Consider This When Hiring A Contractor

Spring is the time when many homeowners start to think about and plan for, various home remodeling projects. If you are thinking about updating your kitchen, putting on that new roof, or even landscape projects, it pays to do some pre-planning. Whatever the project, you need to protect yourself from the financial risks and hazards associated with a home remodel project.

  • What’s your project? Are you looking to remodel one room or make minor updates to a small space? The type of project determines whether you’ll need a general contractor or someone more specialized.
  • Check-in with your local homebuilders’ association. You’ll be able to search contractors within your area and put together a list of potentials.
  • Get referrals. Ask your friends, family, and coworkers who they’ve worked within the past. They may have a great contractor you haven’t heard of — or know of a few you should stay away from.
  • Prepare ahead. Compile a list of reputable contractors before you need one. The stress of an emergency repair might impair your judgment.
  • Get multiple estimates. If the price is a big concern, checking with only one contractor won’t guarantee you the best price. But the cheapest estimate also doesn’t ensure the best work. If you have the time, try and get a second or third quote.

If you plan on hiring a contractor, you should consider these tips to help make sure your project is completed the way you want.

  • Plan on permit costs from your local government.
  • Ask contractors about their experience with your specific project.
  • Make sure the contractor is licensed. You can usually go to the State Contractors Board for this information.
  • Provide the contractor with guidelines for working in and around your home.
  • Check local directories for recommendations. Yelp can be a good resource.
  • Be specific in your project; this would include type of products used and even brands you desire.
  • It is ok to get more than one bid.
  • The lowest price may not be the best quality.
  • Always have a written agreement with your contractor. It should include a timeline and competition date.
  • Never pay 100% upfront. It is customary to pay one third down, one third as you go and one third upon completion.
  • Go visit other homes on which the contractor has worked.
  • Make sure the contractor has liability and worker’s compensation insurance. Your homeowner’s insurance will not cover the contractor or his work. If the contractor causes damage to your home, you will want their insurance to provide restoration. Ask for a certificate of insurance.

When you buy insurance, whether it’s for your home, your car or your business, you want an advocate who will properly assess the risks you face and give you an objective analysis of the marketplace, it’s up to you to make the final choice.

Our team of agents continually pursues additional professional education and certifications. It is our goal to ‘wow’ you with the best service every time you call.

Managing Personal Insurance Through COVID-19

 

COVID-19 will impact the way we manage our lives through most of 2021. This includes your personal insurance. We understand that you may be struggling at this time.

Homeowners Insurance

COVID-19 should not impact your homeowner’s insurance too much, but there are a few coverages that could be impacted because of the temporary lifestyle change. The changing circumstances definitely highlight the need for existing components in your policy like liability coverage, in addition to      coverage enhancements like a home business coverage endorsement if you moved your business to your house. You could be liable if someone gets COVID-19 while in your home.

Auto Insurance

U.S. insurers began to offer discounts and refunds on their customers’ auto insurance premiums. Now,       despite the fact that drivers have returned to the roads in many parts of the country, the pandemic’s reverberations on vehicle usage and insurance cover will likely continue into the future.

Life insurance

There has been no evidence of life insurers pulling out of the market, premiums have remained steady, and COVID-related claims are already being paid. Your policy will cover you if you pass away due to COVID-19. Life insurance companies cannot change the terms of coverage for active policies, so anyone who was     covered remains covered.

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.

This information in to be considered general in nature. All claims will be settled based on your actual policy terms and conditions. 

 

Top Business Insurance Risks For 2021

 

While these are responses from large corporations, we take away many   applications for medium and small businesses. Here are some of the risk   issues for 2021. According to a recent AMEX survey, 92% of businesses  pivoted last year, and 76% of small businesses believe they will need to       pivot again in 2021.

Employee Safety– Making sure your business follows all COIVD compliance protocols will be a top priority.

Remote workers– In 2021, remote working and safety measures should become more routine. How            businesses recruit, onboard, train, and terminate employees has changed, some say permanently. How      businesses are dealing with employee burnout, talent management, and allocating will need to be addressed.

IT security– Remote workers will require new IT protocols.

Slow economic recovery– Businesses will need to do planning to manage the recovery in 2021.

Government mandates and regulations – There continues to be increased oversight from the government in healthcare and financial reporting that creates new risk and liability for businesses.

Political and Civil Issues – As seen in 2020, political and civil issues have a direct impact on many small          businesses. Having the right kind of business insurance is important to protect your business in the event of civil riots.

Business Interruption – If your business has a loss and you are unable to operate for a period of time, you will need financial resources in order to get back in operation.

Class actions and COVID-19 Cases- This year has also seen the first class-action lawsuits directly related to COVID-19. Examples include lawsuits against cruise lines that suffered coronavirus outbreaks,

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.

 

December Can Be A Dangerous Month

Are you dashing through the snow to grandma’s house?  Do silver bells keep ringing in your ear?  If you are getting into the Christmas spirit,       remember your homeowner’s insurance can play an important role in  helping keep your home a warm and safe place for the Holidays.  With a little preventive action and a solid home insurance policy, those risks can fade into the background, allowing you to enjoy these next few weeks to the fullest.

Now is a good time to review your personal insurance policies, making sure they’re up to date. While many of your risks are probably covered, a few might not be as explained below.

Here are some examples of some crazy Holiday related insurance claims:

  • A man was going to clean his pool for a Holiday party, and carried the bleach from the front of his home to the back. He did not realize the lid was partially open and bleach dripped all over the carpet.
  • The Smith family put up a nice big Christmas tree in their family room. They instructed their daughter to water the tree every day.  Their daughter did just that, but there was a hole in the Christmas tree stand and the water leaked all over their hardwood floors.
  • Parents wanted to surprise their kids with a 65-inch TV. They hid it in the garage with a tarp over it.  One of the kids accidentally put the car in drive instead of reverse and ran into the hidden TV.
  • A family tied their fresh Christmas tree to the top of the car and headed home. A short while later, the tree came loose and hit the car behind them.
  • A local family decided to use a deep fryer to cook the Christmas turkey. The men all gathered in the garage and dropped the frozen bird in hot grease. The result was a totally destroyed garage an ruined Holiday.

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.

 

How To Get Flood Insurance

Did you know that floods are the most common form of a natural disaster? Floods cause over 4 billion dollars in damages every year. Here is another amazing fact; the average homeowner has a 1 in 4 chance of having flood damage during the timeframe of a 30-year mortgage.

If your home is in a flood zone, you must buy flood insurance if you want the government to help you after a flood. If you wait until after the flood, you won’t be able to obtain the insurance.

Many mortgage companies are now requiring flood insurance as part of their loan package. A standard homeowner’s and renter’s insurance policy does not cover flood damage. Flood damage is excluded under standard homeowner’s policies

Flood Insurance

Flood insurance is one of the smartest decisions you can make for your home, family, and financial security. Even if you live outside a flood hazard area, your home, family, and belongings could still be at risk.

Flood insurance is available through the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) run by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). A few private insurers offer excess flood insurance. In general, a policy does not take effect until 30 days after you purchase flood insurance. So, if the weather forecast announces a flood alert for your area and you go to purchase coverage, it’s already too late. You will not be insured if you buy a policy a few days before a flood.

What Flood Insurance Does Not Cover

As with all insurance, there are certain things flood insurance does not cover. These include broken pipes, water damaged from sewer back-up, broken toilets, and landscaping runoff.

How To obtain Flood Insurance?

Call our office, and we can provide you with a free quote. Remember, your homeowner’s policy does not cover flood.

 

Safe Driving Tips for Your Teen Driver

Driving can be challenging—even for the most experienced drivers.  However, for young, inexperienced teenage drivers, the road can be especially dangerous.

We are available and happy to help find the right insurance for your teenage driver.  Clients choose our insurance agency to insure their cars and other vehicles because of our competitive prices and personal customer service, but we offer so much more.  We also provide:

  • Highest levels of customer service for auto policyholders
  • Over 30 extra car insurance policy features
  • Flexibility to customize your car insurance policy
  • Stability that ranks at the top of the auto insurance industry

The first years that teenagers spend driving are very risky.  Sadly, motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death among 15- to 20-year-olds.  Research shows that more than half of teens who die in crashes are passengers, most of whom are not wearing a seatbelt.

Safe Teen Driver Checklist

  • Always have your license with you
  • Check all gauges
  • Limit engagement with passengers
  • Obey the speed limit
  • Pay attention to road signs
  • No cell phone use
  • Make sure mirrors are in the right position
  • Always wear your seat belt

 

 

Social Distancing and Summer Fun

Social Distancing and Summer Fun

We are living in a new world, and it requires a new way of thinking about summer activities.  Many large events have been cancelled, and vacation plans have changed, but you can still have a great time with your family and friends this summer.

Social Distancing Fun:

  • Camp in your own back yard
  • Travel to the beach if it is open
  • Take a hike
  • Take a picnic to a lake
  • Enjoy an outside movie night
  • Host a virtual game night
  • Go fishing
  • Update your backyard
  • Complete home improvement projects

Remember To:

  • Wear a mask if it required
  • Wash your hands
  • Maintain social distance. As you go about your life and errands, do your best to keep a distance of 6 feet

Who knows how long we will have to practice social distancing during the pandemic, but at least with these suggestions, you can still have fun while maintaining your six-foot bubble.

Now Is The Time To Think About Your Personal Insurance

Personal Insurance Planning

Finding the right liability insurance is not always an easy task. Don’t believe the TV ads; it does take longer than ten minutes to get insurance.  But finding the right insurance for you does not have to be overly difficult. Let us do all the heavy lifting.

There are a number of items you may want to consider when reviewing your auto insurance needs.

  1. Let Us Shop for the Lowest Price Available

You get what you pay for, and we compare not only price, but policy features as well.  Not all auto insurance companies offer enhanced benefits like superior claims handling, customer service guarantees, and roadside rental car delivery. We assess all of the benefits included in each policy to determine the true value that you will receive.

  1. Choose Adequate Liability Coverage

Liability insurance helps protect you and your assets if you cause an injury to others or damage the property of others with your vehicle. If you choose lower liability limits, an accident that causes serious injury can result in medical bills and lost wages that could far exceed your minimum coverage and leave you financially exposed. Make sure you’re fully protected.

  1. Don’t Miss Out On Potential Discounts

You could get discounts for low-mileage driving, having multiple policies through the same insurance carrier, using anti-theft devices, taking defensive driving courses, and more. Be sure to ask which discounts are available.

  1. Update Your Policy To Reflect Any Major Life Changes

Keep your policy current. For example, forgetting to add a new teen driver to your policy can cost you dearly in the case of an accident. You may need to alter your policy if you purchase a new home, car or other property, change your marital status, start a business, move, or retire.

  1. Always consider increasing your deductibles on older autos

Increasing auto deductibles can save hundreds over time. Older vehicles will have low valuation, and in the event of a total loss you may not receive much settlement.

The New Normal—Working From Home

 

Many employers are now having their employees work from their homes.  The good news is that it seems to be working.  Employers are finding that their employees can get to work and be effective working remotely.  We think that this trend will continue.  Employers are rethinking the “traditional office,” and how employees relate to their clients and co-workers.

“A typical employer can save about $11,000 a year for every person who works remotely half of the time.”  — Kate Lister, president of global workplace analytics

New Risks Ahead

With Remote Workers, There Is an Increase in Risk For:

  • Storing client information
  • Selling and documentation
  • Using unsecured networks
  • Lack of cyber security

Employers will need to evaluate these risks and develop procedures to help employees mitigate risks in the long term.  There are ways to reduce these risks through developing policies and procedures.  Cyber insurance can also offer risk transfer that will provide added protection for employers.

Helping Employees Manage Their Remote Work Experience

As the new normal continues, it will be important for employees to self-manage their work experience.  Here are a few tips.

Remote Workers Need to Be Aware of These Challenges:

  • Lack of a work routine
  • Tendency to over-work
  • Lack of human interaction
  • Prioritizing a work project
  • Interruptions from family, pets, phone calls, and the doorbell

How to Make Working Remotely Work for You:

  • Confine your workspace to a specific area in your home.
  • Set up your workspace like your office.
  • Set a schedule and create a routine.
  • When in doubt, go with over-communication; update your supervisor frequently on everything you are doing, and whether your schedule and deliverables are changing in any way.
  • After work, stay off electronic devices for some time to transition to “home time.”
  • Take regular breaks.
  • Get dressed every day. Taking the time to get dressed and perform your usual self-care routine can prove a big psychological booster.

Enjoy The 4th Of July And Be Safe

We are approaching our nation’s birthday, July 4th, and we hope everyone has a great day of celebration with friends and family. In 2019 over 7,800 people went to the emergency room as a result of fireworks-related injuries. There were an estimated 15,770 reported fires started by fireworks. These fires resulted in an estimated eight reported deaths, and $38 million in direct property damage. This is why it is a good idea to have a free home insurance review and quote, call us today!

Homeowner’s Insurance

If you over-celebrate and do have a loss or damage, please call our office. It is very likely that the claim would be covered under your homeowner’s insurance policy.

General 4th of July safety

Be a safe swimmer. Water sports and fireworks are two of the biggest pastimes for the Fourth of July celebrations, and these are both linked to numerous deaths and injuries each year. Never swim alone, and make sure that kids’ water play is adequately supervised at all times.

Be a safe boater. Never consume alcohol while driving a boat. Set water safety rules for your family and passengers.

Use alcohol responsibly. Alcohol and fireworks can be a hazardous and dangerous combination.

Use sunscreen. At the start of summer, skin is especially tender, so use a high SPF.

Keep alert for local weather conditions. Check to see if any warning signs or flags are posted.

Remember your pet. They are not used to all the fireworks, so keep them inside.

Grill safely. Before you use your grill, make sure all hoses are secure and leak-free. Never grill inside. Keep grill away for al structures.

Fireworks Safety

  • Never try to make your own fireworks.
  • Light fireworks on a smooth, flat surface away from the house, dry leaves, and flammable materials.
  • Only use legal store-bought fireworks.
  • Don’t point sparklers or fireworks at yourself or others.
  • Make sure spectators are out of range before lighting fireworks.
  • Always keep matches and lighter fluid far away from fireworks.
  • Read labels and carefully follow directions.
  • Only light fireworks on the ground and in areas that are dry and fire-resistant.
  • Don’t attempt to light multiple devices at the same time.
  • Never allow young children to handle fireworks or sparklers.
  • Teach children to “stop, drop, and roll” if their clothes catch fire.
  • Always keep a portable fire extinguisher close by. Also, keep a water hose or buckets of water nearby to put out fires.

Thanks to our sources

http://www.medicinenet.com

http://www.redcross.org/

http://www.protection1.com/