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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

6 Ways to Protect Personal Information Online

As you can tell from my photo, I do quite a bit of online shopping during the holiday season. It’s quick, convenient, and gets delivered right to my office and/or home. Win-win-win! But, I do know that ordering items online isn’t without some risks.

In fact, it seems as though every time I turn on the news, I hear about a large data breach, which has exposed millions of customers’ personal data to criminals. So, with the hype around Black Friday & Cyber Monday, I wanted to share a few tips for you to ensure that your personal information doesn’t end up in the hands of criminals.

Create Strong Passwords

When you create your online passwords, it is wise to not use words or numbers that a cybercriminal can easily crack, such as your birthday. Instead, choose combinations of lower & upper case letters, random numbers, as well as some symbols. And, it is always a good idea to change them periodically.

Don’t Overshare on Social Media

I may have been guilty of oversharing on social media once or twice. But, Cybersecurity experts note that oversharing on social media can put your personal information at risk. Take a moment to check your privacy settings so you know exactly who is seeing your posts – and only have close friends & family view your posts. In addition, it is wise to never post your exact location, hometown, birthday, or other personal information.

Use Free Wi-Fi with Caution

Did you know that most free public Wi-Fi networks have very few security measures in place? This means others around you, that are using the same network, can (and will) monitor your activity. So, best practice is to wait until you are at home on a very secure, password protected, network.

Watch Out for Links & Attachments

This is a biggie – what our Cybersecurity Experts tell us is that Cybercriminals will compose phishing scams to look like legitimate communications from a bank, utility company, etc…How can you tell if it’s a cyberscam or the real deal? Certain things like spelling errors are a dead giveaway.  Also, check out the email address from the sender. If it is different that the senders address, this is a good clue that the email is a spam.  When in doubt, call the customer service line for that sender to verify if their email request is legit!

Check to See if the Website is Secure

Before you enter personal information into a website, check your browser. There should be a “lock” symbol and the URL should begin with “https”. If the site you are visiting has both of these, it means that the site is secure.  There are also a few other ways to determine if the site is secure:

  • Review their website privacy policy
  • Review their contact information
  • Check for a “Verified Secure” seal

You Can Always Consider Additional Protection

Most Cybersecurity Experts recommend installing anti-virus software, anti-spyware software, as well as a firewall. There is also always cyber insurance, which can keep you and your family safe if you ever fall victim to an attack. If this is something that you would like to discuss further, please don’t hesitate to give any of us a call at Langlois Insurance Agency at #815-485-2106. We are more than happy to discuss this beneficial coverage with you.

As always, if you ever have any questions or comments on any of your insurance needs, please don’t hesitate to give us a call.  We always love to hear from our 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

What to Do After Your House Floods

I love being an Insurance Agent. It truly gives me great happiness ensuring that my customers are properly protected in the case of an insurance claim.

But, a few weeks ago, I was not only the Insurance Agent, but also the customer. During the polar vortex, a pipe burst in one of my rental properties. And, I felt all the sorrow, pain, and unhappiness that one of my insureds feels when they have a claim. But, along with all those negative feelings, I also had the sheer relief that I was properly insured.

And, this incident reminded my of why insurance is just so important! Thank goodness I was properly protected on this building.  Here are the “before” pictures of the building:

 

Now, please take a look at the disaster that occurred due to a burst pipe:

 

Aannnddd….this is what the building looks like after demo:

Because of this incident, I thought it would be a good idea to write a blog to remind all of us 1) why insurance is so important and 2) what do to if you have a flood incident.

There are a number of ways that your house can flood, whether it’s due to heavy rains, sewer backup, or a pipe burst. While a house flood can be devastating, here are some tips on how to respond if it were to happen to you.

Put Safety First

The first step in any major home disaster is to remain safe. You may be forced to leave your home if the flooding is bad enough. Make sure you are also safe when you return to your home to begin dealing with the aftermath. This may include turning off the power, as water and electricity obviously do not mix. Be sure to wear protective clothing such as rubber boots and gloves when you re enter your home. Not only will you be dealing with the water itself, but also whatever else the water has been in contact with, namely debris or even sewage. It is best to protect yourself against whatever harmful chemicals and items the flooding may have washed in.

Also, never eat food that has been contaminated by flood waters, or even been in close proximity to the water for an extended period of time. If the water was high enough to reach your refrigerator or any of your pantry cabinets, it is best to go ahead and throw the food away and just buy more. In addition, you should thoroughly wash any dinnerware, glasses, or flatware that might have been caught in the house flood before you use it again.

Call Your Insurance Agent

Your homeowners insurance will vary depending on what policies you have, but many insurance companies cover flooding due to storms, backed-up city sewers and storm drains, broken sump-pumps, or bursted pipes. Your insurance company will send an adjuster to look at and assess the damage to determine if it is a covered loss. If your losses and damages are covered, the sooner you call your agent, the sooner they will pay out. Repairs can become costly, but the insurance money will help get your home back in order quicker with less of a financial burden on you. So, if this ever happens to you, please call me so I can walk you through all the details of dealing with this type of claim.

Stop and Remove the Water

One of the first things you should do when your house floods is stop the source of water coming in if at all possible. If your sump-pump is broken or malfunctioning, replacing it will help keep up with any continuing rains and may prevent further damage to your basement, garage, crawl space, or main floor. Calling the city to remove debris from storm drains may also be necessary in order to help stop flooding.

If your flooded home was caused by a bursted pipe, fix the plumbing as soon as possible to lessen water damage. The sooner you stop the water from coming in, the sooner you can get to cleaning up and repairing any damages.

Once no more water is coming in, you can work to remove the water from your home. Depending on the level of flooding you have experienced or even the rooms in your home that have been affected, your process might change. You may need to bail water out using buckets and bins or use hoses to drain large amounts of water from your basement. As the water begins receding, you can use a wet vacuum to suck remaining bits of water and moisture from carpets and floors. If you’re lucky and the damage is minimal, you might be able to simply mop the mess up.

Dry Out Your Home

Even if you are successful in removing all of the standing water from your home, everything will remain damp and wet, especially if heavy rains have increased the humidity in your area. If you have power, use your air conditioning and portable fans to help dry the wet areas of your home.

Dehumidifiers are also a big help, especially in closed off spaces such as basements or crawl spaces. Dehumidifiers work by removing excess moisture from the air. This is the easiest way to dry out your home and minimize the potential water damage you might be dealing with, as it does not require you to actively clean. However, in the case of a house flood, dehumidifiers are only supplemental and you are likely to need multiple methods of action. Dehumidifiers are recommended for anyone who lives in a damp climate or an area that experiences longer rainy seasons, as they can prevent some of the problems associated with this type of weather, both for you and your home.

Clean Up

Once the water is gone and you have called your insurance company, it’s time to begin post-flood care. You can call in a professional clean-up crew or do the work yourself. This may involve determining what is salvageable and throwing away anything that is too damaged or no longer safe to use. If the flooding in your home was widespread, you may have to bring in a roll-off dumpster for easy disposal of larger damaged items, as you will find your trash bags filling quickly.

Be aware that you may need to remove flooring, drywall, and insulation to prevent mold and mildew from spreading in your home. Furniture may also need to be dried out, cleaned, or thrown away depending on the level of water damage. Unless you are exceptionally handy, it is probably best to call in a professional company that specializes in mold removal. Mold can begin developing within the first 24 hours after a flood, and once it has started growing, it can be difficult to fully remove. The quicker you remove items from water and begin drying them, the less likely they are to be lost to mold, but it’s always best to err on the side of caution and have a professional assess the situation.

If you’ve experienced flooding for any reason or want to be covered against possible floods in your area, please call Langlois Insurance Agency at #815-485-2106 to make sure you are protected against the unexpected. We always love hearing from our customers!

Warmest Regards,
Matt Langlois

Debunking Some of the Most Common Myths About Life Insurance

Most of us don’t like to think about what happens when we die, it’s important to prepare ourselves and our loved ones whether we like it or not. Having life insurance on your side can only help for when the time comes, but there are some myths and fears about the plan that may deter people away from it. To clear up any confusion, we have debunked some of the most common myths about life insurance. The truth might surprise you!

 

Myth 1: It Costs Too Much

It is very understandable that when looking into investing in insurance, you don’t want it to cost you an arm and leg. While the coverage is important to have, you want it to fit comfortably into your budget. One of the main reasons people turn down life insurance is this belief that it’s too expensive, but that is not necessarily the case. According to a study performed by Life Happens, approximately 80% of people misjudge how costly life insurance truly is. In fact, plans such as term life insurance are more affordable than you might think. Plus, you can always change or add coverages to your plan over time. If you’re on a budget, please give anyone at Langlois Insurance Agency a call to see what plan works best for you.

 

Myth 2: It’s Unnecessary If You Are Young and Healthy

There are many factors that go into how much your life insurance will cost, including your age and health. While many think that being young and healthy means you don’t need life insurance, it’s actually not true. Chances are you will need life insurance down the road when you are older and your health has changed. If you wait until then, your life insurance premium will be higher than when you were young and healthy. It’s best to go ahead and purchase life insurance so you don’t have to worry about major expenses later on. Take advantage of this part of your life so if you are not in good condition later, you don’t have to pay for it.

 

Myth 3: It’s Not Available to Those Who Have Health Problems

As stated before, your health does influence the cost of life insurance. While you may be paying more on life insurance for serious health problems, this does not mean it’s not available at all. However, it is true that if you have a terminal illness, some coverages may not be available. In any case, it would be wise to speak with us about your options when your health changes so you receive the best coverage for the right price.

 

Myth 4: It’s Not Available for Older People Either

While it’s true that health typically declines as you get older, this still does not mean life insurance isn’t available for the elderly. In fact, there are important coverages available such as final expense which can help with funeral and burial costs. While we may not like to think about this stage of life, it cannot be ignored. Therefore, the elderly are able to have life insurance available even in their final moments to help after they are gone.

 

Myth 5: Single People Don’t Need It

While it is true that life insurance is beneficial to those who have others depending on them, such as children or their spouse, that doesn’t mean single people don’t need life insurance at all. In the event that you are single and pass away, you can still be left with debt from loans that were previously drawn out. The expenses will be transferred to co-signers or immediate family to take care of which is the last thing that needs to happen after losing a loved one. However with life insurance, you don’t have to worry about anyone taking on your debt after you are gone. Life insurance will also handle any burial and funeral expenses so the family can properly grieve. Also, keep in mind that plans change throughout time. So while you may be single now, that doesn’t mean it is a permanent deal. In the event that you may have children in the future or get married, having life insurance now can benefit you later.

 

Myth 6: All You Need is Your Work’s Life Insurance Plan

While it is great to accept life insurance through your work, keep in mind that it is not transferable when or if you leave for another job. If you have your own life insurance account not through your work, you don’t have to worry about the possibility of not being insured when something changes.

 

If you have any questions about how life insurance works or what plan works best for you, please don’t hesitate to give me a call at #815-485-2106.  I always love to hear from my customers!

Warmest Regards,

Matt Langlois

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