How Could Renovations Affect Your Home Insurance?

You’re finally going to do it. You’re renovating your home. You and your spouse have all of the plans ready. You’ll start in the kitchen, create a backsplash, install new cabinets, and you’ll finish with a fire pit in the backyard. You’re ready to start, but there’s one thing you didn’t consider: how will this affect your home insurance? 

Home renovations may have the following impacts on your home insurance: 

  • You may need to increase your homeowner policy limits. If your house went up in value it may now exceed the limits of your homeowner policy. This could leave you without the insurance coverage you need if your property is damaged or destroyed. Before you start your renovations, consult with the trusted, knowledgeable insurance specialists at Stevens Insurance in Las Vegas, NV. 
  • You may be able to negotiate a lower rate if you replaced the roof. After you complete repairs and especially if you install a new roof, you need to contact your home insurance company. New roofs will provide better protection from mother nature and likely will extend the life of your home. Your insurance company will recognize this and may be willing to lower your rates after your project is complete. 
  • You may need to increase the personal property limits. When you renovate, you likely will buy more than siding and roofing materials. If you purchase an expensive TV, pool table, or other valuables, make sure you increase your personal property limits, so they’re protected in the case of a disaster. 

If you live in or around Las Vegas, NV, you need an insurance company you can trust. You need to contact Stevens Insurance. Give them a call today at (702) 648-9689 and see what they can do for you. 

 

Packing to Drive Cross Country

Nothing can be more fun that driving across the country. The gleeful scream of "Road Trip", no matter what your age, can bring delight. It’s an adventure, but with some good packing tips trying to find something in the car, doesn’t have to be an adventure. It’s more than just grabbing a go bag.

First, know what your journey will be. Are you visiting many states and seeing as much as possible in the way of tourist and vacation areas? Or are you driving simply to reach a destination like a new job or a college? Will you travel and arrive at a destination that you will stay at long term? Or will you simply travel for a few weeks and then return home?

Now comes the math that sounds like a bad SAT math word problem.Take the size of your vehicle, the number of people and animals who are going to ride it, and what you want to accomplish and make sure you have room to accommodate all your needs. Before you pack, estimate how many bags or pieces of luggage your vehicle can safely transport so you can persuade the passengers of how much or little to pack.

Food and drinks. Let’s face it there are convenience stops along the way, but the prices can be astronomical. Try to find snacks that are fun as well as healthy. A cooler tucked in an easy to access place can make a drive more pleasant.   

Bring audio books, music and other kinds of entertainment, and not just for the kids.

An often overlooked item is a basic first aid kit. Those cooler ice packs can double as first aid ice packs. 

Call Stevens Insurance serving Las Vegas, NV for auto travel insurance advice.

Should You Use Your Home Insurance Deductible for a Repair?

Have you ever had a tree fall on your property? Or a fire get out of hand? If you live in Las Vegas, NV and are a customer at Stevens Insurance, you might have called your agent to find out what you should do. To file a claim or repair it yourself, that is the question.

Evaluating the Level of Damage

Your first instinct—after photographing the damage in case you do end up filing a claim—should be to examine how much damage has occurred. Is your house severely damaged? Is your car incapacitated? If the answer is “no” to these questions, your next step is to look at how much it might cost to repair. Can you do the repair yourself? If yes, the level of damage is probably not catastrophic, and you can avoid cashing in on your homeowner’s insurance policy. 

When to Repair It on Your Own

The important thing to consider when making this decision is the cost of the deductible and how much your monthly premiums will go up. For example, if a tree falls across a fence from the neighbor’s yard but does no further damage to your property, paying even a low deductible is not worth it because your premiums will simultaneously increase. The cost of a new fence is low compared to the cost of replacing an entire house. The premium increase is worth it, for example, when you’re avoiding $100,000 out of pocket to rebuild an entire home. A premium increase is not worth it when you’re only paying $3,000 to install a new fence. 

If you live in Las Vegas, NV and have experienced damage to your property, call Stevens Insurance for an estimate on the repairs and premium increases. You will probably find that in the event of minor damage, making the repair yourself is more cost effective.

Pave the Way with a Parent-Teen Driving Agreement

Six teens die every day because of motor vehicle accidents. The risk of automobile accidents is higher for teens than any other age group. In fact, teen drivers, ages 16 to 19, are almost three times more likely to be involved in a fatal crash than their older counterparts. With these sobering statistics in mind, Stevens Insurance recommends than parents create a Parent-Teen Driving Agreement to keep all drivers safe not only in Las Vegas, NV but nationwide as well.

Being a good driver and following the rules of the road yourself, being a passenger while your teen drives, and having regular conversations about driving safety all work together to ensure that your teen makes the right decisions when they get behind the wheel.

But there is another simple step you can take to help ensure your child’s safety, a Parent-Teen Driving Agreement. This agreement is a contract that puts your family’s rules and expectations in writing, clearly defining expectations and limits, while also laying out the consequences for breaking the rules.

Working with your teen to create the Parent-Teen Driving Agreement will give them an opportunity to express their feelings and concerns. It also gives them an opportunity to question why certain rules are in place. By working together and jointly setting up the limits and expectations, it’s more likely that your teen will then follow the agreed upon rules.

Keep the agreement posted on the fridge and update it often, increasing privileges as your teen gains experience. It’s a great way to frequently discuss the importance of driving rules and safety.

If you want more ideas of what you can do to keep your teen driver safe, or if you are looking for high-quality insurance coverage in the Las Vegas, NV area, call Stevens Insurance. One of our independent representatives will work with you to find the best options for you and your teen driver.

What is an Auto Insurance Broker?

As you shop around for auto insurance, you may notice that some people call themselves insurance agents, while others call themselves insurance brokers. This may leave you with a question What exactly is an auto broker and are they the same as an insurance agent? Here is a bit of information that you will want to know.

What is an Auto Broker?

An auto broker is someone who works with a variety of auto insurance companies to help you find the best policy for you, regardless of what insurance company it is with. An insurance agent works only with one specific company, finding you a policy within the company that they work for. Think of it as a travel agent versus an airline agent. If you call a travel agent to book a flight, they will compare various flights with different companies to find you the best deal on the flight that meets your needs. If you call a specific airline, you will work with an airline agent that will only look for flights within their company.

What Are the Benefits of Using an Auto Broker?

The biggest benefit to using an auto broker is that you can easily compare prices among various insurance companies, and find the best policy for your needs. When you work with an agent, you can only compare prices among the policy types that they offer. That many not be what is best for you. An insurance broker is not loyal to any one company, which helps them better meet your needs using different insurance companies.

If you are in need of auto insurance, there are many benefits to using a broker. Stevens Insurance, serving the greater Las Vegas, NV region, is an auto broker committed to getting you the best insurance policy for your needs and budget. Give us a call to get a free price quote or start the processing of getting a new auto insurance policy.

Customizing Your Home Insurance Policy

When it comes time to buy home insurance, most people tend to view it as a "One size fits all" proposition. The initial value is often set by the mortgage company, or perhaps recommended by the insurance agent, the homeowner told what the premium will be and they move on, never giving a lot of thought to the details of the policy. This is often not the best way to buy insurance, even if you’re buying from a reputable agent like Stevens Insurance in Las Vegas, NV. A home insurance policy is most effective when customized to the details of the home and the needs of the homeowner.

No two houses are alike, so no two home insurance policies should be alike. Obviously, a more valuable house, one that would cost more to replace, should be insured for more money. If the house is located in a flood plain or area prone to earthquakes, specific insurance may need to be purchased for those, as they’re often not covered in a standard policy.

A homeowner may possess a number of belongings that either aren’t covered or are not covered enough under a standard home insurance policy. Expensive jewelry, artwork or electronics are often worth far more than a basic insurance policy will allot for them. This means that unless a homeowner has the foresight to adjust the coverage amounts or add riders to the policy to cover these items, they will likely have to pay a lot out of pocket to replace them after an incident. Speaking of out of pocket costs, a homeowner can always adjust how much they will end up paying out of pocket on a claim by raising or lowering their deductible. If you need home insurance in Las Vegas, NV, Stevens Insurance can get you the right policy customized to fit your needs.

Prevent Distracted Driving

Distracted driving is a huge problem. In the United States, millions of people are injured in car accidents due to this growing epidemic. Stevens Insurance knows that you must pay attention when you’re behind the wheel in order to keep you and your passengers safe.

Cell Phone Usage

Cell phones are one of the biggest driving distractions. In Las Vegas NV, you could be fined up to $250 or more if you are caught on your cell phone while you’re driving. This includes talking, texting, and using the internet. There are a few exceptions.

  • If you are calling for help or reporting a crime
  • When you use a voice-activated navigation system
  • If you have a license to use a two-way radio
  • If you are law enforcement or part of an emergency medical team

Other Types of Distractions and How to Avoid Them

  • Eating – Eat your meal before you enter the vehicle. It’s also a good way to keep your vehicle clean. If you’re going to pick up something from a fast food restaurant, hold off on snacking no matter how good the fries smell.
  • Drinking – Spilling a hot cup of coffee on your lap could cause you to jump into another traffic lane or run into a solid object, like a mailbox or telephone pole.
  • Makeup – Wake up a few minutes earlier if you need to apply your makeup. The rearview mirror was not meant for eyeliner application.
  • Radio and CD player – Switching the radio station or changing a CD is a distraction. Wait until you are at a complete stop before rearranging your music selection.

Stevens Insurance in Las Vegas, NV has independent insurance agents that are willing to offer you advice on modifying your auto coverage to accommodate your needs. These agents are experts that can also help you with coverage that affects your home, life, or business.

 

How the dry climate affects your car in Las Vegas

Las Vegas, NV is definitely a car town. There’s a whole lot of fun stuff to do here even if you have absolutely no interest in gambling whatsoever, but the spread-out, deserty nature of the city means you can’t really enjoy it if you’re spending all your time waiting on buses and ubers.

If you drive in Las Vegas, NV, though, then you need to be aware of how the climate affects a car. The dry air, the sun, and the sand can all wreak havoc on the most durable of autos.

Much of the damage you see will be cosmetic, you won’t have to make a claim on your policy through Stevens Insurance over the day-to-day wear and tear you see on your car’s exterior. Excessive sun can cause a fresh coat to fade very quickly, while the sand combined with the dry air will cause chipping and cracking without regular maintenance.

One of the best ways to keep your car in good condition no matter the climate is to keep a fresh coat of wax on the ride, and to make sure that you clean it regularly to ensure that sand isn’t allowed to collect on the surface and scratch away at the top coat. A lighter colored car will also suffer less damage from the sun.

If you really let your car go, you can see serious damage to your brake pads due to excess sand, but it’s unlikely this will lead to needing to make a claim through Stevens Insurance. With proper maintenance and cleaning, your car can withstand the worst conditions Las Vegas can throw at it.

Top Hidden Home Insurance Credits

If you are on the market for a home insurance policy, make sure you take the time to review your policy with your insurance agent to ensure you are not missing out on hidden savings. Here are the top hidden credits for home insurance.

Gated Community

In the Las Vegas, NV area there are an abundance of gated communities and if you live in one, you may be able to reduce your premium. Insurers view gated communities as an extra level of security reducing the chances of a burglary. You can see a 5%-20% savings.

Recent Renovations

If you have recently renovated your home, you may be eligible for a credit. If your renovation included new wiring or a new electrical panel, the insurance company will view your home as safer. Renovations can save you up to 25%. Ask your agent at Stevens Insurance for tips if you are planning on renovating.

Retirement

Cutting costs during retirement is important, and the mature insurance credit might help. Insurance companies understand that when one is retired you are spending more time at home and if there is a burst pipe the loss will be mitigated immediately instead of when you get home from work. The retirement credit can save you between 10% to 25%.

Upgrade your Sensors

Of course, you should always have the standard fire alarm and security system. However, there are new products on the market that an insurer will give you additional credit for. You can purchase water sensors that attach to appliances that will shut off the water source if there is a leak. These sensors will get you an additional 5%-10% in savings.

If you are in the Las Vegas, NV area and would like to learn more about credits, reach out to Stevens Insurance.

Preventing Premature Roof Failure

In Las Vegas, NV, your roof is safe from some of the most damaging things that can destroy roofs in colder climates. You won’t be seeing any ice dams or problems caused by snow weight. However, a Vegas roof is still exposed to nature, and with this exposure, there is always a chance for unexpected damage as well as normal wear.

Get Regular Roof Inspections

The key to preventing full roof failure is catching problems before they get too big. Having professionals go up and look at the roof on a regular basis is the easiest and safest way to ensure that these emerging issues are found in time for them to be affordably repaired. Professional eyes can also spot problems that a layman would overlook. Because of these things, Stevens Insurance recommends that you make sure to have the pros examine your roof, especially after storms and other potentially-damaging events.

Have Broken or Missing Concrete Tiles Replaced Right Away

High winds, storms that knock tree branches into the roof, and other stresses can take a tile or two off of a roof that is otherwise fine. Don’t let the small area of damage fool you into ignoring this problem! The tiles are there to protect the waterproof under layer of the roof, and when even one is missing, it will expose that layer to challenges it wasn’t designed to meet.

If you don’t have a tile roof, you should pay even more attention to damaged areas. Asphalt shingles, for example, can start failing after just 10-15 years. Missing or damaged shingles will make the roof require replacement even sooner, so hurry to get damaged areas patched.

Getting unexpected damage repaired can be easier with the right home insurance. Contact us at Stevens Insurance to discuss which policies are best for protecting your Las Vegas, NV home.