Christmas Safety Tips 2020

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Christmas Decoration Safety Tips 2020

Stores have been decorated for Christmas since the middle of October. I think everyone is looking to make this holiday season as special as possible because of what the year has brought. We found these tips from the One Medical on making your holiday season as safe as possible:

  • Watch That Tree! Keep your tree (whether live or fake) away from any heat sources. Live trees are extemely flammable with their needles & fake trees with their “non-toxic” materials.
  • Recycle Your Paper! Don’t burn wrapping paper in the fireplace, the inks & plastic coatings may be toxic and the loose ash could cause fires.
  • Check Those Bulbs! Inspect your Christmas lights for any damage before you go through the trouble of stringing them. Loose wires or sockets warrant the possiblity of fire.
  • Get Unbreakables. Decorating your tree with unbreakable ornaments is ideal around pets & young children. If you have heirloom or fragile ornaments, secure them to the tree or display them on a table or shelf instead.
  • Forego the Plants. Poinsettias are beautiful and festive for the season, but are very toxic to children & pets. Best to go with a fake arrangement or wreath to enjoy them.

Be sure to check out the full article from One Medical with many more tips on making your holidays safer!

Contact Us!

At M. Vander Plow Insurance Agency, we can work with you to make sure you’ve got the coverage you need, while at the same time using all possible credits and discounts to make that coverage affordable. Just give us a call at 616-396-1497 or send us a note at mvpinsagency@gmail.com. We want to help you meet your goals, and make sure what’s important to you is protected!

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Thanksgiving 2020 Tips

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Thanksgiving 2020 Tips

The COVID-19 pandemic has made 2020 a very stressful and lonely time for many around the world. From the loss of loved ones to working from home & virtual classrooms, both adults and kids alike have suffered.

Now with resurgences happening across the country and states limiting or outlawing large gatherings for the holidays, we need to dig deep and rise to the challenge of making our holidays as special as possible.

We found this article from Good Housekeeping with ways to help brighten the Thanksgiving holiday and make it special for 2020.

  • Watch the Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade. Although it is currently on schedule as a “virtual” parade with no crowds and a limited offering of floats/bands/balloons, things may change due to the recent spike in positive cases. Visit YouTube and check out broadcasts of parades past, maybe parents can find one from when they were their kids’ age. A stroll down Thanksgivings past can spark happy memories to help make the day special.
  • Make Thanksgiving Crafts. Handprint turkeys, anyone? Check out the article for a link to easy crafts kids can make for Thanksgiving.
  • Get Everyone Cooking. Make appetizers with your kids, allow them to create a dish to add to the table. Take time to enjoy meal preparation with your loved ones.
  • Watch a Fall or Christmas Movie. Watch “Freebirds”, “A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving”, or “Planes, Trains, & Automobiles” with your family. Streaming services are chock full of holiday movies and television shows (both old and new) to enjoy.
  • Enjoy Nature. If you are allowed where you live, take the family on a bike ride or walk around the block. Find the prettiest leaves & trees, play “I Spy”, enjoy the wonders of the outdoors to lift your spirits.

Be sure to check out the full article with many more ideas to make Thanksgiving 2020 special.

Contact Us!

At M. Vander Plow Insurance Agency, we can work with you to make sure you’ve got the coverage you need, while at the same time using all possible credits and discounts to make that coverage affordable. Just give us a call at 616-396-1497 or send us a note at mvpinsagency@gmail.com. We want to help you meet your goals, and make sure what’s important to you is protected!

Contact Us!

At M. Vander Plow Insurance Agency, we can work with you to make sure you’ve got the coverage you need, while at the same time using all possible credits and discounts to make that coverage affordable. Just give us a call at 616-396-1497 or send us a note at mvpinsagency@gmail.com. We want to help you meet your goals, and make sure what’s important to you is protected!

Categories: Uncategorized

Michigan PIP Revisited

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Michigan PIP Revisited

We are now over 3 months into the new No-Fault Reform changes that took place for auto insurance here in the state of Michigan in an effort to reduce auto insurance premium for the majority of its citizens.

One of the changes impacts medical coverage for auto accidents. People are now given options rather than continue with the unlimited medical coverage as was previously required. The options are as follows:

  • Unlimited Medical = the auto insurance carrier pays for all medical bills relating to auto accident injuries for as long as necessary. No coverage caps or gaps.
  • $500,000 Medical = the auto insurance carrier pays for all medical bills relating to auto accident injuries up to $500,000. After this limit has been reached, the client will rely on their personal Qualifying Health Plan or Qualifying Medicare Plan. There are annual deductibles/co-pays/out-of-pockets/potential coverage caps or gaps.
  • $250,000 Medical = the auto insurance carrier pays for all medical bills relating to auto accident injuries up to $250,000. After this limit has been reached, the client will rely on their personal Qualifying Health Plan or Qualifying Medicare Plan. There are annual deductibles/co-pays/out-of-pockets/potential coverage caps or gaps.
  • $50,000 Medical = the auto insurance carrier pays for all medical bills relating to auto accident injuries up to $50,000. After this limit has been reached, the client will rely on their Qualifying Medicaid Health Plan or Qualifying Medicare Plan. There are annual deductibles/co-pays/out-of-pockets/potential coverage caps or gaps.
  • No Medical = the client will rely on their personal Qualifying Health Plan or Qualifying Medicare Plan alone. There are annual deductibles/co-pays/out-of-pockets/potential coverage caps or gaps.

For those with Medicare/Medicaid that are considering a dollar amount or opting out of coverage altogether need to be aware of Medicaid/Medicare’s reimbursement clause. According to their website, they will require reimbursement for medical bills if a monetary settlement is reached in an auto accident.

So, if you receive a loss settlement for your auto accident of $100,000 Medicaid/Medicare will require reimbursement for any medical bills paid as the result of the accident. In most cases where a loss settlement is reached, ALL the money from the settlement would have to be turned over to Medicaid/Medicare.

Our agency highly recommends retaining unlimited medical coverage to avoid any hassles for coverage or payment for services as the result of an auto accident injury.

Contact Us!

At M. Vander Plow Insurance Agency, we can work with you to make sure you’ve got the coverage you need, while at the same time using all possible credits and discounts to make that coverage affordable. Just give us a call at 616-396-1497 or send us a note at mvpinsagency@gmail.com. We want to help you meet your goals, and make sure what’s important to you is protected!

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Hunting Safety Tips 2020

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Hunting Safety Tips 2020

Hunting season is happening currently in many states, with firearm deer season occurring within a week or so here in Michigan many hunters will be looking forward to getting outdoors and focus on the beauty of nature instead of current events.

This week we share tips from the RealTree Camo website chock full of 30 tips to help keep you safe while hunting, we’ve only share 5 of them:

  • Keep Guns & Ammo Locked Up. Make sure your rifles/handguns and ammunition are properly stored in a locked safe/cabinet when not going to be used.
  • Keep a First Aid/Survival pack with you including bandages, disinfectant, emergency blanket, & some survival rations in case you get hurt or lost.
  • Keep your rifle pointed in a safe direction. Always point at the ground or away from people when not using the rifle. Make sure safety is on & your finger is off the trigger.
  • Keep a compass & map. Cell reception in the woods can be non-existent, having a map of the area and a small compass can be a life-saver in case you are lost.
  • Keep weapon unloaded when not in use. If you aren’t actively hunting, unload your weapon, whether going indoors or getting into a vehicle.

Be sure to read the full article from RealTree Camo for the other 25 (well 26, there’s a bonus) tips.

Contact Us!

At M. Vander Plow Insurance Agency, we can work with you to make sure you’ve got the coverage you need, while at the same time using all possible credits and discounts to make that coverage affordable. Just give us a call at 616-396-1497 or send us a note at mvpinsagency@gmail.com. We want to help you meet your goals, and make sure what’s important to you is protected!

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Halloween Safety Tips 2020

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Halloween Safety Tips 2020

The Covid-19 pandemic has changed the landscape of our lives from our jobs to education to even holidays & celebrations. This week we look at some tips from the magazine Family Handyman to help make your Halloween both safe & fun during this pandemic.

  • Use literal masks with your Halloween costume. Incorporating masks meant to limit the spread of the virus into your family’s Halloween costume can be creative and fun. The article references a few ideas to spark your creativity.
  • A scavenger hunt instead of Trick or Treating. Hide clues to a stash of Halloween candy for your kids to find. Be sure to keep the candy away from pets & don’t make the clues too complicated…
  • Have a party with your “social bubble”. If you’re a part of a bubble with other families/kids, have an outdoor party in your backyard and invite them over for a “dinosaur egg hunt” (basically an Easter egg hunt at Halloween), a costume contest, & tell spooky stories while socially-distancing around a fire pit.
  • If you decide to take your young ones trick or treating, stick to small groups of family members or those in your “social bubble”.
  • Bring something with you to ring the doorbell (wand, skeleton key, etc.) and be sure to bring hand sanitizer with you for use between houses.
  • Wipe down your treats with sanitizing wipes or leave them out in the open air overnight to help cut down on virus transmission.

Be sure to check out the full article at the Family Handyman website for more tips on making this Halloween both fun and safe during this pandemic.

Contact Us!

At M. Vander Plow Insurance Agency, we can work with you to make sure you’ve got the coverage you need, while at the same time using all possible credits and discounts to make that coverage affordable. Just give us a call at 616-396-1497 or send us a note at mvpinsagency@gmail.com. We want to help you meet your goals, and make sure what’s important to you is protected!

Categories: Uncategorized

Pumpkin Decorating Ideas

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Pumpkin Decorating Ideas

With a lot of communities eliminating trick-or-treating & harvest events due to the Covid-19 pandemic, it’s time to look at doing crafts and such at home to still celebrate the holiday & have fun!

This article from WhatMomsLove.com showcases 70 different ways to decorate a pumpkin without carving. It’s safe for little ones (depending on the decoration method), creative, and down-right fun!

  • Nail Art Pumpkins. All you need are nails/brads (depending on the size of the pumpkin) and some colored embroidery floss. Push the nails/brads in randomly into your pumpkin, leaving a bit of the nail exposed. Tie one end of the floss to a nail and go to town winding it around the various nails into a pattern. Painting or purchasing white pumpkins make the designs pop!
  • Melted Crayon Pumpkins. This one requires using the stove and hot wax, so be careful. Purchase a bunch of dollar store crayons, unwrap them, melt on the stove in a pot you won’t be cooking in anymore, and pour the melted crayons over a small pumpkin. Makes for a drippy tie-dye look!
  • Glitter Pumpkins. Using a foam brush & some non-toxic glue, paint a design or the entire pumpkin and sprinkle colored glitter onto the tacky surface. Spray with hairspray to keep the glitter on!
  • Tissue Paper Pumpkins. Using a foam brush, some Mod Podge, and colored tissue paper, cut the paper into shapes or crumple & tear. Paint the Mod Podge onto the pumkin and layer the tissue paper adding a coat of Mod Podge after each layer!
  • Candy Pumpkins. Using glue (either craft glue or hot glue), use candy from the dollar store to create scenes or funny faces. Don’t let the kids eat the candy after it has been attached to the pumpkin, however.

Lots more ideas for no-carve pumpkin decorating can be found at WhatMomsLove.com…

Contact Us!

At M. Vander Plow Insurance Agency, we can work with you to make sure you’ve got the coverage you need, while at the same time using all possible credits and discounts to make that coverage affordable. Just give us a call at 616-396-1497 or send us a note at mvpinsagency@gmail.com. We want to help you meet your goals, and make sure what’s important to you is protected!

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Condo Building Items

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Condo Building Items

More and more cities are finding revitalization from developers purchasing dilapidated buildings and refurbishing them into condos and apartments. Young and old alike are finding condo living to fit in with their lifestyle, the young like being in the city and able to enjoy the vibrant local shops/restaurants while older folks enjoy not having to maintain a yard & home.

In most cases, a condominium association’s “master policy” handles the insurance for the condominium structures and any common elements used or provided for use to unit owners. The unit owners may be required to cover certain aspects of their unit depending on the “master policy” and by-laws for the condominium association.

Most “master policies” offer requirements for insurance by their unit owners. There are four typical insurance requirements that most “master policies” have:

Personal Property/Liability/Loss Assessment – the unit owner is only required to cover their personal belongings, personal liability, & loss assessment. The “master policy” covers the cost to repair/replace the condominium unit.

Upgrades or Additions/Personal Property/Liability/Loss Assessment – the unit owner is responsible for insuring the additional cost of upgrades or additions to the condominium unit. The “master policy” will cover the cost to repair/replace a basic unit. So if there was an upgrade to the countertops to granite or quartz, an added sunroom, upgraded tile, etc. then that is what the unit owner would insure on top of their personal property/liability/loss assessment.

“Paint In”/Personal Property/Liability/Loss Assessment – the unit owner is responsible for insuring all items within a condominium unit less the drywall & subfloor. The unit owner would be responsible for light fixtures/appliances/wall coverings/draperies/shades/floor coverings/etc. on top of their personal property/liability/loss assessment.

“Walls In”/Personal Property/Liability/Loss Assessment – the unit owner is responsible for insuring all items within a condominium unit including the drywall & subfloor. The unit owner would be responsible for every interior building item from the wall studs & floor joists in on top of their personal property/liability/loss assessment.

Condominiums are unique in that you can choose an arbitrary figure for insuring building items and personal property. A standard homeowners policy insures the home for replacement cost (square footage + type of construction + features/additions = replacement cost of home), which derives the needed coverage amount. Personal property is calculated as a percentage of that amount (usually 50%-75% of the dwelling amount).

When it comes to insuring your condo, you need to first look at the by-laws to see what you are responsible for insuring. Once you know that, talk to the realtor, the condo developer, or a fellow unit owner to get advice on how much coverage you should have for building items. Guesstimating the cost of replacing your personal belongings today will give you a roundabout figure of how much to insure your “stuff”. Take into account replacing the items with new, doesn’t matter if you got it on sale or at Goodwill. If you replace it today, what will it cost?

Contact Us!

At M. Vander Plow Insurance Agency, we can work with you to make sure you’ve got the coverage you need, while at the same time using all possible credits and discounts to make that coverage affordable. Just give us a call at 616-396-1497 or send us a note at mvpinsagency@gmail.com. We want to help you meet your goals, and make sure what’s important to you is protected!

Categories: Uncategorized

Uninsured & Underinsured Motorist Coverage

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Uninsured & Underinsured Motorist Coverage

Here the the state of Michigan the auto insurance requirements have changed in order to lower the overall cost of auto insurance for consumers. We have some of the highest rates for auto insurance in the country, mostly due to offering Unlimited Medical coverage (payment for injuries relating to auto insurance for as long as you live). In amongst the changes is the ability to change your medical coverage from the Unlimited Medical to a dollar limit or if you have qualifying health insurance or Medicare, you can opt-out of medical coverage on your auto policy.

Another item that changed is the minimum Bodily Injury coverage the state requires. For current auto insurance policies, the state requires $250,000 per person and $500,000 per accident. You can purchase less coverage but will face penalties and other issues in case of an auto accident.We have speculated before (and lawyers tend to agree) the reason for the new state minimum for Bodily Injury is the result of people having a choice of medical coverage on their auto policies. They may choose to opt-out of medical coverage and later realize after an accident that they have annual deductibles/office & drug co-pays/limitations/exclusions/etc. With mounting medical bills, they will try to sue the at-fault party to help pay for them.

But what if the at-fault party has no auto insurance (about 20% of Michigan residents don’t carry auto insurance) or carry limits lower than the state requires? What if you opted-out of medical coverage or decided to choose a dollar limit and have become a paraplegic or worse because of the accident? Is there recourse?

Yes. You can purchase Uninsured and Underinsured Motorist coverage on your auto policy. These are optional coverages in the state of Michigan, meaning they are not required by the state.

Uninsured Motorist coverage provides excess No-Fault Personal Injury Protection and other economic losses (including pain & suffering) in an automobile accident caused by a driver who is uninsured (someone who does not carry auto insurance coverage as required by Michigan law). This is an “excess” coverage, meaning that all other avenues for coverage will need to be exhausted first. If you have health insurance and your injuries exceed or are not covered, you can pursue a UM claim.

Underinsured Motorist coverage provides the same excess No-Fault Personal Injury Protection and other economic losses (including pain & suffering) in an automobile accident by a driver who is UNDER-insured according to the state of Michigan. This means drivers who carry less than Bodily Injury limits of $250,000/$500,000 or $500,000 CSL.

We recommend that you match your UM/UIM limits to match your Bodily Injury limits, the cost is minimal in relation to the coverage provided.

Contact Us!

At M. Vander Plow Insurance Agency, we can work with you to make sure you’ve got the coverage you need, while at the same time using all possible credits and discounts to make that coverage affordable. Just give us a call at 616-396-1497 or send us a note at mvpinsagency@gmail.com. We want to help you meet your goals, and make sure what’s important to you is protected!

Categories: Uncategorized

Additional Living Expenses

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Additional Living Expenses

With the wildfires raging in the West, hurricanes & tornadoes in the Midwest & South, one coverage that will certainly be used is Additional Living Expenses. Your homeowners policy includes several coverages as a part of the basic policy:

Dwelling Coverage A – this amount will be used to repair your home or in case of a total loss to haul away old debris and rebuild the home using the Replacement Cost Estimate on file.

Other Structures Coverage B – this amount will be used to repair an outbuilding/fence/gazebo/standalone deck/etc. or to haul away debris & rebuild it. If you do not have any other structures on your property, you can use this amount towards your dwelling.

Personal Property Coverage C – this amount in conjunction with the Replacement Cost endorsement will replace all of your damaged belongings due to a covered loss. Antiques, obsolete items, & other types of personal property would be excluded from coverage BUT depending on the item you could schedule it on your policy.

Loss of Use/Additional Living Expenses Coverage D – this coverage will help pay for a temporary residence & other bills relating to being displaced from your residence due to a covered loss. Again these expenses are “reasonable” to maintain your lifestyle prior to the loss.

Personal Liability Coverage E – this coverage helps to take care of a claim at your residence where you are deemed liable. This is a “third party” coverage meaning that it does not cover the Named Insured/Spouse/Resident Relatives, only visitors to your property.

Medical Payments Coverage F – this coverage is known as a “goodwill” coverage meaning to cover minor medical incidents that occur at your residence involving a visitor or other “third party”.

The Loss of Use/Additional Living Expenses coverage is available for covered losses only. If you are remodeling your home for example and need a temporary place to stay while the remodel is being completed – you are on your own.

The coverage will take care of renting a home/condo/hotel room, laundry services (if unavailable at temporary residence), meals (only if cooking facilities are unavailable at temporary residence), pet boarding (only if you are unable to keep pet at temporary residence), and other bills associated with being displaced from your home due to a covered loss.

Contact Us!

At M. Vander Plow Insurance Agency, we can work with you to make sure you’ve got the coverage you need, while at the same time using all possible credits and discounts to make that coverage affordable. Just give us a call at 616-396-1497 or send us a note at mvpinsagency@gmail.com. We want to help you meet your goals, and make sure what’s important to you is protected!

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Closing Your Pool

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Closing Your Pool

Labor Day has come & gone, kids are going back to school, the nights are getting cooler, & the leaves are starting to change. After a season of having fun splashing in the pool, it’s time to put it to bed for the winter. Thanks to this article from Leslie Pools, here are some tips to help you to close your pool for the season:

Start a Week Before. Before closing your pool for the season, wait until the nighttime temperatures consistently drop below 65 degrees to prevent algae growth. Once that occurs, add phosphate remover to help keep the algae out prior to closing.

Brush & Vacuum. Thoroughly brush and vacuum all surfaces of the pool to get all the algae & debris off the liner. This will make it easier to open in the springtime. Be sure to empty the skimmer & pump baskets when you are done.

Change the Water Level. For areas of the country that freeze, you should drain the water level down 4-6 inches below the skimmer whether an above-ground or in-ground pool. For areas of the country that do not freeze, you should fill the pool to almost overflowing.

Shock & Chlorinate. You should shock & chlorinate your pool a few days before closing, at the very least the night before. This will kill any bacteria that may want to stick around during the winter.

Backwash Your Filter. Run a full backwash of your filter and clean it (if you are able to).

Be sure to check out the full article from Leslie Pools for more tips on closing your pool for the season!

Contact Us!

At M. Vander Plow Insurance Agency, we can work with you to make sure you’ve got the coverage you need, while at the same time using all possible credits and discounts to make that coverage affordable. Just give us a call at 616-396-1497 or send us a note at mvpinsagency@gmail.com. We want to help you meet your goals, and make sure what’s important to you is protected!

Categories: Uncategorized