Five Keys to Improving Your Personal Insurance

A Personal Insurance Update

We work to ensure that your personal insurance provides the protection you deserve and need.   We understand you may need different coverage like a personal umbrella, RV insurance, valuable articles coverage, earthquake, or flood coverage.

Over the years, we have found that homeowners who adhere to the following strategies have a better chance of obtaining the best possible combination of coverage, price, and service.

  1. Use an agent like us to represent you in the market. We know and understand personal insurance, and we are much better equipped to help you manage your personal insurance program.  We will stand by you in every claim situation.
  2. Only use financially strong insurers. It is vital that your insurance is there to pay for claims.  Look for insurers with an “A” rating by AM Best.
  3. Make sure you have high liability limits. It is essential that every homeowner have enough liability insurance to cover the unexpected events.  This is especially true if you own an RV, ATV or boat.
  4. Consider increasing your deductibles. Often a slight increase in your deductibles can reduce premiums.  If you are able to manage a larger deductible, you may be better off in the end.
  5. Allow your agent to manage your entire personal insurance needs. Having one source for all your policies will save you time.  Also having one professional handle all your needs gives them the ability to understand your entire needs.

Five Things People Should Know About Insurance

For many people, insurance can be difficult to understand.  Most people know that insurance is needed, but often they do not fully understand what they are buying or if they are properly covered.  That is why it is important to have an insurance agent on your side.  A good agent will help you determine what your insurance needs are, educate you about your options, and help you understand the specifics of the insurance you are buying.

Here are five things that you need to know as you consider your insurance options.

  • You cannot add coverage for a claim that has already occurred. For example, if there is flooding in your area, you cannot buy flood insurance during an event.
  • Coverage gaps can be costly. Having a gap or lapse in coverage can be costly. Always pay your premiums on time, or ask for a grace period from your insurer.  You will end up paying more if you have lapses in your policy.
  • Insurance is not intended to cover everything. Insurance is designed to provide financial recovery after an accident or unforeseen loss. Every policy has exclusions which are important to understand. Remember, insurance is not intended to cover regular maintenance.
  • An agent can be a valuable resource. A licensed agent can help you find the best possible combination of coverage, price, and service that fits your individual needs. A good agent will be willing to answer any questions you may have and be there for you when a claim occurs.
  • Do not skimp on liability insurance. The cost of litigation these days underscores the need for everyone to have an adequate amount of liability insurance.  The greater your assets are, the greater your need is to have your assets covered.  To protect yourself and your family financially, buy enough liability insurance on your auto and home insurance policies to cover above your net worth.  We can help you determine how much coverage your individual needs require.

In 1989, Oakwood’s founder, Bruce L. Sogn, set out to establish a business that would give him the opportunity to serve the community and to fulfill a need in the marketplace. Today as an independent insurance agency, Oakwood does just that.

After researching the insurance industry, he found that by becoming an independent insurance agent, he could offer a comprehensive range of insurance products and services to his clients. By maintaining focus on competitive products, Oakwood has kept its commitment to service, professionalism, and the highest integrity.

How Our Agents Help Save You Money On Your Personal Insurance

Our team of agents works very hard to make sure your premiums are as competitive as possible.  There are many ways in which we help our clients keep insurance costs down.  We also believe that it is equally important to have the right kind of coverage that meets your needs at a competitive price.

Are you paying too much for your personal insurance?  If you believe you are paying too much for your current insurance coverage, then the following suggestions may help you save money:

Auto Insurance Savings Tips

Ask about discounts

Most insurance companies offer discounts.  While the availability of discounts will vary depending on your insurer, where you live, and whether you meet eligibility, make sure to ask if there are any discounts you can take advantage of.

Drive safely

OK, this one is obvious but true.  Drivers with no accidents, tickets, or insurance claims, almost always pay less for their auto insurance coverage.

Good grades

Most insurance companies offer discounts to student drivers who have good grades.

Remove or reduce coverage on older vehicles.

If your car is getting up there in age, you may want to think about dropping the collision or comprehensive coverage (or both) on your policy.

Bundle your services with one agent

Bundling your home and auto with the same agent often provides efficiencies in time and money.

 

Home Insurance Savings Tips

Raise your deductible

A deductible is the amount of money that you are responsible for paying toward an insured loss.  The higher your deductible, the more money you can save on your premium.

Make your home more secure

Invest in a home security system.  Having a smoke detector, burglar alarm or deadbolt locks on your home can earn you a 5% discount, depending on your insurer.

Bundle your insurance

Bundling auto and home insurance with the same company typically saves you 5% to 15% on your homeowners premium, according to data from the Insurance Information Institute. Again depending on your insurer.

Make improvements to your home

Updating your roof, furnace, water heater, or windows can help reduce your insurance cost.  If you’re a homeowner, your premiums could be quietly costing you more money than they should.  The good news is that insurers provide relatively easy-to-obtain discounts that can shave money off your homeowner’s insurance premium.

 

Are You Starting A Home Business?

Do you want to start a home-based business? Having a home business of your own is a good way to make a living. Keep in mind that if there are risks involved. Most home-based businesses do not have the same risks as other businesses, including buildings, employees, production machinery, and a fleet of vehicles.

However, home-based businesses do have many risks that need to be considered.

Do Some Pre Planning

  • Check with your local zoning to see if home-based businesses are allowed
  • If you are planning on having customers visit your home, you may need special permits.

Home Based Business Risks Can Include

  • Product liability
  • Professional Liability
  • Injury or damage to customers
  • Auto accidents
  • Disability
  • Cyber breach
  • Property loss and damage
  • Crime and dishonesty
  • Cyber liability
  • Web page copyright liability
  • Employees or contractor’s issues

The key is to understand what these risks are so you can take the necessary actions to make sure that your business is protected. It’s important to carry the right commercial insurance to protect your business in case of an unforeseen event. Hire a reputable insurance provider to help you assess the potential risks and determine which types of policies meet your business needs.

As an independent insurance agency we are affiliated with multiple industry-leading companies. It is these partnerships that allow us to provide our clients with better coverage at a competitive price. Our staff is knowledgeable and committed to providing a quality customer service experience to our valued clients.

 

Never Sign Away Your Rights

As a homeowner, you carry homeowner’s insurance to protect yourself in case of damage to your home. Horrifically, unscrupulous contractors use an insidious trick to defraud thousands of Florida homeowners every year – convincing them to sign away their rights through an Assignment of Benefits (AOB) form.

 

What is an “AOB” form?

A contractor or repair company representative will often tell you that an Assignment of Benefits or “AOB” form is necessary for them to do work on your home. They may promise it will make the process easier for you as it will allow them to “handle everything.” They might even offer to lower or eliminate your deductible if you sign the form immediately.

This tactic is often used by roofing contractors after storms, or by water restoration companies if you have water damage caused by a leak in your home. However, signing an AOB form efficiently turns over your rights under your insurance policy. If someone can gain access to the roof or the interior of your home before your insurance adjuster arrives, they may intentionally cause extra damage so they can inflate repair costs

Don’t allow roofing contractors up on your roof to “investigate,” or water restoration companies to start work before the damage is assessed. Most importantly, don’t sign an AOB form. We are here for you and can help you navigate the claims process and avoid contractor abuse and fraud.

You can help stop AOB contractor fraud by knowing your rights (including the right to cancel a contract, including a signed AOB form, within three days) and you can also help others avoid a nightmare like Barbara’s by sharing this information with friends, family, and neighbors. Together, we can put an end to contractor abuse and AOB contractor fraud.

Most contractors are very professional, but there are a few that follow disasters and try to take advantage of you.

 

Managing Risk In Uncertain Times

We are living in uncertain times. COVID-19 and all that goes with it have created a new set of operating rules and risks. There is a number of new risks that have emerged as a result of these changing times.

 

It is vital that your business insurance program have the flexibility to respond to the changing and uncertain times we are living in. Your business insurance program needs to be designed to give your business the best possible coverage at a reasonable price from an agent who understands your individual needs.

 

Remote Workers 

COVID-19 has changed the way we think about remote working. Most businesses are having employees work from home, and even if there is a vaccine, the work from home trend is likely to continue. In general, employees are covered for work-related injuries that occur outside the office or other workplaces. Generally, employers are still responsible for injuries that occur during a detour, such as when an employee physically departs from his or her job duties that are considered minor activity, getting coffee, etc.

 

New Cyber Risks

Commercial businesses to become more dependent on the internet with an increase in remote workers. This new normal now requires special procedures and policies to protect your organization, its data, and network. When workers feel secure, you can nurture productivity and enhance collaboration.

Finance, Social Life And Health Of Employees

Because of the requirements and arrangements following the pandemic, employees have been faced with unexpected expenses related to travel, digital needs, accommodation (home workspaces) health concerns, and protective measures. Employers need to find ways to address these needs on a long-term basis, possibly through smaller in-person gatherings, remote learning opportunities, and even allowances for home office improvements.

Employees With Disabilities

Disabled employees need additional support to adapt to changes. Specific measures are required to address their needs and ensure their access to remote works issues.

As with any risk, you want to get out in front of it quickly. The longer you wait, the harder it is to mitigate the damage. The most successful companies are those that put systems and processes in place to help them quickly recognize the warning signs and navigate the best path forward.

In 1989, Oakwood’s founder, Bruce L. Sogn, set out to establish a business that would give him the opportunity to serve the community and to fulfill a need in the marketplace. Today as an independent insurance agency, Oakwood does just that.

After researching the insurance industry, he found that by becoming an independent insurance agent, he could offer a comprehensive range of insurance products and services to his clients. By maintaining focus on competitive products, Oakwood has kept its commitment to service, professionalism, and the highest integrity.

2021 Business Insurance Planning

 

Part of your business planning for 2021 should include an annual        business insurance review. Your business changes, and so do your exposures. After you review some of these items, call our office, and we will be happy to discuss these and more with you.  I

COVID-19 Planning

  • Do you have remote work policies and procedures?
  • Make sure you have a cleaning protocol in place.
  • Check your business interruption coverage; it may need to be adjusted and increased.
  • Make sure your business follows OSHA guidelines.
  • Do you have the right kind of insurance to cover business equipment off-premises?

Items to Consider When Completing a Business Insurance Review

  • Review sales and revenue- Have your company’s annual sales increased or decreased? The more business you do, the greater the potential liability you face.
  • Property Values- Have you added any new equipment, purchased or leased a new building?
  • Did you purchase any new vehicles?
  • Is your safety and loss control program up to date?
  • When was the last time someone reviewed your SIC codes for accuracy?

Have you added any new partners? There might be a need for life insurance.  As a business owner, you can ensure that your company is protected by keeping your general liability insurance, workers’ compensation  insurance, and commercial auto policies updated to reflect changes in your business.

Oakwood Insurance operates as an independent insurance agency, selling an extensive spectrum of           insurance to businesses, families, and individuals.  Our competitive advantage comes from the objective and professional service that we provide our access to a wide range of carriers, and our extensive knowledge of the insurance marketplace.

 

Stop Porch Pirates This Holiday Season

 

The holiday season is filled with fun, parties, food, gifts, overeating, and unfortunately some risk. One of the fasted growing risks for many people are stolen packages by porch pirates.  According to proopertycasualtiy360, over 26 million packages are stolen during the holiday season.  Need more bad news?

Your homeowners or renter’s insurance generally may not cover this loss as it tends to be under your deductible.  There could be covered if you have personal property off premises insurance.  Also for theft coverage to apply generally, you need proof of loss by a broker indoor, etc.  Call our office for a  review of your homeowner’s insurance, as each policy is unique to your circumstances.

Things To Do

  • Delivery confirmation is a good way to prove the package was delivered.
  • Thieves will follow delivery trucks, waiting for the perfect target.
  • These thieves commonly strike during working hours as many homes are empty at that time.
  • You can insure your packages.
  • Consider having a person there when the delivery is scheduled.
  • Install a security camera.

What To Do If A Package Is Stolen

  • Track your package. Check the delivery confirmation and tracking number.
  • Make sure a neighbor did not pick it up for you.
  • Contact the seller. Different retailers have different policies and processes for handling stolen items, but usually, you are entitled to a refund or a replacement item.
  • File a claim with the shipping company.
  • Check your Credit Cards for Purchase Protection.

 

Personal Insurance for High Net-Worth Individuals

For many people, standard insurance products like home, auto, life, and personal umbrella insurance are adequate to protect their families and their assets.  However, for high net-worth individuals there is much more to consider.  There are millions of households in the U.S. with a net-worth of more than one million dollars, and almost one million of these households are in California, according to CNBC.com

People with a high net-worth need to look at insurance in a different way than others do.  No longer are they trying just to insure a home or car, but instead they should be protecting their many assets through insurance.  High net-worth individuals also have a different lifestyle that creates new risks that should be managed.  Affluent individuals have unique property and casualty insurance needs due to their exposure to risk and to the types of assets they own.  Individuals with money become targets when anything goes wrong.  It is important not only to insure your property and other tangible assets, but also to protect your financial wealth.  Here are some of the products and solutions that may help high net-worth individuals protect themselves and their assets.

Personal Umbrella Coverage

High net-worth individuals need a competitive personal umbrella insurance policy with a limit of at least one million dollars.  In some cases, depending on your wealth, you may need liability limits of up to five million dollars.  A personal umbrella is able to go over many different insurance policies, and help protect assets with defense coverage as well.

Domestic Employees Insurance

Individuals who employ cooks, housekeepers, nannies or others to work in their homes need to have insurance coverage for their employees.  Having this kind of insurance helps protect you if your employee sues you for damages.  It is also important to carry workers’ compensation insurance on your staff.  This policy may also cover certain medical expenses that may be paid to the employee, and can help to replace any wages lost.

Coverage For Wine

Many high net-worth people have wine collections.  A standard homeowner’s policy may not be adequate to respond to a loss.  Wine insurance can cover the entire dollar amount of the wine with a limit for each bottle.

Fine Art Insurance And Other Collections

Fine art insurance can cover the full market value, or appraised value, on any art you own.  Most standard homeowner’s insurance policies have limitations on the amount of coverage offered.  Fine art insurance also covers the art when it is purchased; even it is away from your home. Here are other items you may need to insure.

  • Precious jewelry
  • Fine art
  • Musical instruments
  • Rare postage stamps and coins
  • Sports memorabilia
  • Fine china and silverware
  • High-end electronics
  • Other antiques and collectibles

Property Coverage for High-End Homes

High-end homes often have unique construction that requires special property insurance coverage.  Custom construction drives the replacement cost higher.  It is very important to have full replacement coverage that addresses all the custom and unique types of property in the home.

Coverage for Home-Based Businesses

Many high net-worth individuals operate home-based businesses.  A standard homeowner’s insurance policy will not cover this risk.  A commercial insurance policy is needed to protect the risks of operating a home-based business adequately.

Serving on For-Profit and Non-Profit Boards

Many high net-worth individuals serve on for-profit and non-profit boards.  Some of these positions have indemnification and insurance included with serving on the board.  However, some do not adequately protect the individual, and a separate policy is needed.

Oakwood is involved with numerous local, state and national insurance associations and communities. The agency encourages employees to devote time to these endeavors. Oakwood’s approach is one of total risk management, encompassing the areas of property & liability insurance, automotive insurance, worker’s compensation, professional liability, individual or group accident & health insurance, life insurance, contract surety bonds, and personal insurance. Oakwood provides an in-depth range of insurance products and services to assist in securing our clients’ future. We are an agency committed to excellence, founded on the principle of integrity.

The best way to solve a problem is to first understand it. To understand a problem involves asking questions, reviewing agreements, and visiting the facility or business. We believe that a professional agent must do more that merely issue insurance on the client’s behalf. Besides determining and placing proper coverage with reputable insurance companies, we seek to educate our clients on coverage and to reduce, or transfer risk to the insuring company, and working closely with management team to protect and preserve assets.

 

What Does Your Agent Talk To You About?

When you meet with, or talk to, your insurance agent, what are the topics of conversation?  Do you only talk about your bill, or why your premium has increased?  Is the only time you hear from your agent when they try to sell you additional coverage? Some agencies even try to dissuade you from talking to your agent!

We are here to provide a different approach.  We recommend talking to your agent at least once a year—or even more if needed.  Communication is the key to all good relationships. We will reach out to you and talk to you about the following:

  1. How is your claim being processed?  Can we assist you with the process?
  2. Did you receive a copy of your policy?  Do you have any questions?
  3. Have you made any major purchases like a new car, boat, or other high-end items?
  4. I know you have a wine collection; did you purchase any new bottles that need to be insured?
  5. Your son Travis is heading off to college; we might want to review your auto coverage.
  6. How is your new job going? Do they offer life insurance, or would you like to look at some options?
  7. Have you thought more about identity theft coverage?
  8. These days, many people are driving for a ride-sharing company, is there anyone in your house doing this?

These are just some examples of what our conversations might look like. Of course, we always start our conversations with “Good day it is great to connect,” and end with “Thank you for your business, we value our relationship and love serving you.”

In 1989, Oakwood’s founder, Bruce L. Sogn, set out to establish a business that would give him the opportunity to serve the community and to fulfill a need in the marketplace. Today as an independent insurance agency, Oakwood does just that.

After researching the insurance industry, he found that by becoming an independent insurance agent, he could offer a comprehensive range of insurance products and services to his clients. By maintaining focus on competitive products, Oakwood has kept its commitment to service, professionalism, and the highest integrity.