I was shocked when I saw it…
It was just in time for Christmas but it definitely wasn’t a “gift” by an sense of the word.
It was a heating bill just about $700!
It was a few years ago and but I’ll never forget the feeling of seeing a huge heating bill in the mail.
And judging from what ENERGY STAR says most households spend on heating, I'm not alone...
So with this article, We’ll go over 8 simple tricks to lower your heating bill in winter.
8 Tricks To Keep Your Heating Bill In Check
8. Buy A Humidifier: A humidifier puts moisture into the air, which also makes it feel warmer.
7. Seal your ducts: Your Duct system loses a lot of the heat it could be delivering due to holes, poor connections and leaks. Reseal your system with foil tape keep the heat from escaping.
6. Heat only were its needed: This one is so simple yet so easy to forget. You can save big simply by shutting the doors and vents in the rooms that you aren’t using.
5. Curtains and Sunlight: Letting in sunlight during the day can ease the pressure of warming your home during the day, just remember to pull the curtains at night to help insulate the windows.
4. Get Smart: A smart thermostat can regulate the temperature of your house throughout the day. You can program it to lower the temperature while you’re away or sleeping to save as much as $180 annually, according to ENERGY STAR.
3. Push Hot Air Down: Did you know that a ceiling fan spinning clockwise can help push the warm air down and pull the cold air up to the ceiling? Try this one next get more use out of the heat you already use.
2. Weather stripping: Putting weather stripping and plastic film on your windows and doors can cut down your home’s heat loss by up to 12%
1. Fine tune your furnace: Change those filters and get an inspection for your furnace to ensure that your furnace is running smoothly, which can also help reduce the cost of heating.
Try these hacks if you want to save on your heating costs this winter.
The last thing you need when filing an insurance claim is poor customer service
All insurance policies - and companies - are not created equal. While most insurers are similar when it comes to a very basic level of protection that is regulated by your state, those same policies can have dramatic differences in terms of features as well as the level of customer service you should expect should you have a claim. Those qualities are what actually set apart one insurance provider from another.
Know Your Insurance Companies Reputation
A commonly misleading belief is that insurance is a commodity, it’s all the same thing. What is wrong with that belief is that it sets you, the policy holder, up to buy based on one sole factor…
The insurance rates!
As a result, you can find plenty of review sites bashing insurance companies based on the fact that the customer felt like they received very poor service after filing a claim.
That’s when most policyholders wise up to the fact that they would rather pay a little more for a better customer service experience during a claim than to pay less to own a policy that will end up giving them horrible service during the claim process and then dropping them immediately afterward.
What About Discounts?
While the reputation of the company you do business with is of the utmost importance, no many people will hope in line to pay more than they have to for coverage. What’s more beneficial to the majority of people is the discounts from having multiple policies.
Having home or renters insurance bundled with auto is one of the best ways to get the most out of your policies. Even better still, multi-car with anti theft bundled with home or renters insurance.
The rates can be even better for business owners with multiple policies.
“We were flabbergasted! You saved us near $20,000 a year in premium, with the same coverage. Hats off!!?"
Getting The Value You Pay For
Everyone wants to save on insurance. It’s a no brainer. Ultimately, what is more important is getting what you are actually paying for, which is a company that will be there for you when all the chips are down.
You really want to go to a company where you feel comfortable that they’re going to give you the best advice and the right coverage, then you want to worry about the cost of insurance when you are getting a quote.
The last thing you want to do is sign on for a policy that ends up costing you a lot more because the company isn’t financially stable, or chose not to be helpful in your time of need.
At Ferguson Insurance Center, we put customer service first to make sure that you get the most out of your policies from day 1. And if you ever need to file a claim, we are their for you to help you every step of the way.
Join over 1,800 wise policyholders by getting a quote from Ferguson Insurance Center today. We work with over 30 insurers to find the right coverage for you at the lowest rates.
There are many people receiving calls since Thanksgiving and it isn’t to spread Holiday cheer. Scammers are doing everything they can to part their unsuspecting victims from their money before its all spent on presents.
Scammers are using the internet, phone, email and any other means of contact to get as much money as they can from people like us.
Even Payless Shoes got in on the holiday scams this year… Just watch
All jokes aside, you need to protect yourself from what may be the most high tech scammers throughout our history.
Here is a list of a few of the latest Christmas Scams Trends to keep an eye out for.
1. The Secret Sister:
This scam is trending on Facebook because it asks people to give a little to receive a lot. The scam asks for $10 in that goes to donating a gift and in return the donation maker is told they will receive up to 36 gifts..
2. Christmas Parcel Delivery Scam: This scam comes in the form of emails pretending to be from a post office. When you click the link in the email you download software that gives your computer a virus and leaves your personal information vulnerable to hackers.
3. Jury Duty Scam: This scam is run by threatening jail time for missing jury duty if a fine isn’t paid… with a gift card bought from the nearest Walmart!
4. The Robo-Scammer: This is a call from a robo-dialer that claims that you have a warrant out for your arrest if you don’t call them back. That is when the trap is sprung.
As you can see, all of these scams only work if you allow yourself to be overcome with fear or greed. If you can stay in control of your emotions, you stand a great chance at beating these scammers and keeping yourself safe during the holiday season.
However, if you should fall victim to a scam be sure to call the police immediately after you become suspicious of the scam. Also, some types of scams may be covered under your homeowners insurance policy so be sure to call your insurance pro to find out if anything can be done to get your hard earned money back.
It’s that time of year where people are lighting up the chimney, roasting marshmallows and putting up festive decorations for the season. It’s also the time of year when many people start to think about Christmas safety.
Christmas is another disaster filled holiday that unfortunately leads to many families being displaced because of fire damage.
We want you and your family to know what you're up against so we put together these Christmas safety tips for you to avoid some of the Christmas safety problems that come up every year.
Christmas Light Safety Tips
One of the more overlooked safety concerns for Christmas holiday safety come from lights and electrical safety.
It’s very common to see homes filled with lights both on the outside and inside of the house. So let’s take a quick look at some of the key things to think about while decorating.
Christmas light safety
If you are putting up Christmas lights on the outside of your home then you must remember that you are going to have to think about how to power outdoor Christmas lights safely as well as what to hang them with.
First, let’s talk about powering the Christmas lights. If you’re still following the example most of our grandparents set with a few extension cords, untangling large strings of lights and then hanging them around the roof (secured by nails bought to build the fence) then you are putting yourself in a serious risk.
Those big orange extension cords are a huge trip hazard to anyone who comes on your property. Imagine if a delivery driver were to be injured at your home while delivering a gift to your door. And while these extension cords still work great, the problem is that if you use both plugs in an outlet you run the risk of causing a fire from an overloaded outlet. Instead, you should pick up an outdoor power stake.
This one on Amazon has a 9 foot weatherproof extension cord built into it and has 6 outlets that can be used to plug in those strings of lights without having to worry about overloading your main outlet.
Plus, it’s fire resistant and has an on/off switch that acts as a circuit breaker.
How To hang Exterior Christmas Lights Safely
Hanging Christmas lights that have been sitting tangled in a box in the dark corners of the attic can present a few dangers of their own.
Think about it...
Imagine you hang all of your lights, plug them in and find out that most don’t work because of damaged wires in the cord. What some people would do is attempt to fix them while hung, which means climbing a ladder an fiddling with the light strands. Not safe.
It’s better to plug in each strand individually before hanging them so that any strands that don’t work can be fixed while you are not 10 feet in the air on a ladder.
Also, never use nails or tacks to secure the lights to your house.
This video will give you some suggestions on Christmas light safety and how you hang those Christmas lights without using nails
Christmas Ladder Safety
This brings us to ladder safety. Here are 6 ladder safety tips to keep in mind while you decorate for christmas.
Christmas Safety Tips For Pets
Pet lovers can rest assured that your curious friend will most likely get into some things that could cause danger for themselves and you as well.
Here are a few Christmas safety tips to consider if you have a pet
Consider using a Christmas Tree Safety Gate
A Christmas tree safety gate is good for keeping small pets and children a safe distance from the Christmas tree. You can pick one up from Amazon as well
Christmas Safety: Shopping Tips To Stay Safe
One thing is for certain, Christmas shopping is one of the most busy activities during this time of the year.
You know it, I know it and unfortunately, so do thieves. So let’s look at some of the key things you can do for Christmas shopping safety.
Stores with extended hours
Some stores will have extended hours to help those who need to shop at night. Low light and high traffic are the holiday thieves dream. This is when they can move undetected through big crowds to pickpocket and shoplift with let chance of being spotted right away.
However, the career criminals tend to stick to breaking into the cars in the parking lots or robbing and scamming the people who are in the parking lot alone.
It’s vital to keep your wits about you and stay focused on being as safe as possible. That means parking in well lit areas and ask a store clerk to walk purchases to your car whenever possible.
Christmas Safety For Your Home and Car
Christmas time is also one of the best times to call about home and auto insurance because it is a time of year that presents much higher risks.
Christmas Day and Christmas eve are 2 of the 3 most dangerous times of year when it comes to house fires. The other is thanksgiving.
The Christmas season is also one that sees more cars being broken into and more homes being vandalized.
All of these risks are easily covered simply by checking on your policy. And it’s also a great time to get a new quote and see how much you can save on your coverage.
Thanksgiving is a wonderful holiday filled with family, fun and food. Unfortunately, thanksgiving is also a time that we tend to see more damage claims.
The insurance industry typically sees an uptick of fire damage claims during this time of year. How big is the uptick? According to fema, you are 2.3% more likely to be involved in a fire on thanksgiving than any other day in the year.
There are many more risks that Thanksgiving presents to its participants than just fire. There are a number of areas that you should take caution in, which we will dive into below.
Enjoy these Thanksgiving safety tips from Ferguson Insurance Center
Reconsider The Turkey Fryer
Many people love the taste of a deep-fried turkey on thanksgiving but the process of frying it can be a dangerous one. When deep frying a turkey you are putting yourself at risk of burns as well as the fire hazard that the gas-fueled burner presents.
If you can’t resist the urge to fry that turkey, be sure to follow these safety tips to protect your home and your family.
Kitchen Safety and Sanitation: Prevent Food Poisoning
Food poisoning is something that no one wants to give or receive during the holiday season. When it comes to cooking poultry, like turkey, properly thawing and sanitation is of the utmost importance.
Remove All Potential Hazards
Kitchen safety hazards that come with Thanksgiving are also injuries from appliances or hot dishes. Here are a couple of short kitchen safety tips to keep in mind.
Kitchen Safety Rules For Kids
Thanksgiving time is a great time of year to pass down dishes from generation to generation. It’s also a great time to pass down kitchen safety rules to the younger generations as well. Be sure to share these tips…
These kitchen safety tips are suggestions that may help keep the Thanksgiving festivities fun and safe for you and your loved ones.
Holiday Safety Tips
The holiday season is upon us once again. This is a time for family, fun trips and shopping. It’s the most wonderful time of year…
Unless, you happen to be one of the many people who will face a disastrous situation that puts them at risk for losing property, being liable for an injury or having their identity stolen.
It is well known among insurance agents that the Holiday season comes with an uptick in the amount of claims we receive. Auto insurance claims rise 20% in December alone on average so there are real dangers that you must protect your family and yourself from.
Here are just a tips to help you stay protected.
Holiday Safety For Seniors
If you are hosting a loved one over the age of 55 then you need to know that they are at a higher risk for injury. Being proactive to keep them safe during the holiday will go a long way toward avoiding unnecessary hospital visits.
Take these 6 steps to avoid dangerous situations with a senior this holiday season.
Secure all floor coverings
Check your chairs
Limit dim lighting
Say safe when cooking
Monitor for sound
Holiday Safety For Pets
Keeping your pet’s out of danger can also be a tall order. Our furry friends are very curious, which could often lead to danger for our pets as well as our homes.
The hazards that pet cause during the holiday season are vast simply because they don’t understand what’s happening but they want to explore all of the new things in their environment.
What are some of the things you can do to keep your pet safe?
Bolt down the tree
Keep Cord and Batteries out of your pet’s reach
Avoid Tinsel and breakable tree ornaments
Never leave lighted candles unattended
How To Keep Your Home Safe While You're Away For The Holidays
A common problem during the holiday season is theft. Many thieves expect many homes to be empty because they know that many people like to travel during these times of year.
There are a few things you can do to keep your home protected while you are away during your holiday travels...
Don’t announce your holiday plans on social media
Cancel your regular services
Invest in affordable security lighting
Let your close-by friends know you’re going away
Don’t hide your spare key outside your home
Safety Tips For Holiday Travel
In an article by CNTraveler.com, they asked a former CIA operative how to stay safe during the busiest travel time of the year?
Here’s a list of what the 14-year veteran of the CIA had to offer:
Leave valuables at home
Stay in touch with family and friends
Keep a low profile
Travel in groups
Book the right hotel room
Pay attention to your whereabouts
Leave your passport in your hotel room
His basic advice, be prepared for the most likely scenarios. Fairly simple
Also Read: 15 Types of People Who Need Umbrella Insurance
Holiday Driving Safety Advice
Before you get on the road, make sure you…
Get your standard maintenance up to date
Have an emergency roadside kit (See the whole kit here)
Have a mapped route plan
Take the necessary weather safety precautions
Keep the kids safe and entertained
Take a break every 2 hours or 100 miles
Keep an eye out for potentially intoxicated drivers
Taking these steps during your holiday road trip can help you avoid unnecessary car insurance claims.
Deliver Safety For Holiday Packages
One of the most often overlooked groups of people when it comes to creating a safe environment during the holidays are the postal workers. They can often be so busy trying to deliver our last minute packages that they don’t see the hazards that could endanger them.
Many homeowners end up having liability claims against them because of injuries to postal workers during holiday deliveries.
These are a few of the things you can do to avoid having that happen to you
Holiday Safety Tips: Cybersecurity Safety for the holidays
Holiday shopping almost always come with the threat of having a holiday cyber breach along with it. Hackers know that we have much more online shopping activity during this time of year and they lurk behind their scams to try to steal from us.
KnowBe4, a company that specializes in security training put together a great video to help people keep from getting hacked by criminals that hope to prey on our holiday shopping habits.
Get A Quote Ahead of the Holiday Season To Make Sure You're Fully Covered
This guest post is by Ingrid Walter, who is a blogger and freelance writer.
Big data started as a way to describe data sets that are too big for traditional databases to capture, store, manage, and analyze. But now the term has evolved to define a set of technologies that can solve complex problems by analyzing trends from large and variable data. Big data is already commonplace in industries like banking, construction, retail, and transportation. One of the latest industries to take advantage of big data is motor insurance, which is using the modern technology to provide a more personalized service to customers.
What if you can accurately asses risks?
On Ferguson Insurance Center we have a list of the most common car insurance mistakes you can commit. Using big data, insurers can now create a better picture when it comes to claims. Forbes notes that risk assessment in car insurance is what the industry is built on. Some insurers now use “telemetry-based packages” that feed data direct from the vehicle to their system. This allows the insurers to get an accurate record of a driver's behavior, which can then affect their assessment of an accident or theft.
Easier application process
ZhongAn Online P&C Insurance, the first internet-only insurer in China, is a great example of how big data is making the application process easier. They are using machine learning and analytics to analyze data. Wang Yu head of car insurance at ZhongAn told the South China Morning Post: “We have broken the online purchase process into 45 parts. We monitor and analyze data flows from each part and if we notice that users spend too much time in one part, then we know something may be wrong with it or it has potential to be optimized.” Don't be surprised to see this method of application spread across the globe.
Fairer risk assessment
There's an ongoing debate about whether or not insurance companies should use a consumer's credit score as a way to assess risk. While credit scores have helped companies assess a consumer's personal responsibility, the Insurance Journal points out it isn't popular: "it’s never been obvious to the typical consumer what one’s credit history has to do with one’s likelihood to get in an accident". With big data insurance companies have even wider scope to determine credit scores by providing even more variables. However, the article also notes that the wide range of personal information that could be included in the data scan, such as social media accounts, is likely to put off many customers.
Better fraud detection
In the US, insurance fraud accounts for $80 billion a year. Fraud also makes up about for about 10% of the property-casualty insurance losses and loss adjustment expenses each year. To battle this, 48 states, including the District of Columbia made insurance fraud a specific crime.
Most insurers have to manually assess and report suspicious insurance claims before they can verify an actual fraud. With big data, specifically predictive modeling and strict data management, insurers can quickly identify when there is a high-risk case that needs investigation. They can simply match variables in claims against profiles of past fraudulent activities.
This type of protection can be seen in the trucking industry. Verizon Connect explains how advanced fleet tracking software helps with insurance claims in the event of stolen assets. This is mainly because every part of a truck’s journey is recorded, and insurers can see “exactly what happened where”. Monitoring high-value assets has never been easier. Driver ID technology comes in handy, too, allowing the right people to take responsibility for any loss in company assets.
The bottom-line for the motor industry is: if every data generated is traced, tracked, recorded, and stored, insurance claims can be easy to handle—both for the customer and the insurer.
Exclusively written for fergusonins.com by Ingrid Walter
Did you know that 25% of Americans have a side hustle business? That number equates to 57 million people looking to make additional income from a side business.
And while so many Americans are doing what they can to provide a valuable service to their communities in hopes of growing their bottom line, many are leaving themselves exposed to both personal and business liability by not having the proper insurance.
The number of side hustle owners who are going without having insurance is huge, as it is estimated that only 12% of these small business entrepreneurs have insurance coverage.
The reason most of them go uninsured is that the simply think they don’t need it.
The fact is…
YOU NEED TO INSURE YOUR SIDE HUSTLE!!!
Especially when you consider that 61% of part time businesses make less than $10,000 per year, any claim against you or your business could send you spiraling into bankruptcy.
Especially with new side hustle apps and services like Lyft and Airbnb, you need to consider all of the risks that you could face before you make the mistake of not having coverage for your side business.
Also Read: 15 Types of People Who Need Umbrella Insurance
What If You Run A Side Business From Home?
Many people who want to earn a side income decide to take on a “make money from home” approach to cut down the costs of their new side business.
Typically, they mistakenly believe that their homeowners insurance will cover them in case of liability.
In most cases, insurance companies do provide personal liability coverage with a homeowners insurance policy, but they tend to deny claims stemming from any business activity, whether from a home business or otherwise.
What If Your Side Hustle Is Online?
Selling from a website as a side hustle is something that has only gained popularity over the last 20 or so years. The legal system and governments have been slow to keep up with the rate of growth and change that the internet has created.
One of the things that has not kept pace is taxation, simply because the internet creates the ability to have an international supply chain with a very low overhead that can be set up with almost no budget over a weekend.
However, as we spoke about in an article about the dropshipping business, there are still dangers in having a side hustle online and not having the proper insurance.
If you’re customer receives a defective product, you could be liable for any and all injuries and claims brought against you by them. Without proper insurance, you would be looking at potentially coming out of pocket for court cost, hospital bills and damages.
It just doesn’t make sense to risk your financial well being to save a few hundred bucks a year.
Get Side Hustle Insurance Today
If you are operating a side business and need insurance call us immediately to get covered. You can also get an online quote here.
Even if you don’t think you make enough to need to insure your side business, having a basic general liability policy for you business could protect you from the risk of losing your personal assets.
Don’t risk it. Insure your Side business with the right coverage asap.
Travelers Insurance in Sept of 2018 reported $7.72B in revenue, which pales in comparison to Amazon's $52.89B last quarter.
Still, these two companies are giants when you consider the competition.
Amazon is the most valuable retailer in the US and the second most valuable public company in the world behind only Apple.
Travelers, also known as the travelers companies is the second largest writers of Commercial property casualty insurance and third largest persona insurance writer in the U.S.
So it only makes sense that these two giant's would team up to bring us the first ever digital storefront in the insurance industry at Amazon.com/Travelers...
And they've decided to incentivize those who participate in the history they are making.
For new or existing Travelers Home Insurance customers who are eligible, Travelers will provide a free Amazon Echo Dot.
This is in effort to promote Smart Home Kits that are available through Amazon, though purchase of a kit is not needed to get the free Amazon Echo Dot.
However, if you choose to get a Smart Home Kit you could also receive discounted rates through your Travelers Home Insurance Policy.
These Smart Home Kits are designed to protect homeowners from the most common causes of loss so your home is safer just by having one.
These smart home kits include:
You can pre-order the kits on the storefront and they will be released on Thursday.
If you are in the areas that are serviced by Ferguson Insurance Center, then unfortunately, you are not eligible for this offer just yet, though more states will be added to the giveaway soon.
Until then, be sure to get a Homeowners Insurance quote so that you can see how Travelers home insurance rates stack up against our other insurance carriers. (We have 30+ to choose from...)
Building A Smart Home: Cyber Security Concerns With Smart Home Kits
In recent years, cyber attacks have become a more common occurrence that it used to be. How will building a smart home affect the level of security you have?
Michael Klein, the executive vice president and president of personal insurance at Travelers said this...
"We suggest that customers read manufacturer's recommendations when using smart home devices to understand best practices for safely using these devices"
It also advised that you know how to handle a cyber attack and have a system for lowering the risks you face by resetting passwords regularly and keeping your eyes peeled for unauthorized transactions or suspicious activity on your accounts.
It still surprises me how often homeowners don’t know that there is personal liability insurance coverage on homeowners insurance.
Even more surprising, the people who know about the personal liability written into their home insurance coverage but don’t know what it helps them protect against.
The fact is that the personal liability coverage that you get when you buy homeowners insurance is actually very broad and covers you and your family from certain dangers.
In this article, we’ll dive into a few of the things that it covers...
Your homeowners insurance provides personal liability coverage for your family
Homeowners insurance protects the property but most don’t know that it also provides a very broad personal liability coverage as well.
This coverage typically applies to:
Your Homeowners policy covers some boats (but it varies)
Small, unscheduled boats may be covered under a homeowners policy. However, this liability coverage varies based on the size and type of boats and motors. This coverage is limited to certain situations and risks but when they are covered, your homeowners policy provides up to $1,500 of coverage for unscheduled watercraft.
Your homeowners insurance (may) cover “dead storage” and other types of vehicles
The keyword in this is “dead storage”. It’s very difficult to know what is legally considered dead storage. One leading legal dictionary says a vehicle is considered dead storage if the battery has been removed, however, there are many other legal definitions for dead storage that could be used in the case of liability or injury.
In most cases, Golf carts can be covered under your home insurance policy
Golf carts are covered when you live in a property with access to a golf course and you are using it properly.
These carts are protected unless they have been modified to be able to pass the speed of 25 mph, carrying more than 4 persons or outside of the legal boundary of the the golf course or it’s set points, which at times cross public roads.
If the you are a member of a private residential community and riding a golf cart on the communities public roads then your homeowners policy will cover that as well.
Your homeowners policy needs to be updated frequently.
If you make improvements to your home, have children that tend to break or damage things or if your policy is a few years old, you need to update your policy every so often.
Some insurers provide a special personal property coverage that allows you to cover “all risks” to property other than the home (floors, walls, windows and roof). They may cover personal belonging as well, which comes in handy when your 3 year old smears play doh in your fur rug.
Insurance agents can discuss your options but we do not recommend how much you need.
We are happy to discuss the coverage that you get when doing business with us. We want you to be informed and we want you to know exactly what you’re covered for, what you aren’t, and what you need to consider.
We also have an obligation, morally and ethically, to never make recommendations. We want to make sure you are covered properly but making recommendations could lead to some missteps.
We don’t know how much coverage will be enough in your specific scenario. The purpose of our service is to help you make an informed decision by letting you know what options you have and what each policy covers for you. The rest is up to you.
*several qualifications apply