Tag Archives: september

Insurance 101 for College Students … And Parents Too

college-student-insuranceMoving away from home to go to college is an exciting time for most kids. It’s their first real taste of independence, but this newfound freedom also comes with increased responsibility.

Mom and dad aren’t around anymore to nag you about the hours you spend on your smartphone or to wake you up for school in the morning, but this also means they aren’t there to fix problems either. What, for example, would you do if someone were to steal your precious smartphone?

Students can easily get swept away in the excitement and bustle of the college social scene, forgetting that not everyone they meet at school has the best of intentions. Crime exists in most communities, and college life is no exception. According to the FBI, 97 percent of crimes reported by college students in 2012 were property crimes and a whopping 41 percent of these crimes occurred on campus grounds.

Students bring many pricey belongings from home – electronics like laptops, smart phones, tablets, televisions and gaming systems are common dorm room items. They may also have a skateboard, bike, vehicle or combination of all of the above.

Another on-campus threat to personal property is fires. Firefighters responded to an average of 3,870 college housing structure fires per year1. These fires caused an annual average of $15 million in personal property damage and losses.

So, how can you protect your belongings while you’re away at school? The first step is to check with your insurance agent to see if your stuff is covered under your homeowners insurance policy. Some policies, like those offered by Mercury Insurance, will extend coverage to college students living away from home.

Another option is to purchase renter’s insurance. Renter’s insurance is designed to protect property owners in the event that their belongings are stolen or damaged in a fire. It will also provide liability coverage in the event someone is injured while visiting your apartment or dorm room.

To maximize your college experience, here are a few tips to protect personal property:

Cover personal belongings with an insurance policy. Students who live on-campus may have coverage available through their parents’ homeowner’s policy. Some companies have policy options that extend personal property coverage for students away from home. Students living off-campus may not be covered by their parents’ policy and should look into purchasing renters insurance.
Create an inventory. Record the value of all personal property to determine the right amount of coverage needed in the event of a loss.
Always lock doors. Talk to roommates and make sure to communicate the importance of securing personal belongings.
Conceal valuables. Never leave electronics or other valuables out in plain sight, and do not advertise their presence on social media.
Secure valuable electronics, like TVs and laptops, to stable fixtures with locking mounts in your room so they can’t be easily removed. Also, protect personal electronics with passwords to guard accessibility and discourage theft.
Use a bicycle lock when you’re out and about or for added security while on-campus. Steel and titanium locks are difficult to cut and provide thieves with a challenge. Reinforcing these locks with cable locks, which can be threaded through wheels, will provide extra security.
Install or activate an alarm if you have a vehicle on-campus. Insurance companies frequently offer discounts for vehicles equipped with anti-theft devices. Students with good grades – at least a B average – may be eligible for an additional discount as well.
Ensure your auto insurance is up-to-date. Coverage for vehicles left at home while in school should be maintained to protect the vehicle from theft or any damage that may occur while it is parked. This will also protect you if you forget to notify your agent to add coverage back to your vehicle when you return.

Consult with your local Mercury agent to learn more about renters insurance and they’ll help build the protection plan that best suits your needs.

The bottom line: with greater independence, comes greater responsibility.

1 The National Fire Protection Association reports this annual average occurred during the five-year period from 2009-2013.

The Whole Family Will Love These Local Events!

October Events Not To Miss! 

September is almost coming to an end, which means the outside temperatures continue to drop and the holiday season is getting closer and closer. Before the first day of October comes around, it is the best time to fill up your calendar with fun, local events. Make sure to check out these Conejo Valley events that you can enjoy with all of your loved ones!

From October 3rd and 4th, head out to the Reyes Adobe Historical Site for the 11thAnnual Reyes Adobe Days Festival. The festival is free to attend and is the perfect place to celebrate California culture on the grounds of the original 1845 California rancho with live music, petting zoo, rancho activities, food trucks, local craft beer, and much more!

The Fall Harvest Festival at Underwood Farms is starting on October 3rd and running through the end of the month! The 18th annual event includes plenty of activities, including a corn maze, hay pyramid, live bands, pig races, animal shows, tractor-drawn wagon rides, and more!

If you are looking for a family-friendly way to enjoy Halloween, then you will not want to miss out on the Kids Fun Zone at Janss Marketplace. From noon until 3 p.m., your children will have the chance to enjoy seasonal crafts and activities that they can bring home.

All of us at Integrity First Insurance in Thousand Oaks, California would like to invite you out to enjoy all of these events this October!

September is Life Insurance Awareness Month

September is Life Insurance Awareness Month, also known as LIAM. This year is the 11th anniversary of LIAM, and is the perfect time to look invest in the right life insurance policy for your family, or to look over your already existing policy and make sure that it provides the right amount of coverage.

After investing in a policy, it is important to make sure that you regularly look over your policy and make any necessary changes. There are many life events that may cause you to have to change the amount of coverage that you have. Keep these life events in mind to make sure that your life insurance policy is up to date.

  • If you have a child. If you have a new child, or adopt a child, you will want to raise the amount of coverage for your life insurance policy to ensure that they are financially taken care of when you are gone.
  • If you get married. Much like having a child, getting married increases the number of dependents you have, so you will want to increase the amount of coverage on your life insurance policy.
  • If you get divorced. After getting a divorce or legally separating from your spouse, you will most likely want to lower the amount of coverage you have since you do not have as many dependents. If can also help save your money on your policy premiums.
  • If you buy a home. The payout of your life insurance policy, called the death benefit, can be used to settle your debts, including a home mortgage.
  • If you pay off your home. On the opposite side, if you pay off your home, you will no longer have a mortgage debt, so you may want to consider lowering your amount of coverage.

For all of your life insurance needs throughout the Conejo Valley, contact the insurance professionals at Integrity First Insurance in Thousand Oaks, California.

Check Out These Local Events!

The Conejo Valley is one of the most beautiful and exciting places to live. With all of the fun, family friendly events in the local area, there is never a shortage of things to do. Make sure to check out these exciting events this September in the Conejo Valley that are fun for people of all ages.

You will not want to miss the 11th Annual Thousand Oaks Art Festival on September 20th and 21st. The festival starts at 10 a.m. both days, and spans from the Thousand Oaks Civic Arts Plaza all the way to the Lakes, and is expected to attract more than 12,000 Conejo Valley and Southern California residents to enjoy over 60 art exhibitors, as well as wine tasting!

If your children are a fan of the movie Cars, they are sure to love Disney’s Planes! Make sure to bring the whole family out to the Drive In Movie at Oak Park High School on September 20th, and enjoy a screening of the movie. The exciting and unique event is only $5 per car, and starts at sundown. The gates open one hour before sunset, so make sure to get there early to get a good spot!

Get ready to laugh all night at the Thousand Oaks Civic Arts Plaza because Bill Cosby is coming to town! Enjoy all of Cosby’s hilarious jokes on September 28th, starting at 7 p.m. Tickets are selling out fast, so make sure to get yours before they are all gone!

Integrity First Insurance in Thousand Oaks, would like to invite you and your family to check out all of these fun events in the local community.