Will Insurance Cover My College Student?

During this time of year, Langlois Insurance Agency receives many phone calls from anxious parents who are sending their kids off to college. They have so many worries – the cost of room & board, how crazy expensive the textbooks are, the overall safety of the college campus, just to name a few. They are also worried about how this life change can affect their insurance. Here are some common questions that I often hear from parents as they send their kids off to college:

Will my child still be covered under my auto insurance policy?

College students are normally covered under their parents’ auto insurance policy, as long as they reside with their parents when they aren’t at school (ex. summer break). As always, please review your specific policy to confirm.

Will I see my auto insurance rates increase?

The short answer to this is “it depends”.

Rates may increase – or decrease – depending on the driving habits of the student. For example, if the student is driving the car in an urban-located school, you may see your rates increase. This is because drivers in urban locations generally pay more for insurance than those in rural areas.

On the flip side, if the student leaves the car at home versus bringing it to school, you may see a decrease in your insurance rates. I have seen rate decreases for college students called a “distant student discount”, which is for a student who is at a college at least 100 miles away and chooses to leave their car at home. As always, please review your specific policy to confirm.

(Check out this bad boy above – the car that I took to college back in the day.  It’s a classic beauty.)

Are there any “good student” discounts available?

You now have another excellent reason to push your student to study hard since students with good grades may qualify for a “good student” discount. As always, if you have a child either in college, or about to head off to college, please contact Langlois Insurance Agency to review your individual policy.

Will my homeowner’s insurance policy cover my student’s belongings if they live off campus?

If your child is living off campus, you may want to purchase a renter’s insurance policy for them. Renters’ insurance protects your student’s personal property and provides most of the benefits of home insurance, including liability insurance. However, it does not protect the dwelling or structure of the dwelling itself, which is the landlord’s responsibility to insure.

Our carriers can protect your college student and their property against the following:
Fire
Theft
Vandalism
Liability if someone is hurt or accrues damage to personal property in their rental home
Additional living expenses (ex. If your child has to live somewhere else while the home is being repaired)

As always, please don’t hesitate to give me a call if you have any questions regarding your child’s insurance coverage.  I always love to hear from my customers!

Warmest Regards,

Matt Langlois

What to Do If An Employee Gets Hurt on the Job

No matter what sort of business you run, accidents can always happen. Even in a “safe” office environment, an employee could be badly burned from a pot of coffee or slip on a wet floor. Since an accident could happen at any time, you’ll want to already have a worker’s compensation plan in place before rather than after an incident. To make sure you have all your bases covered, here are the steps you should take when an employee gets injured at the workplace.

Seek Immediate Medical Attention

Regardless of if you think the injury is minor or not, medical attention must be provided to the employee to assess the damage. Remember that safety always comes first and the faster you get professional help, the more likely your employee is to recover faster from their injury.

Keep a Record of the Accident

Accidents usually happen so fast that no one remembers the story right, but the second the craziness dies down, talk to everyone who witnessed it. Even if a coworker wasn’t watching the injured employee specifically, they may remember some detail that will be of use later. You will need to write down their statements of what happened, from the accident to the aftermath, as well as take pictures of the scene that caused the accident to happen. File these records away in case the employee ever tries to come back and sue you over the incident.

File the Workers Comp Report

If the injury is bad enough, your employee will likely claim workers compensation for the doctor bills. If they choose to file, as is their right, you are legally required to provide them with a form and report their claim to your insurance agent. This claim is the most important reason your business should have workers comp in place, because it will save you financially from any fees and costs that come from the injury claim.

Stay On Top of the Claim

Once your employee files for workers comp, your insurance agent will request some documentation and evidence of the accident (this is where your record-taking and pictures of the scene will come in handy). During this time, you should be open with your agency about all the details of the situation as well as check in on your employee to make sure they are recovering well.

Prevent Future Accidents

If an accident happened once, it will likely happen again. Prevent a repeat incident by looking at what caused the first injury and making adjustments. If the building was responsible, preventative measures may include a simple repair. If the injury was a result of lack of training, a company-wide education class may be in order. You could also take this time to ask your employees about other possible dangers around the workplace. For instance, maybe they need better equipment or more safety items such as gloves or masks. By taking proper precautions, you can eliminate future workers comp claims and injuries, thereby making your workplace a happier environment for your employees.

Welcome Back Your Employee

Once your employee has recovered from their work-related injury, you are legally required to allow them to return to work at your business, regardless of whether their claim was successful or not. The injury was likely not their fault and they shouldn’t be punished for something they couldn’t control.

 

By having workers compensation in place, you can protect both your employees and your business. And since your employees are essential for your business to keep running smoothly, you should want to protect them as best as you can. If your business is operating without workers comp or you need help deciding which policy to choose, give your insurance agent a call today and they will discuss the best options for your industry and amount of employees.

As always, please don’t hesitate to give me a call at #815-458-2106 with any questions about your insurance needs.  I always love to hear from my customers!

Warmest Regards,

Matt Langlois

 

Home Insurance Tips for First Time Homebuyers

Home Insurance Tips for First Time Homebuyers

Are you buying a home for the very first time? This process will have you running the full spectrum of emotions: fear, exhilaration, confusion, extreme highs, coupled with some low points. These emotions definitely make sense since you are about to undertake what is, most likely, the single biggest purchase of your life.

(Actual photo of Matt and I the week that we purchased our first home.)

We work with many first-time homebuyers at Langlois Insurance Agency, and we have found that there are many things first-time buyers wish they knew before they made the jump into home ownership.  Below are some tips and tricks on how to navigate homeowners insurance for your first home.

1) How can I save money on this insurance policy?

One of the biggest questions that I get asked is, “How can I save some money on this insurance policy?”. One of the best ways is to bundle your policies. Bundling will help lower your rates by granting you savings when you purchase multiple insurance policies. For example, if you bundled your automobile insurance with your home insurance, this should save you money on both insurance premiums.

Another tip that I give to our first-time homebuyers is to not wait to purchase your home insurance until the last minute. We get it – the fun part of first-time home buying is with your realtor. The search for the perfect, dream house — that is the exciting part. But, there is a lot more to home insurance coverage than just signing up for a policy. Give yourself time to get a few quotes from trusted insurance professionals so that you can make the best decision and aren’t “surprised” with unexpected costs or issues at a future date.

2) Why isn’t my insurance premium the same as the previous owner’s insurance premium?

Another question that I often get asked is, “Why isn’t my insurance premium the same as the previous owner’s insurance premium?”. When a first-time home buyer is purchasing their new home, they often ask the current homeowner how much they pay for electricity, property taxes, etc…when deciding on buying the home. But, how much the current homeowner pays in insurance is not a good indicator of how much you will pay. This is because insurance policies take into account very personal information in order to establish a cost. For example, a person’s age, credit rating, etc…are all taken into account for your insurance rate. So, your price might be lower – or higher – for the same dwelling for homeowner’s insurance. Your best course of action is to meet with your trusted insurance agent and get a price on your insurance before you close the deal.

3) Review, and improve, your credit score

Let’s talk credit score. Credit Score. I can’t emphasize the importance of this enough to all my first-time homebuyers. Not only will a good credit score help you get a better interest rate on your mortgage, it should also help you save on homeowner’s insurance. In many states, including the state of Illinois, insurance companies use your credit rating when calculating your premium to help determine your level of risk as a policy holder.

So, if you have less than optimal credit, you should take the time to reduce your spending, get rid of debt, reduce as much debt as you possibly can, and pay your bills on time. If you take these steps, you can improve your credit score.
Also, we recommend running your credit rating at least once to twice a year to ensure that there aren’t any mistakes/errors on your credit report.

4) Why shouldn’t I just get the cheapest coverage?

Langlois Insurance Agency is an independent agent and we office a choice of multiple insurance carriers, coverages, and prices. Because of this, we might recommend that you purchase homeowners insurance that is a bit higher than the bare-bones-cheapest coverage. The reason is because our main focus is to find the insurance coverage that best suits your overall needs. And, this might not be the “cheapest” coverage. In addition to protecting your dwelling, personal belongings, and liability, there may be other optional coverages that we recommend, to fully protect your investment. Again, this is why it is important to find an insurance agent that you can trust; an insurance agent that will be there for you in case you have a claim and need to have your investment properly protected.

So, as you venture forward with your first home purchase, take a deep breath, have fun, and don’t forget to contact us with any questions you might have. We have many more tips that we can discuss with you in order for your dream home to be properly protected.

In the meantime, if you have a few minutes, you can watch the following video with your local real estate, mortgage, and insurance professionals. This video gives you some additional tips and tricks on how to better your first home buying experience.

And, as always, don’t hesitate to give Langlois Insurance Agency a call with any questions or comments. We always love to hear from our customers!

Sincerely,
Erin Haughton-Langlois
erin@langloisinsurance.com

Market Value vs Replacement Cost: Which Amount Should I Insure?

Before purchasing a home, you are required to purchase homeowner’s insurance as well. But how do you know how much to insure your home for? Most would think that they need to cover only the price they pay for the house. However, that price isn’t enough coverage to pay for your home in the event of a disaster such as a fire or storm. In most cases, your home’s real value is greater than its market value. That is because market value deals only with the buying and selling process, not rebuilding. And rebuilding costs are much more than the costs to build a home from scratch due to costs of demolishing/cleaning up the existing home, not being able to buy in bulk for supplies, and labor for a single rebuild versus multiple.

So which amount of coverage do you go with? Depends on the risks you want to take. Below we will go over the differences between a home’s market value and replacement cost, followed by the best option we recommend for the average homeowner’s insurance policy.

What is Market Value?

Market value is the price a home can sell for in its current condition. Knowing this price is beneficial when buying or selling a home, but not necessarily for rebuilding. As we said already, there are a number of factors that cause rebuilding the same home to be much more expensive than the home’s market value. Market value is affected by factors such as the location of the home, crime rates in the area, amount of land, proximity to schools, and the availability of similar homes. The most important detail to note about market value is that the price is rarely high enough to cover the cost of rebuilding it since materials and labor costs could be more than when the house was built and one-time jobs are typically more expensive.

Benefits and Risks to Insuring Your Home at Market Value

Benefits: Occasionally, a home may be worth more on the market than it would take to rebuild such as if the home were historical or consisted of elaborate artisanal work that would be worth a lot of money. If you have a home such as this, you can choose to purchase a historic home policy, but these are often more expensive. To save money, you could insure your home based on the market value in order to recover after a loss.

Risks: If your home’s value isn’t placed in the history or craftsmanship, insuring your home at market value puts you at risk for not being fully covered in the event of damage to the house. You would be required to pay the difference between your home’s rebuilding cost and market value in order to rebuild. The only other alternative would be to build a less expensive home elsewhere.

What is Replacement Cost?

Replacement cost is the amount of money it would take to rebuild your home after being destroyed. Coverage at this price will insure your home for the cost to repair any damage or even rebuild your home at the current prices. A building contractor can help you estimate the replacement cost of your home based on the property’s structure and associated items as well as costs such as plans and permits for rebuilding, labor, materials, fees, and taxes. Keep in mind that the land value is included in the market value only, not the replacement cost as the land will not have to be rebuilt.

Benefits and Risks to Insuring Your Home at Replacement Cost

Benefits: You will be able to experience minimal financial interruption should your home be destroyed. If you go with this option, it is best to insure your home for 100% of its estimated replacement cost.

Risks: The cost to rebuild your home can vary over time. There is no guarantee that you will be 100% able to rebuild your home at the estimated replacement cost. To increase your chances of keeping your home fully covered against destruction, we recommend reviewing your policy annually to make sure your amount of coverage is still appropriate for you. Factors that can affect your replacement cost include home upgrades and improvements, market conditions, labor and material costs, and transportation prices. For the maximum amount of protection, you can consider a policy that includes an inflation clause to automatically adjust and account for changes in construction costs.

Insuring Your Home

Unless you believe otherwise based on the benefits and risks listed above, insuring your home for its replacement cost is typically the best and safest option. While, yes, insuring your home for its market value is cheaper now, you will be more adequately covered down the road should anything happen to your home.

Ultimately, when you make your decision, research all your options and please talk to any of us at Langlois Insurance Agency about your situation.

As always, please don’t hesitate to give me a call with any questions or comments — I always love to hear from my customers!

Warmest Regards,

Matt Langlois

matt@langloisinsurance.com

Is Employer-Sponsored Life Insurance Enough?

Is Employer-Sponsored Life Insurance Enough?

“Yeah, I’ve got life insurance where I work. I don’t need any more!” This is the #1 reason given to me by customers on why they don’t need to purchase life insurance. This is a real head-scratcher for me.

The trouble is, most people grossly underestimate the amount of money their family will need to survive should the unexpected happen to the household’s primary breadwinner.

Most individuals who work for companies that provide employee benefits have some amount of group term life insurance from the company. Generally, it’s either a flat dollar amount, like $25,000 or $50,000, or a multiple (one times, two times, etc.) of your salary. It’s also important to remember that the group term coverage only exists as long as you continue to work for that company. If you ever leave your job, or get sick and wind up in the hospital and are terminated from your job, then your group policy is no longer active.

In the months leading up to the September celebration of Life Insurance Awareness Month, the Life Insurance Marketing and Research Association conducted a study of how much life insurance Americans have today. The study found that a majority of Americans are underinsured and have far less coverage than what most experts recommend to ensure a secure financial future for their families.

Think about all the expenses you have on a monthly basis: mortgage or rent, food, utilities, cell phone, cable, gas for your cars, entertainment. Add them together and it can amount to a fairly significant amount of money each month.

While the $25,000-$50,000 in coverage that your group life insurance plan offers would certainly help your loved ones when you die, it’s not nearly enough to pay those monthly expenses for very long. Not surprisingly, many families in the study said they would not be able to last even one month without the breadwinner’s salary.

Buying life insurance won’t guarantee that you and your family will never face a tragic situation, but it will provide your family with financial protection so that whatever hopes and dreams you have can still be realized, even if the worst happens. Adding a term life insurance policy separate from what you may have through your employment makes good financial sense, especially if you have a family. There is no better time to update your coverage.

Talk to a professional insurance agent today to see how little it actually costs to protect your family.

Do it for the ones who will be left behind.

*Shout out to Pekin Insurance Blog for the great content for this blog.

Sincerely,

Matt Langlois

Langlois Insurance Agency

matt@langloisinsurance.com

What are the Dangers for Teen Drivers?

What are Some Dangers for Teen Drivers?
Did you know that motor vehicle/car crashes are the leading cause of death for teenagers in the United States?
According to a statistical study conducted by the CDC (Center for Disease Control), over 2,000 teenagers (ages 16-19) in the United States were killed and approximately 200,000 were treated in the ER for injuries suffered in crashes in 2014.

As a parent of three children, I find these statistics to be quite alarming.

Overall, Illinois has done its job to reduce these numbers by banning hand-held mobile devices while driving, as well as instituting a GDL (Graduated Driver Licensing) system that gives teenagers more supervised driving time before they are fully-licensed drivers.

But, even with these extra steps in place, motor vehicle accidents still remain the top cause of teenager deaths in Illinois, and unfortunately “tough” laws alone won’t prevent these deaths.

So, the IIA (Illinois Insurance Association) created the “5 to Drive” campaign, which offers tips for talking with your teens about safe driving habits. The greatest dangers that face teenagers when driving are:
1) Alcohol consumption and driving.
2) Distracted driving. Teach them not to use cell phones, put on makeup, eat a burger, etc…while driving.
3) Extra passengers in the car while driving.
4) Speeding.
5) Always use your seat belt, even if going a short distance.
6) Driving drowsy. Always be awake and alert.
The idea behind the “5 to Drive” campaign is that parents can foster safe driving habits in their teens through real discussions of what is and is not OK when driving.

It is going to take a collaborative effort to save the lives of teen drivers. The Illinois Insurance Association will continue to discuss safe teen driving habits not only during this “Teen Driver Safety Week”, but all year long.

If you have any further questions on this topic, or about insurance your teen driver, please don’t hesitate to give me a call at Langlois Insurance Agency at #815-485-6676.

Safe driving teens!

Matt Langlois

What are my Life Insurance Options?

I recently checked an item off my bucket list while vacationing with my family.

While I was soaring above the ocean with my lovely daughter, I felt so grateful for this beautiful life God has granted to me.

And, as we ascended higher into the sky, my thoughts turned to how I can always have my family protected. What other items can I add to my bucket list that will keep them safe and secure in the event that something happens to me prematurely?

Having sufficient Life Insurance coverage was the answer.

If my children determine that college is the path that they want to take, I want it to be a feasible option for them even if I’m not around. If a medical emergency arises, I want to make certain that our Health Insurance is paid in full. If my son wants to play on the travel team for baseball, I want to ensure that there is enough money in the bank to cover this expense.

Life Insurance. This is my ultimate “bucket list” item.

So, what Life Insurance options are available?

Whatever your situation – buying Life Insurance for the first time, nearing retirement, or looking to insure your children – Langlois Insurance Agency can provide protection for those you love. Just look at the many options we can help you explore:

Universal Life Insurance – Highly competitive and flexible with guaranteed death benefits and strong cash accumulation. Protection for your family, business, and everything else that is important to you. You can customize this coverage with valuable riders like Long Term Care, and more.

Term Life Insurance to 95+ – Guaranteed level Term Life Insurance features your choice of level death benefit term periods with guaranteed level premiums for 10, 15, 20 or 30 years and coverage expiring at age 95.

Preferred Whole Life Insurance – Fully guaranteed traditional Whole Life Insurance plan with five premium options. A Long Term Care Rider can be added to your policy so you won’t be dependent on your family to take care of you should you need Long Term Care in your later years.

Simplified Issue Whole Life Insurance – Traditional Whole Life Insurance plan with five premium options. Guaranteed cash values and premiums. As long as you are not confined to hospice or a hospital and are not terminally ill, you can be accepted into this plan.

Graded Death Benefit Whole Life Insurance – Traditional Whole Life Insurance plan with four premium options.

Transitional Life Insurance – A brand new concept in Life Insurance. Providing a high-level Life Insurance benefit during the years you need it the most, and ending with a guaranteed, paid-up policy that will be there for the rest of your life.

Single Premium Whole Life Insurance – What to increase the legacy you leave to your children or grandchildren? The death benefit is tax-free too.

Funeral Preplanning – Preplanning a funeral can offer family members peace of mind.

Credit Insurance & Debt Protection – This coverage can eliminate the worry associated with making your loan payments when those unexpected events occur that could cause a financial hardship to your family.

If you’re like most of us, you don’t know which of the above Life Insurance plan(s) is right for you.

Let me help you.

Langlois Insurance Agency specializes in Life Insurance, mainly because we strongly believe that it is so important. I can help you select the right amount of Life Insurance benefits to ensure your family is properly protected…and will do it at a premium that you can afford and are comfortable with.

As always, please don’t hesitate to contact any of us at Langlois Insurance Agency with any questions or comments.

We always love to hear from our customers!

Sincerely,
Matt Langlois

matt@langloisinsurance.com

 

Frozen or Burst Pipes? How to Prevent (and Fix) this Common Problem.

One of the most common homeowners claims that Langlois Insurance Agency receives during these cold, winter months are from frozen or burst pipes.

The words “frozen or burst pipes” can strike fear with any homeowner (and insurance agent!).

Why is this? It’s because when water freezes, it puts pressure on your pipes, which can then burst, releasing damaging water into your home. And, even after you repair your home and clean up the mess from the burst pipe, your home is at risk for rot, mildew, and mold.

So, how can you prevent frozen pipes? There are definitely steps that you can take to prevent frozen pipes, most of which are simple undertakings for any homeowner.

Take care of outdoor water hoses and faucets first
Drain your hose, detach it, and store it indoors for the winter. If you can, shut off the water source to any outside faucets, then turn the faucets on to empty the pipes of any remaining water. Cover your outdoor faucets with an insulated cover.

Use foam insulation
For indoor pipes in cold areas of your home, wrap the pipes with foam pipe insulation. We suggest using heat tape, which can help keep your pipes warm in freezing weather.

Leave your faucet dripping
You may already know to leave your faucets dripping during a freeze. This is because it makes the water less likely to freeze; a small trickle also helps prevent a buildup of pressure. So even if your pipes do freeze, that little flow of water can help prevent a crack.

Open your cabinet doors
Most of your plumbing may be along uninsulated outer walls. Opening your cabinets and letting warm air into the space underneath your kitchen and bathroom sink can help keep the water in those pipes from freezing.

Keep the heat on
Leaving your heat set at 55 degrees (or warmer) whenever you aren’t home is also recommended. Turning your heat down below 55 degrees puts your pipes at risk of freezing and bursting. The cost of heating your home is worth it compared to the cost of fixing burst pipes. I always tell my customers that this is one of the most important things to do if you ever leave your home for a long extended period of time, for example a winter holiday.

Now the big question – What do you do if your pipes do freeze?
If you turn on your water, and you only get a small drip, or worse, nothing at all, there’s a good chance you have a frozen pipe. Make sure you know where your main water cut-off valve is in case a pipe does burst. If the frozen section of pipe is exposed, you can usually locate it by looking for frost or feeling for especially cold sections.

Insurance Fact of the Day: Did you know that a pipe with even a tiny crack can unleash 250 gallons of water in a day.

It is also recommended that you turn on your faucet and use a hair dryer or space heater to thaw the frozen section. Langlois Insurance Agency advises against using a propane torch or other open flame, as that could boil the water in your pipes and cause a crack…and, it just isn’t safe!

Once your water begins flowing, allow your faucet to run for a few minutes to clear out any remaining ice. It is also recommended that you check the water line for leaks and call a plumber if you do happen to notice one.

OK – So Your Pipes Burst. What Now?
If you take steps to prevent frozen pipes but you’re still faced with a burst pipe, immediately turn off the main water valve right away. It is also a good idea to turn off the electricity in that area of your home to prevent electrocution.

And, should you ever be unfortunate enough to experience an incident from a burst water pipe, please call Langlois Insurance Agency immediately at #815-485-6676. We can provide a recommendation for a reputable restoration company to ensure your home is back to its former self as quickly as possible. As always, please don’t hesitate to contact any of us at Langlois Insurance Agency with any questions or comments.

We always love to hear from our customers!

Sincerely,

Matt Langlois

Langlois Insurance Agency
matt@langloisinsurance.com

Is Car Racing Excluded on my Automobile Insurance?

Gentlemen, start your engines and check your automobile insurance policies.

As an automobile insurance agent, we hear some pretty crazy stories about automobile Insurance. This week was no different.

Sadly, I have a customer that had some damage done to their home by some guys who decided to drag-race their cars on residential streets. And, the crazy part is that this guy (not my customer!) thought that the all the damage to his car should be covered by his automobile insurance company.

So, here’s an automobile Insurance-Fun-Fact: A standard Auto or home policy won’t cover any type of racing damage or liability. Common forms of amateur motorsports such as drag racing, autocross, rallies and track days are excluded from regular automobile insurance policies.

There’s probably fine print in the exclusions portion of your automobile policy that looks something like this:
“Liability arising from the sponsoring or taking part in any organized or agreed-upon racing or speed contest or demonstration in which your insured car has active participation, or in practice or preparation for any such contest is excluded.”

So, what’s an amateur racecar driver to do?

Would you push your car off a cliff?

Your daily-driven car becomes uninsured the minute you “race” it. The question is, what’s racing?
As a general rule of thumb, if you are being timed, you’re racing. If it’s a contest, you’re racing. Many policies simply exclude any damage that occurs at “a location designed for competition,” which means even events such as high-performance driving schools might not be covered.

Street racing is also expressly prohibited in virtually all auto policies (and a really nasty moving violation in most states).

“If you’re going to race, you have to be prepared for the consequences,” says Penny Gusner, CarInsurance.com consumer analyst. “From a risk standpoint, you more or less are pushing your car over a cliff.”

And maybe yourself as well. Any personal injury protection or medical payments coverage you have on the street may not apply on the track, Gusner says; without it, you’d need to rely on your own health insurance coverage, assuming that you have it.

Lastly, it’s very likely that racing voids your manufacturer’s warranty, if your car is new.

So, let’s leave the racing to the professionals!

automoble insurance

As always, please feel free to contact me at Langlois Insurance Agency with any further questions or comments. I always love to hear from my customers!

automobile insurance

Sincerely,

Matt Langlois

*Thank you to Carinsurance.com for some of the content in this blog.