Throwing the Ultimate Super Bowl Party

Written By Charlotte Insurance on January 29, 2019. It has 0 comments.

a football at a super bowl party

This is the year you’re finally going to do it. You’re hosting the Super Bowl party for all your friends and family, and you want it to be epic. This will be a party that everyone enjoys and talks about for months — or at least until football season starts again.

Here’s what you need to know to throw the ultimate (and safest) Super Bowl Party. 

Make Food Easy

A Super Bowl party isn’t the time for using forks, napkins in laps, and sitting down to a big meal. You need food that’s easy to grab and eat with your hands. Stick with the party basics like chips and dip, nachos, wings, pretzels, and pizza. If you want to take some of the weight off your shoulders, turn it into a potluck and ask everyone to bring their favorite snack food. This way everyone will know there’s at least one thing they like and you have less to do.

Get the Right System 

If you’re hosting the Super Bowl bash, a small TV that only two people can watch won’t cut it. It’s time for a major upgrade to your viewing experience. The size of the screen is important and so is the sound. Get a TV with good sound quality and then upgrade it even more with a home theater sound system. Sound systems like Sonos work from a mobile app on your phone.

Invite Plenty of People and Give Them Jobs To Do

Invite your friends who love football and your friends who love to hang out, eat food, and have fun. During a Super Bowl party, the more the merrier — as long as you’ve got room. This is a great chance for your friends from work to meet your friends from the gym or your softball team. You know who in each friend group will hit it off. 

To make your life a little easier, give everyone a job. It could be the potluck for food and snacks, or you can get people to bring sodas, plates, napkins, and other necessities. If you’ve got friends that are hopeless about party prep, have them help move furniture so that everyone has a good view of the game.  

Test Your System and Have a Back Up Plan

If you upgraded your sound or TV to get ready for your Super Bowl Party, you definitely need to test it before the big game. Do a run through with something else the day or two before or the morning of. You’ll feel more confident when everyone’s there, and you’ll have fewer delays.

When it comes to electronics, anything can happen. Even if you don’t need it, make a backup plan. Is there a sports bar nearby you can all head to? Do you have an older or slightly smaller TV in another room you could swap out?

Think About Alcohol

As a host, you have to think about your liability. Serving alcohol can be fun, and it might be expected at a Super Bowl party, but it’s not without risk. If someone drinks alcohol at your party, drives off, and hurts someone else — you could be held liable for the accident.

Feel free to offer beer and wine, but also serve non-alcoholic drinks. You might also want to have a cut off time or limit on the amount of alcohol you’ll serve. Be prepared to let someone sleep on your couch or get them an Uber or Lyft to get them home.

Check Your Home Insurance 

Beyond alcohol consumption, there are other risks when throwing any party. The chance of someone getting hurt or something being damaged increase once you invite a lot of people into your home. Before your party, check your home insurance coverage. Make sure your liability coverage is high enough for any potential accident. If not, add an umbrella policy. This will cover your liability beyond your standard coverage up to the policy limit you choose.  

Before your Super Bowl party, contact us at Charlotte Insurance. We’ll make sure you’re covered for any potential risk. And maybe we can swap dip recipes or talk smack about each other’s favorite team.

Vehicle Maintenance You Can’t Ignore

Written By Charlotte Insurance on January 21, 2019. It has 0 comments.

a man performing vehicle maintenance following our tips

Vehicle maintenance and repairs usually creates one of two feelings in people: annoyance or stress. Many drivers get annoyed because they don’t have time to take their car into the shop and they don’t want to deal with mechanics. Drivers who stress out are often fearful of what might be found and how much it’s going to cost.

If you want your vehicle to last as long as possible, work when you need it to, and be safe while you drive, there are some types of maintenance you just can’t ignore.

Regular Oil Changes

Depending on the age of your vehicle and other factors, you may need an oil change every 3,000, 5,000, or even 10,000 miles. Whatever schedule you’re on, don’t skip this routine maintenance. Getting rid of the dirty, old oil helps your vehicle run more efficiently and extends the life of your vehicle. It’s also a good time for a visual inspection by the mechanic to check other issues.

You should also be checking your oil level regularly, especially if your vehicle is older. Over time small oil leaks can occur and eventually cause major engine problems. If you see that your oil level drops too quickly, don’t add oil and move on. Get your vehicle into the mechanic for a thorough check.

Tire Maintenance

There are different levels of tire maintenance. The most basic kind is to check your tire pressure every 1,000 miles or so. If you see that it’s going down or consistently low and need more air, it might be time to get new tires. You also want to have your tires rotated and balanced on a regular basis. Taking care of your tires helps them last longer, improves your drive, and increases your gas mileage.

Brake Maintenance

During your regular oil change, ask the mechanic to take a look at your brakes. A visual inspection should be free (make sure it is before they do it). This will help you catch problems early and keep the cost of repairs to a minimum. When you begin to notice problems or strange noises when you apply the brakes, get your vehicle in for a more thorough look. Your ability to slow down and stop are directly impacted by the quality of your brakes. This isn’t a repair to put off until later.

Transmission Problems

Transmission “maintenance” isn’t part of a vehicle’s routine service. But it is something you need to think about, especially as your vehicle begins to age. If your vehicle is a manual, you’ll need to have it looked at every 30,000 to 60,000 miles. But if your vehicle is a standard, as most are, you might not need to worry about your transmission until the 60,000 to 100,000 mile mark.

When you begin to notice problems when you drive, go ahead and get it in to the mechanic. You may just need to have your transmission fluid replaced or it might be the start of a more serious issue. What kind of problems might you notice on the road?

  • Difficulty downshifting
  • Hard shifts as you change speed
  • Slipping — your speed and throttle response doesn’t respond as normal because your transmission is unable to stay in gear

Check Engine Light

For some people, a check engine light sends them into a panic and they immediately make an appointment to have their vehicle checked. But for others, it’s a thing to ignore, either because you don’t think it’s important or you’re worried it could be very important. A check engine light can mean a lot of things, but if it’s a legitimate problem, ignoring it could cost you a lot of money in the long-run.

  • Your gas cap might simply be loose which can cause the light to come on.
  • You may have a malfunctioning oxygen sensor which is minor but directly impacts your gas mileage.
  • Your vehicle might have a bad spark plug. The fix is relatively inexpensive, but if you wait too long, you’re looking at a $1,000 repair.

Ignoring these vehicle maintenance and repair issues can lead to costly repairs later or, worse, an accident out on the road. Taking care of your vehicle helps maintain safe roads for everyone.

Because you can never predict when an accident will happen, you also need a good auto insurance policy that protects you from whatever happens on the road. Contact Charlotte Insurance today and get a free quote for a new policy!

Teen Drivers: Avoiding Risky Behavior

Written By Charlotte Insurance on January 15, 2019. It has 0 comments.

a teen driver at risk because she's not driving safely

Knowing your child is old enough to drive is both a life-changing moment and, for many parents, a terrifying idea. How is it possible that your baby is capable of driving a vehicle – weren’t they just learning to walk? And how do you keep them safe, knowing all the dangers out on the road?

The reality is that while teen driving is a right of passage, it’s also filled with problems, especially because teens are prone to risky behavior. Here’s what you need to know and do to keep your teen driver safe out on the road.

Understanding the Risks

Auto accidents are the leading cause of death in teenagers. Every day, six teens are killed in an auto accident. Part of this is due to their age. And while both boys and girls can get into accidents, boys are more prone to dangerous accidents, especially when their friends are in the car with them. Driving at night poses a greater danger, with teens being three times more likely to get into an accident than an adult driving at night.

Keep Your Teens Safe

The first way to avoid risky driving behavior in your teens is to model good driving behavior for them. Kids watch what we do as parents, and they will copy what they see. If you’re texting while driving, speeding, or worse, driving under the influence, they are more likely to copy that behavior.

Beyond that there are other things you can do to help your teen drive safely.

Create a Family Agreement

Research shows that a family agreement and driving rules can keep your teen driver from engaging in risky behavior. Once rules are established, 90 percent wear their seatbelt, 94 percent don’t drink and drive, and 91 percent don’t text and drive.

Common driving rules include:

  • Always wear a seatbelt
  • Only drive with a limited number of passengers — one or two
  • Follow the speed limit and obey all traffic laws
  • Only drive after dark with supervision — until they’ve had a certain amount of practice
  • Speak up if another driver is unsafe
  • Never text and drive — don’t use your phone at all while driving
  • Never drink and drive

You’ll also need to establish consequences if the rules are broken. You can also choose to change limits as your teen driver gets more supervised driving experience. As they learn how to handle themselves on the road and prove they can drive safely, you can decide which limits to relax.

Keep Practicing

Driving practice makes a big difference in how your teen drives. More than 75 percent of teens say that practicing with their parents was the most helpful part of learning to drive. Teens need at least 50 hours of supervised driving experience in different conditions but more is always better. As your teen gets more practice, they’ll be able to handle more of the unexpected things that happen on the road.

After the rules are set and you’ve practiced, the next step is to add your teen to your insurance policy. If they are in an accident, medical expenses and replacing your vehicle shouldn’t be something you need to worry about. With the right auto insurance coverage, you won’t have to. Contact Charlotte Insurance today.

What Types of Insurance Does Your Bar Need?

Written By Charlotte Insurance on January 10, 2019. It has 0 comments.

a charlotte bar that needs insurance

The local bar is meant to be a place for people to gather, hang out, watch sports, meet people, and have a good time. As great as your bar is, there are a lot of potential dangers and liabilities lurking around every corner. 

Having good safety measures will prevent a lot of problems, but when the inevitable happens, good insurance is what keeps you whole and helps you get back to normal as soon as possible. 

Here are the types of insurance you need to purchase for your bar.

Property Insurance 

Even if you lease your building, you still need property insurance. It covers the building, equipment, inventory, signage, and the rest of your property in the event of a fire, storm, theft, or other covered peril. When given the option in your policy, choose replacement cost coverage. This will pay you the amount you need to replace or rebuild what was lost. When you choose actual cash value, your claim likely won’t pay enough to replace everything, and you’ll have to pay the difference.

Business Income 

When your bar closes for repairs after a covered peril, you immediately start losing income. You’re not making any money, and you can’t make payroll. A lot of people, including your vendors, depend on income from your bar. When you have a business income policy, you’ll be paid for your lost income. 

General Liability

Wherever people gather, someone will get hurt. If they slip and fall, trip, or have any other accident while at your bar, you could be liable. General liability insurance covers medical payments and property damage for any third party who’s injured while at your bar or working with your business. Your legal costs are also covered if you get sued.

Liquor Liability

You own a bar, so you know what liquor does to people. Because you’re selling and serving that alcohol, you could be held liable for any damage or harm an inebriated person does to themselves or others. Having a policy of cutting people off and calling an Uber or Lyft when someone has too much is a great start. A liquor liability policy protects you when even your best efforts don’t work, and a victim blames your bar. 

Cyber Liability

You’re a bar — what do you need with a cyber liability policy? If any of your systems are online, including your payment system or employee files, you’re at risk for a data breach. Hackers don’t care if you’re a big business or a small one. If they can find a weakness and data to steal, they’ll take advantage of it. A cyber liability policy helps you notify anyone affected, deal with any lawsuits, and get help rebuilding your brand and reputation. 

Umbrella Policy 

Liability coverage is extremely important when you own a bar, but it only takes one bad accident to become a tragedy. A fire or a patron causing a huge auto accident could blow through your entire policy limit and still leave you responsible for even more damages. An umbrella policy pays the rest once you’ve exhausted your liability coverage. You might only need it once, but when you do, you’ll be very grateful you’ve got it.

At Charlotte Insurance, we’ll help you get the right type and amount of insurance for your bar. You don’t have to figure this out on your way. We can help. Request a free quote today!

Start the Year Off Organized

Written By Charlotte Insurance on January 8, 2019. It has 0 comments.

a woman organizing her finances

By the end of the year, life tends to feel a little chaotic, doesn’t it? Between the holidays, kids, work, life, you can start to wonder if you’ll ever be able to breathe again. But the first of the year always feels full of possibility, as if we can do anything. It’s why we make New Year’s resolutions.

To have a better year, reach your goals, and feel a little less crazed in chaotic times, it’s time to get your life organized. If one your resolutions is to finally figure out how, we’ve got a few tips for you.

Try Meal Prepping

We all have good intentions about our diets. Instead of eating whatever gets left in the office break room, we’ll bring our lunch. Instead of hitting the drive-thru (again), we’ll cook dinner. But then life gets in the way, and we’re exhausted and hangry. All of our good intentions are out the window, and we’re eating all the unhealthy foods we said we’d avoid.

To keep your New Year’s resolution to eat healthier and to give yourself more time in the day, start meal prepping this year. Pick one day each week, and get a week’s worth of meals ready.

  • Bag up salad mix for every day of the week. Cook chicken and portion it into five containers. Now you a nice salad for lunch every day.
  • Batch cook big meals and portion them out for each night. When you come home, dinner just needs to be heated up.
  • Gather the ingredients for slow cooker meals and put them in one gallon bag or container and freeze. Each morning, pull out a bag, pop it into the slow cooker, and come home to a fully cooked meal.

Get Your Finances Organized

Between financial records and tax-related paperwork (like your W-2), there’s a lot of documents to keep up with. Lose one piece of paper, and you might pay too much in taxes. No one wants that. This year, get organized with a filing system that you can keep up with.

  • Buy file folders and label them with the year. When you get a tax or financial document, put it in the folder.
  • Scan and save your files onto your computer. Phone apps like TurboScan or Scanner Pro can use your camera to do this or you can buy a printer that has a scanner built-in.
  • Make back-ups of any digital file you create for your financial documents. Put them in digital folders named for the year, and save them in a place you’ll remember.

Review Your Budget

The start of the year is a perfect time to go through your budget and make adjustments. Have some expenses gone up? Can you find ways to decrease your spending? If part of your plan is to pay off debt this year, now is a great time to figure out how much you can afford to put towards a loan or credit card.

As you make these adjustments, be very honest about where you spend your money. Don’t shrug off your $3 a day coffee habit or your impromptu lunches at work. But don’t think you have to cut all of these things either. Make some room in your budget for fun things like trips, splurges, and the small luxuries that keep you going on a tough day.

Review Your Insurance Coverage

If you want to start the year off with less to worry about and knowing you’re as organized as possible, you can’t forget about an annual insurance review. This is a time to go through your existing coverage and make sure it’s right for your life today. We’ll also help you find discounts and update your policies to reflect your current situation.

It’s easy for certain things to slip through the cracks, and you might not have thought to call your insurance agent after a remodel or when your oldest moved out of the house. If you have specific goals for the year ahead, we can discuss this too, and let you know how it will impact your insurance coverage.

When you’re ready to schedule your annual insurance review, give us a call. At Charlotte Insurance, we’re here to help you protect what matters most — without paying anymore than you need to.

The Importance of an Annual Insurance Review

Written By Charlotte Insurance on January 3, 2019. It has 0 comments.

a man on a call discussing his annual insurance review with his charlotte insurance agent.

A lot can happen in a year. Your oldest moves out and into their own apartment. You remodel your home. Your youngest begins to drive. By the time the new year rolls around, it’s always amazing to think about how much has happened.

Most people don’t realize how much those life changes also impact your insurance coverage — the policies you currently have and the policies you may now need. The beginning of the year is a great time for an annual insurance review. You can review the year you’ve just had, and plan for the year ahead.

Home Insurance

While multiple types of insurance coverage need to be reviewed each year, it’s home insurance that gets forgotten. Auto insurance is updated as vehicles are replaced and young drivers get a license. Business insurance gets added or increased based on the requirements of the industry. But too many people still have the same insurance coverage they chose when they bought their home.

Your home has gone through many changes since you bought it. Remodels, better furniture, and a change in value are only the beginning. It’s imperative that your home insurance coverage reflects these changes. If not, you might not be able to replace your possessions or home after a devastating storm or accident.

There are several factors that determine how much home insurance coverage you need:

  • The existing value of your home
  • The current costs (materials and labor) to rebuild your home from the ground up
  • The type and amount of personal possessions you have

If your homeowners insurance policy reflects 2007 home values and your old beanbag collection, there’s a good chance you don’t have enough insurance coverage.

Life Changes

During an annual insurance review, it’s also the perfect time to review any and all life and home changes from the previous year. Some of those changes may require an update to existing insurance policies while other changes may require new policies. If you experienced any of the scenarios in the past year, your insurance will likely be impacted:

  • People moving in or out of your home
  • New property purchases
  • Starting a home-based business
  • Giving birth to or adopting children
  • New drivers
  • Getting married or divorced
  • Purchasing valuable items or starting a valuable collection
  • Remodels and renovations to your home and property
  • Buying all new technology, furniture, appliances, and other high-dollar items

Any and all of these situations affect your insurance coverage. When an accident happens, you need to know that you have the coverage to take care of medical expenses, deal with liability concerns, and replace what’s been lost. At your annual insurance review, you can discuss the previous year and purchase the coverage that you need for the year ahead.

When you’re ready to review your insurance coverage, contact Charlotte Insurance. We’ll ask the right questions to make sure nothing is missed. We’ll also find the discounts you qualify for and make sure you get the best possible rate.