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6 tips for maintaining your older car

By Personal Insurance

Giving your car the proper care and maintaining an upkeep regimen is important, but it’s even more pivotal if you have an older car. Follow these tips to make sure you get as much life out of your car as possible.

  1. Change your oil and filter
    This task may seem like a standard practice for any car but it is often overlooked by many vehicle owners. Make sure that you change your car’s oil at least every 5,000 miles to keep your car running smoothly. Checking your car’s oil regularly (at least once a month) will help you make sure that you don’t keep your car running on the same oil for too long. Changing your oil filter is just as important and it’s recommended that you do so at least every 6 months.
  2. Protect your car from the sun
    Strong sun and heat can damage both your car’s exterior and interior. Try to park in the shade and leave your window cracked to eliminate uneven air pressure. A sunshade will protect your car’s dashboard from harmful UV rays and treating your car’s leather seats regularly with a conditioner will keep your seats lasting long and looking great!
  3. Change your timing belt
    A timing belt synchronizes the rotation of both the crankshaft and the camshaft. This piece of equipment ensures that all valves open and close at the same time. In newer cars this typically isn’t a huge concern for most vehicle owners, but this belt should be replaced every 100,000 miles to keep your engine functioning properly.
  4. Wash your car regularly
    It’s recommended that you take your car in for a good wash 4 times per year. This is not just to keep your car looking its best, it also helps you avoid damage to your vehicle. Dirt, rain, mud, and salt can corrode your car’s paint job which leaves your car’s exterior vulnerable to rusting. A rusty frame compromises the strength of the metal and can make for a dangerous situation.
  5. Change your brake fluid
    The properties in brake fluid make it actively attract water from the air. This can cause your brakes to corrode and rust, thus compromising the safety of your car. It’s recommended to get you brake fluid changed ever 2 years to makes sure your car is in tip top shape.
  6. Make sure you have the proper auto insurance
    Ensuring that you’re covered properly and that your auto insurance covers what’s important to you is as important as changing your oil! In the event that your car is damaged, you’ll want to have enough coverage to restore your antique car to its former glory. Your American Insurance agent will help you decide what level of coverage is right for you. Give us a call today!

Renting a property on Airbnb? Here’s what you need to know!

By Business Insurance, Personal Insurance

A great way to make some extra money in this tough time is to rent out your property on Airbnb, VRBO, or any other vacation rental site. If this is the path you decide to take, you need to consider what kind of coverage you need in order to protect yourself.

1. Airbnb has automatic host protection insurance
All Airbnb hosts are automatically covered under the company’s “host protection” insurance. This plan provides $1,000,000 per occurrence in liability coverage. Airbnb’s plan has some limitations. For example, any incident that occurs while using an item or appliance improperly is not covered. Finally, as this is liability coverage only, there is no coverage for any property.

2. Typically, standard homeowners insurance is not enough
While your homeowners insurance will likely cover things like fire, wind damage, water damage, and personal injury, it tends to get somewhat messy when you’re renting out your home on a short-term basis. Some insurance companies will agree to cover one-off short-term rental requests, but they also may require you to add an endorsement to your policy to cover rentals. The most important thing is to notify your insurance agent or company that you are participating in home sharing so that you can be properly covered.

3. If you rent your property often enough, it may be considered a business
Depending on the extent of your renting, you may need coverage that can only be provided by a separate business insurance policy.

Contact your agent at American Insurance to discuss all of your options today!

6 Philanthropic Insurance Companies

By Business Insurance, Community, Personal Insurance

Nowadays, more people are challenging the companies they use to be socially and ethically conscious. This includes their insurance companies! Many insurance providers have upped their game in the world of corporate responsibility, here are just a few that we at American Insurance partner with:

1. Allstate
Allstate provides millions of dollars in grants every year to organizations that uphold their core pillars: empowering youth, ending domestic violence, transforming communities, and developing nonprofit leaders. Allstate employees also offer hands-on support by volunteering at organizations that maintain these goals.

2. Liberty Mutual
Similarly, the Liberty Mutual Foundation provides grants to nonprofit organizations that support men, women, and children facing homelessness and educational resources to children living in poverty. Liberty Mutual also has the Liberty Torchbearers program and an annual day of service which encourages their employees to volunteer in their communities.

3. Nationwide
Nationwide partners with the American Red Cross, Feeding America, Nationwide Children’s Hospital, United Way. They also reward their philanthropic employees who volunteer on their own time with paid time off and a grant to the nonprofit at which they volunteer.

4. Progressive
While Progressive doesn’t provide financial support directly to charities, they match any employee’s charitable contributions. Progressive also donates vehicles to veterans who are facing financial hardship through their Keys to Progress program – to date, they’ve donated over 600 vehicles.

5. USLI
USLI focuses their philanthropic programs on coaching and mentoring children in the Greater Philadelphia and southern New Jersey areas. They partner with 20 nonprofits locally and country-wide to provide support.

6. Chubb
In an effort to mobilize against COVID-19, Chubb has provided millions in support to those most affected by the pandemic. They partner with almost a dozen organizations to provide personal protective equipment and insurance coverage to workers on the frontline, financial support to small businesses, extra supplies to food banks, etc. Chubb is also helping to fund the search for a treatment or vaccine by partnering with the Rockefeller University.

American Insurance is proud to work with these companies who are making continued efforts to support charitable causes!

6 Ways to Protect Your Home from High Winds

By Personal Insurance

1. Remove any dead trees
Protect your home from falling trees in your yard by cutting down any that are dead or sick. Trees that have large sections that don’t grow leaves are not strong and prone to falling. Contact a landscaping company who will be able to let you know if any trees in your yard pose a risk to your home.

2. Secure your outdoor furniture
Batten down the hatches! In the event of high winds, any outdoor furniture may be swept up and cause damage to your home or your neighbors’. Before a storm with high winds, make sure you either bring any outdoor furniture inside or anchor it to something solid.

3. Install functioning shutters
While also giving your house a facelift, new shutters will protect your windows from strong winds. Make sure you can fully shut and latch your shutters so no debris breaks or cracks your windows.

4. Park your car under cover
While this may not protect your home, parking your car in a secure location (like in your garage or under a carpark) can protect it from falling trees in the area.

5. Have your roof inspected regularly
A weak roof can be the difference between minor damage and a destroyed home. Make you’re your roof is inspected and maintained regularly so you’re prepared for the next windstorm or hurricane.

6. Update your homeowners insurance
Having an accurate homeowners insurance policy is an important step to protecting your home. While it may not be something that you can physically do, it will cover any damage that may occur in a storm.

 

Call American Insurance to discuss your homeowners policy today!

 

 

The information provided on this website does not, and is not intended to, constitute legal or insurance advice; instead, all information, content, and materials available on this site are for general informational purposes only. Information on this website may not constitute the most up-to-date insurance or other information. This website may contains links to other third-party websites. Such links are only for the convenience of the reader, user or browser; American Insurance and its employees do not recommend or endorse the contents of the third-party sites.

Readers of this website should contact their insurance agent to obtain advice with respect to any particular insurance matter.

Should you use an app that tracks your driving?

By Personal Insurance

Insurance companies want to incentivize their customers to practice safer and more cautious driving. One way that they do this is to offer a discount if you use an app that tracks your driving. These apps use your smartphone’s functionality to collect data on your driving – how often you drive, how fast you drive, they can even tell how short you stop! It’s important to weigh the pros and cons of these apps before agreeing to use one:

The Pros

• The most obvious pro of using a safe driving app is a lower premium. Even agreeing to use a safe driving app and downloading it to your phone may automatically save you money on your premium. From there, if you are deemed a “safe driver” by your insurance company, you may be entitled to even more savings. Be sure to connect with your agent to determine what constitutes a “safe driver.”
• Another benefit to using a safe driving app is it may actually make you a more careful driver. On most apps you’re able to view a summary of your driving habits and users have reported that seeing these metrics has helped them improve their driving.
• The apps are typically very easy to install and use. The days of having to install a third party piece of equipment in your vehicle are over. Your phone is usually all you need!
• Some apps offer additional benefits such as roadside assistance and theft tracking. Your insurance agent will be able to help you determine what added benefits are offered to you.
• A safe driving app will allow you to prove to your insurance company that you’re a safe driver, thus lowering your rates!

The Cons

•If the insurance company deems your driving as “unsafe,” they may add a surcharge to your policy. However, often times the company gives you a “test period” to see if the tracking app is right for you. Each company varies, so it is important to know the specific information for your company.
• Agreeing to use the app gives the insurance company access to certain data, sometimes including location data. It’s important to determine how much data you’re willing to share with your insurance company before you sign up.
• It’s possible that your insurance company may use the data from your safe driving app to assign fault in an accident claim. Driving apps may communicate certain data to your insurance company, but they don’t tell the whole story.

Reach out to an agent at American Insurance today to talk through the pros and cons of using a safe driving app!

 

 

The information provided on this website does not, and is not intended to, constitute legal or insurance advice; instead, all information, content, and materials available on this site are for general informational purposes only. Information on this website may not constitute the most up-to-date insurance or other information. This website may contains links to other third-party websites. Such links are only for the convenience of the reader, user or browser; American Insurance and its employees do not recommend or endorse the contents of the third-party sites.

Readers of this website should contact their insurance agent to obtain advice with respect to any particular insurance matter.

5 Reasons to Carry Renters Insurance

By Personal Insurance

Renters insurance is a good idea to have when you’re someone’s tenant. Here’s why:

1. It protects your property
Renters insurance is the equivalent of homeowners insurance for tenants. If you have renters policy, your possessions will be covered if they’re damaged or destroyed. When you’re living in someone else’s property, you may not have a lot of control over the property itself, but you can protect your stuff if something goes wrong.

2. It protects you if something goes wrong in your home
Renters insurance policies include liability coverage. This means that if someone comes to the home that you rent, gets injured, and takes any legal action against you. Some policies may also cover medical expenses of anyone who gets injured in your home. Accidents happen all the time but having renter’s insurance will give you one less thing to worry about.

3. It protects your ability to have a roof over your head
Some renters policies cover the cost of alternate housing if the home you occupy is damaged or destroyed. A “loss of use” policy will cover the cost of a hotel, food, and other living expenses while your home is repaired or rebuilt after damage.

4. It protects you from a host of other issues
Someone breaks into your home, steals your credit card or check book, and goes on a spending spree? Covered by renters insurance. You borrow your friend’s tablet and a pipe bursts in your home and destroys it? Covered by renters insurance. There’s a power surge in your building and all your lamps and lightbulbs are destroyed? Renters insurance covers it.

5. And finally… it’s cheap!
All the benefits mentioned above will likely cost you less than $20 per month. Even more, if you bundle a renters policy with your auto policy, a lot of times the discount covers the full price of the policy!

Reach out to American Insurance today to discuss renters insurance policies that are right for you!

 

 

The information provided on this website does not, and is not intended to, constitute legal or insurance advice; instead, all information, content, and materials available on this site are for general informational purposes only. Information on this website may not constitute the most up-to-date insurance or other information. This website may contains links to other third-party websites. Such links are only for the convenience of the reader, user or browser; American Insurance and its employees do not recommend or endorse the contents of the third-party sites.

Readers of this website should contact their insurance agent to obtain advice with respect to any particular insurance matter.

Most Common Homeowners Claims and Tips To Avoid Them

By Personal Insurance

Approximately 97% of homeowners insurance claims are the result of property damage. Here are the most common types and tips from American Insurance on how you can avoid them:

1. Wind & Hail
The most common insurance claims that are filed have to do with damage from wind and hail. Make sure you inspect your roof before and after large storms and take note of any damage. Secure all outdoor equipment/valuables and install impact-resistant windows.

2. Water Damage & Freezing
Make sure to disconnect all hoses when you’re not actively using them. Cleaning your gutters may also help prevent any water damage to your home. When it’s cold outside, leave a few taps dripping so that your pipes don’t freeze and burst. Seal any cracks in the foundation of your house to prevent water damage.

3. Fire & Lightning
Unplug electronics and avoid using water during a lightning storm. Keep your grill at least 10 feet from your house to avoid fires. Make sure you don’t leave any candles or fireplaces unattended when lit. Test your smoke detectors periodically and replace any drained batteries.

4. Theft & Burglary
Invest in a security system like a doorbell camera or an alarm system. When you are on vacation leave a few lights on and ask a trusted family member or neighbor to collect your newspapers and mail. Make sure you lock your doors every time you leave and install a coded garage door opener.

 

Contact American Insurance for a homeowners insurance quote today!

 

 

The information provided on this website does not, and is not intended to, constitute legal or insurance advice; instead, all information, content, and materials available on this site are for general informational purposes only. Information on this website may not constitute the most up-to-date insurance or other information. This website may contains links to other third-party websites. Such links are only for the convenience of the reader, user or browser; American Insurance and its employees do not recommend or endorse the contents of the third-party sites.

Readers of this website should contact their insurance agent to obtain advice with respect to any particular insurance matter.

Scotch Plains, NJ native is currently running 30 miles a day through the month of July to raise money to build wells in Africa

By Community

The Fight for Clean Water

James Leitner founded MissionCleanWater in May 2016 with the simple goal of helping as many people gain access to clean water as possible. Since then, Leitner has raised thousands of dollars towards building wells for the world’s most underserved and marginalized communities. Leitner’s first major fundraising event for MissionCleanWater was to run one marathon a month while carrying 5 gallons of water in 2016-2017 to symbolize what women and children have to do every day in some parts of the world to get water. From there, Leitner started his journey walking from his hometown of Scotch Plains, NJ to San Francisco (3,250 miles) while pulling 10 gallons of water behind him. This journey took Leitner 143 days and across 3 mountain ranges, the Great Plains, and the desert. MissionCleanWater has also mobilized people around the country who are completing similar treks to raise money for the cause.

With the goal to raise $30,000 in 30 days to build a clean water and hygiene solution for an all-girls school in Uganda, Leitner will run 30 miles every day for the month of July. He’s currently on day 20 of this journey and you can follow along with his progress here. Leitner will run the 30-mile loop every day in Tamaques Park in Westfield, NJ and could use a companion or two to run with!

How You Can Help

American Insurance is thrilled to announce a donation matching campaign. We will match every donation for the next week up to $1,000 so that we can help James get that much closer to his goal. To make a tax-exempt donation and to learn more about this very worthy cause, please go to the Mission Clean Water website. Over $20,000 has been raised towards the $30,000 goal to date.

American Insurance is proud to support our Local Heroes like James!

Why should you use an Independent Insurance Agent?

By Business Insurance, Personal Insurance

While shopping around for insurance, there are many decisions that you will have to make. How much coverage is adequate? What is a reasonable price to pay? However, when it comes to choosing to use either an independent agent or a direct writer, it’s a no-brainer. Here’s why:

The Facts:

A direct writer is someone who works directly for one insurance company. When you’re working with a direct writer, they have an obligation to remain loyal to the company that they work for. A direct writer will work to get you the best price that their company offers, but that’s as far as they’re obligated to go.

An independent agent, on the other hand, has no loyalty to one insurance company over another. If you decide to work with an independent agent as opposed to a direct writer, it’s as if you have a personal shopper in the insurance marketplace. Your independent agent shops around in order to get you a combination of the best coverage and price possible. Their overarching loyalty lies with you, the customer.

It’s also important to note that there are no additional fees to work with an independent agent. Independent agents are paid directly by the insurance companies they work with. So you get the benefit of an insurance professional that can help advocate for you at no cost.

What this means:

An independent agent has the ability to get quotes from many different insurance companies which gives you much more freedom to pick a policy that’s right for you. You get more coverage options, more pricing options, and a licensed agent to help guide you through the process.

Reach out to American Insurance today to get a consultation with an independent agent!

COVID-19 Update

By Update

In response to COVID-19, our office is fully up and operational remotely. Please visit our Meet the Team page if you are looking to speak with a particular staff member, or contact us at 732-453-8792.

While the Governor’s Executive Order has expired, many insurance companies are still working with insureds impacted by COVID-19 on a case-by-case basis. Please contact our office if you need assistance.

Visit our Client Portal for 24/7 access to request policy changes, auto ID cards, certificates of insurance, and more.

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