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4 Wasteful Habits to Watch Out For

No one likes to feel like they’re being wasteful. Luckily, you don’t have to radically transform your lifestyle to feel better about your everyday consumption and spending habits.

Want to make a few easy changes? Here are some tips to help you stick to your budget, minimize your environmental impact and save yourself time and stress:

Spend Less Time Behind the Wheel

Between gas costs and regular maintenance, cars can be a real cash drain. Consider taking public transportation or carpooling to save. If your employer allows it, working remotely can also help you cut down on your driving time.

Don’t Overbuy at the Grocery Store

How often do you toss spoiled fruits and veggies into the trash? Shop smarter by creating a grocery list based on three to five meals you know you’ll have time to prepare (and then don’t buy beyond that). It also pays to look at ads in advance to see which pantry items are on sale.

Cut Back on Recurring Subscriptions

It seemed like a good idea to spend $20 a month for unlimited car washes, but you haven’t gone in months. Are you getting enough value from your music and TV streaming subscriptions? What about that meal kit service? It pays to regularly review recurring charges like these to see which ones are really worth it.

Turn Off Energy Hogs

Unplug – don’t just turn off – the devices you aren’t using, like the gaming computer in the spare bedroom or the big-screen TV. And the next time you’re ready to upgrade your appliances, check with your utility company: some offer rebates for energy-efficient models.

Choosing the right insurance policy is also a great way to save. Reach out today to one of our team members at Vick Insurance so we can take a closer look at your coverage and make sure you’re not overpaying.

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Find Peace of Mind (and Lower Premiums)

You’re enjoying yourself at your kid’s soccer game when suddenly it hits you: You left the front door unlocked.

Do you run home immediately and miss the rest of the game, or do you cross your fingers and hope for the best? With new advances in home safety technology, you don’t have to make this choice.

Installing devices like smart locks and sensors can help keep your home safer — and might even reduce your insurance costs. Here’s how:

Smart Locks. No more worrying about forgetting to lock the door. With a tap of your mobile device, you can lock and unlock your home from anywhere. You can also program smart locks to automatically lock whenever you leave your home — reducing the chance of an incident.

Solar Power Integrations. Want to save energy and potentially earn tax credits? Investing in solar-powered security lights or security cameras can help you do just that.

Geofencing. This emerging security technology gives peace of mind by creating a virtual bubble around your home. When you’re out of the security bubble, you’ll default to “away” mode. If there’s movement within the bubble while you’re away, you’ll get a push notification.

Fire and Leak Sensors. Today’s advanced sensors can quickly detect danger and then take action to protect you. For example, in the case of a fire, the sensor can automatically enable a smart thermostat that shuts off air conditioning, slowing the spread of smoke.

Ready for added security in your home? Reach out to our office at Vick Insurance to learn more about your safety options and how they might impact your insurance costs.


The Truth About Homeowners Insurance

Ask 10 people what standard homeowners insurance covers and you’ll probably get 10 different answers.

Some people think their policy only covers their physical dwelling, when in fact most property insurance goes further than that. Additional structures, personal belongings and even liability protection might also be included.

Then, there are the myths suggesting that homeowners insurance covers situations, it actually doesn’t.

Let’s set the record straight today:

Myth 1: Wear and Tear Is Covered

Fact: Coverage typically includes damage from fire, weather and theft. It does not cover damage due to general wear and tear or neglect. As a policyholder, it’s up to you to maintain your home. This includes making routine repairs and protecting your home from pests.

Myth 2: You’re Safe in Case of Flood Damage

Fact: Although some weather-related damage is covered, such as from hail, other natural disasters may not be:

  • Floods require specific flood insurance.
  • Earthquakes might be covered, but sometimes they require additional insurance.

Myth 3: All Personal Belongings Are Fully Covered

Fact: Homeowners insurance covers your furniture, clothing and other personal items up to your policy’s stated limits. More valuable items like jewelry and artwork typically require an add-on policy to be fully covered. Routinely inventory your belongings to determine if your limits meet your coverage needs.

Myth 4: You Have Protection Against Any Injuries That Happen at Home 

Fact: Your policy’s liability coverage protects you if a guest is hurt in your home. The same is not true for you. If you or a family member are injured at home, it would be covered by your health insurance rather than your homeowners.

Myth 5: Home Businesses Are Part of the Package

Fact: A home business requires business insurance to cover property damage and liability issues.

Need help understanding the ins and outs of your homeowners policy? Give your local agency a call today. Let’s chat.

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4 Ways to Cover Your Belongings in a Move

Moving can be one of life’s most stressful events. It’s tiring and time-consuming to box up all your belongings, and that’s before you even start worrying about how to transport everything safely.

Speaking of that, do you know if your insurance covers your property while it’s in transit? And does your policy immediately kick in once you arrive in your new home?

Here’s what to know before you move:

1. Understand Your Coverage Limits

We see it all the time. Policyholders assume their current homeowners or renters insurance policy covers them during a move. In reality, these policies typically apply at a residence or storage unit but they usually aren’t designed to protect personal property while the items are being packed or physically moved.

2. Find Out About Additional Protections

Say your moving truck gets into a wreck and jostles all your delicate furniture around. If you have trip transit insurance or special perils coverage, you should be covered. These even kick in if anything gets stolen or disappears.

You can also ask your moving company about full value protection. This plan holds movers responsible for the replacement value of anything you’re shipping with them.

3. Don’t Assume Moving Everything Yourself Is Safer

If you’re driving your own vehicle, know that you assume all responsibility. To stay on the safe side, look into truck rental companies that offer additional coverage.

4. Know When to Adjust Your Policy

What’s the most important thing to do before you move? Check in to go over your coverage. We can time the transfer or cancellation of your policy to make sure there are no gaps in coverage during your relocation.

Whether you’re packing up this summer or staying put for a while, reach out anytime to make sure you have the right homeowners coverage at the right price.

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Sometimes Standard Coverage Isn’t Enough

Are you driving around with more risk than you realize? 

You’re probably thinking, “Well of course I have basic car insurance. Isn’t that enough?” Depending on your situation, it might not be. 

No matter what, it’s crucial to evaluate your coverage regularly to make sure you and your vehicle are adequately protected. And checking it is particularly important under these special circumstances:

Teen Drivers – These may be two of the scariest words in the English language, especially if you’re the parent of one. New drivers are more likely to make mistakes, so before you put your teenager behind the wheel, check in to make sure they’re adequately covered.

Collector Cars – They’re an adventure on wheels and important to protect, as damaged or stolen antique cars can cost a fortune to fix or replace. Whether you’re a restoration hobbyist or driving enthusiast, you’ll rest easier knowing your classic cars are protected down to the last rare part.

Sports Cars – Fun to drive, not fun to replace. The powerful engines may bring out your inner speed demon and usually require more coverage than a basic auto policy can offer.

Rental Cars – Do you really want to be on the hook for a car that isn’t yours? Even if you’re going a short distance, a little extra coverage could go a long way.

Accidents happen, but specialty coverage can provide the extra protection you need (not to mention peace of mind). 

Ready to re-evaluate your current coverage? Reach out to Vick Insurance Group today at www.vickinsurancegroup.com.


Is It a Big Mistake to File a Small Claim?

You know that sinking feeling you get when something goes wrong with your house? 

Whether it’s a stolen bike or a burst pipe, your first reaction may be to call us to file a claim. In reality, filing a claim “just to be on the safe side” could cost you — in more ways than one. 

But won’t your insurance just deny claims that are too small? Not necessarily. Find out how to decide which claims to file and which to pay for out of pocket:

Should you file a claim?

It depends. 

Some types of events, think fire or theft, are too serious and expensive to tackle on your own. Anything causing significant damage that would be impossible to pay for, even with your emergency fund, is probably a good claim candidate. 

What if…?

Here are a few common scenarios and how you might want to deal with them:

You recently filed a claim. Think long and hard before submitting another. Most underwriters assume one claim every 10 years is average. Filing more could be cause for a rate increase.     

The claim is related to home maintenance. Nope — upkeep falls squarely on you. If it’s revealed that you’ve let your maintenance schedule lapse on things like plumbing or HVAC systems, your homeowners policy could even be canceled.

The cost to repair the damage is well over your deductible. Yes, report away. Say a tornado takes out the whole back half of your house. In this case, filing a claim is the only way to make your home liveable again. 

When it comes down to it, you have homeowners insurance for a reason. If you need it, use it. 

Just be smart about when you do and you could save yourself a lot of stress and a good chunk of money.

Have questions about whether or not to file a claim? Reach out anytime to our available staff at Vick Insurance Group. Don’t hesitate to contact us at 731-584-2554.


4 Ways to Protect Your House from Water Damage

Every home is vulnerable to leaks and flooding, and dealing with water damage can be expensive and annoying. The good news is there are several easy ways to prevent problems.

Take a look at these maintenance tips to help keep your house dry and your foundation strong.

1. Clean your gutters. To do their duty, gutters must be free of leaves, nests and other debris. Be sure to clear your gutters out on a regular basis or they may send water directly to the sides and foundation of your house instead of carrying it safely away.

2. Watch for signs of a leak. Identifying and repairing potential water leaks can help you steer clear of mold and termites, so pay attention to any upticks in your water bill and listen for dripping sounds. Also look for physical signs of trouble, like dark spots around your pipes or ceiling stains.

For extra peace of mind, consider investing in a smart water leak sensor that will detect hidden leaks and alert you when there’s an issue.

3. Avoid chemical drain cleaners. Harsh chemicals can erode your pipes to the point of puncture, so do yourself a favor and invest in a drain snake. They’re effective, inexpensive and better for your health and the environment.

4. Insulate your pipes. There are plenty of ways to avoid bursting pipes. Whether you leave cabinet doors ajar, leave faucets dripping or cover outdoor spigots with foam shields, be sure to take action before inclement weather hits.

Along with these preventive actions, make sure you know what your policy covers in the event you do have to file a claim.

Have questions? Reach out today.

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How to Minimize the Risk of a Car Break-In

Car theft is a common occurrence that impacts more than 750,000 drivers a year — that’s roughly one incident every 41 seconds. Want to secure your vehicle from being broken into or stolen? Here are a few ways to avoid problems, plus some guidance for what to do in the event of a loss.

Keeping Your Car Safe

By some estimates, more than half of vehicle break-ins are unknowingly enabled by car owners. If you know what conditions are most desirable for thieves, you can take the right steps to help secure your belongings.

Some general rules: 

  • Roll up and reinforce your windows. This will help prevent reach-in or smash-and-grab burglaries. Adding a protective film can also make windows tougher to break.
  • Lock up when you leave. Even if you’re just running into the convenience store for a cup of coffee, be sure to lock your doors. Most break-ins happen in a matter of seconds.
  • Park smart. Stick to well-lit areas, monitored parking garages and low-crime neighborhoods.
  • Invest in an aftermarket car alarm. Most factory alarms only sound when the doors are opened. By contrast, a motion or tilt-sensor alarm can tell you when the car is experiencing movement of any kind.
  • Take valuables with you and hide everything else. Don’t leave your belongings in plain sight. Keep your keys and anything of value on your person and hide everything else in your glove compartment or trunk.

What to Do Post Break-In

If you’ve experienced a break-in, reach out right away. Also make sure to take pictures, file a police report and make an insurance claim. If any credit cards were stolen, cancel them immediately.

Some car burglaries are unavoidable, but with a little vigilance you can minimize your chances of having to deal with a break-in.

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


What to Know About Insuring Your Roof

Simply having a roof over your head isn’t enough. As a homeowner you also need to take good care of this important part of the house, which means understanding what your homeowners policy includes (and what it doesn’t) in the event of damage or decay.

Is your roof properly insured, or are you carrying more risk than you realize?

Roof Insurance Basics

Generally speaking, if an unavoidable event like vandalism damages your roof, your homeowners insurance should cover it. However, if it’s determined the damage was caused by something within your control, like neglected maintenance, that’s where things get tricky.

Factors that influence your coverage include:

  • Age of your house and roof: Once a roof has passed its life expectancy, your coverage may be reduced or eliminated.
  • Roofing materials: Premium shingles, like those made of slate, may not be covered.
  • Your location: In some cases, replacement coverage is available for roofs. In others, you’ll only be reimbursed for what the roof was worth at the time it was damaged.
  • Type of damage: Weather events like tornadoes and hurricanes are usually covered, but wind or hail alone may not be.

The Importance of Maintenance

Address minor issues before they result in major damage by conducting a roof inspection twice a year. Carefully check the state of your shingles and examine gutters, flashing and ventilation. Look for leaks and water damage inside and out, especially after big storms.

The Bottom Line

Don’t make the costly mistake of assuming any and all roof damage will be covered by your homeowners insurance. Avoid problems by double-checking your policy for specifics about your coverage and reach out to your Vick Insurance Family if you have questions.

You are always welcome to stop by our office, or visit us online at www.vickinsurancegroup.com.


Keep Your Home Safe While You’re Away

If you’re lucky enough to be a snowbird who travels with the seasons or if you have an extended trip coming up, you’re probably thinking about how to best protect your property while you’re gone.

Here are a few tips for keeping your home safe from the elements and intruders.

1. Turn off your water. Even small leaks can turn into flooding disasters when left unattended. If you’ll be gone a while, consider shutting off the water and draining your pipes. If you do leave the water on, have someone stop by regularly to run the hot water, flush the toilets and check for any problems.

2. Hire a home watching service. Well-meaning neighbors and friends may be happy to check on things while you’re away. However, it’s a good idea to consider hiring a home watching service instead. These professionals do more than bring in your mail. They’re trained to spot issues like slow leaks and will make your home appear occupied during your absence.

3. Review and update your homeowners insurance. Confirm that you have adequate coverage for your unoccupied residence or vacation property. Also, check to see if having a house sitter or caretaker will reduce any potential surcharges you pay when your home is vacant.

4. Embrace smart technology. Thanks to advances in technology, many home security and HVAC systems can be monitored and controlled remotely with a smartphone. Cameras and apps are helpful if you’re trying to keep the temperature consistent, turn different lights on and off, and watch for suspicious activity from a distance.

With these steps, you can help keep your home safe and enjoy peace of mind while you’re away.

As always, feel free to visit us at our office or online at www.vickinsurancegroup.com 24/7.