Benefits of an Alabama renters insurance policy

The Opelika, AL area is a very popular community for people to move to. When you come to this area of Alabama, you can enjoy a variety of valuable personal and professional benefits. One important decision that you will have to make when moving here is where to live. You likely will have a variety of great options to choose from. One option that is ideal for some people is to rent their home. If you are going to rent a property here, it is important that you get a full renters insurance policy as it can provide a number of benefits.

Coverage for Personal Assets

One of the advantages of your renter’s insurance policy is that it can provide you with coverage for your personal assets. With a renters insurance policy, you are going to get a certain level of protection that could be used to replace your personal belongings if they are stolen, damaged, or destroyed. For more sizable assets, including expensive jewelry or art, you can also get a rider to the insurance policy for specific coverage for these assets.

Coverage for Liability Protection

Another advantage of a renters insurance policy is that you will get coverage for liability. Renters often do not realize the liability risk that they are taking on at any given time. Due to this risk, you should make sure that you protect yourself as well as possible. A great way to do this is by getting a full renters insurance policy.

When you are shopping for a renters insurance policy, you should contact the team at Elliott & Associates Insurance. The insurance team at Elliott & Associates Insurance could give you the guidance that you need to pick a policy. They have helped many in the Opelika, AL area get the appropriate insurance coverage. 

The benefits of enrolling for motorcycle classes

Do you know motorcycle accidents are catastrophic and many of the accidents are no fault of the motorcycle involved but instead the negligence of the cyclist? In Eliot and associates insurance, we believe that the more skills motorcyclists have in their toolbox, the higher their chances are of being able to avoid accidents. Enrolling in motorcycle safety programs and taking motorcycle safety training is a great idea even if you are an experienced rider. 

Benefits

∙Lower motorcycle insurance rates. Undertaking safety classes as a motorbike rider improve your driving skills, thus increasing levels of alertness, thus minimizing most accidents that arise as a result of carelessness during a biking expedition. The rider can practically put into practice what he or she has been taught. This culminates in a rider causing lesser accidents, thus attracting discounts from insurance companies because of completing a certified motorcycle course.

∙Boost motorcyclist’s confidence. The motorcycle safety course is conducted by professionally- trained personnel. They instill skills and techniques which build concentration in bikers leading to fewer distractions in a biking environment. These trained riders enhance their confidence resulting in minimal accidents. In Eliot insurance, we boost this confidence further by giving affordable and elaborate motorcycle policy which caters to you in case of a liability.

∙Its an investment. After completing a motorcycle safety course, it’s easier to make a more informed decision about purchasing a motorcycle. Riders will be able to make choices based on the type of bikes they would prefer to possess. They also have the advantage of making more mature decisions from advice given by instructors regarding the acquisition of a motorcycle.

Have you completed a certified motorcycle course in Opelika, Alabama?. Let Elliots & Associates insurance give you guidance in acquiring your motorcycle insurance. Call or Contact us through our website you won’t regret it.

Do I Need Short Term Rentals Insurance?

Short term rentals insurance is designed to cover your home in the event a short term renter causes damage to it. At Elliott & Associates Insurance in Opelika, AL, we understand how important the right coverage is. We take pride in getting our policyholders the right coverage for their needs.

Does Home Insurance Cover Short Term Rentals?

Generally speaking, your homeowner’s policy doesn’t cover short term rentals. Short term rentals are considered a commercial venture, and that’s not what homeowners insurance is designed to cover. Many policies will cover "occasional" short term rentals, but you will need to call the company and discuss the meaning of "occasional" with them. Some companies also require notice before you rent your home to provide coverage. 

Can I Get Short Term Rentals Insurance?

You can likely get short term rentals insurance if you are following all the laws and regulations regarding short term rentals. If your area doesn’t allow short term rentals, no insurance policy is obligated to cover you. If there are licensing requirements or limits on how often you can rent, you will need to be in compliance with these as well. 

Do I Really Need a Separate Policy?

Some homeowners or renter’s policies may offer a rider to provide short term rentals coverage. However, if you plan on frequently providing short term rentals, you may want a policy designed specifically for them. Be sure to check coverage limits, exclusions, and limitations before you choose a policy. 

Providing short term rentals can be lucrative, but uncovered damages could quickly add up to more than your profits. It’s important to be sure that you are properly insured before offering short term rentals in Opelika, AL. Contact Elliott & Associates Insurance today, and we will help you determine the best policy for your needs.  

6 Reasons to Choose Lake Life Insurance

If you’re living near the water, or right on a lake, you may want to consider all the benefits you can get with lake life insurance. At Elliott & Associates Insurance, we understand that lake life is different from living further away from the water and that there are unique needs and requirements to keep yourself safe and protected. If you’re in the Opelika, AL area, we want to help you get the right insurance for your needs. There are some great reasons to choose specific types of insurance for lake living situations. Here are six reasons to consider.

1. Lake living is different from living away from the water, and it presents unique challenges and benefits.

2. Living on a boat or spending a lot of time on one can mean you need to be properly insured for that lifestyle.

3. Liability coverage is vital for people who have others coming and going to their home or their boat or other watercraft.

4. Insurance needs are different on the lake, and an agent that understands that is important.

5. If you don’t live on or near the lake year-round, winterization protection can be very valuable.

6. Having flood coverage may be required due to your proximity to the water.

If you’re in the Opelika, AL area, reach out to us at Elliott & Associates Insurance today. We can help you with lake life insurance you need to feel comfortable and protected. Lake life can be a great life, but it’s much more enjoyable when you know you have the kind of insurance you need. How much coverage you require and which policies are right for you both matter. Our trusted and caring agents can help you choose policies that will give you adequate protection and peace of mind. Then you can get back to enjoying the lake and your time on and near the water.

How Do I Know If I Need Flood Insurance?

Residents in Opelika, AL should find out if their home is in a flood plain before deciding to turn down the option of purchasing flood insurance. At Elliott & Associates Insurance, the agents can assist home and business owners in finding out if the property they own is at risk for flooding during severe storms. Having the right type of insurance in place will protect them from potential financial loss if the unthinkable occurs.

Where Is the Nearest Water Source?

If you are worried about being in a flood plain, your first step should be to find the nearest body of water. This can include rivers, streams, lakes, ponds, and drainage ditches. Just because your home or business is on elevated land, it doesn’t mean it can’t be affected by floodwaters. If you live in a low-lying area, it may not take much water to overflow the banks of whatever body of water is nearest to your home. It’s essential that you know different ways to protect your home from minor flooding. This can be keeping your drains clear and removing lawn debris from your ditches.

Find Out if Your Home Is in a Flood Plain

To find out if your home is in a flood plain, you can call your local FEMA office or talk to your insurance agent. Most agents know how to find the information you need to determine where the closest flood plain is to your home. Having that information will allow you to make an informed choice when it comes to buying flood insurance for your home.

At Elliott & Associates Insurance, the agents have the information that Opelika, AL residents need if they have concerns about living in flood-prone areas in Alabama. Talk to an agent today!

Can Life Insurance Help With Emergency Expenses?

You never know when unexpected expenses can arise, which can cause a financial burden. This is especially true for older individuals with health issues. There is, however, a common-sense method to save for the unexpected while also preparing for any hardships that may occur as the result of an untimely passing. Finding a quality whole life insurance policy is a way to protect loved ones as well as prepare for emergency expenses in the future. 

Life Insurance Can Make Saving For Retirement Easier

When people are saving to retire, the find themselves in an unfortunate situation when medical expenses pop up without warning. Most are forced to spend their retirement savings to cover those expenses. There is a way to avoid having this happen though. Whole life insurance is a policy that allows the policyholder to borrow against it after it has been paid for a certain number of years. It’s like an emergency fund if necessary but also serves as a form of protection for loved ones or business partners in the event of the policyholder’s passing.

Discover Policy Options

Life insurance policies can vary greatly, so it is important to outline current and future needs to help find the right whole life policy. The best way to approach shopping for insurance is to work with a licensed life insurance agent who can work with clients closely to suggest policies that work best for them. Anyone who is currently interested in life insurance should visit Elliott & Associates Insurance, serving Opelika, AL. We are committed to helping people find quality insurance products that fit their lifestyle. 

Now is the time to secure a life insurance policy to protect those who are important from hardships and even protect yourself when surprise expenses develop in the future. Call or stop by Elliott & Associates Insurance if you live near the Opelika, AL area, and find out how to get started. 

 

Types of Commercial Insurance

Types of Commercial Insurance

If an accident or incident was to occur to your business, you might think of all the business equipment to operate your business, the office furniture, or storefront space, but you need to think of your insurance first. At Elliott & Associates Insurance of Opelika, AL, we are not just saying that because we sell insurance. It is important that you know the difference between a business owner’s policy, commercial auto, commercial liability, etc. You need to choose the right policy so your business obtains the coverage it really needs.

An abundance of commercial insurance types are available. Your business type determines what you will need. A pizza delivery restaurant needs different policies than a manufacturing plant. While they both need liability insurance, that is pretty much where the similarities end. Your potential commercial insurance policies include:

  • automobile insurance
  • boiler and machinery policies
  • business owner’s policy
  • business interruption insurance
  • builder’s risk insurance
  • debris removal
  • glass insurance
  • inland marine insurance
  • ordinance or law insurance
  • tenant’s insurance
  • crime insurance
  • fidelity bonds
  • errors and omissions insurance
  • malpractice insurance
  • directors’ and officers’ liability insurance

Elliott & Associates Insurance of Opelika, AL can help you determine which insurance policies you need. With so many diverse choices, it makes sense that you need to choose only what your business really needs. You need insurance, but you need the right insurance. That means sitting down with an expert to determine which policies you do need. That saves you money in two ways. You do not pay premiums on something you do not need and the right policy covers your repair or replacement costs when you do need to make a claim on your insurance.

3 reasons to get life insurance

Life is precious but not guaranteed. You need a life insurance policy that works to ensure your loved ones will be financially sound in the instance of your absence. The agents at Elliott & Associates Insurance can help you find the policy that best fits your preferences. Read on to learn what life insurance can do for you in Opelika, AL and throughout Alabama!

Life insurance pays debts

This concept rings especially true for breadwinners. Imagine your family being thrust into financial turmoil after your death because of mounting bills that you once paid going without remittance of such payments. This horrible scenario can be a reality if you do not set your family up for financial stability after you are gone. Life insurance can work so that your funeral expenses are covered along with the bills. The amount of financial stability your family has after your death heavily depends on how much you are willing to invest in a good life insurance policy today. 

Life insurance can be used to diversify investments

Universal life policies have the flexibility to serve as coverage for final expenses and investment tools. With universal plans, your policy is tied to a specific investment product. You earn dividends off the investment product during your lifetime, which may be used to diversify your portfolio further or to cover unexpected expenses. Your agent at Elliott & Associates Insurance can tell you more about these perks in Auburn and Opelika, AL!

Life insurance policies provide financial cushions to the living

Term life insurance is specifically for after-life expenses and, thus, do nothing to get you out of a financial bind while you are still alive. Whole life insurance, on the other hand, comes with the benefit of accrued interest. Some policyholders use the interest that accumulates with a whole life insurance policy to go on vacation. Others choose to save the money for when it is truly necessary to spend it on emergency situations. Regardless of what you may decide to do, it is a good feeling to know that you have options with your whole life insurance plan. 

The agents at Elliott & Associates Insurance can explain the ins and outs of life insurance. Call us today to schedule an appointment for a consultation!

3 Ways to Keep Your Car Secure Against Theft

Located just on the outskirts of Auburn, Opelika, AL is home to quite a few thousand cars and plenty of traffic for those venturing to the university nearby. With lots of visitors and the area attracting a variety of folks to the area, our customers at Elliott & Associates Insurance want to offer you multiple ways to keep your car secure against theft. 

Park Bright

Wherever you choose to park your car, make sure it is in a well-lit area. Dark spaces encourage thieves to break into vehicles because it is more accessible to work and allows limited witnesses. Most will avoid your car in a lit and secure parking lot to prevent the risk of getting caught. 

Get an Immobilizer

If you do not already have one, an immobilizer is a physical device that you place on your car to prevent them from hot-wiring your car and stealing it. This device is complicated to remove without the owner, so most thieves who are looking for a quick snatch will move right past your car when they see it. 

Lock your Steering Wheel

Another device that you can place in your car is the steering wheel lock that requires a key to remove. With this lock in place, the vehicle cannot be driven. For most criminals seeking out a car, they will walk right past yours because of the time and risks these locks create.

Get Premium Security

The best security for your car is auto insurance. When you add comprehensive coverage to your policy, you are covered in the event your vehicle is stolen. If you live in or around Opelika, AL, contact our agents at Elliott & Associates Insurance today for more information about our policy offerings. 

How to Set Up Your Home to Be a Rental Property

By Dylan LeCompte

Renting out your house instead of listing it on the real estate market is a common, and even profitable, way to hold on to your property when you aren’t currently living in it as a primary residence. Some homeowners choose this direction when they want to wait to sell when their second home’s value increases or the market turns in their favor. Others may want to come back to this property for retirement or are holding on to it for their family’s future use.

Whatever your reasons for deciding to rent out your property, some planning and preparation need to go into your home — not to mention your new role as a landlord — before you can start advertising it to the world. The first decision to make is determining if you want this to be a long-term rental, as in asking for year-long leases from tenants, or a short-term rental, such as listing your property on Airbnb or VRBO. This guide will walk you through:

  • Setting up your house as a short-term or long-term rental
  • How to find out how much to rent your house for
  • Knowing your legal rights and responsibilities
  • Putting on your landlord hat
  • Pros and cons of short-term vs. long-term renting

Setting up your house as a rental

Whether you’re setting up your home for a long-term or a short-term rental, you’ll need to be sure that it’s ready for your renters to move into. Either way, you want to double-check to make sure that:

  • All appliances are safe and in working order.
  • Entry to the house, whether by key or lock pad, is secure and accessible.
  • The house is clean, and if furnished, the furniture is not broken or damaged and in good condition.

If you’re going to be renting your house for short periods on a site like Airbnb, you’ll want to take the right steps to set up your profile correctly. You will need to include information like:

  • Your home type and how many people your space can accommodate.
  • If you allow children and pets, and if there are any additional fees for them.
  • An overview of your home and the area nearby, along with highlighting any amenities that guests can expect to enjoy when they stay in your house.

How to find out how much to rent your house for

When renting out your house, you’ll need to understand how much rent to charge to make sure you cover all of your costs — mortgage, property taxes, insurance, utilities — and be able to set aside some funds to put toward maintenance and upkeep. You’ll also need to cover costs associated with rental applications like conducting background and credit score checks on tenants, as well as hiring cleaning services, a property manager, and contacting referrals.

However, once you determine a price that covers your needs, you’ll need to search and compare it to other rental homes of the same or similar quality in your zip code area; this applies to both short-term and long-term rental properties. Redfin offers a rental estimate that will help you in determining how much to rent your home for.

When getting your business and finances in order to list your home as a short-term rental, you’ll want to:

  • Do your research on Airbnb or VRBO to see the price range that other homes in your area rent for.
  • Consider offering a discount for extended stays. Also consider increasing the rent on weekends, holidays and other high-travel seasons.
  • Factor in cleaning costs, pet deposits, and other upfront non-refundable fees.
  • Protect yourself and your property with insurance.

Pro tip: For new hosts, Airbnb recommends listing your price lower than the suggested rate, so you can get a few immediate reviews and build up your credentials.

When organizing your finances and business to offer your home as a long-term rental, you’ll want to:

  • Determine the length of the lease you’ll offer.
  • Set a price for security, pet, and other deposits.
  • Consider hiring a rental manager such as a property management company to handle rent and late fee collection, take care of repairs and deal with vacancies and evictions.
  • Protect yourself and your property with insurance.
  • List your home on applicable rental sites such as Craigslist, Facebook, etc

Once you have settled and secured the business aspects, you’ll want to speak with a lawyer or real estate company to make sure you not only understand your legal responsibilities but that you have them all covered.

Know your legal rights and responsibilities

The essential contract for a long-term rental is a lease agreement. As a landlord, you need to be sure all of the terms of the rental situation are outlined on paper and signed by all parties involved. You’ll want to make sure your lease outlines the following:

  • Length of lease
  • Security deposit amount
  • Rental due date and penalties for late or missed payments
  • Responsibilities for repairs, basic upkeep, and maintenance — be sure to be specific about lawn care and pest control
  • List of names of all tenants
  • Policies about pets, painting, noise levels, homeowners association dues and rules, and smoking
  • All related deposits
  • Eviction terms
  • Consequences for damaging the property

When thinking about the length of the lease, keep in mind that a month-to-month lease gives you the flexibility to sell when you’re ready, while an annual lease is a more stable option for those holding on to the property. Either way, have a lawyer look over the lease to make sure you’ve included all of the necessary components. You also need to research the landlord and tenant laws in your state. When it comes to disputes, some states automatically favor the tenant over the landlord, so it’s important you know the laws, rules, and regulations for your specific state.

When it comes to a short-term rental, signing a lease is usually not involved, but you still need to make sure that your renters understand and follow your policies. You want to be specific about cancellation policies, adding additional guests, steps for clean-up or check-out, and roles around any amenities like swimming pools, hot tubs or kitchens.

Put on your landlord hat

When you decide to rent out your home, you have to be sure to separate yourself emotionally from your renters. While it’s important to be flexible when you can, remember that this is a business. A good landlord is someone who is firm but kind, understanding but not easily taken advantage of. Other qualities of a good landlord include:

  • Good communication with quick response times
  • Reliable and responsible, and always acts honestly and with integrity
  • Well-organized and thorough, paying close attention to detail

Utilizing and developing all of these qualities will enable you to establish a strong, cordial and candid landlord/tenant relationship.

Pros and cons of short-term vs. long-term renting

There are many reasons to rent out your property, but deciding how to rent it out can be just as challenging as deciding who to rent it to. How do you know which is the best choice for you?

Short-Term Rental Pros

  • More lucrative, especially if you live in a tourist destination
  • Adjustable in regard to time and money in order to fit the demand
  • Flexible with scheduling so you can use the property for vacation when you have the time
  • Possible qualification for tax breaks & deductions that are specific to short-term rentals, like the 14-day rule
  • Generally less wear and tear on your property

Short-Term Rental Cons

  • Necessary to furnish and clean on a frequent, regular schedule
  • Some states, cities or municipalities require short-term rental landlords to complete complex paperwork and hike a mountain of red tape
  • Accounting for negative financial gains during slower periods
  • More competition from surrounding properties
  • Typically more tasks and items to manage

Long-Term Rental Pros

  • More stable and reliable tenants with less rental turnover
  • More consistent pay & income
  • Fewer bills that need to be covered by the landlord
  • Generally does not need to be furnished

Long-Term Rental Cons

  • Potentially larger gaps between tenants
  • Less control over the property
  • Finding the right tenants may take time
  • The eviction process can be time-consuming and costly

You won’t find a one-size-fits-all package when it’s time to decide on a short-term or long-term rental plan. The benefits — and shortcomings — associated with both are clear. It’s important to always keep sight of your goal: maximizing your property’s return on investment.

Originally published on Redfin