Insurance Tips for Going to College

College is expensive enough without finding out too late that an accident or theft isn’t covered under your current policies.  So, as you get your children ready to head off to school in the fall, there’s one vital “to-do” to add to your list (other than writing that tuition check): a review of your insurance coverage.

It’s important to keep in mind that policy language varies from state to state, and there are never “one-size-fits-all” situations, but below is a general guide. If you have questions, or want to go over your insurance needs, don’t hesitate to contact us!

AUTO

  • Coverage without a car at school: If your student will continue to drive while at home on school breaks, they should continue to be listed on your auto policy.  If they are attending school more than 100 miles from home, and are not taking a vehicle with them, the policy may qualify for a distant-student discount.
  • Coverage with a car at school: In most instances, a car registered to parents and listed on their policy will be covered if used by a listed student away at school.  But you should make sure that your insurance carrier writes coverage in the college’s state and location.  And note that a change to the principal location of the vehicle could result in a change in premium.
  • Driving a friend’s car at school: Students generally would be covered while driving a friend’s car if the students are listed on their parents’ policy and do not have regular use of the vehicle.  The coverage would likely be secondary in this case, as the carrier for the friend’s vehicle likely would be the primary coverage.
  • Coverage discounts: In addition to the possible distant-student discount mentioned above, students may qualify for a good-student discount. To qualify, most insurance carriers require that a student must be enrolled in at least four courses per term as a full-time student at an accredited college or university and meet certain academic qualifications.  Also, drivers under the age of 21 who complete a driver education course may be eligible for a policy discount.

HOMEOWNERS

  • Coverage of personal property: Most homeowners policies provide 10 percent of Coverage C (Personal Property) for property owned by an insured that is at a residence other than the insured’s.  For example, if the contents of a policyholder’s home are insured for $100,000, a student’s property up to $10,000 would be covered if living in a dormitory – provided the damage is caused by a covered peril and the student meets the definition of an insured.
  • For apartments or houses off-campus, the same coverage generally applies.  Certain items, such as jewelry or expensive electronics, may require special coverage, or a “rider.”  Renters insurance is strongly recommended if a particular policy does not cover a student’s personal property.
  • Liability coverage: There usually is an exclusion for damage to property rented to an insured, so generally damage to a dorm room or apartment would not be covered.
  • Ensuring adequate coverage: Contact us to get specific answers and information about your coverages.  Also, it’s a great idea to create an inventory of the items your student is taking to school, as is keeping photos of and receipts for the items.
  • Renters insurance: If your student’s needs can’t be met under your current policy, don’t forget renters insurance.  Landlords’ policies generally only cover the structure, not the possessions of renters.

Going away to school is an exciting time for both students and their parents. Making sure you’ve got the right insurance coverage can help you protect your assets as you invest in your child’s future.  We’re happy to discuss your coverage and options — just give us a call or stop by!

Why You Should Have Umbrella Insurance

If you own a home with substantial equity, have a sizable investment portfolio, or possess other accumulated wealth, then your basic homeowner’s policy may not be enough. Consider extending your coverage with umbrella insurance from Shults Insurance Agency in Fort Plain, NY.

The Benefits of an Umbrella Policy

When your assets are worth more than your combined insurance coverage, umbrella coverage is your next step in protecting the things and people you’ve worked so hard to acquire and protect. Without umbrella coverage, you could be putting at risk your children’s college money, your retirement savings, and prized possessions like a sports car.

Umbrella insurance is one of the insurance options that pay claims in excess of the specified limits of other policies. Your basic homeowner policy will pay up to their limits, but if that limit is a million dollars and a claim is in excess of a million dollars, without some extended coverage, your options are to pay out of pocket or fight the claim in court.

Umbrella insurance isn’t the only option for extended coverage, but it is probably the smartest. Similar to umbrella insurance is what is called excess insurance. However, excess insurance operates differently than umbrella insurance. Excess insurance will extend the financial claims of a homeowner policy, but only according to the coverage of the primary homeowner’s policy.

Umbrella insurance not only covers financial liability beyond the coverage of your basic homeowner’s policy, but it will also cover things that your basic insurance does not cover. Umbrella insurance will often cover the exclusions of your basic policy and provide broader coverage than a homeowner’s policy. For those at risk of having to use their own money to pay claims, umbrella insurance is the option that provides the most peace of mind.

Consider contacting your agent at Shults Insurance Agency, serving Fort Plain, NY, for a friendly and knowledgeable analysis of how umbrella insurance can benefit you and your family.

Summer Energy Savings

Beat the Heat — and Your Air Conditioning Bill — This Summer

Did you know that, according to the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), Americans spend about $11 billion each year on air conditioning? That might not be such a surprise if you’re the one who writes the check for your household energy bill every month.

Believe it or not, you can spend less on cooling costs while still keeping cool. Here are five things to do before you reach to adjust the thermostat:

  1. Make sure your house isn’t part of the problem.  If your home isn’t insulated and sealed well, warm air could be leaking in, sabotaging your efforts to cool things down.  Make sure all cracks and openings are sealed, along with your ducts.  The DOE says air loss through ducts can account for 30 percent of the energy a cooling system uses.
  2. Keep that breeze flowing.  Natural ventilation is a great way to decrease the temperature in your home without using any energy.  Open windows in the mornings or evenings when the air is cool and get a cross-breeze going throughout the house.
  3. Check that the heat isn’t on.  You might be heating your house in the summer without realizing it.  How?  By using the oven, stove or other appliances that generate heat.  Cook outside whenever you can, and use the dishwasher and clothes dryer at cooler times of the day if possible.
  4. Create your own personal cool zone.  Cooling the whole house might not be necessary if you’re only using a few rooms.  Set up fans (ceiling fans will allow you to set your thermostat a few degrees higher), drink plenty of cool liquids and eat cold foods, which can help lower your body temperature.  You might even consider wearing a damp shirt to stay comfortable or putting an ice pack on your forehead, the back of your neck or your wrists.
  5. Don’t forget the basics.  When it’s sunny outside, keep your curtains closed.  Minimize your use of lights, as they generate heat.  And, when the outside air is warmer than the air in your house, close the windows to keep the cool air in.

We can’t promise these tips will keep you just as cool as when you kick back and turn on the AC full-blast.  But saving money every month?  That’s pretty cool, too.

 

What Do I Need To Do To File A Flood Insurance Claim?

One of the most traumatic incidents a homeowner can face is a flood. Once affected by this type of event, homeowners may be at a loss about where to begin to file their claim. Getting your information turned in for your claim immediately is part of the key to getting your settlement and getting back to normal quickly. Knowing what to do in advance can help make the process easier and prevent issues during processing.

Making A Claim

As soon as the flooding incident takes place, the homeowner should immediately contact their insurance provider. Once they have made the initial contact, it is crucial to document the damage as thoroughly as possible. Pictures, video, and any other proof will allow the claims process to go more smoothly. As soon as the documentation is submitted, there is a proof of loss process that must be followed to submit the claim entirely.

Getting Support

When people experience loss as a result of a flood, they need additional support and guidance to get the protection and funds they need to begin to repair or replace the home. Having an experienced, knowledgeable insurance agent to guide them and help them submit their information can be crucial to getting the claim settlement.  If your home is in a flood zone, contact our office to make sure that you have the proper coverage to protect your property.

 

When’s a Good Time to Update Your Home Insurance?

Anytime you make significant changes to your home or lifestyle, review your policy to see if the changes affect your coverage. You may need to update your policy to continue getting the protection you need. Your Shults Insurance Agency representative can help you evaluate your current insurance plan and make any necessary adjustments to maintain protection for your home and family. Here are a few examples of when and why to update your home insurance policy.

Home Renovations

If you’ve made significant renovations to your home, such as remodeling a kitchen or adding a new patio, you need to update your insurance. Home renovations won’t be automatically covered by your current insurance plan. They need to be added to your policy in order to protect your investment.

Purchase of Pricey Items

If you purchased pricey electronics or other expensive goods over the last year, you might need to raise your insurance limits to protect these items against theft or loss. Standard home insurance policies have limits for protecting valuables. If the value of your goods exceeds the limits on your policy, you’ll need to make adjustments to your coverage, such as getting an insurance rider, to get the protection you need.

Lifestyle Changes

Lifestyle changes like marriage or retirement will also affect your home insurance. Marriage often results in combining two households which means more items will need to be covered under your policy. If your new spouse has a dog, you’ll need to update your liability coverage to include your pet in your policy. Your retirement may qualify you for discounted rates on your policy.

By staying in touch with your Shults Insurance Agency representative in Fort Plain, NY, you can keep your home insurance coverage current and up to date.

I Have Auto Insurance. Why Do I Need Recreational Insurance?

If you love to travel and are interested in hitting the open road and taking in the scenic routes of Fort Plan, NY while still traveling in comfort, you may be considering buying a motor home or recreational vehicle (RV). Like many drivers, you may be wondering if your current automobile insurance policy covers your new RV. The short answer is maybe. Not having a separate RV policy may not protect you against everything that could happen to your recreational vehicle. State minimum liability limits may not cover your assets in every situation. Without adequate liability insurance, in the case of an accident where you are sued, you could go into debt or lose assets like your RV, auto, home, and savings.

What Is RV Insurance?

Shults Insurance Agency’s recreational vehicle insurance is tailored specifically for RVs and provides more comprehensive coverage to encompass a variety of issues you may have with your vehicle, such as damage to the personal belongings inside, and the interior itself. It can protect you from liability issues with passengers and help with roadside towing. While you may not need both auto and RV insurance, you do need an auto insurance policy that includes coverage for your RV. Standard RV coverage includes:

  • Bodily injury liability – Injury caused by the responsible party
  • Property damage liability – Damage to property caused by the driver
  • Uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage – To protect against uninsured motorists or motorists who don’t carry enough insurance
  • Medical – Covers medical care for injuries
  • Comprehensive – Covers fire, theft, vandalism
  • Collision – Protects against damage caused by an accident

Other optional RV/motorhome insurance policies offer coverage that includes custom equipment, physical damage settlement options, vacation liability, safety glass replacement, a fulltime package, and roadside assistance.

Whether you plan to use your recreational vehicle for occasional travel and extended vacations or for use as a permanent dwelling, Shults Insurance Agency in Fort Plan, NY has the insurance coverage you need. Call us today for information about all your motorhome, RV, and travel trailer insurance needs.

How Can You Benefit from a Commercial Policy?

Commercial insurance is something that any business owner can benefit from in a wide range of ways. Commercial policies can protect both the business owner as well as the business itself and knowing what type of commercial policy you need is the best way to get the coverage that is necessary to keep you and your business covered. For those in the Fort Plain, NY area, the agents with Shults Insurance Agency can help.

What is commercial insurance and how can you benefit as a business owner from it?

For starters, a commercial policy is a policy that is taken out on a business that can protect the building, the employees, the employer, and the property within the business. This type of policy is beneficial because it helps to cover all the bases and helps to keep you from having to liquidate or take out loans if your business is sued or if your business is damaged to the point that items need to be replaced or repaired. Commercial policies cover the building itself from things like fire and storm damage, it includes the contents and merchandise from things like theft or damage in a fire, and it protects the employees from things like getting hurt at work.

This type of policy is going to be extremely beneficial to those that do have a business as it does help to recover from a disaster or damage of any kind. In cases where employees or patrons are hurt, this type of policy is also going to cover their medical bills so that you do not have to worry about paying them yourself or taking out loans against your business to do so.

For those in the Fort Plain, NY area, the agents with Shults Insurance Agency can help you find the perfect commercial policy. Reach out to our offices for more information.

Spring Home Maintenance

The milder days of spring are a perfect time to do a thorough spring cleaning and perform home maintenance.  After a long winter, it is a good idea to spend time on preventive measures to help maintain your home and property throughout the year.  Tasks such as cleaning out your gutters, checking for dead trees and branches,  and cleaning and inspecting home mechanical systems, such as heating and air conditioning equipment, can make spring a season of safety.

Cleaning and maintenance of your home should be done inside and out.  Although the tasks are different, ensuring all the elements of your home are in good working order can help keep your family safe and your maintenance expenses lower over the long run.

Inside Your Home

Here are a few things inside your home that should be inspected to ensure they are in good condition:

  • Electrical Outlets and Cords: Check electrical outlets and cords throughout your home for any potential fire hazards such as frayed wires or loose-fitting plugs.  Outlets, fuse boxes and extension cords also should be checked to make sure they are not overloaded.
  • Fire Extinguishers: Check your fire extinguisher at least once yearly, including the hose, nozzle and other parts, to make sure they are in good condition and that the pressure gauge is in the “green” range.  If necessary, move your fire extinguisher to an accessible place.
  • Air Conditioning: Before turning it on for the season, have your air-conditioning system inspected and tuned up by a professional.
  • Water Heater: Check for leaks and corrosion.
  • Furnace: Clean or replace your furnace filter.
  • Dryers: Dryer lint can build up inside the vent pipe and collect around the duct.  Clean both the clothes dryer exhaust duct and the space under the dryer.  Use a specialized brush to clean out the vent pipe.  Lint can also build up inside the dryer enclosure and should be cleaned and serviced by a professional.
  • Smoke Detectors: Daylight savings time is the perfect time to change the batteries in your smoke detectors.  Inspect each smoke detector to ensure all are in working order, and make sure to test them monthly.  Ideally, there should be at least one smoke detector on each floor of your home, including the hallway or area outside of each set of bedrooms, and one within each bedroom itself.  If necessary, install additional smoke detectors as needed.
  • Light Bulbs: Check each light bulb in every fixture for the correct recommended wattage and replace any burned out bulbs.  Also, consider replacing all high-intensity bulbs with fluorescent or LED bulbs to reduce energy and the amount of heat produced.

Outside Your Home

The cold winter months can do damage to your house as well.  Here are a few things outside your home that should be inspected to ensure they are in good condition:

  • Roof: Check for any damage from snow or ice, including damage from ice dams, and make any necessary repairs to reduce the possibility of leaks.
  • Gutters: Clean leaves and other debris from gutters and downspouts to keep water flowing and reduce the possibility of water damage.
  • Trees: Visually inspect trees for damage or rot, and remove (either yourself or through a contractor) any dead trees that might blow over in heavy winds or during a storm.  Keep healthy trees and bushes trimmed and away from utility wires.
  • Lawn Equipment: Make sure lawn mowers, tractors and other equipment are tuned up before using.  Store oil and gas for lawn equipment and tools in a vented, locked area.
  • Walkways and Driveways: Repair any cracks and broken or uneven surfaces to provide a safe, level walking area.

A little home maintenance in the spring can go a long way to keeping your home safe and secure throughout the rest of the year.

Why is Classic Car Insurance offered by Shults Insurance Agency?

A classic car is not just any car. It is unique in its own way, and it is very much treasured by the owner. So much value is given to the car regardless of the age. It is your pride, passion, and joy and that means it is much more than an ordinary car to you. Therefore, you need to protect it from various risks that might occur, and Shults Insurance Agency is here to help you.

Why Classic Car Insurance?

We have been in the insurance business serving the people of Fort Plain, NY for a long time and take pride in serving the residents of New York. We are a team of passionate and devoted professionals who are always ready to listen and guide you appropriately. We have various insurance options for you to choose from when it comes to protecting your classic car.

Nonetheless, why should you choose Shults Insurance Agency while you can get classic car insurance from almost any insurance company? Here is why.

Freedom

Your classic car is of great value to you, and that is why you have all the right to protect it to the best of your ability. Therefore, we offer you a choice of coverage to get reliable repair services for your vehicle. With our policy, you get to choose a repair shop that pleases you. We want to provide the freedom of choice so you feel confident when your car needs care.

Guaranteed value coverage

You have an option to get insurance for a total covered loss. This means that you get your entire car’s insured value regardless of depreciation. This is just one of the benefits of having a classic car policy.

So, if you are in need of classic car insurance do not hesitate to contact us or visit our offices to get the answers you need. Reach out to our agents to get a quote and find out if your vehicle qualifies for classic car insurance.