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Things to keep in mind when buying a car
Buying a new car is an exciting time — but it can also be stressful. After all, you’re trying to get the best deal on price, while also deciding on the make, model and features you need.
Here at Harbor Insurance, we can’t really help you become a master negotiator when it comes to buying a car. But we can give you some things to consider when you’re looking around the lot — and when you’re trying to answer the age-old question of “new, or used?” Read on with an open mind, and you might just come to a different decision the next time you’re on the car lot.
Ah, that new-car smell. It’s a bit of a cliché, but it’s one of the things that people love about climbing into a brand-new car. And while they make air fresheners that supposedly give you that same smell for your used car, it just doesn’t seem the same, does it? Still, there are other benefits to buying new — and, of course, there are drawbacks as well.
- PRO — maintenance: Some manufacturers offer free scheduled maintenance for a set period of time after you buy the car, and you likely won’t need a new battery, tires, etc., for several years after your purchase.
- PRO — peace of mind: Your new car may have a warranty for up to 10 years, and also is covered by “lemon laws” that could allow for a replacement or refund if the car has serious defects.
- CON — cost: Depending on the make and model, buying a new car is almost always more expensive (at least in terms of the purchase price) than a used car.
It’s also worth noting that if you purchase a new car in its first model year (meaning it’s a new model for the automaker), there won’t be many user reviews available, and data on reliability and repairs will be limited. In addition, sometimes newly introduced cars have some kinks that generally are ironed out by the second and third model years. These aren’t necessarily serious issues, and the warranty should cover them, but in some instances, you and your car could be headed to the shop more than you’d like.
Don’t care about the new-car smell? Looking to save some money on your purchase? Well, a used car might be right for you. There are many advantages to buying used, but you’ll want to be a little more careful. After all, it’s hard to know exactly how well the previous owner treated the car. But you can limit your risk with a little bit of work.
- PRO — cost: New cars depreciate quickly after they’re purchased. By buying used, you’re letting someone else take that financial hit over the first few years of the life of the car.
- PRO/CON — reliability: Buying a used car is less of a gamble than it used to be, particularly with the advent of “certified pre-owned” programs many automakers now offer. However, used cars generally don’t carry the same warranties as new cars, even though the original manufacturer’s warranty is usually transferrable to a second owner.
- CON — maintenance: While a used car theoretically shouldn’t need more frequent maintenance than a new car, you’ll likely need to replace things like tires, headlights, etc., earlier. And scheduled maintenance probably isn’t covered by the automaker.
- PRO/CON — history: You’ll need to check the car’s title history to make sure it hasn’t been in a serious accident or salvaged. Ask the dealership to provide this information, usually from Carfax.
Of course, whichever car you purchase, the important thing is that it’s a good fit for you. Bear in mind that certain makes and models can result in higher insurance costs for you, so feel free to check in with us before you buy. Would you like a quote on for your auto insurance, visit our auto quote page for assistance and receive and INSTANT QUOTE today.
Have fun shopping — and we’ll see you on the road!
Harbor Insurance | 888-451-8818 | harboria.com
It’s always a good idea to have an emergency kit handy in case of power outages or other issues — especially with the threat of stormy weather in fall and winter. See recommendations from the American Red Cross below.
Emergency kit basics
• Water (one gallon per person, per day; keep a two-week supply at home)
• Food (non-perishable, easy-to-prepare items; two week supply at home)
• Flashlight and battery-powered radio, along with extra batteries
• First-aid kit, toiletries, medications and medical items
• Multi-purpose tool
• Copies of personal documents, along with family and emergency contact information
• Extra cash, clothing and blankets
• Cell phones and chargers
• Maps of the area
As always, the agents at Harbor Insurance are able to assist you in securing the proper insurance for your home, auto, boat and/or business and more. With over 100 years in business, we have seen our fair share of catastrophe big and small. We are here to help you be prepared for what’s to come.
Call (888) 451-8818 or visit us online today!
But for some families, the holiday is a nightmare. Homes each year in Florida are damaged by wayward fireworks. Thousands of people are injured in accidents.
At Harbor Insurance, we want your holiday to be happy, but also safe. So here are some tips to help you protect yourself and your property on the Fourth.
Protecting yourself (and others)
- To minimize the risk of injury, don’t use consumer fireworks. Attend a public display conducted by professionals in Port St. Lucie, Boca Raton, West Palm Beach or elsewhere. These three cities have excellent displays with many activities planned for the day.
- If using consumer fireworks, always follow instructions. Do not attempt to re-light “duds” or create homemade fireworks. And don’t do the old, bottle rocket out of a beer can or bottle…this is one of the most common injuries.
- Never let children handle or light fireworks. Even sparklers, which burn at more than 1,000 degrees, can cause third-degree burns. Kids under the age of 15 account for approximately 40% of fireworks injuries, according to the U.S. Fire Administration.
- A responsible adult should always be present when children – even teenagers – are around fireworks. More than half of fireworks injuries happen to those younger than 20 years old.
Protecting your home
- According to the National Fire Protection Association, the best way to protect your home is to not use fireworks at home.
- Remember, fireworks can cause grass fires and other types of blazes as well. Make sure you light fireworks in a safe area, away from homes and buildings, as well as other combustible material. Keep a fire extinguisher nearby in case of emergency.
- Look out for tree limbs or bushes that could catch fire. Trimming vegetation to keep it away from your home is a good idea anyway, but it could save you from a catastrophic fire on the Fourth of July.
- If your gutters have accumulated leaves, pine needles or other flammable material, clean them before using fireworks near your home.
- Finally, if you won’t be home on the holiday, ask a neighbor to keep an eye on your house if others in your neighborhood will be using fireworks.
With some common sense and planning, the Fourth of July can be both safe and enjoyable for everyone. Whether you’re staying at home or heading to one of the many displays throughout South Florida, we hope you have a wonderful time celebrating our independence!
Most people rest easy knowing they’re protected by homeowners’ and auto insurance. And it’s true – they mostly are, if their coverage was arranged by a professional who understands their needs. But beyond the protection of a traditional homeowners’ or auto policy, increasing numbers of consumers are adding to this security with umbrella insurance.
It’s a matter of personal choice that we’re always happy to advise our clients about but it might be helpful to understand how umbrella coverage can add protection for you and your family.
In a nutshell, personal umbrella insurance is a form of liability insurance that performs two key jobs:
- It provides additional financial protection over and above the coverage in a homeowners’ or auto policy. In other words, it kicks in if any liability costs you face exceed the limits of your main policy.
- It offers protection against some risks that may not be covered by regular homeowners’ insurance – things like libel and invasion of privacy.
Back in the old days, these two risks may not have seemed all that significant but things have changed in the 21st century. For a start, lawsuit awards or settlements and associated costs continue to rise. Just as important, the age of the Internet has thrown the issues of libel, slander and invasion of privacy into the spotlight.
For example, not many people realize that the comments they might insert at the end of a blog or something else they’re reading on the web are potentially actionable – if they turn out to be untrue or malicious. Yes, we enjoy freedom of speech in this country but that doesn’t mean freedom to unjustly slur someone’s reputation. But it’s easy to do without realizing.
This isn’t just a theoretical thing, either. Recently we’ve seen cases where Internet site operators, including a big retailer, were forced to identify individuals who had contributed product reviews anonymously so that lawyers could consider lawsuits against them.
These trends – high settlements and libel lawsuits, and legal costs that can run into the hundreds of thousands – are likely only to increase in the coming years. Personal Umbrella insurance actually provides high-level extra protection against these at fairly low cost, provided you already have standard protection. If you’d like to know more, please contact us at harboria.com.
Protect your college grad with the right insurance!
College graduation is an exciting time for students and their parents alike. And, while it’s easy to be immersed in graduation parties and focused on first-job jitters, it’s a time of major transitions and big decisions, and it’s essential to prepare graduates for what comes next.
One area new college graduates need to address is insurance. As insurance professionals at Harbor Insurance, we know insurance can be a confusing topic. We also know that seemingly small missed details can result in very large losses. We want to ensure your college graduate is protected before heading out into the real world, so we have compiled the following pointers.
• Review your family’s current insurance.The first step when considering insurance for your new graduate is evaluating the coverage you currently have. Make an appointment with your agent, who can advise on whether it’s appropriate given the pending changes, and whether it will cover your son or daughter.
• Know the law. Most states require drivers to have auto insurance, and most of those have minimum policy limit requirements.Research the law in your son or daughter’s state, or consult with your agent, to make sure they are covered adequately.
• Read your lease. Many apartment, condominium and home rental properties require tenants to maintain a certain level of renter’s insurance, which covers the contents of the home in the event of a robbery, fire, or other loss.Make sure you know the terms of your son or daughter’s new lease, and insure them accordingly.
• Don’t end up liable. Any home renter or owner is exposed to liability risk.To ensure there is adequate coverage in the event someone gets injured on your son or daughter’s property, speak with your agent about liability insurance.
• Don’t gamble! Never go without.It’s simple: your son or daughter should always have insurance in place. Be sure to discuss with your agent what types they need.
• Know your company benefits. Many college graduates move straight into the workforce, and most companies have benefits. Study the company’s human resources handbook to learn what benefits are available, when they go into effect, and what their limitations are.
We at Harbor Insurance congratulate you on the graduation of your daughter or son! Please contact us with any questions, or to request a review of your family’s insurance portfolio.
Do You Have Enough Coverage to
Rebuild Your Home?
Imagine how devastating it would be to lose your home in a fire. Now imagine not being able to rebuild it completely because you didn’t have the correct amount of insurance.
Selecting the proper amount of coverage is the single most important decision you can make with your Homeowners policy. Without it, you may not have enough coverage to rebuild after a total loss. This is called “insurance to value.” Below are some explanations and tips to help you make the right choices for your needs — and remember, if you need help, Harbor Insurance is just a phone call away!
What is insurance to value?
Insurance to value is the relationship between the amount of coverage selected (typically listed as “Coverage A” or “Dwelling Coverage” on your policy declarations page) and the amount required to rebuild your home. Insuring your home for anything less than 100% insurance to value could mean you wouldn’t have enough coverage to replace your home in the event of a total loss or you may be subject to co-insurance for any partial loss.
Why is the cost to rebuild different from the market value?
A home’s market value reflects current economic conditions, taxes, school districts, the value of the land and location, and other factors unrelated to construction cost. The cost to rebuild your home is based only on the cost of materials and labor in your area. It is important that you insure your home based on its reconstruction cost, NOT its current market value.
Why is reconstruction more expensive than new construction?
New-home builders typically build many homes at once, and solicit bids from various sub-contractors to receive the best pricing. Their business model is based on economies of scale. For example, they may purchase 20 bathtubs at once, securing a lower unit cost. These economies of scale don’t exist when building a single home.
How can I make sure I have the correct amount of insurance?
Work with your agent to provide detailed information at time of purchase to be sure that you receive a thorough and accurate quote.
Ask us about additional coverage options that may be available.
Review your insurance to value calculation on a regular basis with your agent.
Tell your agent about any changes or improvements that you make to your home.
At Harbor Insurance we review your policy annually. However, if something changes midterm, it is the responsibility of the insured to share this information with us so we may update the policy accordingly. If you have questions or aren’t sure about how any recent upgrades to your home may or may not affect your insurance, just ask. It is better to be prepared then left with nothing. For more information and to review your insurances, contact us today! https://www.harboria.com/client-service/free-account-review
Yuck! Bed bugs. It makes you squirm and itch just to think about them, right? But think about them we must! They can sneak into our homes on clothes, furniture and luggage, and once they’re in, it’s a challenge to get them out. They can even survive for a year without eating. In fact, we worry about them so much that a whole industry has grown up around dealing with infestations, often time with firms making unrealistic claims on their skills.
Got bugs? You can spot them because they’re black and the size of a pin-head. Their droppings look like a felt-tip mark. If you want to tackle them don’t use pesticides, but they don’t like heat or steam. The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has a tool that enables you to identify the right product at http://tinyurl.com/epa-bug. The EPA also publishes a download-able Citizens Guide to Pest Control and Pesticide Safety, at http://tinyurl.com/pestguide .
If you plan to bring in experts, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), the nation’s consumer watchdog, says it’s best to deal with a qualified and licensed pest management company and be wary of supposed exterminators who show up soliciting for business. You should get bids from several companies, ask about their training, work plan, experience, liability coverage and guarantees.
No bugs? Keep them out with allergen mattress covers, seal crevices in base-boards and plaster, vacuum empty luggage, and dry sheets on “high”.
Bed bugs, termites, vermin and other insect infestations are not a covered peril on the standard Florida homeowner policy. The responsibility for cleanup falls under normal house maintenance and the homeowner.
For more information and to review your home insurance policy with us, contact us today! https://www.harboria.com/for-individuals/home-insurance
Have some new jewelry in the house? Protect it!
Ah, Valentine’ s Day is near, and love is in the air. Well, love and a few other things , such as chocolates, romantic dinners, candy hearts that say “Be Mine” – and, of course, jewelry.
It’s exciting to receive jewelry from a loved one — or to give it as a gift. Not to mention romantic. But if you’re lucky enough to have some new jewelry in your Jupiter, Tequesta, Palm Beach or Wellington home this Valentine’s Day, you should take a few minutes to think about something you probably don’t find exciting or romantic: insurance.
Don’t know where to turn? Don’t worry. At Harbor Insurance, we think it is exciting to help our customers protect what’s most important to them— so we’re ready to help and can answer all of your questions. Things to consider when insuring jewelry: You may need to purchase additional coverage. Your homeowners policy may or may not cover valuable items such as jewelry but only up to set amounts and may be subject to a high deductible . At Harbor Insurance we recommend purchasing an individual jewelry policy. Insuring your jewelry on a separate Jewelry Policy also called an Inland Marine policy will typically provides no deductible or the option of carrying a minimal deductible as well as increased coverage for your jewelry and other personal valuables as scheduled. Personal valuables that can be scheduled is not just jewelry but may include artwork, antiques, collectibles, watches, furs and more. Check your policy and give us a call at 888-451-8818.
Do you need an appraisal? You may need to have an independent appraisal if the insurance company requires it or if you don’t know the value of your jewelry. Each item should be listed with a description and value on paper with an accompanied receipt, if available. What kind of coverage is offered? You’ll want to determine if items are covered no matter where they are, whether they’re in Jupiter, Tequesta, Palm Beach, Boca Raton, Port St. Lucie or on an international trip, and if the policy offers full replacement cost.
You also should ask if you will be required to replace your jewelry if lost or stolen, or if you can simply keep the cash settlement. Pictures can be helpful. Lost or stolen pieces of jewelry sometimes can be recreated if the jeweler has a good photograph to work from.
Should I go with a company that specializes in jewelry insurance? There are companies that specialize in jewelry insurance. Whether you choose one of these, or a company that we represent, you’ll want to make sure they are reputable and stable. Is the value of your jewelry mainly sentimental? Is an item irreplaceable? If the answer to either of these questions is “yes,” you might consider foregoing insurance. But please, talk to us at 8888-451-8818 before making that decision. That’s what we’re here for!
Of course, it’s important to store your jewelry securely when it’s not in use; a safe in your home or a safe-deposit box is best. We want your jewelry to be replaced if it’s lost or stolen, but we’d rather your sentimental and valuable pieces stay with you and your family for years to come.
Here’s hoping your Valentine’s Day is full of fun and romance. And if there’s no jewelry involved, well, there’s always next year!
Contact Us! For further questions and assistance, please contact Harbor Insurance at 888-451-8818 or email us.
Reporting a claim can feel daunting and uneasy since it may be unfamiliar territory for most. Follow these steps and reporting a claim is simple.
Contact, Document & Report
Contact your insurance agent or insurance company to document and report your damage or suspicion of damage. Call as soon as you are aware of or suspect damage to your property. You may make any temporary repairs as needed (i.e. stop the water from flowing, board up a window, tarp the leaking roof, etc.) but do NOT make any permanent repairs. Be prepared to provide the following information when you make contact:
1)Your policy number
2)Description of damages
3)Contact information for yourself including phone number and email as well a secondary person in case you are unable to stay in your location or are unreachable.
4)Mortgage Company or Lender Information (if applicable)
Once your claim is reported, you will receive a claim number and contact information for your assigned adjuster. In some cases, this is automatic but in others it may take 24-48 hours to receive the adjusters contact information and claim number.
A licensed and trained claims adjuster will contact you to inspect your home or property. Prior to their visit, you will want to do the following as needed in order to reduce further damage and to safeguard your property:
1) Photograph damages before making emergency repairs or removing items.
2) Make emergency or temporary repairs. Your adjuster must authorize any covered permanent removal or repairs.
3) Inventory damaged items. Keep damaged contents safe for future inspection by the adjuster. Do not discard these items until adjuster has verified to do so.
4)Keep repair and additional living expense receipts.
5) Get a copy of any related fire and/or police reports.
6) Provide your adjuster any photos, receipts, repair estimates or other documents related to your loss.
Review & Payment
The insurance company reserves the right to the settlement of any and all claims. Your claim will be reviewed by the adjuster and/or insuring company. Upon determination that your loss is a covered peril/occurrence, the claim will be submitted by the adjuster for payment by the company. If your loss is not covered, a detailed description and explanation will be provided in writing by the insuring company.
Before, during and following a claim be sure to keep up to date contact information for yourself and any lender information to be listed on your policy. An incorrect mailing address or contact number may delay the payout of a future claim and only cause more frustration. Filing a claim is simple, especially when your information and documentation is kept up to date.
If you have further questions as to how the claims process works specific to the company you are insured with, please do not hesitate to contact our office. @harboragent