Summer Vacation Home Rentals: What to Watch For

As the summer season approaches, we are eager to escape to a beautiful vacation home. Whether you’re heading to the beach, mountains, or countryside, renting a summer vacation home can be a great way to relax and unwind. However, it’s essential to be aware of some potential pitfalls to ensure your dream vacation doesn’t turn into a nightmare.

  1. Accurate Property Listings

When browsing online listings, be cautious of misleading or outdated information. Make sure the property description accurately reflects the home’s condition, amenities, and location.

  1. Thorough Inspections

Before signing a rental agreement, inspect the property thoroughly. Check for any damage, wear, and tear, and ensure all appliances and systems are functioning properly.

  1. Clear Rental Agreements

Carefully review the rental agreement to understand your responsibilities, boundaries, and expectations. Clarify any questions or concerns with the landlord or property manager.

  1. Adequate Insurance Coverage

Verify that the rental property has sufficient insurance coverage. If you’re unsure, consider purchasing additional coverage to protect yourself and your belongings.

  1. Safety First

Ensure the property meets basic safety standards. Check for working smoke detectors, secure locks, and a fire extinguisher. Also, familiarize yourself with emergency evacuation procedures.

  1. Neighborhood Nuances

Research the neighborhood to avoid any potential issues. Look into local noise ordinances, parking restrictions, and nearby construction projects.

  1. Reviews and Referrals

Read reviews from previous renters and ask for referrals from friends or family members who have rented in the area.

  1. Local Support

Find out if the landlord or property manager has a local presence or a reliable support system in case of emergencies or issues.

  1. Clear Communication

Establish open and clear communication with the landlord or property manager. Make sure you have their contact information and can reach them easily.

  1. Reviews and Ratings

Check the landlord’s or property manager’s ratings and reviews on reputable platforms like VRBO, Airbnb, or HomeAway.

By being aware of these potential pitfalls, you can enjoy a stress-free and memorable summer vacation in your rental home. Remember always to prioritize safety, clarity, and open communication.


Knowing When to Update Your Business Insurance Coverage

In the ever-evolving landscape of business, insurance coverage isn’t just a necessity—it’s a dynamic tool that safeguards your enterprise against unforeseen risks and liabilities. However, many business owners overlook the importance of regularly reviewing and updating their insurance policies, potentially leaving their operations vulnerable to new threats. Identifying the right moments to update your business insurance can make a significant difference in your company’s resilience and financial health.

Regulatory Changes

One of the most clear-cut indicators that it’s time to update your business insurance is a change in laws or regulations that affect your industry. Governments frequently update regulations to address new risks or societal changes, such as data protection laws for online businesses. An insurance policy that was compliant a year ago might not provide adequate coverage under new laws, exposing your business to fines or lawsuits.

Business Expansion

Growth is a goal for many businesses, but with expansion comes new risks. Whether you’re increasing your workforce, launching new products, or entering new markets, each of these milestones necessitates a review of your current insurance coverage. For instance, expanding into a new state or country might require additional forms of insurance due to different legal requirements. Similarly, introducing a new product line could expose your business to new liability risks that your current policy doesn’t cover.

Changes in Revenue

Significant fluctuations in your business’s revenue can also be a signal to reevaluate your insurance needs. Higher revenue levels can increase your liability exposure, necessitating higher coverage limits to protect against potential claims. Conversely, if your business is facing a downturn, you might need to adjust your policies to reflect your current operational size and risk profile, potentially reducing premiums.

Technological Advancements

The rapid pace of technological innovation can quickly render an existing insurance policy outdated. For example, businesses that have recently digitized their operations may need to consider cyber liability insurance to protect against data breaches or cyber-attacks. Similarly, companies utilizing new technologies or machinery might require updated property insurance to cover these assets adequately.

Natural Disasters and Climate Change

The increasing frequency and severity of natural disasters due to climate change mean that businesses must regularly assess their insurance coverage for natural catastrophes. If your business is located in an area prone to floods, hurricanes, wildfires, or other natural disasters, it’s critical to ensure that your insurance policy reflects the heightened risk level and provides sufficient coverage for such events.

Changes in Ownership or Management

Transitions in ownership or significant changes in management can impact the direction and operations of a business. These changes often bring new strategies, operational practices, and risk profiles, necessitating a review of the existing insurance coverage to ensure it aligns with the new management’s vision and the company’s updated risk landscape.

Regular Annual Reviews

Even if none of the above changes have occurred, it’s wise to conduct an annual insurance review. This practice ensures that your coverage remains aligned with your business’s current state and future goals. Regular reviews also provide an opportunity to explore cost-saving options, like bundling policies or adjusting deductibles.

Insurance is not a set-it-and-forget-it component of your business. It’s an essential tool that must evolve alongside your company. By staying vigilant and understanding when to update your business insurance coverage, you can protect your enterprise against emerging risks and ensure its long-term sustainability. Regular consultations with your insurance provider can help you navigate these changes smoothly and keep your coverage in line with your business’s needs.


Why is Flood Insurance Important?

Flood insurance is crucial for protecting homeowners and businesses against the devastating financial impacts of floods. Unlike standard homeowners insurance, flood insurance specifically covers damages caused by flooding, including rising water from rivers, heavy rains, or storm surges.

Floods are among the most common and costly natural disasters, affecting properties in both high-risk and low-risk areas. Even in regions not typically prone to flooding, unexpected weather events can lead to significant water damage. Without flood insurance, property owners may face substantial repair and rebuilding costs out of pocket.

Moreover, federal disaster assistance may not always be available or sufficient to cover all losses incurred during a flood. Flood insurance provides a reliable safety net, ensuring that individuals and businesses have the financial resources needed to recover and rebuild after a flood event.

In essence, flood insurance offers peace of mind and financial security, allowing property owners to mitigate the risks associated with flooding and safeguard their assets against unexpected natural disasters.

A Personal Umbrella Just Makes Sense

In a world where uncertainties loom large, safeguarding one’s financial future has become imperative. While traditional insurance policies offer protection against common risks like auto accidents or home damages, they may not always be sufficient to cover extensive liabilities. This is where a personal umbrella insurance policy steps in, providing an additional layer of protection that shields individuals from unforeseen financial burdens.

A personal umbrella insurance policy serves as a safety net, extending beyond the coverage limits of standard insurance policies such as auto or homeowner’s insurance. It kicks in when these primary policies reach their maximum payout, offering an extra cushion of protection against lawsuits and claims that exceed typical liability limits.

One of the primary advantages of a personal umbrella policy is its broad coverage. It not only extends the liability limits of existing insurance policies but also provides coverage for certain types of claims that may not be covered by those policies. For instance, if someone files a lawsuit against you for defamation or false arrest, a personal umbrella policy can help cover legal expenses and damages, sparing you from significant financial loss.


Understanding Auto Insurance Trends in 2024

The auto insurance landscape in 2023 and 2024 has seen significant changes, influenced by various factors including rising repair costs, severe weather, and changes in driving behavior. Let’s dive into the key trends and statistics shaping the auto insurance industry this year.

  1. Surge in Auto Insurance Premiums

Auto insurance premiums have been on the rise, with an average increase of 12.6% across the U.S. This marks the steepest hike since 2018 and follows an 11.2% increase in 2023. Drivers in states like Michigan, California, Texas, Florida, and Nevada are experiencing the highest premiums, while Maine, New Hampshire, and Idaho have the lowest rates. This increase is attributed to various factors, including the rising cost of car repairs and replacements, and an uptick in severe weather incidents leading to more insurance claims.

  1. Average Cost of Auto Insurance

The average annual cost of auto insurance is expected to hit around $1,984 in 2024. This figure varies significantly from state to state, with Michigan notably having the highest rates at approximately $2,200 per year. In contrast, states like Ohio offer some of the most affordable rates, around $1,000 annually.

  1. Factors Influencing Premium Rates

Several factors influence auto insurance rates. These include the driver’s age, gender, marital status, credit score, driving history, and the car’s make and model. For example, young drivers and those with traffic violations tend to face higher premiums.

  1. Impact of Dangerous Driving Behaviors

Dangerous driving behaviors continue to pose significant risks and impact insurance rates. Teen drivers, for example, are three times more likely to receive speeding tickets. Drunk driving is responsible for up to 30% of all road fatalities annually, and about 16% of drivers are uninsured. These factors collectively contribute to the risk assessment by insurance companies, subsequently affecting premium rates.

  1. State-Specific Trends

Different states are experiencing varying levels of premium increases. For instance, Nevada is projected to see a 28% or greater surge, while states like California, Washington, Arizona, Connecticut, Louisiana, and Georgia face increases ranging from 16% to 18%.

  1. Electric Vehicle Insurance

While electric vehicle insurance is becoming more affordable, it remains 23% higher than coverage for traditional gasoline-powered cars. Tesla models tend to have the highest insurance premiums, whereas models like the Honda CR-V and Ford F-150 are more economical choices.

The auto insurance market in 2024 is characterized by rising premiums, influenced by factors such as repair costs, dangerous driving behaviors, and severe weather events. As drivers navigate these changes, understanding these trends becomes crucial for making informed insurance decisions. It’s important for drivers to regularly shop around for insurance to potentially save costs and adjust their coverage according to their needs and risk profiles.

Be “Street Smart” During The Holiday Shopping Season

Don’t let criminals take the Ho Ho Ho out of your Christmas

For the next few weeks, everyone will be very busy. We all have family activities, work, school, shopping, parties and football games to fill our days. Unfortunately, criminals are also busy this time of year.  So when you are shopping, make sure to protect yourself.  These tips can help you to stay safe during the holiday season.

  1. If shopping online, don’t click on unfamiliar web sites or emails. Don’t give your personal information to sites you don’t know; shop with companies you know and trust. Check for background information if you plan to buy from a new or unfamiliar company.
  2. Do not download holiday apps from unfamiliar websites and then give your permission for the app to have unlimited access to your information.
  3. Have your keys in hand when approaching your vehicle, particularly when shopping. Check the back seat and around the car before getting in.
  4. Do not buy all your holiday gifts online using unsecure, Wi-Fi connections.
  5. Avoid driving alone or at night. Park in well-lit parking lots, and write down your location.
  6. Keep all car doors locked and windows closed while in or out of your car. Set your alarm or use an anti-theft device.
  7. Keep receipts in your pocket, not in the package.
  8. Never leave packages in the car; place in the truck if necessary.
  9. Don’t take all your credit cards with you, only those you may need.

To find more useful shopping tips and personal safety information, visit the National Crime Prevention Council’s website.







Home Safety While Traveling This Summer

Home Safety While Traveling This Summer

Protecting your home while traveling during the summer is crucial to ensure its security. Here are some essential tips to help you keep your home safe:

Secure all doors and windows: Before leaving, double-check that all doors and windows are properly locked. Install sturdy deadbolt locks on exterior doors, reinforce windows with security film or bars, and consider using a doorbell camera or a smart lock for added security.

Set up a home security system: Install a reliable home security system that includes motion sensors, door/window sensors, and surveillance cameras. Many systems can be monitored remotely via smartphone apps, enabling you to keep an eye on your property from anywhere.

Use timers for lights and electronics: Set up timers for lights, TVs, and radios to create the illusion of an occupied home. Program them to turn on and off at different times throughout the day to deter potential burglars.

Arrange for mail and package delivery: An overflowing mailbox or packages left on the doorstep can indicate that nobody is home. Temporarily suspend mail and newspaper delivery or ask a trusted neighbor to collect them for you. If you’re expecting packages, arrange for them to be held or delivered to a secure location.

Inform a trusted neighbor or friend: Let a neighbor or friend you trust know about your travel plans. Provide them with contact information and ask if they can keep an eye on your property, report any suspicious activity, or park their car in your driveway occasionally.

Don’t advertise your absence on social media: Avoid posting about your travel plans on social media platforms until after you return home. Broadcasting your absence can attract unwanted attention from potential burglars.

Consider light and sound deterrents: Install motion-activated exterior lights to illuminate your property if anyone approaches. You can also use sound deterrents like a radio or dog barking sound device to create the impression of someone being home.

Secure valuable items: Keep valuable items, such as jewelry, important documents, and portable electronics, in a secure safe. This provides an extra layer of protection against theft.

Disconnect unnecessary electronics: Unplug non-essential electronics and appliances to prevent power surges and reduce the risk of electrical fires while you’re away.

Hire a house sitter or home security service: If you’re comfortable with it, consider hiring a house sitter who can stay in your home while you’re away. Alternatively, some home security companies offer services where professionals periodically check on your property.

Remember, each home and neighborhood may have specific security needs, so assess your situation and take appropriate measures accordingly.

Low Cost Insurance Is Not Better Insurance

Insurance is a necessary expense for many people. Whether it’s health insurance, car insurance, or home insurance, having coverage can give you peace of mind and protect you from financial ruin in the event of an accident or unexpected event. However, not all insurance policies are created equal, and opting for the cheapest option may not always be the best choice. In fact, cheaper insurance is often not better insurance. Here are some reasons why.

Lower Coverage Limits

One of the main ways insurance companies can offer cheaper rates is by offering lower coverage limits. Coverage limits are the maximum amount of money an insurance company will pay out for a claim. If you opt for cheaper insurance, you may be getting lower coverage limits, which means you may not be fully covered in the event of a major accident or unexpected event. This can leave you with significant out-of-pocket expenses that you may not be able to afford.

Higher Deductibles

Another way insurance companies can offer cheaper rates is by increasing the deductible – the amount of money you must pay out of pocket before your insurance coverage kicks in. While a higher deductible can lower your monthly premium, it also means you’ll have to pay more out of pocket before your insurance company starts covering the cost of damages. This can be a burden, especially if you’re already struggling to make ends meet.

Exclusions and Limitations

Cheaper insurance policies may also come with exclusions and limitations that can limit your coverage. For example, some health insurance policies may exclude coverage for pre-existing conditions or limit coverage for certain medical treatments. Car insurance policies may exclude coverage for certain types of accidents or limit coverage for damages to your vehicle. These exclusions and limitations can leave you with significant gaps in coverage that can leave you vulnerable to financial loss.

Poor Customer Service

Cheaper insurance policies may also come with poor customer service. Insurance companies that offer cheap rates often need more resources to invest in customer service, which can lead to long wait times, unhelpful representatives, and delayed claims processing. This can be frustrating and stressful, especially if you need to file a claim in a hurry.

In conclusion, while it may be tempting to opt for the cheapest insurance policy available, it’s important to consider the potential drawbacks of doing so. Cheaper insurance policies may offer lower coverage limits, higher deductibles, exclusions and limitations, poor customer service, and less comprehensive coverage. Instead, it’s important to shop around for insurance policies that offer the right balance of coverage and affordability. By doing so, you can ensure that you’re fully protected in the event of an accident or unexpected event without breaking the bank.

Personal service combined with depth of knowledge in the insurance marketplace, and access to a wide range of carriers is the combination of factors that sets Oakwood Insurance apart from its competitors. We not only work in the north metro, but it’s also our home. We strive to support the vibrancy and growth of this community. We want it to thrive, and we want you to thrive. We will review your insurance coverage and help you understand what you have and ensure that it’s the best fit for your goals.



Insurance For High-Net-Worth Individuals

High net-worth individuals (HNWIs) have unique insurance needs due to the substantial assets and investments they hold. Insurance coverage for HNWIs goes beyond standard policies and includes specialty coverage tailored to their specific risks and lifestyle. In this blog, we’ll explore some of the insurance types that HNWIs should consider protecting their assets.

High-Value Home Insurance: For high-net-worth individuals, their home is often their most significant investment. Standard homeowners’ insurance policies have limitations on coverage and may not cover the full replacement cost  (unique woods and fixtures) of a high-value home in case of damages or loss. High-Value Home Insurance policies offer broader coverage and higher limits, covering the full cost of rebuilding or replacing the property and its contents.

Umbrella Liability Insurance: HNWIs often have a higher risk of lawsuits due to their assets, investments, and public exposure. Umbrella Liability Insurance provides additional protection beyond the limits of standard policies, such as homeowners, auto, and watercraft insurance. The coverage amount can range from $1 million to $100 million, depending on the individual’s needs.

Collector Car Insurance: HNWIs often have collections of exotic or classic cars, which require unique coverage due to their high value and limited use. Collector Car Insurance provides coverage for damage, theft, and liability. It also includes coverage for restoration and repair costs.

Fine Art Insurance: HNWIs often have valuable art collections, including paintings, sculptures, and antiques. Fine Art Insurance covers damage or loss to these collections, including transit and storage. The coverage amount is based on the appraised value of the collection.

Kidnap and Ransom Insurance: HNWIs may be at risk of being kidnapped or extorted due to their public exposure or high net worth. Kidnap and Ransom Insurance provides coverage for ransom payments, crisis management, and legal fees. It also provides security consulting services and travel advisories.

Private Aviation Insurance: HNWIs often own private planes or use private aviation services for business or leisure. Private Aviation Insurance provides coverage for damage, liability, and personal injury. It also covers airport premises liability and medical payments.

In conclusion, HNWIs have unique insurance needs that require specialized coverage to protect their substantial assets and investments. By considering the insurance types mentioned above, HNWIs can ensure they have the right coverage to protect their lifestyle and peace of mind.


Don’t Let Your Holiday Party Turn Into A Lawsuit

A Business Insurance Update

It is the holiday season, a great time for charity events and company parties. These events are a great time and place to gather together to increase employee morale and say thanks, they also can lead to increased liability and risk.

Your commercial or business insurance may provide coverage but if you have any question, it is best to call our office for a review of your business insurance program.

The biggest issue involves the use of alcohol. When business owners host a holiday party and serve alcohol as part of the festivities, liquor liability can be covered by their commercial insurance policy. However, it is always best to check with your insurance agent.

Holiday Party Risk Management

  • Limit use of alcohol; offer two drink tickets per person.
  • Remind employees via email about your company’s code of conduct and substance abuse policy prior to the party.
  • Reinforce the company’s harassment policies prior to the party. Emphasize the company has a zero-tolerance policy for any sort of harassment, including both physical and verbal forms.
  • Make sure you have food at your party.
  • During the party, monitor alcohol consumption.
  • Consider having the party at a restaurant. This is a good way to transfer liability.
  • Make the party optional.
  • Arrange for cab rides or transportation home for guests who may need it.
  • Encourager managers to set a good example.
  • Consider inviting spouses, which is a good way to reduce romantic hook-ups.

Personal service combined with depth of knowledge in the insurance marketplace, and access to a wide range of carriers is the combination of factors that sets Oakwood Insurance apart from its competitors. We not only work in the north metro, but it’s also our home. We strive to support the vibrancy and growth of this community. We want it to thrive, and we want you to thrive. We will review your insurance coverage and help you understand what you have and ensure that it’s the best fit for your goals.

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 coverage 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.