Homeowners Insurance

Season of Safety – Safer Celebrating at Home

Season of Safety – Safer Celebrating at Home

Season of Safety: Safer Celebrating at Home

In this final installment of our Season of Safety series, we’re getting your home ready for the New Year! We’ll go over some basics to keep it (and you) safe during your big bash.

Outside Your Home

First, let’s look at a few things to take care of outside. Start by making sure your decorations are up and out of reach from passersby. Vandalism tends to rise during holidays, and the best way to keep people away from your things is to keep them out of reach. Lighting should be secured higher up on the roof line or tree branches. While you’re at it, check on the plugs and make sure the lighting hasn’t been damaged by weather. Decorating your windows instead of having outdoor fixtures is also a nice alternative.

Next let’s ensure your exterior pathways are clear. In California, not everyone’s trees are bare at the end of the year. Clean up newly fallen leaves and make sure those pathway lights haven’t been uprooted from the rain.

Keep Your Cars Safe.
Park your cars in the garage if possible. If you can’t bring your vehicles in, keep them in the driveway or at the very least under a nearby street lamp. Do your best to have vehicles parked in spots visible from your home. Don’t forget to activate your car alarm and verify that vehicle doors and trunks are shut and locked.

Inside Your Home

Safer Decor
We know candles are a great way to enhance the ambiance of a party, but they’re a big hazard and a major cause of house fires. Use battery powered alternatives. LED candles last longer, are much safer and can be reused. Most of the modern options even flicker and show movement like real candles. Depending on size, most battery powered choices are affordable too. You can have the same look and avoid fire dangers. If kids will be part of your celebration, then this is a must.

If you insist on real candles, make sure they are kept out of reach of children and a far enough distance from walls, curtains and decorations.

Speaking of other decorations, make sure those string lights aren’t overloading a single outlet. Solar charged alternatives are also available if you’re willing to take a last-minute trip to the store (or if you haven’t done your shopping yet). Next, look for breakables that can be put away. If it isn’t part of your party décor, store those glass and ceramic items or move them out of heavy traffic areas.

In the Kitchen.
Start by being mindful. The kitchen is usually the busiest part of a home, and this is especially true during big gatherings. Try to keep kids out of the kitchen that day, and don’t get distracted while cooking. Even the best cooks will leave a kitchen towel or potholder close to open flames when they can’t give cooking their full attention. 

Prep as much as you can earlier in the day or the night before to minimize activity during the party; less rushing means less stress. Things like table cloths, trays and platters can all be readied and organized ahead of time. If you’re using food warmers, set them in place, and make sure they are out of reach of children and away from decorations. 

Also, consider using earth-friendly disposable options instead of breakable plates and glasses. There are attractive choices everywhere. Not only do they make clean up easier, but they are safer during those inevitable party accidents. Of course, we’d all like to make a toast with our finer stemware, but broken glass (especially the expensive kind) at a party is a no-no for a safer season.

It's Party Time

Our favorite tip for New Years Eve parties is to think of the end of the party first. As guests arrive, ask them how they got there and how they’re getting home. Knowing who are designated drivers, who’ll be spending the night, and who might need a ride home (ride share or very good friend) will give everyone peace of mind. Don’t forget to have coffee brewed for those designated drivers at the end of the night. 

Have Places Designated for Activities.
This keeps traffic from getting heavy in the kitchen and serving areas. Giving kids room to move around freely is a particularly good idea. This doesn’t mean banishing them to some far off corner of your home or turning your living room into a playground. It just means making a space child proof, whether shared between kids and adults or not; limiting breakables, moving tables out or off to the side, and securing rugs to the floor can go a long way here. Kids and non-cooking adults can stay entertained and out of a busy kitchen.

Watch those Fireworks. Literally.
When it comes to activities, we encourage you to watch a professional, legal fireworks display, and not set off your own at home. Most communities have approved fireworks displays for the holiday. It goes without saying that fireworks are a huge fire danger and easily cause injury or worse. In California, the safe and sane fireworks laws have variations county by county and are ambiguous as to their use outside of the Fourth of July. Don’t take any risks; you might be breaking the law.

We hope these tips will help you start the New Year off right. We wish you a joyous and safe celebration, and look forward to another year of planning and protecting the unexpected.

Looking for a new Homeowners Policy to go with the New Year?
Give us a call 559.283.8332!

Posted by admin in Homeowners Insurance, Personal Insurance
Season of Safety: Safer Shopping

Season of Safety: Safer Shopping

Season of Safety: Safer Shopping

The Holiday season definitely comes with its fair share of preparations. If you’re like most people, this includes a lot of shopping. Whether you’re buying groceries for a holiday get together or in search of reasonably priced gifts, you can expect a few extra trips to the store in the coming month. And with a survey revealing that 71% of holiday consumers plan to shop over the Thanksgiving holiday (Black Friday, Cyber Monday, etc.) and 36% of Holiday shoppers have not even begun their shopping (as of the end of October and beginning of November*), you can expect those shopping trips to be especially busy. 

In all the chaos, it’s easy to get distracted, and even easier to become victim to seasonal predators. Here are our tips for staying safe, and still making the most of those shopping days – even the last minute ones (you know who you are)!

Plan Ahead as much as Possible

At GGB, we adore a good plan. It keeps us feeling secure, and well, sane. Having a plan for your shopping trips will keep you from spending your holidays in line at the register. Ask (and answer) these questions, then plan accordingly.

  1. What Items am I buying?
  2. Where am I buying them?
  3. Is there a time these stores will be less busy/When is the best time for me to shop?
  4. Should I bring someone to help (carry bags, mind the kids, etc.)?
  5. Can I avoid any shopping trips altogether (by shopping online, delegating to someone else, etc.)?

Now, you can plan your shopping wisely, avoid any unnecessary trips, and make the experience as smooth as possible.

Avoid Distractions

This is a biggie. With the holidays being a busy and often stressful time, we can easily lose focus, as well as become too fatigued to notice. Removing and minimizing distractions can keep you on track and SAFE. Remember, that just a few seconds on your phone is all a predator needs to pick up a bag you’ve set down or slip a wallet from an open purse. Here are some of our favorite tips.

  1. Stay off your phone. Avoid checking emails, texts and SNS notifications until you get home. If you absolutely MUST take a phone call, do it in a well-lit and safe place from a vantage point where you can see any potential dangers in advance. Do not cross streets or stand in high-traffic areas while on the phone.
  2. Leave the kids at home if possible. If it isn’t essential to bring your kids with you on a shopping trip, have them stay home. It helps keep you and the kids safe. Plan a special, shopping-free outing if you would like to enjoy seasonal events and decorations together. You can enjoy Santa’s Village a lot more when you’re not lugging around shopping bags.
  3. Enlist a Shopping Buddy. If some distractions can’t be avoided, bring a Shopping Buddy. You can take turns shopping while the other manages distractions. Watching kids and shopping bags, going for restroom and food breaks, even taking phone calls becomes much easier and safer with the extra help.

Stay Aware of Your Surroundings

For lone shoppers, staying alert is essential. Those braving the stores solo are prime targets for theft or worse. Staying safe this holiday means being especially careful handling your money and going to and from your vehicle. This is a very important point for those unable to plan their shopping trips for daylight hours.

  1. Park in a visible, well-lit area. The parking lots will be packed at many of the large stores and shopping malls, and this is an imperative tip for anyone shopping at night. Try to find a spot in a well-lit section that is visible to people in the main shopping area or close to a main/active walkway. Finally, don’t forget to lock your vehicle or thieves will get a lot more than dad’s new sweater.

  2. Mind your Money. Start by making sure to take only the essentials. Bring only the cards you intend to use (like those with the best fraud protection), and keep the amount of cash you carry to a minimum. Next, keep wallets and handbags towards the front of your body. We recommend not bringing a purse at all, but if you need one, try to use one with a strap that goes across your body.

  3. Stay Alert. Stay conscious and attentive of yourself, your belongings and the people around you.
    • Avoid setting purses and shopping bags down.
    • Pay special attention to your things when standing in lines.
    • If possible, walk with or near larger groups when going to and from your car.
    • Check on your belongings often; especially when leaving seating areas or restaurants.

Be Mindful of YOU

This tip is pretty simple. Getting ready for the holidays can get very busy for anyone -including us. So, don’t forget to check-in on yourself. Ask these questions before you get in the car.

  • How do you feel physically? Are you tired? Could you be catching a cold?
  • How do you feel mentally? Are you overwhelmed? Are you irritable? Are you turning into a crazy person?
  • Do you need to do this shopping trip today? Can you reschedule it? Can you cancel it altogether?

Holiday shopping is always a bigger task than just going to the store. It’s easy to forget about taking care of ourselves. So, if you find yourself having a moment where everything is simply too much, just stop. Take a moment, take a breath and check in with yourself.

The Holidays should be an enjoyable time. Use the tips above to take some of the worry out of shopping this year. Stay safe (and sane) out there.

The Holiday Season is here! Between shopping for gifts, planning for trips and/or throwing the perfect party, the holidays can be a high-stress, low-rest time for many of us. In our Season of Safety series, we’re giving you our favorite tips on how to Plan and Protect so you can really enjoy the holidays.

Posted by admin
This Holiday Downer can be Prevented

This Holiday Downer can be Prevented

Vandalism rates spike during the holidays. Get protected. There’s steps you can take to keep your holidays worry free.

This Holiday Downer Can Be Prevented

The holiday season is a wonderful time; families gather together, take trips and decorate their homes. It’s a season for celebrating, but the holidays have also become a major time for vandalism with crime rates increasing over 20% beginning with Halloween. So, what can we do?

Tips for Handling Holiday Vandalism.

  1. Check Both Your Policies. Often times, people forget about vandalism coverage altogether, or will only get it for one of the two major policies, Homeowners or Auto. Both are important, and if vandalism isn’t included standard, you should find out your options. Understand the details including what constitutes vandalism, deductible amounts, and whether your coverage can cover common replacements or repair.

  2. Place Decorations Strategically. Keep larger more expensive decorations closer to the home and in view from a window. Secure lights by weaving them in fencing, using lighting hooks, or wrapping them in trees. Keep hanging decorations out of reach, and if possible display smaller decorations from inside.

  3. Protect the Regular Stuff. It isn’t just seasonal items that get vandalized. Move breakables like large pots and planters closer to the home and in view, or put them away. Make sure motion-activated lighting is functioning properly especially near vehicles parked outside.
  4. Let Technology Help You. If you have a security system, take advantage of modern camera features like motion activation or 24 hour recording. You can even have a camera installed in your doorbell. Don’t forget about dash cams for your vehicles. These cameras can be monitored right from your smart device.

    That being said, don’t forget about the sign. Most security systems come with a lawn sign for display. It may not be technology, but it’s proven effective at deterring vandals and burglars. 

  5. Join or Start a Neighborhood Watch. Find out if your community has a neighborhood watch. Attend your next meeting and find out how you can participate. If your neighborhood doesn’t have a watch, take the initiative to start one. Active and mindful communities can help each other year round. 

Follow the steps above, and keep your holiday celebrations worry free. Homeowners and Auto Insurance policies can protect you in all kinds of situations, including vandalism.

Posted by admin in Auto Insurance, Homeowners Insurance
Want to Make the Claims Process Easier?

Want to Make the Claims Process Easier?

If You're Prepared, Making a Claim can be Much Easier

When something bad happens, being ready to make your claim can save you headaches and heartaches. Here’s how to get started.

Want to Make the Claims Process Easier?

Making a claim on your insurance, no matter what kind, can be a stressful situation. Something bad has happened; a car accident, damage or vandalism to your home, and all the concerns that go along with it. Now, on top of everything you have to figure out how to get back on your feet, and how to deal with the expenses. The best policy is a proactive one. Being prepared before something bad happens will be to your benefit.

GGB Insurance Services is here to help make it easier. Keep reading for our tips on making the claims process easier, and call us with your questions. 559.283.8332

GGB Insurances Tips for an Easier Claims Process.

  1. Know Your Policy, and understand exactly what is or isn’t covered. Make sure your policy meets your needs. If it doesn’t, talk to your agent about getting more coverage. 

  2. Keep Good Inventory of your valuable property, and document everything. If you have any professional property assessments done, keep these records, and make sure they are current. Talk to your claims specialist about inspectors and assessments, and who is accepted by your insurance. 

  3. Document Everything when something bad happens, especially in the case of an auto accident. After assuring your safety in the situation, use your smartphone to photograph damages to vehicle(s), surrounding area and immediate environment, traffic lights or signs, road work, damaged property (city or private owned), etc. Some companies provide convenient tools/equipment for this like dashboard cameras. Find out the cost, if any, for these tools and make use of them.
  4. Understand the Claims Process ahead of time. Ask how you can access claims forms in advance, and make sure you can provide all the information required. Your agent should be able to give you information on acquiring these forms if they don’t already have them available for you. Check in with your agent a couple times a year to see if these claims forms have been updated and/or have new requirements.

We all need insurance, and we feel more secure having it. In most cases, though, we hope that we never have to use it. Following the above tips can really help should a situation arise where you do.

© 2017 Copyright GGB Insurance Services
Posted by admin in Auto Insurance, Homeowners Insurance, Insurance Tips, Life Insurance, Personal Insurance
Is Your Biggest Investment Protected?

Is Your Biggest Investment Protected?

The place you live is usually your biggest investment, no matter what kind you have. Protecting it lets you focus on making it a home.

Is Your Biggest Investment Protected?

Homeownership takes a lot of responsibility. Between regular maintenance and upkeep, weekend home improvement projects and of course taking care of the family living inside the home, you’ve got a lot on your plate.

Dealing with the unexpected on top of everything can be a major headache, and if you aren’t prepared, it can be devastating.

Being ready is what GGB Insurance Services is all about. Here’s what you need to know about Homeowners Insurance and Condo Insurance. Don’t worry renters; we didn’t forget about you.

Homeowners Insurance has several protection options. You can protect the physical structure itself as well as electrical, plumbing, HVAC and foundation. In fact, depending on what coverage you decide to include, it can cover detached garages, sheds and even your fence.

Don’t forget the property inside! Homeowners insurance protects appliances, furniture and even clothes. Additionally, it can also cover more expensive valuables such as jewelry with extra coverage.

In cases where your home is severely damaged, such as fire or natural disaster, a full replacement policy can pay for your home to be rebuilt. One can also get a Loss of Use policy which covers hotel expenses while a home is being repaired.

Homeowners Insurance also covers legal liabilities if someone is injured on your property.

Condo Insurance

Similarly to standard Homeowners Insurance, Condo Insurance covers the expense of repairs for damages to your Condo under the property association’s guidelines. It can also include protection for your belongs, loss of use costs and liability coverage.

Renters Insurance

Renters Insurance generally covers personal property and interior damages to a home. Some extended policies include coverage for stolen property, legal liabilities, loss of use and damages due to circumstances to the main property.

Property protection, no matter the kind, gives you peace of mind. So, you can stay focused on all the things that make a house, condo or apartment a home.

Posted by admin in Homeowners Insurance
3 Policies Everyone Should Have

3 Policies Everyone Should Have

The Policies Everyone Needs

Basic Insurance Policies can become real necessities.
Plan and Protect the Unexpected.

3 Policies Everyone Should Have

Everyone knows we need Insurance to protect ourselves from what ever life throws at us. But with so many things to consider, where should we start?

GGB Insurance Services is here to help. So we’re sharing 3 Insurance Policies we think everyone should have.

Life Insurance

This one is easily missed or avoided, but it’s essential to provide financial security to loved ones in the event that something bad happens.

Consider the Following:

  • Do you need to provide a life time income to your spouse and family or do you just need to help them pay funeral and burial costs?
  • Do you need a policy in place until the time of passing or do you just need to be covered should something happen to you prematurely?

Homeowners Insurance

Your home is one of the biggest investments you’ll ever make. Homeowners Insurance protects your property when accidents, disasters and even vandalism occur. This policy is often overlooked by non-homeowners, but renters can also get protection policies. This is especially important in cases where legal action may be required for a renter.

Consider the Following:

  • Are there location-specific types of damage you need protection for?
  • Some policies can cover important repairs like roof or foundation. Know and understand the circumstances for making claims in these cases.
  • Policies don’t just cover the home, they cover the property inside. Keep track of your property, especially your most expensive purchases.

Auto Insurance

This insurance is often a legal requirement for every driver. It covers injury, vehicle repair and/or replacement.

Consider the Following:

  • Can you avail of any safe driver discounts?
  • Is the driver a teen or new driver?
  • Do you want a policy with accident forgiveness?

The above are just 3 of the important coverage policies everyone should have. Don’t forget to look into health insurance, dental and vision, and disability policies. These not only keep your medical expenses down, but protect you in the event of a major health issue arising.