First Community Financial Group, Inc. Blog
Summer is ending and fall is beginning to come on quickly. Wouldn't it be nice to escape what's up next? You wouldn't be the only person who decides to do just that. In fact, the Recreational Vehicle Industry Association estimates that there are over 2 million people spending the winter in RVs, which doesn't even include those who rent or own a second home.
The people who escape the harsh winters of their primary location to live in a warmer climate are known as snowbirds. Snowbirds are typically retirees or business owners, and the snowbird season runs from October through April, but may vary from year to year.
Are you a snowbird, or better yet, are you going to become one? Before you take flight towards a warmer climate and leisure lifestyle, check out the following 6 tips for your home and finances so you can fully enjoy your home away from home.
Prepare your home for winter
It is important for everyone to prepare their homes for the winter season to avoid expensive damage or homeowner's claims caused by cold weather and snowstorms. It is even more important to prepare your home for winter if it will be vacant during the coldest months of the year since you won't be there to notice any problems that may arise. Prior to closing up your home, inspect your roof for any damage that could result in leaking and clean gutters and downspouts. Insulate any water lines that run along exterior walls and open cabinet doors to allow heat from the room to get into concealed spaces, which can make pipes less likely to freeze. Also, drain and shut off outdoor water faucets.
Winter's high winds and snowstorms can cause a lot of damage from fallen tree limbs; therefore, make it a priority to remove dead trees or large overhanging tree limbs before you leave town.
Ask someone to shovel snow
Arrange to have a neighbor shovel snow from your driveway. This will help prevent snow that melts from leaking into the home and causing damage. It can also prevent your home from looking vacant and becoming a target of thieves.
Secure your home
Home security is a big issue if you're away from your house for months. Stop your newspaper delivery and forward your mail to your winter address or have it picked up on a regular basis. Also have someone check the house at least weekly to make sure any flyers or packages that are delivered while you're gone don't build up and make the house look unoccupied. Secure doors and windows with deadbolt locks, and install slide locks or other security locks on sliding glass doors or French doors. You can also install variable light timers, which turn lights on and off at different times to make it look like someone is home.
Notify your bank
Before you leave, provide the bank with your contact information as well as your temporary address. This will give the banks a heads up, so there are no issues regarding out-of-state debit and credit card charges. If your financial institution is not aware that you will be away for a long period of time, your account could be frozen temporarily as they may see out-of-state charges as suspicious activity or fraud.
Sign up for online banking
Online banking allows you to receive bills and make payments online. It gives you the peace of mind that your bills are being paid on time, without having to wait for statements to be mailed to your current location.
Maintaining two homes can be a lot of work, so it's important to be prepared with a good and reliable insurance policy as seasons change and before you take flight towards a warmer climate.
by The Foremost Creative Team
Foremost® Insurance has policies for Homes, Mobile Homes, Travel Trailers, RV's, ATVs, Golf Carts, Snowmobiles, UTVs, and other off-road vehicles. If you're looking for A Better Insurance Experience®, you can get a quote with us today!
Anyone who's been through a flood knows that recovering after this kind of disaster isn't easy. You're forced to accept that irreplaceable family treasures and memories may be gone forever, your furniture is destroyed, potentially along with your home. It's a devastating and emotional moment and a lot to take in all at once. But you know the only thing you can do is move forward, and begin the steps needed to restore your home.
As soon as the floodwaters recede, you can return to your home as long as officials give the OK to do so. Before entering your home, however, make sure it is safe!
Tips for staying safe upon return:
Bring waterproof boots, a first aid kit, cleaning supplies and a battery-powered flashlight with you before entering the house! You never know what you'll run into.
Tips for claim reporting: Another important step to take when recovering from a flood is reporting your loss immediately to your insurance agent or carrier. While flood coverage is typically not provided under most homeowners and renters policies, flood insurance may be available to you through the federally regulated program known as the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). If you need assistance to locate your flood insurance carrier, you can call 1-800-621-FEMA (3362). A claims adjuster should contact you within a day or two after report of the claim, depending on the severity of the flood event.
When reporting a claim, you should have the following information available:
When the adjuster arrives, they will inspect your property including taking measurements and photos and give you an overview of the NFIP flood claims process. Remember that some flood insurance claims are more complex than others. Some may be opened and closed quickly, while others may take weeks or even months to resolve.
If your vehicle was also damaged in a flood event, it's best to call your auto insurance provider to see if you're covered for the loss.
Contact us today for a free Flood Quote.
Summer and early autumn are perfect times for sitting in the backyard, listening to the sounds of nature, watching the sunset and enjoying a campfire.
As the coolness of the evening creeps in, a campfire is a great way to keep warm and socialize. That’s especially true in today’s world of social distancing—outdoors are the safest places to socialize, and bonfires are great ways to do so. Maybe you’re even using that campfire as a cooking stove from time to time, to roast marshmallows or cook hamburgers.
These all sound like great ideas, but any idea involving a bonfire or campfire is going to have its risks attached. It’s an open flame that you must control carefully, or else you will run the risk of causing a fire that might easily get out of control and do a lot of damage.
In order to keep your family and property safe when building campfires, keep a few of these tips in mind:
You can make a lot of memories while sitting around a campfire. But if you don’t do so safely, you could wind up facing a lot of property damage that could be a massive strain on your insurance liabilities. That’s why it’s always better to plan ahead than to wait until it is too late.
If you’re looking to buy a homeowners insurance policy that is perfect for your needs, just call our agency today. We’re here to help you get a customized, affordable policy portfolio no matter what you need.
Being in an accident is one of the most worrisome of situations. You worry about your safety and that of others with you. Then you worry about the condition of your car. You also worry about the other driver.
In situations like this, auto insurance is there to help. Sometimes, the other driver will be at fault. This means he or she made mistakes that led to the accident. If this occurs, the other driver’s auto insurance should cover the loss you face. But, what happens if the driver doesn’t have insurance?
Having Insurance Is a Legal Requirement
In most states, drivers must have car insurance to operate vehicles on public streets. Liability insurance is often a requirement. It helps cover the damage a driver causes to others on the road. In this case, the other driver’s liability insurance should cover your loss.
There are situations where the other driver’s insurance may lapse. For that reason, they may not be legally eligible to operate a vehicle. No matter the reason, uninsured drivers are still responsible for the damage they cause. You may have to resort to a lawsuit to cover your losses. Before you do that, turn to your own car insurance plan.
Will Your Car Insurance Help?
Most auto insurance policies allow you to maintain underinsured and uninsured coverage. This type of coverage protects you when the other driver lacks insurance. It only applies if the other driver is responsible for the losses. And, it only covers the damage to your insured vehicle. It does not cover damage to other people or the other driver.
This type of car insurance is a must for many drivers. There is no way to know if another driver has proper coverage when you are sharing the road with them. However, you can still protect yourself. Car insurance like this is often inexpensive. It is also usually easy to add to an existing insurance policy.
For those choosing car insurance, underinsured and uninsured coverage is a good investment. It helps you when you didn’t cause the problem but suffer the loss. This type of scenario can happen to anyone. With coverage, you do not have to worry about the outcome. If you do not have coverage, talk to your car insurance provider about the options available to you to add it for your current policy.
We’ve got you covered. Contact us at First Community Financial Group for a fast, free auto insurance quote.
Transitioning from a home where you have roots in one place to a full-time life on the road is a drastic change, but there are many things that draw people to this “nomad” lifestyle. It could be the flexibility, the love of traveling, or maybe you just want to get out of your comfort zone and try something new! Whatever the reason may be, if you’re preparing to be an RV full-timer, kudos for having the courage to embrace this exciting lifestyle change.
We know it can be overwhelming to think about the details involved with living full-time in an RV, and your choice to welcome the open road may seem impulsive to others, but that’s okay. Life is short, and who knows … you may end up regretting not doing this sooner!
Here are some tips to help you prepare for living in an RV full-time.
Become a Minimalist.
Adapting a minimalist lifestyle often requires major changes. You’re probably going from a normal-sized home to a roughly 270 square foot space, which forces you to ask: “What do I really need?” To determine this, start by writing down everything you want to bring, then write another list of everything you actually need. This will help you visualize and prioritize your possessions.
Bring all the necessities, of course – clothes, toiletries, shoes, cookware, etc. However, you won’t need 10 pairs of boots, or the many t-shirts that have been sitting in your drawers for 2+ years, or 20 drinking glasses that you currently have in your kitchen.
You may need to make some tough decisions, but take this opportunity to de-clutter your belongings. Make a “take” pile and a “donation” pile. It’s always a good idea, even if you aren’t planning to RV full-time!
Life on the road means you won’t be home to pick up your mail and see if you received any bills. Move all of your bills (cell phone, medical, credit cards, auto insurance, etc.) to automated billing so you don’t need to worry about it. Once you make the switch, you should get all notifications for your bills via email moving forward. Plus, this helps save the environment!
Sell or Keep Your Home?
This brings us to our next question – will you make the commitment to sell your home and have your RV be your only residence? This depends on how much you plan to travel throughout the year. Also, can you afford to keep your home while traveling? You will still have your mortgage payments, maintenance on the home and other obligations. If you decide to keep your home, there’s always the option of renting it out so you won’t have to worry about any mortgage payments. If you don’t start renting, make sure you have someone regularly stopping by your home to get the mail and take care of any maintenance needed as the seasons go by.
If you do decide to sell your home or cancel a lease, you will need to choose a domicile state and receive mail. Getting a domicile means you are choosing a state for your legal residence. This state will be listed on your driver’s license, where you purchase your health insurance, where you can vote and where you will accept mail. (There are lots of mail-forwarding services that will set you up with a street address so you can officially establish residency. This is helpful because a P.O. Box address will not be accepted as your legal residence). The best states for full-time RV-er domiciles are Texas, Florida or South Dakota.* People usually choose these states because they are income tax-free!
Selling your home will also allow more financial freedom for your RV travels! Get that estate sale ready, or find a storage unit to put all of your furniture in, just in case you ever want a break from the RV life.
Determine a Monthly Budget.
You may think you’ll be saving a lot of money when you live on the road – but you will be surprised. Since your expenses will be drastically different from when you lived in a home, you need to budget and keep track of everything you spend. Things like campsite fees, eating out frequently, gas and unexpected RV repairs can add up. Once you get a good idea of how much you’re spending each month, you can adjust your budget accordingly.
Purchase Full-Time RV Insurance.
Since your RV will be your permanent residence, you need a specific type of insurance coverage called “Full-Time RV Insurance.” You will be covered against liabilities, Additional Living Expenses, medical expenses in the case of an accident and more! The agents here at First Community Financial Group can get you information on how you can get covered, so you can enjoy your travels across the U.S.
Stay Connected with Family and Friends.
Communicate with your friends and family on a regular basis. (They will miss you!) It’s also a good idea to let a few people know your current location and where you’re headed next on a regular basis, just in case of an emergency. To make your loved ones feel like they’re part of your adventure, post pictures frequently on social media or send them via text or email. It will let everyone know you and your companions are safe, and also allows you to stay connected with everyone even when you’re not physically with them.
Enjoy Every Minute.
Living life on the road is a once-in-a-lifetime experience. You will see amazing things, meet one-of-a-kind people and make the best memories. Don’t take it for granted! With traveling, you will always run into some bumps in the road – but that’s part of the journey. Don’t let it discourage your long-term goals. You’re not tied down to a routine now, so enjoy the freedom and independence that comes with RVing full-time. Stay safe and happy travels from Foremost and First Community Financial Group!
Content provided by Foremost Ins.
Whether you're taking a road trip or taking the family camping, driving with a trailer can be a challenge. According to eTrailer.com, when you add a trailer to your vehicle, the overall handling and rules of driving dramatically change. Using your hitch to tow your favorite travel trailer means you should give yourself more time to slow down and turn corners. It's important that drivers of all experience use trailer brakes to decrease speed evenly with the added weight that's being towed. And, because trailers don't follow the exact path as the vehicle on turns, always remember to safely swing out wider when traveling around bends and corners.
Here are some do's and don'ts of towing to keep you safe on the road.
Foremost and First Community Financial Group wants you to tow and travel safely!
Insurance Agent Locator | Home, Business, Auto | Foremost Insurance Group
Spring is slowly making it's way here in Texas and before you get out on the open road, make sure you have the correct coverage for your RV:
"It's a good idea to consider specialized coverage for your recreational vehicle (RV)," says Foremost Insurance Group Senior Product Manager Randy Sellhorn. "It functions as a motorized vehicle some of the time and a home some of the time—having coverage for both of these purposes typically doesn't come from just an auto policy or a home policy."
Here are top questions Sellhorn suggests you ask your agent or broker when you are deciding what coverage to purchase for your RV.
Content Provided by Foremost Insurance.
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