How to Recognize Water Damage Before You Buy

Those who live in the Baton Rouge, LA area, and around the state, are used to wet weather. The average yearly rainfall of 62 inches fills lakes and streams while keeping the surrounding landscape lush and green. Although, that excess moisture can also seep through the cracks in the walls and foundation of a home, causing damage to the structure.

Are you in the market for a new home? The experts at Insurance & Financial Services, Inc. want to be certain that your new home is healthy, clean, and problem-free. Make sure the building you buy is free of expensive water damage before submitting an offer with these tips.

Walls

  • Check the walls and ceiling for brownish-colored stains.
  • Look around the edges of walls, doors, and window sills for peeling, cracked, or stained paint.
  • Look for cracks, creases, and bulges in the drywall.

Touch any areas that concern you. If it feels spongy or soft, it could mean water damage.

Floors

  • Check the entire floor for buckling, shifting, and uneven spots.
  • Pay special attention to the basement floor, as this is the usually the first place water damage shows.
  • Peek under rugs and in corners where the floor meets the wall.

Look closely at any inconsistent spots, as this could be a sign that previous owners tried to repair damaged flooring.

Plumbing

  • In the kitchen, inspect under and around the sink for signs of loosening or warping sealant.
  • In the bathroom, look around tubs, showers, sinks, and fixtures for was water seepage.
  • Use a flashlight to check pipes for rust or corrosion.

Most water damage is caused by plumbing malfunctions. Thoroughly inspect areas where water comes in or goes out.

Other Considerations

  • Mold has a distinct smell. Get close to areas that show signs of water damage, and use your nose to help you decide.
  • Survey the outside of the property too. Missing roof tiles, leaky gutters, and puddles in the yard could point to poor drainage issues.

Insurance & Financial Services, Inc. serves the Baton Rouge, LA area. When you find the perfect home, visit us to customize a policy that protects your new residence from the wind, rain, and whatever else might come your way.

Top Considerations to Make When Buying Health Insurance

Are you a Baton Rouge, LA resident who is interested in purchasing health insurance for you and your family? Here’s what you need to consider when choosing your plan:

  • Monthly Premium Costs
    • You will pay your monthly premium each month, so you’ll need to determine how much you can spend each month on your policy. This premium will automatically narrow your choices.
  • Personal Medical Needs & Prescriptions
    • It might seem rather difficult to estimate how much you’ll need to go to the doctor, get tests or surgeries, or see specialists. If you can calculate this amount on average, it may help you determine the best plan for you and your family. Remember also to consider any prescriptions that you or your family members take.
  • How Much to Pay Out-of-Pocket
    • You will need to look at your out-of-pocket maximum as well. This is the maximum amount of money that you would have to pay over a year of coverage. Once you pay this amount for the year, your insurance company will take care of 100% of the rest. You want a low out-of-pocket maximum.
  • Your Doctor and Your “Network.”
    • Different insurance companies have different networks with different health care providers in them. If you have a primary physician that you want to stick with, make sure that they’re in your network before choosing a plan.

Call Insurance & Financial Services, Inc. Today

Health insurance is one of the most important types of insurance that you should secure for you and your family. At Insurance & Financial Services, Inc., we’re proud to serve the residents of Baton Rouge, LA, and we’d be happy to sit down with you and discuss your health insurance options. Call us today or stop by our nearest office location to speak with one of our agents. We look forward to talking with you!

3 Home Insurance Myths to Beware of

Although home insurance has the propensity to provide invaluable coverage to your home, this can only happen if you purchase the proper policy with the correct amount of coverage. In other words, no two policies are created equal and signing up with your overzealous neighbor’s insurance company does not necessarily guarantee you equal coverage. That said, the following is an overview of 3 home insurance myths. 

Your Policy Covers Your Injuries on the Premises

While many seem to believe they will be covered if they become injured on their property, that couldn’t be further from the truth. While the injuries of guests are typically covered by your policy, if you or anyone who lives with you becomes injured on your property, you will have to use your health insurance or pay out of pocket. This problem is something to keep in mind for those who may not have suitable healthcare coverage. 

Everything in Your Home is Covered

While the following assumption can be correct, that all depends on the policy you choose. For instance, if you have things such as rare art or jewelry, your insurance company may place limits on how much you can claim. Be sure to clarify this before settling on a policy.

You Need Insurance to Purchase a Home

This one is a bit confusing. While it is true that you will need home insurance to avoid getting dropped by your mortgage lender, it is false that you must have this insurance by the time you purchase the home. Your mortgage lender will likely suggest a company, but it will be up to you to secure the policy before it becomes an issue.

As it pertains to the matter of home insurance, one notion rings true: buyers beware. For those who live in Baton Rouge, LA or the surrounding areas, let Insurance & Financial Services, Inc. serve you. A premier company in Baton Rouge, LA, Insurance & Financial Services, Inc. will help you create the perfect package for your insurance needs. Contact us today to find out how you can get excellent coverage and save! 

Are You Required to Carry Commercial Insurance?

If you own a business, you may have heard conflicting information about commercial insurance, also commonly called business insurance. At Insurance & Financial Services Inc. serving the greater Baton Rouge, LA area, we want to take the time to clear up some of this confusion. One of the questions we often hear is whether a business is required to carry commercial insurance. Here are the three times you are required to carry this type of insurance. If you do not meet these criteria, you are not legally required to carry it, though it is strongly advised you do.

You Own a Commercial Building that is Not Paid Off

If you own a commercial building, odds are, you are required to obtain and carry commercial insurance as part of your loan agreement. This instance is just like a home mortgage lender requiring you to pay for home insurance on a home you do not own outright.

You Use Vehicles As Part of Your Business

Regular auto insurance policies typically preclude you from using your personal cars for business. As such, you will need to obtain a commercial insurance policy to cover any cars you use for business.

The City or County Requires It

Some cities or counties require every business owner in their city or county to carry a commercial insurance policy to obtain a business license. If you live in one of these cities or counties, you must abide by the laws in those areas.

If you are looking to obtain a new commercial insurance policy in the Baton Rouge, LA area, give Insurance & Financial Services Inc. a call today for a free price quote or to discuss your commercial insurance needs.

How Does Your Choice Of Car Affect Your Insurance In Louisiana?

In Baton Rouge, LA, you have safe driver discounts, student discounts, you can save a few bucks by taking a defensive driving class, and if you’re over twenty-five, you’re going to be looking at far cheaper insurance than your teenage nephew. No matter who Insurance & Financial Services, Inc. connects you to as a provider, one thing is going to affect your insurance above all else: Your choice of car. Here’s how:

  • Is it a safe car? This is the first thing many insurers look at. It may even be worth the cost to install newer safety features like full airbags and rearview cameras into your car in order to cash in on those discounts. To most insurance companies, trucks and SUVs are seen as the safest autos while motorcycles and sports cars are going to cost you a little more to cover.
  • The value of your car is important. If you’re driving a Lamborghini, that’s going to cost you a lot more to cover than a Hyundai. An exception to this rule would be the hybrid. A hybrid costs a little more, but runs you less on insurance for a comparably priced car running on fossil fuel.
  • Is it more likely to be stolen? Cars that are attractive to thieves will cost more to insure than a mid-size station wagon. You can offset these risks with anti-theft features like GPS tracking.
  • Whether or not a car is new can have an impact on your insurance costs, but it comes down more to the shape the car is in, the safety features, and so on. A new Porsche is going to cost you more to insure than a thirty-year-old Ford pickup, and a new SUV will cost less to cover than a classic Ferrari.

For any questions concerning your auto insurance policies, call or visit the offices of Insurance & Financial Services, Inc. in Baton Rouge, LA. Our agents can help you determine the perfect amount of coverage you may need for your automobile. Also, try our online rating tool for quotes on your car and home insurance.

I’ve Been Hit: Now What?

Here at Insurance & Financial Services Inc. in Baton Rouge, LA, we’ll be here to support you through the auto insurance claim process. The initial minutes after an auto accident occurs can be emotional and confusing. It’s important to have a plan for what to do long before an accident happens.

First and foremost, you want to make sure that you, your passengers, and the people in the vehicle(s) involved in the crash are ok. If someone needs medical attention, call 911 immediately. If you are capable and comfortable, perform basic first aid until first responders arrive on the scene. If the accident occurred on a highway, move the vehicles to the shoulder of the road, if possible.

While talking with the other driver, be polite and courteous, but be careful not to say anything that could be interpreted as you admitting fault (unfortunately, phrases such as, “I’m sorry,” or, “I didn’t even see you,” can be used against you down the line). Exchange insurance information with the other driver, either by writing the information down or taking a picture of their card with your phone. You’ll also want to take pictures of any visible damage to the vehicles.

Next, call the police. In Louisiana, it is not legally required to call the police for auto accidents in which property damage is less than $500. However, a police report can be helpful down the line.

Lastly, call your insurance agent at Insurance & Financial Services Inc in Baton Rouge, LA. We’ll walk you through the steps to getting the financial compensation you deserve so that you can be back on the road in no time.

What is Scheduled Personal Property Insurance?

Do you have items in your home that are of high value such as expensive jewelry, collectibles, or high-dollar equipment?  If so, the coverage in your homeowner’s policy may not be enough to protect these items. If you are unclear as to what your homeowner’s policy covers, the knowledgeable agents at Insurance & Financial Services Inc. of Plaquemine, LA can help explain your policy. We can also make recommendations on any additional coverage you may need.

How Much Personal Property Does a Homeowner’s Policy Cover?

While the personal property is covered in policy, there are generally limits to the dollar amount that is covered. For example, perhaps you own an antique clock collection valued over $5,000. If something happens to this clock collection, and it’s covered by your policy, because there is a cap on the amount that insurance will pay, you could only receive $1,000 in reimbursement after filing your claim.

If you elect to add scheduled personal property insurance coverage to your policy, you can increase the limits that insurance will cover.  Just make sure to provide your agent with a copy of your receipts or documentation from a professional appraiser to confirm the value.

The Benefits of Adding Scheduled Personal Property Insurance to Your Policy

One of the benefits of this additional insurance is that it covers more situations than a homeowner’s policy alone does. Plus, if you do need to file a claim, there is typically not a deductible to meet in these cases. So, the value of your prized items is protected. To learn more about whether a scheduled personal property policy is right for you, contact your agent at Insurance & Financial Services Inc. of Plaquemine, LA. We are here to help you with all your insurance questions.

What does Commercial Property Insurance Include?

There are different types of insurance available to address the needs of businesses. From the small family-owned store to the largest of retailers, having the right insurance is a crucial part of protecting your company’s assets. In Baton Rouge, LA, the knowledgeable agents at Insurance & Financial Services Inc. can help you find the right insurance coverage for your business.

What is Commercial Property Insurance?

Commercial property insurance is one of the coverage options available to businesses to protect their assets. Whether you experience a business loss due to a natural disaster, accident, or theft, commercial property insurance can help you recover these losses.  It covers business items, inventory, and equipment that are damaged or stolen. Some policies also include Business Interruption Insurance. If your business suffers damages that prevent you from generating income, this added protection helps you to rebuild rather than close.

What Exactly Does It Cover?

The primary two things that commercial property insurance cover are buildings and personal business property. If you own the building that your business operates out of, then coverage is available for that building. For business owners who rent space, there are insurance options that specifically cover your property within the rental space.

Personal business property protection covers things such as your inventory, supplies, furnishings and equipment. This can include items within your business space, and off-site. For example, if you are a professional photographer who carries expensive camera equipment with you to various locations for photo shoots, your equipment is covered if damaged while at these locations.

At Insurance & Financial Services Inc. serving Baton Rouge, LA, we are here to help your business to grow and succeed. If you have questions about business insurance plans, give us a call or stop by our office.