Tag Archive | Independence MO

Moving and Selling Your Home? What To Do When Your House Is Vacant

Selling your home can be a stressful process, especially when it doesn’t move quickly.  With a new job looming, you may have no choice but to leave the home vacant for a short time until it sells.

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So is there a problem?  Truthfully there can be.  When you have a homeowner’s policy, on of the insurance company’s requirement is that the property is “Owner Occupied.”  Since you no longer occupy the property, generally these now vacant homes fall under different insurance rules and can leave you at risk.  Homes are typically considered vacant when the utilities are shut off and/or furniture has been removed.

Insurance companies view a vacant home as a higher risk.  There are more opportunities for vandalism and no one living there to protect the home from fire or storm damage should they occur.

So what should you do when moving?

First you need to talk to your insurance agent and get the details on your policy.  Since policies vary by state and insurance company, there is no single right answer.

Explain the situation to your agent.  Ask what coverage is included and what is excluded (specifically for vandalism as well as water damage).  And find out what changes can be made to protect your home.

Selling a home doesn’t always follow a quick timeline.  If you’re facing the possibility of leaving your home vacant, contact us first  and find out how to best protect yourself and your property.

We are always here to answer your questions. Call 816-795-5977 or email anytime-jolson3@farmeragent.com

 

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Are you looking for a career rather than looking for “just another job”?

Our Agency is expanding and we are looking to add an additional inside sales/customer service representative.

Job Purpose: This is a small insurance business environment that is very fast-paced and requires an Inside Sales / Customer Service Rep. who is creative, a self-starter, and a hard worker. Must be able to be punctual, multi-task, and work well under pressure with great customer service skills. This can be a career rewarding opportunity for you to grow with us!

Hours: Monday-Friday: 8:30am-5:00pm

Responsibilities includes (but not limited to):
1) Provide prompt, accurate, and friendly service by responding to inquiries from existing policyholders and the general public regarding insurance, policy changes, billing clarification, and payment plans.

2) Timely and courteous follow up with prospective and current clients regarding current insurance policies as well as additional insurance policies.

3) Provide service in a pleasant and courteous manner.

4) Meet customer service goals and assist with marketing goals as directed by the upper management.

5) Perform other related duties as assigned by the upper management.

Qualifications:

-High School Diploma minimum. 4 year college degree preferred.
-Technological Savvy: Computer experience with Word, Excel, and Outlook is mandatory
-Experience in Social Media-Facebook, Linked In, Twitter, Blogs, Pinterest
-Communication Skills: Strong listening, oral, and written communication skills
-Initiative and Self-Reliance: Make decisions on a timely basis and take necessary actions without directions from others
-Problem solving ability: Apply and balance conceptual and analytical thinking by breaking down complex problems, evaluating alternative sources of action and their likely outcomes, and selecting the best alternative.
-Goal oriented:  Highly motivated and resourceful to achieve results
-Truthfulness & Respect: Proven track record of trustworthiness, dependability and ethical behavior with the ability to learn and apply product and customer knowledge to professionally service policy holders
-Experience in service, sales, and/or retail sales is desirable.
-Must be able to pass a background check and be able to pass 2 tests for insurance licenses with 60 days of hire (this includes Property/Casualty and Life/Health).
Starting pay DOE and pay increase and opportunity to earn commissions after successfully passing insurance exams.

Please email resume, references, and cover letter to careers@olsoninsurancekc.com

I Am Starting a New Business and Need Insurance, What Should I do?

Congrats on starting your own business!  It can be exciting, nervous, scary, and overwhelming all at the same time!

One of the first things that you need to do before you sign a lease, sell a product, or open your doors to the public is to get proper business insurance set up.

Most people will go straight to their auto, home, and life agent for a policy quote and then buy the policy without completely understanding the coverage and the risks of their business and this can be a HUGE mistake.

The issue at hand is having the correct coverage. Most State Farm, Allstate, Farmers, American Family agents know auto/home/life policies but don’t completely understand commercial or business policies. This equates either paying too much for the coverage or paying for a policy that WILL NEVER help you if you truly did need it. Also all of the above companies only carry general liability and NOT professional liability. Not every business needs professional liability but quite a few do and often they don’t realize it. I represent Farmers Insurance and we write quite a bit of commercial policies with Farmers but if it’s a hard to place business or something that we cannot write thru Farmers I can broker it to a carrier who will help place the risk.  If you’re are either starting a business or if you’re not comfortable that your agent sold you the correct coverage at the correct price, give us a call at 816-795-5977 or email at jolson3@farmersagent.com.

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Personal Umbrella Liability Insurance-What is it and do you need it?

If you were found liable for an accident, would your current insurance coverage be enough to pay for a judgment against you, or would your assets be at risk to help pay? “What about my homeowners and auto insurance? Don’t they cover me?” If you are sued, your standard homeowners or auto policy can provide liability coverage, paying for judgments against you along with your attorney’s fees, up to a limit set in the policy. However, if the judgment against you is for more than your insurance covers, you could be forced to pay a legal judgment from your current assets and future earnings. You might think this scenario is unlikely, but what would you do if it became reality? That’s where a personal umbrella liability policy can be beneficial to help you provide the protection you want.

With a Personal Umbrella policy, you’ll have additional liability limits over and above those provided by your underlying homeowner and auto policies. An umbrella policy can help prevent financial hardship by providing protection that you choose for both current assets and future earnings.

Umbrella Insurance Explained

So how can a personal umbrella policy provide the protection you want? This type of coverage offers additional protection above what your auto and homeowners policies will cover. For example, should you be involved in a car accident and sued, your auto policy covers you up to a predefined amount, your coverage limits. If the cost goes over that limit, your umbrella policy kicks in and covers you for an additional amount up to the limit on your umbrella policy.

You may also think that only those with a large amount of assets would benefit from an umbrella policy, but that’s not necessarily the case. Do you like to entertain? Have a pool? A large dog? You could benefit from considering an umbrella policy. Ultimately, if you or something you own accidentally causes damage to another person, you can be sued for more than just what you have in the bank. Any retirement funds, investments, savings and even future earnings can be at risk to pay for a settlement. In some states, the equity in your home can be part of the judgment and you may have to sell your home to pay for a judgment against you.

Regardless of your personal finances, if a situation arises where you may be held financially responsible for an accident, it could be beneficial to purchase an umbrella policy. A million-dollar umbrella policy is available for far less than you may think as well. Depending on your policies you can get coverage in Missouri or Kansas for as little as $120/yr.

Other Benefits

Besides providing increased liability limits, a Personal Umbrella policy can fill gaps in your coverage with added benefits, such as:

  • Coverage for claims that may not be covered by your underlying Homeowners, Auto, or Watercraft liability policies, such as libel, slander, or defamation of character.
  • Worldwide coverage.
  • Paying for defense costs and attorney fees associated with claims against you that are covered by your Personal Umbrella policy, but not by your primary policies.

Protect your future with the coverage you want

If the unexpected occurs, do you have enough coverage to protect you and your family’s assets? Talk to me about adding a Personal Umbrella policy to your insurance portfolio. The added protection you choose with an umbrella policy can outweigh the minimal cost, and can be financially advantageous should you need it.

 

Do you have questions or comments on umbrella policy coverage?  Call 816-795-5977 or email jolson3@farmersagent.com.

October Is Fire Prevention Month

October is officially Fire Prevention Month. As your insurance agency, this is an issue that is very important to us! Unfortunately, we’ve seen clients suffer from home fires, and we want to share some things you can do to prevent a disaster.

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Beyond basic fire prevention, like checking electrical cords and not leaving a pot unattended on the stove, there are several important things to do with your children or grandchildren to make sure they’re safe.

First, create a PLAN. When children know what to expect, they can remain calm, even during an emergency. Help your child know exactly what to do if a fire occurs.

Stress the importance of getting out of the house and to your family meeting spot.  Choose an area a safe distance from the house where children should go if making a fire escape. It could be a street light, mailbox, or neighbor’s tree.

If you have pets, tell your kids that your pets will find their own way out safely and that they should never go back to rescue the pet on their own.

As a family, go through each room of the house and discuss TWO different ways to get out if a fire occurs. Let children practice opening a latch and unlocking doors too.

Now host a fire drill! Make the practice drills fun and informative. Create sample scenarios and build up your kid’s confidence. They’ll be better prepared for a fire and you will too!

When it comes to any sort of emergency situation, people are what matter most. Take precautions to protect your loved ones and let your professional insurance agents take care of protecting your home and belongings! Call us for a free quote on your Homeowner’s Insurance today!

June Tips

When summer arrives, many people leave the day-to-day routine behind and go on vacation in June.  Hopefully you’re planning a trip sometime soon too!

But what do you need to know before you hit the road? Consider these special situations:

Rental Cars  – If you choose to rent a car, make sure you understand how your insurance works. A rental car company will want to sell you special coverage to cover the car while you are driving it. The insurance will cost you a certain amount extra each day. But did you know that your current insurance will typically also cover you at no additional cost?

However, if you have a claim filed on your current policy, your rates could go up in the future.  And rental car companies could file a claim for very minor damage.

Obviously it is a risk either way, but make sure you know your options. And please contact us BEFORE renting a car to find out what is specifically covered on your policy.

Hosting A Barbecue  – It’s always fun to throw a summer barbecue. It’s even more fun when you aren’t worried about your insurance! Your homeowners and renters insurance covers you if someone is injured on your property due to your negligence. That means that if they trip on a step, fall on the patio, or cut their hand on a glass, you don’t have to worry.

But, as always, you need to discuss this with your agent and go over exactly what coverage you have. If you have a lot of assets, then you might need additional liability coverage too.

Notice a pattern here? The general rule is that you need a personal insurance agent who is looking out for your particular needs! There is not a “one size fits all” approach when it comes to protecting your family and your belongings.  Take just 5 minutes to give us a call today to discuss your policy!

The Biggest Risk To Your Home (And How To Prevent It)

Most people think the biggest risk to their home is a fire or a bad storm.  It’s why they buy insurance (and the fact it’s required by their mortgage lender). But in reality, the biggest concern is protecting your assets from a liability claim.  Consider this…

Warm weather has arrived and everyone is beginning their yard work. Mowing, planting, flowers, and digging those vegetable gardens. There is a lot of work to be done.

So let’s say that you dig a large hole in the front yard so you can plant a new tree. You walk away for a moment and while you’re gone the kid next door runs through the yard, falls in the hole, and breaks his ankle.

Unfortunately, you could be held responsible for his injury. But not to worry, your homeowner’s liability insurance is made for these kind of situations. It will pay if someone is injured on your property. It’s also the coverage that protects you if the dog bites your child’s friend (as long as it’s not a restricted breed) or if your cousin falls down your front steps.

If you have a large number of assets, then you’ll want higher liability coverage. If the injury exceeds your liability coverage amount, then you could be sued for the difference.

Work with us to determine the amount of coverage that you are comfortable carrying. No one can protect themselves by just being careful alone. There are too many possible scenarios that you could never avoid. But with the right insurance coverage, you’ll never have to worry.

Call us today for a free review and to discuss how much liability coverage you need.

What College Graduates Need To Know About Auto Insurance

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You’ve proudly watched your child graduate from college (and celebrated the last of the tuition bills!)  Now they’re searching for their first “real” job and ready for a new phase of life.

This is what you and your new grad need to know about their insurance.

First, in most situations, they can remain on your auto insurance policy as long as they are living in your household.  If they’ve moved back home while job hunting, you can keep them on the policy.

But once they move out, it’s time to look at other options.  Some of this will depend on who is the owner of the car and if you’re living in the same state.  The best option is to talk to one of our agents to discuss your particular situation in detail.

If your graduate is moving out on their own, you’ll also want to get some information on Renters Insurance.  It will protect their belongings and protect you from any liability for damage they might cause to a residence (even if it’s just an accident, like a small kitchen fire.)  In most cases, a parent is a co-signer for a lease and needs to make sure this protection is in place.

The end of college marks some big transitions into adulthood.  Help your new graduate to make smart financial decisions and establish a great start.  We can help!  Schedule a personal review and quote today.

Tips for getting the best rate on your life insurance policy

So you’ve decided that you need life insurance to protect your family; maybe the group life through your job wasn’t enough or you just decided that you wanted to be safe to have your own family protection plan vs. relying on someone else.

Most life insurance policies require some type of exam by a paramedical professional. This is a free physical and blood work that is paid for by the life insurance carrier at no cost the client.  They collect a small blood sample, urine sample and sometimes a short EKG.  They will check cholesterol levels, blood pressure, liver enzymes, among other things.

Here are a couple of tips to get the best rate for your policy. Depending on the policy you could be locking in this rate for 10 years, 20 years, 30 years or longer!

1. Fast
Don’t eat overnight or at least four hours before the exam. Your previous meal should be healthy and well-balanced.  Even if you’re a steak lover, consider a light meal and one high in fruits and veggies and low on saturated fats and fried foods. You may also be told not to drink anything up to four hours before the exam, but do drink plenty of water. It makes it easier for the examiner to find a good vein to get a sample.

2. Don’t Drink Alcohol

Avoid alcohol for at least 12 and preferably 48 hours before the exam, because it can elevate blood pressure and adversely affect elements of the blood work.  If you are in otherwise good health and have your exam scheduled the day after a “fun night out” you even run the risk of being turned down for coverage, if the liver enzyme levels are elevated.

3. Reduce Caffeine Intake

Limit caffeine consumption 48 hours before the exam, and definitely no caffeine the day of the exam. It increases blood pressure, pulse rate and can provoke an irregular heart rate. This means staying away from coffee, tea and some soft drinks, cold remedies and pain medications.

4. Limit Fat and Salt

Salt can raise blood pressure by allowing the body to retain fluids, so limit its use in the three to four days before an exam. Fried foods or ones high in fat can raise your cholesterol.

5. Don’t Exercise

At least don’t go to the gym the morning of the exam, and preferably 24 hours before. Cardiovascular workouts can cause inaccurate levels of cholesterol levels, which can be another factor that can push you into a higher rating classification.

6. Stay Calm

You’ve probably had this happen at the doctor’s office or at a hospital: You’re nervous about having your blood pressure taken, so your blood pressure reads high the first time you take it. Wait a few minutes and take it again, and it goes down.

Get a good night’s sleep, arrive early for the exam and take a few minutes to relax before your blood pressure is recorded.  If that doesn’t work, ask for it to be rechecked at the end of the exam.

Remember, life insurance underwriting also includes your medical history in addition to the lab work. Insurers are expecting average people to apply for coverage, not super-healthy people. Still, following these steps could help lower your rates a bit if any of your levels are borderline high or lows.

Also when you schedule your exam, try for a weekday and not a Monday. A weekend of indulging in fatty foods and alcohol can boost cholesterol or liver enzyme levels on a Monday. Also if your work is stressful on Mondays that is another good reason to choose another day.

To decide the amount of coverage and type of policy best for you, call 816-795-5977 or email jolson3@farmersagent.com to set an appointment.

Protect Your Family During Severe Weather

Did you know that March is Severe Weather Preparation Month?

While it may still feel like winter outside, it won’t be long until spring arrives.  And with it comes spring storms!  Is your family prepared?

First things first, make sure you have designated a safe place to go to if the weather gets bad.  It could be a basement, closet, or room with no windows or outside walls.  Make sure this space is cleared out enough that you could easily get your family inside if needed.  (You don’t want to be clearing out the closet if there is a tornado!)

Next, put together a small emergency kit.  What would you need if the power was out?  Consider putting in flashlights, extra batteries, canned food, and plenty of water.  (Don’t forget supplies for your pets too!)

Keep emergency phone numbers in your cell phone contacts, including the phone number for your insurance company!  You could even save a note in your phone with your policy numbers too. We advise every client to do this, so if you haven’t already, do it now!

While we can’t prevent bad weather, it’s always great to be as prepared as possible.  Take care of your family first and know that we’ll be there to protect your belongings.

Do you have any additional tips?  Leave a comment below.