by Patrick Ramsay
According the latest U.S. Census statistics, there are approximately 13 million vacant year-round homes in the United States. Just like occupied homes, these vacant homes must be covered, too. While it is tempting to skimp on coverage to save money, it is important to ensure you are fully covered so you don’t end up taking a loss when something does happen to your property.
Finding the right vacant property insurance can be quite a difficult task because a typical homeowners policy won’t cover the property after it is vacated. Whether you’ve moved out and haven’t found a buyer or are renovating your home, it’s vital to keep your property properly covered.
A few facts about vacant home insurance:
- There is more risk associated with a vacant home than with one that is full of people because there is no one living there to take care of the home if something happens to it.
- These homes are more likely to be broken into, vandalized, or damaged during a storm.
- Intruders who enter the home may be hurt which may result in a liability claim against you.
When is a home considered vacant?
In most cases, homes sitting more than thirty days without people should have a vacant home insurance policy in order to be protected.
Whether you’re in between renters or you’re fixing up a house before flipping it, a vacant home is a liability you don’t want to let go uncovered. Contact one of our agents at insureCAL for a quote to find out how much your vacant property insurance policy will cost.
by Patrick Ramsay
A disaster recovery plan (DRP) is used to describe how an organization plans to deal with potential disasters. While it may seem straightforward, many factors must be accounted for. Disaster recovery planning utilizes an analysis of the whole business to gain an understanding of essential operations that must continue. DRPs consist of three basic parts: preventive measures, detective measures, and corrective measures. Preventive measures will try to keep a disaster from occurring. Detective measures are taken to discover the presence of any unwanted events. Lastly, corrective measures attempt to restore a system after a disaster takes place.
What factors determine your DRP?
The right plan will vary from one business to another based upon many different factors. Factors such as the type of business, the processes involved, and the level of security needed will help determine your unique DRP for your business. DRPs can be utilized for natural disasters and man-made disasters.
Why have a DRP? Some of the benefits of a DRP are:
- Providing a sense of security
- Minimizing risk of delays
- Guaranteeing the reliability of standby systems
- Providing a standard for testing the plan
- Minimizing decision-making during a disaster
- Reducing potential legal liabilities
- Lowering unnecessarily stressful work environment
One major component of a DRP is the call tree. A call tree is a telecommunications chain for notifying specific individuals of an event. These are especially helpful if an organization must reach key personnel after regular business hours and notify them of a problem. In order for a call tree to be successful, employee contact information must be kept up-to-date and employees should provide multiple ways they can be reached. In small or midsize businesses, call trees are typically carried out manually. In these cases, each person on the call tree contacts the next person on the list and that person contacts the next person until everyone on the call tree has been reached. The last person on the call tree calls the first person and the loop is complete. Once everyone is informed of a disaster, people can start fulfilling their specific duties within the DRP.
Most businesses are ill-prepared to handle disasters. Only about 50 percent of companies even report having a DRP, and of those companies that have a DRP, many have never tested their plans. Don’t let your business get caught in the dark in the face of a disaster. Develop a proper disaster recovery plan!
by Patrick Ramsay
Being a long haul truck driver presents many challenges. With hours of road ahead, and oftentimes, hundreds of miles between point A and point B, anything that brings more comfort or convenience to long hauls is important to utilize. Here are a few things we recommend.
- Podcasts: Named after the combination of the words “iPod” and “broadcast”, podcasts are digitally recorded radio or talk shows that are available online and can be downloaded on your mobile device. With hundreds of thousands of free podcasts at your fingertips, feeding your mind while you’re behind the wheel is easier and more entertaining than ever.
- Mini Fridge: Proper sustenance is of the most vital factors in having a good long haul. With a mini fridge, you can have access to fresh food right inside the cab of your truck. From ice-cold energy drinks to storing leftovers, a mini fridge will bring plenty of benefits to your long haul.
- Long Haul Trucker Seat Cushion: Anyone who has done a long haul can tell you sitting for several hours at a time can bring on incredible discomfort. This makes your choice of seat cushion incredibly important. A thick, well-designed cushion like the Long Haul Trucker Seat Cushion from Sharper Image will go a long way in making your trips easier on your body. A great seat cushion will allow you to sit for hours by virtually eliminating pressure points.
- Mobile WiFi Hotspots: Staying connected to the people who are important to you while on the road is an important part of keeping your morale up. While phone calls to loved ones are great, there’s nothing quite like talking face to face. With mobile WiFi hotspots, you can connect to the internet and use video chat, making the distance between you and your loved ones seem a bit smaller.
Long haul trucking is hard work, but with recent developments in technology, this demanding industry is becoming even more driver-friendly. What are some of your favorite long haul trucking hacks?
by Patrick Ramsay
The importance of having auto insurance when you’re behind the wheel of a regular vehicle is important. That’s something you learn before you can drive, but what happens when you get behind the wheel of something bigger like a limousine?
insureCAL Advisor “Limo Tony”
You’re going to take that dire need for coverage and stretch it from bumper to bumper. When you’re shopping for limousine coverage there are several important factors to consider. Because you’re business involves the transportation of people in your limo, you need coverage for passengers and your risk for a liability claim. Here are some types of coverage you may need:
- Personal Injury limousine insurance: Personal injury limousine insurance will cover the costs of accidents where injuries occur involving your limousine. This coverage can include, medical and rehabilitation bills, lost wages, and funeral costs.
- Collision and comprehensive coverage: This is a basic straight-forward coverage that will cover the cost if there is an accident. Comprehensive coverage will cover the cost of theft, fire, vandalism and many other types of damages.
- Uninsured and underinsured coverage: This provides coverage if you’re in an accident and the other driver is at fault but does not have sufficient coverage to pay the costs. This type of coverage is required in many states.
- Employment practices liability: In the case of your company being accused of sexual harassment, wrongful termination, or discrimination, this is the type of coverage that will protect your business.
- Property damage liability: Property damage liability, you guessed it, covers any property damage that you or your drivers cause while on the job. This coverage goes towards legal fees up to the limits of your policy if you’re taken to court.
Riding in a limousine can be a novelty, but running a successful limousine company is a serious matter. It’s important to ensure your company and your drivers are properly covered. Request a free quote from insureCAL today!
by Patrick Ramsay
While there are worse things to find on your windshield than a chip or a crack, windshields are a notoriously fragile part of vehicles and oftentimes. insureCAL’s safety glass coverage with auto insurance will slightly increase your premium, but when you need your windshield repaired or replaced, there is no deductible.
Generally, if a chip or crack on your windshield is smaller than a dollar bill, it could be repaired in most cases. What happens when you have safety glass coverage through insureCAL? One of the most important parts of windshield repair is that you must get it fixed and reported to insureCAL as soon as possible.
The repair process for a chip or crack generally takes less than 30 minutes. After a windshield repair, a blemish will be visible but will fade with time. Contact insureCAL to add safety glass coverage to your auto insurance policy! We’ve got your windshield covered so you don’t have to sweat the small stuff.
by Patrick Ramsay
In 2050, farming may be moving to the city. Today, with over 7 billion human mouths to feed, approximately 40% of this planet’s total landmass is used for agriculture to produce the quantity of food necessary to sustain our world’s population. By the year 2050, the world population is expected to grow to 9.6 billion and according to the FAO (Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations), food production will have to increase by 70 percent in order to avoid mass malnutrition.
Using less water, while at the same time producing more crops will be essential in addressing water scarcity problems as the demand for water will also increase with the population. Land will also play a pivotal role in feeding a world with 2.3 billion more people. Sufficient global land resources are available to feed future population, but much of the land is in areas riddled with obstacles like insufficient infrastructure and endemic diseases. These obstacles aren’t impossible to overcome, but it will prove difficult to use much of the available land for agriculture in the future.
Various ideas have been proposed to address the issues surrounding population growth and the best, most environmentally-friendly ways to feed the world. One of the most promising solutions to an overpopulated world facing starvation may actually be found in the middle of the urban areas.
Vertical Farming is a component of urban agriculture — imagine a skyscraper stacked with floors of produce in the middle of an urban area. Vertical farming is the practice of producing food in vertically stacked layers, in vertically inclined surfaces, and/or integrated in other structures. By the year 2050, roughly 80 percent of the world is expected to live in urban areas. Vertical farming could remove the need for soil and sunlight, meaning the expansion of land for agriculture wouldn’t be necessary and the amount of water used to produce crops would drop significantly. While this is one proposed idea among many, it raises the question: what will become of our farmers in rural areas?
by Patrick Ramsay
You’re familiar with the saying “When it rains it pours,” but there’s a new saying being passed along California: “When Godzilla El Niño rains, it floods.” Though California has been in the midst of a drought for four years, there is no time more vital than now to protect your home with flood insurance. For most California homeowners, floods don’t rank among their highest concerns. Scientists are expecting this year’s El Niño weather cycle to be incredibly strong, potentially even surpassing the El Niño weather cycle of 1997, which was the strongest on record according to the National Weather Service.
In high-risk flood areas, there is a one in four chance that someone with a 30-year mortgage will experience flooding. Even homeowners in medium-to-low risk areas can be financially vulnerable to flooding. According to FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency), people outside of mapped high-risk areas file over 20-percent of all National Flood Insurance Program flood insurance claims and receive one-third of Federal Disaster Assistance for flooding. FEMA also emphasizes that flooding can occur anywhere that it rains. No matter where you live, a few inches of water can cause thousands of dollars of damage. Just like every other type of insurance, it is vital to understand what is and isn’t covered. From the insured building and its foundation to furs, artwork, and curtains, flood insurance will provide coverage. For a full list of what’s covered by flood insurance, click the following link: www.floodsmart.gov/whats_covered.
Be proactive about protecting your family, your home, and your belongings. There is typically a 30-day waiting period from the date of your purchase before your policy will go into effect, so do not wait to get coverage. Contact insureCAL today to learn more about their flood insurance programs before it’s too late.
by Patrick Ramsay
While El Niño is set to bring some much needed water to California this year, it will not end the drought. According to the Association of California Water Agencies, no single factor is going to determine when the drought ends. With that being said, there are some ways the everyday Californian can do their part in conserving water while also boasting a beautiful yard. One of these ways is called xeriscaping. The term xeriscaping is derived from the Greek word “xeros” for dry and “scape” for a place or scene. It literally translates into “dry scene,” but it actually refers to a method of landscaping that includes mostly native, drought tolerant plants that reduces or eliminates the need for supplemental water from irrigation.
Staying green during a drought has never been more important. While many Californians are experiencing restricted access to water due to emergency conservation measures, they can still maintain the appeal of a well-cared for property through xeriscaping. One of the greatest immediate benefits of xeriscaping is that it saves money on water bills while also requiring a lower amount of maintenance. Not only does xeriscaping save money and time on maintenance, it reduces the amount of waste going into landfills.
The planting options for xeriscaping reach far beyond California. Drought tolerant plants can also come from places with similar climates to California, such as Southern Europe, North Africa, Western Asia, South Africa, and Australia. The exotic array of drought tolerant plants from other countries is often overlooked, but there are a growing number of resources and nurseries that are specializing in xeriscaping plants, the trick is finding the right plant to meet your style. Which plants will you feature in your xeriscape?
If you’re anything like me, you’ll do whatever it takes to save money. Which is smart, it is always good to have savings for a rainy day. However, there’s one thing many people are waiting to buy, and it could really cost you. Below you will find reasons you should not delay purchasing life insurance:
1. The younger you are, the cheaper it is. Life insurance uses mortality tables based on age to determine your rate. Every year you wait, you’re just making your future premiums more expensive.
2. Get it now while you’re healthy. Preexisting conditions can make life insurance expensive, but if you get the policy while you’re still healthy you’ll be happy with how little you have to pay for peace of mind.
3. The future is unpredictable! If you had complete control of everything, life insurance would be useless, but that just isn’t the case. In this uncertain world life insurance might be the only thing able to take care of your family and final expenses if something awful were to happen.
4. It’s better to have it and not need it, than to need it and not have it. I’ve never met a family who used life insurance and then wished they didn’t have it. It’s similar to auto insurance; you buy it, and hope you never need it.
5. It will accrue more interest than any savings account or bond you might purchase. If you get it when you’re young it could easily become your retirement! Why keep your money in the bank where it won’t grow more than a few dollars?
“It’s better to be a few days early than a day late.”
by Dylan Delhart, Financial Advisor @ insureCAL Insurance Agency
The biggest problem I’ve noticed in the insurance industry is people want life insurance, but with all of the variables and unexpected costs, they have no idea how much coverage they actually need. Having the correct amount of coverage is extremely important. With not enough coverage you could leave your family in debt, and with too much coverage you’ll be paying too much of your hard earned money on monthly premiums! That’s why with help from our friends at Nationwide, I’ve created an easy way for you to calculate exactly how much coverage you and your family needs.
Let’s use Jane Smith as an example. She’s a single mother with a 13-year-old daughter named Sara.
- Jane has a mortgage on her home and she still owes $180,000.
- She makes $40,000 a year, and if something were to happen to her, she wants her daughter to have half of her yearly income for the next 5 years. $80,000 divided by 2 multiplied by 5 years = $100,000.
- Sara dreams of going to college in California, and Jane wants to make sure if she’s not around to pay tuition Sara can still go to college. Let’s assume that tuition will continue to steadily rise and when Sara goes to college it will cost $30,000 a year. $30,000 a year for 4 years = $120,000.
- Jane has $4,500 in credit card debt that she does not want to leave behind for Sara to have to deal with.
- Jane wants to leave Sara an emergency fund for unexpected expenses such as a new roof for the house or new engine for the car. Experts suggest 3 months of income for your emergency fund. $40,000 divided by 12 multiplied by 3 = $10,000.
- Jane also wants her funeral to be paid for by her life insurance. The average cost of a funeral is just over $8,000 let’s round it to $9,000 to be safe.
Now we’ll add all of this up to determine her family’s need which = $423,500
Now we’ll subtract her assets from the total to determine how much of her family’s need is not covered.
- Jane has a life insurance policy through her job which is worth $100,000.
- Jane also has $11,000 in her savings account.
$423,500 – $111,000 = $312,500
Now we have done all of the math and we know Jane needs a $312,500 life insurance policy to fully protect her family. Of course not many people want to do all of this math for themselves, so that’s where I come in! I’m more than happy to sit down with anyone and go over their finances to make sure their family is protected. If you have any questions or concerns give me a call today: (209)410-0270.
by Dylan Delhart, Financial Advisor @ insureCAL Insurance Agency