7 Life Insurance Myths

Written By Charlotte Insurance on January 26, 2021. It has 0 comments.

a family concerned about life insurance myths

Everyone needs some kind of life insurance coverage, but a lot of misconceptions and myths stop people from buying a policy for themselves.

Here are several of the most common life insurance myths. The reality might surprise you.

Myth: You Don’t Need Life Insurance if You’re Single and Childless

Everyone needs some amount of life insurance, even if it’s only a small policy. Life insurance does more than take care of children or a spouse after your death. It can help pay funeral costs, medical bills, and outstanding debt left behind after you die. This means your family won’t have to cover those costs themselves.

Myth: Only Those Who Earn an Income Need Life Insurance

Too many stay-at-home parents think they don’t need a life insurance policy because they don’t have income to replace if they die. Think of all the work you do every day: cooking, cleaning, laundry, taking care of pets, taking care of children, running errands, and more. If you die prematurely, those things will still need to be done, and it’s likely your remaining spouse will need to hire help. Your life insurance policy will help them do that.

Myth: You Only Need a Policy That’s 2X Your Salary

There’s no set amount of life insurance that will work for everyone. What you need to look at is your current situation and what costs need to be covered if you die tomorrow. For some people, twice their annual salary would be more than enough to cover funeral costs and left-behind debt. For others, that won’t be enough to pay the mortgage, send kids to college, or take care of your family.

Myth: The Life Insurance Provided By Your Employer is Enough

Again, there’s no set amount of life insurance that’s right for everyone. What you receive through your employer might be enough, but it might not. It’s important to think realistically about the costs left behind for your family to deal with. That’s what should dictate how much life insurance coverage is enough for your situation.

Myth: Life Insurance Isn’t Necessary if You Have Savings

If you’re independently wealthy with plenty of investments and savings, you might choose not to purchase life insurance. But considering the average cost of a funeral can easily range in the thousands, if not tens of thousands, of dollars, your family’s savings might be wiped out with the funeral alone. If you’d like your family to still have the cushion of saved money after your death, buy a life insurance policy.

Myth: My Family Will Have to Pay Taxes on the Payout

Many people worry they’ll leave their beneficiaries with a big tax bill when they die. In general, life insurance benefits are mostly tax-free. The amount paid out from the policy will not be taxed. What could be taxed are interest payments made on top of the policy. For the average person this isn’t a big concern. Talk to a financial advisor if you have questions about tax liabilities for your family after your death.

Myth: Life Insurance is Expensive

Life insurance doesn’t have to be expensive. There are a number of affordable options available. A good independent insurance agency like ours can help you find one that offers the right amount of coverage and works within your budget. For most people, life insurance is much less expensive than they think it will be.

Ready to purchase a life insurance policy? Contact Charlotte Insurance today for a free quote!

Should You Cancel Your Motorcycle Insurance While It’s In Storage?

Written By Charlotte Insurance on January 21, 2021. It has 0 comments.

a motorcycle being stored for the winter

You may not be riding your motorcycle as much in the winter months, so you might think cancelling your motorcycle insurance is a good idea that can save you money while it’s in storage.

Think again.

Why It’s Not a Good Idea to Cancel Your Coverage

There are several reasons why it’s better to maintain motorcycle insurance, even when you’ve put it in storage for winter.

You might be charged a fee for cancelling your insurance early. Depending on your policy, there may be an early termination penalty for cancelling. If you paid in full for the year, that’s less money you’ll get back. If you pay monthly, you might have to pay the fee out of pocket.

There are consequences for being uninsured. When you cancel your insurance and then purchase a policy later, you might pay higher premiums. Why? Because lapses in insurance can signal risky behavior to providers. They’ll insure your motorcycle, but you may pay more than you would if you’d maintained coverage.

Your motorcycle can still be damaged or stolen while in storage. The risk of having an accident may be smaller when you don’t ride your bike, but winter didn’t eliminate all of your risks. Whether you store your bike at home or in a storage facility, things can go wrong. You may need to file a claim to repair or replace your motorcycle even in the winter.

You might miss riding on an unseasonably warm day. Riding your motorcycle with no insurance is risky. Without coverage, you either have to take a big risk on one of those random warm-weather days or  miss out on the ride. But if you maintain your insurance coverage, you don’t have to make that choice.

What You Can Do Instead of Cancelling Your Motorcycle Insurance

It makes sense that you want to save money on your insurance, especially when you’re not riding much. But there are other ways of doing it without putting your bike or your finances at risk.

Ask your independent insurance agent about a “lay up” or “laid up” policy. Lay up policies are designed for motorcycle riders who can’t get on their bike during the winter months. Some insurers will let you pause liability, collision, and other forms of coverage you need most on the road when you’re not riding. Some even include a “sunny day clause” that allows for one day of liability coverage, so you don’t have to miss out on that random day to ride in the middle of winter.

Increase your deductible. The easiest way to decrease your premiums without sacrificing coverage is to pay a higher deductible. It’s relatively easy to change your deductible when you put your motorcycle in storage and when you take it out again in spring. This way you get the protection of a good insurance policy when the bike is parked without paying more than necessary.

Want to make sure your motorcycle has great insurance protection while it’s in storage? Contact Charlotte Insurance today for a free quote or to ask about a lay up policy.

How COVID-19 is Changing Workers’ Compensation Insurance

Written By Charlotte Insurance on January 19, 2021. It has 0 comments.

a "workers' compensation insurance" sign

There’s no denying that COVID-19 has changed everything, including how you run your business. From when you’re open to how you conduct business, the impact of the pandemic has been overwhelming. That impact includes workers’ compensation insurance. If you’ve had more employees file claims than in the past, you’re not alone.

Here’s how things are changing.

Burden of Proof

Infectious disease exposure in the workplace has long been a covered claim within workers’ comp coverage. That is as long as it could be shown that the workplace was the reason for an increased risk of exposure. But workers’ compensation is not built for a pandemic and how governments respond to it.

Many states have enacted presumptions that COVID-19 is work-related for specific occupations. This presumption changes one of the most basic rules of workers’ compensation: who has the burden of proof. In typical claims, an employee has to prove that they were exposed to an infectious disease in the workplace.

Under COVID-19 presumptions, the burden of proof falls to the employer. Now the employer has to prove exposure didn’t occur in the workplace. The pandemic leads to more claims not only being filed but being paid, as well.

Workers’ Compensation Costs

The next biggest change is also, currently, the greatest unknown. Under normal circumstances, workers’ comp costs are directly tied to the claims filed in a given year for a business. The idea being that when risk is lowered, claims go down, saving you money on your premiums.

In a pandemic, especially in certain fields, the risk can’t be reduced completely and claims have certainly gone up. Safety National’s data shows that healthcare is the top impacted industry by COVID-19 with first-responders (police, fire, and EMS workers) coming in second.

Due to the pandemic, workers’ comp insurers are relying more on telemedicine than ever before. This can reduce the cost of a claim because telemedicine is much less expensive than seeing a doctor in person. At the same time, though, return-to-work options are often delayed due to long-term health complications, state requirements for businesses, and other factors which can increase claims.

The biggest unknown in terms of claim costs is for long-term disability claims. With some COVID-19 patients experiencing symptoms and complications long after their initial illness, it’s difficult to know what the long-term effects this will have on workers’ comp claims. It’s safe to assume that there could be an increase in permanent partial and permanent total disability claims.

The pandemic has touched every industry, including the workers’ compensation insurance industry. More changes will arise because of COVID-19. To understand your coverage and your responsibility as an employer under workers’ comp, contact Charlotte Insurance. We can discuss risk mitigation and help you understand your policy.

5 Common Sense Insurance Tips

Written By Charlotte Insurance on January 12, 2021. It has 0 comments.

a lightbulb signifying some common sense insurance tips

It’s never too late to learn more about your insurance coverages! Now that it’s the start of a new year, commit to learning a few insurance basics that will help you for years to come.

Everyone Needs Insurance

Every person needs to be covered by insurance in some fashion, and every adult needs to purchase insurance coverage. It doesn’t matter what stage of life you’re in, you will help yourself in the long run with the right insurance coverage.

It’s Important to Understand a Few Insurance Basics

Many of the mistakes people make with their insurance is due to the fact that they don’t understand the terms being used and how they apply to them. At the very least, make sure you have a clear understanding of these terms:

Premium: This is the amount you pay to have insurance coverage. Some premiums are paid annually, like homeowners insurance. Others are paid monthly, like health and life insurance. Auto insurance premiums can be paid monthly or every six months upon renewal.

Deductible: This is the amount of money you’ll have to pay before your insurance company will pay a claim. If your auto insurance deductible is $1,000, and your claim is $2,000, you’ll be responsible to pay the first $1,000, and your insurer will pay the rest.

Liability: Home, auto, and renters insurance all include liability coverage. This covers you when you’re at-fault for an accident or injury suffered by someone else such as a visitor to your home or the other driver in a car accident. Because bodily injury and property damage can be more expensive than anticipated, it’s important to have as much liability coverage as possible.

Choose Replacement Cost

For most of your insurance coverage, you want to choose “replacement cost” coverage instead of “actual value.” The only exception to this is when you insure something that gains value over time like antiques, jewelry, and collectibles. For your home and auto insurance, you want your policy to pay out at the replacement cost.

Why? Because then you’ll know that your claim will cover the cost to replace your home or vehicle after a major loss. A vehicle loses value the longer it’s driven. Home values fluctuate up and down — and the home value for insurance doesn’t account for the land it’s on. Replacement cost makes sure you can rebuild or replace what you lost without forcing you to pay thousands of dollars you don’t have.

Don’t Rely on Other Drivers’ Auto Insurance

Yes, all other drivers on the road should have auto insurance. Yes, that auto insurance should pay the claim in full if you’re in an accident and the other driver was at fault. But that’s not what always happens. Too many drivers either don’t have enough auto insurance coverage or they don’t have an active policy at all.

Make sure you have a robust auto insurance policy that includes uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage. This will protect you when the other driver doesn’t have enough coverage. Their insurer will only pay a claim up to their policy limit. The rest is either up to the other driver to pay (unlikely) or it’s up to you, which puts you in a financial bind. Protect yourself from that with good auto insurance.

Work With An Independent Insurance Agency

Too many people think that cutting their insurance coverage is a great way to save money and help their budget. Until they’re in an accident or their home is damaged. That’s when you can find yourself in a financial crisis because you’re left paying out-of-pocket for repairs.

When you work with an independent insurance agency like ours, you can rest assured that you’ll be getting great coverage at a great value.

Have questions about your insurance coverage? Need help shopping around for a new policy? Contact Charlotte Insurance today!


Financial Resolutions for the New Year

Written By Charlotte Insurance on January 7, 2021. It has 0 comments.

list of new year resolutions

The beginning of a new year is the perfect time to figure out what you’ll do better than the year before. With rapid changes to the economy going on all around us, many people have added finances to their goals for 2021. Here are a few common financial resolutions you might have — and tips on how to achieve them.

Save More Money

Saving money, whether for an emergency fund, holiday spending, or for retirement, is a common financial resolution at the start of the year. There are many ways to go about it, based on your goals.

  • Increase your 401(k) or IRA contribution to the max amount you can afford. Take advantage of any employer matching you may be eligible for.
  • Open a savings account specifically for what you’re saving for: Christmas fund, emergencies, a new roof, etc. Make that a high-yield savings account and you’ll save even more.
  • Set up auto transfers to your savings account. This might be an option through your employer’s payroll or something you set up directly with your bank. Set it and forget it, and it will add up faster than you think.

Spend Less Money

The only way this resolution works is to know how much you’re spending in the first place, so if you don’t already have a personal or family budget, set that up. Figure out your fixed costs (those you can’t change) and the costs you do control. Where can you cut back?

  • Reduce non-essential or “fun” spending. Don’t fully eliminate it or you might rebel later and overspend on something you don’t really need.
  • Give yourself a budget for clothing, eating out, and other splurge spending.
  • Shop around on those fixed costs: home insurance, auto insurance, life insurance, etc. It’s worth getting estimates from time to time to make sure you’re not paying too much.

Improve Your Credit

Credit scores make a big impact on our financial lives. Your score determines whether you get approved for a loan at all and the interest you’ll pay when you are approved. Having a low credit score costs you money and a high score saves you money.

There are plenty of things you can do to improve your credit score:

  • Get a copy of your credit report to check for errors or old, forgotten debts that need to be paid.
  • Pay your credit card in full each month whenever possible. Cut back on credit card spending to make this easier.
  • Pay your bills on time. Set up autopay for as much as you can so you can’t forget.
  • Keep zero balance credit cards active and try not to open new accounts.

Protect Yourself from Financial Ruin

Financial ruin often comes in the form of debt, but it also occurs when you can’t afford the expense of a necessary but large purchase: a new car after an auto accident, a new roof after a storm, paying the mortgage after the death of your spouse. The right type and amount of insurance can help protect you financially all year long. Make this the year you protect yourself, your family, and your property properly.

  • Talk to your insurance agent to check your home insurance policy limits. Home values and replacement costs rise over time. Has your homeowners insurance kept up with that?
  • Increase coverage or add coverages to your auto insurance policies that protect you from uninsured and underinsured drivers.
  • If you replace your old vehicle with a new one, make sure you add collision and comprehensive coverage to your policy.
  • Make sure you and your partner or spouse have life insurance coverage. Think about the cost to pay for funeral, housing, and education for many years when you decide on how much to purchase.
  • Consider an umbrella policy to cover unforeseen accidents that cost more than expected. Umbrella insurance is less expensive than you think.

Ready to financially protect yourself and your family this year? Contact Charlotte Insurance, today to learn how we can help you find the best insurance protection at a price you can afford.

Understanding Auto Insurance: Uninsured vs Underinsured Motorist Coverage

Written By Charlotte Insurance on January 4, 2021. It has 0 comments.

a woman inspecting her damaged car while on the phone with her insurance agent discussing her options regarding uninsured and underinsured motorist coverages

You’ve likely heard of uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage as part of your North Carolina auto insurance policy. If you live in North Carolina, it’s a requirement. Because the two forms of coverage are often lumped together, many drivers think they’re the same thing. In fact, they’re two separate forms of auto insurance coverage that work similarly.

Here’s what you need to know.

Uninsured Motorist Coverage

Regardless of state requirements to purchase auto insurance, one out of every eight drivers do not carry coverage. Uninsured motorist coverage pays the expenses — property damage and/or bodily injury — when you’re in an accident with a driver who is declared at-fault but has no insurance. Alternatively, drivers with auto insurance but less than the state-mandated liability limit may also be considered uninsured which will allow uninsured motorist coverage to pay expenses after an accident.

Two types of uninsured coverage are available.

Uninsured Motorist Bodily Injury (UMBI): This coverage pays the medical bills for people protected on your policy after an accident. Some coverage may also pay for lost income and pain and suffering.

Uninsured Motorist Property Damage (UMPD): This coverage pays for property damage done by a driver without insurance. It can cover pedestrians who are hit by a driver, as well as while you’re in your vehicle. Not all accidents with hit-and-run drivers are covered, so check your policy, but all accidents with an identifiable driver are.

As with your standard liability coverage, the policy limits you select for uninsured motorist coverage are important. You need enough to pay for the full cost of an accident, so you’re not hit with out-of-pocket expenses.

Underinsured Motorist Coverage

Many, many more drivers are underinsured than uninsured. These drivers are willing to purchase auto insurance but to cut costs or for other reasons, they carry far less than they need to cover an accident. Their insurance will pay for expenses when they’re at-fault in an accident, but only up to their coverage limit.

Underinsured motorist coverage takes care of what’s left over. It pays for the expenses of your accident after the other driver’s coverage pays out. This keeps you from only receiving part of what you’re due or paying out of pocket for repairs or medical bills. Again, like other parts of your auto insurance, your policy limits are important. You need enough coverage to take care of yourself in any kind of auto accident.

Both uninsured and underinsured motorist coverages are important for any driver. If you have questions about your policy limits or you need a quote for a new auto insurance policy, contact Charlotte Insurance today.