What you should know about flood insurance

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 You’ve probably heard this horror story before — someone loses a home due to a flood and learns after the fact that standard homeowners insurance doesn’t cover flood damage.

At Duncan Financial Group, we want you to be educated about all of the risks you may face – before a loss occurs – so you can determine what insurance coverage is appropriate. Spring is a prime season for flooding, so now is a good time to review your options.

Because very few companies offer flood insurance, the U.S. government created the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) in 1968. Available to homeowners, renters and business owners, this insurance often is required to obtain a mortgage in areas at high risk of flooding.

But you might want to look into a policy just for peace of mind, even if you don’t live in a flood-prone zone. According to the NFIP, nearly 25% of the program’s claims occur in moderate- to low-risk areas. Check out the questions and answers below to help determine if flood insurance is right for you.

Is flood insurance available in my area?

To participate in the NFIP, a community must adopt and enforce a floodplain management ordinance with rules regarding construction in certain flood-prone areas. In exchange, the government makes flood insurance available within that community. We’re happy to help you find out if you’re eligible for flood insurance. Just give us a call at 724-863-3420. You can also visit  http://www.fema.gov/national-flood-insurance-program.

What does it cover?

The NFIP provides coverage for both the structure and its contents. Coverage for contents is optional in some cases, so you may want to give us a call to discuss other coverage for your personal property.

Keep in mind that you typically can’t purchase flood insurance and have it take effect the next day. There is usually a 30-day waiting period. (Exceptions to this rule apply, however, particularly when the insurance is required by a lender and is purchased during the process of securing a mortgage.) If you think you need flood insurance, don’t wait to buy a policy!

What doesn’t it cover?

Generally, government-issued flood insurance will not cover the following: Buildings entirely over water or principally below ground, gas and liquid storage tanks, animals, aircraft, wharves, piers, bulkheads, growing crops, shrubbery, land, roads, machinery or equipment in the open and most motor vehicles.

How much does it cost?

As with all insurance policies, the cost of flood insurance varies depending on your situation. If your home or business is in a high-risk area, such as a “special flood hazard area,” your premium naturally will be higher than those in low- or moderate-risk zones. Premiums are based on how old the building is, how many floors it has, the location of its contents, your deductible and more. Renters insurance is typically less expensive, as renters generally insure their belongings and not the building.

Where can I find more information?

As always, we are happy to help you determine your insurance needs. Stop by our office at 311 Main Street, Irwin, PA,  or give us a call at724-863-3420. The NFIP website, at http://www.fema.gov/national-flood-insurance-program, has plenty of answers as well.

Before the wind blows, secure your trees and shrubs

The seasons are changing, and the colors of autumn abound.

Regrettably, fall’s stunning display is often accompanied by some unwelcome weather hazards in Pennsylvania – namely, wind – that can cause considerable damage to the very trees that produce those beautiful treefall leaves.

At Duncan Financial Group, we want your yard and home to stay great throughout the season.  Take a look at the following tips to ensure you keep your trees and shrubs healthy and avoid destruction that can result when the wind blows.

To protect existing trees

  • Bundle ‘em up. Go to a home and garden store and buy enough landscape fabric and plant ties to cover trees and shrubs vulnerable to the changing weather. Wrap them up for the winter and then unwrap them after spring has sprung.
  • Exercise pruning prowess. Proper pruning is essential to ensure trees can withstand winds, so make sure you use correct pruning techniques or hire a professional.
  • Trees and more trees. If you have trees that are especially susceptible to wind, consider planting more trees. Experts say to choose trees, like conifers and evergreens, to create a windbreak. As an added bonus, a windbreak placed in correct proximity to a home can reduce energy costs by up to 30 percent. Keep in mind: conifers should be planted at least 20 feet away from a structure, evergreens at least 30 feet away.

When planting new trees

  • Know which way the wind blows. Pay attention to the wind patterns in your part of {State} through the fall and winter seasons and how they affect your particular lot.  Plant trees in areas where structures, such as your home, garage or shed, can serve to shelter them from the wind.
  • Give them some space. Plant trees far enough away from structures and foundations. A smaller tree should have at least a 10-square-foot space to itself, and a larger tree needs at least 30 square feet.

At Duncan Financial Group, we hope these tips will ensure that you and your yard hang tough all season long… even when the wind starts howling.

Happy 4th of July!

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Happy Independence Day!

Independence Day is a wonderful time to reflect on the brave men and women who have served our country, and those who continue to serve and protect us and our freedom.
While you are enjoying the many fun activities this holiday brings, please keep safety in mind while you are grilling, swimming and setting off fireworks. The American Red Cross provides a helpful list of safety tips for you and your family to enjoy a safe and happy holiday.
Duncan Financial Group would like to wish all of our clients, friends and their families a safe and happy Fourth of July! In observance of the holiday, our office will be closed on Friday, July 3. We will reopen at 8:30 am on Monday, July 6.

 

Flood Insurance: Are you Prepared?

house_flood2The weekend storms in Western PA have caused headaches for many homeowners.  People are trying to dry out their basements from the flooding that has occurred in many areas. This can be a huge undertaking for most people, especially those who have not purchased a separate flood policy. Remember, flooding is NOT covered under a homeowner policy.

For additional information, you can read about “what nobody ever told you about flood insurance” at https://www.trustedchoice.com/catastrophe-insurance/flood-coverage. Also, feel free to call one of our insurance professionals with questions about your existing policy or to purchase a new policy.

We’ll help keep you grounded when “the waters rise.”

May is Motorcycle Awareness Month

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May is Motorcycle Safety Awareness month — the perfect time to encourage motorcyclists to practice safe riding and to remind motorists to share the road with motorcycle riders.

Resources to keep you safe!

  • Spring is here and that means it’s time to prepare your motorcycle. However, getting your bike ready for the road in spring is much more than a quick kick of the tires. Here’s a good to-do list: http://j.mp/1hUHse0
  • Stay safe while riding your motorcycle. The Motorcycle Safety Foundation is a good source for finding courses near you: http://j.mp/1mHqOio
  • The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that proper use of motorcycle helmets reduces brain injury risk by 67%. Here’s what to look for in a helmet: http://j.mp/1bbCMQJ

Need Motorcycle Insurance? We Got You Covered!

Whether you ride a cruiser, trike, touring bike, custom, chopper or sports bike, we can customize an insurance program to meet your specific needs. We want to make sure that you have the very best coverage available. Duncan Financial Group represents 6 insurance companies that write motorcycle coverage, offering highly competitive rates and discount incentives to help you save even more!
We will help you choose the coverage that is right for you and your bike… at a reasonable price.

Call us today to learn more! 724-863-3420

Downtown Irwin Car Cruise – Saturday, April 25

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The 24th Annual Irwin Car Cruise, one of the best car cruises in the county, takes place on Saturday, April 25th from Noon – 5 PM. Last year, nearly 400 classic and antique cars, trucks, and street rods lined the streets of Downtown as event-goers marveled at the dynamic display! The young and young-at-heart will enjoy a day filled with live music, food vendors, prizes and Syria Shrine clowns and more!

For event photos and additional details, visit http://www.irwinevents.com/Annual-Irwin-Car-Cruise.html

And, if you are looking for classic car coverage, the Insurance Professionals at Duncan Financial Group are here to help! We represent a variety of Collector Car Companies with a broad range of coverage options designed specifically to protect you and what you have invested in your car. We will work with you to tailor an insurance package to meet your specific needs.

Call us today at 724-863-3420 or visit http://duncangrp.com/classic-auto-insurance/.

Holiday Closing

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Please note that our office will close at Noon on Friday, April 3, in observance of the Easter holiday. Our office will reopen at 8:30 am on Monday, April 6.

We wish all of our valued clients and their families a wonderful holiday filled with sweet treats and the joy of spring.

As always, we appreciate your business and we’re happy to assist you with any questions.

Duncan Financial Group

 

 

Complimentary Workers’ Compensation Workshops

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Almost every business owner is frustrated by how much they pay for Workers’ Compensation insurance. Even after ‘shopping their insurance,’ they realize they are being overcharged, although they do not fully know why. The sad fact is that most employers do not realize that Workers’ Compensation is not really insurance, but a finance tool to pay for injuries to their employees.

By attending one of our upcoming Workers’ Compensation Workshops, David R. Leng, author of “Stop Being Frustrated and Overcharged Year After Year by Your Workers’ Compensation Program”, will serve as your GPS in a journey through a complicated and very expensive world where Workers’ Compensation costs are strangling America’s businesses. Using real life examples of how he has saved businesses over $21 million in excess costs, David’s presentation will show you just how to manage your Workers’ Compensation in a way guaranteed to keep you from getting “Frustrated & Overcharged.”

Workshops are scheduled for the following dates/times:

  • Tuesday, May 12, 2015 – Hyatt Place Pittsburgh, 136 Emeryville Drive, Cranberry Township, PA 16066
  • Wednesday, May 13, 2015 – Courtyard by Marriott, 700 Power Line Drive, Greensburg, PA 15601
  • Thursday, May 14, 2015 – Doubletree by Hilton Hotel, 101 Mall Blvd., Monroeville, PA 15146

To learn more about the workshops, speakers and to register, visit www.workcompworkshop.com.

Flood Insurance: Are You Covered?

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A mid-winter or early spring thaw can produce large amounts of runoff in a short period of time. Because the ground is hard and frozen, water cannot penetrate and be reabsorbed. The water then runs off the surface and flows into lakes, streams and rivers, causing excess water to spill over their banks.

Be prepared! Purchase flood insurance for your home (and business) and its contents, take an inventory of your belongings and make an emergency plan for you and your family. For more information, click here.

Our dedicated agents can help you choose flood insurance that best fits your needs. Call us today for a free, no-obligation consultation and get one step closer to ensuring your home is safe and insured!

Call us at (724) 863-3420.

Six tips for prepping for a premium audit

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As so many employers choose to have a Workers’ Compensation Insurance Policy that renews at the end of the year, that means these businesses are currently preparing for their policy year end premium audit.Therefore, I thought I would relay some tips to help prepare for an error-free audit and minimize the chances of your company becoming overcharged.

Since a Workers’ Compensation premium is estimated initially, the actual cost is determined through the premium audit, which can result in higher and unexpected costs. The auditors’ job is to find premium producing exposures; after all, they work for the insurance company.

Click here to read the full article.