Monthly Archives: April 2014

3 Benefits of Using a Local Insurance Broker

When you are looking for insurance coverage for any of several needs, whether it is vehicle, homeowner’s, renter’s, health, life, or even commercial insurance for your small business, obtaining your policies through local insurance brokers has several benefits over getting your insurance via telephone from a company in another state or even an agency that does business through the Internet.

Insurance Motif

Source: Free Digital Photos

When you deal with local insurance brokers, you are able to speak to your insurance agent in person.  This allows you to better gauge how you feel about doing business with that agent and his or her company, and gives you the opportunity to establish a solid rapport that cannot be achieved by phone or online.

Conducting business with local insurance brokers also gives you a nearby physical location where you can go to make payments on your policies, ask questions that you may have about your coverage (and get more rapid answers than if you attempt to ask questions by phone or email), and find out more about possible discounts the agency may have that could apply to your policies and coverage.

When you have to submit a claim on your insurance, working with local insurance brokers provides you with a point of contact that can help you with the procedure and perhaps even give you guidance on what steps to take with your claim.  If necessary, your local agent can also make telephone calls to your insurance provider on your behalf to facilitate your claim process or inquire about the status.

At Schumacher Insurance Group, we work with several different major insurance carriers to provide you with policies and coverage that best fits your needs, while still giving you a local place to go when you have questions or concerns.  Contact us today to learn more!

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Enjoy the Summer Safely: 5 Common Summer Health Problems

While summer time is a time for fun in the sun, family vacations, and outdoor recreation, you do want to make sure you pay attention to summer health safety tips to keep yourself and your family safe and happy no matter what you’re doing this summer.  Here are five common health problems, accidents, and concerns that occur most frequently during the summer:

Summer Exterior

Source: Wikimedia

  1. Boating Accidents:  Boating on a lake or river, or even on the open sea, can be very enjoyable, but make sure everyone on board pays attention to proper safety procedures during your boating trip.
  2. Lawn Mower Injuries: Surprisingly enough, injuries sustained while mowing the yard happen more often than you might think.  Sometimes it’s from carelessness or inattentiveness to the task at hand, and other times the injuries can be caused by unstable terrain or malfunctioning mowing equipment.
  3. Sunburns:  We don’t realize we are sunburned until after the fact, so if you plan to spend a lot of time outside this summer, use plenty of sunscreen until you’ve developed a good base tan.
  4. Dehydration:  The effects of dehydration are sometimes like sunburns; they sneak up on you and you’re not aware of it until after you are already suffering.  Make sure you drink plenty of fluids, preferably those without sugar and which are not carbonated (avoid soft drinks).
  5. Food Poisoning:  Summer is a time for backyard barbecues, lakeside picnics, and other fun outings where food is served.  When preparing for your summer meals, make sure you cook all foods properly and be wary of spoilage for items that need to be kept on ice.

Make sure you’re ready for any mishaps that happen this summer by having adequate health insurance coverage!  Contact our agents at Schumacher Insurance Group to find out more.

Before Embarking on Our Summer Roadtrip Be Aware of These 3 Common Car Problems

Summer time is almost here and that means it’s also time for family vacations, fun getaways, and exciting summer road trips.  If your summer road trips will be long ones with plenty of mileage put onto your car, you should perform some preventive maintenance to make sure that your car doesn’t have any problems while you’re traveling.

Road Trip

Source: Free Digital Photos

Check all the fluids and fill them, if necessary, and check the air pressure and condition of your tires.  You should also consider having the oil changed and getting a flush-and-fill service for your radiator, too.

Three common car problems that you may encounter while you’re burning up the miles on the highway are:

  1. Overheating Engine: If your engine starts overheating, you should pull over immediately to avoid serious damage to your car.  Let the engine cool down and check the fluid in the radiator.  If necessary, add water to the radiator so you can get your car to a service center.
  2. Flat Tires:  The highway has a variety of obstacles from pot holes to nails and broken glass that can cause a flat tire.  Make sure your spare tire is in good shape and full of air, and keep a can of “fix a flat” in your car for emergencies.
  3. Electrical Problems:  Sometimes an electrical problem with a car is nothing more than a blown fuse, so carry spares of all amp sizes.  You should also have any potential issues, like a lit “check engine” light or a turn signal that behaves erratically, checked thoroughly before beginning your summer road trips.

Always keep your vehicle’s insurance paperwork with you when traveling, too!  To make sure you’ve got the coverage you need to protect your vehicle if something unfortunate occurs while you’re vacationing, contact our agents at Schumacher Insurance Group today.

Utilize Our Teenage Driver Agreement With Your Young Driver

If you have a teenager who is ready to get behind the wheel of a car, it is an important stage in your child’s life to be given that responsibility.  It is also an important stage in your life, because you are slowly loosening the reins on your child and allowing them more freedom.  Some parents greet this transition with happiness and encouragement, while others find it to be a stressful and anxious time in their lives.

Young Driver Insurance

Source: Wikimedia

Before handing the keys to the car over to your teenager, consider having your child enter into a contract with you regarding their driving habits.  We have a Teenage Driver Safety Agreement that works very well for teenage drivers, because it sets forth the expectations you have for their performance while driving, and does so very clearly without any ambiguity.

You should never simply give your teenage child the keys to a vehicle without letting him or her know what you expect from them, and the Teenage Driver Safety Agreement is a great way to cover all the bases.  You can even modify it to suit your own needs by adding certain expectations or changing existing ones.  Either way, it gives your child a written statement of how they should conduct themselves, and you can also make them aware of any punishments or consequences that may follow a “violation” of any of the provisions of the safety agreement.

When it’s time to let your child start driving, you should also make sure that he or she is properly covered by your auto insurance policy, or – if they have their own vehicle – that they have adequate insurance coverage for themselves.  Contact our agents at Schumacher Insurance Group today and get details on auto insurance for teenage drivers.

Homeowners Insurance: 5 Things That Can Raise or Lower Your Home Insurance Rates

A dirty word in the lexicon of many people today is insurance of any kind, because whether you want it or not, it is a necessity.  Whether it’s health insurance, vehicle insurance, or even homeowner’s insurance, you should always make sure you are protected against liability and can recover as quickly as possible when unfortunate events occur (and in many cases, insurance coverage is also required by law).  You may view insurance as a “bad” thing when it’s time to select a policy and pay your premiums, but you’ll be glad you have it when it comes time to use it.

House Rubble

Source: Wikimedia

For those who own residential property, lowering your homeowner’s insurance rates can be easier than you think when you keep these five things in mind:

  1. Avoid purchasing a home in an area that is susceptible to natural disasters like fires, floods, earthquakes, mudslides, or avalanches.
  2. Make sure your home has updated plumbing.  Older plumbing can be fabricated from clay pipes rather than a more durable product like PVC, which means it is more susceptible to damage from wet conditions or the intrusion of tree roots.
  3. Is your home close to a fire department?  Studies show that homes within five miles of a fire department generally have insurance rates that can be 20% to 30% less expensive than homes that are farther away.
  4. Does your house have a security system or burglar deterrent measures?  From motion activated flood lights to perimeter alarms, a security system can definitely help you with lowering your homeowner’s insurance rates.
  5. If your home has “temptations” that attract neighborhood children, like a swimming pool, are those temptations adequately secured against uninvited guests?

Contact our agents at Schumacher Insurance Group today to find out more about lowering your homeowner’s insurance rates.

Our Flood Insurance Coverage Will Provide All You Need in Case of an Emergency

You may think that flood insurance coverage is only necessary for people who live in low-lying areas near creeks and rivers, below dams, or in coastal areas of the country.  Despite this common belief, it is unfortunately not true.  Flood insurance coverage is a beneficial level of protection for practically anyone, because you live in a “flood zone” no matter what part of the country you make your home.

Town Flooded

Source: Wikimedia

While some areas are certainly more susceptible to flooding than others, such as those areas listed above, even areas on mountains or in dry and desert climates can still encounter floods if weather conditions are right.  Flash flooding is a common occurrence in rocky regions, because the ground can only absorb so much water. It also happens in dry and desert-like areas because the rainfall rate is higher than the water absorption rate of the dry, hard ground.

Your area can also take precautions like installing permanent levies or constructing businesses and homes on elevated foundations, but this doesn’t mean you are impervious to the ravages of a flood.  You can even prepare for flooding yourself, by keeping your valuables and personal possessions in upper levels of your home but, again, this does not mean that you are absolutely safe from the damage a flood can cause.

Be prepared for a flood by making sure you have flood insurance coverage for your home or business through Schumacher Insurance Group.  We can provide you with the insurance protection you need to weather the storm and come through it with the peace of mind of knowing you’ll be able to recover from the damage as quickly as possible.  Contact us today to learn more.

3 Common Risks of Restaurant Ownership

While owning a restaurant can be a very rewarding experience, especially if it has been a “dream” of yours for quite some time, there are also risks of restaurant ownership that you should be aware of, too.  In many cases, these risks are things you may never have to encounter during the entire course of your ownership experience, but it doesn’t hurt to be prepared just in case.

Romantic Restaurant Scene

Source: Schumacher Insurance

By having a plan and making sure you have adequate insurance coverage for your restaurant, you’ll have the peace of mind of knowing that your business can overcome any obstacles and unfortunate incidents that may arise in the future.

  • Fire damage is a risk that seems more prevalent in restaurants, largely due to the number of machines and appliances that are always in operation, not to mention the fact that restaurants often deal with hot greases and oils on a regular basis.
  • Food poisoning does occur infrequently, and it is not limited to restaurants that have poor hygiene standards or obtain their foods and ingredients from less-than-reputable sources.  Even the most carefully cultivated crop of produce can contain bacteria that could affect your diners.
  • When you run a business, you always have to be prepared to deal with theft, fraud, or burglary, and this can also come from your employees as well as external intruders.

Make sure you’re ready for these risks of restaurant ownership by obtaining insurance coverage for your business that will provide you with protection when something unfortunate occurs.  Contact us today at Schumacher Insurance Group to find out how we can help you meet your business insurance needs.

3 of the Most Misunderstood Car Insurance Terms

When it comes to choosing a car insurance policy for your vehicle, it’s a process that involves more than just signing your name on the dotted line.  You should know what your policy will and will not cover, whether or not it meets your state minimum requirements, and if you need certain types of coverage that are not required by the laws in your state.

Person Confused

Source: insurance.com

Sometimes there can be a range of terms and phrases that aren’t very clear, and here are a few of the most misunderstood car insurance terms you’ll encounter:

  • Deductibles:  The deductible on your car insurance policy is the amount you will have to pay, out of your own pocket, for each claim you submit to the insurance company before they will pay any other balances owed.  Lower deductibles typically mean higher premiums, and vice versa.
  • Comprehensive:  While the word “comprehensive” usually defines a broad range of something in particular, this isn’t quite so with car insurance.  Comprehensive car insurance generally covers accidental damage to your vehicle that is not related to a collision with another car or stationary property (i.e., a building).
  • Property Damage Liability:  This type of insurance provides coverage and protection in the event that you are involved in a collision with another vehicle or stationary property.

To learn more about what different types of protection and coverage terms in car insurance policies mean, contact an agent at Schumacher Insurance Group today.  We can help you with the details and work with you to select a policy that best fits your needs.

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