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.  

How to Get Started When Choosing Auto Insurance

Starting from scratch with auto insurance is a tough thing to do. Each company asks their own questions, and it takes up a good amount of time to find all the information you need to complete to get that all-important quote. Not only that, but quotes tend to change quickly based on factors you know nothing about. Martin Insurance Team wants you to know more about how to get started. 

Compile It All 

The first thing you’re going to want to do is get everything you need together. This includes all of the documents (e.g. registration information, VIN, credit history, etc.) Even if you complete all of the questions over the phone, you’ll still want to have everything in front of you so the conversation goes smoothly. This can speed up the time it takes for you to do the research, meaning you’re more likely to get several quotes to get an accurate portrayal of your options in Evergreen Park, IL. 

Watch for the Big Names 

Most insurance companies that you’ve heard of have spent a lot of money in advertising so that you remember their name. But all the money going toward advertising is typically a clue that you’re likely to get lost in the mix. Without personalization, you may end up having to explain your claim to a variety of people. Or some nameless agent may try to get you to admit fault simply so your rates will go up. When you know the people you work with, you’re more likely to go to them with questions. We take the time to get to know the people we work with who live in Evergreen Park, IL, so call Martin Insurance Team to find out more about how we can help you too. 

 

3 Benefits to Finding the Right Homeowners Insurance

Home insurance in Evergreen Park, IL is much like your smoke alarm: you may not think about it until you need it. While you certainly don’t have to belabor the points all day every day, it helps to be reminded of the benefits you get when you have the right home insurance, and Martin Insurance Team can help jog your memory a little. 

1. Making You Independent 

Having to rely on friends and family after a disaster or otherwise awful event occurs, is not only practical but necessary. Emotionally speaking, they’re the ones who help you weather the storm. However, when you have no other options, then you’re at the mercy of someone else’s good will and finances, which puts you at a disadvantage. Home insurance gives you a sense of control when something uncontrollable has happened.

2. Keeping Your Property

You didn’t work so hard for your home just to have to it taken away. Home insurance can mean the difference between filing for bankruptcy and move out of your house, and have a small bump in the road. If you need to make repairs on your house or replace your entire living room furniture set, you’re already dealing with a lot of change. The last thing you need is more. 

3. Connects You In Times of Need 

The Martin Insurance Team serves the people of Evergreen Park, IL and we’re here to help you the right home insurance, so you aren’t left feeling confused and alone at a time of crisis. Talk to our agents about what you’re looking for regarding protection. Whether you can’t stand to lose your autographed guitar or the addition you put in a nursery for your grandchild, call us today!

 

 

How to Save Money in the Winter with Fall Home Prep

The winter months are some of the most expensive in Evergreen Park, IL due to the amount of energy you use to heat the house. At Martin Insurance Team, we want to help reduce those bills while ensuring your home is comfortable throughout the year. By performing a handful of these monthly saving fall prep tips, you’ll have your home ready for whatever mother nature has to throw at you. 

Check for Cracks

Search the home, around window and door frames plus around the foundation for any possible cracks you might have. Fill in these areas with caulk or sealant (depending on where the crack is) in order to reduce energy loss through these areas. It will have a direct impact on the overall cost of running the heat in your home. 

Programmable Thermostat

If you have not upgraded to a programmable thermostat (or better yet, a WiFi controlled thermostat), now is the time. This way, you can program the thermostat to reduce heat when you’re gone at work. Doing so helps you save a considerable amount of money. After all, there is no reason to pay an arm and a leg to heat your home when nobody is around. 

Prep the Windows

More heat energy is lost through your windows than anywhere else in the home. Adding an additional layer of protection around the windows can help with your energy bills. Specially designed plastic wrap can attach to the windows with the air of heat (through a hair dryer). It acts like another window pane, so you should see a noticeable difference in energy bills.

HVAC Inspection

Have your HVAC system inspected and cleaned out. The pros will tighten everything up and clean out the vents, which reduces energy usage. 

Is Your Vehicle Ready for Winter?

Wintertime in Evergreen Park, IL can get very cold.  While you may know the steps to take to prepare your home and yard for the colder weather, did you know that your car needs to be winterized too?  At Martin Insurance Team, we want all our clients to be well-informed and protected while driving this winter. Use these tips to make sure that your vehicle is prepared to handle the cold weather this season.

Tips to Winterize Your Car

If you have never heard of “winterizing” your car, it means that you perform regular maintenance on it each winter.  This ensures it can handle the colder weather and potentially hazardous driving conditions of winter. You can do much of this yourself, or hire a mechanic to take care of it for you. 

Tip #1: Make sure that your thermostat works and that the heater and defroster are both fully functional.  You don’t want to be caught in the cold without them working.

Tip #2: Winter road conditions can be treacherous.  Make sure that your tires have plenty of tread to handle them.  If not, replace with winter tires or all-weather tires.

Tip #3: Keep your gas tank full. While this is not always possible, keep it at the full level as much as you can because a full tank of gas can help to keep the fuel line from freezing when it gets really cold outside.

Tip #4: Check antifreeze levels. Adequate levels of antifreeze will help to prevent freezing.

Remember to always check the weather in Evergreen Park, IL and anywhere else you are going before you head out the door.  And if you need us, give us a call. Your friendly agents at Martin Insurance Team are here and ready to help.