Employee Spotlight

Karen Fournier

This month’s employee spotlight is on the wonderful Karen Fournier in our Taos office.  She  has been with Brown & Brown for nearly 5 years, about as long as she has been in Taos.  Karen and her husband Gary have been married for 32 years and have two sons and three grandkids.  Karen also says that she loves to travel with her husband—they especially like cruising.  For fun closer to home, Karen says that she and Gary love to downhill ski and golf (and Taos is perfect for both of those!).  She is such a help to everyone in the Taos office and we all are so happy to have her as part of our team.

 

Understanding Your Policy

In light of all of the recent weather disasters and catastrophes, we in the Brown & Brown personal lines department want to be sure you aren’t in for a surprise (the bad kind, not the good kind) if something were to happen to you.  It is important that you understand the coverages provided to you by homeowner’s insurance and your auto insurance. Contact your agent today to review your policy.

Review Your Policy

The first thing to do is read your policy.  Car insurance terminology can be a bit daunting, but the main thing to know is your limits of liability, your uninsured motorist coverage, and your deductibles.  For home insurance, make sure that your dwelling coverage is at replacement cost.  There is obviously a lot more to each policy, and if you have questions, our personal lines agents are here to help.

Contact Your Agent

We want you to be confident that you are covered properly.  Our three offices are in Albuquerque, Taos, and Santa Fe, but we insure clients throughout all of New Mexico.  We hope you give one of our offices a call to help with all of your insurance needs.Understanding your policy

Avoid Parking Lot Accidents

Parking Lot5 Ways to Avoid Parking Lot Fender Benders in New Mexico

Parking lots in Albuquerque, NM – we love the convenience but hate the frustrations, especially when people are driving too fast, backing out of spots without looking and otherwise modeling bad parking lot behavior.

That behavior just so happens to be the cause of many a door ding and irritated driver. Even worse, careless behavior can cause a collision or injury. So, let’s all slow down and follow these five tips to make parking lots safer for everyone:

  1. Don’t Speed
    Speeding decreases the amount of time you have to react when a child runs out in front of you, another driver stops suddenly or a car begins backing out unexpectedly. Is a collision – or even a fatality – really worth the price of getting to your destination just a bit sooner?
  2. Use Your Eyes – and Mirrors and Cameras
    Keep a lookout for perils at all times, even if the lot seems empty. When you’re pulling into a spot, watch for doors being opened. When backing out, look all around, in your mirrors and in your rear-view camera and proceed slowly.
  3. Give Yourself – and Others – Some Space
    Parking in between the lines and in a spot sized for your vehicle may help to minimize dings and scratches. Better yet, park in a less-crowded area and enjoy the stroll into the store – just don’t park where you feel unsafe. And, always park away from stray carts.
  4. Expect the Unexpected
    Assume things will happen. That someone will dart out in front of you, that a cart will come rolling toward you, that someone backing out of his/her spot won’t see you backing out of yours. When you’re on guard, you’re better prepared for those who aren’t.
  5. Be Respectful
    A little kindness goes a long way in a parking lot or parking garage. So stop for pedestrians, don’t cause traffic jams waiting for a spot and, above all, don’t lose your cool.

Remember, when you’re watching for dangers, you have a better chance of avoiding them. If an incident does occur, we here at Brown & Brown of New Mexico are ready to help.

 

Parallel parking – the easiest way!

All-in-one parking methods. Easy to understand tutorial. Learn to drive and prepare for a driving test! http://www.parkingtutorial.com/ The clip has NO AUDIO. This way of parallel parking is the EASIEST, because the driver is given exact REFERENCE POINTS. According to these points he/she can turn the steering wheel at the right moment and parallel park the car.

Renters Insurance

The Importance of Renters Insurance

renters insuranceIf you live in a rental home or apartment, chances are you don’t have the proper insurance. Despite the fact that rented homes are more likely to be burglarized than owner-occupied properties, nearly 60 percent of renters don’t have a renters policy.

Why does it matter?

“If you rent a house or apartment and think that your landlord is financially responsible when there is a fire, theft or other catastrophe—think again,” warns the Insurance Information Institute*. “Your landlord may have insurance to protect the building you are living in. But your landlord’s policy won’t replace your personal possessions or pay for your living expenses while the building is being repaired. The only way to protect yourself financially against disasters is to buy a renters insurance policy.”

Renters insurance covers your possessions, liability and additional living expenses. Let’s take a look at these three types of protection:

Possessions

Standard renters insurance protects your personal belongings against damage from fire, smoke, lightning, vandalism, theft, explosion, windstorm, water and other disasters listed in the policy. Floods and earthquakes are not covered.

To decide how much insurance to buy, you need to know the value of all your personal possessions—including furniture, clothing, electronics, appliances, kitchen utensils and even towels and bedding. The easiest way to figure this out is to create a home inventory, a detailed list of all of your personal possessions and their estimated value.

There are two types of renters insurance policies for your possessions:

  • Actual Cash Value pays to replace your possessions minus an amount for depreciation (the reduction in the value of items due to age and use) up to the limit of your policy.
  • Replacement Cost pays the full cost of replacing your possessions (with no deduction for depreciation), up to the limit of your policy. The price of Replacement Cost coverage is about 10 percent more than Actual Cash Value coverage, but can be well worth the additional cost.

Note that a standard renters policy offers only limited coverage for items such as jewelry, silver, furs, etc. If you own property that exceeds these limits, it is recommended that you supplement your policy with a floater. A floater is a separate policy that provides additional insurance for your valuables and covers them for perils not included in your policy such as accidental loss.

Liability

Standard renters insurance policies also provide liability protection in the event you or members of your familiar cause injury to others or damage their property.  It also pays for damage your pets cause.

If you are sued, the liability portion of a renters policy may pay for both the cost of defending you in court and for court awards, up to the limit of the policy. Liability limits generally start at about $100,000. Your policy may also provide No-Fault Medical coverage. If visitors are injured in your home, regardless of fault, you can submit their medical bills directly to your insurance company. You can generally get $1,000 to $5,000 worth of this coverage. It does not however, pay medical bills for your own family or your pets.

Additional Living Expenses

Many people are pleasantly surprised to learn that Additional Living Expense (ALE) coverage is typically included in a renters insurance policy. If the home or apartment you are renting is damaged or destroyed and you need to live elsewhere while it is being repaired or rebuilt, renters insurance will cover your additional living expenses—namely the difference between your regular living expenses and the additional costs incurred by having to live away from your home, such as hotel bills, temporary rentals, restaurant meals, etc.

Need help deciding what coverage is best for you? Contact us today!

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*Insurance Information Institute, September 30, 2009

Speeding

Slow down, save money … and lives

How many times has the following happened to you? You’re speeding down I25 when you spot a New Mexico Highway patrol car. You quickly hit the brakes and slow down, relieved that you didn’t get caught … this time.

SpeedingNow take a minute to think what could have happened if you hadn’t been so lucky.

First, your speeding could have hurt somebody — or yourself. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, speed is a contributing factor in more than 30% of fatal crashes and nearly 20% of non-injury accidents. That’s a big risk to take.

Second, getting a ticket could put a big hit on your wallet. Of course, that’s not nearly as important as the health and safety impacts of speeding, but in this economic climate, more and more people are watching every dime. And who wants to write a check to the state for speeding?

At Brown & Brown Insurance, we want you to be safe. We also want to make sure you get a great price on the insurance coverage you need. Thankfully, easing up on that lead foot can help accomplish both.

How a ticket impacts your insurance

If you get a speeding ticket, that violation can stay on your driving record for three years or even longer. And because your driving history plays a large part in determining how much you’ll pay for insurance, the fewer tickets you have, the better.

Different carriers have different policies when it comes to checking your driving record and dealing with drivers who have violations. If you receive a ticket, and it’s your first in several years, you may not see much of an increase — depending on the severity of the offense. In fact, many states will allow you to enter a deferment program if it’s your first ticket, keeping the violation off your record if you complete a safety course and avoid further tickets.

But that second ticket (or third, or fourth …) can bring some serious financial penalties. While there are too many variables to say specifically how much each additional violation will increase your premium, it’s safe to say that the jump will be significant. And unfortunately, you can be stuck paying those higher premiums for years.

Significant violations can have a bigger impact as well. If you’re going 20 miles per hour over the limit, you’ll likely pay more than someone with a ticket for 5 mph over. Insurance companies know that speeding increases the risk of accidents, and they’ll view you as an increased risk — for good reason. In fact, if you have a serious violation, or too many tickets, your insurance carrier could drop your coverage altogether.

For younger drivers (typically under the age of 25), it’s especially important to avoid tickets, because companies already view these drivers as riskier than the general population.

And keep in mind, even if your premium doesn’t go up, having a violation on your record could prevent you from receiving the lowest possible rate on your insurance.

Of course, we think the best policy is simply to obey speed limits. Not only will you avoid tickets and possible insurance hassles, but your risk of accidents will decrease. And you’ll get better gas mileage. Sounds like a good deal to us!

Back to School

Insurance Tips for Back-to-School TimeBack to School

College is expensive enough without finding out too late that an accident or theft isn’t covered under your current policies. So, as you get your children ready to head off to school in the fall, there’s one vital “to-do” to add to your list (other than writing that tuition check): a review of your insurance coverage.

It’s important to keep in mind that policy language varies from state to state, and there are never “one-size-fits-all” situations, but below is a general guide. If you have questions, or want to go over your insurance needs, don’t hesitate to contact us!

 

HOMEOWNERS (may vary by state and individual policy)

  • Coverage of personal property: Most homeowners policies provide 10 percent of Coverage C (Personal Property) for property owned by an insured that is at a residence other than the insured’s. For example, if the contents of a policyholder’s home are insured for $100,000, a student’s property up to $10,000 would be covered if living in a dormitory – provided the damage is caused by a covered peril and the student meets the definition of an insured.
  • For apartments or houses off-campus, the same coverage generally applies. Certain items, such as jewelry or expensive electronics, may require special coverage, or a “rider.” Renters insurance is strongly recommended if a particular policy does not cover a student’s personal property.
  • Liability coverage: There usually is an exclusion for damage to property rented to an insured, so generally damage to a dorm room or apartment would not be covered.
  • Ensuring adequate coverage: Contact us to get specific answers and information about your coverages. Also, it’s a great idea to create an inventory of the items your student is taking to school, as is keeping photos of and receipts for the items.
  • Renters insurance: If your student’s needs can’t be met under your current policy, don’t forget renters insurance. Landlords’ policies generally only cover the structure, not the possessions of renters.

 

AUTO (may vary by state)

  • Coverage without a car at school: If your student will continue to drive while at home on school breaks, they should continue to be listed on your auto policy. If they are attending school more than 100 miles from home, and are not taking a vehicle with them, the policy may qualify for a distant-student discount.
  • Coverage with a car at school: In most instances, a car registered to parents and listed on their policy will be covered if used by a listed student away at school. But you should make sure that your insurance carrier writes coverage in the college’s state and location. And note that a change to the principal location of the vehicle could result in a change in premium.
  • Driving a friend’s car at school: Students generally would be covered while driving a friend’s car if the students are listed on their parents’ policy and do not have regular use of the vehicle. The coverage would likely be secondary in this case, as the carrier for the friend’s vehicle likely would be the primary coverage.
  • Coverage discounts: In addition to the possible distant-student discount mentioned above, students may qualify for a good-student discount. To qualify, most insurance carriers require that a student must be enrolled in at least four courses per term as a full-time student at an accredited college or university and meet certain academic qualifications. Also, drivers under the age of 21 who complete a driver education course may be eligible for a policy discount.

 

Going away to school is an exciting time for both students and their parents. Making sure you’ve got the right insurance coverage can help you protect your assets as you invest in your child’s future. We’re happy to discuss your coverage and options — just give us a call or stop by!

When To Replace Your Roof

When to replace your roofDo you know when you should replace your roof?  Occasionally, a roof claim is denied because the damage is caused by wear and tear or lack of maintenance.  It is always best to stay on top of the maintenance and repairs of your roof.  Check out the blog below for helpful advice and tips on staying up to date with your roof.

 

http://www.deneveconstruction.com/know-reroof-roof/

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Insurance to Value

Do You Have Enough Coverage to Rebuild Your Home?

Insurance to Value

Imagine how devastating it would be to lose your home in a fire. Now imagine not being able to rebuild it completely because you didn’t have the correct amount of insurance.

Selecting the proper amount of coverage is the single most important decision you can make with your Homeowners policy. Without it, you may not have enough coverage to rebuild after a total loss. This is called “insurance to value.” Below are some explanations and tips to help you make the right choices for your needs — and remember, if you need help, we’re just a phone call away!

What is insurance to value?
Insurance to value is the relationship between the amount of coverage selected (typically listed as “Coverage A” or “Dwelling Coverage” on your policy declarations page) and the amount required to rebuild your home. Insuring your home for anything less than 100% insurance to value could mean you wouldn’t have enough coverage to replace your home in the event of a total loss

Why is the cost to rebuild different from the market value?
A home’s market value reflects current economic conditions, taxes, school districts, the value of the land and location, and other factors unrelated to construction cost. The cost to rebuild your home is based only on the cost of materials and labor in your area. It is important that you insure your home based on its reconstruction cost, NOT its current market value

Why is reconstruction more expensive than new construction?
New-home builders typically build many homes at once, and solicit bids from various sub-contractors to receive the best pricing. Their business model is based on economies of scale. For example, they may purchase 20 bathtubs at once, securing a lower unit cost. These economies of scale don’t exist when building a single home.

How can I make sure I have the correct amount of insurance?
Work with your agent to provide detailed information at time of purchase to be sure that you receive a thorough and accurate quote.
Ask us about additional coverage options that may be available.
Review your insurance to value calculation on a regular basis with your agent.
Tell your agent about any changes or improvements that you make to your home.

Pool Safety

pool safety

Summer fun usually consists of a day at the pool or going to the beach. Before jumping off the diving board, there are precautions you need to take.  Below are links to a couple blogs that give great advice on items to take to the pool and what you need to be aware of.

10 Safety Tips for Your Summer Swims – Safeco Blog | Safeco Insurance

Safeco Blog – Swimming and summer are a perfect combination, but make sure to include safety, too. These 10 swimming safety tips will help.

Safety Tips

The Virginia Graeme Baker Pool & Spa Safety Act (P&SS Act), the law which founded the Pool Safely campaign, takes its name from Virginia Graeme Baker, a seven-year-old girl who drowned after she was trapped under water by the powerful suction from a hot tub drain.

http://www.swimmingpool.com/games-safety/safety

 

 

 

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