As American as apple pie, many American’s dream of owning their own home. We all want a plot of land to call our own, and the upsides of home ownership are numerous. However, is owning a home the best choice for everyone? Not necessarily. Owning a home can sometimes be a solid investment and home ownership offers peace of mind like no other. On the other hand, renting comes with a ton of benefits.
- Access to Amenities:
One of the perks of renting in an apartment complex or other planned community is the amenities that are available. Many communities offer swimming pools, gyms, walking trails, dog parks, access to a clubhouse and many other upscale options.
- No Maintenance Costs:
It seems like when you own a home, the maintenance related expenses never stop. $100 to fix that running toilet; $100 a month for a lawn care service; another $100 for that broken appliance. It’s as if your wallet has an un-ending supply of $100 bills. When renting, you don’t have to worry about these unexpected costs, so it becomes much easier to stick to a budget.
- No Real Estate Taxes:
Home ownership means real estate taxes. Technically renters are paying their share of real estate taxes as well, but they are wrapped into your rent so you don’t have an extra bill at the end of each year you need to budget for.
When you own a home, you have to insure the entire home including the building. However, when renting, you only need to insure YOUR contents. Therefore, renters insurance is a lot less than homeowners insurance. Insurance companies have a far greater loss to consider with homeowners insurance vs. renters. Thankfully, both policies typically include liability coverage to protect you against other unknowns.
- Lower Risk:
Over time, real estate has usually been considered a good investment. However, property values can sometimes collapse quickly which can affect homeowners in a significant way. You could pay $250,000 for a house today that might be worth $150,000 in a year. When you rent, this doesn’t affect you. Unfortunately, none of us have a crystal ball so we can’t even begin to predict the risk.
When you rent, the only thing tying you down is a short term lease. You are free to move as you please and do not have to wait for your home to sell and potentially take the losses that might come with it.
The bottom line is that home ownership is a personal choice. You need to make the decision to rent or buy based on your circumstances. Don’t get caught up in the American dream and think you HAVE to own a house. Evaluate your life and make the decision accordingly.
Check out these ten easy ways to save money on gas. After all, we all want a little more jingle in our pocket.
- Keep your tires inflated to the recommended pressure. Not only will this save you money on fuel, it will also help your tires last longer and improve your vehicle’s performance on wet or icy roads.
- Replace your air filter according to the manufacturer’s recommended schedule.
- Try to avoid drive through lines at restaurants, banks and elsewhere. An idling car is only burning fuel. With today’s modern starters, you will save gas by parking and going inside.
- Use a GPS or get a map app on your smart phone. They will help you find the best route. They can also help you avoid traffic jams.
- When getting fuel, fill up early in the morning or at night after the sun goes down.
- Use your cruise control. Just don’t use it when the roads are wet because this can be a safety hazard.
- Get rid of anything extra you are carrying around in your trunk or back seat.
- Park in the shade to avoid unnecessary fuel evaporation.
- Try to anticipate traffic lights. Don’t accelerate knowing the light 1000 feet ahead is going to be red when you get there. Also, drive the speed limit. Lights are often timed based on the speed limit and putting the pedal to the medal when the light turns red will often result in an unnecessary stop at the next light.
- Download and use an app that finds the lowest gas prices near you. One good app is Gas Buddy. Just be careful because it does not distinguish between cash and credit prices.
- Good driver discounts
- Good student discounts
- New car discounts
- Multi-car discounts
- Multiple policy discounts
- Military discounts
- Anti-theft discounts
- And more
- Try and cover any sharp corners. This is a huge one and although it’s probably been said a hundred times, it really can’t be said enough. Babies and toddlers have twice the risk of a head injury versus older children. After all toddlers are clumsy, and therefore, more prone to head injuries.
- Babyproofing goes hand-in-hand with supervision. There’s never going to be a house that’s 100% “baby proof”. Yuu need to remain diligent in supervising your little ones. Don’t allow yourself to get distracted with cooking, phone calls or even internet surfing.
- Babies are fascinated by water. Keep toilet lid locks on if at all possible and try to lower your water heater down to around 110 to avoid scalding your newborn’s skin. This is another big one that not nearly enough people are doing to keep their kids safe.
- Cover any and all unused outlets with outlet caps. You never know what those little ones might try to stick in there!
- Put baby gates on any dangerous parts of the house such as staircases or hallways you don’t want them to travel down. Doing this will effectively “quarantine” your toddler and make sure they aren’t going any places they shouldn’t be.
- Install any window guards if necessary, windows can be a great way for kids to escape or even injure themselves and should never be open more than six inches. Especially in windows that are on a second floor or in a heightened area
- Purchase a fireplace cover. This just isn’t worth taking a chance. Fire is fascinating, and little ones don’t realize it’s dangerous.
Keeping your home safe for your baby might seem like a task all unto itself but doing so will pay off big in the long run.
- Keep cold-weather supplies in your trunk. At minimum, these should include a properly inflated spare tire, a blanket or two, a bag of salt, snow boots, a flashlight with fresh batteries, reflective triangles or flares, a tool kit, a window scraper, a pocket knife or better yet, a multi-function tool, a shovel, a few bottles of water, some non-perishable snacks. You never know when you might get stuck somewhere and might have to kick into survival mode.
- Keep your ears open when your community is threated with bad winter weather. Your best bet is to avoid the roads all together but if you must get out be sure you know if there are road closures and consider allowing time for crews to get roads cleared.
- Be sure your car is ready for winter with appropriate and properly inflated tires, good windshield wipers, topped off fluids, good brakes, a strong battery and plenty of gas in your tank.
- Keep your mind on the road. Avoid distractions such as talking on the phone, eating, texting or anything else that might take your eyes away for just a second. Even having pets in your car could be detrimental.
- If you travel with pets, consider pet restraints. This keeps them from unexpectedly jumping on your lap as well as help protect them in an accident. You can buy these at many pet supply stores.
- Watch your speed and keep a safe distance from other cars. Remember, slowing or stopping on snowy or icy roads can be challenging at times.
- Be sure you and all your passengers are wearing their seat belts properly. You should also ensure your child safety seats are both the right size for your child as well as properly positioned in your car. If you aren’t sure, there are many agencies that can check this for you. Just ask and we’ll point you in the right direction.
- Don’t use cruise control on wet or icy roads. It could hamper your ability to stop quickly or cause you to skid.
- Be sure you drive with your lights on to ensure other motorists can see you.
- Be extra cautious on bridges as they could ice over before you even notice ice on the main roads.
Most of all, use common sense and allow yourself enough time to safely arrive at your destination. For other great tips, you can download this brochure from the National Safety Council or visit the North Carolina Department of Transportation website.
Here at Protective Insurance Agencies, we want our customers to stay safe in the winter as well as every other season. We hope these North Carolina winter driving tips help you and your family as you prepare for winter in North Carolina. Have you shopped your auto insurance rates lately? If not, give us a call and see if we can save you money on your North Carolina auto insurance. As an independent agency, we can shop the rates of multiple carriers at one time and often find a policy perfect for your budget.
Would you believe property damage from floods exceeds over $1 billion each year right here in the United States? Did you know your NC homeowners insurance policy does not cover flood damage? Don’t wait until it’s too late. It only takes a few inches of water to cause thousands of dollars in damage to your home and your personal belongings. NC flood insurance can protect you!
Even though your community may have never flooded before, does not mean it’s immune. First of all, we cannot control Mother Nature. Secondly, as more land is developed, land slope and drainage can change. There is also that chance of levees overtopping or water mains breaking. There are numerous factors that contribute to floods.
Many people believe that they don’t need NC flood insurance if they aren’t in a high risk area. This is a very common misconception. Flood insurance is actually affordable for most homeowners and is well worth the premium should you ever experience a small or catastrophic flood loss.
Here are reasons why you need flood insurance for your NC home:
- In recent years, the average residential flood claim was $30,000.
- There is typically a 30-day waiting period when buying flood insurance. Don’t wait for that hurricane to set her eyes on the NC coast.
- Floods can happen anytime and nearly everywhere. You don’t have to be in a flood zone to experience a devastating flood. Nearly 20% of flood insurance claims come from moderate-low risk areas.
- Flood can be caused by quickly accumulating rainfall, hurricanes and tropical storms, broken or overtopped levees and outdated or clogged drainage systems.
- Flood risk can change over time. Just because your home was not in a high-risk area five years ago, does not mean it is still in that same risk category. The flood risk maps change periodically.
Don’t take the risk. Get your policies reviewed by a licensed NC insurance agent and be sure you have the coverage you need.
Protective Insurance Agencies is located in Salisbury, NC and can help you answer all the questions you might have about insuring your home. We can also help you determine your flood risk and provide you with quotes from multiple carriers insuring you get the best rate possible. Contact us today for a complimentary policy review.
Just like car insurance, it is mandatory in North Carolina to have the state required liability and uninsured motorist coverage for your motorcycle or moped. Since liability coverage only takes care of the other parties when you are at-fault, you might want to consider other optional coverage to protect yourself. These options are medical payments, collision insurance, comprehensive insurance and uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage. (more…)
What is an independent insurance agent and why should I use one?
An independent insurance agent, is a licensed insurance professional who typically sells a wide variety of insurance to consumers. This can include auto insurance, homeowners insurance, life insurance, health insurance, property insurance, business insurance and more. Due to the licensing requirements and the types of credentials that one must carry to be an independent insurance agent in North Carolina, these individuals are highly trained both in the way the insurance industry works and in the realm of North Carolina insurance law. Instead of trying to find different types of policies on your own, you can instead turn to an independent insurance agent to assist you. They’ll be able to look at the specifics of your own personal situation, including factors like your budget, and come up with an insurance package that fits your needs and lifestyle.
Using an independent insurance agent comes with a wide variety of different benefits that shouldn’t be ignored. For starters, these types of agents are traditionally highly educated and trained in exactly the types of insurance products they are selling. If you have any questions about a particular policy or have certain requirements, an independent agent will be able to address all of those concerns and make sure that you find a policy that is right for you.
Additionally, the one thing that really sets independent agents apart from captive agents is that independent insurance agents work with multiple insurance carriers. Therefore, they can offer unbiased advice and won’t try to up-sell you on any coverage you might not need. They are trusted advisors who consider your best interest.
Lastly, because they work with multiple insurance carriers, independent agents can shop rates on your behalf and match your needs with your budget to get you the absolute best insurance policies. Think of your independent insurance agent as a part of your financial team, like your attorney or accountant. They are there to provide professional insurance advice to help you manage your risk by protecting your current and future assets.
Protective Insurance Agencies is a North Carolina and independent insurance agency located in Salisbury. We offer auto insurance, homeowners insurance, motorcycle insurance and other personal and commercial insurance options through multiple carriers. We will talk to you so we understand your needs then provide you with insurance quotes that match your requirements. Contact us today for a free insurance policy review and we’ll help you save some money.
5 Reasons Why You Need a Renters Insurance Policy
The story is all too common. A renter returns home from a long day’s work only to find out a kitchen fire that started in an adjoining apartment quickly spread and charred their belongings. Even the ones that survived have so much smoke damage they aren’t salvageable. This is where renter’s insurance comes in to play.
Would you be surprised to learn only about 31 percent of renters actually carry renters insurance? They often look at it as an unnecessary expense thinking their landlord’s insurance will take care of it. Or they think they are somehow immune and nothing will go wrong. However, these assumptions are wrong. Your landlord’s policy is not going to cover your personal belongings if something happens. And, it’s entirely possible you could be a burglary victim or even worse lose everything you own in a fire. It’s a small expense that can have big benefits in times of need. In fact, renters insurance averages only $15-30 a month. Here are the top 5 reasons why you need a renter’s insurance policy in North Carolina.
1. It protects your belongings from damage from natural disasters.
Your landlord’s insurance policy will cover damage to the building from damage from natural disasters. It will not cover the replacement costs of any of your personal belongings. This is why you need renter’s insurance. While you may not be able to replace those irreplaceable family heirlooms (which you should consider storing in a fireproof safe or a bank safety deposit box), it will cover the cost to replace your other belongings, such as clothes, furniture, electronics, jewelry, collectibles, and more (check your policy for limits).
2. It protects you from mistakes made by adjoining tenants that can cause things such as fires and floods in your apartment.
This isn’t so much of an issue if you’re renting a house. However, apartment renters can easily be affected by the actions of their all-to-crazy neighbors. In the case of fire or certain other incidents that causes damage to your apartment and belongings through no fault of your own, having the proper insurance policy will ensure you are able to replace anything that was damaged or destroyed through the negligence of others.
3. It protects you in case of robbery of your premises.
This is an excellent example of why both house and apartment renters should have an insurance policy. You just never know when you’re going to be robbed. It could happen while you’re at home in the worst case scenario. More likely, it will happen while you’re away from your residence. When you come home to find most of your belongings missing, you’ll be glad you have that insurance police to cover your losses and replace your things.
4. It protects you from liability if someone is hurt while visiting your residence.
If someone visits your residence and is injured, you might be held liable. The only exception to this is if the injury occurred in a common area or in an area specified in the lease as the landlord’s responsibility to maintain. Your insurance policy will protect you from expenses associated with a liability lawsuit by either settling out of court with the injured party or representing you in court for a favorable settlement.
5. It can protect your property while you are traveling.
Many renter’s insurance policies will pay claims related to a loss you sustained while traveling. For example, while you are enjoying a dip in the pool, your hotel is broken into and they steal everything including your laptop, jewelry and other personal belongings. If you have a renter’s insurance policy, you can claim this loss and they will replace all your stolen property.
Of course, each renter’s insurance policy offers various coverages at various limits and some have caps on certain categories like electronics and jewelry. So be sure you review your policy with your North Carolina insurance agent to be sure you are getting the coverage you need. But for Pete’s sake, don’t go uninsured. It is simply not worth the risk.
Protective Insurance Agencies is a North Carolina insurance agency located in Salisbury. We offer renters insurance through multiple carriers. We will talk to you so we understand your needs then provide you with renter’s insurance quotes that match your requirement. Contact us today for a renter’s insurance quote.
What is automobile comprehensive coverage and why do I need it?
Storms, natural disasters, vandalism and theft all pose a risk to vehicles. The damage that results from these events is often expensive, which is a good argument as to why you should carry comprehensive insurance coverage.
What is Comprehensive Insurance?
While collision coverage pays for damage to your car as a result of your auto colliding with an object such as a tree or another car, comprehensive insurance pays for damage to your auto from almost all other causes, including fire, severe weather, damage from an animal, vandalism, floods and theft. This coverage typically covers broken glass and windshields as well. While comprehensive insurance is required if you are financing your vehicle, it is an optional coverage for vehicles you own.
Benefits of Comprehensive Insurance
You may be asking why you need comprehensive insurance and it is a fair question. Many individuals are trying to cut down on monthly expenses including auto insurance premiums, and it may not be obvious why you need additional coverage. Perhaps the best argument in favor of comprehensive coverage is costly repair work. Even minor cosmetic damage to vehicles can cost hundreds of dollars to fix. For body damage, the repair fees can be astronomical reaching into the thousands of dollars.
If you have thousands of dollars in reserve and do not mind paying for auto repairs, then comprehensive insurance may not make sense. However, those that don’t have the excess funds to cover auto damage are well-served by comprehensive coverage. It is hard to know when calamity will strike here in North Carolina making it important to be sure you can get your car repaired without a huge out of pocket expense.
Even if you decide not to carry collision coverage which can be more expensive, you may still want to consider comprehensive coverage if your carrier provides it without collision. The premium is usually well worth the benefit.
Protective Insurance Agencies is a North Carolina insurance agency located in Salisbury. We offer comprehensive insurance through multiple auto insurance carriers. We will talk to you so we understand your needs then provide you with auto insurance quotes that match your requirements. Contact us today for a North Carolina auto insurance quote.