11 Spring Landscaping Tips

Written By Charlotte Insurance on April 26, 2017. It has 0 comments.

For some people, spring means throwing off the thick coats, getting outside, and enjoying the warmer weather. But for other people, it means dusting off the pruning shears, the shovel, and your garden hose. They can’t wait to feel the moist soil under their fingers, get a little sun on the back of the neck while bent over the plant beds, or prune and weed their yard back into shape.

If this is you, take a look at our list of spring landscaping tips to help you get your yard ready for spring.

  1. Prune trees and shrubs you might not have touched before winter arrived.
  2. Go ahead and apply weed killer now before the weeds show up. Look for a pre-emergent type of weed killer.
  3. Check your lawn equipment to make sure it works. Clean and replace parts if necessary.
  4. Fill in any bare spots on your lawn. You can use plugs, sod, or even a soil and grass seed mixture depending on the size of the spot and your budget. Water well and consistently until the area fills in.
  5. Fix uneven pavers, blocks, or stepping stones. Lift them up, add soil or gravel underneath and level it off. Put the stone back in place.
  6. Clean your birdhouse, bird feeder, and bird baths.
  7. Mulch your beds and around your shrubs. You can have a layer between two and four inches of mulch. Make sure you spread it evenly over the area.
  8. Clean your gutters so the rains flows away from your house.
  9. Remove any dead wood from trees and shrubs.
  10. Scrub your pots and clean your tools – you’re going to need them.
  11. Take care of your plants – cut back perennials, plant dormant shrubs and trees, and move any dormant plants now.

Taking care of your home’s yard now, before the weather really warms up, will give you a beautiful lawn all through the spring and summer months. Pruning back trees and shrubs also helps prevent damage to your home in big storms. This may also be the year that you replace or add a fence for the backyard or remove the big tree that’s growing over your roof.

If you’ve recently made changes to your landscaping or yard that might make your home less prone to danger or safer from potential harm, give us a call at Charlotte Insurance. We’ll check to see if you qualify for any additional discounts or a lower homeowner’s insurance premium.

Dog Bite Costs on the Rise for Homeowners

Written By Charlotte Insurance on April 24, 2017. It has 0 comments.

Dog bites and other related injuries account for a third of all homeowners insurance liability claims. You may be looking at your sweet furbaby right now, unable to believe he or she would ever do such a thing. Every dog is capable of biting someone under the right circumstances. Even the gentlest dog may bite while defending their owners, food, territory, or puppies.

While it may be hard to believe now, dog bites are a real and expensive problem for homeowners across the country. In 2014, $530 million was spent on these specific liability insurance claims. Although the numbers of overall claims decreased that year by 4.7 percent, according to the Insurance Information Institute (III), the cost of claims increased by 15 percent. This is a trend that has continued since 2003. Over the years, the cost of claims has jumped 67 percent says the III.

These costs might be paid, initially, by your insurance provider, but over time they trickle down to you in the form of higher premiums. The defense is awareness and protection.


Bites aren’t the only injury your dog can inflict on someone. Other injuries typically involve knocking people down. Small children, the elderly, and people on bicycles are most common.

Be a responsible dog owner to prevent these accidents.

  • Socialize your dog so they know how to behave around people.
  • Keep your dog on a leash when out of the house and yard.
  • Teach children not to bother a dog that is sleeping or eating.
  • Before you bring your dog home for good, spend time together to get an idea of her personality.
  • If you know your dog doesn’t handle strangers well, keep him in another room or out of the way when people come over.
  • Talk to a veterinarian about the right kind of breed for your family and your living situation.


If your dog injures someone, you’ll need to file a liability claim with your homeowner’s insurance. The cost of an average dog bite claim in 2014 was over $32,000. Talk to your insurance agent to make sure you know exactly what and how much your insurance covers. There could be exclusions for specific breeds or policy limits in place.

Before you bring your dog home, make sure your policy will cover the breed you’ve chosen. While larger dogs like Pitbulls and Dobermans are not covered by some insurance policies, smaller dogs like Chihuahuas can be just as dangerous. It’s important to know what your insurance covers or to find a policy that will include your dog.

The biggest cost factor in a dog bite claim isn’t in the medical injuries, which can be significant. It’s the lawsuit settlement and legal fees of the injured person decides to sue. It’s also good to consider an umbrella policy to cover you in case your homeowner’s policy limits are exceeded in a single claim. These policies aren’t expensive, and for a few dollars a month, you’ll gain extra peace of mind.

If you want to make sure you have enough coverage or the right policy in case your furbaby hurts someone, contact us at Charlotte Insurance. We can let you know what your current policy covers and give you a quote for an umbrella policy.

Avoid these Driving Mistakes to Increase the Life of Your Car

Written By Charlotte Insurance on April 20, 2017. It has 0 comments.

So many of us have been driving for longer than we care to remember. We have our own styles, and we know what works for our vehicle. Did you know that some of our driving habits are making us less safe and damaging our cars? That means higher repair bills and more accidents.

Take a look at few common driving mistakes you’ll want to avoid to keep your car on the road as long as possible.


You can and should use your parking brake more often than you probably do. Definitely engage it when you’re parked on an incline, but go ahead and use it when you’re not. Without it, the full weight of your vehicle is on the parking pawl – one small piece of metal in your transmission. If that part wears out, and it can if you never use the parking brake, shifting to P will become meaningless.


It’s fun to rev an engine, and when you’re in a hurry, taking off from the green light feels good. Of course, on the other side, when you’re in a rush, you may have to slam on the brakes to stop in time. Neither are good for your car. Starting fast uses more fuel. Sudden stops wear out your brakes quicker. Both can cause accidents on the road.


Sometimes you just don’t have the budget for a full fill-up at the gas station but barely keeping your gas tank above E isn’t good either. You could damage your fuel pump because the only way that part of your car cools off is to be fully submerged in fuel. At the very least, keep your tank a quarter full, but more is better.


If you’re the type who rests your hand on the shifter while you drive, it’s time to get into a new habit. When you do this, you place extra weight on it – even if it doesn’t feel that way to you. Doing this causes internal wear on the transmission’s bushings and synchronizers. You’ll be in the shop with transmission repairs sooner than you want. Plus, it’s just safer to drive with both hands on the wheel.


We’re all guilty of hoping that weird rattle or squeak will go away or thinking that the “Check Engine” light is no big deal. Taking the time and money to get our vehicle checked isn’t always easy. But these are the last things you should ignore or neglect. The sooner you have your vehicle checked out, the cheaper the fix. Wait until your car dies in the middle of the highway, and you’ll really pay for it.


Carrying only the legal minimum amount of auto insurance might save you money on your premiums, but you’re asking for problems if you get into an accident. One bad accident could financially ruin you, especially if the other driver sues. Plus liability coverage alone won’t fix your car, pay you for your totaled car, or help you get a rental car. To do that you’ll need comprehensive and collision coverage as well as the rental and roadside assistance add-ons.

Changing your driving habits and taking care of your vehicle will help keep you on the road longer and you’ll be safer while you’re behind the wheel. Just because you’ve always done something a certain way doesn’t make it the best option. Take it one habit at a time, and you’ll see that the change is worth it.

Start making changes right now with a new auto insurance policy that actually covers you in an accident. Contact us at Charlotte Insurance for a free quote.

Don’t get caught in a Storm without an Umbrella

Written By Charlotte Insurance on April 18, 2017. It has 0 comments.

Even the best moments can go bad without warning. Imagine your next house party. You invite your friends, family, and the neighbors. The food is delicious, the kids have fun in the pool, and everyone is having a good time.

Until someone falls and gets hurt or eats bad dip that got a little warm. They’re sick or hurt, but they tell you when it happens that everything is fine. “Don’t worry about us,” they say. So you don’t. You apologize and bring them chicken soup but you don’t think much else about it.

To be on the safe side, you call your insurance company. They take down the information and say they’ll handle everything from there. Fast forward a few weeks, and you find out that the claim is going to cost thousands of dollars and your neighbors want to sue for more because of mental anguish and an inability to work.

Your liability insurance is only going to pay up to your policy limits. You can do the math, and this is quickly exceeding your coverage. What do you do?

Do you have an umbrella insurance policy?


An umbrella insurance policy is a form of liability insurance. It supplements your other liability coverage and pays the excess amount if you have a claim that goes over and above your normal coverage limits. It can be used for personal liability through your homeowner’s insurance or your auto insurance policy.

Umbrella policies are also good for businesses where claims can become very large rather quickly. Almost any form of liability coverage can benefit from an umbrella policy. Consider it an added layer of protection. Best of all, it’s not that expensive. A million dollar policy can cost as little as $150 for the year.


Take our earlier scenario. Without an umbrella insurance policy in place, you would have to pay the difference between the claim and what your insurance company pays. If you don’t have the cash, your assets could be used instead – that includes your home, your car, or your investments.

With an umbrella policy, your insurance company will pay the first part, up to your policy limit. Then the umbrella coverage kicks in and pays the rest, up to that policy’s limit. When you buy an umbrella policy, it’s a good idea to get the most amount of coverage you can afford because there’s no way to know how expensive a big claim might get. Not only will this coverage help pay for damages in a claim, it will also help pay your legal defense if you end up in court.

No one wants to think about a big car accident or a slip and fall that turns into a multimillion dollar lawsuit. Those things only happen to other people, right? Wrong. They can happen to anyone. With a good umbrella insurance policy, you don’t have to worry about the big claims because you’ll be covered no matter what happens.

Ready to look into additional coverage? Contact us at Charlotte Insurance for a free quote on your new umbrella policy.

4 Things to do in Charlotte this Spring

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

Now that spring is rolling in, the last thing you want to do is stay cooped up at home. It’s time to get out and have some fun here in Charlotte. Check out these four things to do this spring with the entire family and make a day of it.


Locals almost never check out our own tourist spots because of, well, all the tourists, and because we’re so busy working all the time. But this spring, it’s time to change that with a trip to Carowinds. Not only are the roller coasters still there for the thrill-seekers, you’ll also get to check out the new County Fair area. It has four carnival rides and all the fair food you can eat, and it’s great for the family. If you have the time of your life, you might want to consider season passes, too.


The new Topgolf facility is perfect whether you’re an avid golfer, a complete newbie, or the group duffer. You’ll find games for all levels here. Even better, enjoy drinks and food in climate controlled bays until it’s time for you to tee up. If you’re the competitive type, join in on the different games available like the TopGolf where you earn points for hitting the ball into any target or the TopShot where you try to hit targets at four consecutive distances. Topgolf lets you take your golf game to a new level.


An afternoon of shopping may never be the same after you see the renovations at Concord Mills. They’ve added new dining areas, valet parking, and extra lounge space. Even better, the Wi-Fi is more powerful and you’ll find charging availability so your phone doesn’t quit before you do. The stores you know and love are still there, but the experience will be even better.


Take the entire family to Gov Porch located in the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Government Center Plaza. Thanks to a nice grant, there’s now a space for kids to run, play, and spend time away from their electronics (less screentime, more playtime). Gov Porch features a playground and a library with plenty of seating and kid-friendly decor. It’s a great way to get them outside in a safe environment.

You don’t have to plan an elaborate vacation or a long roadtrip to have a good time with your family and friends. Sometimes all you need to do is stay local and go see what’s going on in your own neighborhood.

Earth Day 2017 – 13 Ways you can make your Home a bit more Green

Written By Charlotte Insurance on April 11, 2017. It has 0 comments.

When you hear “going green” you might think about saving the planet and reducing emissions, but remember “going green” also means “saving green.” The more little things you do around your home to help the planet, the more money you can save over time, too.

Here are just a few things you can do this Earth Day to make your home greener, help the environment, and save some money.

  1. Stop eating meat – for one day a week. Meatless Monday or Veggie Friday, call it what you want, but eating less meat reduces the amount of carbon emissions from the meat industry and lowers your grocery bill.
  2. Reduce your junk mail. Use a program like catalogchoice.org to stop receiving paper mail you didn’t ask for. You’ll be less annoyed and fewer trees will be cut down.
  3. Change your light bulbs from the standard kind to LED. They last longer and use less energy. Even your electric bill will thank you.
  4. Add potted plants to your home. The air in your home will be cleaner, and you’ll literally add extra green to your house.
  5. Plant local, indigenous flowers and trees around your home. They’re better adapted to the climate, don’t have to be shipped in from around the world, and good for the local environment. They’re also usually less expensive than other plants.
  6. Drink less bottled water. Most of it’s just filtered tap water anyway. Buy a filter for your sink and save money and the environment.
  7. Buy reusable bags for the grocery store. Plastic bags are bad for landfills, and paper bags almost never get recycled. The reusable kind hold more stuff – less trips to and from the car – and they’re good for the planet.
  8. Group your errands together in one trip. Instead of running out every day for one thing or another, plan your errands for one big trip. You’ll use less gas and reduce your carbon emissions.
  9. Bike, walk, or use public transport if that’s an option for you. You’ll get a little more activity in your life. Your car is less likely to be in an accident. And even better, you’re making more than just your home planet a bit greener.
  10. Stop buying in bulk if you can. We throw out almost half of our food every year. Buy less and you’ll save money, waste less food, and help reduce the amount of food that needs to be grown and shipped each year.
  11. Go for Energy Star. As your appliances, air conditioner, and even TV needs to be replaced, choose high rated Energy Star products. Most electronics have an Energy Star rating but they’re not all the same. Look for products that use less energy to install around your home.
  12. Get a smart thermostat and use it. You can change your HVAC and even lighting settings, depending on the type you get. Most of them let you access them from your phone too. You’ll have more control over your home and use less energy.
  13. Compost. You’ll create less trash waste and have something to help your plants grow. No more buying soil from the home improvement store.

It’s easy to think there’s nothing we can do to help the environment. A lot of us think, “I’m just one person. What can I do?” But you can make a bigger impact than you realize.

If everyone made just one small change around their home, it would add up to a big difference for the planet. You don’t have to do all of these things. Pick one or two and you’ll be doing your part this Earth Day and all year long.

Could April Showers Lead to a Flooded Home?

Written By Charlotte Insurance on April 7, 2017. It has 0 comments.

Anywhere it can rain, it can flood. It’s a fact of life. You don’t have to live next to a river, lake, or the ocean to be in danger of a flooded home. In fact, floods are considered the most common natural disaster in the United States.

Scary, right? That’s why it’s important to make sure you have flood insurance.


Flooding can strike any state in the country and often leave huge repair costs for homeowners. Why? Because your standard homeowners insurance policy doesn’t cover flooding. You might be covered if you get a hole in your roof or in wind-driven rain. But an overflowing river, massive rainfall, and tidal waves won’t be covered losses under your regular policy.

FEMA defines a flood as general and temporary condition of partial or complete covering of two or more acres of land by water. The land in question should be dry under normal circumstances. You don’t have to live in a high-risk flood zone to be under threat of a flood. In fact, anywhere from 20 to 25 percent of flooding claims come from owners outside high risk zones.


Homeowners with a mortgage who live in high risk zones are already required by their lender to purchase flood insurance. This coverage comes from the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) but can be purchased through your insurance agent. If you’re in a low risk area, you still need coverage. The good news is that the price of your flood insurance will be lower when you’re outside the riskier areas.

Flood insurance can be purchased to cover your home’s structure, the contents of your home, or both. A deductible will be required for any claims on the contents of your home. Like other insurance coverages, you can choose the amount of your deductible when you sign up. There’s a 30 day wait for flood insurance so it’s something you want to do before bad weather strikes.

A little known feature about flood insurance is that it will also help cover the cost of renovations to get your home in compliance with new regulations after a flood occurs. Let’s say you live in a floodplain and the first floor of your home floods after a major storm. A new mandate is created after this event that says homes must be elevated by three feet to prevent future flood damage. Your flood insurance policy will help pay for that renovation.

Even in area that hasn’t seen flooding in decades could be hit. All it takes is one bad rainstorm to overflow banks and cause flash flooding somewhere. Don’t get caught without the right insurance to help you if the worst happens. Here at Charlotte Insurance, we can help you choose a flood insurance policy through the NFIP. Contact us today and let’s get started!