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.

Trampolines

Trampolines…. An Insurance Company’s Worst Nightmare

 

So you have a trampoline.  That’s great.  But you wonder why your insurance company cares and why they charge you extra for having it, even with a net.  As both an insurance agent and a fan of trampolines, I am here to explain.

Your homeowner’s insurance covers you for liability, including damage that you cause that you are legally obligated to pay for.  If it is your trampoline doing the damage, it is on you.

First, and perhaps most obvious, is the chance of harm to the people using the trampoline.  Even with a net (which really is incredibly important), it’s easy to get hurt on a trampoline.  I have a friend who was 24 years old and broke his leg on a trampoline from landing wrong, so it really can happen to both kids and adults.  If the damage is severe and the kid is not yours, you may be on the hook for some pretty hefty medical bills.

Second, and less obvious, is the property damage trampolines can do.  Let’s face it, New Mexico winds are not something to be taken lightly.  And they definitely can get strong enough to pick up a trampoline and throw it into the next house over (trust me, I’ve seen it happen).  The fence it knocks over, the window it breaks, the car it dents?  All on you.  Or rather, all on your insurance.

So when you see the surcharge on your policy, these are just some of the reasons.  Hopefully nothing ever happens and no one ever gets hurt.  But that’s what you have the insurance for, right?

Movie Claim Monday- Beauty and the Beast

Movie Claim Monday Beauty and the Beast

Movie Claim Monday: where our insurance minds speculate whether certain incidents in the cinematic universe would in fact be considered a covered claim.*

This week’s movie claim Monday is on Disney’s Beauty and the Beast** (the new one), simply because the writer of this blog has a two year old and that is the only movie we have been watching for the past month.  Disregarding the fact that this is taking place in revolution-era France, there are a few parts in this movie that the insurance agent in me kept noting:

-During the Gaston song, Gaston uses his gun and shoots the ceiling.  Would the business insurance cover that?  Maybe—it could be considered vandalism.  But if he owns the tavern, as it seems that he might, then no, because he (the owner) is knowingly damaging his own property.

-In terms of homeowner’s insurance, would the castles crumbling walls be covered?  Nope.  Though it is due to magic, I still think it is wear and tear and that is never covered by any homeowner’s insurance.

-Lastly, would the enchanted objects need life insurance or would they just be considered personal property?  Not like they’re constantly being destroyed or anything, but near the end Chip almost gets smashed to smithereens, and I just have to wonder if and how he would have been covered.

 

 

*Disclaimer: Each insurance policy is different, and while we speculate here for enjoyment purposes, you will need to discuss your insurance policy directly with your agent or CSR.  Our speculations here are in no way an indication that a similar occurrence would in fact be covered.

**All characters described and mentioned are copyrighted by Disney

Distracted Driving

Why Your Auto Premium Increased

You just received your renewal for your auto policy. You skim down to find the new premium for the following year and you see it has increased by a couple hundred or more. Most auto policies take an annual rate increase otherwise known as an inflation guard.  There are also other factors that could cause this increase.

Below is an article that gives insight into what determines your premium and what may increase your premium upon renewal.  Keep in mind as your agents, we are here to review your policy if you ever have questions.

 

What’s Driving My Personal Auto Insurance Rates?

If you drive a vehicle, you are required by law to have insurance. But why do we need it? Consider hitting a car and injuring three passengers. If both your vehicle and the other vehicle are valued…

 

 

 

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.

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