Protecting Against Roof Repair Scams

It is that time of year again… Monsoon Season!

photo from boomerinthepew.com

During Monsoon Season, homeowners experience the beauty and splendor of the Arizona terrain. Flowers are in bloom thanks to more rainfall, hail and the beauty of our sunsets is magnified. It is the time of year when the animals come out in force- more than any other time of the year. Everything is radiant, until one morning when you look up and see what you have been dreading since the rains first started. Nightmares of that last hail storm begin flooding your dreams: roof damage. This damage is of course, not always delivered in the form of hail. Tree branches and high winds can add damage to already aging roofs and deteriorate living conditions and affect the costs of utilities over time if repair is stalled for too long.

An even bigger hazard to your health, your roof, your wallet AND you standing with your insurance are roof repair scams. Everyone has heard the horror stories of scam artists who took their victim’s insurance money and disappeared into thin air, leaving behind unfinished work or not showing up to do work at all. We have found through the years of taking calls from clients that not all roofing contractors are the same.

Here are a few tips to help protect you from roof repair scams:

Take the time to shop around: There is no shame in getting multiple quotes from different roofing companies. Go for it! In addition, your insurance agent may even be able to provide a list of roofing companies or refer you to roofing contractors that are located in your area. But you will never know if you don’t ask.

Don’t find yourself in high pressure situations: If a salesman is trying to pressure you or if something just doesn’t feel right about it- listen to your gut instincts. A good roofing contractor will work with you in order to get your business, not pressure you into a contract.

Research all roofing companies that you are considering: Before you begin deciding which roofing company you want to use, make sure that they are a legitimate business with a license to do home repair work in Arizona. The presence of a contractor’s license is very important as it can help to identify whether or not the company is a legitimate business. You can look up license numbers and get more information at the Arizona Contractor License Center.

In addition to the above website, you can also refer to websites such as the Better Business Bureau (www.bbb.org) or websites such as Angie’s List (www.angieslist.com), which can aid you through reviews written by previous customers (however, you should always take these reviews with a grain of salt).

-Don’t be afraid to ask questions: This is your roof. It is something that will be hanging over your head (literally), for quite some time. Asking questions is not a bad thing. Often times, a good company will encourage asking questions.

NEVER pay prior to repairs: One staple of being scammed is that the salesman will want the money before the work is started. So don’t give the full amount until the work is complete. Some roofing companies do require money before hand, but a legitimate contractor or roofing company shouldn’t ask for the full amount prior to completing the project.

Storm Damage:

If you do have storm damage and you have extensive water damage in your home, you should call a water damage repair contractor. Many times you will have a tree that has fallen and you need a tree removal company.

For more tips and articles regarding insurance, please visit: Arizona Capital Insurance.

How to Head-off Potential Claims on Your Homeowners insurance policy

Now that you’ve purchased your homeowners insurance, it’s time to think about steps you can take to prevent, or lessen, future homeowners insurance claims.

Here are some tips that might help in keeping the homeowners insurance claims adjuster away:

  • Buy enough coverage: Find out what it would cost to rebuild your house in your area. Want to keep the same look to the house? Ask a builder for an estimate on the cost to rebuild. Don’t skimp on coverage, and forget about paying that little extra for that piece of mind for insuring your home and belongings.
  • Bring on the fire department: Ask your local fire station to come by your house and do a fire safety inspection- and include your kids when they come to your house. Spotting fire hazards and fixing them will certainly pay off in the long run.
  • Insure that Picasso: Okay, maybe you don’t have a Picasso hanging in your entryway, but you might have a few, so-called luxury items like jewelry and an heirloom desk sitting in the den. Make sure you have the ‘rider’ for coverage, if needed.
  • Water… water: Everywhere. If only you would’ve changed that leaky hose on the washing machine before you left on vacation. Do a survey of your in-house connections. Sprinkler system? Make sure the automatic timer is working correctly and not ‘hanging up’ for hours on that station by your basement window. 
  • Accidents waiting to happen: Walkways and steps invite all sorts of potential for liability claims from strangers or friends coming to your property. Make sure step rails and decking are in good repair. 
  • Wind and hail: It’s not uncommon, or rare, for a major onslaught of wind and hail to hit parts of Arizona. Heed warnings by battening down patio furniture, or screen doors…and even keep tree limbs trimmed back. 

It makes good sense to review your homeowners insurance coverage with your insurance agent at least once a year.

 

The Lighter Side of Homeowner Insurance

We saw this funny (fake, we hope) photo recently and tweeted about it. It cracked us up!Scottsdale Homeowners Insurance

You’d think it would be hard to find anything funny about life insurance, but it turns out that you can.

It’s like the old quote from the film Crimes and Misdemeanors (1989), “tragedy plus time equals comedy.” Whenever you talk about insurance that pays off only when someone dies, well, there’s a tragedy in that, so comedy just needs a little time to make it stick.

We were wondering if there’s any humor at all with homeowner insurance. It turns out that there’s plenty.

Indeed there’s a whole section on the humor site Funny or Die, devoted to homeowner stuff. There’s a bunch of great videos and more, not all of it appropriate for all audiences, but it’s worth taking a look at.

We looked around, however, and found that most of the homeowner stories out there aren’t funny at all. People don’t turn to the internet to post stories about how they had a problem and it resolved just fine. No, they go to the internet to complain.

And they do.

They often start with lines like this: “Surprisingly, my washing machine saga is NOT concluded today.”

The best way to avoid these kinds of not-funny stories is to make sure you have insurance that will really take care of you when something goes wrong. Sure, you could get some cheap insurance or inadequate insurance, but then when something goes wrong, all you’ll be able to do is go complain about it on the internet, and that won’t be funny (or fun) at all.

 

All We Want for Christmas Is…

No matter what kind of business you’ve worked for, or what position you held, you have always dreamed of having the ideal client. Even if you are/were an employee for a major corporation and have never interacted with your prospects or customers, you are serving and working for those in your company. So, you can still imagine the perfect “client” in your head.

Well, with Christmas coming up, it seems appropriate that “the ideal client” should make it onto our Christmas list. The question is…what does our ideal client look/act like? Here’s our list (feel free to determine if you fit into this category):

Someone looking for their best policy – too many people looking for car insurance or home insurance merely seek out the cheapest prices. The clients we love best are the ones that want a perfect policy to meet their needs at the cheapest prices. Far too often we hear from individuals who chose their insurance based on the premium. When they had to submit a claim, they discovered that very little of their loss is covered by their cheap insurance.

We love helping people cover their needs, and they are nearly always astonished at the great rates we find them. But that’s one of the benefits of working with an insurance brokerage, we have all kinds of options and can shop for your insurance for you.

Someone who wants to understand their coverage – let’s face it, understanding your insurance policy is tricky. You might read your yearly statements and pretend you know what they say, but very few people do. There are all kinds of provisions, limits, and stipulations.

Naturally it’s not fun to try and figure all of it out. But do you really want to risk being surprised when it comes time to call the insurance company? The ideal client for us understands exactly what’s covered and can ask for additional coverage if they need it. Of course we’ll do our best to meet your needs. However, that’s a whole lot easier if you are part of that process.

Someone who bundles – you’ve seen the commercials about bundling your policies. And there’s a reason for it…when you bundle, you save. You see, insurance companies are benefiting more from your patronage so they’re more willing to split that money with you in the form of savings.

Someone who communicates – the last thing you want to deal with is calling your insurance company. Whether you have a crack in the windshield, or get into a major accident, that call to the insurance company might feel intimidating. But if you’ve stayed in communication with us (about your change of address, the small stuff that you need to keep an eye on, or your policy needs and renewals), it sure makes things easier down the road. Then, we’re up-to-date on all your details and can get you all the help you need.

Obviously, we love all of our clients, but if Santa were to drop a few of these ideal clients under the tree for us, we sure wouldn’t complain. If this describes you and you haven’t called one of our agents yet, be sure to do so soon! We’ll do our best to make your holidays bright.

What We’re Grateful For

First of all, this blog post has little to do with insurance. With Thanksgiving coming up, we simply wanted to mention some of the things that we are grateful for.

If you get on Facebook, you’ve seen your friends and family mentioning something they’re grateful for every day. Well, we’re not going to write a post each day of this month. So we’ll just use this one opportunity to tell you the things we appreciate most:

The chance to work in the insurance industry. Insurance agents have not always enjoyed a positive reputation. And, we have to admit, some people have given insurance a bad name. That’s why we’re grateful to be working here. We get a chance to work closely with our clients and make sure they are getting the best policies for their situation. We help people. It’s rewarding. And that’s definitely something to be grateful for.

Our clients. Obviously, we wouldn’t enjoy our jobs so much if we didn’t get the chance to meet people like you. Working in a service industry, we have to expect cranky, and sometimes mean clients. However, we’ve been seriously lucky. We love the people we work with/for. Another reason for gratitude.

Our families. We receive a lot of comments about the “young kids” we’ve got working in this office. But most of us have families. Families who let us work late hours so we can be available to our clients when they get home from work at night. We love our spouses. We love our kids. And we’re really grateful for ‘em!

The great State of Arizona. Okay, so super hot weather in the summer is not our favorite thing. But during the winter months, Arizona can’t be beat. Plus, Arizona offers a diversity of individuals to work with. So while we enjoy the sun and fun, we get to work with all kinds of people.

Safe drivers. Maybe this is because we have families, and maybe it has something to do with caring for our clients, but we’re grateful for drivers who take the time to play it safe. We hear far too many horror stories of car accidents and lives that are lost when drivers make silly mistakes.

Our Veterans. No, we didn’t write a special post for Veteran’s Day, but that doesn’t mean we’ve forgotten about them. We are extremely grateful for a free land and the men and women that give their lives to keep us free.

This Thanksgiving, we hope you all find yourselves safe and surrounded by family, friends, and good food.

Meet More of Our Staff

Last week, we introduced you to some of our great employees at our Arizona insurance agency. Today, we’ve got another handful to introduce. And next week, you’ll meet even more.

Why? Well, not to brag, but our insurance agents have a reputation for being friendly, helpful, and sympathetic. So we think you deserve to meet the people behind the company.

So, meet:

Christian

Christian originally planned to be a firefighter. However, after September 11, 2001, the competition to become a firefighter skyrocketed. Anxious about his future, Christian talked to a few of his own friends who were pursuing careers as insurance agents. He’s been an agent for 9 years now.

Here’s what Christian said about working as an insurance agent:

Many people think insurance agents are a dime a dozen and there isn’t any difference from an agent with State Farm, Farmers, Allstate, or any other independent local mom and pop shop on the corner. This is why I love working as an insurance agent. This agency is 180 degrees different from those other insurance agencies.

Christian is passionate about protecting his client’s assets. He knows you can call an 800 # and get coverage from a Lizard, Cave Man, or talking cartoon, but he takes the time to educate his clients and help them understand why they should carry the coverage he suggests. He wants to be the agent looking out for their best interest.

Christian enjoys outdoor activities, traveling, and studying the stock market.

Karen

Karen is an Account Manager who has been with our insurance agency for just under a year, but she has been in the insurance industry for 12 years. She started out in the billing department at an independent insurance agency in Indiana.

Karen’s favorite thing about her job is: talking to a variety of people every day and using her customer service skills and insurance knowledge to help her clients. About working in the insurance agency, Karen said she loves the integrity and honesty of the company and everyone in it. It’s nice knowing I am working for some of the ‘good guys,’ she said.

When she’s not working, Karen can be found riding on the back of her husband’s motorcycle, working on their house, hanging out with friends, and patiently waiting for football season to start. Go Bears!

Karen first met her husband while jumping on a trampoline when they were 18 and 12. It wasn’t until 11 years later that they met again and started dating. Chocolate and sugary treats are her weakness, and she describes herself as loyal, friendly, energetic, patient, and bold.

Ready to work with a new insurance agent? Then check out Independant Insurance Agency and work with people you’ll want to work with!

Happy Birthday from your Insurance Agent

Birthday Freebies

We hope you have a great birthday. I have used a couple sources to put together this list of places you can go on your birthday for some free swag and food. If you know of others that you would like to add, please add them in the comments below.

 

QUICK NOTE: I’ve noticed that many of these offers not only send you a free coupon on your birthday, but will also send you a coupon the very day you sign up for the club AND at every one year anniversary of you signing up. Throw in all the free coupons they send at your birthday and you can get multiple meals a year for free :)

Many of these birthday freebies and coupons are via e-mail, so be sure to sign up in advance. And remember, all deals are subject to location participation. So if you’re standing in the middle of Arby’s screaming for a free milkshake and they aren’t budging, don’t blame me!

 

Restaurant Freebie
Abuelo’s Free dessert.
Acapulco Free entree.
Applebee’s Free birthday dessert with the purchase of an entree.
Arby’s Free 12oz. milkshake with any purchase.
Auntie Anne’s Pretzels Free BOGO coupon for any pretzel item.
Baskin Robbins Free 2.5 oz scoop of ice cream or a swirl of soft serve.
Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream You become a Chunk Spelunker and get a free scoop of ice cream plus $3 off an ice cream cake!
Benihana’s Japanese Restaurant $30 gift certificate.
bd’s Mongolian Grill Free stir-fry meal.
Biggby Coffee A snail mailed coupon for a free beverage.
BJ’s Restaurants Free Pizookie dessert (otherwise known as a delicious dessert).
Black Angus Steakhouse Free BOGO steak dinner, up to $19.99.
Black Dear Diner Free dessert with any food purchase.
Boston Market Free individual dessert with purchase of any create your plate meal.
Boston’s The Gourmet Pizza Free flatbread.
Bonanza Steakhouse BOGO coupon for one free steak or buffet.
Brio Tuscan Grille Free filet and crab shrimp cake.
Bruegger’s Free bagel with cream cheese with the purchase of a drink.
Bruster’s Free BOGO coupon for a waffle cone.
Buca di Beppo Free small pasta with any entree.
Buffalo Wild Wings Free dessert.
Captain D’s Your choice of a 2 piece fish dinner, fish & shrimp dinner, or season tilapia dinner.
Caribou Coffee Free medium drink.
Carrabba’s Italian Grill Free dessert with purchase of an entree.
Carrows Free dessert.
Chevys Free entree.
Chili’s Free brownie sundae.
Cinnabon Free mochalatta chill
Coldstone Creamery Free BOGO coupon for a Coldstone Creation.
Country Buffet $3 off a regular adult dinner.
Country Kitchen Free dinner entree up to $8 in value with valid ID.
Culver’s Free one-scoop sundae.
Dairy Queen One BOGO coupon for a free mini, small, or medium blizzard.
Daphne’s Greek Cafe $5 loaded onto your Pita Points Rewards Club card.
Del Taco Free premium milkshake.
Denny’s Free Grand Slam breakfast.
Dickey’s Barbecue Pit BOGO coupon for one free BBQ sandwich.
Dippin’ Dots Free small cup of Dippin’ Dots.
Don Pablos $10 gift certificate.
Dunkin Donuts Free medium beverage.
Einstein Bros Bagels Free breakfast sandwich when you buy any drink.
El Chicos Free fried ice cream.
El Torito Free entree.
Famous Dave’s Barbeque Free dessert with the purchase of an entree.
Fazoli’s Free dessert.
Firehouse Subs Free medium celebratory sub with valid ID.
Flat Top Grill Free stir fry, however they’re planning on changing this to a $5 off coupon.
Fox and Hound Free BOGO coupon for any entree.
Friendly’s Free single cone with any Friendly’s purchase.
Fuddruckers Free 1/3 lb. burger with the purchase of another Fudd’s entree.
Genghis Grill Free birthday bowl.
Glory Days Grill Free Oreo sliders.
Gold Star Chili Free meal.
Gordon Biersch Free BOGO coupon for an entree.
Great American Cookies Free cookie cake slice with the purchase of a regular soda. Because nothing goes with a cookie like sugar water.
Hometown Buffet Free BOGO adult dinner buffet.
HoneyBaked Ham Free sandwich
Hooters 10 free wings.
Houlihan’s Free menu item up to $15.
HuHot Mongolian Grill (What the heck is with all these Mongolian grills?) Free grill meal.
IHOP Free Rooty Tooty Fresh ‘N Fruity breakfast. In English, that means two eggs, 2 bacon strips, 2 sausage links, and two pancakes.
Jack in the Box Free dessert with a valid ID and the printable coupon.
Jamba Juice One sixteen size smoothie for $2.
Jason’s Deli $5 off any item.
Jersey Mike’s Free regular sub and 22 oz. fountain drink.
Joe’s Crab Shack Free appetizer.
Johnny Rockets Free hamburger with the purchase of any entree and drink. So basically a BOGO.
Juice It Up Free BOGO 24 oz. smoothie.
Keg Steakhouse and Bar Free 10 oz. Prime Rib classic dinner and caesar salad for US visitors only and you must sign up a month in advance.
Keva Juice Free 24 oz. regular blend smoothie.
Krispy Kreme Free doughnut of your choice and a free small coffee or fountain drink.
la Madeleine Free pastry.
Logan’s Roadhouse Free Nutter Butter Fudgeslide with any entree purchase. I have no idea what this is but it sounds spectacular.
LongHorn Steakhouse A delicious free dessert.
Maggianos Coupon for $10 off any check of $30 or more.
Maggie Moo’s Free ice cream cone.
Marble Slab Creamery Free ice cream cone.
Marie Calendars $5 coupon and a free slice of pie.
McAlister’s Deli $5 coupon. I’m starting to see a pattern here.
Memphis BBQ Free entree up to $20.
Mimis Cafe Free entree up to $10 value with any $20 check.
Moe’s Southwest Grill One free entree (excluding fajitas) as well as free chips and salsa.
Ninety Nine Free dessert
Noodles & Company Free bowl of soup.
Not Your Average Joe’s Free entree and dessert.
Old Country Buffet Free BOGO adult dinner buffet.
On The Border Free dip trio or brownie sundae.
Orange Julius Free BOGO 20 oz. Julius or premium fruit smoothie.
Panera Bread A mysterious offer loaded onto your loyalty card.
Papa Murphy’s Free cookie dough with the purchase of any pizza.
Pinkberry Free small yogurt with toppings.
Planet Smoothie Free small smoothie.
Ponderosa Free steak dinner
Qdoba Mexican Grill BOGO free entree coupon.
Red Lobster $5 off two adult entrees.
Red Robin Free Gourmet Burger if you pick up a Red Royalty Card at your local restaurant and then register it online.
Rita’s Italian Ice Free regular Italian Ice.
Romanos Macaroni Grill Free slice of chocolate cake.
Rubio’s Free meal up to $7.
Ruby Tuesday Free burger.
Ryan’s Free BOGO adult dinner buffet.
Sbarro Free pizza slice with drink purchase
Schlotzsky’s Free small sandwich or 8″ pizza.
Sharis Restaurant Free slice of pie.
Smokey Bones Free slice of cake.
Smoothie King BOGO coupon for a free 20 oz. smoothie.
Sonic Free regular creamslush, medium tator tots, or medium drink!
Souper Salad Free lunch or dinner buffet.
Spaghetti Warehouse Free spaghetti entree and spumoni sundae.
Spicy Pickle Free entree.
Starbucks Free handcrafted beverage
Steak ‘n Shake Free Double Steakburger with Cheese ‘n Fries.
Sticky Fingers This might be my favorite offer yet. You get a free half-slab of ribs or any other menu item priced up to $15.99 with the purchase of a second entree of $6.99 or more.
Taco Bueno Free cheesecake chimichangas with the purchase of any entree.
Taco Cabana Free flauta plate, which includes 3 chicken flautas with rice, beans, pico de gallo, sour cream, guacamole and 2 fresh flour tortillas.
Taco Del Mar Make a guess! We can’t get confirmation on this.
Taco John’s Free cini-sopapilla bites. I’ve never had these before, but if they’re as delicious as they are hard to spell, I’m excited.
TCBY Free small cup of frozen yogurt and $3 off a cake or pie.
Ted’s Montana Grill Free cookie and ice cream dessert.
Texas Roadhouse Free appetizer or sidekick of ribs.
G.I. Friday’s Free dessert with the purchase of an entree.
Tony Roma’s Free entree up to $15.99.
Tropical Smoothie Cafe Free smoothie.
Waffle House Free waffle.
Wendy’s $1 off any premium combo.
Which Wich Free regular Wich (AKA sandwich).
Wienerschnitzel One free corndog.
Wingstop Free large fresh cut seasoned fries.
Zaxby’s Free nibbler and free meal deal.
Zoes Kitchen Free BOGO coupon for an entree.
Z’ Tejas $10 coupon.
Retail Freebies
American Eagle Coupon for 15% off.
Aveda Free gift up to $24 in value.
Barnes & Noble Children get a free cupcake or cookie at their cafe. Children at heart get nothing.
Columbia Sportswear Coupon for 20% off.
Cost Plus World Market 10% coupon on gourmet food & non-alcoholic beverages.
CVS Coupon for $3 off next purchase.
Hot Topic $5 off coupon on a purchase of $30.
Kmart Children get $5.00 Birthday Bucks, a crown, happy birthday certificate, and Fun Pack with surprise goodies!
Old Navy $10 off coupon on a purchase of $50.
Sephora Changes yearly. 2014 contains makeup, lipstick, a mini mascara.
The Children’s Place Coupon for 15% off.
Toys R Us They claim you’ll get coupons, but I never received anything.
Entertainment Freebies
AMF Bowling Free bowling.
Baltimore Orioles 1 free ticket to a non-prime game.
Brunswick Bowling Two free games of bowling.
Chuck E. Cheese’s 100 free tickets
Dave & Buster’s
Disney Movie Rewards 100 bonus Disney Movie Reward points.
Harkins Movie Theaters Present your ID at the box office and get a free medium sized popcorn on your birthday.
Medieval Times Free BOGO admission coupon.
Swagbucks 50 free Swagbucks.