Have a 2nd home? Your insurance company may expect you to keep it plowed this winter

untitled-design1Many people in our area own summer homes at the ocean, on a lake or in the mountains. This is a great destination spot to spend your summer weekends and vacations. But what happens in winter?

Many of us find it difficult to break away to visit these seasonal homes during the off-season. Between work, children’s activities and other family obligations, we just don’t get up there as we may like. So, if you know you aren’t going to go up, why have the driveway plowed? That means you’d either have to go up or pay someone to do it for you. Seems like time and money better spent elsewhere. But maybe not.

Your insurer may require access to the home year around. In the event of a fire or other issue, if the driveway to the home isn’t plowed, the emergency vehicles would be unable to get close enough to minimize the losses. Of course, it would be in your best interest, too, to try to  make sure your property is accessible for the same reason.

Unsure what your insurance requires? This is a great time to ask your agent. They can review coverages and expectations with you.  If you have any other questions or would like us to review your coverages, we are happy to help. We can be reached at www.keslarinsurance.com or 603-273-0953. Keslar Insurance Agency is in independent agency offering a wide variety of carriers for home, auto, business and life insurance in NH and Maine.



How often should you shop for home and auto insurance? Maybe more or less than you think.

questionWe hear this all the time: “I’ve been with my current insurance company for years. I’m just too busy to shop it. But all insurance is the same.”  This makes me cringe. There are four very good reasons to review your insurance options at least every 3-5 years if not more frequently.

  1. Your life changes. As time passes, many things change- you get older, your home gets older, you may do updates to your home, your family gets older so you may now have new teen drivers, or drivers who have left the household. You may have claims during this time that impact your rates. You may purchase different cars, obtain toys like boats, motorcycles, snowmobiles, ATV’s and more. All of these things can impact your needs and your rates.  That said, it may impact them more with one insurance company than another.
  2. Insurance rates change. Every couple of years insurance companies submit new rates to the states for approval. When they do this, they have considered certain factors about the types of clients that they have an appetite for. This can change over time. This means, you may be getting offered the best rates by some companies at one time and not the best rates from the same company at another time. This isn’t a reflection on you, just a reflection on what the company wants to focus their growth on. Same happens in reverse, they may decide that they’d like more customers just like you- so they will offer better rates the next go around to you and those who are like you.
  3. Insurance products change. Insurance companies are always looking for ways to be more competitive and grow their business. This means they are always adding new features and products to attract customers. Many of these can be pretty interesting and may be perfect for your needs. This means what were options for minimizing risks a few years ago may not have been as robust as they are now!
  4. Not all insurance companies are the same. Home and auto insurance from different companies can be very different. Yes, in general they cover many of the same things- your property, your liability etc. But that’s where the similarities can stop. Some will offer broader coverages- like replacement cost, others may not, some may include towing or more, others may not. It is a tough thing to navigate unless you have a lot of hours- or an agent who can help you. But I promise, they aren’t all exactly the same. Some may be a better fit for you than others.

Benefits to you to review your coverages regularly:

  1. Saving Money on premium. Recently, we’ve been able to save three families between $1,500-2000/year on their home and auto insurance premiums. This doesn’t always happen, but it can!
  2. Making sure your coverages match what you really need. You want to make sure you are only paying for things you are likely to use and are covered for things that are likely risks.
  3. You can take advantage of new features or insurance products. Related to #2, the new features for some products can be very appealing and appropriate for your unique needs.

But don’t shop too much. Some carriers do reward for loyalty. If you prove that you do stay with a company for a few years, new carriers may be more likely to offer you better rates as they know you will come and stay with them for some period of time too. The reverse can be true too, if you jump companies every single year, they may not offer you the best rates, as they know you aren’t likely to stay with them for long. So, you may want to think twice for before jumping company to company to company every single year for a few dollars savings. It is likely to catch up with you.

How do you know what to do? Consider working with an independent agent. Independent agents typically offer many products from leading carriers giving you “one stop shopping”. These agents are licensed, experienced and educated in the products from a number of companies. They can review your coverage needs for any changes or new products that are now available. They can share with you several different options with carriers, they can work with you to see which carriers can save you money or they can recommend that you stay where you are for another year and review again next year. They typically do all this for you, at no additional charge. Good agents will review this with you yearly so you’ll know you are in the best place for you for the next year. They can also help you with the entire transition over process if you do change insurance carriers, again making your life easier.

We are happy to answer any questions that you may have on reviewing your insurance. We are an independent agency covering NH and ME with a wide range of products from leading National and Regional carriers. We can be reached at http://www.keslarinsurance.com or 603-273-0953.




Thinking of moving? Have a few homeowner’s insurance claims? What you should know

movingYou’ve determined it is time to move to a new home. You’ve had a run of bad luck and have a few claims filed with your homeowner’s insurance company in the past few years. Now, you are wondering how that may impact you going forward.

Do the claims follow me or the house?

Let’s look at how the claims impact you. When you go to get insurance on a new home, the new insurance carrier will pull what they call “reports.” Part of these reports show  your claims history. Typically, each carrier considers your claims history over different periods of time and has different eligibility requirements that they will accept. In many cases, a recent history of multiple claims could cause you to either incur higher insurance premiums for your new home or even make you ineligible for their products. Fortunately, an independent agent often has multiple carriers they can work with so they are much more likely to find you some good coverages at the best price they can.

Will these claims haunt me forever?

No. Remember, each company has different guidelines on how far back they look at claims and what they are willing to accept. Over time, these claims will “drop off” your reports, allowing you to potentially purchase better insurance products at better prices. Regardless if you are selling your home or not, your agent should be reviewing this with you and the carriers each year to ensure you are not overpaying or in the wrong product for your needs.

How does this typically impact those buying my current home?

Great question. One would think that a home with numerous claims would have a more difficult time getting insurance. This may be true, but often this is more because the home may require some updating or repairs than because of the number of historic claims.

Will the new buyers of my home know about the claims?

When their insurance agent pulls the buyer’s “reports” with that new address, the claims often come across on the reports. They aren’t typically penalized because of these claims as they would be attributed to you, the seller. But it is possible they could become aware of a claims history. You should always make sure you work with a licensed Real Estate agent to ensure you are handling all disclosures about your property correctly.

Still have questions?

Always talk to your homeowner’s insurance agent anytime you are considering making a change like moving, renovating or buying additional property. All of these things can impact your insurance in ways you may not have considered. Your agent can help address any questions, point out any risks and ensure that you have the right protection at the right time. We’d be happy to help with that too! We can be reached at 603-273-0953 or www. keslarinsurance.com.




Major home renovation? Your homeowners insurance may need to change

hammer.jpgPlanning a major renovation to your home or new purchase? Maybe one that is so big you can not live in the home while work is done? What you may not realize is that your traditional homeowner’s insurance policies typically will not cover many common risks during this process. Instead, your agent should direct you to a Builder’s Risk insurance policy. It is important coverage that protects your investment from unforeseen risks, weather damage and material damage.

What Builders Risk Insurance Covers

Your builders risk insurance policy will often cover:

  • Property damage: Includes construction material, heavy machinery and equipment, temporary structures, cribbing, false work, fencing, scaffolding, construction signs and landscaping
  • Theft: theft of building materials
  • Labor costs and earned profits: Replaces labor costs, income and expenses
  • Perils of nature and man-made disasters: Hurricanes, fires, blizzards, severe hail storms, lightning, black outs, broken water mains
  • Other damages: Negligent workmanship, flawed materials or design

Some coverage will be part of a basic policy and other items will need to be added on. It is important that you work through the details of a policy beforehand with your agent.

What Is excluded from a Builders Risk Insurance Policy? What else do I need?

Note that these policies do not cover accidents and injuries at the workplace or liability risks. They will also often exclude certain acts of nature, such as earthquakes and floods. Typically you can buy liability, flood insurance and earthquake insurance separately. You should strongly consider acquiring separate liability insurance. Ask your agent about this important coverage.

Doesn’t my contractor’s business policy cover this?

You’ll need a policy if your contractor doesn’t have proper coverage. Be sure to ask your contractor what type of insurance he is carrying and what his limits are. You should get a certificate of insurance from your builder that is comprehensive and includes liability coverage even on completed construction operations. Whether you need insurance depends also on your contract with your general contractor and what that specifies.

How Long Does the Insurance Last? What do I do when my project is complete?

Normally the insurance lasts three, six or twelve months. The coverage ends when the building is completed or occupied. Once the work is just about complete, you should begin talking to your agent about a more traditional homeowner’s insurance policy so it can be lined up in time for completion.

Fast Claims

When you are on a strict construction timeline, getting fast claims service will be essential in order to complete your project and meet your budget.

The Advantage of Working with an Independent Agent

Whenever you take on a new construction project, it is important to have an independent agent on your team to help you minimize your “course of construction” building risks. Your agent will provide you with access to multiple companies and builders risk insurance policy options and advise you on how to customize the options to your specific construction project. We’d be happy to review your options for your given situation. We can be reached at 603-273-0953 or www.keslarinsurance.com.

Keslar insurance: The Realtor’s Resource

house for sale signWe have years of experience working closely with our Realtor partners. We understand that ensuring that the home buyers have home owners insurance is one more thing that needs to get done as part of a bigger home buying process and can become a headache if not handled correctly. Therefore, we have formalized our commitment to supporting our professional partners.

How we help our Realtor partners:

  1. Accessibility:  We understand that your customers want quick responses and so do you. Service is everything. If someone reaches out to Keslar Insurance, you can be certain we will respond, quickly, often as necessary, at the time and in the manner your customers desire- same goes for you when you reach out to us!
  2. Communication: We want to partner with you. With our mutual clients permission, we will make sure we keep you in the loop as your customer’s quotes and policies come into effect so you can check those boxes off before your closings.
  3. Education:  As specialists, our obligation is to know insurance. We can be your resource on issues that can impact any coverages on homes you are selling or your buyers are buying.  If you are looking for a quick general answer or a detailed explanation, we have years of experience asking the right questions and providing the right answers to help you feel confident that issues are addressed correctly.
  4. Marketing Support: We want this to be a partnership. We are interested to work with you on your marketing/networking etc.  We actively create relevant blog posts, social media posts and more that you are welcome to share with your customers and prospects.  Topics include Vacant properties, moving related insurance questions, builder’s risk policies and so much more. The goal: to help position you with your contacts as a “thought leader” in all aspects of their buying/selling process. Also, Let’s keep in touch about networking opportunities,  first time buyer seminars, creation of marketing materials to allow you to reach prospects and customers presenting us as part of your support team.

How we help your customers:

  1. Exceptional service. We pride ourselves in treating our customers the way we want to be treated.  A real person answers the phone. We answer questions, respond quickly and thoroughly to all communications, and reach out immediately when we need to communicate with our customers. We follow up regularly and stay in touch with our customers. This includes annual insurance reviews as well periodic check-ins throughout the year.
  2. Insurance Knowledge. We have years of experience which allows us to know details about insurance products and coverages so we can not only make sure our customers are adequately protected, but we can educate them on what they really need and why they need it so they can be confident that they are getting the right coverages at the right prices.
  3. Provide a broad range of carrier options. As an independent agency, we are able to work on the behalf of our clients. This means we research the right products for them from our vast carrier network. We have partnered over a 12 of the leading national and regional carriers in the area, those with solid ratings, resulting in the opportunity to place customers with the right “fit” based upon their personal needs. This includes single family, multi-family, condo, landlord’s, renters, mobile home and so much more.
  4. Internet based for customer convenience.  We are not your old-fashioned insurance agency. We don’t have big file cabinets in our offices. Instead we use technology to streamline the work for our customers. All our files are online which allows our customers to use our online support center to review policies, get ID cards and place change requests. We also offer online quoting for home and auto policies so clients have 24/7 access to quotes as well. We provide e-signature options for client convenience so they can complete all paperwork effortlessly from their phones or computers. We also have electronic payment options for additional convenience.
  5. Licensed in NH and ME. We are able to provide comprehensive insurance options in both New Hampshire and Maine so we can help wherever your customers live.

We sincerely appreciate your consideration to be your insurance partner. We’d love to build a relationship with you that helps foster success of your business. To discuss this further, we can be reached at 603-273-0953 or www.keslarinsurance.com.




We thank you for referrals: Pick your favorite

dd gift card pic.jpg

We consider a referral to be the ultimate compliment. That means you trust us to take care of your friends, family, neighbors, coworkers, anyone close to you- and always provide them the right insurance coverages and exceptional customer service.

For every home or auto quote we do because of you, we’d like to send you a personalized thank you.

Pick your own “thank you” from the options below:-)

Gotta love my coffee:

  • Dunkin Donuts Gift Card
  • Aroma Joe’s Gift card

Keep me going:

  • Irving Gas card

I’m a shopper:

  • I’d like a little “treat” from Amazon.com

Pay it forward. Give me the gift of Good Karma. Make a donation to the following local charity, part of the Keslar Cares initiative to help others:

Referral values are $5 for each home quote and $5 for each auto quote ($10 combined!).  To take advantage of this program, you can simply fill out the form below. Or you may call us, email us or have the person you referred call us or email us and let us know that you have done the referring and we will take care of the rest! We can be reached at 603-273-0953 or info@keslarinsurance.com.

Thank you again for taking the time to think of us. It is sincerely appreciated!  We promise to take great care of anyone that you send our way!

Traveling? Your homeowners insurance has you covered!

fireworks.jpgThis is travel season around this area with many of us looking to get a break from the cold and head to warmer climates. As you leave your home, you may be surprised that your homeowners insurance keeps working for you, often in ways you don’t even realize. Some items often covered by your homeowners include:

  • Lost luggage
  • Items stolen from your hotel room or your vehicle
  • loss of personal items you’ve shipped back from your trip
  • liability claims for things like broken windows when you are golfing!

There are some limits and exceptions to this. You will need to review your personal property coverage amounts on your policy and how they extend to property away from your residence. Often this amount is set at about 10% of your personal property coverage on your homeowner’s policy.

What if I’m taking a very expensive item like a ring or high-end camera?

If you are traveling with very valuable items, discuss with your agent best ways to make sure they are adequately covered- there are optional riders that may be appropriate.

What if your items are taken from your car when you travel?

Most people think this would fall under their auto insurance policy. Home contents insurance coverage will cover items that are usually on the residential premises but not in the home such as possessions stolen from inside your car. Again, how much coverage would depend on the home insurance policy limits. Note: Some auto policies now do offer some personal property coverages, so it is best to confirm with your agent.

What if I don’t own a home?

Renter’s insurance policies often cover similar situations. Considering the great pricing for many renter’s insurance policies, if you travel a lot, you may really want to consider putting a policy in place.

What if I’m golfing and break a window at a course?

These things do happen. Often your homeowners policy should cover the broken window, the golfer’s medical bills that may be incurred, and any legal defense for claims or lawsuits. This will fall under your homeowners insurance liability limits. Typically these start at $100,000 while many homeowners feel more comfortable with $300,000 in liability coverage these days, and wealthy individuals often opt for even more under an umbrella policy.

What about business travel? If you were on a business trip, and items lost were for your business, then they may be subject to any limitations in the home business travel within your policy. Often these can be capped at $1,000, but it can vary depending on your policy. So again check with your agent to review your specific coverages.

Home insurance and renters insurance policies provide great coverage for those items that are away from your home, including your valuable items. It is good practice to give a quick call to your agent to be able to rest-assured on your trip that you and your possessions are covered.

If you’d like to know more about this feel free to give us a call. We can be reached at 603-274-0953 or www.keslarinsurance.com.