Home Improvements that Can Add Value

As the weather warms up, many homeowners see it as the perfect time to make improvements inside and outside of the home. If you fall into that group, then we’ve got some tips for you! We want you to get the most value out of your project, so we’re sharing insight on where to splurge and where to skip.

IN THE KITCH & BATHROOM

What to Consider

It’s been said kitchens and bathrooms alone often sell houses. If you want to add value and potentially get a great return on your investment, start here. Whether you do a full-scale kitchen remodel or a small renovation, do things that improve the flow of the kitchen, and make cooking easier and more enjoyable. In the bathroom, you also want to balance form and function. Buyers appreciate consistency between the kitchen and bathroom, so, if possible, use coordinating materials for cabinets, counters, floors and fixtures.

What to Skip

Buyers are often looking for storage solutions. When you are making improvements in the kitchen, make sure you add storage or counter space. Skip anything that would likely reduce the amount of storage or workspace in the kitchen. In the bathroom, buyers are looking for a place to unwind. Stick to colors that make the appearance of the bathroom clean and light, and consider optimizing for how you will be using this space every day.

GREAT OUTDOORS

What to Consider

If you are looking to build a shed, add on to your home, or add an in-ground pool, any of these projects will require a revisement to your home insurance policy. Other popular background projects to improve your outdoor living space are expanding your patio, putting up a fence or building a fish pond. When it comes to the front yard and curb appeal, plant weather-tolerant plants, add some color with flowers and shrubs and maintain outdoor light fixtures, walkways and steps.   

What to Skip

When it comes to a pool, consider if it makes sense for your home’s location. Buyers can sometimes be turned off by maintenance and insurance considerations associated with a pool. As for curb appeal, avoid any bold design changes that a new buyer may want to immediately update for their own tastes. Additionally, consider how your improvements will affect outdoor maintenance and skip any that pose a large maintenance outlook.

HOME ESSENTIALS

What to Consider

Sometimes the biggest home improvements aren’t visible. Updating your essentials, like your HVAC system, insulation, electric panels and water heater will save you money in the long run. Improving your home’s energy efficiency is important to your cost of living there and may help attract buyers to your home. Consider upgrading to energy efficient appliances. Home security is also becoming increasingly essential, so consider installing an alarm system, and check out OKFB’s home insurance discount for those who qualify.  

What to Skip

Even though an item may claim to be “green” or promote energy efficiency, make sure you research these claims before you buy. Two good signs to look for are an ENERGY STAR® logo and good sustainability ratings online. When it comes to the value of these upgrades, they can improve your quality of living and sometimes lessen living costs. However, if you are making these improvements to increase the resale value, skip on anything that doesn’t allow you to market your home as energy efficient.

As you make improvements to your home and property, remember that changes often mean you will need to adjust your Home Insurance coverage! Contact your OKFB agent today to discuss any planned or recent home improvement projects.

How to Minimize Flooding in Your Home

With spring officially here, the start of storm season is right around the corner. You may not be able to prevent the springtime floods, but you can take steps to minimize the water damage to your home. Check out these tips, and don’t forget to contact your OKFB agent about adding flood insurance to your policy.

Give Water Somewhere to Go

Water needs to have a designated route for it to flow away from your home. To make this possible, you need to ensure there is proper guttering and that the gutter is free of debris to allow water to flow. You should also adjust any landscaping that may force water toward your foundation. If flooding is significant and consistent over time, consider a French drain or pump system that actively removes water away from your home.

Maintain a Strong Foundation

Foundations are key! Water getting under your house or in your foundation can create costly damages. Examine and patch any holes or cracks in slab foundations by consulting with a professional or by seeking guidance at your local home improvement store for the best solution to fit your situation.

Protect Your Appliances

Air conditioners, generators, fuel tanks and similar items often reside outdoors. Although they’re often made to withstand the elements, they’re not usually made for standing water and can flood out. Raise these items up on a platform and secure them to offer extra safety and protection.

Stay Safe

Stay aware of weather conditions by seeking the most recent information on local TV, radio or Internet sites. Avoid flooded areas. If you have advance warning the area around your home may flood, remove your family to somewhere safe. If possible, be prepared with essentials, like identification, medications and your insurance agent’s contact information.

Learn more about homeowners and flood insurance by contacting an OKFB agent near you.

Blog Title: Don’t Get Fooled By Top Insurance Myths

When it comes to shopping around for insurance, or even when it’s time for an annual review of your current policy, it can be overwhelming to sort through the sea of information about insurance. Furthermore, popular myths and misconceptions about insurance can leave you even more confused. Check out some of the top myths we hear, and the facts that bust them.

Myth: Life insurance is not necessary until I’m older.

Fact: Life insurance can be a valuable investment at every life stage. Whole and universal life policies not only provide a death benefit, they also allow you to use accumulated cash value for plans such as buying a home or retirement, meaning investing younger can yield benefits for later in life.

Myth: All the belongings in my house are covered by my homeowners policy.

Fact: There are different types of homes and each home varies in the features it has and the homeowners policy it needs! Limitations may apply to specific items, especially those that are high in value. Plus, items you may consider part of your home may be considered separate within your policy, such as a detached property.

Myth: Earthquake and flood insurance come standard with homeowner insurance.

Fact: Standard homeowners insurance policies don’t typically cover damage caused by a flood or earthquake. Policy additions for natural disasters, like floods and earthquakes, can often be added to a policy, but if the coverage is not obtained before the event occurs your property will not be protected.

Myth: Color is a major factor in the cost of my auto insurance.

Fact: Contrary to popular belief, having a red vehicle does not automatically mean your auto insurance will cost more. However, there are several other factors to keep in mind when car shopping, because all of these things could affect the price you pay to insure your car, such as car make, body type, age of your vehicle and the car’s sticker price.

Learn more about the right coverage for your unique needs by contacting an OKFB agent near you.

Top Questions Answered by Insurance Agents

When it comes to shopping for Home, Auto, Life and Commercial Insurance, it can be hard to know where to start. No matter how big or small your questions may be, our agents are here to help! Below are five common questions Oklahomans have when trying to decide what insurance is best for them.

Q: When do I need to update my insurance coverage?

A: Major life events, such as moving out on your own, purchasing a car, getting married or having a baby are good prompts to talk with your agent to discuss your coverage. We recommend setting an annual review with your agent to talk through what changes you’ve experienced in the last year and what you anticipate in the next.

Q: How much life insurance do I need?

A: Everyone’s needs vary when it comes to Life Insurance. There are factors you need to consider, such as the ages of your spouse and/or children, future expenses like mortgage or college and what type of policy you can afford. To get an idea of what might be a good fit for you, check out this Life Insurance calculator.

Q: Does my car insurance cover other drivers?

A: Typically, Auto Insurance follows the vehicle, not the driver. It’s important to consider what your unique coverage entails; for example, if your friend gets into a wreck while driving your car and you’re not insured for collision coverage, they are no more covered than you would have been as the driver. Since policy terms vary, it’s always best to contact your insurance agent before loaning out your car.

Q: What is umbrella insurance?

A: Personal umbrella insurance is a type of insurance designed for when you need extra liability coverage above another insurance policy. It helps supplement items not covered by other policies (such as Home or Commercial Insurance) and could kick in, for example, if you were to be held liable for an amount greater than what one of your other insurance policies covers. Talk to your agent to discuss how much coverage will be right for you, your home or your business.

Q: What type of insurance coverage is a “must” for small business owners?

A: Every business is unique, and insurance agents are trained in knowing what insurance products are most suited to your business, your budget and your goals. Many business owners like to start the conversation with Commercial General Liability Insurance to protect their assets in case of injury or property damage. Talk with your agent to discuss how much coverage is right for you!

You can learn more about the right coverage for your unique needs by contacting an OKFB agent near you.