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7 Ways to pay less for car insurance in Philadelphia

by Anita on December 19, 2014

Most people love a good deal or a sale.  They get excited when they have a great coupon for something they actually need.  And we love friends and family discounts.   So what is the key to saving money on car insurance?  It’s not as complicated as you may think.  Here are 7 ways we have found that save our customers money on their car insurance policies in Philadelphia.

  1. Get quotes from an Independent agent.  Independent agents have access to many companies.  They don’t write policies for just one company so their loyalty is to you, the customer.  If your rate goes up or your needs change they can easily shop around for another insurance company.  When you go with an Independent agent you are able to build a relationship.  If you jump from one company to another, a new agent will not know you well enough to point out coverage or changes you may need.
  2. Be aware of the many discounts that are available to you. Different companies offer different discounts.  Here are some of the discounts that are out there.  Occupation & education, New car, multi policy, low mileage, good student, student away at school, safe driver, driver training, AARP defensive driving, accident forgiveness, paid in full, paperless and  hybrid vehicle discount.
  3. Choose higher liability limits. Yes I said higher.  If you go with state minimums you may pay more in the long run.
  4. Shop around. Insurance companies are not one size fits all.  What may have been a good company for you 10 years ago….may not be good for your present situation.  In today’s day there is no real reward for loyalty.  Your car insurance does not go down simply because you have had the same policy for many years.
  5. When purchasing a new or used car call an agent to get a general idea of what the insurance will cost. Many new car buyers will simply buy the car to then find out the insurance is so high that there is no way they will be able to afford both a car payment and their car insurance payment.
  6. Be an educated consumer. Do your research.  Find an agent that is a member of the Better Business Bureau and is a Trusted Choice Agent.   If you choose the right agent they will guide you through purchasing car insurance.
  7. Don’t let your insurance go out of force or have a lapse. Make your payments on time to ensure consistent coverage.

 

 

If you take the time to do your research, ask questions and take your agents advice you can save hundreds of dollars a year on car insurance in Philadelphia.  Make paying less for your car insurance in 2015 at the top of your to do list.

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Anita7 Ways to pay less for car insurance in Philadelphia

Holiday Decorating

by Anita on December 5, 2014

If you are an avid holiday decorator, your decorations have been up since the day after Thanksgiving. So this will serve as a follow up checklist for you. Any time you are dealing with lights, wires, candles, live trees etc… you need to take precautions.

We all remember the scene in National Lampoon’s Christmas vacation where the cat chewed on the Christmas lights and the whole tree went up in smoke. When dealing with live trees take all necessary precautions. When purchasing a live tree be realistic.  Don’t get a tree that you’ll need three grown men to carry in.  Make sure you anchor the tree so it doesn’t tip over causing damage or injury to guests.  Keep the tree watered.  If you have pets that show interest in the tree, ornaments or lights keep an eye on them.  If you have small children it may be a good idea to put up an artificial tree as they are less likely to tip over.

When placing lights around the tree and in and around your home inspect them first.  You need to look for wear and tear.  How are the bulbs? Is the wire starting to fray? It is also important to use indoor lights indoor and outdoor lights outdoor.  If you are using extension cords don’t cut corners.  If you have illuminated the outside of your home, get outdoor extension cords.  They are made to withstand rain, snow and outdoor weather conditions.

Are you planning on decorating your mantle with candles?  Use flameless candles.  These candles produce the same effect and are safer.  When you mix garland with real candles there is potential for a fire.  If you will be lighting a menorah this holiday season extinguish the flame upon leaving the room.

This is the time of year for mistletoe and holly as well as poinsettias.  If you have pets it’s not a good idea to decorate your home with these live plants.  They can be poisonous to your pets.  You can substitute by using artificial plants.  Many artificial plants are of good quality and look very real.

When the decorating is complete, look around your home to ensure everything is secure.  If you plan on having guests over during the holidays you would want to prevent any injuries.  Prior to decorating the outside clean out your gutter of all leaves.  If you are placing blow up items on your lawn take care to secure those as well.

One of the most important things to remember this holiday season is to turn off the lights at night and when you leave the house.  Safety is more important than impressing the neighbors and passers by with your beautiful light display.

Enjoy the beauty of this holiday season.

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AnitaHoliday Decorating

Early cold winter blast

by Anita on November 21, 2014

Last year we had snow before Christmas. This year we had snow before Thanksgiving in some parts of the country. Many of us dug out our coats and put the heat on due to the unseasonably cold, cold weather this early in the season. But what about rental properties and secondary residences? Hopefully if you own those you made sure to put the heat on there as well. Some nights the temperatures went down to 22 degrees. It is so very important to maintain appropriate temps in all of your homes. Frozen pipes can cause thousands of dollars in damage to a home. You are responsible to maintain heat in all of the properties you own.  Many of the new security systems include thermostat control which can be operated remotely. This is a great option for people who could not get to a second home relatively quickly.  Check that your pilot light is lit, change the filter in the heating unit and schedule a yearly maintenance call to ensure proper operation. The temperatures will creep back up into the 60′s this week, but now is a great time to think about winterizing your home.

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AnitaEarly cold winter blast

Halloween Safety tips

by Anita on October 28, 2014

There are only 57 more shopping days until Christmas!! But first Halloween is only 3 days away. If you haven’t gotten a costume time is running out. Whether your plan is to be a Witch, Cat, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle , Harry Potter, Fairy Godmother or a little pumpkin, safety is always a top priority. Halloween and Mischief night are times to be aware.  Unfortunately, there are damages to homes and vehicles on those nights.  You are also at risk for someone to get hurt on your property while collecting their Halloween candy.  As a homeowner you want to do your best to reduce that risk, especially since so many kids will be walking up to your door.

Here are some tips for keeping your auto and home safe as well as the trick or treaters!

Keep your vehicle locked.

Park your car in a well lit area if possible.  The best place is in the driveway or garage.

Fold in the side view mirrors if you are parked out on the street.

Keep outside lights on to illuminate your home.

Sweep leaves away from your walkway and front door.

Remove any obstacles where someone could get injured.

If there are any deep holes on your lawn or sidewalk, place a cone in them to alert people there is a hole.

When lighting a fire pit, keep it in an area out of the path of trick or treaters and keep a fire extinguisher near by.

If you own a dog keep them in an area of the house where they will be unable to run towards or out the door (especially if they are not good with strangers). We wouldn’t want to scare any trick-or-treaters!

Will you be making any ghostly Halloween treats in the kitchen?  Use caution around the stove and deep fryers.  Have your kitchen fire extinguisher handy and use those oven mitts!

If your kids are going out for Halloween, walk with them.

Have kids cross at the corner.

Only go to houses with the lights on.

Carry a flashlight…some neighborhoods have little in way of lighting.

Have kids wear comfortable shoes and dress warm, this Halloween it’s going to be a little chilly.

When taking toddlers out, bring a stroller in case they get tired.

If you have teenagers going out with friends give them a curfew and check in with them throughout the night.

The best place to give out candy is to sit at the end of your driveway or close to the sidewalk.  This will save those little trick or treaters some time and you needn’t worry about someone falling or tripping on their elaborate costumes.

Make it a rule to keep all candy in the bag until you have thoroughly checked it at home.

And always say Thank you!

Freedom Insurance Group Inc. hopes you will have a safe and very Happy Halloween!

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AnitaHalloween Safety tips

Save Money on Insurance

by Anita on September 22, 2014

We all love to save money. But there is a time when saving money initially is just not a value in the long run. If you have decided to get auto or homeowners insurance quotes from other insurance companies, ask yourself the following:

Did I give up coverage to save money?
Did I have to choose higher deductibles?
Did I reduce coverage?

Insurance protects you against risk. To ensure you are making informed decisions speak with a licensed agent to review coverages and potential scenarios.
Here are some examples of saving money, but not having the right protection.
If you have liability limits on your auto policy of 100/300 and you are told you can save money by lowering limits to 25/50…think twice. If you own a home and you are sued you put yourself at risk in a lawsuit.  The general rule is to have limits up to and including your assets.  And if your assets are great, consider an umbrella policy.

Another area where consumers cut corners on auto insurance where they shouldn’t is dropping collision coverage too soon. Although you paid off your auto loan and are no longer required by a bank to have collision coverage on your vehicle, your car may still have significant value. If you have a total loss and the accident is your fault you will not receive any money for the loss.

If you increase your comprehensive coverage and live in the suburbs you are at a greater risk for hitting a deer or incurring damage from fallen trees. Your comprehensive deductible would have to be applied first to repair any damage to your vehicle from the event. Glass claims are also covered by your comprehensive coverage, so if you get a crack in your windshield you will have to pay the comprehensive deductible prior to glass repair, which can be costly.  Even if an agent suggests increasing comprehensive deductibles it is not advisable for someone living in the suburbs.

Before you drop or reduce any coverages speak to your agent to make an informed decision. Some of the coverages people tend to opt out of are towing, rental and roadside assistance. These coverages are at times very economical and most often utilized.

When it comes to homeowners insurance there are agents that may steer you towards an HO1 policy when you currently have an HO3 policy in order to show a savings to get your business. But what they don’t point out is that an HO1 policy does not cover pipe breaks or roof leaks. Considering the harsh winters we had last year, both are very important coverages to maintain.

The best approach is to choose coverages and deductibles based on your situation, then shop for rates and companies. Insurance companies all rate differently. A local independent agent is very knowledgeable about the companies they represent and can find the right company for you. They can also make sure you are getting all relevant discounts in which you are entitled.

When getting competitive insurance quotes, do your research and find an independent agent that you can trust. Referrals and reputation within the community are the best ways to ensure you are working with a reputable agency.  Freedom Insurance Group is a Trusted Choice Agent.  Trusted Choice agents share a common commitment to serving their customers.

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AnitaSave Money on Insurance

Home Safety and Homeowners Insurance

by Anita on September 12, 2014

It’s impossible to prevent all homeowners claims, but you sure can prevent some. Take the time to do a home inspection of your own.

(1) Check your appliances to ensure they are working properly and hooked up appropriately. Read manuals prior to use and keep an eye out for recalls on products that have been known to cause hazards.

(2) Change your smoke alarm batteries twice a year. If your smoke alarm does not have a CO2 detection, purchase those separately. You can check out our video on CO2 to understand the importance of CO2 detection: https://www.travelersagentvideo.com/VLP530C0D.aspx  They are just as important as Smoke alarms.

(3)When is the last time you purchased a fire extinguisher? If yours is old, contact your local firehouse and see if you can go there and have it checked.

(4) Have your roof and gutters checked by a professional. Clean leaves out of the gutters and check for missing siding or roof tiles.

(5) If you have a fireplace, have it cleaned and inspected by a professional as improper ventilation can emit CO2.

(6) Do you have large trees on your property? Heavy winds can cause weak limbs to fall and cause damage to homes and/or vehicles.

(7) Have you considered installing a monitored alarm system, deadbolt locks or screen doors?

(8) If you have a sump pump, is it working properly and do you have a back up pump?

(9) Have you checked for cracked steps or uneven cement on your walkways?

(10) Be aware of any plumbing or electrical issues that may signal a more significant problem.

When choosing deductibles make that decision carefully. Although higher deductibles mean lower premium, make sure you can afford those deductibles in the event of a claim. You will also have to choose liability limits for your homeowners policy. Be mindful of your lifestyle. Do you own a dog, have a pool, trampoline, throw large parties? These elements add risk to the insurance company as well as the insured. A licensed experienced agent will help you make well informed choices when purchasing homeowners insurance.

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AnitaHome Safety and Homeowners Insurance

Traveling with your Pets

by Anita on June 15, 2014

Traveling with your Pets
Drive down the road on a nice spring or summer day and dogs are hanging out windows or running about a moving vehicle. We all say “Ahhh, look how cute” when we see man’s best friend traveling alongside him in a car sticking his nose out the window. But is that really safe for your pet? Flying debris, dust, and rocks can damage their eyes. If you are involved in a car accident, chances are your pet is going to get hurt as they are not in a seat belt. What’s worse is if they are traveling in the back of a pick-up truck. Any impact would send them flying out of the vehicle. Pets are also seen traveling on laps, in handbags, in the front seat and in the back seat….all of those options are just not safe. If you are simply running errands, going to the local dog park, or driving to a vacation destination consider safe travel for your pet. We wear a seat belt and secure our children in car seats, booster seats and seat belts. Keeping our pets safe in our cars is important as well.
Your best bet is to place your pet in a carrier and secure it in the back seat. Speak with your veterinarian or go to your local pet store and inquire how you should best travel with your pet. What works for a small dog may not work for a large dog. Ask what you can purchase to keep him secure in your vehicle while driving. If you are traveling long distance stop and allow your pet a bathroom break. Carry bottled water, bowls, food, and treats. Remember to also bring a leash to walk them and allow them to stretch their legs. You want your pet to be comfortable on those long rides.
Did you know that if you have a Progressive auto insurance policy and have collision coverage then your dog or cat is covered on your auto policy? They provide up to $500 in complimentary Pet Injury coverage. Be sure to ask your agent about the coverage and conditions. But like the saying goes “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure!”

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AnitaTraveling with your Pets

Sunscreen Tips

by Anita on June 3, 2014

FUN IN THE SUN

Babies under 6 months:

The two main recommendations from the AAP to prevent sunburn are to avoid sun exposure, and to dress infants in lightweight long pants, long-sleeved shirts, and brimmed hats that shade the neck to prevent sunburn. However, when adequate clothing and shade are not available, parents can apply a minimal amount of sunscreen with at least 15 SPF (sun protection factor) to small areas, such as the infant’s face and the back of the hands. If an infant gets sunburn, apply cool compresses to the affected area.
For All Other Children:

The first, and best, line of defense against harmful ultraviolet radiation (UVR) exposure is covering up. Wear a hat with a three-inch brim or a bill facing forward, sunglasses (look for sunglasses that provide 97% -100% protection against both UVA and UVB rays), and clothing with a tight weave.
Stay in the shade whenever possible, and limit sun exposure during the peak intensity hours – between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.
On both sunny and cloudy days use a sunscreen with an SPF 15 or greater that protects against UVA and UVB rays.
Be sure to apply enough sunscreen — about one ounce per sitting for a young adult.
Reapply sunscreen every two hours, or after swimming or sweating.
Use extra caution near water and sand (and even snow!) as they reflect UV rays and may result in sunburn more quickly.

Babies under 6 months:

The two main recommendations from the AAP to prevent sunburn are to avoid sun exposure, and to dress infants in lightweight long pants, long-sleeved shirts, and brimmed hats that shade the neck to prevent sunburn. However, when adequate clothing and shade are not available, parents can apply a minimal amount of sunscreen with at least 15 SPF (sun protection factor) to small areas, such as the infant’s face and the back of the hands. If an infant gets sunburn, apply cool compresses to the affected area.
For All Other Children:

The first, and best, line of defense against harmful ultraviolet radiation (UVR) exposure is covering up. Wear a hat with a three-inch brim or a bill facing forward, sunglasses (look for sunglasses that provide 97% -100% protection against both UVA and UVB rays), and clothing with a tight weave.
Stay in the shade whenever possible, and limit sun exposure during the peak intensity hours – between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.
On both sunny and cloudy days use a sunscreen with an SPF 15 or greater that protects against UVA and UVB rays.
Be sure to apply enough sunscreen — about one ounce per sitting for a young adult.
Reapply sunscreen every two hours, or after swimming or sweating.
Use extra caution near water and sand (and even snow!) as they reflect UV rays and may result in sunburn more quickly.
Adapted from the American Academy of Pediatrics.

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AnitaSunscreen Tips

Disadvantages of buying insurance online

by Anita on May 1, 2014

Today with the Internet it is very easy to get an insurance quote. You plug in your information or call up the insurance company directly, they take your information, send you an email, you e-sign the documents and you have insurance.
Sounds easy, right? Easy, but not always the best choice. You are going to have auto insurance as long as you are driving and homeowners as long as you own your home. You are going to need to speak with an agent at some point during your policy period. If you would feel more secure speaking with an agent that you can trust and always go to, then strongly consider finding an Independent agent with an office you can visit.

While you have the policy you may have questions, need to make changes to your policy or require additional insurance. So many people come into our office or call with questions on their policy and unfortunately if we did not write the insurance, we are not able to help them, because we do not have access to their policy on our systems. So before you make the purchase, be sure that you don’t need a more hands on insurance partner. Take the time to see if there are agents in your area that write insurance for the company you want. Independent agents can also tell you about discounts that you are eligible for, as well as finding the right company for you.

As convenient as 1-800 numbers are… sometimes it is nice to pull up a chair and have a face to face conversation with a licensed agent. A good agent will ask you many questions to determine which insurance policies you should be carrying as well as types of coverage you should have. Agents who work in a call center are on a time limit and are interested in writing a policy and getting off the phone. They are not looking for ways to help customers, save them money or build a relationship. They also can only provide a quote for the company they work for. Have you ever tried to order circus tickets online? The operator gives you one choice, if you ask for other options or don’t answer quickly enough that you want the tickets, they hang up on you. There is something to be said about personalized service and most people appreciate good service. At Freedom Insurance Group we are loyal to our customers not the companies we represent.

While there is talk that one day drivers will be able to purchase insurance at a kiosk. As a consumer that is not something that I would be interested in. I want to speak with someone who can provide me with all the information I need to make informed decisions regarding my insurance. If I have a claim, my circumstances change, I purchase a new car, buy a new home or add a pool to my home, I want to know that I can call my agent whom I know well and get the best insurance at the best price.

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AnitaDisadvantages of buying insurance online

Ice Storm 2014

by Anita on February 2, 2014

This week’s ice storm has had a strong impact on the community in many ways. If you are driving through Bucks County, roads are closed, lights are out, trees are down and many still do not have power. Most people have not even assessed all of their damages thus far. People have damage to their homes from fallen tree limbs and with no power for the last 3 days more damage may follow. Heavy tree limbs and branches fell on cars denting hoods, breaking windows, cracking headlights and causing even more problems. If you are unsure if your damages to your vehicle or home are covered be sure to call your insurance agent. Keep in mind your deductibles as well. This winter which started early has proven to be a rough one so far.

What was really nice is the way the community reached out to those in need. Libraries and schools set up shelters; offering to charge phones and electronic devices. They also extended hospitality to come in from the cold and have coffee or hot chocolate. A high school even offered for residents to come in and use the shower facilities. Those who did have power opened their own Bed & Breakfasts…brought in friends and family, those in need, for warm a place to sleep and hot meal.

Smart phones have enabled people to learn about the resources available in the community in real time. I can’t even remember how we found out about school closings 20 years ago during power outages and knowing when the power should be restored. We have so many ways now to receive information by checking social media, websites, and simply opening our email. If you escaped damage to your home, car, and have power then count your blessings. And to the Moms and Dads who have been home with the kids for days…well Monday is just around the corner.

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AnitaIce Storm 2014