1: Guard Your Water Pipes

To protect your outdoor water faucets from freezing, disconnect all garden hoses and store them as the weather shifts. Make sure to shut off the water to your outdoor faucets, drain the lines, and cover them with a faucet cover.

2: Keep Water Flowing

When the weather is below freezing it is a good idea to turn on your faucet to a slight drip with both cold and hot water used. When pipes are located near exterior walls they are not installed as well and have a higher chance of freezing. Another helpful tip is to leave your cabinet doors open to let warm air reach the pipes. If want to take an extra step you can wrap your pipes in a towel or blanket to add an extra level of protection.

3: Clean Gutters

Cleaning out debris in your gutters can help prevent ice damming and large icicles from forming. Clogged gutters can cause snow to become trapped on the roof and cause damage to your shingles or integrity of your roof.

4: Seal Cracks

Cracks can cause cold air to enter your home and warm air to escape. Closing these cracks can help prevent your pipes from freezing and making your heater work hard to keep you and your home warm.

5: Prepare For A Power Outage

Before the storm: check flashlights and portable radios, be sure to have extra batteries on hand, fully charge all electronics, prepare generators, make sure you have extra blankets, coats, hats and mittens.

During the storm: use 911 for true emergencies only, use flashlights, instead of candles as much as possible, don’t run your generator indoors, dress warmly, in layers, unplug electronics to protect from a power surge.

Thanks to an unusual convergence of market trends, ushered
in by the pandemic and followed by other disruptive events,
you may see a bigger change to the cost of your home and auto
insurance than usual when it comes time to renew your policies
this year.
Insurance rates are based on what an insurer thinks it will cost to
make you whole in the event of a loss – whether it’s roof damage
during a windstorm or a vehicle totaled during a traffic accident.
As you’ve likely noticed, pretty much everything costs more
than it did even a few years ago.
What’s driving higher home insurance costs
If you’ve shopped at Home Depot or Lowe’s lately, you’ve
certainly seen that the price tags on building materials have
gotten pretty expensive. Last year, the cost of building materials
rose 4.7%, reflecting a particularly strong uptick in prices on
things like asphalt shingles (16.2%), concrete blocks (18.5%) and
drywall (20.4%).
To make matters worse, the home-building industry is facing
a shortfall of more than 300,000 skilled laborers, which is
driving up construction-related labor costs. Combined with the
high cost of construction materials and historically low housing
inventory, this has been making home claims much more
expensive for insurance companies.

What’s driving higher auto insurance costs
Ongoing supply chain issues are driving a shortage of car parts
and equipment, which were 22.3% more expensive at the end
of 2022 than they were two years earlier. The overall cost of
maintaining and repairing vehicles increased 18.4 % over the
same timeframe – exacerbated by a growing shortage of car
repair technicians.
The same issues depleted the supply of new and used cars
during the COVID-19 pandemic, and inventories have not yet
recovered. As a result, the average price of new cars has risen
20% since 2020, while used car prices have skyrocketed 37%.
Rising medical costs are another key factor. While the number
of injuries and fatalities from car accidents has somewhat
declined from its peak in 2021, the rising cost of medical care
continues to drive higher claims costs. Between 2020 and
2022, the overall cost of medical care in the U.S. increased
Focus on value as you explore ways to save
Keep in mind that savings come in many forms. The value of
the coverage you choose today may save you more in the long
run than the lowest possible premium. Contact us to review
your current coverage.
We’ll help you explore opportunities
for discounts that could offset higher rates when it comes
time to renew.

I’m pretty confident that if you asked anyone who has ever owned a rental property you would get an overwhelming response that it’s not as lucrative or easy as they thought it would be. In fact, owning a rental property can be a major pain, and end up costing you a ton of money!

I certainly don’t mean to be a “Debbie Downer”, and I know that if it’s done right it can be lucrative, but from an insurance agent’s perspective, I don’t see a lot of people doing it right.

So you’re probably thinking, “Well Chris, you are an insurance agent. What do you know about real estate or rental properties? Why should I take advice from you?”

I’m not a real estate agent, and I don’t own a rental property. However, several of my friends/family/clients/co-workers own rentals, and because I insure a bunch of their properties, I’ve had a first hand account of the process, and I’ve learned what to do, and what not to do.

Continue reading →

I was recently asked this question by one of our GKP Insurance Center clients, and thought I would share the answer here for our readers.

There are a lot of things that go into homeowners and auto insurance rates, one of them being credit. I’ve heard a lot of complaints from people who don’t like the fact that insurance companies use credit in their underwriting.

Some people have absolutely no idea that it’s used in the rate at all.

At the end of the day, there’s not much we can do about it though. Insurance companies have been using credit in their rates for decades, and that’s not likely to change.

By the way, insurance companies don’t pull your credit like a mortgage company or credit card company does. There is no negative impact on your credit as a result of an insurance company looking at it.

When I say “pull” what I mean is that the insurance company is doing what’s called a soft inquiry, which is not the same thing as having your credit pulled (hard inquiry).

When does credit play a role in insurance rates?
It’s important to understand that insurance companies don’t continuously check or monitor your credit. Usually, they only check it when you first get a quote and/or sign up with them in the very beginning.

This means that if your credit score increases (or decreases) your insurance company does not automatically know about it.

So, to my customers question of whether or not his increased credit score will lower his rates, the answer is not automatically.

What has to be done on our side as the agent is contact the carrier the insurance and ask them to do what’s commonly referred to as a “re-score”. This is when the insurance company can re-run the person’s credit (soft inquiry) to see if there is any positive bearing on the rate.

This isn’t something that the insurance company is going to let the agency do every single year, so it’s not worth even asking unless there has been a significant change in your credit score, and only you as the customer would know if that was the case.

If you’d like to get a better handle on your credit rating, it could be helpful to setup credit monitoring. We hope this was helpful! As always, leave us comment below if you have any questions.

Why do my auto insurance rates keep going up even though my car is getting older?  At GKP Insurance Center, many of our clients ask this question so I would like to address it from a couple of angles.

First things first, even though it’s called car/auto insurance, it covers more than just your car. It should technically be called “auto-owners” insurance, similarly to how home insurance is actually called “home owners insurance”.

It’s important to understand that there are a lot of variables that go into insurance premiums, and with auto insurance, it’s no different.

The insurance company is much more concerned with you crashing into someone and causing them (or yourself) bodily harm, or death, than they are about your car. A car is a material possession which can be replaced.

A human life is not.

When is the last time you looked at your auto insurance policy?
If you look at it you’ll notice there are a lot of different coverages on your auto policy.

Bodily injury
Property damage
Un-insured motorist
Under-insured motorist
Medical Payments
Loss of Income
Funeral Expense
Loss of use
Rental Reimbursement

These are all things that you are covered for on your auto policy. How many of them have to do with your car?


How many of them have a price next to them on your policy?

All of them.

Your car isn’t the only thing you’re being charged for on your policy
That’s because auto insurance covers far more important things than your car as mentioned above.

Let me re-phrase that: your car insurance rate isn’t just based on your car.

You’re not the only one…
It’s also important to understand that you are not the only person your insurance company insures. You are one fish in an ocean of other fish, sharks, and sea creatures, all who have different characteristics and risk profiles.

Insurance is all about spreading costs over a large number (risk pool) of people, which each person paying their fare share. That risk pool is constantly changing, and is impacted by a ton of different things, including the overall economic climate.

This means that you are sharing in the cost of millions of other people, many of whom may have poor loss history and/or credit.

That’s what insurance is though — sharing in the cost.

The next time your auto insurance rates go up, take a look at the big picture. Make sure you’re looking at ALL of the coverages, and corresponding rates.

Hope this helps!  If you would like to know more about Car Insurance be sure to visit our page dedicated to it.