Your Homeowners Insurance vs Natural Disasters

Your home is one of your biggest investments so it should be protected. One way of doing so is by getting homeowners insurance. Over 350,000 Kentuckians recognize how helpful home insurance is. Regardless if your home is located in a natural disaster-prone area or not, homeowners insurance is a good safety net. 

 

The typical homeowner’s policy covers several disasters including tornadoes, lightning strikes, and winter storm damage. These events are called insurance perils. However, the disasters covered still depend on the kind of policy you get. It’s best to know the potential damages before you pick the insurance policy for your home. 

Homeowners Policies – What’s not covered?

Generally, homeowner’s policies cover your home and all that’s in it. You can go as specific as you can with the items in your home you want to be covered. Naturally, not all disasters are covered by your homeowners’ insurance. What isn’t covered?

 

Earthquake losses are usually not included in the basic coverage although they can be purchased as additional coverage. If you are unsure, always ask your agent or insurer if your coverage includes earthquake losses and damages. 

 

Flood losses are generally excluded from homeowners’ policies as well. You can get this coverage straight from the National Flood Insurance Program or you can reach out to one of our agents. Professional agents here in London Agency Insurance work with several insurance agencies and they may be able to help you connect with private insurers.

 

Car damages due to natural disasters may be covered but ask your insurer or agent to be sure. 

Extend your Home Insurance Policy

There is nothing wrong with making sure that all your bases are covered. Not all kinds of damages and repairs are covered by your home insurance. Some homeowners decide to get more coverage options for better protection. Some policies cover the entire cost of rebuilding a house. 

 

Your agent can help you get the additional coverage you want. But as always, it’s best to sit down and think of it beforehand. Consider your needs and requirements, your finances, and the potential damages in the future. All these should be factors in deciding whether you need the additional protection or not. 

 

The average homeowner’s insurance rates in Kentucky differ because of three things – location, the size of your home, and the neighborhood’s safety. Every home is unique and so are the things inside it. The same rate isn’t applicable for all kinds of homes. 

 

Are you a homeowner without homeowners insurance yet? Give our agents a call today to get the right coverage for the right price. Our agents will assist you from beginning to end. They’ll sit with you, consider your insurance needs, your budget, and get you coverage to protect your home. 

Building Maintenance and Property Insurance

How does property maintenance affect insurance claims? Learn more below. 

 

Your property is an investment, and it’s only logical that you protect it at all costs, regardless of the size of your business or the kind of facility you have. Building maintenance is an integral part of the trade – from regular cleaning to repairs. It helps ensure that your building lasts, your business is protected, and it helps during the claims process. 

 

In many states in the US, property maintenance is part of the claims process and underwriting. This is true for residential and commercial properties

Tips for Building Maintenance

Interior and exterior maintenance are equally important. However, exterior repairs and maintenance are more challenging. Check out these tips for building maintenance. 

Preventative maintenance 

Set up a regular maintenance plan, including inspection, testing, servicing, replacements, and repairs. Look out for missing and lost parts. Check the gutters and ensure it is free from any leaves, twigs, and other debris. Roof inspections greatly help in extending your roof’s longevity and they reduce costly emergency repairs later on. 

 

Do preventive maintenance inside the building as well. Perform regular inspection on flashing and roof perimeter. Look for signs of water damage such as stained walls, peeling paint, and mold. These things are the usual suspects of roof damage.

Set up regular checks

Check your property’s HVAC system at least once a year. Take note of even the tiniest plumbing leak, as this can cause more significant problems in the future. It may result in increased water bills and expensive repairs. You may even have to close down the businesses indefinitely when you let these small leaks turn into uncontrollable leak damage. 

 

Public restrooms (if you have any in your building) must also be checked. Toilet leaks cause ceiling collapse. This isn’t only dangerous for you, your employees, and your customers. It’s dangerous for the business as well. 

When making a claim

Proper documentation is the key to an efficient claims process. Make it a habit to record every scheduled, working, and completed project. You can also choose to create timelines for these projects.

Get business property insurance today

Is your business insurance-ready? Even with regular and proper maintenance, it’s still best to financially protect your investment. Business property insurance is a great option. It doesn’t just protect your building but everything in it, such as computers, fixtures, furniture, etc. It doesn’t have to be the most expensive coverage, but it should address all of your needs. 

 

London Insurance Agency is an agency that serves as a platform for our independent agents. With us, you have the freedom and opportunity to work with a professional agent connected to several insurance companies. This gives you more options for what your needs are. The goal here is to provide you with the perfect coverage for your needs. For more than 95 years, the London Insurance Agency has been offering services, insurance, and products for businesses. 

Do you have insurance? If not, it’s time to get it now.

Tips for First Time Home Buyers in 2022

Buying a home is a huge decision and responsibility. Check out these tips before buying your first home! 

 

Homes have been selling for above asking price, and buyers have been bidding against each other since early last year. It’s truly become a competitive space that first-time homebuyers may find intimidating. But there are ways to get yourself ready for the bidding war. Here are some tips for first-time home buyers. 

Things to remember for first time home buyers

We’ve compiled here a list of tips to help you navigate this housing market. Take note and keep learning. 

Determine your budget

Know your financial limit before you start looking for the home you want. Think of how much of a downpayment you can afford and how much you’ll need to finance. The rule of thumb is to not spend over 28% of your income on housing-related payments every month. Look for a mortgage calculator to see if the home’s price fits your budget. 

Be fully committed to a loan

A house loan is a long-term plan, and on average, it takes about 15-30 years. Ask yourself if you will stay in your home for the next five to ten years, have enough emergency funds to cover your expenses, and have a stable income. If you’re unsure, it’s best to put your plans on hold and revisit it when you’re more financially ready. Take your monthly expenses, your income, and your safety net into account before closing on a home loan. 

Save up for a downpayment

The key to more straightforward and quicker approval is to show your mortgage lender that you can pay up for the long run. It’s why your downpayment is a critical part of the process. The more money you save for the down payment, the better interest rate and terms you’ll get. 

Get pre-approved

Don’t skip the mortgage pre-approval process. Don’t confuse pre-qualification with pre-approval. Prequalification is the estimate of the amount of home loan you can get based on your income evaluation. On the other hand, pre-approval is a document from your lender that dictates the amount of financing you can get based on several factors, including your W-2s, credit score, and bank statement. 

The preapproval helps determine if you can afford the house you want, and it takes out any financial surprises along the way. 

 

Your home is an investment. You need to explore your options to see which one fits your budget, needs, and lifestyle. Once you’re done with all these, your next step is to protect your investment. There are various ways to do that. You can schedule regular maintenance, pay for the mortgage regularly, and get your home insured. Check out your homeowner’s insurance options. Give us a call today! We’d be more than happy to help.  

Insurance Trends to Watch in 2022

It’s time to get ready for what lies ahead in the insurance industry. 

 

Every industry changes due to economic conditions, customer demands, new market trends, and more. All these things prompt industries to adapt to survive. Here are some trends you need to know to ensure that you’re keeping up with the changes in the insurance space. 

Going digital

We live in a digital age, and it’s now the primary source of growth of industries around the globe. The same is true for insurance. Deloitte reports that 33% of premium insurance volume will be from new propositions by 2024. The aim is to improve and encourage a holistic customer experience using technological innovations such as artificial intelligence. 

 

These approaches effectively bring in more customers and help them get the best policies fit for their needs. 

Personalization

Clients want to feel valued, and this is what personalization does. It’s what you do to keep your clients and get new ones. The information available today across networks allows you to build your strategies and personalize your customer experience. More personalized service means having the ability to tailor your products and other offerings. This generally increases customer retention and sales. 

Build trust 

Trust between clients and businesses is essential. Clients expect nothing short of respect from you to protect their information and assets. Along with this, trust helps clients make their decisions. Although you provide advice and insights to help them pick the best choice based on their needs, at the end of the day, you can’t force them to enroll in a policy they don’t want. While seamless processing is appreciated, it’s also important to provide the solutions efficiently and securely. 

Automation and use of AI

Processing takes a lot of time when done manually, which impedes customer satisfaction. Automation and AI address that issue, and these two are used for updating client profiles, information, settlement, assessment, and more. Statistics show that workflow automation cuts paperwork time by up to 80% and speeds up processes by 50%. 

Customer interaction

Engagement is now part of the customer journey. This means that any kind of communication is taken as a part of the process. Engagement and interaction are possible via your active social media presence, your email campaigns, and using various mobile communication platforms. Connecting with clients has never been easier. Being visible and knowing that you’re always ready to help with questions and concerns is a great advantage. 

 

People need insurance coverage. Whether it’s for their homes, for their family’s financial security when they pass, for their car, for their business, or something else. They want to get these policies from an insurance company that offers the best for their needs and ensures safety, builds trust, and makes sure they’re always in the loop. Insurance trends continue to change but regardless, it’s essential always to put your clients first. 

 

At London Insurance Agency, we put clients first every day. Call us today! We’d be happy to answer any insurance-related questions you may have.

Things to Consider when Choosing Your Health Coverage

Getting health insurance isn’t only beneficial for individuals but also for families. However, picking the right fit for your needs can be overwhelming. Instead of enjoying its advantages, you may end up putting your family in a financial bind. You must arm yourself with the right knowledge to make the right decision. Below are some of the factors to consider. 

Pick your health plan marketplace

Most health insurance is provided by their employers or the company they work for. If that’s the case then there’s no need to go through different options or marketplace since yours is already set up. However, this doesn’t mean that you can’t look for other alternatives. If your job doesn’t come with health insurance, then you will have to look for a marketplace to find an option with the lowest premium offer. Here, you’ll get the help of professional insurers to provide you with choices. They’d also go through the process and explain the policies with you in terms that you can easily understand. 

Check the details thoroughly

This is especially true if you are on prescription medication. Check the health insurance plan and see if the drugs you’re taking are covered. You can also ask this from your insurer or get a list of the drugs covered by the policy you’re considering. 

Compare the types

People like to compare brands before finally buying the product they need. They look at the features and the price to help them decide which one is better. The same is true with health insurance plans, it’s better to compare each to determine which one fits your needs. There are typically four types– HMOs, PPOs, EPOs, and POS. Check out their benefits, the cost, and the network.

Consider your budget if you qualify for tax credits

Health insurance is expensive but you may be able to qualify for tax credits. The premium tax credit is a refundable credit that’s specifically created to help families with low- to moderate-income. The credit depends on your income so the lower your income is, the bigger the credit will be. The IRS explains that families and individuals are eligible for the premium tax credit if their annual income is at least 100% but not more than 400%  within the federal poverty line for their family size. 

Deductibles

It’s important to know when you’ll be able to get the benefits of the coverage. Some would have a deductible of $1,000 which means you have to spend that amount from your own pocket before your health coverage kicks in. These out-of-pocket expenses include procedure fees, prescriptions, and specialist visits. 

 

This may feel overwhelming for you so talk it out with your family. Get their opinion on what you need the most. You can also speak with professional insurance agents and brokers. London Insurance Agency is home to independent agents who represent more than one insurance company. Aside from our expertise, we have many options available for you. We can explain to you the policies and offer the best solutions. Give us a call today! 

Man in front of computer with smartphone on desk

Plan Your Year: 3 Financial Planning Trends 2022

Have you set up a financial plan for the coming year? If not, then take note of these financial trends in 2022 as your guide. 

 

The pandemic has caused much distress and distractions to peoples’ lives in the past two years. Aside from the health threats, many families have faced an unprecedented financial crisis due to sudden income loss. Businesses have closed down, and others that remained open had to make abrupt changes to keep their businesses thriving. The shift has affected families and prompted many to make adjustments to their financial plans. Will it be the same for the year to come? Read more to know the financial planning trends for families in 2022. Use them as your guide as you evaluate your plans and insurance policies. 

Invest in Life Insurance

Insurance is always a key piece of financial planning, but it was only when COVID-19 took millions of lives that people truly saw how critical life insurance is. Life insurance is

a safety net in case of the untimely death of a loved one. It protects your family from financial difficulties and stress from one’s passing, and it can also be an investment that grows in time. 

 

Do you already have life insurance in place? If so, your next step is to review your policy and perhaps include your parents in the coverage. 

Track your spending 

Take control of your money and keep track of your financial habits. There are many ways to do so. You can take note of your spending using a spreadsheet or download an app on your smart device. List all your income and expenses to see the accurate cash flow and understand where you can make adjustments if need be. 

 

Involve your family in the process. Share your spreadsheet or your app with them to sync your budget. This will help everyone keep track of their spending habits, not just yours. 

Look for affordable housing

Many families have opted to move houses during the pandemic. Some chose to sell their homes and profit and moved from the city to less dense areas. Others have discovered the value of homesteading. 

 

Other families who were renting took their extra savings and decided to put it on a downpayment for a new home. With the decreased mortgage, it has become easier for families to stop renting and own a home. 

 

Many had already been financially strapped before the pandemic, but it got worse as the pandemic spread. The death toll continues to rise, and the economy hasn’t fully recovered yet. New strains are emerging, and so we keep on fighting. This has taught us a valuable lesson – that financial stability isn’t, in fact, that stable in the face of a global crisis. 

 

Create your financial plan for the next year and ensure that your family is prepared for any unfavorable situations to come. Save, invest in life insurance and track your spending. Call us if you don’t have a policy in place or if you want to re-evaluate your life insurance. 

What is Universal Life Insurance?

Are you looking for life insurance to protect your family and ensure their financial security even in the most difficult circumstances? There are several life insurance options available for you, one of which is universal life insurance. 

What is universal life insurance?

Simply put, universal life insurance is permanent life insurance. This means that the coverage builds an actual cash value and it lasts for a lifetime so long as you pay the premium. It allows for more flexibility as you can increase or decrease your premium payments within the specified limits. The payout for universal life insurance is called the death benefit and is given to beneficiaries without tax. It combines cash value with lifetime security. This means that a portion of your premium payment is put to your death benefits while the rest goes to your other financial plans. You can use the cash value as well while you’re still alive. You can use it to pay for your strategy premiums, withdraw your cash, or you can loan against it and pay it back with interest. 

Benefits of universal life insurance

There are several benefits to getting universal life insurance. This kind of policy offers lifetime protection, which means it does not have an expiration date so it will financially protect your beneficiaries as long as you keep a good record. The earlier you get universal life insurance, the more affordable it will be. Once you get the policy, you’re already covered for life, and regardless of your health condition, the benefit paid to your beneficiary stays the same and will always be tax-free. 

 

Unlike other policies, universal life insurance doesn’t have a fixed payment. You are allowed to raise or lower the payment depending on your financial capability. However, you need to remember that decreasing the payment means paying more later on. Another advantage is the expanded cash value options. Your insurance isn’t just a death benefit, you can also see it as an investment and put it to the stock market.  

 

Other insurance companies allow their policyholders to change the amount paid to the beneficiaries upon their death. But this is only true for policyholders who pass the medical exam. 

How does it work?

There are two segments in universal life insurance – the cost of insurance (COI) and the cash value. The COI is the cost of the death benefit and the administrative fees. It’s also the minimum premium cost that you need to keep so that the policy stays in effect. The cost can either rise or fall depending on certain variables such as the policyholder’s age. Cash value, on the other hand, is your investment gain. You can also withdraw or get a loan from your cash value. 

 

Universal life insurance is like hitting two birds with one stone. You get the benefits of the typical health and life coverage and at the same time, you’re making a cash value investment as well. While it’s often compared with whole life insurance, this policy is more flexible and affordable. If you’re wondering if this policy fits your needs, you can call one of our expert and professional insurance agents. They are more than willing to get back to you and answer all of your questions.

Your Basic Checklist When Renewing your Home Insurance Policy

What do you do when your renewal notice comes through the mail? Do you make sure to file it right then and there or do you just use the same coverage every year? There’s nothing wrong with not changing your policy; however, you should consider whether your existing coverage is enough for your needs. Your insurance company will notify you of the policy renewal and will give you new options for a new policy. It’s basically the same as a landlord giving their tenants new lease options by the end of their lease period. 

 

Policy renewal isn’t a light decision. Before you sign the papers and file for a new term, you first have to consider important factors. 

What to consider before you renew your policy

Change is the only thing constant in this world. You may have gotten a better job offer, got engaged, welcomed your first child, and more. With these changes, you also have to make sure that your insurance is keeping up. It’s imperative to update your policy if you see that your insurance doesn’t align with your present needs. Here are some things you can look out for. 

Check for rate changes

It’s important to check any rate changes for your homeowner insurance policy and premiums. You will be informed of the changes in rates and if that happens and you don’t know the reason for the sudden increase, then you need to speak with your insurance agent. The change may be because of the state of your home, your credit score, and if your home is exposed to more risks.

Check your liability limit

You need to revisit your liability limit or ask your insurance agent about it if you have made some changes to your home. You may have renovated your kitchen, installed a new pool, built a new garage, or made some other change in your property that might increase the risks of people in your home. Talk with your agent about all the options available for you. You also have to update them with the renovations as these may change the value of your home and you may be eligible for discounts. 

Take into account your lifestyle changes

Your policy will also have to be updated if you have bought any valuable possessions recently such as pieces of jewelry or computers. You can also make changes in your policy if you have a new member in the family or put up a new home business. 

These three are just the tip of the iceberg. There are still several other factors you can consider when renewing your policy. When you’re unsure what to do and the notification for a policy renewal comes around, it’s best to speak with your insurance agent about it. Here at London Insurance Agency, we have capable insurance agents and brokers who are more than ready to explain to you the options available for you and if there’s a need to renew or update your current policy. Give us a call regarding your homeowner’s insurance today!

6 Frequently Misunderstood Insurance Terms

The insurance world is broad and vast. It’s not surprising that many are misinterpreting terms and concepts in this field. While you can always call your insurer or agent to explain the concepts for you, it’s good to familiarize yourself with the terms, what they mean, and how these concepts can help you. Here are some of the frequently misunderstood terms in insurance. Read well and take note! The next time you meet with your agent or insurer, you already have a better grasp of what he/she is talking about.

Misunderstood Insurance Terms  

Policy 

This term means a contract between two people – you and your insurer. It has all the information, the terms and conditions of your coverage, and it includes all your exclusions as well. Ask for a personal copy of your policy and don’t be afraid to ask for clarification on the things you don’t understand. Knowing what’s included in and excluded from your policy will make it easier for you in the future when you’re claiming benefits. 

Accelerated death benefit

This term is often considered as a rider to a policy. As a rider, it’s usually an additional coverage that you can add to your main insurance policy. Along with accelerated death benefits, long-term care is another common rider.  The accelerated death benefit is designed for terminally ill patients. This add-on is typically used to pay off a debt to cover hospice expenses or to cover a special trip for the family. 

Contestability period

This is the time period after the insurance company issues your life insurance policy. At this time, the company will review the application to ensure that everything is accurate and you haven’t misrepresented anything. This period typically lasts for one to two years. The goal is to protect the companies from insurance fraud. 

Market value 

There are policies that offer market value. This means that you get the used or second-hand market value of an item if you’re going for a claim. The market value is based on the amount of the item before it was damaged or stolen. Your insurer will determine the current market value of the item and will give you the same amount to get a new item of the same condition. 

Permanent life insurance

Just like term life insurance, this policy also pays the holder a death benefit. However, the difference is that permanent life insurance gives lifelong protection so long as the owner continues to pay the premium. The accumulated money can be spent depending on your choices – you can purchase a home, a retirement plan, pay for emergency costs, and many more. It’s a good choice if you want to protect your family financially all the more. 

Grace period

Some insurance policies have a grace period. It’s a given time until your policy stays in effect even if you failed to pay the premium before the due date. The grace period usually lasts for a month. 

 

There are still more terms to learn so if you want to learn more and speak the insurance language fluently, you can always ask for assistance from our professional agents at London Insurance Agency. We are always ready to help. Give us a call today! 

 

The Pros and Cons of Leasing a Car

You need to consider your priorities when deciding whether you want to lease a car or to buy a new one. Some make decisions based on their financial capabilities, while some make their purchasing decisions based on their emotions and how much they like a car. It’s best to identify your needs before finalizing your decision. 

What is leasing?

Leasing isn’t the same as owning. When you lease a car, it means that you’re renting it for a specific length of time. Typically, the time frame is between 36 to 48 months. When the lease ends, you have the choice to return the car or purchase it for a predetermined price. The price is defined in your lease contract. 

 

When it comes to car payments, lease payments are much cheaper as opposed to monthly loan payments. The latter is calculated based on several factors including the car’s price, the interest rate, and the number of months you intend to pay the entire loan. Car lease payments, on the other hand, are based on the following factors. 

 

  • Sale price which is negotiated with the dealer and stipulated in the contract. 
  • The length of the lease in months/years. 
  • Expected mileage you can drive per year. The price increases with more yearly mileage. 
  • Rent charge is a dollar figure and not a percentage.
  • Taxes and other fees

Pros and cons of leasing a car

The major disadvantage in leasing a car is the lack of ownership much like when you’re renting a house. You can’t claim ownership of the property or to the car when the lease ends. There’s no way to get a return via trading or reselling. However, there are several advantages to leasing a car. 

Lower monthly lease payment

As mentioned earlier, the monthly lease is cheaper than the monthly car payment for a loan. You can even get a newer and more luxurious car if you opt to lease instead of buy. 

New car every after few years

The typical lease lasts for 36 to 48 months. After that, you can choose another car or buy the car you’ve leased. Often, people choose to get a brand new car every time their lease ends. 

Maintenance-free

New cars usually have a three-year maintenance coverage. This means that your maintenance is covered the entire time it’s leased. 

 

However, if you’re after ownership and considering long-term financial benefits, then purchasing a car is a better option for you. Many experts don’t share the same vision with people looking out for short-term car plans. They’d rather go for buying a car and maintaining it in an optimal condition for as long as possible. 

 

Regardless of what your choice is, the bottom line is that driving a car is a responsibility. If you intend to lease or buy a car, you also need to consider getting insurance to cover the cost in case of traffic accidents and other unforeseen situations. 

 

If you’re unsure of the kind of coverage you need, you can always reach out to one of our agents. We have professional and expert insurance agents who are ready to explain your options to you. Here at London Insurance Agency, your safety is our priority.