Insuring your Vacation Home

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

You’ve dreamed of owning a bungalow on the beach, or maybe a cabin in the mountains, for years. It was your gift to you and your family for all your hard work. Finally, you have the vacation home of your dreams. The family vacation trips are being planned at this very moment. Everyone is going to have so much fun.

Before you start packing your bags, make sure that you’ve protected your vacation home.


Your homeowner’s insurance policy on your primary residence isn’t going to cover your vacation home. In some instances the liability portion of your coverage might extend to your vacation home, but not always. You’ll need a separate policy for your second home, but it may be a little different than what you’re used to.

Coverage: Some carriers offer coverage similar to the coverage you have on your primary home. Others do not. It’s very common to see coverage for “named perils” – specific incidents when coverage will apply like lightning damage, smoke damage, or theft.

Occupancy: Because your vacation home isn’t occupied much of the time, carriers will consider the potential for undetected threats such as burglary, theft, or fire.

Location: Vacation homes can be purchased anywhere but many are either very close to the water with potential for damage from flooding or in remote areas making it difficult for emergency crews to reach a home to put out a fire. This will affect the type and cost of coverage available.


Coverage for the property isn’t the only type of coverage you’ll want to consider for your vacation home.

  • Personal property insurance is necessary for your “toys” like jet skis, high-priced electronics, and other fun things you use on vacation. It’s good to create a home inventory and keep it current as you add more items.
  • Flood insurance may be required if you live in high risk zones and have a mortgage. It’s a good idea to have for anyone near the water, even in moderate or low risk zones. A standard policy doesn’t protect you when it floods.
  • Umbrella policies cover the unexpected and give you additional protection. If something happens that’s not covered by your policy or the damage is greater than your policy limits, umbrella insurance will bridge the gap.

If you decide to rent out your home when you’re not there to enjoy it, you may need to purchase additional coverage. Most policies don’t cover the damage caused by renters. If you decide to remodel any part of your vacation home, let your insurance agent know so you have the right amount of coverage to protect your home as you add on and upgrade.

When you’re ready to discuss insurance options for your vacation home or if you want to make sure you have enough coverage, give us a call here at Charlotte Insurance. We want to make sure your vacation home is protected so that you have many years of memories to build with your family.

4 Ways to Lower your Experience MOD

Written By Charlotte Insurance on April 21, 2016. It has 0 comments.


Does it feel like your worker’s compensation premiums do nothing but go up? You’re sick and tired of paying more money but there isn’t anything you can do. Or is there?

Lowering your Experience Mod can lower your workers’ comp costs.


In order to lower your Experience Mod, or “Ex Mod” as it’s often called, you need to understand how it relates to your worker’s comp coverage. Your premiums are calculated using 3 factors: the rate of each payroll classification, the total amount of payroll for each classification, and your Experience Mod.

The rate for the different calculations is set by the National Council on Compensation Insurance, so there’s no changing that. Your payroll amount is set by your staffing level – cutting staff or slashing payroll isn’t an effective way to grow your business. That leaves your ex mod.

Your experience mod represents the total cost of your claims history for the past three years. Your company is assigned an ex mod based on how you compare with other companies in your state with the same job classification codes. If you have higher than average workers’ comp claims, you’ll have a higher ex mod and higher premiums.


Because it’s the only factor in determining your workers’ comp costs that you have control over, lowering your experience mod is a good goal to have. Here are a few ways to get that number lower and save money.

Implement a return-to-work program. When an employee is out of work with a workers’ comp claim, they’re still getting paid, but you’re not getting any productivity out of them. Every dollar they receive as part of the claim adds up. Bringing employees back to work, even on light or modified duty, lowers the total cost of a claim, and you’ll get some productive work from them in the process.

Follow a good safety program. Teaching your employees how to stay safe and properly use equipment will prevent accidents. Following a specific protocol for all accidents will make sure things are reported timely and further injuries are prevented. When everyone is aware of the importance of safety on the job, claims go down.

Don’t use uninsured subcontractors. When your subcontractors don’t have their own workers’ comp coverage, they’ll be covered under yours. This is bad if there’s an accident. You’ll be paying higher workers’ comp costs for people who aren’t even your employees.

Classify every employee correctly. It may seem easy to classify everyone the same way, but you’re giving away money when you do that. Administrative and clerical classifications will have different rates than warehouse workers and different statewide comparisons. This one change could save you a bundle.

Don’t pay anymore than you have to for your Charlotte workers compensation insurance. Lower your claims and classify your employees correctly and you may be surprised at how much you save.

If you’ve got questions about your workers’ compensation policy or you want a quote for a new policy, contact Charlotte Insurance today. We’re here to help you and your business.

Top 9 Traffic Violations and How to Avoid Them

Written By Charlotte Insurance on April 19, 2016. It has 0 comments.

The more times you’re stopped by a police officer or highway patrol officer and drive away with a ticket, the more you’ll pay for your auto insurance in Charlotte. Traffic violations are common and while not everyone is stopped for every mistake, those who get caught will pay the price – for the ticket and in your insurance.

Avoid these top traffic violations and you’ll pay less for your insurance and stay safer on the road.


We’re probably all a little guilty of this one. Speeding is the biggest reason for higher insurance rates because it’s the most common traffic violation. It also results in more accidents, which increase your rates. The best way to avoid the problem is to pay attention to and drive the posted speed limit. Using cruise control can help here, as well.


Running stop signs are also included in this one. While you may feel like you’re in a big hurry, not coming to a complete stop will result in a ticket. Slow down when you see a yellow light, instead of speeding up. Don’t turn on red unless it’s clear – and only if there are no signs prohibiting it. Pay attention and be on the lookout for stop signs. Running stop signs and read lights, whether intentionally or unintentionally, causes many accidents.


It’s easy to panic when you realize you need to turn left but you’re in the right lane. Instead of making that turn anyway, resulting in a ticket and an accident, pass your turn, drive ahead, and turn around when you can. Everyone will be safer when you do.


Some of us remember the days when no one wore a seatbelt, but those days are long gone. If you’re caught, you will get a ticket for it. And f you’re in an accident, there’s a good chance you’ll be seriously injured. Buckle up out there.


Tailgating leads to fender benders. When you’re the one driving too closely and you cause an accident, you’ll be the one at fault. Don’t be surprised if the officer on the scene writes you a ticket, too.


It’s easy to forget the things we learned in driver’s ed, so here’s a quick lesson. If the lines in the middle of the road are solid, it’s a no passing zone. This happens most frequently in spots when visibility is reduced – hills, curves, and small back roads. It can lead to a ticket and an accident.


Don’t drink and drive, no matter what. You put yourself, your passengers, and every driver on the road with you at risk. Not only will you get a traffic violation, you may end up in jail, too. Get a designated driver, call a cab, use an app like Uber, or simply don’t drink when you know you have to drive.


Stopping on the tracks, going around the crossing arms when they’re down, and ignoring the flashing red lights will cause two things: a traffic violation and a major accident, one you probably won’t survive. Keep the tracks clear, even when you can’t see or hear a train coming, because you never know.


Weaving in and out of traffic without looking out for other drivers is dangerous and costly. We’ve all seen someone cut across from the left lane all the way to the right lane at the last minute. Everyone is at risk when that happens.

These are unsafe behaviors that violate the law, and they put you and everyone else that you share the road with at risk. If you want to lower your Charlotte auto insurance rates and avoid accidents, follow all traffic laws, slow down a little, and pay attention to your surroundings.

When Should you Buy Life Insurance?

Written By Charlotte Insurance on April 13, 2016. It has 0 comments.

We make plenty of decisions throughout our life. Some are determined by how old we are, others by how much money we make. We know when to get a driver’s license, when we can rent a car, and eventually when we can buy a home.

How do you know when to buy life insurance? Here are a few good ways to tell when it’s time to buy a life insurance policy.


Life insurance will be a way to make sure your spouse and family can cover the everyday expenses that your salary takes care of when you die. You don’t have to worry about the bills not getting paid and the additional financial stress for your spouse to deal with.


Now you’ve got even more people to love and want to protect. Of course we all hope and assume we’ll be around to see our kids grow up and go off to college. Life insurance makes sure no one has to give up on their dreams because your life was cut short.


Your home may be the biggest financial decision you ever make. If you have life insurance, it can be used to pay off the mortgage if something happens to you. Your family won’t have to worry about whether they can continue living in the home they know and love.


When you’re a single parent, every day is spent worrying about what will happen to your children when you’re no longer around. With a life insurance policy, you can take another step in making sure your kids are well taken care of no matter what happens to you.


Maybe you have a sibling with special needs who lives with you or you care for an aging parent full time. What will happen to them when you’re no longer around to take care of them? A life insurance policy gives you peace of mind that their care can continue even after you’re gone.


Somewhere along the way, someone helped you get a new car or a home and cosigned a loan with you. You don’t want them to be stuck with an unexpected expense when you die. Life insurance can pay those expenses.


Your IRA or 401k isn’t growing the way you expected. The company you gave 30 years to didn’t offer a pension or it’s been shrunk to something unrecognizable. Someday you may leave behind people who rely on your income and a few unpaid bills. With a life insurance policy, your family won’t have to worry where the money will come from.


As a business owner, you’re constantly thinking about the growth of your company and how it can help you provide for your family. If you die unexpectedly, life insurance can pay off business debts or help your business partner buy out your part of the business with a buy-sell agreement so your family gets the money and your partner gets the business.

Throughout your life, there will be plenty of reasons to buy a life insurance policy. If you’ve hit any of these milestones, don’t let another day go by without protecting those you love from the unexpected costs and financial stress of your death.

When you’re ready to discuss life insurance policy options, contact us at Charlotte Insurance. We want to help you protect what you value most.

What you Need to Know About Data Breaches

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

Data breaches are inevitable. Could your business be next?

We’re living in the most technologically advanced time in history. There’s more computing power in our smartphone than what was used to send men to the moon. Buying products or services can be done at the touch of a button or the scan of a screen.

The world has gone digital, and so has our data. Because of this, data breaches are common and inevitable.


A survey by the Kaspersky Lab showed the scary side of data breaches for business. Let’s start with cost. A small business will pay, on average, $38,000 to recover from one data breach. One! Those are the direct costs. The total indirect costs – loss of business, reputation, staff time, etc. – will be another $16,000.

If that’s not frightening enough, small to mid-sized businesses are the most common victim of cyber attacks, with 62 percent of all incidents. What causes this? Are hackers lurking in the shadows waiting to do harm? The answer is both yes and no.

  • 49 percent of all attacks are malicious or criminal
  • 19 percent are caused by employee negligence
  • 32 percent are caused by system glitches

Hackers target small businesses because they know you’re not always prepared for them. Breaches occur in other ways, too. It happens when a piece of equipment like a laptop or smartphone is lost or stolen. It can happen when an employee sends a sensitive document to the wrong email address.

You can’t stop all cyber attacks, but you can prepare yourself for them and be aware of a few things.

  • Make security a priority in your business. Require strong passwords and install software designed to protect you. Keep your software current. Don’t give all employees the same access to secure and sensitive information.
  • Remind your employees not to click on suspicious emails or install software they aren’t familiar with.
  • Work closely with your IT department or employee to make security a priority.
  • Purchase cyber liability insurance coverage to help you recover if and when your data is breached.

It can take a long time to detect a breach once it occurs. If you and your IT staff are keeping security top of mind, you may be able to find it and stop it more quickly.


The fact that your data will be breached at some point is nearly inevitable. There are certain things you’re required to do when it happens: ● Notify every single person in your database who may have been affected. This may be tens of thousands of people depending on what information you collect and store and how long you’ve been in business. ● Pay for credit monitoring services for everyone affected for a designated amount of time, usually a year. ● Be prepared to go to court for damages and liability, especially if your business wasn’t using software, policies, procedures, and other methods to protect people’s data.

Cyber liability insurance will cover all of these expenses for you. It can help you notify everyone and cover the costs associated with the aftermath. You can focus on recovering your reputation and any lost business, while also strengthening your security.

Don’t wait until your cyber security is breached, whether through human error or something more malicious. Protect your business with cyber liability insurance as soon as possible. In today’s world, data breaches aren’t a matter of if but when.

Contact Charlotte Insurance today to discuss your options for cyber liability coverage. We’re here to help you protect your business and your customers.

April is Distracted Driving Awareness Month

Written By Charlotte Insurance on April 6, 2016. It has 0 comments.

There are plenty of reasons why accidents happen – road rage, confusion, bad traffic – but distracted driving is the biggest reason of all. April is Distracted Driving Awareness Month, and on behalf of Charlotte Insurance, we want everyone to stay safe on the roads. Your family wants you to come home safe every day. It starts with being safe behind the wheel.

Anything that takes your attention off the road can cause distracted driving – things like eating, drinking, smoking, and daydreaming. One of the most common problems these days is cell phone use. We can do so much more with our phones than ever before and many of us are doing it all while we’re driving.

In order to stay safe behind the wheel, avoid these activities:

  • Talking on the phone, even with a hands-free device
  • Sending or reading text messages
  • Using voice-to-text features
  • Updating social media
  • Checking or sending emails
  • Taking video or selfies
  • Setting your GPS while you’re driving

When we distract ourselves while driving, it can take an additional 27 seconds for our brains to get refocused on the road ahead of us. Anything can happen in that time, and it often does.


For the month of April, you can take a free Distracted Driver Training Course online and become a safer driver. It’s by the Philadelphia Insurance Companies (PHLY) and takes less than 30 minutes to complete. The course is 20 minutes, and the exam takes only five minutes. At the end you’ll get a Certificate of Completion, and you’ll be even safer when you’re behind the wheel.

I’ve taken this course, and I recommend it for everyone. Safe driving is important because I want to be around a long time to enjoy my family and help our customers.

Free Distracted Driver Training Course

Put down your phone, drive safely, and make it home in one piece. Here at Charlotte Insurance, we want to do more than sell you an insurance policy. We want to help you protect what matters most.