Road Trip Tips

Travel

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Road Trip Tips

With states relaxing their guidelines as far as the Covid-19 pandemic amusement parks, state & national parks, & other tourist destinations are ramping up for the summer travel season. If you’re planning a road trip this summer with the family, we found this article on the Huffington Post with tips to make your road trip a little more special & awesome.
1 – Make “Liquid” plans. Of course you want to plan your destination and where you will sleep each night, but don’t do more than that. Keep your drive time to 8 hours or less per day and get ready for adventure!

2 – Research, Smesearch. Avoid the local tourist locations and look for the odd & out-of-the-way discoveries that most tourists don’t find.

3 – Don’t Overpack. You’re going to want to bring home souvenirs other than a t-shirt or keychain. Maybe you’ll buy a cow skull in Arizona or an antique rug in Louisiana, you know you’re gonna need the room…

4 – Let Someone Know. Keep in text or contact with family members or friends on where you’re staying each night and where you expect to be the next day. Just in case something happens, they have a starting point to look.

5 – Road Games. Sure there’s license plate bingo or i-spy, make up your own games and have fun!
Be sure to visit the Huffington Post for more tips on making this summer’s road trip more special!

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Pool Opening Tips

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Pool Opening Tips

This week is the first week of June, a time when many are preparing to open their pool for the first time of the summer season. We wanted to share tips from an article at SwimmingPool.com to help you whether you’re a veteran pool opener or opening your pool for the first time.

 

Clean Up – Before even attempting to open your pool, take time to clean up the pool & surrounding area. Taking care of debris that may fall into the pool beforehand will save you the pains of having to clean it out of the pool later. Check the status of the deck, deck furniture, & the exterior of the pool to make sure everything is in good repair. Repair or replace as necessary.

Check Those Chemicals – Inventory your chemicals and replace those that are expired or look “iffy”. The article has a list of chemicals you should have on hand.

Removing the Cover. Use a submersible pump to bleed water off the cover (if it has collected) and remove any leaves/debris you can before you attempt to remove it. Once it has been removed, lay it out & scrub it down. Allow to dry before you fold it up and store it.

Pool Inspection – Inspect the interior of the pool, remove the plugs from the various openings, check the pump and other items to make sure they are in good working condition.

Fill Pool – If you have an above-ground pool that remains up all year, you should have lowered the water line to below the return jets before winterizing. Fill the pool to the water line and hop in. Use your scrub brush to scrub the algae & other stuff from the walls & floor allowing the skimmer to being the filtering process.

 

Be sure to check out the full article for more tips on opening your pool for the summer 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

Unlimited PIP vs Medicare Coverage

Unlimited PIP vs Medicare Coverage

 

This week’s podcast is Michigan-specific in talking about the upcoming changes to our auto insurance in July. People will be able to choose their own medical coverage instead of being “stuck” with unlimited medical coverage (“for as long as medically necessary). But there are pitfalls to choosing coverage outside of the unlimited medical, especially for senior citizens.

This week we shared information gleaned from a webinar from CPAN (Coalition Protecting Auto No-Fault), which was very informative. We recommend you check out their website for more information on the differences/pitfalls of the changes coming to Michigan’s auto insurance program.

Here is a screenshot of a flyer they prepared to help insurance agents better explain what unlimited PIP will cover versus what Medicare will cover in the event of an automobile injury. We touched on a few items & as you can see, there is a lot of services that will not be covered or severely limited when it comes to Medicare & automobile injuries:

Medicare

For those senior citizens that are looking to save big by opting out of medical coverage on their auto insurance policies, you can clearly see they will be on the losing end in case of a serious auto accident injury.

We highly recommend that you talk to your hometown insurance agent to discuss the risks/benefits of changing the medical coverage on your auto policy. Be sure to check out CPAN’s website for more information and articles relating to the upcoming changes so you can be informed when the time comes to choose…

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

Keeping Important Documents

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Keeping Important Documents

 

The pod today was sparked by a former client who called asking for information on a claim from 10 years prior. We discussed the importance of keeping paperwork for warranties/claims and suggestions on how to store them.

The folks at Real Simple have this article on how to organize & store important paperwork:

– Separate in to Categories. Split your paperwork into stacks of like-associations (household, medical, warranties. etc.) so you can create a separate folder or binder for each.

– Label Accordingly. Create tabs for general categories (household,etc.) and drill down from there with tabs for individual categories (for example, a “Household – Mechanical” tab for invoices/warranties of appliances or work done to the home). Alphabetize for ease of finding what you need when you need it.

– Choose Size Wisely. Do you need a 6 inch binder or will a 2 inch binder suffice? Will a fire-proof filing box work better? No sense in purchasing a full size filing cabinet when a filing box or a couple of binders would work.

– Store Conveniently. Do you have items that you will access more than a few times a year? Don’t store them on a high closet shelf or in some out-of-the-way place.

– Sort Incoming. It’s best to have one designated area of the kitchen or front hall to put paperwork waiting to be sorted/put away as it accumulates. Once you have a good pile, then go through the process of sorting/storing.

– Clear Out Unnecessary. Every 6 months or so, go through your binders/folders and purge those items which are old/outdated/irrelevant. Documents pertaining to household repairs or taxes they suggest keeping for 3 years, we recommend at least 5 years just to be safe.
We highly recommend checking out the article from Real Simple for more tips on handling the clutter of paperwork/documents in your home!

 

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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Delivery Exclusion Modifications

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Delivery Exclusion Modifications

During these tough times of the Covid-19 “stay home, stay safe” mandate, small businesses are trying to find ways to stay afloat which may include delivery options when delivery may not have been available before. Insurance companies are responding to the current climate by modifying their personal auto & motorcycle policies to include coverage that was excluded prior.

The un-endorsed personal auto policy has exclusions for using your personal auto for business:

“Maintaining or using any vehicle while that person is employed or otherwise engaged in any business not described in exclusion A.6.”

Exclusion A.6. reads, “While employed or otherwise engaged in the business of selling/repairing/servicing/storing/parking vehicles designed for use mainly on public highways. This includes road testing and delivery. This exclusion does not apply to the ownership, maintenance or use of your covered auto by you/any family member.”

These exclusions have been temporarily modified by insurance carriers to meet the needs of the current economic climate. Again these are temporary and most have been extended through the end of April:

Frankenmuth Insurance & Safeco Insurance – Allows for delivery of food using personal vehicles ONLY for those working at restaurants that did not have delivery prior to the Covid-19 mandate. It does not offer coverage for those who use transportation networks (Uber Eats/Lyft) or other food delivery networks (GrubHub/DoorDash) to deliver food.

Progressive Insurance – The wording of the coverage update does not specifically exclude transportation networks/food delivery networks from coverage. You may need to contact the company or your agent to find out if you are covered while working for those networks.

Foremost/Bristol West Insurance – The wording includes delivery of “essentials” such as groceries/medicine/food/medical supplies and extends to both the personal auto & motorcycle policies.

It’s important to check with your insurance carrier to see how they will handle using your personal vehicle to deliver food/essentials either for your employer or on your own through a network. Don’t assume that since other carriers are offering the additional coverage that your carrier will as well.

 

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

Insurance Savings Tips

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(photo courtesy StockVault.net)

 

Insurance Savings Tips

 

With a “shelter in place” order shutting down almost half of the states nationwide in one form or another & the “economic relief” checks from the government not slated to be sent out for several more weeks, people who were struggling financially prior to the order are struggling even more to make ends meet. Some are turning to eliminating what they deem to be “non-essential” which unfortunately for many is insurance.

As we mentioned on last week’s podcast, the 4 things you should be worrying about covering at this moment in time are:

– Food

-Shelter

-Clothing

-Transportation

Shelter & transportation both have insurance components to them and are essential to make sure that if something does happen to your home/business/automobile that you will be covered and not sink deeper into debt because of the current economic crisis. Here are some ways to help with your insurance during these tough times:

1) Call your insurance company. Many insurance companies are eliminating the cancellation of insurance policies due to non-payment of premium and waiving late fees through the middle of May. This is essentially an extended grace period for payment and not waiver of premium. You owe the money, but are given an extra month or so to make the payments so you can take care of food/shelter/clothing/transportation first.

2) Speak to your insurance agent. Now might be a good time to check your policies and update as necessary. It could be time to park one of your vehicles for the moment, reduce coverage on a vehicle (if necessary), or update coverage on your home. The country is hoping that this crisis is only temporary, so don’t make any “knee-jerk” decisions that may help in the short-term but ultimately harm you in the long-term.

3) Check your policies. Recently Progressive has allowed the use of personal vehicles for food delivery through April. This vehicle use is specifically excluded on their personal auto policies and would require the writing of a commercial auto policy. This benefits those that are becoming short-term delivery drivers (DoorDash/GrubHub/etc.) to make ends meet until the quarantine has been lifted. Look online or call your insurance agent to see if your insurance carrier has offered any coverage for short-term delivery.

4) Don’t cancel your policies. Sure you may save $100 or $200 a month that can be used for other things right now, but it will take at least 2 weeks to receive a refund from many insurance carriers. Driving without insurance is dangerous and in many states illegal & come with pretty hefty fines. Work on the 4 basics of human need and focus on budgeting to get through this.

 

Working together & respecting each other, we will get through this pandemic crisis together.

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

Quarantine Preparation Tips

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Quarantine Preparation Tips

Unprecedented in my lifetime, Covid-19 is crippling countries around the world as non-essential businesses & schools/colleges are ordered to be shut down. Many people are facing trying financial times as they are forced to quarantine themselves. Today we offer some tips to hopefully help you weather the next few weeks.
1) Develop a Budget. It’s never too late to start a budget and right now is the best time to learn how to put one together. Dave Ramsey has a great resource on how to develop a budget.

2) Prioritize Payments & Defer if Possible. Your basic needs are of utmost importance, so food/shelter/vehicle should be your top priorities. Contact your utility companies, mortgage/landlord, credit card/loan companies, insurance company and find out what relief they can offer you if you or a breadwinner in the household are on a temporary lay-off due to the pandemic crisis. Most companies have begun implementing protocols to help during these trying times including the waiving of late fees, reducing/eliminating interest temporarily, & extending grace periods for payments.

3) Decompress. The stress of the current quarantines & economic climate can be crushing to your spirit & mental health. Take time out to meditate, exercise, play a game, something to allow your mind & body to relax.

4) Utilize Free Resources. Local internet companies are offering free internet to those who do not have current service during the quarantine. Schools/colleges are offering free online classes. The Metropolitan Opera is streaming some of their most famous performances. School districts are offering free breakfasts & lunches to their students at drop-off points. There are many free homeschool resources out there to take advantage of.

Working together & respecting each other, we will all get through this pandemic crisis together.

 

 

 

 

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

Trip Cancellation Insurance

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Trip Cancellation Insurance

With the recent developments of Covid-19 becoming a pandemic, many venues are cancelling their events to prevent the spread of the virus. Most-recently, one of the biggest media/music/film conferences in the country had to cancel for the first time in it’s 34 year history. Big names such as Facebook, Intel, TikTok, & Twitter had pulled out of appearing at the conference due to Covid-19 fears. Unfortunately for SXSW, their cancellation insurance does not cover communicable disease/viruses & insurance carriers have pulled the buy-back option for such coverage amid the pandemic.

This begs the question, what happens if your vacation is cancelled due to unforeseen circumstances? If you haven’t considered it, you may want to purchase insurance to cover such calamities.

Tripsavvy has an article which talks about trip cancellation insurance which is very informative.

Most standard trip cancellation insurance plans cover:

– Death of traveler/travel companion/immediate family member
– Accidental injury immediately before or on their way to departure
– An unforeseen natural weather occurrence at the destination
– A legal obligation such as jury duty or witness at a trial

Most standard trip cancellation insurance plans exclude:

– Employment obligations
– Unexpected life events such as pregnancy or illness
– Other personal situations that may prevent travel

If you are concerned about unexpected life events or personal situations that may result in a cancellation of your trip, you may want to look into the “cancel for any reason” buy-back option that may be available to you:

-Must be purchased within 2-3 weeks of initial deposit of payment for an additional fee
– Must insure for entire cost of trip
– Reimbursement is between 50% and 75% of non-refundable trip costs

 

Be sure to read the full article with more tips from Tripsavvy when it comes to the purchase of trip cancellation insurance.

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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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!

Categories: Uncategorized