3 Great Reasons to Make a Home Inventory

Documenting your personal property via a home inventory is the best way to keep track of what you own and its value. A home inventory can serve many purposes to include the following:

Documentation of Personal Effects

A home inventory is a great way of keeping track of your personal effects and their value. In addition to making a list of your goods, you should photograph expensive items such as heirlooms, costly paintings, and antiques, posh jewelry, furs, electronic equipment, etc. to document their value. Keep all receipts from the purchase of expensive goods as well as any documentation proving an item’s historical or cultural value. Your inventory should include a detailed description of personal effects that are important to you. In the event of theft, damage or loss, you will have a written account of your goods and a good idea of their intrinsic value.

Estate Planning

A home inventory can be extremely useful in estate planning as it provides you with an up to date current of your personal assets. You can use this inventory when making decisions on what items to bequeath to family or friends upon your demise or what to donate to a good cause. A home inventory can help streamline the estate planning process.

Insurance Claims

A home inventory can help simplify an insurance claim in the event of damage or loss of valuable goods due to fire, theft, flood, etc. Providing written (and photo) documentation of lost goods and their value to your Martin Insurance Team agent in Evergreen Park, IL will help facilitate your claim and enable you to receive a fair settlement.

Learn more about how a home inventory can aid in making an insurance claim by talking to a Martin Insurance Team representative in Evergreen Park, IL today. 

3 Auto Insurance Myths

On the surface, the idea of auto insurance is straightforward. You, the policyholder, pay a company a monthly fee. In turn, that company pays the bill if you get in an accident. However, many nuances play into what you are covered for and how much you pay for the coverage.  

Because of the complex nature of insurance, many myths are accepted as truths. The Martin Insurance Team will clear up some of these myths for residents of Evergreen Park, IL.

Car Color Matters

Red cars are more likely to be pulled over than any other cars. While true, this phenomenon does not affect your initial insurance quote. Other seemingly insignificant aspects of your car, though, do affect your quote. Make and model matter as do engine size and likeliness of theft. Interestingly, these things mean new cars are not always more costly to insure.

Credit Score Does Not Matter

The Martin Insurance Team factors in a policyholder’s credit score when setting premium rates. This practice is not allowed in some states, but it is in Evergreen Park, IL. Your credit-based insurance score does not factor in your job, income, or gender to determine a score. Statistical research shows that policyholders with higher credit scores are less likely to be involved in accidents. Thus, these people qualify for lower premiums.

All Claims Raise Rates Drastically

Many people worry a single claim will raise their rates drastically. The main things auto insurance companies look at when determining rate increases are driving history, accident severity, and fault. If the policyholder has a clean history and the accident was minor, rates may only increase slightly. Furthermore, if the accident was the other driver’s fault, rates may not rise at all.

Insurance School: Learning the Basics of Home Insurance

Though most homeowners insurances have standard policy coverage to protect the structure of your home, personal items in the home, and liability for those injured on your property, you are also able to include optional add-ons, in order to protect the things that are most valuable to you. At the Martin Insurance team, serving the needs of Evergreen Park, IL, we aim to construct a policy that suits your specific needs to a tee.

In understanding of the fundamentals of home insurance, you must first recognize the coverage of a standard policy. Speak to your agent at Martin Insurance Inc. to make sure that you are covered for the most basic things. The first, and arguably most important, is the dwelling (or home structure itself), which protects against damage done to the physical structure- the roof or walls for example- of your home. Other physical structures, like a shed or stand-alone garage, on the property should be covered as well. Possessions in your home may be stolen or damaged during extreme weather circumstances, so they must be protected by a standard insurance policy. Additionally, liability insurance covers the cost of another person’s suit or damages if he or she is injured on your property. The medical expenses for guests in your home who injure themselves there should also be covered under this liability insurance. Ask your agent if there are additional portions to your policy that cover the cost of things like hotel stays in the event that you must relocate during a period of time that your home is uninhabitable.

Additional coverage can be added onto this basic homeowner’s plan for things like identity theft protection, flood protection, and additional umbrella coverage. Consider the weather trends in Evergreen Park, IL, and determine what additional coverages, if any, suit your needs.

Try A LIttle Tendeness: Keeping Critters Out Of Your Engine And Away From Your Deductible

Martin Insurance Team agents serving the residents of Evergreen Park, IL and the surrounding areas have superior experience in dealing with the auto insurance needs that their clients may have. In addition to auto insurance we specialize in many other types of insurances that may assist you in keeping your own personal ducks in order. 

Speaking of Ducks and Other Critters…

Small vermin or critters in your engine can cause a myriad of problems aside from the foul odor they create. Your engine can be ruined resulting in your car being totaled. If you have found a deceased critter in your engine you have thought about what would happen if it found itself in a smaller crevice of your car. It is not a bad idea to speak with an agent about how and if your car insurance would cover such a loss if it were to occur. 

Again if you have had the experience of a critter in your car, you should try a little tenderness in removing it. A scared kitten snuggling in the cold for warmth in the cockles of your engine can be coaxed out with soothing tones as opposed to loud clangs on metal. Some auto part stores carry different engine covers or you can use a piece of wood or plastic strategically placed to prevent direct entrance near the windshield. 

Contact us today in person and feel free to come in if you are in Evergreen Park, IL or in driving distance away from our South Pulaski Rd. location. The professional staff at Martin Insurance Team Agency are here to keep the critter of confusion about what is covered by your auto policy far and away from your mind.   

How Does an Insurance Company Verify The Number of Auto Accidents and Tickets You Have?

When you are signing up for auto insurance, an insurance agent will ask how many accidents and tickets you have had over the past three to five years. It is important that you are honest with them, or your rate could increase when they discover the truth, and they will discover the truth. But this can leave you wondering how an insurance company can determine this information. Here are a couple of the ways an insurance company can determine how many accidents and tickets you have.

Insurance Reporting System

Insurance companies use a reporting system that any insurance agent or broker can access. This reporting system allows an insurance company the ability to see if you have filed any auto insurance claims and what for. The amount of the repairs and who was at fault are just a couple of the things that this type of system reports. This system only works if insurance companies report accidents. Fortunately, most companies use this system both to report accidents and check driving records, though tickets do not appear in this system.

Department of Motor Vehicles

The other way that insurance companies determine how many accidents or tickets you may have is based on your driving record with the department of motor vehicles. You are required to report all accidents, and police officers report your tickets. This is currently the best way to determine the driving record of an individual. This is also the method that employers use when they are hiring you for a driving record.

If you are in need of an insurance company, contact Martin Insurance Team in the greater Evergreen Park, IL area. We can help get you the best insurance policy for your needs regardless of whether you have accidents and tickets or not.

Can DIY Home Upgrades Put You at Risk?

Homeowners insurance is designed to provide financial security in the event of a loss. It gives you peace of mind knowing that you have coverage when something goes wrong. In these difficult economic times, many people try to save money by bypassing professionals and tending to their own home improvements. Unfortunately, sometimes trying to save a few bucks can become a costly mistake. At Martin Insurance Team, our professionals are committed to helping members of the Evergreen Park, IL community remain properly insured. Please consider these common DIY upgrades that might put you at risk of having a claim denied.

Plumbing Upgrades

Fixing a leaky drain or replacing a dripping pipe are common homeowner chores. That’s why you have a tool box and list of tasks. But there’s a significant difference between small fixes and projects like installing a new bathroom or a major pipe replacement. If proper permits and building codes are not followed, you could risk a claim denial if something bursts. Keep in mind that water damage can also be accompanied by mold growth. Remediation costs are very expensive.

Electrical Work

Faulty electrical wiring is a major contributor to home fires. For this reason, building codes have evolved over the years to include specially designed outlets around high risk areas such as water. Even minor changes to your electrical work should be handled by a licensed professional. Trying to cut corners could cause a fire, putting you and your loved ones in harm’s way. If your untrained electrical work caused the blaze, you could be looking at a claim denial and a devastating financial and personal loss.

It’s imperative to work with licensed professionals on any significant home repair or improvement. If you have already made changes, it may be wise to have them inspected. At Martin Insurance Team, we are available to help members of the Evergreen Park, IL community with homeowners policies that provide security.

Interesting Facts About Car Insurance

Let’s Address The Most Interesting Fact About Car Insurance

  • Insuring your young adult children on your policy must be done correctly

The agents who make their employ at Martin Insurance Team are just that – a team! However it is important to bear in mind that we are a team of professionals. There is not an amateur on the team. In addition to that we are people who reside in the community. We are parents, we are sons and daughters. We remember back to that time when we first  hot the road, new license at hand. It is with this in mind that we issue this warning. Insure your young adult driver properly. Make certain that they are listed on the policy in the appropriate capacity. Let your agent know what car your young adult driver will be using primarily and for what purpose, whether it is to drive to school or work, during the weekend or during the week. 

Interestingly enough many people don’t add their young adult to the policy as a driver.  

The Martin Insurance Team of Evergreen Park, IL is in business to know how to deliver the detailed insurance product you desire to protect your automobile, your life and the lives of others you may encounter on the road. Unlike direct purchase policies we are are able to provide personal service and answer all of the questions you may have about auto insurance as well as other insurance products. Feel free to contact us in person by stopping by our office in Evergreen Park, IL. If you reside in other areas that we serve in the surrounding counties we are worth the trip if you require personal service or we are easily accessible on the internet, by phone, fax, or email. 

Safe Driving This Winter

Driving during the winter can be dangerous. In Evergreen Park, IL, we can sometimes experience treacherous road conditions due to ice or snow on the road. At Martin Insurance Team, we want all our customers to be safe while driving this winter. Use these tips to make sure that you and your vehicle are prepared for the winter weather.

Stay Informed About the Weather

If you do not already have a habit of checking the weather reports before leaving your home, this is a good habit to start, especially in the winter. Know the different terms that describe weather conditions. Weather terminology such as advisory, watch, or warning can give you a good idea how severe the storm may be.

Stay Prepared with a Vehicle Emergency Kit

Hopefully, you will never be stranded during an icy storm. However, it’s good to prepare for the worst. Keep an emergency kit in your car that includes essentials such as a first aid kit, shovel, windshield scraper, flashlight, extra batteries, water, and snacks. In the event that your engine is off, you will need to keep warm. Include blankets, warm socks and gloves, and extra hats in your kit.

Prepare Your Vehicle by Winterizing It

Winterizing your car means performing maintenance on it so that it works properly throughout the winter. Make sure you have adequate levels of antifreeze in your vehicle. Also, test your heater and defroster and make sure they are working well. Good tires are also critical this time of year. If yours do not have plenty of tread on them, it might be a good time to buy new ones. At Martin Insurance Team of Evergreen Park, IL, we hope you stay safe while driving this winter. If you need help, give us a call.

Homeowner’s Insurance – The In’s and Outs

When purchasing homeowners insurance, many homeowners do a quick overview with their insurance agent and call it done. But taking the little bit of extra time it needs to understand the policy and what’s covered may save you precious dollars down the road.  

It is standard for policies to cover damage caused by fire, smoke, storms which include hail, windstorms, and lightning, and theft.

What’s Included:

  • Personal property coverage which includes electrical devices, clothing, and furniture.
  • If damage occurs from a storm, homeowners insurance will pay to make the necessary repairs on our home.  This also includes detached garages or sheds, fences, and landscaping.
  • Liability insurance which is needed if someone gets injured on your property. 

What’s Not Included:

  • Flooding.  If you live in a floodplain, make sure to buy flood insurance as an add-on.
  • Earthquakes and Sinkholes.  Again, only buy this additional insurance this if living in an area that is prone to these natural disasters.
  • Mold.  Mold usually occurs after there has been damage to the home such as flooding or if pipes burst.  If calling in a claim to get the damage repaired, address how to prevent the growth of mold with the repairman.
  • Sewer pipes that burst.  If you have a sewer pipe that bursts in your home and causes damage to flooring, furniture and personal belongings will usually not be covered.  
  • Sump pump failure.  Just as with sewer pipes, if you have a sump pump that runs through your yard and into your home, the damage is not covered.

To find out if you have the right policy for your home, call the Martin Insurance Team at 708-330-4404 or visit our website to learn more information.  We’re conveniently located in Evergreen Park, IL.

How the Adjusting Process Works

Your home insurance is a big part of your home being safe in case of disaster. When it comes to filing a claim or changing your coverage, an adjuster is going to be a big part of the process. Adjusting can be either changing your insurance needs or it can mean meeting with an adjuster to file a claim. For those in the Evergreen Park, IL area, the agents with Martin Insurance Team can explain fully.

The adjusting process can refer to two or three different instances but the most common is when you have an adjuster come to assess a home and make estimations about coverage needs, or when an adjuster comes to evaluate a claim. For the first instance, an adjuster will come and do a walkthrough of the interior of the home as well as a walk around of the exterior. He or she will then work to estimate how much the home is worth and how much rebuilding would take to help estimate coverage needs.

When you are dealing with an adjuster that is coming to assess a claim, they will set up a time to talk with you and come to your home to assess the damage. They will take an account of what happened, take the time to take photos and accounts of what happened, and will assess the damage to determine an accurate and feasible course of action.

This is going to be a process that will move quicker if you are willing to meet on the schedule of the adjuster. Your adjuster in either case will talk with you about what they find and about what they are doing. For those in the Evergreen Park, IL area, the agents with Martin Insurance Team will help you find the right insurance.