Renting a Car for Thanksgiving?
With so many people traveling to visit family friends over Thanksgiving, there are likely to be long lines at rental car companies across the country. Properly insuring a rental car can be tricky. Unfortunately, many consumers don’t even think about car rental insurance until they get to the counter, which can result in costly mistakes.
Before renting a car, we suggest that you make two phone calls-one to your insurance agent or company representative and another to the credit card company you will be using to pay for the rental car.
- Insurance Company: Find out how much coverage you currently have on your own car. In most cases, whatever coverage and deductibles you have on your own car would apply when you rent a car, providing you are using the car for pleasure and not for business. Remember, if you have dropped either comprehensive or collision on your own car as a way to reduce costs, you will not be covered if your rental car is stolen or damaged in an accident. In this case, you may want to purchase the collision damage waiver from the car rental company.
- Credit Card Company: Insurance benefits offered by credit card companies differ by both the company and/or the bank that issues the card, as well as by the level of credit card used. For instance, a platinum card may offer more insurance coverage than a gold card. To know exactly what type of insurance you have, call the 800 number on the back of the card you will be using to rent the car. If you are depending on a credit card for insurance protection, ask the card company or bank to send you their coverage information in writing. In most cases, credit card benefits are secondary to either your personal insurance protection or the insurance offered by the rental car company. If you have more than one credit card, consider calling each one to see which offers the best insurance protection and travel assistance services.
At the Rental Car Counter: Since insurance is state regulated, the cost and coverage will vary from state to state. Consumers, however, can generally choose from the following coverage’s:
- Collision Damage Waiver Sometimes referred to as a loss damage waiver, this is not technically an insurance product. Collision damage waivers do, however, relieve or “waive” renters of financial responsibility if their rental car is damaged or stolen. In most cases, waivers also provide coverage for “loss of use,” in the event the rental car company charges the renter for the time a damaged car can’t be used because it is being fixed.
- Liability Insurance Provides liability protection for up to $1 million. Rental companies are required by law to provide the state required amount of liability insurance. Generally, these amounts are low and do not provide much protection. If you are adequately insured on your own car, you may consider forgoing this additional liability protection. If you feel more comfortable with this supplemental insurance.
- Personal Effects Coverage Provides insurance for the theft of items in your car. If you have a home or renters insurance policy, you are generally covered for theft of your belongings away from home, minus the deductible. If you frequently travel with expensive items such as jewelry or sports equipment, it may be more cost-effective to purchase a floater under your home or renters insurance policies. This way, the items are fully protected with insurance at home as well as while traveling.
If you don’t own a car and are a frequent car renter, you may consider purchasing a non-owner liability policy. This not only provides liability protection when you rent a car, but also when you borrow someone else’s car. States have minimum age requirements to rent a car and some rental car companies now investigate your driving record and/or credit history; check with the rental car company before picking up the car.
Posted on November 1, 2017
I Got a Ticket. Should I go to Traffic School?
The easy way to start with this question is to state that if you have attended traffic school within the past 18 months, you can’t go again. However, I always tell customers that they absolutely should attend traffic school if they are eligible to do so.
There are two reasons for this. First, let’s follow the money. If somebody receives their first ticket, they may think “how bad can it be on my insurance”. It can be very bad. Depending on your insurance company, a first ticket can add anywhere from $80 to $200 to your auto insurance premium every six months. Using the low end of $80 (most companies are closer to the higher end of $200), that’s $480 over the three years that the ticket will be on your driving record. Whether you go to traffic school or not, you still have to pay for the ticket and the costs of traffic schools are pretty cheap these days. Why lose all that money when you have an opportunity to keep the ticket from showing up on your driving record?
The second reason is due to the Proposition 103 good driver discount. Prop 103, which was voted on in 1988 states that all auto insurers in the state of California must abide by certain rules. One of those rules pertains to the 20% good driver discount which all companies writing auto insurance in this state must give to any driver that qualifies.
To qualify, you are allowed one minor violation or one at-fault no-injury accident within the past three years. If you have two or more tickets, a ticket and an at-fault accident, or an at-fault accident with injury within the past three years, you are ineligible for the discount. Also, if you have had a major violation within three years such as a reckless driving ticket or going over 100mph, you do not qualify for the discount. If you have had a DUI within the past 10 years, you cannot receive the good driver discount (it used to be 7 years but legislation sponsored by Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) lengthened the time period. There can also be no driver’s license suspensions within the past 3 years.
“I only have one ticket so I receive the good driver discount. Why should I go to traffic school”? Again, see reason #1 above. Not only is there a huge cost involved but you also lose some of your cushion. What if I received a ticket and went to traffic school and received another ticket within 18 months? The second ticket will count against you but at least you don’t lose your 20% good driver discount. The second ticket is financially a killer! A third reason worth mentioning is if you don’t qualify for the good driver discount, you won’t qualify for most preferred driver programs. This means that you will end up paying a lot of money to be in a standard or non-standard program with a standard or non-standard insurance company. In this case, at least stay with a good independent agent that won’t take advantage of you or victimize the unknowing. So in conclusion, if you receive a ticket and can go to traffic school, you should do so!
Posted on October 18, 2017 by Tyler Campbell.
Winter is just around the corner! Here are some tips for winterizing your home.
With winter approaching, make sure to prepare your home and vehicles for colder weather. You can live more safely, save money, and keep comfortable throughout winter with a few simple steps!
At home: Have you...
- Cleaned the gutters? Clear debris from gutters and test downspouts for drainage to protect against water damage.
- Trimmed trees? Cut back dead or dying limbs and any branches that can touch the roof or siding. When it's windy, branches can rub or scratch the surfaces of your home and cause damage. They also could fall during a storm or break under heavy snow and ice.
- Stopped the air leaks? Eliminating air leaks will improve your home's comfort and efficiency. Your first stops should be the basement and the attic. Attic leaks allow warmed air to escape, and have the effect of drawing cold air in through basement leaks. Use a can of spray foam insulation to plug up the offenders in both areas.
- Scheduled a heating system inspection? Have your furnace professionally inspected and cleaned to reduce the risk of a breakdown and to keep the system running efficiently. If you have a fireplace, have your chimney professionally cleaned and inspected and ensure that your damper opens, closes, and seals tightly.
- Winterized outdoor faucets? Remove all hoses or devices attached to outdoor spigots. Have in-ground sprinkler systems blown out, and turn off water to outdoor spigots. Be sure to drain any water left behind in the pipes.
Your vehicle: Have you...
- Had your vehicle serviced? Ask your mechanic to perform an inspection: test the battery and brakes, inspect the exhaust, check the cooling system, check fluids, change the oil, and make sure all components are working properly. Check the vehicle's owner's manual for information on the correct fluid types and recommended service intervals.
- Checked the wiper blades? Inspect your wiper blades to make sure they're functional and in good condition. If you live in an area that typically sees lots of snow and ice, consider installing winter blades. Store an ice scraper in the car, and stock up on windshield washer fluid rated to withstand -30 degrees or lower temperatures.
- Monitored the fuel line? Today's ethanol fuels remove small amounts of water from your fuel system to help prevent freezing. In addition, you can help avoid freeze-ups by keeping your vehicle in a heated garage, avoiding refueling while the tanker truck is at the gas station (water and deposits from the tanker could end up in your fuel line), and by keeping your gas cap secured. Another solution: Always keep the tank at least half-full.
- Inspected the tires? Check for uneven wear, cupping, sidewall cracking, and other damage or deterioration. Also examine tire treads to make sure the grooves are deep enough to grip slick surfaces. If your tires fail any of these tests, replace them with all-season tires, or, in extreme winter environments, with winter snow tires. Wonder if your tires have enough tread? Try the penny test: Stick a penny (Lincoln head first) into one of the grooves that goes completely around the tire. If you can see the top of Lincoln's head, your tread is worn down below 2/32 of an inch and should be replaced.
- Stocked the trunk with emergency equipment? Essentials include: Flares, jumper cables, a shovel, a first-aid kit, a flashlight, extra batteries, non-perishable snacks, and cold-weather gear.
Here at G Stan Kearby Insurance, we strive to prevent the worst case scenario. While winter damage does happen, some of it is preventable! Please call us if you have any question at 530-674-3430.
Posted on October 5, 2017 by Tyler Campbell.
I don’t have flood insurance. Do I need it?
Here are some facts that most people do not realize when it comes to flood:
- Floods are the nation’s most common and costly natural disaster and cause millions of dollars in damage every year.
- Homeowners and renters insurance does not typically cover flood damage.
- Floods can happen anywhere–More than 20 percent of flood claims come from properties outside the high risk flood zone.
- Most federal disaster assistance comes in the form of low-interest disaster loans from U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) and you have to pay them back. FEMA offers disaster grants that don’t need to be paid back, but this amount is often much less than what is needed to recover. A claim against your flood insurance policy could and often does, provide more funds for recovery than those you could qualify for from FEMA or the SBA–and you don’t have to pay it back.
If you’re thinking about buying flood insurance, you may want to know a few things before you jump in. Flood insurance is available for commercial, home and property coverage. There are 3 main components to each policy:
- Building coverage pays to repair or replace the insured building and its foundation, electrical and plumbing systems, central air conditioning, furnaces and water heaters, refrigerators, stove, built in appliances and most other permanently installed items.
- Contents coverage provides payment for the contents of your home or building, such as clothing, furniture, electronic equipment, portable appliances, and larger removable items like washers and dryers.
- Replacement cost is a valuation method for establishing the value of insured property for purposes of determining the amount the insurer will pay in the event of a loss. It is typically defined as the cost to replace the damaged property with materials of like kind and quality, without any deduction for depreciation.
Basic building coverage is available up to $250,000 for home and up to $500,000 for commercial, while basic contents coverage is available up to $100,000 for home and $500,000 for commercial.
When you speak with your agent, you may decide that you need more coverage than is available in the basic plans. If so, you may opt for an ‘Excess Flood Policy’, which covers damage over and above your standard policy.
Clear as mud? Of course it is! We will lead you through the murky waters of flood insurance so that you can see how the pieces fit together and get the best coverage for your money.
Posted on September 26, 2017 by Tyler Campbell.
Let’s Chat About RV, Mobile Home and Boat Insurance
Insurance isn’t your typical water cooler chat, unless of course, you work in the industry. We’d like to change that! It’s summertime and that means you’re chatting with your friends, coworkers and family about next weekend’s plans and those just might include your RV or your boat. Maybe you have a manufactured home in a great vacation location that you’re planning to spend time at. Are you sure they’re all properly covered? See how easily chatting about your weekend plans can turn to the topic of insurance? So, seriously, let’s chat about RV, Mobile Home and Boat Insurance.
Breaking Down What’s Covered When You Insure Your RV, Mobile Home and Boat
At G. Stan Kearby Insurance, we understand that it can make your head spin when you think about getting proper coverage in any area of your life. That’s why we’re here! Let’s take a look at what each of these policies and why they’re important:
RV Insurance - Your RV deserves its own policy. In most cases a specialty RV insurance policy costs less than your auto policy and provides the important, comprehensive coverage you need. Simply adding your RV under your auto policy might leave you with surprises if you need to file a claim. Hit the road with peace of mind and proper coverage.
Mobile Home Insurance - Covering your mobile home, any additions it may have and your personal property within the structure are important and necessary. Protect your manufactured home against depreciation. Replacement Cost Coverage gives you the money you need to replace what’s damaged versus what it is worth. We’ll help you find the right policy at the right price for your individual needs.
Boat Insurance - Is there anything better than a day out on the boat? Yes, the confidence that your passengers, gear and boat are all properly covered. Get out on the water and focus on the fun without the worry of what could go wrong if you have to file a claim. Whether you’re taking out a small fishing boat, or a luxury yacht, finding the proper coverage for your specific needs is vital.
We’ve been helping customers get into the right policies for their individual needs for over 40 years. RV, Mobile Home and Boat Insurance are just a few of the policies we can help you with. Every policy is important and we’re dedicated to finding you exactly what you need.
Call us for a review of your current policies and for peace of mind 530-674-3430.
Posted on June 27, 2017 by Tyler Campbell.
Get Road Trip Ready! Vehicle Maintenance Tips for Summer
One of the most iconic images of summer is the family vehicle packed tightly and ready for a road trip. Almost all of us have memories from our childhood of our family’s summer road trip ventures. Movies, songs and jokes have been made about this tradition. We want to help you avoid having any of those Vacation scenes take root in your own family memories. We’ve put together these vehicle maintenance tips to help you and your family have a carefree road trip this summer.
Car Maintenance Tips for Summer
Get road trip ready! From bumper to bumper, roof to chassis, you want your vehicle checked out, aired up, fluids changed and filled before you hit the road! Your vehicle service department may offer a special package just for getting road trip ready. Ask them. Make sure each of these items gets checked off the list:
Battery - Have your battery tested, making sure it isn’t low. Getting stranded on the road with a dead battery does not make for fun road trip memories.
Brakes - Road trips usually have a destination, but there are always plenty of stops along the way. Make sure your brakes won’t cause you to breeze past stops you intended to make.
Belts - Inspect belts for wear or cracks.
Oil and Fluids - Getting an oil change before you hit the road and having all your fluids checked and filled are two easy ways to help your vehicle run more smoothly and reliably while you’re on the road.
Tires - When the rubber hits the road, you want to make sure there’s a safe amount! Check your tires to help avoid blowouts and flats along your journey. Have your tires rotated if it’s been close to 5,000 since their last rotation.
Lights - No need to meet local law enforcement because of a burnt out signal or headlight. Check all your bulbs so you can be well seen when on the road.
Air Conditioner - Things are heating up! Uncomfortable passengers do not make for happy road trips. Have your system checked for optimal comfort.
Emergency Kit - Have you prepared your emergency kit? Even with having your vehicle serviced, checked and prepared, there’s always the chance that something could go wrong. Carry an emergency kit in your vehicle and be sure to include these items:
- Jumper cables
- Nonperishable food
- Flares or reflective triangles
- Flashlight with extra batteries
- Rain gear/poncho or large garbage bags
- First aid kit
- Motor oil
- Knife or cutting tool
- Blankets (Space blankets are a great space saver)
Insurance - Avoid any unforeseen issues both at home and on the road while you’re away. Have a review of your policies done and drive off into the sunset with peace-of-mind.
It’s the perfect time for your road trip. These vehicle maintenance tips for summer will help you make memories that you’ll want to revisit!
Call us to review your policies (530) 674-3430
Posted on May 18, 2017 by Tyler Campbell.
Spring Cleaning Checklist for Your Home
Spring cleaning is on everyone’s mind, inside and out, it’s that time of the year! We want all our spaces checked and in good repair. While we get our office in order, we thought we’d help you keep everything neat, tidy and in good working order around your home. Our spring cleaning checklist for your home is a guide to help your home and your family stay safe and avoid home damage that can affect your peace-of-mind.
Our Indoor & Outdoor Spring Cleaning Checklist for Your Home
Inside Your Home -
- Appliances - These should be checked to make sure they’re still working properly, and those that that use water should be checked for any signs of leaking that can ultimately cause damage to your home's walls and floor.
- Refrigerator and Freezer - Deep cleaning your refrigerator and freezer should include checking for leaks underneath or behind the appliance.
- Sinks and Disposal - Check around your faucet and underneath for any signs of leaking.
- Dishwasher - Look for any signs of leaks, loose seals or damage.
- Toilets - Listen for running water or hissing and check for leaks.
- Washing Machine - Check for any water underneath or behind your washer.
- Hot Water Heater - Check your hot water heater’s pressure release valve. If you’re able to see the valve, check it for leaks. If it’s plumbed directly into a drain and you can’t see it, listen for a hissing sound.
- Change Air Filters - Keep dust and allergens from invading your home by replacing your air filters.
- Replace Batteries in carbon monoxide and smoke alarms - These important devices need annual battery changes to ensure they will work properly in case of an emergency, keeping your home and family safe.
Outside Your Home -
- Roof - A damaged and leaking roof can cause a multitude of grief for a homeowner. Check for any signs of leaking or damage and have them repaired promptly.
- Chimney - Schedule a cleaning with a professional chimney sweep. A buildup in your chimney is a fire hazard and can cause problems for your home and your family. Check the outside of your chimney for any signs of damage.
- Pest Control - Pests can cause problems to plumbing, wiring and even your family’s health. Have a pest control company ensure you’re pest-free, inside and outside your home.
Your Insurance Policy - Finally, don't forget to check your homeowner's policy and make sure everything you need is up to date.
To check your policy you can always schedule a complimentary call with Kearby Insurance by calling: (530) 674-3430.
Posted on May 1, 2017 by Tyler Campbell.
Flood Insurance Facts: What You Need to Know
Heavy rains and the recent emergency situation regarding the Oroville Dam have put flooding top-of-mind for many of us, making flood insurance more of a topic of conversation than usual. We’ve put together essential flood insurance facts in this blog so you can easily find what you need to know.
Flood Insurance Facts: What You Need to Know
First-of-all, it’s important that everyone know that no matter where you live, we are all in danger of flooding. If a pipe breaks in your home, or a window breaks during a storm and rain comes in, then the damage to your home and your possessions would be covered. However, if standing water from a storm, or water from a nearby flooded creek or mudflow came into your house you would not be covered at all. Homeowners insurance and flood insurance work together to make sure that your home and belongings are fully covered. Flood insurance is a vital part of being properly covered at all times.
Here are some facts to keep in mind:
- There is a 30-day waiting period for standard flood insurance coverage.
- There is a 15-day waiting period for catastrophic flood insurance coverage.
This makes getting proper coverage right now a vital part of your plan.
Additionally, you should know:
- In the last few years, all 50 states have been affected by flooding or flash floods.
- Homeowners Insurance does not include any flood damage.
- Everyone lives in a flood zone (it’s true!). Click here to view flood zones for more info.
Do renters need flood insurance?
Yes! Flooding is not covered at all under general renter’s insurance. You would be at a total loss should the apartment or home you are renting flooded.
In addition to proper coverage for after-the-fact, here are 3 basic flood prevention tips homeowners can take to help ensure minimal damage should you and your home face future flooding.
- Make sure your property has proper drainage in place. You might consider consulting a professional landscape architect to ensure both surface and subsurface drainage are in place.
- Keeps grates and basins cleared of debris. Periodically check that grates and drainage pipes are clog-free.
- Have debri-flow systems in place. You can find tips and instructions by clicking here.
These flood insurance facts are intended to help you better prepare you home and family in case of a flood. Don’t wait - Mother Nature isn’t!
Call us today for a review of your current policies 530-674-3430.
Posted on March 28, 2017 by Tyler Campbell.
Home Fire Prevention - Set Your Romantic Evening on Fire While Protecting Your Home
It’s the time of year when we plan romantic evenings to celebrate love. Often times this includes a cozy fire in the fireplace, candlelit tables, and home cooked meals. You can make it a night to remember, just don’t let your flaming heart and your best-laid plans translate into an accidental house fire! Keep reading for Home Fire Prevention tips that will let you focus on your romantic evening while protecting your home.
Home Fire Prevention Tips
Ready, Set, Romance! One of the first things that comes to mind when planning a romantic evening is candles. The gentle flickering and subtle glow of a candle’s flame helps us relax and shed the regular thoughts of our busy days. Unfortunately, burning candles are the cause of many preventable home fires each year. However, you don’t have to shy away from lighting your sweetheart’s favorite candle. Follow these simple tips to keep your home safe and your hearts burning:
- Keep lit candles safely away from all flammable materials.
- Never leave a burning candle unattended.
- If your candle is in a holder, be sure it’s not only sturdy but is placed where it won’t be easily knocked over. You don’t want to raise your glass to toast your love and accidentally knock over a candle.
Now that the candles are safely lit and placed, it’s time to get your fireplace burning with that cozy fire to cuddle up next to. These simple tips help you focus on the comfy feeling your fireplace can provide and not on quickly extinguishing a home fire or your love:
- Keep your chimney clean with annual, professional cleanings.
- The area within 3 feet of your fireplace needs to be free of all flammable items.
- Remove ash build up regularly.
- Let ashes cool before removing them.
- When a fire is burning in your fireplace keep a fire screen up, preventing flying sparks from entering the room.
The mood has been set, you’ve followed all the safety tips for your evening fire and your flickering candles and you can start that recipe that’s sure to show your sweetheart that you’ve got them on your mind. More home fires start in the kitchen than anywhere else in the home. Follow these tips to keep your love simmering and your home safe:
- Never leave cooking food unattended. Grease splatters can easily ignite a fire that can get out of control quickly.
- Don’t wear loose-fitting clothing when cooking. Long sleeves or a loose top can catch fire.
- Keep all flammable items well away from your cooking area. Wooden utensils, pot holders, and dishcloths should be kept away from the stove unless actively in use.
- Set a timer. This helps your love-focused brain remember that you’ve got something in the oven.
- Always double check that your stove and burners are off after you’re finished cooking.
Even the best intentions can be met with accidents and fires can start quickly. Be sure you have proper fire insurance for yourself, your home and your property. Peace of mind allows you to relax and enjoy the romance of the season better than anything else.
Is your home covered by fire insurance? Call us to review your current policy and to help you get the best coverage for all your needs: (530) 674-3430.
Posted on February 9, 2017 by Tyler Campbell.
New Year’s Resolutions that can Lower Your Insurance Rates
Sticking to your New Year’s resolutions can actually equal better insurance rates! Imagine working to improve yourself and then realizing that it’s saving you money! We think this is all the more reason to make 2017 the year you make and keep your resolutions! Check our list of resolutions that can help you slim your waistline while fattening your wallet.
5 New Year’s Resolutions that can Help You Lower Your Insurance Rates
- Lose those extra pounds - That’s right, keeping your BMI in the healthy range equals savings on your insurance rates. A slimmer, healthier you means a slimmer health insurance rate. Sounds like a win-win to us! Need help finding your BMI? Use the BMI calculator on webmd.com to see where you fall.
- Quit smoking - Non-tobacco users can save as much as 50% on their insurance premiums, compared to their tobacco-using counterparts. That’s a significant savings and a great reason to keep your 2017 resolution to be smoke-free!
- Create a safer home environment - Ask your homeowners insurance company or your agent (we can help) about safety and security discounts. Did you know that something as simple as cleaning out your garage so you can park the car inside may help reduce your rate? Looks like Saturday is going to be productive!
- Improve your credit score - This might seem like it has little to nothing to do with lowering your insurance rates, but credit is money and a better score can equal a better rate. Speak with your trusted financial advisor to make a plan to increase your score.
- Drive more safely - Turning off your cell phone, or keeping it out of reach can greatly reduce your risk of an accident. Distracted driving is a leading cause of accidents, which increase premiums. Focusing on your driving and leaving that call or text until you arrive safely at your destination can directly impact your rate.
Self-improvement is always a worthy resolution, but when you can work on a better you and lower your insurance rates at the same time, it’s a great way to start the new year!
Call us with all your insurance questions. We’re here to help! 530-674-3430
Posted on January 30, 2017 by Tyler Campbell.