Protect Your Electronics!

protect your electronicsWhether using your electronic devices for socializing, working or gaming, you want to protect your valuables from theft. Follow six tips as you protect your electronics at home, in your vehicle or at a public location like the library or coffee shop.

1. Invest in LoJack

While LoJack is known for automotive theft protection, it can also protect your electronics from theft. Use its software to track your devices, lock them and even remotely delete data.

2. Use a Kensington Lock

Leave your laptop sitting on the table while you check out books, use the bathroom or refill your coffee, and it will probably be stolen. Take precautions and carry your laptop with you or use a small but powerful Kensington lock to secure your laptop to your office, library or dorm desk.

3. Hide Your Devices

From carrying your computer to class in a nondescript bag to placing your GPS in the trunk after you park your car on campus, hiding your devices goes a long way toward preventing their theft. You’ll also want to throw away the device’s packaging so that no one can snoop around your home and see what you own.

4. Lock the Doors

Keep your home and vehicle doors locked, and you deter thieves from accessing your electronics.

5. Register Your Devices

When you buy electronics, take the time to register then with the manufacturer. Those companies often cooperate with the police to find stolen electronics.

6. Buy Theft Insurance

Adding these devices to your renter’s or homeowner’s insurance policy won’t protect your electronics from theft. However, the right insurance could replace stolen electronics. Give us a call to ensure you have replacement coverage on everything from your laptop and printer to your tablet and MP3 player. To prove the value of the devices you own, save the purchase receipts and record the serial numbers with your insurance policy in a secure location.

Electronics Insurance – is that covered?

Take a minute to count the number of cellphones, TVs, computers, gaming systems and music players in your home. Do you own more than 5, 15 or even 25 devices? What are they all worth? Did you know that your homeowners or renters insurance policy might not cover your electronics? Woah. So what about electronics insurance?

Check Your Homeowners or Renters Insurance PolicyUnder the Contents section of your homeowners policy, take a look at what’s covered. If your electronics aren’t specifically mentioned, ask your agent for details about available coverage. Remember to ask if your devices are covered in case they’re damaged accidentally, dropped, immersed in liquid, cracked, vandalized, stolen or affected by a power surge.electronics insuranceThink About Actual Versus Replacement ValueYou may have purchased your computer a few years ago for $300, but replacing it with a comparable model today may cost $700. Be sure your insurance policy covers the cost of replacing all your electronic devices. The extra premium you’ll pay is usually only a few dollars but pays for itself multiple times over if you need to file a claim.

Consider the Deductible

Most homeowners policies include a $500 deductible that’s your responsibility to pay if you file a claim. Your deductible might even be higher if you’re on a strict budget. Include that deductible into your calculations as you decide how much coverage you need for your devices.

Keep Thorough Records

Insurance companies typically need to see proof before they pay a claim. So, carefully store all your receipts when you purchase electronics and accessories. Additionally, record the serial numbers and take pictures of all your insured devices. Copies of these records should be kept in a fireproof safe and at a friend’s house or safe deposit box. Update the records as you buy, sell and upgrade electronics.

Call your insurance agent today to add the necessary electronics insurance coverage you need. Then, stay in touch, enjoy your favorite tunes and watch the movies you like with peace of mind.

Who Ya Gonna Call?

You know you need auto and home insurance, but should you look online for a policy or talk to an agent? Consider your personal preferences and several pros and cons of each method before you decide where to purchase your insurance policies.

Online Pros:

  • Convenience: Click the mouse and instantly compare different coverage amounts and see quotes from several companies.
  • No Obligation to Buy: Never feel pressured to buy a policy. Simply opt out of receiving future quotes or communication from comparison sites.

Online Cons:independent agent

  • Impersonal: Online policies don’t allow you to build a relationship with a person who knows and understands you.
  • Security: All your data is compiled and compared over the Internet, making your information an easy target for thieves. Plus, less reputable comparison sites may sell your data to third parties.

Agent Pros:

  • Relationship: To an agent, particularly one in your hometown, you’re more than a number. He or she builds a relationship with you and your family, see you at the grocery store and local events and truly has your best interests in mind.
  • Get Answers: If you have a question about your policy or coverage, call your agent and receive answers from a live person.
  • Negotiate Price: In cases, an insurance agent can negotiate a policy’s price. They also know you and can recommend money-saving discounts and other ways to reduce insurance costs.
  • Comparison Shopping: An independent agent can look at several different carriers to find the best fit for YOU – both coverage and price-wise. They have multiple options at their fingertips and can provide a variety of options.

Agent Cons:

  • Inconvenient: Most offices have limited evening and weekend hours, so you can’t buy or make adjustments to your policy 24/7.

Buying insurance is a necessity. While buying online and from a local agent both have pros and cons, find the personalized service you need when you purchase from an in-person agent. Give us a call today!

Nightmare on Elm Street

Halloween SafetyWhat do you get when you take hundreds of pedestrians trick-or-treating and add potentially impaired party-goers behind the wheel? A scary combination, that’s what.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), Halloween is consistently one of the top three days for pedestrian injuries and fatalities. What’s more, 48 percent of all motor vehicle crash fatalities on Halloween night in 2012 involved a drunk driver.

Here are some Halloween safety tips to help you avoid a nightmare on Elm Street:

BEHIND THE WHEEL

  • Slow down! Drive at least 5 mph under the speed limit, especially in residential areas. This will give you extra time to react to children who might dart into the street.
  • Light it up. Turn on your headlights — even in the daytime — to make yourself more visible.
  • Drive sober. Designated drivers are cool. If you’ll be imbibing of some witch’s brew, get yourself a DD.

PARENTS

  • Tackle it together. Make sure all trick-or-treaters up to the age of 12 (at least) are accompanied by an adult.
  • Have a plan. Review safety precautions and discuss the route you’ll take ahead of time. Remind kids never to cross the street mid-block or between cars. Go over pedestrian and traffic safety rules with your children.
  • Save it for later. Have the little ones wait to eat those treats until you’ve had a chance to go through them to make sure everything is ok. It’s sad that this precaution is necessary, but it’s also reality of the world we live in.

For more Halloween Safety Tips, visit the AAA website. And from all of us at Mason & Mason, have a safe and Happy Halloween!

Rock my RV!

RV InsuranceSo maybe you’re not Bret Michaels (because honestly… who is?), but you have just bought an RV and can’t wait to get on the road. Will Auto insurance protect your pride and joy, or do you need RV Insurance?

That depends. You might want to get an endorsement to your Auto policy that would provide coverage. However, since your RV means so much more to you than just transportation, it’s best to get specialized insurance that a typical Auto policy won’t cover. Recreational Vehicle insurance combines Auto, Homeowners, Renters, and Travel coverages into a single policy that will also insure generators, water pumps and refrigerators – items that standard Auto or Homeowners policies would not cover.

The amount of coverage will depend on the value of the RV and its contents, as well as your driving record. We can help you determine what amount of RV Insurance is right for you.

Before you hit the open road, call our office for a comprehensive RV Insurance policy on your vehicle so that you can get behind the wheel with peace of mind.

Now go rock that RV!

That’s Not Me! – Identity Theft

“But he that filches from me my good name/Robs me of that which not enriches him/And makes me poor indeed.” – Shakespeare, Othello, act iii. Sc. 3.

Identity theft is a huge problem in the United States. Did you know that identity thieves stole approximately $21 Billion from victims in 2012? This equates to one incident of fraud every three seconds. That’s scary. In every minute, 20 acts of fraud occur. When you keep adding up the numbers it looks horrific. Most victims don’t know until it’s too late that they have become a victim of identity theft. If you are one of the victims of identity theft, we have listed a few things for you to do:

  • identity theftContact the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) whether online or by phone, 877-438-4338.
  • If necessary, send mail certified and request a return receipt.
  • Contact your bank and let them know of the fraud.
  • Contact all of your credit card companies and credit reporting agencies (Equifax, Experian and Trans Union) and inform them of the situation.
  • Contact your insurance companies and make them aware of the theft.
  • Keep a detailed filing system. Keep all your originals, only send copies of originals to requestors.
  • Follow all deadlines. Keep a timeline of when you spoke to a person and set up a follow up date.

Following the above guidelines will help minimize any future thefts. We hope that you never have to use this list.

It’s a Nice Day for a White Wedding

wedding insuranceYour wedding day should be the happiest day of your life. You have been planning this day for most of your life. You and your fiancé wanted to have a white wedding in the mountains. Your lodge is reserved, the caterer is ready with the menu, the disc jockey has your playlist, and you’ve just picked up your pristine gown. Everything is coming together beautifully. Even the weather cooperated — a little more than you were expecting.

A major blizzard hit your venue and there is no way anyone can go anywhere. You have to postpone your big day. The good news is that you purchased wedding insurance before your big day so everything is covered and you can still have your white wedding without paying any additional out of pocket expenses.

Your wedding insurance covers these unforeseeable acts:

  • The venue. If your venue has any unavoidable cancellations from certain acts (such as damage) your wedding insurance will take care of you.
  • Any weather related problems such as inaccessibility, damage to venue, and many others. All the details including rescheduling the ceremony flowers, tent rental and reception food will also be covered.
  • None of your vendors showed up. Any number of reasons why a vendor may not show up and in that case, your insurance will cover it.
  • If you are called for duty or your job sends you off. Wedding insurance will cover the postponement of your wedding.

Give us a call when you are ready to take the plunge. We’ll help make sure your day is a happy one – come what may.

Travel Insurance – #ProtectYourTrip

February and April hold some of the busiest vacation weeks of the year. Do you have plans? Should you purchase travel insurance? Let’s look at some different situations.

Imagine, you’re getting away from the cold weather for a nice Caribbean cruise. You’ve been planning this trip for more than six months. Your bags are packed and ready when a major snow storm strikes. All flights out of your local airport are cancelled.

Let’s say you’re on safari in the African plains when you start feeling ill. You’re hundreds of miles from a hospital. Your guide is driving as fast he can, but it will take hours before you get to medical care, and you’re fading rapidly. To save your life, the guide has to call in a medi-vac copter.

Under these scenarios, you’d be out thousands of dollars — unless you have Travel insurance! This invaluable “peace of mind” coverage can provide total reimbursement for a trip that’s cancelled, as well as access to quality hospitals, pharmacies, and health care providers in case of death or illness (as well as other travel-related expenses).

Don’t leave home without Travel insurance! For more information, feel free to get in touch with us.

Polar Vortex and Your Home

polar vortexThe “polar vortex” in January shattered temperature records throughout the central and eastern U.S.:. New York City hit 4 F o and Chicago suffered -16 F. o The cold snap killed more than 20 people, , schools closed, highways shut down, and people remain inside and kept warm.

Your home, like you, needs to stay warm. Here are a few guidelines to help you and your family keep toasty indoors this winter.

  • Cover your drafts. Seal all open areas. Including doors and windows. You can buy “snake rolls” online through DIY, or roll up an old towel and put it at the source of the draft. Caulking works great for windows.
  • Replace your furnace filters monthly. Although this item might be out of sight and out of mind, put it on your calendar.
  • Winterize your air conditioning unit and pipes. Drain all water from the air conditioner. Get styrofoam covering for your pipes to keep them from freezing. Make sure all water spigots are turned completely off.
  • Replace your doors and windows with storm units.
  • Pay attention to the thermostat. It’ s easy to run your heater on high, but you’ll also get a huge electric/gas bill each month. Adding a blanket or two instead will help keep your bill under control.

Don’t let the polar vortex get the best of your home. For more information on staying warm, feel free to get in touch with us or visit our agency.

Lessor’s Risk Insurance – Protection for Landlords

If you rent out residential property, you face a variety of financial risks… everything from damage from fires and windstorms, through fines for building code violations, to a disgruntled tenant who sues you.Lessor's Risk

Lessor’s Risk insurance to the rescue! These policies cover losses to the property, medical payments for tenants or visitors injured on the premises, and your personal liability for alleged negligence.

The amount of coverage depends on your financial situation. If you’ve taken out a mortgage on the property, the lender will probably insist that you buy a policy large enough to cover the loan balance. As a rule of thumb, the higher the value of the property and the greater the risk of potentially catastrophic liability, the more coverage you’ll need.

Your premium will depend on the type of losses covered and the extent of reimbursement. If you choose comprehensive or all risk coverage (which will pay for damage from all causes unless specifically excluded), your cost will be higher than if you buy “named perils” coverage (which covers only losses due to specific causes). Expect a higher premium for replacement value, which will reimburse you fully for rebuilding your property, than for actual cash value coverage, which will pay only the value of the property, less depreciation.

You can also reduce your premium by increasing the deductible of your Lessor’s Risk policy, which usually ranges from $100 to 5% of the building coverage.

Optional coverages include repayment for rental income lost if the property becomes uninhabitable, and for risks of doing business with tenants, such as legal fees and liability against claims for libel, slander, and discrimination.

Our personal insurance specialists would be happy to help you select a Lessor’s Risk policy that offers the best value. Just give us a call.