Saturday, May 29, 2010

Fema Flood and SC Wind and Hail Insurance

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration or NOAA has predicted a very active hurricane season this year, which starts on June 1. If you have a home or condo inside our Hurricane Wind Pool, (from the beach out to Hwy 31 on the north end) your regular SC homeowners insurance will not include the coverage of hurricane or storm damage from wind. Time is short for getting the state funded wind and hail coverage - and once we have a bad storm, it's too late.

According to the NOAA, this is what we may have to look forward to:
  • 14 to 23 Named Storms (top winds of 39 mph or higher), including:
  • 8 to 14 Hurricanes (top winds of 74 mph or higher), of which
  • 3 to 7 could be Major Hurricanes (Category 3, 4 or 5; winds of at least 111 mph) 
If your property is in any of the NC or SC Wind Pool areas, you'll need to get your coverage with a separate policy we sell from the states of North and South Carolina. There is a 15 day waiting period also, so if you're a present or new customer, be sure to check with us about your SC Wind and Hail Insurance coverage as soon as possible.

Likewise, FEMA flood insurance is NOT part of most standard homeowner, mobile home, or SC renters insurance policies. You must buy separate flood coverage and there is a waiting period of 30 days for this. According to the National Flood Insurance Plan, 25 percent of all flood claims occur in low-to-moderate risk areas. Therefore, flood insurance is recommended for all consumers even if it is not required by the federal government or their mortgage lender.
The South Carolina Insurance News Service, a nonprofit organization, has been providing insurance information to consumers in our state for over 30 years. They are funded by all the insurance companies doing business in SC, and are there for your protection. Here are some tips they offer about wind and flood insurances:
  •    After you have reviewed your coverage, write down your basic insurance information, such as the name and phone number of your insurance agent, your insurance policy number and your insurance claims phone number and keep it with you if you evacuate.
  •    Ask your insurance provider about loss-mitigation techniques, such as installing hurricane shutters, to protect your home and valuable personal belongings. Insurance companies offer premium discounts or credits for retrofitting your home to prevent hurricane damage.
  •    Update your household inventory. Make a list, take pictures or videotape your personal belongings and store the inventory in a safe place outside your home. Take your updated inventory with you if you evacuate. You can also use free software to keep your inventory online by visiting the Insurance News Service Web site,
The time to protect your property with adequate insurance is BEFORE you need it, not by wishing you had it when it is too late. We at Todd Insurance Agency pride ourselves in having the most affordable insurance in Myrtle Beach, whether it's SC car insurance or protection for your home. Call or email us today!

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Saving on Homeowners Insurance Can Help on Housing Costs

Forbes recently printed an article with tips for first time home buyers, but we found that many of the suggestions will help anybody that wants a bit more home for the money. If you want to cut down on the cost of homeowners insurance in Myrtle Beach or elsewhere, here's a blend of their ideas and ours...

Can you afford to buy?  Be sure to calculate the costs of owning a home, repairs, property taxes, and of course, insurance. If you haven't saved enough for a substantial down payment, it might be better to put off buying until you have.

Consider a condo!   If you aren't one who loves to mow the lawn, or you want a pool, consider buying a condominium instead of a house. Look for condos that are strictly residential - it's very hard to get financing for any unit that can be considered a rental condo in Myrtle Beach. It's also somewhat harder to insure a condo close to the ocean, but it may save you money in the long run.

Government Home Buying Credits?
Although the first time home-buying credit has currently run out, there are often other government incentives for buying homes. Areas with farming acreage sometimes qualify for grants. Some cities help with buyers who purchase and renovate downtown areas or historical sites. Check around to see if anything applies in your area.

Getting a Government-Backed Loan
FHA Loans recently became harder to come by, with requirements of a 10% down payment for those with a credit score less than 580. With the lower interest rates and easier qualifications, again it might be well to find the extra money for that down payment, either from family or by waiting until you save enough.

Be careful when borrowing from your parents
Before applying to the Bank of Mom & Dad, note that outright cash gifts can result in big tax bills. Forbes says that taxes can be avoided by setting up the cash give as a structured loan, and following miniumum interest rate requirements set up by the IRS. Information about this can be found on the website.

Consider buying a foreclosure
From property in economy-strapped Las Vegas, Florida, or California, to real estate in Albuquerque, NM, foreclosure purchases can be money saving transactions. It's best to find a Realtor that specializes in them, and to get a mortgage pre-approval letter before you begin to look.

Consider property taxes
In the Grand Strand area, taxes are much, much cheaper outside the city limits of Myrtle and North Myrtle Beach. Consider the outlying areas like Little River on the north end, or Hwy 501 and Socastee on the south end.

Title Insurance Savings
Here is a fantastic tip from Forbes! Some states mandate lower title insurance rates for a buyer if the home's previous owner purchased it recently. Shop around before going with the first policy, and you may save as much as $1000.

Consider a higher deductible on your homeowners insurance
If you've got the talent for home repairs or have an inexpensive source of help like a friend or family, considering a higher deductible might be a big money saver.

Cut insurance costs with safety devices
Buying a home security system, smoke alarms, and other safety factors can save on your homeowner's insurance. Allstate offers a substantial discount when you let us cover your car along with your home. It can even save you on any boat insurance, motorcycle insurance, or other personal policies that you add to the mix. Call us and inquire to see just how much we can save you by combining your policies!  We've got the best SC car insurance prices too!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Children and Bicycle Safety

Training Wheels or Not, Remind Your Children About How to Stay Safe On Their Bikes

North Myrtle Beach, SC (05/18/2010) - Remember the independence you felt as a child when coasting along on your bike? Even with training wheels, riding a bike creates a sense of fun and exhilaration that’s hard to beat. Unfortunately, that exhilaration can lead children into harm’s way if they aren’t taught to practice bike safety.

”Although kids might not see it this way, a bike is a vehicle, not a toy,” says Myrtle Beach Allstate agent, Scott Todd. “Riding a bike can be tremendous fun, but it also can be dangerous. Parents who teach their kids a few simple bike safety rules will go a long way in protecting their kids’ safety."

Allstate Insurance Company recommends that you review the following bike safety tips with your children:

Use Your Head—Wear a Helmet!
Most bike-related deaths result from head injuries. Kids can prevent most serious head injuries by wearing a bike helmet. Children learn by example, so it’s important that parents practice good bike safety habits and wear a helmet themselves when they ride.

Look In All Directions Before Entering or Crossing a Street
Most crashes between a car and a bike happen at intersections and driveways, so keep your eyes open when entering these areas. Look out, too, for parked cars. Drivers in parked cars could pull into traffic or open their doors into a bike rider’s path.
Ride In the Direction of Traffic
Riders should stay on the right side of the street near the curb and walk their bicycles across busy streets.
Be Visible
Kids should attach a fluorescent-colored flag on a flexible pole to their bike and wear brightly colored helmets and clothes to make themselves more visible. Kids should not ride their bikes at night.

Make Sure the Bike Fits
Riding a bike that’s the too big or too small makes it easier for a child to lose control and become injured. Check with a local bike shop to have your child fitted to his or her bike.

Protect Your Bike
Just as you would with your car, have your kids lock their bikes when they leave them. The best protection against bike theft is a chain and lock.

For more information on bike safety or other safety topics, contact North Myrtle Beach Allstate agent Scott H. Todd at 843-249-6317 or visit our website.  We can offer the best price on car insurance in South Carolina as well as SC boat insurance, SC homeowners insurance, motorcycle insurance in SC, and more.

About the Allstate Corporation
The Allstate Corporation (NYSE: ALL) is the nation’s largest publicly held personal lines insurer. Widely known through the “You’re In Good Hands With Allstate®” slogan, Allstate is reinventing protection and retirement to help more than 17 million households insure what they have today and better prepare for tomorrow. Consumers access Allstate insurance products and services through Allstate agencies, independent agencies, and Allstate exclusive financial representatives in the U.S. and Canada, as well as via and 1-800 Allstate®.

Contact: John Heid, Press Release Author
Phone Number: (678) 589-6102

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Pass the Safe Teen and Novice Driver Uniform Protection Act

Save11 is dedicated to reducing or eliminating the more than 4,000 needless fatalities suffered by our nation's inexperienced teen drivers every year.

You can make a difference. To achieve our goal, we need your help to persuade Members of Congress to pass the Safe Teen and Novice Driver Uniform Protection Act (H.R. 1895, S. 3269). It has the potential to save thousands of teen lives by better preparing them for the road.

The STANDUP Act would establish minimum requirements for state Graduated Driver Licensing laws. These Graduated Driver Licensing laws have already reduced the number of fatal crashes among 16-year-olds by nearly 40% in states where they are strictly applied.

Take action now.  Visit our Allstate page for more information -

The Safe Teen and Novice Driver Uniform Protection (STANDUP) Act (H.R. 1895, S. 3269) is a national law awaiting congressional approval that would require states to pass and enforce minimum standards for Graduated Drivers Licensing (GDL) laws. Key provisions include:
Three stages of licensing:

Learners Permit: Teens cannot obtain a learners permit until age 16 and this stage is at least six months in duration. Learners are not allowed to drive at night without adult supervision, or use a cell phone or other communication device. Learners may not drive with any passengers except for licensed adults older than 21 providing supervision.

Intermediate Stage: This stage is in effect until the teen is 18 years of age. Intermediate drivers are not allowed to drive at night without adult supervision, or use a cell phone or other communication device. They may not drive with more than one non-family passenger under the age of 21 without a licensed driver older than 21 present in the motor vehicle.

The Secretary of Transportation may introduce additional requirements for novice drivers in the learner’s permit stage such as at least 40 hours of behind-the-wheel training with a licensed driver who is older than 21.

States that comply with this national law within 3 years of enactment are entitled to incentive grants

States that fail to comply with this national law after 3 years of enactment are subject to sanctions
To read the full STANDUP Act, visit the Library of Congress website at

Help prevent more than 4,000 teens from dying in car crashes this year. Add your online signature to our petition to stop the #1 killer of teens at
or for more information see the Allstate Teen Driver Info Page.

Join the Facebook page at

Todd Insurance Agency is proud to support this promotion.  If you want the cheapest car insurance in South Carolina, call us!

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