Monthly Archives: March 2017

Safety Conscious: Insurance Marketing to Clients with Children

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Parents of young children are busy people. They’re juggling careers while caring for children at the same time. They need to research and act on that research quickly. Sometimes, important tasks drop off their plates as they struggle to keep up with their daily routines. Insurance marketing to this audience needs to happen in quick, high-impact bits that keep their attention and give them actions that they can take to improve their family’s insurance situation.  House Insurance and Home and Garden Safety  Parents of young children think about the safety of their home and garden. They toddler-proof staircases and try to make sure that there aren’t any poisonous plants in the garden. However, when they move or have changes in their living arrangements, they sometimes forget to properly insure their homes. This means that if a fire or other disaster were to occur, these families would be left struggling to renovate a damaged home or replace their belongings. When you’re insurance marketing to families of young children, frame insurance as one of the many ways to protect their home. Create content on other home safety topics of interest, such as preventing poisoning or landscaping in a way that’s safe for children. If these are not your areas of expertise, partner with a landscaping company or poison control to add guest content to your site.  As children move into school and enjoy community events, these are also opportunities to market to parents. Sponsor the soccer team or have a float in the parade. Parents who see you as a community-minded insurance agency are more likely to turn to you for their insurance needs. Auto Insurance and Auto Safety While young children aren’t driving yet, you can still market to parents of young children with their children in mind. From car seats to the overall collision safety of their vehicle, parents of young children think a lot about how safe their children are in the car. As an insurance agency, you can benefit from this marketing opportunity. For example, you could partner with a local car seat safety technician to offer a free car seat check and use the opportunity to establish your community reputation and sell new auto insurance or other insurance products. You can also educate families through short blogs and videos that they can share on parenting groups such as Facebook groups. For instance, according to Consumer Reports, “a bulky coat and a car seat is a dangerous combination.” Sharing this kind of information with parents on social media can help you establish yourself as an expert in the field.  Pet Insurance For Young Families  Many young families get a cat or a dog before their children are born, but others decide to purchase a pet because their children would like one. However, vet bills can be difficult to afford, especially for families who are paying for child care, saving for education, and purchasing items for their children. Pet insurance can offer families some financial security during this time.

Please call AmeriAgency.com for advice on insurance and Safety at 615-209-9362.

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The Safest way to Drive Your Pet Around

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The Safest way to Drive Your Pet Around

What dog doesn’t like to go for a car ride every once in a while—and what dog owner doesn’t like to indulge that? And cats, while not friends of automobile transportation in general, need to visit the vet annually in order to ensure their continued good health which means they, too, must travel by car on a somewhat regular basis. But driving your pets around isn’t just a matter of throwing them into the car and hoping for the best. Here are some tips on the safest ways to transport your favorite four-legged family member.

Tips for Dogs

  • Close the window: This may be heartbreaking to read, but allowing your dog to ride in the car with his head out the window is actually dangerous. Debris in the air can get into his eyes or lungs, and according to the Humane Association, cold air forced into their lungs can cause illness.
  • Use a harness: Just as it is dangerous with a small child, it is dangerous to travel with your dog unseatbelted. Dogs should either be in a carrier while you drive or in a harness that connects to your vehicle’s safety belt system. This will prevent them from getting thrown and injured in an accident.
  • Only bring pets to pet friendly locations: No animal should be left unattended in a vehicle, no matter how comfortable the weather is. If you are driving to a destination that does not allow pets to come inside, leave your dog at home.

Tips for Cats

  • Use a carrier: For the safety of both the cat and the people in the car, trips with cats should always be conducted with the cat inside a carrier. Frightened cats are a danger in terms of their claws and their small size, so keep them in a carrier at all times.
  • Get the cat used to traveling: It can be extremely stressful to your cat to go on a long car ride, even when she’s in the safety of her carrier. To get your cat used to the car, About.com recommends you take her on short trips a few times a month and reward her with treats afterward. You can gradually lengthen the trip times in order to get her ready for a multi-day trip.

It doesn’t take much effort to keep your pet safe and comfortable when traveling. Taking these extra steps will help add years to their lives.

For the best rates on Auto Insurance call AmeriAgency at 615-209-9362.

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4 Ways to Save on Renters Insurance

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You know that renters insurance is important, but you also wonder what the odds are that you will need it. After all, the building is covered. Yes, the building is covered, but if there is a fire or another covered event, the landlord is not going to replace or repair your belongings. It’s up to you to purchase renters insurance. But, we all like to save money, so how can you save on renters insurance?

  1. Raise your deductible. The deductible on the insurance is what you pay if there is a claim before your benefits kick in. If you don’t have a history of claims, then raising your deductible from $500 to $1,000 can save you money. At the same time, for those expenses that are less than your deductible, just fix them rather than filing a claim. You would pay for them anyway. That way you reduce the number of claims you file. Your renters insurance premiums are dependent on both of those things.
  2. Ask about discounts. Ask your auto insurance carrier if they give a discount for adding renters insurance to your policy. Most insurance companies will give discounts for multiple coverage bundles.
  3. 3.Roommates. If you have a roommate, talk with your insurance company about roommate coverage. Some companies will allow one person to have renter’s insurance and include the property of a roommate.
  4. Credit rating. Protect your credit rating. Insurance companies consider you less of a risk for renters insurance if you are responsible with your credit. The way they see it is that if you are responsible with your credit, you are probably responsible with your belongings. This often translates to lower rates.

Renters insurance does not have to be expensive. Use these four ways to save on your coverage today.

Call AmeriAgency today for low rate on renters insurance at 615-209-9362.

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Tips to Buying a Used Car

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Use these tips to make sure you purchase is full of love and peace.

Sometimes, the car that seems like a good deal has a not so pretty history. But, by asking the right questions and checking everything out, you can make sure you’re getting the right information to make the best decision possible!

Before You See the Car:

  1. How many miles does the car have on it?
  2. Is there a salvage title on the car?
  3. How many previous owners have there been?
  4. What condition is the interior and exterior of the car in?
  5. Has the car ever been in an accident?

When You See the Car:

  1. Does the car have a warranty?
  2. May I have the car checked out by a mechanic of my choosing?
  3. Are there any recalls for this model?
  4. May I see maintenance records and the title?
  5. May I take it for a test drive?

Some additional tips for when you’re checking out the car:

  1. Make sure you are viewing the car during daylight hours.
  2. Make sure to test the car out on different types of roads at different speeds.
  3. Check the responsiveness of the brakes.
  4. Be on the lookout for any vibrations or strange noises when you do your test drive.
  5. Make sure all buttons are working correctly.
  6. Check for signs of scratches, dents, rust, even treads on tires.
  7. Look under the hood for oil level, cracks in hoses or belts and the condition of the radiator.
  8. Beware of green or orange stains when checking under the hood. These are indicative of a leak.

For the best rates in auto insurance call AmeriAgency.com at 615-209-9362.

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10 Most Common Illnesses for Dogs

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We think of our pets as members of the family. Because they’re family, we don’t want them to be sick or hurt. And we are often forced to spend large amounts of money to protect them from illness or put them back together from injury. Here are the 10 most common illnesses that our dogs may face:

10. Cruciate Ligament Injuries. These are tears to the ligament in the knee, and are especially common in dogs. Symptoms vary but can include: vomiting, weight loss, loss of appetite, lethargy and diarrhea. Cruciate ligament injuries require surgery, and although costs may vary they range in the thousands.

9. Limping. An injury of unknown severity, limping is an incredibly common issue for dogs. Treatment varies, of course, based on the cause, but a limp can trigger an expensive series of tests while the vet searches for the cause.

8. Pain. Pain can be caused by a variety of issues but sensitivity to touch, whimpering and whining, lack of social interest and stiff movement are all indications a dog is in pain. Diagnostics vary depending on the pain location (is it a leg or everywhere?) but diagnostics alone can cost you a couple grand.

7. Allergies. Dogs often deal with moderate to severe allergies, and unlike you, they’ve got no one to complain to about pollen! Symptoms include itching, heavy scratching, excessive licking and biting of paws. Most vets prescribe antihistamines and then steroids if the antihistamine doesn’t work. But less conventional methods, like allergy testing can yield better results for a tidier sum.

6. UTI. A urinary tract infection is a common source of annoyance if not actual pain for a dog. Frequent urination, trouble urinating and bloody urine are all symptoms of a UTI. Luckily, they’re easy, and pretty cheap to treat using antibiotics.

5. Growths. A dangerous and frightening thing to discover, growths are also pretty common in dogs. Fight the fear in the back of your head that it’s cancer, as dogs can develop growths for many reasons. Your vet will check for cancer, but if it isn’t, treatment is usually pretty cheap and easy.

4. Eye Conditions. Eye conditions like glaucoma (often most common in certain breeds) can be detrimental to your dog’s independence. They vary in severity, but it’s wise to regularly test breeds at risk for genetic eye conditions and pay close attention to your dog’s sight.

3. Ear Infections. Don’t worry, if you don’t notice the symptoms, your vet will. Ear infections are usually not threatening to your pup’s overall health but are painful and itchy to your dog. Treatment may run up to $250, depending on your vet.

2. Skin conditions. Some dogs have very sensitive skin, or chronic conditions that require chronic treatment, but skin conditions can also include insect or snake bite treatment, which can be expensive (think thousands).

1. Stomach Issues. Newsflash: your dog will eat things he shouldn’t. Diarrhea, excessive, gas, vomiting, foaming at the mouth and aversion to food are all signs your dog has an issue with their stomach. You can easily get into some high costs with stomach issues, especially if their symptoms indicate they are in imminent danger (think foaming at the mouth).

If we can help you with insurance call AmeriAgency at 615-209-9362.  We are pet friendly.

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What to Do When You Hit an Animal

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It’s that time of year when the days are shorter, and visibility on the road affects your morning and evening commutes. It’s important to be especially vigilant on the roads to avoid collisions with animals on the road. But sometimes, a collision is unavoidable. When that happens, you need to know what to do.

Call the Police
Treat the accident like any other-and call the police to get a record of the accident, as well as secure the scene so that other drivers are not at risk.

Document the Scene
Take as many photos as you can of the entire scene. Fully document every angle of the accident. This will be extremely valuable when you’re talking with your insurance company.

Keep Clear of the Animal

If the animal is still alive, it could pose a risk to your safety or others. Even if the animal is not alive, it could be carrying illnesses that could affect you. Steer clear and let animal control handle the animal.

Contact Your Agent
This one is pretty obvious-contact your insurance agent. The quicker an incident is reported, the quicker the claim can be processed. You want to get things taken care of as quickly as possible, right?

Determine Whether Your Car Can be Driven
While damage can look superficial, sometimes it is still not safe to drive your vehicle. Check for fluid leaks, damage to your tires, a hood that won’t close, loose parts and broken lights. Also, consider your ability to drive after the accident. You may need to be seen by a paramedic before you assume you can get right back on the road.

For advice on auto insurance coverages call AmeriAgency at 615-209-9362.

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What are Good Liability Limits for Auto Insurance

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Buy as much as you can afford – There is no way you can know how much you will need. – Baird Morgan CEO, AmeriAgency Inc.

State Minimums – Each state has minimum levels of liability for auto insurance policies.   In Tennessee the minimum legal limits are 25/50/15 for split limits.  Let’s break down what this means.  The first number means you will have $25,000 for injuries to one person in the other car.  The second number means you will have up to $50,000 for the total injuries in the other car.  The last number 15 means you will have $15,000 to fix the other car.  These pay outs from your insurance company are based on you being legally at fault for the damage to the other person and/or car.

State minimum coverage means you meet the minimum legal requirement and is better than not having insurance.  You protection is real but minimal.  Poor 

50/100/50 is generally the next level of coverage.  It you have twice as much protection as minimum limits, but doesn’t cost twice as much.  OK

100/300/100 is generally considered prudent limits.  Good

250/500/250 is very prudent limits.  Better

A $1,000,000 or $2,000,000 umbrella on top of high auto limits is the most prudent.  Best

Generally get as much as you can afford.  As you get older and have more to lose and you have a stronger ability to pay insurance premiums, you should get higher limits.

Call AmeriAgency at 615-209-9362 for personalized advice.

 

Ways to Reduce the Cost of Long Term Care Insurance

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Long term care insurance can save you a lot of money as you get older and more likely to need assistance with everyday tasks. However, if you are concerned about the cost of the premium, there are some ways to reduce costs and still reap benefits from your policy.

Shorten Your Benefit Period
Rather than selecting a lifetime policy, consider a shorter term, like 5 years or 10 years, if you have a chronic disease in your family history. Research shows that only 8 percent of people needed more than 3 years of long term care coverage.1

Buy Your Policy Early
Similarly to life insurance, premiums increase as you get older. By purchasing your plan when you are younger, you can avoid the highest premiums. Keep in mind that premiums can still increase however.

Consider Shared Care
If you’re married, you have the option of a shared care policy. With shared care, you and your spouse share the total amount of year’s coverage of the combination of your two policies. This means that if you both have 5 years of coverage, if your spouse uses 2, you will have 8 years of coverage that you can use. While a shared care policy is more expensive, you can save by shortening your benefit periods, since you can combine coverage.

Reduce Daily Payout
You can elect to choose a reduced daily benefit and plan to pay a portion of your care out of your own pocket. Given you have the savings to back up that plan, you can reduce your premium by reducing the daily benefit.

Lengthen your Elimination Period
The elimination period is 30-90 days in which you will need to pay for your long term care out of pocket before your policy kicks in. By electing for a longer elimination period, you can lower your premium. Just remember, you will have to be able to pay for care throughout that time.

For Long Term Care options call Ali at AmeriAgency at 615-603-3840.

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Top 10 Hipster Cars

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In every facet of life, there are Hipsters. A group of trendsetters in the know who are way ahead of the curve when it comes to what is cool. Living their life against the norm and as ironically as possible, Hipsters love things that general society either does not, has yet to discover or does not understand.

In the world of automobiles, this is just as true. See a Mercedes-Benz 300TD, Saab 900 or Volvo 240 GLT driving down the road and there’s a good chance the person behind the wheel is sporting a massive beard, trendy headgear and the latest in body piercings.

SEE ALSO: Top 10 Hipster Cars, Not in Ironic Order

Classic cars that were once deemed uncool are becoming the favorite of hipsters. Chevettes, 1970s land yachts and French cars have all found new life from the most unlikely of demographics. And before you think I’m on my high horse, I’m not about to sit here and pretend I’m not a fan of every car I’ve mention so far because, honestly, I am.

ut this got me thinking. What current cars will become the darlings of Hipsters in 20 years? What unloved cars today, will get a huge amount of unwarranted love in the future on the most ironic of levels? Here’s my guess at ten soon to be hipster favorites.


10. Lexus HS 250h

Hipsters are in touch with the earth and are environmentally responsible. So driving a hybrid vehicle makes total sense. But not just any old hybrid will do. A true Hipster needs to drive to drive a compact luxury hybrid that never found favor with, well, anyone really. Because, you know, it was misunderstood and way ahead of its time.


9. Subaru B9 Tribeca

Hipsters love obscurity and Subarus. This here is an ugly, obscure Subaru. Wearing a grille that never should have left the drawing board, the all-wheel drive seven-passenger Tribeca will be a perfect near-classic to take all the gang to whatever the equivalent of a local organic craft brewery will be in 20 years’ time.


 

8. Buick Lucerne

The Lucerne may be a less obvious choice, but this big, boring, bland car makes perfect sense. Large, seemingly unmemorable luxury American land-yachts from the late 1970s are suddenly in hot demand right now, for reasons not fully understood. The Lucerne is the closest thing we have had in the past few years to those American barges of yesteryear and would become an obvious choice for an ironic, boring automotive choice.


7. Acura RLX

Maybe the Hipster land yacht of the future doesn’t necessarily need to be American. The Acura RLX makes a strong case of an unloved, large, comfortable premium sedan that could become the darling of Hipsters in the future. They will love telling people what makes it different and better than a Honda Accord every chance they get.


6. Mitsubishi Mirage

Some of the least inspiring cars of the past 30 or so years have suddenly become favorites of Hipsters. Chevrolet Chevettes, Hyundai Ponys and Chrysler’s fleet of K-cars are in hot demand suddenly. So it seems fitting that the Mitsubishi Mirage should receive the same love and attention one day in the future. As basic as transportation gets in North America, the Mirage will be the poster vehicle for those exhibiting a no frills, frugal lifestyle.


5. Saturn LW300

Hipsters love obscure wagons, so the LW300 is a shoe-in as a future Hipster automobile since it was obscure even when new. Practical, conservative and fairly basic, the LW300 may be the new Volvo 240 GLT wagon of the future.

And bonus Hipster points are awarded to the LW300 for being from an automotive brand no longer in existence.


4. Suzuki Kizashi

As mentioned, French cars have gained big favor with Hipsters across America. Their rarity, unique engineering and unconventional styling are attractive qualities for those looking to separate themselves from the mainstream.

It may not be French, but this sounds a lot like the Suzuki Kizashi. Built in small numbers right before Suzuki ceased to sell vehicles in America, this obscure, yet well-built car is destined to become a choice of Hipsters. Plus, locating impossible to find replacement parts is a rewarding challenge all of its own; right?


3. Hummer H2

In recent memory, no other vehicle has drawn the same unfiltered hatred from environmental organizations than the H2. Defining American excess in an overgrown, four-wheel drive box, the Hummer H2 is perfect for Hipsters of the future. What more ironic automotive appliance will there be in a guaranteed greener future than a body-on-frame, V8 powered behemoth.

Real Hipsters will take things a step further and convert these monsters to electric power or some kind of bio-fuel.


2. Nissan Murano CrossCabriolet

A large, pointless two-door convertible crossover has hipster written all over it. With no real purpose as a vehicle, the Nissan Murano CrossCabriolet is an oddity among automotive oddities. This makes it the perfect candidate to be ironically cool in the near future. So if you see one of these babies collecting dust at your local Nissan dealer, grab it now. Some dude in a flannel shirt and three-foot beard will be offering you top dollar for it in 10 years.


1. Chevrolet Monte Carlo

No car in recent memory is a better symbol of god fearing, freedom loving Americana than the Chevrolet Monte Carlo. It was a favorite among a demographic as polar opposite to the Hipster as may be humanly possible. So this makes it the ultimate ironic motoring appliance to arrive at the free-range, kale candle making convention. Extra Hipster points of course will be awarded for one of the NASCAR livery edition Monte Carlos.

For the best car insurance call AmeriAgency.com at 615-209-9362.
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How to Separate Your Business & Personal Finances

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For many small business owners, making clear lines of distinction between their business and personal finances is not a priority. But, it should be. If your personal and business finances are not clearly separate, you may be putting yourself at risk. If your business gets into a situation where money is owed to another entity, you could be financially responsible.  Here are some tips for separating your financial interests.

  1. Keep Separate Accounts.
    • Keeping a business checking account will not only ensure your business is separated financially from your personal accounts, but will also makes things easier for you come tax season. Business bank account statements will be simple and easy to review.
  2. Keep A Business Credit Card
    • Keeping a business credit card allows you to build up your business’ credit and further distance your personal credit from your business.
    • Avoid using your personal credit cards at all costs-this mixes the two.
  3. Establish a Set Standard for Business Expenses
    • Often, small business owners are not quite sure what they can expense for business and what does not meet the qualifications. Set the standards ahead of time and go into every situation knowing if it qualifies as a business expense.
  4. Using a Home Office?
    • Many small business owners begin their business out of their own home. But even though you may be using your home to run your business, you need to careful about how you handle business costs.
    • Make sure you’ve discussed what you can and cannot claim with your tax or legal advisor.
  5. Organize Your Business Receipts
    • You should make sure you are keeping your business receipts in a separate place from your personal financial papers.
    • Keeping them separate and organized will also help you in the case of an audit.

For help with business insurance decisions call AmeriAgency at 615-209-9362.

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