Author: Stephen Vick

Timing Matters When You’re Car Shopping

Car shopping has become something of a science. If you time your purchase right, you could save thousands off the sticker price, while buying during certain times of the month or on the wrong day can cost you. Here’s a look at when you might find the best deals on a new set of wheels.

Daily Differences

Contrary to what the ad campaigns would suggest, weekends generally aren’t the best time to buy a car. Three-day or holiday weekends like Presidents Day may offer exceptions, but don’t get stuck thinking this is the only time to find a great value.

Instead, skip the weekend rush and consider buying during the week. Statistically, shopping on a Monday tends to save buyers an average of 8 percent off the retail price. Weekdays also make it easier to get prequalified by the bank, which can increase your negotiating power.

Monthly Savings

Most dealerships and manufacturers incentivize with monthly and quarterly goals. The more eager they are to hit their numbers, the more leverage you have to negotiate. Catch them at month’s end as the sales cycle comes to a close and you could walk away happy.

Markdowns for certain vehicles may also be available during different months of the year. For example, May is a popular month for SUV sales, and you’re more likely to find bargains on trucks and full-sized pickups in the fall.

Seasonal Offers 

At the end of the year, dealerships are probably working to clear out current models to make space for the next year’s lot. You could find Black Friday deals in November as well as holiday offers throughout December.

Dealership discounts fluctuate quickly, but that could work to your advantage. Either way, with a little flexibility you may be able to land the car you want at a reasonable price.

Please let our Vick Insurance Group know if we can assist you with all of your auto insurance needs. Feel free to visit us online at www.vickinsurancegroup.com 24/7.


Don’t Make These Home Storage Mistakes

Rarely used objects often end up in the attic, basement or garage. But storing your stuff where it seems most convenient isn’t always the best, or safest, idea. Some items are too fragile for these environments, while others could even become dangerous in unregulated conditions.

Take a look at these home storage tips to keep your house and possessions protected.

What to Keep Out of the Garage

For the most part, objects like garden tools or car supplies do fine in the garage. However, fluctuating temperatures make the space off limits for anything that’s too delicate, combustible or that may attract vermin.

Some common household items that don’t hold up well in the garage include:

  • Photographs — Moisture, heat and pollutants from your car can cause photos to fade and crinkle over time.
  • Flammables — Sparking engines should be kept far away from potentially leaky propane tanks. Instead of putting them in an enclosed space, always store tanks outside on a flat surface.
  • Perishables — Insects and rodents can make a meal out of almost anything. This includes fabrics, paper and even firewood. Unless you have an outdoor fridge, bring any perishables, even canned food items, indoors.

Basement and Attic Hazards

Attics and basements are bonus storage spaces in many homes, but each comes with some risk from the elements.

In the basement, homeowners need to protect against excess moisture, mold and flooding. Store anything that’s not weatherproof off the ground in a sturdy container.

Attics tend to experience extreme temperature spikes, so anything sensitive that may warp or melt shouldn’t be placed here. Holiday decor, clothing and luggage typically do okay, but it’s better to err on the side of caution.

As a general rule, anything that’s sentimental or financially valuable should be kept safely in the temperature-controlled parts of your home.

Please call us for all of your home insurance needs. Also, feel free to visit us online 24/7 at www.vickinsurancegroup.com.


These Events Might Affect Your Premium

Life can naturally be unpredictable, and various events may cause your car insurance rates to fluctuate, too. If you’ll be making a change in the future, be aware of which common milestones could affect your premium.

  • Moving to a new area.In some states, your ZIP code is the primary basis of your car insurance rate. Details like population size, crime rates and even weather can affect your costs.
  • Accepting a new job.Changing your daily commute may also change your premium based on annual mileage and other risk factors.
  • Becoming a homeowner.Adding and bundling the new policy could lead to a homeowner or multipolicy discount.
  • Getting married.Marital status often influences your coverage, especially if any policyholders, including kids, will be added or removed in the process.
  • Buying a new car.This one might seem obvious, but it’s a good idea to do some research before purchasing a vehicle so you’re not surprised by your new premium.

Can you reverse a rate increase?

It may not be possible to reverse a rate increase, especially if it was due to an expansion of coverage; however, sharing updates about automatic security features in your car and doing a record review of other drivers on your policy may prevent outdated information from further raising your monthly rate.

Keeping your insurance up to date starts with revising your policy to include major life changes. An annual review of your coverage will help make sure it still corresponds to your family’s needs.

Please reach out to our team at Vick Insurance Group  if you have questions or if you’d like to check in. You may also reach us online at www.vickinsurancegroup.com 24/7.

 


How to Get the Most out of Your Tires

Your car’s tires won’t last forever, but with regular attention you can keep them in good shape for several years. Here are a few ways to check on your tires each month to extend their performance and stretch your initial investment — all while staying safe on the road.

Tire Pressure

Even if your vehicle has a tire-pressure monitoring system, manual checks are still important. Under- or overinflated tires can lead to accidents, damaged tread and increased fuel consumption.

To check the pressure yourself, wait until your car has been parked and cooled for two to three hours. Find the sticker on the inside of the driver’s side door or consult your owner’s manual to confirm your make and model’s recommended pounds per square inch, measure with a pressure gauge, and add or release air as needed.

Tread Condition

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, tire tread measuring 2/32 of an inch or less puts you at risk. To check the tread, hold a penny so that the top of Lincoln’s head faces the tire, then lower it between the treads. If he’s mostly covered, you’re in good shape for now. If his head is fully exposed, your tires are worn down and need to be replaced.

Age

Because rubber degrades over time, many experts recommend replacing tires at 10 years no matter what. Examine the manufacture date code when following this suggestion, not the purchase date. Look for an embossed string of letters and numbers on the tire’s sidewall; the last four digits after “DOT” indicate the week and year the tire was made.

When it comes to maximizing tire life, a little bit of preventive maintenance could be the key to avoiding premature wear and ensuring a safe ride.

Please visit Vick Insurance Group for all of your auto needs.

You may also find us online at www.vickinsurancegroup.com 24/7/365.


Buying a Home: 6 Due Diligence Tips

When purchasing property in Benton County, doing your due diligence is more than a turn of phrase. The period when a house is under contract is an essential part of the homebuying process and requires careful attention to detail.

The Basics

The due diligence process is the buyer’s opportunity to review all facets of a potential home sale. From home inspection findings to homeowner insurance costs, it’s when you’ll take the time to understand exactly what you’re potentially buying.

Here are a few due diligence do’s and don’ts to consider:

Do find out how long it lasts. Two weeks is fairly standard for the average due diligence process. However, shorter periods may be negotiated to gain a competitive edge in a seller’s market.

Don’t make assumptions about when it begins. In some cases, due diligence is conducted before a property goes under contract. In others, it begins after the contract is signed.

Do consult an insurance agent. Floodplain and fire-prone areas may require additional coverage. Make sure you know the estimated costs and what a new homeowners insurance policy will cover.

Don’t skim the home inspection. Make sure you’re familiar with every line of the report. You may want to get quotes from contractors or negotiate repair costs into your offer.

Do your research. Review neighborhood characteristics and check the area’s crime rates. Look at zoning laws to ensure they align with your long-term goals.

Don’t forget to review the HOA. If you’re joining a homeowners association, it’s not enough to simply read your HOA documents. Make sure the community is in good physical condition and the association is financially sound.

Being thorough in the due diligence phase will help you uncover potential issues and make the right choices for you and your family.

Please come by Vick Insurance, our team is always here to help.

Feel free to visit us online at www.vickinsurancegroup.com 24/7.


5 Tips for Hiring the Right Contractor

Most major home repairs in and around the surrounding areas of Benton County will require the help of a professional, and hiring the right contractor can be challenging if you’re not sure what to look for. Here’s how to ensure you get quality work for a fair price.

1. Ask for referrals. Look to your network for contractor recommendations. Personal references are the most reliable, but you can also use trusted review-based websites. Be sure to consider contractors who’ve received positive feedback within the past year or so.

2. Do your research. Search for online reviews and check the contractor’s status with the Better Business Bureau or other professional association. Review any public information to see if there are complaints against their license, and if possible, inspect their past work in person.

3. Review their insurance coverage. At a minimum, contractors should have general liability coverage to protect against bodily injury and property damage. It’s even better if they pair basic coverage with a worker’s compensation policy that extends to any subcontractors.

4. Solicit multiple bids. Compare written bids from multiple potential contractors and consider eliminating outliers that seem too high or too low. If a bid is too low, it may be because they use questionable materials or hire inexperienced labor. If it’s too high, they could be overcharging for their work.

5. Put everything in writing. All written estimates should include specifications like material types and costs, established scope, anticipated project start and end dates and expectations for contingencies, cleanup responsibilities, warranty information and limiting factors like homeowner association bylaws or building permits. Everyone should make sure their insurance company approves the work before signing any formal agreement.

No matter how complicated or straightforward your home repair claim may be, knowing how to search for a contractor can simplify the selection process and bring you peace of mind.

Our Vick Insurance Team looks forward to helping you with all of your home needs. Please reach out if you have any questions.

Visit us online at www.vickinsurancegroup.com 24/7
 


Actual cash value or replacement cost?

When it comes to insuring your most valuable possessions, you have important choices to make. In the event of a loss involving your home or car, do you know how you’d like to be reimbursed? Does your current policy reflect these preferences?

Carefully evaluate these two types of coverage to ensure you’re well-informed.

Actual Cash Value 

If you elect for an actual cash value insurance policy, you’ll likely be compensated for the fair market value of the item at the time it was lost or damaged.

Pro: These policies often have less expensive monthly premiums, so you could insure expensive items for less.

Con: The payout is not based on what you paid for the item. This means you could be out the difference if something has depreciated in value since you purchased it.

For example, if you had a wreck and wanted to replace the car you bought five years ago, you’ll probably be accepting payment for what a vehicle of that make and model would fetch now, minus your deductible and wear and tear.

Replacement Cost 

Many agents recommend replacement cost insurance, especially for homeowners. This sets you up to be reimbursed for the full amount it would take to rebuild your home and replace everything in it.

Pro: You can replace older items for what they would cost to purchase new.

Con: This option tends to be more expensive. Also, you must replace all items claimed to recoup the payout and you can’t use the money for other things.

Keep in mind that multiple factors come into play when determining how an insurance claim will be paid out, but by learning about your options you can set yourself up for success. Please reach out with any questions you may have, our staff at Vick Insurance Group is always eager to assist you with all of your home and auto needs.

Visit us online at www.vickinsurancegroup.com 24/7/365


Credit History and Car Insurance Rates

Here at Vick Insurance in Camden, TN, one of the top questions we get asked is, “How does my credit score effect my insurance rates?”

You probably know that your credit history has a big impact on your borrowing capabilities and interest rates, but did you know it can also affect how much you pay for car insurance? Find out how credit and insurance are connected and learn what you can do to keep premiums as low as possible.

The Factors at Play

Your three-digit credit score is based on various details of your credit history. While your credit score doesn’t directly determine your insurance rate, insurance providers may review similar information from your financial past to assign you an ” insurance score” that estimates your likelihood of filing a future claim.

How Your Insurance Score Is Calculated 

Insurance companies don’t consider income or job history when calculating your insurance score. Instead, they look at payment history and the amount of debt you carry. Companies will also note how many lines of credit you have in good standing and how long each account has been open.

This is where things become a little confusing: Insurance scores are also configured using data from other policyholders. The types and number of claims from others in your credit range will help determine your score, which is why it can be hard to control or predict how much you’ll pay for auto insurance, homeowners insurance and even life and health insurance.

Keeping Rates Low

Though the calculations may be complicated, there are simple ways to position yourself for lower rates. Start by checking your credit activity regularly and dispute anything that looks suspicious. Make sure you don’t miss any payments or carry excessive debt. Over time, these habits may help keep your credit-based insurance score high and your premiums low.

Please reach out to Vick Insurance Group for all of your business, home, auto and life insurance needs.  Visit us online at www.vickinsurancegroup.com 24/7/365.


4 High-Tech Auto Features to Know

Though fully functioning self-driving cars are still in the works and you may not be seeing them in Camden, TN, driver-assistance technologies are already helping to make roads safer. Some features that were once considered a luxury now come standard in 2018 models, and you’re probably already familiar with some of these modern improvements.

Curious about the tech that keeps us safe on the road? Get to know these four high-tech auto features.

Lane-Keeping Assist 
Forward-facing sensors watch the road even when your attention goes elsewhere. Should you begin to drift, standard lane departure systems will send you an alert, while more advanced versions use driver-override technologies to help you correct your course using automatic steering.

Rearview Cameras
Increasing a driver’s scope of vision is one of the best ways to prevent accidents, which is why backup cameras are now mandatory for all new vehicles. Many manufacturers are also adding cameras to front and sideview mirrors, offering even better visibility.

Blind Spot Detection 
Changes in cars’ body styles have made it harder to see out of some makes and models. Counter this effect with blind spot detection, which works by using a light, sound or steering wheel vibration to alert you of an approaching vehicle outside your line of vision.

Adaptive Cruise Control
Most of us are well-acquainted with cruise control, but newer cars offer a better version of the old standard. Adaptive cruise control adjusts your desired speed to make sure you maintain a safe following distance on the highway and provides some braking capabilities as well.

Someday we may have completely self-driving cars, but in the meantime, safety-oriented technology is here to help keep our vehicles and our families out of harm’s way.

Be sure and check out www.vickinsurancegroup.com for all of your home and auto needs 24/7/365.


Do You Need Umbrella Insurance

Whether you live in Camden, Big Sandy, Holladay, Bruceton or Nashville, TN, we must all realize we live in a litigious society, and for most families it would be financially devastating to experience a lawsuit. Want to protect your assets? An umbrella policy could provide the extra coverage you need.

What does an umbrella policy cover?

An umbrella policy provides additional liability protection. If someone sues you, this policy picks up where your homeowners or car insurance coverage leaves off. Coverage includes everything from legal fees to the settlement amounts associated with a lawsuit.

Umbrella insurance also covers litigation prompted by:

  • Rental property incidents
  • Malicious prosecutions or false arrests
  • Defamation of character
  • Damages for pain and suffering

Who needs extra coverage?

If you’re worried about keeping your existing net worth and future earnings secure, it might be worth looking into an umbrella policy. People with substantial assets often set up umbrella liability insurance to insulate themselves in the event of a lawsuit, but wealthy policyholders aren’t the only ones at risk. If you don’t have significant assets, the court can target your future earnings to pay off damages.

How much coverage do you need?

Umbrella policy premiums are relatively inexpensive compared to what it would cost to have your assets drained. But the more you have to safeguard, the larger the policy you may need.

To figure out how much coverage you need, first evaluate all savings, retirement accounts and physical property. Next, calculate what the potential loss of your future income would be. Finally, add these figures together to form an idea of your potential coverage amount.

No matter how much you have or don’t have, here at Vick Insurance Group, we feel that an umbrella policy can help you preserve your current and future wealth. Feel free to reach out if you have any questions.

 

From <http://stephen.vickinsurancegroup.myhomehq.biz/why-an-umbrella-policy-might-be-the-right-choice-for-you>