An End to Google Compare

Written By Charlotte Insurance on February 26, 2016. It has 0 comments.

We can find almost anything we need online these days, can’t we? From the ability to receiving pet food and treats through a monthly subscription to researching, applying for, and getting a car loan, we can do it with an internet connection and a keyboard. But some things really do require a personal touch and individual contact.

Just ask Google who announced on February 22 that they will end their experiment known as Google Compare, less than a year before they’d begun. It was supposed to be a place for people to find auto insurance rates, credit cards, and mortgages. As of March 23, both the U.S. and UK Google Compare sites will no longer exist.

When Google Compare first came on the market, the insurance world cringed. Some people thought this was the end of the insurance as we know it. A few experts even claimed that 10,000 agents would be out of a job. With Google getting out of the insurance market, citing their lack of success, it proves yet again that independent agents offer something that an automated quote engine just can’t – the knowledge and relationship of a trusted advisor.

Although some insiders say the timing of the announcement isn’t unusual as Google will often go through a “spring cleaning” of products that don’t perform to expectations, it should also be noted that several things went wrong for Google Compare. The site failed to attract large insurance companies like Allstate and Progressive. They also only launched in four states when they’d predicted they’d be in more than 20 by this point.

What Google failed to understand, and what a recent report by the Deloitte Center for Financial Services shows is that 83 percent of small businesses are satisfied with their insurance agent. Even more telling is that the vast majority of auto insurance policies are completed with the help of an agent – even with all of the online options available. Getting the right auto policy is too important to leave to an internet automation system.

When you’re ready to update or change your auto insurance policy or if you’re purchasing a new policy for your business or yourself, you need to work with someone who understands your options and can help you find the best coverage for your needs. Here at Charlotte Insurance, we have the knowledge, skill, and dedication to help you do just that. We can answer all of your questions and help you find the right coverages for you.

Boomerang Kids and your Insurance

Written By Charlotte Insurance on February 26, 2016. It has 0 comments.

Once your child left home – for college or just to be out on their own – you thought that was it; one less person in your house. Think again.

After graduating college or living on their own for a while, your child may be one of the four million adults between the ages of 25 and 34 asking to move back in with their parents. They need to save money while they get back on their feet or find that first job, and as their parent, you want to help.

Here are some things you need to consider before move in day.


Does your child have health insurance coverage? If they’re 26 or younger, you can add them back to your policy during open enrollment. For boomerang kids a little older, everyone needs to think about what will happen if they get sick or injured. Coverage through an employer is ideal, but if they don’t have full-time employment, purchasing their own may be the wisest financial decision.

Ask yourself who’s going to pay for the MRI if they get hurt or the tests and medication if they become sick. As their parent, you’ll do your best to help them pay their medical bills, but paying the premiums for a health insurance policy may make more financial sense – at least until they can cover those costs on their own.


Ideally, your adult kids will have their own car and deal with the payments, gas, and auto insurance on their own. You may want to set that as an expectation before they move in. But what if your child doesn’t own a car?

If you anticipate that your child will want or need to drive any of your vehicles, call your auto insurance provider sooner rather than later. Adding your child to your policy may cause a bump in the premium, but compare that to the costs you’ll face if they get into an accident while driving your car.


The good news is that when your child moves back home, their stuff will be covered under your homeowner’s insurance policy, but that’s not the end of the story. You’ll still want to take a look at your policy limits. If your child has any high-value jewelry, electronics, or other valuables, your policy may not cover their full replacement value. You may need to add coverage for those specific items so that if they’re damaged or stolen, they can be replaced.

Having your kids come back home again might not be what you imagined when you sent them out into the world, but you never stop being their parent, either. There’s nothing wrong with taking care of them a little longer, just make sure you take care of yourself and your insurance coverage, too.

If you’ve got your own boomerang kids and have questions about how your insurance policies may need to change, contact us here at Charlotte Insurance. We’re here to help.

Thanks to Flickr user Nicolas Huk for the image!

More than an Insurance Agent – A Risk Manager

Written By Charlotte Insurance on February 23, 2016. It has 0 comments.

You’ve worked hard to build your net worth, and you still see more growth in sight. In the business world, you work with risk managers to make sure your business is protected and the risks associated with that business are minimized. As a high net worth individual you need something similar in your personal life.

Instead of the typical “insurance agent” to help you protect your personal assets and investments, you need someone to help you effectively manage all of the risks that come with your lifestyle. You need a risk manager.

There are excellent insurance agents in the industry who do a wonderful job. Several of them work here in our office. But in your unique position, you need something more. You need someone who can identify, assess, and help you control the economic risk from loss or damage to your personal assets and investments. The average insurance agent cannot help you with this.

A risk manager as your agent will know that the standard homeowner’s insurance coverages aren’t enough for your home and property. They’ll offer higher deductible auto insurance plans knowing you’re in a position to afford it and save you money on your premiums. They can help you with the necessary appraisals and other information for your valuables in order to have itemized coverage in the event of loss or damage. A risk manager will be able to ask the right questions, understand the difference in your lifestyle from that of the typical customer and adjust so that you have the right coverage for your unique needs.


With our Private Client Services, you’ll work with risk managers who have the expertise to handle your unique situation. These agents know the right questions to ask, what to look for, and the different types of coverage available to protect you, your family, and your assets.

They can help you determine the right coverage for a variety of issues unique to your life:

You not only need a risk manager that can help you protect what you’ve built and the family you love, you need someone with complete discretion and professionalism. Your life is not something to be discussed around the water cooler. Our highly skilled agents will safely, effectively, and thoroughly guide you through finding the right policies and helping you protect your family, assets, investments, and yourself. The team at Charlotte Insurance will be your personal risk managers.

Our Private Client Services are available to meet your needs. Contact us today to begin the discussion on how to best manage your personal risk.

Cyber Liability Insurance for Retail Businesses

Written By Charlotte Insurance on February 17, 2016. It has 0 comments.

Credit card image

With announcements starting in 2011, by now, you’ve learned that debit and credit cards are transitioning to chip technology. You may even have received one or two for your own personal accounts by now. As of October 1, 2015, point-of-sale machines at all U.S. retailers needed to be able to handle chip technology.

Why is this important? Because as of October 2015, the liability for credit card fraud shifted from banks to retailers.


Over the past several years, credit card fraud and theft has become a multi-billion dollar problem each year. Faced with an ever-growing problem with no end in sight, the Payment Card Industry (PCI), a self-regulating body overseeing any entity that accepts or issues payment cards, set a new rule. By 2015, point-of-sale (POS) machines needed to accept “chip cards.”

The shift in technology from the standard magnetic stripe to an embedded chip in each card is meant to reduce fraud, save money, and protect card holders. In the past, all of the data on the card was stored in the magnetic stripe, permanently, which meant it could be duplicated. With this new technology, the chip issues a one-time use code to authorize payment. Even if someone has the code, due to a security breach, it can’t be used a second time.


Credit card fraud and data breaches are often covered under cyber liability insurance – depending on the policy. If you’ve never considered this type of coverage before, now is the time. If one of your customers’ accounts are breached when they used a “chip card” in your establishment, you can be held liable for the damages.

Cyber liability insurance covers different types of breaches: privacy breaches, viruses, cyber extortion, denial of service attacks, data destruction, and more. Currently, some policies don’t mention “chip card” breaches, while others very clearly require compliance with the PCI – which says you must have a POS machine with a chip reader. If you don’t have that technology yet, begin working on getting it now.

When a breach occurs in your business relating to credit card information or other personal data, as the business owner, you’re obligated to:

  • Notify everyone in your database affected by the breach – this could be thousands of people
  • Pay for credit monitoring services for everyone affected for a specific amount of time
  • Pay damages if found liable for the breach
  • Possibly pay legal fees and court costs associated with any judgments against you

With cyber liability insurance, those costs are covered, and instead of being bankrupted by a breach, you can work on dealing with security issues and winning back the trust and confidence of your customers.

If you haven’t switched out to new POS machines for your business, make sure to start as soon as possible. If you don’t have cyber liability coverage for your business, contact us today and let us help you protect your business.

The Importance of Uninsured Motorist Coverage

Written By Charlotte Insurance on February 11, 2016. It has 0 comments.

Accidents can happen in the blink of an eye. One moment, you’re driving down the highway, jamming out to your favorite song, and the next, your car is hit from behind and you’re thrown forward, slammed into the airbags.

As if this wasn’t bad enough, you’ve been hit by one of the 28 million drivers across the country who doesn’t have auto insurance. What happens now?

The road is filled with uninsured and underinsured drivers. Adding coverage to your auto insurance policy can protect you if you get into an accident with one of them.


If you had hit them, your insurance would be the one to take care of everything, but that didn’t happen here. Because North Carolina is what is known as a “tort” state, this means car insurance companies pay damages based on who’s at fault. When the person who causes the accident doesn’t have auto insurance, you’re the one left dealing with the expenses.

The only way to attempt to get the damages paid by the driver is to take them to court and sue them. It’s highly unlikely they can or will be able to pay, even with a judgment in your favor. It’s much better to carry uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage instead.


Uninsured and underinsured motorists are two different people. Uninsured means they have zero auto insurance coverage while underinsured means they have some but not enough to cover the costs of a serious accident.

When you purchase coverage to protect against either type of driver, you’ll have bodily injury and property damage coverage. Bodily injury means your medical expenses, lost wages, and other expenses related to the injuries you sustain will be covered. Property damage covers the repairs to your vehicle. Both types of coverage only pay up to the limit you select when you add it to your auto insurance policy.

If the other driver is uninsured, all expenses up to your capped limit will be paid. With underinsured drivers, their insurance will pay up to their limits, and then your insurance will pick up the rest – again, up to the limit you select when you purchase your coverage. Consider those limits carefully so you’re not stuck paying out of pocket after a really bad accident.

With uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage, you can drive easier knowing that if the worst happens and you’re in an accident, you’ll still be covered, even if the other driver isn’t.

If you’d like to discuss uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage in more detail or receive a quote for a new policy, contact us here at Charlotte Insurance. We’re here to help.

This Valentine’s Day, Give the Gift of Security

Written By Charlotte Insurance on February 9, 2016. It has 0 comments.

“Love is that condition in which the happiness of another person is essential to your own.” — Robert Heinlein

When you truly love someone, you want the best for them. You make sacrifices for the people you love, you worry for them, and you work hard to make them happy. Often, you take care of the people you love more than you take care of yourself. Love can be a beautiful thing, especially when it’s returned in the way it’s given.

This Valentine’s Day, the last thing you want to think about is leaving the one you love. Instead, consider how you can continue taking care of them, even when you’re no longer able to be there with them.

Life insurance means financial security and a few less worries for your loved one when you can’t be there with them anymore. This Valentine’s Day, give the one you love the most the gift of security, the gift of knowing that when you can’t be there to take care of them anymore, you will make sure they have a little less to worry about.


It’s a common misconception that only a married people with children need life insurance. In reality, it’s something everyone needs. If you’re in a committed relationship, even without an official marriage, you may still want to make sure your partner isn’t worrying about credit cards or the mortgage once you’re gone.

Are your children all grown and taking care of themselves just fine? You could purchase a life insurance policy and name your grandchildren as the beneficiaries. It’s a lasting way to make sure their education is taken care of and they have what they need from Grandma or Grandpa.

If you love someone who depends on you for anything – financial, emotional, or physical needs – giving them the gift of security when they’ll need it the most is priceless. Spouse, partner, child, or sibling, it doesn’t matter. You can breathe a little easier knowing you’ve taken care of them one last time.


You’ll need to do just a few things when you’re ready to purchase life insurance.

  • Think about the future expenses or current debt – the amount due on the mortgage, the cost of college, etc – and estimate the amount of coverage you want to buy.
  • Don’t procrastinate. Take care of it while it’s on your mind.
  • Talk to a professional insurance agent. We can walk you through your options and help you through the entire process.

Are you ready to give someone you love the gift of security this Valentine’s Day? Contact us here at Charlotte Insurance and let’s discuss your life insurance policy options.

Throwing a Super Bowl Party?

Written By Charlotte Insurance on February 5, 2016. It has 0 comments.

carolina panthers flag image

Our very own Carolina Panthers won their last game and are headed to the Super Bowl! Everyone is excited and proud, and you’re looking forward to inviting your friends over to watch the big game.

You’ve got a new TV. The beer is already chilling in the fridge, and your liquor cabinet is stocked up. There will be a ton of good food, too. You’re going to invite your best buds and a few people from work to watch the big game.

Before you get too excited and invite everyone you know, keep a few things in mind.


There’s a term you need to know: social host liability. It’s a legal term for the responsibility a person who offers alcohol has to a guest. This can be in your home or in another location, but it’s most common at home.

If one of your guests has too much to drink and drives, causing an accident, you could be held accountable by their victim. In another scenario, if one of your guests, while drunk, goes too far with another one of your guests, harming them in some way, you could be held responsible. What does that mean? The victims of your drunk houseguest could sue you – and possibly win.

If you’re serving alcohol this Super Bowl Sunday, take a few precautions:

  • Don’t allow underage drinking.
  • If possible, hire a professional and licensed bartender who knows how to spot someone who’s had too much and cut them off.
  • Encourage designated drivers to attend.
  • Offer non-alcoholic beverages.
  • Serve plenty of food.
  • Stop serving alcohol to anyone who’s obviously intoxicated, and stop serving an hour or two before the party is over.
  • Offer to call a cab for anyone who’s had too much to drink.


Before anyone arrives, take a look around your home and make sure you’ve taken care of anything that could cause an accident. You don’t want anyone to slip and fall and injure themselves.

  • Check around all doorways and fix any broken or rotting steps or handrails.
  • Fix broken or rotting boards on your deck.
  • Restrain your dog or put him in another room during the party to avoid allergies, accidents, or possible dog bites.
  • If you have a pool, make sure the fence is locked up tight and let any parents of small children know you have a pool so they can watch out for their kids.

No one wants to believe a family member, friend, or co-worker will sue if they have an accident in your home, but it happens every day. Do your best to prevent accidents before they happen.


Talk to your insurance agent about an umbrella insurance policy before the party. You’ll be protected in the event one of your guests causes an accident after your party or gets into one while they’re in your home, especially if the damages for the accident or injury are over and above your insurance limits.

Umbrella insurance policies pay for claims not covered by homeowner’s insurance. It also helps pay legal fees and damages if you get sued. The amount covered is up to a limit you choose when you purchase the policy so it pays to know your policy limits for your homeowner’s insurance as well. Depending on the amount of coverage you select, umbrella insurance can be very affordable and in the event someone gets hurt or causes an accident during your Super Bowl party, it will be money well spent.

If you’d like to discuss umbrella insurance coverage or go over the details of what your homeowner’s insurance policy covers prior to your next party, contact us here at Charlotte Insurance today. And, don’t forget – Go Panthers!

Thanks to Flickr user James Willamor for the great image!

Winter Storm Safety Tips

Written By Charlotte Insurance on February 1, 2016. It has 0 comments.

Winter storm Jonas was brutal, and for those who don’t usually experience that kind of weather, you might not have known exactly how to prepare yourself or handle the cold. Now is the time to get yourself ready in case we get hit with another bad storm this winter.

Take a look at these tips so you’re prepared for the next storm.


Thanks to rain, sleet, snow, and ice, your home is a target for potential damage during a winter storm. Here are a few things you can do to protect your home and yourself during bad winter weather:

  • Keep a supply of batteries, small lanterns, candles, and lighters/matches on hand in case the power goes out.
  • Add foam insulation around pipes prior to the start of a storm to help keep them from freezing.
  • Run your faucets at a slow drip to prevent water from freezing in the pipes.
  • Disconnect hoses from all outside faucets and spigots and drain them. Cover the spigots with an insulated dome.
  • During calm weather, add extra insulation in your attic to help keep your home warmer.
  • Consider updating your windows to help keep cold air out. If that’s not an option, use caulk to seal cracks around the windows and cover them with plastic.
  • Make sure your snow blower and shovels are in good working condition.


There are things you can do to keep you and your family safe and warm during a bad storm.

  • Wear extra layers of clothing.
  • Create a disaster kit with flashlights, blankets, water, non-perishable food, warm clothing, and socks.
  • Refill your prescriptions before the storm hits.
  • Make sure you have enough food and water for each person in your home for 72 hours.
  • Keep your phone and other electronic devices fully charged at all times so they can be used if the power goes out.
  • Bring your pets inside and make sure you have blankets and food for them, too.


It’s easy to forget about your vehicle until you really need it. Here are a few things that you can do to make sure that your car is ready for the next big storm.

  • Fill up your gas tank before the storm hits. This will help you avoid long gas lines when the storm is over.
  • Stay off of the roads, if possible. Try not to drive unless you have no choice.
  • If you have to be out on the roads, keep a disaster kit with you at all times.
  • Keep your car maintained. Check the battery, oil, and tires prior to the storm.
  • Pull your windshield wiper blades up before the snow hits to prevent them from freezing to your windshield.

Hopefully, we’ve seen the last of the bad weather this winter, but just in case, make sure you have what you need to ride out the storm and prevent as much damage as possible to you or your home.

If you need to know what kind of damage is covered by your homeowner’s insurance or if you need a quote for a new policy, give us a call.