Common New Year’s Resolutions (and How to Actually Stick With Them)

Written By Charlotte Insurance on December 31, 2018. It has 0 comments.

a planner to write down your common new year's resolutions and steps to help you stick to them

Do you make New Year’s resolutions each year only to give up by February? Why is it that we start a year with such good intentions only to fall back into bad habits within a few weeks?

If you love making a New Year’s resolution but can’t seem to stick to it, we understand the struggle. Check out the most common resolutions made each year, and how you can stick with them all year long.

Common Resolutions

Do any of these resolutions sound familiar? They’re some of the most common ones people make every year.

  • Eat healthier
  • Exercise more
  • Save money/spend less money
  • Take care of yourself: This may mean to get more sleep, stop smoking, or go to the doctor more often.
  • Read more books
  • Make new friends
  • Learn something new: This could be a new skill or a hobby
  • Get a new job
  • Spend more time with family and friends

All of these are great goals to have, but the hard part is sticking to them.

How to Stick to Your New Year’s Resolutions

The problem most people have with keeping their resolutions is that they think big and come up with great ideas, but fall down on the execution. Here are some things that will help you stick to your new year’s resolutions all year long.

Think of resolutions as goals. Instead of “resolving” to change, think of it as a new goal you’ve set for yourself. This offers a more positive, long-term outlook on what you want to accomplish.

Write it down. Habits, goals, and ideas always seem more real and concrete once they’re written down. Put it on the calendar or make a note and put it where you can see it everyday. That will remind you of your goal when you start to feel lazy about it.

Think of how you’ll achieve it. The big problem with most resolutions is that many people focus on what they want to accomplish, but not how they’ll do it. If you want to eat healthier in 2019, decide what that means to you. Will you try Paleo, go vegan, or something else?

Start small. Wanting to run a marathon is a great goal, but if it’s been a decade since you wore running shoes, you have to crawl before you run (or tackle 26.2 miles). It’s easy to get discouraged if you try to do a big thing before you’re prepared. Achieving small steps will get you to the bigger goal over time.

Be patient with yourself. Nothing ever happens as fast as we’d like it to. Don’t give up after a bad weekend or week. Start again from where you are, and keep going. The moments where you fall of the wagon aren’t as bad as you think they are, and you can always start over. Think of it as a cha-cha — two steps forward, one step back.

If one of your goals this year is to save money and worry less about your loved ones, it’s time to rethink your insurance coverage. Schedule an insurance review or get a quote for a new policy. Contact us at Charlotte Insurance and let us help you start the new year off right.

Celebrate the New Year Safely

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

champagne bottles on ice at a new year's eve party where people are celebrating the new year safely

New Year’s Eve is a time to ring out the old and ring in the new. New Year’s Eve parties are filled with people, fun, and, plenty of alcohol. There’s nothing wrong with responsibly enjoying a couple of drinks, but you need to think about staying safe. Whether you’re a host or a party-goer, keep these safety tips in mind.

Party Hosts Safety Tips

Throwing a New Year’s Eve party? Make sure it stays fun and doesn’t end in tragedy — or with a liability claim against your Charlotte home insurance policy.

Serve Less Alcohol

The best way to avoid anyone leaving your home while intoxicated and getting into an accident is to serve a minimal amount of alcohol. Instead of an open bar that pours drinks all night, create a cut-off point for the alcohol. You could also hold the alcohol for the champagne toast at the end of the night. Make sure you offer plenty of soda, coffee, water, and other non-alcoholic options no matter how much alcohol is available. 

Have Everyone Stay Over

If decreasing the flow of alcohol isn’t something you want to do, make plans to have everyone stay over. You may need to keep the party small to accommodate everyone, but it means no one has to get on the road or figure out where their car is. You can continue the fun going with a New Year’s Day brunch. 

Call Ride Shares for Intoxicated Partiers

As the host who’s serving the alcohol, you have a responsibility when anyone becomes inebriated according to social host liability laws. If staying over isn’t an option and someone imbibes too much, despite your best efforts, call an Uber or Lyft for them. Take car keys at the beginning of the night and don’t give them back. Schedule a ride for anyone who needs one.

Party Night Safety Tips

You’re not hosting the party, but you’re hitting as many as you can and watching the ball drop at midnight. Here’s what you need to know to keep yourself and everyone else safe.

Take a Ride Share Everywhere 

Skip the chance that you could drive drunk, get into an accident, and hurt someone. Get a ride to every party. You don’t have to worry about keeping up with your keys or how you’ll get back home safely. You’ll avoid accidents and keep the fun going. 

Be a Designated Driver

Want to go to the parties, but not interested in drinking? Offer to be a designated driver for your friends. You’ll have a perfect reason not to take a drink if anyone offers, and you’ll know that the people you care about are a little safer at the end of the night. Be careful out on the roads. If it starts snowing or icing over, stay at the party until it’s safe to drive.  Also, be aware that not everyone out on the road will have been responsible enough to plan ahead; so you may encounter other impaired drivers.

Never Drink and Drive 

Maybe you don’t plan to drink, but know it could happen. Or you’re the type who doesn’t seem drunk after a few so no one takes your keys away. No matter what, don’t drink and drive. It can take just a single drink to impair your judgement or your reflexes. Add in bad weather and other inebriated drivers, and your chances of getting into an auto accident become even higher. If you drink, don’t drive. If you drive, don’t drink — or get a ride from someone else instead. 

New Year’s Eve is supposed to be a time to celebrate, but too often it’s a night of tragedy and pain. Auto accidents after drinking are common at this time of year. Avoid the liability, the pain, and the problems and stay safe this New Year’s Eve. 

Insuring Valuable Gifts

Written By Charlotte Insurance on December 21, 2018. It has 0 comments.

a woman giving a valuable gift that needs to be insured

Getting a nice gift at the holidays can be a wonderful surprise. Maybe it was a piece of jewelry that they never expected. It might have been a new car or something to add to a growing collection. Beyond the sentimental value, these gifts are also monetarily valuable. If they break or are lost, the cost to repair or replace them could be devastating — if they’re even replaceable.

When you give or receive valuable gifts, you also need to think about insuring them.

Talk to Your Insurance Agent Before You Buy

If you’re buying a valuable gift, contact your independent insurance agent before you make the purchase. We can tell you whether your existing coverage will be adequate or if you’ll need a special rider or specialty insurance coverage. This may help you decide which gift to buy or help you insure it as soon as possible.

Expand Your Existing Insurance Coverage

When you give a valuable gift to someone who lives with you, insurance coverage may be as simple as expanding what you already have. Depending on the gift, increasing your existing coverage could be all you need to do. But if the valuable item is recognized by your policy within a specific class, you need a scheduled rider, floater, or endorsement. This includes jewelry, fine art, precious metal, coins, furs, antiques, and other collectibles and high-value items.

Scheduled riders are insured based on the cost or value of the item. You’ll need to present certified appraisal documentation or the bill of sale to show the cost or value. If your gift is something that increases in value over time, like fine art or an antique, you’ll need to have it appraised every one to three years. 

Standalone Coverage

In some cases, expanding a homeowner’s insurance policy isn’t possible or the right option for a valuable gift. You may need a specialty policy for a new boat, a large collection, a classic car, or some other item.

But in other situations, the gift may be for someone who doesn’t live with you. Once the merriment dies down, make sure to remind them to get their new valuable insured. Share the name and contact information of an independent insurance agency that you trust and work with — this saves them the time of searching for someone to call. 

The other time standalone coverage is required is if the valuable gift is a car. For your spouse or a child who lives with you, it’s as simple as adding the vehicle to your existing auto insurance policy. But if it’s not for someone in your household, you’ll have to insure it when you leave the lot before you give it to them. In this case, it might be better to “give” them their present at the dealership so insurance and title can be dealt with there.

If you love giving valuable gifts each year, consider the insurance needs when you make your next purchase. And if you received a valuable gift, get it insured as soon as possible. We can help you protect all of your valuable items.

Is Buying a Car with a Salvage Title Ever a Good Thing?

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

a car with a salvage title - should you buy it?

You’ve found a vehicle at a ridiculously low price, but when you investigate further, you find out it has a salvage title. Before you part with your hard-earned money, make sure you understand what you’re getting with this vehicle.

What is a Salvage Title

A salvage title is given to vehicles that have been involved in accidents or damaged in other ways and are declared a total loss by an insurance company. A total loss occurs when the cost to repair the damages exceeds the value of the vehicle. Vehicles with a salvage title can be used again once they’re fixed and pass an inspection.

But even if the vehicle passes inspection, it will still carry a salvage title for the rest of its life. When you buy one, they’re typically priced 20 to 40 percent below market value. It sounds like a good deal until you look at the risks involved.

Buyer Beware

If you’re considering buying a vehicle with a salvage title, the rule to remember is, “Buyer beware.” You’re taking a risk by buying and driving it, even if it is a great price.

  • Repaired salvage title vehicles are typically cobbled together from multiple vehicles.
  • You have no guarantee that parts have been installed or repairs have been done correctly.
  • Safety features may be faulty, improperly installed, or non-existent.
  • You may be told that the damage is “minor” when it was really major damage.
  • Many insurance companies will refuse to insure a salvage title vehicle and banks won’t finance them.
  • Salvage vehicles have no resale value, so you’ll never be able to trade it in towards another vehicle purchase.

When It Might Be a Good Idea

Even with the risks, some people can benefit from a salvage title purchase. But it’s a decision that must be made knowing what could go wrong and maintaining realistic expectations.

  • A low cost allows someone without a lot of money or who can’t get financing to own a vehicle to get to and from work.
  • Drivers may want to use a salvage title vehicle to commute around town, reducing the miles driven on a nicer or newer vehicle.
  • Salvage vehicles can be used for parts to repair other vehicles.

If you’re planning on using a salvage title vehicle until the end of it’s life, resale value won’t be a concern. Before you buy, get a car inspection first. If it comes back with small or easily repaired problems, it might be a good purchase — based on your goals.

If you’re determined to buy a salvage title vehicle, find out if any carrier will insure it before you buy. Contact Charlotte Insurance so we can help you find the best auto insurance for your vehicles and let you know your options on the salvage vehicle that sounds like a really good deal.

Preparing Your Home and Car for Winter

Written By Charlotte Insurance on December 17, 2018. It has 0 comments.

a winter road

In the warm days of spring and summer, it’s easy to forget that colder weather is on its way. Every year, winter seems to take us all by surprise, even when we’re desperate for the heat to end. But winter is coming.

You can prepare for it now and prevent problems, accidents, and insurance claims. Here’s what you need to know.

Check Your Roof and Chimney

In the winter, your roof presents two potential dangers: leaks and damage from snowfall and ice and fires from a clogged chimney. Both need to be inspected before winter really sets in.

  • Repair damaged sections of your roof.
  • Replace loose or missing tiles.
  • Have your chimney and fireplace inspected and cleaned.

Don’t let the snow and ice get in your home, and don’t let a fire get out of control.

Reduce Energy Use

Keeping the cold air out keeps your home warmer during the winter and reduces the energy you use and lowers your energy costs.

  • Seal any cracks around your windows to keep cold air from seeping in and warm air from getting out.
  • Take advantage of direct sunlight on windows. Open the shades when the sun is shining for the warmth, and close them once the sun moves to reduce the cool air.
  • Reset your ceiling fans so they spin clockwise. This helps move the warm air down into your home so you feel the warmth and don’t need to adjust your thermostat as much.

Service Your HVAC for Winter

The last thing you want is for a faulty furnace or heat pump to create miserably cold conditions in your home. It might not be true, but it always feels like the heat goes out on the coldest day of the year. Have your heating system serviced now before the really cold weather arrives. This helps catch and fix any problems before they become big headaches.

Put an Emergency Kit in Your Vehicle

No one wants to imagine being stuck on the side of the road when it’s snowing or the roads are icy, but it can happen. While you may never need it, it’s a good idea to put an emergency kit in your trunk. Make sure you have enough supplies to help you get through the cold:

  • Flashlight with working batteries
  • Flares
  • Rope for towing
  • Small shovel
  • First aid kit
  • Blankets
  • Extra clothing
  • Water and snacks

Get Your Vehicle Winter-Ready

Get your vehicle serviced in preparation for winter. This will help reduce your chances being stuck on the road and potential accidents. Get a tune-up and have the oil replaced with winter oil. Your brakes should also be checked for wear and tear. You don’t want them going out on icy roads. Antifreeze and the winter-ready windshield wiper fluid should be added to your vehicle. You’ll also need to have your windshield wipers and lights checked. When visibility goes down, they both need to work so you can see and be seen.

Check Your Vehicle’s Heat and Defrost

Not only should your car be warm while you drive, you also need to be able to see clearly. If your heating and defrost don’t work properly, you may put yourself and others in unnecessary danger. If needed, have the cabin filter changed during your winter tune-up.

No matter how much of a hurry you’re in, don’t pull out of your driveway during the winter until you can see clearly. Warm your car up early or wait until it’s ready. It’s much better to be late for work than to get into an accident on icy, wintry roads.

Review Your Insurance Coverage

Winter storms cause a lot of damage, to your home and out on the road. Before you’re snowed under, make sure you have enough coverage for any potential accidents that might happen in your home or on the road.

You should have enough home insurance coverage to fully rebuild your home after a catastrophic accident. If it’s been a few years since you thought about your insurance limits, you might not have enough coverage, especially as home values and home building costs rise.

You need enough auto insurance coverage to cover any accident you may cause, whether it’s a one-car fender-bender or a multi-car pile-up with injuries. If you don’t have comprehensive coverage, now is the time to add it to your auto insurance. During the winter not all accidents are with other drivers, and you need coverage that can get you back on the road.

For all the beauty of crisp, clear mornings and even snow, it’s easy to forget that the ice and snow bring their own potential dangers and accidents. You can’t prevent every accident, but you can prepare for them. When you’re ready to review your auto and home insurance coverage, contact Charlotte Insurance.

When You Should Call Your Insurance Agent

Written By Charlotte Insurance on December 12, 2018. It has 0 comments.

a woman about to call an insurance agent

A lot of people think the only time they should call their insurance agent is when they’re shopping for a new policy. While we’re definitely here to help you find new insurance coverage, there are plenty of other times when you can (and should) give us a call!

After an Accident 

Whether you’ve been in an auto accident or you’re dealing with a flood or fire in your home, call your insurance agent. We can take at least one stressful thing off your plate and file the claim for you. Provide us with the details of what happened, and we’ll take it from there. The adjuster will ask you to verify those details later, but we’ll get the process started. 

Problems with Your Claim

Maybe you’ve already filed the claim, but you’re not getting your phone calls returned or you have questions. Call your insurance agent! We’ll make a few phone calls and get answers for you. You don’t have to go through the process alone. This is part of what we do for our clients!

Questions about Your Policy or Your Bill 

Don’t understand what you’re paying for? Did you get a late payment that you don’t agree with? Not sure what your policy limits are? Contact your insurance agent right away. We can answer your questions and help correct any problems that might be on your statement. 

When You Move

Even if you move down the block, call your insurance agent. Where you live impacts your auto insurance or your renters insurance. And of course, if you’re buying a new home, give us a call so we can get you the best quote for your new home. If you’re moving out of our coverage area, we can put you in touch with an insurance agent in your new local area, too.

Major Home Renovations

Are you adding a new room to your home, expanding the garage, or adding new structure to your property? Call your insurance agent today! We’ll make sure the amount of coverage matches your home as it currently is. If the worst happens, you want enough home insurance to help you rebuild everything, including your newest additions. 

Adding or Removing a Driver

Did one of your kids finish college and move out on their own? Has one of your children just turned 16? Either way, it’s time to call your insurance agent so we can adjust your auto insurance. Adding a driver is also a good time for us to look for possible discounts to help you save on your auto insurance.

Buying a New Vehicle

Once you go car shopping, give us a call. We can help you remove your old vehicle from your auto insurance, assuming you traded it in or sold it and add your new vehicle. We’ll also check your coverage to make sure it’s enough. You may need to add comprehensive and collision, increase your liability limits, or add gap insurance.

Adding to Your Family

Did you just have a new baby? Call your insurance agent to discuss life insurance. Did you get a new fur baby, one that barks? Call us then, too. You may need to increase your liability coverage limits for your home insurance policy or your current provider may not approve of the breed of your dog. We can help you find new home insurance. 

Paying Too Much for Insurance

Haven’t filed a claim but noticed your insurance premiums keep going up? Independent insurance agencies have dozens of insurance companies we work with. When you give us a call, we can get quotes from different providers to find you the best coverage at the best price. You don’t have to pay too much for your insurance coverage.

If any of these apply to you, and you haven’t called us in a while, now’s the time. If your current insurance agent isn’t as helpful as you’d like, call Charlotte Insurance today. We’re here to help make sure you have the right insurance for the big and small life changes in your life.

Who Needs High Net Worth Insurance?

Written By Charlotte Insurance on December 10, 2018. It has 0 comments.

a home in Charlotte, NC belonging to someone who needs high net worth insurance

You still remember the college days of eating ramen noodle and working a part-time job. Your first job out of college still lingers too — bad hours, bad pay, but it was freedom. Over the years you’ve worked hard to build a good life for yourself and your family.

You’ve got a large home in a nice neighborhood, maybe even a vacation home, and a few cars. You’re doing better than most, so why are you using the same old home or auto insurance? For the best protection and coverage, you need high net worth insurance.

What is High Net Worth Insurance?

High net worth insurance is a specialized insurance coverage for individuals and families who make a comfortable living. They tend to have multiple homes, collectibles, antiques, multiple cars, and more. Having a more comfortable life with more possessions opens you up to much more risk. Standard insurance coverage can’t cover your property or potential liability in the event of an accident, storm, or other covered peril. The available limits won’t be able to make you whole again if a storm or accident destroys everything.

Because your assets are greater than most, and your risk higher, your coverage needs to be more tailored to your needs. This means you have more options than a standard policy:

  • Replacement cost coverage for your home
  • Extra liability protection for home and auto insurance
  • Personal excess liability insurance
  • Cash settlement option for your home insurance
  • Special features coverage
  • Coverage for vacation homes

Do You Need High Net Worth Insurance?

Not everyone who needs high net worth insurance rides in limos or owns multiple yachts. You may simply be part of a family who’s worked hard to build good careers for yourselves. Maybe you built a business from the ground up and had great success. Now you have a nice home, a vacation home, and live a comfortable lifestyle. You don’t feel rich, but you’re a millionaire on paper.

Once you add up the values of your homes, your jewelry, maybe even that special wine collection you started a few years ago, your net worth begins to increase. Add in stock options and even luxury vehicles for you and your spouse, and you can begin to see how you qualify for high net worth insurance.

You’ve worked hard to build this life, and it deserves to be protected with better insurance than standard policies. Take care of your investments and your families with the right high net worth insurance policy.

Contact Charlotte Insurance today and take advantage of our private client services option. We’ll work closely with you to make sure your home, auto, and other insurance coverages match the life you’re living today and protect what matters most to you.

4 Things You Need to Know About Insuring Your Restaurant

Written By Charlotte Insurance on December 5, 2018. It has 0 comments.

a charlotte restaurant that needs insurance

You didn’t open your restaurant because you wanted to worry about food costs, overtime, or insurance coverage. You did it because serving and feeding people is your passion. To keep living your dream every day, you have to take precautions now. The right restaurant insurance policy will keep you going even when the worst happens.

Here’s what you need to know about insuring your restaurant.

“Restaurant Insurance” Really Means Hospitality Insurance

It’s called “restaurant insurance” but that implies the coverage is only needed or available for locations that serve dinner to families. In reality, it’s an umbrella term that covers a wide variety of hospitality businesses. This includes bars, taverns, food trucks, coffee shops, nightclubs, and venues for entertainment plus eateries.

When you’re trying to decide if you need restaurant insurance, ask yourself a question. Do I serve food or beverages to consumers? If the answer is yes, you need it, even if your establishment isn’t a traditional restaurant.

All Restaurants Need Basic Coverage

Your independent insurance agent can customize your restaurant insurance coverage to help protect your specific business and establish, but all hospitality venues need certain basic coverages.

  • Property Damage: This covers your equipment, building, signs, furnishings, food, and more.
  • Liability: When someone gets hurt or experiences property damage, liability coverage pays the claim and any legal fees or settlements (up to your policy limits).
  • Workers’ Compensation: Workers comp protects your employees if they get hurt or sick on the job. Their medical bills and lost wages will be covered.
  • Commercial Auto Insurance: Like personal auto insurance, you’re covered if you or your employees get in an auto accident on the job. It’s good for establishments that make deliveries or offer valet service.

No Two Policies are the Same

Unlike standard home insurance or auto insurance, no two restaurant insurance policies look exactly the same. Why? Because no two restaurants are exactly the same. A food truck that operates during daytime hours but changes location every day needs something much different than a sports bar that serves alcohol and stays open late.

A restaurant insurance policy that’s tailor-made for your business means that you’re not paying for coverage you don’t need. Even better, you’re getting the protection you do need for your business. Independent insurance agencies have the flexibility to find the specific coverage that works best for your restaurant.

Multiple Factors Impact the Cost

If no two restaurant insurance policies are the same, that means there’s no “standard” pricing. This isn’t something you can buy from a shelf. A lot of factors determine what you’ll pay for coverage:

  • The location of your restaurant
  • The sales and food volume
  • Type of property you have
  • The activities that occur there
  • Hours of operation
  • Percentage of alcohol sales
  • Policy limits
  • Valet or delivery service
  • Number of employees
  • And more

A small coffee shop that’s open five days a week and only until 8:00 p.m. may pay less for their insurance policy than a nightclub that serves alcohol and stays open until 3:00 a.m. That’s because both establishments have very different risks and needs.

Don’t overpay for your restaurants insurance coverage and don’t do business without the protection you need. Charlotte Insurance can find the right coverage for your restaurant at a price you can afford. Request a free quote today!