5 Ways to Prepare Your Home for Summer

With summer fast approaching, homeowners in Myrtle Beach, SC should prepare now for hot, muggy temperatures to come. There are various ways you can prepare your home in advance for summer. Here are just a few:

Check AC System  

Now is a good time to have your AC checked to ensure all parts are working properly. If your AC needs replacement or repairs, it’s best to have it done before summer weather hits in earnest. If your home lacks a programmable thermostat, consider buying one. A programmable thermostat can help create a more comfortable home environment and save on energy costs.

While you’re at it, don’t forget to reprogram your ceiling fans to turn counter clockwise for summer. This pushes cool air down so it can circulate more freely throughout the home.   

Spruce Up Patio

If you’re planning family gatherings on the patio, take time to spruce it up before summer. Clean your deck, add a fresh coat of paint to furniture, trim plants and shrubs and buy some new accessories to give your patio a fresh, new look.

Open Your Home to Natural Sunlight

Exchange thick, winter drapes with sheer summer curtains to allow more natural sunlight to filter into your home. Natural light will help brighten your interior environment at no extra cost.

Reorganize Your Shed

Pack up winter equipment and get out essential gear for summer. This includes sports gear, garden tools, lawnmower, hoses, etc. Reorganizing your shed puts summer gear within easy reach for all your summer needs.

Review Home Insurance

Make sure your home insurance from Benefit Insurance Services is up to par to suit your needs. This includes liability coverage to protect family and friends against accidents during their visits. For greater insight into home insurance options, contact a Benefit Insurance Services agent in Myrtle Beach, SC today. 

Will Auto Insurance Pay for Medical Bills?

If you are hurt in a car accident, your first concern is getting proper medical treatment. But closely following that, you may wonder who is going to pay the medical bills. There is no blanket answer that covers all situations. Three important factors are involved: the type of accident, the state you live in, and the type of insurance you have.

No-Fault Insurance

If you live in a no-fault state, then your own insurance will pay for your injury regardless of who is at fault. And the other party’s insurance will pay for their expenses. There are limits, of course, to how much insurance companies will pay. This limit varies from state to state. If your expenses exceed that limit, you are responsible; your health care insurance may then take over and cover the additional expenses.

There are twelve states that have no-fault insurance laws. What about South Carolina?

In South Carolina

South Carolina does not have no-fault laws. So your liability insurance will cover injuries to the other party if you are at fault. Liability insurance includes bodily injury liability coverage, which will pay for your medical expenses. Again, there are limits to this coverage, and if the limit is exceeded, then the at-fault party is responsible for paying the extra amount. Your health insurance would generally cover the additional costs associated with your medical expenses. Benefit Insurance Services, which serves Myrtle Beach, SC, can provide more information and details.

Get the Right Coverage

It is important to have adequate coverage so you’re not left with a huge medical bill. Benefit Insurance Services can help you through these murky waters and find a policy that’s best for you. Serving Myrtle Beach, SC and other coastal South Carolina cities, you can rely on their experience and expertise.

Does a Blacktop Driveway Increase Home Insurance?

There are more than a few ways to increase the overall value of your residential property. From adding on bathrooms to having an underground pool put in, these types of add-ons not only increase the value of your home but also provide enjoyment and convenience. Another great way to add value to your home is by blacktopping your gravel driveway. And like many other amenities you can add to your home, blacktopping your driveway not only increases the value of your property but also enhances its appearance. What you may be asking yourself, however, is whether or not adding blacktop to your driveway will increase your home insurance. Let’s take a quick look at the answer to this question.

Will blacktopping your driveway increase your home insurance premiums? 

The average cost of blacktopping your driveway will be somewhere between $4,000 to $7,000 per 1,000 square feet. This means if you have 3,000 square feet of the driveway you want to blacktop, then you will spend anywhere from $12,000 to $21,000. As you can see, the larger your driveway, the more it will cost, thus meaning the higher the value of your property. As your home increases in value so does the cost of your premiums, but you should know your premiums likely won’t increase by much. In fact, your home would need to increase in value by more than $50,000 for your premiums to increase by more than $10 to $20 a month. 

If you would like to learn more about homeowners insurance and how blacktopping your driveway will impact your premiums, make sure you contact Benefit Insurance Services serving the Surfside Beach, SC area. 

Home Improvement Upgrades That Cut Your Auto Insurance Costs

There is more to paying for auto insurance than just your vehicle. Where you live has a major impact in coverage as well. The location of your home and how your vehicle is protected while parked on the property all plays a role in your auto insurance costs. At Benefit Insurance Services, we want to help you save money on your Surfside Beach, SC vehicle. That is why you should consider these home improvement upgrades. Each has the potential of cutting your auto insurance costs. 

Garage

If you don’t have a garage or only have a covering, you park your vehicle under you should consider installing a garage. Not only will this increase your property value but by having a fully enclosed location to park your vehicle, it will offer additional protection, both from outside threats and the weather. 

Security System

A home security system doesn’t just protect the home. It protects the garage and everything else on the property. With alarms and flood lighting, it will reduce the chance of anyone breaking into the vehicle or trying to steam wheels off the vehicle. 

Enclosed Fence

An enclosed, locking fence makes it far more difficult for anyone to just walk onto your property. When your vehicle is behind a secured fence, it should help reduce the costs of your auto insurance, especially if this is where you primarily park the vehicle overnight. 

It is important to remember whenever you make a home improvement upgrade to inform your insurance company. You should bring up these different kinds of home improvements to your auto insurance company as it likely will reduce the monthly premium thanks to making your vehicle safe while parked. Benefit Insurance Services is here to assist you in insuring your Surfside Beach, SC vehicle. 

Teaching Your Teen To Drive Accidents : Are Special Provisions Made When You Have Good Intentions

Learning The Benefit of Calling Your Benefit Insurance Services Agent – Before You Put On Your Teacher’s Hat

Parents who reside in Surfside Beach, SC area are no different from parents all over the globe. If anyone is going to teach our children how to drive a car, we may as well do the work. In this manner we are assured that they will be learning how to best navigate the road.

The fact is that a kind-hearted police officer may take pity on your plight of instructor in the event of an accident involving your properly permitted teen. However if the accident incurs some form of insurance liability, your policy may take the full brunt of the hit. Notice we say properly permitted. Your teen should be driving only when permitted and following the time of day and location guidelines strictly. 

In the unfortunate event of an accident you will be standing on better ground if you have adhered to all of the guidelines of your state laws. Letting the majority of your child’s driving education be handled primarily by driving schools or driver education programs is a good idea. These programs have adequate insurance for student drivers. The cars are clearly marked in most instances and other drivers are more aware of their presence. 

We not only handle auto insurance at Benefit Insurance Services. We can underwrite your policy or just answer your insurance questions about auto policies as well as many other types of insurance that we handle here. Serving the Surfside Beach, SC area as well as the surrounding areas we can talk with you about different ways you can teach your children how to drive without putting yourself at risk. 

Home Safety and Insurance

Safety for family and guests is an important issue for home owners to consider. From safety fences around pools to no slip treads on the stairs, there are many simple changes that a home owner can do to ensure that their home is as safe as it is fun. Serving the Surfside Beach, S.C. area, we understand safety. Our independent agents at Benefit Insurance Services can discuss your home insurance and explore possible discounts that you may not have known about. What many people don’t realize is the wealth of information we have available from our years of professional experience. This not only includes home insurance and the coverage plans available from multiple well known insurance providers; we can offer helpful knowledge of safety issues that you might need to know for your own sake. Discussing your personal situation, with its unique home plan and budget needs, will let you know your options. You can also learn how to handle the issue of your dark basement with its narrow stairs.

At Benefit Insurance Services, we would be happy to explain what your home insurance covers and what it doesn’t. For instance, pools are usually a different insurance issue and not covered by standard home coverage. On the other hand, many insurance policies are automatically starting to cover pets. You might already have pet insurance that you don’t know about. Policies vary by state requirements and according to individual needs. So contact us today to have the assurance you need to avoid unfortunate events that can affect a lifetime. We have customers from Myrtle Beach, Charleston, Hilton Head, Surfside Beach and other areas along the coastal region of South Carolina. It’s a beautiful area with unique home insurance needs. Contact us today at (843) 238-4400.

 

 

How to Avoid Road Rage

For some people, when they get behind the wheel of their vehicle, they become a different person. Sometimes you can seem unrecognizable to your friends and even your loved ones. When you experience road rage and have an accident, your insurance rates could be affected.

In Surfside Beach, SC, road rage is described as offensive and aggressive behavior towards other drivers. This can become extremely dangerous. If it is not controlled, it could lead to emotional or physical trauma, legal entanglements, and sometimes death.

The Warning Signs of Road Rage

Certain situations may be an underlying cause or precursor to road rage. Before you even enter your vehicle, be aware of your emotions. If you had a bad day at work, a fight with a friend, or are running late for an appointment, then you should examine your level of stress before driving. These incidences can quickly turn your inward feelings of anger to outward aggressive driving.

Types of Road Rage Behaviors

Anger can contribute to driving aggressively. When you start to notice that you are engaging in the following behaviors, you should try to avoid them.

  • Tailgating – when a driver begins to drive too closely behind another vehicle.
  • Offensive language – cursing or gesturing at drivers that upset you.
  • Brake checking – a driver taps on their brakes to discourage tailgating.
  • Unrelenting honking – laying on the horn or constantly honking at a single driver.

Prevent Road Rage

Start by acknowledging that you are upset. Take a deep breath before you get behind the wheel. If another driver does something that frustrates you, do not react. You don’t want a situation to escalate into dangerous territory.

Talk with your independent insurance agents at Benefit Insurance Services to find out how road rage influences your rates. Benefit Insurance Services in Surfside Beach, SC is an independent insurance agency with expert agents that can help you with your auto insurance needs. They can also research home, life, and business insurance policies.

Avoid Claim Denials Due To Homeowner Negligence

People take out homeowners policies to help them recover costs in the event of a loss. Fires, falling trees, and theft are things we all require financial protection. But as we update and upgrade our homes, we could create dangers that our policy may not cover. At Benefit Insurance Services, our professionals are committed to helping members of the Surfside Beach, SC community remains properly insured. We’d like you to consider these common areas where people may put themselves in a position of having a claim denied.

Faulty Plumbing

Homeowners insurance generally covers losses from burst pipes or leaks. Faulty plumbing can lead to significant water damage, flood and can create dangerous mold growths. These types of issues are understood by insurance carriers and are factored into the cost vs. risk math these companies use. But when a homeowner takes it upon themselves to update or replace plumbing, carriers may deny a claim. The reasoning is that they base their premiums on the work of industry professionals, not lay people.

Wood Burning Stoves

South Carolina may not suffer winters like the northeast, but a wood stove can take the edge off the chill. Wood stoves require expert installation and adherence to fire and building codes. If you have a fire due to or related to an uninspected wood stove, it’s very likely your claim would be denied. Also, your homeowner’s coverage must account for the introduction of an open flame. Things like wood stoves and fire places should be specifically listed on your policy to ensure you are compensated for any loss.

Electrical Updates

Improperly installed electricity can lead to fire and electrocution. There is an entire industry of tradespeople that are knowledgeable about safety and building code standards. If it seems like running a line into a dark area to install a light is a good idea, it’s not. If something goes wrong, you could be on the hook for replacing your home, paying an injured person’s medical bills or face a civil lawsuit. Updating electricity is work for trained electricians, and that is what insurance carriers expect.

It’s important to update your policy when changes are made to your home. Being a do-it-yourselfer is wonderful in many instances, but not at the expense of secure coverage. At Benefit Insurance Services, we are available to help members of the Surfside Beach, SC community revise and renew homeowners policies that provide security.

Can sand hurt your car after a beach trip?

There’s no point in living in Surfside Beach, SC if you never hit the beach, right? If you’re lucky enough to live by the ocean, there’s not much reason not to spend as much time there as possible. But, all that sun and sand can do as much harm as good. Spend too much time on the beach without sunscreen, and you’re looking at skin cancer, and if you’re not careful, all that sand can do some serious harm to your car.

One of the ways sand can harm your car is by working its way into the brake pads. This can cause premature wearing on the bearings when it works its way into the calipers. It can do some major damage to your belts by getting into the pulley system, and even clog filters, restricting air flow in your car. In many cars, it can affect the sensors and give drivers false readings.

The most obvious damages are usually cosmetic, scratching away at the clear coat, wearing away at your paint job and leading to rust. On the upside, it’s rare for sand to get right into the engine block itself, so you’re probably not going to wind up asking Benefit Insurance Services for a whole new car over sand.

If you expose your car to sand frequently, you can use an air pump to blast the sand out of there and keep your car relatively grit-free. Washing your car regularly can also keep sand from building on it and creating damage. You can also park a little farther from the coast on your next Surfside Beach, SC trip. Proper maintenance will help prevent most sand damages, and Benefit Insurance Services can help you when things get really bad.

Should You Change Your Insurance Coverage?

Home insurance coverage is something that can fluctuate at the drop of a hat. What might seem like the perfect amount of coverage, to begin with, might end up not being nearly enough two or three years down the road? As such, having an agent like the agents at Benefit Insurance Services in the Surfside Beach, SC area can help you find the right coverage each and every time.

There are a few different factors that make the need for coverage change come about. The first is inflation. This is inflation both in the housing market and in the cost of materials. If the cost of materials is up, you should certainly get more coverage to compensate for the change.

Another factor that can change how much coverage you need is any home improvements that you have made. Upgrading appliances, adding new features, and remodeling rooms can increase the value of your home making it necessary to get more coverage on your policy. Similarly, depreciation of a home can also make for a need in coverage change as it might lower your monthly premiums.

A good example is remodeling your kitchen. This can add tens of thousands of dollars in value to your home making it necessary to add that much coverage to your policy. Still another change that might facilitate a need for a change of coverage is buying expensive things for your homes like large televisions or expensive appliances. It is always best to have too much coverage than it is to have too little. Having the right amount of coverage means the difference between being able to recover after a disaster and being left high and dry.

The Surfside Beach, SC area has Benefit Insurance Services to help them find the right coverage.