Insurance Coverage for Natural Disasters in Salt Lake City

How to Prepare For a Natural Disaster

Insurance Coverage for Natural Disasters in Salt Lake CityFEMA, Ready.gov and Listo.gov are big voices in reminding Americans that September is National Preparedness Month. Ready.gov is a great resource for teaching you how to prepare for a natural disaster.

What do they consider a disaster? Wildfires, flooding, thunderstorms & lightning, hurricanes, earthquakes, tornadoes, landslides, severe weather, droughts and more. No matter where you live in the United States, you can be vulnerable to one or many natural disasters.

Ready.gov breaks down National Preparedness Month in four steps below.

Step 1 – Make a Plan

Step 2 – Build a Kit

Step 3 – Low-Cost, No Cost-Preparedness

Step 4 – Teach Youth about Preparedness

Every step is important in the event of a natural disaster and we encourage you to use this month to read through their information. You can read more here. Knowing information such as a shelter plan, evacuation route, communication plan or even having an emergency kit can be life-saving.

Proper Insurance & Natural Disasters

Having the right insurance coverage is essential if a natural disaster strikes. Many people assume that by purchasing home insurance, you are covered for anything and everything. This isn’t the case. By not having proper insurance coverage, countless people have been financially ruined.

First step with insurance, talk to your agent

Not only should you use this time with your agent to understand your current coverage, but talk about your risks. Should you purchase flood or earthquake insurance? If you were to experience an insurance claim, do you know how you will be compensated to repair or replace what has been damaged?

After talking with your agent, work on Step 2.

Step two includes creating your home inventory list, safely storing important documents and knowing exactly what to do if you experience a claim.

  1. Do you currently have a home inventory list? This is a list of your most important belongings. A home inventory list can be as simple as taking photos of every room in your house. Some individuals have an itemized list on a spreadsheet too. In the event you have an insurance claim, you can quickly reference your items in the event they need to be repaired or replaced.
  2. If you have an insurance claim, be sure to take pictures and videos of your damage. You will work with a claims adjuster so be sure to be timely with your response and save all receipts from purchases you have made regarding your claim. Examples – hotel receipts, meal receipts or other important items.
  3. Are your records safe? Records such as insurance documents, birth certificates, social security cards, marriage or divorce license, passport, pet ID tags, immunization records, medication lists, lease or rental agreement or mortgage or real estate deeds of trusts should all be safely stored in a water or fire proof box.

If you have questions about your current insurance coverage and would like to talk to a professional insurance agent, call us! We are experts in the insurance industry and can do a comprehensive review of your current coverage.

Four things to consider if you are looking to become a landlord in Salt Lake City

Four Things to Know If You Are Looking to Become a Landlord

Four things to consider if you are looking to become a landlord in Salt Lake CityWhether you are looking to buy an investment property or are looking change your existing home into a rental property, there are some things you should know about becoming a landlord. Most people choose to become a landlord for the financial investment. By following these tips below, you can make being a landlord easier and more enjoyable for you all while improving your tenant’s happiness and rental contract longevity.

Provide a well maintained property

If you are looking to purchase a home as a rental property, you must consider the cost of improvements you will need to make to the property in order to make it rentable. While someone may rent the property in its existing condition, a home that is in good repair will help you maximize the rent you are able to collect along with ensuring the home itself does not develop additional issues from lack of maintenance.

Things to look for & questions to ask yourself:

  • Is the caulking around windows, doors and siding maintained?
  • Are your gutters cleaned and free from debris?
  • Who is maintaining the yard?
  • If you have a fence, is it in good condition?

When you are shopping for a rental property, ask yourself these questions:

  • Will the home need an updated exterior paint job?
  • What is the current condition of the roof?
  • What is the condition of the crawlspace?
  • How old are the appliances?
  • Does the home have updated electrical?
  • What could I update to make the home look its best?
    1. Typically a fresh coat of paint in the interior can make a home look more up-to-date.
    2. Add backsplash, tile or Beadboard wall paneling.
    3. Add crown modeling in the living room, kitchen or bedrooms.
    4. Add more lighting in the home.
    5. If the kitchen or bathroom is really dated, consider updating it with new appliances, vanity, cabinets or tile. You can also consider replacing the shower or bathtub.

The best part of buying an investment property is you don’t have to necessarily “flip” it to get it on the renting market. A few upgrades mentioned above can make a home nice without breaking the bank.

Eliminate Safety hazards

Want to avoid headaches, lawsuits or home insurance claims? Be sure to focus on eliminating any safety hazard from your property. From a liability standpoint, you will want to be sure that the property is void of any safety hazards such as loose railings, uneven walkways, cracked decking or faulty stairs. A well-maintained property will help you maximize your property’s profitability and keep your tenants safe.

Quickly address issues

When problems arise, and they will, it is important to quickly address them with your tenant. Some landlords choose to have rental management companies intervene, while others either do the repairs themselves, or ask the tenant to get it repaired and take it off the next month’s rent. If the issues is a safety concern, do not ignore it. If you are made aware of a safety issue and ignore it, you may be liable if something happens. Whatever your agreement is with your tenant, be sure to address repairs quickly. This may help mitigate additional damage from occurring.

Be available to your tenants

Being available to your tenants can help you develop longstanding renters who stay at your property for years. Since one of the largest risks of being a landlord is having a vacant property, the longer your renters stay, the more revenue your property can generate. By being a good landlord and available to them easily they will know you care about them and the property they are renting.

Being a landlord comes with risks, but also huge financial rewards. Following the suggestions above you can create long-standing renters who not only take care of your property, but help you build financial wealth along the way.

If you have questions about landlord insurance, call our agency. We can discuss all of your insurance coverage options when it comes to being a landlord. Call or email us for a free quote.

How certain home upgrades impact your home insurance policy in Salt Lake City

Remodeling Your Home, Dogs, Trampoline or Pools – How They Impact Your Home Insurance

How certain home upgrades impact your home insurance policy in Salt Lake CityMany homeowners upgraded their homes in the last 18 months. Whether it was bringing a furry friend into your home, updating a kitchen or bathroom or adding additions like a swimming pool, trampoline or detached structures, these upgrades make living in your home more enjoyable. If you completed any of the following updates or additions to your home, contact us!

Kitchen or Bathrooms

If you have made significant upgrades to your kitchen, bathroom or other rooms in your house, you’ll want to share this with your insurance agent. Your current home insurance is based on the value of your home. When you make significant updates to your home, your home value will increase. In the event you have a home insurance claim, you want your home insurance to cover any losses. If you made significant updates to your home but failed to tell your insurance agent and experienced a home insurance claim, you may not be covered for what your home is actually worth.

Detached Structures

Similar to upgrading your kitchen, bathroom or adding square footage to your home, it impacts your home insurance policy. If you added a detached structure to your property, relay this information to your agent so we can update your home insurance policy.

Swimming Pool

Swimming pools do increase your liability and it is important your pool has all the safety precautions in place. Does your swimming pool have proper barriers or fencing around the pool? Most insurance carriers require a fence of at least four feet to be present around your pool. Do you have floatation devices for young children? Lastly, be sure to regularly inspect items used in or around your pool. For example, slides, diving boards or floatation devices.

Trampoline

Be sure to read your current home insurance policy before purchasing a trampoline. Home insurance coverage for trampolines vary both by state and insurance carrier with some not wanting to insure them at all. Talk to your insurance agent about coverage options if you are considering buying a trampoline.

Dog

A furry friend can be the perfect companion and a great addition to your home. It is important to tell your agent if you have a new dog in your home. Many insurance carriers do consider certain breeds higher risk and as a result, your home insurance policy premium may increase. Breeds such as Pit Bulls, Rottweilers, German Shepherds, Huskies, Doberman Pinschers, Akitas or Great Danes may not be insurable by all carriers. While we never want to assume your dog will ever injury someone, it is important to always be properly covered. If you do not report owning a dog to your insurance carrier and you have a claim against your dog, you risk not being covered.

Contact our agency if you have made any of the following changes to your home life. We will be sure to inform your insurance carrier to ensure your home insurance policy is up-to-date and you are properly covered.

Boat Insurance Agency Salt Lake City, Utah

5 Most Common Boating Claims & Insurance to Cover Them

Boat Insurance Agency Salt Lake City, UtahAh, boating. Whether you enjoy taking your boat out for a ride, waterskiing or fishing, boats bring joy and relaxation. Like any vehicle, there comes risks with operating a boat and understanding your insurance coverage is crucial. While having a conversation with your local insurance agent can clarify any of your questions, we’ll share the five most common boating claims and the insurance that can cover it.

But first, you may want to know what some boat insurance coverages are.  Coverages may include collision, property damage, liability, towing and assistance and comprehensive coverage. If you have a small watercraft, talk to your agent to see if your home insurance provides any coverage and if that makes sense for your situation.

Boat insurance cost varies for each individual such as your boat’s value, size, year, how you plan to use it and how much insurance coverage you want.

5 Common Boating Claims

 

Injury – Need Bodily Injury Liability Coverage

Injuries on the water are common.  If you caused somebody to get hurt in another boat or one of your passengers were injured, there are insurance coverage options. Bodily injury liability can cover medical bills, lost income, pain & suffering and legal expenses. Be sure you know how much you are covered for. Also, if you plan to use your boat for waterskiing or wakeboarding, talk to your agent about the specifics of your coverage for passengers if they were to get hurt while skiing.

How to lower your risk for a boating insurance injury:

  • Take a boating safety class.
  • Always have a life jacket for everyone on the boat. Be sure they fit the proper requirements.
  • Be a defensive driver. Always be aware of your surroundings when driving your boat.
  • Never drink and drive.

Hitting an underwater object – Need Comprehensive Insurance Coverage

This potentially could cause major damage to your boat. Many boat claims come from hitting a rock or other submerged object you can’t see in the water.

How to lower your risk:

  • If your boat has a depth sounder, always pay attention to it while driving.
  • Follow the proper path for marked channels & be aware of water hazard markers.

Theft or Vandalized– Need Comprehensive Insurance Coverage

Comprehensive coverage will cover if your boat is stolen. It may or may not cover the items inside your boat. Talk to your agent about the details of your insurance policy.

Weather Damage – Check with Your Local Agent

Depending on where you plan to boat, there are always chances of a wind storm, lightning or hurricane. Speak with your agent to know if your boat is covered from any storm damage, as well as flood damage.

Accident with another boat or object– Need Collision Coverage

This may be covered with your standard boat insurance policy. Talk with your local insurance agent to go over specific scenarios where coverage may vary.

Many additional boat insurance options exist. We have policies that will cover your personal items while on the water such as fishing equipment and wakeboards. Want to be sure you get the right boat insurance policy? Call our licensed agents at Direct Insurance Services. We’ll find ways to save you money & help explain your insurance coverage so you know exactly what you are covered for.

Telematics Auto Insurance Discount Salt Lake City Agency

Learn How Telematics Can Earn You An Auto Insurance Discount

Telematics Auto Insurance Discount Salt Lake City AgencyMany insurance carriers offer telematics for an auto insurance discount. If you are seeking out additional auto insurance discounts to lower your monthly or annual premium, talk to your insurance agent to see if your carrier offers telematics. Many carriers do!

How does telematics work?

A telematics device monitors how you drive a vehicle. Your insurance carrier mails you a vehicle tracking device, you insert it into your vehicle’s onboard diagnostic port under your dash and then it monitors how you drive for an extended amount of time. Once it is setup, it runs all on its own until it is time for you to return it back to your insurance carrier.

The telematics device determines how safe of a driver you are based on measuring your speed, how hard you brake when stopping your vehicle and how many miles you drive. It also looks into what time of day you drive. It is important to note that not all insurance carriers follow the same guidelines or look at the same data.

Curious to see how safe you drive? Talk to your insurance agent to see if your carrier provides a driving report. The telematics device can show a detailed report of your driving habits that can help you become more aware of your driving behaviors. By reviewing this information, it can help you become aware of your current driving habits and if you are currently considered a safe driver.

Once you have completed the timeframe of using the telematics device, you’ll mail it back to your insurance carrier and they will review it.

If my insurance carrier offer telematics, should I do it?

It’s up to you! Not only do you receive a discount for participating, but your insurance carrier may continue to provide discounts in the future for being a safe driver. Some carriers also give you a discount every 6-12 months for being claims-free. This could be rewarded with a mailed check or a discount at renewal.

Talk to your agent about telematics or receive a free auto insurance policy review.

As your insurance agent, we want to ensure you have the best auto insurance coverage for your needs. If you are unhappy with your current premium rate, we can shop our carriers for additional discounts like telematics or simply quote you with other carriers. Don’t hesitate to reach out to us.

Auto Insurance Agent Salt Lake City, UT

How to Determine If You Need Comprehensive or Collision Coverage On Your Auto Policy

Auto Insurance Agent Salt Lake City, UTWhether you are searching for car insurance, shopping for a lower car insurance rate or just need a new plan, you’ve come to the right insurance agency.

Our agents will shop to find the best insurance rate & coverage for your specific needs. Plus, we can search for many discounts, particularly if you are bundling multiple policies like an auto & home or renters insurance together.

When it comes to shopping for car insurance, there are many options for coverage. You could get the bare minimum for car insurance or you could have full coverage for your policy. Each state varies with what is required for minimum car insurance coverage but the minimum will include bodily injury liability & property damage coverage, it is up to you to decide how much of it.

What about collision & comprehensive coverage for your auto insurance policy?

Collision insurance coverage will cover your vehicle if it is damaged when it collides with something. Examples: colliding into another vehicle, a tree or a guard rail. Your insurance coverage will pay for repairs or even replacement of your vehicle in the event of a total loss.

Comprehensive insurance coverage covers most other damages besides collision that could happen to your vehicle. Example: your car catches on fire, something falls on your car like a tree, collisions with an animal, your car gets vandalized or you experience car theft. There are a few exclusions, so be sure to discuss with your agent what those might be.

When it comes to deciding if this coverage is worth it, a few things to ask yourself:

  • If I didn’t have this coverage, do I have the finances to pay out of pocket for the repairs or replacement of my vehicle?
  • Do I have a loan? If so, comprehensive and collision coverage will be required by your finance company.
  • How valuable is my car? Would it be possible to replace your car if you didn’t have the insurance to pay for it?
  • Do I live in an area where car theft is common?

It is important to understand that all coverage and policy questions are specific to the policy that you purchase.  This article has been provided to help you understand how insurance works and does not imply every policy is the same or that coverage will exist. If you have more questions about your auto insurance policy talk to one of the licensed agents at Direct Insurance Services. We understand that insurance can be confusing, so we always want to make sure you fully understand what you are or are not covered for.

Customized Vehicle Insurance Salt Lake City, Utah

Insurance Options for Your Custom Car, Truck or Motorcycle

Do You Have Custom Paint, Parts or Equipment for Your Vehicle?

Customized Vehicle Insurance Salt Lake City, UtahA lot of people take great pride in their vehicles and for them it isn’t only an asset, it is something that expresses their individuality. But, if you’re customizing a vehicle, whether it be a car, motorcycle or ATV, you want to make sure that your insurance policy covers the custom parts and equipment as well as the modifications and labor that might be going into it.

Lifted Vehicles

For those of us who have owned or currently own a lifted truck or SUV, they’re a lot of fun! Not only are they more capable off-road, but you get a higher vantage point for visibility and driving them can add to your enjoyment of owning the vehicle altogether. However, be sure to let your insurance agent know that you have a vehicle with modified suspension. In the event of a claim, custom suspension and wheels and tires can be considered custom parts and equipment. This means that unless you have an endorsement for larger, more expensive wheels and tires as well as the lift kit, you may be out the difference in price from stock if you find yourself in a claims situation. Typically this is called a Custom Parts & Equipment endorsement.

Custom Paint

A custom paint job can set your vehicle apart from the rest and express your individuality. If you have a car with a custom paint job on your car or motorcycle, you’ll want to be sure to get the Custom Parts & Equipment endorsement for this too. Custom paint is expensive and if you find yourself without the coverage, you’re not likely to be compensated fairly without it.

Custom parts and equipment (CPE)

The simple rule of thumb with CPE is that if it wasn’t that way from the factory it is considered custom. Custom parts and equipment can include the following items:

  • Stereo system
  • Navigation System
  • Custom Wheels & Tires
  • Lift Kits
  • Paint Jobs
  • Chrome Accessories
  • Custom seat, handlebars, grips, exhaust & more on motorcycles for example.

Custom parts and equipment is not a standard type of coverage. Some insurance companies offer basic CPE coverage for certain types of vehicles like motorcycles but as a rule of thumb and a precautionary, never assume that your custom parts are covered. Be sure to tell your licensed independent agent about the custom parts on your car, truck or specialized vehicle like your motorcycle to ensure you have the right amount of protection and can replace your vehicle in the event of a loss.

Classic Car Insurance Salt Lake City, UT

Insurance Options for Your Classic Car

Classic Car Insurance Salt Lake City, UTIf you are the lucky owner of a classic car, you can appreciate the uniqueness of the vehicle as well as cherish the nostalgia of owning it.

Classic car owners invest in classics for countless reasons. Some, purely because they like older cars versus new ones, others because they want it as an investment.  Regardless of why you choose to have a classic or antique vehicle, we’ll take you through what you need to know and understand about your insurance.

Classic Car Insurance – The basics.

Classic Car Insurance is different from a typical auto insurance policy because its premium is derived from being driven primarily on occasion, not as a daily driver. Some insurance companies specialize in insuring just classic cars and will ask you how often you drive the vehicle and how many miles per year you plan to put on it.

If you plan to use your vehicle for daily driving, you’re probably better off getting a normal auto insurance policy. In fact, many carriers will require that this be a secondary or occasional use vehicle in order to get a policy.

Classic Car Insurance – The Coverage

The biggest difference between a classic car policy and a standard car insurance policy is Agreed Value. Many carriers offer Agreed Value meaning you both “agree” on a value for the vehicle. For instance, if you have a 1965 Mustang, you can choose to insure it for $25,000. The insurance company then produces a price based off of your value. This Agreed Value is typically based off of the cars condition, improvements and other modifications or restorations. Not all 1965 Mustangs are worth $25,000 so your values can vary.

What Cars Qualify as “Classics?”

The definition of a Classic is constantly changing. In fact, some more modern vehicles may be considered classics because they’re “Day One Editions” or other limited production runs. The typical “20 years” doesn’t really apply anymore because not many model year 2000 vehicles are really classics. Your agent can help assist you in finding a policy that’s the right fit.

How Much Is Classic Car Insurance?

Classic Car Insurance is typically less expensive than the standard auto insurance policy. Because the vehicle isn’t driven every day and often time requires that the vehicle be stored inside of a garage – protected.

To find out what coverage might be right for your vehicle or to see if you qualify for a Classic Car Insurance Policy, contact our insurance agency. Our agents can help you identify savings as well as ensure you get the right coverage for your classic auto.

Boat Insurance Agency Salt Lake City, UT

Shopping for Boat Insurance? We Explain Your Coverage Options

Boat Insurance Agency Salt Lake City, UTWhen it comes to insuring your boat, it can be hard to know where to start. Most new boat owners start by wondering how much coverage will be provided by an existing home insurance policy.  But it’s often best to separate your boat insurance from your homeowner’s policy or any other policies that you might have. The majority of home insurance policies either offer very limited marine specific coverage or don’t cover boats at all.

If your home insurance does provide marine insurance, it’s important to ask what type of coverage is included.  Most home insurance policies that have some type of marine insurance included only offer coverage when operating the boat on inland waterways, small lakes, and rivers. Coverage rarely reaches to a coastal inlet or along the beach.  Additionally, the liability limits can be restrictive.  Oftentimes a home insurance policy won’t provide coverage for costs that you might be liable for such as salvage work, wreckage removal, and environmental damages.

What are the variables involved in most boat insurance policies?

There are many variables which insurance companies will consider when determining your boat insurance premiums.  Some of the most common of these variables include:

  • Length of the boat
  • Age of the boat
  • Overall value of the boat
  • Condition (Does it meet US Coast Guard Standards?)
  • Horsepower of the motor(s)
  • Where it will be kept and operated

What types of boat coverage are there?

There are two basic types of boat insurance: “agreed value” and “actual cash value.”  Applying deprecation at the time of a loss is what sets these policy types apart.

An “agreed value” policy insures the boat based on its value when the policy was initially written. While it can cost more upfront, there is no depreciation for a total loss of the boat.

“Actual cash value” policies cost less upfront but factor in depreciation. The policy will only pay the boat’s actual value at the time of loss. Over time, as your boat ages, your insurer will likely insist on an actual cash value policy—and your premiums will likely decrease over time as a result.

What coverages are often available on a stand-alone boat policy?

The availability of specialized coverages is the advantage of purchasing a stand-alone boat policy rather than relying on your home insurance.  Some of these coverages include:

  • Accessories Coverage: Coverage for a specific high-value piece of equipment on your boat, such as an expensive prop or navigation equipment.
  • Wreckage Removal: Covers the cost of removing and transporting your boat in the case of severe damage or sinking.
  • Towing: In the event that your boat breaks down, this coverage will reimburse you for the costs associated with getting back to shore.
  • Cruising Extension: You can get temporary, additional coverage for areas outside the USA such as Mexico or the Bahamas.

The best way to get more information on boat insurance is to ask a licensed agent in our office.  We can assist you with assessing your insurance needs and provide you with some quotes from several of the top insurance companies.

Get A Quote For Your Boat Insurance Today

Our licensed staff is ready to help you get multiple boat insurance quotes.  Because we’re an independent insurance agent we can shop from multiple insurance companies to help you find the right coverage at the right price.

Seven ways to get more organized in 2021

Seven Ways You Can Get More Organized in 2021

Seven ways to get more organized in 2021If you are looking to be tidier or organized in 2021, we have some tips for you!

Create your checklist

First off, what areas of your home need to be more organized? Do you finally want tackle your junk drawers? Organize your bathroom or closet? Or finally donate or dump items in your garage? Create your to-do checklist of the areas you want to tackle.

Start with one thing at a time

After reviewing your checklist, evaluate what you want to tackle first. If you have 10 or more areas you want to organize in your home, it is easy to feel overwhelmed. Therefore, it is best to begin with one project at a time. Perhaps starting with your quickest or easiest project might be the best start. Getting the quickest project done can give you momentum and motivation to tackle the next area on your list. If your list is long, break up your tasks over the course of several days or weeks.

Time Blocks

Time blocks can work great for keeping you on task. Dedicating a specific time to clean or organize can be very beneficial. When your time is up, you’ll feel productive and motivated for the next time block you set aside to clean or organize. EX: I am organizing from 3:00 PM to 5:00 PM. Starting with a time block allows you to get started on the project vs. feeling overwhelmed as if the project will take all day to complete and then continuing to put it off.

Give everything a home

While many areas of your home may already have a home such as your dishes cabinet, silverware and Tupperware, other drawers in your home may collect all sorts of items together in one area. Assess areas of your house that could be more organized and determine a home for each item. Even if your junk drawer stores many miscellaneous items, you can organize your drawer with bins.

10 minute power clean

It’s amazing what can happen when you set your mind to cleaning or organizing for 10 minutes. First off, how much can you get done in 10 minutes? You may find yourself moving fast just to see what you can accomplish in such a short time frame. On another positive note, when the timer goes off, you may just continue cleaning if you have more time. A 10 minute power clean may be all you need to jumpstart your motivation to get things done around the house.

If you live with others, give everyone a job

When you live with multiple people, it is easy for your house to become a disaster quick. When it is time to clean, give everyone a job duty and set your time block. It might even be helpful to give household members weekly chores that they are always in charge of. EX: taking out the garbage/recycle or un-loading the dishes.

Practice putting things away immediately

How easy is it for dishes to pile into the sink? Or for clothes to become your new carpet? When you practice putting things away immediately, it not only saves you time when it comes to deep cleaning your home, but it allows you to feel more tidy in the moment.

While we can’t clean or organize your home for you, we can help you find affordable home, renters or condo insurance. Contact our agency for a free quote or even a re-quote if you are shopping for new insurance. We will provide quotes from many of our carriers and show you a side by side comparison of options to choose from.