Category Archives: General

Dawson & Carter’s Story

In the two weeks leading up to Dawson’s diagnosis, we had no idea what was going on. All of the symptoms were innocuous. Dawson had been drinking a lot of water. We had written it off to being winter time. We were all drinking water due to the dry air in the house. He was moody. Well he was a three year old… Click here to continue reading Dawson and Carter’s Story…

*Learn more here JDRF and get involved in helping to find a cure for Dawson and Carter and many other kids like them!

 


Winter Storms

Are You Ready?

We admit it: As insurance pros, our picture of winter isn’t exactly cozy. Winter storms mean traffic snarls, hillsides turning to sheets of ice, and cars sliding around like hockey pucks. Cold temperatures can cause pipes to burst, frost swells and other damage. Heating your home with fireplaces and holiday lighting can increase the risk of fire.

A picture-perfect winter requires a few precautions 

Here are a few of our top tips to help reduce weather-related hassles this winter.

  • Winter-proof your car with good snow tires or chains, new wiper blades, antifreeze, and emergency road supplies.
  • Keep your attic cool to help prevent ice dams. Insulate the attic floor and make sure it is well-ventilated.
  • Do not overload circuits with holiday decorations.

When winter storms hit, be smart

  • If you do not have to drive, stay put. If you must drive, make sure you’ve winterized your car and have a full tank of gas.
  • When the air is cold, keep bath and kitchen cabinet doors open so warm air can circulate around pipes. If pipes do freeze, let them thaw normally—they’ll be less likely to burst.
  • And if the power is out, make sure you avoid leaving candles or fires burning unattended. If you use a portable generator, follow the instructions and do not use it indoors.

Know what your insurance covers

We want to help you rest easy. You will be more relaxed when you know you have prepared your property to lessen the chance of winter storm damage. If you have any questions at all about your coverage and/or deductible, call us at Knight Magee Insurance (804) 320-0129 and we will help you review your policy.


What to consider when hiring a contractor

 

Owning a home is rewarding and exciting! However, for most homeowners, looking to hire a contractor for a home repair or renovation is daunting!

Here are some things to consider when hiring a contractor:

Tip #1: Does your contractor have proof of insurance? It is important that your contractor carry insurance otherwise you could be left financially responsible for his or her negligence or mistakes. We always recommend that our clients obtain a copy of the contractors General Liability policy before any work is performed and if the contractor has a crew or employees ask for proof of Workers Compensation coverage. The General Liability policy will provide coverage for completed work and/or damage to your premises at the time work is being performed. Examples, the contractor scrapes your hardwood floor when moving in an appliance who hired him or her to install or the contractor wires something incorrectly and it later causes a house fire. The Workers Compensation coverage provides coverage for an employee’s work-related illness or injury.

Tip #2: Does your contractor provide references? Any reputable contractor should be able to provide multiple references for the same type of project you are looking to hire them for. This should also include photos depending on the type of work you are looking to have performed.

Tip #3: Does your contractor provide a contract? He or she should be willing to put both the scope of the project and bid in writing, if not, walk away!

Tip #4: Does your contractor use sub-contractors? This is common depending on the scope of a project. For example, you may hire a general contractor to oversee the entire project, but he or she may sub out certain work: electrical, framing, etc. It is important that those sub-contractors carry their own insurance.

Tip #5: Permits!!! We can’t emphasize this one enough. We work with a lot of clients who find faulty work down the line that could have been avoided with permits. Permits cost money yes, but the inspection process is meant to protect you from poor workmanship and to ensure everything is built to code!

 

 

 


CSC Homeless Run

Please help us as we support CSC Homeless Run hosted by Robyn McManis.

Christmas Day is one of the happiest days of the year, unless you are homeless, living on the streets of RVA. Every year, CSC family and friends organizes a fundraising event to purchase brand new coats and boots, as well as a meal and hot coffee for area homeless people. Continue reading…

Ways you can help:

Purchase (and drop off at either CSC or our office Knight Magee Insurance):

  • New Winter Coat (no used) in men’s sizes medium, large, extra large or XXLarge. The thicker the better and hoods are nice and warm!
  • New Boots (no used) in men’s sizes 9, 9 1/2, 10, 10 1/2, 11, 11 1/2, 12
  • Make a donation! Donations can be a check or cash that you drop off at CSC. You can also donate via PayPal at carystcafehomelessrun@yahoo.com. 100% of all donations will go towards the purchase of new coats and boots.

Follow the Facebook Page for more information and/or to volunteer!


5 Common (and potentially costly) homeowners mistakes

Category : General

Owning a home is exciting and rewarding, but can also be overwhelming especially as issues pop up. It seems no matter the issue, big or small, time and money are needed to remedy the problem!

It’s common, for neglect to occur, especially if you have been in your home for many years or have a rental property you don’t inspect regularly.

Here are five mistakes we often see homeowners make—and tips from experts to help you avoid them.

  1. Forgetting about (or ignoring) the small stuff. Some examples are a toilet that runs constantly, a crack in a deck board, or even a slow drip from a faucet. These may not seem like big problems, but typically what starts out small can turn into much bigger issues. When you find “small” repairs around your house, address them quickly and you will likely avoid bigger problems down the road.
  2. Not doing regular checks around the house. How often do you inspect your home or have a handy person inspect? Often time’s problems could have been avoided just by occasional inspection. Check your crawlspace from time to time and your attic. Check outside too, make sure the seals around your doors and windows are solid, look for debris or damage to your roof, and look for siding that needs repair or maintenance. Then remedy any issues prior to heavy rain and winter season.
  3. Skipping maintenance on your appliances. Not only does maintenance keep things working effectively and prolong lifespan, but maintenance also can prevent serious risks. Some examples include cleaning your dryer exhaust vent; too much lint build up could cause a fire. Check the hoses around the washing machine, if worn, replace… this could avoid significant water damage. Also be sure to test your smoke and carbon-monoxide detectors.
  4. Neglecting other systems. Have your furnace, heat pump, and/or central AC serviced annually. Be sure to change filters at the appropriate intervals.
  5. Not having a home warranty. Even with the best maintenance efforts, household items still fail and often times will need to be repaired or replaced. These things sometimes just happen and if left unrepaired could lead to further damage, for example a furnace not working in 20 degree temperatures and posing the risk of a frozen/burst pipe. We ask all our clients to consider a home warranty. A home warranty would cover the breakdown of appliances and systems, and potentially save you hundreds of thousands of dollars on repairs or replacements.

Your home is one of the biggest investments you’ll ever make, so it pays to be diligent about caring for it! Call us for a no obligation coverage review (804) 320-0129.


These tips hold water: Helping clients understand water loss avoidance and mitigation

Category : General

Did you know that water damage is one of the most frequently filed losses on homeowners and renters. Safeco is here to help with this Water Prevention Infographic:

Click here to view the Infographic

 

 

 

 


Frequently asked questions during hurricane season:

1. Am I covered for flood?

Flood insurance is separate from your homeowner’s policy. We can quote flood coverage but FEMA requires a 30 day wait between when you take out the policy and when coverage begins. Also in order for the flood policy to provide coverage the following conditions must apply:

    • A general and temporary condition of partial or complete inundation of 2 or more acres of normally dry land area or of 2 or more properties (at least 1 of which is the policyholder’s property) from:
      –Overflow of inland or tidal waters; or
      –Unusual and rapid accumulation or runoff of surface waters from any source; or
      –Mudflow; or
    • Collapse or subsidence of land along the shore of a lake or similar body of water as a result of erosion or undermining caused by waves or currents of water exceeding anticipated cyclical levels that result in a flood as defined above.

2. What is a moratorium and why can’t I change or add coverage to my policy?

An insurance moratorium or binding prohibition simply means an insurance company places a temporary halt on writing new business or raising limits on existing policies for a period of time. This is common with an impending storm.

3. What type of water damage will my homeowners cover?

One example would be water back up and sump pump overflow, but only when the endorsement has been applied to your policy. This endorsement provides coverage when water backs up through or overflows from a sewer, drain, sump, sump pump or any system on the residence premises designated to remove subsurface water from the foundation area. This is a common claim after heavy rainfall.

4. What’s my responsibility if my home has sustained damaged?

Report your claim right away. Make emergency repairs to prevent further damage to your property, but only if you or someone you know is able to do so safely.

5. Do I have a separate deductible for a loss from a Hurricane?

Not necessarily. Some of our costal clients and those who live near major bodies of water may have a separate wind/hail deductible, but for the vast majority of our clients, you typically would have one deductible on your policy and it’s the same for all perils.

These are some of the common questions we’ve encountered with the impending storm, but please do not hesitate to call (804) 320-0129 or email myagent@kmicoverage.com, with any questions or concerns.


Back to School Safety

As kids head back to school, let’s keep them safe

The end of summer means many things, such as cooler weather, shorter days and the start of football here in RVA!

But most important, it means kids are headed back to school. And that means we all should be extra careful on the roads, in school zones and around buses. Remember to watch for bikes, too! Here are some tips for both parents and kids to make sure everyone stays safe.

Use caution on the roads 

  • There are going to be a lot more kids on the sidewalks and streets when school starts, so take it slow and always be aware of your surroundings. That’s good advice for all situations, of course, but be extra cautious around the times when school starts and ends for the day.
  • Watch out for school zones! They’re usually easy to spot, as many have flashing signs indicating a slower speed limit.
  • Remember to follow school-bus rules. You aren’t allowed to pass the bus on either side of the road when the red lights are flashing. Even when the lights stop, make sure the coast is clear before moving on. Kids can move quickly and erratically.
  • Leave yourself extra time to make it to your destination. Whether you’re headed to work or dropping your child off at school, rushing is a recipe for disaster.
  • Be especially careful in school or child-care parking lots and loading zones!

Teach kids to be safe while walking  

Just a few minutes spent explaining some basic safety rules to your child can help keep them safe when they’re walking to or from school. Young children should never cross streets alone, but if your child is old enough to walk with others, remind them to do the following:

  • Always use marked crosswalks when crossing streets and look both ways twice.
  • Do not assume that drivers can see you. Try to make eye contact with them, if possible, when crossing the street.
  • Watch for driveways when walking on the sidewalk.
  • Be aware of cars that are turning or backing up.
  • Never move into the street from behind a car or other obstacle. Don’t chase a ball, pet or anything else into the street.
  • Always use sidewalks and paths. If there is no sidewalk or path, walk facing traffic and as far to the left as possible.

Help them stay safe on their bikes

Just as it’s important to help your children learn safety tips for walking to and from school, it’s important to teach bike safety, especially by setting good examples yourself.

  • Make sure your child wears a properly fitted helmet every time he or she rides a bike.
  • Before the bicycle is ridden, do a quick inspection to ensure it is working properly and reflectors are in place.
  • Show your kids how to ride on the right side of the road with traffic and to stay as far to the right as possible.
  • Encourage your child to walk his or her bike across busy intersections. Or better yet, choose a route without any busy crossroads.
  • Explain to your child why no one should ride on the handlebars.
  • Demonstrate the rules of the road by using proper hand signals and obeying traffic signs when you ride bikes together with your child.
  • Set curfews so your child is not riding a bicycle at dusk or in the dark.
  • Most importantly, supervise your children every time they ride until you are certain they have good judgment.

We know you’re probably familiar with all of these good ideas, but everyone needs reminders. So take it slow, and let’s have a happy and safe school year!


Back to School

Insurance Tips for Back-to-School Time

College is expensive enough without finding out too late that an accident or theft isn’t covered under your current policies. So, as you get your children ready to head off to school in the fall, there’s one vital “to-do” to add to your list (other than writing that tuition check): a review of your insurance coverage.

It’s important to keep in mind that policy language varies from state to state, and there are never “one-size-fits-all” situations, but below is a general guide. If you have questions, or want to go over your insurance needs, don’t hesitate to contact us!

HOMEOWNERS (may vary by state and individual policy)

Coverage of personal property: Most homeowner’s policies provide 10 percent of Coverage C (Personal Property) for property owned by an insured that is at a residence other than the insured’s. For example, if the contents of a policyholder’s home are insured for $100,000, a student’s property up to $10,000 would be covered if living in a dormitory – provided the damage is caused by a covered peril and the student meets the definition of an insured.

For apartments or houses off-campus, the same coverage generally applies. Certain items, such as jewelry or expensive electronics, may require special coverage, or a “rider.” Renters insurance is strongly recommended.

Liability coverage: There usually is exclusion for damage to property rented to an insured, so generally damage to a dorm room or apartment would not be covered, unless the student carriers renters insurance.

Ensuring adequate coverage: Contact us to get specific answers and information about your coverages. Also, it’s a great idea to create an inventory of the items your student is taking to school, as is keeping photos of and receipts for the items.

Renters insurance: If your student’s needs can’t be met under your current policy, don’t forget renters insurance. Landlords’ policies generally only cover the structure, not the possessions of renters.

AUTO (may vary by state)

Coverage without a car at school: If your student will continue to drive while at home on school breaks, they should continue to be listed on your auto policy. If they are attending school more than 100 miles from home, and are not taking a vehicle with them, the policy may qualify for a distant-student discount.

Coverage with a car at school: In most instances, a car registered to parents and listed on their policy will be covered if used by a listed student away at school. But you should make sure that your insurance carrier writes coverage in the college’s state and location. And note that a change to the principal location of the vehicle could result in a change in premium.

Driving a friend’s car at school: Students generally would be covered while driving a friend’s car if the students are listed on their parents’ policy and do not have regular use of the vehicle. The coverage would likely be secondary in this case, as the carrier for the friend’s vehicle likely would be the primary coverage.

Coverage discounts: In addition to the possible distant-student discount mentioned above, students may qualify for a good-student discount. To qualify, most insurance carriers require that a student must be enrolled in at least four courses per term as a full-time student at an accredited college or university and meet certain academic qualifications. Also, drivers under the age of 21 who complete a driver education course may be eligible for a policy discount.

Going away to school is an exciting time for both students and their parents. Making sure you’ve got the right insurance coverage can help you protect your assets as you invest in your child’s future. We’re happy to discuss your coverage and options — just give us a call (804) 320-0129 or stop by!

 


Attention Safeco Customers: File a glass claim online from start to finish

Safeco continues to partner with Safelite Solutions and now they are making it easier than ever to file your claim: You can report an auto glass repair from your computer, tablet or smartphone.

Safelite’s website identifies the work that needs to be done, confirms coverage and gives the ability to schedule an appointment for repair or replacement. You can access the glass claim center through Safeco.com.

Why Safelite Auto Glass?

  • Guaranteed work: All work is backed by Safeco’s Presidents Guarantee, which ensures that all repairs completed through Safelite meet industry professional standards and this guarantee applies as long as you own the vehicle.
  • Value: For customers with comprehensive coverage, Safeco will cover the cost of a windshield repair 100% if the shop can repair, instead of replacing. If the windshield needs to be replaced you are subject to your deductible, *unless you opted to carry full glass under your policy.
  • Quality: All providers who perform the auto glass repairs are trained professionals who meet or exceed industry professional standards.
  • Convenience: Work can be performed at your home or your office at no additional cost. Customers are never left waiting and are kept in the know with OMW (On My Way) texts.
  • Speed: Safeco customers receive high priority at the shops in the Safeco network, so this means a repair or replacement is scheduled quickly.

Not sure if you have full glass coverage under your policy? Give us a call for a policy review. (804) 320-0129


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