Thursday, April 6, 2017

One final item on your spring travel checklist...

Thank goodness insurance is there to help with some of life's "unforeseeables," but wouldn't life just be simpler if we could foresee everything and therefore avoid the unpleasant stuff?  We like to plan for safety where we can, and the spring travel season brings a lot of extra subject matter to mind. You leave your home behind when you go on vacation, which has implications for your home, your stuff, and YOU...

First, your HOME:      
Most of us make a point of doing a thorough check before we leave to make sure everything that should be turned off, unplugged, or put away before we leave is, but how about making sure your home itself is in good shape for your trip?  Are the roof sound, the gutters clear, and the earth graded such that water flows away from the home? Are trees and bushes trimmed back so branches  are not likely to touch or fall on your home and would-be burglars don't find opportunities to hide? Are your heating/cooling systems on conservative settings so they don't have to work too hard while you're away, and have they been checked recently to make sure they are functioning properly with no shorts or worn parts?  Are the mail and paper stopped so as not to tip anyone off to your absence? How about some of those nifty light timers (UL-approved ones, of course!)? And, finally, have you designated a trusted neighbor, friend, or family member to look in on things while you're away?

Next, that leave YOU and your STUFF, out in the world, taking a departure from the familiar:  
Make sure essential phone numbers are in your phone in case something comes up - your family doctor, credit card companies in case cards are stolen, perhaps the number for your insurer(!)...  
If travelling by car, don't forget to have an emergency kit along, just in case.   Also, you'll probably have more stuff in the vehicle than usual.  Do it the right way. Keep any valuables well-secured and out of sight (includes stashing any appealing tech-toys passengers may be using en route when you hit the gas station or rest area),  and don't load the passenger area with anything that might shift, lurch, or move abruptly out of position and injure a passenger in the event of a sudden stop.  If travelling with pets, keep their safety in mind, too, making sure they are secure in sturdy, approved, well-ventilated travel carriers. It may be tempting to let them roam freely so you can enjoy their company over the miles, but that could be a distraction for you and likely not in their best interest in the event of a sudden stop, etc.  (Here's an ASPCA link we linked with some more good thoughts for travel with pets - https://www.aspca.org/pet-care/general-pet-care/travel-safety-tips )
...and (do we have to say it?) LOCK THE CAR.  Even if you're only stepping out for a few moments at a friendly-looking fruit and vegetable stand in the middle of nowhere.   You just don't know.   Hey, surely you've got the 4 extra seconds it takes to lock/unlock the door...you're on vacation, for goodness' sake!
As you draw near you destination, in addition to watching for favorite restaurants and attractions, keep an eye out for essentials in the area - drugstores, hospitals, and such.
So...out of the car, into the hotel room at last. Make sure to take a good look at that map inside the door so you'll know your escape route, if needed, and confirm any unexpected arrivals at your hotel room door with the front desk.  
Virtually infinite opportunities for relaxation and adventure await . Enjoy, but keep in mind you are outside of familiar territory.   Be extra watchful for other possible hazards while you're taking in the scenery, or looking for that street you want, and expect other drivers and pedestrians may be distracted.  Depending upon how different your getaway environment is from home,  there may even be cultural differences to consider. You may stand out as a non-local. There are opportunists out there, so beware. Many are the tales of tourists being "swarmed" by seemingly well-intentioned locals, then finding their belongings missing.  Keep your kids close and your essentials well secured - inside pockets and inner layers of clothing are great, and, where possible, toward the front of your body, the area of which most of us are most aware.
Make sure key friends and family members have at least a general itinerary, know where you'll be and how to get in touch with you, if needed.   As for the rest of us back here in Franklin TN and Middle Tennessee, we'll look forward to hearing about your vacation and seeing those photos  after you get back - no sense broadcasting that you'll be away in advance!
Hope you have a chance to get away for a bit of fun soon to make some great memories - safely!
David Yates Insurance Agency
1881 General George Patton Dr., Suite 103
Franklin, TN 37067
Phone 615-778-1816  Fax 615-778-1817


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Friday, June 17, 2016

Read before you leave Middle Tennessee for a summer vacation...


With gas prices starting their dramatic dip in 2014, and continuing into 2015, one consequence was  that the number of overall miles driven by U.S. drivers increased 3.5% in 2015 over 2014, as reported in a Federal Study.  

Nothing in this world is free -- unfortunately, another consequence soon emerged:  According to the National Safety Council, the biggest one-year percentage increase (+8%) in the number of traffic deaths in 50 years occurred from 2014 to 2015.

If that doesn't make you a little nervous, consider that 50% of drivers admit to reading a text message or e-mail while driving, so says an AAA report

Self-driving cars can't come fast enough!

David Yates Insurance Agency
1881 General George Patton Dr., Suite 103
Franklin, TN 37067
Phone 615-778-1816  Fax 615-778-1817

Friday, May 27, 2016

Why is your home insurance policy more expensive in the Nashville-Brentwood-Franklin areas of TN?


It's always helpful knowing the context of a situation in order to better understand it.  Here's a homeowners insurance example.  Rates have been increasing industry-wide for the past few years, at least, in much of Middle Tennessee.  Part of that is a reflection of more homeowners claims occurring than expected. However, another significant component is the fact that building costs have risen dramatically in the Nashville metro area, including Franklin, Brentwood, Thompson's Station, Spring Hill, and Nolensville.

How does this impact your homeowners insurance premium?  Well, it's no secret that our entire area has been hot-hot-hot when it comes to people relocating here.  This has dramatically increased demand for construction crews to build homes, condos and apartments to house them, not to mention commercial buildings to cater to them.   When demand is high, this naturally causes the cost of labor and materials to go higher and higher.

Since insurance companies are in the business to make people whole after a loss, they pay to rebuild homes after disasters like tornadoes and fires.  If we know the price of labor and materials is going higher and higher, where will your insurance company get that extra amount from?  You guessed it, from you, and its other customers.  Maybe you've noticed the "Reconstruction Cost" amount on your homeowners policy has increased during the past few years, meaning your insurance company thinks it continues to cost more and more to rebuild your home in the event of a catastrophe, based on local variables, like construction costs.  That's just a consequence of living in a high-demand area.

On the other hand, who can forgot the recession in the late 2000's and beyond?  During that time, hardly anyone was building, and you could get excellent pricing for construction crews and materials, due to little demand.  During that time, some homeowners' Reconstruction Costs amounts on the policies actually decreased.  So the reverse can be true.

Of course, this is a pretty simplistic explanation of just one aspect of home insurance pricing.  A lot more is factored by those big black boxes at insurance company headquarters, to eventually determine your rates. However, I thought it might be helpful to give you a little context.

I'm always available to advise you on your personal and business insurance needs.  Thank you so much for your support as I celebrate completing my 10th year in the business! 

David Yates Insurance Agency
1881 General George Patton Dr., Suite 103
Franklin, TN 37067
Phone 615-778-1816  Fax 615-778-1817
dyates1@farmersagent.com

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https://agents.farmers.com/tn/franklin/david-yates

Thursday, April 28, 2016

The hidden costs of "cheap" auto policies -- just ask your insurance agent these three questions...



Q:  Does my auto policy automatically cover a rental car if I decide to take one on vacation instead of my regular car?
Restrictive policies cover only the vehicles specifically listed on the policy.  Don't assume all policies are the same.  You may have to accept the additional expense of the car rental company's pricey insurance.


Q:  Does my policy allow "permissive use", or does it cover only drivers who are specifically listed on the policy itself?
Be sure you know if you can loan your car to a friend or other family member.  What if they crashed your car and your insurance refused to pay for it because it doesn't allow "permissive use"?

Q:  If I wreck and total my car, do you take depreciation out before you pay me, or do you give me a fair market valuation, similar to what car dealers in the area are charging?
How your insurance policy valuates your vehicle at claims time can mean a huge difference in dollars to you.  Watch out for the phrase "Actual Cash Value" in your policy.

Do you think the low-cost insurance purveyors are going to specifically point out these deficiencies in their policies?  Of course not!  You only learn about them after it's TOO late.  Now, you have no excuse, if you read this blog!

1881 General George Patton Dr., Suite 103
Franklin, TN 37067
Phone 615-778-1816  Fax 615-778-1817
 
 

Thursday, March 31, 2016

Why you should first stop by your insurance agent's office when shopping for a home or vehicle...


Whether you're buying a house or a vehicle in Franklin TN, Brentwood TN, or elsewhere in Middle Tennessee, I can help save you money and prevent headaches, in ways you might not expect.

Home help:  Check with me early in the process of your home hunting, even as you're looking at multiple homes.  When I create a home insurance proposal, I'll also be able to tell you if the home had insurance claims filed recently -- crucial information for you, especially for a claim that wasn't disclosed.  Absence of claims is probably a good thing, where an abundance of claims likely isn't!

Auto help: If you're considering several different makes/models of cars or trucks, let me provide you with auto insurance quotes for each one -- early on.  
You'll be surprised at the difference in insurance rates for various vehicles.  As you'd expect, some are safer than average, or less expensive to repair than average -- and should cost less to insure.  Others are quite the opposite, and will cost more to insure.  Wouldn't you like to know this early on?
I'll bet I can save you $$ in more ways than one!


David Yates Insurance Agency
1881 General George Patton Dr., Suite 103
Franklin, TN 37067
Phone 615-778-1816 Fax 615-778-1817

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Thursday, February 25, 2016

Home Mortgage Myths


Home buying season is just around the corner, and I thought this would be a good time to share some insights for those looking into a new home mortgage or a re-fi.  According to my friend, Erica Kelley, of Caliber Home Loans, here are some of the most prevalent myths out there, along with the straight scoop:
Myth: You can't buy a home without a 20% down payment.  There are many mortgage programs that allow you to put down less.  Conventional loans start at 5%, and FHA loans can be as low as 3.5%.  There are also state grant programs like the THDA, which provides a grant to cover the down payment, or the USDA program, that is 0% down payment. 
Myth: You can't get a mortgage with a low credit score.  Depending on the lender, you may be able to score as low as 620 to qualify for a conventional loan, and as low as 580 for an FHA.  Review your credit report with a lender, so that you know exactly what is reporting.  In addition, lenders are also looking for foreclosures, collections, late payments, bankruptcies etc.  But even if your report isn't what you were hoping for, an experienced lender might have some strategies for increasing your score quicker than you think.
Myth: A "Pre-approval" is the same as a "Pre-qualification".  These are totally different animals.  Pre-qualified means you've provided preliminary information to a lender, who made initial calculations based on that information, to see what you might be able to afford.  To become pre-approved, though, you do need to provide documentation to your lender so they can review your income, credit, debt and assets to see what specific loans you may qualify for.  Of course, being pre-approved and ready to move forward gives you the advantage in the eyes of a seller with multiple offers.  Multiple offers are very prevalent in our market, especially in Nashville, Brentwood, Franklin, Nolensville, Thompson's Station, Spring Hill, and College Grove.
If you're in the market to buy or refinance your home, Erica can expertly guide you through the process.  Give her a call at 615-423-3095, or head over to her website at www.caliberhomeloans.com/ekelley
David Yates Insurance Agency
1881 General George Patton Dr., Suite 103
Franklin, TN 37067
Phone 615-778-1816  Fax 615-778-1817
dyates1@farmersagent.com

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Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Which one of these is really THE secret to avoiding most car accidents...

 
The two insurance companies that offer plug-in devices to monitor their customers' driving habits have collected much information over the years.  Whether you like this "Big Brother" approach, or not, these companies have gleaned fascinating insights I thought might be helpful to you, as reported in the January 11, 2016 issue of The Wall Street Journal:


  • Older folks who don't yield at intersections are riskier compared to people of any age who get speeding citations.
  • A mile driven at 2 a.m. is at least 4 times riskier than a mile driven at 7 a.m..
  • Hard braking apparently is a major predictor of future accidents.  According to one company, if you slam on your brakes more than eight times every 500 miles, you're 73% more likely to be in an accident.
While these are all thought-provoking facts, the real nugget is the hard-braking finding.  What a simple, yet powerful concept!  How can we avoid most hard-braking situations? 
                                  DON'T SPEED and DON'T TAILGATE!
 
https://agents.farmers.com/tn/franklin/david-yates

Now, I'm really not trying to be preachy.  I was no saint on the roads when I was a teen, but have cleaned up my act since then.  Being in the insurance business has helped me see this issue even more clearly, though, and I'm telling you, if you live by just this one rule, you'll likely stay out of trouble with the police, avoid large insurance rate-hikes, and most importantly, possibly save a life!  Try it for 21 days, and you might just make a habit out of it.  Plus, the drivers of Franklin, Brentwood, Thompson's StationSpring Hill, and Nashville will thank you for it!


David Yates Insurance Agency
1881 General George Patton Dr., Suite 103
Franklin, TN 37067
Phone 615-778-1816  Fax 615-778-1817