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10 Things You Should Know About Purchasing Home Insurance

Posted on May 31, 2016 at 4:10 PM Comments comments (2)


 

You Need Home Insurance

Homeowners need to purchase home insurance to protect their homes and personal property. Those who rent need insurance to protect their furniture and other personal property. Everyone needs protection against liability for accidents that injure other people or damage their property.


Decide How Much Coverage You Need

The better your coverage, the less you will have to pay out of your own pocket if disaster strikes. In some cases, your lender decides how much coverage you need and may require you to buy a policy that covers at least the amount of the mortgage. It is important to note that the amount of coverage you buy for your house, contents and personal property will affect the price you pay.


Compare Deductibles

The deductible is the amount you have to pay out of pocket on each claim and applies only to coverage on your house and personal property. Make sure when choosing a policy that you are comfortable paying the deductible if you make a claim. Remember, a policy with a $100 deductible will cost more than one with a $250 deductible. Higher deductibles may be available at a reduced price.


Replacement Cost or Actual Cash Value?

You have the option to choose to insure your home and belongings for either replacement cost or actual cash value. Replacement cost is the amount it would take to replace or rebuild your home or repair damages with materials of similar kind and quality, without deducting for depreciation. It is important to insure your home for at least 80 percent of its replacement value. Actual cash value is the amount it would take to repair or replace damage to your home after depreciation.


Shop Around Before You Buy

You are not required to purchase insurance from the company your lender recommends. There are a number of unbiased sources available to find out what different insurers charge for identical products and services, including your state insurance department, consumer publications and your public library.


Ask Your Agent About Discounts

In some states, insurers offer lower prices for such things as insuring your home and car with the same company, installing deadbolt locks or alarm systems or replacing the roof.


Basic Coverages Available

Whether you own or rent, there are different packages of home insurance offered to protect your home and belongings. Each package protects against a specified number of events that cause damage to property. Three examples are fire, windstorm and theft. In addition, each package policy usually contains four additional types of coverage: property damage, additional living expenses, personal liability and medical payments.


Where to Shop

Come see us, 2015-B Osborn Rd St. Marys, GA 31558 or give us a call (912) 510-3417.

 

Check the newspaper and yellow pages of the telephone directory for companies and agents in your area. In addition, ask your neighbors, relatives and friends for recommendations on insurance companies and agents. Remember to shop around to get the best price and service.


Read Your Policy Carefully

You should be aware that a home insurance policy is a legal contract. It is written so that your rights and responsibilities as well as those of the insurance company are clearly stated. When you purchase home insurance, you will receive a policy. You should read that policy and make certain you understand its contents. Keep your policy in a safe place and know the name of your insurer.


Review Your Home Insurance Needs Every Year

Check with your insurance agent at least once a year to make sure your policy provides adequate coverage. The addition of a room, new insulation or remodeling add value to your home and therefore may increase replacement cost.

Short Term Medical Plan

Posted on May 4, 2016 at 12:50 AM Comments comments (0)

Do you know you can get a Short Term Medical Plan that can bridge the gaps in your health insurance coverage.


 

Who Should Consider Short Term Insurance Plans?

Short Term health insurance plans make sense for people who are:


  • Under 65 and in good health
  • Rolling off their parent’s insurance
  • In-between jobs
  • Without health insurance, have missed Open Enrollment and do not have a qualifying event for Special Enrollment
  • Waiting for your Affordable Care Act (ACA) coverage to begin
  • You're retired and are waiting for Medicare eligibility.
  • A college student or just out of school
  • Waiting for benefits to begin at a new job
  • Waiting for Medicare
  • Needing a temporary alternative to COBRA insurance
  • Losing coverage following a divorce

 

We know that the life of you and your family can change quickly. That’s why our Short Term Medical℠ insurance plans provide you with the following flexibility:


  • Drop your coverage without penalty
  • Apply for another term of coverage if needed
  • Select the length of time (30 to 360 days in many states) for your coverage
  • Choose from a range of available deductible amounts

And with your Short Term Medical℠ insurance coverage starting as soon as the next day after you apply, you can get the security of that coverage fast, right when you need it

 

Optional Periods of Coverage range from 1-6 Months.

Deductible amounts available $500, $1,000, $1,500 or $2,000


Give us a call today to see what we can do to help you choose the right plan for you!






Finding the Dream Tenants

Posted on February 6, 2016 at 12:45 AM Comments comments (0)

How To Find The Dream Tenants

 

There are many moving parts involved in getting the best return on an investment property. But finding the right tenant is more than just one piece of the puzzle.

The essence of an investment in real estate is a good tenant. A good tenant in a bad location is better than a bad tenant in a good location.

So what qualities indicate a tenant will be a good one? And where can they be found? Given the importance of securing the right tenant, these may be among the most important questions a landlord will ask. While the obvious answer to the first may be someone who pays rent on time, stays for an extended period of time and takes good care of the property, it’s not always easy to find that dream tenant.


Getting Creative with Property Marketing

The first step to doing so is to market your property the right way in the right places, so the right property hunters find you. Marketing is always about reaching the right audience, and property advertising is no exception.

You’ve got to advertise where your market is. Depending on the right tenant for your property, this could mean a local paper or online listing, but some of the best leads can come from trusted sources.

Know of a rental building known for great tenants? Slip your marketing materials into the lobby, Glink suggested. Or, even better, if your current tenants are great, they may have some great friends.

Offer a cash bonus if the departing tenants find you a new tenant.


Extra Due Diligence

Having all rental applicants fill out a detailed application form is important, and while it may be a lot of extra work to follow up on every last reference, the time investment can be revelatory. Not only can you verify that prospective tenants are telling the truth, but current and former landlords may have some of the most critical insight into your applicants.

During the course of your conversation, you want to listen for something on the order of ‘I’m sorry so-and-so is leaving’ or ‘He was really a good tenant, I hate to lose him.

One thing applications can’t reveal is how well tenants maintain their current residences. That’s why visiting applicants where they live can be good.  How they take care of their current property is indicative of how they will take care of yours.

 

Look Beyond the Money

Over-eagerness could mean a prospect loves the place and will make a great tenant, but that’s not a universal truth. Don't choose your tenants because they offered to pay higher rent it could end up backfiring, ending up with not so good tenants.

Great tenants come in all ages, occupations and styles and not-so-great tenants can be just as hard to pick out in a crowd. With targeted marketing and meticulous follow-through on references and application data, the most reliable prospect ought to shine right through. And sticking with the best applicant over extra incentives from questionable ones can translate into a good investment for the long term.


Top 10 Motorcycle Safety Tips

Posted on January 22, 2016 at 2:00 PM Comments comments (0)

Let’s face it: While motorcycles are cool, they just aren’t as safe as cars. To some people, that’s part of the appeal. Living life on the edge and taking risks can be part of what makes riding a motorcycle rewarding.

Motorcycles can travel as fast as cars do, but lack car safety features most people take for granted. Motorcycles don’t have an exterior frame to absorb crash forces. Instead, the forces of a collision are born directly by the bike and the rider. Motorcycles also don’t have seatbelts, which increases the rider’s risk of being thrown off the bike in an accident. Finally, there’s that little matter of being on two wheels. Motorcycles are simply not as stable as cars

But, riding a motorcycle doesn’t have to be an exercise in cheating death. Motorcycles may be inherently less safe than cars are, but there are a lot of things motorcyclists and drivers in cars can do to keep everyone safe.

 

10: Take a Motorcycle Safety Course

In most states, if you’re going to get a motorcycle license, you need to take a skills test. In many states, you also have to take a motorcycle safety class – think of it as driver’s education on two wheels. Even if your state doesn’t require you to take a motorcycle safety course, you should. The class will teach you about the traffic safety laws that apply to motorcycles in your state, how to respond to emergency situations on a motorcycle, and give you a chance to try out your new skills in a controlled environment. The instructors will also give you tips about motorcycle maintenance and how to avoid unsafe situations. After all, the time to learn how to recover from a skid on a bike is not when you go into one for the first time. Taking a motorcycle safety course prepares you to hit the road safely and with more confidence. 

The good news is, most motorcycle dealerships offer motorcycle safety courses, and some even give discounts or other promotional materials to people who have completed their course. If you’ve got your heart set on a particular brand of bike, taking a motorcycle safety class from that dealership is a good way to get to know the brand better, and you may even be able to try out some of their models.

 

9: Get the Right Gear

We’ve all seen people on motorcycles in shorts and flip flops. Those people are not being safe. Since a motorcycle offers little protection in a crash, what riders wear is part of the crash protection system. Even if you aren’t in a crash with another vehicle on your bike, you could simply lose control and lay the bike down. In that situation, you’ll be sliding along on asphalt. That’s not something you want to do in shorts.

There’s a reason a lot of bikers wear leather: it’s strong enough to protect their skin if they slide along the road surface. Plus, motorcycle riders are exposed to other road hazards, like small rocks, bugs and cigarette butts, that people in cars are protected from. At 60 miles per hour (96.6 kilometers per hour), even a small rock can sting. Leather gear can help protect you.

Of course, you don’t have to look like a reject from “Easy Rider” to ride a motorcycle. A lot of companies specialize in armored motorcycle gear, and it’s not all leather. You can get vented motorcycle jackets that keep you cool while keeping you safe. These jackets are made of lightweight, breathable material, but have heavy-duty amour panels in key places (along the spine, torso, shoulders and elbows) to protect the wearer.

 

8: Protect Your Feet

The right shoes are also important to riding safely. To shift gears on a bike, you lift up with your toes – so open-toed shoes can become painful fast. Plus, when you’re riding a bike, you’re sitting on the engine and exhaust system, which get hot. It’s easy to burn your feet. Not only do open-toed shoes like flip-flops expose your feet while on a bike, they can slip off, causing a dangerous situation.

When riding a motorcycle, you want study shoes. Those shoes are the only protection your feet will have. Look for something with a rugged sole. Shoes with smooth soles make it easier for you to slip. When you’re at a stop and using your feet to balance, the last thing you want to do is slip and drop your bike. Motorcycle shoes should also have sturdy ankle supports and a low heel. You want something that makes it easier for you to balance. Look for shoes or boots in a durable material, like leather, for better protection.

 

7: Ride Within Your Skills

Riding a motorcycle is a skill, and like all skills, it’s something that you need to develop. While you may be fine to go on an easy cruise around town, it takes time to grow the skills you need to be an expert rider. To stay safe, make sure that you always ride within your skill level. Your friends who have been riding longer may be able to go super fast, weave in and out of traffic, or control their bikes on curvy roads, but that doesn’t mean you should. Take the time to build your skills and only ride in situations where you know your skills are up to the job. 

Of course, you should still challenge yourself — that’s how your skills grow — but you need to do it in a safe, controlled way. Many motorcycle dealerships offer advanced riding courses where you can practice more advanced maneuvers. And, if you’re interested in motorcycle sports, it’s easy to find a racing school. Those schools are not only fun, but they help you safely build your skills so that you’re safer on the road.

 

6: Avoid Distraction

We all know distracted driving is a bad idea, but it’s worse when you’re riding a bike. One of the keys to staying safe on a motorcycle is staying hyper-aware of everything that’s going on around you. Remember, motorcycles are tough for drivers to see –especially drivers in large cars or SUVs. You need to see and avoid them, rather than bet on them seeing you. If you’re fiddling with your phone or iPod, you’re reaction time is cut by several precious seconds, putting you at higher risk of a collision. And running into a Chevy Suburban while going 60 miles per hour (96.6 kilometers per hour) is no one’s idea of a good time. 

In addition to the risk of distraction, taking your hands off your bike lessens your control more than taking your hands off the wheel of your car. Not only is steering compromised, but so is braking, accelerating and shifting. It’s just a bad idea.

If you’re on a bike, remove all temptation for distraction. Don’t wear headphones, and put your phone where you can’t get to it.


5: Leave Enough Space

One of the biggest mistakes drivers and motorcycle riders make is not leaving enough stopping distance for bikes. While it’s true that since bikes are smaller and lighter than cars, they need less space to stop and maneuver, they still need more than you might think. 

Anti-lock brakes are still relatively new on many bikes, and older models don’t have them. That means that bikers can’t just slam on the brakes like a driver could. Their wheels would lock up, they’d lose control, the bike would drop and they’d go for an asphalt slide. Practice stops on your bike in a safe environment and know how much space you need. Then, make sure you give yourself that much space in traffic. Leave a generous following distance between your bike and the vehicle in front of you, and try to keep an escape route open to the side (onto the road shoulder, for example) if you can’t stop in time.

 

4: Watch the Weather

Because they aren’t as stable as cars, riding a bike in the rain is much riskier than driving a car. With only two wheels, you have half the traction of a car. Plus, without windshield wipers, your visibility is compromised. Finally, riding through the driving rain can hurt. 

When you’re preparing to go for a ride, check the weather. If heavy rain, snow or ice is predicted, leave the bike at home. If you absolutely must ride in the rain, don’t ride right after the storm starts. When rain first hits the road, it brings up oil and other residue, making the road extremely slippery. If you wait a while, the rain will wash away the oil and slick stuff it brought up. Give the rain time to clear the road for you. Then, when you’re on your way, be extra cautious. Go slowly, leave plenty of space for stopping, and if the weather gets worse, stop and wait it out.

 

3: Educate Your Passengers

Part of the fun of having a bike is having someone on the back. Having a passenger with their arms around you as you cruise the open road can be quite romantic. But your passenger has a part to play in keeping both of you safe.

Make sure anyone you carry on your bike has the right gear. Like you, they should wear sturdy shoes and protective clothes. You should also practice having a passenger, especially if they’re bigger than you, in a safe place, like a parking lot. That will get you used to having the extra weight on the bike and the passenger used to how the bike feels, and how they need to move with you in various maneuvers. Make sure your passenger knows not to distract you, and what things like stopping and turning on a bike feel like, so they won’t panic. If you’re carrying a young child, check the laws of your state. In many states, you need to be over a certain age to ride on the back of a motorcycle.

 

2: Look Twice

This tip is more for drivers than bikers, but it’s so important that it’s worth mentioning here: Look for motorcycles. Motorcycles are small and tough to see. That means many drivers miss them, causing collisions that are often fatal to the motorcycle rider. 

Keep your eyes and ears open for motorcycles. Lots of bikes have loud exhaust systems specifically to draw drivers’ attention. Use that to your advantage. But you still need to look out for quiet bikes. Look twice before changing lanes, and always check your blind spot. A bike may be there. Also, before pulling into traffic, look for motorcycles. They’re harder to spot than cars, but taking an extra second to look could save someone’s life.

For riders, look twice is still a good rule to follow. Never assume that a driver sees you. Ride defensively and take responsibility for staying safe around cars.

 

1: Wear a Helmet

The most important thing you can do to stay safe on a motorcycle is wear a helmet. Helmets protect your head, and head injuries are the leading cause of death for motorcycle riders. Your brain just wasn’t meant to be exposed. 

Of course, wearing a helmet isn’t enough. You need to wear the right helmet. Lots of places sell novelty helmets that look good but don’t protect you. Look for a Department of Transportation-approved helmet. Those helmets have been tested and provide a minimum standard of protection. 

Make sure your helmet fits properly. It shouldn’t be too tight or too loose. It shouldn’t obstruct your vision, but it should cover most of your head. For more protection, opt for a full-face helmet with protection all the way around. A simple windshield can at least protect your face from bugs, rocks and rain, but a full-face helmet will have a piece that goes around your chin, so your face won’t make contact with the road.

 

Even if you ignore every other motorcycle safety tip, wear a helmet.

Improve your cars lifespan with these 10 tips for maintaining your vehicle

Posted on January 20, 2016 at 3:40 PM Comments comments (0)

10. Pick your pump

A tank of 95 octane fuel will not turn your Kia into a Koenigsegg, sorry. The extra octane in premium unleaded gas does no special favors for engines with low to moderate compression, that are designed to run on regular 87 octane. And while “over-octaning” at the gas station won’t necessarily harm the average engine, it is a waste of money -- cash that could be better spent on the upcoming tips to maintain your car.


9. Wash, rinse, repeat

Here’s a great example of how to spend the money saved by following our No. 10 tip to maintain your car. Let’s say you save $0.30 a gallon by skipping unnecessarily high-octane gas and filling with regular. If you have a 20-gallon tank, that’s an instant $6 saved with every fill-up; that’s enough for a basic car wash in many places. Regular washing and waxing preserves paint and prevents rust from gaining a foothold. Remember to show the interior some love too, by vacuuming and detailing.


8. Prepare for the Seasons

Whether it’s the impending gloom of winter, summer road trips or anything in between, seasonal changes mean you need to prep your car accordingly. For many drivers, winter and summer are the most demanding on their cars‘ batteries, coolant and tires, among other components. Extra attention to those critical areas could mean the difference between getting there and getting stranded. If you can swing the extra cost and your climate dumps even moderate snow on you, upgrade to winter tires for priceless extra traction and control.

 

7. Research Recalls

Recalls and technical service bulletins (TSBs) are sometimes issued by manufacturers, but not all make the evening news. It’s up to you to research them and keep your car alive longer by heeding their information. This tip to maintain your car is easy to follow by searching the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) website or signing up for newsletter alerts like Automotive News who just informed us to remove the floor mats from certain Toyota models because they may cause the gas pedal to stick, causing unintended acceleration. Read up and maintain your car.


6. See the "Check Engine" Light

The notorious "Check Engine" light gets a bad rap for overdramatizing trivial onboard diagnostic (OBD) codes like a tabloid newspaper, but in fairness, it also reports news you can use. Most shops and auto-parts stores can scan the codes and translate the issues. It could be a loose gas cap or it could be a serious powertrain issue developing -- knowing makes all the difference


5. Play nice

You should already understand that your car’s redline is not the starting point for throttle position; if you don’t, the painful sound of bouncing off the rev limiter should smack some sense into you. Less obvious is that you can also damage your car by spending too much time at the lower end of the performance spectrum: Extended idling, even in cold climates, is pointless and wasteful. At the very least, it can promote carbon buildup and catalytic converter deterioration, all while wasting gas and pumping more emissions into the atmosphere than necessary.


4. Do as you're told

Following the engine and transmission maintenance recommendations in your owner’s manual will extend your car’s life and save you money in the long run. Don’t delude yourself into thinking that you can skip the cost of upkeep and still have a vehicle that runs efficiently for very long. When you try to buy time, there’s a good chance you’ll also buy more parts and labor in the future.


3. Know your stats

To follow through on the previous tip to maintain your car, you can’t just turn the key and drive every time, and you can’t just roll into the shop every day for maintenance. You need to keep tabs on fluid levels and tire pressure. Checking lights and signals at the same time doesn’t hurt, either. Make it a regular habit and you’re less likely to get caught by surprise.


2. Use the right oil for your vehicle

Don’t overthink it, just do what you need to do when it comes to engine oil. Your owner’s manual spells out accepted viscosities and possibly even the recommended brand. If you see Mobil 1 listed, for example, don’t take it as none-too-subtle advertising: It probably means your car was born with that brand in the crankcase and was designed to run best with it.


And Number ONE


When in doubt, ASK

When your car acts up between maintenance intervals but no obvious repairs are needed and the Check Engine light isn’t lit, don’t just hope the issue will go away. Don’t avoid taking action because it hasn’t been 15,000, 10,000 or even 3,000 miles, either. If you sense even the slightest odd behavior, have your auto tech check your car. It’s better to heed this top tip to maintain your car and spend a little time at the shop than to allow conditions to worsen and repairs to become even more expensive.

 


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