Category Archives: Helpful Hints

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!


Heavy rain? Be on the look out for heavy damage!

Category : Helpful Hints , Product

Your home protects you from the elements, but heavy rains can weaken that protection. With a little maintenance and a lot of vigilance, it’s not hard to stay safe and dry.

Spring rainstorms are a fact of life in many areas of the country, and they help keep things green, even if they keep you inside. But when they get heavy, it’s time to start thinking about the potential impact all that water has on your home. The first step is finding and fixing any immediate problems as soon as it’s safe to do so. Then, you’ll want to take measures to prevent those problems from happening during the next downpour!

Where is all that rain going?
Your roof and gutters form a key line of defense for your home – and in a storm, they’re vulnerable, because so many things can damage them. Trees, hail, and other objects can create weaknesses that might lead to leaks in your roof, so check for missing shingles and other issues. And keep your gutters clear so all that water drains properly.

Are you checking everywhere?
Water dripping from the ceiling is hard to miss. Water in your crawl space, however, can easily go undetected because hardly anyone ever checks there. Don’t forget to look down there after a storm (or have a professional do it) to make sure everything is nice and dry. If you do see moisture, you’ll want to get it out with a sump pump as soon as possible.

And don’t just look up – another place to check is your home’s exterior, whether it’s siding, brick, or another material. Weak spots can be hard to see, so look at various times of the day in different lighting conditions.

Of course, you’ll want to make sure your doors and windows are properly sealed to keep the elements out, too.

What about around your property?
Storm water has to go somewhere, and if your property doesn’t drain well, or if runoff goes toward your foundation, you could have problems. So watch for patterns, and grade property so it drains away from your home if possible. Always be wary of hillsides and tilting trees after heavy storms, because the land might not be stable.

And don’t forget to keep storm drains clear of leaves and other debris. This can prevent flooding both on the streets and your own property.

What should you do during the storm?
During powerful storms, stay inside. This is not the time to check your roof, your exterior, or your property unless there’s an emergency and you know it’s safe to go out. Monitor your interior, making sure no water is getting in. If it is, do what you can to alleviate the situation in the moment, even if it means just placing something under a leak to collect the water. For more serious problems, though, remember that safety is the most important thing. If your basement is flooding, for example, don’t go down there – you could be trapped and even drown.


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


Auto Insurance Rates Cont…

Auto insurance rates are rising at the fastest rate in over a decade.

Here’s why:

There are many factors (out of your control) impacting insurance premiums. It’s important to understand that insurance companies base their annual premium rates on a number of factors and these factors are heavily regulated by federal and state laws, all of which are strictly enforced.

  1. Financial Stability: On a quarterly basis your insurer must prove that they are solvent. This means having assets in excess of liabilities. Many insurance companies are experiencing the effects of external environment and market factors that are driving up costs.
  2. Accidents: Even if you have had no accidents, the companies’ total accidents for the prior year will directly impact premiums for everyone. Inclement weather, heavy seasonal travel, and/or large construction projects have all been known to increase losses for a particular year. For example, lower gas prices might mean more families opt to drive to their vacation destination vs. flying. More drivers on the road = more frequency of accidents.
  3. Cost of repairs: With newer technology come higher repairs costs. Years ago a minor fender bender may have meant a new bumper cover and paint, today we have cars with back up cameras and other technology which are driving up the cost and time for repairs. Repairs are more common than total replacement of vehicles. This particular statistic can have substantial impacts on the auto insurance industry. Also, rising healthcare costs has driven up personal injury claims.

Insurance is designed to spread the risk across large numbers of people. By law, insurance premiums must be applied to an entire class of people, not an individual. It’s important to understand that insurance is a business and like any business some years are better than others. You can have one company file a 9% increase and another 2% and it’s all based on a multitude of factors from the prior year. This is why working with an independent agent is so valuable. At Knight Magee Insurance, we represent multiple insurance companies, we track market conditions, new programs and discounts and work with our clients to ensure you have the best coverage, but also the best rates. Contact us at Knight Magee Insurance for a no obligation insurance review.


Car Insurance Rates

There’s no one price fits all scenario when it comes to insurance. Here are some factors to consider that may impact your auto premiums:

  1. Previous coverage: Those who have had a lapse in insurance or a gap in coverage and/or carry state minimum liability limits tend to pay more for car insurance.
  2. Credit history: According to research a higher credit-based insurance score typically means you are less likely to file a claim, so as a result more favorable premiums are offered to those with higher scores.
  3. Your home: Where you live and whether you rent or own your home can impact your premiums. For example cities, tend to have more traffic and street parking and as a result are more susceptible to losses and therefore may pay a higher premium than those who live in less densely populated areas.
  4. Your vehicle use: The more time you spend on the road, the higher the chance of something happening. If you have a long commute your rates may be higher than someone who works from home and qualifies for a low mileage credit.
  5. Vehicle symbol: Vehicle symbols are determined by safety ratings, cost of parts and labor, and the likelihood of theft and/or break in. The higher the symbol the more costly to insure.
  6. Marital status: Believe it or not, those that are married are proven to have fewer auto accidents than non-married drivers. As a result more favorable rating is offered to married drivers vs. single drivers.
  7. Age: Younger inexperienced drivers tend to pay more, so qualifying for a good student discount and/or taking a driver improvement course might help offset the dreaded “youthful” surcharge.
  8. Deductible: Often, the higher your deductible, the lower your premium. We recommend that clients only carry the highest deductible they can manage at the time of a loss. Don’t forget you have to pay that deductible out of your own pocket in the event of a covered loss.
  9. Driving history: If you’ve ever been in accident or received a ticket, then I’m almost certain you experienced an impact to your insurance premium. Watching the speed limit and not driving distracted are two ways to stay safe but also reduce premiums with a clean driving record.

Car insurance costs can vary greatly form driver to driver, carrier to carrier and even state to state, which is why an independent agent, with multiple markets is invaluable. If you want to better understand how your policy was rated or are interested in a no-obligation review, contact us at Knight Magee Insurance.

*Look out for our next blog where we will address how car insurance companies base annual premium rates on a number of “other” factors, all of which are out of your control.

 


It’s Boating Season

It’s Boating Season

Every summer, our team gets calls from customers after a fun weekend on the water takes a turn for the worse. Often, these accidents could have been prevented with just a few simple precautions. Here are a few tips we like – courtesy of our partners at Safeco.

Don’t let an accident wreck your fun!

Life Preservers Aren’t Just for Kids. It’s not enough to just have life jackets on board — wear them! In an accident, people rarely have time to reach for a life jacket. This rule applies to adults, not just children: More people in their 30s die in boating accidents than any other age group. Life vests have come a long way in style. Today, you can even get vests for your water-loving dog!

Watch the Back of the Boat. Carbon monoxide kills in minutes. So tell your passengers where your exhaust pipes are located and turn off your engine when people are in the water, and don’t let passengers “ski” or “teak-surf” by holding on to the back of the boat. Both Washington and Oregon made teak-surfing illegal in the last few years, after several tragic deaths. Carbon monoxide detectors are standard on most new boats; older boats install devices for less than $100!

Alcohol and Boating Don’t Mix. More than 50 percent of drowning’s result from boating incidents involving alcohol. You don’t drink and drive, so don’t boat and drive.

Boats Need TLC Too. When you’re out on the water, make sure your gas tanks are vented and bilges are free of vapors, oil, waste and grease. Carry a charged fire extinguisher. Have your boat’s operating systems checked yearly by a certified marine technician. The Coast Guard Auxiliary and United States Power Squadrons also offer free vessel safety checks.

Experience Counts! The U.S. Coast Guard says that operator errors account for 70 percent of all boating accidents. Make sure anyone who drives your boat is properly trained. You can also earn boat insurance discounts from Safeco and other insurers if you complete a safety course with the Coast Guard Auxiliary or U.S. Power Squadrons.

Sites for Information:

Coast Guard: www.uscgboating.org

Coast Guard Auxiliary: nws.cgaux.org/

Safeco tips: www.safeco.com/insurance-101/consumer-tips/your-boat

*Most home insurance policies have limited coverage for boats. If you own a boat, watercraft insurance is your best bet: It covers theft, damage, and injuries or accidents while you’re on the water, as well as some of your expensive watersports gear.

We have a variety of boat insurance options. Give us a call at (804) 320-0129 or email myagent@kmicoverage.com


Stress Awareness Month

Relax! April is Stress Awareness Month

Believe it or not, the average stress level of Americans has dropped since 2007, according to the American Psychological Association (APA).

But, we here at Knight Magee Insurance understand if you don’t exactly feel that way.

Even though things have improved, the APA’s most recent Stress in America™ survey indicates that Americans are still living with stress levels higher than what’s considered healthy. And nearly one-quarter of respondents say they aren’t doing enough to manage it.

It’s a good thing, then, that Stress Awareness Month is here. Held every April since 1992 and sponsored by the nonprofit Health Resource Network, Stress Awareness Month is a “national, cooperative effort to inform people about the dangers of stress, successful coping strategies and harmful misconceptions about stress that are prevalent in our society.”

Stress management doesn’t just help you feel calmer and more focused. It’s important to your overall health. Constant exposure to stress can trigger your brain’s alarm system to remain in alert mode, flooding your system with the hormones you need to take flight or fight when facing danger, according to the Mayo Clinic. This causes more stress in and of itself. And, all that stress can cause problems with your health, your relationships and your overall quality of life.

So, reducing your stress is well worth your while, and, if you don’t know where to start, we’re here to help. These tips from the Mayo Clinic and WebMD will get you headed in the right direction:

  • Make stress management a goal — and make a commitment to that goal. Simply saying, “I want to reduce stress” isn’t enough. You’ve got to learn to identify problems and implement solutions, which takes work.
  • Identify your triggers. What situations cause you to experience stress? Work? Relationships? Thinking about money? Don’t overlook everyday tasks, such as commuting, or even positive events, such as starting a new job.
  • Consider strategies to deal with those specific triggers. For example, creating a budget plan or talking to a financial adviser could help ease your worries about finances. Changing your hours at work could potentially improve your commute.
  • Practice relaxation techniques and live a healthy lifestyle. Here are just a few tools that people use to help alleviate stress:
  • Deep breathing, yoga or tai chi
  • Meditation and guided imagery — imagining yourself in a place of relaxation
  • Writing or talking to someone about your feelings
  • Exercise (even simple stretching or housework) and outdoor recreation
  • Art and other creative projects
  • Ask for help. Many people you know have probably experienced similar stresses to your own. Find out how they have solved problems and relieved stress. And, if they are still having trouble, you can work on managing issues together. 

April in RVA is a great time to try to reduce stress and live a healthier life. So, what are you waiting for? At the end of the month, see how you feel. Keep doing the things that worked for you; stop doing the things that didn’t.

Remember, when you make stress management a bigger part of your life, you leave less room for the stress itself.


Earth Day

Take part in an Earth Day event — or celebrate in your own way 

People are thinking more and more about the environment — whether it’s something that affects the quality of life here in RVA or global issues such as climate change and extreme weather.

But more importantly, people aren’t content with simply thinking about these things any more. They’re focused on taking action.

Earth Day, which is celebrated April 22, is the perfect time to take action, whether you are looking to take part in a community event or organize your own. Here are some tips to help you get involved — and think about our planet Earth all through the year.

Find an event

It’s easy to find Earth Day events, whether you live in the city or a surrounding county. City and town Facebook pages are a great place to start, along with the websites of local environmental organizations. Newspapers, radio and TV often publicize events as well.

The Environmental Protection Agency website lists major Earth Day activities at: https://www.epa.gov/earthday/index.html.

What can I do?

There are all kinds of Earth Day activities, even some you can easily complete by yourself or with your family. Examples include:

  • Planting trees
  • Cleaning up litter from a natural area or park
  • Adopting a road for litter control
  • Talking about Earth Day and helping to educate others
  • Using alternate transportation, instead of taking your car
  • Holding a garage sale or clothing swap, rather than throwing out unwanted items
  • Learning more about actions you can take to reduce your environmental impact

What if I want to organize an event?

Hosting an event doesn’t have to be a Herculean task, particularly if you keep it small. Any of the ideas above could be turned into your own event — just get the word out via social media, friends and family or even local print and broadcast media. But if you do want to organize a full-scale event, go for it!

Make it more than a day

Of course, one of the best ways to have an impact is to make every day your own Earth Day. You can take part in earth-friendly activities at any time! So in addition to celebrating once a year, make this April 22 just the beginning of something special. Whether you find an event or create your own, the important thing is getting involved!

 


Spring Home Maintenance

Spring Maintenance for Your Home 

When springtime rolls around in RVA, almost everyone thinks of cleaning. That’s fine (we probably all need to do a little more of that, after all), but there’s something even more important to keep in mind: home maintenance.

So, when it’s time to set your clocks ahead for daylight-saving time and change the batteries in your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, give your home a checkup, too. Here are some suggestions from the Department of Housing and Urban Development:

Interior and appliances

  • Check the basement and/or crawlspace for any signs of standing water or dripping.
  • Pull your dryer out and clean the exhaust hose and vent (lint found here is a common cause of house fires).
  • Vacuum refrigerator/freezer coils for efficiency.
  • Clean exhaust fan outlets and screens.
  • Check all air filters and replace, if necessary.

 

 Roof, siding, windows

  • Check for damage to your roof and have a professional inspection, if necessary.
  • Go into the attic. If there is visible moisture or discoloration, your roof might be leaking.
  • Examine the paint on your siding and trim. If it is peeling, you might need new paint to protect against the effects of weather.
  • Check for leaks around window and door sills. Improving your seals can lower your energy bills.

 

Yard and exterior

  • Check for signs of rodents and other pests.
  • Clean debris from gutters and downspouts, and make sure they are draining away from the home.
  • Trim overhanging tree branches and shrubs.

Remember, winter weather can cause significant damage that is easy to spot, but it often results in wear and tear that homeowners can miss if they aren’t looking closely. It’s well worth it to spend a little time on home maintenance this spring, so that wear and tear doesn’t turn into something more serious.

For further questions and assistance, please contact Knight Magee Insurance at (804) 320-0129 or myagent@kmicoverage.com

 

 

 


Spring Break

Taking a spring break? Keep your home safe while you’re away!

For many, the winter months are a welcome time to escape the short days and chilly temperatures by heading on vacation. And is there a better way to celebrate the end of winter than to take a spring break? We visited Cape Charles last year for the first time and are really excited to go back for part of Spring Break.

Whether you’re going to hang out locally in RVA, bask on a sunny, white-sand beach in the Caribbean or hit the slopes for some skiing or snowboarding, you have to take precautions to ensure your home stays safe while you’re away. After all, what could be worse than returning from a relaxing break or an active adventure to find a disaster has occurred, such as a break-in, or water or fire damage?

To ensure your vacation doesn’t end in tragedy, follow these tips before you go.

  • Check for any leaks and fix them. For example, ensure your refrigerator ice maker is not leaking!
  • Set your heater at approximately 50 degrees to ensure pipes and appliances don’t freeze. But if you have pets and they are going to be in the house, set it closer to 72 degrees.
  • If you have pets, make arrangements for their comfort and safety: either board them or have a friend come over daily to care for them.
  • Turn furnace and hot water heaters down.
  • Unplug all appliances, such as coffee makers, toasters and exercise equipment.
  • Leave a light or two on so the house doesn’t appear deserted at night.
  • Lower blinds and close curtains so that passers-by can’t view your valuables.
  • Leave a key with a trusted friend or neighbor so they can enter the home in case of emergency.
  • Have a friend or neighbor bring in newspapers and mail or cancel delivery for both during the time when you’ll be away.

If you have the opportunity to get away the Spring Break, we wish you happy trails, and hope you come home to a safe and welcoming home!

Contact Us! 

At Knight Magee Insurance, we can work with you to make sure you’ve got the coverage you need, while at the same time using all possible credits and discounts to make that coverage affordable. Just give us a call at 804-320-0129 or send us a note at myagent@kmicoverage.com. We want to help you meet your goals, and make sure what’s important to you is protected!

Here’s what customers are saying about Knight Magee Insurance

“KMI Solutions is the BEST! Above and beyond service!!”

KMI Insurance is top notch! I recently acquired both a homeowners and car policy through them. Besides the fact that I was able to secure great quotes, they went above and beyond to make sure that I understood all the details about my policies and answered all of my questions very clearly. When the day comes that I need to use my insurance, I feel confident that I choose a wonderful company to work with. I will always have them as a resource and would highly recommend them to everyone!”

“Knight Magee Insurance is hands down the best insurance company I have ever worked with in many years.”

“Saved us money but exceeded any other customer service I’ve received with another l agency. Sierra and Kate and wonderful.”

 


Spring Cleaning Tips

Spring cleaning tips from Knight Magee Insurance

I know most of us are experiencing whiplash here in RVA. Is it spring, winter or something in-between? That hasn’t stopped us at Knight Magee Insurance from starting spring cleaning. We recently underwent renovations to expand the front reception area and also have our friend Pavel replicating our logo to be displayed on the back wall!

Of course, because spring is a time for new beginnings, cleaning and organization around the house are very popular this time of year. If you’re ready to tackle that monumental chore, read on for some helpful information. (And if you’re so tidy and organized throughout the year that spring cleaning isn’t a big chore for you, well, keep that to yourself! Unless you want your friends and neighbors to be jealous, that is.)

Take it one room at a time. Deciding to clean or organize your entire home can quickly get overwhelming. If you focus on just one area or room, then move to another only when you’re finished, you’ll likely work more efficiently.

Follow the six-month rule. Generally, if you haven’t used something in six months (with the exception of seasonal items), it’s a good idea to consider throwing it away or donating it.

Don’t forget the kitchen. Just like other rooms, your kitchen likely has things that haven’t been used in some time — and this includes food in the refrigerator or freezer. Give those appliances a thorough cleaning and get rid of anything you won’t be eating.

Set yourself up for success. Paper clutter is something we all could probably cut back on pretty easily. Setting up a few recycling bins throughout the house gives you a convenient alternative to just setting that old magazine or paperwork down somewhere and watching the pile grow.

Make some money! Of course, the spring cleaning garage sale is a tradition for many homeowners, and can be a great way to bring in some extra income. Talk about a win-win situation — you get rid of stuff you don’t need, and someone pays you for it!

Stay safe. When you’re cleaning or maintaining your home, be mindful of the physical risks involved. Lift with your leg muscles, not your back. Avoid prolonged repetitive motions. Use ladders, lawnmowers and other dangerous tools with caution.

Contact Us! 

For further questions and assistance, please contact Knight Magee Insurance at (804) 320-0129 or myagent@kmicoverage.com


Our new client portal

Category : General , Helpful Hints , KMI , Website

We are excited to now offer a Client Portal, all you need is the email address we have on file for you and you can access all your policy coverage information and documents in one place.

  • Access from a mobile device and desktop
  • Logins are verified and unique each time
  • 24/7 access to your policy documents
  • Submit policy change request
  • Easy two-way document sharing
  • Secure

Watch the video below to learn more.


Avoid Frozen Pipes in Extremely Cold Temperatures

Category : Helpful Hints

Street scene in winter

There’s no denying that winter is in full swing, and it is icy cold outside. When it’s this cold outside, the water in our home’s pipes can freeze and burst—leaving you with a costly mess.

Here are some quick tips to ensure that your water stays flowing through the frigid temperatures:

  • Wrap up any outside faucets
  • Make sure that there is caulk around the pipes where they enter the house
  • Disconnect any garden hoses
  • Drain any in-ground sprinkler systems—but make sure to check the manufacturer’s instructions for how to do this best
  • Inside, let your faucets run at a little stream if the temperature gets below freezing, especially overnight
  • Open up cupboard doors in the kitchen and bathrooms
  • Shut off and drain your water if you are going to be leaving your home for several days

Homeowners insurance may be able to cover after a burst pipe, but it is essential that you have done everything you can to prevent loss.


 A Homeowner’s Policy Doesn’t Cover Flood Loss

 “Your homeowner’s policy does NOT cover loss due to flood from any source.”

Many people aren’t aware that their homeowners insurance excludes flood and earthquake coverage. Earthquake coverage can typically be added with a simple endorsement, but flood insurance requires a separate policy entirely.

The Definition of a Flood

Before purchasing a flood insurance policy, it’s important to understand what is considered a flood.

A flood is “a general and temporary condition of partial or complete inundation of two or more acres of normally dry land area, or of two or more properties (at least one of which is the policyholder's property).”1

Flood insurance kicks in when the following conditions are met:

  • Overflow of inland or tidal waters
  • Unusual and rapid accumulation or runoff of surface waters from any source
  • Mudflow
  • 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

When to Purchase Flood Insurance

We realize that not everyone feels the need to carry flood or earthquake insurance, but we do want you to be well informed.

We can’t predict when that 100-year storm will hit, but we can provide clients with the accurate information they need to make the best decision for their family.

Find out what flood zone you live in.

You’ve discovered your flood zone, now what?

Go online and search your zone in your favorite search engine. Let’s say your flood zone is Zone X. These are areas determined to fall between the 100-year and 500-year floodplain and are areas of moderate or minimal hazard from flood.

See how your home would have stood up to Hurricane Harvey.

The Cost of Flood Insurance

On average a low risk flood zone might cost $400-$500 a year to insure and is a small price to pay for peace of mind. Flooding can occur at any time and isn’t always from a tidal surge and more often than not low risk areas may be affected when catastrophic storm hits.

If you are interested in discussing if flood insurance is right for you or you need help in securing a quote, please give us a call at 804.320.0129.

 

1 https://www.insure.com/flood-insurance/who-needs-flood-insurance.html


Do You Have Enough Coverage to Rebuild Your Home?

Selecting the proper amount of coverage is the single most important decision you can make with your Homeowners policy. Without it, you may not have enough coverage to rebuild after a total loss.

This is called “insurance to value.” Below are some explanations and tips to help you make the right choices for your needs — and remember, if you need help, we’re just a phone call away!

 

What is insurance to value?

Insurance to value is the relationship between the amount of coverage selected (typically listed as “Coverage A” or “Dwelling Coverage” on your policy declarations page) and the amount required to rebuild your home. Insuring your home for anything less than 100% insurance to value could mean you wouldn’t have enough coverage to replace your home in the event of a total loss.

 

Why is the cost to rebuild different from the market value?

A home’s market value reflects current economic conditions, taxes, school districts, the value of the land and location, and other factors unrelated to construction cost. The cost to rebuild your home is based only on the cost of materials and labor in your area. It is important that you insure your home based on its reconstruction cost, NOT its current market value.

 

Why is reconstruction more expensive than new construction?

New-home builders typically build many homes at once, and solicit bids from various sub-contractors to receive the best pricing. Their business model is based on economies of scale. For example, they may purchase 20 bathtubs at once, securing a lower unit cost. These economies of scale don’t exist when building a single home.


Summers mean backyard grilling – safely!

Grill Flames

Just like hamburgers and hot dogs, a sizzling grill is a symbol of summer and grilling isn’t just about great food. Backyard barbecues often create treasured memories with friends and family.

Keep in mind, however, that when you grill, you’re literally playing with fire. Thousands of residents each year learn this the hard way, suffering damage to their homes or even serious injuries in grilling accidents.

There’s good news, though: You can prevent grilling accidents by taking some simple precautions. The tips below can help ensure you cook only your burgers — and not your house — the next time you fire up the grill.

TIPS FOR ALL GRILLS
  • Your grill, whether gas or charcoal, should be on a level surface outdoors, away from anything that could be ignited by flames (bushes, fences, etc.).
  • NEVER use a grill indoors. Odorless carbon monoxide fumes could kill you.
  • Keep your grill clean and well-maintained. Check parts regularly to determine if replacements are needed.
  • Never leave a hot grill unattended or let children play near it.
CHARCOAL GRILL TIPS (From Kingsford.com)
  • Do not add lighter fluid directly to hot coals. The flame could travel up the stream of fluid and burn you.
  • Never use gasoline or kerosene to light a charcoal fire.
  • Use flame-retardant mitts and long-handled barbecue tongs, as coals can reach up to 1,000 degrees.
  • To dispose of coals, allow the ashes to cool for at least 48 hours before disposal in a non-combustible container. If you cannot wait 48 hours, carefully place coals individually in a can of sand or bucket of water.
GAS GRILL TIPS (From the National Fire Protection Association)
  • Check your grill’s hoses for leaks before using it for the first time each year. Apply a light soap and water solution to the hose. A propane leak will release bubbles. If you have a leak, and it will not stop after the grill and gas is turned off, call the fire department. If the leak stops when the grill and gas are turned off, have your grill serviced by a professional.
    If you smell gas while cooking, immediately get away from the grill and call the fire department. Do not move the grill.
  • Do not keep a filled propane tank in a hot car or trunk. When getting containers refilled, make that your last stop before going home.
  • Store propane tanks in an upright position, and never indoors.

From all of us at Knight Magee Insurance, happy grilling, and stay safe this summer!


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