Vaught Wright & Bond
P.O. Box 1328
533 Main Street
Placerville, California 95667
Phone: 530-622-1835
Toll-Free: 800-652-0168
Email Us
CA Lic. #00448556

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Policy Services

Six Top Tips for Home Protection

A big part of owning your own home, or even renting a property, is protecting it and your personal belongings inside. If you’re concerned about home protection, then here are six of the best tips that you need to keep your home and belongings safe from harm:

  1. Change Your Approach

The only way to achieve comprehensive protection is to consider just where your home is the most vulnerable. Instead of going into home protection blind, you need to create a tailored plan that pinpoints the exact liabilities of your property.

Go around your home, look for weaknesses, and take note of where others might be able to see into your home. Then assess your doors, check their strength, and think about how you would break in if you were in the shoes of an intruder.

  1. Think About Security

Doors and windows should be secure, which means that new locks, stronger frames, and better hingers, may be an investment that you need to make. Double check to make sure there are no cracks around your doors or windows, invest in a security door or high-impact glass, and always lock-up when you’re leaving the house.

  1. Hide Your Keys

If you’re constantly losing your keys, having a spare outside may seem like a good idea. However, it’s one of the easiest ways for someone to break into your home.

Try a different approach and opt for a keyless door, or even leave a key with a trusted friend, instead of outdoors.

  1. Protect Your Wiring

Wiring is a major vulnerability in the home, and the weak spot of a security system. Make sure all wiring is fully hidden and properly covered.

  1. Change Your Garden

Anywhere outside that restricts your view from the property can be detrimental to property protection, but so can landscaping that puts your home on full view from the street. Consider a garden makeover and take care of blind spots in your landscaping.

  1. Insure Your Home and Belongings!

Prevention methods to stop burglaries are vital, but so is protection if the worst happens and your belongings or property are damaged. Getting adequate home insurance is a must to avoid the financial stress and upheaval of having to pay out for expensive repairs and replace belongings in your home.

Talk to us today for information about comprehensive home insurance and plans that are tailored to your needs. For a peace of mind over home protection and the best insurance, don’t delay in giving us a call.

Flood Insurance, Do You Really Need It & Is It Worth It?

Flood Insurance

Many homeowners decide to go without flood insurance. Some people figure the odds are low that anything will happen, while other people think that a flood is covered under their current policy. Let us correct you; unless you have added flood insurance coverage, it is excluded. We agree that the probability is low, nonetheless, it does exist. Now is the time to consider California flood insurance especially if you live on the side of a hill or mountain, or close to water. The average flood claim for U.S. homeowners is about $30,000, according to the National Flood Insurance Program.

Flood Defined

According to FEMA, a flood is defined as an overflow of tidal waters, rapid accumulation or runoff of waters from any source, mudflow, or collapse of land as a result of erosion caused by waves of water. You do not have to live close to water to have a flood loss.

Flood Insurance & Your Homeowners Insurance

All homeowner’s policies exclude flood. You need a separate policy to cover a flood loss. If you live on a hill you are still exposed to a possible flood loss from water run off above your property. We recommend that homeowners. Even those who do not live in designated flood plains need to weigh the dangers and consider buying flood insurance.

If you rent your home or live in a condo, you can buy flood insurance for just your possessions.

The National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) offers coverage and we can help you secure affordable coverage.  We will review your property and location and review the NFIP and other private markets with whom we have relationships with. We bring our expertise to provide you with the best possible combination of coverage, price and service.

 

How to Keep Your Small Business Protected

While most larger companies have entire departments dedicated to the protection of their business, smaller businesses are often left to tackle unique risks without the same extent of protective resources.

No matter the size of your business, protection should be a top priority, that’s why we’ve put together eleven tips for small business protection, that can easily be implemented into your current business model.

Here are our eleven tips for legal, digital, and physical protection:

  1. Eliminate Personal Devices

Removing personal devices/bring-your-own-devices, or putting in place adequate monitoring regulations, can help to stop weak links in overall business security. If personal devices can’t be completely removed, consider a universal security package for all employees.

  1. Malware Defense

Malware defense is an essential form of digital protection, safeguarding your business online. To avoid sensitive document tampering, theft, or destruction, it’s important to train employees on computer security and make sure malware is aptly protected against.

  1. Make Your Business Brand Unique

A business logo and name need to have no litigation potential, to avoid potentially enormous legal problems, break customer trust, and stall business growth. Research your chosen name and logo, and make sure it’s not in use before establishing your business.

  1. Use Strong Passwords

To prevent catastrophic hacks, password protection is a must, no matter the size of your business. Just a little extra employee advice on mixing up their passwords and incorporating numbers and symbols, instead of using simplistic passwords, can help to prevent hacks. Data breaches can cost millions on average, so changing passwords on a regular basis and using strong ones is a must.

  1. Secure Your System

Physical security is just as essential as digital security. Cameras can give you the edge over crime prevention and equipment recovery in the worst scenarios. Strong locks will make it more difficult to break into your premise and also deter criminals.

  1. Use Written Documents

Using written contracts and agreements shows that your business is professional, but also provides additional security. Everything you promise is down on paper, as are the promises of other parties in a transaction, helping you to avoid problems down the line.

  1. Keep Data Backed Up

From hacking to a technical malfunction, anything can come along and destroy vital business data. Keeping it backed up is essential for smooth business operation and comprehensive protection.

  1. Maintain a Safe Workplace

Health and safety is crucial in the workplace, both to establish a safe working environment for employees and to avoid potential lawsuits. Claims of bad treatment, harassment or discrimination should be investigated quickly, competently, and in line with relevant regulations.

  1. Add Arbitration Clauses

An arbitration clause in a contract can prevent major legal costs, stop long legal processes, and provide a better way for your business to handle disputes of all scales.

  1. Use Required Permits and Licenses

All businesses need to have certain permits and licenses, but they can differ from business to business and location to location. To avoid shut-downs and legal problems, do all the relevant research to make sure you’re adequately covered.

  1. Get Business Insurance

Business insurance provides multiple levels of protection, making it essential, even if you’re at the earliest stages of starting your business. Having business insurance can involve protecting your business in varying ways, like through professional indemnity insurance, home business insurance, or public liability insurance. With insurance, you make sure that you’re covered from instances like financial loss and reputation damage.

If you need extra assistance with insurance for your business, then don’t hesitate to ask us for help. We’ll make sure that you know the essentials about protecting your small business with the right insurance.

First Time Getting a Home Insurance Policy? Here Are the Top Tips You Need…

Buying a home is one of the biggest decisions that you’ll make in your life. Not only does it free you from the restraints of having to pay rent, but it’s a valuable long-term investment that makes sense in more than one way when it comes to finances.

One of the biggest things that first-time home buyers have to face, is how to save vital funds when they are trying to purchase a property. This puts home insurance near the top of the priority list, not just because it can protect your belongings and property, but because it’s a key area to start saving money.

First-Time Home Insurance Policies – The Costs

You can expect insurance rates to cost you around an average of $952 a year, according to the statistics from Value Penguin. While this is the average, prices can fluctuate quite severely. There are a number of key factors that can influence home insurance cost, including:

  • Non-payment that resulted in insurance cancellation
  • High-risk properties, use of specialist materials in construction, high-claim area, or special feature properties
  • No insurance history or sparse insurance history
  • Paying separately for different insurances instead of using bundles
  • Making insurance claims

Many homeowners get the benefit of discounts on their home insurance, but this often isn’t the case for first-time buyers. Due to this, it’s important to make sure that you thoroughly investigate all the options open to you and take advantage of all money-saving opportunities.

Top Tips for Saving Money on Home Insurance 

Just a few simple tips and tricks may lead to some substantial savings on both the purchase of your first home and your home insurance. Here are our top five ways to make savings:

1.) Plan Ahead

Leaving home insurance as the last item on your to-do list means limiting your options for a good home insurance policy. It will pay in the long-run to research early, know your options, and find the right insurance for your needs. Always bear in mind:

  • Your home insurance will be in relation to your dwelling value not your real estate value.
  • Never feel pressured into making a decision without knowing what you’re covered for.
  • Get complete coverage for the important things.
  • Plan for potential increases in other insurance areas.

2.) Think About Insurance History

Your insurance history is incredibly important when getting house insurance – the better established your history is, the better discounts you’ll have access to. If you don’t have an established insurance history, then try building a good history by getting renters insurance or even contacting your parent’s insurance and seeing if you can be recognized by them.

3.) Know When Costs Change

Your home insurance will likely not be the same as the insurance that the current owners of the property pay. Personal information is needed to create an insurance plan, so be prepared to pay something different!

4.) Get That Home Inspection

A home inspection may be a big cost, but it could save you so much more in the long-run. Spotting major problems with a property now, could prevent serious financial disasters in the future. You might also get some top tips from your inspector about bringing down insurance costs.

5.) Double-Up and Get Mortgage Insurance

Not all insurance bundles are good, but it doesn’t mean that they are all bad either. Consider mortgage insurance alongside your home insurance, as the price may be substantially cheaper than if you went to a mortgage lender.

Need advice on home insurance, or want to get a head start with renter’s insurance? Give us a call today and we’ll make sure that all your insurance questions are answered!

Protecting your Business from Natural Disasters – Top Three Tips

Business owners and residents in the US have faced some tough challenges in recent years, with multiple natural disasters causing chaos around the country. From hurricanes to floods, natural disasters can cause significant damage to local communities and the businesses that operate in them.

In the face of the chaos that natural disasters can cause, it’s important for businesses to be prepared for severe weather and think of safety and recovery as key priorities. The on-going damage caused by natural disasters puts a heavy toll on insurance claims – a essential finance that many businesses rely on to get them back on their feet.

Damage to local businesses during natural disasters can affect the whole community. Many residents rely on local businesses for their livelihood, and they play an integral part in the strength of the community as a whole.

Businesses that don’t have plans to deal with an unexpected crisis or adequate insurance cover, may never recover from a natural disaster. In fact, around 25% never open their doors again after a natural disaster, according to statistics from the Institute for Business and Home Safety.

With one out of every three businesses being affected by natural disasters to some capacity, according to statistics from Business Insider, it’s incredibly important to make sure that your business insurance is up to scratch.

Worried about what a natural disaster could mean for your business? Here’s are three of our best tips for ensuring that your business is safe from the chaos caused by natural disasters:

Get the Right Insurance for Your Business

In the event of a natural disaster, insurance will be a key financial safety net that you need to get back on your feet – but only if that insurance is right. There are multiple different insurance policies to choose from, and it’s essential to make sure that they cover natural calamity. There are two insurance types that you should consider:

  • Property Insurance – covers you in the event of property or equipment damages. Policies can be customized to include cover for different natural disasters, such as flooding.
  • Business Interruption Coverage – covers you in the event of lost income due to business interruption. Solutions should be discussed with an insurance specialist to tailor a plan that suits your business.

Keep Up-To-Date with Your Insurance

The risks that your business could face may change over time, so it’s important to make sure that your insurance changes with it. Staying up-to-date with your insurance means knowing what you’re covered for and what you’re not, and making sure that your insurance accounts for emergencies.

Understanding where your business stands with insurance, what you’ll receive and what you won’t, will help you to prepare for the worst-case scenario and ensure that your business is protected.

Create a Disaster Plan

A disaster plan is vital for helping your business to prepare for the unexpected. Key things to consider in your plan, include:

  • Create and practice a plan for evacuation
  • Choose a person to contact everyone in the event of a disaster
  • Develop a plan to notify customers
  • Invest in back-up software to protect sensitive information
  • Select a potential office back-up location
  • Design a plan to prepare office spaces if there is time, such as unplugging electronics and moving equipment=

If you’re concerned about the safety of your business and whether your insurance is providing suitable cover, then make sure that you contact us today and keep your business safe.

How To Reduce Workers’ Compensation Costs

Workers’ Compensation Defined

Workers’ Compensation is coverage purchased by the employer that provides insurance if employees are injured while on the job. Most states require that employers purchase the insurance on behalf of their employees.

Workers’ compensation costs can make up a large portion of business operating costs. It is beneficial for employers to find methods of reducing both the direct and indirect costs associated with workers’ compensation.

Workers’ Compensation Cost Reduction Methods

Using an independent agent who can help you market your workers’ compensation program is a good way to keep premiums competitive.

Selecting the right carrier. Not all insurance companies are created equal. Does the carrier have experienced loss control and claims professionals? Low rates can mean the insurer does not have quality support; and if the claim goes bad due to lack of supervision, you will end up paying more in the long run.

Does your company have an up to date safety and return to work program? This is critical in the management of the injury and post-accident process. Getting injured workers back to work as soon as medically possible is very important and can reduce indemnity costs.

Provide ongoing staff training. Keeping all employees informed and part of the process will make them feel invested in the long term benefits of your safety program.

The small amount of money you spend on these items will have a positive impact on your overall costs.

Placerville Workers compensation insurance is available for any size and type of business. As you may have seen, it can be difficult to qualify, so it is best to work with an experienced broker/agent to cut through the red tape. In California, many businesses believe that State Fund is their only option, when it is often possible to find other companies offering similar coverage at a better rate. If State Fund is your best or only option, we believe it is much better to buy your coverage through an agent/broker so you have unbiased assistance and support, rather than working directly with State Fund’s employees. Who wants that conflict of interest that may not put your interests first?
The rate you pay is the same either way; it’s a no-brainer!

Click here to get your quote started:

WORKERS COMPENSATION QUOTE PAGE

Or call (800) 652-0168 to speak with a specialized agent.

 

 

 

Have You Reviewed Your Insurance Policy Lately?

A Home Insurance Review

Have you ever stopped to think about all the things that could cause damage to your home and personal property? Probably not, but we think about your personal insurance coverage every day. Your homeowner’s insurance is designed to protect you from claims that can come from many different events. We can design a homeowner’s insurance product that fits your individual needs. Here are a few of the kinds of events that can be covered under your roof.

Damage To Your Home Can Include

  • Fire and smoke damage
  • Lightning strikes
  • Falling objects
  • Explosion
  • Vandalism and malicious mischief
  • Theft
  • Windstorms and hail
  • The weight of ice, snow or sleet
  • Water damage
  • Damage from an aircraft, car or vehicle

What is Not Covered Under Your Roof

A standard homeowner’s insurance policy will not cover; earthquake, flood, wear and tear, damage from animals, mold, acts of war, government actions, tenant damage, defective work, plus others.

Personal Property

Your homeowner’s insurance can also cover your personal belonging. This might include; cloths, furniture, and other items.

Do You Have A Leak In Your Roof?

Do you have coverage for additional living expenses if you are required to move out of your home while it is being repaired? If you own guns, art, or other collections, you may need additional coverage. Is your expensive jewelry cover while away from your home? If you don’t know the answers to these questions, call us today.

No two situations are exactly alike, so in order to be protected, coverage needs to vary case by case. We have the markets for homeowner’s insurance, auto insurance, umbrella insurance, and policies for your RV and ATV, fine arts, or motorcycles. We also offer wedding insurance for your special event. We offer the best coverage, including Allied Insurance, Travelers, Hartford, Grange, CIG, Met Life, and many others.

At Vaught Wright & Bond, our Personal Insurance specialists work with you to tailor an insurance program to protect your family, home, auto, and other valuable possessions at the most reasonable costs our carriers can provide.

Tips that help you avoid business insurance mistakes

It’s essential to find the right business insurance for your company, especially if you manage a small business with limited finances. Although every insurance provider will try to sell itself to you, which one actually offers you the best deal overall? You need to ensure that you protect your business, your customers, and your employees without breaking the bank or making regrettable mistakes. Here we offer you some tips on choosing the best business insurance for you and avoiding some common business insurance mistakes.

1. Sometimes you have to pay more

If you’re running a business, you’re undoubtedly counting your pennies very carefully, ensuring that your business stays afloat financially. This can often mean that you select cheap business insurance in order to keep costs down, but this may not be a very good idea. Cheap business insurance often will not cover property damage or common injuries, leaving business owners in a pickle when it comes time to claim. Always assess your options carefully, being sure to choose business insurance that is right for you overall. You may find a policy that covers everything you need at a bargain price; you just need to compare the market thoroughly.

2. What do you really need?

With that said, you easily purchase too much coverage as well. While it may feel satisfying to know that you’re comprehensively covered, you may be wasting your money if you simply do not need all of the coverage. As an example, if you run a retail business which sells clothes, you’re probably not going to need coverage for protecting your business against slander and libelous statements. Similarly, if you run a business which manufactures equipment, you probably won’t require malpractice insurance like a doctor would, for example. Buy the insurance that will actually benefit you in areas that are relevant to you. Purchasing extensive insurance policies for the sake of it could be a waste of money unless you got an amazing deal.

3. Get professional help

Getting professional help allows you to consult with an insurance professional throughout your decision-making and insurance-purchasing processes. It can be frustrating to evaluate your insurance options alone, especially if you don’t have extensive knowledge of the industry.

Business insurance brokers can guide you through the process and offer impartial advice on the best insurance solution for your company. Business insurance brokers work independently, allowing them to pit companies against one another in order to shop around and get you the best deal from competing insurance companies. They can also offer you advice on getting coverage that protects all the essential aspects of your company, as well as for many other things too.

If you are still without adequate business insurance, you need to act quickly in order to secure yourself a policy! Accidents do happen, and they will always happen at the most inopportune moments.

Business insurance allows you to run your business while safe in the knowledge that you’re covered for any accidents and incidents which may occur. Looking for more advice on insuring your business? Get in touch today!

How Your Business Can Reduce Risks?

There is no question that operating a business comes with certain risks. But there are also many benefits. The range of business threats is evolving rapidly but your organization can thrive and gain a competitive advantage if you know how to manage your risk. Here are a few simple ways to manage risk:

Follow insurance company loss control recommendations. These are designed to reduce the probability of a loss and to reduce the severity if a loss occurs.

Develop an employee handbook. Having a set of procedures involving roles and responsibilities will help reduce employment issues in the long term.

Evaluate your facilities. Unused equipment, obsolete security systems and lack of attention to risks on the site present significant potential for loss.  Insurance companies encourage all business owners to maintain clean and safe premises for the health and safety of employees, vendors and customers.

Make safety a priority. Having a safety program can not only reduce your costs but will improve employee productivity.

Train your staff. Employees perform better if they have an understanding of what their roles and responsibilities are. Make safety part of every job description.

Keep employees healthy. A local company, for example, has instituted a comprehensive wellness program that includes disease management for afflictions such as asthma and diabetes, as well as offering flu shots, cancer screenings, smoking-cessation sessions and a round-the-clock phone line staffed by nurses. The company found that for every dollar it invested, it saved $4.23.

If your business changes, your insurance should too.  Meet annually with us to determine whether your business has changed in significant ways that require modifying or adding coverage.

Raise your deductible. Raising the deductible on your insurance usually lowers your premiums. Even if you end up having to pay the deductible, it’s likely to be less than the amount you save.

 

We believe our greatest asset is the relationships we build with our clients and we are dedicated to being the right choice for all of your insurance and financial needs. We take pride in our ability to tailor a comprehensive insurance package that maximizes your insurance protection while minimizing money out of your pocket.

We maintain relationships with underwriters who are specialists in the commercial property insurance arena, and we consistently monitor the marketplace for new and innovative underwriters. We will evaluate your specific business needs and make personalized recommendations for your business.

At Vaught Wright & Bond our Commercial Lines specialists not only tailor a policy to fit your business’ needs, but also work diligently with you to avoid unnecessary costs and exposures.

 

Tips on how to lower car insurance rates in 2018

Car insurance rates can be crippling, especially if you’re young, have been caught up in accidents, or if you’re not able to afford to latest state-of-the-art car with futuristic safety features. Though car insurance premiums can be a pain to pay, here we offer you 8 tips on lowering your car insurance rates in 2018.

1. Car insurance discounts

There are numerous discounts which you may be entitled to with your auto insurance, here are but a few examples!

LOW MILEAGE – Do you drive less than 7,500 miles per year? You may get a 5-15% discount on your car insurance! Some insurance companies even offer discounts if you do some of your travel via public transport such as buses or subways.

MULTI-CAR DEALS – You may see 10-25% discounts on your comprehensive, collision, and liability premiums if you have more than one vehicle on the same insurance policy.

MODERN CAR DISCOUNTS – Does your car have airbags, anti-lock brakes, and automatic seat belts? Perhaps it has tracking systems and anti-theft alarms? You could see discounts from 5-30% depending on how modern and safe or thief-proof your car is.

2. Complete a traffic course

You can often see a 5-15% discount if you take a traffic course to improve your driving skills. The eligibility for these tests varies from state to state, however. Traffic school courses are usually 4 to 6 hours long, and can be done online, in person, or via a mixture of the two. They often set you back around $25 to $75, though you’ll make that back in discounts quickly. You may remove points from your record for minor traffic violations, though you can’t get this AND a discount. New York, however, is an exception to this rule.

3. Watch your credit report closely

Auto insurance companies take many factors into account when calculating your premiums, and your credit history is one of them. Some states have made this illegal, but in many, it remains a legal and common practice. Pay your bills on time and maintain a decent credit rating; it will help you to seem low-risk and therefore help to keep your car insurance rates down. The difference in auto insurance rates for “good credit” drivers and “poor credit” drivers is a staggering 67%.

4. Be a safe driver

It sounds so obvious, but it’s true. People with no traffic violations or accidents get lower insurance rates (over time) as they are simply presenting themselves as low-risk (i.e. safe) drivers. A single speeding ticket can increase your auto insurances rates 11-13%, so why take the risk with your life and your insurance premiums?

5. Invest in a safer car

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety Vehicle Safety Ratings Page (long name) contains a list of all the safety ratings for various cars, taking multiple factors into account. Prioritize safety ratings when you buy a new car, as you’ll likely decrease your insurance rates and better protect your own life!

6. Discounts for paying in full

You can usually see a 5-10% discount if you pay your car insurance premium in full, rather than spreading the payments out over an extended period. Though many people cannot afford to do this straight away, it could save you hundreds of dollars over the year.

7. Evaluate what you really need from your policy

Do you really need comprehensive and collision coverage? Vehicles that are worth less than $3,000 or less than 10 years old simply don’t require these forms of coverage. According to the Insurance Information Institute, getting rid of comprehensive and collision coverage (assuming you don’t need them) could save you around $660 per year on average.

8. Compare the market

As with any form of insurance, you should be sure to compare the rates, policies, and details of different insurers. Auto insurers have slightly different methods of ascertaining how much you will pay, so one insurer could happen to see you in a much more favorable light than another.

Among the myriad of circumstances used to calculate your auto insurance rates, your insurance could significantly drop (or spike) if you get married, move house, have an accident, buy a new car, or add a young driver to a household policy.

Consider taking the customer service ratings (and customer reviews) of the insurers into account when making your decision, as insurance companies are notorious for wanting to escape paying out whenever they can. Evaluate what is most important to you, what price you’re willing to pay, and what excess you’re willing to pay, assuming it is applicable. It pays to compare competing companies!

Looking for more help with lowering your car insurance rates? Get in touch today and we’ll be able to help you with a personalized plan which aims to lower your auto insurance rates for good.