Top 5 Mistakes People Make When Filing an Insurance Claim

Harford County Insurance Claims

Top 5 Mistakes People Make When Filing an Insurance Claim

These mistakes can cost you. Whether you’ve suffered damage to your home or business, a loss from storm damage, fire or some other peril can be incredibly stressful, and sometimes it’s hard to think straight. The same goes for an auto accident or vandalism. You want to avoid these mistakes, so that your claim is handled speedily, and you get the insurance payment you deserve.

Here are the top five mistakes clients make when filing insurance claims:

  1. Not contacting your insurance company immediately. Most insurance companies provide a 24/7 hotline for making claims outside of regular business hours. Many people make the mistake of cleaning up the damage before an insurance adjuster visits. This creates confusion about how bad things really were, and you may find that either the labor you did or paid for before this visit can’t be covered.
  2. Making permanent repairs. Take the reasonable steps to protect your property from further damage and be sure to save the receipts. Remember that payments for temporary repairs are part of the total settlement. This includes things like boarding up windows, putting a tarp on the roof, etc. Don’t make extensive, more permanent repairs until our claims adjuster has assessed the damage.
  3. Not documenting the damage. Many times, repairs must begin immediately to prevent additional damage, or equipment must be moved to a new location. If this is the case, make sure you take pictures of the original scene to document how it was before you started your cleanup effort. Also take photos of any repairs you make. Many insurance companies, as part of their online claims process, allow you to upload photos.
  4. Disposing of damaged goods. If your cleanup includes removing items such as water-damaged furniture, flooring or insulation, keep it all, even if it has to pile up in your yard or parking lot. The damaged materials are all evidence in the claims process. However, photos will be enough if exposure to spoiling is a risk, such as food or perishable items.
  5. Not getting statements from witnesses. Depending on the type of claim, look for witnesses. Find as many as you can, and make sure to get their statements and contact information. Witness statements can be invaluable, especially when they’re given by people totally unconnected to the incident.

By avoiding these common mistakes when filing an insurance claim, you can avoid delays and get back to normal in no time.

Looking to update your insurance or get insurance for your new home or car? Dean Insurance is a Bel Air, MD independent Insurance Agency offering auto insurance, homeowners insurance, commercial insurance and more. We’ve been serving the insurance needs of central Maryland since 1973. Call us today at 410-838-3700 for a free quote.

Christmas Safety Tips from Dean Insurance Agency

Christmas Safety Tips from Dean Insurance Agency

The Christmas season is full of joy and cheer, but if you’re not careful, disaster could strike. We already talked about fire safety as it concerns your wood stove, fireplace and space heaters. But with all of the holiday decorations, there are a few more safety tips to keep in mind.

TREE LIGHTS

If your tree lights are more than 10 years old, you should consider replacing them, because safety standards have changed and the technology has improved. Definitely replace lights that flicker or have loose connections, frayed or cracked insulation, or corroded sockets. Do not overload your outlets, and avoid extension cords whenever possible. Unplug all lights when leaving your home or going to bed. Using a timer will accomplish the same thing.  All lights should be UL approved.

 

OUTDOOR LIGHTS

Follow the same tips listed above for your outdoor lights. Another thing to keep in mind with outdoor lights is your own personal safety. Don’t climb a ladder without another person there to assist. Don’t climb up on your roof if you are at all unsteady on your feet. Consider hiring a professional or a handyman to hang lights in high places.

CANDLES

Always put candles in sturdy, tip-resistant candleholders. Keep them away from curtains, drapes, decorations, or anything flammable. Don’t leave them burning unattended or within the reach of small children. Extinguish candles by wetting the wick before you leave a room or go to bed.

TREE

If you use a real Christmas tree, make sure it’s fresh. Trim the trunk two inches before putting it up, and use a large, non-tipping water-holding tree stand. Locate it away from heating ducts, hallways, doorways or any busy area, and keep it watered. A dry tree can go up in flames in seconds. If you are using an artificial tree, be sure it is flame retardant.

KITCHEN

As you prepare for holiday parties and the big gathering, traffic and activity in your kitchen may increase dramatically. But basic kitchen safety rules don’t change at all. In all the fuss, pay extra attention to the little things: keep pot handles turned inward, keep combustibles away from flames, and keep children and pets from out from underfoot while you’re working with the hot stuff!

And of course, if there is a fire or any other emergency, call 911, and when things have calmed down, call your insurance company to report the incident.

Call Dean Insurance today at 410-838-3700 if you have any questions, or to get a free quote on homeowners insurance, auto insurance, life insurance and more. We’ve been serving Bel Air and the Harford County Community since 1973 and we’d love to help you get the insurance coverage you need

Fire Safety Tips

Fire Safety Tips

It’s that time of year again, when people start using the fireplace or wood stove, or switch on space heaters. As heating season begins, the number of house fires goes up. So does the number of smoking related fires because smokers either don’t want to go outside in the cold, or are in a hurry to get back inside and don’t fully extinguish the cigarette butt before tossing it.

Fortunately, by following some fire safety tips and taking some preventative measures, you can reduce the risk of a fire in your home. And most of all, you can prevent the risk of injury or death in the event of a fire.

  • Install smoke detectors on every level of your home.
  • Test smoke alarms regularly and change the batteries if they aren’t working.
  • Keep items that can catch fire at least three feet away from anything that can get hot or has an open flame. This includes stoves, fireplaces, space heaters, candles etc.
  • Make sure the fire in the fireplace or wood stove is out before you go to bed
  • Turn off space heaters if you leave the room, or before you go to bed.
  • Never run extension cords under a rug, and avoid using them for space heaters.
  • Never leave a burning candle unattended.
  • Smoking is the number one cause of residential fire deaths in the United States. If you smoke, smoke outside, never smoke in bed, or smoke if a family member uses oxygen.
  • Use deep, sturdy ashtrays and douse cigarette and cigar butts with water before disposal.
  • Teach your children about the dangers of fire and keep lighters and matches out of reach.
  • Have a fire escape plan and a designated spot to meet outside.

In the event of a fire, get out of the home as quickly as possible and call 911. When things have calmed down a bit and everyone is safely accounted for and the fire is out, call your insurance company to let them know of the fire.

If you’re a renter, fire is one of the reasons you need to have renter’s insurance. Your landlord’s insurance covers the building, but not your belongings. For a low monthly rate, you can insure your clothing, furniture, electronics and other belongings so that you don’t lose everything in a fire.

Call Dean Insurance today at 410-838-3700 if you have any questions, or to get a free quote on homeowners insurance, auto insurance, life insurance and more. We’ve been serving Bel Air and the Harford County Community since 1973 and we’d love to help you get the insurance coverage you need.

If I Hit a Deer Will It Be Covered By My Auto Insurance?

If I Hit a Deer Will It Be Covered By My Auto Insurance?

In a word, yes. As far as your auto insurance company is concerned, hitting a deer is a typically covered loss. Since this is not an “at fault” type of loss, your insurer is likely to process the claim through your comprehensive coverage.

It’s important to note that for the accident to be considered a comprehensive loss, physical contact must be made with the deer. If you swerve to miss the deer and run your car off the road, that would likely be considered a collision loss.

And assuming no other factors are present, such as DUI or distracted driving, your insurance rates should not go up if you hit a deer. Hitting a deer is considered a random and unpredictable situation, since deer are known to unexpectedly dash across the road. Since the claim is generally processed under your comprehensive coverage where no fault is assigned, it’s not likely that your rates will increase.

What to Do If You Hit a Deer

It happens, even to the most careful driver. Nationwide, it is predicted that one of every 169 drivers will collide with a deer. And if you do any driving in Pennsylvania, your risk is higher at 1 in 67. Pennsylvania is one of 10 states with the highest number of deer crashes. If you should happen to hit a deer, here’s what to do:

  • Move your vehicle to a safe place. If possible, move your vehicle off the side of the road and turn your hazard lights on. If you have to exit your vehicle, do so on the side away from the road. Deer are most active at dusk and dawn – making it hard to see them, and hard for another driver to see you.
  • Call 911 to report the incident. Tell authorities if you are blocking the road, or if the crash caused property damage. The police report may be helpful when you file your insurance claim.
  • Take pictures of the incident. Take photos of your surroundings, the crash site, the deer, the damage to your vehicle, etc. Photos can help you process your claim more quickly. If there were witnesses, get their statement about what they saw and get their contact information.
  • Stay away from the deer, if it is still alive. A frightened deer can still kick and injure you.
  • Call your insurance agent to report what happened. The sooner you report what happened, the sooner they can process your claim, and get you a loaner car if needed.
  • Don’t assume your vehicle is safe to drive. Look for leaking fluid, loose tires, a broken windshield, a hood that won’t latch, etc. If your vehicle seems unsafe, call for a tow.

Call Dean Insurance today at 410-838-3700 if you have any questions, or to get a free quote on auto insurance, homeowners insurance, life insurance and more. We’ve been serving Bel Air and the Harford County Community since 1973 and we’d love to help you get the insurance coverage you need.

Boat Insurance – What Does It Cover

Harford County Boat Insurance

As the weather gets nicer, more and more people are getting out on the water. Whether you’re exploring Baltimore’s Inner Harbor, cruising the Chesapeake Bay or docking at the marina, accidents happen. The more boaters on the water, the greater the likelihood of a boating accident or damage to your vessel. A good boat insurance policy provides protection in the event of an accident, whether you’re hauling your boat, at the marina or out on the water.

Risks insured against generally include fire and explosion, windstorm, theft, collision while afloat, collision while being transported, sinking, stranding, loss of motor overboard, contact with underwater objects and liability (with limits on medical payments).

Whether you just bought a boat and need boat insurance, or if you have a boat but it’s time to review your policy, the boat insurance experts at Dean Insurance are standing by to lend a hand. Call us today at 410-838-3700 or use our contact form. to get a free quote.

Dean Insurance is a Bel Air, MD independent Insurance Agency offering auto insurance, homeowners insurance, commercial insurance and more. We’ve been serving the insurance needs of central Maryland since 1973.

Why Work With an Independent Insurance Agency

 

Harford County, Insurance Agency, Baltimore County, Auto Insurance

OK, maybe we’re biased here because Dean Insurance is an independent insurance agency, but we think there are a number of reasons why you should work with a local insurance agency rather than some faceless conglomerate.

You may think you’re saving money on auto insurance or homeowners insurance by dealing directly with the insurance company, but that isn’t always the case.  Our rates are competitive with the direct writers and often lower than those big guys who spend billions to advertise on TV. Working with an independent insurance agent saves you the time of calling dozens of different companies for a quote, and because of our industry knowledge, we can save you time and money in the long run.

Specifically, working with an independent insurance agency has several benefits:

  • Insurance agents have the ability to quickly check prices and coverages with a number of different insurance companies. Not all insurance companies are created equal. One company may have very competitive rates in rural areas but not so great in town.  Another may have great rates for singles or older folks but may be a poor choice for a family with teenage drivers. Rates can vary widely depending upon your individual circumstances and an independent insurance agent will know where to look for the best value and coverage.
  • Independent insurance agencies are a one-stop-shop for all of your insurance needs. We don’t just sell auto insurance.  We also sell homeowners, renters, health and life insurance, business insurance etc. Use us – at no cost to yourself – to handle all of your insurance in one place.
  • Insurance is a complicated subject.  It’s our business to understand it and communicate it to you so you understand it as well.  In almost all cases, you, the consumer will benefit from having a professional who deals with this subject for a living advise you on a 50+ page contract.  We know where to look in your insurance policy for hidden surprises.  The industry is regulated on a state-by-state basis.  Move from one state to another and you’ll find that the coverages may look the same at first glance, but a closer look shows things work a bit differently.
  • Insurance coverages don’t just vary from state to state … they can vary from company to company within the same state. Some companies’ policies may contain provisions that materially affect you in some way… some unknown way if you don’t have an expert advisor who is already familiar with a particular policy’s quirks.

The importance of using an independent agent cannot be over-emphasized.  Insurance contracts and insurance laws are complex and change periodically.  Licensed insurance agents are professionals who must pass a rigorous licensing exam and successfully complete 26 hours of Continuing Education every two years in order to maintain their licenses and keep up with policy, industry and regulatory changes.  Buying insurance without an independent agent is a bit like being your own lawyer without a law degree.  It might be OK if nothing goes wrong but when the unexpected happens, you need the peace of mind that comes from knowing your protection plan was designed by a professional.

Contrast that to buying directly from an insurance company. With no regulated, licensed insurance agent working to protect your interests, you are taking on full responsibility for your coverage decisions and for any mistakes you make. No safety net.  Standing over the smoldering ruins of what was your home or reading over a freshly served law suit is not the time you want to be wondering whether you should’ve used a professional independent insurance agent.

Now, don’t get us wrong. Plenty of people buy insurance online or over the phone from the big direct writers with cute mascots and multi-million dollar advertising budgets.  We just think you get a better policy at a better price, with better service from an independent insurance agency owned and staffed by people who live and work in your community.

If you’re in the market for auto insurance, homeowners insurance, business insurance, life insurance or any other type of insurance coverage, give the independent insurance agents at Dean Insurance Agency a call today at 410-838-3700. We work with homeowners and business people throughout Harford County, Baltimore County and Cecil County Maryland. We work for you, not the insurance company.

AUTO INSURANCE TIPS – WHAT TO DO IN CASE OF AN ACCIDENT

Bel Air, Auto Insurance, Harford County, Car Insurance

AUTO INSURANCE TIPS – WHAT TO DO IN CASE OF AN ACCIDENT

We all buy auto insurance to provide financial protection in the event of an accident.  In order to maximize the efficiency with which a car insurance claim is processed and to help ensure that your protection is not compromised in any way, it is important to understand what to do and say if you are involved in an accident.  Remember that when an accident happens, most people are upset and as a consequence, may not be thinking clearly.   It’s a good idea to keep a reminder card in your glove compartment along with the vehicle registration so that you have something to use as a checklist when you need it.  Your auto insurance agent should be able to provide you with a pre-printed, step-by-step set of instructions to keep in your car.

Call Dean Insurance of Bel Air MD to purchase Car Insurance at 410.838.3700
or for a car insurance quote click here!

To help your car insurance agency, if you are involved in an accident, consider the following steps.

  1. Determine whether anyone is injured, render first aid and call 911 as appropriate.
  2. Write down the time, date and location of the accident.
  3. If possible, get names, phone numbers and addresses of any witnesses and passengers in all involved vehicles.
  4. List name, address and phone number of injured person(s).
  5. Make NO comment or statement about the car accident and do not admit in any way that you were at fault.  This could compromise the defense being presented by your car insurance company.
  6. It is always a good idea to take pictures of the car accident to include the roadway or intersection where the car accident took place, the damaged areas of all vehicles involved, positions of vehicles in the roadway, debris on road, skid marks, and any other items that may have contributed to the incident.  If there was a particular condition that contributed to the accident such as ice, snow, a pot hole or other obstruction, be sure to take several photos from various angles and directions.
  7. Draw a sketch of the scene.  Again, most car insurance companies publish a pamphlet with pre-printed intersection diagrams so that you can diagram an accident while it is still fresh in your mind.
  8. Report the incident to your agent or car insurance company.
  9. Write a description within an hour of the accident for your car insurance company of what happened, for your car insurance adjuster, to avoid forgetting details later.

Following all of these tips will help your auto insurance company process or fight an insurance claim on your behalf.

Call Dean Insurance of Bel Air MD to purchase Auto Insurance at 410.838.3700 or for a car insurance quote click here!