Flu Health Tips

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Why Water Backup?

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Why Water Backup?

One of the major disasters that can happen to a home is a water/sewer backup in a basement. The mess, the smell, the clean up. If you own a home/condo with a basement, you may want to consider the purchase of water/sewer back up coverage on your home insurance policy. Grange Insurance has an article with 4 reasons to purchase the coverage and a list of ways to prevent them from occurring.

1) – It’s Not Included. Your standard homeowners insurance policy does not cover water/sewer backup that does not originate from the interior plumbing system. Toilet overflow, water heater breach, dishwasher hose break, those are considered interior plumbing issues and the resulting damage would be covered. Water backup that occurs from a floor drain in the basement or from the sump are excluded from coverage on a homeowners policy.

2) – The Cost Is Often Minimal. Depending on the level of coverage desired, coverage could be had for as little as $50/yr. Talk with your agent about the coverage level needed to cover your basement/belongings stored in the basement.

3) – Water Backups Happen. No one is totally immune from water backups and it can happen anytime/anywhere. Doesn’t matter if your home is built on a hill or on sandy soil, or if you don’t have a basement.

4) – Loss Of Use Qualification. If you have water/sewer backup coverage and the covered damage makes your home uninhabitable for a period of time, you can utilize the Loss of Use coverage on your home policy to cover a temporary residence & other expenses relating to being unable to live in your home.
Talk to your insurance agent today about the benefits of sewer/water backup coverage and be sure to visit Grange Insurance to read tips on how to prevent backups from occurring.

 

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 marsiljeins@gmail.com. We want to help you meet your goals, and make sure what’s important to you is protected!

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Jewelry Appraisal Tips

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Jewelry Appraisal Tips

At the time of this recording, Valentine’s Day is just one day away. Millions of people across the country will celebrate the love their have for their family or significant other through gifts such as traditional candy hearts & roses, and jewelry.

The cost of precious gems & metals have steadily increased over the last 10 years. Currently, gold is valued at $1,574.05/oz, platinum is valued at $973.50/oz, silver is valued at $17.50/oz, while diamonds (depending on the cut/clarity/color) are valued at anywhere from $3,000-$6,000 a carat.

With this in mind, you should consider getting appraisals on your precious jewelry if the approximate value is above $1,000. Many insurance carriers will require a current appraisal (done within the previous 3 years) for jewelry scheduled for more than $1,500. Here are some tips to help you with those appraisals from Beyond 4Cs, a website dedicated to help others in understanding diamond grading/appraisals.
1) Use a certified gemologist or appraiser. These people have gone through much education to value jewelry/gems and are required to update their certification regularly to keep up with new jewelry/gem appraisal techniques & requirements.

2) Get an appraisal certificate. Most reputable appraisal outfits provide an official certificate of appraisal for the piece of jewelry in question that includes all the information about the piece, a photo of the piece, and the current value which is signed by the appraiser. You may pay a document fee in addition to the appraisal fee, so find an appraiser that incudes the document at no extra charge.

3) Bring all your documentation. Bring your original bill of sale and warranty info (if available), prior appraisals, any historical information that may be helpful in the appraisal (think “heirloom jewelry”)

4) Be sure you ask questions. You should ask questions before the appraisal so you can better understand the appraiser/appraisal process. The article has several questions that can be helpful.

If you’re giving a loved one a piece of jewelry for Valentine’s Day or have jewelry in your collection you think might be worth some money, make sure you get a proper appraisal and schedule it on your policy. Be sure to read the full article from Beyond 4Cs for more tips and questions to ask an appraiser!

 

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 marsiljeins@gmail.com. We want to help you meet your goals, and make sure what’s important to you is protected!

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Valentine’s Day Tips

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Valentine’s Day Tips

Of course February is American Heart Month, most-likely because of Valentine’s Day – the holiday where we share candy hearts & other gifts to show others how much we love & appreciate them throughout the year. We found this article from the folks at SymptomFind with tips on how to make the day special with some healthiness thrown in for good measure:

– Limit the Sweets. Instead of going for the traditional heart-shaped box of candy & chocolates, opt instead for chocolate dipped fruit, nuts, or pretzel rods. Make your own & use dark chocolate for some additional health benefits.

– Do Something. Walk around an art gallery or museum. Take a walk through a local park. Have a picnic outdoors (or indoors if its chilly outside). Do something that keeps you and your significant other active.

– Be the Chef. Prepare a special meal at home rather than go out to a crowded/noisy restaurant. At home you can control the portions and the salt going into the meal.

– Help Someone Else. Take time to volunteer at a local outreach center, visit an assisted living facility, spread your love to others in need.

– Don’t Stress. The holiday is meant to be a reminder of the love you have for your significant other & family. Don’t stress out about making the holiday a grand affair, keep it simple & memorable.

Be sure to check out the full articlestockvault-valentine-039-s-day-chocolates218184.jpg for many more tips on making this Valentine’s Day special and healthy! And don’t forget about our furry friends, the ASPCA has an article on how to keep your pets safe on Valentine’s Day…

 

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 marsiljeins@gmail.com. We want to help you meet your goals, and make sure what’s important to you is protected!

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Cold & Flu Health Tips

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Cold & Flu Health Tips

With the Coronavirus making national news & locally schools are closing due to illness, we felt it important to share some tips to help you through the worst cold & flu season yet. This article from the Centers for Disease Control offer up some great tips on battling colds & flu:

– Avoid Close Contact. Stay away from people who are ill and conversely stay away from people when you are ill.

– Stay Home. If at all possible, stay home when you are ill to prevent spreading the illness.

– Cover Your Face. Cover your mouth & nose with a tissue or hankerchief when coughing or sneezing. Not covering your mouth & nose can spread illness through airborne saliva droplets or mucus. Consider wearing a dust/surgical mask if coughing or sneezing is constant.

– Wash Your Hands. Ignaz Semmelweis discovered that infection from germs/sickness could be greatly reduced by washing your hands with plain soap & water. Use antibacterial soap or hand sanitizer if unable to wash your hands.
Be sure to check out the full article from the CDCwith more tips to help you during the cold & flu season at home, at work, and at school.

 

 

 

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 marsiljeins@gmail.com. We want to help you meet your goals, and make sure what’s important to you is protected!

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Ski & Snowboarding Safety Tips

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Ski & Snowboarding Safety Tips

Within a week our area has turned from a green & brown landscape to an overabundance of white with more to come. This means good news for skiers & snowboarders who have been waiting patiently for the white stuff. This week we share just a few tips from an article by the National Ski Areas Association for properly & safely enjoying these winter activities.
Before Hitting the Slopes

– Get in Shape. Don’t try to use skiing/snowboarding as a a means of exercise. You’ll have more fun if you are physically able to ski/snowboard.

– Use Proper Equipment. Don’t buy used equipment at a second-hand store unless you know exactly how to maintain/repair the equipment. Go to a dedicated ski shop or rent equipment from the resort itself.

– Dress Properly & in Layers. Find skiwear that is both water resistant and also wind resistant. Dressing in layers will help to wick away sweat & keep you at a comfortable temperature.
When Hitting the Slopes

– Take Lessons. Improving your abilities as a skier/snowboarder come from both practice and guidance from a qualified instructor.

– Be Aware of Your Abilities. If you find you cannot handle the particular slope or terrain, there’s no shame in stepping down or moving to a more comfortable area.

– Drink Water. Make sure you are plenty hydrated throughout the day as the physical exertion coupled with the warmer clothing will cause you to perspire a lot.

– Skip the Alcohol Until Afterwards. Don’t imbibe alcohol or take recreational drugs while skiing/snowboarding. This will impair your judgement & slow your reflexes which could cause you and those around you serious harm.

– Remember to Follow the “Your Responsibility Code”. This can be found one the article itself, read through it and live it when on the slopes.
A great article from the NSAA, be sure to read the full article for more tips on making your day on the slopes fun & safe!

 

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 marsiljeins@gmail.com. We want to help you meet your goals, and make sure what’s important to you is protected!

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Sledding Safety

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Sledding Safety

 

Wintertime is here (or will be soon in Michigan!) and lots of winter sports will be available from skiing & snowboarding to sledding! Before you hit the hills with your super-fast saucer sled, check out these tips we gleaned from the article found at Nationwide Kids. Be sure to check out the full article for even more tips!
– Dress Warm. Make sure kids are dressed appropriately with either a snow suit or jacket & snow pants. Gloves, hats, & boots are a MUST!

– Choose the Right Sled. For the younger kids, choose a sled that is steerable so they have a little more control. Older kids with a little more experience should be able to handle the sheet-type sleds, saucer sleds, & toboggan-type sleds.

-Always Have an Adult. An adult should always accompany your child(ren) when sledding in case of accidents and to keep watch for child predators.

– Feet First. Always sled feet-first, using your feet to turn/brake if necessary.

– Watch Where You Sled. Choose a sledding area that is not near a street or body of water. Never sled down a driveway, parking lot, or anywhere cars are present.

Be sure to read the full article from Nationwide Childrens for more information on being safe while sledding!

 

Contact Us!

At Marsilje & 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 marsiljeins@gmail.com. We want to help you meet your goals, and make sure what’s important to you is protected!

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Snow Removal Safety Tips

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Snow Removal Safety Tips

 

The Great Lakes area is predicted to get up to a foot of snow within a 24hr period this weekend. We felt it best to share some tips on being safe when digging yourself out of the white stuff. We found this article from Replacement Commercial Parts Warehouse with all sorts of tips whether you’re shoveling, blowing, or plowing your driveway:

– Check your health. Consult with your physician to make sure you are well enough to handle the snow removal duties. Removing snow can put significant strain on your heart. If you have existing medical conditions, consider hiring someone to come out to remove the snow than to risk a serious medical event.

– Dress warm & keep your vision clear. Dress in layers and keep your eyes clear of scarves & hats. Dressing in layers will help with insulation & allow body heat to ventilate to cut down on excessive sweating. Wear appropriate footwear & gloves.

– Start early. Remove snow more frequently so that you are only dealing with light layers of snow rather than waiting for it all to come down or become difficult to manage.

For Snow Shovelers:

– Warm up & pace yourself. You should warm up your muscles with some light stretching & pace yourself. Take breaks when needed, don’t be a hero and try to finish everything in one go.

– Proper equipment & technique. Make sure your shovel/snow pusher is in good condition and is comfortable to use. Using a shovel that doesn’t fit will cause muscle strain & fatigue much quicker. Push the snow when you can rather than lifting and throwing.Squat and don’t bend at the waist, certainly don’t twist your torso when tossing snow.

For Snowblowers:

– Clear the area and your snowblower. Make sure the area is cleared of things that could get stuck in the blower such as sleds/doormats/wires/etc. Also make sure your snowblower is in good working condition with plenty of fuel.

– Clearing jams & watching cords. Turn the engine completely off when clearing a jam in the snowblower & watch the electrical cords if using an electric snowblower.
For Snow Plows:

– Get rest & check equipment. Make sure you are plenty rested before getting behind the wheel. Also inspect your vehicle and the snow plow to make sure everything is in good running condition. Make repairs/adjustments before going out.

– Pace yourself & know your limits. Take your time snow plowing, watch out for people/animals/debris that may be hidden by the snow. You should mark the outlines for the area you are going to plow to help avoid those hidden obstacles & minimize damage to property & your plow/vehicle.

The article at Replacement Commercial Parts Warehouse has many more tips for safely removing snow from your property so be sure to check out the full article!

 

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 marsiljeins@gmail.com. We want to help you meet your goals, and make sure what’s important to you is protected!

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When It Pours

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When It Pours

The state of Michigan passed a bill that will revamp the current auto insurance laws in an effort to reduce insurance costs for consumers. Among the changes coming is a change to the minimum liability limits required for registering/operating your automobile. Currently the state of Michigan requires minimum insurance limits for Bodily Injury Liability to be $20,000 per person and $40,000 per accident. The new limits effective 07/01/2020 will change to $50,000 per person and $100,000 per accident for newly-written business or defaulted to $250,000 per person and $500,000 per accident for current insurance holders (which can be lowered via a signed selection form).

With the liability requirements for auto insurance increasing, we surmise that the state of Michigan is expecting an increase in Bodily Injury lawsuits due to policyholders choosing inadequate medical coverage for automobile accidents. Because of this, we are recommending people purchase an Umbrella Liability policy to help add an additional layer of liability to protect their assets.

What is an Umbrella Liability policy?

– A secondary or “excess” liability policy that covers losses in excess of the limits contained in your auto/home/watercraft/motorcycle/recreational vehicle insurance policies.

– The base limit is $1,000,000 with the ability to purchase more coverage in some cases of up to $10,000,000 subject to additional underwriting guidelines.
What does it cover?

– The portion of a settlement or judgement that exceeds the underlying policy’s liability limit as well as legal fees associated with the lawsuit.
– If the underlying policy covers the loss, the Umbrella Liability policy also covers the loss.

– Some examples would be serious bodily injury, significant property damage, libel or slander, & malicious prosecution.

Do I need an Umbrella Liability policy?

The questions you need to ask are:

– What is my current net worth? (what you own minus what you owe)

– What is my future income? (how much will your annual income be until you pass away)

– What are my future financial liabilities? (children’s college, retirement plan, etc.)

If you’re in your early 20’s, single, broke, a renter and in reasonable good health, you could get away with not having an Umbrella Liability policy. But if you’re married with an established family and some assets such as a house, you may want to consider purchasing an Umbrella Liability policy to cover those assets in case of a liability lawsuit.

What does an Umbrella Liability policy cost?

– Depends on the carrier/underlying policies/rating details. Typically a $1,000,000 Umbrella Liability policy can be had for less than $200/yr.

 

 

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 marsiljeins@gmail.com. We want to help you meet your goals, and make sure what’s important to you is protected!

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Holiday Travel Tips

 

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Holiday Travel Tips

Reports are stating that this Christmas/New Year’s holiday season will potentially break records as far as traveling. Many more people are flying or driving to see family or vacation during this time of year. We found an article from Smarter Travel with tips on how to cut down on the stress that traveling during the holidays can produce:

– Avoid Peak Travel. Try to schedule your travel day at least 2 or 3 days before the holiday. The day before a holiday is always the worst day to travel as millions of people will be lining up at airports or traveling in their vehicles. This year, try flying or driving out the Sunday before the holidays.

– Shop It. Shop around for plane tickets and be flexible with your departure/arrival dates & airport choices. Choosing a smaller airport may be less busy and could generate a big savings rather than sticking with the major airports.

– Check Your Connections. Check the layover times & calculate for possible travel/flight delays due to weather. If you can, choose connecting flights that avoid possible weather delays.

– Leave Early. We no longer live in a “Home Alone” world where you can run for the gate and expect to get right on the plane without hassle like the Macallisters were able to do. Traffic delays, long security lines, & other potential delays could cause you to miss your flight. Leave at least 2 hours early so you can check in and relax before boarding your flight.

-The Earlier, The Better. Flying or driving earlier in the day leads to less-congested roadways & airports and getting to your destination earlier allows for you to decompress and enjoy the holiday a bit quicker.

Be sure to check out the full article at Smarter Travel with more tips on packing for the holiday & others that will make your trip a little more pleasant & less-stressful!

 

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 marsiljeins@gmail.com. We want to help you meet your goals, and make sure what’s important to you is protected!

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