Holiday Safety Tips Trailstone Insurance in Littleton, Colorado

Holiday Safety Tips Trailstone Insurance in Littleton, ColoradoWith the holidays just around the corner, it is a great time to review holiday safety items around the household. Especially if you plan on a lighting display.

When it comes to holiday décor, some families go all out. Regardless of your level of displays, it is important to keep some things in mind for safety.

If you’re like many families displaying lights on the outside of your house during the holidays brings a lot of joy and festiveness to your home.

Holiday Light Safety

  1. Keep your extension cords tucked away and off walkways.
  2. Extension cords create a trip hazard when running across walkways and other areas where deliveries or guests need to walk. When possible, keep them away from sidewalks and tucked away.
  3. Use exterior extension cords & lights.
  4. Extension cords, as well as lights, come in interior and exterior grades. Be sure if you’re running lights outside to use an extension cord rated for outdoor use.
  5. Check for frayed wires.

Over time the wires on your lights may become frayed. Before you hang them up, carefully inspect your wires for frayed ends. If you find any, don’t risk it. Repair them or replace them before you hang them up.

Ladder Safety

Each year thousands of people are injured hanging lights on their homes from ladders. OSHA publishes safety precautions that are not only good for businesses to follow but for individuals to follow as well. Some of these safety tips include:

  1. Select the right ladder for the weight of the job.
  2. Every ladder has a weight limit. Look at the side of your ladder to determine if it can support enough weight for the job.
  3. Never utilize the top 3 feet of the ladder. This can cause instability if you go above that point.
  4. Inspect the ladder before use for damage.
  5. Never go down a ladder backwards.
  6. Ensure your ladder is on flat ground and stable before climbing.
  7. Never lean to the side on a ladder, this can cause instability.
  8. Use common sense when using ladders to ensure safety. If something feels unsafe to you when you’re on the ladder, it probably is.

We hope that you and your families have a safe and happy holiday season this year.

If you have questions about your home insurance policy, contact our agency today.

Car Insurance for your teen driver in Littleton, CO

Car Insurance for your teen driver in Littleton, COIf your teen just got their driver’s license, then you understand the importance of making sure they have the right insurance. Keeping them as safe as possible includes making sure that they’re insured in the event of an accident, so let’s talk about what you need to know.

New drivers

Being a new driver is scary and being their parent can be even scarier. If you’re looking for tips and tools you can use to find the right car insurance for your teen, then you’ve come to the right place.

Those 20 and younger are the biggest group of distracted drivers and making sure that they’re insured should be a top priority. Not only is car insurance important for being on the road, but it could end up saving you thousands of dollars. Don’t wait to explore your insurance options.

Finding the right car insurance

When it comes to teen drivers, it can be difficult to find insurance. Many companies look at lack of experience and young age as reasons why teens aren’t the best people to insure. However, this doesn’t mean that it’s impossible to find the right car insurance policy. If you do the right research, you can end up with the right policy at the right price.

When it comes to saving money, it’s usually best for parents to add their children to the family policy. While creating a separate policy is an option, it’s usually a more expensive route. Car insurance can cost thousands of dollars each year, so it’s important that you keep realistic pricing standards in mind while you’re shopping around.

Purchasing car insurance

When it comes to car insurance for your teen, doing research is important. Learning about different policy options and what they include will give you a bigger picture of what’s on the market, as well as what will fit your budget.

If you’re curious about the options, make an appointment with our office. As a local independent insurance agency, we’ll be able to provide you with accurate quotes and provide unique advice for your situation. How much insurance costs can be heavily dependent on location, so we will walk you through all of your options. Speaking with one of our insurance agents is one of the best ways to find out more about policy options, so don’t be afraid to call us.

Teen specifics

While it can be difficult to find car insurance for teens, there are a few things that can make the process easier.

Some companies reward good grades and will offer a discount when a transcript is presented. If you think that your child may qualify, ask your insurance agency if they offer this incentive. Age is another thing that can impact price. Insuring those that are older is typically cheaper, so remember that while you’re looking at policy prices.

The right policy for your teen

From buying them a car to finding the right insurance, having a teen driver is expensive. If you’re looking for ways to reduce costs and get the best deal possible, give us a call. We can make an appointment to discuss your options and find the right policy for your new driver.

October is Cyber Security Awareness Month. Since the pandemic, more individuals are using digital accounts for purchasing through the internet. This can leave you vulnerable & increase your risk for a cyber-attack.

The majority of cyber-attacks begin with phishing emails. Knowing how to spot a phishing email is critical for protecting yourself from a cyber-attack.

Phishing emails are designed to make you click on links. They will often come from companies you use regularly such as Amazon, Apple, Netflix, or other well-known companies. They will often use their logo to make it appear it is coming from the company itself.

What steps do you need to take to determine if it is a scam?

Hover over the domain or email address in your inbox. This quickly gives you the answer you are looking for. If the email address is long or doesn’t look correct, it is a phishing email. If you are unsure if this is a phishing email, contact the company directly.

How to identify a phishing email

Best Practices for Internet Use:

  • Never click on links in emails. If you are concerned, go directly to the company’s website and login if this is possible.
  • If an email is asking you to verify your login, payment information, or any other personal data, this should be a red flag. Do not provide the info. If you are concerned, reach out to the company directly.
  • Don’t download attachments from emails.
  • Always choose a strong password. This should be up to 15 characters long with a variety of letters, numbers, or symbols. You can even use a phrase.
  • Change your password regularly. While this can be annoying, it is best practice.
  • Don’t repeat your password for multiple accounts.
  • If you share a computer with others, use individual accounts for logging in. Always log out of your account when you leave the computer.
  • Have a firewall installed on your computer.
  • If you are asked to save your password on your computer, don’t save it. This can leave you vulnerable.
  • If you have the option for two-step authentication, always choose it.
  • Always update the software on your tablet & phone.
  • Be aware of public wifi. This can leave you vulnerable to a cyber-attack.

How Could You Determine If You Have Been Hacked?

Whether it is your email, social media account, or bank account, if you see something that looks off, change your password immediately. We also recommend running an anti-virus or malware software on your computer too.

Follow these tips to help lower your risk for a cyber-attack. If you have questions about your insurance, contact our agency.

Four tips for landlords in Littleton, CO

Four tips for landlords in Littleton, COWhether you are looking to buy an investment property or are looking change your existing home into a rental property, there are some things you should know about becoming a landlord. Most people choose to become a landlord for the financial investment. By following these tips below, you can make being a landlord easier and more enjoyable for you all while improving your tenant’s happiness and rental contract longevity.

Provide a well maintained property

If you are looking to purchase a home as a rental property, you must consider the cost of improvements you will need to make to the property in order to make it rentable. While someone may rent the property in its existing condition, a home that is in good repair will help you maximize the rent you are able to collect along with ensuring the home itself does not develop additional issues from lack of maintenance.

Things to look for & questions to ask yourself:

  • Is the caulking around windows, doors and siding maintained?
  • Are your gutters cleaned and free from debris?
  • Who is maintaining the yard?
  • If you have a fence, is it in good condition?

When you are shopping for a rental property, ask yourself these questions:

  • Will the home need an updated exterior paint job?
  • What is the current condition of the roof?
  • What is the condition of the crawlspace?
  • How old are the appliances?
  • Does the home have updated electrical?
  • What could I update to make the home look its best?
    1. Typically a fresh coat of paint in the interior can make a home look more up-to-date.
    2. Add backsplash, tile or Beadboard wall paneling.
    3. Add crown modeling in the living room, kitchen or bedrooms.
    4. Add more lighting in the home.
    5. If the kitchen or bathroom is really dated, consider updating it with new appliances, vanity, cabinets or tile. You can also consider replacing the shower or bathtub.

The best part of buying an investment property is you don’t have to necessarily “flip” it to get it on the renting market. A few upgrades mentioned above can make a home nice without breaking the bank.

Eliminate Safety hazards

Want to avoid headaches, lawsuits or home insurance claims? Be sure to focus on eliminating any safety hazard from your property. From a liability standpoint, you will want to be sure that the property is void of any safety hazards such as loose railings, uneven walkways, cracked decking or faulty stairs. A well-maintained property will help you maximize your property’s profitability and keep your tenants safe.

Quickly address issues

When problems arise, and they will, it is important to quickly address them with your tenant. Some landlords choose to have rental management companies intervene, while others either do the repairs themselves, or ask the tenant to get it repaired and take it off the next month’s rent. If the issues is a safety concern, do not ignore it. If you are made aware of a safety issue and ignore it, you may be liable if something happens. Whatever your agreement is with your tenant, be sure to address repairs quickly. This may help mitigate additional damage from occurring.

Be available to your tenants

Being available to your tenants can help you develop longstanding renters who stay at your property for years. Since one of the largest risks of being a landlord is having a vacant property, the longer your renters stay, the more revenue your property can generate. By being a good landlord and available to them easily they will know you care about them and the property they are renting.

Being a landlord comes with risks, but also huge financial rewards. Following the suggestions above you can create long-standing renters who not only take care of your property, but help you build financial wealth along the way.

If you have questions about landlord insurance, call our agency. We can discuss all of your insurance coverage options when it comes to being a landlord. Call or email us for a free quote.

Six life changes that impact your home insurance in Littleton, CO

Six life changes that impact your home insurance in Littleton, COMany homeowners upgraded their homes in the last 18 months. Whether it was bringing a furry friend into your home, updating a kitchen or bathroom or adding additions like a swimming pool, trampoline or detached structures, these upgrades make living in your home more enjoyable. If you completed any of the following updates or additions to your home, contact us!

Kitchen or Bathrooms

If you have made significant upgrades to your kitchen, bathroom or other rooms in your house, you’ll want to share this with your insurance agent. Your current home insurance is based on the value of your home. When you make significant updates to your home, your home value will increase. In the event you have a home insurance claim, you want your home insurance to cover any losses. If you made significant updates to your home but failed to tell your insurance agent and experienced a home insurance claim, you may not be covered for what your home is actually worth.

Detached Structures

Similar to upgrading your kitchen, bathroom or adding square footage to your home, it impacts your home insurance policy. If you added a detached structure to your property, relay this information to your agent so we can update your home insurance policy.

Swimming Pool

Swimming pools do increase your liability and it is important your pool has all the safety precautions in place. Does your swimming pool have proper barriers or fencing around the pool? Most insurance carriers require a fence of at least four feet to be present around your pool. Do you have floatation devices for young children? Lastly, be sure to regularly inspect items used in or around your pool. For example, slides, diving boards or floatation devices.

Trampoline

Be sure to read your current home insurance policy before purchasing a trampoline. Home insurance coverage for trampolines vary both by state and insurance carrier with some not wanting to insure them at all. Talk to your insurance agent about coverage options if you are considering buying a trampoline.

Dog

A furry friend can be the perfect companion and a great addition to your home. It is important to tell your agent if you have a new dog in your home. Many insurance carriers do consider certain breeds higher risk and as a result, your home insurance policy premium may increase. Breeds such as Pit Bulls, Rottweilers, German Shepherds, Huskies, Doberman Pinschers, Akitas or Great Danes may not be insurable by all carriers. While we never want to assume your dog will ever injury someone, it is important to always be properly covered. If you do not report owning a dog to your insurance carrier and you have a claim against your dog, you risk not being covered.

Contact our agency if you have made any of the following changes to your home life. We will be sure to inform your insurance carrier to ensure your home insurance policy is up-to-date and you are properly covered.

Best Insurance Agency Littleton, CO

Best Insurance Agency Littleton, COWhen it comes to buying insurance, you can purchase it online yourself through a well-known insurance carrier, a captive agent or you can buy it through a local insurance agency. When you buy it online yourself, you may find it can be more challenging to manage your insurance policy. When you have to call an 800 number to ask a question about your policy or make a claim, sometimes you may feel like you aren’t receiving a personal touch.

As a local insurance agency, we want to share the benefits of having a personal insurance agent when it comes to purchasing insurance.

Do you have a professional insurance agent you trust?

Just like having a doctor or dentist, we want to be a professional you can trust when it comes to buying insurance. Insurance can be tricky and difficult to understand. We are here to explain the differences in insurance coverage to ensure you have the right coverage for your specific needs.

Have a quick insurance question? Email or call your agent directly.

We love answering all your insurance questions. We get questions all the time from our customers.

  • Do I need to buy rental car insurance for my upcoming vacation or will my personal auto insurance cover me?
  • I am renting a U-haul, do I need to buy their coverage?
  • Do I have any gaps in my insurance coverage?
  • I just purchased a boat, does my homeowner’s insurance cover me or do I need additional insurance coverage?
  • Should I purchase flood or earthquake insurance?
  • Should I increase my limits on my umbrella insurance? I just purchased my first investment property.
  • Should I have life insurance at my age? What are the benefits?

Questions like the ones listed above are easily answered from our agents! We are here to answer all your questions. With a simple email or call, you can get an answer from your insurance agent directly.

My insurance premium increased significantly and I haven’t turned in any claims. Help!

If you purchase insurance from a well-known insurance company directly, it may be hard to find a better rate at renewal without having to sacrifice insurance coverage. Luckily, local, independent insurance agents represent several companies instead of just one. If you find your insurance premium is too high for your budget, reach out to your agent at renewal. We can shop similar coverage with a different insurance carrier. You might be surprised to find several quotes to choose from!

If you don’t have a personal insurance agent, reach out to our agency. We’d love to review your current insurance coverage, answer your questions or simply be the personal, professional agent you need in your life. Our agency can help you with all your auto, home, business or life insurance needs.

Telematics Auto Insurance Discount Littleton, CO

Telematics Auto Insurance Discount Littleton, COMany insurance carriers offer telematics for an auto insurance discount. If you are seeking out additional auto insurance discounts to lower your monthly or annual premium, talk to your insurance agent to see if your carrier offers telematics. Many carriers do!

How does telematics work?

A telematics device monitors how you drive a vehicle. Your insurance carrier mails you a vehicle tracking device, you insert it into your vehicle’s onboard diagnostic port under your dash and then it monitors how you drive for an extended amount of time. Once it is setup, it runs all on its own until it is time for you to return it back to your insurance carrier.

The telematics device determines how safe of a driver you are based on measuring your speed, how hard you brake when stopping your vehicle and how many miles you drive. It also looks into what time of day you drive. It is important to note that not all insurance carriers follow the same guidelines or look at the same data.

Curious to see how safe you drive? Talk to your insurance agent to see if your carrier provides a driving report. The telematics device can show a detailed report of your driving habits that can help you become more aware of your driving behaviors. By reviewing this information, it can help you become aware of your current driving habits and if you are currently considered a safe driver.

Once you have completed the timeframe of using the telematics device, you’ll mail it back to your insurance carrier and they will review it.

If my insurance carrier offer telematics, should I do it?

It’s up to you! Not only do you receive a discount for participating, but your insurance carrier may continue to provide discounts in the future for being a safe driver. Some carriers also give you a discount every 6-12 months for being claims-free. This could be rewarded with a mailed check or a discount at renewal.

Talk to your agent about telematics or receive a free auto insurance policy review.

As your insurance agent, we want to ensure you have the best auto insurance coverage for your needs. If you are unhappy with your current premium rate, we can shop our carriers for additional discounts like telematics or simply quote you with other carriers. Don’t hesitate to reach out to us.

Renters Insurance Littleton, CO

Renters Insurance Littleton, COIf you are a millennial, there is a good chance you rent a home, apartment or condo. According to surveys, up to 70% of millennial renters do not have renters insurance. This is an alarming statistic. Whether you are a young professional or finishing up your college degree, every renter should have a renters insurance policy.

Simple reasons millennials choose not to buy renters insurance –

“I am secure enough from potential damages”

Is this true? If your apartment, condo or home was in a fire and you lost all your valuables, would you feel financially secure enough to replace everything?

“I don’t see the value in renters insurance?”

Instead of it being a value issue, some millennials may not fully understand what renters insurance actually covers. So, we thought it would be good to break down exactly how renters insurance works (see below).

Another common thought, “if my apartment, home or condo is damaged in a fire, flood, etc., my landlord covers the damages?”

Your landlord most likely would not be required to cover damages to any of your personal belongings.

What Renters Insurance Covers

Renters insurance covers your personal property: Items that you own from your furniture, clothing, computer, kitchen items and more.

Renters insurance provides you with liability coverage: Coverage limits vary, but if you someone were to injure themselves in your home, you would have protection. Other common examples include your dog bites your friend or a friend falls in your kitchen and breaks her wrist because you left water on the floor.

Renters insurance may cover the cost of temporary housing. If your home, apartment or condo has major damage that prevents you from being able to live there, renters insurance may cover the cost of a hotel room.

Did you also know that renters insurance is very affordable?

Renters insurance can be as cheap as $1/day. While most renters insurance policies provide $100,000 in liability coverage, you can increase this limit. Talk to your insurance agent about how a bump in liability coverage can provide additional protection at a very affordable price.

Speak with an agent in our office today!

Whether you are renting an apartment, condo or home, there are many benefits of having a renters insurance policy. Contact our agency with your questions! We represent the top insurance carriers and can quote you with all our carriers at once for renters insurance. We’ll explain your options and show you a side by side comparison of coverage options. Get your free quote over the phone or email.

Vacation Home Insurance Littleton, Colorado

Vacation Home Insurance Littleton, ColoradoWhen it comes to insuring a vacation home, the insurance landscape can look slightly different from that of primary homes. While the risks are relatively similar, you’ll find that some added perils come with vacation homes. These risks vary with how you intend to use your second home.

Personal Use
If a vacation home is often left vacant for long periods, the chances of burglary, vandalism, and unnoticed damage may rise considerably. Moreover, the house’s location can expose it to further damages such as flooding, fires, or wind damage, which may not be attended to in due time considering the vacant status of the house. Insurance providers take all of this into consideration when determining your policy premium. You’ll likely be offered a comprehensive insurance policy in order to cover all risks adequately. Be sure to clarify whether you intend to keep the house vacant for extended periods or visit regularly. Vacant home insurance and vacation home insurance, while similar, are not the same.

Intentions of renting
If you’re considering renting your vacation home or allowing others to stay in it, your policy will look different. Aside from protecting your second home structure, it’s a good idea to ensure that you have enough personal liability coverage. An Umbrella insurance policy can cover any claims against you due to injury or damages that occurred on the property. Be sure to look into liability coverage, which covers any personal injuries sustained by someone while they’re on the property. This policy could also include medical payments coverage.

Moreover, rent-loss insurance could be a worthwhile investment considering that it covers any financial losses amassed during times when rent cannot be paid (damages, natural disaster, and much more.) It is also worth looking into a landlord policy, which can cover you for damages while even replacing lost income if the property is being rebuilt or repaired following a covered loss.

Do I really need to insure my vacation home?
While not strictly necessary, it’s highly recommended to get coverage for your secondary-home. Damages to a vacation home, whether first or second-party, can be financially crippling. Additionally, if your vacation home has a mortgage, your lender may require property insurance as a condition of borrowing.

How much will my insurance policy cost?
Depending on several factors such as the home’s age, condition, and location, the amount you’ll pay for a homeowners insurance policy can fluctuate. However, overall, expect to pay higher than with regular home insurance.

The best way to get more information on vacation home insurance is to ask a licensed agent in our office. We can assist you with assessing your insurance needs and provide you with some quotes from several of the top insurance companies.

Get A Quote For Your Insurance Today

Our licensed staff is ready to help you get multiple vacation home insurance quotes. Because we’re an independent insurance agent we can shop from multiple insurance companies to help you find the right coverage at the right price.

How to eat cook healthy on a road trip

How to eat cook healthy on a road tripDid you purchase a RV this past year or have you found you enjoy taking road trips? With the COVID-19 pandemic, many people invested in a RV, travel trailer or simply went camping more in order to safely travel & enjoy the beautiful outdoors. When you are taking a road trip, you do have to figure out how you plan to eat. Fast food and takeout from restaurants may be your first thought.

Have you ever considered that you can eat a great home-cooked meals on the road that doesn’t require much cooking at all? Of course, you can always make a grocery store run & cook just as you would cook a meal at home. But, this might mean buying all of the little things like spices, oils, etc.

In this blog, we share how to eat healthy on the road without having to spend too much time cooking. Plus, you might find you can get away with packing less.

Our basic cooking essentials – do you own the following items?

  • Portable Stove
  • Small Gas Barbeque
  • Pot, Pan or both
  • Water jug container (for cooking and cleaning pots/pans)
  • Soap/Sponge (for cleaning pots/pans)
  • Utensils and Paper Plates
  • Garbage Bag
  • Lighter
  • Propane Tank + an extra
  • A good cooler (if you are on a longer road trip, we love a cooler that can plug into your car!)
  • Ice Packs or Ice Bag

Having the following items above is a great start. They don’t take up too much space and provide you with everything you need to cook, eat & clean up afterwards.

Next, how can I prepare a delicious, healthy meal with minimal cooking?

Batch cook.

Batch cooking is simply preparing meals in your home before your trip. Choosing meals that freeze easy are key. Once you have cooked your meal at home, throw it into the freezer at least 24 hours before your trip. The day you are leaving for your trip, load it into your cooler frozen then layer on your ice packs to keep it cool. When it is time to cook, all you have to do is re-heat it using your portable stove or barbeque.

Some great food suggestions –

  • Frozen cooked burgers (turkey, beef or chicken)
  • Frozen Chili or other soup
  • Meat sauce / vegetable sauce
  • Frozen breakfast sausage links
  • Taco meat
  • Foil vegetables or entrees (prepare vegetables or entrees ahead of time & wrap in foil – simply place on your BBQ grill or unwrap and place into a pot or pan)
  • Frozen pizza slices

How to re-heat your meal? Either place your frozen burger on your barbeque or add your entrée into a pan or pot to re-heat on your portable stove. Within 10 minutes or so, you’ll have a tasty meal!

Other meals that don’t require much cooking –

  • Cold Sandwiches
  • Hot Dogs
  • Yogurt
  • Hard Boiled Eggs
  • Snack foods like rice cakes, chips, pretzels, trail mix
  • Anything that requires boiled water such as oatmeal or noodles
  • Prepared meals you enjoy eating cold (tuna salad, other cold salads and entrees)
  • Raw fruit and vegetables

We hope you found new tips that can help you eat healthy while traveling on the road. While we can’t prepare your meals for you, we can ensure you have the best coverage for your vehicle or RV. Whether you are shopping around for the best rate or are looking to purchase different RV coverage, we are here to help.