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Monday, April 14, 2014

Help! Someone has stolen my identity!!

www.annualcreditreport.com, and you're entitled to 15 free credit reports every year. Some banks automatically provide ID-theft insurance to checking-account holders and some insurers include ID-theft coverage in their homeowners insurance policies for a very low cost. And you can get free help from the http://www.idtheftcenter.org/ and the attorney general's office in some states.

Here are some ways to identify if you have been a victim of identity theft:
-Unusual withdrawals from your bank account
-You are no longer receiving your mail
-Merchants refuse your checks or credit cards
-Debt collectors call you about debts you didn’t incur
-You find unfamiliar accounts, loans or charges on your credit report
-Medical providers bill you for services you did not receive, or your health insurance rejects your claim because records indicate you have reached your benefit limit
-You can’t get health insurance because your medical records show a condition you do not have
-The IRS notifies you that multiple tax returns were filed in your name
A very common type of identity theft is tricking a victim into giving out personal information such as a social security identification or a credit card number. Phishing is one of the preferred method of fraudsters. Phishing works by obtaining your personal information through the use of misleading e-mails or pop-up messages from what appears to be a legitimate companies such as your bank or internet service providers. In some cases, this is also done by phone.

Protecting your personal information can help reduce your risk of identity theft. The best ways to do so are: be careful with whom you share your information, store and dispose of your personal information securely, and maintain appropriate security on your computers and other electronic devices.

Identity theft continues to be one of the fastest growing crimes in the United States. It is important for consumers to recognize that identity theft is not just a financial crime. This crime varies widely, and can include financial identity theft (checking and/or credit card fraud), criminal identity theft, governmental identity theft and even medical identity theft. It can be a difficult crime for a victim. Your life has been altered. You are faced with tasks that may be confusing and situations you don't know how to handle. Unfortunately, in the case of identity theft the burden of proving innocence rests on the shoulders of the victim.

Many insurance companies offer Identity Theft insurance as an endorsement to home insurance policies and some offer separate policies just for this coverage. Unfortunately, insurance can not prevent the incident from happening. You must be proactive to prevent identity theft. But insurance can help you if you become a victim with reimbursement for expenses incurred during the legal recovery process, as well as personal help. SouthGroup Gulf Coast, your Trusted Choice Advisor, is here to locally aid you with this type of coverage and, while we hope you never become a victim, we will be here to help you through the recovery process.

Again, as we recognize the seriousness of this threat, SouthGroup Gulf Coast is hosting a Free Shred Drop April 14-30, 2014. As part of our commitment to community service, we invite you to deliver your old personal documents to one of our 3 convenient coastal locations. We will protect and have these documents shredded at no expense to you. Anyone with an identity to protect is welcome to participate!
We are your LOCAL Trusted Choice Advisors, SouthGroup-Gulf Coast http://www.southgroupgulfcoast.com / ,
SALES AND SERVICE AGENTS: Angelyn Treutel Zeringue, Tammy Garfield, Tammy Hogue, Brittany Jones, Denise Russell, Melissa Moran, Alex Treutel, Susan Monti, Anne Gillam, Ashlie Moody, Michael Reso and Whitney Zimmerman at SouthGroup Gulf Coast. You can reach us by snail-mail or in person: 412 Hwy 90, Suite 6, Bay St Louis MS 39520, email:
atreutel@southgroup.net , phone: 228-466-4498 , fax:888-415-8922, FaceBook www.facebook.com/southgroup.gulfcoast, or Twitter www.twitter.com/atreutel !
We have 3 Gulf Coast locations to serve you - 2505 Pass Road - Biloxi, 5400 Indian Hill-Diamondhead, and 412 Hwy 90 Ste 6-Bay Saint Louis, MS. We write coverage in 40 different states and can assist you with Mississippi insurance, Louisiana insurance, and Alabama insurance and many other states. Insurance is stressful, but we make saving easy.  We help you save money on insurance!

Thanks to Susan Monti for her words of wisdom!

Happy Healthy Easter Holiday - How to avoid the post-feasting blues

Though Easter is overshadowed in the feasting department compared to Christmas or Thanksgiving, it is still traditionally a time when families get together to socialize and eat! Eat! Eat! But, the hardest part of eating like it's Christmas in spring is dealing with the aftermath of bikini weather. Not only that, but do you really want to lay around like you ate a whole turkey on a gorgeous, sunny, Easter afternoon? Us neither! Here are's some important tips regarding what to eat, how to eat it, and what to do, to make Easter healthier for you and the ones you love:

First, let's review some basic eating habits you should incorporate into your daily routine and not just for holidays. Having a steady metabolism is key to how many calories you are able to burn. Eating a small breakfast every day can increase your metabolism by 10%, in turn, enabling you to better burn that big lunch later in the day. Did you know that protein generally requires about 25% more energy to digest? Because protein takes longer to break down than fat and carbohydrate, the body uses more energy to digest protein, and this helps you burn more calories as well. Also, diets rich in fiber help keep you full longer which is important for weight management.

Let's discuss some simple tricks you can use to help you defend yourself in the battle of over indulgence. Bringing your own healthy dish to contribute to the feast will ensure you have something healthy to eat. Filling up on soups and salads prior to the main course (always avoid cream based soups and heavy salad dressing) is a great way to help you manage how much of the less healthy items you will be able to eat. Concentrate on your meal while you're eating it. Focus on chewing your food well and enjoying the smell, taste, and texture of each item. Be fully aware of each item you are consuming. If the meal will be served near your usual meal time, try to eat the same amount of carbohydrates that you normally would for a meal. If you plan to have a portion of dessert, cut back on another carbohydrate food during the main course. Make sure your portions are reasonable and resist going back for second helpings. Whether it’s a glass of red wine or a beer, holiday drinking can add a significant amount of calories to your intake. Avoid drinks that have high calorie mixers like regular soda, tonic, juice or margarita mix that are all packed with carbohydrate and calories.

Try healthier versions of your favorite foods and get your family and friends on board with you. Will the casserole taste just as good with fat free or light sour cream? Can you steam green beans instead of sautéing in butter? Use a little less sugar in your fruit pie. The natural sweet of the fruit doesn’t require a lot of added sugar. Many traditional holiday foods are high in carbohydrates: mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, stuffing, dinner rolls, and an assortment of desserts. Don't feel like you have to sample everything on the table. Have a reasonable portion of your favorites and pass on the rest. Because high carbohydrate foods are plentiful at most family feasts, watch your portion sizes. If you can't decide on one or two carbohydrate foods to eat, take in very small portions of each.

Holidays are an opportunity to catch up with friends and family, but the focus on food and eating can be very tough. Have no fear, there are ways to control your carb intake and to eat healthy on this holiday. Remember, the focus is getting together with loved ones - not what's for dinner. Play games, volunteer, or spend time outdoors enjoying the weather together. One reason that we have problems managing weight during the holidays is our lack of physical activity. Sure, the holidays are busy, but plan time into each day for exercise and don’t break your routine. Make the holidays an active time! And don't forget to offer to help clean up after the meal to get you moving around!

If you eat more carbs or food than you planned for, don’t think you have failed. Stop eating and focus on spending the rest of your time with the people around you. Include extra exercise and get back on track with your usual eating habits the next day. The best way to compensate for eating a little more than usual is to be active. Start a new tradition that involves taking a walk with the whole family or playing outdoor sports like volley ball or frisbee.

And don't forget your veggies! Vegetables are important for everyone! Unfortunately, the vegetable selection on holiday menus is usually limited. We all want to dress up the table with tempting treats. Why not add some colorful vegetable dishes? Veggies come in all colors and are very nutritious. Offer to bring a green salad or a side of steamed veggies that have been seasoned. Non-starchy veggies are low in carbs and calories. They will help fill you up and keep you from overeating other high-calorie and high-fat foods on the table.

We are your LOCAL Trusted Choice Advisors, SouthGroup-Gulf Coast http://www.southgroupgulfcoast.com / ,
SALES AND SERVICE AGENTS: Angelyn Treutel Zeringue, Tammy Garfield, Tammy Hogue, Brittany Jones, Denise Russell, Melissa Moran, Alex Treutel, Susan Monti, Anne Gillam, Ashlie Moody, Michael Reso and Whitney Zimmerman at SouthGroup Gulf Coast. You can reach us by snail-mail or in person: 412 Hwy 90, Suite 6, Bay St Louis MS 39520, email:
atreutel@southgroup.net , phone: 228-466-4498 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting 228-466-4498 FREE  end_of_the_skype_highlighting , fax:888-415-8922, FaceBook www.facebook.com/southgroup.gulfcoast, or Twitter www.twitter.com/atreutel !
 
We have 3 Gulf Coast locations to serve you - 2505 Pass Road - Biloxi, 5400 Indian Hill-Diamondhead, and 412 Hwy 90 Ste 6-Bay Saint Louis, MS. We write coverage in 40 different states and can assist you with Mississippi insurance, Louisiana insurance, and Alabama insurance and many other states. Insurance is stressful, but we make saving easy.  We help you save money on insurance!
Thanks to Susan Monti for her words of wisdom!

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Singing in the Rain - and Driving Safely Too !!

As April showers continue to plummet us, SouthGroup wanted to review some driving safety tips for the rainy weather we have been dealing with and will be continuing to deal with until we see May flowers.

Driving in the rain is always dangerous and even more so at night. Once the roads are wet, the odds have worsened regardless of the amount of rain dumped onto the streets. Of course, in areas of the road that hold water, the odds of danger increase significantly. The most important thing to do while driving any time, but especially in dangerous conditions, is pay attention!

Distractions are one of the leading causes of auto accidents today. Today we have more distractions than we have had in the past, such as cell phones buzzing that we want to check immediately. We recommend, in dangerous conditions, you turn off anything that may distract you (your cell phone, stereo, etc ) from focusing on the road ahead. While you focus on the road ahead, do be sure to check all of your mirrors regularly to keep a clear view of what is happening around you. In severe weather, you could be in danger of falling electrical wires or poles, trees, or other cars who have lost control and are heading in your direction.

While keeping focused and paying close attention, also remember you want others to be able to focus on you too! Everyone should have their headlights on in rainy weather conditions, regardless of how bright it may be out. Not only is your visibility important, but being visible to others also increases your safety. In heavy rain, your headlights will also assist you in seeing what is in front of you. Some things are easy to miss, such as obstacles in the road, in heavy rain.


Distancing your vehicle from those in front of you is a safety practice we should all use whenever we are behind the wheel, but even more so in rainy weather. Driver safety training recommends allowing 1 second of following distance per 10 miles per hour of speed. And remember not to rush in rainy weather, even if you are in a hurry. Drive at or below the speed limit to the point that you can see far enough in front of you to appropriately make driving decisions. Last second choices are far too dangerous on wet roads.

Know your tires and what they can handle! The maximum speed at which you can drive at all times is directly related to your tires. Keep an eye on the condition of your tires. With use, tires lose their ability to grip wet pavement and channel water out as the tread wears out. A penny can be substituted for a tire tread depth gauge as tires wear to the critical final few 32nds of an inch of their remaining tread depth. Place a penny into several tread grooves across the tire. If part of Lincoln's head is always covered by the tread, you have more than 2/32" of tread depth remaining.

The largest threat to driving on wet roads (even when it is not currently raining) is hydroplaning. Hydroplaning is where your vehicle travels on top of the water and has no or very little contact with the ground. Your traction is reduced significantly. To safely get out of a hydroplaning situation let off the gas and steer straight or slightly in the direction you must go. Do not make sudden motions, and remain calm. Never engage cruise control driving on wet roads. Using your cruise control feature during wet conditions increases your risk of hydroplaning. When you see standing water or flooded roads and you are not sure of the depth, do not attempt to drive through. Flooding the engine of your car can cause the engine to stall, and deep water can actually float your car and take it off the roadway. Watch for splashing from potholes and pools of water that accumulate at clogged storm drain pipes and low areas of the pavement. Highways also develop "ruts" where the heaviest traffic tracks, and you may be able to position your vehicle while remaining in your lane to avoid these. Also, be aware that brakes can be affected by water. Wet drum type brakes are especially prone to decreased stopping power after driving through deep water.

Visibility in heavy rain is another major threat. We recommend pulling over until you are able to see clearly enough to drive safely. If you must drive through without stopping, increase your visibility by turning on the defroster if the windshield begins to fog. In hot, muggy weather, air conditioned air (which cannot contain as much moisture) will usually clear the inside of the windshield faster than non air conditioned. To prepare in advance, use a rain repellent product on side windows and mirrors to clear standing raindrops. Beware of driving in the rain, especially at night. Motorcycles or even other dark-colored cars can be camouflaged amongst glistening raindrops on side windows and mirrors.

Remember to always check your vehicle before taking long trips - especially if you expect dangerous weather conditions in your travels. Check not only your tires, but your brakes and brake fluid, power steering fluid levels, windshield wipers (for wear), defroster is properly functioning, and lights are properly functioning. Always avoid driving in severe weather conditions if you are able.

Did you know that some auto insurance companies discount your policy premiums for safe driving records and good driving history? Call our office today to find out if your insurance policy is providing you the proper discounts, or visit one of our 3 convenient coastal locations for a free insurance review of all your policies. SouthGroup Insurance strives to provide the best coverage to each of our clients on a personal level at the best rates available.

We are your LOCAL
Trusted Choice Advisors, SouthGroup-Gulf Coast http://www.southgroupgulfcoast.com / ,
SALES AND SERVICE AGENTS: Angelyn Treutel Zeringue, Tammy Garfield, Tammy Hogue, Brittany Jones, Denise Russell, Melissa Moran, Alex Treutel, Susan Monti, Anne Gillam, Ashlie Moody, Michael Reso and Whitney Zimmerman at SouthGroup Gulf Coast. You can reach us by snail-mail or in person: 412 Hwy 90, Suite 6, Bay St Louis MS 39520, email:
atreutel@southgroup.net , phone: 228-466-4498 , fax:888-415-8922, FaceBook www.facebook.com/southgroup.gulfcoast, or Twitter www.twitter.com/atreutel !

 
We have 3 Gulf Coast locations to serve you - 2505 Pass Road - Biloxi, 5400 Indian Hill-Diamondhead, and 412 Hwy 90 Ste 6-Bay Saint Louis, MS. We write coverage in 40 different states and can assist you with Mississippi insurance, Louisiana insurance, and Alabama insurance and many other states. Insurance is stressful, but we make saving easy.  We help you save money on insurance!

Thanks to Susan Monti for her words of wisdom!
 

Monday, April 7, 2014

Help! I'm confused about Auto Insurance! ANSWER:Here's How to Ready Your Policy Contract

We all need to have insurance coverage for the vehicles we drive, not only because of law enforcement, but also because it's smart! Regrettably, some people only obtain coverage for what the law requires – which results in being under-insured when you need it for something other than the legal obligation. Others only want what their lienholder requires, which overlooks additional options that could be very useful. None of us like to think about the moments when we may need to actually use the coverage, but unfortunately things happen.


Let's break down the basics of auto insurance, starting with what is required by law and why:



In short, Auto Insurance is a policy purchased by vehicle owners to mitigate the costs associated with getting into an auto accident. Auto insurance premiums vary depending on: vehicle year/make/model, driver age/driving history, and other minor factors such as vehicle safety reports and repair costs. Most states mandate that all vehicles must be covered by the minimum amount of insurance.


Mississippi law requires that all drivers maintain liability insurance and carry proof of that insurance in their vehicles at all times showing that coverage is in place with minimum limits of 25/50/25. To many, "25/50/25" looks foreign. Here is the secret code breaker on how to read the average auto insurance policy: $25,000 maximum will be paid by the policy per person (limited to a single accident), $50,000 maximum paid per accident for bodily injury, and $25,000 maximum paid per accident for property damage. When you are responsible for an accident, liability coverage pays for the damage you cause to other people's health and their property, and it protects your assets from seizure and litigation.


Remember, if you are at fault in an accident, liability coverage will only pay up to your limits of insurance. You will be responsible for any damages over that amount. In todayʼs era of ever-rising medical costs and auto repair bills, the state-mandated minimum requirements of 25/50/25 are not sufficient. It is a good idea to consider purchasing liability coverage with higher limits. Consider the total value of your assets and income, and speak with your Trusted Choice insurance agent to discuss what liability limits of coverage are best suited for you personally.

 

All other coverages are optional, unless you have a loan on your vehicle. If you have a loan, your bank will require that you have Comprehensive (Comp) and Collision (Coll) coverage to protect their interest in the vehicle until your loan is paid off. If your insured vehicle is damaged due to an event other than a collision, Comprehensive coverage will pay for the damage. This includes damages from fire, theft, windstorm, flood and vandalism. Comprehensive coverage is also the coverage used for glass claims, such as when a rock hits your windsheild and causes spider like cracks. When your insured vehicle overturns or collides with another object, Collision coverage pays for the damage to repair or replace your vehicle. Both of these coverages include a deductible. A deductible is the amount you agree to pay out of your pocket for the damage which results from an at-fault accident. You can reduce your premiums by agreeing to take on more risk, which is accomplished by increasing your deductible. If you do not have a loan on your vehicle, it is still recommended to carry these coverages so that you are fully protected in the event your vehicle is damaged or totaled in an incident. However, the current market value of your vehicle will impact the amount of payment you would receive in the event of an accident.


Again, we recommend you review the current value of your vehicle based on age, mileage and wear, and discuss this information with your Trusted Choice insurance agent to decide if these coverages are reasonable options for your vehicle.

Coverage to protect you in the event that you are struck by an uninsured motorist (UM) or under-insured motorist (UIM) are listed on your policy in the same way as your own liability coverage, such as 25/50/25. If a driver or owner of a vehicle does not have insurance and is legally liable for an accident with you, you can use your UM coverage for injuries, including death, that you, your resident relatives, and any occupants of your insured vehicle sustain, up to the limits you selected for your policy. Or, if a driver or owner of a vehicle is legally liable for an accident but does not have enough insurance, you can use your UIM coverage. So, in other words, the UM/UIM coverage protects YOU, and the coverage needs to be sufficient for your protection. $25,000 is just too low, and probably won’t even cover the cost to repair/replace your vehicle. When purchasing these coverages, consider the value of your vehicle as well as how much coverage you have in health insurance and your deductible options to help you decide what limits of coverage are best suited for you.

Medical Payments (MedPay) is an optional insurance coverage that pays for reasonable and necessary medical and funeral expenses for you and any occupants of your vehicle or the other guy’s vehicle. These expenses must be incurred as a result of an auto accident, but in most cases does not mean you or the injured party have to be in your insured vehicle to use this coverage. Many policies also extend MedPay coverage to claims where insured pedestrians are struck by vehicles as well. This is a very valuable and low cost coverage, and many people match the deductible on their health insurance with the amount MedPay coverages, so that both polices may be used to cover the cost of a hospital visit. Review your MedPay coverage with your Trusted Choice Agent to verify what limits are included on your policy.

Roadside Assistance Coverage provides services such as towing, flat tire change, locksmith service and battery jump-start to customers, who can elect the service for an additional premium. Depending on the insurance provider, in some cases you contact your insurance company when in need of assistance while other companies require you acquire the service, pay and then supply the receipt for reimbursement.

Rental Reimbursement Coverage provides rental car coverage if you have a claim that is covered under Comprehensive or Collision coverage. Daily rental amounts are subject to the limit purchased on your policy. Many people mistake this coverage as being available for any time a rental car is used by the insured, but this coverage is actually only used in the event of a claim.

Most Auto Insurance companies offer Gap Insurance. If your insured car is totaled in an accident, or stolen and unrecovered, your auto insurance company may give you a settlement based on the car’s actual cash value (ACV) at that time, and not what you actually paid for it. Since cars depreciate in value quickly, your settlement may not cover what you still owe on your auto loan or lease. Gap insurance covers the difference between what the car is worth and what you owe on the car. One of the biggest mistakes consumers make in buying car gap insurance is to buy it at the dealership where it costs more. When purchasing a new vehicle, contact your Trusted Choice Agent to see if this option is available to you.

This information covers the basics of Auto Insurance, but does not break down other rules and regulations. To learn more, contact SouthGroup Insurance today by calling or visiting one of our 3 convenient coastal locations. We recommend an annual insurance review to all of our clients and welcome new visitors to let us review your coverage with you also and make sure you have the best coverage for your personal needs at the best rates available.
Still sound like a foreign language? Call SouthGroup Insurance and speak with one of our licensed agents to learn more. We offer full insurance reviews of all your policies at no charge, helping you better understand what coverage is best suited for you personally and why. No appointment is necessary to visit one of our 3 convenient coastal locations in Bay St. Louis, Diamondhead and Biloxi.

We are your LOCAL Trusted Choice Advisors, SouthGroup-Gulf Coast http://www.southgroupgulfcoast.com / ,
SALES AND SERVICE AGENTS: Angelyn Treutel Zeringue, Tammy Garfield, Tammy Hogue, Brittany Jones, Denise Russell, Melissa Moran, Alex Treutel, Susan Monti, Anne Gillam, Ashlie Moody, Michael Reso and Whitney Zimmerman at SouthGroup Gulf Coast. You can reach us by snail-mail or in person: 412 Hwy 90, Suite 6, Bay St Louis MS 39520, email:
atreutel@southgroup.net , phone: 228-466-4498 , fax:888-415-8922, FaceBook www.facebook.com/southgroup.gulfcoast, or Twitter www.twitter.com/atreutel !

 
We have 3 Gulf Coast locations to serve you - 2505 Pass Road - Biloxi, 5400 Indian Hill-Diamondhead, and 412 Hwy 90 Ste 6-Bay Saint Louis, MS. We write coverage in 40 different states and can assist you with Mississippi insurance, Louisiana insurance, and Alabama insurance and many other states. Insurance is stressful, but we make saving easy.  We help you save money on insurance!

Thanks to Susan Monti for her words of wisdom!
 

Monday, March 24, 2014

Wading Through the Red Tape to a Victory in Flood Insurance!

Unless you are a realtor, mortgage banker or insurance sales person you probably have remained confused about the Flood Insurance Reform, what it means, or how it will affect you personally. Many people are misinformed, and some of that misinformation actually comes from the media. When it comes to bills, acts, and all of that government jargon, most folks just put their faith in the media to translate for them. While the actual concept of the reform was financially frightening, the misinformation was more like a horror story. The good news though, is that on March 21, 2014, President Obama signed the Homeowner Flood Insurance Affordability Act into law, so we can all breathe a sigh of relief. But, what we at SouthGroup Insurance would like to do here is break down the Flood Insurance Reform and the Homeowner Flood Insurance Affordability Act into bite sized pieces that will give the consumer a better understanding of what has been flooding our heads with confusion!
Flooding has been, and continues to be, a serious risk in the United States. To address the need, in 1968, the U.S. Congress established the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) as a Federal program. It allowed property owners to purchase flood insurance if the community had adopted floodplain standards for new construction. However, owners of existing homes and businesses did not have to rebuild their structures to the higher elevation standards, and many consumers received subsidized rates that did not reflect their true risk exposure. Over the years, the costs and consequences of flooding have continued to increase. After many studies, for the NFIP to remain sustainable, the premium structure would have to more accurately reflect the true risks and costs of flooding.

In 2012, the U.S. Congress passed the Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance Reform Act of 2012 (BW-12) which calls on the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), and other agencies, to make a number of changes to the way the NFIP is run. Key provisions of the legislation required the NFIP to raise rates to reflect the true flood risk, to make the program more financially stable, and to change how Flood Insurance Rate Map (FIRM) updates impact policyholders. The changes meant huge premium rate increases for most policyholders over time, and in some cases, exponential increases right away.

Under BW-12, policyholders with subsidized policies for non-primary residences, businesses, and severe repetitive loss properties, would see large increases. Subsidies would be removed for policies on newly purchased properties, lapsed policies, policies covering properties for the first time, properties of one to four residences that have experienced severe repetitive loss; and properties that have incurred flood-related damages where claims payments exceed the fair market value of the property. Most policyholders would see a new 5% charge on their premiums to cover the Reserve Fund assessment that is mandated by BW-12.

Rate changes would have had the worst impact on properties located within a Special Flood Hazard Area that were built before a community adopted its first Flood Insurance Rate Map (FIRM) and had not been elevated. For many communities, the initial FIRM would have been adopted in the 1970’s and 1980’s. Many of these pre-FIRM properties have been receiving subsidized rates. There would also be premium changes for policyholders after their community is remapped. Currently, the NFIP Grandfathering procedure provides the option of using risk data from previous Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRMs), if a policyholder has maintained continuous coverage, or if a building was constructed "in compliance" with the requirements for the Zone and Base Flood Elevation (BFE) reflected on a previous FIRM. A provision of BW-12, however, required FEMA to use revised flood risk data (Zone and BFE) provided by the latest map revision, thereby eliminating Grandfathering.

Thankfully, the Homeowner Flood Insurance Affordability Act was signed and will address many of the unintended consequences of BW-12. Here are some highlights:

+ Average rates will only be allowed to increase 15%-18% annually.

+ Property that is purchased will be provided the same flood rates as the prior owner.

+ Grandfathering will still be honored.

+ Refunds will be returned to policy holders who were detrimentally impacted by BW-12

+ Policies will be surcharged $25 for primary homes and $250 for all other policies to build an NFIP reserve to build a cushion for future catastrophic losses

+ Installment payments will be allowed, as well as higher deductible options

Some more fun information: A community’s Flood Insurance Rate Map (FIRM) shows the base flood elevations, flood zones, and floodplain boundaries. Each zone communicates the risk of flooding for that area. Everyone lives in a flood zone, but the risk of flood is different based on the area. The BFE is the computed elevation to which floodwater is expected to rise. A Special Flood Hazard Area, or high-risk zone, has a 1 in 4 chance of flooding during a 30-year mortgage. For a property in the high-risk zone, you need to know the elevation of the structure in relation to the BFE. Generally, the higher the elevation of the structure above the BFE, the lower the flood risk. All of these measurements are shown on an Elevation Certificate, which is a form completed and signed by a licensed engineer or surveyor. So to determine the premium for a property in a high-risk zone, you first need an elevation certificate. Then, an insurance agent can calculate the premium based on the amount of coverage desired.

Still sound like a foreign language? Call SouthGroup Insurance and speak with one of our licensed agents to learn more. We offer full insurance reviews of all your policies at no charge, helping you better understand what coverage is best suited for you personally and why. No appointment is necessary to visit one of our 3 convenient coastal locations in Bay St. Louis, Diamondhead and Biloxi. Call SouthGroup today and we can help you through your flood of confusion and protect you from getting drowned!

We are your LOCAL Trusted Choice Advisors, SouthGroup-Gulf Coast http://www.southgroupgulfcoast.com / ,
SALES AND SERVICE AGENTS: Angelyn Treutel Zeringue, Tammy Garfield, Tammy Hogue, Brittany Jones, Wendy Johnson, Denise Russell, Melissa Moran, Alex Treutel, Susan Monti, Anne Gillam, Ashlie Moody, Michael Reso and Whitney Zimmerman at SouthGroup Gulf Coast. You can reach us by snail-mail or in person: 412 Hwy 90, Suite 6, Bay St Louis MS 39520, email:
atreutel@southgroup.net , phone: 228-466-4498 , fax:888-415-8922, FaceBook www.facebook.com/southgroup.gulfcoast, or Twitter www.twitter.com/atreutel !
 


We have 3 Gulf Coast locations to serve you - 2505 Pass Road - Biloxi, 5400 Indian Hill-Diamondhead, and 412 Hwy 90 Ste 6-Bay Saint Louis, MS. We write coverage in 40 different states and can assist you with Mississippi insurance, Louisiana insurance, and Alabama insurance and many other states. Insurance is stressful, but we make saving easy.  We help you save money on insurance!

Friday, March 21, 2014

Weekend Warrior! Monday Morning Backache!!

Yes, we are all guilty of over-doing it when we get Spring Fever.  The weather is so nice, that we put on our shorts and go jogging, or biking, and we start working in the yard.  All of the above leads to body aches and pains, because we have been home-bound during the long cold winter.  But the pain can be avoided!!


Trusted Choice shared some reminders:


+ Warm Up!! Even professional athletes stretch before starting to play.


+ Dress right! Be comfortable and be sure you are protected for the activity you are beginning.


+ Slap on Sunscreeen !  and re-apply periodically.


+ Wear protective gear!  Protect your nose, toes, and elbows --- and your eyes and head too!


+ Don't Over Do it!  Pain is not fun.  You don't have to get everything done in one day. 


Enjoy the moment.  Breathe.  Relax. 


And be sure all of your Spring and Summer toys are protected with proper insurance (boats, golf carts, four wheelers, jet skis, hunting guns, and more)!


We are your LOCAL Trusted Choice Insurance Advisors, SouthGroup-Gulf Coast http://www.southgroupgulfcoast.com / ,
SALES AND SERVICE AGENTS: Angelyn Treutel Zeringue, Tammy Garfield, Tammy Hogue, Brittany Jones, Wendy Johnson, Denise Russell, Melissa Moran, Alex Treutel, Susan Monti, Anne Gillam, Ashlie Moody, Michael Reso and Whitney Zimmerman at SouthGroup Gulf Coast. You can reach us by snail-mail or in person: 412 Hwy 90, Suite 6, Bay St Louis MS 39520, email:
azeringue@southgroup.net , phone:228-466-4498, fax:888-415-8922, FaceBook www.facebook.com/southgroup.gulfcoast, or Twitter www.twitter.com/atreutel !





We have 3 Gulf Coast locations to serve you - 2505 Pass Road - Biloxi, 5400 Indian Hill-Diamondhead, and 412 Hwy 90 Ste 6-Bay Saint Louis, MS. We write coverage in 40 different states and can assist you with Mississippi insurance, Louisiana insurance, and Alabama insurance and many other states.

Insurance is stressful, but we make saving easy.  We help you save money on insurance!




Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Too good to be true? Don’t wait for a claim to find out!

Any time you shop your homeowner’s insurance policy for better rates, there are key things to look for. When you see a dramatic decrease in premium, you see a great bargain, but, without a professional and comprehensive review of the new offer against your existing coverage, you may be losing more than you’re bargaining for. One of the most important items consumers are not familiar with is the difference between Replacement Cost Coverage and Actual Cash Value. (These items are commonly labeled as RCV and ACV in your policy language).


Replacement Cost Coverage is defined as "the cost to replace damaged property with materials of like kind and quality, without any deduction for depreciation." Therefore, what it costs to restore a home after a loss at current costs, or to replace your older electronics at current costs, is the basis of RCV. Actual Cash Value, however, is defined as "Replacement cost minus depreciation." Depreciation is a decrease in value based on wear and tear or age. In the event of a claim, ACV coverage works by calculating the current replacement cost at the time of the loss and deducting the estimated depreciation. The only difference between replacement cost and actual cash value is the deduction for depreciation, as both are based on the cost today to replace the damaged property. This is a small difference on paper, but a HUGE difference in the event of a claim. 
 

One of the best examples on how this difference in coverage can affect you is on roof damage. A good roof can last a very long time, and rightfully so, because it can be very expensive. Imagine your 10 year old roof is currently valued at $20,000 on your insurance policy with ACV coverage and a $2,000 deductible when your roof is destroyed in a storm. After adjusting a depreciation of $1,000 per year and applying your deductible, you would receive only $8,000 for your claim leaving you responsible for the other $12,000 needed to replace your roof. However, with RCV coverage, the same scenario would pay you $18,000 leaving you only responsible for your $2,000 deductible.


One item to be aware of, however, is the process in which claims are paid. Aside from the calculating previously described, most insurance companies do not provide the full replacement cost until after you have procured the replacement and provided evidence that the item has been replaced. This is often referred to as the "hold back". For example, 3 years ago you purchased a living room set for $4,000 that was just destroyed in a fire claim, and you have RCV coverage - just like if you had ACV coverage, your insurer will initially deduct for depreciation. In this example, a deduction of $500 per year for wear and tear is used. Therefore, your RCV claim coverage will initially provide you with $2,500 toward your replacement living room furnishings. You would use this $2,500 toward a similar living room set at today’s purchase price of $4,500. Once you provide the purchase receipt for the replaced item to your claim adjuster, your insurer will reimburse you for the additional $2,000. Of course, if you purchase a replacement at a lesser value you will only be reimbursed for that value, or if you choose not to purchase a replacement, you will only receive the original $2,500. Insurance companies do vary on these rules, and we recommend you ask your agent detailed questions today – before a claim occurs. If you had ACV coverage in this example claim, you would only receive the original $2,500 payment, whether you replace the damaged item or not.


Mortgage companies normally require RCV coverage on a home they have a lien against. When the consumer chooses ACV coverage to save on the front end, most mortgage companies consider this a failure to meet their contractual agreement and have the right to "force-place" RCV coverage on the home creating an additional and unnecessary expense to the client. Force-placed insurance, also known as "collateral protection insurance", is an insurance policy placed by a lender on a home when the property owners' own insurance is cancelled, has lapsed, or is deemed insufficient. This insurance allows the lender to protect it’s financial interest in the property. Force-placed insurance is usually a lot more expensive than what you can obtain by shopping for an insurance policy yourself. In addition, the lender-placed insurance may have limited coverage and only cover the value of the loan, and not cover the full value of the home, and, these policies generally do not cover personal items or owner liability. In many cases, the consumer isn’t even aware that this force-placed coverage has been added to their monthly escrow bill, and they end up paying hundreds of dollars more that could’ve been avoided if they had known and purchased an RCV policy originally from a Trusted Choice agent
 

As always, we recommend a full insurance review to all of our readers. Your insurance policy is an investment, just like your retirement plan. Don’t settle for less or base your investment choices on assumptions. Schedule your free insurance review with a professional agent at one of our 3 convenient coastal locations today. Don’t be afraid to ask questions or list your concerns. We are licensed professionals and are eager to discuss what coverage is best for you. 
 
We are your LOCAL Trusted Choice Advisors, SouthGroup-Gulf Coast http://www.southgroupgulfcoast.com / ,
SALES AND SERVICE AGENTS: Angelyn Treutel Zeringue, Tammy Garfield, Tammy Hogue, Brittany Jones, Wendy Johnson, Denise Russell, Melissa Moran, Alex Treutel, Susan Monti, Anne Gillam, Ashlie Moody, Michael Reso and Whitney Zimmerman at SouthGroup Gulf Coast. You can reach us by snail-mail or in person: 412 Hwy 90, Suite 6, Bay St Louis MS 39520, email:
atreutel@southgroup.net , phone:228-466-4498, fax:888-415-8922, FaceBook www.facebook.com/southgroup.gulfcoast, or Twitter www.twitter.com/atreutel !



We have 3 Gulf Coast locations to serve you - 2505 Pass Road - Biloxi, 5400 Indian Hill-Diamondhead, and 412 Hwy 90 Ste 6-Bay Saint Louis, MS. We write coverage in 40 different states and can assist you with Mississippi insurance, Louisiana insurance, and Alabama insurance and many other states. Insurance is stressful, but we make saving easy.  We help you save money on insurance!



Thanks to Susan Monti for her words of wisdom!