How to detail your car at home

Written By Charlotte Insurance on June 27, 2018. It has 0 comments.

Getting your car detailed can be pricey but heading into the warmer months with a nice, clean car is always a treat. Don’t have the cash but want a clean car? Have the cash but aren’t willing to pay that kind of price? The good news is that you can save quite a lot of money by doing it yourself, and it’s not that hard to do, either.

Here’s what you need to know.


To detail your car, first you need to wash it. Use a soap or cleaner made specifically for vehicles. Dish soap may get the grease off but it can harm your paint finish over time. Next, wash your vehicle in sections, rinsing as you go to avoid dried soap which diminishes the final shine. Start at the top of your vehicle and work your way down as you wash.


The next step on the outside of your vehicle is to clean your tires. Use a tire cleaner that’s good for all surfaces. Spray down the rim and use both a sponge and a soft-bristled toothbrush scrub the dirt. The sponge will get the large areas and the toothbrush can get into the cracks and corners. Rinse and go back over any spots that have been missed.


Once your vehicle is dry, it’s time to wax and polish. Some people think these are one and the same, but they’re really two separate steps. Polishing removes small imperfections and scratches on the exterior of your vehicle while buffing it to a shine. Waxing adds more gloss and protects the finish on your vehicle from the elements so it shines even longer.


Washing the windows is more than just using your soap and sponge while you wash the rest of your vehicle. Once you’re done, get window cleaner or use a vinegar and water mixture to clean the windows and mirrors, inside and out. Make sure to roll down your window a bit so you can get the top section, too. This will help prevent streaks and marks later.


Once you’re done with the outside of your vehicle, it’s time to clean the inside. Start with the plastic sections your dashboard, center console, radio, and glove compartment. Don’t forget any plastic sections on the doors and at the back of your vehicle. Use ammonia-free cleansers and get into all the nooks and crannies. Barbeque skewers are especially good for pulling out dust and debris from the cracks and crevices.


First you need to pull out all the big trash that you can grab with your hands. Move your seats backward and forward to find trash that’s hiding from view. Now vacuum the carpets and upholstery to get the biggest chunks of dirt and debris picked up. Use your skewer to push out any dust and dirt from the crevices. The more thoroughly you can clean those nooks and crannies, the more professional your detailing job will look.


If your upholstery is fabric, you can use a foaming aerosol spray cleaner to clean the seats and the carpet together. Vacuum first, then spray the foaming cleaner on the area that needs to be cleaned. Once it begins to dry, vacuum it back up. You can also rent a carpet cleaner from a grocery or home improvement store and use that for a deep clean. If after all that, you still can’t get the dirt up, consider covering your seats with a fitted seat cover.


If you’ve got leather seats, they may be easier to clean but they still have their own concerns. Keep a leather cleaning kit in your vehicle for small stains and spots. As soon as you can when something spills, use the kit to clean it up. A spill that sits for 24 hours or more can easily become permanent. Spot clean as needed and use leather cleaner to fully clean your seats periodically. You can also by a kit to repair tears in your leather. The tear will still be visible but at least you won’t have a hole in your seat.

There’s one more detail about your vehicle you don’t want to forget — good auto insurance. It doesn’t matter how pretty your car looks if your insurance won’t fully cover you in an accident. After you’ve made it shine, make sure your vehicle is completely protected with the right kind and amount of auto insurance. Contact Charlotte Insurance today for a quote!

Boating Etiquette 101

Written By Charlotte Insurance on June 20, 2018. It has 0 comments.

Before you get your out on your boat this summer, make sure you know and understand the proper etiquette out on the water and at the docks. The best boaters are those that are the most well-informed and the safest. If you’re new to boating or it’s been a while since you’ve been out on the water, the Coast Guard offers an auxiliary class for boating safety. It’s not only extremely educational and helpful, but it can help you save money on your Charlotte boat insurance, too.

Avoid being the kind of boater that makes the day miserable for everyone else out on the water with you by following these tips.


There are times when you may overtake and need to pass another boater. When you do, slow down as much as possible and give the other boat as much room as possible. This keeps you from creating a wake that disrupts them and causes problems on their boat. When you pass, try to stay leeward so you don’t block their wind.


Enter a mooring area slowly. You also don’t want to get too close to other anchored boats. If you try to drop your anchor in the middle of other boats, the lines can easily get tangled. When you do drop anchor for a while, think about the size of your party on the boat and what you plan on doing. Sound carries easily over water, and you might disturb someone who’s fishing or trying to relax.


You may dock for a number of reasons: to refuel, to go on shore for a bit, or to “park” for the day or night. When you’re fueling up, get in and get out as quickly as possible so the next boat can get the fuel they need. Afterwards, dock in another area where it’s understood you may leave for a while and you won’t be in anyone else’s way. Once you do, keep the area free of ropes, hoses, cords, and supplies to prevent tripping hazards.


It’s easy for boaters to get backed up at launch ramps. Everyone wants to get out on the water at the same time and it slows down everyone. Be as efficient and quick as possible. Do what you need to do and get out of the way. Make sure guests on the boat understand that this isn’t a time to dawdle and sightsee. Other people are waiting.


Boating might be a solitary activity for some, but everyone needs help from time to time. It’s considered good manners to offer help when docking and undocking. If they’re okay on their own, they’ll let you know. When you see someone struggling, offer to help then, too. They might be new or they might not have enough hands for the job. Either way, they’ll appreciate the offer.


Are you bringing a few friends out on the boat with you? Make sure they know a few basic rules about boating such as when to sit and where to find life jackets. They should also understand that you may need help docking and undocking and that their things need to be stowed in order to keep the deck clear of debris and tripping hazards. Show them where supplies are and let them know that they can relax later but at the launch ramp, when undocking, or docking, they need to move quickly and efficiently to be courteous to other boaters.

Have you taken a safety class recently? You may qualify for a discount! Has it been a while since you thought about your boat insurance policy? It may be time for a new estimate. Contact Charlotte Insurance today and let us help with all your boat insurance needs.

Telematics: It’s not what you think

Written By Charlotte Insurance on June 18, 2018. It has 0 comments.

The idea that we’re being watched all the time isn’t just in our heads. Thanks to things we keep learning about social media and privacy plus all the data Google collects, the idea of “Big Brother” isn’t paranoia. But not all systems are as nefarious as we’ve been lead to believe, either. Some things are truly designed to help people but only with your permission. This includes telematics.


A telematics device is a system installed into your vehicle that records your driving habits. It calculates the miles you drive over a certain period of time. This device knows what you speed you travel at and how quickly you brake. Some systems can even tell what time of day it is while you’re driving. When issued by an insurance company, its purpose is to help you become a safer and better driver, while also saving you money.

How many times have you wondered why you’re paying so much for insurance when you never get into accidents? Have you ever thought, “I’m a safe driver! I follow traffic laws! Why is my premium so high?” Telematic systems and programs, like SmartDrive, give you the opportunity to show your insurance provider you’re careful out on the road. In return, they give you discounts on your premiums.


Every program is slightly different, but the basics are the same. First, you have to choose to sign up for the telematics program. You’re not forced to take part in it. It only happens with your full knowledge and consent.

The device is installed into your vehicle’s OBD-II port. In most vehicles, this is located on your steering wheel column, under the dashboard. Every vehicle built since the 1990s has one of these ports. Once installed, it records information every time you drive your vehicle.

That information is sent, with your consent when you join your insurer’s program, to your insurance provider. From there, depending on your driving habits, you may qualify for additional discounts and savings. The more you can do to reduce your chance of an accident, the less you pay for your insurance premiums. Many insurers do not use this information to increase your rates due to poor driving habits, only to reduce your rates due to good driving habits.


Do you have any bad habits that you find nearly impossible to change on your own? Smoking, biting your nails, drinking too many sodas? Think of some of your worst driving habits. You know you should slow down or simply drive more carefully. But changing our habits isn’t easy.

You can use your telematics device to help you make changes in your driving. The lower insurance premiums might be all the incentive you need. But knowing that a device is recording what you’re doing may be enough, too. If you can become a better driver, you’ll get into less accidents, get fewer tickets, and maybe even stretch your gas a few more miles between fill-ups.

For once, you can have more control over what you pay in auto insurance premiums. Here at Charlotte Insurance, we can help. If you’re interested in learning more about telematics, ask us about the Snapshot device from Progressive Insurance.

Every RV Deserves the Proper Insurance Coverage

Written By Charlotte Insurance on June 15, 2018. It has 0 comments.

Whether you have a modest travel trailer or a larger-than-life home on wheels, you need the proper insurance coverage for your RV. When you consider insurance coverage, the value of your trailer or RV is only part of the decision. You also need to consider everything you store inside of your RV, as well.

Before you get on the road for a summer of fun, make sure your RV is covered with the right amount and kind of insurance.


If you’re driving a standalone recreational vehicle, you already know you need a separate RV insurance policy. But what about the trailer you hitch to the back of your truck? You might be relying on your auto insurance to cover you in an accident, and that could be a mistake. Some of the damage may be covered but not all of it.


RV insurance isn’t something you want to skip as it helps you protect an investment that can cost as much as another automobile up to the cost of another home. When you buy RV insurance, you’re protecting a major financial investment. RV insurance is also required in every state, and the kind of insurance you need is based on the kind of camper or trailer you have.

Larger RVs will need more coverage than the smaller trailer you tow behind you. If you use your RV only for recreational use, you’ll need less coverage than someone who uses their RV full-time. Full-timers often need a specialty insurance plan to reflect the true use and added liability you may have when using your RV.


When considering RV insurance coverage, there are multiple types of coverage to consider and to ask your independent insurance agent about:

  • Roadside Assistance and Towing: You may have this coverage with your auto insurance, but there may also be policy limits you’re unaware of. Towing an RV can easily be three times more expensive than towing a car and without the right coverage, you’ll be the one paying the difference.
  • Stolen and Totaled: Most standard RV policies pay Actual Cash Value for your RV if it’s stolen or totaled. You may be able to purchase coverage for the Agreed Value, and if your RV is less than five years old, ask about Total Loss Replacement. This will help you replace your RV without having to pay as much (or anything) out of pocket.
  • Stolen Personal Property: Your auto insurance won’t cover the cost of replacing stolen personal property from your trailer or RV. For that, you need “personal effects” coverage. This will help you replace whatever you’ve stowed in your trailer or camper.
  • Vacation Liability: When you’re traveling out on the road, you take on extra liability while driving and at the campsite. Typically, you’re responsible for the area surrounding your campsite so if someone trips and falls, you could be sued. With the right liability insurance, you’ll be protected no matter what happens.

Are you getting your trailer out for some summer camping trips? Has it been a while since you thought about your RV insurance coverage? Now is the perfect time to check your insurance policy and make sure you have the best possible coverage. Contact Charlotte Insurance today and let us help you cover your RV and your belongings before you hit the road.

Builder’s Risk Insurance: What it is and why you need it

Written By Charlotte Insurance on June 13, 2018. It has 0 comments.

Your property is protected by your homeowners insurance while you occupy it, but what about while you’re building it or adding onto it? If you think your general contractor’s insurance will cover you, think again. A general contractor is usually only required to carry liability insurance for losses due to their own negligence. Your homeowners insurance typically doesn’t cover pre-construction and buildings under construction.

So how are you supposed to protect your property while it’s in the process of being built or remodeled? To do that, during the construction phase, you need builder’s risk insurance.


Builder’s risk insurance is typically purchased by the owner of a building or land for protection against your losses during the remodel or construction period. You can buy a policy to cover you and your property in one of a few situations:

  • Property renovation
  • Building new property from the ground up
  • Adding improvements to your existing property

A builder’s risk insurance policy begins when construction begins and it ends once the building is occupied. Damage to buildings, the foundation, and some property that’s meant to become a permanent part of the building that’s located in, on, or within 100 feet of the construction site are typically covered by this policy. You need a large enough policy to cover the full value of the completed project (minus the land) to make sure you have enough insurance in case the worst occurs.


You can’t rely on your contractor’s insurance to cover losses you may sustain during the construction phase. Even with a remodel or additions to your property, your property insurance likely won’t cover all situations. The smartest option is to purchase builder’s risk coverage, also known as “course of construction” insurance. While the construction is going on, you’ll have an extra layer of protection from fire, wind, and vandalism.

Builder’s risk insurance typically lasts the duration of the construction phase. You can buy policies with one year coverage, but long-term projects will need longer coverage. You may not be covered in all situations including:

  • Earthquakes, flood, acts of war
  • Intentional acts by the owner
  • Faulty design, workmanship, materials, or planning

You’ve worked hard for this remodel or construction project. You’ve made safety and protection a priority by carrying great property insurance and hiring only the best contractors. Don’t let a fire or bad storm force you to give up your dream of a new building before construction is complete or force you to spend more than you intended. With a builder’s risk insurance policy, you’ll add another layer of protection to your home or business.

Before you break ground or knock down a single wall, contact Charlotte Insurance and ask about a builder’s risk policy for your project. Let us get a quote so you can protect yourself from problems during construction you can’t predict.