Keeping Your Home Protected, Inside and Out

Whether you’re a new homeowner or are looking to protect additional items, you need a policy that covers your needs. Understanding what a basic homeowners policy does and does not include is important. That way, you know what additional coverage you should consider. Keep reading for tips and tricks on how to find the right fit for protecting your home, inside and out. 

What’s the difference between Homeowners Insurance and Personal Property Insurance? 

In areas where your homeowners policy may be lacking, additional personal property coverage can help ensure your high-dollar valuables are protected. 

Homeowners Insurance will cover various items inside and outside of your home. However, there are limitations to what items and under what circumstances they will be covered. This is where personal property coverage comes in handy. It protects personal belongings inside your home in the event of damages or theft. This includes specific, high-value items, like jewelry, firearms, furs, collectibles, silverware, gold, musical instruments and more. 

For what situations should I consider additional insurance beyond my homeowners policy?

  • Home-based businesses. If your business inventory got ruined or a customer fell in your home, your standard homeowners policy might not cover it. Be sure to talk to your agent about commercial coverage to keep your work and clients safe.
  • Outbuildings. The tree house you built for your kids or the shed you have for more storage are typically limited in standard home coverage. Check with your agent to see if you should get additional structure coverage to have your hard work and personal items protected. 

How do I ensure my home is protected in case of Earthquake and/or Flood?

You may assume you’re covered under your standard homeowners policy from these natural events, but that might not be the case. In reality, these natural disasters require their own policy additions. If you live in a flood or earthquake prone area, talk to your agent about these other insurance options. 

A good Home Insurance Policy coupled with the right amount of additional coverage can help ensure your home and valuable assets stay protected through the ups and downs. Contact an agent today to see how much coverage you may need.

Spring Cleaning Checklist

As the weather warms and spring begins to bloom, you may catch the spring cleaning fever. Spring cleaning can help you feel accomplished and have a clean home. It can also help keep your home safe by taking care of small items that could cause major problems or be hazardous down the road. Consider this checklist while you’re cleaning up around the house this spring, to be sure it’s as safe as it is clean. 

Clean the Dryer Vent

While most people know to clean the lint trap after each load of laundry, the dryer vent often gets neglected. Lint can also build up in the hose from the dryer and dryer vent, which could be a fire hazard. Make sure to check for lint that accumulates in these forgotten areas and clear out any hazards. 

Replace Damaged Extension Cords 

Whether they’re under a rug receiving a lot of foot traffic or being yanked from one place to another, extension cords often get worn and damaged. These damaged cords can be a big fire risk. Consider replacing older cords around the house to reduce the risk of fire. 

Update Online Passwords 

As you deep clean your house this spring, it’s a good reminder to clean up other areas of your life as well, including online passwords. Take a few minutes to set up new, strong passwords for all your accounts. This will help prevent online accounts from being hacked and your identity from being stolen. 

Clean the Stove/Oven 

As food particles build up over time on the stovetop or in the oven, thoroughly cleaning both of these appliances is an important checklist item. Built up particles and/or grease can pose a fire hazard. No matter how frequently you cook, make sure to spend some extra time deep cleaning the stove and oven this spring. 

Change Air Filters

Make sure to clean and/or replace home air filters as the weather warms. The furnace will still be moving air through your home all year, and pollen, dust and other allergens that get built up in the filters can worsen seasonal allergies if you don’t change the filters.

Check Alarm Batteries

Smoke alarms help keep your home safe, but are often forgotten about if the alarms don’t go off frequently. Spring cleaning is a great time to check the status of alarms and put in new batteries. Also, wipe down the alarms to ensure dust isn’t inhibiting them from doing their job. We reward safety precautions and offer a discount for having a fire alarm in the home. Check with your agent to see if you may be eligible. 

Clean Bedding 

Most people wash their sheets and pillowcases often, but the mattress and pillows may be neglected in the process of cleaning the bedding on a regular basis. Take time to vacuum the mattress and rotate it so that it can wear evenly. Also, wash pillows in hot water to help get rid of dust mites. 

No matter how much you clean or prepare, accidents can still happen. Ensure your home and family are protected with a Home Insurance policy. Contact an OKFB agent for a customizable policy that fits your lifestyle.

Tips for Merging Finances after Marriage

As the month of love, February is a great reminder of how special love can be, no matter the form it takes in life. One of the most exciting forms for love is marriage, which is exciting but can also bring with it some challenges. 

Joining lives with someone typically requires some changes, especially when it comes to merging and managing finances. Financial decisions can directly impact your future together, so creating a thoughtful plan and communicating well about finances is key. In honor of the month of love, we’re sharing some tips for how to successfully merge your finances and insurance after marriage. 

Discuss Goals

Sharing goals is the first step in planning a solid financial future. Start with a list of goals, both short-term and long-term. After establishing a list of goals, decide which items are most important to both of you. When you’ve set priorities on goals, then you can focus on accomplishing them. 

Prepare a Budget

Next, set a reasonable budget together. Start by identifying required expenses and then give yourself an amount for unplanned expenses. If your expenses are exceeding your income, determine where you can cut back. Decide how you want to approach managing your finances. If both people want to be involved, be sure to use a system that works for both parties.

Decide on Accounts

You’ll have to decide whether to combine bank accounts or keep them separate. Weigh the pros and cons of each and consider what will work best. A joint account is beneficial in easily keeping records and lower maintenance fees. Separate accounts may be more beneficial in keeping track of how much money is in the account at all times, as just one person is withdrawing. 

Consider Your Debt

If you’re considering adding your name to your spouse’s credit accounts, think thoroughly. Joint credit means both parties are responsible for the debt and it can negatively impact the credit rating if one person has poor credit. Additionally, make sure to consider any debt, either from student loans or elsewhere, when planning your joint budget. 

Combine Insurance

You and your spouse likely already have your own insurance coming into the marriage, whether it be auto, life, etc. You’ll want to examine both policies and decide if it will be more beneficial for you to keep separate policies or get on the same plan. Bundling multiple cars with one insurance provider may make you eligible for discounts and can make managing policies easier. 

As you work through this new chapter in life, consider visiting with a financial adviser to help you along the way. If you’re an OKFB member, your member benefits provide you with multiple insurance and financial services. Contact an agent to receive guidance through merging insurance, or use the banking and financial services from Farm Bureau Bank. 

New Year Annual Insurance Review

As you kick off the new year, one resolution should be to ensure you have the proper insurance protection for the year ahead. Policyholders often treat insurance as something to simply check off and forget about. However, your policies are more valuable than that.

Your policies are protecting you through miles on the road, unpredictable tornado seasons and all of life’s ups and downs. They require updates regularly to adapt to the changes in your life. What better time for this than at the beginning of the year? An annual insurance review will help ensure your policies are up-to-date and provide the protection you need. It can also uncover discounts that you may be eligible for. 

Check out this list of common changes that could require an adjustment to any one of your insurance policies. Talk to your agent to schedule your annual insurance review today: 

  1. You may need to update your Auto policy if you’re driving significantly more or less than you were in previous years, if your vehicle is aging or if you have passed it down to a child.
  2. Consider updating your Home policy if you added high dollar personal property to your home inventory, if you installed a pool, if you completed home improvements or added on to your home size.  
  3. You may need to update your Life policy if you added or lost members of your family recently, if you experienced changes in your health, if you changed jobs or your family’s cost of living increased or decreased. 
  4. Consider updating your Farm & Ranch policy if you expanded operations or added new equipment, if you’re using certain machinery or vehicles more often than usual or if you’ve increased your livestock inventory.

If something has changed in your life over the past year that isn’t reflected in your current policies, talk to your OKFB agent today to schedule an annual insurance review. Life changes fast, this annual review will help make sure your insurance keeps up.