Fall in Love with Western North Carolina: A Guide to Fall Travel

Fall in Love with Western North Carolina: A Guide to Fall Travel

The Carolinas are one of the most diverse and beautiful regions in the United States, offering opportunities for people of all ages to experience their fair share of fun and adventure throughout the year. It’s one of the main reasons that Penny Insurance calls this area home—with office locations in both Hendersonville and Tryon, North Carolina.

With this area offering a wide variety of places to visit, you have the opportunity to explore many areas and find your perfect fall experience. With this guide to fall in our own backyard, you will be sure to make the most of your time enjoying all that our area has to offer in this beautiful season of autumn.

Drive the Blue Ridge parkway

If seeing the fall colors and changing leaves is top of your “to do” list, one of the best (and easiest) things to do is to drive The Blue Ridge Parkway. This scenic, four-lane highway runs for 469 miles through the Appalachian Mountains, connecting Shenandoah’s Skyline Drive to the Cherokee National Forest near Gaffney, South Carolina. With incredible views all the way, this winding, remote path is great for adventuresome souls looking to explore.

Fortunately, the drive can be completed in less than a day if you’re looking for a quick getaway, although you can see plenty with picnic spots and a few hours in North Carolina’s section of the drive. If you decide to drive it, make sure you check out Clingmans Dome in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park—the highest point on the parkway at 6,643 feet.

Pick some apples

Fall means apples, and apple picking is an excellent way to spend a fall day in Hendersonville, North Carolina. There are plenty of places for apple picking, but some of the most popular—Mountain Fresh Orchard, Justus Orchard and Sky Top—provide incredible experiences surrounding your pick of your favorite fruit.
If you can’t decide where to go, just decide when. Plan to visit the area over Labor Day weekend, when you can attend the Apple festival, and sample apples, ciders, donuts, and other treats from around the state—all within a mile’s stretch of downtown Hendersonville.

Fly through the air

For those looking for adventure and a bit of adrenaline, look no further than The Gorge in Saluda, N.C. This zipline is one of the steepest and fastest ziplines in the nation, and is an adventure like no other. You’ll soar over a picturesque gorge on a suspended cable, and enjoy breathtaking views of the surroundings below.

Once you’re done with your flight, there’s still plenty more to explore. Seek out Green River Adventures for everything from whitewater trips to rappelling down one of the local waterfalls. Whatever you do, you’re sure to have a rush after doing it.

Take a hike

Looking for beautiful sights and a little fresh air? You’re in luck—both North Carolina and South Carolina have some of the prettiest spots to take a hike anywhere in the southeast. Check out the trails at Lake Jocassee, head toward Sassafrass Mountain (right on the NC and SC border), or head out toward Caesar’s Head, Flat Rock, or any number of gorgeous locations. If waterfalls are your thing, check out the Carolina Mountain Club’s WC100—a list of 100 waterfalls in the region that are “must sees”.

In short, Western North Carolina is the best place to hang out in the fall. The mountains and the lakes are breathtaking, and it’s a great place for outdoor recreation and exploration. Fall means that all the leaves are changing colors and falling from the trees, so there are photo opportunities a plenty for nature lovers. Even better: there are lots of events happening during this time, too—like festivals, arts fairs and live music.

We fell in love with Western North Carolina, and we know you will, too. And whether you’re new to the area, looking to buy a second home in the mountains, or just stopping in, we’d love to help you with any of your insurance needs – home, auto, life, business, equine, premium and more. If you’d like to schedule a consultation or get a quote for any of your needs, please contact us and let us know.

Why Equine Insurance is Important (And How to Get the Best Coverage)

Why Equine Insurance is Important (And How to Get the Best Coverage)

Horse owners have known the importance of equine insurance for decades; those who don’t often discover it the hard way. Whether you own one horse or an entire stable, it’s important to make sure you and your animals are protected in case they fall ill or sustain an injury while you’re away from home. The best horse insurance policy can cover all of your most valuable assets at reasonable prices, so if you aren’t sure where to start looking, consult this guide on why equine insurance is important and how to get the best coverage possible.

What is Equine Insurance?

Equine insurance is a type of insurance that covers horses and their owners against injuries and other losses. There are two main types of equine coverage: liability insurance, which pays for any damage done by your horse, and property insurance, which covers anything your horse damages while in your care. There are many more types of equine insurance policies available today than there were decades ago; it’s important to read up on the differences between these policies before deciding which one is right for you.

Why should I have insurance on my horse?

It’s a sad reality that we live in a world where accidents can happen at any time, but if you own a horse, it’s important for you to have equine insurance, which can help cover veterinary costs and lost earnings due to injury. Having coverage will also help you avoid going into debt if your horse needs expensive medical treatment. But more than anything, you want to have peace of mind that if something does happen, your horse will be taken care of, and your financial investments will be well-protected. 

Our Policy Solutions

At Penny Insurance, we always want to find the best solution to the daily challenges that our clients face. For our equestrian clientele, it was important to us to find coverage that not only protected the animal themself but also reinforced the relationships that most owners have with their animals.

For this reason, we have recently expanded our policy coverage for horses and their owners—and include options in both areas of life and health insurance through Core Specialty Equine. We truly believe that we can offer some of the best insurance options through this new program. Here’s a quick download on what makes these policies so great:

Major Medical Coverage

If you own a horse and have bought health insurance before, you may be aware that not only do you have to consider the deductible for each visit, but typically will also have a percentage-based co-pay as well—something that can quickly add up in the case of a problem. But with our policies, you don’t have to worry about that sneaking up on you; we can offer plans with no co-pay requirements at all.

In-House Claims

When you purchase an equine policy through Penny Insurance, you don’t have to worry about claims taking forever or being “farmed out” to other claims departments. With Core Specialty, the claims department is all in-house, allowing them to respond quickly.  And not only that, but they are in the same space as underwriting, allowing them to know each policy and its benefits intimately.

Loss of Use; Not Loss of Horse

If your horse is an income generator—whether riding, breeding or racing—then a loss of use policy is a must-have, and will protect you in case something happens to your major breadwinner. But should the worst happen, you don’t want your only option to be euthanization—something that most other policies require in order to gain your payout. With Penny Insurance, you have options: either rehab the horse in an adoptive scenario for the full payout, or keep your four-legged friend for half. Either way, your loss of use doesn’t have to mean the end of an era.

If you’re looking for a new policy for your equine companion, you’ll want to take a look at our new policies immediately. If you’d like to schedule a consultation or get a quote for any of your home, family or business needs, please contact us and let us know.

Insuring Your Art Collection: Everything You Need to Know

Insuring Your Art Collection: Everything You Need to Know

Insuring Your Art Collection: Everything You Need to Know

How to insure your collectibles and collections

Your art collection is probably one of your most prized possessions, but it can also be one of the most difficult to insure. That’s because art insurance often comes with high premiums and plenty of exclusions, and you’ll need to take the proper steps to protect it from damage or theft.
The good news? If you have enough appraised value in your collection, you may qualify for extra protection from your home insurance provider—or even full coverage under certain circumstances. So whether you’re looking to start or expand your collection, here are some of the basics you should know about insuring art collections and collectibles.

What’s a collectible insurance policy?
A collectible insurance policy is a premium policy that covers art and collectibles. This type of policy is designed to protect your investment—whether that be antique art, legacy jewelry or a priceless vase—in case of damage or theft. However, while collectible insurance policies are usually more expensive than standard homeowners or renters insurance policies, they also offer more comprehensive coverage specific to the needs of the owner, as well.

Considerations for Policies
If you’re considering getting an insurance policy to cover your collectibles, it’s important to know that it’s not as simple as a one-size-fits-all policy. In fact, there are a lot of coverage areas you should consider, so if you’re in the consideration phase, make sure you sit down with a trusted agent to go over your options. Here are a few things you should review when shopping for a collectibles policy:

  • Coverage Settlements
    When you itemize your pieces of artwork, many insurance companies will cover them for the agreed value. That way, in the event of a total covered damage or loss, you receive the full amount of the agreed value, with no depreciation. However, other policies allow for market appreciation and may pay over the agreed value if the value has increased considerably. Another option is to receive a cash payout in the event of damage or loss if an item is irreplaceably damaged.
  • Newly Acquired Items
    Still building your collection? You’ll want to ensure you have immediate coverage for new acquisitions. Then, within 90 days, you’ll be covered for at least some of the total itemized coverage.
  • Pairs, Sets and Parts Coverage
    When dealing with sets (like antique chess or even jewelry) you always have to consider the value of the item alongside its other pieces. With Pairs, Sets and Parts coverage, you can hand over the remaining pieces, and coverage will be paid out for the entire set.
  • Loss of Market Value
    Sometimes, if a work of art is damaged, it can lose a lot of market value—quickly. With Loss of Market Value coverage, your insurer may not only pay to repair the item, but also compensate for any loss to value.

How much does collectible insurance cost?
On average, collectible insurance policies cost between 1% and 3% of the total value of the collection. That means, if your art collection is valued at $100,000, you can expect to pay between $1,000 and $3,000 per year in premiums. However, it’s important to note that these are just averages, so it’s worth getting a quote from your trusted insurance broker, first, before committing to a particular policy.

While there are many things to consider when insuring your art collection, one thing that shouldn’t deter you from doing so is cost. When deciding how much collectible insurance costs, it helps to remember that owning valuable artwork provides financial security as well as emotional benefits. After all, we all want our collections to grow in value over time!

Hiring a professional appraiser
One of the first steps in insuring your collection is knowing its market value, and the best way to do that is through a professional appraisal. Hiring a professional appraiser is the best way to do this, as they will have the expertise and experience needed to accurately assess your collection. Fortunately, the cost of having an appraisal done is small (especially when compared to the value of your collection) and ranges from $200 to $500, depending on the size and type of items in your collection.

Whether you’re an accomplished collector or just starting out with your first purchase, we at Penny Insurance are here to help you keep your most valued possessions safe. If you’d like to schedule a consultation or get a quote for any of your needs, please contact us and let us know.

Don’t Be Unprepared: A Homeowner’s Guide to Flood Insurance

Don’t Be Unprepared: A Homeowner’s Guide to Flood Insurance

If you’ve followed recent news about Yellowstone, you may have realized that floods are one of the most devastating natural disasters to exist. However, they also happen to be the most common, and occur far more often than people realize. In fact, according to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), there are approximately 500 flood-related events in the U.S. every year. What’s more, major floods can cause billions of dollars in damage and destroy countless homes, so it’s important to know whether you live in an area that’s at risk of flooding and what steps you can take to protect your home.

But even if you don’t live in an area with an especially high risk of flooding, it’s important to make sure you have considered flood coverage on your home insurance policy before disaster strikes. If you need it, flood damage can be surprisingly extensive and hard to cover out-of-pocket, so there’s no sense in taking unnecessary risks when you don’t have to.

What is flood insurance?

Flood insurance is a type of insurance coverage that helps protect your home from damage caused by flooding. Most standard homeowners insurance policies do not cover flood damage, so it’s important to purchase separate flood insurance if you live in an area at risk of flooding, or you suspect that a singular flood in your area will damage your home or other property.

What does flood insurance cover?

Flood insurance is vital for homeowners in flood-prone areas, but many people don’t know what their policy covers. Generally, there are two types of insurance that can protect you against this danger: building and contents insurance policies. Building insurance will cover any damages caused by flooding during a storm event, including damages to your home itself as well as any fixtures inside it (such as plumbing). Contents insurance will cover anything that was damaged by water or ruined due to wet conditions during the event (like clothing).

When pricing out a policy, insurance companies consider your risk level—the higher your risk level, the more expensive the policy will be. That means if you live in a flood plain, or your property has a long history of flooding during big weather events, you may find it to be quite expensive.

How do I know if I need flood insurance?

As a homeowner, you should always be prepared for the worst, and in some cases, that means having insurance to cover you in case of a flood. But how do you know if you need flood insurance?

A homeowner will likely know they need to purchase a policy when they see changes in their neighborhood that could indicate an increased likelihood of flooding, or if they notice that their own property has flooded previously. For example, if a water pipe broke upstream and water levels started rising or there was an increase in river levels or heavy rain storms near their home, then they may have some indicators that they should purchase this type of coverage.

More generally, there are two important questions to ask yourself before purchasing a flood policy.

  1. Is your home at risk for flooding?
  2. What would happen if it did flood? How much money would I lose?

If either of these questions can’t be answered with a positive and reliable outcome, then flood insurance may be something you should consider.

What policies are available?

There are two standard types of flood insurance available for homeowners: the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) and private flood insurance. Depending on the level of risk, homeowners may consider either or both of these options for coverage.

The NFIP

The NFIP is a government-backed program that is available through participating insurance companies. NFIP policies are available through the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and have standard coverage limits. NFIP insurance may be required if you have a government-backed loan for your mortgage.

Private Insurance

Private flood insurance is offered by some insurance companies and may provide additional coverage not available through the NFIP. You can get this type of insurance through a variety of different insurers, who will offer a variety of flexible coverage options. Private insurance is a great way to cover all types of risk for any type of home. 

If you’re concerned about flooding at your residence, or any other type of coverage to protect it, we would love to chat with you further. Whatever your needs, we at Penny Insurance are here to protect what you hold dear. If you’d like to schedule a consultation or get a quote, please contact us and let us know.

8 Cyber Security Tips to Keep You Safe Online

8 Cyber Security Tips to Keep You Safe Online

Just as you lock your doors and windows to prevent thieves from entering your home, you should take steps to protect yourself online as well. In fact, according to the Pew Research Center, more than half of American adults are concerned about their online privacy and security. And it’s no wonder—with hackers, cyberbullies, and other online threats constantly lurking around every corner, it’s not difficult to understand why people would be worried about their safety and security on the Internet.

However, when it comes to staying safe online, the main thing you need to know about security online is that if you don’t take steps to protect yourself, you’re putting yourself at risk. That means you could become the victim of an attack or crime and lose your money, your reputation or your peace of mind in the process. To help you protect yourself against these kinds of threats, here are eight cyber security tips you should follow as much as possible.

1) Stop Password Reuse

As dangerous as it is, many people have a single password for all their accounts, or at least very similar passwords. This is a recipe for disaster if any of your accounts are compromised; the thief only needs to access one account to see that same password on others, and all it takes is one hacker with a big enough bank of stolen passwords to get in.

To keep your passwords safe, follow these tips:

  • Use different passwords on each account
  • Never use words you’ve used before
  • Avoid overly simple ones like 12345, pet names or other identifiable info
  • Change your password regularly—at least every six months or so, and
  • If you ever suspect an account has been hacked, change your password immediately

2) Avoid Phishing Scams

Phishing scams are among one of the most common ways that hackers steal information. These scams work by tricking you into visiting a website that looks legitimate, but instead steals your login credentials or other private information. To avoid phishing scams, take some time before entering any personal information online—even if it appears on a trusted website. Think about what types of websites you’re comfortable sharing information with and stick to them for as long as possible, and never re-enter sensitive info unless you’re absolutely sure that site is actually where it claims to be.

3) Do Not Click On Links From Unknown Senders

This is one of those pieces of advice you should take from time to time, regardless of how often you think it applies. It’s almost impossible to look at a strange text or email and not click—especially if you’re curious! But clicking links or attachments from people you don’t know can land you in trouble. The reality is that if someone asks for any of your personal information, whether it be passwords or social security numbers, they’re probably up to no good. Do not engage with them—block their number and delete texts/emails asking for sensitive info immediately.

4) Change Passwords Regularly

To stay safe online, experts recommend changing your passwords at least once every six months. Longer than that and hackers could have enough time to crack any passwords you haven’t changed recently, which is especially risky if you use a password across multiple accounts. So when it comes to passwords, less is more. Try using a password manager like LastPass that creates complex passwords for you, then stores them in an encrypted database so you only need to remember one master password.

5) Use Two-Factor Authentication

Two-factor identification is a security measure that requires two different forms of identification (hence, two-factors) to gain access to a user’s account. This means that someone attempting to access your account will need not only your password but also some additional information from you—think an SMS code or a unique secret key—to get in. Set up two-factor authentication on all your accounts and you’ll be far more secure than most people are online.

6) Stay Away From Rogue Wi-Fi Networks

Public wi-fi is dangerous, especially when it comes to using your personal devices. Hackers can easily access unprotected public Wi-Fi networks and steal private information like passwords, credit card information and other sensitive data you may be transmitting. To avoid these risks and stay safe online, use a VPN whenever you are on an unsecured network (such as public wi-fi at a mall, store or an airport). A VPN creates a secure connection between your device and the server, preventing hackers from accessing your data.

7) Backup Your Data Regularly

While backups won’t necessarily prevent a problem online, backups of your data can help you get your system back on track if you’re hacked or a device is damaged. It can also help you prevent data loss in case something happens to valuable information.

8) Insure Yourself against Cyber Threats

In an age where cyber threats are getting more sophisticated by the day, it’s essential to be proactive in protecting yourself online. A cyber insurance policy can help you guard against potential online disasters, whether it’s hacking into your accounts or identity theft. And since most of us are novices when it comes to online safety and security, cyber insurance can take some of the guesswork out of keeping you safe online. Whether it covers identity theft, online personas or your own stored information, think of your cyber insurance policy as a proactive investment that will pay for itself in case something goes wrong.

Whatever your needs, risk tolerance or online lifestyle looks like, we at Penny Insurance are here to help you stay safe. If you’d like to schedule a consultation or get a quote, please contact us and let us know.