How to Avoid a Halloween Horror Story

How to Avoid a Halloween Horror Story

With October 31 quickly approaching next week, the Halloween craze has certainly set in. Decorations have popped up in every corner, carved pumpkins are on the front porch, fake tombstones and witches in the yard, skulls on the ground…it really is quite a scary site. However, the monsters, costumes and decorations aren’t the only things you should be afraid of during Halloween. Liability issues should also be a major concern. Listed below are just a few reasons why you should ensure that your insurance policies are prepared to handle any horrors that may present themselves.*

  • Decorations
    • With all the decorations lying in the yard, it’s only a matter of time before a child trips on something and hurts himself. Some of the more popular Halloween costumes for kids are princesses, witches or super heroes. Most of these costumes involve capes, masks, or even full-body suits which are sometimes too big, which can cause a child to trip walking up the steps to retrieve candy. According to Moneytips, the liability portion of your homeowner’s policy will generally cover these types of accidents. However, it is important that you remove any potential danger or threat from your walkway on which a child could trip and get injured. If your decorations present a danger to trick-or-treaters, your insurance may not cover the damages.
  • Dogs
    • It is important to note that although your dog may be very friendly to you or other people it knows well, children can often startle dogs, especially at night, which could lead to them biting out of fear. Dogs are especially afraid of loud noises and generally get scared or protective when they see a large group of people approaching on their territory. Stressed or nervous pets are more inclined to bite and scratch, and hearing loud and excited kids dressed in many different types of strange costumes coming to the front door will surely startle the dogs. So, for the sake of the neighborhood children, and your liability insurance premiums, be sure to restrain and confine your pets on Halloween. Keeping them away from children in a crate, for example, will prevent severe liability risks for homeowners.
  • Accidental Fires
    • Candles certainly do create a spooky atmosphere for Halloween, but they are also a huge liability issue for homeowners. During this night, you will often see candles lining the pathway to the front door or they will be lighting up jack-o-lanterns. This spooky effect is also a safety factor, but ironically, lit candles pose an enormous risk for these people. Generally, a homeowner’s policy will cover repairs and living expenses during the repair period, unless the fire was caused irresponsibly or on accident. To prevent accidental fires, LED lights come highly recommended.

It is important that your insurance policies are ready for any potential liability issues that can occur this Halloween. If you are not exactly certain what your homeowner insurance policy covers, contact us at Penny Insurance because we can help you. Give us a call today to connect with an agent to discuss your coverage options.

*https://www.moneytips.com/is-your-home-insurance-ready-for-halloween

Preparing a Home to Be Vacant

Preparing a Home to Be Vacant

There is this misconception that owning a vacant or unoccupied piece of property would pose less of a threat than owning a space with a fair amount of contents. You have less to lose, right? Whereas you may have fewer contents and the risk of damage or loss may not seem as great, the risk of owning a vacant property can be extreme. Whether you are selling your house, renovating it or moving a family member out, it is always a good idea to invest in vacant home insurance because any vacant and or unoccupied property is subject to vandalism, theft, illegal tenants, water damage and flooding… just to name a few.* Vacant home insurance will ensure you’re covered if any such risks do occur.

To begin, burglaries in vacant homes are quite common. The burglar knows that no one is home, therefore the chances of getting caught are not as great. According to Legacy Navigator, most burglaries happen during the daytime (between 10 am and 3 pm) when people are at work.** Although it may appear as there aren’t many “material” items to steal, copper from wiring and air conditioning units are very attractive to burglars (maybe add “because they can in turn sell them for a profit” or something along those lines). Sometimes, though, these intruders are just teenagers causing trouble, and don’t mean any harm. They are mainly just looking for a remote hangout location. No matter the intention though, these damages can still cost you.***

A vacant home also introduces illegal tenants who think that they can dwell at the property since no one else is using it. However, it can be difficult to remove them from the property. Once you find out that they live there, of course you can ask them to leave… but they may or may not abide. If they choose not to leave, they may have landlord-tenant rights as holdover tenants, who are renters that remain in a property after the lease has ended. If this becomes the case, then you may need to seek legal advice.****

Unoccupied/vacant home insurance provides coverage for a home that is uninhabited. For example, for the most part, homeowners insurance won’t cover a fire, vandalism, or liability if the home has been unoccupied for a while. According to ValuePenguin, if you are planning to leave your home for at least 30 days, you should consider purchasing vacant home insurance.

Listed below are reasons when this kind of insurance would be valuable:*****

  • You own a vacation home that you don’t visit more than a few times per year.
  • You’ve purchased a home, but you won’t move in for a while.
  • You travel for long periods at a time.
  • You have to undergo a medical treatment, which requires you to be in the hospital for weeks.
  • Your home is being renovated so you won’t move in until the renovations are complete.
  • You’re renting out a home and are in between finding tenants.

In summer, empty homes can actually pose greater risks than occupied ones through acts of vandalism or intrusion, and not all homeowners policies will keep you covered. We at Penny Insurance can help you. to connect with a Penny Insurance agent to discuss your coverage options.

*https://www.landlordology.com/risks-of-leaving-a-property-vacant/
**https://www.legacynavigator.com/the-blog/blog/vacant-house-risks-insurance
***https://www.landlordology.com/risks-of-leaving-a-property-vacant/
****<https://www.investopedia.com/terms/h/holdover-tenant.asp
*****<https://www.valuepenguin.com/unoccupied-and-vacant-home-insurance

Don’t Get Waterlogged

Don’t Get Waterlogged

These past few weeks have been consumed with discussion around Hurricane Florence. This hurricane, which hit in early September, has left the Carolinas in devastation. According to CBS News, at lease 33 people have died in storm-related incidents, 343,000 people were without power in North Carolina and the storm produced nearly 36 inches of rain in Elizabethtown, N.C.* Flooding was one of the more serious outcomes of this hurricane. Many North Carolina rivers were already at flood level and are expected to continue rising. 

When flooding occurs, an entire neighborhood can be destroyed by the intense waters that can sweep away people and cars. Flooding can also result in contamination, such as sharp debris, pesticides, fuel, and sewage that rest in these stagnant waters. Dangerous molds can also appear. As seen in North Carolina recently, residents of flooded areas can be left without power and clean drinking water, which can result in outbreaks of deadly waterborne diseases like typhoid, hepatitis A, and cholera.** According to Fema.gov***, floods are the most common disasters in the United States. Because it is the number one natural disaster in our country, the purchase of flood insurance should be something to heavily consider, especially if you live in an area that is more prone to flooding.

As we have seen from Hurricane Florence, flooding can not only cause damage to your house, personal belongings, and cars, but it can also really hurt your bank account. Flooding can become extremely expensive; just a little water can cause thousands of dollars damage to your bank account. So, when purchasing flood insurance, you have two options.**** The first is the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), which is provided through FEMA (Federal Emergency Mandatory Agency). If you choose to go with this option, there are two types of coverage from which you can choose. The first is building property, which covers what it would cost to repair your home up to $250,000. The second is personal property, which replaces up to $100,000 in items and includes depreciation value. This coverage would pay what the item is worth today, not what you paid or what it would cost to replace it. The second option for flood insurance is private flood insurance, which is provided through private insurers. Unlike NFIP, private flood insurance offers higher coverage than what NFIP would offer for your home and personal belongings. However, a downside is that this option may not be available if you live in a high-risk (flooding) area.

You’d be surprised to learn where floods can happen and whether you’re at risk, so it’s wise to check with Penny Insurance Agency to learn more. Floods can happen almost anywhere and the damage is NOT covered by your standard homeowner’s policy. If you reside or own a home closer to the southeast coast, or even in downtown Hendersonville to the Cliffs Communities, it is wise to get covered before disaster strikes. Penny Insurance Agency can help you find the right flood insurance. Call us today to get started!

*https://www.cbsnews.com/live-news/hurricane-florence-aftermath-weather-flooding-power-outage-death-toll-fema-latest-forecast-live/

** https://www.nationalgeographic.com/environment/natural-disasters/floods/

***https://www.fema.gov/news-release/2004/08/16/flooding-americas-1-natural-hazard

****https://www.daveramsey.com/blog/need-flood-insurance

Young Professionals Series- Digital Risks for Young Professionals

Young Professionals Series- Digital Risks for Young Professionals

The last two decades have been dominated by technology; we have become completely immersed and dependent on it. One of the largest effects technology has had on society has been a change in communication. We no longer communicate face-to-face; it’s all carried out via texting, talking on the phone, through social media applications or direct messaging. Because communication can be performed this way, it is no longer necessary to schedule an appointment with someone in person because it can just as easily be carried out through a phone call or an email which certainly adds a factor of convenience.

This digital age has transformed society from a standpoint of accessibility; everything is easier and oftentimes faster. Daily responsibilities and tasks such as payments, transportation, dating and even communication in general can be performed digitally. Wouldn’t you rather complete a task in 30 minutes than in two hours? Why spend more time on something when it can be completed in less amount of time? We, as consumers, enjoy convenience, and the primary goal of technology is to make life easier, and that it does… hence the phrase of having everything at the “tips of your fingers.”

Not surprisingly, because of this convenience factor, young adults make up the highest number of digital users. UNICEF’S State of the World’s Children 2017: Children in a Digital World report* revealed that one in three internet users is younger than 18 years and 71% of 15–24-year-olds are online. Further, according to Chubb Insured**, 53 million young professionals, born between the years of 1981 and 1992, manage more and more of their business digitally. Based on recent reports from Statista, 77% of the US population has a social media account / profile.*** Over ¾’s of our country’s population is online!

Although these new ways of conducting business have proven to be more efficient and therefore convenient, they are also associated with dangerous risks, such as financial loss, a damaged reputation and legal problems. The reliance that young professionals place in technology is very risky. However, certain types of insurance can assuage these negative effects of living and working in a primarily digital age. By purchasing cyber liability insurance, you can protect your yourself and your company’s valuable information. This is the only type of insurance created specifically for the event of electronic data theft. If you don’t properly monitor your digital channels, you can even become the victim of identity theft, incur travel/transportation-related risks as well as failing to attain renters’ and other non-compulsory insurance.

Even though this age group forms the largest demographic of users, their knowledge on the power of technology is insufficient, which would explain the increasing number of hazardous occurrences among this group. In order to avoid such dangers, young professionals must educate themselves on the many risks that exist in today’s digital world. It’s imperative that they can identify these risks and know how to avoid them. These young professionals need to seek out the advice of an expert to teach them about the insurance solutions. Experienced professionals in this industry can help instruct them on these dangers of an ever-growing digital society and how to decrease these potential risks.

It is absolutely crucial that this generation stay informed on the liabilities and effects of using technology in the workplace. Just because something is easy or convenient does not mean that it is the safest course of action. We at Penny Insurance can help you. Give us a call today to connect with a Penny Insurance agent to discuss your coverage options.

* https://www.thelancet.com/journals/lanchi/article/PIIS2352-4642(18)30002-6/fulltext

** file:///Users/baileyverrault/Downloads/the-sharing-economy–digital-risks-for-young-professionals.pdf

*** https://www.statista.com/statistics/273476/percentage-of-us-population-with-a-social-network-profile/