Homeowners insurance covers damages caused to the house and other parts of the property, depending on the provisions specified in the policy document. Anything outside the policy may not be indemnified. Commonly covered provisions include theft against personal properties and damages caused by fire and natural calamities such as lightning, wind, and hailstorms. In addition, there are other aspects of the property that are often covered by insurance.
Most homeowners insurance policies cover the house from the foundation to the roof, including the walls and permanent fixtures. In addition, many policies cover other structures that are a part of the property, such as a garage, shed, or fence.
Personal property is also often covered under homeowners insurance. This often includes items such as electronics, furniture, jewelry, musical instruments, and any other valuables. The insurance policy will cover the estimated value of these items if they are stolen or damaged.
Homeowners insurance often covers liability if a guest is injured in the home. For example, if a visitor falls down the stairs due to a faulty railing, they may find the homeowner responsible for their injuries. Liability coverage can protect the homeowner’s finances if the injured party has high medical bills or decides to sue.
Homeowners insurance helps provide peace of mind by reducing the financial burden on the owner if their house, surrounding property, or belongings are stolen or damaged. Balliet Gilmartin Insurance is an independent insurance agency that has been helping the residents of Lehighton, PA find the right coverage for their house, car, or business for over 20 years. If you’re planning to buy a house or are looking to change your current insurance policy, our dedicated agents can help you find appropriate coverage. Contact us today to request a quote.
A Pennsylvania winter can be beautiful, but can also bring with it severe, snowy weather. Residents likely know the general ins and outs of preparing a house for winter conditions, but some steps often go overlooked. Consider the following tips the next time cold weather rolls in.
Insulating the Inside of the House
Homeowners should think about indoor winter prep from the ceiling on down, updating the insulation in the attic, basement, crawl spaces, and garages. Insulating the attic can prevent heat from escaping the home and melting snow, causing potentially damaging ice build-up on the roof. Covering the pipes can help keep them from freezing, but if pipes do freeze, installing an emergency pressure release valve can protect them against bursting. Knowing how to turn the water off is also essential knowledge, as the faster that can be done when pipes freeze, the better. Flooding due to snowmelt and run-off is also a serious concern, but plastic coatings on interior basement walls and the use of sump pumps can help ward off flood damage. Back-up generators are an investment homeowners can make that will help them stay warm in the event of a power outage.
Maintaining the Outside of the Home
Though it may seem unrelated, clean gutters play an important role in winter safety. If left unattended, build-up can cause water to leak into the home. Gutter guards can help prevent debris build-up throughout the year. Trees and surrounding greenery should be carefully manicured to avoid breaks caused by snow, ice, and wind that could damage property or hurt loved ones. Homeowners should take a look at the structural integrity of stairs and handrails to ensure they will remain safe throughout winter. Caulking and installing weather stripping around areas that may allow cold air into the home is also a smart move. Having served homeowners and businesses in Carbon County for more than 20 years, Balliet Gilmartin Insurance prides itself on excellent customer service no matter the time of year. We are a full-service insurance agency whose knowledgeable staff is ready to address any questions or concerns that may arise, weather-related or otherwise. Contact us today at 570-386-8001 to learn more.
Choosing an insurance policy is a complex, long-term decision. That’s why it’s important to find an agency that can provide the best coverage possible while also offering guidance and personalized attention. Here are the four primary benefits of working with an independent insurance agency.
More Coverage Options
Since independent insurance agencies represent many different carriers, they can offer their clients a diverse range of coverage options and price points. By combining their knowledge of the complex insurance marketplace with their established relationships with carriers, independent agents do the shopping for their clients and can often find them the best options.
Independent insurance agencies can also provide their clients with personalized guidance and attention to detail. There’s no such thing as a one-size-fits-all insurance policy, and independent agents take each client’s unique needs and budget requirements into consideration when shopping for coverage. Plus, they can explain the complex terms of each policy in a simple, straightforward manner.
Independent Agents Advocate for Clients
Lawyers represent their clients in legal matters. Real estate agents help their clients when they want to buy or sell a home. And when it comes time to file a claim, change coverage, or add additional coverage, an independent insurance agent is every buyer’s best advocate. They can work with insurance companies on their clients’ behalf and navigate complicated situations so that their clients don’t have to.
Since independent insurance agents are members of their clients’ community, they are highly knowledgeable of the unique challenges of living and buying insurance in their area. They can help clients understand how local laws, insurance requirements, and regulations affect their coverage. Independent agents are often personally invested in the community and more readily available to answer insurance-related questions.
Balliet Gilmartin Insurance is an independent agency that has provided residents in Lehighton and other parts of Carbon County with insurance policies and personalized customer service since 1995. To learn more about how we can help you, contact us online or call 570-386-8001.
Business owners sometimes overlook the need for commercial auto insurance. When vehicles are used for business, however, it’s important to maintain additional coverage that protects not only the vehicle and driver but also the employees and the business itself.
What Is Commercial Auto Insurance?
A commercial auto insurance policy is similar to a personal auto insurance policy. However, it usually includes expanded liability coverage. These higher limits are necessary to cover the higher potential losses when an incident involving a business vehicle occurs.
What Types of Businesses Need This Coverage?
Commercial auto insurance isn’t limited to heavy-duty vehicles. Any person who drives a car, truck, or SUV during the course of conducting business should be covered by this type of policy. Other types of vehicles that need a commercial auto policy include, but are not limited to, limousines and passenger vehicles, flatbeds, utility vans, delivery trucks, catering trucks, taxicabs, and work vehicles outfitted with equipment.
How Much Coverage Do Businesses Need?
The policy should pay for injury to employees, passengers, and other drivers, as well as the cost of replacing damaged vehicles, supplies, inventory, and equipment. Beyond liability, business owners can add special coverage for cargo, employees, and lawsuits against the company.
Most states, including Pennsylvania, have requirements for commercial auto insurance coverage. According to the PA Public Utility Commission, business vehicles with a seating capacity of up to 15 passengers must carry at least $15,000 in bodily injury liability per passenger, $30,000 in liability per incident, and $5,000 for property damage. Vehicles seating 16 to 28 passengers are required to carry at least $1 million in commercial liability insurance, and vehicles seating 29 or more passengers must be covered by a policy worth at least $5 million. Cargo vehicles must carry at least $300,000 in personal injury liability and $5,000 in property liability coverage.
Those who finance or rent commercial vehicles might have additional coverage requirements from the bank. This usually includes comprehensive and collision policies, which cover at-fault accidents, as well as damage caused by inclement weather and other unexpected events.
If your business requires the use of vehicles, contact Balliet Gilmartin Insurance to explore your coverage options. We’re an independent agency that has been serving Carbon County clients for more than 20 years. For excellent customer service and guidance from our knowledgeable, professional staff, call us today at 570-386-8001 to request a quote.
Auto insurance is confusing for many people, with many different types of coverage available and requirements varying from state to state. Nearly every state requires drivers to carry a minimum amount of coverage, but that isn’t adequate for every driver. Here’s how to know whether to choose the bare minimum or opt for full coverage.
State Minimum Coverage
Pennsylvania requires drivers to carry $15,000 bodily injury liability per person ($30,000 per accident), plus $5,000 property damage liability and $5,000 first party medical benefits. Drivers should also choose between limited or full tort coverage. This is the least amount of coverage a driver can have to drive legally, so it’s usually the cheapest option. It does not protect the driver’s own vehicle. While carrying minimum coverage is better than driving uninsured, it usually won’t cover all accident-related expenses. In 2016, the average bodily injury liability costs were above $16,000, with property damage liability costs nearing $4,000, per accident, according to the Insurance Information Institute. Accidents involving multiple vehicles—or expensive ones—will be more expensive. Drivers without sufficient auto insurance could be sued for that money.
While not a type of auto insurance itself, “full coverage” refers to having enough coverage to also protect the driver and their vehicle in nearly every case. Full coverage is often made of coverage including bodily injury liability, property damage, and the following:
- Collision coverage, which fixes the driver’s vehicle in a collision
- Comprehensive coverage, which covers scenarios including storm damage, theft, etc.
- Medical payments to cover the driver’s medical expenses if he is a named insured or resident relative of the named insured
- Uninsured motorist coverage, which kicks in if an at-fault driver has no insurance
- Underinsured motorist coverage, which kicks in if an at-fault driver has too little insurance to cover the accident
Some policies may offer additional coverage, like roadside assistance or rental car reimbursement. Although it comes with a higher premium, carrying full coverage is the best way to ensure complete protection in the event of an accident.
What Coverage Do I Need?
In Pennsylvania, you’ll need at least the state minimum. Any additional coverage will depend on your personal situation. If you’re unemployed, rarely drive, or drive a 20-year-old vehicle, the minimum may be all you need. If you drive a brand new car, you’ll likely want full coverage. If you own substantial assets like a home, business, or savings account, full coverage is also a wise investment. If you aren’t sure which option to choose, let Balliet Gilmartin Insurance help you decide. We’ll learn about your assets, vehicles, and driving habits, then we’ll shop around with more than a dozen carriers to find the best coverage for you. Contact us or call Balliet Gilmartin Insurance today at 570-386-8001 to learn more.