Disaster Preparation Can Save Your Life

We’ve seen firsthand the devastation wrought by wildfires, earthquakes, and storms.  This reminds us how important it is to prepare for a disaster, such as wildfires, floods, earthquakes, and even strong winds.  Depending on the type of disaster, you can take a variety of actions; let’s look at some of the most important one. Always follow local, state, and federal authorities’ directions.

Prepare For Wildfires

  • Clear dead plants from around your property. Regularly trim trees to keep branches at least 10 feet away from adjacent trees.
  • Landscape with fire-resistant plants.
  • Use fire-resistant construction materials, particularly on the roof.
  • Use 1/8-inch to 1/4-inch metal mesh to cover all vent openings. Fiberglass or plastic mesh should not be used since they can melt and burn.
  • Deck surfaces within 8 feet of the building shall be made of non-combustible, ignition-resistant materials.
  • Ensure that your address is visible from the road.
  • Follow all local building codes while maintaining driveways.
  • Make sure you have enough garden hoses to cover your entire yard.

Flood Preparedness

  • Make sure you’re familiar with the various evacuation routes.
  • Determine whether you live in a flood plain and, if so, purchase flood insurance.
  • Keep extra water on hand.
  • Non-combustible or other certified materials should be used to construct surfaces within 10 feet of the structure.
  • Check valves should be installed in sewage lines to prevent floodwater from backing up into your home’s drains.
  • Waterproof your basement and foundation.
  • Install water-detecting pumps in your crawl area and basement.
  • Build flood barriers (levees, beams, and floodwalls) to keep floodwater out of your home.

Earthquake Planning

  • Learn the basics of first aid and CPR.
  • Establish a gathering spot for all members of the family.
  • Locate utility disconnect switches.
  • Make emergency contact lists, organize them on the internet, and save a paper copy.
  • Make a household inventory
  • Request an earthquake insurance quote from your agent.
  • Secure shelves to the walls.
  • Keep bulky or heavy items on the lower shelf.
  • Anchor a water heater to the studs in the wall and fasten it to the floor.

Disaster Safety Tips in General 

  • Have food on hand for everyday needs for at least three days.
  • Have three or four flashlights.
  • Keep a well-stocked first kit.
  • Make a go-bag for each member of the family.
  • Have water for three to five days.
  • Keep cash on hand.
  • Can opener (non-electric).
  • For emergency information, listen to a battery-operated radio or television.
  • Keep an eye on the elderly and disabled, as well as children who may require particular assistance.
  • Stay away from structures that have been damaged or destroyed.
  • Use glow sticks to determine the depth of the water.
  • Have goggles and air masks on hand for any family members within reach.
  • Every six months or so, restock your supplies.
  • Have a relative or friend from out of state act as a communication source.
  • Make sure you have cell phone chargers on hand.
  • Keep a supply of construction supplies on hand in case your home needs to be boarded up.
  • Keep all critical documents in a fireproof safe, including your birth certificate, insurance, birth certificates, and other paperwork.
  • Photograph all of the documents and save them to your phone. Alternatively, you can send copies to your phone.

For your protection and well-being, Oakwood Insurance Agency offers nearly every sort of personal insurance policy you may require. Please find a short but not exhaustive selection of our most frequent personal property, health, and life policies below. An Oakwood Insurance agent will explain our full range of insurance products and services during a personal consultation and create a tailored insurance plan with the right policies for your lifestyle, personal circumstances, and comfort level.

Flood Insurance

Flooding, which occurs in all 50 states, causes more property damage than any other weather-related catastrophe. You should be aware of any flood vulnerabilities you may have in your home. If you’re unsure, the Red Cross local government or your regional planning and zoning department can assist you.

If it is pouring heavily or has been raining for an extended period of time, listen to the radio or watch weather updates on television for increasing flood risks.

Floods come in a variety of forms. Coastal and river floods are more predictable, occurring over a period of hours or days. A flash flood might appear out of nowhere. Local governments may issue Flash Flood Watches or Flash Flood Warnings, as well as ordinary Flood Watches or Flood Warnings; click on any of the words for more information.

Before a Flood

If you live or have a home in a flood-prone area, flood insurance is a good idea. Flood insurance is not generally included in homeowner’s insurance. That coverage must be purchased as a stand-alone insurance.

Prepare a Flood Disaster Supply Kit and a Personal Evacuation Plan, or update them if necessary.

When there is a Flood Watch in effect,

Move your valuables and stuff to the upper floors of your home. Place these items on top of countertops and tables if you live in a one-story home.

Make sure your car’s fuel tanks are full and that you’re ready to go if an evacuation order is issued.

When A Flood Warning is Issued

Listen to the radio, internet, or watch the news to stay up to date. Prepare to flee if necessary.

If the Flood Warning is for a Flash Flood, get to higher ground right away. Flash floods can quickly turn into raging torrents, leaving you with little time to react. Rivers, creeks, streams, and drainage areas should be avoided.

When There Is A Flood

Do not drive on or across flooded roads or bridges. In a flood, 80 percent of those who die trying to drive where they shouldn’t. A car can be moved, or a person can be knocked down by six inches of fast-moving water.

Be extremely cautious if flooding happens at night. In the lack of light, warning indicators are more difficult to spot; light reflected off a smoother water surface can appear to be wet pavement.

Get to the highest place possible without wading into floodwaters.  If you’re riding a watercraft, go slowly, so you don’t get upset if you hit something; likewise, wakes from fast-moving watercraft might cause property damage.

Following a Flood

Before re-entering your home, inspect it for structural damage. If the damage appears to be severe, stay away from the house until you can take actions to prevent it from collapsing.

Examine your water lines and other plumbing fixtures. Avoid using bathrooms if you suspect there has been any damage.

Wait until local authorities declare it’s safe to consume or wash with tap water. Meanwhile, bring all of the water to a boil.

If water has infiltrated your home or basement, stay away from electric appliances and lines.

Continue to listen to the radio and television for updates on water safety, transportation, and other critical news.

Food in cans or another packaging that has come into touch with floodwater should be thrown away.

For heat or light, avoid utilizing candles, kerosene lamps, or other open flame sources. After a crisis, candles ignite more flames than any other source. If you must use a candle or an open flame lamp, make sure pets, children, and combustibles are kept well away from the flame.

Leave the house if you smell or hear the hiss of leaking gas. Turn off the gas line at the cutoff valve outside your home if possible. From your cell phone or another place, call the utility company.

Take pictures of any goods that have been damaged. If they can’t be saved, put them outdoors, but don’t throw them away until you’ve had an insurance adjuster look at them.

For your protection and well-being, Oakwood Insurance Agency offers nearly every sort of personal insurance policy you may require. Please find a short but not exhaustive selection of our most frequent personal property, health, and life policies below. An Oakwood Insurance agent will explain our full range of insurance products and services during a personal consultation and create a tailored insurance plan with the right policies for your lifestyle, personal circumstances, and comfort level.

RV Insurance 101

You probably bought your motor home or travel trailer because it offers the best of both worlds: the ability to explore the world we live in and the convenience of your home each night when you pull over. Motor homes and travel trailers offer a freedom and joy that’s unique regardless of the size of the coach or fifth wheel.

But with this dual benefit also come some increased risks. As a vehicle, your motor home needs some auto-type insurance to protect you from crashes, medical costs, and the like while you’re driving on the road. But comprehensive RV insurance needs also to protect you when you have stopped and camped. That means you need insurance closer to what you find in a homeowner’s policy that includes features such as:

Personal Liability:

Protection in case someone is injured in or around your RV

Personal Property:

Enhanced property insurance that will protect the contents of your RV in case of theft or damage.

Additional Living Expenses:

Protection that helps pay for your cost of living if you are displaced from your motor home.

Attached Accessories:

Another layer of protection that covers your awning, tv antennas, or other accessories that might be damaged.

Other RV Insurance You Should Consider Is:

  • Collision coverage
  • Comprehensive coverage
  • Uninsured motorists’ coverage
  • Rental reimbursement coverage
  • Towing coverage

Getting the right recreational vehicle insurance doesn’t have to be expensive or difficult with an insurance expert on your side.

Some policies include Roadside Assistance, which has you covered 24/7 in the event of a breakdown or accident. Some will even allow you to upgrade the coverage to include lodging, transportation, and meal coverage if needed.

Recreational and full-RV timer insurance are the two most common types. Recreational insurance will protect your RV inside and out when you’re on the road or parked at a campsite if you don’t live in it full-time. A full-time RV insurance policy is for people who live in their motorhome or travel trailer full-time. Many of the coverages will overlap with a recreational policy, but you’ll be able to add coverages like personal liability and loss assessment that are similar to homeowner’s insurance.

For your protection and well-being, Oakwood Insurance Agency offers nearly every sort of personal insurance policy you may require. Please find a short but not exhaustive selection of our most frequent personal property, health, and life policies below. An Oakwood Insurance agent will explain our full range of insurance products and services during a personal consultation and create a tailored insurance plan with the right policies for your lifestyle, personal circumstances, and comfort level.

Gasoline Theft Is On The Rise, What Can You Do?

We expect that when the price of gasoline rises, the number of occurrences of fuel theft from gas tanks will rise as well. It’s combustible, dangerous, and difficult to transport, but that hasn’t stopped thieves from attempting to obtain this increasingly valuable commodity. Gasoline. Not only is it inconvenient for victims of this crime, but it may also be costly, as criminals are resorting to methods such as drilling into gas tanks to obtain fuel.

Here are some tips to help you avoid being a victim of gas theft.

  • Although parking in the garage is the ideal option if you must park on the street, try to do so beneath the light of a street lamp. The brighter the light on your car, the more likely the burglar will move on to a less difficult target.
  • Your tank must be locked. Consider purchasing a gas cap lock to prevent a thief from quickly siphoning gas from your tank.
  • Face the road ahead of you. When parking, make sure the gas door is facing the street. Thieves are more inclined to avoid an automobile that exposes them to the gaze of passers-by.
  • If you’re parking in a garage, look for a place near the exit or elevator because those have the most visibility and foot activity.
  • Take a Ride. The parking areas at airports are a refuge for gas thieves. To prevent leaving your car unattended in long-term parking, obtain a ride to the airport when traveling.
  • Avoid parking for long periods of time anywhere. If you’re going on a trip, for example, take a taxi to the airport rather than leaving your car in a long-term parking lot for days on end.
  • As always, if you notice something strange, call the police.

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.

Can “Do It Yourself” Projects Jeopardize Your insurance?

A personal Insurance Update

Many people are remodeling their homes these days.  However, before you jump into a project, you might consider the following home insurance issues.  Most homeowner’s policies are based on a value of your home that fluctuates based on the “like kind and quality” that existed when the policy was first placed.

Many home improvement projects increase your home’s value, and should be added to your current replacement value.

  • If your DIY project requires a permit and you fail to get one, your homeowner’s insurance may be in jeopardy. For example, if you install a wood stove but fail to get a permit and have a licensed contractor complete the work, your insurer would automatically deny any resulting claims most of the time.
  • Your homeowner’s insurance covers third party injuries. It does not cover injury to you or members of your household.
  • Here are a few examples of DIY projects that will have an impact on your insurance: Outdoor living spaces, pools, upgraded kitchens or baths, room additions, and storage sheds.

For your protection and well-being, Oakwood Insurance Agency offers nearly every sort of personal insurance policy you may require. Please find a short but not exhaustive selection of our most frequent personal property, health, and life policies below. An Oakwood Insurance agent will explain our full range of insurance products and services during a personal consultation and create a tailored insurance plan with the right policies for your lifestyle, personal circumstances, and comfort level.

Is Your Home Insured Correctly?

How much would it cost you to rebuild your home if it was destroyed by a fire? It’s possible that reality is not what you expect. In the case of a covered loss, your homeowner’s policy may not cover the whole cost of rebuilding your house if it isn’t insured to its total replacement cost.

According to recent studies by major insurers, approximately 70% of houses in the United States, or two out of every three, are underinsured by at least 18%. This means that in the event of a total loss, such as a fire, the homeowner may be held liable for a large amount of the reconstruction costs. Working with an insurance professional to negotiate your home value issues will help you avoid misunderstandings and secure fair compensation in the case of a loss.

The market value (appraisal value) tax value of your home is entirely different from how much it would cost to rebuild your home in case it was completely damaged.

Replacement Cost Considerations

There are a number of factors that go into determining your home’s replacement value, including:

  • Type of construction quality
  • Materials used in the construction
  • Size of your home
  • Location
  • Your lot configuration
  • Are there any unique materials, like imported stone, marble, etc.?
  • The overall quality of construction, is your home average construction or high-end?
  • The average cost per square foot for new construction in your area.

The level of homeowner’s insurance you purchase is determined by your specific requirements. Insuring your home or other property for its full replacement value will help you prevent large out-of-pocket payments that could deplete your funds and cause you to change your estate plan. In addition, the contents of the home, other structures on the land, additional living expenditures, liability, and other factors should all be considered. Consult your agent about the right amount of coverage for your home and how to best arrange your policy.

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.

How To Select The Right Insurance Agent For Your Needs

When it comes to protecting your financial assets like your home or auto, you can’t trust just anyone with your investment. Finding a trustworthy and trained insurance agent/broker could mean the difference between having enough coverage for your property following a catastrophic loss and being stuck with a large repair bill. An insurance agent/broker is a specialist who works on behalf of clients to find the best policy or insurance provider for their needs.

Consider the overall fit, not just the price, as the price can be deceptive. Be careful of someone who sells at low cost, generally, it means poor coverage. The same method you used to choose a doctor or dentist can be applied to choose an insurance broker. You want someone with a pleasant “bedside manner,” as it were.

Understand the differences in agents

Direct Writers vs. Independent Agents: There are two ways to obtain insurance coverage from a company. Direct writers are insurance companies that hire their own salespeople to write exclusively for them; they work for the company that employs them. Independent agents work for the insured rather than the insurance company. They do, however, have contracts with multiple insurance companies and can usually provide you with more options.

Signs It Is Time To Find A New Agent

  • They are responsive to calls and requests
  • You are the one that indicates all conversations
  • Requesting a quote is complicated
  • When a claim occurs they are nowhere to be found

Qualities of a Good Agent

  1. Trustworthy
  2. A good Listener
  3. The desire to teach you rather than sell you
  4. Someone who view insurance as a promise not a product
  5. A good agent will want to develop a relationship with you not just sell you then move on.

How To Start The Process

Testimonials: Yelp, LinkedIn, Facebook, and other social media platforms can help you determine whether or not a business provides good service. These websites can be useful, but meeting with an agent or broker in person is one of the greatest methods to determine whether or not they will take good care of you.

Personal Recommendations: Consult with your coworkers, people you trust, and your circle of friends. Asking a complete stranger is preferable to relying on advertisements or the yellow pages. People are more likely to refer others with whom they have had a good encounter.

Ask Questions

Consider this like an interview, where you are selecting a person and agency to represent you.

  • How long have they been in operation?
  • What are their certifications if any? Look for agents with advanced designations such as Chartered Property Casualty Underwriter (CPCU), Certified Insurance Counselor (CIC), Chartered Life Underwriter (CLU) or Accredited Adviser in Insurance (AAI).
  • Which companies do they represent?
  • How will the renewal processes work?
  • If you’re going to have a personal account manager?
  • How will they help if a claim occurs?
  • What experience do they have with risks like yours?
  • What they charge for services and/or how they are compensated?
  • Ask them to review your current policies and make recommendations?

Conduct interviews with the contenders to determine which one is the best fit for you. Selecting a broker with strong communication skills will allow you to find an agent who is easy to relate to and who can provide you with information you need to understand your risk and how to best manage it.

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.

How To Improve Your Homeowner’s Insurance Without Jeopardizing Coverage

Homeowner’s insurance costs an average of $1,083 a year in the United States, though the cost varies significantly by state. Insurance companies provide policy discounts in the form of credits or lower premiums for home improvements that may reduce the need to file a claim as well as the amount paid out for claims that do occur. In essence, it is less expensive for insurers to lower premium prices than it is to compensate for damages and losses. Here are a few steps you can take to lower your insurance costs without jeopardizing your coverage

Roofing Upgrades

A new roof is a major — and expensive — investment. A faulty roof, on the other hand, might be very costly. If your roof leaks, you could end up with rotting wood and water damage inside your home. Hail and high-impact storms can breakthrough if it’s weak.

Increase the safety of your house

A smoke detector, lights, burglar alarm, or dead-bolt locks can normally be purchased at a discount of at least 5%. If you install a sophisticated sprinkler or fire detection system and a fire and burglar alarm that rings directly to the police, fire, or other monitoring stations, some companies will reduce your premium by as much as 10 or 15%. These systems are not inexpensive, and not all of them qualify for a discount. Find out what kind of system your insurance recommends, how much the device will cost, and how much you’ll save on premiums before you buy one.

Take advantage of every possible discount.

For everything from paying your annual payment in full up advance to keeping your insurance for more than three years, insurers provide a variety of discounts to homeowners.

Lower your risk

Even if it’s entertaining and fun, possessing something your insurer considers a “attractive nuisance” such as trampolines, certain dog breeds, swimming pools, or playground equipment will raise your homeowner’s insurance cost. Getting rid of these things could save you a lot of money on your insurance.

Talk to your insurance agent.

Before you start looking for methods to save money on your insurance, be sure you know what your existing policy covers.

Consider when to file a claim and not file a claim

Even while it may be tempting to file a claim with your insurance company whenever something minor happens, you may be better off in the long run if you pay for these smaller expenses yourself. This is because certain insurance companies may give you a discount if you don’t file a claim for a certain period of time, usually a few years.

Remain to use the same insurer.

If you’ve had your insurance with the same carrier for a long time, you may be eligible for a special discount as a long-term policyholder. If you stay with an insurer for three to five years, your premiums will be reduced by 5%, and if you continue with them for six years or more, your premiums will be reduced by 10%. However, make sure to compare this price to that of other insurance regularly.

Increase the amount of your deductible.

The larger your deductible, the lower your insurance costs are likely to be. According to the Insurance Information Institute, increasing your deductible by $500 to $1,000 might save you up to 25% on your premiums.

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.

 

2022 Insurance Planning

It may be imperative to evaluate your personal insurance program now that 2022 is approaching. Before buying insurance, most consumers don’t take the time to consider their exposures, options, or present financial situation. It’s critical to take stock of your own finances in order to plan for the future. Here are some ideas to get you thinking about your personal insurance. Of course, we always advise that you contact our office for additional information.

  • Make Sure That You Are Dealing With A Licensed Insurance Agent – Insurance companies and agents are both required to be licensed by the state, and their information may be found online at the state’s insurance department. Most state insurance departments have resources online to aid you in choosing the correct insurance and ensuring that the person or organization you’re dealing with is an expert in that field.
  • Examine Your Automobile Limits – If your policy limits are less than $100,000, you won’t be able to cover your medical expenditures in the event of a major accident. Anyone with any assets or income to protect should get minimum liability coverage of $500,000 to $1 million or more.
  • Look for Discounts – Many insurance firms offer a 10% or higher discount to customers who have other insurance contracts with them (such as auto or RV insurance). Consider getting an insurance quote from the same company that provides your homes insurance for other forms of insurance. You might be able to save money by bundling.
  • Recognize The Risks And Coverage You Require – Every property is unique and comes with its own set of risks. The type of insurance required will also be determined by whether the property is utilized as a primary residence, a long-term or short-term rental, or a condominium. In general, homeowner’s insurance is intended to protect against dangers beyond the owner’s control, such as rain, wind, fire, vandalism, pipe bursts, falling objects, theft caused by broken glass, and so on.
  • Keep a Home Inventory — Keeping an accurate inventory of your personal belongings will help you recover faster in the event of a loss.
  • Bundle Your Insurance – Save money by combining your vehicle, house, and umbrella policies with one insurer.
  • Choose the Right Deductible – A greater deductible lowers your premium, but you’ll be responsible for more out-of-pocket expenses in the event of an accident. If you have a clean driving record and no accidents, you might choose to take a chance and pay a higher premium. The benefit for taking this risk might be as much as a 40% discount.
  • Consider Identity Theft — One of the fastest-growing crimes in the United States is identity theft.
  • Read Your Policy – I’m not referring to the 1-2 page Declarations Page that serves solely to demonstrate coverage, but rather the 20-30 page insurance Binder or Policy that provides the specifics of the coverage and exclusions. Nobody enjoys reading insurance policies, so don’t be surprised if you don’t comprehend them.
  • Purchase from a financially stable business — Your insurance coverage is only as good as the firm that backs it up. The insurance firm should be rated “A+” or better.
  • Be willing to make changes as your lifestyle and requirements evolve.

How to Manage A Water Damage Loss

One of the most severe risks to your home is having water where it isn’t supposed to be. Many factors can cause water damage, such as defective plumbing, leaking appliances, or just bad weather. A wise homeowner knows how to monitor for water leaks and other problems, as well as what to do if one occurs.

Problems with Water:

If you have a leak or a pipe problem in your house, it may not always be obvious. That’s why it’s a good idea to evaluate places prone to water damage on a frequent basis. Here are some places where you should conduct regular surveys:

Water can get in via openings like windows and doors if there’s an issue with the seal or the aperture itself.

  • Hoses and places for washing machines and dishwashers
  • All piping and plumbing systems
  • Ice makers
  • Frozen pipes
  • Ice dams in gutters
  • Flooring and carpeting underfoot
  • Attics, crawl spaces, basements, and any other regions that aren’t frequently used
  • Toilets, bathrooms, and shower/bathroom areas
  • Siding and roofing
  • Thermostat for hot water

At least a few times a year or more, take your time and look for leaks or water stains all over your house. In addition, after a severe storm or another weather event, you should always do a comprehensive inspection of your home.

Water Damage Prevention: Checking your home for water damage on a regular basis is a good place to start, but there are other things you can do to prevent serious damage from occurring in the first place. These are some of them:

To uncover potential problems, have your plumbing, appliances, roof, and other important areas professionally assessed. To keep your homes pipes from freezing in the cold, use insulation and other methods.

Investigate straight away if you find a leak or if your water bill is unusually high one month.

Water Damage and Insurance:

If your pipes break or something else goes wrong unexpectedly, your homeowner’s insurance may cover the damage to your home and belongings. Your insurance coverage may not apply if you haven’t taken the time to maintain your water systems, appliances, and other areas where harm could occur. Furthermore, flood damage is usually not covered by a standard homeowner’s insurance policy. If you reside in a flood-prone location, speak with your insurance agent about getting a separate flood coverage.

Make sure you know and understand what types of damage and property are covered by your insurance, what your responsibilities as a homeowner are, and that you submit any potential claims as soon as possible.

Don’t disregard water damage no matter what you do. What appears to be a minor issue may be concealing a more serious one. Even if it isn’t, leaving water damage unattended might result in a dangerous condition that will be much more difficult and costly to restore later.

Call or email our team immediately if you have any questions about home insurance.