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.

 

Things to Know About Renters Insurance

Many renters don’t realize how much they could benefit from having an insurance policy that can help protect their valuables in a life-changing event like a fire or theft.  If you assume that damage to your property in your rental home will be covered by your landlord’s insurance policy, you’re making a mistake.  The owners of rental properties typically purchase only enough insurance to repair or replace their structures, and are not responsible for helping you replace your property.  Insuring your personal property is up to you.

1. Renters Insurance Provides Off-Premises Coverage

Renters insurance not only covers the cost of lost or damaged possessions in your home, but covers your belongings outside of your home as well.   There is coverage if your bicycle is stolen from a bike rack at the park, or if your laptop is taken from your car while you’re at the supermarket.

2. You Can Be Compensated if You’re Forced to Relocate

If your rental home should become uninhabitable, your renters policy typically will help address some of the costs for you to temporarily live elsewhere, up to your policy limits. This benefit usually includes the cost of meals, over and above your normal expenses.

This coverage typically is limited to 30 to 50 percent of your insured personal property. For example, if your belongings were insured for $100,000, the limit on additional living expenses would be $30,000 to $50,000, as outlined in your policy.

3. Actual Cash Value vs. Full Replacement

There are two types of renters coverage, one that pays based on your property’s actual cash value and one that pays based on your property’s replacement cost.

With actual cash value coverage, insurers depreciate lost or damaged items based on their age.  For example, if you owned a 10-year-old couch that was stolen, the actual cash value would be the cost of buying a used couch of comparable age and condition.

If your policy covered your couch at full-replacement value, your insurer would pay based on the cost of a new couch of the same quality without applying depreciation.

4. Your Renters Policy Will Likely Cost Less Than You Think

In 2014, the average annual premium in the U.S. was $190.1 The cost is low because renters don’t need to buy insurance to protect their homes, only the contents.  Compared to the potential cost of replacing your furniture, clothing, and electronics, purchasing a renters insurance policy is a no-brainer.

Sources:
1
http://www.iii.org/fact-statistic/renters-insurance

 

How to Identify and Remove an Ice Dam

Sometimes, even your best efforts to prevent an ice dam may not be enough.  Knowing what an ice dam is, how to identify one and how to help remove it is important to protecting your roof and home from potential damage during the snowy, winter months.

What Is an Ice Dam?

Ice dams may form when water from melting snow freezes into ice at the edge of your roofline.  Without proper roof snow removal, the ice that develops may grow large enough to prevent water from melting snow from properly draining off the roof.  When the water is unable to drain from the roof, it may then back up underneath roof shingles and make its way into your home.

Do You Have an Ice Dam?

Most ice dams develop on the edge of your roof, but they may also form in other locations, depending on the slope, orientation and style of your roof.  Be sure to monitor the weather and your roof for signs of ice dam formations.

  • Look closely at the icicles around the exterior of your house.  If the icicles are confined to the gutters and there is no water trapped behind them, then an ice dam has likely not formed.  Nonetheless, icicles can be a precursor to ice dams.  Depending on their location and size, icicles may also pose a danger if they fall off.  Whenever possible, and if safe to do so, remove icicles from the exterior of your home, making sure not to stand directly beneath them.  If you cannot safely reach the icicles from the ground, consider hiring a contractor to assist in their removal.
  • Check for water stains or moisture in your attic or along the ceiling of exterior walls of your house.  Water stains or moisture may be an indication that an ice dam has formed and water has penetrated the roof membrane.

How to Remove an Ice Dam

Removing an ice dam from your roof immediately after spotting the signs can be critical to helping prevent damage to your home.  One way to remove an ice dam is to melt it using calcium chloride ice melt.

Step 1. Using a roof rake, remove snow 3-4 feet from the edge of your roof, being careful not to damage the roof covering or to allow snow to build up around walking paths or to block emergency exits.

Step 2. Use a calcium chloride ice melt product, which you can generally purchase from your local hardware store.  Be sure not to use rock salt or sodium chloride, which can damage your roof.

Step 3. Fill a nylon stocking with the calcium chloride ice melt.

Step 4. Safely place and position the calcium chloride-filled nylon stocking vertically across the ice dam so that it can melt a channel through the ice.

Step 5. Cover and protect any shrubbery and plants with lightweight tarps near the gutters or downspouts for the duration that the calcium chloride stockings remain in place. This is important because the calcium chloride-saturated water dripping from the roof may damage the shrubbery and plants.

REMEMBER: Using a ladder in snowy and icy conditions may be dangerous. If you cannot safely reach the roof, consider hiring a contractor.

Snowmobiling Safety

Tips to stay safe during snowmobile season

As the snow continues falling, many people are getting excited, because it’s time to break out the snowmobiles and head to the nearest winter recreation spot.  It’s a popular activity, and for good reason: Snowmobiling allows you to explore natural areas that may be hard to access by foot (or snowshoe), and provides a different kind of excitement than skiing or hiking.

Of course, snowmobiling presents some dangers as well.  Here at Shults Insurance Agency, we want you to make it home safely after your day in the snow.  Read on for safety tips from the American Council of Snowmobile Associations — and keep in mind that following these will not only help you stay safe, but also influence equitable treatment of snowmobile access by government, agencies, and landowners.

SPEED: Speed is a major factor in many snowmobile crashes. Always keep your speed slow enough to ensure that you’re in control.

ALCOHOL: Use of alcohol or any other drug that causes impairment is a leading cause of snowmobile-related fatalities.  It’s best to refrain from any use at all before and during outings because of potential effects on vision, reaction time, balance and coordination.  When combined with excess speed in particular, the results can be deadly.

RIDING AT NIGHT: Nighttime snowmobiling is fun, but extra caution should be used. Ride at slower speeds so as not to override your headlights (which generally illuminate your path for about 200 feet).  Faster speeds could mean that you have little or no time to react to an obstacle in your path.

ROADWAYS: Always keep an eye out for vehicles, as many trails are located alongside roadways and can cross over them.  Be sure to stop fully at all stop signs and unmarked road crossings.

CLOSED AREAS: Areas may be closed to snowmobiles due to hazardous conditions, wintering wildlife, non-motorized recreation or by landowner request.  It’s important to honor these closures for safety purposes and to help protect access to other riding areas.

While it’s extremely important to follow these tips for your personal safety, it’s also vital to encourage others to snowmobile safely as well. Helping to educate others will not only promote safety for all snowmobilers, but also protect the sport’s image as well.

Whether you’re a new rider or have been on the trails for years, ask yourself if you could be riding more safely. There are many more winters to come, and we want you to be able to enjoy as many of them as possible!