3 Mistakes to Avoid when Buying Condo Insurance

Once you’ve made the decision to buy a condo, the next step is to look into condo insurance to protect your investment. By discussing condo insurance options with an agent from The Insurance Mart in advance, you can avoid costly mistakes in insuring your new abode. Here are a few common mistakes people make when purchasing insurance for their new condo.

Getting Insufficient Coverage

Be leery of cheap insurance policies that don’t provide the coverage you need to protect your new home. A “bare walls-in” policy, for example, may cover some aspects of the interior of your Blue Ridge, GA condo, but exclude such essentials as kitchen and bath fixtures, cabinetry, flooring and other architectural details vital to your home. In contrast, “all-in” coverage protects all aspects of your condo.

Selecting Cash Value over Replacement Cost

When insuring personal effects, you may be offered the option of cash value or replacement cost coverage. Cash value coverage may cost less, but has less to offer when making a claim as you only receive the original price you paid for an item, which may not be enough to have it replaced. With replacement cost coverage, your insurance covers the cost of replacing personal property that has been stolen, damaged or lost.  

Not Reviewing a Policy before Signing

Many people make the mistake of signing a policy without reading it through. Reviewing your policy gives you an opportunity to catch any mistakes or omissions in your coverage that could cost you later on. While reviewing your policy, take time to ask questions about anything you don’t understand. Once you sign, you’ll be responsible for what the policy contains or doesn’t contain, whether it’s in your favor or not.

For more information about condo insurance coverage and costs, be sure to contact us at The Insurance Mart, Blue Ridge, GA. 

 

Make Your Home the Perfect Spot for a Staycation

If you’re planning to stay home for summer vacation this year, why not make your home the best vacation spot it can be? With a little ingenuity and advanced planning, your Blue Ridge, GA home can become a stay-cation hotspot. Here are a few ideas to help you get started.

Establish Entertainment Zones

Establish entertainment zones where you can relax and enjoy each other’s company. These areas could be both in and outside the property. Your outdoor patio could be transformed into an exotic cafe with relaxing lounge chairs, mini-bar, colorful pillows, beautiful plants and subdued lighting to set a tranquil and relaxing mood.

Convert your living room into a comfy, cozy niche where you and the kids can gather for games, snacks or video watching. Invite family and friends to share in the fun.    

Upgrade Landscaping

Maximize your landscaping so you can enjoy your natural surroundings. A well-trimmed lawn and attractive garden will give you greater incentive to spend time outdoors. Cutting back low branches on trees and clearing out unsightly debris gives you more space for outdoor play. For a romantic touch, create an attractive walkway that winds around your property so you and your spouse can enjoy relaxing strolls in the moonlight after the kids are in bed.

Stock Up on Succulent Foods

Food can make or break a vacation so feel free to splurge on exotic foods and experiment with different recipes when staying home. Better yet, order out from restaurants you’ve never tried before along with old time favorites everyone enjoys.

Whether you’re coming or going for the summer, don’t forget to keep up with your home insurance coverage. At The Insurance Mart, Blue Ridge, GA, we can help you choose an insurance policy suited to your needs. For information on home insurance options and costs, contact us at The Insurance Mart. 

3 Reasons to Protect Your Business With Commercial Insurance

Congratulations, your new business has finally got of the ground level and you are finally seeing some results and compensation from all of your hard work. At The Insurance Mart we love to see new businesses succeed and grow into established companies in and around Blue Ridge, GA. We also know that sometimes things go wrong that are entirely out of the hands of the most hard working business owners. 

3 Reasons to Insure Your Company

  1. When you have employees the stakes of your choices no longer only effect you. If your business has employees then they are also depending on your company to continue to flourish. This makes keeping insurance all the more important. 
  2. You cannot predict every outcome. Many successful business owners have a keen eye for what matters and have some ability to see what is coming before it happens so they can prevent catastrophe. But even the most observant business owner cannot predict every outcome this where full coverage and even some umbrella policies to cover certain circumstances comes in handy. 
  3. Even small home-based business need someone to have their back. It may come as a surprise that your home owner’s insurance may not cover some of your business needs even if your company is run from your home. Make sure you are truly protected because even a small business needs to cover the assets they do have. 

Contact us at The Insurance Mart today to find out more about how we can help keep your business fully covered in Blue Ridge, GA and the surrounding areas. One of the worst feelings after something does go wrong is the realization that the burden would be significantly less if you would had only made one phone call before it happened. 

Rules for a Good Defensive Driver

Everyone needs to learn how to be a good defensive driver. Knowing what to do makes the roadways safer and help to prevent unnecessary accidents. In Blue Ridge, GA, the independent insurance agents at The Insurance Mart would like to share a few defensive driving techniques that will make you a better and more conscientious driver.

  1. Increase your visual field. Many new drivers only look at what is directly in front of them. So, they only see the taillights in front of them. This could be dangerous if you aren’t focusing on what’s ahead. If traffic conditions change up ahead, you will be able to see it coming and prepare to slow or stop your vehicle.
  2. Always have an escape route. It may take some time to learn this, but as soon as you’ve been in a close call, you’ll understand why it is necessary to have an escape plan when you’re driving. For example, the semi-truck in front of you has a tire that blows out suddenly. Having several feet of distance between you and the truck will give you the right amount of time to escape a collision.
  3. Eliminate various driving distractions. The biggest driving distraction in recent history is the cell phone. It is easy to think that you’ll be quick and reply to a text message, but it only takes a second for an accident to occur.Other distractions that you should avoid include eating, drinking, changing your music selections, adjusting your seat belt, and disruptive passengers.

If you are in the Blue Ridge, GA area, come in and talk with our agents at The Insurance Mart. We can discuss new auto policies or adjust your current coverage. We can also get you started on any home, commercial, recreational vehicle, life, health, or renters insurance policies that you may need.

Are You Truly Covered for Natural Disasters?

Mortgage lenders generally require homeowners to carry an insurance policy to protect the bank’s interest in the event of a loss. Although the State of Georgia doesn’t force you to buy a homeowners policy, it definitely provides a sense of security. But many policies don’t automatically cover natural disasters. At theThe Insurance Mart, our professionals are here to help people in the Blue Ridge, GA community with a policy that meets your unique circumstances. We’re available to answer questions and will work with you to create or update a policy to reflect those coverage needs.

Flood Insurance

Although it’s been a while since the area suffered a flood, but Mother Nature can produce downpours that swell local waters and exceeds their banks.

Many homeowners are unaware that standard policies may not include losses due to flooding. In extreme cases, a home could be washed away. In less dramatic cases, rising waters can damage your home and require expensive remediation. If dangerous molds take root, you could be looking at major cleanup work.

Wind Disasters

The good people of Georgia have become too familiar with the devastating force of tornados. These whirlwinds have ripped through communities and left many with badly damaged or destroyed homes. While most homeowners policies cover damage by wind-related storms, you may find yourself underinsured if a total loss occurs. Consider the cost of replacing your property. Today’s construction costs hover at about $150 per square foot. Even though you may be covered for losses due to extreme weather, you may need to revisit that policy to ensure it meets current building costs.

At the The Insurance Mart, we’re pleased to serve the people of Blue Ridge, GA. Our insurance professionals are available to help you with a homeowners policy that provides you and your loved ones with secure coverage.

Driving tips to keep you safe on the road and your auto insurance low

If you live in Blue Ridge, GA, then you will almost definitely need a car to get around really. And if you have a car then you will need auto insurance, preferably through a local broker like The Insurance Mart who serves the local Blue Ridge area. However, some people don’t get insurance or underinsure themselves which can leave them vulnerable to financial ruin if they have an accident or are not covered enough to allow the insurance being able to pay for everything associated with the accident. Below are some tips for people to keep their monthly premiums low and affordable.

ADD MORE PEOPLE TO YOUR POLICY

The more people you have on your policy who have good driving records, you will get lower premiums overall if everyone is splitting the cost of the insurance equally. So if you have others in your family who need insurance, get on the same policy so you can get better rates. The more, the merrier and cheaper.

DRIVE A SAFER, LESS EXPENSIVE VEHICLE

Safer vehicles that are not very expensive to fix will yield a lower insurance premium as well, as it will not be as big a risk for the insurance policy. So if you are considering purchasing a car, know that a safe, less expensive car will save you money in the long run in your insurance premium as well.

ANTI-THEFT DEVICES

Just having an anti-theft device will cause your insurance premiums to be less expensive, as it will allow the police to find your vehicle if it is stolen, or keep someone from stealing it in the first place. So the cost of getting an alarm or tracking system on your vehicle will save you money on auto insurance in the long run.

Things You Should Consider Adding To An Existing Homeowners Policy

Many homeowners simply take out insurance to meet the requirements of their lender. Banks want to know their investment is secure. But what about your security? As time passes and your needs change, it may be in your best interest to revisit your homeowner’s policy and decide if it still meets your needs. At The Insurance Mart, our professionals are committed to helping members of the Blue Ridge, GA, community create a policy that works for you. We’ll help you to avoid common areas where people may be underinsured.

Flood and Natural Disaster Coverage

The State of Georgia has felt nature’s power more than a few times. As folks living around the Blue Ridge Dam are well aware, flooding is a fact of life. While the overflow of the Toccoa River may not have reached your doorstep in recent years, the potential exists. Flood insurance is not part of a standard homeowners policy. Given the imminent threat of the dam and waterways such as Blue Ridge Lake, you would be wise to have this additional coverage.

Theft Coverage

The amount of theft coverage you selected when you first purchased homeowners insurance may still have the same cap. Over time, we accumulate stuff. Some of that stuff can be very expensive to replace. Jewelry, electronics, and cash on hand are prime targets for burglars. We recommend that you take an inventory and make sure that your policy protects you in the event these pricey items are stolen.

Outbuildings

We all tend to personalize our homes over time. New sheds are built to house our lawn and garden tools, as well as children’s bikes and toys. The hot Georgia sun presses us to either add a garage or car port. But these things may not be covered if you renew your policy each year without adding them. After all, your coverage was not originally based on these structures.

Updating an existing homeowners policy makes good sense. It’s important that your coverage provides the security you need. At The Insurance Mart, we are available to help members of the Blue Ridge, GA community with professional and comprehensive homeowners service. At the end of the day, it’s important that you have a policy that meets your individual needs and gives you peace of mind.

Auto Insurance Basics to Consider

When looking for car insurance, many factors influence the price that you pay for your premium.  Some factors are unchangeable such as your age and if you are a are male or female.  However, there are other factors in wich you can control:

Accident History
The number of insurance claims presented in past years can have an effect on your premium.  If you have a history vehicle accidents, the insurance company will want to look at your driving record and understand who or what has caused the accidents.

Ticket and DUI History
If you have been pulled over by the police many times for speeding and it has resulted in your receiving tickets, this too will push your premium high as you are considered a risky driver.

If you have received a DUI, this stays on your record and can affect the insurance premium for up to 10 years.  If you have received multiple DUIs, many insurance companies will refuse to provide insurance at all.

Residence
Where you call home can affect the premium if the area has a record and high risk of theft or vandalism. Those living in a busy urban area will experience an increase as compared to those in suburban or small town residentials areas.

On the flipside, if you live in a suburban or small town and drive a distance to get into the city to work, this is also taken into consideration because of miles were driven to get to work as well as where the vehicle is parked during work hours.

To discuss your insurance needs and receive a quote, call The Insurance Mart in Blue Ridge, GA to learn more.

How will smart security devices affect your home insurance?

For many years, homeowners have installed alarm systems on their doors and windows, sometimes connected with a service that summons the police if a break-in occurs, and some insurance companies have given a discount on home insurance as a result. Now, a whole new generation of smart home security products is being rolled out, including smart security cameras and smoke detectors, and a device that will allow you to answer the door from your smartphone, even if you are not at home.

The question arises, will all of this new technology enable you to get a break on your home insurance? According to a recent article in Digital Trends, probably not – at least for now.

While most people surmise that smart security devices will cut down on losses that are due to burglary and fires, the data right now is lacking to make such a conclusion. Insurance companies calculate risk according to data, in this case, whether or not such devices reduce risk. Without the data, your insurer simply will not be able to give you a discount on your premiums.

On the other hand, various experts agree that the introduction of such devices will show a reduction in risk for your home over time. However, it may take as long as a decade for the data to come in and for insurance companies to take that into account when calculating risk and premiums. In the meantime, you should feel free to install as many smart devices in your home as your budget allows. Losses from fire or burglary are a hassle, even if they are insured.

For all questions regarding home insurance, feel free to contact The Insurance Mart serving Blue Ridge, GA.

3 Tips for Taking Care of the Carpet In Your Home

Whether you live in a new home or one that was built more than 50 years ago, if it has carpet in it, it is imperative that you take care of it to the best of your ability. Taking care of the flooring in your home not only improves the look of your home but also increases the flooring’s longevity. Here is a quick look at three tips for taking care of the carpet in your house.

1) Clean up spills immediately

The worst thing you can do when it comes to your carpet is not clean up spills and stains immediately. The longer a stain soaks into the carpet, the harder it will be to get out. And if you leave a stain for too long, it may become impossible to completely remove it. Ammonia, vinegar, and cornstarch are three of the most effective products for removing carpet stains. Just make sure you follow instructions when using them so as to not make the stains worse or to discolor the carpet.

2) Install heavy traffic carpet in heavy traffic areas

Are there certain parts of your home that endure heavy amounts of traffic? If so, it is usually best to have heavy traffic carpet installed in these areas. Heavy traffic carpet is more durable than other types, meaning it is more likely to last longer.

3) Vacuum regularly

Lastly, you need to make sure you vacuum the carpet in your home regularly. The cleaner your carpet stays, the longer it will last. Vacuuming will also improve the smell in your home and keep it looking its best.

To learn more about taking care of the carpet in your home, contact The Insurance Mart serving the Blue Ridge, GA area.