Spring Cleaning – Inside and Out

Written By Charlotte Insurance on March 29, 2017. It has 0 comments.

Spring has sprung, and it’s time to make sure your home gets some much needed attention now that the cold winter months are behind us. Spring cleaning and maintenance aren’t just good for shaking the dust out of your home, but also for preventing unnecessary accidents or the need for expensive insurance claims.

Taking care of your home is a big job that takes some time and energy. Make it a little easier with our checklists of what to do inside and outside of your home. In a few weekends, you could have a cleaner, more well-maintained home allowing you to enjoy the spring without worrying about what needs to get done.


Use spring cleaning as a way to make sure everything is working properly in your home.

  1. Check electrical outlets for loose plugs or frayed wires to prevent potential fire hazards.
  2. Make sure your fire extinguisher is still in good working condition.
  3. Check your water heater for leaks or corrosion.
  4. Clean built up dryer lint from the exhaust duct and the space underneath your dryer.
  5. Change the smoke detector batteries and check to make sure all alarms work.
  6. Clean everything. This is more than your generic cleaning. Wash down cabinets, vacuum furniture and mattresses, dust the hard to reach spaces, have your carpets professionally cleaned, etc.
  7. Check your attic or basement for mold, mildew, or infestations.
  8. Look for leaks in your faucets, washing machines, and dishwashers. Don’t forget to check for clogged or sweaty pipes, too.


Once you’re done with the inside of your home, head outside to get some work done.

  1. Inspect your roof and chimney for any damage after all the winter weather. Make repairs immediately to prevent possible leaks. Have your chimney flue cleaned.
  2. Check gutters and downspouts for damage. Clean them out so water will be able to flow easily. Replace any pieces that no longer function properly.
  3. Take a look at your wood railings, decks, or patios. Repair any loose or weakened spots.
  4. Have dead or rotting trees and bushes removed. Make sure branches are trimmed back away from your house.
  5. Fill or repair cracks and uneven areas of your driveway and walkways to prevent accidents.
  6. If you have low areas of your yard, fill them with compacted soil. This will help reduce flooding later.
  7. Check your lawn equipment to make sure it’s in good working order.
  8. Check faucets, spigots, and sprinkler systems to make sure everything works and there are no leaks. Also inspect your garden hoses and throw out any that are rotting or leaking.
  9. Have your HVAC system serviced. After a winter of running the heat, it may need some basic maintenance. You also want to make sure it will work when summer arrives.

Spring cleaning doesn’t just freshen up your home and yard – it also gives you a chance to repair any small problems before they become big ones. A little time and effort now can save you aggravation and big claims later.

Have questions about your homeowners insurance? Contact us at Charlotte Insurance. We’re here to help.

Safely Sharing the Road

Written By Charlotte Insurance on March 27, 2017. It has 0 comments.

Over the past few years, you may have noticed that more bicyclists are on the road than ever before. It’s not your imagination. In 2014, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, more than 900,000 people biked to work. That number doesn’t include the people who jump on their bikes when the weather warms up or the kids in neighborhoods who bike to school.

The road can be a dangerous place for cyclists. A helmet and knee pads aren’t the same thing as the safety of a car or a seatbelt. When you’re out on the road, you can do your part to help keep everyone on two wheels a little safer. Keep these things in mind to safely share the road.

  • Be careful making turns. Come to a complete stop at red lights and stop signs and look around. Make sure to check your blind spot.
  • Pass riders slowly and carefully. Give them a wide berth of at least three to four feet. If you can, get into the other lane.
  • Keep out of bike lanes. If you need to pull over, find a place with no bike lane so you don’t force a bicyclist into traffic to get around you. You could also pose a danger to a rider when you’re ready to get out of the bike lane, too.
  • Don’t crowd riders on the road. Give them several feet of space in front of you.
  • Yield to bikes and let them go ahead of you. While bicycles have to obey the rules of the road like you do, they are smaller and more vulnerable than you are.
  • Keep your eyes open for children on bicycles, especially in school zones and residential neighborhoods. They’re smaller and can get lost in your blind spots more easily. They may also be more wobbly or prone to falling as they learn to control their bicycle.
  • Look before opening your car door when you’re parked on the street. Bicyclists are often in danger of being hit by a door or running into one that’s been opened quickly.
  • Watch out for hand signals indicating which way they’re about to turn.

If you are in an accident with a cyclist, do everything you would normally do for a car accident. Get to safety as quickly as you can. The bike rider may need help depending on the severity of the accident. Make sure to call emergency services if needed and to share insurance information. Call your insurance provider as soon as possible to start the claim process.

Bikes and cars can share the road safely. The important thing is to be watchful and slow down when you see a bike on the road with you.

Got questions about your auto insurance policy? Contact Charlotte Insurance today. We’re here to help.

What is Withheld Depreciation?

Written By Charlotte Insurance on March 23, 2017. It has 0 comments.

When you bought your homeowners insurance policy, you chose a replacement cost policy. If the worst ever happened, you didn’t want to worry about how to rebuild or replace your home or belongings.

Then a storm hit. Your roof was damaged so badly that it had to be replaced. The estimate you received was $10,000. You filed your claim and waited for the check. When you received it, it was significantly lower than $10,000 – closer to $5,000. What gives?

You’re dealing with withheld depreciation.


Virtually every insurance company uses withheld depreciation for replacement cost policies. Withheld depreciation, sometimes called recoverable depreciation, means that until you show proof that you’ve replaced, repaired, or rebuilt your damaged property, you’ll only receive the actual cash value minus your deductible.

Everything depreciations over time. The older something is – like your roof – the lower its cash value. A 25-year roof loses four percent of its value every year. Assuming that your destroyed roof was 10 years told when you filed your claim, 40 percent (10 years x 4 percent) would be the depreciation amount withheld from the $10,000 estimate. If you have a $1,000 deductible, this amount would also be factored in. In this scenario, you’d receive an initial payment of $10,000 minus 40 percent ($4,000) and minus the deductible ($1,000) for a total of $5,000.

The good news is that this depreciated amount is recoverable as long as you do what you’re supposed to do – repair, replace, or rebuild as appropriate.


Getting your depreciation back is not impossible. You simply need to have the damage repaired or replaced. Insurance companies don’t want people to take the money and decide not to fix the problem so this is their solution.

Most of the time, you’ll have the work done and receive invoices and receipts for everything. This documentation will be used to calculate what you’re owed. If the repair totals the amount you already received, you won’t receive anything additional. If you spent more than you received, you’ll be paid the difference between the two. It’s important to keep good records and take pictures to show proof of repair so there’s no delay in the process.

In some cases, depending on your insurance company, they may pay the contractor directly – the first payment at the start of the job and then the remaining withheld depreciation once the job is completed. In this case, you’d need to work closely with your insurance agent and your contractor to make sure all documentation is submitted. This option is good if you can’t pay for the full cost of the replacement without help.


Holding back a portion of your payment isn’t because insurance companies are out to get you. Instead, it’s to make sure that people who receive payment based on the replacement value actually replace what’s been damaged. In some cases, a homeowner will take the payment they receive and never do anything else.

The problem with this is that if you ever decide to file a claim with that problem again – a damaged roof or anything else – it will be denied. Even if you change insurance companies, you’ll either have to replace the problem within 30 days of signing up or never have the claim approved in the future. Insurance companies have access to claim history even when you weren’t their customer so there’s no pretending on this one.

Total replacement cost policies are still the best option for most people. As long as you make the repair or replace what was lost, you’ll receive the total amount you’re owed. It may just take a while to receive. Truly, it protects you as much as the insurance company. When your home is in good repair, future claims are minimized.

If you’re curious about what kind of policy you have or have questions about a recent claim, contact us at Charlotte Insurance. We’re here to help.

10 Things to Talk to your Teen Driver About

Written By Charlotte Insurance on March 21, 2017. It has 0 comments.

Sixteen years ago, you couldn’t imagine the warm, snuggly bundle in your arms ever being old enough to leave home without you, let alone drive a car. The day has come, though. Your baby is now old enough to drive, and they’ve got a license to prove the state thinks they’re capable of it.

It’s a scary thing to let your teen driver out into the world like this, and of course you’re going to worry. But if you have some important conversations with your kids, maybe you can worry a little less.

Make sure, before you let them out on the road and as often as necessary afterward, you talk to them about these things. It could save their life.

  1. Seat belts must be worn at all times, including by their passengers. Tell them to refuse to leave until their friends put them on.
  2. Don’t talk or text while driving. Distracted driving is the leading cause of accidents. The message can wait until they’re parked somewhere.
  3. Always obey the speed limit. Driving too fast can turn a minor accident into a really bad one.
  4. Never, ever drink and drive. Let your kids know you’d rather they call you to come pick them up than ever get in a car after even one drink.
  5. Tell them to be ready for anything with an emergency kit in their trunk. It should include jumper cables, a flashlight and batteries, and a first aid kit.
  6. Stay off the road in really bad weather. If they’re out in it when snow or rain falls and they can’t see, advise them to get off the road as quickly and safely as possible. It’s better to be late because of bad weather than to get into an accident.
  7. Remind them to watch for pedestrians and people on bicycles. Also talk about school zones – slowing down for them and stopping for buses while out on the road.
  8. Teach your kids how to read a road map. It’s easy to think GPS and navigation systems will always be there, but some areas are too new or too rural for GPS to find.
  9. Talk about aggressive driving. Help them understand the importance of not swerving in and out of traffic, looking both ways before pulling into the road, and not engaging with people who become aggressive with them on the road.
  10. Make sure the car has plenty of gas, especially before a long drive or when headed into rural areas without a lot of gas stations. Let them know to tell you when any lights come on like the “check engine” light so it can be taken care of immediately. They need to understand the importance of vehicle maintenance to stay safe on the road.

When you’re in the car with your teen driver, point out little things that probably wasn’t in their driving test. Always find opportunities to teach them how to be a safer driver. Most of the time it doesn’t seem like they’re listening, but if you say it enough, the information will sink in.

If you’ve got a new teen driver and need to add them to your auto insurance policy, contact us here at Charlotte Insurance. We can get them added and check to make sure you get any discounts you qualify for so the cost isn’t too high.

Do I need an SR-22 even if I don’t have a Car?

Written By Charlotte Insurance on March 16, 2017. It has 0 comments.

Mistakes happen. In your case, you were in an accident and found to be driving under the influence. The whole situation was scary and stressful for everyone involved. Now you’re ready to get your driver’s license back, and the court is requiring an SR-22 form from an insurance company first.

There’s just one problem. You don’t own a car.

What are you supposed to do?


An SR-22 is a form mandated by the state to show that you have taken necessary steps of financial responsibility in case there’s an accident in the future. It’s issued by your insurance provider and proves that you’ve purchased at least the legal minimum of liability insurance. The SR-22 isn’t insurance itself, but an endorsement of a policy you’ve bought.


Not owning a vehicle isn’t a reason not to get your SR-22. The requirement won’t be waived for you, either. Instead you’ll want to purchase an SR-22 insurance policy, most commonly known as a non-owner auto insurance policy. This type of policy is good for anyone who doesn’t own a car and rents, borrows a friend’s car, or uses a car-sharing service like Zipcar.

This type of policy only offers liability coverage, specifically for bodily injury and property damage. Some insurance providers may allow you to purchase additional coverage for medical payments or uninsured/underinsured motorists. It’s not your typical auto insurance policy and doesn’t offer comprehensive or collision coverage at all. If you’re in an accident, this policy will act as a secondary liability policy after the car owner’s insurance.


Not all insurance providers offer this kind of coverage. It’s important to work with an independent insurance agent who has access to multiple insurance companies so that you have options. Here at Charlotte Insurance, we work with several companies so we can find the coverage you need.

Once you purchase non-owner insurance, your SR-22 form can be filed as soon as possible so that your license can be reinstated. If your situation ever changes, and you buy a vehicle or are added to someone else’s insurance policy, you will no longer need this kind of coverage. We can help you make that switch, too.

If you’re trying to get your life back together and your driver’s license back, give us a call so we can help you get the right coverage to file your SR-22 form. We’re here to help.

Don’t Rely on Luck Alone! Rely on your Local Independent Insurance Agent!

Written By Charlotte Insurance on March 13, 2017. It has 0 comments.

Life happens so fast. When things go well, you feel pretty lucky. When they don’t, you wonder if you’re the unluckiest person on the planet. Accidents, storm damage, theft, and even lawsuits can make you feel like you have no luck at all.

Having a good partner to help you navigate all the ways you can protect yourself and your family doesn’t have to be left to luck. Work with an independent insurance agent who can answer your questions and help you plan for all the unlucky moments in life.


How can you be unlucky when it comes to your insurance? There are almost too many ways to count.

  • too-high deductible that makes filing a claim impossible.
  • Being hit by an uncovered peril – like a flood – because you didn’t have the right coverage.
  • Being sued by the neighbor your dog bit and not having enough liability insurance.
  • Finding out you could have purchased extra coverage for collectibles after they were stolen.
  • Dropping full coverage on your car the day before you hit another car.
  • Forgetting to include auto insurance for your business, thinking your personal policy will cover an accident.
  • Neglecting liability insurance for your new business.
  • Letting your health insurance drop and then breaking your leg.
  • Thinking you don’t need life insuranceleaving your family to struggle later.
  • Dropping underinsured and uninsured motorist coverage just before getting hit by a driver who doesn’t have insurance.
  • And the list goes on…

In a perfect world, you’d stay lucky and never need your insurance policy. The longer you go between accidents and claims, the easier it is to think your luck will hold, nothing bad will happen, and that you can safely drop your coverage to the bare bones to save money. You may never feel more unlucky when you get into an accident or have a problem, and you realize how much you needed your insurance.


The good news is that you don’t have to feel unlucky with your insurance. Most of the time, the problem is that you think you have to make these decisions with no guidance or help. You don’t have to, though.

A good independent insurance agent will answer your questions. They find a policy options to fit your life. They work within your budget. Even better, you’ll be given multiple options for coverage because independent agents work with a variety of insurance providers.

You’ll have the coverage you need at a price you can afford. Work with someone who really does want you to have the right insurance policy for your situation – not the most expensive one. Your agent can become your partner as your life changes, too. When you get married, buy a house, have kids, and move forward with your life, your agent will be right there to suggest the right insurance at a price you can afford.

Let Charlotte Insurance be your lucky insurance agent so you never have to know what it feels to be like when you’re unlucky enough to be in an accident and not have enough insurance. Contact us today!

I’ve got a DUI – What do i need to know about Insurance?

Written By Charlotte Insurance on March 6, 2017. It has 0 comments.

Everybody makes mistakes, but they don’t need to define who you are. Once you’ve dealt with the DUI, court, any fines you have to pay the state, and losing your license, you may be ready to think about your auto insurance again.

After a DUI, your auto insurance policy may look a bit different. Here’s what you need to know.


It’s up to the individual auto insurance provider, and they’re not all the same. If you get a cancellation notice, though, don’t be too surprised. They may deem you too much of a risk.


If your insurance company doesn’t drop you, they’ll definitely raise your rates. You’re not automatically stuck with whatever your current insurer is providing. You can always go to another insurance company if they offer a lower rate.


After a DUI, some insurance companies won’t write you a policy, others will require a specific “high risk” policy, and even more will simply charge higher rates. You don’t have to take the first thing you’re offered. Request multiple quotes and take a look at all of your options.


You can do this or your insurance agent can do it for you, but the SR-22 has to be submitted to the state, through the department of motor vehicles. This will verify that you have valid liability insurance coverage, at least the minimum required by the state.


When you get back on the road, don’t make any major mistakes – like another DUI – and in a few years, you’ll see your premiums come back down to normal. Obey all traffic laws, drive a little slower, and always call a cab or get a designated driver to keep yourself on the right side of the law.

Getting caught driving under the influence doesn’t mean that you’ll never be able to drive again or that no company will ever sell you auto insurance again. But it is important to be realistic about what you’ll face when you’re ready and able to get back on the road. Be patient. Take your time looking for insurance coverage you can afford. And stay out of trouble from now on. This will pass, and eventually it’ll be nothing but a bad memory.

If you’ve got a DUI and need insurance, contact us at Charlotte Insurance. We can help you find coverage to get you back on the road.