Tips to Help You Avoid Family Conflict This Thanksgiving

How you can alleviate family tensions this Thanksgiving weekend.

While the holidays are all about spending time with your loved ones, being around family can often turn into bitter arguments.  With Thanksgiving right around the corner, you probably want to avoid conflict with your family members as much as possible.  Here are some of the things that you can do to keep things civil this Thanksgiving.

  • Have a Set Schedule

Before you head to your family’s house, let them know ahead of time how long you will be staying.  Alternatively, if you are hosting, then make sure your invites come with a defined end-date.  When you limit the time that you have to share space with your family, this can help you avoid unnecessary conflict.

  • Ignore Criticism

Everyone has that one relative that loves to nitpick everything that you do.  Whether they choose to make snide remarks about your weight or take jabs at your career choices, you should expect what’s coming.  Rather than letting yourself stew over their rudeness, let their petty commentary roll off your back and forget about it.  They are likely feeling insecure about some aspect of their life and are attacking you for validation.  If anything, you should feel bad that they have to stoop so low to feel better about themselves.

  • Remind Yourself That You Love Your Family

While dealing with family is undoubtedly stressful, it’s important to remember that, at the end of the day, you all love each other.  Try to look past the inconvenience and annoyance that you feel and remember all the good that these people bring to your life.  Having a more positive outlook will help you remain calm this holiday season.

These are some of the things that you should do to keep tensions at a minimum this Thanksgiving.  Want another way to be stress-free this holiday season?  Then turn to the experts at James Page Insurance for the easy insurance experience that you deserve.

Steps to Take If You’ve Locked Yourself Out of Your Car

What to do if you’ve locked your keys inside your car.

If you haven’t already locked yourself out of your car, then chances are you will probably do it at some point in your lifetime.  While this is a distressing situation, there are steps that you can take to get back inside your vehicle.  Here’s what you should do if you’ve locked your keys inside your car.

  • Remain Calm

First, take a moment to settle your nerves.  Acting panicked and flustered will do nothing but make an unfortunate situation even worse.  So, do yourself a favor and collect yourself before weighing your next options.  Also, make sure that you check all your doors before calling for help.  The last thing you want to do is jump through all these hoops only to find that your passenger side door was open the whole time.

  • Have Someone Bring Your Back-Up Key

Most drivers have a spare key for their car.  It’s a good idea to leave your spare with a trusted family member or friend.  If you are in the local area and your spare key holder is available, then all you have to do is give them a call.  While you may owe them a favor in return, this is the easiest scenario.

  • Call for Roadside Assistance

If you don’t have a spare key or cannot reach your spare key holder, then it’s time to call for roadside assistance.  Roadside assistance is a service that many drivers have through their insurance.  This service allows the driver to call for help, and the company will send out a technician to assist them.  Roadside assistance technicians can unlock your car, tow your car, replace dead batteries, bring spare gas, and so on.

  • Contact a Professional

If you do not have roadside assistance, then place a call to the nearest tow truck company.  Many towing companies offer lockout services and can help you get back into your car.  If there isn’t a towing service nearby, then you can also call a locksmith or a car repair shop.

These are some of the things that you should do if you’ve accidentally locked yourself out of your car.  Interested in adding roadside assistance coverage to your auto policy?  If so, then contact the experts at James Page Insurance.  We are ready to get you the comprehensive car insurance you need today.

Tips for Making Your First Home Inventory

Suggestions to help you with your home inventory.

If you’ve just secured homeowners insurance, then your agent has probably advised you to make a home inventory.  However, because this task is so tedious, many homeowners put it off as long as possible.  Unfortunately, not having an updated home inventory can cause issues with your insurance.  Here’s why it’s so important to have a home inventory and some helpful tips for creating your first one.

Home Inventories Help with Insurance Claims

Having an updated home inventory is essential to managing your homeowners insurance.  This is because your inventory is a comprehensive list of all the items you own.  In the event of an emergency, you can reference your inventory to see which possessions you need to file a claim for.  Your inventory also documents the value of each item, which helps you secure an adequate amount of personal property insurance.

Tips for Creating Your First Home Inventory

The idea of documenting every item you own is daunting.  However, there are some steps that you can take to make this process as painless as possible.

  • Go room to room when creating your inventory. Do not forget to include the items in your basement, attic, and other often-forgotten storage areas.
  • Don’t try to finish your inventory all at once. This is a big job that’s best tackled over a longer period of time.  Work slowly to avoid careless mistakes and frustration.
  • While your inventory should include every item in your possession, be particularly meticulous when documenting valuable items such as jewelry, artwork, collectibles, electronics, furniture, and so on.
  • Your inventory should include as much information about each item as possible. For instance, you should include photos, receipts, and a written description of each possession whenever possible.
  • For your high-value items, you should also include an appraisal report, so you can show that an expert verified the item’s listed value.
  • Every year, you should update your inventory, making sure to add any new items that you have acquired and removing any old items no longer in your possession.

Storing Your Inventory

After creating your inventory, you need to make several copies and keep them in secure locations.  For instance, you should keep a physical copy in your home and a digital copy on your devices.  This way, you can access it immediately following a claim event.  You should also ask a trusted family member or friend to keep a copy of your inventory so you can access it if your home is completely destroyed, and you cannot reach any of the copies you have stored in it.

This is why homeowners need to create and update their home inventory.  Do you have further questions about your inventory?  If so, then contact the experts at James Page Insurance.  We are ready to assist you with all your coverage needs today.

Don’t Slack on These Homeownership Tasks

Homeowners often forget about these important tasks.

If you own a home, then you know you are responsible for paying your mortgage and keeping up with routine repairs.  However, there are many other tasks that seem to slip homeowners’ minds.  To ensure that you are being a responsible homeowner, don’t forget to keep up with these tasks.

  • Update Your Alarms

Your smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors keep your family safe by alerting you to fires and gas leaks in your home.  This is why it’s so important to make sure that they are operating properly.  To ensure that your technology is up to date, experts recommend upgrading your smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors every ten years.  Additionally, you should replace the batteries in all your alarms annually.

  • Replace Your Fire Extinguisher

Many homeowners are surprised to learn that fire extinguishers actually expire.  To ensure that your extinguisher works well in an emergency, experts recommend changing it out every 5-15 years.  You can check the condition of your extinguisher by looking at the pressure gauge on the extinguisher’s handle.  If the needle is in the “green,” then your extinguisher is good to go.  If the pressure drops below this range, then it’s time for a replacement.

  • Refresh Your Emergency Kit

Many homeowners make an emergency kit, only to forget about it until disaster strikes.  However, your emergency kit won’t do any good if it’s filled with expired products.  This is why it’s important to go through your kit and refresh certain items every year.  For instance, homeowners need to change out the batteries, first aid supplies, food, and water in their kits every couple of years or so.

  • Clean Your Appliances

Cleaning your appliances is an important part of keeping them in good condition.  Unfortunately, many homeowners don’t think to complete these routine maintenance tasks.  For instance, they fail to clean out their dryer vents, flush out their water heaters, scrub their refrigerator coils, and wash their dishwasher.  When you take care of these tasks semi-regularly, you will find that your appliances perform better and last longer.

  • Review Your Insurance

Many homeowners secure insurance and then forget about their policy until they need to file a claim.  However, when you fail to review and update your homeowners insurance, you risk having insufficient coverage.  If your policy does not offer adequate coverage, then you may be forced to cover claim costs on your own.  Rather than assuming this significant risk, it’s best to review your policy annually and update your coverage to reflect your current needs.

These are some of the tasks that many homeowners forget about.  Do you need help with your homeowners insurance?  If so, then contact the experts at James Page Insurance.  We are ready to assist you with all your home coverage needs today.

What’s the Difference Between Personal and Commercial Auto Insurance?

How personal and commercial auto coverage differs.

If your work operations require the use of company or personal vehicles, then you need the protection offered by commercial auto insurance.  But why do business owners need to secure commercial auto policies, and how are they different than personal policies?  Here’s what you need to know.

In actuality, personal and commercial auto insurance are not that different.  In fact, both types of insurance essentially offer the same types of coverage.  For instance, personal and commercial auto policies both offer coverage for collision, comprehensive, liability, and so on.

The main difference between these two forms of insurance is the amount of liability coverage each offers.  Because businesses have more assets and face a higher risk for liability lawsuits than individual drivers, commercial auto insurance policies have much higher liability coverage limits than personal policies.  Additionally, commercial policies are also equipped to cover a wider array of vehicles, such as delivery vans, shipping trucks, as well as standard cars.

There is also a special form of commercial auto insurance designed to cover heavy-duty vehicles.  Because heavy vehicles cause more damage in an accident than light vehicles, they need higher liability coverage limits.  So, if your business owns things like minibuses, cement mixers, semi-trucks, tow-trucks, and so on, then talk with your commercial insurance provider to make sure you have the right amount of coverage.

Commercial auto policies are also more expensive than personal car insurance.  This is because businesses face more driving risks and require higher liability coverage limits.  Naturally, more coverage means higher rates.  Commercial auto policies are also more expensive than personal ones because there are usually more drivers and vehicles insured under the policy.

This is what you need to know about the difference between personal and commercial auto insurance.  Do you need help securing coverage for your company vehicles?  If so, then contact the experts at James Page Insurance.  We are ready to assist you with all your business insurance needs today.

Strategies to Protect Your Business’s Digital Assets

Try out these suggestions to keep your company’s online information safe.

As a business owner, you are responsible for safeguarding your business’s and customers’ personal information.  This is why it’s so important to have a cybersecurity plan in place.  Here are some of the steps that you can take to protect your company’s digital assets.

  • Limit Employee Access

One of the best ways to reduce your risk of a data breach is by limiting the number of employees who can access sensitive customer and business information.  When you reduce the number of employees with security clearance, you reduce your risk for a leak.  Additionally, if a leak does take place, then you have a smaller pool of suspects to investigate.

  • Offer Extensive Employee Training

The employees that are allowed to access private information should undergo comprehensive cybersecurity training, so they understand the risks of a major data breach.  During your staff training, you should explain your company’s login requirements, establish appropriate Internet use guidelines, and detail the penalties for violating company security policies.  You should also establish rules for handling, protecting, and inputting sensitive customer data to limit exposure.

  • Protect Your Connected Devices

Your company’s computers, laptops, tablets, and other connected devices should all be protected by strong antivirus software.  Installing this type of software will help to protect your company’s network from being infiltrated by viruses, malware, and other online threats.  Make sure you update your software frequently to ensure that you have the most updated protection available.

  • Safeguard Your Internet Connection

A firewall is a set of programs that prevent outsiders from accessing information on a private network.  You should make sure that your operating system’s firewall is enabled or, if your system is not currently equipped with firewall capabilities, then install firewall software.  If your employees are allowed to work from home, then make sure that their home systems are protected by a firewall to ensure that they are not hacked.

These are some of the strategies that you should employ to protect your business’s online information.  Want another way to keep your company safe?  Then make sure you have the right commercial insurance protections in place.  For assistance with all your business insurance needs, contact the experts at James Page Insurance to get started today.

Common Home Insurance Coverage Questions Answered

Understanding your homeowners insurance.

Just because you have homeowners insurance, doesn’t mean that it will protect you from everything.  Unfortunately, many homeowners are not clear on the specifics of their coverage.  To ensure that you understand your policy, here are the answers to some of the most common home insurance coverage questions.

Does home insurance cover water damage?

When it comes to water damage, homeowners insurance covers certain types but not others.  For instance, if the cause of water damage is sudden and accidental, then it will be covered by your insurance.  For instance, if your washing machine suddenly breaks down or a pipe suddenly bursts, then your insurance will cover the water damage caused by this event, including the damage caused to your personal possessions.

However, your home insurance will not cover water damage if it is the result of your negligence.  For instance, if you have a pipe that is slowly leaking, and you do nothing to fix it, then your home insurance will not offer coverage for the resulting water damage.  Additionally, your home policy specifically excludes coverage for the water damage caused by water backup and floods.  You can secure coverage for these exclusions through policy endorsements and specialty flood policies, respectively.

Does home insurance cover roof damage and leaks?

Your home insurance will cover roof leaks depending on the cause of the leak.  If the leak is the result of sudden, accidental events, then you have coverage.  For instance, if your roof starts to leak due to falling trees, windstorms, hail, vandalism, or so on, then you will have coverage for repairs.

Damaged roofs are not covered when they are the result of gradual deterioration and lack of maintenance.  For instance, your home insurance will not offer coverage if roof damage is caused by the following:

  • Age
  • Mold, fungus, or wet rot
  • Deterioration, neglect, and/or inadequate maintenance
  • Birds, vermin, rodents, or insects

Please note that, while you will not have coverage for your roof, your policy may extend coverage for the other losses caused by a damaged or leaky roof.  For instance, water-damaged possessions may be covered by your homeowners insurance.

Does home insurance cover theft?

Homeowners insurance covers theft both inside and outside your home.  For instance, if someone broke into your home and stole your television, then you would have coverage to replace your television and repair the damages the burglars caused.  If your phone was stolen while you were traveling, then your home insurance would also cover the cost of replacing your phone.

Homeowners insurance will only cover your belongings up to a certain coverage limit.  So, if you have high-value items that exceed these limits, then they will not be covered by your policy.  You can secure additional coverage for high-value items through policy endorsements or by securing specialty policies for specific items.

This is what your policy will cover when it comes to these common types of home damage events.  Do you have more questions about your homeowners insurance?  If so, then contact the experts at James Page Insurance.  We are ready to assist you with all your home coverage needs today.

What to Do to Minimize the Impact of a Data Breach at Your Business

How to manage your business during a data breach.

Becoming the victim of a data breach is one of the most devastating things that a business can endure.  While data breaches will always result in damage, effectively managing the situation can minimize the negative impact it has on your company.  Here are some of the steps that you should take to handle a data breach at your business.

Create a Communication Plan

Immediately after a data breach, you need to create a communication team that’s sole purpose is handling the distribution of internal and external company information.  Your communication team should make sure that your employees, stakeholders, vendors, and customers remain in the loop and have reliable information about how the situation is being handled.  This team should also be trained to deal with concerns and manage your company’s public image.  When company communications are handled effectively, your business will seem more professional, organized, and reliable.

Manage Media Coverage

Bad press can make a bad situation even worse for your business.  This is why it’s important that you instruct your staff not to speak to the press following a data breach.  You should also prepare an official statement for a professional spokesperson to deliver to the public.  Because an off-hand comment or a minor miscommunication can be devastating to your business, make sure that you deal with the media carefully.  Oftentimes, less is more when it comes to handling media relations.

Get to the Root of the Issue

Following a data breach, your main priority should be identifying the cause of the breach and sealing off this access point as soon as possible.  This will minimize the amount of information that is compromised during the breach.  Your IT and operations team need to work quickly to identify weaknesses in your business’s security, address these vulnerabilities, and get systems back up and running.

These are some of the steps that your business should take following a data breach.  Want another way to take care of your business during a crisis?  Then make sure you have the right business insurance protections in place.  For assistance with all your commercial coverage needs, contact the experts at James Page Insurance today.

What is Additional Living Expenses Coverage

Here is what you need to know about additional living expenses coverage.

While homeowners know that their insurance policy offers dwelling, personal property, and personal liability coverage, they may be surprised to learn that it also offers additional living expenses.  Not sure what this coverage is and what it does for you?  Then read on to learn more about additional living expenses insurance coverage.

What is additional living expenses coverage?

Additional living expenses insurance coverage is coverage that you can use to pay for your living expenses in the event that your home is temporarily uninhabitable.  For instance, imagine that your home is severely damaged in a fire.  While the dwelling portion of your home insurance will cover the cost of repairing your home, it may not be safe for you and your family to stay in the home while it is undergoing repairs.  Fortunately, the additional living expenses portion of your home policy will cover the cost of living away from your home.  It can help you cover the cost of staying in a hotel, renting a temporary residence, eating at restaurants, storing your furniture, and so on.

How can you access additional living expenses insurance?

There are two major factors that affect whether you can file a claim for additional living expenses insurance coverage; the peril that has damaged your home and whether or not your home is truly uninhabitable.  You can only access your additional living expenses coverage if your home insurance provides coverage for the peril that has damaged your home.  For instance, if a tornado ripped the roof off of your home, then you could file a claim for additional living expenses because standard home policies cover wind damage.  However, if your home was damaged by flood, then you cannot access additional living expenses through your home insurer because homeowners policies exclude coverage for flood damages.

Additionally, your ability to access additional living expenses coverage depends on whether or not your home is actually uninhabitable.   For instance, if a tree crashes through your roof, your home would definitely sustain damage.  However, if your home still has running water, electricity, functioning bathrooms, and so on, then your insurer would not consider your home uninhabitable.  Naturally, they would not approve additional living expenses coverage.  Because every insurer has their own criteria for what makes a home uninhabitable, it can be difficult to know if you can access your additional living expenses insurance.  If your home sustains major damage, then contact your insurance provider as soon as possible.  They will have a claims adjuster come out and determine if your home is truly uninhabitable.

This is what you need to know about additional living expenses coverage.  Do you have more questions about the coverage offered by your homeowners insurance?  If so, then contact the experts at James Page Insurance.  We are ready to assist you with all your home coverage needs today.

Why You Need Renters Insurance Coverage

The importance of renters insurance.

If you are like many other renters, then you may consider insurance an unnecessary investment.  However, this simply isn’t the case.  Renters insurance actually offers policyholders several coverage options that they can benefit from.  Here’s why you need to secure a renters policy today.

  • Personal Property Coverage

While your landlord is responsible for the damages that your rental home or apartment sustains, they will not compensate you if your personal belongings are damaged or lost.  Fortunately, the personal property coverage included in your renters insurance will cover the cost of repairing or replacing your damaged possessions.

  • Loss of Use Coverage

What would happen to you if your rental was temporarily uninhabitable due to damages caused by a fire or another major disaster?  Well, in most cases you would have to foot the bill for finding a temporary living situation.  However, if you have renters insurance, then your policy offers loss of use coverage.  This coverage takes care of the costs associated with living elsewhere while your rental is undergoing necessary repairs.

  • Personal Liability Coverage

Stop for a moment and imagine what would happen if someone injured themselves while inside your rental.  If someone slips and falls, gets bitten by your pet, or experiences some other accident, then you might find yourself on the receiving end of a personal liability lawsuit.  Luckily, if you have renters insurance, then the personal liability coverage included in your policy will help you take care of the expenses associated with a lawsuit.

This is why you need the protection offered by renters insurance.  Are you looking for assistance with your renters coverage?  If so, then contact the experts at James Page Insurance.  Our dedicated team is eager to assist you with all your coverage needs today.