Google fonts script home insurance Archives - Langlois Insurance Agency

Insurance Checklist for the New Year

I almost feel like we are going into an episode of The Jetson’s as we enter into 2020. And, as an insurance agent, I’m wondering where all of the flying cars and houses on the moon are…

But, on a serious note, the start of a new year is always a great time to reevaluate your insurance needs since your life probably changed during the past year, which may require an updated insurance policy. For example, perhaps you got married, had a baby, purchased a new house and/or car.

So, I always suggest to my insureds that if they did have any life changes, they set up a time to chat with any of us at Langlois Insurance Agency to review your policies to ensure that they meet your current needs. We can help you determine if your coverage is adequate or if changes should be made.

Life Insurance

Life Insurance should be reviewed on a yearly basis. Life inevitably brings changes, such as a births, divorces, remarriages or even a new mortgage or new job. And, all of these are signs that you might need to make changes to your life insurance policy. So, as we enter into 2020, please call me at #815-485-2106 to make certain that your loved ones are properly covered with adequate life insurance.

Homeowners & Rental Insurance

The start of a new year is also a great time to update your home inventory and make sure your homeowners or rental policy is up-to-date.

Here’s a tip that I like to give my insureds – every January, take your video camera and/or phone camera and record all the contents in your home. Take extra care in getting photos or video of your prized possessions. Remember to note valuable antiques, artwork or jewelry so we can help determine if you are properly covered.

Auto Insurance

Have you purchased a new car? Or, have you had any changes to your driving habits? If so, it is important to review this with any of us at Langlois Insurance Agency to ensure your auto policy will cover you in case of an accident.

Health Insurance

You may have recently enrolled or changed your health insurance whether through your employer, Medicare or your state exchange. Make sure you have new insurance cards and paperwork before you visit a doctor. We can also discuss if you need Medicare Supplement Insurance and the benefits that come with it. It is our privilege to help guide you to the best possible Medicare Supplement Insurance plan to meet your insurance needs.

Protect Yourself from Identity Theft and Fraudulent Activity

Did you know that the Equifax data breach of 2017 exposed the personal information of more than 145 million people. A data breach can potentially expose your data, which puts you at risk for identity theft or other fraudulent activity. Here are some tips on how you can protect your identity in the coming year:

• Don’t give out any personal information–like your social security number or bank information–over the phone.

• Consider purchasing identity theft insurance. If this is something that interests you, please let any of us at Langlois Insurance Agency know and we can discuss this further with you.

We hope that 2020 brings you and your loved ones much health and happiness. And, as always, if you have any questions about your insurance needs, please don’t hesitate to give us a call at #815-485-2106.  We always love to hear from our customers!

Warmest Regards in the New Year,

Matt Langlois

Space Heater Safety Tips

As many of you are aware, Langlois Insurance Agency is located in a beautiful 1897 Victorian in New Lenox, IL. We love this building and all of the character & charm that comes with it.  What we don’t love, is the insulation. During the frigid midwestern winters, it gets cooooold in here!  So, we do rely on space heaters throughout the building.

I am aware that many of my customers also use space heaters throughout their homes in order to combat the cold. So, I wanted to share with you a few Space Heater Safety Tips to avoid any fires and/or injuries from occurring.

Space Heater Safety Tips

1) Did you know that space heaters should have certification labels on them? This ensures that they were tested in a laboratory for safety. According to Consumer Reports, “Make sure the heater you buy carries a safety certification label from an independent testing organization, such as the UL mark, the ETL label from Intertek, or certification from CSA International.”

2) Read the instructions and warning labels prior to using a space heater. In addition, you should choose a space heater that automatically shuts off when it overheats.

3) Choose a space heater with a tip-over switch that does the same if the heater is knocked over. And, remember, place the heater on a hard, level, and nonflammable surface. Space heaters are intended to sit on the floor, and never on a table.

4) Do not use a space heater that has a frayed or damaged electrical cord. In addition, space heaters should not be plugged into an extension cord. Instead, they should be plugged into a wall outlet.

5) Never leave a space heater running when no one is in the room. Unplug space heaters that are not being utilized.

6) Turn off the space heater when leaving the house or going to sleep.

7) Remember that space heaters should only be used temporarily.

8) Do not put items or materials within three feet of a space heater. It is a good idea to establish a 3-foot kid & pet-free zone around the heater.  We also recommend to never put a space heater in a child’s room.

9) And, perhaps the most important tip — if you do decide to use space heaters, make certain that you have installed working smoke alarms on every level of your home and in every bedroom, and test them monthly.

As always, if you have any questions about this blog, or any of your insurance needs, please don’t hesitate to give us a call at #815-485-2106.  We always love to hear from our customers!

Warmest Regards,

Matt Langlois

 

Tips on Fireplace Safety

Since the nights have dipped into the low 30’s this past week, my family and I have enjoyed turning on the fireplace for some added warmth. Both my wife and I feel that the crackling glow from the fireplace is wonderful for creating memories with our three kiddos. And, they enjoy the stories that we read there, and, most importantly, the smore’s that we roast on the fireplace.

But, as an insurance agent, I am always weary of the dangers that such a fire can create. The cozy wood store and/or fireplace literally has an ash pan of potential problems if they are not properly managed.

Be Sure To Use The Right Wood

It is best to use hardwoods, such as oak.  And, always make certain that your firewood is properly seasoned and dry. Did you know that soft woods, such as pine, will burn extremely hot & fast? And, if softer woods aren’t properly dried, the water content in their resins can produce high amounts of creosote buildup in your chimney, which can lead to a house fire.

And, it is very important to note to never put non-wood items in your fireplace, even other cardboard or paper products.

Additional Safety Tips

  • Do you have a fully charged fire extinguisher near your fireplace?  If not, you should purchase one of these.  This, along with working smoke detectors, are a “must” if you are planning on using your fireplace this season.
  • Have a professional clean and inspect your chimney each year. While the professional is up there, have them check that your chimney cap is secure and properly attached to the chimney.
  • Never, ever, ever go bed with the fire unattended. Make certain that it is completely distinguished and all embers are cooled off.
  • Always use a fire screen to contain escaping embers.
  • Keep the area clear around the fireplace and chimney. I know that as we go into the Christmas months, many of us decorate for the holiday. But, please make certain that there are not decorations around the fireplace and/or chimney that can lead to a fire.

I hope that you are able to enjoy a nice, warm fire with loved ones this season. But, it is always important to understand that dangers are present.  Therefore, please take the proper precautions to keep you, your family, and your home safe.

As always, please don’t hesitate to give any of us at Langlois Insurance Agency a call with any of your insurance questions. We always love to hear from our customers!

Warmest Regards,

Matt Langlois

A Recipe For Safe Cooking

If you have kids, and they are anything like my kids, they love fresh, homemade cookies.  So, some nights, I take off my insurance hat and put on my chef hat to make a baked treat for the kids. Dad for the win!

But, what I have learned since being in the insurance industry is that cooking fires are the number one cause of home fires and home injuries. In fact, kitchen fires are a significant safety problem. The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) reports that approximately 172,000 home fires occur each year, which is on average 471 cooking fires per day. These terrible incidents result in over 530 deaths each year and approximately $1.1 billion in property damage.

So, as your trusted insurance advisor, there are a few “recipes” for safe cooking that I would like to share with you:

Working Smoke Detector

Experts recommend having a working smoke detector, which should be located near the kitchen area so that a cooking fire is detected right away.

Fully Charged Fire Extinguisher

It is important to have a fully functioning fire extinguisher – which is designed for kitchen use – located in an easily retrievable area in the kitchen.

Keep Potholder Nearby

The National Fire Protection Association also recommends keeping a potholder, oven mitt, and/or lid nearby your stove.  In case of a grease fire, carefully slide one of these over the pan that is on fire. Turn off the burner and leave covered until the fire is out and the pan has completely cooled.

If In Doubt, Just Get Out!

Probably the most important tip I can offer is this – If in doubt, just get out! Do not put yourself or your loved ones in jeopardy if there is a house fire. If it is not easily distinguishable, leave the premises, call 911 and do not re-enter your home until your dwelling is declared safe by the fire department.

Don’t Open The Door

For oven and microwave fires (yes, your microwave can be set on fire too), do not ever open the door.  Why?  For one, this will expose you to the flames.  In addition, when you open up the door, oxygen will enter, which will fuel the fire.

So, if you do see flames in your oven or microwave, turn off and unplug the appliance. Then, call the fire department. Please do not use the device again until it has been properly cleaned and serviced.

In Conclusion…

And, as always, if you have any questions or sustained damage, please don’t hesitate to contact any of us at Langlois Insurance Agency immediately at #815-485-2106. We always love to hear from our customers!

Warmest Regards,

Matt Langlois

,

Beware of Hail Hunters & Storm Chasers

As I’m sitting in my New Lenox office, watching a summer storm roll in, I know that I am going to soon start getting phone calls from unscrupulous contractors. Hail Hunters. Storm Chasers.

Unfortunately, storms often bring out opportunists who use the situation to take advantage of homeowners. They may offer to help our customers file their claim, offer fee-based services (that insurance companies offer for free), offer to cover the insured’s deductible, or offer other “benefits”. We have even seen situations where these opportunists say that they can get the policy holder more than they are entitled to receive. One example I have seen is where a contractor, once a contract has been signed with them, has suggested that they can get our insured a new roof when there is little or no actual storm damage.

These Storm Chasers will build a story that frightens the homeowner and may try to get them to enter into a contract to save their home. As always, we advise all of our customers to never sign anything offered by a contractor until after a reputable adjuster has contacted the insured and offered guidance.

If you feel that you have damage caused by a storm to your property, you should contact any of us at Langlois Insurance Agency and file a claim. That claim will be reported to your insurance company and an adjuster will be assigned.

In addition, CIMICO has put together a solid list of tips to help protect you:

• If you feel that a storm has damaged your property, report the loss to Langlois Insurance Agency as soon as possible. Provide as much detail as you can. Be sure to provide phone numbers so an adjuster can contact you.
• The adjuster will explain the coverage available under your policy. If you have questions about your coverage, please always feel free to contact any of us at Langlois Insurance Agency.
• Keep in mind that your coverage may not be the same as your neighbor’s coverage.
• If asked to obtain repair estimates, try to obtain several from local contractors. Estimates should be detailed and specific about the work to be done.
• Hire a reputable, local contractor to do your work. Local contractors live in your community. They want you to be pleased with the work they do. If problems arise, they will be available to deal with those problems.
• Know your contractor. Ask for references and check them out. Drive by prior jobs to see how the work looks. Ask the owner if they are satisfied with the work.
• Do not pay the contractor the full amount of the repairs before the work starts. Reputable contractors may request partial payment when the work begins. This helps them cover the cost of materials and labor. Holding the balance due until the job is done provides incentive for the contractor to complete the work and move on to the next job.
• Before the work begins, request certificates of insurance for liability and worker’s compensations. Ask any of us at Langlois Insurance Agency to review the certificates with you.
• Again, don’t sign anything until you’ve spoken with your insurance agent!
• Finally, ask yourself, does what this representative telling me make sense? Does it sound too good to be true?

Contractor representatives often prowl neighborhoods looking for roofs that may indeed need replacement, but it could be from normal wear and age. Scare tactics may be used to convince the insured that unless they do something immediately their home will suffer serious damage. High-pressure sales tactics may be used to convince the insured that they must sign up today or risk losing a great deal.

If you are ever in one of these situations with a Storm Chaser, please, call us at #815-485-2106. We always love to hear from our customers!

Warmest Regards,
Matt Langlois

Don’t Invite Burglars Through Social Media

See this picture of my wife and me enjoying a delicious, frosty cocktail?  That was a recent vacation photo from a great trip that I took with my family a few months ago.  But, as much as we wanted to post this picture, we both knew that it just wasn’t a great idea to post any vacation photos until we had safely arrived home from our trip.

Why? Because I recently had a customer whose home was broken into while they were on vacation. During their vacation, they had posted all these great pics of themselves sunning on the beach. Along with the description, “Living in paradise for the next week.” And, with that, everyone in their social media world knew that their house would be unoccupied for a prolonged period of time…

Sharing news and posts on social media is a wonderful way to keep in touch with friends and family. If you are a “friend” of mine on either my Langlois Insurance Agency Facebook page and/or my personal Facebook page, you know that I love to share my life with my friends and family.

But, unfortunately, the reality is that sharing information on social media also means that you are sharing it with an unsavory group of criminals who are looking for access to your home, your valuables, or your person. The minute you post your vacation itinerary, thieves may be planning their own trip….breaking into your unoccupied home.

In order to avoid becoming another statistic, there are a couple of #socialmediasafety tips that I wanted to share before posting your activities on social media:

  1. Really limit your network only to family and friends that you know and trust.  Do you truly know and trust all 500 of your “friends”? If not, you may want to consider eliminating those that you don’t know and trust 100%.
  2. Keep silent about upcoming vacations.  Also, keep silent about being out of the house for a prolonged period of time.  For example, your son has an away baseball tournament that your whole family is going to attend?  Wait until you arrive safely back home before posting about it.
  3. Be very cautious about sharing personal data such as phone numbers, your home address and birthdays.
  4. Never post information about children or the elderly who may be home and vulnerable.

The access to abundant technology has changed the way we communicate. We have constant access to friends, family, and neighbors.  We just need to stay vigilant on what information we are sharing and to who we are sharing it with.

As always, if you have any additional questions, please don’t hesitate to give any of us at Langlois Insurance Agency a call at #815-485-2106.  I always love hearing from my customers!

Warmest Regards,

Matt Langlois

Congrats to Toni Eberhart

Langlois Insurance Agency is excited to welcome Toni Eberhart as our newest Independent Insurance Agent. In order to become a licensed agent, Toni underwent 20 hours of pre-licensing classes and a difficult Illinois state exam. After passing with flying colors, Toni is now able to sell both Property and Casualty insurance in the state of Illinois. Congratulations Toni!

“We are looking forward to having Toni on board at Langlois Insurance Agency.  She offers exceptional customer service and we know she will be such an asset to our customers and our agency,” notes Matt Langlois, owner of Langlois Insurance Agency.

Toni will be working with our current customers, as well as new customers to Langlois Insurance Agency. And, fun fact – when she is not selling insurance, Toni loves to hang out with her family and go out on the river on their boat. Her favorite thing to do is attend her son’s football games — especially the home games at Lincolnway Central!

In fact, in the short period that she has been here, Toni has already done a wonderful job issuing policies to new customers:

Langlois Insurance Agency is a second-generation family business founded by Darrell L. Langlois in 1983. Matt Langlois joined forces with his father in 2000 and has been able to grow the agency by adding additional carriers and increasing agency staff, all in an effort to serve you better. Although we are growing, at our heart we are still a locally-owned and operated family business dedicated to providing friendly and professional service.

Langlois Insurance Agency is an Independent Insurance Agency which represents an average of ten insurance companies. We thoroughly research these companies to find you the best combination of price, coverage, and service. We work for you the customer, not the insurance company!

It is our privilege to help guide you to the best possible insurance program to meet all your insurance needs. Please take a minute to search our website and let us know how we can serve you. See for yourself the excellent insurance value we have to offer!

Langlois Insurance Agency is located at 200 West Maple Street in New Lenox, IL.  We can be contacted at #815-485-2106.  We always love hearing from our customers!

Warmest Regards,

Matt Langlois

Why You Must Buy Home Insurance Before Closing on a Home

Buying a home isn’t as exciting of a process as it may look like on HGTV. It involves a lot of paperwork and finances to bring you to that happy closing day. For most homeowners, lenders are required to help them obtain the home of their dreams, unless you happen to have enough cash to purchase the home in full. However, if you are like most people, here’s what you need to know about buying home insurance before closing.

 

Do I Have to Buy Home Insurance Before Closing?

Just in case you are still thinking you can get out of home insurance, yes, you do have to purchase it for at least a year in order to close on your home. In order to protect their investment (your new house), lenders will require you to cover your home against disasters. Until you have paid off your mortgage, your lender as the stakeholder has the right to hold possession of your property to protect what is technically their property. Home insurance is designed to protect both you and the lender, which is why lenders typically will not agree to lend you the money for your home until they know it will be protected.

 

How Much Coverage Do I Need?

Home insurance policies can protect your physical house, your belongings on the inside, and the cost of medical expenses for a person injured on your property. The amount of coverage you need typically depends on your lender. However, the general rule is that you need enough to cover the cost of rebuilding your home from the ground up in case of disaster.

 

A standard home insurance policy will protect you against:

  • Damage from the weight of ice or snow
  • Explosions
  • Falling objects, such as tree branches
  • Fire
  • Frozen plumbing, heating, AC, or other household systems
  • Hail, windstorms, and lightning
  • Smoke
  • Theft and vandalism
  • Vehicles

 

By having homeowners insurance, you and the lender are protected in the event that the house is damaged or destroyed. Additional coverage can also be added such as flood or earthquake insurance, depending on your situation.

 

Types of Homeowners Insurance

 

Replacement-cost policy–  This type of policy covers the current cost to replace your home. For example, if you were to buy an older home that has unique features, the cost to restore it may be higher. A replacement-cost policy will cost more than a cash-value policy, but will cover the cost of rebuilding.

 

Cash-value policy– This type of policy costs less than a replacement-cost policy and covers the market value cost of your home and its contents. So rather than reimburse you the amount you paid for something, you will only get back its depreciated value amount, which is not something that Langlois Insurance Agency recommends.

 

While some types of insurance may be optional, homeowners insurance is a must if you want to own a home.

 

Please allow Langlois Insurance Agency to find the best policy with the right coverage and price. Let us know how we can help you by giving us a call today at #815-485-2106.  We are always happy to hear from our customers.

Warmest Regards,

Matt Langlois

matt@langloisinsurance.com

Home Insurance Tips for First Time Homebuyers

Home Insurance Tips for First Time Homebuyers

Are you buying a home for the very first time? This process will have you running the full spectrum of emotions: fear, exhilaration, confusion, extreme highs, coupled with some low points. These emotions definitely make sense since you are about to undertake what is, most likely, the single biggest purchase of your life.

(Actual photo of Matt and I the week that we purchased our first home.)

We work with many first-time homebuyers at Langlois Insurance Agency, and we have found that there are many things first-time buyers wish they knew before they made the jump into home ownership.  Below are some tips and tricks on how to navigate homeowners insurance for your first home.

1) How can I save money on this insurance policy?

One of the biggest questions that I get asked is, “How can I save some money on this insurance policy?”. One of the best ways is to bundle your policies. Bundling will help lower your rates by granting you savings when you purchase multiple insurance policies. For example, if you bundled your automobile insurance with your home insurance, this should save you money on both insurance premiums.

Another tip that I give to our first-time homebuyers is to not wait to purchase your home insurance until the last minute. We get it – the fun part of first-time home buying is with your realtor. The search for the perfect, dream house — that is the exciting part. But, there is a lot more to home insurance coverage than just signing up for a policy. Give yourself time to get a few quotes from trusted insurance professionals so that you can make the best decision and aren’t “surprised” with unexpected costs or issues at a future date.

2) Why isn’t my insurance premium the same as the previous owner’s insurance premium?

Another question that I often get asked is, “Why isn’t my insurance premium the same as the previous owner’s insurance premium?”. When a first-time home buyer is purchasing their new home, they often ask the current homeowner how much they pay for electricity, property taxes, etc…when deciding on buying the home. But, how much the current homeowner pays in insurance is not a good indicator of how much you will pay. This is because insurance policies take into account very personal information in order to establish a cost. For example, a person’s age, credit rating, etc…are all taken into account for your insurance rate. So, your price might be lower – or higher – for the same dwelling for homeowner’s insurance. Your best course of action is to meet with your trusted insurance agent and get a price on your insurance before you close the deal.

3) Review, and improve, your credit score

Let’s talk credit score. Credit Score. I can’t emphasize the importance of this enough to all my first-time homebuyers. Not only will a good credit score help you get a better interest rate on your mortgage, it should also help you save on homeowner’s insurance. In many states, including the state of Illinois, insurance companies use your credit rating when calculating your premium to help determine your level of risk as a policy holder.

So, if you have less than optimal credit, you should take the time to reduce your spending, get rid of debt, reduce as much debt as you possibly can, and pay your bills on time. If you take these steps, you can improve your credit score.
Also, we recommend running your credit rating at least once to twice a year to ensure that there aren’t any mistakes/errors on your credit report.

4) Why shouldn’t I just get the cheapest coverage?

Langlois Insurance Agency is an independent agent and we office a choice of multiple insurance carriers, coverages, and prices. Because of this, we might recommend that you purchase homeowners insurance that is a bit higher than the bare-bones-cheapest coverage. The reason is because our main focus is to find the insurance coverage that best suits your overall needs. And, this might not be the “cheapest” coverage. In addition to protecting your dwelling, personal belongings, and liability, there may be other optional coverages that we recommend, to fully protect your investment. Again, this is why it is important to find an insurance agent that you can trust; an insurance agent that will be there for you in case you have a claim and need to have your investment properly protected.

So, as you venture forward with your first home purchase, take a deep breath, have fun, and don’t forget to contact us with any questions you might have. We have many more tips that we can discuss with you in order for your dream home to be properly protected.

In the meantime, if you have a few minutes, you can watch the following video with your local real estate, mortgage, and insurance professionals. This video gives you some additional tips and tricks on how to better your first home buying experience.

And, as always, don’t hesitate to give Langlois Insurance Agency a call with any questions or comments. We always love to hear from our customers!

Sincerely,
Erin Haughton-Langlois
erin@langloisinsurance.com

Do I Need Water & Sewage Back-Up Coverage?

Do I Need Water and Sewage Back-Up Coverage Insurance?

Whenever the weather shifts in the Midwest from beautiful sunny days, to cold, rainy ones, the number one question that I get asked from my customers is, “Do I need water and sewage back-up coverage on my insurance policy?”

I always tell these customers to imagine this.

Imagine that you wake up to 3 to 4 feet of water and sewage backed up in your basement? The water damages the furnace and all of your belongings that are stored in the basement. Your sofas, exercise equipment, television, Christmas decorations, etc…all damaged.

Furthermore, the drywall and flooring needs to be replaced, furniture is too damaged to salvage, and the cost of clean-up is expensive. Sewage and water also causes damage to utilities, such as your gas and electric. The sewage contains bacteria, viruses and other organisms that could cause illness. Even electrocution is a possibility in situations such as this. Therefore, you need to hire a professional restoration company because of these issues and dangers.

Unfortunately, most homeowner’s insurance policies do not automatically include this coverage in a policy for this type of loss. But, the good news is that water and sewer back-up & sump-pump/ejector pump failure coverage can be purchased under your homeowner’s policy and it’s reasonably priced.

As with all of our customers, we recommend that the endorsement be added to your policy even if you have an unfinished basement; water and sewer back-up & sump-pump/ejector pump failure is one of the most common homeowner’s claims.

Having a water and sewer back-up & sump-pump/ejector pump failure coverage endorsement provides coverage for the damage to the home and personal property, as well as the cost for a restoration company to clean up the damage.

Should you ever be unfortunate enough to experience a water and sewer back-up & sump-pump/ejector pump failure incident, please call Langlois Insurance Agency immediately at #815-485-6676. We can provide a recommendation for a reputable water restoration company to ensure your home is back to its former self as quickly as possible.

Please note that insurance endorsements vary by company. Please contact Langlois Insurance Agency to carefully review coverage, exclusions, limits, and costs specific to your policy.

We always love to hear from our customers!

Sincerely,

Matt Langlois

Langlois Insurance Agency

matt@langloisinsurance.com

×
Contact Agent

Wait before you leave, please enter your information below to stay updated!

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.