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Insurance, It's Worth It!

An Industry Only a Mother Can Love
Years pass, decades pass and surveys are taken. The results are largely the same. Most folks don't care much for insurance. Insurance is still seen, at best, as a necessary economic evil. It's still common for many insurance consumers to believe that, unless their policies have paid out on a significant loss, the premiums they've paid for coverage have been wasted.
Insurance people and the companies they work for don't like this situation. However, it's tough to make a case whether public perception is fair when, for so very long, that perception has not changed.

Really Think About the Big "I"
Take a moment to truly think about insurance. Yes, a policy's value is best proven when insurance dollars are there; ready to pay for a loss. It's great when, after an auto accident, your insurer sends out an expert in claims to write an estimate, arrange to have a car towed for repairs, handles reserving a rental car, and then issues a check to pay for it all (except for your deductible). The same can be said after an insurance policy pays for a loss to your home or your business.

However, the real value of insurance exists each and every moment that a loss doesn't occur and no payments have to be made. Its value is there for every home that passes years without storm damage, without windows broken by baseballs, without suffering kitchen fires or roofs caved in by snow. Value is right there in front of your eyes as you drive past businesses, apartments, schools, hotels, factories, supermarkets and shopping centers.

Modern Economies Have to Have It
Owning anything of real value is a risky proposition. The greater the value, the higher the stakes caused by possible loss or destruction. Insurance, which protects most types of property and responds to lawsuits for most types of legal liability, enables a modern economy. Regardless whether you ever experience a loss, what is the chance that you could buy a home without insurance? Do you think that owning a car is likely without access to lenders? Even if a vehicle purchase can be handled without a loan, what about the danger you pose to others while driving?
What business of significant size could operate without the security provided by commercial insurance? Can you even imagine how everyone would have to scale back in order to handle their exposures to myriad losses without the ready availability of insurance? Many aspects of our modern lives would not be possible.
Do you still have a problem understanding the value of insurance? Would you like to imagine your world without it?

Insurance…it's worth it!  Call The Insurance Outlet today! Or, if you prefer, you can get a quote online here.  


©The Rough Notes Company, Inc.

Baby it’s cold outside.

When temperatures drop for extended periods of time, the risk of frozen pipes increases. We at the Insurance Outlet hope you will never experience the inconvenience, expense and loss of personal belongings this can cause to your home or office. The American Red Cross published the following recommendations for preventing, and recovering from, frozen pipes.

“An ounce of prevention…

During cold spell these tips will reduce the likelihood of pipes freezing:

  • Keep garage doors closed if there are water supply lines in the garage.
  • Open kitchen and bathroom cabinet doors to allow warmer air to circulate around the plumbing. Be sure to move any harmful cleaners and household chemicals up out of the reach of children.
  • When the weather is very cold outside, let the cold water drip from the faucet served by exposed pipes. Running water through the pipe - even at a trickle - helps prevent pipes from freezing.
  • Keep the thermostat set to the same temperature both during the day and at night. By temporarily suspending the use of lower nighttime temperatures, you may incur a higher heating bill, but you can prevent a much more costly repair job if pipes freeze and burst.
  • If you will be going away during cold weather, leave the heat on in your home, set to a temperature no lower than 55° F.

A pound of cure

Despite your best efforts, pipes may still freeze. If you turn on a faucet and only a trickle comes out, suspect a frozen pipe. Likely places for frozen pipes include against exterior walls or where your water service enters your home through the foundation.

Here are some steps to take if you suspect your pipes have frozen:

  • Keep the faucet open. As you treat the frozen pipe and the frozen area begins to melt, water will begin to flow through the frozen area. Running water through the pipe will help melt ice in the pipe.
  • Apply heat to the section of pipe using an electric heating pad wrapped around the pipe, an electric hair dryer, a portable space heater (kept away from flammable materials), or by wrapping pipes with towels soaked in hot water. Do not use a blowtorch, kerosene or propane heater, charcoal stove, or other open flame device.
  • Apply heat until full water pressure is restored. If you are unable to locate the frozen area, if the frozen area is not accessible, or if you can not thaw the pipe, call a licensed plumber.
  • Check all other faucets in your home to find out if you have additional frozen pipes. If one pipe freezes, others may freeze, too.
  • Call your insurance agent to report any damage to property.”

Avoid Heating Dangers

Woman relaxing at home in front of a cozy fire at Christmas

As the outside weather turns cold, many turn to the use of space heaters and woodburning stoves to help fight the chill from their homes. The wintry months of December through February are the highest for reported home fires that involve heating equipment. Such fires are a sad, significant source of fire fatalities.

If you choose to make use of space heaters or woodburning stoves, take the time to make sure they can be used safely. Steps can be taken to minimize the chance of a tragic fire loss.

Space Heaters
There are a number of simple steps to make the use of space heaters safer. Adhere to the following:

  • Use only Underwriter Laboratories (UL) approved heaters
  • Remember to turn portable heaters off when leaving the room or going to bed
  • Test smoke alarms monthly.
  • Inspect the heater to make sure it is operating properly and use heater ONLY as intended
  • Heaters must automatically shut off after desired temperature is reached
  • Heaters must automatically shut down in the event of a tip over
  • Heaters must be kept at least three feet from all combustible materials
  • Heaters must be monitored when in operation
  • Only plug heaters into wall receptacles (never use an extension cord)
  • Locate and use space heaters away from travel paths
  • Do not use space heaters in bathrooms or kitchens
  • Do not use portable space heaters if small children are present

Woodburning Stoves
There are a number of simple steps to make the use of woodburning stoves safer. Adhere to the following:

  • Keep anything that can burn at least three feet away from any stove
  • Have a three-foot "kid-free zone" around the stove's location
  • Have a qualified professional install such stoves, according to local codes and manufacturer's instructions. Strictly adhere to clearance, pipe length, chimney type and related requirements
  • Have stove and related connections professionally cleaned and inspected annually
  • Locate stove on a noncombustible, fire resistant base
  • Burn only dry, well-seasoned wood
  • Crack open a window to assist with ventilation
  • Dispose of ashes in a closed metal container outside the house
  • Never pass stove pipe through a wall or ceiling
  • Never connect a wood stove to a chimney serving another appliance burning other fuels
  • Don't start a stove fire with flammable liquids
  • Never use a stove to burn trash as such use may create a chimney fire
  • Never leave an operating stove unattended
  • Only use stoves approved by recognized testing laboratories

10 Money Saving Tips for Auto Insurance

Purchasing the auto insurance that is right for you can be confusing, especially for first-time buyers. By learning the basics on how to get the most for your money, you can save on your auto insurance and feel confident you have adequate coverage. The Insurance Outlet offers these tips to lead you in the right direction when you purchase your car insurance.

Be a safe driver. Drivers with good driving records can save as much as 60 percent over drivers who cause accidents.

Enroll in a driving class. Drivers who complete a state-approved defensive driving course, or drivers under the age of 21 who take a driver training course, could qualify for savings.

Buy a car that includes safety features such as anti-lock brakes, alarms or other security features, airbags, and automatic seat belts.

Choose a higher deductible (what you pay before your insurance policy kicks in), which can mean paying less for your policy.

Eliminate unnecessary coverages. If you drive an older car with little cash value, consider eliminating “collision” or “comprehensive” coverage, which pays for damage to or theft of your car.

Insure more than one car with the same company, and you may be eligible for savings.

Insure your car and home with the same company. You could save money if you have more than one type of policy with the same insurance company (for example, an auto policy and a homeowner’s policy). The more good business you give the company, the more valuable you are as a customer.

Look for low-mileage discounts if you car pool or do not put a lot of miles on your car annually.

Check for student discounts such as a good student credit for maintaining a B average, or if a driver in your household is living away at school and not driving as much.

Buy a safer car that will cost less to repair and less to insure. Check crash-test reports, repair records and manufacturer recalls of any car you are considering. A consumer protection magazine can be very useful or check car sites on the Internet.


9 Tips for Saving Money on Your Homeowners Insurance

Purchasing the homeowners insurance that is right for you and your home can be confusing, especially for first-time buyers. By learning the basics on how to get the most for your money, you can save on your homeowners insurance and feel confident you have adequate coverage. The Insurance Outlet offers these tips to lead you in the right direction when you purchase your homeowners insurance.

Shop around. In addition to considering friends, family, the phone book or the Internet as possible sources to find homeowners insurance, consult with an independent insurance agent. Look for a wide range of prices from several companies. Remember, you get what you pay for, so look for not only a fair price but excellent service as well. Check a company’s financial rating with A.M. Best or Standard & Poor’s.

Raise your deductible. Companies generally have deductibles (what you pay before your insurance policy kicks in) starting at $250. By choosing a higher deductible ($500, $750, $1,000 or higher), you’ll have lower annual premium payments.

Consider how much insuring a new home will be. The age of your home may qualify you for savings because plumbing, heating and electrical systems of newer homes have lower risks than outdated systems. Construction of the home (brick versus wooden frame) can affect your cost as well, depending on your home’s location. Also, if you live near your local fire department, your homeowners rates might be lower than if you are many miles away.

Insure your home, not your land. Since homeowners policies don’t provide protection for your land, it would be a waste of money to include its value as part of your dwelling coverage, which should only reflect the price it would cost to repair or replace your home’s structure.

Insure your car and home with the same company. You can save money if you have more than one type of policy with the same insurance company. The more good business you give the company, the more valuable you are as a customer.

Improve home security and safety. If your home has certain types of fire alarms, burglar alarms, locks, or smoke detectors, you’ve reduced your risk and may qualify for a credit.

Look for senior discounts. If you are at least 55 years old and retired, your insurance company may offer you a discount. Retirees often spend more time at home and are more likely to spot trouble and prevent a loss.

Look for group coverage. Many insurance companies offer discounts to groups such as alumni or business associations. Check with your association director or employer to see if they offer a plan.

Stay with one insurer. If you keep your coverage under one insurer for several years, you may be offered a discount from the company. The longer you are a customer, the more money you will likely end up saving.

Compare the limits in your policy to the value of your possessions at least once a year. If you make any major purchases or additions, you want to ensure they will be covered, but you do not want to spend more than is necessary.


January is a Great Time to Assess Your Insurance Coverage

The beginning of a new year is a time when we find ourselves assessing our life, career and/or health. Why not your insurance as well? As our lives change, so do our insurance needs. Just as you get a yearly physical exam and car inspection, so too should you review your coverage to assure that you are adequately covered.


  • Structural: Construction costs, like everything else increase over time. The cost to replace your home is different today than it was ten, five or even two years ago. Perhaps you’ve added a deck or an addition to your house or upgraded your kitchen. These are factors that count toward the estimated cost to replace your home. Make sure your homeowners’ coverage is keeping up with your current replacement value. (By the way, this value is not the same as your market value.)
  • Home inventory: The more details you have regarding the contents of your home, the easier it is for an Adjuster to account for them at the time of a loss. Checklists, photos and videos go a long way toward settling a claim. It’s important to record all relevant information. Checklists templates are available through our agency. In the event of a fire, it’s imperative to keep a copy of these records offsite. You can upload them to the cloud, keep them in a safe deposit box at your bank or provide copies to our agency.
  • Additional coverage: Homeowners’ policies typically provide very limited coverage for jewelry. Did you get a new ring for Christmas or recently inherit a family heirloom? It’s important to have your jewelry appraised and specifically added to your policy to get the full replacement value for any missing or damaged items. Appraisals should be updated too; with the value of diamonds and gold fluctuating, you may be surprised by the current value of your jewelry.
  • Lienholders and mortgagees: Did you refinance a car? Was your mortgage sold to another bank? Did you pay off your vehicle or home? Making sure your lienholders and mortgagees are up to date can avoid any delays down the road.

Life and family

  • Is your life insurance up to date? Do you have enough coverage to ensure your loved ones can maintain their current lifestyle?
  • Have there been changes to your family structure? Marriage, divorce, births and deaths all affect your insurance needs.
  • Are your beneficiaries accurately listed? Has their contact information changed?

Save money!

An annual review may also save you money. Talk to your agent about the possibility of increasing liability limits on your auto, home or recreational vehicles and taking advantage of all the discounts available to you, such as those offered for bundling your home and auto policies, setting up automatic payments and/or signing up for paperless delivery.

Call us today to schedule your annual checkup. We’ll discuss life changes, coverages, and your overall insurance costs to assure that you're still getting the best value for your personal needs.

7 Reasons Independent Agents Are the Best

1. Options - Independent agents represent many different insurance companies that offer a wide variety of coverage options and price points. On average, most independent agents, including The Insurance Outlet, work with more than a dozen different companies. Why accept a quote from just one carrier when an independent agent represents so many? This allows them to make the best match for your lifestyle, belongings, risk factors and needs while also seeking competitive rates, coverage and quality of service.

2. Time Savings - You’re a smart consumer; you want the best value and coverage, but the time required to research various options and fill out forms for online quotes would be exhausting. With an independent agent there’s no need to do all that. Their connections and knowledge of the market allows agents to often find a better value for your insurance dollar than you might find on your own. Agents do the shopping. You reap the benefits.

3. Quality - Independent agents have the freedom to work with only those carriers they know to provide the best coverage, value, customer support and fastest claim service. They can add or remove insurance carriers from their offerings at any time, as they see changes in the industry. This gives you the peace of mind of knowing your coverage is provided by the most reputable, efficient and professional companies.

4. All about YOU! - Independent agents don't work for the carrier, they work for YOU! They become your personal advisor and advocate. If you have a claim or billing concern, or need to change your coverage, your agent will work with the insurance company on your behalf. An independent agent takes the time to listen to you and understand your individual needs. They know it’s not just about finding a price you can afford; it’s also about making certain you are appropriately covered.

5. Life Happens – Marriages, births, teen drivers, new homes, these are just some of the life events that affect your insurance needs. Independent agents see these changes as opportunities to review your account and assure you’re still getting the best value. They’ll determine if another one of the many companies they work with might be better suited to serve your new circumstances.

6. Expertize – Independents make a career out of assessing their customers’ insurance needs and matching them with the insurance carrier best equipped to meet those needs at a price the customer can afford. They know the idiosyncrasies of one carrier's underwriting versus another. For example, some carriers offer unique coverages such as underground utility services which provide coverage should a water or sewer line were to break. This isn’t covered by most homeowners’ policies, and most likely wouldn’t even know that until you had a claim.

7. Understanding your Community – Independent agents share your interest in your community and understand the benefits and challenges associated with your daily life. It’s doubtful that a gecko, duck or quirky lady named Flo would understand the unique risks associated with tens of thousands of bikers invading the streets of your small town on Laconia Bike Week or the challenges associated with boating on a lake crowded with tourists who are unfamiliar with that body of water. They also know which local cleaning & restoration companies will pick up the phone at 2am and which area autobody shops, rental agencies, glass centers, electricians, plumbers, contractors to recommend based on their reputation for quality and timely work. You won’t get all that from an unknown customer service rep at a well-publicized 800 number.


Why us?
office_smAs a small agency, The Insurance Outlet offers more than a transactional relationship. Our agents get to know you on a first name basis. We want to know all about you, your family, your home and life so that we may better assess your risk characteristics and take a proactive approach to protecting you and your material investments. You won’t get that from those agencies you see in cute television commercials. They don’t know you and never will. You’ll likely get a different representative every time you call.

While we do have customary business hours, rest assured that we monitor our voicemails 7 days a week and return calls outside of the typical business hours when you need help with a claim. That’s our promise to you.
At The Insurance Outlet, our reputation means everything to us, so we don’t ever over-promise and under-deliver. If we don’t think we can top your current policies, we’ll let you know. Our agents just appreciate the opportunity to review your insurance needs. We want you to trust us enough that when your needs change, you’ll consider us again. Meanwhile, we’d appreciate you telling your friends how no-pressure we are. All our work is relationship based with over 75% of new business coming from personal referrals. That speaks volumes about the trust people have in us and that’s very important to us.

Why not give us a call today or stop into our office (you can’t do that with those online companies!) and see what we can do for you.

Usage-based Auto Insurance Could Save You Money

Traditionally, auto insurance rates have been based on risk factors determined by a driver’s age, type of car, marital status and zip code.  Needless to say, this is less than a perfect system relying on predictive risk modeling as determined by statistics and research.


Rewarding Safe Driving

While Safe Driver programs offer lower premiums and/or bonuses for drivers who have filed no claims over a period of time; they are simply a reflection of history rather than present behaviors. Through these programs, improved driving habits may take years to result in lowered rates.



A small device, called a Dongle, is plugged into the car's port to transmit driving information to the insurance carrier.


A Better Mouse Trap

With recent technology allowing for the collection of accurate data, we now have the option of Usage-based Insurance. UBI, also referred to as “Pay as You Drive”, is defined by Wikipedia as “a type of vehicle insurance whereby the costs are dependent upon type of vehicle used, measured against time, distance, behavior and place”.

Data is transmitted to the insurance carrier through onboard telematics technology by simply plugging in a small device, called a Dongle. By collecting information such as time of day driven, miles driven, and breaking habits, insurance carriers are able to analyze real-time data and price the risk of a driver more accurately, resulting in an average savings of 6% and 30% for qualified drivers.

Through the use of mobile apps, drivers are able to access personal data relating to their driving habits. With a potential cost savings as incentive, over 50% of drivers report that they have made efforts to modify their driving. Carriers are hopeful that this will result in making our roads a bit safer for everyone.

Some carriers offer a trial period for Usage-based Insurance. Contact us today to discuss the potential for reducing your auto insurance rates through this technology.

Attractive Nuisances- A Safety Risk

Let’s face it. You try, but you can’t watch kids every minute. They can be in front of you one second and out swim_ring_in_the_pool_204904the door the next. It’s in that moment that they will find the most potentially dangerous things to get into. Younger children don’t have the knowledge or rationale to realize the risks they encounter. For this reason it is up to the property owner to take reasonable measures to prevent hazardous situations that might be attractive to a child, including those who might trespass unsupervised onto their property. Referred to as Attractive Nuisances, some examples include:

  • swimming pools
  • trampolines
  • playground equipment
  • tree houses and forts
  • abandoned vehicles
  • abandoned buildings
  • discarded appliances
  • construction materials
  • water features such as fountains and koi ponds
  • naturally occurring ponds and swamp land
  • abandoned wells or other large holes

Property owners can be held responsible for injuries or deaths of young children if it can be proven that they knew about the risk and failed to take reasonable measures to eliminate it. Insurance companies are not obliged to insure a property and the presence of Attractive Nuisances can be enough to reduce your available options when seeking coverage. To avoid this issue, remove, secure or lock away any Attractive Nuisances on your property.

No one wants to see a child get hurt, especially when it could have been prevented. At The Insurance Outlet, we know it is always better to prevent loss than to have to recover from it. We do our best to be proactive about reviewing homes before writing a policy and will make recommendations for making your property safer and easier to insure.

Can I Afford My New Driver?

Young drivers are expensive to insure. If your household is about to add a new driver, make sure driver_595143athat he or she understands that, besides endangering themselves and others, poor driving habits can result in higher insurance premiums, fines and even a suspended license.

Here are some methods to help minimize the cost of a new driver:

  • Have your child complete a driver training class. The class' cost is easily offset by lower insurance premiums. You also gain a more competent young driver.
  • Ask your insurer if it gives discounts to students with good grades.
  • Make sure your new driver understands New Hampshire’s Hands-Free laws and the penalties. The incidence of accidents is increased by the use of devices while driving. This is not only potential for increased insurance rates, and expensive fines, but also a risk to lives.
  • Find a company that charges a rate according to the car your new driver usually drives instead of assigning him or her to the most expensive vehicle.
  • Try to discourage or delay your child's driving to school. Insurers charge a lower premium for less frequent driving.
  • Build a long-term relationship with your insurer. Some companies reward longevity by forgiving a driver's first accident or minor traffic violation.
  • Increase your physical damage deductibles or, for older vehicles, eliminate this coverage.
  • If your child owns a vehicle, he or she should have a separate policy. However, if you share the cost of the car and its insurance, it may make sense to also own or co-own the vehicle. Your ownership interest lets you take advantage of a multiple-car discount.
  • Think carefully about giving a young driver his or her own car. Coverage for young drivers who have full-time access to a vehicle is very expensive. Make sure you balance the considerations of convenience, cost and safety.
  • If purchasing a car for your teen, consult with your agent about insurance costs of various makes and models beforehand. It is often a shock to find out after the fact that your purchase is significantly more expensive than a different choice might have been.

Requiring your teen to contribute to their insurance costs may influence them to drive more cautiously. Also, take the driver training requirements seriously. While it’s indeed a challenge to fit the necessary twenty hours of supervised driving into busy schedules, it’s imperative not to forego it as it is your only opportunity to influence your teen’s driving habits. Use this time to introduce new driving challenges and difficult situations they will one day encounter alone.

Don't pursue lower premiums blindly. It's important that your young driver is protected from the financial consequences of causing a serious accident. Further, you may need to protect yourself since you could also be sued for an accident caused by your son or daughter. You might consider getting higher limits of liability by purchasing an umbrella policy.

Give The Insurance Outlet a call to discuss strategies to keep your new driver affordable.


Summer Injuries- Are You Covered?

laughing_summer_girl_198053Summer in the Lakes Region generally brings a surge in recreational activity, from summer house guests to a week at your lakefront camp to enjoying simple outdoor toys and sports equipment in the back yard during family barbecues.

Unfortunately, there is always a chance of injury even when playing an innocent game of kickball, Frisbee or horseshoes, whether at home or while enjoying the sun at one of our many local beaches. Get a group of kids together with skateboards, bikes, Hover Boards and even wagons and chances are someone will eventually get hurt.

We’re not suggesting you forgo these summer activities. Yes, there is potential liability that comes with inviting friends and family to enjoy some outdoor fun in your yard, pool, boat or camp, but you can lessen your risks by taking reasonable precautions to protect your guests so they may safely enjoy themselves. While injuries may still occur at times, you are much less likely to be held liable if you demonstrate precaution and aren’t neglectful or reckless.

How to Preserve Your Fun

The easiest way to protect yourself and your guests is to ask the following questions:

  • What can I do to keep other persons safe from my activities? (Example: Am I staying a safe distance from others and preventing little ones from wandering into the area when I’m swinging a baseball bat?)
  • Am I prepared to accept responsibility for people I hurt or property I damage? (Example: Am I willing to take financial responsibility if my fireworks ignite a neighbor’s home or injure someone?)
  • How do I make my home and yard safe for fun-seeking visitors? (Example: Have I repaired broken steps, and loose railings, pick up tools that could be tripped over and secured loose bricks in the walkway?)
  • Am I keeping my guests safe? (Example: Am I operating my boat in accordance to the rules and regulations set forth by New Hampshire Marine Patrol?)

While accidents happen, many can be prevented by making sure that you and your family enjoy activities responsibly. The proper use of games and equipment decreases the likelihood of serious injuries. Adult supervision is critical for potentially dangerous activities such as the use of motorized recreational equipment, trampolines, and swimming pools.

Home Inspection

Simply inspecting your home and yard may open your eyes to hazardous situations. Eliminating these hazards is one way to decrease your risk. Do you have an adequate fence with self-locking gate to protect young children from a pool? Is your playground equipment well-maintained and sturdy? Is your property, both inside and out, free of tripping hazards? Are dangerous items such as tools, chemicals and lawn equipment kept out of reach of children? It’s easy to become blind to things we see every day. Try looking at your home and yard through a fresh set of eyes and at the level of a child. You’ll be amazed what you may find.

Insurance Plays a Role

Despite the most diligent efforts, accidents can still occur, sometimes followed by medical expenses and, more seriously, lawsuits. Your family’s financial health relies on the proper protection against such potentially devastating consequences. Don't assume your insurance has you covered for every situation. You may have to add coverage to your homeowner policy or even buy special coverage for common recreational vehicles like minibikes, dirt bikes, mopeds and all-terrain vehicles. Call us today to set up an appointment to discuss the personal liability insurance on your home, condo or renters policy.