3 Tips to Avoid Common Mistakes that Could Raise Your Auto Insurance Rates

All vehicle owners should have auto insurance. It provides protection when something goes wrong, such as an accident. Whether you make the mistake or your vehicle fails, these types of accidents can be very expensive and hard to overcome financially. However, if you maintain your vehicle properly and take key steps during and before you drive, chances are good you’ll reduce the likelihood of an incident happening. This could, in turn, reduce your auto insurance rates.

What Should You Do to Lower Auto Insurance Rates?

To keep your rates low, reduce the number of claims you file against your insurance. To do that, consider these three tips.

#1: Avoid distracted driving

Distracted driving is one of the most common causes of accidents as well as moving violations. If you are behind the wheel, it’s essential that you avoid distracted driving risks such as:

The use of a mobile phone
Changing the radio station
Looking at other people in the vehicle
Being involved in a heated conversation in the vehicle
Any other instance in which you are not able to focus on driving conditions
When this occurs, you reduce your ability to react fast enough, leading to a higher risk of an accident occurring.

#2: Check your vehicle before leaving

Before leaving any location, take a short walk around your vehicle. Look at the tires, windows, and overall condition of the vehicle. It also pays to check the lights to ensure they work properly. It is also important to consider how much fuel is in the vehicle. Doing this before you leave, ensures your vehicle is in the best working condition possible while on the road.

#3: Secure your vehicle

Finally, keep your vehicle safe both at home and on the road. Consider the installation of a security system on your vehicle. This can help to reduce the risk of theft. Just the presence of a security system often defers would-be thieves from tampering with your vehicle. And, simply, keep your vehicle locked at all times.

The fewer times you are involved in an accident or incident like those mentioned here, the fewer claims you will make to your auto insurance policy. The direct result of this is often times lower insurance rates. To save money on your auto insurance, don’t cut your policy back or reduce claim options. Instead, drive safer.

5 Advantages of Household Contents Insurance Coverage

You have worked hard to buy a home and fill it with the things important and even vital to your life. It is never easy even if you are rather wealthy or have a steady job to accomplish this. Yet, nearly all homeowners are at risk of loss from one or more of a variety of threats. Whether your home is flooded or a fire starts, having household contents insurance coverage can help to protect your investments. Consider these five reasons you need to maintain household contents insurance on your property.

Your Belongings Are Covered

The most important reason to select household contents insurance is because it ensures your belongings, such as home furnishings, appliances, and personal items, are protected. With this coverage, you may be able to replace items that are lost or damaged due to a covered incident.

The Members of Your Home Are Protected

Not only are your belongings protected as the homeowner, but so are those of those living with you. This may include your immediate family, in-laws, and parents. If the person lives within your residence and his or her items are lost due a covered incident, they are covered.

It Is Affordable

It is a common misconception that household contents insurance is too expensive. In most cases, the premium is quite affordable. More so, just one claim is likely to cover any investment you make. It is possible to find discounts on household contents insurance as well. Defraying your costs is possible, but forgoing this investment isn’t financially savvy.

It Covers Numerous Types of Incidents

Most of these home insurance policies offer coverage that’s comprehensive. You will need to check through the policy to ensure all risks are covered and to see what exclusions apply to your situation. However, most people will have contents insurance that will cover:

Oil leakage
Water damage
Most types of natural events
Malicious damage
Accidental demolition
There is no other way to protect your home from these risks. No matter how diligent you are in protecting your home from risks, such as keeping it secure and in good shape maintenance-wise, you simply cannot protect it from every instance. Household contents insurance, though, steps in to help you to meet the financial losses suffered if such an incident does occur.

You Have Peace of Mind

Consider what would happen if your home caught on fire. Your house insurance would likely cover the costs of rebuilding or making repairs to the structure. But, what about everything within your home? Your clothing, your electronics, your photos, and anything else you own would be costly to repair or replace. With this type of financial protection in place, you no longer have to worry about being able to protect your family and assets.

If you do not have a comprehensive household contents insurance policy in place, now is the time to do so. You will find it is one of the wisest financial investments to make. It can give you confidence to know all that you’ve worked for hard for is financially protected.

5 Tips for Selecting Home Insurance Customized to Your Space

Investing in home insurance is very important. It provides an opportunity for you to reduce the risk of loss when a fire, theft, or other unpreventable event takes place. Yet, to gain the most protection possible, it is essential to have a home insurance policy that reflects your specific needs. How can you do that? Consider these tips for customizing your policy.

#1: Be sure it represents your home’s value.

Select a policy that provides enough money to help you rebuild your home if it is a total loss. For example, if a fire occurs, you need to be able to rebuild the home. Rebuilding costs more than most expect. Your home insurance should represent your home’s rebuilding value not how much you paid for it.

#2: Notice all of your liability risks.

How can someone be hurt at your home? If you have a home with dangerous steps or an area that is particularly worrisome, be sure this is reflective in your policy. Your general liability insurance should be ample.

#3: Choose a plan that covers your expensive belongings.

A home insurance plan will cover your home’s contents. This includes your personal belongings. If you have high-valued items, though, you may need extra coverage. Inquire about adding an additional policy that covers any high-end electronics, jewelry, or other items that are more expensive to replace. This includes computer equipment, art collections, or precious family heirlooms.

#4: Consider the risk for floods and earthquakes.

Most standard home insurance plans do not provide financial coverage for these types of weather events. This may mean that you do not get any help should a flood or earthquake cause damage to your home. Depending on where you live, this could be a concern. Supplement your existing plan with a new one.

#5: Always ask for discounts.

Most homeowners can qualify for discounts. If you have smoke detectors in your home, that may help. The addition of a home security system can also help to reduce your costs. Ask which other discounts your insurance provider can offer.

Customize your home insurance to match your needs. Doing this will help you to save money. It also helps ensure that you always have access to the very best coverage available. When something happens, you get help overcoming the financial hardship that the event can cause. Update your policy frequently to match your needs.

Tips for Being a Safe Driver and Lowering Auto Insurance Rates

Driving today can be a risky experience. It may seem that vehicles are safer to operate, but the people behind the wheel tend to be just as focused on what is happening in the car, on their phone, or in their lives. That is, today, people are distracted. That makes for a dangerous situation every time you get behind the wheel. What can you do to become a safer driver? If you want to see your auto insurance rates drop, focus on being the safest driver in the area.

Tips for Safety Improvement

You can work to fix your vehicle to ensure it is safe. You can apply for discounts from your car insurance provider. However, the most important way to keep your insurance costs down is to be the safest driver you can be. A single accident can resort to a significant loss of money. Avoid those risks with these tips.

Never operate your vehicle when you are distracted. Pull over to hold a conversation or to take a call. The most common cause of accidents is a distracted driver.
Consider taking a safety driving course. Some courses not only teach you the basics of vehicle operation, but they also teach you how to be a diligent driver. A defensive driving course can help you to learn how to avoid accidents and other, high-risk drivers.
Remember that you are not alone. Just because you are working on becoming a safer driver doesn’t mean the other people on the road with you are. Pay attention to those around you. Notice when people are changing lanes or are no longer paying attention to the road.
Leave early. Don’t rush. Instead of rushing out the door, be sure you have plenty of time to make your trip. This can help you avoid rushing and causing an accident.
Drive when you are ready for the challenge. You have a lot to focus on. You need to have a clear mind. You also need to avoid alcohol before driving. Don’t forget that tired drivers are more likely to cause accidents as well.
Are you ready to be a driver that focuses on the road? Keeping your family safe is important. And, if you are able to avoid accidents and violations, you will also be considered a safe driver to your auto insurance provider. This may help you to reduce your costs.

What Happens After a Home Theft? How to File a Claim

Someone has broken into your home. No matter what was taken, you now are faced with a feeling of personal violation. And, you have lost important valuables. When this happens, your home insurance is there to help you. If you have a home insurance policy, and that policy is a good quality, it can help you recover some of the financial loss associated with this type of situation.

How to File a Claim

The first step in filing a home insurance claim is to create a police report. Your insurance company needs to know that the appropriate actions have been taken to ensure any theft is documented. It is then necessary to call the insurer to request help through the process. It does not have to be difficult, but you will need to provide detailed information about what happened and what was stolen.

Proving Ownership Is Important

One of the key steps in the claim process is proving ownership of what you lost. The best way to do this is to be proactive long before the theft occurs. That is, have a home inventory conducted. This will provide an opportunity for the home insurance company to have photos or at least a list of the items you own including a description and a value of that item. For high-end items, having a receipt from the purchase can help to verify your ownership.

How Much You’ll Receive

Once all documentation of the incident is submitted to the insurance agent, the agent will process the claim. Keep in mind that even the best home insurance policies have limits on the amount of coverage they provide. Your policy will list specifically:

What types of items are covered – including personal items, home furnishings, and items belonging to another person
What amount of total coverage you have – the maximum amount the policy will cover for all items lost in one claim
What the per-item limit is – some policies limit how much the policy will cover per item lost
If you have highly valued items, such as high-end electronics or an art collection, be sure to inform the home insurance company of this item at the start of your policy.

With the help of your home insurance agent, you’ll find the process of filing a claim rather easy. And, once you work through the process with an agent you trust, you can rest assured that such a loss can have a positive ending.

Property Insurance Coverage: Which Assets Are Protected

The investment in home insurance is an important, and big decision. Many people believe this is the type of policy that protects only their home’s structure. While it does offer protection for the structure’s walls, most policies go further, providing ample protection to the homeowner for his or her belongings. Fires, theft, vandalism, and even storm damage can cause a significant amount of financial loss without the right home insurance plan. What types of coverage should your policy provide to you?

Protecting the Structure

Protecting the four walls of the home is the heart of any home insurance plan. This means the insurance policy will protect the actual structure in the event of an accidental and unavoidable loss. For example, if lightning strikes and causes a fire, this could damage the structure’s stability and overall integrity. The policy is likely to help cover the repairs and replacement of that structure depending on the amount of damage done. This may include making repairs to the walls, roof, flooring, and other structural components of the property.

Protecting What’s in the Home

Most home insurance policies also provide financial protection from losses of the homeowner’s belongings if and when the loss is a covered event. For example, that fire could damage your home furnishings, your electronics, your collection of valuable art and many other items within the home. The home insurance steps in to help pay for the repair or replacement of these items, in most cases. The policy will pay a value, generally about 10% of the value of the structural coverage to replace the contents of the home.

What About Outside?

Home insurance may provide even more help to the homeowner. That same fire can cause significant damage to the home’s landscaping, burning trees or damaging exterior lighting. It can cause damage to the existing structures on the property as well including outbuildings such as work-spaces, tool shops, and sheds. When this happens, the policy will cover the repair or replacement of those spaces or items up to the limits of the policy.

It is important for property owners to take a closer look at their existing home insurance plans to be sure they represent the home’s structure, value and contents accurately. Be sure it offers enough financial coverage (without a too-low limit) to ensure all of your assets are protected from all risks.

Does Car Insurance Cover Damage Caused by Criminal Acts?

You spend a great deal of your time working hard to earn a living, care for your home, and maintain your vehicle. When you find yourself the victim of theft or vandalism, you may easily become overwhelmed by the intrusion on your privacy and personal space. There is nothing that quite makes up for this type of loss from a personal level. However, your car insurance may help you overcome the financial cost that this inevitably leads to.

Are You the Victim of Another Person’s Poor Decisions?

Auto insurance provides financial protection for many types of losses. A key reason for having this type of insurance is to provide you with financial protection from losses you did not cause but could not have prevented. Most policyholders will have this type of insurance if they have comprehensive coverage on their vehicle. How can it help you?

You find someone broke into your vehicle. The thieves stole your electronics or other personal items stored within your vehicle. Your vehicle insurance will cover the contents of your vehicle up to a certain value.
Your vehicle is involved in a fire because of someone’s carelessness. Perhaps it was even an intentional fire started by a vandal. This could lead to a total loss for your vehicle. Your car insurance is likely to cover the loss up to the value listed in the policy. In some cases, this may include covering a totaled vehicle if it cannot be repaired.
As you enjoy an evening with friends, someone vandalizes your vehicle. Perhaps they damaged the paint excessively or dented the car. You file a police report. The good news is your auto insurance policy will likely cover this type of loss up to the value on your policy.
It is important to know that not all types of insurance provide this level of coverage. Work closely with your insurance agent to find the right policy for your unique needs. Be sure the value of the policy is enough to cover the loss of your vehicle in the event of a total loss.

Also, keep in mind that who causes the damage will matter to your insurer. If you are in an accident, for example, comprehensive coverage may not apply. Other types of coverage may, depending on the circumstances. It is very important for you to invest the time in finding the right insurance plan for your needs.

Investing in a Safe Home – Key Factors to Look for When Buying a Home

Choosing a home is often about buying one that fits your family’s needs as well as your budget. However, shopping for a new home should also be about choosing a home that’s safe. In fact, investing in a home with key safety features can actually help to reduce your overall home insurance costs. Take a moment to consider the safety of your potential new home. Could you find a home that’s safer or otherwise enhance the safety of it?

Learn About the Area

One of the most important factors to consider is the local community itself. Homes in a community with less crime will cost less to insure. Take the time to look for a home with low crime rates. You can often get this information online or through your local police department or housing authority. Purchasing a home in a neighbourhood known for its safety, on the other hand, can help you save money on insurance costs. That’s essential for today’s home buyer looking for affordable homeowners insurance.

What Features Does the Home Offer?

Once you find a home that’s in a safe community, the next step is to look for one that offers the safety features right for you. There are many simple things that can make a big difference in your safety. Consider a few key factors:

Does the home have an installed security system? Though this can cost a bit to install, it can enhance your home’s security significantly and give you peace of mind as well.
Look at the exterior of the home. Are the windows capable of being locked properly? If you walk around the outside of the home, is it easy for a would-be thief to get into the home?
Take a look at your home’s locks. In nearly all cases, you’ll want to replace them with new locks. However, you’ll want to choose a home with steel doors for the added protection.
Why should you consider these factors when buying a home? It’s simple. A home that has added security in a safe community is one that’s less likely to be broken into. You may always want to ensure it is fire-proof and protected from pests. This, too, can enhance your home’s overall safety. All of these factors can help to reduce the cost of insuring your home, too. Buying a safe home matters.

How Insurance Helps Protect Against Weather Damage

House insurance is a valuable investment. It can seem as though this type of purchase isn’t one that you need to make. After all, you do not file claims very often. In some cases, it is possible to reduce the risks your home faces on a day to day basis. You can take care to ensure it is safe from theft and that your belongings are secure. Yet, there are other situations where this just isn’t possible.

How Can Home Insurance Protect Against Weather Events?

One such event is the weather. Weather is unpredictable and, in nearly every situation, it is impossible to avoid the negative outcome that it brings. This is when home insurance becomes so important. Imagine the following situations.

A tree is struck by lightning, falling and hitting a home. The cost of the damage to the roof or other structures is often covered by home insurance.
That same tree is sitting in the yard and needs to be removed by a professional. Insurance can cover those costs.
A home is damaged when lightning strikes it, causing a fire to start. Home insurance can help in this situation as well.
Weather damage from a windstorm can tear through a home, damaging windows and the roof. Home insurance can help to ensure the home is safe and protected.
Hail damage strikes a home’s outbuilding or garage, damaging the siding or the windows. Many home insurance plans can also cover this type of loss, protecting the homeowner.
Weather-related damage can be significant or minor. Yet, making those repairs to make sure the home remains safe and well protected are often expensive. Without proper insurance, homeowners will need to pay for the damage themselves. This includes small marks on the siding to large fires that destroy the structure. With the right type of insurance coverage, though, the cleanup and restoration work can be helped by the insurer, up to the amount of coverage the policy offers.

Homeowners should take the time to ensure they have home insurance, but also make sure that they have enough coverage. Many policies have limitations and exclusions, or types of storm damage not covered. With the right level of protection and a sound understanding of what can be expected from any home insurance plan, property owners can feel better about their financial security whenever a storm rolls into the area.

The Importance of Earthquake Insurance

Earthquake Green Road Sign with Dramatic Clouds and Sky.

There’s nothing more worrisome and frightening than watching your home shake, your belongings fall to the ground, and facing the real fact that your loved ones could be hurt. An earthquake can occur at any time. There is little warning that it will occur and, even if there is some evidence that it will, there’s very little you can do to protect yourself, your family, or your home. In fact, the only way to minimize some of the financial risk you face is to have the right home insurance in place. Do you have earthquake insurance?

Examine Your Policy Today

The recent earthquakes in our area have done more than just shake the ground. They’ve also exposed the real need to update home insurance policies and business insurance plans to better reflect the ongoing threats in the area. Earthquake insurance is a key component to any structural policy, but it is not always included in a basic plan. Take a close look at your existing insurance plan to determine if you have this coverage or if you need to purchase a new policy.

Earthquake Insurance Offers Peace of Mind

The recent earthquakes in our area came as a surprise. Most people did not suffer any damage, but there is an ongoing risk that additional earthquakes can occur. Alpha Direct offers the support and guidance you need to protect yourself financially from these losses.

How can earthquake coverage help you?

Alpha Direct’s insurance plans cover damage to homes and businesses.
This covers cleanup efforts should damage be significant.
It can help to pay for all repairs necessary on your home or your business property.
It can help cover the costs of damage to the structure, foundation, windows, roofing, and much more.
It aids in helping you to recover from losses related to damaged and lost property and personal belongings as well.
Experiencing loss from an earthquake is a very real risk here in Botswana. That is why it is so important for you to have adequate insurance to minimize your financial losses. Most importantly, recognize that most property insurance plans can affordably cover earthquake risk – you do not have to pay significantly more to have this type of protection. Contact your agent at Alpha Direct to find out how you can protect against the risks of unknown earthquakes. Let our team help you to find the coverage you need today.