How to Pick the Right Mechanic

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


Anyone who has owned a car for any amount of time knows the pain. Your car breaks down, and it’s out of warranty – if it was ever under warranty to begin with. You need to find a mechanic who can fix it without costing too much money or leaving you wondering if you’ve been cheated.

Finding a good mechanic is a bit like online dating. Their website (profile) can say one thing, and the reality – like whether your vehicle still runs – may be something else. Take a look at these tips and tricks to help you find the right mechanic for you.

…and if you want to use these tricks to find yourself a date, we won’t tell anyone.

  1. The right mechanic can take their typical “mechanic-speak” and make it understandable for you so you know exactly what the problem is and how it will be fixed. Be careful with the mechanic who can’t or won’t do this.
  2. Be on the lookout for a mechanic who’s affiliated with state and national organizations which all require a certain standard of behavior. The Automotive Service Association (ASA), AAA, and the Better Business Bureau (BBB) are common. Your mechanic should also be ASE-certified.
  3. Figure out if they’re quoting you a realistic price by using online tools, like RepairPal, to find out the cost range for repairs like yours. If they’ve quoted something significantly higher, ask questions about why there’s such a difference in cost. It could be the parts, the labor, or that they’re trying to cheat you.
  4. Look for a mechanic who specializes in your car. You may have a luxury car or a very specific brand. It’s like taking your car to a specialist instead of a general practitioner.
  5. Don’t underestimate your own feelings. If you’re not comfortable around them or don’t get a good feeling when you’re talking about your car, you and this mechanic may not be a good fit. There’s nothing wrong with looking around to find a mechanic you’re more comfortable working with.

Finding a mechanic you trust and who takes care of your car will keep you in your car longer and prevent you from buying a new vehicle before you’re ready. If you’ve had a bad experience with a mechanic on your last repair, take some time before the next breakdown to find a new mechanic. Treat your oil change or tire rotation like a first date. They get a second date if they leave you with a good feeling and some cash in your wallet.

The right mechanic is necessary to keep your car running longer. The right Charlotte auto insurance policy will get you back on the road after an accident. After you find your mechanic, contact us so we can help you find the policy that works best for you.

9 Fall HVAC Maintenance Tips

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

Fall is here which means winter is just around the corner. Now is the time to have your HVAC system checked to make sure it works properly and to make any changes or upgrades in your home so that you’ll be cozy and warm when the cold weather strikes.

Follow these HVAC maintenance tips for fall and don’t get left out in the cold this winter.

  1. Switch the direction of your ceiling fans. In winter, fans should rotate clockwise to redistribute warm air from the heater, which will naturally rise to the ceiling.
  2. Seal cracks around your windows and doors to prevent cold drafts from blowing in.
  3. Seal around electrical outlets on exterior-facing walls. These can let in cold air, too.
  4. Add insulation to your attic, which will prevent warm air from leaving and cold air from getting in. Doing this will also lower your energy costs in winter and, later, in summer.
  5. Consider a programmable thermostat, which will give you greater control over the temperature settings in your home.
  6. Install a whole-house humidifier or get single room humidifiers for the bedrooms and living room. In the winter, the humidity is much lower which can cause sore throats, chapped lips, and runny noses.
  7. Replace your air filter every 30 days if they get dirty and up to every 90 days, especially if you don’t run your heater that much. Don’t let it go unchanged for longer than 90 days or it will stop moving warm air efficiently.
  8. Clean up the area around your outdoor condenser or heat pump for your HVAC system. When dirt, debris, or trash gets into the unit, it can cause damage or inefficient heating.
  9. Schedule your fall HVAC maintenance now. Your service technician will check for wear and tear and fix minor issues before they become big problems. This will help keep your heater running all winter long.

No one wants to be stuck shivering in their home on a cold day because their heater broke down. Take care of your HVAC system this fall so you know it will be there for you when you need it throughout the cold winter months.

Have questions about other ways to take care of your home or what kinds of accidents your homeowners’ insurance covers? Contact us at Charlotte Insurance.

Planning Ahead: Long-term Care Insurance and Alzheimer’s Awareness

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

No one wants to think about getting old. We never want to imagine that we won’t be able to take care of ourselves when we do, or that we’ll get Alzheimer’s or some other form of dementia. But let’s look at the facts.

  • More than 5 million Americans have Alzheimer’s right now.
  • One in three senior citizens dies with Alzheimer’s or some other form of dementia each year.
  • Every 66 seconds someone in the U.S. develops Alzheimer’s.

While we all hope that we’ll beat the odds, it’s better to be aware of the risks. Caring for someone with Alzheimer’s is expensive, in terms of both time and money.

  • Caregivers spend more than $5000 per year for someone with Alzheimer’s.
  • In 2015, caregivers provided 18.1 billion hours of unpaid care.
  • The cost of nursing home care runs between $42,000 and $70,000 per year.

These statistics reflect what family caregivers provide for their loved ones who are diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. But what about insurance?


If you plan to rely on your Medicare coverage in case you’re diagnosed with dementia, think again. Medicare doesn’t cover long-term custodial care. This includes daily living tasks like bathing, dressing, feeding yourself, and more. Medicare only covers limited care in nursing homes or at home and centers for medical care needed after surgeries, physical therapy, etc.

Even the use of a skilled-nursing facility is limited to specific treatment that follows a hospital stay of up to three days. If you, or your loved one with Alzheimer’s, goes into the hospital for a hip replacement or following an illness like pneumonia, a skilled nursing facility can only be used if you were in the hospital for three days, and you can only use this type of facility for 100 days total. Medicare doesn’t provide the coverage that someone with Alzheimer’s needs.


The best option for you and your family is a long-term care insurance policy which will cover those daily needs that an Alzheimer’s patient must have and help ease some of the burden on family caregivers. Depending on the type of policy you select and the amount you pay, you may have a little or a lot of coverage. Be aware of certain aspects of a long-term care policy:

  • Custodial care is typically provided if a patient needs help with at least two daily activities or if a doctor provides evidence of cognitive impairment.
  • In-home care, the most common type of care for Alzheimer’s patients, often have waiting periods between 60 and 90 days and restrictions for when the waiting period begins.
  • Some policies only pay for certain types of in-home caregivers. Do not hire a caregiver until you know what your policy allows.
  • Most policies allow a daily amount ($200 per day, for example) which means family members must provide some caregiving and have a maximum amount of time, like three years, when coverage can be used. In this example it may be possible to spend $100 per day and stretch that the coverage to six years, depending on what your policy allows.

Whether you have a history of Alzheimer’s in your family or you simply want the peace of mind of knowing you’ll be taken care of no matter what happens, consider a long-term care insurance policy. It will be there to help cover some of the costs if you’re unable to take care of yourself and relieve some of the burden on your family.

Contact Charlotte Insurance today so we can let you know what your options are and give you a quote for a policy.

Insurance for Charlotte Senior Living Facilities

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

When you opened the doors to your assisted living facility or nursing home in Charlotte, you wanted to do one thing – take care of the elderly and the sick and give them back a little of their former quality of life. You also wanted to ease the burden of their family members who were overwhelmed by all the needs of their loved one. You hired caring professionals. You created a plan that would give assistance to those who needed it while preserving a certain autonomy for those who needed less help.

One of the things often overlooked when running a business to help other people is the insurance meant to protect you, as a business owner, and the business itself. Without the right type of coverage, one bad accident or one misstep can be enough to bankrupt your senior living facility right out of existence.

Take a look at these insurance options for your Charlotte-based senior living facility and make sure you’ve got enough coverage to continue helping the elderly, the sick, and their families.


No matter what type of business you own, general liability insurance is an absolute necessity. This insurance protects you when someone who doesn’t work for your facility – a patient, a vendor, or a family member – is hurt on your premises or sustains some type of damage to their property. Your coverage will pay the costs, up to your policy limits, and cover you in the event the injured party decides to sue.


Also known as errors and omissions (E&O) coverage, professional liability insurance is a must for any business providing professional support or advice. Nursing homes, assisted living facilities, and senior living facilities all provide different levels of consultation or professional care, but a lawsuit is possible if the patient or family of the patient believes the advice was bad or lead to other problems. Like general liability, professional liability covers you in case of a lawsuit.


We all know anything can happen at any moment – major storms, fire, and even theft. Protect your business and the people who use your facility with commercial property insurance. Make sure you know what is covered in standard policies and if you need additional add-ons for other types of damage – earthquake, sinkhole, flood, or hurricane damage.


If your employees transport patients or residents for any reason, drive to run errands for the business, or use their own vehicle or company vehicles for any business purpose, you need commercial auto insurance. This coverage is necessary whether you have company vehicles or not. Personal auto insurance won’t cover these accidents and may drop the drivers from their coverage.


As a business with employees, you are legally required to have workers’ compensation insurance. While it’s a legal obligation, it’s also the right thing to do for your employees. They can become injured or ill while on the job working directly with patients and residents or in accidents while taking care of other parts of the facility. Workers compensation coverage pays their medical costs and lost wages for their injury and protects you from lawsuits by injured workers or their families.


If you’re like any modern business with a computer system in place to take payments, keep patient/resident records, store employee records, and have a website or even social media presence for advertising, you’ll likely need cyber liability insurance. With hacks of businesses on the rise and the possibility of a lawsuit due to wrong information on your website or social media platforms, cyber liability covers you in case of lawsuits and when you need to report any security breach of your computer files or online systems.

You may have gone into the business of senior living facilities because you wanted to take care of the elderly when they most need it, but you have to remember you’re running a business. If you don’t make sure you have the proper insurance, one big lawsuit could put you out of business and your residents or patients out on the street. Protect your business, your employees, yourself, and the people you work with by making sure you have the right insurance coverage for your senior living facility.

If you have questions about your current insurance coverage or you need a quote for a new policy, contact us today.

5 Fun Things to do in Charlotte this Fall

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


The fall weather has arrived, and with it, plenty of family-friendly activities. Enjoy the beginning of the cooler weather and changing season with these fun things to do in and around Charlotte!


When: Friday, October 14 and Saturday, October 15

Where: Pineville Lake Park

Come on out between 6:00 p.m. and 10:00 p.m. on Friday, October 14 and from 10:00 a.m. until 10:00 p.m. on Saturday, October 15 for this great family-friendly event. Enjoy carnival rides, live music, plenty of activities for the kids, and a pie eating contest. Admission is free but there is a charge for the rides. Learn more.


When: October 22, 6:00 p.m. – 10:00 p.m.

Where: Charlotte Open Air Market

This free event lets you explore local food trucks, enjoy family-friendly movies, play games, join a costume contest, and enjoy spooky face-painting. Bring out your blankets or lawn chairs so you can relax and watch the movies in comfort. There will also be plenty of live music and local beer, too. Learn more.


When: Friday, October 28 and Saturday, October 29

Where: Spencer Doll and Toy Museum

Take a fun but spooky trolley ride through historic Spencer this fall. You’ll hear ghost stories and local legends while seeing beautiful historic homes and touring this historic railroad town. A ticket to the Spencer Doll and Toy Museum is included. The cost is $10 for children and $12 for adults. Learn more.


When: Saturday, October 29, 11:30 a.m. – 7:00 p.m.

Where: Plaza Midwood Neighborhood

The Plaza Midwood Neighborhood welcomes everyone to this free event to celebrate fall and Halloween while protecting the local trees from cankerworms. There will be kids’ activities, live music, a trunk-or-treat, costume parade, tree banding, and more! Learn more.


When: Sunday, October 30, 12:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.

Where: Levine Museum of the New South

Enjoy free admission to the museum while you learn about and celebrate a traditional Mexican holiday: Dia de Los Muertos or The Day of the Dead. There will be activities, food, storytelling, sugar skull workshops, and more. Plus, this is the last day to see the museum’s ¡NUEVOlution! Exhibit. Learn more.

The best way to enjoy fall in Charlotte is to get out there and experience all the fun our area offers. Pick an event – or two or three – and have a great time with the whole family this fall!

Fire Prevention Week

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

The National Fire Protection Agency (NFPA) has declared October 9 through October 15, Fire Prevention Week. This year’s theme is “Don’t Wait – Check the Date! Replace Smoke Alarms Every 10 Years.” This is part of a three-year effort by the NFPA to educate the public about basic smoke alarm safety. Having a working smoke alarm can save your life.

Fire Prevention Week was originally established to commemorate the Great Chicago Fire of 1871. That devastating fire killed 250 people, left 100,000 homeless, destroyed more than 17,400 buildings, and burned over 2,000 acres. Not every fire is that large and destructive but they all have the power to be devastating.


More than 3,400 people are killed in home fires each year. Simple steps can keep you and your family safe and your home standing. Follow these tips to prevent a house fire.

  • Install smoke alarms on every level of your home, especially in bedrooms.
  • Test your smoke alarm every month. If it doesn’t work, change the batteries or change the alarm.
  • Have a fire escape plan and practice it with your family twice a year.
  • If a fire happens, get out and stay out. Call for help, but don’t run back inside.

Certain activities are magnets for potential fires.

  • Don’t leave a burner or stovetop unattended while cooking. If you have to leave the room, turn off the burner. Make sure you have a fire extinguisher readily available in your kitchen.
  • Have your central heating system professionally inspected each fall to catch potential problems that could cause a fire.
  • If you use a space heater, make sure you give it three feet of clear space on all sides to prevent a fire.
  • Require that smokers go outside and douse their cigarette butts with water before throwing them in the trash. Don’t allow butts to be thrown on the ground.
  • Check your electrical cords periodically. Replace frayed cords and don’t overload electrical outlets with too many items.
  • Avoid using traditional candles if you can. Battery-operated lights are safer. If you must light a candle, do not leave it unattended and don’t burn them in your bedroom.

No one wants to think a fire can happen in their home. And this isn’t just about avoiding an insurance claim or the loss of your property. Fire prevention saves lives – yours, your family, and your pets. Be mindful of different fire hazards in your home all year long, but use this week to double check your smoke alarms, fire extinguishers, and fire escape plan. Educate your entire family so that everyone stays safe.

If you have questions about your current home insurance policy and what’s covered in the event of a fire, contact us at Charlotte Insurance. We’re happy to help you have a better understanding of fire safety and your homeowner’s insurance.

8 Halloween Safety Tips

Written By Charlotte Insurance on October 10, 2016. It has 0 comments.

Halloween is a favorite holiday for a lot of people. Seeing the kids in costumes takes us back to our own childhoods, and putting up spooky decorations is fun for the whole neighborhood. Before the trick-or-treaters arrive, make sure your home is ready for them with these safety tips.

  1. Check your property for tripping hazards. Be on the lookout for holes, hoses, pots, and big roots that will be hard to see once it gets dark on Halloween. Get rid of or move them out of the way.
  2. Make sure your lawn, walkway, and driveway are free from debris – tree limbs, lawn furniture, and the bike someone forgot to put away. Trick-or-treaters will come to your door from all angles. Make sure they can get to you safely.
  3. Turn on plenty of lights so trick-or-treaters and their parents can get to the door safely. A porch light lets people know to knock, but path lights and even motion sensor lights will help everyone see where they’re going.
  4. Keep decorations out of the way, especially out of walkways, or put up tape or rope around the area where most of your decorations will be to keep kids out of the way.
  5. Secure inflatable decorations properly. You don’t want them to blow away, fall over, or knock into a trick-or-treater, causing potential injury and damage.
  6. If you’re going to put out jack-o-lanterns, don’t use candles. They become a fire hazard if someone kicks the pumpkin and knocks it over. Instead, use battery-operated candles.
  7. Do not drape fabric over light bulbs as part of your decorations. The bulbs generate heat and could start a fire.
  8. Keep your pets away from the excitement. Even calm pets can become agitated and aggressive with so many strangers ringing the doorbell. They may bite a trick-or-treater or even run away when the door opens.

Halloween is a time for everyone to feel like a kid for one night. Fun costumes, scary decorations, and delicious candy can make the night memorable. Unfortunately, trips, falls, dog bites, and injury can create other kinds of memories – and liability for homeowners. Get your home ready for trick-or-treaters now so that everyone can focus on having fun Halloween night.

If you’ve got questions about your Charlotte homeowners’ insurance or you need to check your limits, contact us. We want everyone to have a safe and happy Halloween!