What to do if your Vehicle is Stolen

Written By Charlotte Insurance on July 25, 2017. It has 0 comments.

You walked into the store, jingling your keys, fiddling with your phone, without a care in the world. A few minutes – or hours – later, you’re back out, bags in hand. You look around at where you’re sure you parked your car. You know you parked it under that street lamp and now it’s gone! What are you going to do?!

Here’s what you need to do if your vehicle is ever stolen.

  1. Breathe. Take a deep breath. Try not to panic. Your car might not be stolen.
  2. Think for a second. Are you behind on your payments? Did you park in a no-parking zone? It’s possible your car has been towed away or repossessed.
  3. If that’s not a possibility, think about the technology in your vehicle. Do you have GPS, OnStar, Safety Connect, Blue Link, or anything like that? This will help you in the next step.
  4. Call the police and report your vehicle stolen. They’ll ask for your vehicle identification number (VIN), your license plate number, the make and model of your vehicle, and anything to help identify your car.
  5. Make sure to tell them about any safety tech in your vehicle. They can contact those companies to help track down your car. Blue Link may even be able to disable the vehicle or stop it where it is.
  6. Make a quick list of everything you remember in your vehicle, all your personal possessions. If you keep a gun in your car, make sure you tell the police about it. They’ll want to know about that and may ask about your license for it.
  7. Now that the police report is filed, call your insurance company to start the claim process. They’ll ask for a lot of information, too. Be prepared to tell them the names of everyone who has access to your vehicle (including friends and roommates) and the location of all your sets of keys. When you get home, verify your keys are where you thought they were.
  8. Share the list you made of your personal belongings with the insurance company. This will likely be included in your claim.
  9. When you’re done, call your lender or leasing company if you’re still paying for your vehicle. They’ll be the beneficiary of most (if not all) of the claim the insurance company pays out. They may be able to work directly with your insurance company which gives you one less thing to worry about.


Hopefully you never have your car stolen. To help prevent future theft and to help recover if it happens again, keep these things in mind:

  • Always carry full coverage on your vehicle. Without comprehensive coverage, you won’t get anything if your vehicle is stolen.
  • Keep your personal belongings, especially expensive ones, out of sight. Laptops and other big items should be kept with you or in the trunk.
  • Lock your doors and roll up your windows, even in your own driveway. Some thefts are crimes of opportunity as a thief checks doors to see which one will open.
  • Don’t leave your keys in or near your car. Not even as a back-up.

Check your insurance to make sure you have the coverage you need in case your vehicle is ever stolen. Contact Charlotte Insurance today, and we’ll answer any questions you have or provide an estimate to help you find the right auto insurance coverage.

17 Money Saving Tips to get you Through Sumnmer

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

Summer is supposed to be a time for long days, warm weather, and time spent with the family. The kids are out of school, and a lot people take time off of work to enjoy the sunshine. It can also be expensive between family vacations to amusement parks and keeping your home cool.

Take a look at these 17 ways you can save money this summer and still have fun.

  1. Walk or bike more. Leave your car at home when you can to save on gas.
  2. Pack a picnic lunch and spend a day at the park.
  3. Bring your lunch to work and spend time in the fresh air on your lunch hour.
  4. Be a tourist in Charlotte – a tourist on a budget. See the free sights, enjoy the parks, go to a museum when they’re offering discounts, catch a movie in the park, and anything else offered for free or at a discount.
  5. Enjoy local festivals. Of course there are local vendors begging you to buy something, but walk through and enjoy browsing instead. Festivals usually offer free entertainment for the whole family.
  6. Get outside more. Cancel the gym membership, go to the movies a little less, and play outside – with or without the kids.
  7. Go to the library. You can check out books, music, and DVDs. It’s free to use as long as you’re not overdue.
  8. Build a vegetable garden in your backyard. You’ll spend time outside in the fresh air and have vegetables to eat later.
  9. Cancel your cable and do stuff together as a family instead. Play board games or do fun and free things around Charlotte.
  10. Check out garage sales and flea markets instead of buying new.
  11. Dry your laundry outside on the line to use your dryer less.
  12. Grill outside as often as you can. You’ll keep your house cooler and use less energy.
  13. Bump up the air conditioner just one degree warmer. You’ll barely notice the difference in the temperature but you’ll see the difference on your electric bill.
  14. Take a short road trip instead of planning the expensive family vacation.
  15. Head to a beach, lake, or river for the day. Pack a cooler full of food.
  16. Let the kids set up a lemonade stand in the neighborhood. They’ll be outside doing something and learn about earning money.
  17. Scope out the splash pads and free water parks in your area. You don’t need a pool if you know where to go to cool down.

The kids don’t need to spend all summer in front of a TV or computer and you don’t have to spend a ton of money to keep everyone entertained or out of the heat. With a little creativity and a bit of planning, you can save money and have a great time this summer.

Car Modifications and your Insurance – What’s Covered

Written By Charlotte Insurance on July 19, 2017. It has 0 comments.

Are you the type of person who doesn’t want anything generic? Everything has to be personalized and express who you are. Okay, maybe not everything, but the big things. Your home, your wardrobe, and oh yes, you car, too. You’ve spent a lot of money taking care of your car and modifying it until you’re happy with it.

The summer is a great time to update, tweak, and change things. It’s a new season and time for something different. Before you get too carried away with the next mod, have you checked to see how it could impact your auto insurance?


Some modifications, like tinted windows, may not require special or extra auto insurance. But others, like a custom paint job or a structural change to the chassis probably will. When you modify your vehicle, your insurance company wants to know about it. They consider any modification a change the alters or enhances your vehicle for appearance or performance. What you do to your vehicle can impact your insurance coverage.

What are the modifications that most affect your auto insurance?

  • Stereo equipment
  • Fog lights
  • Spoilers – front and rear
  • Vertical doors
  • Hood ornaments
  • Chrome bumpers
  • Chrome wheels and racing tires
  • Accent lights


Depending the changes you make, it’s not just the type of coverage that changes but also the value of your insurance coverage. Avoid actual cash value for any insurance coverage, if you can, because you’ll never receive enough to replace your property.

Most people opt for replacement value for their insurance policies but you may also want to talk to your agent about “agreed value” – this is a number you and the insurance company agree to and put in writing before the policy is written. It may help cover certain modifications that would be hard to place a “replacement” value on.


Every insurance company is a little different because they each set their own standards. It’s important to talk to your insurance provider before you make modifications, if possible, to make sure you’re covered. At a minimum, the changes you make must be in accordance with state law to be considered for insurance coverage.

In North Carolina, your modifications must meet certain requirements:

  • Muffler cutouts aren’t allowed at all.
  • Vehicles can be up to 13 feet 6 inches in height.
  • No red and blue flashing or stationary lights are allowed. Those are only for emergency vehicles.
  • You can add two additional lights to your vehicle such as spotlights or auxiliary lamps.
  • Non-reflective tint is allowed on the windshield above the AS-1 line.
  • Tinted windows must allow more than 35 percent of light through.
  • Side mirrors are required if the back window is tinted.
  • Reflective tint can’t reflect more than 20 percent.
  • Red tint isn’t allowed at all.

Depending on the modifications made, you may want to consider additional equipment coverage or collector car coverage. When you talk to your insurance agent, have a complete list of all the modifications made so you get the most accurate information possible.

Here at Charlotte Insurance we’re happy to help you insure any vehicle you drive, whether a brand new vehicle, one modified to look completely unique, or an antique vehicle. Give us a call today and let’s talk about your vehicle.

Increase Security to Reduce Premiums

Written By Charlotte Insurance on July 17, 2017. It has 0 comments.

Having insurance for your home and vehicles helps you when the worst happens – theft, a storm, fire. Insurance is the back-up plan. It’s the thing that works after a disaster. Insurance costs, as a result, are based on risk. Higher risk homes, cars, neighborhoods, and people cost more to insure.

The best way to reduce your insurance premiums is to reduce your risk. Taking care of your home and vehicle are just the start. Because bad people exist, and although prevention measures may not be perfect, they help. Additional security for your home and vehicle reduces your risk and your insurance premiums.


A home without a security system is three times more likely to be robbed than a home with a system. Knowing this, insurance companies offer a discount of up to 20 percent when you install one. Every insurance provider decides their discounts a little differently but to get the highest discount possible, you need to have the most effective system. For the most savings, you’ll want a central monitoring alarm. Here’s how it works:

  • An intruder enters your home and sets off an audible alarm.
  • The security monitor facility calls you to verify there’s an intruder.
  • If they don’t talk to you or you confirm someone has broken in, they call emergency services for you.

When done well, this kind of security system offers you peace of mind no matter where you or what time it is. It’s typically a more expensive option. If you choose another system that doesn’t make the call to the police for you, you’ll save money, but your discount won’t be as big.


Cars today come with certain standard safety features – seat belts, airbags, and more. What isn’t always standard is an alarm system or the technology to help keep your vehicle safe. You’ll have to pay extra for this, but when you do, it’ll help you save on your auto insurance.

The early technology that you may be familiar with is LoJack. It’s a recovery system that the police can use to locate your stolen vehicle. You may also have access to built-in GPS and technology like OnStar by GM, Safety Connect by Toyota, or Blue Link through Hyundai. These programs not only help locate your vehicle when it’s been stolen, some like Blue Link, may be able slow your vehicle down or stop it completely.

The discounts for home or vehicle security systems are not automatically applied. In order to get them, you’ll have to notify your insurance company. They’ll ask for information about your security system to determine how much of a discount you’ll receive. If you upgrade your security system, let your agent know in case there’s a bigger discount available.

If you’ve recently added security features to your home or vehicle, contact us at Charlotte Insurance so we can make sure you get the best price for your insurance coverage. We’re happy to provide estimates for new policies, too!

Be Aware of Recalls

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

Automobile recalls, when they’re big and bad, tend to make news. In 2013, only a few types of vehicles were subject to a Takata airbag recall but more recently, several more were added to the list in a big, public way. When Anton Yelchin, an actor from the most recent Star Trek movies, was killed when his Jeep rolled away and pinned him to a brick post, it sounded like a tragic accident. We now know it may have been due to a problem that triggered a recall by Jeep.

 Not all automotive recalls are this tragic or dramatic but they all should be taken seriously. When you receive a recall notice, call your local dealer immediately.


Not all vehicle owners receive automotive recall notices. People who buy new vehicles or buy a certified pre-owned vehicle from a dealership should receive information from the dealer or manufacturer. You may also receive notifications if you purchase an extended warranty on your vehicle. If you take your vehicle to the dealer to be serviced, even if you didn’t buy it from them, they may add your vehicle into their system, triggering notifications, too.

For buyers who purchase from a local lot or a private seller, instead of a dealer, or move without sharing their change of address, you may never receive another recall notice for your current vehicle. Watching the local news isn’t a great method because not every recall gets reported locally or nationally. By the time a recall makes the news, it’s either a really big deal or someone has gotten hurt.


What should you do if you haven’t received any recall notices and aren’t sure you ever will? Check for yourself at MotorSafety.org. The website has consolidated information from all manufacturers so vehicle owners can check any vehicle you want, whenever you want. The constant bad news makes people fearful and anxious about their own vehicles. MotorSafety.org offers you peace of mind and information to keep you and your family safe.

Checking for recalls is extremely easy.

1.     Get your vehicle’s vehicle identification number or VIN – it’s printed on your car or on your vehicle registration paperwork

2.     Go to the website: MotorSafety.org – you can access it from your computer or mobile device’s browser

3.     Enter your car’s VIN and click “Check Recall Status”

The results will list the make, model, and year of your vehicle to make sure you’ve entered the correct VIN. You’ll see a list of any recalls or a notification that tells you there are no recalls for your vehicle. If recalls are listed, you’ll also be directed to a certified dealer who can fix the problem.

As soon as you can after you find recalls, call the dealership to find out what the process is for repairs. They may be waiting on the parts, or they may be able to get you right in. Don’t let affordability stop you from calling. When a manufacturer recalls a vehicle, you typically don’t have to pay for the fix. The biggest hassle will be taking time out of your day to get it done, but for safety reasons, don’t delay on this.

What else can you do to keep you, your family, and your vehicle safe? Make sure you have the right auto insurance. Contact us at Charlotte Insurance today. We can get you a free quote and answer any questions you have about your current coverage.

National Picnic Month: Best Place in Charlotte for a Picnic

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

July is National Picnic Month. What better way to celebrate the summer than with a picnic! Charlotte and the surrounding area is filled with beautiful parks and outdoor spaces. Grab the family, pack a picnic, and plan a day together. It’s a great time to enjoy fresh air and good food in a gorgeous setting!


Before you pack the cooler or make some potato salad for your picnic, let’s take a moment to talk safety. Nothing ruins a picnic quicker than bad food, bugs, and the result of eating something that has “turned.” Keep these things in mind when you plan your picnic:

●      Check to see if the park has a water source like a bathroom so everyone can wash their hands before digging in. If not, bring bottles of water or moist wipes.

●      Bring a plastic tablecloth to put down over the table. Wipe it clean before you put food on it, and after you’ve put the food away again.

●      If you’re grilling at the park, make sure all raw meat is wrapped securely before packing it in the cooler. Cross contamination can create nasty surprises later.

●      During your picnic, keep food covered to keep bugs out of it.

●      Pack some utensils for eating and others for serving. Don’t use the same for both.

●      Keep cold foods cold with ice and ice packs. Also keep cold food in the refrigerator until the last minute before you pack it up. Make sure you use an insulated cooler, as well.

●      Keep hot foods hot. Cook meats to an internal temperature of at least 160 degrees. Reheat meat to 165 degrees. Bring a meat thermometer to help.

●      Don’t leave food out in the heat for more than an hour on days hotter than 90 degrees. If the day is breezy and cooler, you can extend that to two hours.

●      Pack non-perishable foods instead of mayonnaise-heavy foods and baked sweets that can go bad in the heat. Think potato chips, whole fruits, and cookies.


Before you pack for your picnic, the first thing to do is to decide where to go. Some locations offer picnic pavilions while other locations are more of the blanket-on-grass set-up.

Romare Bearden Park: Bring your blanket and your picnic basket and set up on the grass at Romare Bearden Park. It’s a great green space for playing, enjoying the view, or reading. It’s across the street from BB&T Ballpark so you might even hear a bit of the ballgame, depending on when you go.

Freedom Park: Ever had a picnic by a pond? Head to Freedom Park and you can. It’s great for biking or simply playing outside with the kids.

Lake Norman State Park: You’ll have a choice of three picnic areas at Lake Norman State Park. The park also provides restrooms, tables, and grills so you can make it a party for the whole family.

Jetton Park: The 104 acres at Jetton Park give you plenty of room to spread out. Choose a shaded picnic space for lunch and then enjoy the trails, playground, or public beach area for the rest of the day.

Independence Park: When you go to Independence Park, you don’t even have to pack a picnic. The park is close to three restaurants. You can order your lunch instead and save yourself some hassle. Eat outside in the picnic shelters and let the kids enjoy the playground.

Before you head out to a picnic or any other family fun this summer, even if you’re not going very far, make sure you and your family are covered. Give us a call so that we can review your current auto insurance policy with you to make sure that you’ve got enough coverage.