Common Reasons Why Your Home Insurance May Not Be Renewed

Written By Charlotte Insurance on April 30, 2019. It has 0 comments.

a man with home insurance that has been cancelled

You have a home insurance policy not only because it’s a smart way to protect your home and your family, but likely because you also have a mortgage that requires it. Getting a cancellation or non-renewal notice in the mail can be a nightmare.

Don’t let this happen to you. Protect your home and yourself from being dropped by your insurance provider and make sure you know what to do if it happens anyway. Here’s what you need to know.

Reasons for Lost Insurance Coverage

Your home insurance policy can be cancelled or simply not renewed for multiple reasons. Some you have control over and some you don’t. If you’ve receive a notice about your coverage being dropped, it could be for a number of reasons:

  • Being late paying your premiums
  • Too many claims being filed
  • Low credit score
  • Pets that are aggressive or owning a breed thought to be aggressive
  • Having a pool or trampoline
  • No longer living in your home as a primary residence
  • Fraud such as filing false claims or lying on an insurance application
  • Having a criminal record
  • Coverage no longer provided in your area

What to Do if Your Policy isn’t Renewed

If your home insurance is cancelled, you should receive 10 to 20 days notice. If you’re not being renewed, you will receive 45 days notice. For non-renewals that are outside of your control, give us a call. We can get you free estimates and help you choose a new policy immediately.

But if you receive a cancellation or non-renewal notice because of something you’ve done — or haven’t done — insurance may be more difficult or expensive to obtain. Why? Insurance providers use the Comprehensive Loss Underwriting Exchange (CLUE) to check your insurance history. This includes cancellations and non-renewals. You will likely still be able to obtain home insurance but it may not be as affordable as your old policy, and you’ll have fewer options.

Preventing Non-Renewals and Cancellations

The most common reason your home insurance policy may be cancelled or not renewed (beyond fraud or no longer servicing the area) is due to the number of claims you file. The best thing you can do to prevent a non-renewal is to file fewer claims.

Have a home maintenance plan. Taking care of your home — replacing the roof, fixing HVAC problems, protecting your pipes in winter, etc. — will drastically reduce accidents and the need to file a claim. Pay for small repairs out of pocket and fix what you can on your own. Monitoring your home and taking care of small issues before they become big issues will save you in the long run.

Make acceptable changes in and around your home. Giving up your family dog may not be an option, but there are other things you can change. Do you really need the trampoline? Can you add safety features to your pool to decrease the risk? Talk to your insurance agent about other risk factors in your home. You may be able to make a few changes and show insurance providers you take the risk seriously.

Change your deductible. Your insurance deductible should always be an amount you can afford to pay if you have to. But increasing it may lower the likelihood that you’ll file a claim you could have avoided. You may think twice if you have to pay $500 or $1000 for a claim and find it less expensive to take care of the problem yourself.

Have you received a non-renewal notice? Worried you might in the future? Talk to an agent at Charlotte Insurance. We can advise you on how to reduce your risk and help you find a home insurance policy that works for your home and your budget. Contact us today!

Car Battery Safety

Written By Charlotte Insurance on April 25, 2019. It has 0 comments.

car battery safety

Dead batteries can lead to a lot of problems on the road, including possible auto accidents. But trying to maintain your battery or jumpstart a dead one can also lead to problems, if you don’t practice car battery safety.

Here’s what you need to know.

Car Battery Maintenance

Car batteries aren’t a high-maintenance part of car ownership. Typically, you’ll only really think about it when you need to get a new one. But to make your car battery last as long as possible, there is one maintenance trick you’ll want to know — how to clean your battery.

Grab your gloves, goggles, wire brush, baking soda, and water. The baking soda and water will help you clean off the posts and casing and get the corrosion off. To be as safe as possible, disconnect the cables before you start cleaning. When you’re done, you can apply petroleum jelly to the posts and clamps to prevent corrosion in the future.

Keeping Your Battery Charged

No one wants a dead battery. Once you’ve cleaned off the corrosion and reconnected the cables, you want your car to keep running for a while. The easiest way to charge your car battery is to drive your car consistently. When your car sits for too long, the battery can die.

You probably know that leaving your headlights on or your interior lights on for too long will drain your battery. But you might not realize that extreme temperatures — really hot summers and extremely cold winters — can also kill your battery, too.

Jumpstarting a Car Battery

You’ve maintained your battery, and you’ve tried to keep it charged, but the inevitable will happen eventually — your battery will die. You need to jumpstart it, either with a car battery self jumper or with someone’s cables. This is where safety is even more important than ever. You’re actively hooking cables up to something with a lot of power. Doing this wrong could lead to damage, injuries, and even explosions.

  • Turn off the car and unplug all of your accessories before giving or getting a jumpstart.
  • Wear safety goggles to protect your eyes from errant sparks.
  • Check that the battery voltages match from one car to the other. They should because most batteries are 12 volts, but you always want to check first.
  • In cold weather, make sure the battery fluids aren’t frozen. If they are, jumpstarting the battery could cause an explosion.
  • Never connect the black cable to the negative terminal. This can also lead to a potential explosion.

Taking care of your vehicle and being safe when working on it will help your vehicle last and keep you safe. Making sure you have a good auto insurance policy will protect you when you get into an accident, regardless of who’s at fault. Need a new policy or want to make sure you’re paying the best price for auto insurance? Contact Charlotte Insurance today.

Time to Ride! Tips to Keep Your Motorcycle Running Great (and To Keep You Safe)

Written By Charlotte Insurance on April 23, 2019. It has 0 comments.

a motorcycle in need of maintenance

Now that the weather is warming up, you might be ready to pull out your bike and hit the open road. We don’t blame you. After a long, cold winter, it’s time to feel the wind in your face as your tires eat up the highway.

Before you jump on your bike, make sure you take care of it and keep a few basic safety tips in mind, too.

Basic Maintenance Tips for Your Motorcycle

After a few weeks or months without riding, your bike is going to need some TLC before you hop on. Take care of any problems you find so your motorcycle is up and running as soon as you’re ready to get out on the road.

  1. Check the tire treads for wear.
  2. Keep the air pressure at a correct level so your tires have the right grip on the road.
  3. Look for dents, scratches, and other wheel damage that can impact the functionality of your bike.
  4. Inspect the brake pads and rotors and replace if needed.
  5. Top off the brake fluid so you have enough.
  6. If you didn’t remove your battery and keep it charged over the winter, you may need to get it recharged or replaced.
  7. Change the oil.
  8. Flush the coolant.
  9. Siphon off old gas and replace it with new.
  10. Flush the fuel system and replace the spark plugs if needed.
  11. Check your chain. It may need to be tightened, and you always want to keep your eyes open for rust.

Safety Tips While on Your Motorcycle

If it’s been a while since you’ve been on your bike, it’s easy to forget what it’s like out on the road. Make sure you stay safe for the first ride and all your rides this season.

Wear a helmet. This protects your brain from possible injury in an accident. Even better, add a face shield or protective eyewear in case of rocks, debris, and anything else that may fly at your face.

Wear appropriate clothes. You might like the feel of shorts and a t-shirt, but in an accident, you’ll regret it. Choose gloves, boots, and when possible, leather clothing. Second best are jeans and long-sleeve shirts, though they’re no match for the roadway in an accident, either.

Follow traffic rules. It’s bad enough when someone on four wheels is driving like a maniac. Don’t add to the chaos. You know they won’t see you (because they never do) so don’t weave in and out of traffic or speed. It’s an accident waiting to happen.

Watch everyone and drive defensively. Look multiple times before you pull out into traffic. Leave enough space between you and the vehicle in front of you. When in doubt, assume drivers in four-wheeled vehicles don’t see you, and let them go ahead of you.

Get a motorcycle insurance policy. Whether you’re in a collision or your bike gets stolen, a good North Carolina motorcycle insurance policy will be there to cover you. And yes, you could cause an accident, and you’ll want the liability coverage if you do.

While you’re getting your bike ready for the road, make sure you’re safe and protected, too. Contact Charlotte Insurance today for a free quote for a new motorcycle insurance policy.

Thinking About Putting in a Pool? Consider This First.

Written By Charlotte Insurance on April 18, 2019. It has 0 comments.

a pool that needs proper home insurance

As the weather heats up, the idea of a backyard swimming pool filled with cool, clear water sounds pretty good. You could throw parties, stay cool, and have fun all summer long.

Before you put down a deposit on that new pool, make sure you know how it will impact your home insurance and your potential risk.

Your Premiums May Go Up

It’s possible that your Charlotte homeowners insurance may already include coverage for an installed pool. But it may not. You’ll need to talk to your independent insurance agent to make sure you’re covered in case your pool becomes damaged or causes any damage. If a pool is already included in your homeowner’s policy, the increase in premiums may be minimal. But if not, they could go up substantially.

You’ll Need More Liability Coverage

Pools are classified as an “attractive nuisance” which means that children are attracted to them and they pose a serious risk to any unsupervised child. Because the threat of injury or death is so great, it’s recommended that you increase your liability coverage to at least $500,000. Most homes have $100,000 in liability insurance but that won’t be enough if the worst happens in your pool. Yes, you can expect your premiums to increase for this, too.

The Type of Pool Matters

Whether your pool is in-ground or above-ground, you need to make sure you have insurance coverage for it. But for in-ground pools, the material it’s made of can determine your future possibility of a claim. Vinyl and fiberglass pools install quicker, but they’re easier to damage. Concrete pools take longer to install (four to six weeks) but don’t sustain damage as easily. This decreases the possibility of future claims for pool damage.

You are Responsible for Keeping Your Pool Safe

As the owner of the home and the pool, you’re responsible for maintaining your pool and keeping it safe to use. Any damage caused to your pool by negligence and lack of maintenance won’t be covered by your insurance policy. Make sure you have a high-quality circulation system and the knowledge (or the help) to keep the pool clean and maintained.

You Have to Think About Accident Prevention

Having a pool installed isn’t the only part of owning a pool. You also need to plan for accident prevention. Your overall cost needs to factor in these measure. Some prevention options include:

  • Safety covers
  • Pool alarms
  • Fencing around your pool
  • Locks for doors leading to the pool
  • Rescue equipment

It’s also a good idea for everyone in your home to take a CPR class just in case of an accident. When it comes to drowning, seconds matter, and you might not have time to wait for an ambulance in order to save a life.

Owning a pool is a lot of fun, but it’s also a lot of responsibility. Before you commit to it, talk to your insurance agent and make sure you understand the risks you face and how a new pool will impact your home insurance. Before you get a swimming pool, contact Charlotte Insurance!

Plant a Tree Today — Enjoy a Greener Tomorrow

Written By Charlotte Insurance on April 17, 2019. It has 0 comments.

Earth Day (April 22) and Arbor Day (April 27) are just around the corner. We’ve all seen the news about drastic weather changes and the ways we can live greener lives. The problems feel insurmountable, but we can all do small things to make the world a cleaner, greener place. This year, celebrate the earth by planting a tree!

How You Can Help

There are plenty of ways you can celebrate Earth and Arbor Days and give back to the planet and your local community. Try any of these ideas and know that you’re making the world a better place.

  • Plant a tree in your yard at home.
  • Help a neighbor plant a tree.
  • Volunteer to clean up a local public park or downtown area.
  • Organize a neighborhood block party to celebrate Earth or Arbor Day and help your neighbors plant their trees.
  • Volunteer with local organizations to help plant trees in different public spaces around your area.
  • Work with your local school to organize a tree planting or other event that encourages students to nurture plants and trees.

Planting a Tree

For many people, the easiest way to be a part of a greener tomorrow is to plant a tree in your own yard — or that of a family member’s yard, if you don’t have the space. Here’s what you need to know before you plant your tree.

Select the right location: You’ll need to check the soil condition and available water and moisture to make sure your tree can thrive and grow in that space. Make sure you choose an area with plenty of space for the roots at the base and space in the sky for the canopy of leaves. This means you shouldn’t plant to closely to your house, a well, a septic tank, sidewalks, or overhead wires.

Select the right kind of tree: Talk to a local nursery or garden center to find the right tree that can grow and thrive in the Charlotte area. Some options include: dog wood, silver maple, red oak, tulip tree, or sugar maple.

Plant it correctly: Depending on the type of tree you choose, you’ll have to plant it correctly. Trees with open roots need different care than trees in containers or buckets. And some trees will have their roots balled up and burlapped. The Arbor Day Organization has plenty of tips to help you plant your tree correctly so it can survive and grow.

Celebrate Earth Day and Arbor Day together by planting a tree! It doesn’t take much to make a big impact. And you’ll be making future greener for your children and grandchildren and the world.

How Does Having a Roommate Impact Your Homeowners Insurance?

Written By Charlotte Insurance on April 16, 2019. It has 0 comments.

Whether you’re helping out a friend or you need help paying the bills, you’ve decided to get a roommate. As the homeowner, you need to ask yourself how this affects your homeowners insurance.

Here’s what you need to know.

Contact Your Insurance Agent

Contact your insurance agent and let them know you’ll have a roommate. For most homeowners insurance policies, having a roommate likely won’t impact your coverage at all — as long as you still live in your home. This conversation will let you know what, exactly, is covered and how many roommates you can have under your current policy — and when you might need additional coverage.

Some homeowners policies allow up to two roommates before increasing your premiums or requiring additional coverage. You may also qualify for loss of rental income if you have to file a claim while you have roommates and they can’t live in your home during the repairs. But you won’t know any of this if you don’t ask about it.

It’s a good idea to draw up a lease agreement for any roommate simply to protect yourself in case you need to evict later. But having a lease agreement may also help you qualify for loss of rental income if you ever need to file a claim. 

Your Roommate Needs Renters Insurance

Because you still live in your home, your homeowners insurance will cover your liability, your belongings, and your home. What it will not cover is your roommates stuff. They need to have a renters insurance policy in case there’s a storm, fire, or other disaster. They’ll be able to get their belongings replaced under their own policy and not tell you they can’t pay the rent because they have to buy a new computer. 

Even if your roommate is a partner or love interest, they should get their own renters insurance policy. The only exception to this is if you’re engaged to be married and moved in together just before the wedding. Your homeowners insurance may add your fiancé to your policy as an additional homeowner in this situation. But this is typically reserved for couples who are almost to their wedding day. If you’re simply cohabitating, your partner needs their own renters insurance policy.

The good news for your roommate is that renters insurance is very inexpensive since it only covers personal possessions. They may be able to get coverage for around $20 a month.

If you’re considering a roommate or you already have one, contact Charlotte Insurance to find out exactly what your homeowners policy covers. Let your roommate know they can contact us for a renters insurance policy, too!

Before You Hit the Open Road, Protect That Home on Wheels

Written By Charlotte Insurance on April 11, 2019. It has 0 comments.

an RV in need of proper insurance coverage.

Are you ready to get on the road, eat up the miles, and go wherever the wind — and your RV — take you? Your RV is your ticket to freedom. Proof that you can’t be pinned down or stuck in one spot for long.

The open road is calling, but before you jump in the driver’s seat, protect your RV from the dangers that lurk on the road. Make sure you have the right kind of and enough RV insurance.

Does Your RV Need Insurance?

There’s a difference between insurance being required and being needed. Depending on the type of RV you have, it might not be required, but to protect yourself and avoid paying too much out-of-pocket after an accident, it’s definitely needed.

First, it’s important to understand the different classes of RVs.

  • Class A: luxury coaches, motor coaches, and renovated buses, up to 75 feet long.
  • Class B: the smallest class of RVs, these include travel trailers and camper vans, but don’t have a cab-over.
  • Class C: fifth wheel vehicles and vehicles that use a standard cargo van for driving and the camper extends over the cab area.

Unless you have a loan on the camper you tow (generally a Class C vehicle), you aren’t required to carry extra insurance. But because the cost of damages after an accident can be so expensive, the additional coverage is an investment in your future.

Available Coverage for RVs

Most of the insurance options available for your RV will be familiar to you, as they’re very similar to auto insurance.

  • Liability for bodily injury and property damage
  • Uninsured/underinsured motorist
  • Personal injury protection (PIP)
  • Limited property damage
  • Property protection
  • Comprehensive and collision

But recreational vehicles aren’t exactly the same as cars and trucks, so many insurers offer other specialized forms of coverage.

Total Loss Replacement: For brand new RVs, you can choose total loss replacement. Older RVs will typically only allow actual cash value.

Custom Equipment: If you trick out your RV, ask your insurance agent about additional coverage for those custom parts. Standard policies typically allow a limit of $1000.

Vacation Liability: Liability coverage while you’re using your RV as a temporary vacation residence. This offers extra liability protection. The standard amount is typically $10,000 but you can purchase more.

Roadside Assistance: You can get your RV towed to the nearest qualified repair shop for specific covered events like breakdowns, flat tires, lock outs, out of gas, and being stuck in snow, mud, or sand within 100 feet of the the road.

Give yourself peace of mind this summer when you hit the road in your RV. Make sure your vehicle and your family are protected with enough insurance. There’s no telling what will happen out on the road, but you can guard against it with the right RV insurance.

Contact Charlotte Insurance to go over your current RV insurance coverage and to fill any gaps in coverage you might. We’re happy to answer your questions and provide a free estimate.

Is Your Vacation Home Adequately Protected?

Written By Charlotte Insurance on April 9, 2019. It has 0 comments.

a vacation home that needs insurance

You’ve worked hard for the life you have, including for your vacation home. Make sure it’s protected from natural disasters and unfortunate accidents with the right insurance coverage.

Protecting your vacation home isn’t quite the same as protecting other property. Here’s what you need to know.

Separate Policy vs. Secondary Home Endorsement

In order to save money, you don’t have to purchase a separate homeowners insurance policy for your vacation home. You can typically add a secondary home endorsement to your existing coverage. The problem, however, is that you may not have the same kind of coverage in your vacation home as you do your primary residence.

If your vacation home is located in an area that’s at risk for natural disasters, like hurricanes or fires, a separate insurance policy with full coverage may be better. You want to be able to rebuild your beautiful vacation home if the worst happens and the right insurance policy will help. 

Insurance for Out-Buildings and Other Structures

Some vacation homes are condos on the beach while others are on the water with a pier or in the backcountry with a farm. When you insure your vacation home, talk to your independent insurance agent about any other structures on your property. For some people this may be a boat house or it might be a farm or big workshop.

Most homeowners insurance only offers about 10 percent of the value towards out-buildings. If this isn’t enough to replace or rebuild it after a disaster, you may want to purchase an additional rider.

Beef Up Your Liability Coverage

With vacation homes often comes vacation guests. Whether you invite friends and family for the weekend or the whole summer, you’re likely to do more entertaining. You also may have more people in and out of your home for cleaning, repairs, and maintenance. Make sure you have plenty of liability coverage.

Talk to your insurance agent about adding additional liability coverage to your existing policy. If you want extra protection, an umbrella insurance policy offers liability coverage above and beyond your homeowner’s policy limits. If someone gets hurt or sues you, your homeowners policy will pay up to its limits, and then the umbrella policy will pay the difference up to that policy’s limits. It’s like insurance for your insurance 

Protect Your Toys

Your vacation home was just the beginning and now you have toys to play with when you visit. This might be a large boat, luxury cars, or even custom motorcycles, ATVs, and other recreational vehicles. Make sure you’ve got the right kind of insurance for them. Separate boat, RV, motorcycle, and other forms of insurance should be purchased. Your homeowners insurance policy won’t be enough for these particular toys.

If you need to add extra coverage and protection for your vacation home, contact Charlotte Insurance. We understand your unique needs and can offer the solutions that will protect your home, your family, and your fun.

What You Need to Know About Insuring Your NC or SC Coastal Home

Written By Charlotte Insurance on April 5, 2019. It has 0 comments.

a row of coastal homes in the carolinas in need of home insurance coverage

The coast is a beautiful place to live. It offers a unique lifestyle that no other part of the Carolinas does, but it’s also considered a high-risk area for homeowners. Homes are more susceptible to certain storm-related perils than the rest of the state — wind, hail, and floods.

Even when a storm doesn’t make a direct hit on the Carolina coast, damage can result in thousands of claims to insurance providers. More than 185,000 claims were filed from Hurricane Florence. When you live on the coast, it’s important to understand the unique nature of insuring your home.

You Need More than a Standard Policy

In many parts of inland North and South Carolina, wind and hail are often automatically included as part of a standard homeowners insurance policy. This isn’t true on the coast. Not realizing the difference can create gaps in your coverage which you’ll only learn once you try to file a claim.

You can often purchase a separate rider to add to your home insurance policy for wind and hail. This will mean you’ll have two separate deductibles, as well. Even in standard policies this is true, but it’s always important to remember. Your wind and hail deductible will be a percentage of your total policy, typically between one and five percent.

Flood insurance isn’t included in a standard home insurance policy, no matter where you live. Because of your proximity to the water, you definitely need to purchase a separate flood insurance policy. Flood damage can be devastating and massively expensive. You can’t count on FEMA to help you if your home is damaged or destroyed by rising waters.

High Risk Options

Some homes on the coast, because of location, age, and other factors, cannot find home insurance through the private market. But North Carolina law requires that you have the opportunity to purchase a policy. To do this, two risk pools were created. The North Carolina Insurance Underwriting Association (NCIUA) oversees the Coastal Property Insurance Pool, the group responsible for helping insure coastal properties.

Residential homes, rentals, and some business properties are eligible to purchase insurance from this pool. It provides coverage for common perils like fire, wind, vandalism, and more. Liability is not available through this program. You’ll need to purchase this separately.

Buying insurance through the risk pool should be used as an absolute last resort. It’s more expensive coverage — at least 10 to 20 percent more than coverage you can buy in the private market. It also includes caps on your coverage. The total coverage limit it $750,000 and personal property coverage is capped at 40 percent.

Finding Home Insurance for Your Coastal Home

While you can’t prevent storms from damaging your home on the coast, you can mitigate the risk. Putting up storm shutters, installing high impact hurricane resistant windows, and adding other protections to your home will make you more attractive to insurance carriers who may not want the risk of insuring a coastal home.

The best way to find the right insurance for your coastal home is to work with an independent insurance agency like ours. We have access to multiple insurance providers so even if some carriers won’t insure your coastal home, you increase your chances of finding coverage through the private market. But, if the high risk pool is your only option, our insurance agents can help you get coverage there, too. Contact us at Charlotte Insurance today and make sure you have the right insurance for your coastal home.

Autism Awareness Month

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

autism awareness month banner

April is Autism Awareness Month. Ask anyone who has autism spectrum disorder (ASD) or their loved ones, and they’ll tell you that every month ought to be an autism awareness month. ASD is something that impacts millions of people around the world, with tens of thousands of people being diagnosed every year.

National Autism Awareness Month is an opportunity to promote autism awareness, autism acceptance, and draw attention to everyone who lives with ASD each day. The Autism Society, nationally and in North and South Carolina, work hard to promote inclusion, acceptance, and self-determination for everyone. Everyone with ASD should be provided the opportunity to achieve the highest possible quality of life.

During the month of April, you can help raise awareness and learn more about autism right here in our local community.

How You Can Get Involved

The Autism Society of North Carolina puts on a wide variety of events for people with ASD and their loved ones and caregivers. You can partner with this organization to help by donating your time or money to any of their events. You can also raise awareness about autism in other ways:

  • Use #StandUpForAutism on social media to promote local events and talk about your experiences with ASD.
  • Show off the Autism Awareness Puzzle Ribbon with pins, stickers, shirts, bumper stickers, car magnets, and more.
  • Make a donation to the Autism Society of North Carolina
  • Participate in local events

Virtual Races for Autism

In the month of April, two virtual races are scheduled with proceeds going to help organizations that help people with ASD and their families. You can run your own race, on your favorite path, and report your results for medals, t-shirts, and more.

2019 See the World a Different Way 1 mile and 5K Virtual Race

Complete your race anytime in April. Proceeds benefit the Organization for Autism Research. The cost to join in is only $20, and you can also purchase special shirts and hoodies. Learn more here.

2019 WHO Wants to Race for Autism Awareness 5K and 10K

This is for all the Doctor Who fans and anyone who wants to support autism awareness. One quote is the guiding light of this race: “900 years of time and space and I’ve never met anyone who wasn’t important.” -The Doctor Complete your race anytime in April. Proceeds go to the Doug Flutie Jr. Foundation for Autism. Learn more here.

Charlotte Insurance is committed to giving back to our community as often as we can. Autism Awareness Month is one of those times. Working together, we can make a difference.