadly.

How deadly? According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and U.S. Department of Transportation, in 2015 more than 390,000 people were injured in crashes caused by distracted drivers – with more than 3,200 killed. (Distracted Driving 2016 stats: https://crashstats.nhtsa.dot.gov/Api/Public/ViewPublication/812517)

Here are just a few of the things that can distract drivers on the road:

  • Talking on the phone, even with a hands-free device.
  • Eating or drinking.
  • Talking to passengers.
  • Grooming (yes, there really are people who apply makeup or shave on their way to work).
  • Reading, including maps.
  • Adjusting the stereo.

Younger drivers are the most distracted of all – according to the government’s distraction.gov  website, people in their 20s make up 38% of drivers who were using cell phones before a fatal crash, and 10% of teen drivers involved in fatal crashes were distracted, too.

With distractions more prevalent than ever (more than 150 billion text messages are sent in the U.S. every month), how can you, and those you love, be safer behind the wheel? Here are a few tips:

Don’t use the phone: This includes texting as well as talking, unless it’s an emergency. Even hands-free conversations can take your attention off the road.

Eat before you leave, or after you get there: Scarfing down that burger with one hand on the wheel means your focus is divided – and you probably don’t have as much control over your car as you should. Bonus benefit: Keeping your meals and your driving separate means you’re much less likely to get ketchup on your pants.

Know where you’re going: Nobody likes to be lost. But messing around with your car’s GPS (or the maps app on your smartphone) while you’re moving can lead to something you’ll hate even more – an accident.

Talk to your family about safe driving: Having a conversation with your spouse as they’re driving home? That’s a perfect opportunity to say, “I’ll let you focus on the road; we can talk when you get here.” And if you have young drivers in the household, be sure to have a conversation about their phones and other potential issues, such as their passengers – a key distraction for teens.

Watch for other distracted drivers: Just because you aren’t distracted doesn’t mean that other drivers are focused on safe driving. Stay in control and be vigilant – you’ll be ready to react when someone else makes the wrong move.

Distracted driving isn’t just “one of those things” that happens, like a tire blowout or mechanical failure that isn’t anyone’s fault. It’s 100% preventable – and by committing to avoiding distractions while you drive, you’ll help make the road safer for everyone.

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.

Dangers When Driving at Night

Dangers When Driving at Night

Although most of us drive after the sun goes down, we usually don’t realize how dangerous it can be to do so. At night, you have to be extra cautious because you may run into problems that wouldn’t be present during the day. In fact, more than 50% of all accident fatalities happen between 6 p.m. and 6 a.m., showing that nighttime can be dangerous for everyone. 

So, to help you stay safe, we want to cover some of the most significant issues you may encounter out on the road. 

Some of the More Significant Nighttime Driving Issues

Decreased Visibility

Even if you drive in the city, you’re not going to get as much light at night. Not only that, but your eyes work differently in the dark, meaning that you’re already at a disadvantage when you get behind the wheel. 

What’s the result? You may not notice obstacles in your way, especially when turning and merging into traffic. It’s much easier to get into a collision when you can’t see anything. 

Overdriving Your Headlights

If you haven’t heard this term before, it means that you’re driving too fast to react to anything that shows up in your headlights. Most drivers create this problem without knowing it. In short, by the time you see anything, it’s too late. You’ll either hit what’s in front of you, or you’ll swerve violently to avoid it, which will likely cause you to hit something else. 

How do you avoid this situation? Drive slower to give yourself more time to react.

Impaired Judgement

There are many reasons for impaired driving judgment after sunset. Nighttime is when most people go out and celebrate. Staying out late with friends increases the chance of driving while tired. In addition, when traffic is less abundant, people can tend to get a little more relaxed and a little less cautious.

Even if that doesn’t sound like you, consider that you’re not the only car on the road. Be sure to drive defensively.

Suggestions to Stay Safe

Increase Your Visibility

Keep your headlights in good condition. Most older cars have lights that don’t provide as much illumination. This means that overdriving can be more of an issue. Replace dim bulbs. Also, keep your headlights clean.

Give yourself extra time when turning and merging to make sure that no other vehicles are in the space where you are going.

Use Good Judgment by Knowing When Yours Isn’t

Avoid driving when your judgment may be impaired. Whether you are tired or for any other reason, let a friend drive you home or call an Uber.

Be Aware of the Road and Other Drivers

Stay vigilant. As we mentioned, a lot of people lower their guard at night when there are fewer cars on the road. Don’t be one of them. 

Night driving doesn’t have to be dangerous. As long as you’re aware of the issues that come with it and you’re prepared, you should be fine. However, if something happens, you’ll be glad that you have the correct coverage for the situation. Give us a call at 800-624-3339 or click here to contact us. It only take a few minutes to review your coverage and make sure it matches what you need.

Fireworks Safety Basics for New Year’s Eve

Fireworks Safety Basics for New Year's Eve

We often spend New Year’s Eve with family and friends, and we enjoy great food as we celebrate the incoming New Year. However, when it comes to fireworks, it can be a bit hazardous and stressful, which is why you want to be safe and careful this season. 

Every year, thousands of homes are damaged or destroyed by the improper use of fireworks, which can make the holiday a dangerous time of year. At Bob Johnson Insurance, your property is our concern, which is why we’re sharing our top safety tips for you and your family. 

How to Protect Yourself and Others

  • If you want to avoid any problems altogether, then don’t set off fireworks at home. Instead, Knoxville has lots of parties and events going on for New Year’s Eve, and some of them may include fireworks.  Do a quick internet search for “Knoxville TN fireworks New Year’s Eve”.
  • If you’re going to light some fireworks, be sure to read the instructions first, and don’t make or use homemade versions. 
  • Be cautious with children. Many little ones will want to join in on the fun, but don’t let them get too close. Usually, people think sparklers are safe, but they can still burn at more than 1,000 degrees F. Overall, let your children be observers, not participants. Over 40% of injuries happen to kids under the age of 15. 
  • Never let your kids light fireworks unattended. If you have teenagers, you want to keep an eye on them. One errant spark can create a hazardous situation, which is why you have to be vigilant. 

Protecting Your Property

Again, if you want to avoid fire hazards, you should probably leave the fireworks to the professionals. However, if you decide to light off fireworks, then follow these tips. 

  • Keep any and all flammable materials away from the festivities. Paper plates, napkins, and other combustibles can be more than enough to create a blaze. 
  • Monitor your surroundings. Trees, bushes, and dry grass can also catch fire, so keep an eye on natural hazards as well. 
  • Clean your gutters. If a firework ends up on the roof, it could ignite dried leaves and debris in your gutters.
  • Keep a fire extinguisher handy. Even if you’re careful, a neighbor may not be as vigilant. Always hope for the best but be prepared for the worst. 

This New Year’s Eve, don’t take any chances. Don’t become one of the statistics and follow these safety tips. Whether staying at home or going abroad this season, have fun and be safe!