Home Security is easier – and Better- Than Ever

Think home security is still about bulky camera equipment and wires running all throughout your home? Think again.

Today, things have changed quite a bit, and the playing field has been leveled. Advanced tools and security systems are more accessible and affordable than ever. (And installing them might get you a discount on your homeowners insurance, too.)

Full-service systems are still a popular option with many people. Companies offer central monitoring, video surveillance, smoke/carbon monoxide detection and more. Some even include home automation tools so you can control appliances from anywhere, and many will send text-message alerts in response to specific occurrences, such as when the kids enter the house after school.

Do-it-yourselfers who don’t want an all-in-one system have many choices as well. Here are three of the newest and most popular security tools:

1. Smart (and small) cameras

Cameras today can be tucked anywhere and don’t require wires. With a good battery and wi-fi connection, you can see what’s happening outside — or inside — with a glance at your phone or computer.

2. Key-free doors

Say you have a friend stopping by to check on your dog while you’re gone for the day. You don’t have to risk leaving a key outside. With a code-based entry system, you can simply provide your friend with temporary access that turns on and off when you want.

3. Home automation products

It’s easier than you think to give yourself remote access to the lights and appliances in your home. At least one available product can be used with your existing power outlets; simply plug it in and control the power to that outlet from an app on your smartphone. Don’t ever worry about forgetting to leave a light on again.

Of course, even “old-school” tools, such as motion-activated outdoor lights, can still have a big impact on security. So whether you choose high-tech tools or stick to the basics, you’ll be making your home here a less attractive target for burglars.

Employee Spotlight- Melissa Diaz

This month’s employee spotlight is on the absolutely wonderful Melissa Diaz!  Melissa has been in the insurance industry for 19 years and with Brown & Brown of 5 ½ years.  She worked her way up from receptionist to account manager, then to marketing, and now is the leader of operations, personal lines, and commercial lines! 

In her spare time, Melissa likes to run and lift weights, go to local breweries, and cook/bake.  She has two boys, Kai & Denny, who are the light of her life.  They are always on the go.  She says her favorite vacation spot is Vegas, and no matter where her and her boys go, they always have room for dessert.  Melissa also says she has a mini zoo at her house—she has a Bearded Dragon, Ball Python, Shih Tzu, Border Terrier, Red Eared Slider Turtle, and several guppies. 

Melissa says she loves working at Brown & Brown and that this truly is her dream job.  And it truly is a dream having her in our office family and as one of our leaders.  She really is the best!

Prevent water from going where it shouldn’t

One of the most disheartening experiences is to find flooding or extreme water damage to your treasured home.

At Brown & Brown Insurance, we know you want to protect what’s important. That’s why we’re offering these tips to help you prevent many of the most common causes of water damage.

Just a little time and some effort can prevent a lot of heartache and hassle.

  • Make sure your water pressure is not set too high. For just $6 or so, you can purchase a gauge that will help you test your pressure for the appropriate level, which should be set between 60 and 80 PSI.
  • Standard hoses on new appliances are not as durable as they used to be. So check your appliances. If they’re rubber, either replace them with longer lasting stainless steel braided hoses or replace them every three years.
  • Keep water from leaking into the walls or floor of your bathroom by replacing cracked tiles and re-grouting when it’s needed.
  • Examine the shingles on your roof. Worn, curled or missing shingles allow water in, so replace them as soon as noticed.
  • Consider buying a water alarm, which can help you find leaks, or automatic shut-off mechanisms, which can help avoid bursts.
  • A lot of water damage occurs when you and your family are away from home.  Make a practice to avoid running the washing machine or dishwasher while you’re out.
  • When you leave for vacations, turn off the water supply to appliances.
  • Keep up maintenance on all appliance hoses, because slow leaks from worn out hoses can cause major damage (and they are not covered under Homeowners insurance).

We hope these pointers will ensure your house stays nice and dry this year! 

Contact Us!

We can work with you to make sure you’ve got the coverage you need, while at the same time using all possible credits and discounts to make that coverage affordable. Just give us a call at 505-821-5888 or send us a note at info@bbnm.com. We want to help you meet your goals, and make sure what’s important to you is protected!

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Employee Spotlight Debra Bailey

This month’s employee spotlight is on our magnificent Debra Bailey!  Debra is a personal lines agent for our Taos office.  She got her start working in her family’s agency while she was in high school and has been in the insurance business ever since!  She’s bounced all over the place from CSR to underwriting to marketing and back to CSR. 

Though she is based out of our Taos office, Debra works from home in Little Rock, AR.   She and her spouse live on 2 acres on a lakefront property, where she enjoys gardening, and raising chickens and Nigerian Dwarf goats.  She enjoys making goat cheese, goat milk soap, and goat milk lotion. 

Debra still makes it back to Taos several times a year to spend time with her beautiful granddaughters, and of course her wonderful co-workers.  She says Taos will always be her second home.

Debra is one of our best agents, and we love having her in our Brown & Brown family.

Insuring Your Jewelry with the Inland Marine Policy

I was recently asked some thoughtful questions on the insurance options available for personal jewelry. Given the many options and types of coverages available, I thought this was a “valuable” blog topic!

There are two main reasons you would want to insure a personal jewelry item with an inland marine policy:

  1. The basic homeowners policy limits the amount that would be paid for jewelry in the event of a theft.
  2. A deductible would typically apply to a loss that’s covered by a basic homeowner’s policy. But when jewelry is covered individually on an inland marine form there is usually no deductible involved (unless that option is specifically requested).

When a jewelry item is covered with an inland marine policy, most insurance companies offer two different loss settlement options:

  • Optional agreed value loss settlement
  • A traditional “repair/replacement cost” settlement option

For an additional premium, the agreed value option will simply pay the amount for which an item is listed on the policy. For this loss settlement option you may need to supply a recent appraisal or a bill of sale to substantiate the value for which the item is insured.

The traditional repair/replacement cost option is the default option on a scheduled personal property endorsement to your homeowners policy. It gives your insurance company the option to replace an item at an amount lower than the value listed on the policy. This would happen if this lower amount would return the item to its original condition or replace the item with one of like kind or quality.

Although the repair/replacement option puts a customer in the same position as before a loss, I often hear that the agreed value option provides a more satisfying claims experience for the policyholder because the settlement tends to match the expectations of even the most meticulous clients. For this reason, I typically recommend choosing the agreed value loss settlement option if available.

Some companies also offer a blanket inland marine form, which allows a policyholder to have additional jewelry coverage limits without having to list every individual item. This form is best for a situation where a customer owns many smaller value items, as this form has a per item limit.

One last option offered for jewelry coverage is paying a lower premium for items kept in a vault. To be specific, the lower rate charged for this option is intended for items kept in a bank vault, away from the your home. The discounted rate is given with the idea that jewelry off-premises would not be harmed by an event at your home such as fire or theft.

With all of the options available to protect your jewelry, the best thing you can do is talk to us to see which coverage will be most “valuable” to you!

The coverages here are described in the most general terms, and are subject to the actual policy conditions and exclusions. For actual coverage wording, conditions, and exclusions, refer to the policy or contact your agent.

Products underwritten by Central Mutual Insurance Company and affiliated companies.

Copyright © 2019 Central Mutual Insurance Company. All rights reserved.

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