Memorial Day 2021: Kick Off Summer Right

Written By Charlotte Insurance on May 25, 2021. It has 0 comments.

Memorial Day is the unofficial start to summer, and after last year, it feels like we all deserve a big celebration. As more people get vaccinated, it’s safer to come together, especially for an outdoor cookout. If you’re ready to have the summer fun you couldn’t have in 2020, make your Memorial Day celebration in 2021 an event to remember with these tips.

Plan a Great Cookout

You can invite family and friends over and still keep everyone safe with an outdoor cookout. Memorial Day is a great time to fire up the grill — after you clean it, check the hoses, and make sure you have enough fuel for your fire, of course. If you want to make this a special one, consider these party elements:

Food: Keep it simple with crowd pleasers like burgers, hot dogs, and chips but invite everyone to bring their favorite cookout dish so you get a wide variety of foods to enjoy. Even better, you’ll have less you need to prepare.

Drinks: Use coolers and tubs filled with ice to keep canned and bottled drinks available and cold. Try an old-fashioned punch or freeze lemonade into ice cubes as an extra touch for lemonade, tea, and other beverages.

Alcohol: If you serve alcohol, make sure only adults of legal drinking age have access and consider limiting how much you make available to your guests. If you serve cocktails or fun fruity drinks, limit the liquor used and offer non-alcoholic versions.

Decorate: You can certainly go with an easy red, white, and blue theme for Memorial Day. Or you can come up with your own beachy, summery theme. Streamers, plastic plates, colored napkins — you can probably find everything you need at a dollar store, so you don’t break your budget while adding a festive touch to the entire event.

Be a Good Host

Social host laws govern how alcohol is handled at any gathering, including your home. If you serve alcohol at your Memorial Day cookout, you take on potential liability and responsibility for what happens if someone overindulges. One solution is to not offer adult beverages at all. But if you do, make sure you limit your liability as much as possible with these tips.

  • Limit the amount of alcohol available. Two drinks per adult may be all you want to offer.
  • Don’t be afraid to cut someone off if they’ve had too much.
  • Take people’s keys and either call an Uber or let them sleep on your couch until they sober up.
  • Carefully monitor underage guests to make sure they don’t sneak a drink.
  • Stop serving alcohol at a certain point during your cookout and switch to water, coffee, soda, etc.
  • Make sure to provide a wide variety of beverages so people have the choice of non-alcoholic options.

Before your Memorial Day party, check your liability insurance limits and talk to your independent insurance agent about what other considerations you need to make with your homeowners insurance before your backyard fills with family and friends celebrating the start of summer.

Contact Charlotte Insurance today so we can make sure you have enough liability coverage and help answer your questions.


Does My Auto Insurance Cover My RV?

Written By Charlotte Insurance on May 20, 2021. It has 0 comments.

a woman in an RV wondering if her auto insurance covers here

RV’s are very similar to your personal vehicle. They either get towed by your vehicle or you drive them like a car. Surely your auto insurance covers you, right? Probably not.

Let’s look at what kind of RV you have and how you’re using it to figure out if your auto insurance is enough.

What Kind of RV Do You Have?

If your RV is a trailer you hook up to your car, your auto insurance will likely extend some limited coverage as you’re towing it down the road. But if your RV is a motorcoach and must be driven, your auto insurance won’t help you.

How Do You Use Your RV?

For a random weekend trip to the woods with a trailer you’re towing, your auto insurance will give you the absolute bare minimum liability protection, but it at least it will be some form of coverage. Let’s be clear, though, it definitely won’t be enough. Especially if your personal belongings are damaged or you get hurt.

If, however, you want to spend weeks or months on the road or you stay on campgrounds, you absolutely need the kind of protection RV insurance provides.

What RV Insurance Provides that Auto Insurance Doesn’t

It’s important to realize that RV insurance offers coverage that auto insurance can’t — and it’s specific to your needs as someone who owns and uses an RV.

Yes, RV and auto insurance can both include liability coverage, property damage, comprehensive and collision coverage, roadside assistance, and even uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage. But RV insurance offers protection specific to your RV and how you use it:

Total Loss Replacement: RVs are expensive and replacing one after an accident could be financially devastating. With total loss replacement, you get an RV the same model year or later, instead of what it was valued at prior to the accident. This isn’t typically available through auto insurance — and wouldn’t apply to your RV even if it were.

Personal Belongings: If your RV is a home away from home, that means you have a lot of personal belongings with you. This goes far beyond what you might keep in your car. Replacing everything after an accident will be expensive, unless you have personal belongings coverage as part of your RV insurance.

Vacation Liability: Responsible for damage or injury to another person while on vacation? Liability coverage pays for their expenses so you don’t have to. Since you’re living in your RV while on vacation, the chances of something going wrong increase with use. This is almost like a temporary home insurance protection, something your auto insurance can’t handle.

Full-Timers Liability: Living in your RV means using it more than a vacationer. That’s a lot of opportunities for an accident out on the road or at a campsite. Think of this like home insurance but for your RV. And no, your auto insurance won’t provide anywhere near the same amount of protection.

In some limited circumstances, your auto insurance may cover some of the expense of an accident involving your RV — namely while being towed by your vehicle and only for liability coverage. Beyond that, there are plenty of opportunities for harm, damage, and injury that auto insurance can’t handle. RV insurance is the best option.

Ready to buy a new RV insurance policy? Need to update your existing policy? Contact Charlotte Insurance before you get back out on the road.



6 Things to Know Before You Get Your First Auto Insurance Policy

Written By Charlotte Insurance on May 18, 2021. It has 0 comments.

a person in a car thinking about her first auto insurance policy

The time has finally arrived. You’ve purchased your own vehicle, and now you need auto insurance. Before you buy a policy, make sure you know how auto insurance works, what it can cover, and how to get the most value for your money.

Here’s what you need to know.

Liability Coverage is Required

There are only two states that don’t require auto insurance, but North Carolina isn’t one of them. The bare minimum auto insurance you must carry is liability insurance. This covers you if you cause an accident and the other driver becomes injured or dies or their property is damaged. Without liability coverage, you have to pay out of your own pocket for those expenses which can easily reach thousands or tens of thousands of dollars.

Good Auto Insurance Protects You

Liability insurance is the absolute bare minimum auto insurance you need. The rest of your coverage acts as financial protection for you and your vehicle. Two types of auto insurance that protect you specifically are:

Medical Payments: This helps pay the medical costs for you and your passengers after an auto accident. It also covers family members driving your car, accidents you get into as a pedestrian, or if you’re injured in another vehicle. Without this, you may have to pay out of pocket for your own medical expenses after an accident.

Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist: Auto insurance may be required by not everyone purchases it or they don’t buy enough. Uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage takes care of claims when the other driver is at fault but they don’t have enough insurance to pay the claim.

Good Auto Insurance Protects Your Car

If you’re just purchased your first vehicle, you’ve figured out something important — cars aren’t cheap. After an accident, without the right kind of coverage, you’ll either drive around with an ugly dent, scratch, or other damage or you’ll pay hundreds if not thousands of dollars to fix it. Two important coverages work together to protect your vehicle and your bank account. Combined, they are what we often refer to as “full coverage:”

  • Collision: Collide with another vehicle, a pole, or some other object? Collision coverage helps pay for the damage or to replace your vehicle.
  • Comprehensive: Not every accident involves another vehicle or object. Sometimes weird things happen, like you hit a deer in the middle of the highway or your car gets broken into at your new apartment complex. This pays for that damage and/or to replace what’s lost.

Buy as Much Insurance as You Can Afford

Auto insurance coverage includes a policy limit. This is the maximum amount that will be paid out in a claim. While you have to be conscious of your own budget and what you can afford, you also don’t want to skimp on insurance coverage. It only takes one big accident to financially ruin you if you don’t have enough insurance. If you cause an accident and the other person gets seriously injured or even dies, you definitely want insurance that will pay the claim. The last thing you want is to owe an accident victim tens of thousands of dollars and spend years paying them back.

Get Multiple Quotes

Not all auto insurance companies and policies are the same. A lot of factors go into policy premium pricing. Before you think that one insurance price is like another, get multiple quotes and shop around. It’s easy to do that when you work with an independent insurance agency (like ours!) who works with multiple insurance providers. You submit one request online and get multiple estimates to choose from.

Bundle if You Can

Now that you’re buying auto insurance, you’re learning what other drivers have known for years — insurance is expensive, and saving money is important. There are a few ways to save on auto insurance, including bundling other coverage together for a discount. Whether you have home insurance or renter’s insurance, you may be able to purchase auto insurance with it and save.

Ready to buy that first auto insurance policy? Contact Charlotte Insurance, today. We can answer any questions you have, provide multiple quotes, and help you find the right policy at a price you can afford.


How to Compare Insurance Policies

Written By Charlotte Insurance on May 14, 2021. It has 0 comments.

a person on their laptop comparing insurance policies

You asked for quotes from multiple insurance agencies, just like you’ve been told you should do. They each have a different total. How do you compare them to find out which one is the best choice besides just looking at the price?

In general, it’s not a good idea to purchase insurance based on price alone, so if you’ve got multiple quotes to choose from, here’s how to compare them to find the right one for you.

Look at the Coverage Being Offered

Every insurance policy will include what is required, either by law or the lender. But that’s often only the bare minimum of coverage. Many times a policy quote will also include ideal (but optional) insurance coverage.

Put your quotes side by side to see what exactly is included in each one. The cheapest price might also give you bare minimum coverage. For a little bit more, you might be able to add additional and very important coverages.

Do a line by line comparison for coverage type. If something is missing on a policy you’re interested in, request a new quote with that coverage so you’re really comparing apples to apples.

Compare the Limit Amounts

When insurance quotes are put together, they also include suggested policy limits for each form of coverage. These are often negotiable so you can usually ask for them to be raised or lowered (which will change the price). But for the initial comparison, check these numbers across all the policies you’ve received.

A more expensive quote might include a lot more coverage. And sometimes you’ll find that a basic coverage (like your home value) will be the same policy limit across all quotes but not other coverage types. One insurance company might offer you a higher limit on your personal possessions or your valuables than another.

Do a line by line comparison to see what policy limit is being offered for the price quoted.

Check Deductibles

With any type of insurance policy you may buy, you have several choices for your deductible. While some deductible amounts may be common, none are “standard” so the estimates you have in hand might be using vastly different deductible amounts. This can drastically change your premium price from one policy to the next.

The rule of thumb with choosing a deductible is to make it high enough that you see real savings in your premiums but low enough you can afford to pay it if you need to file a claim. You also need to remember that the amount of your deductible will be subtracted from the total of any claim. So if you have a $1,000 deductible and file a claim for $1,200, you’ll only receive $200 (the difference between the claim total and your deductible).

The cheapest insurance policy doesn’t always provide the coverage you need. The most expensive policy might not either. It’s important to compare policies to find what will really work for you and give you the protection you need at a price you can afford.

Need a quote for a new policy or need a hand comparing a few quotes that you’ve already received? Here at Charlotte Insurance, we can help you protect your home, your family, your vehicle, your toys, and your business. We’re here to help! Contact us, today.

Big Toys Equal Big Responsibility

Written By Charlotte Insurance on May 11, 2021. It has 0 comments.

a person riding on a motorcycle thinking about their insurance

You’ve worked hard for the finer things in life, especially your toys. You use them to have fun, spend time with family, and hang out with friends.

But big toys come with big responsibility, both financially and safety. That’s where insurance can play a big role. If you’re enjoying the fun of these toys without protecting yourself and your family with the right coverage, you’re setting yourself up for failure.

Here’s what you need to know.

Motorcycle Insurance

Motorcycle insurance (and even helmets!) aren’t required in every state, but North Carolina does require liability coverage. While that’s a good way to protect yourself from an accident you cause, it’s probably not the biggest concern a bike rider faces out on the road.

How many drivers have failed to see you, nearly hit you, and made you long for back roads with no traffic? You know that, no matter how slim, if you get into an accident with a vehicle, you and your bike will suffer the most. Motorcycle insurance can help protect you from the financial devastation of a totaled bike or serious hospital stay.

Considering bikes can cost up to $30,000 or more, and a night in the hospital isn’t exactly cheap, motorcycle insurance just makes sense. Depending on how often you ride, the premiums can be very reasonable, especially if you bundle it with your home or auto insurance.

RV Insurance

While your auto insurance might cover some damage after an accident involving your RV, it probably won’t cover all of it. In fact, there will be certain things it doesn’t cover at all. That’s where RV insurance comes in, and why you need it instead of relying on your auto insurance.

Whether you tow your RV or drive it, there are special insurance considerations because of what it is and how it’s used. Essentially, it’s a home on wheels which means you’re living in it, when it’s parked and (possibly) on the road. Auto insurance cannot handle those kinds of needs, but RV insurance can.

RV insurance includes coverage like:

  • Full-timers coverage offers the kind of protection you need in a home — liability protection, medical payments, and more — if you’re living in your RV full-time.
  • Campsite liability is necessary when you park and camp. Anything can happen on-site, and you need insurance that covers you when it does.
  • RV emergency expense coverage might not be “standard” but it is extremely important. When your motorcoach won’t go another mile, towing can be expensive. So will the expense of finding a place to stay and getting home. This is the kind of coverage you won’t realize how important it is until you need it.

Boat Insurance

Big or small, all boats are good boats. They’re often also expensive boats — from buying to maintenance to gassing it up. Why would you ever let such a major investment — of money and time — go unprotected? Boat insurance offers the kind of protection that other insurance simply can’t provide.

  • Homeowners insurance will only cover certain types of boats while parked at home, and only very small boats. Most watercraft won’t fall under your home insurance coverage.
  • Auto insurance might cover you while your boat is being towed to and from home, but it may not.

Neither of those cover you on the water, and a lot can happen out there. You could hit another boat, ram into a rock, or suffer all kinds of damage. Worse, you could be responsible for an accident and held liable for property damage and bodily injury. Without boat insurance, you’ll have to pay out of pocket for those expenses.

Getting out on the road or the water is a lot of fun. Getting into an accident, regardless of who’s at fault, is not, and it can be financially devastating without good insurance coverage.

Ready to update or purchase new coverage for your big toys? Contact Charlotte Insurance today.

Celebrate Mom on a Budget!

Written By Charlotte Insurance on May 6, 2021. It has 0 comments.

I Love Mom sign on Mother's day

Mother’s Day is nearly here, and your budget is tight. How can you celebrate the mom in your life when you’ve got no extra cash? With moms, it really is the thought that counts and there’s plenty you can do without spending any or a lot of money.

Check out these ideas!

Watch Her Favorite Movie

Whether you come to town for a vaccinated or socially distanced visit or you’re already close by, hang out at home and watch her favorite movie. If you still need to be apart for safety reasons, streaming services offer options to watch together no matter where you are. Maybe she loves tearjerkers, and you prefer action movies. It’s her day, so watch what she loves! She’ll love the effort you put in to stay awake and the time spent together. Bring her favorite snacks and drinks if you have a small budget you can spend.

Look at Old Pictures Together

If your mom loves going down memory lane with old picture albums or even the endless scroll on a phone, make this the day you willingly do it with her. It only costs time, and you might learn a few things about your family history — or your crazy escapades as a kid. As with everything else on Mother’s Day, it’s about spending time with your mom and giving her the happiness she definitely deserves.

Cook for Her

Can you safely come over to her house this year? Will she let you in her kitchen? Not all moms will trust their children (of any age) in the kitchen, but do your best. Make her favorite meal. Bake cookies or a cake. Cook your specialty. You might need to spend money on ingredients but that’s much cheaper than going out for a meal. The most important part of this gift is to make sure you clean up afterwards. Don’t leave a mess for mom on Mother’s Day!

Do Your (Her) Chores

The key to this one is to do them without being asked. If you still live at home, pick up after yourself and take care of things that you know you need to do — but usually avoid. If you’re coming in for a visit, find out what she could use a hand with. It might be washing dishes and changing sheets or it could be mowing the lawn and cleaning the gutters. Give your mom a break today and give her a hand at the same time.

Avoid Arguments

Your mom will always try to mom you, even when you’re a parent or grandparent yourself. For one day, do your best to bite your tongue and avoid unnecessary arguments. You don’t have to agree with everything (especially the requests to eat more or to get married) but give her — and yourself — some peace today. Smile and nod. Change the subject. Or turn on a movie or mow the lawn. Anything but bickering will do and it will make her happy for at least a day.

Give Her a Call

Text your mom more than you talk on the phone? For Mother’s Day, break the pattern. Give her a call and chat for as long as possible. She’ll love hearing the sound of your voice, and you might find you miss this kind of connection with her. Not great on the phone? Ask questions about what’s going on with her, and there’s a good chance, she’ll keep the conversation going for you. But it’s not really about what is said only that you took the time to call.

Give Mom the Day Off

This one is for the moms with young kids at home and other parents doing the gift-giving. For at least one day (but the weekend would be better) give her time off the usual schedule. Get the kids ready yourself. Make their breakfast. Nag them about their homework. Do the laundry. Whatever she usually does around the house, do it for her and let her relax. She might do an at-home spa day, she might read a book, or she might take an extended nap. It doesn’t matter what she does as long as she doesn’t have to take care of everyone for at least a day. Yes, you’ll be tired when it’s over and that’s the point — now you know how she feels.

From us to you, we wish all the moms out there — including our own! — a very happy, healthy, and safe Mother’s Day this year.