Ring in the New Year Safely

Written By Charlotte Insurance on December 24, 2019. It has 0 comments.

a dog wearing a Happy New Year hat

As you plan where you’re going and what you’ll do this New Year’s Eve, think about how you’ll do it safely. Who’s going to drive? Will you know the people you’re enjoying the night with? Will you have people over or will you go out?

You can have a good time this New Year’s, but to avoid expensive accidents and big insurance claims, make sure you know how to stay safe, too.

Stay Safe While Drinking

New Year’s Eve is the night to have a few drinks and let your hair down for the night. Whether you’re sipping champagne or enjoying a cocktail, planning ahead keeps you safe. Know how you’re getting home — a ride-share, a designated driver, staying at the same place you’re celebrating. And if you’re not drinking, offer to be the designated driver for your friends. Do your best to avoid leaving your car parked overnight in a parking lot — car thefts are common after any major holiday, but especially New Year’s Eve.

If you’re hosting a party, understand your liability as the host. Talk to your insurance agent to make sure you’re covered. To protect your guests and yourself, offer more than alcoholic beverages, take peoples’ keys, never serve anyone underage, and have a cut-off time when alcohol isn’t available.

Be Safe on the Road

If getting out on the road is part of your New Year’s plans, make sure you do it safely. Take your time in traffic and watch for other drivers. There are often checkpoints along major routes looking for people driving under the influence, which means there are plenty of inebriated people behind the wheel. 

At the same time, there will be lots of traffic and the roads may be wet or slippery. Tonight isn’t a night to speed on even the most familiar road. Be patient, and give yourself plenty of time to get wherever you’re going. That last thing you want is an auto accident.

Watch Those Fireworks

When in doubt, don’t have fireworks at all. Watch a local display put on by the city or a community organization instead. But if fireworks are a family tradition, make sure to buy just a few. Don’t let small children handle them, and keep well away from your home, trees, or anything flammable. Keep a fire extinguisher, bucket of sand, or garden hose on hand in case sparks start to fly.

New Year’s Eve is a night to celebrate the year behind us and look forward to the year ahead. Make sure everyone in your group or family has a good time by following basic safety precautions. But if something does go wrong, call Charlotte Insurance so we can help you through the claims process.

Best of Charlotte: New Year’s Eve Celebrations

Written By Charlotte Insurance on December 19, 2019. It has 0 comments.

a group of people celebrating at one of Charlotte, NC's best new year's eve celebrations

Making plans for New Year’s Eve? Not sure what to do to ring in 2020? Charlotte is a thriving, diverse city filled with events that cater to every taste. No matter what you’re into, you can find the perfect New Year’s celebration — day or night! 

Check out several celebrations and plan your New Year’s fun.

Charlotte’s New Year’s Eve 2020 Affair

Looking for a glamorous and sophisticated party to ring in 2020? Head to the Ritz for their annual New Year’s Eve Affair. Enjoy the extensive art collection at The Ritz, private bottle service, custom cocktails, and a VIP lounge. The festivities begin at 9:00 p.m. on December 31 and last until 2:00 a.m. on January 1. The attire is semi-formal and tickets range in price from $30 to $900.  

New Year’s Eve Celebration

Want to enjoy New Year’s Eve like you’re in the roaring 20s? Ready to party like it’s 1919 instead of 2019? Head to the New Year’s Eve Celebration in the Belk Theater at Blumenthal Performing Arts Center and enjoy Rhapsody in Blue performed by the Charlotte Symphony. Enjoy a post-concert party with champagne, desserts, and a countdown to midnight. The fun begins at 9:00 p.m. and tickets are $77 per person.

New Year’s Eve at Winterfest 2019

If you’re looking for a New Year’s Eve celebration the entire family can enjoy, head to Carowinds! It’s fun for all ages with live music, dance parties, free party hats and horns, and everything else you expect from Carowinds during Winterfest. The celebration begins at 5:00 p.m. and lasts until 1:00 a.m. Winterfest ticket prices start at $26 per person. 

18th Annual Belk Bowl 

Would you rather stay in on New Year’s Eve night? Looking for some fun during the day instead? Make plans for the big game: the 18th Annual Belk Bowl at Bank of America Stadium. Kick-off begins at noon on December 31. The game will be a match-up between the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) and the Southeastern Conference (SEC). Tickets start at $38.

New Year’s Eve 2020

If you’d rather have a wild night of dancing and hanging out with friends (and making new ones), head to Howl at the Moon Charlotte for their New Year’s Eve 2020 bash. The party starts at 9:00 p.m. and lasts until 2:00 a.m. You can buy ticket packages with perks like included drinks, buffet, and reserved seating. Prices range from $40 per person to $115 per person. At any level, you’re guaranteed to have a fun night ringing in the new year! 

No matter how you celebrate this year, make it a safe holiday for everyone. Here at Charlotte Insurance, we wish you a Happy New Year. May 2020 be your best year yet!

Start the Year Off Right with an Annual Insurance Review

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

a person reviewing their insurance as part of their annual insurance review

It might not be as glamorous or exciting as setting New Year’s resolutions and posting progress pictures on Instagram, but there’s one thing you need to add to your “new year, new you list”: an annual insurance review. No, it won’t take up too much time, and yes, it will help you at some point this year.

Here’s what an annual insurance review does for you and your insurance coverage.

Changes in Your Personal Life

When you’re going through big life changes — marriage, divorce, teenagers getting their driver’s license — you might not think to call your insurance agent right away. That’s where an annual review comes in handy. Now is a great time to update your insurance policies with information that may change your coverage or your premium amount.

  • Marriage or divorce
  • Changes in health which may impact life insurance needs
  • Kids finishing college and moving out on their own
  • Preparing for a young driver later in the year
  • Renovations made to your home

Update Your Home Inventory

Throughout the year you’ve purchased and received many items — some more valuable than others. You may even receive jewelry, collectibles, or high-priced technology over the holidays. To make sure you have enough home insurance to cover your personal possessions, you need to update your home inventory at least once a year. You don’t want to find out after damage or theft that all of your jewelry or collectibles won’t be covered. A quick update with your independent insurance agent can make sure you have the coverage you need, when you need it.

Adjust Your Home Value

When you bought your home, it was worth one amount. Now a few years later, your home value has surely changed and likely increased. Your homeowners insurance policy should be enough to cover the costs to rebuild your home. That’s why it’s important that your insurance coverage adjusts as your home value increases. Any gaps between the actual value and what your insurance provides will have to be paid by you. In the middle of a devastating loss, you don’t want to worry about a $50,000 or $100,000 gap in coverage.

Find New Discounts

Now that you’re updating your coverage, you may be eligible for new discounts. Did you add a home security system last year? You might save on your homeowners insurance. Did your teenager complete education courses for new drivers? You may get a discount on your auto insurance. Are you bundling different coverages together? That could be another discount. Without the annual insurance review, you might miss out on big savings.

Understand Your Coverage

Taking a little time to talk about your insurance coverage will teach you new things about it. Have a college student living in a dorm for the first time? Ask about how your homeowners policy covers their possessions. Bought an expensive home theater system? Make sure it’s covered and what the process is if it’s damaged. Trying to get ready for a teenage driver? You’ll have an idea of how your auto insurance premiums may change and what your options are. Annual reviews keep your insurance on track and make sure you know how it works when it’s needed most.

An annual insurance review doesn’t need to be something to dread, and it doesn’t have to take all day. Bring in, or give us a call with, an updated list of your personal inventory and be ready for a quick chat about your home and family. From there, we can help you navigate changes to your existing coverage and recommend new insurance policies you may need in the future. Contact Charlotte Insurance today to schedule your review!


Holiday Decorating Dos and Don’ts

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

a christmas tree that was decorated following our holiday decorating safety tips

Does holiday decorating immediately put you in the spirit of things? Are you humming Christmas carols, drinking hot chocolate, and ready to bake cookies? You’re definitely not alone! No matter how excited you are to get the tree, lights, and blow-up Santa up, make sure you decorate safely so your home stays warm and bright all season long.

Check out these dos and don’ts for holiday decorations.

Christmas Trees

The central part of most holiday decorating is the tree, and it can be one of the most potentially hazardous items in your home.

Do water a live tree regularly to keep it hydrated.

Don’t place a live tree near a fireplace, heater, or other heat source as they’re highly flammable.

Do consider buying a fake tree instead.

Don’t buy one unless it’s labelled fire-resistant.


Indoor Lights

From your Christmas tree to your favorite holiday candles, indoor lighting is fun and beautiful but it also has its own dangers.

Do check for frayed wires, broken sockets, and loose connectors before putting up your lights. Replace damaged lights.

Don’t let indoor lights touch carpets, furniture, or drapes as these can present a fire hazard.

Do turn off lights at the end of the night, or even better, unplug them if possible.

Don’t leave lights on or open flames unattended overnight or when you’re away from home during the day.

Do use candles with a sturdy base that will be more difficult to knock over.

Don’t leave kids and pets alone with lit candles.

Do use lights marked “UL” which means they’ve been inspected for safety hazards.

Don’t use nails or staples to hang lights. Do use hooks or insulated staples instead.


Outdoor Decorations and Lighting

You’ve prevented fire or damage inside your home, now it’s time to keep the outside safe this holiday season.

Do keep ladders away from power lines while you’re hanging decorations.

Don’t use a ladder alone. Always have someone with you to hold the base while you climb and stand on the ladder.

Do plug cords into ground fault circuit interrupters (GCFIs) whenever possible.

Don’t leave the cords strung across the lawn. Move them out of the way to avoid tripping hazards.


Other Holiday Decorations

The smallest things can lead to the biggest accidents.

Do recycle or reuse your gift wrap.

Don’t burn it in the fireplace as it could cause a flash fire.

Do use unbreakable ornaments especially if you have children or pets.

Don’t hang fragile ornaments where kids and furbabies can get to them.

You want your home to be festive and bright this holiday season, but you also want it to stay safe. Be careful with your decorations, and make sure your homeowners insurance is current — in case the worst happens. Contact Charlotte Insurance today for a free quote on a new home insurance policy.

Holiday Travel Plans? Make Sure You Plan Ahead

Written By Charlotte Insurance on December 6, 2019. It has 0 comments.

an airplane with families from Charlotte traveling over the holidays

Ready to get on the road and head out on your holiday travels? Make sure you plan ahead to keep yourself, your family, and your home safe. Follow our tips to stay safe during your road trip and to reduce the chance of your home being robbed while you’re out of town.

Road Trip

If you’re jumping behind the wheel and traveling across North Carolina or cross country this holiday season, make sure your vehicle is ready for the trip. Proper maintenance will prevent unnecessary breakdowns and help reduce your risk of an auto accident, especially when you’re on unfamiliar and potentially icy roads.

  • Clean your windshields and windows so you can see clearly while driving.
  • Replace your windshield wipers if they’re older than six months or if they’ve stopped working well, regardless of their age.
  • Check your fluids (or take your car to be serviced) and top off coolant, windshield wiper fluid, antifreeze, oil, and anything else that seems low. If you’re not sure, leave it to a mechanic to check.
  • Check your headlights and taillights to make sure they work. You want to be visible to everyone else on the road, too.
  • Get your tires checked and rotated. If necessary, add air to your tires. This not only helps you have better gas mileage, it helps prevent annoying flat tires and dangerous blow outs that can have you skidding off the road.

Leaving Home

Before you get on the road to visit family this holiday, make sure your home is ready to be vacant — without looking like a tempting target to would-be burglars.

  • Install a home security system. You can choose a system that offers third-party monitoring who will call first responders if there’s a problem. Or you can keep it simple and choose one that lets you monitor your home yourself. These days most security systems let you keep up with your home by smartphone app.
  • Ask a friend or family member who isn’t traveling if they’ll check on your home every few days. They can bring the garbage cans back from the curb, check for Amazon packages, and make it look like someone’s home. They’ll also notice if anything seems out of place.
  • Have your mail and newspapers held until you return. This keeps anything from piling up which make it clear that no one is home.
  • Maintain your home schedule for cleaning, landscaping, or pool cleaning. Having people come and go from your home will keep thieves from thinking no one will see them breaking in.
  • Install an outdoor motion sensor light. This way if someone approaches your home at night, they’ll find themselves lit up and unable to hide anywhere.
  • Put your indoor lights on a timer and have them turn on and off throughout the day. This makes it look like someone’s at home throughout the day.

Before you leave for the holidays do one more thing. Check your insurance coverage. Make sure you have enough auto insurance to cover you in case of an accident and enough homeowners insurance in case of fire or theft while you’re gone. Give Charlotte Insurance a call today, and we can make sure you’re well-protected while you’re on the road and once you arrive home again.