Home for the Holidays

Home for the Holidays

The funny thing about the phrase “home for the holidays” is that most of us are actually out and about more than ever during the holiday season. Whether we’re out shopping for Christmas gifts, attending parties, or visiting family, it seems like we’re anywhere but home.

Unfortunately, being away from home paired with traditional holiday activities and decor create the perfect recipe for holiday hazards. What you as a homeowner need to know is whether or not your home insurance has you covered for those unexpected, yet all too common Christmastime mishaps.

Are you insured for common holiday home risks?

Electrical Fires from Light Displays
Christmas decorations are stunning, but if they’re not done right and monitored carefully, they can end up putting your homeowner’s insurance coverage to the test.

We all love a house and front yard covered in lights, but it’s best to never to leave your lights on when you’re not home. The enjoyment your neighbors and those walking by may receive from your unmonitored outdoor light display is not worth the cost of an electrical fire.

For your outdoor and indoor light displays, be careful not to overload your outlets. This could also start a fire – especially when your lights are wrapped around a dead tree in your living room. According to the National Fire Protection Association, 44% of Christmas tree fires are caused by electrical distribution or lighting equipment.

Fireplace-Related Fires
Perhaps it’s all of those chestnuts you’re roasting over the open fire, but fireplace-related fires skyrocket every December, according to the NFPA. Often, it’s from candles on the mantle, not necessarily the fireplace.

Either way, the best way to avoid fireplace-related fires is to use fewer decorations around flames. Give you candles and your fireplace plenty of breathing room from stocking, garland and boughs of holly.

Stolen Christmas Presents
Robberies go way up during the holidays because thieves know they can get their hands on some brand-new tech toys and whatnot via your Christmas gift stash. Basic homeowner’s insurance covers personal contents, which means most items stolen from your home would be insured. If you have valuables that you’d like to insure, you may want to consider Valuable Items Insurance.

What if an item is stolen from your car? More often than not, thieves will break into a vehicle before they rob your home, so you need to know if your home insurance policy will cover those pricey Christmas presents that never made it home. In certain cases, Penny Insurance will cover a percentage of the cost of items stolen from your car under your home insurance policy.

Certain factors – such as whether or not you locked your car – will be used to determine what percentage of the stolen items insurance will cover. One of our insurance representatives would be happy to talk with you more about specifics. In the meantime, keep your car locked, and valuables out of sight.

Slips and Falls on Your Property
What if the Amazon delivery person slips on a patch of ice in your driveway and experiences a serious injury? Most homeowner insurance policies cover liability insurance, which means you would not be liable for medical bills. However, most policies have a threshold amount that they would cover in case of a lawsuit. If you’d rather not risk hitting that threshold, you can pay a little more for umbrella liability protection which goes into effect when your liability coverage meets its threshold.

Good Tidings of Great Home Insurance

The holidays are busy, and we know contemplating home insurance is probably not number one on your to-do list. That’s why, as a smaller independent insurance agency, we won’t waste your time bouncing you around from person to person. We’ll answer your insurance questions just the way you ask them – directly, to the point, and always with your best interests at heart.

Open Enrollment 2020: How to Prepare for 2021

Open Enrollment 2020: How to Prepare for 2021

It’s hard to believe we’re already closing in on the holidays. Thanksgiving is fast-approaching, and Christmas isn’t far behind. But before we get too far ahead of ourselves, let’s not forget what season is currently upon us – open enrollment!

We know, you already have more than enough on your plate right now (especially now that we just mentioned the holidays), and we hate to be the ones to add something else to your list, but open enrollment is an important time of year. The decisions you make between now and December 15th will affect you for the entirety of 2021, and we want to help you stay informed so that you can make the right insurance decisions for you and your family.

Dates and Deadlines for Health Insurance

When is it time to enroll?

The open enrollment period in North Carolina is the same every year. It begins November 1st and ends December 15th. Whatever insurance plan you enroll in during that time will go into effect on January 1st.

The open enrollment period was put in place to keep people from taking advantage of the system by signing up for health insurance right before undergoing a major procedure or immediately after finding out they need an expensive medication. Failing to enroll in health insurance coverage during the designated time means that you’ll be without health insurance for a year and be forced to wait for the next open enrollment period to get it.

There are, however, circumstances in which you can get insurance outside the open enrollment window.

Special Enrollment Period

What are the qualifications?

Some people qualify for a special enrollment period. Life events like losing other coverage, getting married, having a baby, or starting a new job typically make a person eligible for special enrollment. Additionally, those who qualify for Medicaid or the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) can also apply any time.

Since Penny Insurance Agency’s clients are all 65 years old or more, some of these life events are unlikely to occur in the next year. Insurance through Penny is a Medicare supplement. We do not offer Obamacare/ACA plans or under 65 health insurance.

Renewing vs. Shopping Around

What’s in my best interests?

You can count on your insurance costs going up from one year to the next, but don’t wait for your bill in January to find out just how much it increased. Ask your insurance company during open enrollment how much you’ll be paying for coverage next year, and if it’s a number you’re not happy with, you may want to shop around.

We get it – it’s so much easier to just renew your current plan, but if you can get better coverage that’s consolidated and managed by professionals who actually care about your needs, then isn’t a little insurance shopping worth it?

Open Enrollment with Penny Insurance Agency

How does it work?

The great thing about working with Penny Insurance is that you don’t have to know exactly what insurance plan you want. Leave it to our team to find a comprehensive coverage plan that makes sense for you, and then we’ll provide the most up-to-date facts so that you can make an informed decision.

As monotonous and mundane as open enrollment seems (especially next to all of your fun holiday plans), the great news is you do not have to tackle it alone. Our experienced and knowledgeable agents are ready to help you through the process.

Contact us today if you’re interested in speaking with a Penny Insurance Agency representative. Your protection is our priority.

For more information about open enrollment check out the Open Enrollment 2021 Guide from healthinsurance.org or one of our older posts titled, Open Enrollment: What You Really Need to Know.

Safe and Secure: National Cyber Security Awareness Month

Safe and Secure: National Cyber Security Awareness Month

Every day has always looked different, but now more than ever, our days are unpredictable. Whether you’ve gone from working in an office to working remotely or learning to teach your kids virtually at home, we are all making adjustments every day. While tackling these challenges, we need to be reminded of the importance of cybersecurity. Since October is National Cyber Security Awareness Month, we urge you to take some time to determine how cyber safe you really are. 

With COVID-19, working, and learning remotely has become a norm for many people. We are conducting meetings and classes via video, using messaging applications for quick communication, and sharing even more confidential information virtually. While it’s great to have these tools at our fingertips, what are we sacrificing to use them? That question unpacks many more questions involving hacking, phishing, spam, illegitimacy, and more. We must protect our information at all costs, but if compromises do occur, Penny Insurance offers Cyber Liability Insurance. 

One of the biggest threats to cybersecurity is email phishing. People use email daily to communicate for work and personal life and we are seeing an increase in the number of phishing emails. There are a few ways to check emails and determine if they are legitimate. One way is to look for grammar mistakes. If the subject line or body of the email include grammar mistakes, this may be a quick way to rule out if the email is valid. Another way to check is if the email asks for personal information or has links to websites you are not familiar with. You should delete emails with these prompts right away. It’s easy for hackers to embed viruses and tracking bugs in links, so you should never click on an unknown link. 

Some other threats to your cybersecurity that you should be aware of, include video privacy, WiFi hacking, spam calls, and illegitimate job postings. Especially during these times, we are using video communication, working on our home’s WiFi, receiving many calls, and possibly looking for a job. It is important to read the privacy policies from these service providers before sharing confidential information while using them. Another privacy tip is to never share personal or financial information with anyone you are unsure of. Make sure you have proof that you are sharing with a confidential source and not a scam. 

Most scams are easy to overlook, so taking the time to double-check the information you are receiving is a simple way to avoid being a victim. In general, you should always be on the lookout for illegitimate information. Even if you take precautions, our technologically advanced world makes it easier than ever for your information to be compromised. Make sure you have our Cyber Liability Insurance, so in the event of a security breach, your information is safe. 

Sources:

https://www.amerisbank.com/Personal/Learn/Financial-Articles-Advice/Coronavirus-The-Latest-Cybersecurity-Threat

https://staysafeonline.org/cybersecurity-awareness-month/about-the-month/

https://pennyinsuranceagency.com/blog/2019/10/10/national-cyber-security-awareness-month-stay-cyber-smart/

Labor Day: No Work, All Play

Labor Day: No Work, All Play

It’s already here, the last hoorah of Summer – Labor Day. You’ve worked hard to enjoy this long weekend and we want to make sure you don’t have anything to worry about. Whether you’re planning to take the boat out on the lake, grill in the backyard, or travel to a new location, there are always risks involved. Your safety is of the utmost importance to us, so knowing the risks and insurance options available is crucial. 

Boating 

Boats are a great way to get out on the water and enjoy the warm summer weather, however, we want you to know the risks involved before you take them. As with anything, there is a risk of personal injury. Boating personal injuries include but are not limited to, electric shock drowning and propeller accidents. Always check your surroundings for a source of electricity in the water. If you are unsure of the water’s conditions, you can get an electric current detector. Another risk is a collision with another boat or object. With our Motorcycle, ATV, RV, and Boat Insurance, you can worry less about what happens if these scenarios occur. 

Grilling 

Labor Day is notorious for grilling out in the backyard with family and friends. Even with grilling, there are risks you should be aware of. You should always make sure that children are kept away from the grill, to prevent any injuries. Also, reading the safety guidelines and rules for your grill is the best practice for keeping your grill functioning properly. Even with these precautions, unknown issues can arise. With a comprehensive liability policy, you can grill and relax without the burden of worrying about legal consequences if a mishap were to occur

Traveling 

Are you planning to go on a socially-distanced weekend getaway? If you are, you should think about the risks of leaving your house alone and traveling in a vehicle. To take the best precautions, ask a neighbor to watch your house or set up a home security system. Regarding your travels in a vehicle, you should always make sure you have your routine maintenance up to date. If you take these simple precautions, you can lower the risks of a weekend getaway. To take extra precautions, our Homeowners Insurance and our Personal Vehicle Insurance are the best options for you.

Whether it’s boating, grilling, traveling, or other Labor Day weekend activities, always know you’re covered with Penny Insurance’s liability options. We want you to have a fun and safe lifestyle, without the worries of liability hanging over your head.

Source:

http://www.bmbplawyers.com/how-to-avoid-a-premises-liability-lawsuit-this-labor-day.html

Common Summer Liabilities and How to Avoid Them

Common Summer Liabilities and How to Avoid Them

Accidents happen, especially when outdoor summer activities are involved. To be sure your
summer is filled with fun in the sun, be aware of these common liabilities and ways to avoid
them.

1. Swimming Pools
Sadly, each year, numerous accidents, injuries, and deaths occur in pools. When allowing your
children or neighborhood friends to use the pool, be sure to keep a close watch on them.
Drowning can occur silently and in a matter of seconds, if there is not keen adult supervision in
place. Diving into pools can cause serious head injuries, paralyzation, and even death. Limit
and advise adults and children alike on how to safely enter the pool to avoid injuries. In addition,
adhere to your state’s recommendations and requirements for safety signage around your pool.
Though it is unpleasant to think about, accidents do happen. In the event of an accident, the
right liability coverage can protect you and your family from liability issues. A comprehensive
umbrella policy might be right for you. If you would like to know more about your options, give us
a call at (828) 692-9171

2. Bikes, ATV’s, Golf Carts, Skateboards, Scooters, and More
Anything with wheels can be fun, but can also be dangerous. If your children and their friends
enjoy activities like biking, riding four-wheelers, using skateboards and more, be sure to train
them on proper ways to enjoy these things, emphasize the importance of helmets, and invest in
an umbrella policy for an extra layer of liability protection. Outdoor activities like riding around
are certainly fun, but things can go wrong in the blink of an eye. Be sure to enjoy summer fun,
safely, and with a peace of mind.

3. Bonfires and Grills
Some of the best memories are made around bonfires in the summertime or grilling out on the
porch with friends. If you’re planning on enjoying bonfires or grilling out this summer, be sure to
take all the necessary precautions to keep you, your family, your friends, and your home safe.
Bonfires can easily get out of control and ashes can fly far distances into the air, which can burn
people and items. In addition, grills are one of the top causes for house fires during the summer.
Check to make sure your grill is in good working condition, remember to properly clean your grill
to prevent fires, and check your propane tank for any leaks.

4. Home Invasion
Summertime is the one of the most popular times for vacations and therefore vacant homes,
and home invaders know this. If you’re planning to leave town, let a neighbor know. They can
help keep an eye on your home while you’re away and collect your mail. Also, consider
investing in an alarm system to deter invaders. Most modern alarm systems can alert you
directly on your smartphone in the event of an invasion. Finally, be sure you have a
comprehensive home insurance policy in the event of a home invasion or burglary.

At Penny Insurance Agency, we want our clients to have a peace of mind knowing they are
covered, so they can soak up the sun and enjoy life’s best moments.

Sources:
https://www.insuramatch.com/blog/5-common-summer-insurance-claims-and-how-avoid-them
https://www.naic.org/documents/consumer_alert_summer_fun.htm
https://www.sagaciousinsurance.com/blog/summer-liabilities