Friday, November 30, 2012

Stuff I like on the internet.

I don't channel surf but do surf the internet.  I find a lot more interesting stuff out there targeted to my unique interests.  Here's some things I have recently found and blogs I frequent:   Great Video on old Porsche's and really interesting guy that is passionate about them  I call this guy "my Guru"  I have been trying to eat this way for the last couple of months and feel Great!

A collection of financial philosophers (for the lack of a better way to describe them)  most of the stuff is extreme but I like to read and glean some ideas, (weird but interesting) (most sensible and well rounded of these extreme guys)

Ok, some motorsport links:

Other stuff

That's just some of the places, hopefully you might enjoy them.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Thanksgiving after Thanksgiving

Perhaps it is a Thanksgiving theme I have going here,  I am finding joy in the little things in life.  Last night I found a Gear Wrench that I has lost for over a year and I had to post that newsworthy item several places!

That happiness I felt over something worth $5 got me thinking.  What makes us happy?  Well, I recently bought the above floor mats for my car.  I have wanted floor mats like this since seeing them advertised in Road & Track since I was a kid.  Yeah, they are expensive (at least to me, tightwad I am!) but they are made right here in the south!  And anyway, it was my car's 10th birthday.  Yes I'm that weird, I remember when I bought my car.  Anyway, makes me happy when I get in my car.

I also am happy when I walk into my garage and see my restoration project of a 1973 Honda CB350F, hmm something else I wanted since I was a kid.  Are we seeing a them here?

Am I shallow?  Maybe. But I kind of think that if these little things make me happy it's because so many big things in my life are doing well as well.   Last night Sarah posted this pic on facebook
It's my wife's dad sitting on my motorcycle.  Sarah is excited about seeing him at Christmas.
Vickie and I just recorded "A Charlie Brown Christmas" for our granddaughter's Birthday (it isn't until Saturday so don't anybody tell here).   Those things make me happy.

Ok that's all I have time for, time to go make other people happy!

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Deductibles My dear Watson!

Ok any body get my nerdy reference?  I read all the Sherlock Holmes books when I was a kid and I love the new show Elementary .  Anyway, let's talk about deductibles on your insurance.

I recently had a friend call in with a windshield claim and he was upset that he had a $100 deductible. He told me he though I had sold him a good policy and why did he pay me thousand of dollars a year and still have to pay a deductible.  Well her is the deal.

The higher the deductible the lower your insurance rate. In this case he saved about $30 a year, he has had 3  or more cars insured with us  for 10 years and this is his first windshield claim. Let's do the math, we will be conservative and say on the all three cars he has saved a total of $50 a year for 10 years so he has saved $500 so he has $400 left in his imaginary wallet after paying this claim.  I think that was a good agent, saving him $400, heck I make more money with lower deductibles, I was looking out for my client-not me.  How often does one have a windshield claim? An industry expert tells me it is a 5% chance of having a windshield claim in any given year.  That means once in 20 years for a single car.

The numbers vary, you won't save as much with a higher deductible on a Camry (pretty low insurance cost anyway) but more on a Corvette (pretty high insurance cost) the savings is  a percentage of  the base rate.

On property insurance (homeowners, rental buildings, etc.) the saving can be HUGE.  I recently insured an apartment complex and the difference between a $5,000 dollar deductible and $2,500 deductible was, wait for it, $2.500.  That's a no brainer every year they don't have a claim they save $2,500.

"Wait a minute" you say, "that's why I have insurance, to take care of things whenever I have a problem".  I'm going to tell you a secret, insurance companies are in business to make money and if you have a lot of little claims you are labeled as claims conscious and you get dropped like a hot potatoe!

What about that neat vanishing deductible we here a couple of the famous fictional insurance spokes people (what's wrong with that statement anyway!) speak of?  Listen to the fine print!  You pay extra for that! It is just a bell and whistle for the mathematically challenged.  The companies know they will make more money if you chose that vanishing deductible. Don't play their game, keep your money!

If you want some more advice on deductibles you can do a couple of things, watch our youtube on it or give on of our agents a call.

We are happy to represent these fine companies:  Erie, Auto-Owners, GMAC, Safeco, Foremost, and more!

Monday, August 20, 2012

I traded cars on the weekend! OH NO!!!!

I get frantic phone calls from clients almost every weekend because they bought or traded a car over the weekend and they are worried that they aren't going to be covered when they drive off the lot with their shiny new purchase.  Well, in most cases, we can go with another entertainment icon from the past:  Don't worry, be happy!

To go all Insurance Nerd on you, the shiny new car comes under the definition of a newly acquired auto. If you don't want to read that link to the auto policy I will paraphrase:  It it replaces a car (if you traded in on the new car or you old car was totalled and you are getting a new one) it has the same coverages as the car it is replacing.  So if you had collision and comprehensive on the old car you automatically have it on the new car.  You are also covered if the new vehicle is an ADDITIONALcar up to the  BROADEST COVERAGES on the policy.  So if you have 2 cars on the policy, one has collision and comprehensive and the other has liability then you buy a third car on the weekend the third car automatically has collision and comprehensive when you drive off the lot. 

READ THE REST OF THIS THOUGH!  In order for you to keep this coverage you need to ask us to cover that auto with in the first 30 DAYS!  Don't forget to call us on Monday, procrastination is not your friend here, don't complicate matters by waiting too long!  This also is not a free coverage for 30 days, if you buy that additional car and call us on the 29th day you are covered but the company has to go back and start charging 29 days ago, otherwise you are in trouble with the state.

As always, if you have any other questions give us a shout or email!

Now I can't get that song out of my head!

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

What does being a Good Neighbor mean?

First, this is not a post about my good buddies at State Farm.  It is also not a post about all the rules to be a good neighbor.  I just want to talk about being a good neighbor when it comes to trees.

It seems in our neck of the woods (pun intended) we have had a lot of trouble with wind and trees lately.  Due to that I am getting several calls about how to handle situations with our insured's trees as well as  our insured's neighbors trees.

Here is a basic rule to live by, as a homeowner you are to due what a reasonably prudent person would do to maintain the safety of your home.  That means you take care to make sure someone is not injured on your property.  So if you have a tree that looks like it is damaged, rotten, broken, or other wise  presents a potential problem by falling on people or property then it is your responsibility to take care of it. Some times that means having to pay someone to cut it down. 

Now if  a perfectly healthy tree is blown down in a hurricane and lands on your neighbors shed you are not responsible.  But if your neighbor had noticed that that tree had been struck by lightening previously and had told you then, guess what, you are responsible as you were negligent.

The shoe goes on both feet so if it is your neighbors tree same rules apply. If your neighbors perfectly healthy tree is blown down on your roof in a hurricane, your insurance will handle it.  If you had gone to them and told them it was broken and leaning and they haven't done anything about it then we will probably pay for it (less your deductible of course) and then try to go back to them and get the money back.

That's the basics, here are some Frequenlty asked Question:

Q.  My favorite tree blew down in my, will my insurance cover that to clean it up and put in a new tree? 

A. With very few exceptions, there is no coverage for a tree that is damaged by wind.  If the tree falls on your house then there is limited coverage to take it off but not for the actual tree

Q. I have some trees getting ready to fall, will my insurance pay to take them down?

A. Sorry, but no.  I have heard those little talking heads on tv say this works but I don't think they work in the insurance industry!  This comes under the premise that it is one's responsibililty to take care of their own property, just like your auto insurance won't pay for tires so you don't skid off the road, your homeowners policy is not meant to maintain your property.  If insurance companies were to start paying to cut down trees two things would happen.  First, rates would be way higher than they are now. Secondly, we would live in a desert because they would love to have zero trees to fall and cause claims.

Q. Can and insurance company cancel me because of problems with trees.

A. Yes,  if  a company thinks insuring your home is an above average risk due to proximity of trees they have the right to not insure you.   They sometimes ask a client to cut some trees in order to maintain coverage.

Q. What if my neighbor says they won't cut down the trees that are endangering my property? 

A.  First this situation is no fun!  I am assuming you have been over with a fresh baked apple pie and talked sweetly to them and they have said "Sorry, I'm not cutting my trees".  Now you probably should officially notify them in writing that you are concerned about the safety of  your property due to their trees and and you would like them to remove them.  If they don't, this gives you a little better legal standing if something does happen.  You might consider paying to cut them your self (expensive but less trouble than them destroying your house) of you could consult an attorney.

As always, if you are insured with Cline Hall Agency or would like to be and have any questions on this subject give us a call!

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Summer is here and the living is easy (hopefully!)

Recently, I had the pleasure of being in Florida.  I drove down there, and, of course, went through South Carolina.   Since it is summer, motorcycles are all over the place in S.C.  I love motorcycles; I have two myself.  What I don't understand, is motorcycles with riders who don't wear helmets. 

I'm sorry if this insults anybody, but that doesn't make sense to me.  I guess several things come to mind with me.  One, I have always wanted to NEED a helmet.  In my mind, wearing a helmet means you are doing something exciting. When I was little I wanted my parents to let me buy a cool red helmet from Woolco (you have to be old to remember that) just in case I ever had a motorcycle.

Secondly, I have used a helmet.  I don't mean I have worn a helmet, but have used one while bouncing down the pavement. While I'm not very pretty now, I wouldn't be much fun to look at me had I not been wearing a helmet at that time.

I might mention that I normally wear All The Gear All The Time (atgatt), but this time was the only time I didn't wear my motorcycle pants (going for a short ride, what could happen?).  Wanna see the scar on my knee?

Anyway, I'm lucky to be alive.  So here is my suggestion:  The best motorcycle insurance you can get isn't from Progressive or any other company advertising it, it's from folks like this: Motor Cycle Superstore, J&P Cycles, locally at Ron Ayers, or any one of a hundred other places selling proper riding gear.

For those of you who don't ride: LOOK OUT for motorcycles!  Give them wide berth; it could be a new rider so steer clear for your own safety. Don't rush to get past them then cut in front of them, it is very easy for them to lock up their brakes.  There is also something about the human brain that thinks they are smaller, so people think, "I can pull out and they will be able to stop".  WRONG, they are not a bicycle; they are going as fast as you.

Please be careful! And e-mail me if you have any more motorcycle safety questions!

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Change you change a tire?

Have you seen our latest newsletter?  We want you to know how to change a tire, or at least have towing and labor coverage (it's only 4 or 5 bucks).  Check out the newsletter:

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

If you have a teen driver please read!

The following if from Teen Driving Solutions   facebook page.  

Over the weekend, news articles from around the country reported stories on vehicle crashes that claimed the lives of 7 teenagers. Additionally, as some of these drivers had passengers, most of which were teenagers, there were 10 injured, some seriously. In one instance, twin brothers crashed, one brother (driver) was killed and the other seriously hurt. Most of these crashes involved driving off the road and either over-correcting or slamming into trees. Regardless, at 7 teenagers died in the last 2 days from preventable car crashes. Are you getting worried about your teenager? Let us help you prevent tragedies like this from happening to you.

Insurance for a brand new driver is outrageous, at least $1200 a year.  For that $1200 your are protected for financial harm that your teen my cause in the way of property damages or bodily injury to others that your teen driver my cause.  Please, consider spending $300 to protect your teen driver!  

In fact I will pay $100 for the first 3 of my insureds that sign their teen driver up for this.  Please call us today at 756-5200 

Thursday, April 12, 2012

The Expense of Teen Drivers! So spend another $300!

There is no way around it, having a teen driver is expensive!  You don't see any companies advertising to bring your insurance to them when you have a new driver in your household.  You know why?  Because it is impossible to make a profit with new drivers due to their inexperience and lack of judgement (sorry kids, it's true).

I always have clients call and want to know how to save money.  Well here I go wanting you to spend more money. All that insurance money just protect your cars and other people, how about spending $300 to protect your child.  More young drivers are killed every year than soldiers in the Iraq war.

Please take a look at this web site and youtube video.  Besides being great for your kid you will get a lot of cool points with them because it occurs at an actual race track!

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

How do you do it?

I recently was meeting with a new client, the kind of meetings I really like to have.  This couple was a referral from a business associate, I had already meet with the wife (and the cute little 5 mos old baby), now I was meeting with Mom, Dad and Baby.  Dad asked me," how does this company do it" (in this case it was Erie).

"What do you mean I ask",   "have better coverage with a much lower price" was his reply.  I know this sounds like a commercial, I wish I had it on tape!

My simple answer was advertising. Or lack of it to be specific.  The companies I deal with have a minimal amount of advertising, especially compared to the biggies in the industry:  Gieco  at 900 million , State Farm 300 million  Allstate 500 million, and Progressive 600 million

Man that's a lot of millions!  Bottom line, there is only so much money to go around when running an insurance company.  Everybody has about the same percentage of claims expense, everybody has to pay people to work, everybody has to pay electricity to keep the office open.  Then add these advertising numbers on top of that and BADA BING BADA BOOM.  You have your bill from your insurance company.

So... I am out here on the internet trying to combat these big budgets with my free blog!  Give us a call or visit our budget website and see if I'm telling the truth.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Where are your mirrors facing?

I went racing this weekend and was reminded how important it is to have your mirrors adusted correctly. MOST PEOPLE DO THIS WRONG!! Here is a good site to show you the correct way. I have discovered that adjusting my mirrors while at a stop light when I am in the middle lane works the best. Please check this out it may save your life:

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Life saving stuff here!

If you have watched the news here in Greenville, NC you have seen the story of the "Mansion Fire" ( The good news is that no one was injured. The suprising news was that there was only one smoke detector.

While I was at a new insureds home yesterday they asked how many smoke detectors were enough. My answer was "Lots!"  Here is what I found on a government web site  If you don't want to go here, my personal rule of thumb is in every bedroom, in hall ways, in the kitchen, near any probably source of fire (gas logs, furnace, etc.)  Perhaps this is over kill but I don't want anybody dieing in my house because they didn't here a smoke alarm.

Speaking of detectors, I had some law suit papers cross my desk yesterday involving a rental property not having a carbon monoxide detector. IF YOUR HOME USES IN FOSSIL FUELS YOU NEED A CARBON MONOXIDE DETECTOR! That means if you have any gas appliences or heat with oil or gas you need one.  Carbon monoxide poisioning is a real threat.  Here is info on where to put one of those:

You can buy smoke and carbon monoxide detectors almost anywhere but here is a quick link if you want to buy right now

Ok, people be safe out there.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012


I deal with folks buying new homes everyday, it is gratifying to help them achieve the "American Dream".  Unfortunately,  with the economic downturn, we have seen our share of foreclosures and short sales.  
Perhaps our "American Dream" has lost touch with reality.  Due to the recent hurricane and fears of future hurricanes homeowners insurance rates are going through the roof with all carriers.  Why, in a large part because of roofs.  In our small office we paid out over $2,000,000  during Hurricane Irene with most of that being for roofs. Honestly, a lot of those roofs we replaced should have been replaced by the homeowners years ago but do to our culture/economic/tax system/government programs alot of us have homes that , if we are fortunate enough to be able to afford the 30 year mortgage payment, we can't afford to maintain.

Here is an interesting editorial that speaks to this subject as well as a couple of others.

Hope my Libertarian tendencies don't offend anyone!

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Cruise Questions?

I've had some questions lately about what is covered under odd circomstances.  I think the recent cruieship disaster has brought this on.  If you have a NC Homeowners policy you don't have to worry, your belongs are covered worldwide.  If you have a theft or loss while traveling in Europe you are covered just like here at home.  Of course there are limitions, for example jewery has an limit for theft if it isn't scheduled.

Erie's HE-7 policy has higher limits on the base policy than the HO-3 that State Farm, Nationwide, Allstate, and Farm Bureu sales, call us for details on that.

Here is a little segment you might want to view regarding cruise safety:

Thanks to our insured Malia Fredrickson with Clear Water Travels
  for sharing.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Some good Automotive web sites.

I guess I am in the middle of winter malaise, so I have spent a lot of time this week on some automotive web sites.  If you are a gear head like me here are some you might like.
We proudly sell Hagerty and their online magazine is free to everyone!

An excellent article on motorcycle riding.  I buy motorcycle maps from this site, they really add to the riding experience
It's amazing how little things can add greatly to your driving safety.  Thanks to for sharing this.

Lastly, I have been following the World Rally Championship closer now that we have a Mini Countryman and  Mini has a factory team in this series.  Mini became a force to be reckoned with in the Sixties when they won this event. ... ata_player ... ata_player

Have fun on a rainy day!

Monday, January 16, 2012

I've never heard of your companies.

I was leaving church yesterday when someone approached me in the parking  lot and said they needed to talk to my about insurance.  This was not somebody I insure and I really don't like talking insurance at church.  I tried to  just give them my business card and get on my way (I have a problem with people trying to sell their wares while at church, but that's just me) but they wanted to talk.

They quoted a friend who said I "was really good" but they had a quizzical look on their face as they said "but I've never heard of your companies."

I hear that a lot.


Well, Allstate spend approximately 500 million a year advertising (  I imagine Gieco, Progressive, State Farm, & Nationwide are in the same ball park.

Let me explain how insurance works.  For every Dollar that a company brings in they have to pay for expenses and claims and have something left over for a profit or they get skewered by their stock holders or go out of business.  So, were does that advertising budget come from?  That initial dollar, but they still have to pay to run the business, underwriters, janitors, adjusters, electricity, etc.  Guess what the biggest expense an insurance company faces?  Claims, industry wide about 65% of revenues in a good year.  Wonder where that 500 mil is coming from.

One of my companies , Auto-Owners ( feels they can afford to pay 68% on claims because they don't have that big advertising budget that the others do.

So, do you want to pay for Dennis Haysbert and Mayhem or do you want your company to have more money left over for claims?

Friday, January 13, 2012

Where's your $1000?

Sure, a lot of people are between a rock and a hard place with finances right now; but, while our country is building itself back up and regaining fiscal strength -- what are you doing?

As we've told you before, Cline Hall Agency is proud to be an "Endorsed Local Provider" of Dave Ramsey.  Many of Dave's biggest lessons come from following his "Seven Baby Steps", which explain seemingly simple steps to put ourselves and our families on sturdy ground when dealing with our cash flow and/or debt.  The first baby step Dave drills home is having $1000 in your "Emergency Fund" bank account.  Have you taken this first step?  Now, this can't be in your checking account where the Bon Jovi tickets suddenly become an emergency, or Valentine's Day last minute plans drain out the $1000 quickly.  This account is for emergencies more so along the lines of your sudden need for new tires, or a trip to the dentist which isn't covered under you health plan.  Or maybe even an unexpected accident, and the $500 deductible you'll need to pay to fix your car.

Of course, a lot of you learned of your need for a saving account long ago -- but what about the rest?  Get it going!  Emergencies happen, we've all experienced this.  There truly is an ever-present sigh of relief when you don't have to cringe for every unexpected expense because you know your emergency account is in place.  So, if you're not there-hop on it!  It doesn't take long.

For more information on these baby steps check our Dave's explanation:

Call or visit us, as always!