Category Archives: Helpful Hints

Solar Panels

Solar Panels

What to Know Before You Go Solar
Solar panels can be economically and environmentally sound, and they’re more accessible than ever. According to one research firm, U.S. homes and businesses installed a new system every four minutes in 2013.

But, is solar power right for you here in RVA? To help you address the question, here are five things to think about before making the switch:

  1. The different options for installing a solar system. Oftentimes you don’t have to foot the full cost of going solar yourself. Instead, you may be able to lease a system from a company that installs and maintains it, or enter into an agreement where a third party actually owns the system and bills you (likely at a reduced rate) for electricity. Just keep in mind that installing and owning your own system may provide the best long-term return, and tax credits or rebates may help to lower upfront costs.

  2. Your current energy costs — and your future needs. Depending on your situation, you could have relatively low energy bills now and not be as motivated to pursue solar as someone with higher costs. But what does the future look like? If your family is growing, your energy costs are probably about to grow, too, and investing in solar might be worth your while.

  3. The power a system would generate. Have a reputable solar company measure the amount of sun your home gets, taking into account things such as shade, trees, etc., so you can make an informed decision about expected savings.

  4. What your homeowners policy says. With any improvement that increases the value of your home, you need to make sure your insurance policy reflects the change. Give us a call to see if your policy already covers solar panels. If it doesn’t, we can help you amend it.

  5. Your goals. Are you mainly looking to save money? Help the environment? Both? Knowing your goals will help you determine whether solar is the right choice for you, as well as which option makes the most sense. No matter what you choose, even considering solar means you’re thinking about energy a little differently. And that’s a good thing.


Renewable power – it can help protect your from rising energy costs and even power outages, not to mention the good it does for the environment. Just be sure to consider your options and all the costs involved before making the leap. Give us a call to learn more 804-320-0129 or email smagee@kmicoverage.com.


Increased Driving Costs

Increased Driving Costs

Recent Trends Boost Costs for RVA Drivers

Does it seem like driving has become more expensive in RVA in recent years? It likely has. Since 2014, the U.S. has seen more new cars on the road, and those cars are driving more miles than in years past. The severity of traffic-related accidents has grown worse, and insurance claims for bodily injury have become more expensive. Together, these factors are increasing the cost of driving for just about every car owner.

More new cars: New car sales hit a new record in 2015, just under 17.5 million vehicles sold, up 5.7 percent from 2014, according to PricewaterhouseCoopers. That’s good for the economy. And, the safety, technology and convenience features that get better every year are good for drivers. Still, new cars can be more expensive to repair or replace, and all that technology doesn’t come cheap. So, the cost of accident repairs is also increasing.

More miles driven: Encouraged by greater employment and lower gas prices, those new cars, along with the older ones, are driving more miles. Whether commuters driving in to RVA each day, or families making the trip to the beach or mountains, U.S. drivers drove 3.1 trillion miles in 2015, according to the Federal Highway Administration. That’s another record, and it’s also highest number of miles driven since Americans logged 3 trillion miles in 2007, just before the recession. Of course, the more miles driven, the greater the potential for accidents and the need for repairs.

Traffic deaths increase: Any traffic fatality is one too many, but the U.S. registered a 7.2 percent increase in annual traffic-related deaths from 2014 to 2015. It was the largest increase since 1966. Half of those who died were not wearing seat belts, a third of the deaths were due to drunk drivers or speeding and at least one in 10 involved distraction. It’s also worth noting that fatalities for pedestrians, bicyclists and motorcyclists increased more in 2015 than those for auto drivers and passengers. It’s a heartbreaking trend that’s both dangerous and costly.

Medical costs rising: From 2005 to 2013, the average cost for a bodily injury liability claim rose 32.1 percent, according to the Insurance Research Council. These increasing costs have been attributed to a number of factors, including the rising severity of accidents, and the rising cost of medical care. And, they come at a time when the frequency of such claims has been declining.

Distracted driving: Although using a mobile phone while driving is restricted, if not prohibited, in many states, cell phones and texting continue to be a serious cause of accidents. We don’t know just how serious this problem is, because accident reports often don’t mention if mobile phone use was a contributing factor.

But, cell phones have brought greater awareness to the larger category termed “distracted driving,” activities that take the driver’s attention away from the road. Distracted driving means using a cell phone or texting while operating a car, but can also refer to eating while driving, operating your car’s navigation system and conversing with passengers. 

The AAA Foundation points to federal estimates that distracted driving contributes to 16 percent of the nation’s fatal crashes, about 5,000 deaths annually.

All of these rising costs and dangers impact another area of driving, too – auto insurance costs. You might see it reflected in your own premium bill, and be tempted to reduce your costs by reducing your insurance coverage. But, at a time when the risk of costly accidents is rising, it may not be wise to save money by undercutting your protection against financial loss

As an independent insurance agency, KNIGHT MAGEE INSURANCE is dedicated to helping you reduce your insurance costs without sacrificing the protection that gives you a feeling of security. We know where to find discounts that can benefit you. That could mean a better rate for cars with safety equipment such as anti-lock brakes (ABS) or anti-theft devices, or discounts for families who put less mileage on their vehicles or insure more than one car on the same policy. At Knight Magee Insurance we can help you save money without sacrificing your security. Call us today 804-320-0129 or email myagent@kmicovergae.com          


Tree Maintenance

Tree Maintenance

Category : General , Helpful Hints

5 Tips to Help Prevent Tree Trouble

Trees are pretty amazing things. They produce oxygen. They serve as natural air conditioners, both by blocking sunlight and through evaporation. And they even absorb sounds, helping to keep things peaceful.

These benefits, along with countless others, are great reasons to keep the trees on your RVA property in good shape. Looking for another? Unhealthy trees can actually pose great danger to your home and property, as well as to your family and other people.

With these tips from the National Arbor Day Foundation, you can help prevent tree trouble – and potentially save yourself from a home insurance claim:

  1. Inspect trees frequently. The size, color and condition of leaves, and overall leaf cover, are good indicators of a tree’s health. Cavities or disfiguration can be a warning sign, although they don’t always mean a tree is a hazard. Just keep a close eye on it. Dead branches are a big risk, because they can fall easily. Those that cross or rub can create weak spots.

  2. Plant in an appropriate space. Putting in a tree that will grow to be large? Don’t put it near power or sewer lines, or close to your home. And avoid brittle trees – their limbs are weak and more likely to break and fall. Examples include Silver Maples and Willows.

  3. Prune correctly. Cut outside the branch collar, and prune regularly as trees age. Don’t allow a tree to be topped.

  4. Leave it to an expert. Once a year, have a qualified arborist thoroughly evaluate the trees on your property. An arborist can identify ones that need to come down immediately, as well as those to watch. In particular, trees that have been topped, or that have lost large limbs unexpectedly, could cause trouble. Taking down trees can be very dangerous, so leave it to a professional.

  5. Remember, you’re responsible. Property owners are generally responsible when their hazardous trees cause damage or injury to others. So keep your trees healthy, your space beautiful and your liability low!

When a tree does fall, you may or may not have coverage through your homeowners policy for any damage it may cause. If you’d like to discuss your coverage, please give us a call today. It may be a good time to think about adding extra liability coverage to your insurance portfolio with an umbrella policy. Give us a call at 804-320-0129 or email myagent@kmicoverage.com.


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