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Checking for Charity East 2019

Atlantic Insurance Services is proud to be a sponsor for this years Checking for Charity East Ice Hockey Tournament. We will be playing to benefit the Ronald McDonald House of Southern New Jersey. Please come out and support this great event.

www.CheckingForCharity.org

Being a family owned and operated business, we know the importance of supporting a family member in need. With this program we can help support the children who are in need of medical care. Ronald McDonald House has one simple idea: “nothing else should matter when a family is focused on the health of their child – not where they can afford to stay, where they will get their next meal or where they will lay their head at night to rest. We believe that when a child is hospitalized the love and support of family is as powerful as the strongest medicine prescribed”

Ronald McDonald House makes every attempt to lessen the burden that illness can have on a family, leaving families better able to focus on battling illness together. By providing donations to this great charity, we can help make a difference in the recovery of children all across the country, and right here in our community!  With your help we can make a real difference! To learn more about this great charity please click here.

Grilling Safety Tips for 2019

Grilling safety tips for 2019

One of the greatest things about summer is more time spent outdoors. This includes outdoor grilling and cooking. However, every year there are reports of damage to both people and homes from grilling accidents. Below is a list of some safety tips that will ensure you have a safe and accident free summer.

All grills, including propane, charcoal and electric, in addition to gas fryers, should always be used outdoors and away from any structures, trees or any other items that could ignite due to the high heat output.

Never leave a grill unattended. Most people report that they only left the grill for a moment, but it only takes seconds for a disaster to happen.

Keep your grill clean. Remove any leaves or other debris that may find its way into your grill. Empty all grease traps frequently and clean your bottom tray. Grease fires are caused by excessive grease build up and are easily preventable.

When starting a charcoal grill, never use gasoline, but instead use charcoal grill starter fluid. Never use more than the recommended amount listed in the instructions. Using too much starter fluid can cause a flame up and injure people and structures. If you use an electric starter, make sure to use a UL approved extension cord that is rated for the wattage of the starter you are using. Overloading your electrical system can cause damage to your homes’ electrical wiring. Use caution, as electrical starters can stay hot enough to start a fire long after they have been unplugged.

When started propane grills, always inspect for damage to gas lines. If you smell gas, never start your grill. If you suspect a leak, spray soapy water on the line and if a leak is present, you will see bubbles form at the location of the leak. Have your grill serviced by a professional and never attempt to fix a grills’ gas line yourself.

Follow these simple precautions to ensure a fun and safe summer for you and your family.

Storm Watch vs Warning

Here is a great article by the Nation Weather Service explaining the definitions between watch and warnings.  They also list helpful links such as how to find your local forecast office.  Check out the full article here

What is the difference between a Tornado Watch and a Tornado Warning issued by the National Weather Service?

  • Tornado Watch: Be Prepared! Tornadoes are possible in and near the watch area. Review and discuss your emergency plans and check supplies and your safe room. Be ready to act quickly if a warning is issued or you suspect a tornado is approaching. Acting early helps to save lives! Watches are issued by the Storm Prediction Center for counties where tornadoes may occur. The watch area is typically large, covering numerous counties or even states.
  • Tornado Warning: Take Action! A tornado has been sighted or indicated by weather radar. There is imminent danger to life and property. Move to an interior room on the lowest floor of a sturdy building. Avoid windows. If in a mobile home, a vehicle, or outdoors, move to the closest substantial shelter and protect yourself from flying debris. Warnings are issued by your local forecast office. Warnings typically encompass a much smaller area (around the size of a city or small county) that may be impacted by a tornado identified by a forecaster on Radar or by a trained spotter/law enforcement who is watching the storm.
  • Severe Thunderstorm Watch: Be Prepared! Severe thunderstorms are possible in and near the watch area. Stay informed and be ready to act if a severe thunderstorm warning is issued. Watches are issued by the Storm Prediction Center for counties where severe thunderstorms may occur. The watch area is typically large, covering numerous counties or even states.
  • Severe Thunderstorm Warning: Take Action! Severe weather has been reported by spotters or indicated by radar. Warnings indicate imminent danger to life and property. Take shelter in a substantial building. Get out of mobile homes that can blow over in high winds. Warnings are issued by your local forecast office. Warnings typically encompass a much smaller area (around the size of a city or county) that may be impacted by an on-going severe thunderstorm.

Benefits of Buying Through an Agent vs. Buying Online

Buying insurance online is certainly easy convenient but when you’re buying something to protect your home, assets, & your family’s financial well-being, should convenience be a determining factor?  I certainly don’t think so.  Many people who buy online are looking for the best price as fast as they can get it and that’s it.  That is not the way you should make an important decision like purchasing insurance.  For many people, insurance is viewed as a commodity, almost like toilet paper….they just want something cheap that hopefully doesn’t have holes in it. The reality is that unless you know what you’re doing or buying from someone who knows what they’re doing, odds are you’ll have some holes in your coverage.

Independent agents understand that price is and always will be a concern and one of the benefits of going through an independent agent is that they have options and can go to different companies to shop for you to get the coverage you need at the best price.  If your price goes up for some reason, they can go to the other companies they represent and get you a new policy and you’ll still get to work with the same people as when you originally got your policy.  You won’t have to go through the whole process of shopping for insurance all over again – your agent will do that for you.  You can sit back & relax and your agent will call or email you with a quote for a new policy that will have the same coverage you previously had.

When you call about your policy after purchasing a policy online, that person could be on the other side of the country or even on the other side of the world.  When you go through an independent agent, you are working with people who live in your area and understand the needs you have and the issues you face.  You can also stop in and speak to someone face to face to discuss what it is you are paying for.  Any good agent will be there to help you if/when you have a claim.  You can stop in and drop off paperwork or stop by their office if you’re without power for a few days which can help expedite the claims process and get you back to normal as soon as possible.  When you call Atlantic Insurance Services to check on something, you won’t have to go through an automated menu – you’ll get to talk to a real live person and won’t have to explain your situation to 5 different people before your issue is resolved.

Independent agents are required to take continuing education courses to maintain their licenses and many will go above & beyond the minimum state required education requirements and attain a professional designation such as CIC (Certified Insurance Counselor) or CPCU (Charter Property Casualty Underwriter).  While these designations may not mean a whole lot to the average person, those who work in the insurance industry know that these are not easy to attain and they show a commitment to education on the part of these agents.  These agents are more likely to understand the complexities involved in various insurance products and how they apply to your individual needs than some person in a call center on the other side of the country.

 

Minimum/Low Limits on Personal Auto Policy

Too many times we hear customers & potential customers tell us “I only need minimum limits, this car is a piece of junk” or “I only drive it to work a few minutes away, I just want to be legal”.  What people don’t realize is that you can do just as much damage with an ’87 Chevy as you can with a brand new Range Rover and you can get in an accident 2 miles from your home just as easy as you could if you were 100 miles away.  If you don’t want to get “full coverage” on your old hunk of junk, that’s fine BUT don’t get cheap on the bodily injury & property damage limits.  That’s the coverage that is going to be most valuable to you and that’s where you should have the highest limits you can afford.

 

You can do as much damage with this:

Chevy

 

As you can with this:

 

Range Rover

 

Another important coverage that often gets overlooked by customers is uninsured/underinsured motorists coverage.  This coverage protects you against drivers who don’t have any insurance or who have minimum/low limits.  You don’t want to skimp on this coverage either.  If you are hit by someone, would you want them to have the state minimum limits or would you want them to have the highest limits available?  If you are simply going with the cheapest option, you’ll likely have next to no coverage here and if one of those uninsured drivers hits you, you could be without coverage (over 10% of drivers have no insurance, even more have low/inadequate limits).  Think about what coverage you’d like that person who hits you/your car to have and that’s what you should be basing your decision on, not what the cheapest option is or who has the best commercial….even though some of them are pretty funny. Price is certainly a factor when making a decision on what insurance company to go with but it should not be the only factor or the most important factor.  Look at it like buying a pair of gloves or a pair of shoes – would you buy a pair of gloves with only 4 fingers on each hand?  Would you buy a pair of shoes with holes in them just because they’re cheap?  Probably not because then they won’t do what you bought them to do.  You are buying insurance to protect yourself and your assets.  Don’t just look for the cheapest policy and don’t try to do it on your own.  Call an agent and get some advice.  Many times you can end up saving money and getting better coverage but focus on the coverage first & foremost.  Even if you spend a little more than you think you should, you’ll be glad you did if/when you have a claim.

Why do you need a personal umbrella policy?

There are a number of reasons why you should have a personal umbrella policy. First, if you don’t know what a personal umbrella policy is, it basically provides excess coverage should the liability limits on your personal auto and/or homeowners policy be used up. For example, if you have a $500,000 personal liability limit on your homeowners policy and you have a liability claim for $750,000, your homeowners policy would pay the first $500,000 and then IF you have an umbrella policy, it would pay the remaining $250,000.  Typically, umbrella policies can be purchased in increments of $1,000,000.

Here are a few examples of situations where an umbrella policy could protect you & your family’s financial well-being:
– A guest of yours is severely injured while diving into the pool at your home and is unable to work. Between the medical bills and the lost wages, the total amount they are suing you for (yes, even friends will sue you) is $1,000,000. You have $500,000 in liability coverage on your homeowners. If you have an umbrella policy, that will cover the remaining $500,000. If you don’t, your house may become your friends house.

– You severely injure a doctor in an auto accident. Again, between the lost wages and medical bills, the claim is worth $1,000,000 which is much more than your auto liability limits of $250,000 per person. Your umbrella policy would step in and pay the remaining $750,000.

– You’re playing golf and you shank one into someones backyard and seriously injure someone. That someone is a lawyer who makes 6 figures. You can bet he’ll be suing you for his medical bills, lost wages, & future earnings. Your homeowners liability (which you can also get if you are a renter) will provide some coverage but will it be enough to fully pay the claim? If it’s not, your umbrella policy will kick in and cover the balance.

– You are driving home after you hit that lawyer with the golf ball when you’re hit by an uninsured driver (over 10% of drivers out there don’t have any insurance at all…even more have low/inadequate limits). Your injuries are very serious and you’re unable to work. You can’t sue the other driver because that person has no assets and no insurance so now what do you do? Assuming you have uninsured/underinsured coverage that may help but that could quickly be used up and now you are on the hook….unless you have an umbrella policy which provides excess uninsured/underinsured coverage.

If you drive a car, if you ever have friends over your home, if you own a pool, if you play golf or have other hobbies….basically, if you ever leave your home, there is a chance that something could happen and you need an umbrella policy! Get a quote on a personal umbrella TODAY!