Do you Really Need Full Coverage?

Written By Charlotte Insurance on March 29, 2016. It has 0 comments.

When living expenses and bills start piling up, it’s common to look around and wonder what you can cut to save some cash. You lower your cable from 300 channels to 30. Your internet connection may become a little slower. Do you really need all that data for your cell phone?

Next on your list of expenses to slash may be your auto insurance. Do you really need full coverage? While removing full coverage may save you some money in the short term, there are a number of things you need to consider first.


If you ask for “full coverage” when purchasing a policy, you’ll get liability protection, collision coverage, and comprehensive coverage. Liability protects other people when you cause an accident. Collision covers you when you’re in an accident – whether between you and another vehicle or you and an icy road. Comprehensive coverage protects you when your car is damaged by theft, fire, or the weather.


First, it’s important to know that you may not have the option of going without full coverage. If your vehicle is financed through a bank or other lender, you may be required to carry full coverage protection until you pay off your car or your lender releases you from the lien.

Next, you need to know what you give up when you remove full coverage and have liability-only insurance protection. The immediate cost savings can pale in comparison to what you will spend if you’re in an accident.

  • You’ll receive no payment for any damage to your car or medical costs for your injuries if you cause the accident. Even minor injuries can add up quickly.
  • You won’t be covered if your vehicle is stolen.
  • Full coverage also allows you to purchase additional add-ons to your coverage like roadside assistance, rental car reimbursement, or towing services. You’ll lose these if you go to liability only.
  • You’ll be responsible for weather related damage – like damage from a passing hail storm. Whether the damage is minor or severe, you’ll have to pay for it or drive around with a dented, bent-up vehicle.

Even if you think you’re an excellent driver, accidents still happen and sometimes the problem is between you and a wet, slick road or a deer that runs in front of your car out of nowhere. The small savings you see from dropping full coverage is nothing when you compare it to the cost of a new car.


There is one instance when full coverage may not be worth the cost. When the value of your vehicle drops so low that you’re spending more in insurance coverage than the amount you’d receive if it gets totaled, it may not make sense to continue with full coverage. But if you choose that option, make sure you have enough money in savings to cover the cost of repairs or to help purchase a new vehicle if you’re involved in an accident.

When you’ve got questions about your current auto insurance or you need a new policy, we’re here to help.

Home Maintenance Schedule

Written By Charlotte Insurance on March 22, 2016. It has 0 comments.

The best way to prevent accidents, make something last longer, and get the most value out of anything you buy is to take care of it. You take the time to maintain your car by getting your oil changed, your tires rotated, and your brakes checked. But do you take the same care when it comes to maintaining your home?

Take a look at these schedules to keep your home maintained throughout the year to stay safe, keep your home looking good, and make sure everything functions the way you need it to.


Certain things need to be done monthly, quarterly, or every six months, regardless of the season.


  • Check the air filters for your HVAC unit. Change or clean if they’re dirty or clogged.
  • Clean your kitchen sink garbage disposal. A handful of ice down the disposal is the quickest, cheapest method. Add some citrus peels to add a nice scent.


  • Run water and flush the toilets in spaces that are rarely used around your home or on your property – think hose spigots that aren’t used frequently, etc.
  • Test your smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors to make sure that they’re all functioning properly. Every Six Months
  • Replace the batteries in all of your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. You may be used to waiting until the detector beeps and screeches. Go ahead and change them out before this happens so you know that they’re working year-round.


As the seasons change, there is plenty to do around your home.


  • Clean your gutters and downspouts
  • Check your roof for any damage, missing shingles, or cracks
  • Touch up any peeling paint on the exterior of your home
  • Wash your windows – inside and out
  • Clean your outdoor furniture
  • Test your sump pump
  • Schedule a maintenance call for your HVAC system so you know your air conditioner will run in the warm months


  • Prune trees and shrubs, especially if you’ve got heavy, low-hanging branches over your home
  • Clean your dryer exhaust vent
  • Check your plumbing for leaks
  • Clean and repair your patio or deck, if needed


  • Rake fallen leaves
  • Clean and store away your outdoor furniture
  • Remove, drain, and store your hoses
  • Caulk cracks around doors and windows to keep cooler air out
  • Schedule maintenance for your HVAC unit to make sure your heater works
  • Cover your AC unit
  • Flush your hot water heater
  • Get your chimney cleaned if you have a fireplace


  • Check the caulk around your tubs and sinks
  • Fix any broken or sticky locks and deadbolts
  • Tighten handles and knobs around your home
  • After freezing weather, check for ice and de-ice where you can

It may seem hard to keep up with everything you need to do for your home, but if you keep everything on a schedule, you can maintain your home, stay safe, and keep your family comfortable all year long.

Starting a New Business? Follow this Checklist

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

pen, clip, and calculator image

Starting a new business is easier than ever with the help of technology and digital options. Even brick and mortar businesses have more options than ever before. No matter what business you’re starting, make sure you don’t forget the most important details.

Follow this checklist when starting your new business and get your business on track from the very beginning.


This is your guide to know what you’re going to do and how you’ll do it. This should include budgets, goals, tools, and methods you’ll use to begin your business. Keep this handy as you may be asked to show this when you begin to look at financing options.


You have more options for financing your new business than in years’ past. You can shoestring it, and use very little money to get started – this works best with online businesses where you offer a service. Talking to lenders is always an option, though. Investors are still a traditional method, but you now have the added option of crowdsourcing websites that allow people to invest as little or as much money as they choose.


Where will your business be located? Will you rent office space or buy a building? Knowing where you’ll house your business and what it will be called may be the very first thing you do, even before you complete your business plan or you may not have a firm idea until you get your financing lined up. But at some point, you’ll have to make a decision.


Talk to an attorney and an accountant for the best advice, but choosing your business’s legal structure helps protect your personal assets in case you hit financial problems or other snags. You’ll have several options, depending on the type of business you start: Limited Liability Company (LLC), sole proprietorship, partnership, corporation, non-profit, etc.


Don’t forget to register your business with your state, county, and/or city. You’ll also need to apply for a tax ID for your business in order to properly file your taxes. Different areas will require that you apply for specific licenses or permits in order to run your business whether it’s in your home or in a separate location.


Your business will need, at minimum, general liability insurance to protect you and your business if customers, vendors, or other non-employees are hurt or have their possessions damaged. If you have employees, you may need workers’ compensation insurance. If you own company vehicles or use your vehicle for work, you’ll need commercial auto insurance. Make sure you talk with an agent who can walk you through the different types of insurance available based on your business type.

Once you have the framework of your business in place, you’ll need to think about websites, marketing, banking, accounting, and a variety of other things to help your business run smoothly. Follow this checklist, and you’ll start your business off on the right foot, knowing both you and your business are protected, especially after you find the right insurance coverage for you.

If you’ve got questions about business insurance for a new or existing business, we’re here to help. Give us a call, and let us help you protect your growing business.

How to Protect yourself from Identity Theft

Written By Charlotte Insurance on March 15, 2016. It has 0 comments.


Every day you hear about another security breach of a company that accepts payments, prompting all of its’ customers to worry about their identity. Turn on the news, and you’ll hear that identity theft is on the rise. Let’s face it – identity theft is a real concern for everyone. According to the Federal Trade Commission, 9.9 million people a year are affected by identity theft, and every minute, another 19 people have their identity stolen in some way.

Identity theft can take several different forms. It happens when someone uses your personal information without your permission. With your name, address, social security number, and date of birth, a thief can open new lines of credit, steal money from your bank accounts, get medical care, and even get a job.

Follow these steps to protect yourself and your loved ones from identity theft.

  1. Use a cross-cut shredder to shred all documents with your personal information: bank statements, credit card offers, anything with your address on it.
  2. Encrypt any emails or files that have your personal information before you send it electronically.
  3. Use and update computer firewalls, anti-virus software, and anti-spyware software. Without these, you’re open to having your information stolen while you’re on your computer.
  4. Use strong passwords. “1234” and “password” are awful passwords. Don’t use your children’s name or your mother’s maiden name. The strongest passwords combine letters, numbers, and special characters.
  5. Change your password frequently. Don’t repeat your former passwords. They become too easy to guess after a while.
  6. Avoid phishing scams. Don’t open suspicious emails, and don’t click links in those emails. Your bank, credit card company, or any other business you work with won’t send you an email asking you to give them your personal information (address, passwords, etc.) again. They already have that information.
  7. Check your credit reports at least twice a year. You can receive a free credit report once a year from the three major credit reporting agencies: Experian, TransUnion, and Equifax.
  8. Keep your social security number to yourself. Don’t carry your card in your wallet.
  9. Consider adding identity theft protection to your homeowner’s insurance. It’s an add-on product that can help you get through the legal process if your identity is stolen and can monitor your credit reports and other records to look for potential signs that your identity has been stolen before too much damage has been done, if any.

While there are plenty of things you can do to protect your identity, it helps to know that you’re covered if the worst happens. Using your homeowner’s insurance to help protect you is a great way to take some of the stress out of the situation and feel confident that no matter what happens, you’re not alone in this.

If you’d like to discuss adding identity theft protection to your homeowner’s policy, contact Charlotte Insurance today.

14 Spring Cleaning Tips

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

Spring is right around the corner! It’s a fresh start, beautiful weather, and time to start new things. But first, it’s time to clean and refresh everything in your life.

Here are some tips to help you tackle your spring cleaning and the beginning of a new season.

  1. Clean your windows, inside and out, to let the sunshine in. White vinegar and newspaper or coffee filters will get them squeaky clean with minimal cost or time spent and none of that annoying lint.
  2. Dust light bulbs with a microfiber cloth, just make sure to unscrew them first. When dust collects, the heat from the bulb will burn the dust and cause a smoky smell that isn’t pleasant.
  3. Clean your window blinds. Take them down from the window and bring them outside. Wipe off the dust, and then use a cleanser to clean them further to remove stains and smells.
  4. Change your heavy bedding and air out and wash your thickest comforters.
  5. Don’t forget your ceiling fans. Clean the blades by wiping away dust with a dry cloth and then following up with a wet cloth. In the winter, your fan should turn clockwise to move the warm air through your home. Once the weather warms up, make sure the fan blades rotate counterclockwise.
  6. Clean your refrigerator. Throw away anything old and moldy and wipe down all the shelves and drawers.
  7. Deep clean your carpets and rugs. If you don’t own a steam cleaner, you may be able to rent one from a local home improvement store.
  8. Take down your curtains and clean them according to manufacturer instructions. You may need to dry clean them or just throw them in the washing machine.
  9. Replace the batteries in your smoke detectors even if they’re not beeping like crazy yet. Consider this preventative medicine to keep your home safe in the year ahead.
  10. Use a brush to clean dirt and dust from screens covering your windows, on your back patio, or your screened doors.
  11. Use vinegar to clean the lime build up from your faucets and showerheads. Dampen a paper towel with vinegar and place it over the faucet. This should loosen things up so you can rinse away the build up.
  12. Bring your outdoor furniture out of storage, clean it off, and get ready to enjoy the beautiful weather outside!
  13. Clean off your back patio and repair any cracked or broken decking or bricks.
  14. Check your lifehealthauto, and homeowner’s insurance policies to make sure they’re still current. Think about life changes you’ve had over the previous year, and make sure your insurance reflects those changes – new baby, additions to your home, new job, etc.

It may seem strange to think about your insurance while you’re in the middle of spring cleaning, but the easiest way to make sure you remember it is to schedule a time each year when you can add it to your to-do list. Spring is a great time to refresh and renew many things in your life – especially the protection you have for yourself, your family, and your home.