7 Things You Didn’t Know Home Insurance Covered

Written By Charlotte Insurance on January 28, 2020. It has 0 comments.

a "home sweet home" doormat in front of a home with a Charlotte home insurance policy

You know your Charlotte homeowners insurance protects you from fire, theft, and when a limb falls on your roof during a storm. You know you have liability coverage for accidents and damage. But there are a few key details you might have missed the last time you looked over your policy. Check out these small, but important, things your home insurance covers. 

Spoiled Food 

Your home insurance won’t cover the thousands of dollars in fresh vegetables you leave in the crisper and forget to eat every year. But if your food spoils because of a power outage — from a natural disaster or something else, you can often be reimbursed for the costs associated with restocking your fridge, up to your policy’s limits. 

Falling Waste

Have you ever used a toilet on an airplane and wondered where the waste goes? Usually it’s in a holding tank. However, sometimes blue ice aka frozen waste falls from an airplane, landing on a home and causing damage. If this happens to you, you’re covered.

Headstone Damage

Your loved one’s headstone matters a great deal, and there’s little more painful than knowing a vandal tipped it over, broke it, or otherwise desecrated their final resting place. If this happens, the insurance of the primary caretaker may cover it. But insurance doesn’t cover normal wear and tear or settling.

Cleaning Up After a Death

Was your home the site of a murder, suicide, or other death? This may shock you, but the clean-up is covered by your home insurance. Before you spend a lot of money to clean up a tragedy, contact your agent.


This isn’t the wild, wild West, but wild animals can still stampede, especially after a natural disaster when they’re lost, confused, and scared. If wild animals run through your home or gain access in other ways, your homeowners insurance may cover the damage.

Matching Sets

If you’ve suffered damage in your home, from theft, fire, or a natural disaster, and your “matching sets” of possessions didn’t make it, you may be covered for the entire group of items. Yes, even if one candlestick, lamp, or lantern in the set is still functional.

Hotel and Restaurant Expenses

Your home insurance isn’t paying for your next vacation. But if a covered peril forces you into a hotel until repairs can be made, your lodging and food expenses may be reimbursed as part of your coverage.

Whether you want to better understand your policy or increase your home insurance coverage, contact Charlotte Insurance today. We’ll walk you through exactly what your policy does and doesn’t cover, explain your options, and help you choose the best insurance for your home and family.

Cannabis and Insurance in 2020

Written By Charlotte Insurance on January 23, 2020. It has 0 comments.

a Charlotte cannabis business that needs insurance

Considering getting into the cannabis business in 2020? Trying to keep up with insurance and financial information while growing your current business? Here’s what you need to know for the year ahead.

More Insurance Options for More Cannabis Producers

In 2020, with plenty of changes on the horizon and more coming, insurance options for cannabis businesses are increasing. Industrial hemp may be moved into the federal crop insurance program, creating more opportunities for businesses in that sector. More insurers are moving into the cannabis industry which will provide more options for companies — more available policies, more carriers to choose from, and higher liability limits. This is great for companies as there will be more competition for business and more coverage options to choose from.

Increasing Rates

Due to an increase in lawsuits impacting the cannabis industry, businesses should expect rates for liability coverage to increase, specifically product liability. The recent contamination claims with regard to vaporizers and batteries has increased the concern about future claims. At the same time, bad actors continue to build their business by falsifying labels and claims of their THC products which leads to more lawsuits and insurance claims. The response from insurance providers is to increase premiums. 

Liability Coverage Isn’t a Luxury

Thanks in large part to those bad actors and resulting lawsuits, liability coverage isn’t exactly a luxury for a cannabis business who wants to last in today’s market. Product liability coverage is more important than ever. And as companies begin to navigate the reality of today’s cannabis market with some companies thriving and others failing, Directors and Officers liability coverage will be more important than some businesses realize. For companies facing a fall-out, the lack of D&O coverage will cause personal financial pain for directors and officers. Even for companies in good standing today, D&O insurance is imperative to protect your board against the future. 

The Safe Banking Act

The Safe Banking Act is something closely watched by everyone in the cannabis industry. It overwhelmingly passed the House in 2019 and now needs to be approved by the Senate and signed into law by the President to go into effect. If it does, the financial sector will open up to the cannabis industry in a big way — allowing for more banking, investments, and insurance options through the financial sector.

If you’re building a cannabis business, you need insurance made for your industry. Contact Charlotte Insurance today to discuss your options!

Winter Home Maintenance Checklist

Written By Charlotte Insurance on January 21, 2020. It has 0 comments.

a man preparing his Charlotte, NC home for winter

a man preparing his Charlotte, NC home for winter

Want to keep your home and family as safe as possible this winter? Make sure you take care of things around your home before the winter storms hit. A little maintenance now will save you from potential damage and problems later. Use this checklist to prepare your home for the cold weather ahead and prevent winter damage and insurance claims.

  • Clean your gutters. Remove debris, brush off leaves, and make sure gutters and downspouts are clear for water and run-off to move freely.
  • Check your drainage. Look in your basement for water stains and your attic for signs of mildew. This indicates water is not being drained away from your home very well. Once your downspouts are clear, you need to extend them further away from your home.
  • Test your sump pump. Check for dirt and debris, remove clogs, and make sure it’s pumping water well away from your home. This helps avoid a flooded basement and foundation after a bad winter storm.
  • Have your HVAC serviced. Make sure your heating system works all winter long by having it looked over by a professional.
  • Prevent ice dams. Ice dams form on the edge of your roof and prevent melting snow from draining. Snow might not be plentiful in Charlotte but if it gets cold enough, an ice dam could form. Keep your roof a uniform temperature to reduce the chance of an ice dam. You can do this by increasing the ventilation and adding insulation in your attic.
  • Seal your doors and windows. It’s easy for cold air to whistle through your home — increasing your energy costs and keeping everyone uncomfortable. Add weatherstripping around doors and windows to keep the cold out.
  • Weatherproof your exterior pipes. The last thing you want after a bad freeze is a burst pipe. Protect against this by checking your pipes for any weaknesses and replacing parts as needed. Also, wrap your pipes in insulating tape to help prevent freezing.
  • Check your fireplace and chimney. If you used your fireplace heavily last winter, make sure to get it cleaned. Also make sure there are no cracks or damage that could present a fire hazard or critters living in your chimney.
  • Check the batteries in your smoke and carbon monoxide alarms. Winter is a time when fires and problems with heating units occur most. You need to be warned when there’s a problem.
  • Protect your entryways and yourself. Make sure you have a mat at your entryways to wipe wet feet and that family members and visitors have a place to remove cold weather gear, including wet shoes. This prevents slips and falls on wet floors.
  • Trim tree limbs. In a big winter storm, the wind can cause limbs to break off and crash through your roof. If a big snow storm comes through (as rare as it is), you don’t want heavy snow to bring limbs down either.

After you take care of your winter home maintenance, make sure your homeowners insurance policy is current. If you haven’t thought about your policy limits in years, it’s well past time to check your coverage. Contact Charlotte Insurance today to update your information or for a free estimate on a new policy.

Think You Don’t Need Umbrella Insurance? Think Again.

Written By Charlotte Insurance on January 16, 2020. It has 0 comments.

Charlotte umbrella insurance

It’s hard to imagine that you might one day be sued, especially for something that wasn’t really your fault. You try to be safe and cautious, and you’d never try to purposely injure someone or cause property damage. But accidents happen, and it’s difficult to predict what the outcome might be or how an accident victim will react. Big lawsuits are filed every day, against people just like you.

You can’t stop someone from suing you, but you can make sure a lawsuit doesn’t ruin you financially. Here’s why you need an umbrella insurance policy.

Avoid the Expense of a Lawsuit

You can never completely avoid lawsuits. They’re all too common, and they can happen to anyone. If someone can get hurt on your property or as a result of your actions, you can be sued: auto accidents; slips, trips, and falls in your home; dog bites. The possibilities are endless.

When you’re sued, your liability coverage will pay up to your policy limits. But in today’s world of big lawsuits and bigger awards, that might not be enough to cover you. Even if you think the accident wasn’t that bad or a person’s injuries or damage are minimal. Whatever your insurance doesn’t pay, you have to pay out of pocket. Unless you have umbrella insurance.

Protect Your Assets

If you lose a lawsuit and the award is higher than your liability coverage, the rest needs to come from somewhere. Your personal assets could be in jeopardy. Here’s a quick way to determine if you need umbrella insurance: consider the total value of your personal assets.

Add up the current worth of all your assets: your home, vehicles, business, estimated future salary, any high value possessions (think boats, RVs, collectibles), personal investments, retirement investments, and what’s actually in your bank account(s). If the total of all your assets is more than your liability coverage, you need an umbrella insurance policy.

Who Most Needs an Umbrella Insurance Policy?

Still not convinced you need an umbrella insurance policy? Consider if you fall into any of the categories of people most likely to be involved in accidents and/or most likely to be sued:

  • You have significant savings or assets.
  • You want to protect against the potential loss of future income.
  • You’re a business owner.
  • Your home has a swimming pool and/or trampoline.
  • You own your own home and/or own investment properties.
  • You own certain breeds of dogs considered to be dangerous or prone to bite.
  • You engage in activities that lead to possible injury like hunting, surfing, skiing, and more.
  • You coach youth sports or other activities where you’re responsible for other people who may be injured.

If you’re perceived to be responsible for harm caused or to have assets that could be used to justify a big claim, you’re vulnerable to lawsuits. An umbrella insurance policy protects you against serious financial loss.

The cost of an umbrella insurance policy is minimal compared to other liability coverage and will save you a fortune if you lose a lawsuit. Contact Charlotte Insurance today to learn more about your coverage options and to receive a free estimate for your new umbrella policy.

Insuring Your Boat During the Winter

Written By Charlotte Insurance on January 14, 2020. It has 0 comments.

winterized boats in Charlotte that need insurance

You only use your boat during the warmer months, so you only need insurance when it’s in use. Right? Wrong. Keeping your boat insured during the winter (and all year long) protects you and your boat and saves you money in the long-run.

Don’t Count on Your Homeowners Coverage

If you’re relying on your home insurance policy to cover your boat during the winter months, think again. Most standard policies only cover small boats like canoes and kayaks, so there’s a good chance your boat won’t be covered at all. And if it is, the coverage won’t be as much as a boat insurance policy provides.

Boat insurance policies offer very specific forms of coverage:

  • Bodily injury and property damage liability
  • Collision protection
  • Comprehensive coverage

Comprehensive coverage is the most important during the months your boat isn’t in use as this protects you from perils like fire, storms, theft, and vandalism.

Boat Insurance Might be Required

Did you finance the purchase of your boat? Are you still paying the lender? One of the terms of the financing agreement was likely that you would keep your boat insured all year long. Even if your boat is paid for, the marina or storage facility you use might require insurance coverage. And if you buy it through them (assuming it’s even available), instead of through an independent insurance agency like ours,  you’ll likely pay much higher premiums.

Your Boat is Vulnerable Year-Round

Yes, your boat is more vulnerable to damage and accidents when it’s out on the water. You have to navigate other boaters, swimmers, and the hazards of being on open water. But plenty of perils exist on dry land, too.

Fire, theft, vandalism, and natural disasters and big storms can occur at any time of year. What if the marina or storage facility you choose doesn’t have good insurance coverage? What if your boat is too big to be covered by your home insurance but suffers catastrophic damage sitting in your driveway? You’ll have to repair the damage or your replace your boat by paying out of pocket.

Maintaining Your Insurance Coverage is Most Cost Effective

Because boats are only used part of the year, most insurance providers factor this into their premium pricing, charging less than they might for other forms of insurance. That being said, if you cancel your insurance once the winter months roll around, you might also miss out on other savings. Many carriers offer discounts for bundling, being a loyal customer, and being claim-free for an entire year. All of that is lost to you when you turn your coverage off and on.

If you’re looking for ways to save on your insurance premiums, there are better options than cancelling your boat insurance. Contact Charlotte Insurance today to learn what your options are or to get a free estimate on a new boat insurance policy.

New Year’s Resolutions: Saving Money and Staying Safe in 2020

Written By Charlotte Insurance on January 10, 2020. It has 0 comments.

piggy bank used to save money in 2020

Not all New Year’s Resolutions are of the “new year, new me” variety. You can want to reach goals that don’t involve going to the gym, eating kale, or signing up for a marathon. Make 2020 the year you save money and stay safe — for yourself and your loved ones. Here are a few ideas to help you do both.

Make Your Home Safer

Adding a home security feature gives you peace of mind when you’re traveling for a week or at work for the day. Modern systems allow you to monitor your home from your phone or a web browser. When you add in third party monitoring, you reduce the risk of catastrophic damage from fire or devastating losses due to theft. Even better, adding home security may qualify for additional discounts on your homeowners insurance.

Replace Your Roof

Roof replacement is a big expense and needs to be planned for. If it’s on your list of goals for 2020, great! If not, decide if it should be. A new roof protects your home from water and wind damage during storms. And thanks to newer regulations, roofs replaced by qualified contractors are able to handle most harsh weather without a lot of damage. You’ll have fewer worries during storm season, fewer claims to make, and possibly a lower insurance premium.

Add Flood Insurance

Make 2020 the year to finally purchase flood insurance. Your standard home insurance policy does not include flooding. The most protection you have from water damage is a leaky roof or a burst pipe. But anything else will be your responsibility to fix or replace, unless you have flood insurance for your home. Your premiums depend, in large part, on where your home is located and any mitigation done to reduce flood damage. But it’s much less expensive than the cost to rip out and replace drywall or to rebuild your home from the ground up.

Maintain Your Vehicle

If buying a new car isn’t in the cards for you this year, make sure to take care of the one you have. The last thing you want is to stall out on the highway and cause an accident. You also want lights and mirrors to be in working order so you’re visible on the road and can see where you’re going. These small repairs can save you from bigger headaches down the road like the auto accident you never saw coming.

Buy a New Vehicle

Buying a new car doesn’t sound like a way to save money or stay safe, but if it’s something you can do, consider it. Newer cars offer more safety features than vehicles even five years older like automatic braking, vehicle detection, and hands-free options. Also, a new vehicle may include a maintenance package and warranty which keeps repair costs down for a while. Some insurance companies offer discounts for newer vehicles with specific safety features.

Update Your Insurance Policies

Make 2020 the year you remember to update your insurance policies. Add people to your policy like your young driver and remove people who no longer live with you (like adult kids who have their own home). Update your home insurance policy limits to reflect the real cost to rebuild your home. Talk to an independent insurance agency like ours to make sure you’re getting all the discounts you qualify for.

Want to make sure your family is as safe as possible in 2020 while saving as much money as possible? Contact Charlotte Insurance today to discuss how we can help you with all your insurance needs

Protect Your Cannabis Farm

Written By Charlotte Insurance on January 3, 2020. It has 0 comments.

charlotte, nc cannabis farm that needs insurance

As recently as 2018, cannabis and hemp farms could not be insured due to federal law declaring these crops illegal. With the passage of the 2018 Farm Bill at the end of last year, that has all changed. Just like any other crop, natural disasters and other forms of loss can devastate both your farm and your livelihood. But the right insurance helps you recover and rebuild. Here’s what you need to know.

A Worst-Case Scenario that’s Too Common

In November 2018, North Carolina cannabis farmer, Brad Adams, suffered hundreds of thousands of dollars in damage to his crops because of Hurricane Florence. Before the storm, he’d had 5,000 cannabis plants that helped supply CBD oil to manufacturers. Adams had put everything he had into his farm. He sold his cars, cashed in his retirement, literally everything. While cannabis was still illegal at the federal level, he didn’t have the option of purchasing insurance protection which made the hurricane financially devastating.

That all changed with the passage of the 2018 Farm Bill which legalized certain derivatives of marijuana that are low in THC, the active drug in the plant. Had Adams been fully insured, he could have recouped lost income, rebuilt his farm, and replaced his crops.

Insure Your Cannabis Farm Now That You Can

Prior to the passage of the Farm Bill, total losses weren’t uncommon after a big storm with some owners unable to afford replanting and rebuilding. Today, you have more options than ever before, including plenty of insurance coverage to protect your farm from whatever nature throws your way.

With multiple peril crop insurance (MPCI), you’re protected from several perils:

  • Destructive weather
  • Disease
  • Drought
  • Fire
  • Flooding
  • Insect damage

Beyond that, you can choose other forms of insurance coverage for your cannabis farm:

  • General Liability: Protects you when a third-party experiences property damage or bodily injury on your farm or while doing business with you
  • Product Liability: Protects you if harm or damage is caused by products created by you or using your crops
  • Premises Liability: Protects you if a third-party experiences damage or injury due to a defect on your premises
  • Equipment Breakdown: You’re covered when your equipment breaks down and needs to be repaired or replaced.
  • Loss of Income: Covers you when a loss prevents you from earning income; It keeps you afloat until you’re back in business.

Like other crop-based businesses, you’re afforded multiple forms of protection, based on the coverage you choose. When the worst happens — like a hurricane flattening your farm — you can pick up the pieces and rebuild.

In 2018, you may not have had the option of protecting your cannabis or hemp farm with good insurance coverage. Today, you can buy an insurance policy to fit your farm, your business, and your plans for the future. Contact Charlotte Insurance today to learn what’s available to you and for a free quote.