House Explosion

If you live in Columbus, Ohio you are well aware of the house explosion in Upper Arlington recently. For those of you that don’t know the story, the family was away on vacation when a gas leak caused their house to completely explode. The damage was so devastating that it completely leveled the family’s house and many houses surrounding have now been deemed uninhabitable. Many people are wondering if their insurance will cover explosion.

Good news. Explosion is a covered peril included in your common HO3 policy. Insurance should repair the damages caused by an explosion.

After hearing about the concerns of the local community we decidedFullSizeRender (2) to send out a tweet. Griffin-Lantz Insurance is dedicated to not only make sure our clients are insured correctly but also inform our community about insurance. We will be starting a weekly event on twitter called #AskYourAgentThur which will include an insurance question and answer to help inform out followers every Thursday. Please follow us @GriffinLantzIns.

Steps after an Accident

Call the Police. If you are really worried about whether your car is going to get fixed, you need to call the Police. Problems during the claims process are normally started because someone didn’t call the Police.

If the accident occurred in a parking lot or during bad weather, the local Police might not come to the scene of the accident. In that case it is your responsibility to collect as much information as possible. The most important info to collect is the name, phone number, and insurance information(policy number and carrier). After you have collected those you can then collect other information so that the story doesn’t change when the claims process starts.

Most people these days have a camera on their phone. It never hurts to take a picture of the license plate and damages done to both cars. If there was a witness to the accident, that was not in either car, it could be useful to collect their name and phone number as well. If the witness was a passenger in either car they are no longer considered a witness.

Basic information like time, location, and how the accident occurred will also be necessary to file an auto claim. If anyone is hurt, do not hesitate to tell the police officer or call for help. If you have an independent agent, call your agent and they will be more that happy to assist you during this stressful situation. If everything is done correctly the claims process should go smoothly.

IMG_1246

Which HAND are YOU driving with?

Texting+Driving

Distracted driving is on the rise. Mostly because there are so many more things we are tempted to do while driving. Smart phones have made us accessible at all times. If you have a family or job you feel like you need to be available at all times, including while you drive.

Youthful drivers are not the only drivers texting while driving. Many experienced drivers are driving distracted as well and they are equally at risk. It is also important that you set an example for your youthful drivers. If they see you driving distracted then they will feel more confident about doing it themselves.

Unintentional road accidents are the leading cause of death for young people between the ages of 10 to 24 in the United States. Almost all of these are caused by distracted drivers. Please have a talk with your young drivers about distracted driving. Make sure they understand the dangers before someone close to them or they are severally injured in an auto accident.

Follow us on Twitter @GriffinLantzIns if you would like learn more statistics on texting while driving.

Lost Jewelry

How many times have you taken off you wedding ring and totally forgot where you placed it? Sometimes we are lucky and the ring comes up somewhere. Other times it falls down the drain or is sucked up in the vacuum  Wedding rings are so expensive and have a lot of meaning behind them. It can be very devastating to lose your wedding ring.

My advice for every married couple would to be, have your wedding ring scheduled on your home or renters insurance police. The average amount spent on a wedding ring in the united states is $5,598 according to TheKnot reported on USA Today. Most homeowners policies have no coverage for lost rings and a limit of $3,000 or below for theft of jewelry.

Scheduling jewelry gives you a sense of relief when you can’t find your ring. By scheduling your ring you add mysteries disappearance. Then if you lose your ring, you will be reimbursed the appraisal or receipt value of the piece of jewelry with no deductible.

Rings and other valuable jewelry are tookeyboard with ring costly not to schedule. Next time you talk to your independent agent about renters insurance or home owners insurance, please inform them of your jewelry. Scheduling a $5,000 ring will cost close to $50 a year. It is very much worth the coverage and security. Please feel free to message me any questions about home or renters insurance.

You could lose everything!

swimThe fact is that if you own assets and you have a future income that exceeds your insurance liability that you could lose everything. Big lawsuits hit middle class families if their involved in a serious car accident, an injury occurs at home, or defamation of character. If you lose a lawsuit like this you can lose your home, retirement or savings accounts, and have your wages garnished until the lawsuit is satisfied.

When a situation like this occurs it is hard to figure out how to pay for damages and legal fees. Even if you win the lawsuit you still have racked up legal cost. An umbrella policy can help pay some of these cost. If you haven’t already, I would suggest talking to your independent auto and home insurance agent. Umbrella polices are additional liability policies that extend over your auto and home policies. You can buy million dollar limits for a couple hundred dollars a year.

Insurance is possibly the most important financial decisions you make. Making smart insurance decision won’t make you money but they will protect the assets and investments that you have worked hard to create. One quick moment on the road can make the rest of your work disappear if you don’t take precautionary steps like purchasing an umbrella policy. The mindset for many people when we tell them about umbrella policies is that they are only for the rich. The fact is that it is more for the middle class workers that don’t have the expendable cash to self insure their assets.

When making key decision of on your insurance coverage. Make sure your speaking with an independent agent. Independent agents work for you and at Griffin-Lantz Insurance we only give you advice that we would follow as well. Independent agents want the best for their clients.

How much life insurance should you have?

Most Americans have underinsured their most profitable asset. Your ability to make money for the remaining years is more valuable than your car or home. Life insurance is one way to build an instant estate for your loved ones if you were to pass away. There are six dollar amounts that you can add up to find out how much you should have in life insurance.

Paying off mortgage is often the most logical amount to buy in life insurance. This way your family can have a paid off home to live in. The balance you owe on your mortgage can make up a large part of your debt obligations.

How much life insurance do you need?
How much life insurance do you need?

Replacement Income is essential if you either rely on somebodies income or someone relies on your income. This is the amount your family would need to sustain their way of life. The best way to calculate this amount is to multiply your annual income by how many years you would want to insure sustainability.

Final expenses are important to think about. Unfortunately, it isn’t cheap to die. There will be expenses to your family for funeral arrangements, unpaid medical bills, and estate settlement costs. Typical funeral cost start around $10,000 and often exceed this amount.

College tuition is a goal for many parents to provide for their children. If you pass early, would your spouse be able to provide tuition on their own to your children? The cost of college varies greatly depending on your personal education goals. Multiply the anticipated annual tuition cost by the number of years your child would attend.

Paying of debts can take a big financial burden off your family. Consider an amount to pay off outstanding loans, credit card debt, etc. This can help give your family a clean slate.

A Legacy is important to some people. This additional amount can be used for gifts, charitable contributions, or other needs for your family. Although, this amount is not a necessity it is often important to many people to leave something for their family or cause.

Add up your totals for the above six categories. This is the amount of life insurance that you should have. The chances are that this amount is a lot higher than expected. Life insurance can be very affordable depending on how old and healthy you are. The best way to find out is to call a local independent agent. An independent agent will be able to recommend exactly what kind of policy would be best for you.

After the Fire

The winter months are a common time for house fire due to Christmas lights, candles, fireplaces, and cooking accidents.  Everyone has been told what to do when a fire starts in your home, but what do you do after the fire is put out?

House Fire
Whats next after the fire?

Fire is a not the only thing that damages your home during a fire. After your house catches fire it will be exposed to the outdoor elements and the water pumped in to put the fire out. Within minutes, plastics and marble surfaces begin to permanently stain. Within hours, metals will tarnish, grout will stain, fiberglass and your furniture will begin to yellow. After several days if not treated right, you may lose fabrics, wood furniture and floors will stain. This is why when a fire kindles in your home it is very important what you do when the fire is put out.

First, you have an obligation to contact your insurance company. If you are insured with an independent agent like us at Griffin-Lantz Insurance, we will be able to refer you to a trusted company that will help restore and rescue your belongings. We are in constant contact with local trusted companies that can help you when time is the issue. Do not walk back into your house after the fire has been extinguished. The structure may be damage and may be at risk to collapse or fall through. Also, particles of incomplete combustion (PIC’s) remain in the air and on the surface after the fire is out. These PIC’s are carcinogens and are easily inhaled. These can be particularly damaging to those with respiratory concern.

Most importantly, we as your independent agent want to make sure you and your family are safe and have somewhere to stay. Your insurance policy should have a loss of use coverage that will put you in a comfortably living situation similar to your current home.