Hurricane Season is Upon Us

Written By Charlotte Insurance on May 31, 2016. It has 0 comments.

When you think of hurricane season, do you think of empty bread and water aisles at the grocery store, gas shortages, or bumper-to-bumper traffic headed north on the nearest evacuation route? These images might be what get all the attention, but those who have gone through enough hurricane seasons know that the key to surviving it is preparation, before and during a storm.

Now that hurricane season is here, take a look at these tips to prepare your home and family for the entire season.


Whether you want to be ready at a moment’s notice or you’ve been given the three-day warning, there are plenty of things you can do to keep your home and family safe prior to a hurricane’s arrival.

  • Trim your trees and bushes, especially limbs that hang over the top of your home.
  • Minimize the clutter around your home – tools, empty pots, etc. They can be a big hazard when the wind picks up.
  • Consider storm shutters or even just plywood to cover your windows. You can do this well in advance of any storms and have them measured specifically to your window size. It’s better to do this before there’s a named storm than after.
  • Add hurricane straps or clips to your roof to minimize damage. If you’ve added a new roof in the last few years, you may already have these built in.
  • Put together your supplies kit now, before there’s a rush on batteries, flashlights, and other necessities.
  • Check your insurance. Flooding is not covered under your standard home insurance policy, and there’s a good chance that wind damage from hurricanes isn’t either. Make sure you have the right coverage to protect you in a storm. Do it early, though. Hurricane coverage can’t be added when a storm is close by, and flood insurance has a 30 day waiting period.


Once a storm is named, and Jim Cantore is broadcasting live from Charlotte (a sure sign we’re in the path), it’s time to jump into action and make final preparations.

  • Put your car in the garage or move it to higher ground, in case of flooding and other damage from wind-blown debris.
  • Put away lawn furniture, hoses, garbage cans, plants, and toys to reduce what gets blown around.
  • Fill your vehicles and any gas cans that you have available with gas.
  • Take video or pictures of your home prior to the storm to prove the condition of your home prior to making a claim due to storm damage.
  • Buy non-perishable food items and bottled water. Peanut butter and bread may be the popular items that sell out first, but canned foods, applesauce, protein bars, and dry cereal are good options, too.
  • Gather important papers and numbers that you may need – insurance, emergency contact, schools, doctors, etc.


The safety of you and your family is paramount during a big storm. Take precautions regardless of what you choose to do.

  • If you choose to evacuate, give yourself enough time to get through traffic and plan your route before you go.
  • If you stay home, unplug all electronics and appliances, and stay in the safest part of your home – often a hallway or bathroom – until the storm passes by.

Hopefully we’ll have a quiet hurricane season, but it’s always better to be prepared. Start making plans now so you have a few less things to worry about if a storm heads our way.

5 Life Insurance Myths

Written By Charlotte Insurance on May 24, 2016. It has 0 comments.

Life insurance is one of those confusing things. Either you’ve been told you don’t really need it or you’ve heard that you absolutely must have it now.

There are plenty of myths surrounding life insurance. Get the facts and then work with one of our professional insurance agents who can help you find the best policy for your situation.


If all you want is a simple plan to cover the cost of your funeral, your health may not matter all that much. If you’re looking to create an inheritance for your family and want a larger policy, your health is very important. Even if you want a small, simple plan, your health will affect the price you pay for your policy.


A good agent knows how to find the best deal. When the first offers come in, we take the best ones and use those as a jumping off point to get better terms. The first offer you receive isn’t always the one to take.


Many people will only receive up to two times their salary, although a few may receive four times. If you have any dependents and want to make sure that their futures are secure, you really need a policy that pays out five to eight times your salary.


It doesn’t matter if mom or dad is the parent who stays at home, if something happens to them, the cost to replace their functions can be astronomical. Stay at home parents cook, clean, watch the children, run errands, and do plenty of other necessary things. In the tragic event that they die too soon, the surviving parent will need to pay someone to help do these things. A life insurance policy can help cover those costs.


Because anything can happen at anytime, life insurance is for anyone and everyone. More pragmatically, when you purchase life insurance at a younger age, when you’re also healthier, you’ll pay less and often find better policies than when you’re older. While you should consider a life insurance policy even when you’re young and single, you’ll definitely need it when you start a family. It will give you the peace of mind of knowing everyone is taken care of if the worst happens.

Don’t put off buying a life insurance policy for another day. Now that you know the facts, it’s time to talk to someone who can help you find the best policy for your current situation and your future goals. Contact us today.

You’ve been in an Accident – Now What?

Written By Charlotte Insurance on May 18, 2016. It has 0 comments.

For most people, auto accidents are an extremely rare occurrence. When it does happen, it can come as a big shock followed by a big question: what do I do next?

Don’t worry. We’ve got you covered. Hopefully it will be a long time before you have to worry about how to handle an accident, but if it happens, use this list and you’ll know exactly what to expect and what to do.


When an accident happens, do a quick self-assessment to figure out if you or your passengers are hurt. If you’re okay, and it’s safe to do so, check on the other driver, especially if you don’t see movement from their vehicle. Call 911 if you even suspect anyone has been injured. Don’t move – yourself or anyone else – if you’re concerned about an injury. Movement can make it worse. Wait until the paramedics arrive.


Hopefully no one is injured and your vehicle still functions. If it does, move to a safer place on the side of the road. This will help minimize the chance of another accident by another driver who wasn’t paying attention. It will also help keep traffic from backing up too much. If this isn’t possible, don’t worry about your car. Get you and your passengers safely to the side of the road instead.


It’s possible that a witness has already called 911 and police are just now arriving. If not, go ahead and call for help. When they arrive, cooperate fully with the officers. Don’t be afraid to ask their names and take down their information, such as badge number, to give to the insurance company later.


Assuming everyone is able to move around and speak, and no one is being rushed to the hospital, go ahead and get information from the other driver:

  • Name
  • Address
  • Contact Number
  • Make and model of their vehicle
  • Insurance information
  • License plate number


Take pictures or even video of the vehicles involved. You’ll be able to send this to your insurance provider so they have as much information as possible.


Even if you can’t get all the information you need – maybe the driver can’t speak or doesn’t have their information handy – go ahead and call your insurance company as soon as possible. It’s always better to start the claim sooner rather than later. Share what information you do know. If you’re able to get everything you need, even better.

Hopefully your experience with accidents is rare and you don’t have to think much about what to do if it happens to you. But when it does, use this list to get through the process as safely as possible while also helping your insurance provider process your claim as quickly as possible.

If you’ve got questions about your current auto insurance coverage, contact us here at Charlotte Insurance. We’ll make sure you have the best coverage at the best price and that you understand exactly how you’re protected in the event of an accident or other problem.

Swimming Pool Safety

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

Memorial Day is the unofficial start of summer. It’s the perfect time to clean off the deck or patio, pull out the grill, put on some sandals, and yes, open up the pool for the summer season! Your friends, your family, and maybe even their friends may all be invited over for fun in the sun this summer.

Before everyone arrives, here are a few tips to make sure that you and your guests stay safe while having fun around the pool this summer.

  • Put up a fence or enclosure around your pool. A fence should be at least four feet high and have a self-closing, self-latching gate. You may also want to consider an alarm to notify you if anyone goes into the area.
  • Put away ladders or steps used to access the pool when they’re not needed. This will help keep curious little ones from getting into the pool when none of the adults are around.
  • Supervise children at all times. No child should be at the pool without an adult. Stay within arm’s reach of children in the pool. Designate different people to watch out for the kids throughout your time at the pool so everyone gets a break.
  • Establish and enforce rules for how to behave around the pool such as “no diving” or “no running.”
  • Teach children basic water safety tips before allowing them into the pool. Give them a refresher at the beginning of each summer.
  • Keep your phone close by in case of an emergency.
  • Make sure everyone in and around the pool knows how to swim.
  • If a child goes missing in or near your home, always check the pool first.
  • Keep children away from drains, pipes, and any other openings in and around the pool. They can be trapped and drown.
  • Don’t let anyone who’s had too much to drink go swimming. Alcohol can slow down reaction time and cause other problems.
  • Make sure your pool has a cover that fits well and is in good condition.

Everyone deserves to have a good time in the summer, especially around a nice cool swimming pool. Make sure that everyone has a summer to remember, instead of one everyone wishes they could forget. Create rules and stick to them, and always make safety a priority around your swimming pool.

The Benefits of Gap Insurance

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

You waited for a few years for the time to be just right. Your old car is on its last legs, and you’re finally in a position to own a brand new vehicle. It’s a satisfying moment, knowing you can choose a car with the latest and greatest features, the best gas mileage, and with a decent warranty, at least for a few years.

Drive one mile off the lot, and you’ve just taken the most expensive ride of your life. When you buy a brand new vehicle, you can lose up to 20 percent of the value in the first year, most of it within the first days and weeks after you buy. What that means is that the value of your vehicle and the amount of your loan can have a big GAP. Why does that matter?


Your standard insurance policy only covers the actual value of your vehicle – not what you paid for it and not what you owe on the loan. Depending on a variety of situations, in the first few years you own your car, your loan could easily exceed the value of your vehicle.

GAP insurance is additional coverage that pays the remaining amount of what you owe if your vehicle is totaled or stolen. Your standard policy will cover the value, GAP insurance covers the rest.


The auto dealership may offer GAP insurance as part of the financing plan but your auto insurance company can often add GAP insurance to your policy at a fraction of the cost. When do you need GAP insurance?

  • You made a small down payment, less than 20 percent.
  • Your finance term is longer than 60 months.
  • You leased your vehicle instead of buying it.
  • You chose a make and model with unusually high or faster than normal depreciation.
  • You had any amount left over on the loan from your old car and rolled that amount into your new loan.

Imagine that you spent $20,000 on a new car. After tax, tag, title, and more, your loan amount is really more than that. Within the first six months, you’re in an accident, and your car is completely totaled but now it’s valued at about $16,000. Your standard auto policy will pay the $16,000 but you’ll be on the hook for the rest. That is, unless, you have GAP insurance. For just a few more dollars a month, you can have peace of mind, and one less thing to worry about if you’re in an accident.

When you’re ready to add GAP insurance to your auto insurance policy or if you have questions about your current policy, contact us at Charlotte Insurance today.

Grilling Tips

Written By Charlotte Insurance on May 4, 2016. It has 0 comments.

Now that the weather is getting nicer, it’s time to pull out the grill, buy some good meat and vegetables, and get your grill on! To keep everyone safe and to make sure that you’re only eating the best grilled meals, let’s cover a few basic safety and grilling tips.


According to the U.S. Fire Administration, an average of 5,700 grill fires happen every year causing $37 million in damage, 100 injuries, and 10 deaths. Let’s eliminate tragedies, pain, and cost with a few reminders about how to grill safely this year.

  • Check your grill for holes or cracks before lighting.
  • Look for blockages of debris or food and use a wire brush to remove the build-up.
  • Adjust hoses away from any hot areas or places where grease could fall on them.
  • Store propane tanks outside, away from your home.
  • Make sure the valves on the propane tanks are firmly shut off.
  • Always use your grill on a level surface.
  • Never move your grill once it’s been lit.
  • Only grill outside, away from your home or garage, never inside.
  • Keep pets and kids away from the grill while it’s in use and while it’s cooling down.
  • Always keep a fire extinguisher close by.
  • Wait until your grill is completely cool before covering it.


Now that you’re using your grill more safely, let’s make sure you’re eating the best food possible.

  • Grill chicken over indirect heat to cook slowly and gently, retaining as much moisture as possible.
  • Choose dark meat over light for more flavor and moisture.
  • Keep your steak juicy by letting it rest for several minutes after you take it off the grill.
  • Score or puncture your beef before you put it in a marinade so it can soak up the flavors better.
  • Grill salmon on cedar planks for a rich, smoky flavor.
  • When you’re making burgers, consider ground buffalo instead of ground beef. It’s got less fat and more flavor.
  • Grill your burgers on high heat until they’re medium to keep them from getting too dry.
  • Grill your vegetables for a warm salad. Choose whatever vegetables sound good to you, and yes, even avocados can be grilled.

With all this talk of grilling, we’re probably all ready to fire it up, find a good cut, and start the grilling season. Anyone else’s mouth watering?

How to Deal with Road Rage

Written By Charlotte Insurance on May 3, 2016. It has 0 comments.

We’ve all had at least one moment behind the wheel when we wonder what is going on with the driver in front of us. Why won’t they go faster? Why did they cut us off? Who gave them a driver’s license?

There’s nothing wrong with being annoyed by inconsiderate or bad drivers, but when you lose your temper, you’ve now moved past annoyance and into road rage.


The term “road rage” is fairly recent and was coined in Los Angeles after a series of shootings happened on the freeways in the area. Drivers were mad at other drivers and taking matters into their own hands. It may sound like something that can’t happen here in Charlotte, but 37 percent of all road rage incidents involve a firearm, so it’s better to be safe than sorry.

Road rage happens when a driver loses their temper and it can take many forms. Obscene gestures – you know the ones, yelling, screaming obscenities, tailgating, aggressive driving, following the driver who made you mad, and getting out of your car to confront the other driver are all forms of road rage.


There will always be people on the road who don’t drive well or are too busy doing other things while they should be concentrating on the road. Inevitably, someone is going to make you mad. Because road rage can lead to violent and disastrous consequences, it’s better to get a handle on it before you yell your head off or cause an accident.

  • Stay calm when you feel your temper rising. Acknowledge your anger.
  • Take deep breaths, listen to music, or count backwards from 10 to help you calm down.
  • Resist the urge to retaliate. Avoid obscene gestures or cutting off the other person to prove a point.
  • Keep your distance from the other driver.


Maybe your first cup of coffee hasn’t kicked in yet or you were talking on the phone while driving, but you inadvertently upset another driver on the road – pulling out in front of them, going slower than traffic, you name it. You may even be following all traffic laws, and they don’t like that you’re not getting out of their way. Whatever has happened, another driver is mad at you, and they’ve crossed over to road rage.

  • Stay calm. Don’t let their aggressiveness make you drive erratically or dangerously.
  • Refuse to make eye contact. They may continue making gestures or yelling but you don’t have to acknowledge them.
  • Drive defensively. This isn’t the time to weave in and out of traffic or tailgate. Slow down, follow all traffic laws, and give the other cars space around you.
  • Get help if the other driver won’t leave you alone. You may need to drive to a busy location or even to the police department. Keep your doors locked and your windows up.


Avoid getting angry or being the cause of road rage by following these simple tips.

  • Drive defensively.
  • Check your blind spots before changing lanes.
  • Drive the speed limit.
  • Pay attention at all times. Don’t let your phone, breakfast burrito, or mascara distract you.
  • Be courteous. Wave when someone allows you to pull out. Wait until it’s clear before making your turn.
  • Lay off your horn for minor aggravations.
  • Obscene gestures are never helpful. Avoid them.

You have no control over what other people do or how they behave. You can only control yourself. Be mindful of what can cause road rage while you’re out on the road and do your best to avoid it. Everyone will be a little safer if we all calm down and show courtesy to one another.