Identity Theft: What is It?

Identity Theft Series

Identity theft is a problem more than 8 million Americans face each year. If left unchecked, identity theft can be devastating, but if caught early it is possible to make a full recovery. When the proper steps are taken, it is even possible to prevent identity theft from occurring. Learn more and find out how to best protect yourself, what to do if you fall victim to identity theft and how Bob Johnson Insurance can help.

What is Identity Theft

Identity theft is when some steals identifying information about you and uses this information to access your accounts or to open new accounts in your name. This type of theft can range from accessing and stealing money from your bank accounts, to opening credit cards or taking out loans in your name. 

Valuable Information

Your name and address are some of the easiest information a thief can use to steal your identity. Other types of information identity thieves can use to commit crimes include credit card and bank account numbers, your social security number and even medical insurance account numbers.

Types of Identity Theft

The most common occurrences of identity theft involve financial fraud. A thief may use your information to access your bank accounts and steal money. Thieves may also open accounts in your name, like credit cards or take out loans. The crook will use a different address for any accounts they set up, so you will not even realize these accounts exist. After the thief has charged or withdrawn money, they simply ignore the account, and sooner or later the lender will track you down, thinking you are the one who opened the account, and demand payment.

Impact of Identity Theft

Unraveling the mess caused by identity theft can take months and possibly even years to resolve. If a thief clears out your savings, you may be unable to pay your bills, which may cause you to end up in collections. In addition, taking out lines of credit in your name and not making payments on those bills and statements can damage your credit score.

Bob Johnson Insurance Can Help

We are here to help. Call us at 800-624-3339 or click here to contact us to learn more about identity theft and how identity theft insurance might be a good choice.

How to Buy a Car for Your Grad

How to Buy a Car for Your Grad

Although most high-school graduates aren’t lucky enough to get a car for finishing school, you may be in a position to offer your child a sweet ride for getting around. However, while this can be an exciting time for him or her, it’s imperative that you search for the right vehicle for your grad. 

Today, we want to go over some of the crucial details to pay attention to when buying (or helping finance) a car for your teenager. Because he or she is still new to driving, you want to be sure that you’re making the right choice. 

Safety

You want your teenager to be safe behind the wheel, so look for cars that have high crash test ratings. These are publicly available on sites like the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. You can also look up other safety features such as:

  • Airbags
  • Blind Spot Warning
  • Lane Assist
  • Car Alarms/Anti-Theft Devices

Fortunately, modern cars are only getting safer, so getting something newer for your grad can help provide both of you with peace of mind. 

Mileage

As they say, it’s not the years – it’s the mileage. When picking out the right vehicle for your teenager, pay attention to the number of miles on it. Older cars can be in excellent condition if they’re lightly used, so don’t assume that newer cars are automatically better. Also, remind your teen that older cars are more cost-effective, and that they’re not paying for it. 

Cost of Ownership

While the sticker price counts for a lot, that’s only one aspect of owning a car. Consider everything that may increase the overall expenses for the vehicle. If your grad isn’t making substantial money, then getting a cheap car that requires more maintenance may cost you more in the long run. When calculating total cost of ownership, be sure to include:

  • Gas Mileage
  • Cost of Replacement Parts
  • Tire Condition

You will also want to get the vehicle inspected to discover any potential issues that may arise. Depending on where you bought the car from, there may be some nasty surprises waiting for you and your grad. Ideally, have an inspection done before you sign the paperwork to avoid any headaches. 

Don’t Forget the Insurance

You’re going to need insurance on the new (or new-to-you) vehicle. As an independent agency, we can provide you with rates for multiple companies so you can choose the one that best fits your budget and requirements. Call us at 800-624-3339 or click here to contact us. We’re glad to help.

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.

 

Playground Safety Tips

Playground Safety Tips

Kids love playing outside, so they will be headed that way now that it is beginning to get warmer. They love playing at playgrounds even more. Parents cannot always be sure that playgrounds are the safest environments for their children. Too often, there are reports of children falling off of equipment and getting hurt. The answer is not to make kids stay away from playgrounds. Instead, parents need to teach kids about playground safety so they have the skills that are needed to remain safe. Here are some great playground safety tips to share with your kids today. 

Never Play Unsupervised 

Although it can sometimes seem like a pain in the neck to take the kids to the playground, it is really a great playground safety tip and  the best defense against them being hurt. Plus, if an accident does happen, you are there to help out or call 911. Besides, kids love it when their parents watch the cool things they can do on the playground equipment. 

Check for Potential Hazards 

When you are at the playground with your kids, take a quick look around to check for potential hazards. Make sure your kids stay away from items that can hurt them like broken glass or rusted equipment.

Teach Your Kids To Play Nicely 

There will often be other kids your children do not know at the playground. Teach your children to always play nicely and include everyone in their games. Pushing and shoving can start out innocently but can result in someone getting hurt. 

Dress Appropriately

Sometimes something as simple as clothing choice can make or break a fun trip to the playground. Necklaces, purse straps, scarves and drawstrings are but a few innocent-looking items that can create a hazard at the playground. A great playground safety tip to teach your children is to avoid wearing anything that can get caught on the equipment and cause them to get hurt. 

Choose Age-Appropriate Play Areas for Your Kids 

Most playgrounds have separate play areas for big and little kids. Small children can easily get hurt if they are playing on equipment that is meant for older kids. Also, if your kids are among the older set, make sure they stay where they belong so they do not inadvertently spoil the fun time the little ones are having. 

Only Play Where There are Safe Surfaces Underneath the Equipment 

These days, most playgrounds come complete with impact-absorbing materials like sand, pea gravel or shredded rubber under the equipment. These materials help to make sure kids stay safe and uninjured when they fall. Avoid playgrounds that still have asphalt, concrete, grass or dirt under the equipment. These materials do not absorb impact which can cause injuries when kids fall onto them. 

Insurance Coverage for Playground Accidents? 

Since accidents can happen pretty easily on a playground, many parents wonder about insurance coverage for playground accidents. Chances are, if your child is injured on a playground, the insurance of whomever owns or runs the playground would cover your child’s injuries if he or she were to be found negligent. 

If your child gets injured on the school playground when school is in session, the institution can be held responsible, particularly if there was negligence on the part of the staff. In cases like this, the school’s insurance company will likely have to pay for any medical attention your child needs. 

There are steps parents can take to make extra sure their children are covered in the event of a playground accident. Having adequate insurance coverage for playground accidents is the best course of action to make sure you are financially safe if your child is hurt on a playground.

Be sure to check with your insurance agent to make sure your coverage is adequate. Here are some types of insurance you might inquire about.

Health insurance 

Chances are you have health insurance either through your employer or one you bought independently. If your child gets hurt, a health insurance policy can be a lifesaver when the medical bills come in. 

Homeowner’s insurance

Sometimes your health insurance is not enough, and you need additional coverage. This is where homeowner’s insurance comes in. Some policies cover accidents that happen away from the home. 

Umbrella policies

Another great option is to get an umbrella policy. An umbrella policy is a separate policy you can buy that covers incidents that occur that are outside the realm of other policies such as homeowners insurance. 

Bob Johnson Insurance is here to help in these cases.  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.  Click here to contact us today or call us at 865-922-3111  with your insurance questions and/or needs.

Stay Safe This Prom and Graduation Season

Stay Safe this Prom and Graduation Season

When your teenager is ready to graduate high school, this means that there’s a lot to celebrate. These occasions also mean that your teen will want to drive with friends to make sure that everything is as awesome as possible. 

Unfortunately, because teenage drivers are still learning the ropes, many of them make mistakes when behind the wheel. These mistakes can be exacerbated by other elements like drugs and alcohol, which may be present at these end-of-school celebrations. 

So, with that in mind, we want to share some tips to help you keep your teen safe. No prom or graduation party is worth putting their life in danger. 

Establish Ground Rules

When your child starts driving on his or her own, it’s imperative that you have rules in place at all times. While you may decide on some different variations, a good place to start will be:

  • No drinking and driving
  • All passengers wear seat belts
  • No distractions such as cell phone use while driving (see Related Articles below)
  • No other drivers (unless designated)

Be sure to remind your teenager about these rules when he or she heads out to prom or some other celebration. 

Know Where They’re Going

If you’re aware of your child’s itinerary for the night, it will be easier to check in on him or her if necessary. Also, if something does happen, you can track your teenager down more easily if you know where he or she was during the evening. 

Stay in Touch

While you don’t want your teen answering the phone while driving, be sure to stay in contact throughout the evening. If necessary, one of your rules could be to send a message at certain points so that you know they’re safe. 

Consider Transportation Alternatives

If you think that your teen may drive under the influence, think about other options. A limousine service can work well for prom night, or you can tell him or her to call an Uber instead. 

Set a Curfew

Celebrations can go all night long, but you don’t want your teenager to be driving home in the wee hours of the morning. Instead, set a curfew beforehand. This will not only mitigate the dangers, but it will enable your child to show that he or she is responsible. 

Overall, this season is a remarkable time for any teenager. Make sure that your child stays safe, and these celebrations will create lasting positive memories. 


Related Articles

Helpful Tips For Spring Break

Spring Break Tips

It’s fun to go to the beach or elsewhere for Spring Break to enjoy time with friends and/or family.  It’s also fun to not run into any problems while traveling.  Here are three quick reads to help you stay safe and avoid problems when you go on Spring Break.

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? Click here to find out.

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? Click here to find out.

Avoiding Distractions While Driving May Save Your Life

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), over 424,000 people were involved in a collision because of a distracted driver. Click here to get four tips to help you avoid becoming a statistic.

Spring Break Tips: Avoiding Distractions While Driving May Save Your Life

Driving Distractions - texting and driving

One of the most common dangers on the road is not what you may expect. Distracted drivers are more and more prevalent these days, thanks to the ubiquity of mobile devices and other items that can impact a person’s ability to pay attention to the road. 

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), over 424,000 people were involved in a collision because of a distracted driver. Even worse, about 10% of all traffic fatalities were directly related to this problem, meaning that it’s more important than ever to ensure that you’re not one of those statistics. 

The Department of Transportation classifies distractions into three categories. 

  • Visual – your eyes are not on the road
  • Manual – your hands are not on the wheel
  • Cognitive – you’re not paying attention 

Fortunately, we have some tips that may help you stay safe while out driving so that you don’t get involved in a crash or a fatal accident. 

Don’t Use Your Phone!

All too often, people think that they can answer a phone call or a text while driving. Even if you’ve done it before, the risk is too high. All it takes is one second, and you could put your life in danger. 

Don’t Eat and Drive!

If your hands are full of food, then they’re not on the wheel. Yes, eating on the go is part of modern life, but pull over and do it safely. 

Don’t Program Your GPS While Moving!

Input your directions before you head out so that you’re not doing it while driving. 

Don’t Get Involved in Road Rage!

If you find yourself getting angry at other drivers, find a method of relaxation to help you calm down. It’s not worth your life. 

Overall, you should be focusing on one thing – driving. If you’re distracted, all it takes is one time to change your whole life. Don’t become a statistic. 

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.

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

An Insurance Guide to House Fires

Series: An Insurance Guide to House Fires

On your end, you want to recover quickly and get back on your feet. If you want to ensure that your needs are met, here are some things to consider. 

Assess Cost of Living Expenses

Even if you wind up staying at a family member’s house, you can still get money for their trouble. Have your family member draft a list of living expenses that they are providing (i.e., room and board, meals, etc.) so that you can include it into your claim. These are called “loss of use” funds, and they will help you out immensely.

Beyond the price of a hotel room, most insurance companies will only consider expenses that are generated as a result of the fire. For example, if your grocery bill is only $400 a month and you’re still spending that living elsewhere, you won’t be able to claim any additional funds. 

Getting an Advance

Because filing and processing a claim takes time, you will likely have to secure an advance from the insurance company to handle any immediate expenses or bills. Remember, you have to pay things like mortgage and utilities even if your house is under repair, so you need money to stay solvent. 

Don’t Throw Anything Away

It’s natural to think that ruined items should go into the trash, but don’t do anything until it’s been logged into your case file. If you toss something and the insurance company doesn’t know about it, that’s a total loss, and you can’t reclaim it in your settlement. 

Don’t Agree to Close the Case Immediately

Don’t close your case too quickly. It can sometimes take several months to assess all of the damage to the property. If your case is closed, and you find additional damage to your property, you won’t be able to do anything because the case is closed. Thus, wait a while before you make things final so that you don’t run into that situation. 

Contact Us Today

Don’t wait until it’s too late to contact Bob Johnson Insurance. Your home is one of the most valuable items you own, so it’s crucial that you have a policy that will replace lost or damaged items.

If you live in Knoxville, TN, and the surrounding area, call us today at 865-922-311 or click here to contact us to find out how we can protect you and your family. 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.